Theresa May Is Not Beloved or Revered. And Yet, She Persists.

Historians and filmmakers alike know that the British revere leaders who defy Europe: Elizabeth I against Hapsburg Spain, Winston Churchill against Nazi Germany, and George III, had he not lost his mind just as Napoleon was rearranging the map of Continental Europe. The mythology of the island people who stand alone possesses imaginative appeal, but it obscures the historical reality. The leaders of the past defied Europe from positions of relative weakness.

02/25/18 5:00 AM

The Apotheosis of Donald J. Trump

President Trump relishes his reputation as a savvy dealmaker. “Deals are my art form,” he once tweeted. “Other people paint beautifully or write poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals.” He promised during the 2016 campaign that if elected, he would work with politicians and foreign leaders to make “smart deals for the country.” But since he took office there has been precious little evidence of Trump’s vaunted dealmaking prowess. Such successes as his administration has been able to claim have generally been accomplished without his direct involvement—and sometimes in spite of it.

02/25/18 11:31 AM

Going Rogue at CPAC: Mona Charen Slams Sexist Hypocrisy and Racism at CPAC; Calls invitation of Le Pen a 'Disgrace'

In blistering remarks, conservative writer Mona Charen called out Republicans for hypocrisy on Roy Moore and Donald Trump and called the invitation of Marion Le Pen a "disgrace." For her trouble, she was booed so viciously that she needed a security escort to get out of the hall. This is CPAC.

02/24/18 3:55 PM

How to Dig Up Dirt from the Russians

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s February 16 indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian companies for interfering with the 2016 election fits with much that we already know. The Russians were opportunistic, stirring the pot and turning up on both sides of the partisan divide. This holds true not only for the frenetic and often laughable social media efforts of the Red Troll Army, chronicled in the indictment, but also for the rather more serious efforts of other Russians to involve themselves in the campaigns of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The fact that accusations of collusion with Russia have dogged the president and not Clinton isn’t just because it was Trump who won the election.

02/23/18 10:02 AM

J.M. Coetzee: Novel Critic

In 2003, when J. M. Coetzee was announced the recipient of that year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, the news wasn’t met with outraged cries of “Who?” or “Why?” With nine brilliant novels under his belt, along with a haul of prestigious literary awards—including a hitherto unprecedented two Booker Prizes—the South African-born author had been a laureate-in-waiting.

In its citation, the Swedish Academy made mention of the “great wealth of variety” in Coetzee’s works. Though spare, austere, and clinically precise, his novels are rich in moral complexity and ambiguity, and each ruthlessly probes the human condition. But each does so in a different way.

02/23/18 4:30 AM

Turmoil and Travel

In 1885, nearly broke from bad investments and dying of cancer, Ulysses S. Grant spent his final days writing the bestselling memoir that gave his family financial security after he was gone. The story of Grant’s swan song seems memorably American, touched by the mythic national themes of boom and bust, ruin and redemption, the abiding art of the deal.

But a generation before Grant’s grand authorial gesture, French aristocrat François-René de Chateaubriand did something similar with Memoirs from Beyond the Grave, published shortly after his death in 1848.

02/23/18 4:30 AM

The Man Who Lost the Movies

In 1960, already a movie buff, educated by Bill Kennedy, the ex-film-actor host of CKLW’s programs featuring old Hollywood classics, I took the bus from my east-side Detroit home to the Fox Theatre downtown. I vividly remember watching Victor Mature, all muscles, and Hedy Lamarr, all allure, in Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949).

Going to the Fox was a special event no matter what was shown. It had some 5,000 seats, and its grandeur had not significantly diminished since it opened in 1928 as the flagship theater in the Fox chain.

02/23/18 4:30 AM

Going Rogue at CPAC: Mona Charen Slams Sexist Hypocrisy and Racism at CPAC; Calls invitation of Le Pen a 'Disgrace'

Conservative writer calls Marion Le Pen "a disgrace," Republicans anti-woman for Moore support.
Feb 24, 2018
In blistering remarks, conservative writer Mona Charen called out Republicans for hypocrisy on Roy Moore and Donald Trump and called the invitation of Marion Le Pen a "disgrace." For her trouble, she was booed so viciously that she needed a security escort to get out of the hall. This is CPAC. Read more

DeVos Stands Up to the Transgender Bullies

The Education secretary takes the crazy position that laws should be made by lawmakers, not bureaucrats.
Feb 24, 2018
The Obama administration used a broad understanding of Title IX, to claim that discrimination from “sex” also included “gender identity.” Now, Betsy DeVos has reversed that bureaucratic decision and said that the Department of Education will hold to the actual text of the law and will not investigate or take action on complaints from transgender students regarding the open use of restrooms in public schools. Transgender activists are not happy. Read more

Governor Indicted in Wake of Affair Has Long History of Giving Ethics and Morality Speeches

Eric Greitens' mistress alleges he blackmailed her with explicit photographs and has been indicted for invasion of privacy.
Feb 23, 2018
The Missouri governor indicted Thursday on charges stemming from alleged sexual misconduct and blackmail has a history of extolling his ethical leadership. Eric Greitens, a Republican elected in 2016, admitted to an extramarital affair after investigation by St. Louis’s KMOV turned up audio recordings of the woman attesting to the affair and alleging Greitens had blackmailed her with explicit photographs. In a recent statement following his indictment for felony privacy invasion, Greitens denies that he intentionally blackmailed his ex-lover with photos—but he owns up to the affair: “As I have said before, I made a personal mistake before I was Governor,” his statement reads. However, he maintains,  Read more

Fact Check: Were All Russian Facebook Ads Purchased Only After the Election?

No.
Feb 23, 2018
“Russia Only Bought Facebook Ads After Trump Won The Election,” a headline from Milo Yiannopoulos’ site Dangerous.com claimed on Monday. The article received over a thousand shares on Facebook, along with several thousand reactions, and was marked as possibly containing inaccurate information. Indeed it did. While the body of the post (which contains a bit of opinion) is largely accurate—mostly quoting a tweet-storm from Facebook’s VP of ads Rob Goldman—the headline is incorrect. In fact, the article actually refutes its own headline by citing Goldman’s tweet that “the majority of the Russian ad spend [sic] happened AFTER the election.  Read more

What Kelli Ward Wants From CPAC

The Trump-loving conservative looks to boost her support now that she finds herself with two challengers in the race for Jeff Flake's seat.
Feb 23, 2018
She doesn’t say so, but 2018 has been a tricky year so far for Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward. After months of polling strongly as an uncompromising, Trump-loving alternative to unpopular incumbent Jeff Flake, the conservative firebrand now finds herself squeezed between two new challengers: local celebrity and fellow Trump-booster Joe Arpaio and leadership-backed congresswoman Martha McSally. But Ward hopes to gain back some ground this week on familiar turf of CPAC. “I’ve been coming every year for quite a bit of time,” Ward told THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “It’s kind of a tradition to come in March, come to D.C. and meet with the conservative activist community.” Ward’s  Read more

Public Sector Unions Set to Face SCOTUS Scrutiny

The court will consider whether non-members must pay 'fair share' union fees in Janus v. AFSCME on Monday.
Feb 23, 2018
"If unions are so good and doing such a great job, why do they have to force people to pay them?" That’s the question Mark Janus, an Illinois child services specialist, posed to assembled reporters on Friday. It’s the Supreme Court who will give him an answer. His case will be heard on Monday. Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is a second chance for the court to overturn a 1971 decision, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, that allowed public sector unions to demand non-members pay a "fair share" fee. Janus's case hinges on a First Amendment claim of compelled speech, with precedents tied to license plate slogans and saying the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. Read more

Fact Check: Was an Aide to a Florida State Representative Fired for Pushing the Parkland 'Crisis Actors' Conspiracy Theory?

Yup.
Feb 23, 2018
Claims of “crisis actors” in the wake of the deadly shooting in Florida sounded off across the internet’s conspiratorial corners, garnering attention on sites such as Gateway Pundit and True Pundit. Most of the rumors surrounded Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school student David Hogg, who was interviewed by several news outlets after the tragedy. “One student, in particular, David Hogg has been astonishingly articulate and highly skilled at propagating a new anti-Conservative/anti-Trump narrative behind the recent school shooting” Gateway Pundit wrote. “Few have seen this type of rapid media play before, and when they have it has come from well-trained political operatives and MSM  Read more

Editorial: All the Reasons It's a Terrible Idea to Arm Teachers

A proposal by President Trump would put 600,000 guns in classrooms. What could possibly go wrong?
Feb 23, 2018
On Thursday, President Donald Trump tossed out a characteristically jarring idea: Arm teachers. His original statements were less than clear, so at a White House public forum he clarified: “I don’t want teachers to have guns, I want certain highly adept people that understand weaponry, guns—if they really have that aptitude.” The president also suggested schools could offer incentives for teachers to arm: “You give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free, you have now made the school into a hardened target.” Gun control proponents reacted with outrage, but we don’t fault the president for offering unconventional ideas to address an intractable problem.  Read more

Trump at CPAC and the Future of Conservatism

Hosted by Charlie Sykes.
Feb 23, 2018
Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, editor at large Bill Kristol discusses President Trump's CPAC speech, how the President has fared so far, and the future of the conservative movement. This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.  Read more

Trump Wraps Up CPAC Speech by Announcing North Korea Sanctions

The president went off-script early and came back to the major policy news just before leaving the stage
Feb 23, 2018
President Donald Trump on Friday delivered a free-wheeling speech to CPAC, a campaign-style barnburner that went over well with the raucous crowd. And on his way out, he casually got around to the important stuff: major new sanctions on North Korea. “North Korea, we imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before,” Trump said as he prepared to leave the stage. “And frankly, hopefully something positive can happen. We will see. But that was just announced, and I wanted to let you know.” The new sanctions, which target an array of shipping companies and vessels believed to be helping the Kim regime dodge an international trade embargo, were supposed to be a major focal point in  Read more

By Asking Whether Moscow 'Tipped Election,' NYT Plays into Russia's Hands

If the Russians' goal was to destabilize our democracy, questioning the legitimacy of Trump's presidency contributes to that.
Feb 23, 2018
Reporting on the Mueller indictment, the New York Times headlined its article, in typical Gray Lady fashion, “Moscow’s Hand Swirled in U.S., but Whether It Tipped Election Is Unclear.” Presumably, an election victory due to the machinations of a foreign “hand” can hardly produce a legitimate winner, so the Times was being prudent; it isn’t committing itself on the question of the legitimacy of Trump’s election, although it does, in the very first sentence, describe the question as “one of the great unresolved questions in American political history.  Read more

How to Build a Senate Election Model: Step 1

The first installment in a (hopefully long) series.
Feb 23, 2018
Which party is going to win control of the Senate in the midterm elections? It’s a simple question. But also a difficult one. And right now, I’m in the middle of the process of building a model that will try to shed some light on it by calculating win probabilities for every Senate contest. I’ve done a lot of data journalism (primarily for The Weekly Standard and RealClearPolitics), but I haven’t built this type of model before. So rather than building the model and unveiling it all at once, I’m going to write through the process, talking to you about the individual pieces of the model as I build them, the challenges inherent in modeling elections, the uncertainty in the data and anything else that  Read more

Prufrock: Chateaubriand's Memoirs, the Forgotten Dean of the Harlem Renaissance, and the Return of Debtors' Prison

Also: Can the OED survive the Internet?
Feb 23, 2018
Reviews and News: Revisiting François-René de Chateaubriand’s memoirs: “Chateaubriand, who had been working on his memoirs intermittently since around 1803, had quite a life story to tell, which is apparently why his publisher was willing to fund the writer’s retirement to get the manuscript. Soldier, witness to the French Revolution, diplomat, North American explorer, novelist, Christian apologist, and poet, Chateaubriand was the Zelig of his day, appearing to be everywhere at once. ‘Thus did Chateaubriand straddle not only two centuries but also two worlds, that of the ancien régime and that of the modern era,’ writes scholar Anka Muhlstein.  Read more

White House Watch: Is McMaster on His Way Out?

We could be looking at another staff shake-up.
Feb 23, 2018
It wouldn’t be a week at the Trump White House if there weren’t talk of a staff shakeup, and that’s how this week appears to be closing. First, CNN reported Thursday the Pentagon was “considering options” for moving national security adviser H.R. McMaster into a four-star general role back at the Defense Department. The report cited “months of personal tension” between McMaster and President Trump. Reuters reported later the same day that both McMaster and White House chief of staff John Kelly “might quit soon” due to differences with Trump. McMaster has long been in a precarious position—many in the West Wing say Trump bristles at what he perceives as the Army  Read more

New Charges Filed Against Manafort, Gates

Special counsel's investigation picking up speed.
Feb 22, 2018
Update, 9:36 p.m.: Manafort attorney Jason Maloni emails in the following statement "on behalf of Paul Manafort: Paul Manafort is innocent of the allegations set out in the newly filed indictments and he is confident that he will be acquitted of all charges. The new allegations against Mr. Manafort, once again, have nothing to do with Russia and 2016 election interference/collusion. Mr. Manafort is confident that he will be acquitted and violations of his constitutional rights will be remedied.  Read more

The Running Man

Dan Crenshaw, a Harvard-educated former Navy SEAL, is running for the House in Texas. Literally.
Feb 22, 2018
In a crowded nine-way Republican congressional primary in Texas, former Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw has decided that the best way to break out of the pack in his run for Congress is to run for Congress—literally. February 20 marked the first day of Crenshaw’s 5-day, 100-mile run through a congressional district that snakes in and around Houston. Crenshaw’s run, documented on Facebook Live, is aimed at raising money for, and drawing attention to, ongoing Hurricane Harvey relief. And of course drawing attention to his campaign. Tomorrow I will start my 100 mile run across District 2. Follow my Facebook page @crenshawforcongress to see Facebook lives and to stay up to date with where I’ll be!  Read more

Bread, Guns, and Circuses

Hosted by Charlie Sykes.
Feb 22, 2018
Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, Alice B. Lloyd and Jim Swift discuss Wednesday's White House listening session and CNN's town hall on guns. Also, is Marion Le Pen a classical liberal? Why is CPAC featuring her? The Daily Standard is sponsored by quip, the new electric toothbrush. quip starts at just $25, and when you go to getquip.com/standard, you'll get your first refill pack free! This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.  Read more

Prufrock: Germany's Philosopher-Provocateur, in Praise of the Negative Review, and Why Liberalism Failed

Also: Farming in France without machines, and more.
Feb 22, 2018
Reviews and News: What happened to the negative review? “The general tone and tenor of the contemporary book review is an advertisement-style frippery. And, if a rave isn’t in order, the reviewer will give a stylized summary of sorts, bookended with non-conclusions as to the book’s content.” The article that Newsweek executives tried to kill (firing two editors and a reporter in the process) has been published. It is about the financial ties between Newsweek and Olivet University currently under investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The enduring outrage of Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem. Carson McCuller was a difficult woman who led a difficult  Read more

The Substandard on Black Panther, Quinoa, and Career Advice

Feb 22, 2018
In this week’s super episode, the Substandard reviews Marvel’s Black Panther. JVL has plenty of questions, two of which aren’t rhetorical. Vic discusses his “blowout” lunch. Sonny reveals his own origin story. The Daily Standard is sponsored by Tripping.com. Did you know that the average family visits 5 websites before booking a vacation rental? With Tripping.com, one search lets you filter, compare and sort over 10 million available properties on trusted sites like VRBO, TripAdvisor, Booking.com and more. Don’t wonder if you’re getting the best deal – you’ll save an average of 18 percent per night by booking your vacation with Tripping.com. This podcast can be  Read more

CNN Town Hall: Parkland Survivors Share Opposition to Arming Teachers

Teacher in attendance expresses concern about confusion during a live-shooter event.
Feb 21, 2018
Students and teachers who survived a deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last week expressed opposition to arming teachers as a response to the threat of mass shootings during a CNN town hall with lawmakers Wednesday night. Ashley Kurth, a culinary arts teacher who sheltered 65 students in her classroom at Marjory Stoneman Douglas during the shooting, said she was a registered Republican and that she had voted for President Donald Trump in the presidential election, but she split with a proposal Trump endorsed on Wednesday afternoon. "If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly," Trump suggested during a meeting with students and teachers.  Read more
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