USA Today Breaks Its Presidential Election Silence For the First Time in History

By unanimous consent, USA Today has declared GOP nominee Donald Trump to be "unfit for the presidency."

With this harsh announcement on Thursday, the outlet broke its 34-year silence in regards to presidential politics. Yet, with a 50 percent chance that Donald Trump will be our next president, the editors saw no choice but to speak up.

From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week’s first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.

Whether through indifference or ignorance, Trump has betrayed fundamental commitments made by all presidents since the end of World War II. These commitments include unwavering support for NATO allies, steadfast opposition to Russian aggression, and the absolute certainty that the United States will make good on its debts. He has expressed troubling admiration for authoritarian leaders and scant regard for constitutional protections.

In case that didn't convince their readers, the editorial goes on to list several bolded reasons why they should not vote Trump, including how he's a "serial liar," "ill-equipped" and has run a campaign built on prejudice.

Also in bold print, however, is the line that reads their editorial is not an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. 

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump's vice presidential running mate, felt immediately compelled to respond to their unflattering post. He penned his own editorial, entitled "Donald Trump is ready to lead."

States Sue Obama Administration in Last-Ditch Effort to Stop US From Giving Up Control of Internet

Republican attorneys general from Nevada, Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma are suing the Obama administration in a last-ditch effort to stop the U.S. from giving up control of the internet’s domain name system.

“Trusting authoritarian regimes to ensure the continued freedom of the internet is lunacy,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “The president does not have the authority to simply give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish.”

The AGs … asked a judge late Wednesday to step in and stop the transition to an international oversight body, after GOP lawmakers failed to stall the move as part of a short-term spending bill. 

Paxton was among the four Republican AGs who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division. 

The U.S. government has been in charge of domain names for more than three decades, thanks to a Commerce Department agency's oversight of an obscure, but powerful, Los Angeles-based nonprofit called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). 

The lawsuit argues that if the transfer takes place, as it’s scheduled to on Oct. 1, people will “lose the predictability, certainty, and protections that currently flow from federal stewardship of the Internet and instead be subjected to ICANN’s unchecked control.” 

The suit argues the looming transfer violates the property clause in the U.S. Constitution which prohibits handing over government property without Congress’ approval. The suit also claims the handoff would violate First Amendment rights and says ICANN, the nonprofit owners in control, would be unchecked and could start to censor speech. […]

Republicans in Congress, though, have long-objected to the transfer, which they called a “giveaway” to the rest of the world. They argue that handing over control to a non-government entity would give countries like Russia and China the ability to control online speech – something supporters categorically deny. 

The new lawsuit also claims ICANN “has a documented history of ignoring or operating outside of its governing bylaws.”

“Nothing protects the Plaintiffs from additional occurrences of ICANN oversight failures,” the suit says.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai warned Americans on the “Sean Hannity Show” Wednesday that giving up control to ICANN should be worrisome for anyone who values “free expression and free speech rights generally.”

WATCH: Sheriff David A. Clarke Explains Why He Arrested a Hostile Airline Passenger

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. wasn’t about to let a rowdy and intoxicated man intimidate his fellow airline passengers and flight crew on the way to Charlotte over the weekend.

When the man “would not calm down no matter what”—yelling at passengers, running down the aisle, sitting in different seats, cursing and swearing—Clarke took action.

“I used reasonable force,” he explained. But when the man wouldn’t sit down, Clarke “shoved him face down into the seat, pinned him against the seat and put one arm behind his back, told him to stay there and not resist arrest.”

He also made racially charged remarks to Clarke, saying, “Oh, you’re one of those kind of ni**ers, and what he meant was, ‘why don’t you give me a break, I’m a black guy,’ that’s how I interpreted it, but like many other police officers, we don’t care about that, we don’t care about color and gender or whatnot, we care about what the law is and protecting people and that’s what I did,” Clarke told Fox News’ Stuart Varney.  

ACC Moves Championship Game in Protest Over North Carolina's Bathroom Law

Protests over North Carolina’s bathroom law continue with the Atlantic Coast Conference deciding to move its football championship game from the state to Orlando.

The law, which requires that people use the public restroom that corresponds to their biological gender rather than the gender they identify with, has been called discriminatory by opponents, leading to companies, sports and entertainment figures pulling business from the state.

The conference’s move comes after the NCAA made a similar decision to pull its championships from the state. And while it wasn’t required of them, the league’s Council of Presidents noted in a statement that it did so in order to “uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination.”  

“Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites,” reads the statements. “We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. All locations will be announced in the future from the conference office.”

The game will still be held on Saturday, Dec. 3. 

Flashback: Occidental Leftists Were Triggered By 9/11 Memorial, American Flag Is A 'Symbol of Institutionalized Violence'

Okay—so remember when liberals trashed a 9/11 memorial at Occidental College? I forgot to mention a few things from that disgusting incident. The college is investigating the matter, though the students behind the incident seem to have used the Code: Oxy (Coalition for Diversity and Equity) Facebook page to divulge some grade-A progressive drivel, namely that the American flag, which was used to dot the memorial (around 3,000, one for each victim) is a triggering symbol:

To Whom It May Concern,

We are writing to you regarding the distress many students experienced when walking through the quad on September 10th around 5:00 PM. On a campus that proclaims itself time and again to be diverse, equitable and safe for all of its students, the display of American flags covering the entire Academic Quad disproved that proclamation. When we became aware of the purpose of this display, to memorialize 9/11, we were concerned by the complete disregard for the various peoples affected by this history.

As students of color, this symbol of the American flag is particularly triggering for many different reasons. For us, this flag is a symbol of institutionalized violence (genocide, rape, slavery, colonialism, etc.) against people of color, domestically as well as globally. Additionally, if the goal of the memorial is to commemorate the lives lost during 9/11, the singular nature of the American flag fails to account for the diversity of lives lost on that day.

Historically, the American flag and subsequent American nationalist symbols, have been polarizing and marginalizing to people of color living within the United States. This has been most recently exemplified in Colin Kaepernick's protest of the American national anthem.

When this institution allows thousands of American flags to be placed in the center of campus it speaks volumes to the students that have lived their lives under the oppression of this flag. From Native students whose land was stolen to undocumented students who live in fear of deportation to Black students who see their communities destroyed by state sanctioned murder, this school is saying your fear and trauma do not matter here.

This isn’t pansy social justice warrior 101. It’s the facts. This attack occurred in America. The overwhelming majority of victims were Americans; hence the American flags at the memorial. Oh, and the perpetrators were Islamic terrorists. This isn’t the time to lament about Wounded Knee or the Tuskegee experiment. And excuse us if that flag was seen when we liberated Europe or tried to keep South Vietnam free from socialism, delivered humanitarian aid when the Indonesian tsunami killed over 200,000 people; and kept South Korea from succumbing to the perniciousness of communism. In fact, that flag spent the better half of the 20th century keeping the world free.

“The American flag fails to account for the diversity of lives lost on that day.”

Americans died that day. It was horrific. And the want to turn that day of remembrance into some hyper left wing diversity exercise where we pick the ethnicities of Americans who were killed, as if we’re choosing our favorite Jelly Bellys from a jar, to construct some nonsensical narrative. We’re all one, kiddies, especially on that day…if you remember.

On September 13, Code: Oxy said they weren’t involved with the desecration of the memorial, two days after the American flag is the symbol of all evil:

Disclaimer: It was not CODE who took these actions, rather a group of students who utilized the CODE Facebook page in order to increase the audience reached. CODE will be releasing a statement on Tuesday about their position, but for now CODE is being used as an anonymous platform in the hope of increasing dialogue and transparency.

To whom it may concern,

On the night of September 10th 2016 a group of students from Occidental College attempted to create a memorial that provided a more encompassing understanding of the horrific effects of 9/11.

[…]

Given the heightened media attention centering the events that have transpired this past weekend, we sense that many students would like to hear the counter narrative below:

In efforts to memorialize the tragedy of 9/11, 2,996 flags were placed on the Oxy academic quad on Saturday the 10th to honor the innocent individuals who died on American soil. Later that same night, those flags were removed by individuals who wished to demonstrate a more holistic approach to honoring not only those who died on American soil on 9/11, but the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died as a result of the U.S’s subsequent invasion and War on Terror.

[…]

Again, the removal of the flags was not intended to dismiss those who passed away that day, but to broaden the scope of whose narrative gets to be told in relationship to tragedy.

Granted, this is college. It’s a time to be introduced to new ideas, some radical, and some very, very bad. For conservatives, it’s a four-year period of abuse. Some take on the suffocating progressive ethos that has infested our campuses. Others, fearing retribution from their peers (an unfortunate event) go into the bunker. For liberals who run the table in a college’s sociopolitical scene, it’s a time to whine and expound on imaginary things that trigger people, creating safe spaces for those afflicted by those special imaginary things—and blame conservatives for it. Oh, and when conservatives do offer a contrary opinion, it’s racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobic, xenophobic, and any other “ism” that you can think of because liberals feel they have some moral superiority over others because their feelings tell them so.

There is nothing wrong with criticizing the war in Iraq. There is plenty there, but not on 9/11, kids. No one cares about your views on diversity; no one cares about the ramification of the war on terror; no one bloody cares. It’s about remembering the day we were attacked, the day we prayed for our citizens who were murdered, and the day we came together as one nation. In the aftermath, we honored the dead, the lives they led, and the heroes who stopped more bloodshed - like everyone who was on Flight 93.

Knowing that day, our history, our values, our culture, all I can say, as a person of color, is U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! It’s a day to remember a horrific tragedy. Get with the program, kids. You don’t see people asking whether the atomic bombings were necessary (they were!), or why they were dropped on Japanese people instead of Germans, for every anniversary of Pearl Harbor . 

Oh, and to the school's Republican club–bravo for replacing the flags. 

Tim Burton Is Not a Fan of Political Correctness

It's easy to pick out a Tim Burton film. Eerie music, whimsical plots and eccentric costumes are all musts for a Burton masterpiece like Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Yet, some critical movie goers have apparently noticed another feature of Burton's zany creations: a lack of diversity.

The Hollywood director is now facing criticism for not casting enough minority actors in his films, particularly his soon to be released Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. A Bustle reporter confronted Burton about why the cast is so white. Instead of succumbing to pressure, Burton pushed back at the politically correct rhetoric and defended his directorial decisions.

Hollywood has had its share of racial controversy in the last year or so. Several actors and actresses boycotted or spoke out against last year's Oscars ceremony because the academy did not nominate enough minority actors, they claimed.

As for Burton's recent comments, it seems he's lost a few ticket sales.

Wait–Did California Just Decriminalize Child Prostitution?

I’m not so sure that this is a good idea, folks. I understand the reasons, but does anyone else think there is a better way to combat child prostitution? In California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown just signed legislation that decriminalized child prostitution in the state (via Sacramento Bee):

Cementing a major shift in how California handles sex crimes, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation decriminalizing prostitution for minors.

By prohibiting law enforcement from arresting people under the age of 18 for soliciting or loitering with intent, Senate Bill 1322 effectively shields those young people from criminal penalties. Advocates argued that young sex workers should be treated as victims, not criminals.

[…]

While embracing the idea of treating young sex workers as victims, law enforcement groups warned that removing penalties would remove a crucial tool for detaining young people and keeping them away from their abusers.

For any lawyer, wouldn’t any levelheaded prosecuting attorney exhibit some discretion over whether to charge an abused 15-year-old girl with solicitation? Like most policies coming out of California, it shouldn’t shock us if this move backfires, which will have tragic consequences. We’ll see how this works out, though the notion of decriminalizing this horrific enterprise seems to be done without much foresight.

Howard Dean: I Don't Know If Trump Does Cocaine, But He Might–And Other Absurd Post-Debate Trump Attacks

Cocaine, a shady beauty pageant, and weight questions are being thrown at Donald Trump post-debate—and it’s getting ridiculous. The media is saying that Clinton did well. Some polls have her getting a boost in the polls, though within the margin of error, so what’s with all of this desperation? Seriously, it’s nut bar factor six, with allegations that Trump might be a cocaine user, which was lobbed into the social media universe by none other than former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean on Monday night; a comment that former Obama adviser David Axelrod described as “nuts.” Dean doubled down saying that he doesn’t know if Trump is a coke user—but he’s certainly exhibiting the symptoms of being one (via The Hill):

That is actually a signature of people who use cocaine,” said Dean, a doctor and former Democratic presidential candidate.

“I’m not suggesting that Trump does, but I’m suggesting we think about it, because here’s the interesting constellation — he sniffs during the presentation, which is something that users do,” he added.

“[Trump] also has grandiosity, which is something that accompanies that problem…It’s something I think it’d be interesting to ask him and see if he ever had a problem with that.”

MSNBC host Kate Snow pushed back against Dean’s assertions, questioning how they differ from unfounded innuendo about Hillary Clinton’s health.

“But I don’t think this is a ridiculous idea,” he responded. "Something funny was going on with Trump last night. Do I think it’s cocaine — probably not.

“But again — the sniffing, the grandiosity, the delusions, the pressured speech — this guy has already proven himself to be unstable, the question is why is he unstable,” Dean said.

So, if people sniffle, they’re unstable? And I wouldn’t necessarily call questions into Clinton’s health unfounded. She did try to hide pneumonia from the press for some odd reason, which she was then forced to admit her diagnosis when she had a medical episode at the 9/11 Memorial, where we see the former first lady stumbling off the curb, being tossed into her van, and then disappearing for 90 minutes before we knew about her whereabouts and her condition. It’s nothing serious, but it did feed into the culture of secrecy narrative that has undercut her campaign and exacerbated the dismal honesty and trustworthiness numbers she has with voters.

Still, this was a pathetic way to undercut Trump by saying he’s a drug user, which is unadulterated crap.

The next bizarre salvo against the Republican nominee post-debate occurred when Alicia Machado was invoked on Monday night. Machado was the winner of Miss Universe in 1996, who alleges that Trump verbally abused her about her weight and ethnicity; he reportedly called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” The Clinton campaign then rolls out an ad showing the allegations lobbed at Trump from Machado. Okay, folks—are we serious with this garbage? A former Miss Universe winner, a beauty queen, says that Trump is a bad, bad man who shouldn’t be president. Oh, well that settles it for me (sarc.)! As the media peeked into her past, let’s just say they found it to be quite checkered, including allegations that she was possibly involved in a murder and threatened the life of a judge (via Free Beacon):

She has endorsed Clinton and has made a round of media appearances this week to discuss her experiences with Trump. Trump surrogates have pushed back with reports about Machado’s past, and, in a clip flagged by Mediaite, CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked her about them.

“There are reports that Trump surrogates tonight have been referencing and pointing to on CNN and elsewhere about an incident in 1998 in Venezuela, where you were accused of driving a getaway car from a murder scene,” Cooper said. “You were never charged with this. The judge in the case also said you threatened to kill him after he indicted your boyfriend for the attempted murder. I just want to give you a chance to address these reports that the Trump surrogates are talking about.”

Machado waved her hand flippantly.

“He can say whatever he wants to say,” she said. “I don’t care. You know, I have my past, of course. Everybody has a past, and I’m not a saint girl.”

What!? Was this person even vetted? A person who seems to be unhinged was allowed to be in a media spot for a major campaign to show that Trump is a bad guy, whom no one will take seriously because who takes beauty queens seriously. Allahpundit may have a theory:

The only explanation I can come up with is that Clinton is playing a very cynical media game premised on the short attention spans of voters. She greenlit the Machado ad, I think, believing that by the time the media reported the old business about murder in Venezuela, the target audience would have already processed the underlying point — Trump is cruel, especially to women — and moved on.

The next attack is just trolling (and a very bad joke). Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said that she and other Democratic female senators are worried about Trump’s weight and want him to have daily weigh in to assure the public that he’s healthy because old, sick Hillary almost falling off a curb due to pneumonia, dehydration, overheating, and disappearing for 90 minutes wasn’t an issue right? Again, fire away Democrats. That's your right. But if we’re going to play this game, then I want daily health reports on Clinton to make sure those blood clots are not reoccurring in her head again. I’m…so very concerned about that.

Democrats are just flinging things against the wall—and these attacks aren’t going to stick. The beauty queen drama is absurd, the coke accusation is abject hilarity, and the weight stuff is just pathetic. What are Democrats so worried for about old, sick, lying Hillary? Are they worried about turnout? I mean, they should, but this isn’t going to do much on that end. It just shows that maybe the ammunition that Democrats have against Trump is spent, so they’re really going into fantasyland to find ways to attack his character.

George W. Bush Takes Off on 100K Bike Ride With Veterans

Former President George W. Bush kicked off his 6th annual 100 kilometer bike ride with veterans today from his ranch in Crawford, Texas. 

Since leaving the White House, Bush has stayed away from the political media spotlight and has heavily focused on helping veterans reassimilate into society after coming home from war.

Viral Video: Trash Talking Fan Wins Bet, Sinks Putt Seen 'Round the World

Yep, this is my second sports-related post in as many days, but this clip is too fun not to share. Here's some background: The Ryder Cup, a golf tournament in which American and European players compete against each other, is underway in Minnesota -- with national/continental bragging rights on the line. In today's action, English golfer Justin Rose missed a putt, drawing heckles from an American fan, who shouted that he could have made the shot. The European team decided to challenge the man to put his money where he mouth was, wagering $100 that he'd miss it.  The spectator was ushered onto the green, much to the delight and amusement of the crowd. He then lined up his angle, as onlookers grew quiet just before he tapped the ball...and sunk the putt. The crowd went nuts, obviously, and a random red-clad loudmouth won himself a Benjamin. Via international phenom Rory McIlroy, awesome:

An alternate view from the (not so) cheap seats:

'Murica.

Watch Live: Trump Speaks in Bedford, New Hampshire

Clinton Spox: Actually, Clinton Just Hoped TPP Would Be The 'Gold Standard' Or Something

In case you missed it, Hillary Clinton didn’t call the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “gold standard” of trade deals. I mean, she said it, but it was within the context of hoping that it would become that or something, according to the Clinton campaign. The video clip that Wolf Blitzer played for Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon was pretty explicit that "hope" wasn’t an aspect being considered in her 2012 speech about the trade agreement in Australia. Yet, they have to spin something about this, as TPP is deeply unpopular with Democrats and their union supporters. It could be a magnet that Trump can use to siphon off support from disaffected Democrats, especially union members.

While the leadership of our nation’s largest unions might be all in for Clinton, their members are giving Trump a fair hearing—and some feared that defections could occur this November. To mitigate this possibility, Clinton needs to do everything she can to provide a buffer between herself and TPP, though with her dismal trustworthy numbers—it’s dubious to say whether this will work or not. Clinton was hoping TPP would be the “gold standard”…that’s just a lie, folks. Clinton’s shift on trade was accelerated during the 2016 primaries when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shifted her to the left on this issue. In fact, TPP is just one hurdle for her to overcome. NAFTA is another trade agreement signed under the presidency of Bill Clinton that’s loathed by America’s unions. Trump hammered Clinton heavily over trade, saying she’s been in public life for three decades and didn’t do anything to stop the flow of American jobs leaving the country. Love him or hate him, Trump resonates in the Rust Belt.

CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “He did bring up the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, trade deal. Here’s the exchange he had. Listen to this.”

[Video clip]

TRUMP: “You called it the gold standard. You called it the gold standard of trade deals, you said it’s the finest trade deal you’ve ever seen. And then you heard what I said about it, and all of the sudden you were against it.”

CLINTON: “Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts.”

BLITZER: “Alright so we did a reality check, and we found this statement she made back in 2012, when she was secretary of state, in Australia, she made this statement.”

[Video clip]

CLINTON: “This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open, free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.”

BLITZER: “Alright so she’s flipped on that issue right?”

CLINTON CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY BRIAN FALLON: “No, I think what happened, Wolf, was that at the time she made those comments that you just played that deal was still being worked on and she was expressing her hope that the deal would live up to being the gold standard…”

BLIZTER: “You didn’t see ‘hope’ in that statement. She said, ‘this TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open, free, transparent, fair trade.’”

FALLON: “I think what happened was the deal was finalized in the years after she left as secretary of state, and she was pretty clear, even prior to the finalization of that agreement, what her metrics would be for judging it. And then it came out, and the details were scrutinized over, and it came up short on every count that she had listed months in advance, including making sure that we have good paying jobs here in the United States, she just fundamentally thinks it fails that test. Now this was an issue that was heavily litigated in the primary, so I don’t think it’s a surprise at all where she stands on the issue of trade to voters in this general election contest.”

Obama to Kaepernick: Have You Thought About Military Families?

President Obama may be scaling back his initial comments about Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protests. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback continues to kneel during the "Star Spangled Banner" at his NFL games as a means of speaking out against racial injustice. Other football players, as well as athletes from other professional sports, have followed suit.

President Obama weighed in on the controversy at the G20 summit in China earlier this month and offered a measured defense of Kaepernick's right to protest. 

"My understanding at least is that he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement," Obama said. "If nothing else what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about."

Yet, at a CNN town hall with America's armed forces on Wednesday night, the president offered a different perspective. He said that Americans should be sympathetic to Kaepernick's message because many families have been affected by police shootings, yet added that our military families have suffered plenty of their own grief.

“Sometimes out of these controversies, we start getting into a conversation, and I want everybody to listen to each other,” Obama said. “So I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing.”

Obama may have softened his tone a bit considering he was in a room full of service men and women.

For what it's worth, Kaepernick did reportedly at least ask a Green Beret's opinion as to how he could exercise his right to protest the anthem while still showing some amount of respect for America's finest. He concluded taking a knee would be the best option.

Or he could just stand up.

Gavin Newsom Tries to Mansplain Gun Law to Six-Time Olympic Medalist, Fails

Olympic shooter Kim Rhode is a certifiable badass. She's the first Olympian ever to win medals on five continents, and she's the first Summer Olympian to medal in six consecutive Olympic Games.

In addition to her impressive talent at winning Olympic medals, she's also an outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment and has appeared in a series of ads against a proposed initiative in her home state of California that would make it much harder for her to legally practice her sport.

Prop 63 would require background checks and sales records for ammunition purchases, outlaw magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Competitive shooters claim that the initiative would cause "bureaucratic nightmares" for keeping an adequate supply of ammo necessary for practice.

Gov. Newsom attempted to effectively "mansplain" Prop 63 on Twitter to Rhode, and let's just say it didn't go as planned.

To which Rhode had a few issues with:

As of press time, Newsom has not yet responded to Rhode's offer.

This Election Is Apparently Destroying Friendships

Some upsetting news via a new Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday: this election is costing people friendships. Seven percent of the 802 registered voters surveyed admitted that this election season has caused them to end a friendship with someone due to political differences. For the math-averse among us, that's at least 56 people who have decided that voting for someone different is a complete dealbreaker when it comes to friendships.

While an overwhelming 93 percent said this election hasn’t cost them any friendships, 7 percent said it has. Those numbers, however, mirror the results when registered voters were asked whether any friendships have been lost or ended because of a political campaign in past years. Seven percent said yes, while the remaining 93 percent said the opposite.

Another 70 percent of respondents said that this election has brought out the worst in people.

And now, a PSA from your trusty Townhall writer Christine Rousselle:

Friendships are more important than politics, and if you can't salvage an established friendship with someone because they're voting for a different candidate, then you need to take a dose of grow-the-hell-up pills. Political views are a small facet of who a person is as a human. There are so many cooler things to people than who they tic off in the voting booth, and to be so fixated on that small part of a person to the point of severing them from your life is just about the saddest thing I've ever heard.

Watch Live: Clinton in Des Moines, Iowa

Video: 'South Park' Does the Debate

One of the themes of the current season of Comedy Central's South Park -- whose anti-political correctness story arch last year was scathingly hilarious -- is the 2016 presidential election. In the fictionalized version, the final choice for voters boils down to orange-painted populist blowhard Mr. Garrison (and his running mate, er, Caitlyn Jenner) running against Hillary Clinton. Colloquially, the campaign pits candidates known respectively as "Giant Douche" and "Turd Sandwich" against each other. Last night's episode brought viewers the hotly-anticipated Douche/Turd debate, at which an increasingly frantic Garrison (campaign pledge to end illegal immigration and terrorism? "F*** them all to death") begs voters to vote against him. "I had no idea I'd get this far, but the fact of the matter is, I should not be president," he pleads, concluding, "please, if you care at all about the future of this country, vote for her."  The slam on Trump is obvious and amusing, but what made me laugh out loud is Hillary's pre-programmed response, her advisors' panicked reaction, and Garrison's furious incredulousness at how awful she is (content warning):

And here's the post-debate Giant Douche rally, at which a packed house cheers louder and louder as an agitated and horrified Garrison implores them to abandon their support for him. No dice. The worse he gets, the more support he attracts, via MRC (double content warning):

As a bonus, this is South Park's musical number ridiculing "safe spaces" from season 19:

Obama Tells Gold Star Mother: Controversy Over Saying 'Islamic Terror' is Manufactured

During a town hall with CNN Wednesday night, President Obama was asked by Gold Star mother Tina Houchen, whose son was killed in Iraq, why he refuses to use the term "Islamic terrorism."

After thanking her son for his ultimate sacrifice and expressing his condolences for her loss, Obama proceed to lecture her about his refusal to use the term, saying that the issue has been "manufactured." 

"The truth of the matter is that this is an issue that has been sort of manufactured because there is no doubt and I’ve said repeatedly, that where we see terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda or ISIL they have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse, for basically barbarism and death," Obama said. "These are people who kill children, kill Muslims, take sex slaves — there’s no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do. But what I have been careful about, when I describe these issues, is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country."

It should be noted that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has a Ph. D. in Islamic studies from the University of Baghdad.

Last week White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest referred to the war against ISIS as really "a war of narratives."

Labor Secretary: Scalia's Death Makes it Easier to Unionize

It's been months since the passing of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but Democrats are still seemingly celebrating his death because it paves the way for their political purposes. At The Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum on Thursday, Labor Secretary Tom Perez casually noted that Scalia's death helped pave the way for union membership across the country.

“Well, I think you have all these — there’s an unmitigated assault on labor unions across a number of states and there was a case that went before the Supreme Court recently, and frankly if Justice Scalia had not passed away it would have really made it very difficult for public sector labor unions to organize,” Perez told Rattner.

Unfortunately, Perez's comments are not isolated. In August, Ohio Senate Candidate Ted Strickland actually said “the death of Scalia saved labor” at an AFL-CIO event.

The vacancy on the Supreme Court will be an important consideration for voters this November, but Democratic leaders would be wise to show a little more sensitivity and respect when talking about it.

Washington Mall Shooter, A Non-Citizen, Somehow Managed To Vote In Three Elections

Last week, Arcan Cetin, an immigrant from Turkey, shot and killed five people at a mall in Washington state. Cetin is a green card holder and not a U.S. citizen, and therefore not able to legally vote--but somehow was able to vote in the last three elections, including the presidential primary in May. Washington does not verify citizenship during voter registration.

KING 5, a news station in Washington, reports that federal investigators confirmed that Cetin was indeed a registered voter even though it is not legal for him to do so. They did not reveal which party, if any, he was registered to.

From KING 5 (emphasis added):

Federal sources confirm to KING 5 that Cetin was not a U.S. citizen, meaning legally he cannot vote. However, state records show Cetin registered to vote in 2014 and participated in three election cycles, including the May presidential primary.

Cetin, who immigrated to the United States from Turkey as a child, is considered a permanent resident or green card holder. While a permanent resident can apply for U.S. citizenship after a certain period of time, sources tell KING his status had not changed from green card holder to U.S. citizen.

While voters must attest to citizenship upon registering online or registering to vote at the Department of Licensing Office, Washington state doesn't require proof of citizenship. Therefore elections officials say the state's elections system operates, more or less, under an honor system.

Yowza.

Personally, and this is just me speaking, I'm not exactly comfortable with a state running their elections on the honor system. There's no way that Cetin is the only person in the entire state who is in the voter database despite not being a citizen. It's common sense to verify that someone can actually legally vote before giving them a ballot. This shouldn't be controversial. Plus, out in Colorado there have been multiple instances of dead people voting--another sign that something is terribly wrong with the voting system. These need to be fixed, pronto.

Funding Compromise Reached, Government Shutdown Averted

With only two days before a potential government shutdown, lawmakers in the House and Senate rushed through a compromise bill to keep the federal government funded until the end of the year. The final vote was made in the House chamber Wednesday evening by a vote of 342 to 85. Seventy five Republicans and ten Democrats opposed the resolution.

Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi headed the back-and-forth effort in reaching a final compromise. The issue at hand was funding for Flint, Michigan regarding their lead poising crisis. Democrats wanted aid to Flint included in the bill, but GOP members said the funding was already available.

In the end, Democrats agreed to the measure after Republicans allowed a budget rule to be waived and allow $170 million in aid to Flint via a separate water resources bill.

The funding bill includes $1.1 billion to combat the spread of the Zika virus and aid to flood-stricken areas in Louisiana, West Virginia, and Maryland.

The passage of the funding bill also signals the beginning of a break for Congress. Members will swiftly return to their districts to campaign and will return to Capitol Hill on November 14.

Here We Go: Team Trump Goes After Bill Clinton's Infidelity, Sexual Assault Allegations

During the first presidential debate at Hofstra University Monday, GOP nominee Donald Trump steered clear of mentioning Bill Clinton's numerous affairs and accusations of sexual assault after Hillary Clinton accused him of a series of offensive statements about women. Trump said he held back out of respect for Clinton's daughter Chelsea, who was sitting in the front row. 

But now, the gloves are off and Team Trump isn't holding back. Surrogates are not only going after Bill Clinton, but after Hillary as his enabler. 

While surrogates are going after Bill and HIllary, Juanita Broddrick, who accused Bill Clinton of raping her 30 years ago, is going after Chelsea after she called her father's past predatory behavior a "distraction."

Democrats are once again doing everything possible to coverup or excuse Clinton's behavior and certainly will never admit that Hillary is America's most famous enabler of abusive and powerful men.

Painful: Libertarian Gary Johnson Has Another Aleppo Moment, Struggles To Name A Foreign Leader

It’s been said ad nauseum over the past few months: 2016 could be the year of the third party. You can read about it here, here, here, here, and here. With crooked Hillary Clinton and Deplorable Donald Trump (no, I don’t think he’s deplorable; Hillary does) winning the Democratic and Republican nominations for president respectively, these two candidates’ historically high unfavorables had pundits and pollsters declaring that now could be prime territory for a third party candidate to emerge as the rational choice. Yeah, that lasted all about five seconds. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has a murky history with vaccines and pretty much has no idea what she’s talking about on a whole host of issues. Libertarian Gary Johnson has had trouble with geography and foreign affairs.

Earlier this month, he blanked on Aleppo, the Syrian city that’s at the epicenter of the nation’s brutal civil war, which is becoming a more salient news item due to the consistent bombing by Russian air jets that some say isn’t falling within the realm of anti-terror operations, but instead taking on the face of abject barbarism. It’s a humanitarian crisis. Johnson didn’t know. And he made things worse when he couldn’t name one single foreign leader that he admires during a MSNBC town hall event with Chris Matthews (via Politico):

Pressed by “Hardball” host Chris Matthews to “name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to,” Johnson stumbled.

“I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment in the former president of Mexico,” Johnson said.

“Well which one?” Matthews angrily insisted.

“I’m having a brain freeze,” the Libertarian nominee replied.

“Well, name anybody,” Matthews said, drawing another empty stare from Johnson.

William Weld, the Libertarian vice presidential nominee, then made an attempt to rescue his running mate, listing Fox and other politicians, at which point Johnson properly recalled it.

For any foreign policy guru, this is alarming. For any conservative, it shows once again that it’s a roll of the dice when it comes to libertarians, international affairs, and national security. Some defended Johnson, saying his admission was admirable, and there was a slight spike in searches on Aleppo after his trip up. It still doesn’t mitigate that fact that his candidacy is a joke. At the same time, it's a bit odd that the media went a bit crazy for this gaffe since the Syrian Civil War has not been front and center due to the fact that it’s a rather glaring foreign policy shortfall for the Obama administration.

Still, these are national candidates for president; they should know these things. With this latest flub over naming a single foreign leader, the biggest softball in the history of softballs, Johnson should've easily answered this one.  He failed miserably. If there’s one thing that this cycle has shown, it’s that going third party isn’t a viable alternative for those willing to come out of this election cycle with a clear conscience. We two major party candidates are weak and unpopular. We have third party candidates who are nut bar factor six. In the end, if you want to stop the Democrat, vote Republican and vice-versa. Second, third parties will remain third parties because they pick people who are both un-serious and unable to win the presidency. Trump is un-serious, but he was able to win the primaries by bulldozing 15+ other candidates and he could win this election. If that means that Hillary won’t be president, that’s fine by me—and yes, we’ll be just fine if he wins. The sweet meteor of death won’t be striking earth, though I know some hope for that conclusion this wild election season. Sorry libertarians, but Johnson isn’t doing your brand any favors.

Why Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o Is Pleasantly Surprised a Movie Like ‘Queen of Katwe’ Was Made

“I printed out a copy of the script and in less than 10 minutes I was weeping because I was just so moved that this story was being told,” Nyong’o said about her introduction to "Queen of Katwe." The Oscar-winning actress met with Townhall and a few other outlets in Washington, D.C. earlier this month to chat about the movie, in theaters everywhere this Friday.

Nyong’o aptly described the film as a story about “a young girl from an unlikely place with an unlikely dream.” That young girl is Phiona Mutesi, her unlikely place is Katwe, Uganda, and her unlikely dream is to be one of her country’s best chess players.

Phiona miraculously achieves this goal thanks to a coach who believes in her and helps her hone her talent. She also got a little help from her mom.

Phiona’s mother Harriet, whom Nyong’o plays in the film, is a “layered woman,” the actress explains. Nyong’o contrasted her own childhood with that of Harriet’s. When she was younger, Nyong’o’s parents had her create “dream charts” every year to shoot toward short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. It was “a tapestry to represent the things they wanted to achieve.”

Harriet, however, is “a woman who is suspicious of dreaming.”

Harriet has a right to have doubts. She grew up in a broken home, had no education, lost her first husband to AIDS and lost one of her five children, while also battling bouts of homelessness.

Because her dreams have never been realized, she fears letting Phiona hope for more. Along comes Coach Robert Katende who tries to convince her to let her daughter play chess. His persistence eventually pays off.

Nyong’o asked Harriet why she changed her mind and let Phiona learn chess with Katende. The mother was incredibly honest.

“He could feed her,” she said. “He could give her a cup of porridge every day and I couldn’t.”

“She wasn’t about stagnating her children, she was trying to keep them safe,” Nyong’o explained. “That was her first point of surrender.”

Nyong’o indicated that Phiona has inherited a lot of her mother’s determined character.

“Phiona is an extremely practical person like her mother and she was in school so she did not come to set,” Nyong’o shared. “I love that about Phiona, she is so focused. Here we are, we’re celebrating her past and she has her whole future ahead of her and she is determined to succeed.”

Nyong’o said she could not play the role of Harriet without finding a newfound respect for her parents.

“I did spend a lot of time on the phone with my mom and asking her things like, how did you let me leave the house ever? It’s just unbelievable and I have a deep respect now for parents and I apologize for all the stress I gave her growing up.”

“The Queen of Katwe” is Nyong’o’s third time working with Director Mira Nair, whom the actress says she “trusts deeply.” 

Filming, Nyong'o said, was such a “time of abandon.” She was especially fond of the homecoming scene, when all of Katwe is welcoming Phiona back with a trophy.

“This one day we’re shooting and so celebratory,” she recalled. “As we shoot it, the rest of the inhabitants just come onboard and they join in the festivities. They don’t even fully understand what is happening but there is just so much joy and celebration in the air. There was trumpets and drums and I remembered this is not just us filming a fictional celebration of this Phiona winning a trophy, but it’s us celebrating the very making of this film. I remember feeling that very deeply. It’s quite a feat this has been made.”

She went into more detail.

“What I love about this film is Africans taking care of themselves,” Nyong’o explained. “There’s no white savior that comes in this film. This is about a girl who has a fighting spirit and a mentor who sees that in her and guides her onto a platform where she can realize her best potential. I think that is the message that is more crucial for me. Genius resides in all sorts of places. It takes mentorship, it takes unity to nurture that genius.”

“Where you are born does not necessarily mean that you belong there,” she concluded. “You belong where you believe you belong.”

The game of chess, she said, is a metaphor for life. “It teaches you strategy, it teaches you the value of knowing where you are, where you want to get to and what obstacles might be in your way that you might need to navigate in order to get there. That’s a mentality that unfortunately people in poverty are not often exposed to.”

Phiona’s uplifting, heartwarming story was a joy to tell, Nyong’o said.

“It was something I hadn’t seen come across my desk before.”

Click here for Townhall's review of the film.

Reports: Frustrated Trump Advisers Grumble About Debate 'Disaster,' Campaign Mood 'Dark'

Separate reports, similar message via exasperated campaign aides: Trump blew it under the brightest lights, and set himself up for failure. Before you read on, why would multiple advisers leak such dirty laundry to the likes of the New York Times and NBC News -- outlets that embody what the GOP nominee derides as the 'disgusting' and 'corrupt' media? Perhaps because they know their candidate won't listen to them unless a negative narrative lights a fire under his rear end, which is apparently what happened before his big (and generally successful) August pivot. If his yes-men keep telling him he won -- look at all of these "polls!" -- then there's nothing to worry about it. But if the media, which Trump tracks obsessively, starts talking about how badly he whiffed, he might get angry enough to change. That, I suspect, is why seven different campaign sources whispered these gripes to the Times.  Note the word 'convince' in the first paragraph here:

A delicate approach to the candidate is now in the works. Before his advisers can shape Mr. Trump’s performance for the next debate, on Oct. 9 in St. Louis — which, contrary to speculation, he does plan to attend, a top aide said — they need to convince him that he can do better than he did in the first one and that only a disciplined, strategic attack can damage Mrs. Clinton with voters. Advisers said that Mr. Trump had been prepped to handle Mrs. Clinton’s attacks on Monday but did not effectively execute responses to them...Even as Mr. Trump’s advisers publicly backed him on Tuesday and praised his debate performance, they were privately awash in second-guessing about why he stopped attacking Mrs. Clinton on trade and character issues and instead grew erratic, impatient and subdued as the night went on. In interviews, seven campaign aides and advisers, most of whom sought anonymity to speak candidly, expressed frustration and discouragement over their candidate’s performance Monday night. They blamed his overstuffed schedule, including a last-minute rally in Virginia that was added days before the debate. They blamed the large number of voluble people on his prep team, including two retired military figures with no political background. And they blamed the lack of time spent on preparing a game plan in the first place...

Almost all of his advisers rejected the idea that the debate was a failure for Mr. Trump, noting that he landed some punches and insisting that Mrs. Clinton looked more polished than she was because of her opposition. But all of them described the debate as filled with missed opportunities. And they openly expressed frustration that Mr. Trump seemed unable to stop chasing chum that Mrs. Clinton tossed at him...There were early efforts to run a more standard form of general election debate-prep camp, led by Roger Ailes, the ousted Fox News chief, at Mr. Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, N.J. But Mr. Trump found it hard to focus during those meetings, according to multiple people briefed on the process who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. That left Mr. Ailes, who at the time was deeply distracted by his removal from Fox and the news media reports surrounding it, discussing his own problems as well as recounting political war stories, according to two people present for the sessions...The team had primed Mr. Trump to look for roughly a dozen key phrases and expressions Mrs. Clinton uses when she is uncertain or uncomfortable, but he did not seem to pay attention during the practice sessions, one aide said, and failed to home in on her vulnerabilities during the debate.

In other words, they're not trying to sabotage him; they're begging him to listen to them, delivering their concerns through a conduit that will get his attention. NBC News is hearing similar things:

Will Trump himself wake up to the reality that the general election is meaningfully different than the primary, and that more or less winging it didn't cut it on Monday? The nuggets about Trump losing focus and evincing little interest during debate preparation sessions indicate that the man Republicans have nominated lacked either the focus or the seriousness of purpose to adequately prepare for arguably the single most watched and most important event of his life.  So long as he remains in an "I won!" bubble, he won't adjust his approach for the final two debates.  Then again, his blamestorming about the moderator, his microphone, etc. suggests that he doesn't really believe his adulatory echo chamber's hosannas this time.  Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who has earned her keep as a pollster for decades, can surely sit him down and explain the difference between his beloved internet polls, and these real numbers:

Stripping away the spin and braggadocio, Hillary won on Monday night, and they know it.  How will the campaign respond?  Or are reportedly warring internal factions hampering Team Trump's ability to focus and adapt?  This guy's already on his third campaign manager.  The kids can't seriously believe another change at the top is a wise move, can they?

I'll leave you with two links. First, here is Allahpundit once again marveling that in addition to woefully under-preparing for his monumentally important first debate with Hillary, America's most famous alleged "self-funding" billionaire still hasn't cut an unprecedentedly humongous check to his own campaign. With the stroke of a pen, he could finance an operation that would overwhelm Hillary's ground game and come close to matching her on-air.  He hasn't, but there are reports floating around that he's contemplating doing so. Tick tock, Donald. Second, we told you about Trump's self-destructive decision to raise Hillary's "Miss Piggy/Miss Housekeeping" attack the morning after the debate. Setting Trump's related conduct off to the side, did Team Clinton bother to vet this woman? This is their new poster-woman-slash-surrogate?  This is their new character witness against Donald Trump?  Good Lord:

UPDATE - The campaign denies any internal dissent, though it's also being reported that Trump is angry that anyone is admitting that he didn't win. But...they're also changing their approach for the next debate, Mister Trump's glorious victory, or whatever.  Or they're not.  Pick the report you prefer.