Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Carly Fiorina will both be campaigning in Columbia, South Carolina, on Wednesday, and the Fiorina campaign is making sure reporters know its candidate will be answering questions. Fiorina will be available to speak to the press, says deputy campaign manager Sarah Isgur Flores, shortly before speaking with Republican state legislators at the state capitol. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO will also travel to Spartanburg later in the day for another event.
"Our events tomorrow are all open to the press," said Flores in an email to reporters. "And by open press, we mean we'll actually take questions. That's right. We've answered hundreds of questions from reporters because we believe the American people will not and should not elect a president that can't answer for her record, won't explain her positions or for whom the truth is whatever she can get away with."
It will be Clinton's first visit as a candidate to South Carolina since losing that state's primary in 2008 to Barack Obama. The former secretary of state will be speaking to a Democratic women's group and as well as holding one of her "roundtable" discussions with a group of minority business owners, according to the State. Clinton will also visit with state lawmakers of her party at the capitol.
The Fiorina campaign maintains it did not coordinate its candidate's appearance in Columbia to conincide with Clinton's. "We've had this event on our calendar for some time. But we were pleasantly surprised to be able to draw the contrast in such close proximity," said Flores in an email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Flores also noted that the campaign's Google Calendar is visible to the public.
For the past several months Fiorina’s been performing nonstop. She wowed observers in January at the Iowa Freedom Summit, the first major event of the 2016 presidential cycle. While most possible candidates stuck to the biographical, Fiorina went after the big target: Hillary Clinton. She was a hit.
“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds and thousands of miles around the globe, but unlike her, I’ve actually accomplished something,” Fiorina said, in what’s become a staple applause line. “You see, Mrs. Clinton, flying is not an accomplishment. It is an activity.”
Sometimes, Fiorina doesn’t even have to make the comparison herself. In New Hampshire, a male voter says he can’t wait to see Fiorina face off against Clinton, womano a womano, in a general election debate. “I just think that would be awesome,” Fiorina replies, and the crowd agrees.
A reader who wishes not to be named, as he toils behind enemy lines—at a university—emails with a good question. It's about this statement by President Obama in his speech at Adas Israel synagogue last Friday:
"And it is precisely because I care so deeply about the state of Israel -- it’s precisely because, yes, I have high expectations for Israel the same way I have high expectations for the United States of America -- that I feel a responsibility to speak out honestly about what I think will lead to long-term security and to the preservation of a true democracy in the Jewish homeland."
Our friend asks: "But if President Obama holds Jews in the Middle East to a particularly high standard, doesn't that perhaps imply that he holds Arabs to a lower standard? I'm no expert on the subject, but isn't that a form of Orientalism? Isn't Obama implicitly saying that one can't expect too much from non-Jews in the Middle East?"
The Central Intelligence Agency is shutting downa research program that offered classified data to scientists to examine the link between climate change and global security threats
This comes in a few days after President Obama told the graduating class at the Coast Guard Academy that:
President Obama said climate change was a “serious threat to global security” in a commencement address to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Climate change, Obama said, “will impact how our military defends our country. So we need to act, and we need to act now.”
The program, which was known as MEDEA, was “a 1990s-era intelligence program restarted in 2010 under President Obama. The collaboration gave scientists access to intelligence assets like satellite data to study climate change and inform on how its impacts could inflame conflicts.”
MEDEA was “kept largely under wraps and was not largely cited, but scientists quoted in reports about the program say the data was often more high quality than what they could get through other sources.”
In 2012, the CIA:
also shut down its Center on Climate Change and National Security, a group of security specialists who studied existing climate data to game out how changes could impact security threats. That left MEDEA as the agency’s primary climate change program.
Odd way to deal with a “serious threat to global security.” Sort of like declaring that ISIS is the JayVee.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry has a message for three of the current Republican White House hopefuls: Run for governor before you run for president. Speaking about Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul, all three U.S. senators, Perry said in an interview last week with THE WEEKLY STANDARD that he's hearing from GOP voters that they want executive experience.
"I’ve had more than one individual say, 'You know what, if you want to be the president of the United States, you ought to go back to your home state and be the governor and get that executive experience before you go lead this country,'" said Perry.
The former governor calls the senators "Marco, Ted, and Rand," and made sure to say he has "great respect" for the trio. "They are smart as a tree full of owls," said Perry, "These guys are very, very capable United States senators."
Earlier in the day, Perry had addressed the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City. The Texas Republican seemed to have Paul, who had just completed a filibuster on the Senate floor to block the renewal of the NSA's wiretapping program, on his mind during the speech. "Leadership's not just a speech on the Senate floor, it's a record of action," he told the crowd. Perry later denied in his interview with TWS that the statement was a specific shot at Paul.
Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for president in 2012, left office in January of this year after more than 14 years as Texas governor. He will likely announce a second presidential bid on June 4 near Dallas.
Bill Clinton has a secret "pass-through" company named WJC, LLC. WJC, of course, is the former president's initials, William Jefferson Clinton.
"The newly released financial files on Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton's growing fortune omit a company with no apparent employees or assets that the former president has legally used to provide consulting and other services, but which demonstrates the complexity of the family's finances," the Associated Press reports.
"Because the company, WJC, LLC, has no financial assets, Hillary Clinton's campaign was not obligated to report its existence in her recent financial disclosure report, officials with Bill Clinton's private office and the Clinton campaign said. They were responding to questions by The Associated Press, which reviewed corporate documents.
"The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide private details of the former president's finances on the record, said the entity was a 'pass-through' company designed to channel payments to the former president."
Indeed, as the report details, Clinton's work for the consulting company Teneo, formed by a former close aide to the ex-president, went through WJC, LLC.
WJC, LLC was also cited by Band in a June 2011 memo sent to State Department ethics officials asking for clearance to allow Bill Clinton to advise Band's international consulting company, Teneo Strategy LLC. Band's request said Teneo would use "consulting services provided by President Clinton through WJC, LLC." State Department officials approved the three-year contract between the two companies.
None of the proposals detailed how much Bill Clinton would be paid.
While Hillary Clinton's 2011 federal disclosure report did not mention WJC, LLC, it reported that Bill Clinton received "non-employee compensation over $1,000 from Teneo," but did not disclose a more precise amount. Federal disclosure rules require the spouses of filers to disclose the identity of any income sources over $1,000, but they do not have to provide exact figures.
The Guardian had a story last week about the soon-to-be completed Abraj Kudai, a new hotel in Mecca which will have 10,000 guest rooms, 70 restaurants, four helipads, and five floors reserved for the sole use of the Saudi royal family.
Totally unmentioned by the Guardian is that you’re not allowed to stay there unless you’re Muslim.
The Koranic revelations were given to the prophet Muhammed in Mecca, which was then a pagan place. Soon after, he left Mecca and traveled to Medina, where he assembled an army, returning to conquer Mecca in A.D. 630. "The Prophet then ordered, on the basis of what he said was God's command to him, that the environs around Mecca should only be for Muslims," explains Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University.
The custodians of Islam take the ban seriously, and they have constructed a large apparatus to keep infidels out. In The Saudis, Sandra Mackey's account of living in Saudi Arabia several years ago, she recalls trying to drive near Mecca (with her husband at the wheel, of course): "Billboard-size blue and white signs in both Arabic and English appeared along the road, warning non-Moslems to turn back." She saw religious authorities and Saudi policemen "lounging in a small wooden building adjacent to the road." Eventually, "we were forced off the road by one of the angry policemen." She was fined about $100 and turned away. (What's the penalty for actually being caught inside Mecca? The Saudi embassy refused to return calls.)
Ali Al-Ahmed, executive director of the Washington-based Saudi Institute, explains that these posts "check your religion, basically." He notes that, "if you're a Saudi, of course, there is no problem. But if you aren't, your ID says what your religion is." If you're wondering why it's not a problem if you're a Saudi, Ms. Mackey explains it best by quoting a passage from a Saudi hotel directory: "Islam is the official religion of Saudi Arabia. Churches of other religious denominations do not exist in the kingdom."
Professor Nasr has a more benign view. When traveling to Mecca, drivers are stopped at a toll station, he explains (the city has no airport): "Somebody comes forward and looks and says, 'Are you all Muslims?' And the people will say 'yes' and they'll say, 'Go on.'" But "if the authorities become suspicious because someone doesn't look like a Muslim, they'll say, 'Recite the first chapter of the Koran' or some such thing which all Muslims know by heart."
It’s important to understand that this ban isn’t just for a single holy site, but for an entire metropolitan area. How seriously do the Saudis take it? This seriously:
The speed with which the transgender agenda is moving may end up making the same-sex marriage debate look slow and deliberative by comparison. And now Scholastic, the children's publisher that specializes in distributing and selling books through schools, is poised to bring the issue to a middle school classroom near you. The medium is George, the story of an eight year old boy named George who desperately wants to be considered a girl.
George is the first effort by author Alex Gino, self-described on Facebook as a "[p]rogressive middle grade novelist, author of GEORGE (fall 2015, Scholastic). Fat queer activist, glitter liberationist, urban gardener, and then some." Gino's bio on Twitter is similar:
Although the book will not be published until August, Scholastic is sending pre-publication copies to teachers for feedback on the novel. The letter accompanying the advance copies of the book reads as follows:
Although the book is targeted at middle-schoolers, George tells the story of a fourth grader named George, a boy who has "always" thought of himself as a girl. He keeps a stash of Seventeen and other girls' magazine hidden in his room, chafes at being called a "boy" or "young man," and is mortified by his own anatomy. A class production of Charlotte's Web brings the issue to a head when George wants to portray the spider Charlotte, a part offered only to the girls in his class.
The author Gino exclusively uses female pronouns to refer to George throughout the story, distracting for an adult but potentially unsettling for the novel's preteen and young teen target audience. The book's back-flap bio of the author takes a different tack, saying of Gino that "George is their first novel," a remarkable grammatically incorrect concession for an educational publisher to make in a children's book.
Although George uses Charlotte's Web as the vehicle to tell this eight year old boy's story, readers may find that the story The Emperor's New Clothes comes to mind as well. Although not everyone immediately accepts George's new gender, many of the cool characters do, and the reader is given the impression that reason will win the day and the others will come around. There is one mention by George's mother about George seeing a therapist to talk about "these things," but the mother says she probably needs someone to talk to about it also. There is no discussion of what other feelings that conflict with biological reality (race, appearance, age) might also be worthy of affirmation.
Gen. Qassim Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds forces, seemed to suggest that the US might want to examine its own glass house before casting blame for the fall of Ramadi, saying that it is the US that has shown “no will” in fighting the Islamic State.
“Quite frankly, Soleimani is correct,” says retired Col. Peter Mansoor, who served as the executive officer for Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq.“The shortfalls in our strategy are becoming apparent: Shiite militias are a more capable ground force now because they have Iranian advisers embedded in them,” he adds. “The Shiite militias are commanded by committed leaders, and the weak ones are being weeded out. You can’t say the same thing about the Iraqi Army.”
If there is a fight to retake Ramadi, it will tell us a lot.
In the initial years following Obamacare’s passage, Republicans remained solidly united on one crucial point: Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced, not “fixed.” But some Republicans and center-right pundits have since decided that trying to fix the president’s signature legislation is a good thing. Witness this advice from the Wall Street Journal editorial board. The Journal calls for a “subsidies-for-deregulation deal” — whereby President Obama would get his subsidies turned back on if the Supreme Court turns them off, and in exchange, Republicans would agree to help make Obamacare better.
Referring to a proposal advanced in its own pages by Senator Ron Johnson, the Journalwrites,
“The best response we’ve heard [to King v. Burwell] comes from Mr. Johnson and has broad support among Senate Republicans. In the event the Court overturns the subsidies, Mr. Johnson proposes a straight extension of the subsidies through August 2017 for anyone enrolled as of this summer….
“In return, he’d restore to states the freedom to deregulate ObamaCare’s central planning diktats and offer more policy choices to consumers. Over time, the subsidies would be less necessary as markets healed.”
But markets can never really heal under Obamacare, and to the extent that Republicans try to offer partial relief, they will merely be undermining the cause of repeal. Obamacare was passed without a single Republican vote. Why would Republicans now want to give it a gloss of bipartisanship, make it somewhat less awful, and thereby reduce the clear sense of urgency of getting rid of it altogether?
The biggest danger posed by the King v. Burwell case has always been that Republican congressional leadership would take a win at the Court — in the form of a ruling that the Obama administration has been lawlessly paying out Obamacare subsidies in 37 states in defiance of the legislation’s plain text — and use it as an excuse to negotiate “fixes” to Obamacare with the Obama White House. Now that’s exactly what the Journal is saying they should do.
Under such a “subsidies-for-deregulation deal” — those are the Journal’s own words — Republicans would agree to make Obamacare better in exchange for agreeing to fund it. In other words, they would give Obama two wins for the price of one — and in response to a loss for Obama at the Court.
"Don’t underestimate me,” warns Bernie Sanders who will, as the AP reports:
... jumpstart his campaign on Tuesday with a kickoff event - complete with free Ben & Jerry's ice cream - in Burlington, the place where he won his first election by beating a longtime incumbent Democrat by 10 votes to become mayor.
For Sanders, raising the money for a legitimate campaign presents both a challenge and an opportunity. He has, so far:
... raised more than $4 million since announcing in late April that he would seek the party's nomination. He suggested in the interview that raising $50 million for the primaries was a possibility.
But he will be running against a candidate who proposes to raise $2.5 billion.
Sanders, however, may be able to make this vast disparity into an advantage of sorts. It could work if, as one suspects, there is a growing unhappiness over the coziness of the political class with the sources of big money.
"I'm not going to have a super PAC in this campaign," Sanders said. "I don't go to fundraisers where millionaires sit around the room and say here's a million, here's $5 million for your super PAC. That's not my life. That's not my world. And I think the American people are saying that is not what our politics should be about." He said the money he's raised so far has come from more than 100,000 individual donors, giving an average of $42 each.
Forty-two bucks … about the cost, one suspects, of a single shrimp served on a little paper-thin cracker at one of those political money raising soirees.
At last, a little good news from the academy. Oberlin College has a sense of humor -- or at least its choir does. I don’t know that the subversive (by Oberlin standards!) song they've perormed has a title, but it might well be “Please Don’t Put Me In the Real World.”
Nearly seventy-two thousand hits on YouTube so far! Astonishing that the Oberlin administration hasn’t demanded the removal of the video from public viewing. Christina Hoff Sommers must be feeling better about her recent campus visits, which Mark Hemingway wrote about in the current issue of the magazine here.
While the country slept Friday night and into Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate debated and voted on whether to alter substantially the NSA’s bulk telephone meta-data collection program, extend it for a short period, or simply let it die on June 1 when the “sunset” provision governing the relevant section (Sec. 215) of the Patriot Act kicks in.
Well, there was no result. “The world’s greatest deliberative body” could neither pass the bill that would have altered the program nor pass an extension. What’s left is a game of chicken, with the House of Representatives and the Obama administration having backed the reform measure and the Senate leadership—that is, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—arguing that with the rise of ISIS this was no time to be gutting a counterterrorism tool. But in the absence of either the House or the Senate changing its position and enacting some measure, the Justice Department said it would begin the process of shutting down the program as of last Friday to meet the June 1 statutory deadline. (This coming from a Justice Department that has repeatedly found all kinds of reasons to “interpret” laws to avoid their apparent strictures.)
Watching the three branches of government deal with the legal issues and political controversy over the National Security Agency’s telephony meta-data collection program has not been a pretty picture. Indeed, not a single branch has covered itself in glory.
When the program was first revealed by a leak from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, it caused quite the uproar. NSA was, without individualized court warrants, sweeping up massive amounts of domestic and foreign telephone meta-data: the number called from, the number called, at what time, and for how long the call was made. Matching that data up with numbers being used by suspected terrorists, NSA was able to look for possible terrorist connections here and abroad and pass that information on to the FBI or CIA. From the headlines and news accounts covering the Snowden’s leak, it seemed the era of “Big Brother” had truly arrived.
But, as referees at football games now say, “upon further review,” it turned out that a.) the NSA was not using the data to snoop on Americans gratuitously; b.) only a select few analysts at NSA had access to the data; c.) the program collected no call content; d.) federal judges associated with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court were overseeing on a regular basis what numbers could be used to query the data base; and e.) members of Congress had been briefed on the program. Moreover, as a constitutional matter, the collection itself was arguably within the boundaries set by the Supreme Court when it came to Fourth Amendment strictures on legitimate government “searches and seizures.”
Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton, made their first joint appearance since the start of the 2016 presidential campaign. The event was a Memorial Day parade in Chappaqua, New York, the location of one of their multi-million dollar homes.
Hillary tweeted out a picture of her standing next to her husband: