A Swiss Village Will Pay A Fine Rather Than Take In Refugees

A village in Switzerland has decided to pay a fine of £200,000 rather than accept 10 refugees. The village, Oberwil-Lieli, has a population of about 2,200 people and is an alpine resort town. The residents of the village voted against accepting any refugees in a close 52 to 48 percent vote.

The village is home to 300 millionaires, meaning that the fine probably won't have any real effect on the villagers.

The mayor the village denied that there was a racial motive behind the vote, and expressed concerns that accepting the refugees would send the "wrong message" and encourage people to make the dangerous journey trying to reach Europe. Additionally, there were concerns that the area's schools would have difficulty accommodating any children of the refugees given that they do not speak the same language.

Andreas Glarner, Oberwil-Lieli’s right wing mayor, denied that by refusing to accept refugees they were being racist.

“We were not to be told if the 10 were from Syria or if they are economic migrants from other countries," he said.

“Yes, the refugees from Syria have to be helped and they are better served by being helped in the camps nearer their home.

“Money could be sent to help them, but if we are housing them here it sends out the wrong message. Others will come and risk their lives crossing the ocean and paying people smugglers to bring them.

“They are not likely to be able to speak the language and if some of the refugees have children they will have to go into the local school where they will need special focus.”

Benghazi Committee Finally Questions Drone Pilots the Pentagon Said Were 'Unnecessary' Witnesses

The Obama administration hasn't exactly been the most cooperative when it comes to the efforts of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Case in point: Chairman Trey Gowdy asked the Pentagon back in February if his panel could interview two relevant drone pilots about the fateful night of September 11, 2012. It wasn't until this past week, three months after his inquiry, that the department complied.

What was the holdup? In a letter to the committee, the Pentagon expressed confusion as to why Gowdy and the other panelists needed to interview the pilots, since they already had access to video from the Benghazi raid. The interviews were "unnecessary," the Pentagon concluded.

"It remains unclear what additional information could be gained from these interviews, especially the pilots,” the Defense Department wrote in the letter.

After pressure from the committee, they seem to have changed their mind. 

While Gowdy was "glad" the DOD finally came around and honored his request, he noted a separate witness that remains up in the air.

"The Department has still not fulfilled the committee’s months-old request to interview an individual who claimed on his Facebook page that he was a crew chief at an air base in Europe the night of the attacks," the chairman said in a statement on Thursday. "This request was only made after the Department did not answer a simple question in February that would either confirm or deny the allegations. It is irresponsible for Democrats to dismiss and ignore public claims without even talking to the person who made them, and the administration should provide this individual to the committee immediately so we can do our job.”

Democrats have claimed that the committee is being used as a political tool for the White House - an argument which was given some ammunition this fall when GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Sean Hannity the panel's findings were in direct correlation to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's poor poll numbers. Yet, Gowdy has pushed back against these attacks, insisting he and his fellow committee members are focused on bringing in key witnesses because "the families of those killed and injured in Benghazi and the American people deserve to hear from any witness who can potentially provide relevant, probative evidence."

The two drone pilots the panel interviewed this week, along with an eyewitness to the Benghazi attacks, brings the committee's number of witnesses to 102. 

Stonewalling the Benghazi committee helps no one. Gowdy and company seem to be the only ones searching for answers, therefore the White House should be giving them any and all resources available.

Some Chick-fil-A Restaurants Are Commemorating Memorial Day in a Very Special Way

Two Alabama Chick-fil-A locations are honoring our nation’s veterans for Memorial Day in a special way. A table has been set aside that has a place setting, candle, rose in a vase, and a note, which reads:

"We cover a small table with a white cloth to honor a soldier's pure heart when he answers his country's call to duty.

We place a lemon slice and grains of salt on a plate to show a captive soldier's bitter fate and tears of families waiting for loved ones to return.

We push an empty chair to the table for the missing soldiers who are not here.

We lay a black napkin for the sorrow of captivity, and turn over a glass for the meal that won't be eaten.

We place a white candle for peace. And finally, a red rose in a vase tied with a red ribbon for hope that all our missing will return someday.

You are not forgotten so long as there is one left in whom your memory remains."

The Missing Man table is a reminder to the restaurant's patrons of what Memorial Day is really all about. In the past, other Chick-fil-A restaurants have set up Missing Man tables for Veterans Day as well. 

The VA Declared Thousands Of Living Veterans Dead, Cut Off Their Benefits

When the VA isn't leaving veterans to die waiting in line for healthcare at hospitals across the country, the disastrous system is declaring veterans who are alive and well...dead. 

VA officials are now admitting the agency declared more than 4,000 living veterans, dead, cutting off their benefits. Navy Veteran Mike Rieker from Florida is one of them.

"The system failed, whatever they're doing doesn't work. It was supposed to be corrected and of course it wasn't," Rieker told Fox and Friends during a recent interview. "Things move at the speed of darkness at the VA."

"One of my biggest concerns is that there are a lot of people who don't know who to contact [when benefits are cut off]," Rieker, who was able to get his benefits back with help from a Congressman, continued. "You call the VA and they say, 'We'll investigate it,' and who knows how long that takes."

I'll leave you with this: 

Libertarian Convention Gets Weird, Candidate for Chairman of Party Does Striptease on Stage

Libertarians nominated former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as the party’s candidate for president, as well as former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as vice president, during the party’s convention in Orlando, Florida this past weekend. But things got weird when it came time to nominating candidates for chairman of the party.

A candidate for the chairmanship of the Libertarian Party made a splash Sunday evening. 

The man took the stage and defended his chosen candidate for the party’s vice presidential nomination, Derrick Grayson, as the results of the second ballot were tabulated, according to reporters on the scene. During that time candidates for chairman of the party were allowed two minutes each to speak. 

 The man stripped down to his underwear, before saying he was doing it for a dare and leaving the stage. 

Warning: You can’t unsee this. 

As you can imagine, many delegates were very unhappy with the man’s stunt, with one heard saying "At a time when we need to be taken seriously..." and another complaining, "I do not want the world to think that's what Libertarians are.”

Krauthammer: Obama's 'Implicit Apology' in Hiroshima 'Dishonored Our Nation'

President Obama may not have come out and said the word ‘sorry’ during his visit to Hiroshima last week, but that doesn’t mean his presence there coupled with his speech calling for a world without nuclear weapons wasn’t an implicit apology, according to syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

After being inaugurated, Krauthammer said Obama started “confessing to a long history of American sins,” from the mistreatment of Indians to the coups in Iran and Guatemala.

“He closed the circle of that apology tour … in Hiroshima,” Krauthammer said on Fox News.

“To say it wasn’t a formal apology, of course he wasn’t going use the word and yes, he did speak of war in the abstract, but he did it in Hiroshima,” he continued. “If you want to do a speech about war in the abstract you do it in Prague, which is what he did in 2009.” When you do it in Hiroshima of course you’re talking about World War II, of course you’re talking about America dropping [the bombs] and of course the implication is that we have a sense of guilt about it.”

What President Obama should have done is visit next year when he is a private citizen, he added. Even former President Jimmy Carter, who also visited Hiroshima, had the sense to at least wait until after he’d left he White House.

Krauthammer also went on to argue that eliminating nuclear weapons will never happen and since that’s the case, does the U.S. really want to be without them when there are ‘nut cases’ like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un who are trying to acquire them? Of course not, he said.

“The president speaking as president was representing the United States,” Krauthammer said. “I thought it was embarrassing in utopianism and the implicit apology dishonored our nation. This is not something he should have done."

US Marines Hit with Harsh New Rules at Okinawa

Strict liberty restrictions and a midnight curfew took effect Friday for all service members on Okinawa, according to a report from the III Marine Expeditionary Force Okinawa, Japan.

A statement said the intent of the measures is "to observe a period of unity and mourning by curtailing off-installation activities" in response to two recent acts of misconduct.

The restrictions include:

• All ranks, including officers, must be on base by midnight.

• Alcohol may not be purchased or consumed off base.

• Patronizing off-base bars and clubs is prohibited.

• Parties may not be held off base.

• Personally owned vehicles entering installations between midnight and 5 a.m. are subject to sobriety checkpoints.

• No Marine on Okinawa may stay overnight off base unless it is their residence; however, these restrictions do not apply to those on special liberty or on leave outside of Okinawa.

The new rules follow the arrest of a civilian U.S. worker suspected in the death of a 20-year-old Okinawan woman. Others covered by the status of forces agreement – including civilian workers and families of service members – are being asked to abide by the restrictions, too.

"My intention is for all SOFA status personnel to consider their roles as ambassadors to Japan and good neighbors with the people of Okinawa, as reflected in their personal conduct during the period of mourning," III MEF commander Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson said in a statement.

"Additionally, we honor and mourn the tragedies affecting the victims of two heinous crimes. These incidents do not accurately represent the behavior of the more than 50,000 SOFA status personnel living in Okinawa who lawfully, peacefully and positively engage with our Okinawan neighbors on a daily basis."

LOOK: NASCAR Pokes Fun at NC Bathroom Law

CHARLOTTE - Signs on the porta-potties in the parking lot at the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina on Sunday poked fun at the ongoing controversy in the state--and the nation--over a bathroom law that requires people to use public restrooms that correspond to their biological gender. 

Take a look: 

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is in attendance and received a mostly warm welcome and cheers from the crowd. 

Update: The signs were removed. 

ICYMI: Hillary Supporters Viewed As Traitors By Sanders-Supporting Peers At Harvard

Earlier this month, The Guardian  ventured onto the campus of Harvard University, where supporters of Hillary Clinton are somewhat being driven underground. They’re afraid to publicly state they’re supporting her campaign, and have received some rather nasty exchanges from the supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. It’s not shocking. For starters, young voters are breaking for Sanders by wide margins. Second, this is the new era of American college life—the urge to silence those that hold differing opinions than you're own. If they're conservative, it's open season. In this case, the left is eating itself:

In April, Sam Koppelman, a 20-year-old government student at Harvard, wrote a letter to the New York Times lamenting that his support for Clinton meant that on campus he “might as well be Pat Buchanan”.

“At Harvard, admitting that #ImWithHer is nearly tantamount to boasting ‘Make America Great Again’,” Koppelman wrote.

The letter was a coming out of sorts for Koppelman, who told the Guardian that despite having written frequently about politics for his student newspaper until 2012, he stopped this year for fear that it would “cast me as an outsider, cast me as someone who’s more conservative”.

[…]

“If you’re engaged in activism and you’re a part of the campus left, and then you choose to support Clinton’s campaign … that’s almost a traitorous act,” Koppelman said.

[…]

anet Ho canvassed for Clinton during the New Hampshire primary. Ho, a 19-year-old freshman, is an open advocate for the former secretary of state, but admitted that being a Clinton supporter can be difficult.

“Do I feel more challenged by Bernie supporters? Yeah. Do I feel more challenged in general? Yes, I do,” she said. Ho said she felt she had to “justify” her backing for Clinton to Sanders fans.

“They see the Hillary supporter as someone who doesn’t really want as much equality as they do.

[…]

“There are going to be some people on either side who are going to be really emphatic about what they believe,” said Molly Roberts, a 22-year-old senior studying English who writes a column for the Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper.

“And then you know, if they’re jerks in the first place maybe they’ll get vitriolic.”

Roberts has not been cowed by the potential for jerks to become vitriolic. In February, she wrote about her support for Clinton in the Crimson.

“There was maybe one person who said something pretty nasty about it on Facebook and then got some comments that were also nasty,” she said. “But I don’t think that’s the prevailing way that the Bernie supporters act.”

Ho said that she would support the Democratic nominee regardless of who it will be, though it’s pretty much assured it’ll be Hillary Clinton. And no, Ms. Roberts—Sanders supporters are quite vicious, given their rambunctious behavior at the Nevada Democratic Convention, which led to the state Democratic chair getting death threats.

Yes, these liberals got a little taste of what conservatives go through on college campuses across the country. It’s not good, and these Clinton supporters should be able to voice their opinions without being viewed as traitors. At the same time, maybe they can empathize with their more right-leaning peers, what few of them might be on campus, and their struggle to be who they want to be without being harassed.

Broken But Unbowed

In a remarkable journey from being paralyzed at the age of 26 to becoming governor of the state of Texas, Greg Abbott’s new book, Broken But Unbowed: How to Fix a Broken Americais an inspiring and harrowing story.  CBC exclusively interviewed Gov. Abbott in the recorded podcast author interview below.

The first part of the book details the life story of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who was paralyzed at age 26 when a tree fell on him while jogging.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster detailing the specific events that transpired during and after becoming paralyzed.  

He would soon recooperate and become an exemplary lawyer, served on the Texas State Supreme Court, became the longest serving Attorney General in US history, and recently won the gubernatorial election to succeed Gov. Rick Perry.

The second part promotes a Convention of the States and offers constitutional amendments suggesting that only the people can rein in the federal leviathan.

Listen to our exclusive podcast author interview below with Gov. Greg Abbott!

Learn more about Gov. Greg Abbott and his new book at the Conservative Book Club!

The Nanny State Groweth: NYC to Start Issuing Salt Fines to Restaurants

If you thought the war on sugary drinks in New York City was bad enough, the Big Apple will now be cracking down on another apparent evil: salt.

After getting the green light from an appeals court this week, the city will start enforcing that chain restaurants use icons on their menus to warn customers if foods are salty.

The good news for freedom-lovers is that the appeals court's ruling isn't necessarily the final word on whether the regulation will stand.

The Associated Press reports

The novel rule took effect in December, and some eateries already have added the requisite salt-shaker-like icons to menu items that contain more salt than doctors recommend ingesting in an entire day.

But penalties have been in limbo as the National Restaurant Association fights the measure in court. That clash is ongoing, but an appeals court Thursday lifted a temporary hold on issuing the fines while the case plays out. Fines can be up to $600.

The city will start enforcing the rule June 6.

Of course Mayor Bill de Blasio loves the new rule, calling it a “common sense regulation that will help New Yorkers make better decisions and lead healthier lives.”

And while the city won the first part of the lawsuit in February, the restaurant association appealed, and they are hoping New York will delay enforcement until the appeal is settled.

"Today's decision ... will force the men and women that own New York City's restaurants to start complying with this unlawful and unprecedented sodium mandate before the court has the chance to rule on the merits of our appeal," the organization said in a statement.

The association argues that nutritional warnings should be left up to federal regulators, especially given that there’s disagreement among scientists over excessive salt intake levels. On top of that, the group is also saying the new rule violates the free speech rights of restaurateurs. 

Gary Johnson Nominated Libertarian Candidate for President

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has been nominated the Libertarian Party candidate for president. He was also the party’s candidate for president during the 2012 election.

Delegates to the party's convention in Orlando on Sunday picked Johnson on the second ballot over Austin Petersen, the founder of The Libertarian Republic magazine, and anti-computer virus company founder John McAfee.

Johnson got about 1 percent of the popular vote in 2012.

But the party is hoping for a strong showing in November because of the deep unpopularity polls show for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Johnson has said that he wouldn’t be running if he didn’t have a shot at winning.

“I wouldn’t be engaged in this right now if there weren’t the possibility of actually winning,” he told MSNBC this week.

 Though he’s been in the double digits in three recent national polls of hypothetical matchups against Trump and Clinton, he needs to poll at least at 15 percent to be invited to presidential debates.

“Really key for us right now is just being in the polls that determines who’s in the debates,” he added.

  

American Airlines: 70,000 People Have Missed Flights Due To The TSA

American Airlines is not thrilled with the recent trend of TSA lines and slowdowns, and the company claims that delays in screening have caused 70,000 people to miss their flights this year. An additional 40,000 bags did not make it to their destinations due to the TSA.

American thinks that the TSA isn't doing enough to ensure that lines don't get out of control.

American, the world's largest airline, wants TSA to create a senior internal role focused on traveler concerns, said American Airlines Group Inc Senior Vice President for Customer Experience Kerry Philipovitch. The request comes days after Neffenger shook up TSA's management, removing the head of security operations, Kelly Hoggan.

Philipovitch also recommended that TSA consider reinstating a risk-based screening program that it canceled last year because of high-profile lapses.

In the program, officers trained to detect irregular behavior would pull unsuspicious travelers randomly into "PreCheck" lanes that can process people faster, as they do not remove their shoes and other belongings.

Ridiculous. The TSA claims that they need more staff to fix these issues, but there's no hard proof that this will solve the problems. After all, this is the same organization that spent $1.4 million on an app...that could have been built in 10 minutes.

Female Voters Shred 'Reckless' Hillary Clinton Over Email Server

If Hillary Clinton wants to maintain a bunker mentality until Election Day, I would suggest switching courses. She hides while Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary” for months—bad move. With the latest State Department Inspector General report that the former first lady had violated the Federal Records Act, Clinton is keeping away from the press. Her campaign maintains that she did nothing wrong, though the facts don’t hold up with that narrative. Moreover, it seems to be impacting her stance with young women voters, who have flocked to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, since they think that her private email system showed that she was “reckless,” not accountable for her actions, and played by her own rules. The latter is a throwback to the criticisms lobbed against couple in the 1990s.

Last week, NBC News’ Chris Jansing sat down with a focus group of women voters, who pretty much savaged the former Secretary of State over her email fiasco.

“I take national security really seriously and the idea that she would have a private email server—it demonstrates someone who thinks they’re outside of the rules and not accountable. And it’s reckless,” said an undecided voter, who served in the Air Force for six years.

“Exactly,” responded another female voter in the group.

The Air Force veteran continued by saying, “the most disappointing part about all of it is that I don’t feel like she’s taken responsibility for it.”

“When people are in positions of power, they have a responsibility and a duty, to make sure that what they do is transparent. And the entire problem with this email server issue is that she’s [Clinton] not being transparent,” said another voter.

A Clinton supporter read the usual lines, like how other secretaries of state have done this, but also—in a bit of a stretch—said that Bernie supporters should view this email controversy as a criminalization of Clinton. And that Sanders’ supporters should see how these actions are somewhat in conflict with the Vermont Senator’s message of overcriminalization and criminal justice reform. The rest of the focus group roundly rejected that point.

The Air Force veteran concluded the segment by saying, it [the email server] speaks to her character…I want someone who I can trust, who I think has a character that is credible, and that I’m going to believe what that person says to me.”

After taking into account all of the exit polls from past primary contests, women voters under the age of 30 split for Sanders 68/31 over Clinton. Jansing said that this group looks at this election as an existential crisis, noting that many have student loans and want to start families.

It also proves that women are not monolithic in their voting behavior, which is a trap that many Democrats fall into when assessing the strength of their coalition. They obviously want someone who has a good character, who would be held accountable, and who does not consider themselves above the rules. That’s not Hillary Clinton.

A NBC News/WSJ poll showed that 19 percent of voters found Clinton as trustworthy and honest, while only 35 percent felt the same for Donald Trump. They’re very low numbers, but as MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki noted—twice as many voters felt Trump was more sincere. Moreover, what the Clinton supporter in the focus group left out, and what Kornacki referenced, was that the State Department was never approached by the Clinton team over setting up this sort of email arrangement, and even if she did—it probably wouldn’t have been approved. Maybe that’s why “liar” is one of the most popular words used to describe Clinton.

Oh, and she doesn’t get it.

Tragic: Eight-Year-Old Venezuelan Boy Who Protested Drug Shortages Has Died

Venezuela’s health care system has been relegated to something out of the 19th century. Hospitals lack even the most basic supplies, like soap and gloves, with rolling blackouts—at times—having deadly consequences for the infants in the various maternity wards. The Washington Post’s editorial board mentioned that 200,000 Venezuelans with chronic illnesses don’t have access to medicine, though they failed to mention that left wing economics is partially responsible for the deteriorating situation in the country. Yet, for one eight-year-old boy, who protested the appalling scarcity of medicine, including the drugs he needed to fight his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his struggle ended with his death (via PanAm Post):

The eight year old whose image went viral several months ago after participating in a protest against Venezuela’s drug shortages died recently after he was unable to receive the medicine he needed.

“I want to get better, peace and health,” Sanchez’s sign read during a demonstration, which made him the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis turned Venezuela.

Oliver Sanchez was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma just over a year ago, but shortages of medicines needed for treatment led him and his family to participate in the demonstration.

“We are in a desperate situation,” his mother Mitzaida Berroterán said at the time.

Sanchez’s cousin Ricardo Lobo told the newspaper Efecto Cocuyo that at the time, the child “asked for paper and a pencil and wrote the sign.”

Lobo said that what little medical care they could get ended up being by donation.

Sadly, the situation in the country is likely to get worse before it gets better. Besides the growing medical emergency, we have hungry Venezuelans going through garbage cans to find food.

NPR: Couric's 'Manipulation' Of Audio During Gun Owners' Interview 'Would Not Pass Muster' Here

It was not a good week for Katie Couric. Her new anti-gun documentary (which she also executive produced) Under The Gun, was literally put in the crosshairs after Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon discovered that an interview with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League was deceptively edited to make them look like idiots. Luckily, Philip Van Cleave, president of the VCDL, released a copy of the audio showing that there was no pause, as depicted in the film. His members did give responses to her questions concerning background checks.

It’s drawn considerable criticism on social media and some online publications. The film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig, gave this weak sauce explanation for the pause:

“There are a wide range of views expressed in the film. My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.”

Even Erik Wemple of The Washington Post found this to be utterly ridiculous:

…[W]e’ve scarcely seen a thinner, more weaselly excuse than the one in the block above. For starters, it appears to count as an admission that this segment of the documentary was edited. The artistic “pause” provides the viewer not a “moment to consider this important question”; it provides viewers a moment to lower their estimation of gun owners. That’s it.

[…]

Many of those who sampled the discrepancy between the video and the audiotape were already enraged by the depiction of these gun owners. The statements from Soechtig and Couric will surely intensify the backlash, as well they should. An apology, retraction, re-editing, whatever it is that filmmakers do to make amends — all of it needs to happen here.

Couric had gone on the record saying, “I support Stephanie’s statement and am very proud of the film.”

Now, we have National Public Radio tearing into the “manipulation” of this interview, noting that it would fall way short of its standards regarding interviewing practices. When you lose NPR, you know you’ve seriously messed up. It was a completely avoidable disaster:

This manipulation — and that's what it was — would not pass muster at NPR under its principles for fairness in handling interviews.

It should be noted that documentaries operate with a different ethos than straight news. Under the Gun has a take, strongly suggesting there is a quiet consensus in favor of background checks among gun owners, aside from gun rights advocacy groups. This is not deception on a grand scale, but this handling of the interviews with the Virginia gun owners group is clearly unfair and unwarranted. People deserve to recognize themselves in how they appear in interviews.

This wound was both self-inflicted and rhetorically unnecessary — the director simply could have cut away after Couric asked the question and returned to it later. (Which the movie does in fact do, posing much the same question to Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who supports gun ownership rights.)

To show the gun owners blank-faced for an extended time didn't provide a pause for the viewer — it wiped away the notion these people had an answer to hear.

The deception reflects poorly on Couric, too. She conducted the interviews, serves as the movie's executive producer and has promoted it extensively. She saw a polished cut of the documentary before its release. She apparently expressed doubt about the insertion of the pause but failed to get it removed from the film.

Regardless, those nine seconds — fleeting moments for the film — amount to a team loss on an unforced error.

Van Cleave, the head of the Virginia gun owners group, said he came away from the interview with a largely favorable impression of Couric. He said that her questions were tough but fair, and that she played the devil's advocate but never attacked.

"Nothing in the interview made me think she would do what she did," Van Cleave told NPR. "We've got to be able to trust the press."

Pavlich added that since Couric’s documentary has been exposed for its selective editing, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN have ignored the story.

Young Man Pulls Over and Holds Flag Off the Ground Until Help Arrives

Cole Dotson was passing by a local school last Sunday when he noticed that an American flag had fallen to the ground. Apparently Dotson did not hesitate and immediately pulled over and lifted the flag from the ground. 

Fortunately, Cole's grandmother works for the school and came to help raise the flag to its proper position, taking a picture to capture the patriotic moment.  

Cole's mother was quite proud and wrote, "The flag fell to the ground, he saw it, stopped and held it until someone from school could come and put it back up."

“Thank you all for the support! I didn’t intend to get recognized for what I did. But I am sure glad to see the support and respect for the flag. I love this flag and this country. God bless America,” Cole wrote to his supporters.

At the end of the day, we must all remember that it doesn't matter what your occupation is, where you live, or how old you are, the American flag is bigger than anything or anyone in this country.  It is our job as American citizens to respect and uphold the integrity of what the flag means and Cole demonstrated that to all of us.    

Cole plans to join the military this summer.

De Blasio Forces Businesses to Acknowledge New Gender Identities or Face Fines

In December, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced the Gender Identity/Gender Expression Legal Enforcement Guide for businesses, requiring them to acknowledge 31 gender identities. This week, the city's Commission of Rights outlined a new list of gender pronouns, including terms such as “bi-gendered,” “femme queen,” “genderqueer,” and “gender gifted.” Should employers fail to recognize these identities, they will face thousands of dollars in fines.

“The Commission can impose civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct,” the commission's report reads. 

Here is just one example of what the commission cites as a violation.

Prohibiting an individual from using a particular program or facility because they do not conform to sex stereotypes.  For example, a women’s shelter may not turn away a woman because she looks too masculine nor may a men’s shelter deny service to a man because he does not look masculine enough. 

De Blasio is the latest PC police chief to bully citizens into bowing to social justice. America’s ultimate social justice warrior, President Obama, sent a letter to public schools earlier this month demanding they enforce new bathroom and locker room guidelines for transgender students. Boys who identify as girls and vice versa can use whichever facility they feel comfortable in, regardless of birth certificate, the White House ordered. In other words, inclusivity was more important than safety. 

Parents were outraged, but that means little to politicians who have a politically correct agenda.

New York businesses are going to be walking on eggshells thanks to the mayor's new policy. With the ever changing gender dictionary, how are employers to know if they’re being insensitive or not? One wrong word and they could be thousands of dollars poorer. 

Ouch: Libertarian Frontrunner Gary Johnson Gets Booed at Party's Convention

Libertarians seemed skeptical of their party’s frontrunner Gary Johnson at the Libertarian Party National Convention in Orlando, Florida this weekend, after he picked former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as his running mate last week. Weld was derided by attendees as “Republican-lite” and not a true Libertarian, which could prove problematic for Johnson considering that at LP conventions, the presidential and vice presidential nominees are chosen separately.

Things took a turn for the worse, however, when Johnson tried to defend his choice after rival Austin Petersen criticized him over it.

“It’s time for us to stop nominating failed Republicans, and start nominating successful Libertarians,” Petersen said. “In 2012, he didn't endorse Ron Paul, he didn't endorse you, he endorsed Mitt Romney. In 2016, he endorsed John Kasich. Why didn't your VP pick endorse you?"

Johnson admitted at a convention forum that choosing Weld was “beyond my wildest dreams” but tried to win over critics nonetheless, even saying that Weld was “the original Libertarian.” As you can imagine, this did not sit well with those in attendance, who promptly booed that response.

Weld himself also didn’t do much to win over the Libertarians in attendance, particularly at Friday night’s debate during which he seemed to stumble through responses.

Weld did little to help himself at a Friday night vice-presidential debate in which he got a chilly reception from the hardcore audience of Libertarian true-believers. Asked who did more damage to America — President Obama or President George W. Bush — Weld gave a classic politician answer. “I’d rate it a tie,” he said. He used the word “miasma” in his closing statement.

At one point, Weld said he would stay in the United Nations — an idea anathema to many in the crowd — and said that when people think of Libertarians they often think of “unattractive people” in their neighborhoods.

Weld advocated cutting taxes. One of his opponents yelled, “Taxation is theft!”

“He just didn’t make the case,” delegate Will Tyler White said about Weld, reports Politico.

Weld said he wasn’t worried about the cool reception he’s received thus far, but did tell Politico “the convention is highly unpredictable.”

“[H]aving two former Republican governors who were successful in blue states — who knows — that could turn out to be a negative in the minds of delegates. Stranger things have happened,” he said.

Most expect Johnson to walk away from the convention the party’s presidential nominee, but whether Weld will be chosen as VP remains to be seen. 

WaPo Editorial Board Averse To Blaming Socialism For Venezuela's Stunning Collapse

The Washington Post’s editorial board thoroughly documented the plight of Venezuelans, noting the lack of basic supplies, medicines, and food. They note how hospitals are seeing a dramatic increase in dead and dying babies, whose care is impacted immensely by the rolling blackouts. Over 200,000 Venezuelans are living with chronic illnesses and don’t have access to the medicines they need to survive. They do note how current President Nicolas Maduro is somewhere in fantasyland, enacting a state of emergency for 60 days, and putting tanks and troops on the streets to stop a supposed American invasion.

In short, the op-ed was riddled with how the nation has devolved into a catastrophic failure, and that the political system horrifically dysfunctional:

Thus does the delusional heir of Hugo Chávez drag a country of 30 million people, with the world’s largest oil reserves, over a cliff. By most measures, Venezuela is already a failed state: Amid crippling shortages of food, medicine, power and water, every societal ailment is soaring. Inflation is headed toward 700 percent, and the murder rate is probably the world’s second-highest, after El Salvador’s. According to the New York Times, deaths of infants under a month old in public hospitals are 100 times more common than three years ago, while a coalition of nongovernmental organizations says at least 200,000 people with chronic illnesses lack the medications for them.

An April poll, reported by the Miami Herald, showed that 86 percent of Venezuelans said they bought “less” or “much less” food than they used to, while only 54 percent said they ate three times a day. No wonder there have been numerous reports of mobs sacking food warehouses, as well as dozens of instances of vigilante lynchings of suspected thieves. In one particularly horrific case reported by the Associated Press, a man was burned alive outside a Caracas supermarket for allegedly stealing the equivalent of $5.

Thanks to Mr. Maduro and the corrupt and incompetent coterie that surrounds him, this chaos is likely to grow steadily worse. The regime has refused to adopt measures that might stanch the economic hemorrhaging, such as adjusting an exchange rate system that values the dollar at a fraction of its market value. It has meanwhile pursued a scorched-earth strategy toward opposition political parties that won two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly in December.

This month, Mr. Maduro issued a patently unconstitutional decree granting himself the power to ignore the congress and run the economy by fiat. The regime-controlled constitutional assembly has rejected every measure adopted by legislators, including an amnesty for political prisoners. Most seriously, the electoral authority is effectively refusing to respond to the opposition’s collection of 1.8 million signatures on a petition for a recall election — a recourse explicitly authorized by the constitution.

Yet, there is one thing that’s omitted by the publication: 21st Century Socialism is a disaster, and it’s led to the very problems that Venezuela is experiencing right now. Newsbusters noted the glaring omission. Yes, the nation’s budgetary apparatus was way too attached to oil prices, but allocating those funds with a hard left economic ideology was only going to bring misery the likes we are witnessing right now.

It’s got to the point where hungry Venezuelans are now sifting through trash trying to find food.

It’s Official: Rubio Is Not Running For Re-Election

After much speculation, former 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is not running for re-election. He said he might have considered it more seriously if his friend–Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera—wasn’t running. Heat Street was on a conference call with Rubio and Lopez-Cantera, where the Florida Senator urged the top donors present to back the lieutenant governor in the Senate primary:

Despite rampant speculation that Sen. Marco Rubio was reconsidering running for reelection to his Senate seat, the Florida Senator intends to keep his word and leave at the end of his term. In fact, Rubio was on a phone call with major donors Friday morning to urge them to support his friend, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Heat Street has learned.

The call was hosted by Trey Traviesa, who served in the Florida House of Representatives when Rubio was Speaker. Traviesa has been a long-time fixture in Rubio’s fundraising circles and was also a member of Mitt Romney’s national finance team.

Both Rubio and Lopez-Cantera were on the call. Two sources close to Rubio confirmed to Heat Street that Rubio was on the call to make it clear that he was not running for reelection and to urge the donors to support Lopez-Cantera financially. ”He was pitching CLC [the nickname for Lopez-Cantera] hard to these guys,” one source told us, laughing at how the call was taking place at the same time as media stories were flooding social media that Rubio was thinking of getting back in the race.

According to our sources, Rubio described to the donors how critical Florida would be to keep the Republican majority in the Senate, and said that Lopez-Cantera was the Republican candidate best suited to win in November. Heat Street has been unable to confirm the identities of the major donors who were on the call, but they are reportedly heavy hitters in the Republican fundraising world, and Rubio encouraged them to do everything they could to raise as much as possible for Lopez-Cantera.

Street added that Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, and even Donald Trump, have been urging Rubio to run for his seat this year, but apparently to no avail. Now, Rubio said he’s pretty much on the Trump train, even throwing the possibility of speaking at the Republican National Convention on the billionaire real estate magnate’s behalf (via USA Today):

This past week, the Florida senator told reporters he’ll not only vote for Trump, he'd be willing to speak on his behalf at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer. And he didn’t rule out the possibility of serving in a Trump administration.

Rubio said his apparent shift isn't that hard to understand. Supporting Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is an easy choice, he said, compared to the prospect of a Hillary Clinton victory at the polls in November.

"Donald Trump will sign the repeal of Obamacare. She won’t," Rubio told reporters Thursday. "I want the successor to Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court to be a conservative. I believe that’s the kind of judge that he’ll appoint, and I know she won’t. I want someone that will defend life. I know he will and she won’t."

Rubio said Trump earned his status as the GOP presumptive nominee at the ballot box.

"He campaigned and the voters chose him," he said. "I respect that process. And so I’m going to support him. I’m going to vote for him.”

Rubio took some serious flak for the reversal. Yet, is he wrong? I was never a Trump supporter, even saying that the billionaire would never win the nomination, let alone the general election. Oh my have the tables have turned—but that’s politics. At times, things don’t go your way. Republican primary voters have spoken and they want Trump. These are the cards we’ve been dealt. Again, you don’t have to support Trump right now. Some may never support Trump, but at least we can agree that we’re all anti-Hillary, right? I don’t know if I can take the plunge for Trump. It’s a debate that might rage until Election Day, and this goes for a rather substantial proportion of the GOP. What I don’t think is helpful is for the party to engage in this unicorn search of finding someone to mount a third party bid. It’s going to split the party, and more critically, waste valuable time attack Hillary. Can that be the détente position? You don’t have to back Trump, but you should do everything you can to defeat Hillary Clinton. The other part of that equation can be decided, in private, in the ballot box on Election Day.

Sanders, Radio Hosts Get Into Testy Exchange Over Whether A Left Wing Agenda Can Work When Government Is So Bad

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump are making the rounds in California ahead of the June 7 primary. Trump has already clinched the Republican nomination, but Sanders and Clinton are still duking it out, despite the fact that Clinton is the likely nominee. Yet, as Sanders campaigns throughout the Golden State, the hosts of the John and Ken Show on KFI Radio got into a rather testy exchange with Sanders over his agenda and the efficiency of government in a recent interview that was transcribed by Buzzfeed.

The hosts noted that Sanders platform is far left, dotted with items like free college and universal health care. But they’re main question was how is this going to work, let alone garnering more support for these programs, when you hear stories about the inexcusable waiting times (and appalling care) at Veterans Affairs, along with the pervasive failure over at the Transportation Security Administration. Some of these security lines have resulted in travelers waiting hours to be screened prior to boarding. Airlines are not happy with the deteriorating situation. Recently, a top official dealing with was removed from his position as head of security for the TSA, though he had collected $90,000 in bonuses despite no improvements with the security line situation.

The impetus for the heated exchange was connected to a question asked concerning Sanders calling out Disney CEO Bob Iger for not paying his workers a living wage. Iger, a Clintons supporter, responded of Facebook, noting that that Disney has created thousands of jobs in the U.S.—and asked the self-described Democratic socialist what he has done to improve the U.S. economy, which has been minimal to say the least. The hosts then asked Sanders

HOST: “You didn’t answer the main question about what jobs have you created. It’s pretty vague, your background. What have you done in your life?”

SANDERS: There’s nothing vague—

HOST: I’m not really clear on what kind of jobs you’ve had, besides Senator.

SANDERS: I have been in the U.S. House of representatives and actually before that, I was a mayor of 8 years. You ever been to Burlington, VT?

HOST: Yeah, but have you ever not been paid by taxpayers?

SANDERS: All right, look, if you don’t like government my friend, that’s fine. I’m proud of the record I’ve established as a mayor, making Burlington, VT, one of the more beautiful small cities in America, proud of my record in the House, proud of my record in the United States Senate. You don’t like government? That’s your point of view. I am proud of what I have accomplished.

HOST: All right, let me ask you about that because obviously your proposals expand government a lot, cost a lot of money, when it comes to free health care, free college educations, when we look at the government and we see the VA feeding cockroaches to veterans in Chicago—

BERNIE: All right, you know—

HOST: We see the TSA—

BERNIE: Hold on—

HOST: What is it that you see about the government that we don’t between let’s say the TSA and the VA for example?

BERNIE: What I see is—apparently you love the work that Wall Street is doing—

HOST: No, no, you’re generalizing.

BERNIE: Wait a second! Can I respond to you?

HOST: No, we don’t, but you’re generalizing, that’s not fair. What do you know about us?

SANDERS: Why did you just—you just told me that the VA is feeding cockroaches. I was chairman of the Veterans committee. Millions of veterans every day are getting high-quality, uh, health care. Now, in some instances, the health care is inadequate and people are doing a bad job—of course, it’s a huge healthcare system. You don’t think that happens in private hospitals? You don’t think that happens in private doctor’s offices? So the answer is, yeah, if the question is, do I believe that government should play an important role in making sure that elderly people can live in dignity so that we have decent social—

HOST: That wasn’t my question!

SANDERS: Excuse me! Can I—excuse me!

HOST: My question was about—

SANDERS: Wait a minute, you know, you invited me on the program. And I’m happy to be on the program. And I’d like to answer your questions, but I have to respond. I do believe that government should make sure that all of our people earn a decent minimum wage by raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. Yeah I do believe the United States should join every other major country on earth in guaranteeing health care to all people.

HOST: My question about the VA was, it’s pretty clear from the scandal the last couple of years that the veterans are waiting weeks and sometimes months. Sometimes, they’re dying before they get an appointment and sometimes the supervisors are lying about the waiting lists and lying about the response time. And in Chicago, they’re breathing in black mold at the nursing home and they’re being served cockroaches. It seems like there’s a lot of dysfunction spread around the country. What I want to know is, it would help get more support for your ideas if we saw the TSA running properly, the VA running properly, and similar agencies that the public has to deal with.

SANDERS: Well, I think it goes without saying that we want all of our government agencies to run as cost-effectively and as efficiently and as well as possible.

HOST: Why don’t they?

SANDERS: Excuse me. But if you all think that the private sector today is doing just a great job, let’s talk about Wall Street’s greed which drove this country into the worst economic recession and the fraud, the rampant fraud that exists on Wall Street who paid $5 billion, Goldman Sachs paid $5 billion to the government as a settlement because they were selling worthless subprime mortgage packages. You can talk about corporations that are shutting down all over America and moving to China where they pay people a few bucks an hour and bring their products back into this country.

Sanders then said he had to run, but hoped to continue this discussion at a later date. The total cost of Sanders’ agenda is a staggering $33 trillion over the next ten years, which would add $21 trillion to the national debt. Oh, and the projected $15.3 trillion in tax increases aren’t going to be enough to pay for this left wing goodie bag.

Huh? MSNBC's Brian Williams Says We Dropped Atomic Bombs On Japan 'In Anger'

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell discussed President Obama’s speech at Hiroshima, where he said, “death fell from the sky,” and where he hoped for a nuclear-free world. It was the first time a sitting president had visited the city, which we decimated in one of two atomic bombings during World War II that ended with Japan surrendering to the United States, ending humanity’s most destructive war.

Mitchell referenced the work of former U.S. Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Sam Nunn (D-GA) for their work in trying to curb the spread of nuclear material, where Brian Williams added that we used nuclear weapons against Japan “in anger” (via NewsBusters):

ANDREA MITCHELL: And Brian, just a word to two men that you knew very well, Dick Lugar and Sam Nunn, the fact that they had this nuclear threat initiative and that they controlled through a bipartisan act of Congress, controlled the spread of nuclear materials, non-state actors and materials even in this age of terror, all these decades after the end of the Cold War is just remarkable and I don't think they get enough credit for it.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: It is and that is still the threat that people worry about that this material will fall into the wrong hands. If people have found the U.S. to be preachy in the years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki about the use of weapons, it’s because we’re the only nation to have used them in anger. Sometimes, I am amazed that the world has been without these weapons all the years since, but it is a point of, a great pride by the people who have seen to it.

Mitchell then thanked Williams, and NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss, for “helping us understanding the context better.” Beschloss had compared Obama’s speech to John F. Kennedy’s 1963 address at American University. Both the United States and the then-Soviet Union were discussing whether to implement a nuclear test ban treaty.

Yet, the notion that anger was seemingly the primary motivating factor in dropping atomic bombs is nonsense. We did it to end the war. Period. Williams previously stated on the broadcast that between 300,000 to 1 million Japanese were killed in the serial and incessant bombing campaigns we conducted throughout the country prior to dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One could make the argument, like the late Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, that proportionality should have been considered prior to the use of nuclear weapons. Of course, I disagree. I’ve already written about the outrageous casualty projections made at the time by the Joint War Plans Committee for our planned ground invasion (Operation Downfall) of the island nation, which would have soared into the hundreds of thousands for our forces—and into the millions for the Japanese. The atomic bombings were conducted to save lives and end a horrible war. It was a moral act. Given that Obama’s visit has somewhat rehashed the debate as to whether nuking Japan was necessary, are liberals more disconcerted about the method in which we decided to end 262,000 Japanese lives, or is it the death toll itself?

Again, if liberals and historical revisionists are aghast at the death toll from just the atomic bombings, they seem to forget the 300,000 to a million that were killed prior to Hiroshima and Nagasaki through our sustained air campaigns. At least 100,000 men, women, and children were killed when we firebombed Tokyo in March of 1945—where’s the outrage over that act? When you take a look at the casualty estimates for the ground invasion, the very conservative ones show that over 1.2 million Japanese and American lives were saved through the atomic bombings. How is that immoral? It is not.

We should never be apologetic, hesitant, or ashamed, at using weapons at our disposal that bring wars to a swift end.

Friday Fun: National Spelling Bee Recap

Last night was the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and for the third year in a row, it ended in a tie. Eleven year-old Nihar Janga and Jairam Hathwar, 13, tied to share the highest honor in spelling after Janga nailed "gesellschaft" and Hathwar got through "Feldenkrais." At this point in the competition, the list of words had been exhausted and co-champions were declared.

This was Janga's first year at the Bee. Hathwar's brother Sriram was co-champion at the 2014 Bee.

Of course, half the fun of the Bee is the drama of the competition, and this year didn't disappoint. Between the dab, an Adele reference, and a few other lighthearted antics, this year's Bee was full of moments nearly designed to go viral.

Still, silliness aside, the competition was fierce and nail-biting. Janga could have clinched a solo victory twice, but tripped up on spelling "ayacahuite" and "tetradrachm," meaning the competition would continue.

Despite the fact that Bee organizers had changed the rules to attempt to prevent ties after the back-to-back tie finishes of the 2014 and 2015 bees, the list of championship words was no match for Hathwar and Janga. The two competed for nearly three full hours.

Perhaps the most talked-about moments at the Bee were Janga's antics. After clapping in Hathwar's face when he missed a word...

The Texas native threw up the "X" (reminiscent of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant) to celebrate his victory.

Bryant approved.

Off the stage, the Scripps official Twitter account was having quite a bit of fun. Their correction of a troll's attempt to mock the Bee went viral and the user eventually deactivated their account.

Next year's Bee will be held in late May.

Bernie Sanders Asked About Failures of Socialism in Venezuela and Refuses to Comment

It's no surprise Democrat Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is an advocate of socialism. He's openly advocated for socialist policies on the 2016 campaign trail and back in the 1980s, Sanders argued bread lines are a sign of economic progress. 

"You know, it's funny. Sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is when people are lining up for food. That's a good thing. In other countries, people don't line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death," Sanders lamented at the time. 

But now that Venezuelan socialism is leading to the downfall of the country, with citizens hunting dogs and cats for food as the government fails to equally provide, Sanders doesn't have much to say. 

During an interview with Univision this week, Sanders was specifically asked about the current failing of socialist systems throughout South America. Sanders avoided commenting. MRC has the video and transcript: 

LEÓN KRAUZE, UNIVISION: I am sure that you know about this topic: various leftist governments, especially the populists, are in serious trouble in Latin America. The socialist model in Venezuela has the country near collapse. Argentina, also Brazil, how do you explain that failure?

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: You are asking me questions…

LEÓN KRAUZE, UNIVISION: I am sure you’re interested in that.

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: I am very interested, but right now I’m running for President of the United States.

LEÓN KRAUZE, UNIVISION: So you don’t have an opinion about the crisis in Venezuela?

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Of course I have an opinion, but as I said, I’m focused on my campaign.

Sanders is focused on his campaign while Venezuelans are focused on surviving.