Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told the press that her city "gave those who wished to destroy space to do that" at last night's protest. Watch here:
"I made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech.
"It's a very delicate balancing act. Because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate."
Here's video of some of the violence in Baltimore:
Hillary Clinton was the target of a few jokes last night at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C.:
"[F]or many Americans, this is still a time of deep uncertainty. For example, I have one friend –- just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year. And she’s now living out of a van in Iowa," said President Barack Obama.
Comedian Cecily Strong joked, "In Tom Cotton's defense, he was just trying to repair America's strained Reltionahsip with Israel. But you know what, he doesn't need to worry about that. Our relationship [with Israel] will be better in the next administration, just as soon as Israel makes a generous donation to the Clinton Foundation,"
Elsewhere in the program, Obama joked, "The trail hasn’t been easy for my fellow Democrats either. As we all know, Hillary’s private emails got her in trouble. Frankly, I thought it was going to be her private Instagram account that was going to cause her bigger problems.
"Hillary kicked things off by going completely unrecognized at a Chipotle. Not to be outdone, Martin O’Malley kicked things off by going completely unrecognized at a Martin O’Malley campaign event."
The Clinton Foundation is now admitting that mistakes were made. "[Y]es, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future. We are committed to operating the Foundation responsibly and effectively to continue the life-changing work that this philanthropy is doing every day," says Clinton Foundation acting CEO Maura Pally in a blog post.
Over the past few days, many questions have been raised about the Clinton Foundation, its initiatives, and the financial support that allows us to do the uniquely impactful philanthropic work that we do at home and around the world.
Without question the Foundation’s accomplishments stand on their own. From fighting obesity by helping create healthier learning environments for more than 11 million students; to working to combat one of our greatest global threats, climate change; to lowering the price of lifesaving antiretroviral drugs that have benefited more than 9 million people fighting HIV/AIDS; one thing is clear, the Clinton Foundation has not been afraid to take on big challenges and see real results.
Just as important as the results we see, is how the Foundation has transformed philanthropy into a collaborative effort by bringing NGOs, local stakeholders, government officials, private sector actors, and others together to maximize their collective investments. It seems logical, but fifteen years ago, that just wasn’t how philanthropy was done.
As the Foundation’s impact has grown, so too has its commitment to transparency. When Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State, we took unprecedented steps to avoid potential conflicts of interest by going above and beyond what is required of any philanthropy and instituted voluntarily annual disclosure of all of our donors on our website. We also established a policy around the foreign government contributions we accept, recognizing that in order to continue our life improving work we rely on the contributions of government, as is the case with most large scale global charities.
Today, our donor disclosure and foreign government contributor policy is stronger than ever. Since Secretary Clinton decided to run for President, we have committed to disclosing all of our donors on a quarterly basis. In addition, we announced that we will only accept funding from a handful of governments, many of whom the Foundation receives multi-year grants from, to continue the work they have long partnered on.
The Foundation has 11 different initiatives, some of which function in organizationally different ways. One of these 11 initiatives is the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), which is focused on advancing innovative solutions to poverty alleviation on a global scale. CGEP has come under heightened scrutiny this past week and I want to explain how it operates.
Senior Editor Andrew Ferguson joined C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb for their Q&A series to discuss his career in journalism, the founding of the Weekly Standard, his writing process, and stories from his time on the 2016 campaign trail.
It can be hard to say anything nice about a man whose administration would malevolently inflict a traffic jam on residents of the Tristate area, but Governor Chris Christie’s recent proposal aimed at fixing the country’s broken Social Security system may make him deserving of forgiveness. The plan focuses on means testing and gradual increases in the retirement age, though even if all of its measures were enacted, it would only address 60 percent of the program’s projected deficit. This is not grandma being pushed off of a cliff in her wheelchair; this is grandma reducing the ideal square footage when purchasing her Boca Raton condo.
Despite the clear urgency of such action, former Governor Mike Huckabee responded to a question about Christie’s plan and ones similar to it by saying, “That’s not a reform. That’s not some kind of proposal that Republicans need to embrace. Because what we’re really embracing at that point, you’re embracing a government that lied to its people. That took money from its people under one pretense, and then took it away from them at the time they started wanting to actually get what they paid for all these years.”
Huckabee’s sense of responsibility to keep government promises is admirable. However, not “embracing” the fact that the government, over the past several decades, utterly misled voters about the sustainability of Social Security will not suddenly make the program solvent. Furthermore, continuing to maintain the program at previously promised rates would only be achievable by wreaking havoc on the financial lives of those who those who were not old enough to vote, or not even born, at the time that the false promises were made.
The government has a responsibility to send the Social Security checks that it has promised would result from the taxes that senior citizens have paid for their whole lives, but it also has a responsibility to operate on a financial time horizon that extends beyond the next election. As Governor Christie appears to recognize, the solution will lie somewhere in the middle.
Unfortunately, this seemingly obvious path is somehow losing traction. Just a few short years ago, Social Security’s insolvency seemed to have bipartisan recognition, with the key items of debate being the proportions in which spending cuts, tax hikes, age increases, and other program details should each contribute to reform.
Recently, however, the Senate voted on an amendment to increase Social Security benefits. Apparently occupying an alternate budgetary reality, all but two Democrats who voted supported the amendment. While it remains to be seen whether these senators’ constituents will view this choice as reckless or be convinced by the Elizabeth Warren narrative that Social Security’s financial woes are a myth concocted by Republicans, such an aggressive move does effectively shift the center of the debate towards the left.
Last week, a senior Yemeni Houthi official was buried in Beirut. Mohammed Abdel Malik al-Shami, the spiritual leader of the Houthis, had been critically wounded in the March 20 Islamic State suicide bombing of Al Hashahush mosque in Sanaa. He was airlifted to Tehran for medical treatment, but eventually succumbed to his injuries. On April 13, Shami was interred at Hezbollah’s heroes graveyard in Dahyia, where he will spend eternity in the company of erstwhile military commander Imad Mugniy3h and Hadi Nasrallah, the slain son of the organization’s secretary general.
At first glance, Shami’s journey from Yemen to the Lebanese Shiite militia’s equivalent of Arlington National Cemetery would seem odd. While the Houthis are Zaydi Muslims—a nominally Shiite branch of Islam—Lebanon is far from home and unlike Najaf and Karbala, Iraq, Beirut has little religious burial appeal for Shiites. But to Hezbollah and Iran, Shami was a towering figure, deserving in death of a spot among the pantheon of Shiite martyrs serving the theocratic regime in Tehran.
Shami’s life and death highlight the ongoing challenge posed by the aggressive and destabilizing regional posture of Iran. The problems for Washington—and its local Sunni allies in the Middle East—are likely to be exacerbated should the nuclear deal be concluded.
In many ways, Shami’s story is the archetype for Iranian-style regional “resistance.” It all started seventeen years ago when Shami moved to Syria to study at one of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini’s religious schools. On his return to Yemen, he joined Ansar Allah, the Houthi militia, eventually rising to prominence as the Houthi leader’s special envoy to Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.
According to press reports, Shami’s mission was to proselytize with an eye toward establishing a Shiite state in Yemen. To this end, he established a university of Shiite jurisprudence in Sanaa, and special Shiite elementary schools throughout Yemen affiliated with Lebanon’s Mustafa schools. The Lebanese schools were founded in 1974 by Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s current deputy secretary general.
But Shami and the Houthis’ ties with Hezbollah and Iran extended well beyond education. Although Zaydis, who comprise about 35 percent of Yemenis, are quite different from Shiites—many scholars say they are closer to Sunni Muslims in doctrine and practice—the Houthis identify closely with, and openly declare their allegiance to the clerical establishment in Iran. Houthis call their philosophy “pure Shia,” and the group’s clerics have compared their leader Hussein al-Houthi to Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah.
In 2009, the Houthis launched an offensive against Saudi Arabia, seizing a parcel of the kingdom’s territory. At the time, press reports—and Yemeni officials—indicated that “high ranking officials” from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah advisers were helping the Houthis coordinate military operations. Then-CENTCOM Commander Gen. David Petreaus also suggested an Iranian role in the conflict.
Late-night TV host Seth Meyers spent a segment of his program Thursday knocking Peter Schweizer's new book Clinton Cash. The Schweizer book documents the web of conflicts of interest and secretive cash flows that surround the foundations and initiatives of Bill and Hillary Clinton. News outlets as diverse as the New York Times and Fox News have covered aspects of the book.
Meyers uses this coverage to point out to his audience on NBC's Late Night that Schweizer and others who write books about Clinton scandals suffer from bias against, well, the Clintons. Watch the video below:
"Clinton Cash comes out on May 5, and it will be interesting to see if any of the allegations hold up under scrutiny," says the former Saturday Night Live writer and performer. "If they do, the question will be, will they affect Hillary's campaign? They might not. She's been attacked for 25 years. It's possible she's built up an immunity to everything."
It's a remarkably friendly monologue toward the Clintons, and Twitter user BT suggests there may be a reason why: Meyers hosted last year's Clinton Global Initiative Awards. Check out the tweet below:
The day President Obama believes relevant history began. Rather like the French revolutionaries who decreed that the establishment of their Republic be dated Year I of the French Republic. August 4, 1961 was the day on which Barack Hussein Obama arrived on this earth in Honolulu, Hawaii. Anything occurring before the world received this blessing is irrelevant, the President told the gathering of heads of state at The Summit of the Americas. Not directly, but in effect. “The Cold War has been over for a very long time. And I am not interested in having battles that frankly started before I was born.” So because these battles pre-dated, he has no interest in either the Great War or WWII, much less the Civil War and the war that established this nation he is so determined to “transform.”
In any event, we are in the here and now, approaching the end of 53 AO. Relations with Cuba are to be normalized to provide “more opportunities and resources for the Cuban people.” Obama has the Castro Brothers’ word for that, although architects have not yet filed plans to convert the islands’ prisons into hotels for visiting America tourists, whose cash will enable the Cuban government to open the Internet to all, allow free travel from Cuba, and otherwise retire the guardians of the omnipresent state.
Vladimir Putin was not invited to the Summit of the Americas despite his country’s expanding interests in the region -- hardly the “near abroad” he covets, allegedly only to ensure Russia’ security. Putin has always believed that the Cold War was merely on hold between the death of Stalin and his own rise to power, and that the era BO contained battles in which he, at least, is interested in re-fighting. A view shared by literate Americans of all stripes in our own War of Independence, Civil War, the World Wars, even though of no interest to our current president. And by NATO commanders who increasingly liken current provocations to those practiced by Russia in the Cold War, which having started before the President was born, are of no interest to him. And, by extension, of no interest to “my cabinet”, “my State Department”, “my national security team”, or other institutions like the cabinet, the State Department, and the national security team that have been, well, privatized in a funny kind of way.
The Daily Caller's Kerry Picket reports that likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said in a speech on Thursday in New York that religious beliefs about abortion "have to be changed."
“Far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care," Clinton said. “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will," she added. "And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed." You can watch video of Clinton's remarks here.
Clinton's spokesman Nick Merrill still has not replied.
Update: A reader suggests that Clinton might not have been talking about abortion when she mentioned "reproductive health care." Like almost every other politician who supports legalized abortion, Hillary Clinton has long used the phrase "reproductive health care" as a euphemism for abortion. She was specifically asked during a 2009 congressional hearing if reproductive rights meant abortion. "Reproductive health includes access to abortion," Clinton replied.
It is not certain that Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin, actually said, “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them,” but if he didn’t, he certainly thought it, and if still around would like to claim that prophesy as his own. IBM has announced plans “to help a little-known Chinese company (Teamsun) absorb and build upon key technologies” that IBM licenses, according to the New York Times. The buyer knows what to do with that intellectual property: its advisor, Shen Changxiang, is the former supervisor of the cybersecurity of China’s strategic missile arsenal, was in charge of computer security research for China’s increasingly potent navy, and is a long-time critic of his nation’s reliance on U.S. technology. Teamsun makes no secret of its goal: eliminating the need to buy American products. IBM wants access to China’s market for its “rope”, and the price it is willing to pay is teaching China how to make its own. Perhaps that technology will help the regime to improve its already formidable Great Firewall of China, the web-filtering infrastructure that blocks content the leadership prefers to make unavailable to the masses.
There is more, and worse. Teamsun announced that it plans to “absorb” this intellectual property and technology from other companies such as Google [which should know better, given past dealing with the People’s Republic, unenthusiastic about an open Internet], and Oracle, and replace those companies’ products in world markets. And IBM will also be licensing advanced chip technology and other stuff to Chinese companies. The goal, according to IBM CEO, desperate to reduce the 10% slide in her shares in the three years of her reign, is to “create a new and vibrant system of Chinese companies producing homegrown computer systems for the local and international markets.” Thanks. Whether that is Mr. Shen’s sole interest is unclear, but it seems unwise to assume that he has no uses for this technology other than marketing computer systems. Cyberwarfare, his specialty, leaps to mind.
Then, in an act of whatever the Chinese word is for chutzpah, Premier Li Keqiang informed a U.S. delegation led by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker that China’s ability to cooperate with President Obama’s battle against climate change, ranked by some in the administration as far more important than the battle against ISIL, would depend on the willingness of GE and others to turn over their cutting edge intellectual property to China. This, say the Chinese negotiators according to the Financial Times, would be “part of richer countries’ commitments to a climate change summit this year in Paris”. Li Keqiang undoubtedly is a student of Lenin’s handling of relations with the “richer countries”, but student exceeds teacher when it comes to turning capitalists’ quest for short-term profits to a communist regime’s advantage.
I have come back to you from thorny uncertainty. I want you as straight as the sword or the road. But you insist on keeping a nook of shadow I do not want.
Good poets do not always write for their time, but this fragment from Pablo Neruda’s The Question repays some meditation by Chile-watchers.
Chilean history has been, of course, filled with thorny—or shaky, if you prefer a more apt but depressing metaphor—uncertainty. From its earliest modern beginnings, Chilean politics has proceeded in lock step with the country’s motto: Por la razon o la fuerza (“by right or might”), oscillating between both modes of governance, much to the peril of the Chilean people. And, while many of the country’s modern leaders—starting with Bernardo O’Higgins all the way up to Michelle Bachelet—have spearheaded salubrious economic and social initiatives, the nook of shadow persists, and its recent manifestation, under the Bachelet regime, is cause for some concern.
Let’s begin with the Chilean economy, long a model of Latin American inspiration. While Chile remains the most competitive economy in Latin America, inflation continues to color economic forecasts. Recovering only recently from a five-year low in 2014, Finance Minister Alberto Arenas was quoted in a Reuters article as saying that the economic “data confirms that the Chilean economy is going to grow around 3 percent” during 2015. Some of this success will require Bachelet to face the economic challenges head-on, from the perspective of the government. Her recent comment that “it is not enough with what we (the government) do…the private sector must invest and make the economy work. Because we have a budget investments,” sounds odd and somewhat misguided.
The Education System
Last month, in an interview with Lally Weymouth of the Washington post, Michelle Bachelet, on point of starting her second term as president, was asked how she would ensure access to quality education, one of her platform priorities. Bachelet responded by saying:
Now that it’s been reported the Comcast-TimeWarner merger talks have collapsed, there will be much ad time to be filled on television and radio (as well as print). At least if you live in the D.C. area, radio commercials are often about impending legislation and a voiceover urging listeners to “vote no” or “vote yes.” The ads are usually paid for by lobbying groups and aimed at lawmakers.
On the radio, the Comcast-TimeWarner campaign ran a series of ads featuring two men having a friendly conversation. One guy asks his friend what he thinks of the possible merger. The other guy is not so well-informed. He thinks it sounds like an awfully big company and isn’t sure if that’s a good thing. At which point the other man lays out the case for the $45-billion merger (the companies actually preferred the term "transaction"). He talks about better bandwidth, better choices, freedom, and Internet access to disadvantaged children. It’s never revealed where the pro-merger fellow works, but I assume it’s at Comcast.
In any event, now that the deal has fallen through, we won’t ever hear another conversation between these two men. Which is a shame, for with each ad, the conversations seemed to get more and more compelling—a harder sell each time. I imagined the next ad running as follows:
First Guy: So, have you given more thought to this Comcast-TimeWarner transaction?
Second Guy: Yeah, but it’s sort of hard to wrap my head around. It sounds so big.
First Guy: I told you how it makes good business sense, didn’t I?
Second Guy: Yeah, but—
First Guy: And that your aunt who’s a teacher, she’d like it, too, since it means more Internet access for her students.
Second Guy: Absolutely. I just—
First Guy: So what the (expletive) is your problem?
Second Guy: I’m sorry, but is that a giant seed pod you’re carrying?
First Guy: We came here from a dying world. We drift through the universe, from planet to planet, pushed on by the solar winds. We adapt and we survive. The function of life is survival.
The Hillary Clinton campaign is fundraising off new reporting in the Peter Schweizer book Clinton Cash.
"There's a new book out -- written by a former Republican operative with ties to a Koch-funded organization -- that uses allegations and conspiracy theories to stitch together a false narrative about Hillary without producing a single shred of evidence," writes Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in an email to supporters.
Here's what you need to know from some of the reviews so far:
TIME magazine says one of the book's primary accusations "is based on little evidence" with allegations "presented as questions rather than proof."
Yahoo News points out that the author "marshals circumstantial evidence" only to find "no smoking gun."
We're only two weeks into the election and we're already up against these baseless attacks.
If we don't fight back now, we send a signal to our opponents that we'll shrivel in the face of whatever will follow.
This is an important moment in this campaign.
Podesta asks the supporters join the campaign and ask others to do so, too. And then, at the bottom of the email, is a Donate button:
The stakes for the 2016 presidential election are high. Consider this: four Supreme Court justices are 76 or older.
"It’s very much at stake in the 2016 election. Four justices are 76 or older. Two, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (82) and Stephen Breyer (76), are liberals. Antonin Scalia (79) is a conservative. And Anthony Kennedy (78) is a swing vote. The next president’s nominees, assuming there are several, will be pivotal," writes Fred Barnes in the Wall Street Journal.
The importance of a presidential election depends on what’s at stake. In 1980, a lot was. The economy was stuck with double-digit inflation and interest rates, and Soviet communism was advancing in Africa, Asia and South America. Ronald Reagan was elected president.
Now, as the 2016 presidential race unfolds, the stakes are even higher than 36 years ago. Not only is the economy unsteady but threats to American power and influence around the world are more pronounced and widespread. And those problems are only part of what makes next year’s election so critical.
Like it or not, the next president must deal with the world President Obama leaves behind. It won’t be easy. A Republican president will be committed to reversing a significant chunk of Mr. Obama’s legacy, as most GOP candidates already are. That’s a gigantic undertaking. A Democratic president, presumably Hillary Clinton, will be forced to defend Mr. Obama’s policies, since they reflect the views of her party. That will leave little time for fresh Democratic initiatives.
The most immediate issues confronting the new president are strategic and military. The U.S. role in the world is in retreat. Allies such as Israel and Poland have been alienated. American leadership against Russian intervention in Ukraine and Iran’s dominance of neighboring countries in the Middle East was fleeting. Mr. Obama’s promise of a foreign-policy “pivot” toward Asia turned out to be merely rhetorical.