In January presumptive GOP Nominee Donald Trump boycotted the Fox News debate in Iowa and held a very public fundraiser for Veterans groups across town. The campaign and Trump repeatedly stated $6 million was raised and today, the list of groups receiving the money was announced. The campaign argues it took time for the checks to be paid out due to a lengthy vetting process for groups that applied for funds.
"The money has been paid out," Trump said to a sea of reporters, saying he wanted to keep the list private and that isn't anybody's business. "I have been thanked by so many great veterans groups."
"I wanted to keep it private because I don't think it's anyone's business if I want to send money to the vets," Trump continued. "Most of the money went out quite awhile ago...you have to vet all of these different groups. You have to go through a process."
Here is the list of checks that have been delivered and cashed according to Trump:
Achilles international $200,000
American Hero Adventures $100,000
Americans for Equal living $100,000
America's Vet Dogs, The Veterans Canine Corp. Inc. $75,000
Armed Services YMCA of the U.S. $75,000
Bob Woodruff Family Foundation Inc. $75,000
Central Iowa Shelter and Services $100,000
Connected Warriors Inc. $75,000
Disabled American Veterans Charitable Services Trust $115,000
Fisher House Foundation $115,000
Folds of Honor Foundation $200,000
Foundation for American Veterans $75,000
Freedom Alliance $75,000
Green Beret Foundation $350,000
Hire Heroes USA $75,000
Homes For Our Troops $50,000
Honoring Americans Warriors $100,000
Hope for the Warriors $65,000
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund $175,000
Canines for Warriors $50,000
Liberty House $100,000
Marine Corp Law Enforcement Foundation $1,100,000
Navy SEAL Foundation $465,000
Navy Marine Corp Relief Society $75,000
New England Wounded Veterans Inc. $75,000
Operation Home Front $65,000
Partners for Patriots $100,000
Project for Patriots $100,000
Puppy Jake Foundation $100,000
Racing for Heroes Inc. $200,000
Support Siouxland Soldiers $100,000
Task Force Dagger Foundation $50,000
The Mission Continues $75,000
The National Military Family Association Inc. $75,000
Veterans Airlift Command $100,000
Veterans Count $25,000
Veterans in Command Inc. $150,000
Vietnam Veterans Workshop Inc. $75,000
Warriors for Freedom Foundation $50,000
Total: $5.6 million
Trump said he expects more money to come in and for more checks to be paid out.
This post has been updated with additional information.
After the State Department Inspector General issued a damning report last week proving former Secretary Hillary Clinton violated Department rules, the Federal Records Act and compromised national security by using a private email server to conduct all of her government business, the Clinton campaign responded by arguing other Secretaries had done the same thing.
"While political opponents of Hillary Clinton are sure to misrepresent this report for their own partisan purposes, in reality, the Inspector General documents [show] just how consistent her email practices were with those of other Secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email. The report shows that problems with the State Department's electronic record keeping systems were longstanding and that there was no precedent of someone in her position having a State Department email account until after the arrival of her successor. Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the Department during her tenure, and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the Secretary's server. We agree that steps ought to be taken to ensure the government can better maintain official records, and if she were still at the State Department, Secretary Clinton would embrace and implement any recommendations, including those in this report, to help do that. But as this report makes clear, Hillary's use of personal email was not unique, and she took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records," the Clinton campaign released last week.
This is a false argument. No other Secretary of State, including Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, used private email exclusively to conduct all government business and neither set up a private server inside their homes. Further, there is no proof either Powell or Rice shared classified, top secret information on a private email account.
Now in an exclusive interview with Fox News, former State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard is debunking the Clinton campaign narrative, exposing Clinton's lies about security protocol and argues he would have also investigated her use of a private server.
"I would have been stunned had I been asked to send an email to her at a personal server, private address. I would have declined to do so on security grounds and if she had sent one to me, I probably would have started an investigation," Krongard said.
Krongard also touched on a key point at the center of the ongoing FBI criminal investigation of Clinton's server: How did classified information jump from a secure, closed, government system to Clinton's private server? We'll get that answer if the FBI moves forward with an indictment.
The University of North Carolina has had a change of heart about the state's HB2 law, which requires transgenders to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate. While the school initially accepted the rule, school administrators and attorneys are now arguing that their anti-discrimination policy includes the needs of transgenders.
University system President Margaret Spellings wrote in an affidavit that, pending the outcome of the North Carolina case, "I have no intent to exercise my authority to promulgate any guidelines or regulations that require transgender students to use the restrooms consistent with their biological sex."
The university system's lawyers went further, noting in a filing that the state law contains no enforcement mechanism and the university system also hasn't "changed any of its policies or practices regarding transgender students or employees."
The liberal group ThinkProgress argues that UNC only initially complied with the law out of "pleaded ignorance."
They're likely not the only ones applauding the school's pivot. The Tar Heel State has received a lot of backlash from progressives for a bathroom bill they say is discriminatory. Bands have cancelled their scheduled concerts and businesses like PayPal have refused to expand its operations in the state.
The Obama administration then waded into the matter, turning a state controversy into a national one by sending letters to public schools across the country demanding they recognize transgender bathroom rights.
Some, however, have been able to find humor in the situation. Check out how NASCAR made fun of the controversy at this weekend's Coca Cola 600.
Nevertheless, it's no laughing matter when it comes to how allowing those who identify as transgender to enter any bathroom or locker room they choose will affect students' safety. Will these institutions come to regret their decisions to give in to political correctness?
If #NeverTrump chieftain Bill Kristol is to be believed, an alternative independent candidate is set to announce a presidential bid at some point, presumably soon -- identity and time frame TBD. Here's what the Weekly Standard editor and television mainstay tweeted on Sunday, touching off a tempest of speculation, hope, derision and scorn:
Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate--an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 29, 2016
Is that a prediction, or a revelation based on inside knowledge? If it's the latter, he must be referring to Mitt Romney, right? The 2012 GOP nominee has been harshly critical of Trump for months, was reportedly deeply involved in the (failed) effort to recruit a strong non-Trump option for center-right voters, and is rumored to be reconsidering his previous decision not to jump into the fray himself. Who else (of the dwindling list of names still in play) fits that description? Who else has an established "strong team" already in place, or at least one that could be mobilized fairly quickly? Who else has the name recognition and financing network that would allow him or her to even sniff putting up a strong enough fight to have a "real chance"? Given the historic unpopularity of the two major parties' presumptive nominees, it's no great shock that some national polling demonstrates a healthy public appetite for a third option on the presidential menu this year. Indeed, a recent Washington Post/ABC News survey showed non-candidate Romney already pulling 22 percent against Clinton and Trump, who were both in the 30's. Nevertheless, the ever cynical Allahpundit is almost certainly correct here:
No independent candidate stands a chance. Not Romney, not anyone. https://t.co/9Uyy7OUQ7k— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) May 29, 2016
Splashy national polling data and widespread discontent with the likely choices are one thing, but for anyone to take Kristol's "real chance" assessment seriously, let's see evidence that this third party ticket would be in a strong position to win -- not just compete in, but win -- several states. That is literally the only path to preventing a Trump or Clinton presidency: For this mystery man to carry a number of states in November, vacuuming up enough electoral votes to hold the two major party nominees below 270. Unless and until compelling evidence is presented that this scenario is plausible, let alone realistic, it seems as though any center-right alternative maneuver would only serve to pave Mrs. Clinton's path to the Oval Office. This is especially true in light of the Libertarian Party's nomination of Gary Johnson and William Weld at their convention over the weekend. Both Johnson and Weld are former multi-term GOP governors; their combined executive experience and commitment to shrinking the size and scope of government has already attracted the attention of many disaffected righties. Let's say Romney jumps in too, despite the immense logistical challenges and expired deadlines. The center-right would then be represented by three high-ish profile ballot options, leaving the center-left lane wide open for Clinton. Unless Bernie Sanders decides to shiv Hillary and launch an outside bid of his own after she finally puts him away in the Democratic primary, Trump + Romney + Johnson = President Hillary Clinton. Speaking of Her Majesty, I'll leave you with Jennifer Rubin hammering Team Hillary for their pitiful spin and endless lies in the face of the significant new report released by the State Department's Inspector General, pertaining to her national security-endangering email scandal:
Every talking point [California Democrat Adam] Schiff is forced to present is wrong. She did not get approval. Her situation is not analogous to Powell’s. She did not turn over the materials voluntarily. And she did not turn over everything. One really cannot blame the surrogates, of course. It is the campaign and Hillary herself who are continuing down the path of denial and deflection. In doing so, she continues to cement the impression of a defiant, dishonest pol. Moreover, it reminds us, as Ron Brownstein remarked, that ” there was no one around her who was willing to tell her that she was wrong. And when people tried to raise questions, they were told to be quite. That is a — that was ominous traits for a president.”
Speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reassured listeners that Donald Trump will not change the nature of the Republican Party.
Many have said that the rise of Trump indicates the GOP has an identity crisis, some even going so far as to argue that the party will never be the same, and has even died.
Whether or not Trump has embraced the Republican Party’s limited government theory remains to be seen, but ultimately, “he’s not going to change the Republican Party,” McConnell told Hewitt. “Think of Eisenhower, for example. But Trump is not going to change the institution. He’s not going to change the basic philosophy of the party.”
McConnell said the reason he’s comfortable supporting Trump is because on the issues that will have the greatest impact on the future of the country—like nominating judges to the Supreme Court—“I think he’ll be just fine,” he said.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday said Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who stole up to 1.7 million classified documents and released hundreds of thousands of them to journalists, performed a “public service” by igniting a debate in the country about domestic surveillance programs.
"We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate we engaged in and by the changes that we made," Holder said during an interview with CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to Obama, David Axelrod.
Nonetheless, Holder did follow up by saying that what Snowden did was wrong.
"Now, I would say doing what he did in the way he did it was inappropriate and illegal," he said. "He's broken the law. In my view, he needs to get lawyers, come on back and decide what he wants to do — go to trial, try to cut a deal."
Snowden has repeatedly said he would be willing to return to the United States if the federal government would provide him a fair trial. However, Snowden says he is concerned that under federal espionage laws he would not allow him to present a whistleblower defense, arguing in court he acted in the public interest.
"But in deciding what an appropriate sentence should be, a judge could take into account the usefulness of having that national debate," Holder added.
As Memorial Day comes to a close, there has been a lot of talk about whether we, as Americans, have forgotten the significance of this holiday. Many regard Memorial Day as pretty much the start of summer (though that doesn’t officially begin until June 20), where families head down to the beach for the long weekend. Others are heading to outlet stores to take advantage of the various shopping deals occurring over the weekend. We are able to do these activities because hundreds of thousands before us decided to give their lives in various wars to preserve our freedoms.
We should honor those who served and died for our country, and thank God (or whatever higher power that may exist) that this country is filled with scores of men who were willing to make that sacrifice. From the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom, we stand and take pause and the brave men and women who died performing extraordinary acts to defend this country and their fellow comrades in arms. Yet, I always have a special place for those who never came back from the Korean War.
Yes, we did fight in Korea starting in June of 1950-1953, though the first contingent of American troops committed at first were ill-prepared and poorly equipped. It wasn't until the landing in Inchon in September of 1950 that UN/US/ROK forces began to drive the North Koreans across the border. It was also the first time the United Nations went to war. Why do I hold those who died in Korea in high regard? For starters, I, and millions of other Korean-American adoptees, wouldn’t be here without their service and sacrifice. Without American intervention, it’s certain that the last of the South Korean forces would’ve been overrun near the Pusan Perimeter. It was the last sliver of land left for the communist North Korean forces to conquer and unite the peninsula under a reign of unbearable human suffering and tyranny, much like what we see today above the 38th parallel.
Millions of Koreans and Korean adoptees would’ve been shut off from the world, unable to live better lives in the homes of caring Americans. I’m one of them. If American soldiers decided not to get involved in Korea, I would not have been flown into Newark Airport on December 8, 1988 and adopted by my new family. I would not have been able to live the American Dream. Period. My life could have been marked by starvation, economic destitution, and the irrational paranoia that the Great Leader can read my thoughts. For native South Koreans, the Miracle on the Han River that helped catapult the nation into the G20, making them economic heavyweights in league with Europe and the United States, would have never happened.
Most importantly, the Korean War if often relegated as a forgotten one. No war in which American blood has been should ever be considered forgotten. Over 30,000 Americans fought to keep a people they really didn’t know free from communist oppression. I’m forever grateful for those who sacrificed their lives. I’m indebted forever to those who served in that war. And every Korean should feel the same.
So, while we honor those who have died to keep this nation free, and other countries free as well, let’s not forget the wars that might not have been covered so thoroughly in the classroom. After all, every American who has died in the service of his or her country is a hero. We must not forget a single one every year we mark this occasion.
To those who have died throughout the years in the defense of our republic, especially those who never came back from Korea—thank you.
BONUS: Historian Victor Davis Hanson analysis of the Korean War, where he says it "deserves to be remembered and studied with pride."
Editor's Note: Got some dates and facts mixed up ... thanks for pointing this out Everitt Simpson--and thank you for your service in Korea. I wouldn't be writing this post if it weren't you, sir.
Apparently, there’s been a shift towards authoritarianism at sporting events because law enforcement is participating is singing the national anthem. No, I’m not kidding—ESPN columnist Howard Bryant is somewhat unnerved by this spectacle seen prior to the start of a sporting event. The article ("The Unspoken Truth") is not available online, but Clay Waters, who perused the piece, at Newsbusters broke down this peculiar view:
Policing is clearly one of the most divisive issues in the country – except in the sports arena, where the post-9/11 hero narrative has been so deeply embedded within its game-day fabric that policing is seen as clean, heroic, uncomplicated. Following the marketing strategy of the military, police advocacy organizations have partnered with teams from all four major leagues to host ‘Law Enforcement Appreciation’ nights, or similar events.
Nobody seems to care much about this authoritarian shift at the ballpark, yet the media and the public are quick to demand accountability from players they consider insufficiently activist. They blame these black players for not speaking up on behalf of their communities, ignoring the smothering effect that staged patriotism and cops singing the national anthem in a time of Ferguson have on player expression. It’s indirectly stifled, while the increasing police pageantry at games sends another clear message: The sentiments of the poor in Ferguson and Cleveland do not matter....While athletes are routinely criticized for “not doing more,” it is conveniently ignored how deeply their employers have mobilized against the most powerless elements of their fan base.
Uh, what? Seldom do fans think about sociopolitical contexts of who sings the national anthem prior to the start of a game. Most people are still in line waiting for burgers hot dogs, fries, chicken tenders, and most importantly beer. They want to see a good game, not debate whether a police officer singing the national anthem means we don’t care about Ferguson, Missouri—or something.
Waters noted that in 2015, Bryant took umbrage with the way in which the Chicago Blackhawks acknowledged Veterans Day:
There is not just deceit in these practices but also an insulting distortion of history and images. The Chicago Blackhawks ostensibly honored Veterans Day with a camouflage jersey containing the Blackhawks' logo in the center, clearly uninterested in the colliding imagery -- the systematic removal of native tribes occurred at the hands of the U.S. Army. Since 9/11, America has conflated the armed forces with first responders, creating a mishmash of anthem-singing cops and surprise homecomings in a time of Ferguson and militarized police. Tensions continue to mount in aggrieved communities, yet the LA Dodgers pandered to police by holding Law Enforcement Appreciation Night in September.
Give me a break, dude.
It’s not just the U.S.’s porous borders with Mexico Americans have to worry about, it’s also corrupt immigration officials in other countries that should be a major cause for concern.
According to a new report from Honduran newspaper La Prensa, officials in the country are being paid off to register foreigners as legal residents, which gives them access to documents that can then be used to enter the United States and other western nations.
The Center for Immigration Studies reports (emphasis mine):
Honduras' National Registry of Persons (RNP)confirmedthat hundreds of Palestinian, Syrian, and citizens of other Arab nations were fraudulently registered as Honduran citizens. As a result, these foreigners can then acquire Honduran passports, which can be used to apply for visas to enter to the United States.
On Sunday, La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper, revealed the illicit sales of Honduran identity documents to Palestinian and Syrian citizens. La Prensa's investigation was anchored on the case of a Palestinian, Kareen Samer Abdulhadi.
In October 2014, Abdulhadi presented himself to the Honduran consulate in Barcelona and with official documentation from the RNP and solicited a Honduran passport—arguing his status of "Honduran by birth." Nevertheless, the language, his marked Arab features, and inconsistent birth data aroused the suspicions of the diplomatic staff about his true nationality and the legitimacy of the documents (including a birth certificate and identification card). Further investigation by consular staff revealed that in 2013 there had been an unauthorized intrusion and alteration in the database of birth registrations of one of the municipal records back in Honduras, which allowed the Palestinian to be documented as Honduran.
According to information accessed byLa Prensa, Kareen Samer's father acquired his own Honduran identity card and birth certificate, and with those documents was able to also register at least eight family members, including his children, wife, and grandchildren.
Subsequent investigations established that Abdulhadi's case is only the tip of the iceberg of an organized crime network with international ties to smugglers and RNP officials, who were able to illegally register at least one hundred Palestinians and Syrians with fraudulent documentation.
According to an unnamed source in La Prensa’s report, the U.S. Embassy did detect at least some of the Palestinians and Syrians who were fraudulently registered as Honduran citizens and tried to obtain a visa.
But as CIS’ Kausha Luna points out, “for those who fraudulently attain a Honduran passport, how many successfully acquire a U.S. visa?”
"A document breach, such as the one in the Honduran RNP, presents yet another obstacle to the United States' ability to properly vet individuals,” Luna concludes.
Venezuela’s tryst with socialism continues to make its citizens suffer under lack of electricity, food, and medical supplies. The government, which provides essential services, is only working two-day workweeks. Inflation has soared through the stratosphere, only to be accompanied by widespread hunger. People have resorted to looting. There are reports of dogs, cats, and pigeons being hunted for food, while others tear through garbage cans looking for whatever they can find to eat. Under-stocked supermarkets have become tragic spectacles, as Venezuelans rush to get whatever they can find once the doors open. As for medical supplies, they’re scarce—with hospitals lacking basic items, like gloves and soap. Access to medicine is also a nightmare, impacting 200,000 Venezuelans living with chronic illnesses. In one tragic case, an eight-year-old-boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma recently passed away since he couldn’t obtain the drugs he needed to survive.
The New York Times noted that, as the government slowly begins to shutdown, the crisis is beginning to kill off every aspect of socioeconomic life. Schools are now closed on Fridays to help with the energy shortage, and law and order has all but collapsed. Even the Venezuela’s like-minded allies concerning left wing economics have noted that current President Nicolas Maduro has pretty much lost his marbles:
The courts? Closed most days. The bureau to start a business? Same thing. The public defender’s office? That’s been converted into a food bank for government employees.
Step by step, Venezuela has been shutting down.
This country has long been accustomed to painful shortages, even of basic foods. But Venezuela keeps drifting further into uncharted territory.
In recent weeks, the government has taken what may be one of the most desperate measures ever by a country to save electricity: A shutdown of many of its offices for all but two half-days each week.
But that is only the start of the country’s woes. Electricity and water are being rationed, and huge areas of the country have spent months with little of either.
Many people cannot make international calls from their phones because of a dispute between the government and phone companies over currency regulations and rates.
“There’s been plenty of problems, but one thing I haven’t seen until now is protests simply to get food,” said David Smilde, a Caracas-based analyst for the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group, referring to the demonstrations last week.
Old allies like Brazil, whose leftist president, Dilma Rousseff, was removed this month pending an impeachment trial, are now openly criticizing Venezuela. José Mujica, the leftist former president of Uruguay last week called Mr. Maduro “crazy like a goat.”
As the sparring continues, Mariángel González, a 32-year-old mother of two, is most worried about the retreat of the government from daily life.
Venezuela’s public schools are now closed on Fridays, another effort to save electricity. So Ms. González was waiting in line with her elder child at an A.T.M., while her husband watched over the other one at home.
“Right now, my older girl should be at elementary school and the little one in kindergarten,” she said. “My husband and I have been inventing new routines.”
Ms. González, a freelance lawyer, lived a middle-class life until recently. But she says the government shutdown has left her without work and her family without food.
“The older girl, who understands what’s going on says, ‘What is there, Mom: bread, arepas or nothing?’” She said that on a recent night, the family ate a dinner of pasta and ketchup.
For Vanessa Arneta, who lives with seven relatives in an apartment on the outskirts of Caracas, it’s the disappearance of the city’s water that is causing the most pain. Water arrives just once a week, on Thursdays, to her neighborhood of San Antonio de los Altos.
That day, they quickly divide up the chores. A nephew gets into the shower while another one washes the dishes, Ms. Arneta says. One of her brothers washes up the bathroom, while someone else fills buckets with water for later.
But Ms. Arneta says the water is now a brownish color and is making her family sick. Many Venezuelans say they have gotten skin irritations from showering or from the inability to bathe and wash their sheets and towels.
The Agence-France Presse reported last week that 80 percent of Venezuelans say that basic things, like food and medicine, are in short supply—and 86 percent blamed the left wing government of President Maduro for their suffering.
Cliver Alcala, a then-cadet under Hugo Chavez who rose through the military ranks and is credited with being the “architect” of Venezuela’s military, bashed Maduro saying that his government has nothing to do with Chavez’s legacy—“it’s anarchy” (via BBC):
"When Comandante Chavez started the MBR-200, I was a 19-year-old cadet. Today, I'm 54."
While in power, there was little that Chavez valued more than loyalty. And as Alcala quickly climbed the military ladder, he strove to provide it through open demonstrations of unwavering support.
He is often credited with being the first to publicly declare the armed forces "Bolivarian" and "revolutionary".
But today he is excoriating about the direction the government of President Nicolas Maduro is taking and the role of the military in the current political and economic crisis gripping the country. Mr Maduro succeeded Chavez, who died of cancer three years ago.
"This isn't Chavismo," Gen Alcala says of the socialist leadership. "It's anarchy."
"Over the past three years, we have entered a maelstrom of anarchy in which a group of compatriots that once supported the revolution - both civilians and military - thought they could install an anarchic ideology in the country."
"And so they have."
He immediately begins to list problems, with corruption at every level of government, and accuses the military of standing idly by as Rome - or in this case Caracas - burns.
Well, corruption is a byproduct of authoritarian leftism. Not just in Bolivia, but other governments that aspire to the planned economy model. A model that force Bridgestone to abandon operations, Coca-Cola to stop production due to sugar shortages, and Lufthansa is set to suspend all flights to Venezuela because of the deteriorating situations in the country. In Venezuela, 21st Century Socialism has done nothing but relegate this country into nothing more than a burned out cinder.
The International Monetary Fund projects the Venezuelan economy to contact by eight percent his year, with a 500 percent surge in the inflation rate.
Viva La Revolución!
Former State Department IG: No, Hillary Didn't Use Private Email Like Powell or Rice | Katie Pavlich
ESPN Columnist Laments Cops Singing National Anthem, Signals ‘Authoritarian Shift At The Ballpark’ | Matt Vespa