Speaking to cadets at the Citadel today, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker criticized the "Obama-Clinton" foreign policy and called for deploying greater resources to defeat the Islamic State.
After cataloguing Hillary Clinton's failed "reset" in Russia, "pivot" to China, and intervention in Libya, Walker declared that "everywhere in the world Hillary Clinton has touched is more messed up now than before she and the president took office."
"In the real world – the world outside Washington – when you fail at one job you don’t get promoted to another," Walker added. "You get fired."
Discussion of the Obama administration's failure to defeat the Islamic State took up much of Walker's speech, in which he called for "embedded American advisors" to help defeat ISIS:
Far from beating ISIS, President Obama is barely disrupting it. His actual goal is to contain ISIS until he leaves office, all the while accommodating Iran. My goals will be to defeat ISIS and rollback Iran’s influence in the region.
These strategic objectives will guide our military commanders, but let me be clear: defeating ISIS and rolling back Iran will require a greater investment of U.S. resources. Sternly-worded tweets and isolated air strikes will not destroy this enemy.
As we learned in the surge, embedded American advisors are key to training and motivating Iraqi, Sunni tribal, and Kurdish allies. They can provide good intelligence, logistical resources, and call in close air support to direct devastating strikes that will bolster our partners on the ground.
Today, however, the Administration is tying up our troops with political restrictions, preventing them from doing what is necessary to defeat ISIS. These restrictions must be lifted immediately and all options should remain on the table.
We need to stop micromanaging the military and broadcasting our limits to our enemies.
Throughout the speech, Walker sounded some angry, Trumpian notes that were perhaps too on the nose. "Hearing gut-wrenching stories of Americans held hostage, tortured, raped and executed by these radicals makes my blood boil," Walker said of ISIS.
After noting that the military's capabilities have been degraded, Walker declared, "as an American, this angers me."
Last week, Walker reportedly told donors on a private conference call that he intended to show more passion as a candidate. "One thing I heard about the first debate was: ‘You were fine, you did no wrong, but people want to feel the passion,'" Walker said, according to source who spoke to the Washington Post.
Walker's entire 25-minute speech may be viewed here:
New Jersey's kids, like all kids, are our future. And in many places, it takes a village to raise those children, complete with teachers' unions.
Which is why New Jersey teacher Arnold Anderson, who has held a post as an educator for over a decade, can be forgiven for being late for class to squeeze in a little breakfast.
The problem? Anderson was late 111 times in two years, the AP reports:
"I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning and I lost track of time,"
Wrong, Mr. Anderson! Eating breakfast is a great, eggcelent habit to have. It's being late for work that's the bad habit. (Perhaps wake up earlier? Go to bed earlier? See me after class, please.)
Anyways, New Jersey rightly tried to fire Mr. Anderson, but that didn't work out.
In a decision filed Aug. 19, an arbitrator in New Jersey rejected an attempt by the Roosevelt Elementary School to fire Anderson from his $90,000-a-year job, saying he was entitled to progressive discipline. But the arbitrator also criticized Anderson's claim that the quality of his teaching outweighed his tardiness.
Supposedly, Anderson argued that his stellar teaching skills required less time in the classroom. Yet, his breakfast-making skills and life-work scheduling practices could use some work.
New Jersey Governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie, a foe of the New Jersey Teachers' Unions, took to Twitter to mock the decision:
Let's check in with the big 2016 news from last week: Jim Gilmore? He gone. From the CNN debate, that is. I expect he'll be formally gone from the race soon and whoever manages to scoop up his support will be in the driver's seat to Cleveland.
I kid, obviously. I'm dead serious, however, when I say that the next few weeks will likely determine the outcome of the Democratic nomination. Because Hillary Clinton is now in the zone of maximum danger.
It's never good when a candidate is being linked to an ongoing FBI investigation, as Clinton is with her private State Department email system. And you can see this in Clinton's poll numbers with Democratic primary voters: She's gone from 63 percent in late July to 49 percent today. She's not just sub-50 percent right now, but at her lowest ebb since a year ago and with a surging Bernie Sanders, who's at 25 percent and climbing. (Remember Barnes' First Law of Politics: All races tighten.)
All of which has, quite predictably, lured some other big Democratic fish into looking at the race. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, the two most obvious heavyweights, are talking. There was even a moment when Al Gore was rumored to be thinking about getting in. (Pause, for a moment, to imagine a world in which Gore did run and howawesome it would have been to see Tipper come onstage at a Hillary rally.) I would be very surprised if Deval Patrick and John Kerry hadn't at least done some back-of-the-envelope math on possible campaigns.
And so now one of two things will happen. First, Clinton could keep the FBI at bay and sell the idea that this is all another partisan witch hunt. In this scenario, she scares off additional contestants for a short period of time-say, five weeks-at which point it becomes logistically impossible for someone to wage a serious campaign designed to beat her. If it's just her, O'Malley, and Sanders in the ring by the end of September, then she'll slug it out and probably win the nomination in a closer-than-expected fight. That's one possibility.
The other is that one of the aforementioned big guns does get in, at which point things get interesting. Republican races always pit two basic political factions against one another: the GOP establishment against actual conservatives. Democratic races have three factions: the party's establishment machine, ideological liberals, and people obsessed with identity politics.
So proclaimed the famously “low-energy” Jeb Bush at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars hall Friday morning. That rallying cry, Bush said, is how past generations have greeted the challenges America has faced, and it embodies the spirit he says he wants to reignite in the country. “We have to restore America’s greatness by fixing the things that make it hard for people to rise up in this country,” Bush said.
“Restore America’s greatness”? The casually deployed swear word? At one point, Bush even railed against the dangers of “political correctness." The signs all read “Jeb!” but Donald Trump was an undeniable presence at Bush’s town hall in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.
One questioner obliquely referenced Trump as “the guy in the red hat,” asking how the Republican party can tap into “the silent majority” and “take [on] some of these issues” Trump has raised.
Bush, looking trim in a dark gray suit and plaid shirt, nodded his head deferentially to the Donald before answering.
“Here’s a guy, larger than life, it’s all about him. I wake up thinking, ‘Wow, people are really struggling, suffering,’” Bush said. “That’s what I focus on, that’s what I think about, how do we make sure that people can be lifted up. For him, it’s all about him. But he’s tapped into, because he’s so different than people in public life, he’s tapped into this anger and angst that Washington’s not working. Totally get it, and I respect the fact that, look, this guy’s the frontrunner. He should be treated like a frontrunner, not like some kind of alternative universe to the political system.”
It was a call for the media and voters to take serious Trump’s deviations from the GOP and lack of a conservative record. But even Bush himself is treating the Donald like the frontrunner. The New York Times reported last week the former Florida governor has entered a “new, more combative phase of his campaign” as Trump’s rise in the polls has not abated. “There’s a big difference between Donald Trump and me,” Bush said in New Hampshire last week, according to the Times. “I’m a proven conservative with a record. He isn’t.”
Bush kept the theme going in Virginia, noting Trump’s past support for a single-payer health-care system, a new tax on assets, and even partial-birth abortion. “I’ve never met someone who actually had that view and said it publicly,” Bush said of partial-birth abortion. He was refering to a 1999 appearance by Trump on NBC’s Meet the Press, when the real-estate mogul told host Tim Russert he was “very pro-choice” and said he did not support the partial-birth-abortion ban then being debated in Congress. The ban ultimately passed and was signed into law.
Now that President Obama has returned from his two-week summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard—that is to say, now that life in political Washington is back to normal—we may put this annual media ritual in some perspective. Or put another way: If you're an admirer of Obama, you will regard this brief interlude as a much-needed respite from the burdens of the presidency; if you're not an admirer of Obama, you will consider this a prolonged taxpayer-subsidized holiday from responsibility. Take your pick.
Presidential vacations, naturally enough, tend to reflect their times and particular presidents. A century ago, and more, presidential "vacations" were not so much holiday excursions or seasonal breaks as reflections of the political calendar. Congress was typically out of session more than it was in, and before the invention of air conditioning, Washington, D.C. in the humid summertime was essentially unfit for habitation. (I can attest to this personally, having grown up in the Washington area in a house without air conditioning during the 1950s and '60s.)
Add to this the length and difficulty of travel, and the fact that legislators tended to spend more time in their constituencies than in the Capitol, it makes sense that presidents before the early/mid-20th century regarded the Executive Mansion as temporary housing rather than "home" for the First Family. Of course, this was not the case during times of crisis—the Civil War, for example, when Washington was literally in military peril—but it was typical until surprisingly recently in history. And of course, the Supreme Court, which won't reconvene until the fabled "first Monday in October," still follows the traditional schedule.
People who cavil at Obama's much-publicized two-week golfing/working vacations might be surprised to know that Franklin D. Roosevelt would spend weeks at a time at his Hyde Park estate, or fishing off the New England coast. To be sure, FDR was always officially in touch, and accompanied by the Secret Service wherever he went, but his absences from the capital were frequent and prolonged. By contrast, and characteristically, his successor Harry Truman would travel either to his mother-in-law's house in Independence or, more famously, to quarters at the naval air station at Key West, playing poker with friends and colleagues and being photographed in loud, and much-criticized, Hawaiian shirts.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was incessantly rebuked and satirized for his fondness for golf, and accused by Democrats of spending more time on the links than at his desk. Of course, this was not only untrue and unfair but ironic as well: Obama and Bill Clinton, for example, have consumed much greater portions of their presidencies playing golf than Ike ever did. Eisenhower's vacations, moreover, were comparatively modest affairs. He was on a golfing vacation at the naval base at Newport when he met with Gov. Orval Faubus about the Little Rock school integration crisis, and pointedly interrupted the vacation to return to the White House -- "speaking from the house of Lincoln, of Jackson, and of Wilson" -- to announce the dispatch of the 101st Airborne Division when Faubus defied the federal courts.
In ways both subtle and blunt, Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is sending a message to Vice President Joe Biden about his potential presidential campaign: This won't be easy.
One wonders if the Biden people needed to be reminded. But the Clinton operation isn’t likely to leave anything to chance. So
As Biden ponders a challenge to Clinton for the Democratic nomination, she has rolled out a string of high-profile endorsements in the early-voting contests of Iowa and South Carolina and scheduled an onslaught of fundraisers across the country in the effort to throw cold water on a possible Biden bid.
Hardball this is not. And so far
While Clinton and her team speak warmly of Biden in public, they have taken steps to show their dominance over the party's establishment and President Barack Obama's political infrastructure in hopes of quietly discouraging the vice president from entering the race.
But the Clinton operation can, surely, turn up more heat than that. The candidate is, after all, capable of calling Republicans “terrorists.” And we all remember the way the Clinton’s played the game when Bill stood accused of having sex “with that woman.”
No, they won’t make it easy on Biden. Of that we can be sure.
Supporters of human rights treaties tend to pour a remarkable amount of energy into promoting treaty ratification, while spending remarkably little time thinking about the problems of assessing compliance and, ultimately, whether the treaty is actually working. That’s certainly been the case with advocates of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The consequences of this modus operandi are evident here in Cancun, where the states signed onto the pact are holding their first meeting.
Don’t be misled by its title. The ATT is really a human rights treaty; it has human rights standards at its core. And like all human rights treaties, it can’t be enforced within the context of the agreement. If you and I sign a trade treaty and you cheat, I can impose tariffs on you, which incentivizes you not to cheat. If you and I agree not to build battleships and you then run off and build one, I can do likewise, which nullifies the effect of your cheating. But if you and I sign a treaty agreeing not to slap our journalists around, and you slap yours around anyhow, what am I supposed to do – retaliate by slapping mine around? Obviously not. The only way you can enforce a human rights treaty is to take action outside the context of the treaty itself.
Of course, enforcing a treaty presumes you know what it’s about in the first place. And it’s not clear that there’s much agreement on this point in Cancun. If there is one thing the treaty is not, it’s an arms control and disarmament treaty. The entire concept on which the treaty rests is that the arms trade is a legitimate business that nations engage in, above all, for purposes of national defense. Though this gives short shrift to the role (and rights) of businesses and individuals, and places dictatorships and democracies on the same plane, it’s reasonable enough on its own terms.
But you don’t have to be at Cancun long to get the sense that quite a few diplomats here (never mind the NGOs) don’t entirely grasp the point. That’s partly because a lot of the diplomats come from disarmament offices, so references to arms control pepper their speeches. Legal commentators are starting to follow suit. The U.N., too, is extremely careless with how it refers to the ATT – witness these U.N. fellowships on disarmament (including the ATT), for example. This tendency is all the more unfortunate now that the Cancun meeting has chosen Geneva, the center of the U.N.’s arms control and disarmament efforts, as the home of the ATT’s secretariat. Indeed, the ATT will likely end up sharing offices with the U.N. programs. As one delegate put it to me, the bacteria of the ATT has found a fertile home in the Geneva petri dish.
In apparent retaliation for Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush's statements critical of Planned Parenthood, the Democratic party has launched an attack on crisis pregnancy centers. A blog post on Democrats.org said that crisis pregnancy centers "have zero understanding of what women’s health care is." The criticism of the centers was not simply incidental to the attack on Bush; the Democrats devote an entire paragraph to undermining the credibility of pro-life groups that seek to offer pregnant women alternatives to abortion:
Crisis pregnancy centers aren’t exactly known as providers of trusted, quality healthcare. Instead, these centers have the troubling reputation of providing misleading information to women when they face an unplanned pregnancy. Instead of providing compassionate care and accurate information about the right to choose, they’re known for trying to shame and blame women for their reproductive choices, all while making inaccurate assertions about abortion, even claiming it can lead to cancer, and infertility.
Kaylie Hanson, the DNC's Director of Women’s Media, continues the attack later in the post [emphasis added]:
We know Jeb Bush is having a tough time understanding what exactly women’s health care is, and now we know why: because he’s found ‘inspiration’ from crisis pregnancy centers – organizations with a reputation of providing false and misleading information about women’s health. Instead of counseling with and supporting crisis pregnancy centers that shame and blame women and their families for their reproductive choices, maybe Jeb Bush should crack open a biology textbook.
Planned Parenthood has come under increasing pressure recently due to the secretly recorded videos exposing the organization's links to the "fetal tissue" market. The Democratic party and Planned Parenthood have been closely aligned for years, and Democrats have introduced legislation in the past to try to limit the activities of crisis pregnancy centers. However, based on a search of the party's website, this appears to be the first direct assault on crisis pregnancy centers by Democratic party leadership in the 2016 presidential campaign cycle.
At a rally in South Carolina Thursday, Donald Trump attacked Republicans for “copying” his phrase, "make America great again."
But there's a problem—that's not his phrase.
The Daily Mail reports that President Ronald Reagan "first popularized the line in 1979, plastering 'Let's Make America Great Again' on posters and buttons. A recent Rolling Stone article suggested Trump was 'America's stupidest person' for believing he dreamed it up."
Republicans invoking the beloved conservative president is nothing new. Affinity for President Reagan is a unifier on the right, so Republicans often quote him.
Trump copyrighted (he actually meant "trademarked") President Reagan's phrase.
"I actually went out and copyrighted it, because people were using it that I'm running against," he explained.
Aside from Trump abusing America's intellectual property system by trademarking another person's phrase, he also beclowned himself by attacking . . . himself.
He said, "And it just shows about a politician - they can't even come up with their own terms, they have to copy you, right? There are other good terms I could come up with. I don't think anything says it better than that."
Many of my friends think Hiroshima was an unjustifiable atrocity. My usual course in atom-bomb disputes is to refer the belligerent to Donald Kagan’s brilliant 1995 piece in Commentary, “Why America Dropped the Bomb.” The reaction is consistent, and surprising: My friends do not challenge any of Kagan’s assertions as inaccurate, but they remain unswayed. The idea that atom-bombing a city could ever be necessary is too far outside their frame of reference. It is a concept from a different world, beyond believing.
During the war, my grandmother walked to school along Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, and she saw gold stars in people’s windows. She was a young girl, but she knew what they meant—each marked a home to which a young man would never return. “You can talk about war theoretically,” she told me, “but seeing a gold star in the window . . .” she let the thought complete itself. I have never seen a gold star hanging in a window, and none of my friends even knew what one was. We are fantastically lucky: we have never had to worry about the draft. War, for most of us—even post-9/11—remains a distant and academic unreality. We owe it to those gold stars to understand how we got here.
My generation knows a little about the European war—we know about Hitler and the Nazis and the Holocaust. At least in general terms. But we are utterly in the dark about the war with Japan. The course of the war and the battles we fought are a mystery. The only thing that most of us know about the Pacific War is that America dropped an atom bomb on Japan. And there is absolutely no reason that should make sense to us except as an inexcusable atrocity when we don’t know why it was dropped.
Japan was the first Asian power to appreciate the military implications of the industrial revolution. She organized her Imperial Army in the late 19th century and in short order acquired the Kurile Islands, the Ryukyus, China’s Liaodong Peninsula, Taiwan, the southern half of Sakhalin Island, Korea, the Marianas, the Carolines, the Marshalls, and Palau. The latter four island groups were all won from Germany in the First World War and represent the center squares of the South Pacific chessboard.
The Boston Red Sox are nearing the end of a woeful season, running last in their division, thirteen-and-a-half out of first, leaving the taste of wormwood and gall in the mouth of every member of Red Sox nation.
All over New England, they have taken to watching something other than the broadcast of games on NESN. Masochism has its limits, even for Red Sox fans.
So management evidently decided drastic steps were in order and earlier this week made a dramatic move. The play-by-play announcer was fired.
Don Orsillo, the affable and popular play-by-play voice on NESN’s Red Sox telecasts since 2001, will not return next year, according to multiple industry sources.
For the faithful, the move came as a shock and resulted in the usual online petitions in support of Orsillo, who gamely managed to keep his own enthusiasm going this season even as the players, and many fans, seemed to have entirely lost theirs.
One wonders if the high priced, underperforming Red Sox expect that the teevee ratings will go up next year if the team’s won/lost percentage does not.
Ah, well, nice to be reminded from time to time that it is a business and that loyalty does not figure in. Not when you are dead last, thirteen-and-a-half out, and running out the string.
President Obama spent two days in Ethiopia on his recent four-day trip to Africa. To house the president and his entourage during their stay, the government required four hotels costing over $1.3 million.
Initially, only a single hotel contract totaling $412,390 was reported, but two others were posted as well, adding another $425,000 to the total. The fourth contract, for the Sheraton in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, totaled an estimated $488,141 for 1,236 sleeping room nights:
A Florida-based businessman who was in Addis Ababa during the president's visit told THE WEEKLY STANDARD, "The U.S. locals I was working with told me that the U.S. Government had bought out the entire Sheraton while Obama was in Addis." A Medium post by White House photographer confirmed that the president stayed in the Sheraton. That same hotel also hosted two meetings during the president's visit.
The other hotels secured for the visit were the Elilly Hotel for $246,877:
The most frequent words that come to mind when Americans think about Hillary Clinton are "liar" and "dishonest." That's according to a new national poll from Quinnipiac that asked more than 1500 registered voters to say the "first word" that comes to mind when they hear the Democratic presidential frontrunner's name.
The most frequently mentioned word was "liar," with 178 people mentioning the word. Next on the list are "dishonest" at 123 mentions and "untrustworthy" at 93 mentions. There were some positive words for Clinton mentioned frequently, including "experience" (82 mentions) and "strong" (59 mentions).
The same question was asked about Republicans Jeb Bush and Donald Trump. The most frequent word for Bush was "Bush" (136 mentions) followed far behind by "family" (70 mentions). Trump received much greater variance in the words used to describe him, with "arrogant" leading the pack with 58 mentions, followed by "blowhard" (38 mentions), idiot (35 mentions), and businessman and clown (34 mentions each).
Despite the negative terms for Trump, he remains in the lead in Quinnipiac's national poll of Republican or Republican-leaning registered voters with 28 percent support. Trump has even support across demographic and identity groups, including Tea Party supporters, white evangelicals, very conservative Republicans, and somewhat conservative Republicans. The New York businessman and reality TV star actually does better than average with self-identified moderate/liberal Republicans.
Behind Trump in the GOP primary is neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who gets 12 percent support. The remaining candidates register in single digits. On the question of who Republicans say they would "definitely not support" for the nomination, Trump also leads with 26 percent saying that of him. Bush comes in second on that metric with 18 percent, followed by 14 percent for both Chris Christie and Rand Paul and 13 percent for Lindsey Graham.
On the Democratic side, Clinton remains in the lead with a plurality of 45 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 22 percent and Joe Biden (who is not yet a candidate) at 18 percent.