Olympic Medal Winners Face a Tax Hit

In his third Olympic Performance, Michael Phelps won a total of six medals: four gold and two silver. His performances in the thirtieth Olympiad is sure to bring big financial awards, but his performances are also going to cost him.

Every American who won a medal in the London Olympics will receive cash rewards from the U.S Olympic Committee. Each gold medal winner will receive $25,000, each silver medal winner will receive $15,000 and each bronze medal winner will receive $10,000 respectively. This means when Michael Phelps returns to the states, he will be collecting a healthy $130,000 from the USOC.

Phelps with his record breaking 19th Olympic Medal

However, Phelps will also be taxed for each medal he received. For each gold medal, Phelps will have to pay the IRS approximately $9,000, for each gold, $5,400 for each silver, and if he would have earned a bronze, $3,500.

Soon after stories surfaced about U.S. Olympic athletes facing deep financial hardship, some Washington politicians have offered and supported a bill that would offer the athletes a reprieve.

Republican law makers led by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown introduced a bill named Olympic Tax Exemption Act last week. The bill has already gained the support of President Barack Obama.

“Our young athletes endure years of grueling training and make enormous sacrifices so they can represent our country on the national stage and make us proud. Our thanks should not come in the form of a giant tax bill from the IRS.” Brown said when asked about the bill.

Follow Me on Twitter @chrisenloe.

Army Pvt. Nels Wold > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Story

Valor can come from those young and old, experienced or inexperienced. During the waning days of World War I, many American soldiers were thrust into the war effort quickly. Army Pvt. Nels Wold was one of them, and in the six months he was in the service, the bravery he showed was enough to earn him the Medal of Honor.

Wold was born in Winger, Minnesota, in 1895 to parents who had emigrated from Norway. He was one of 10 siblings. As a teen, Wold worked a few jobs before joining the Army in April 1918. Shortly after that, his unit — Company I, 138th Infantry, 35th Division — shipped off to Europe.

Much of that summer was spent training, but by autumn, the 22-year-old Wold found himself in the trenches during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, a major part of the final Allied offensive of the war.

On the foggy morning of Sept. 26, 1918, his unit and thousands of other Allied troops near Cheppy, France, made up the spearpoint of a massive drive to finally push Germany out of France.

According to the 35th Division’s history, Wold’s company had been held up by several German machine gun nests, so he volunteered to sneak up on one of them. It was a success – he managed to silence the guns, kill some enemies and bring back some Allied prisoners — so he sneaked up on three more nests. After silencing all four, he had brought back 11 prisoners.

Later that day, Wold jumped from a trench and rescued a fellow soldier who was about to be shot, taking down the would-be enemy shooter in the process.

His success was short-lived, unfortunately. Wold tried to sneak up on a fifth machine gun nest, but the Germans saw him coming and fired. He went down.

When Wold’s company realized he wasn’t coming back, they rushed the nest as a group and took out the enemy inside, dragging the injured Wold nearly a mile to safety, where he died telling his comrades to tell his family he loved them.

Wold didn’t survive, but his company was able to advance thanks to his courage. For that, he earned the Medal of Honor, which was given to his siblings by famed Gen. Leonard Wood during a ceremony in his hometown on Dec. 31, 1919.

Wold was originally buried in France, but three years to the day after his death, his remains were returned and buried next to his parents in a cemetery near his hometown.

This article is part of a weekly series called ”Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

Afghanistan Has No Military Solution: We Must Seize The Opportunity For Peace Before Us

10th Mountain Division Soldier in Afghanistan in 2007. Wikipedia photo

America is entrenched in its longest war as its been in Afghanistan since 2001 and has never been further from victory. Nation after nation, empire after empire before the US have been unable to win any war in Afghanistan, and for some reason, the political class, the defense contractors, the media, and every other swamp creature seems to not know why the U.S. has not yet won there.

There are a couple of very big factors that make Afghanistan very difficult to conquer and even more difficult to govern especially when it isn’t locals. Afghanistan is an extremely mountainous country, 75% of the land is mountains and peaks, with a number of mountains being over 20,000 feet tall, this very rough and mountainous terrain makes it extremely difficult to move soldiers and equipment. As if that isn’t difficult enough, the tribes that our troops in Afghanistan deal with, they are influenced in different ways culturally. The Taliban have utilized these caves and mountains whenever they need to retreat or hide as they battle Afghan, American, and NATO forces, and those mountains are extremely effective.

Afghanistan is located on the mainland route between Iran, Central Asia, and India, and with various invasions and settlements many have settled in the country, and the tribes are very hostile to one another. There are 14 different main ethnic groups in the country spread across tribes. Treating any of the ethnic groups – whether we are talking about the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras or Uzbeks – as a single unified ethnic group shows absolutely no understanding whatsoever of the situation in the country. Conquering the nation is already extremely difficult but governing a tribalist, war-torn land of 35.53 million people who are loyal to different clans, tribes, sheiks, units, ethnicities, religious sects, and even different governments, it is almost impossible.

Afghanistan is a country very ethnically divided but the tribal divisions are even stronger

The US has been fighting alongside the government in Kabul, against the Taliban, bombing the country since 2001, there has been between 10,000 and 100,000 troops on the ground in the time we have been in this war, but the Taliban is stronger than ever, and it is very likely going to take Kabul.

In the Wardak Province, Monday the Taliban infiltrated an Afghan intelligence base and bombed the base killing dozens of people in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in a war, where the Taliban’s attacks regretfully have gotten more devastating. The security situation has gotten worse as the Taliban has been gaining ground, the US has been bombing Afghanistan at a record rate but it hasn’t been able to regain ground against the Taliban, and now Afghan and US military casualties are at record levels and so are civilian casualties, as 20,000 people were killed in the last year, in this war. The Afghan troop losses are particularly devastating because there aren’t anywhere enough people to replace dead Afghan soldiers, as things worsen for the ordinary Afghans in areas controlled by the central government, ordinary Afghans are either leaving the country, or some even joining the Taliban out of desperation for a slightly better life (I nor anyone at the Conservative Daily News in any way condones or excuses anyone who would join the Taliban). It would have probably been smart, that while the US tried its nation-building policy, that they actually tried to do something about the severe corruption in the Afghan government. Things are so bad in Afghanistan that 6/10 people can’t read or write, half the country has no access to drinking water. Troop totals are down 90% from the peak of the war, but the deaths are rising and this is something we can’t sustain. We gave everything we could to build up the Afghan forces, but it has not worked!

Afghan intelligence service training building badly damaged after the terrorist attack by the Taliban

Corrupt criminal governments will always bring suspicion of ulterior motives, and sometimes, that government will vindicate your feelings, and sadly the Afghan government has proved that to be the reality. In October 2018, a “friendly fire” attack which left a US army general and even threatened the top commander in the country. That is just one example of many friendly fire attacks by Afghan government forces against our troops. The Afghan government is either incredibly incompetent or they double-cross us again and again and again.

We can’t fix the problems in Afghanistan, the endless war has not been able to change anything in the country, there is a peace opportunity before us, that yes may take time, but new talks are happening as we speak.

The US and the Taliban are in negotiations in Qatar continued Tuesday as the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement said: “Following American acceptance of the agenda of ending the invasion of Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from being used against other countries in the future, talks with American representatives took place today in Doha.” The US has not officially commented on the Taliban’s comments that an agreement, the signs from both the White House and the US Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad do indicate the momentum is building towards a withdraw and an end to America’s longest war. Khalilzad who has been more hawkish than Trump on the question of the war said  “Let me be clear: the US wants peace. … To achieve peace, we are ready to address legitimate concerns of all Afghan sides in a process that ensures Afghan independence and sovereignty and accounts for legitimate interests of regional states. Urgent that fighting end.” What we are hearing from both the US and the Taliban gives reason to be hopeful that an end to this war is near and that the suffering of the Afghan people can finally come to an end.

The opportunity for peace exists, President Trump wants to leave and see a peace deal! Imran Khan led the way, in the beginning, trying to encourage direct talks with the Taliban, the US and Pakistan are working together better now, Afghanistan’s President called Prime Minister Khan to thank him for all he is doing in the effort for peace – THAT’S HUGE considering Pakistan and Afghanistan’s very tense relationship. The Gulf Cooperation Council supports the peace effort! The momentum is stronger than ever, there may just be a peace deal and the long suffering of the Afghan people with endless war, can finally come to an end.

China Trying To Stem Economic Slowdown, Failing

China is trying to stem an economic slowdown, including rising unemployment, continuing into the first two months of 2019 after documenting its worst year of economic growth in nearly 30 years in 2018.

Beijing is trying to counter the slowdown by spending more on infrastructure project and encouraging banks to extend loans to small businesses, reported The Wall Street Journal Thursday.

China’s economic health indicators were released Thursday and encourage far less optimism than they did this time last year. Home sales by value rose 4.5 percent in January and February from a year earlier, compared with a 14.7 percent increase at the same point in 2018, according to TheWSJ. And the country’s value-added industrial output, which “measures the economy’s manufacturing, mining, utilities and other output,” had a 5.3 percent year-over-year increase as of the January-February period compared to a 5.7 percent year-over-year increase in December.

Unemployment numbers also indicate a slowdown. A national urban survey unemployment rate grew from 4.9 percent in December to 5.3 percent in February, according to The WSJ.

Some experts predict the Chinese economy will hit its adjusted economic-growth target of around 6 percent. China is likely to exceed 6 percent in coming quarters because it has “the capacity to boost growth if needed,” Philippe Ithurbide, global head of research at Amundi, told Bloomberg in a video posted Thursday.

TheWSJ warned that “getting an accurate read” of China’s economy is hard in January and February because of the Lunar New Year holiday, prompting economists to combine data from the two months.

The new data comes as U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet in April after months of a tit-for-tat trade war. Trump announced in late February he was delaying tariffs on Chinese imports.

But the U.S. is not done with using tariffs to ensure China plays by its rules.

“We have to maintain the right to be able to — whatever happens to the current tariffs — to raise tariffs in situations where there’s violations of the agreement,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday according to Bloomberg. “I can’t predict success at this point, but we’re working hard and we have made real progress.”

China’s economy slowed dramatically during 2018, dropping to its lowest point in nearly 30 years as the communist country battled a prolonged tariff fight against President Donald Trump.

‘Venom’ set to be another Marvel hit if this new trailer is any indication [video]

One of Marvel’s most enigmatic, complex and badass characters comes to the big screen, starring Academy Award nominated actor Tom Hardy as the lethal protector Venom.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a screenplay by Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, Kelly Marcel and Will Beall, and stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock / Venom, alongside Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, and Reid Scott, the film is the first in the Sony/Marvel film lineup.

Venom will hit theaters October 5, 2018.

ENERGY DOMINANCE: US Surpassed Saudi Arabia As The World’s Top Oil Producer


by Michael Bastasch

The U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

“U.S. crude oil production exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades,” EIA reported Wednesday. “In June and August, the United States surpassed Russia in crude oil production for the first time since February 1999.”

Indeed, U.S. drillers have continued to smash production records in 2018, including hitting 11 million barrels a day in output in July. That’s about double what the U.S. produced per day just eight years ago.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

It’s good news for President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a platform of “energy dominance.” Trump’s policies have focused on promoting domestic oil and natural gas production and exports.

News from EIA comes after the Interior Department announced record-breaking revenues raised from an oil and gas lease sale in New Mexico. The lease sale raised nearly $1 billion in bonus bids, according to the department.

“Critics of the Administration’s American Energy Dominance policy often falsely claim there is little to no interest in Federal oil and gas leases,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

“Today they are eating their words and once again President Trump’s policies are bearing fruit for the American people,” Zinke said.

Booming oil production, however, predates the Trump administration by several years. It started on state and private lands that allowed companies to pioneer hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that’s now commonplace.

“Much of the recent growth has occurred in areas such as the Permian region in eastern Texas and western New Mexico, the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico, and the Bakken region in North Dakota and Montana,” according to EIA.

As the fracking boom continues, EIA expects “U.S. crude oil production will continue to exceed Russian and Saudi Arabian crude oil production for the remaining months of 2018 and through 2019.”

Beto Questioned On Lack Of Policy Specifics At Penn State Meet And Greet

Former Democratic Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke was asked when he would give “an actual policy” at a meet and greet at Pennsylvania State University Tuesday.

“When are we going to get an actual policy from you instead of just like platitudes and nice stories?” one person asked.

O’Rourke mentioned ending prohibition on marijuana, having four-year-olds start public education with pre-kindergarten and having high quality universal healthcare through his proposal dubbed as “Medicare for America.”

“If you have employer based insurance and you like it, you keep it, your doctors, your network, what works for you right now,” O’Rourke said. “If you don’t have insurance or you don’t like the insurance you already have, you enroll in Medicare.”

O’Rourke admitted the Medicare proposal would measure in the “trillions of dollars,” but it was less expensive than caring for people who were not given treatment from the start.

The 2020 presidential hopeful also said the opioid epidemic “disproportionately” affected rural America.

“I talk about those who we must hold accountable for the crisis and the way in which we must treat those who are enduring the crisis, not through incarceration, but through compassion and treatment and care so that they can get back up on their feet,” O’Rourke continued.

The individual also questioned O’Rourke’s campaign financial practices. O’Rourke said his campaign did not take donations from lobbyists or political action committees (PACs). He added that the number of donors would be released, though a time was not specified.

Former U.S. ambassador to England and a lead bundler for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign Louis Susman has reportedly been asking top Democratic Party donors to see if they will support O’Rourke’s campaign. Susman, however, said he talked to “family and friends” about donating, CNBC reported.

Nearly 1,000 students and community members attended the meet and greet, according to WNEP.

O’Rourke’s campaign did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Planes, Space and Submarines: Here’s What’s In the Pentagon’s 2020 Budget Request

“Today the Department of Defense rolls out our FY 2020 budget proposal.,” Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan said in a statement. “With the largest research and development request in 70 years, this strategy-driven budget makes necessary investments in next-generation technology, space, missiles, and cyber capabilities. The operations and capabilities supported by this budget will strongly position the US military for great power competition for decades to come.”

The FY 2020 Budget maintains momentum from the sustained funding increases enacted in FY 2017, FY 2018, and FY 2019 to repair damaged readiness, and the Budget marks a key next step in how the Defense Department operationalizes the 2018 National Defense Strategy. The FY 2020 Budget is a major milestone in meeting this challenge and resourcing the more lethal, agile, and innovative Joint Force America needs to compete, deter, and win in any high-end potential fight of the future by:

    1. investing in the emerging space and cyber warfighting domains
    2. modernizing capabilities in the air, maritime, and land warfighting domains
    3. innovating more rapidly to strengthen our competitive advantage
    4. sustaining our forces and building on our readiness gains.

The $718.3 billion budget’s largest conventional military line items include funding for 78 F-35s, 4 nuclear submarines, 3 destroyers, and a nuclear-powered carrier. The wish list, which represents the largest shipbuilding request in 20 years, also includes numerous support ships, aircraft and ground vehicles.

Space, where a portion of a future war may be waged got a huge lift. The Space Force got its first line item and the funding is requested for numerous GPS and surveillance satellites and their launches.

The budget also includes a 3.1% pay raise for members of the military, funding to modernize the military health system, and funds to provide childcare and education to service members’ children.

This DoD fashioned the proposed budget to project power through competitiveness, innovation, and readiness. It recognizes that future wars will be waged not just in the air, on the land, and at sea, but also in space and cyberspace, increasing the complexity of warfare, according to the Pentagon. Congressional approval of the FY 2020 Budget will help America meet current operational commitments and outpace the threats posed by China and Russia through maintaining our competitive advantage, even as DoD spending remains near a record low as a share of the U.S. economy.

Specifically, the Department’s FY 2020 budget builds the Joint Force’s capacity and lethality by investing in:

Cyber ($9.6 billion)

    • Supports offensive and defensive cyberspace operations – $3.7 billion
    • Reduces risk to DoD networks, systems, and information by investing in more cybersecurity capabilities – $5.4 billion
    • Modernizes DoD’s general purpose cloud environment – $61.9 million

Space ($14.1 billion)

    • Resources the initial establishment of the United States Space Force – $72.4 million
    • 4 National Security Space Launch (aka EELV) – $1.7 billion
    • 1 Global Positioning System III and Projects – $1.8 billion
    • Space Based Overhead Persistent Infrared Systems – $1.6 billion

Air Domain ($57.7B)

    • 78 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters – $11.2 billion
    • 12 KC-46 Tanker Replacements – $2.3 billion
    • 24 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets – $2.0 billion
    • 48 AH-64E Attack Helicopters – $1.0 billion
    • 6 VH-92 Presidential Helicopters – $0.8 billion
    • 6 P-8A Aircraft – $1.5 billion
    • 6 CH-53K King Stallion – $1.5 billion
    • 8 F-15EX – $1.1 billion

Maritime Domain: $34.7 billion and the largest budget request in more than 20 years for shipbuilding

    • COLUMBIA Class Ballistic Missile Submarine – $2.2 billion
    • 1 CVN-78 FORD Class Aircraft Carrier – $2.6 billion
    • 3 Virginia Class Submarines – $10.2 billion
    • 3 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Destroyers – $5.8 billion
    • 1 Frigate (FFG(X)) – $1.3 billion
    • 2 Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) – $1.1 billion
    • 2 Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) – $0.2 billion
    • 2 large unmanned surface vehicles – $447 million

Ground Systems ($14.6 billion)

    • 4,090 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles – $1.6 billion
    • 165 M-1 Abrams Tank Modifications – $2.2 billion
    • 56 Amphibious Combat Vehicles – $0.4 billion
    • 131 Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles – $0.6 billion

Multi-domain and nuclear triad ($31 billion)

    • B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber – $3.0 billion
    • Columbia Class Submarine – $2.2 billion
    • Long-Range Stand-Off Missile – $0.7 billion
    • Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent – $0.6 billon

The FY 2020 Budget funds preferred munitions at the maximum production rate.

    • 40,388 Joint Direct Attack Munitions – $1.1 billion
    • 10,193 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System – $1.4 billion
    • 125 Standard Missile-6 – $0.7 billion
    • 1,925 Small Diameter Bomb II – $0.4 billion
    • 9,000 Hellfire Missiles – $0.7 billion
    • 430 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – $0.6 billion
    • 48 Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – $0.2 billion

Highlighting the enduring importance of missile defeat and defense, the FY 2020 Budget funds the sustainment of the surge in missile defense investment we undertook in FY 2018 and FY 2019, while also investing in Missile Defense Review efforts at $13.6 billion. The missile defeat and defense investments for FY 2020 include:

    • 37 AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense (SM-3) with Install – $1.7 billion
    • Support for Missile Defense Review (e.g., Land-Launched Conventional Prompt Strike, Extended Range Weapon, Space-based Discrimination Sensor Study) – $1.5 billion
    • Ground Based Midcourse Defense – $1.7 billion
    • 37 THAAD Ballistic Missile Defense – $0.8 billion
    • 147 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancements – $0.7 billion

The FY 2020 Budget continues the Department’s emphasis on innovation and technology, which will enhance our competitive advantage. The Budget highlights emerging technology projects including:

    • Unmanned / Autonomous projects to enhance freedom of maneuver and lethality in contested environments – $3.7 billion
    • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning investments to expand military advantage through the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) and Advanced Image Recognition – $927 million
    • Hypersonics weapons development to complicate adversaries’ detection and defense – $2.6 billion
    • Directed Energy investment to support implementation of directed energy for base defense; enable testing and procurement of multiple types of lasers; and increase research and development for high-power density applications – $235 million

The FY 2020 Budget increases the readiness, lethality, and agility of the Joint force by increasing our military end strength.

    • Funds readiness to executable levels across services – $124.8 billion
    • Total military end strength will increase from FY 2019 projected levels by approximately 7,700 in FY 2020
    • Active end strength will increase by approximately 6,200 from FY 2019 projected levels to FY 2020, with the largest increase in the Air Force
    • Reserve Component end strength will increase by approximately 1,500 from FY 2019 projected levels to FY 2020, with the largest increase in the Army Guard and Reserve

The FY 2020 Budget provides the largest military pay raise in 10 years and robust support to our most valued asset—our military members—and their families. The Budget:

    • Provides a competitive compensation package
    • Includes a 3.1 percent military pay raise
    • Continues to modernize and transform our Military Health System
    • Spousal/community support
    • Continues family support programs with investment of nearly $8 billion for:
      • Child care for over 180,000 children
      • Youth programs serving over 1 million dependents
      • DoD Dependent Schools educating over 76,000 students
      • Commissary operations at 236 stores

Facilities investment is a continuing area of emphasis. This funding:

    • Supports the National Defense Strategy by investing in key operational and training facilities
    • Enables timely maintenance of critical infrastructure
    • Improves Quality-of-Life for Service Members and their families
    • Provides funding for Marine Corps and Air Force hurricane-related facility repairs at Camp Lejeune and Tyndall Air Force Base

The FY 2020 Budget contains critical funding for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) and an emergency budget request, totaling $173.8 billion, which is subject to the same congressional oversight requirements as the base budget. These pieces of the request are vital to our budget as a whole and our ability to support the National Defense Strategy. The FY 2020 OCO/Emergency request contains four categories:

    • Direct War Requirements: Combat or combat support costs that are not expected to continue once combat operations end – $25.4 billion
    • OCO for Enduring Requirements: Enduring in-theater and CONUS costs that will remain after combat operations end – $41.3 billion
    • OCO for Base Requirements: Funding for base budget requirements in support of the National Defense Strategy, financed in the OCO budget due to the limits on base budget defense resources under the budget caps in current law – $97.9 billion
    • Emergency Requirements: Funding for military construction for emergencies, to include border security and reconstruction efforts to rebuild facilities damaged by Hurricanes Florence and Michael – $9.2 billion

Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities for the Department, and require both increased and sustained investment, because of the magnitude of the threats they pose to U.S. security and prosperity today, and the potential for those threats to increase in the future.

Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde [Trailer]

Oscar winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors.

The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality, and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone to Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.

A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2). Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series“The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart. Kurt Johnstad (300) wrote the screenplay.

What Really Happened to Hillary?

No, it’s not a slow news day. Critical talks continue as key members of Congress work to stave off the country’s fall over the fiscal cliff.  The market watches in breathless anticipation. The IRS waits to tell employers what tax rates they’ll need to use next week. Even Joe Biden has been called in to pinch hit for the stalling Harry Reid.

And yet…

According to my Twitter feed, the real question this weekend was, “What really happened to Hillary?”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Gallup’s 2012 Most Admired Woman, has not been seen in public for more than three weeks. Just in time to cancel her already rescheduled meeting on Capitol Hill, where she was to testify and help Senators finally learn the truth about the tragedy at Benghazi, Mrs. Clinton developed a stomach flu. Which then caused her dehydrated body to faint resulting in a concussion and a further delay to speak. Now, after another week of illness Hillary is reported to have a blood clot and is now hospitalized.

As a result of the ever evolving story, even the venerable Charles Krauthammer pressing for information on Benghazi said, “We haven’t heard anything. We know as much about her concussion as we know about (Venezuelan president) Hugo Chavez. This is an open society, she is the Secretary of State, she has disappeared.”

So. What has happened to Hillary? Could these things, as reported, be true? Sure. There is plenty of plausibility. But do you believe in coincidences? Yeah, me neither.

The theory espoused by many conservatives this weekend is that all Clinton’s illnesses are faked. That she’s not really sick but that she is hiding out until the new Secretary of State is approved so that she will not be compelled to testify.

Could this be real? Yes. Of course, the whole hospitalization line does give more credibility.

Still, it’s not a very romantic theory.  Here’s one that carries much more intrigue and all the makings of a dramatic spy novel. The following is a condensed version from the EU Times: A US Military airplane, of which Hillary Clinton was a passenger, flew into Bahrain. There they picked up a number of Navy SEALs, who were based in Afghanistan and whose function often is to safeguard US diplomats in combat zones. One of the SEALs was Commander Job Price. The flight was en route to Bagdad when they ‘deviated’ and headed towards an Iranian airbase. Coincidentally, Iranian President Ahmadinejad was also at that airport. Something happened during the landing causing the plane to crash land. Commander Price was killed and the Secretary was severely injured. After receiving emergency aid from the Iranians, another US military plane was dispatched and the survivors flown out.

Too much to believe? The EU Times provides links to Russian intelligence reports as well as a Reuters story which mentions the damaged plan in Iran. Additionally, published reports in the US did relate the Navy SEAL died mysteriously in a non-combat incident. Some will argue that the EU Times has a biased agenda. Of course, many will argue that the main stream media also promote their personal agenda.

Personally, I hope Hillary recovers quickly and finally testifies as to the State Department’s role in Benghazi. The families of those killed deserve the truth. Like you I don’t wish Mrs. Clinton ill health.

In the end, is this just fodder for late night talk radio?

Or is it more? Calling all conspiracy theorists…

3:00 pm Update: To add to the questions, Fox News is now reporting on the American plane in Iran incident.