Matt Vespa - Sanders Is Going To Do Everything He Can To Ensure A Unified Democratic Government Come November
Posted: 7/26/2016 12:15:00 AM EST

Sen. Bernie Sanders shook the Wells Fargo Center to its core with his address at the Democratic National Convention. It took him a few minutes for the die-hard Bernie supporters and fellow attendees to calm down to allow him to deliver his remarks.

He thanked his supporters; the 8 million people who gave an average of $27 in individual contributions to his campaign; the 13 million who voted for the “political revolution; and the 1,800+ delegates who were attending the convention. He said that he was very much looking forward to the roll call vote Tuesday night.

Sanders then acknowledged the elephant in the room, which is that he lost to Clinton. He said that he knows people are disappointed, but added, “I think it’s fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am.” With that said, he said that he hopes his followers take enormous pride in the historical accomplishments that had achieved. He said that they started a revolution to transform America. The struggle for socioeconomic equality continues after this convention, and he looks forward to being part of that struggle.

The disheveled Democratic socialist said that this election is not, and has never been, about Clinton, Trump, or himself. This election is not political gossip, the polls, campaign strategy, or all of the things the media spends so much time discussing, which drew immense applause.

This election is about, and must be about, the needs of the American people and the future we create for our children and our grandchildren; ending the 40-year decline of our middle class; the 47 million men, women, and children live in poverty; changing course so that this generation doesn’t end up with a lower standard of living than their parents; and ending the gross level of wealth inequality we have today–the latter of which Sanders described as immoral. He also said that it’s not acceptable, or sustainable, that the top one percent owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

Yet, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. He added that progress has been made on a variety of issues but much more progress needs to be done. This election is about which candidate understands the real problems and will offer real solutions, according to Sanders. It’s not about bombast; fear mongering, and divisiveness–a swipe at Trump.

He declared that based on her ideas, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. Why? Because she understands that the minimum wage must be raised to a living wage. She has justices who will overturn Citizens United and protect a woman’s reproductive health choices.

Sanders invoked the importance of the Supreme Court during this portion of his address, telling those on the fence that one only has to think about the justices Donald Trump would nominate should he win in November to get them out to the voting booths. That was mixed in with slamming Trump over the minimum wage and offering huge tax breaks to people who don’t need them (aka the job creating and investing class). In a bit of hyperbole, Sanders said that Citizens United was one of the worst decisions made by the Supreme Court. I still think Dred Scott takes the cake in that category. A ruling defining free speech is nowhere near as bad as one that lurched the nation closer to civil war.

The Vermont senator also bashed Trump on wanting to cut Medicaid to low-income Americans, along with repealing Obamacare that only shows the GOP’s contempt for working Americans. Clinton, the darling of Wall Street, would add a public option for Americans to choose from in a health care exchange. We also need to pass criminal justice and comprehensive immigration reform.

In all, because Clinton believes all of these things, Sanders promised to do everything he can to ensure that come January 2017 we have a Democratic president, Senate, and House to enact portions of the party’s platform, which is decidedly more left wing. And now the games begin.

Guy Benson - DNC Monday: FLOTUS Steals the Show, Then Rumpled Socialist Basks in Adulation
Posted: 7/26/2016 12:05:00 AM EST

PHILADELPHIA  --  A few thoughts on tonight's primetime DNC program:

(1) Al Franken and Sarah Silverman were painfully bad, flailing as they tried to "stretch" ahead of an underwhelming performance by Paul Simon.  These people are comedians by trade?

(2) Anastasia Somoza and Cheryl Lankford offered impactful testimonies against Donald Trump. The former is a disability rights activist, who appeared immediately after a short video presentation depicting Republicans and conservative commentators laying into Trump for mocking a disabled reporter.  The latter is an Iraq War widow who was swindled out of thousands of dollars at Trump University.  Her affecting story was showcased heading into the peak of primetime, not accidentally. Her story, and stories like it, will be employed relentlessly in Democratic attack ads through November.

(3) Sen. Cory Booker was shouty and unfocused. He started off talking about how we must all love and support each other, pivoted into conventional attacks against Donald Trump, then closed with a stirring historical ode to America -- which finally pulled some energy out of the largely lethargic crowd.

(4) First Lady Michelle Obama gave by far the best address of the night. It was as well-crafted and well-received as any speech delivered at either party's gathering thus far. She electrified the room, earning loud and sustained applause. Someone on Twitter joked that Mrs. Obama could probably have snatched the nomination away from Hillary Clinton tonight, if only she'd asked for it. Instead, she issued a powerful case against Donald Trump without ever naming him. She took the high road, using clear subtext to slice into the GOP nominee. She also made an urgent call for party unity, indirectly repudiating the "Bernie or Bust" crowd by praising Hillary's approach and attitude after losing a tough primary fight.   Neither message was delivered with a two-by-four, but rather a dagger and a smile.  Setting aside political differences and some galling hypocrisy, this was an A-plus political performance.

(5) Sen. Elizabeth Warren's speech was a letdown, energy-wise.  She lit into Donald Trump and the Republican Congress in a typically shrill and partisan manner, but the audience -- perhaps still dazzled by the First Lady -- didn't eat it up. The text itself was uninspiring and her delivery was flat. A dull note from an unlikable radical.

(6) Sen. Bernie Sanders had his moment, soaking in a five-minute standing ovation from a packed house. He reveled in the adulation, boasted about his campaign, and thanked his supporters. When the Vermont Senator finally got around to making the case for Hillary, he was met mostly by cheers, with audible boos mixed in. The DNC leak's revelations are still raw here, after all; plus, Mrs. Clinton is the human embodiment of the rigged, privileged, establishment system Sanders has bashed throughout this cycle. A number of his delegates were in tears. He went on to outline his reckless, harmful, unaffordable agenda, assuring wary supporters that Hillary is more friend than foe in achieving his desired Statist ends. He invoked "the revolution," and insisted that his insurgent campaign only marked the beginning of transforming America into a full-blown, Left-wing welfare state -- bragging that the party's new platform is the most extreme document they've ever produced. The soul of the Democratic Party is now firmly with Barack Obama, Liz Warren, and Bernie Sanders. Not the Clintons.  

Two final thoughts: First, I may be wrong, and may be proven so very soon, but I suspect that the divisions in this building will be less vociferous and disruptive over the remainder of the week. The visceral anger and frustration has been vented, and Bernie made an impassioned case for (most of) his most ardent backers to back off moving forward.  Second, despite their profound wrongness on almost everything, Democrats nailed their stagecraft.  They exploited the key 9:30 to 11pm hours to drive home core messages, building toward the big event (Bernie's speech, in tonight's case).  The place was packed and loud for the televised pageant's crucial final hour.  The RNC unforgivably squandered the 10pm hour twice last week.  Imagine how much bigger Trump's polling bounce might have been if his campaign had designed a competent program.  Compare and contrast:

Matt Vespa - Michelle Obama Reminded All Of Us How She And Barack Won The Presidency
Posted: 7/26/2016 12:00:00 AM EST

In Philadelphia, we were reminded how the Obamas won the presidency–twice. And we’re reminded why people called Michelle the closer. Love her or hate her, Mrs. Obama delivered a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention that doled out not so thinly veiled attacks against Donald Trump and some intransigent factions of the party that are still supporting Sanders.

Obama said that it’s not really about political parties this year, but who will have the power to shape the futures of our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.

She said, of course, that in this election, there is only one person who I trust, and who is qualified: Hillary Clinton.

In a dig towards the Sanders crowd, she said that when her husband defeated Clinton in the 2008 primaries, Clinton was not angry or disillusioned. She didn’t pack up and go home because she knew there was too much at stake. There were moments when Clinton could’ve left the administration. The workload, the media criticisms of her looks, or how she laughs were intense and constant, but Obama noted that Clinton doesn’t buckle under pressure. She has never quit on anything in her life.

Obama said that she wants someone who can persevere, like Clinton, and will take this job seriously, who doesn’t think that all of this can be boiled down to 140 characters. When you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips, you can’t have a thin skin, and you need to be measured and well informed. I’m going to let you guess whom she’s referring to with that line.

Michelle added that she wanted a president with a record of service, who will fight to give everyone a chance at building a better life, and who thinks that everyone in this country matters. Obama said that she knows that’s the kind of president Hillary Clinton will be, which is why she’s with her. She added how Clinton knows that it’s about leaving something better for your kids.

Additionally, Obama mentioned how Clinton’s run for president has shown her daughters, and many others, that it’s possible for a woman to be elected president. Touching upon similar remarks she gave at the commencement ceremony at the City University of New York, the First Lady added that should Hillary become president, she would break a glass ceiling which is indicative of the American Dream—of people fighting for their rights and carving out better futures for their children that drove America forward. It’s that drive that led to Mrs. Obama addressing the DNC tonight–and waking up in the residence of the most powerful political figure in the world that was built by slaves, that was never envisioned originally to be occupied by a black man.

She closed her remarks by saying that Democrats need to pour every last ounce of energy to elect Hillary, so let’s get to work.

Cortney O'Brien - Missing Topic From DNC Day One: ISIS
Posted: 7/26/2016 12:00:00 AM EST

Over 60 speeches were made Monday night at the Democratic National Convention, yet one key topic was MIA: the rise of ISIS.

The Republican National Committee pointed out the unforgivable omission on Twitter.

With the devastating amount of terror attacks authored by ISIS in recent months, you would think the Democrats would at least address it and how they plan to confront and combat the terror cell.  

Americans will be voting for our commander in chief in November - you better believe national security will be on their minds.

Cortney O'Brien - The Ironic Line in Elizabeth Warren’s Speech
Posted: 7/25/2016 11:00:00 PM EST

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), one of America’s most beloved progressives, addressed the Democratic National Convention on Monday night, in what turned out to be an awkward evening of pro-Bernie Sanders supporters jeering at speaker after speaker. An hour or so before Warren took the stage, comedian Sarah Silverman and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) got booed off the stage for chiding the disruptive attendees. “To the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous,” Silverman said.

First Lady Michelle Obama offered temporary relief by offering a positive speech about how far America has come in providing the opportunities for African Americans and women to run for president. Her remarks were met with limited boos.

They returned when Warren stepped up to the podium.

Of course, the crowd was totally with her when she railed on GOP nominee Donald Trump. “What kind of a man” cheats students, cheats investors, etc. she asked.

She had an answer: “A man who must never be president of the United States.”

She lost the audience when she backed up that remark by noting “Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are going to make it happen." Some of her former fans even shouted "We trusted you!"

Warren also offered what she says is a clear contrast between Democrats and Republicans on key issues. For instance, "while Democrats proposed raising minimum wage, Republicans said no." 

“This November, the American people are coming for you,” she told the GOP.

That’s when she offered a bit of irony.

“There is a huge difference between people fighting for a level playing field and the people fighting to keep the system rigged,” she said.

If Warren wants to talk about rigged systems, she should comb through the new Wikileaks emails exposing the DNC’s bias against the Sanders campaign. The correspondence between DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her staff proves that there was open hostility to Sanders, suggesting no one was going to stop them from making sure Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. 

Of course, that wasn't the only ironic line in Warren's speech.

Matt Vespa - FLOP: Pro-Sanders Sarah Silverman Rips Bernie Supporters, 'You're Being Ridiculous'
Posted: 7/25/2016 10:00:00 PM EST

So, prior to Paul Simon being introduced to sing Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and comedian Sarah Silverman did a comedy bit that was contrived, too long, too awkward, and kept the deep divisions between the Bernie and Clinton camps fresh.

Silverman delivered a brief but predictable address about how she’s proud that Hillary Clinton will take on Citizens United decision on campaign finance if elected president. She then said that she would happily vote for Clinton come November. She also tried to get the convention to come together with chants of unity. That was torpedoed when she tore into her fellow Bernie-ites, calling them ridiculous for refusing to get behind Hillary.

Even CNN’s Van Jones said that was an awkward moment, which should be filed in the “AwkwardDotCom file.” 

Cortney O'Brien - DNC Saves Its Loudest Applause for Daughter of Illegal Immigrant
Posted: 7/25/2016 9:00:00 PM EST

Karla Ortiz, the 11-year-old daughter of an illegal immigrant, was offered the podium at the Democratic National Convention Monday night. She relayed how when she was younger she would come home and wonder why her parents were always crying. She didn't understand it was because they feared deportation. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her policies, Karla suggested, would help relieve her and her parents’ anxieties.

"She wants me to have the worries of an 11 year-old, not the weight of the world on my shoulders,” she said.

She got a loud, warm applause for her remarks. Some in the audience were even crying.

You may remember Karla from a Hillary Clinton ad earlier this year called "Brave." In the video, she is seen telling the Democratic candidate how scared she was that her parents were going to be deported, which prompts Clinton to beckon her over and asks her to be brave and let her do the worrying.

Karla’s mom Francisca also addressed the crowd and likewise got arena wide applause.

Some viewers, however, were not exactly thrilled.

Following Ortiz’s remarks, the DNC aired an aired called “Trump: In His Own Words,” highlighting some of the Republican nominee’s most controversial remarks about illegal immigrants. 

Catherine  Dunn - '60 Minutes' Edits Out Hillary’s Response to the DNC Email Scandal
Posted: 7/25/2016 8:00:00 PM EST

Hillary Clinton’s response to the DNC email leak didn’t make it to air on 60 Minutes this Sunday.

The unaired clip, posted on the CBS News website, shows repeated denials by Clinton that she knew anything about the DNC being biased in her favor—one of the main takeaways from the released emails. By the same token, however, she also refused to say that it would be “improper” for the DNC to favor one candidate over another, saying that she did not know enough about it to comment.

Interviewer Scott Pelley first asked about the controversial plan to question Bernie Sanders' religion, as expressed in an email by DNC CFO Brad Marshall. Though Hillary Clinton pleaded ignorance, she was quick to disavow the comment.

“I didn’t know anything about it, and I haven’t read any of those [emails], but I am adamantly opposed to anyone bringing religion into our political process,” she stated.

Pelley continued to press her on the larger point of how the DNC seemed to have its “thumb on the scale” for Clinton.

“Again, I don’t know anything about these emails—I haven’t followed it—but I’m very proud of the campaign that I ran,” Clinton said.

She gave a similar response when asked whether, in her view, it would have been “improper” for the DNC to favor one candidate over another.

“Again, I don’t have any information about this, so I can’t answer specifically,” she said. “I can’t speak to what people who were not working for me, who were saying whatever they were saying—I can’t speak to that, I can only speak to my campaign.”

 Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine stepped in to defend Clinton from the scandal.

 “You’re not going to find anybody at the DNC or the RNC or any political organization who is a complete agnostic, who doesn’t have an opinion about a candidate,” he said. “But there’s a difference between having an opinion about somebody… and trying to alter the outcome.”

The 60 Minutes appearance was Clinton and Kaine’s first joint interview and Clinton’s first interview since news broke of the leaked DNC emails. Some have expressed disapproval that Hillary’s response to the scandal was left out of the 60 Minutes broadcast.  

Michael Warren of The Weekly Standard called the editing decision "odd." 

"Why did Clinton's suspect answers to the biggest political story of the moment not make it into CBS's TV broadcast?" he asked.

Journalist Stephen Hayes criticized the decision along similar lines: “The biggest news of the interview gets left on the cutting room floor? Really?” he tweeted.

In response to criticism, a spokesman told The Weekly Standard: "The material in question was broadcast on THE CBS EVENING NEWS before 60 MINUTES last night; then on 60MinutesOvertime.com; CBSN, and CBS Radio," wrote the spokesman. 

"It's out there, far and wide."

Joe Pappalardo - The Surge Continues: Almost 7,000 Syrian Refugees Have Entered U.S. Since October
Posted: 7/25/2016 7:00:00 PM EST

After a lull in refugee arrivals this month, the State Department has admitted nearly 1,700, and is closing in on its goal. 

The U.S. has admitted 6,909 Syrian refugees since October, and has just over two months left to reach President Obama's promise of 10,000 by September 30. 

This total was not reached by July's numbers alone, however. The Refugee Processing Center made edits to June's totals Monday, bumping the numbers from 2,381 to 2,406.

The refugee admission process accelerated in May and set records in June, but until July 11, only 43 had been admitted this month. Since then the refugees came in at over 150 a day.

Over half of the refugees are under 21 years of age, and over half are male. 30 percent are over the age of 30, yet men between the ages of 21 and 30 continue to be noticeably absent from the immigrant population. 

The number of men between the ages of 31 and 40 is greater than the 21-30 category and also exceeds the 14-20 age group. Men in the 31-40 group are also joined by nearly equal numbers of women, a condition not found in any of the other age categories. 

Nearly 92 percent of the refugees identified themselves as Arabs and seven percent were listed as Kurds.  Only 0.51 percent of the current fiscal year population is not Muslim.

Sophie  Carson - A New Study Predicts Zika Will Be A Bigger Beast Than Anyone Thought
Posted: 7/25/2016 6:10:00 PM EST

The Zika virus could affect up to 2 million women in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new study. The projection comes a few weeks after Senate Democrats blocked funding intended to combat the disease.

The study was done by Nature Microbiology and published Monday. The mosquito-transmitted disease can cause microcephaly and other severe birth defects in babies born to women with Zika, scientists found last fall. Since then, Latin American countries have seen a massive increase in Zika-infected pregnant women.

“The model also predicts that Brazil will have three times more infections than any other affected country, due to its size and suitability for transmission,” Reuters reported.

More than 1,600 cases of microcephaly have been confirmed in Brazilian babies, but the new study predicted that is, unfortunately, just the beginning. As many as 2.06 million women of childbearing age and 117.1 million people could contract Zika in the next two or three years, resulting in “tens of thousands” of babies with birth defects.

Meanwhile, the United States is fighting a battle within its borders as the number of cases of Zika rise: up to 1,306 cases as of mid-July, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “None of those has been the result of local spread by mosquitoes,” CNN reported.

American mosquitos may not be safe from Zika for very long: the Florida Department of Health announced on July 21 that it was investigating the possibility of a non-travel-related case in the state (meaning the mosquito with the virus came from Florida itself). Gov. Rick Scott declared a public health emergency in February, and the number of pregnant women with Zika in the state is up to 43.

What is being done to combat this grave health crisis? Thanks to the Senate Democrats, not much. As Townhall reported in June, the Senate failed to pass a $1.1 billion bill before it went on summer recess because it included restrictions for birth control.

Planned Parenthood amazingly did not understand how the funding could save lives, arguing, according to Politico, that "a vote against this bill will be seen as a vote for women’s health care."

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican whip, argued that responsibility for the lack of action lies squarely on the Democrats’ shoulders.

“The first TV picture of an American woman bearing a child with a birth defect caused by this virus will be on [Democrats],”Cornyn told Politico. “I wouldn’t want to be in their position.”

Despite the lack of Congressional funding, President Obama did say on July 20 that the CDC would send more than $5.6 million to Florida to help with the state’s recent outbreak.

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