The White House has released video of First Lady Michelle Obama working out. The video is meant to encourage others to exercise.
Obama begins the video by saying, "I want to emphasize that you should only do exercises like these with a coach or a parent around to make sure you're using the right form. That's how you can both get active and stay safe."
Then Obama jumps rope, uses the medicine ball, squats with a bench, lifts weights, and, finally, boxes.
"The First Lady, Michelle Obama, accepts her husband, President Barack Obama's challenge to show him five ways she moves," reads the description of the video on YouTube.
Clinton Foundation staffer Sid Blumenthal has been subpoenaed by the House Benghazi committee, Reuters reports:
Congressional investigators have issued a subpoena demanding that former Clinton White House adviser Sidney Blumenthal testify next month before the House of Representatives committee investigating the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
The subpoena, a copy of which was made available to Reuters, demands that Blumenthal appear before the House committee on June 3 to give a deposition. The subpoena is dated Monday but carries a notation indicating an unnamed deputy U.S. marshal served it on Blumenthal’s wife on Tuesday.
The copy of the subpoena contains no further details about the subject matter of the deposition.
“I can confirm Mr. Blumenthal has been called for a deposition by the committee,” Jamal Ware, a spokesman for Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, the Benghazi committee chairman, said in response to a Reuters query.
More than two years ago, a set of emails sent by Blumenthal to Hillary Clinton while she served as secretary of state were posted on the Internet by a hacker who called himself Guccifer. Blumenthal did not work for Clinton when she was secretary of state and sent those emails as a private individual.
A number of social conservatives who met privately with Scott Walker on Tuesday say that they came away from the meeting reassured about the Wisconsin governor's committment to the issues they care about most. "He was well-received in a pretty packed room," says Tom McClusky of March for Life Action. "I was impressed."
McClusky is one of many social conservatives who have publicly expressed concern about Scott Walker's past comments or campaign personnel decisions (including hiring a former Giuliani campaign staffer to run his campaign). But McClusky said he was encouraged by Walker's 90-minute discussion Tuesday of his track record, agenda, and some more recent campaign hires. Walker's decision to hire Andrew Bremberg, a former aide to Mitch McConnell and well-respected conservative, to oversee both domestic and foreign policy "really reassured me," said McClusky. "He's in a substantive position."
Asked Tuesday how he would respond to Hillary Clinton's attacks on social issues, Walker said he would draw contrasts with Clinton on the issues of prohibiting taxpayer-funding of abortion and late-term abortions. "I'm pro-life, and we may disagree on a lot of things, but we can agree on that one," Walker said, referring to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, according to Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Walker's pro-life credentials have been questioned by one Republican rival because of a 2014 Walker TV ad in which the governor defended laws regulating abortion as “legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”
According to Dannenfelser, Walker brought up the ad during Tuesday's meeting and "explained his perspective on that--that using the language of the other side to support our own position is a good thing, but you can only do it if people aren't trying to call you out and quoting you out of context. And I actually liked the way he formulated this in general."
The group of roughly forty conservatives who met with Walker on Tuesday were predominantly focused on social issues, but conservatives who work on fiscal issues and national security policy were in attendance as well. "I've seen him speak before, and I think he's getting better," said Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, who was at Tuesday's meeting. Norquist said he's been told by Walker aides that the governor intends to sign his ATR's pledge not to raise taxes.
A bipartisan group of members of Congress is pushing a law that would stop the requirment for gun buys to disclose race and ethnicity. The effort is being led by Senators Roy Blunt, Mike Enzi, and Joe Manchin, a Democrat.
"U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) today introduced the Freedom From Intrusive Regulatory Enforcement of Arbitrary Registration Mandates Act (FIREARM Act), which would prohibit the federal government from requiring Americans to disclose their race or ethnicity in connection with the purchase of a firearm. In 2014, it was reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) implemented a change to Form 4473, requiring firearm purchasers to disclose both their race and ethnicity," Blunt's office says in a press release.
The press release quotes the senators:
“The right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms is an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and that has nothing to do with race or ethnicity,” Blunt said. “I thank my colleagues for joining me to introduce this bipartisan bill to stop the Obama Administration from imposing its unnecessary requirements on law-abiding citizens, and I’ll continue fighting to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”
“The ATF does not need to know your race or ethnicity. The right to own firearms is an individual right guaranteed to Americans by the Second Amendment,” Enzi said. “This bill would protect that fundamental right by ensuring that the federal government could not require you to disclose your race or ethnicity in connection with the purchase of a firearm.”
“There is no reason that the federal government should require a law-abiding gun owner to list their race or ethnicity before they be granted their constitutional right to own a firearm,” Manchin said. “I am pleased to join my colleagues on this bipartisan bill to remove yet another unnecessary regulation on legal and law-abiding gun owners.”
Disclosure forms filed with the Federal Election Commission by Hillary Clinton provide fascinating details of the remarkable money-making machine that is the once-and-possibly-future first couple. Between January 2014 and the filing of the forms on May 15, 2015 (up to and including a speech by Bill Clinton to the American Institute of Architects the day before the filing), the Clintons made about $30 million, approximately $25 million from speeches alone.
Both of the Clintons have given speeches regularly in the 16-month period covered in the filing with rarely more than a few weeks off in between engagements. Often events are crowded together during a period of several days, sometimes with more than one speech on the same day. On a single day last October, Bill and Hillary delivered a total of four speeches, taking home over $1 million. Those four speeches fell in the middle of a three-day blitz that brought in a total of $1,511,000. (Mrs. Clinton edged out her husband $786,000 to $725,000.)
Now that Hillary Clinton is a declared candidate, she has stopped giving paid speeches. The former president, however, shows no signs of slowing down. Less than two weeks before his wife announced her candidacy, Bill Clinton was paid $765,000 over a two-day period for three speeches:Although the audiences for the Clintons vary widely, the actual content and duration of the speeches is not always revealed. However, a YouTube video of Bill Clinton's recent speech to the American Institute of Architects, apparently recorded by an attendee, shows that the $250,000 fee paid to Mr. Clinton purchased the group a 23 minute speech, an hourly rate of about $652,000.
… somehow, Bernie Sanders, the 73-year-old senator from Vermont, has emerged as a king of social media early in the 2016 presidential campaign, amid a field of tech-savvy contenders. His Facebook posts attract tens of thousands of likes and shares, and threads about him often break through to the home page of Reddit, where the cluster of topics rarely focuses on presidential election politics.
This, in spite of the fact that Sanders:
… does not do many things the way social media experts say they should be done.
Perhaps Sanders knows something that they don’t. Maybe things aren’t all buzz and quick hits as Sanders:
… has not shied away from posts of 300 words or more, with a “continue reading here” link to his personal website.
Sanders, an independent who describes himself as a socialist, has stuck to an idiosyncratic method: posting images that share a quotation, which he has either written himself or dug up from a historical figure and then superimposed onto a photograph. (President Theodore Roosevelt and President Dwight D. Eisenhower are among those he has recently cited.)
Sanders, who describes himself as, “a grumpy old guy,” adds that:
“I play a very, very active role in writing, literally writing, what goes up there on Facebook.”
“People don’t need to know what I buy in the grocery store or what the name of my dog is — I don’t own a dog, by the way — but they do need to know why billionaires are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.”
And, as reported on National Journal, further validation of the Sanders for president movement takes the form of … a teddy bear.
… a special Bernie Sanders teddy bear, complete with his signature tufts of white hair, a suit, and a Bernie 2016 lapel pin ... for the low, low price of $79.99, you can own this 15-inch tall anthropomorphic bear!
Could we be witnessing the first signs of a groundswell?
President Obama wants Congress to send the trade bill to his desk. Right away.
"I have made rigorous trade enforcement a central pillar of U.S. trade policy, and we have moved aggressively to protect American workers and to improve labor laws and working conditions with trading partners across the globe," Obama says in a statement to the press.
"The nature of global trade continues to evolve, and in addition to setting high standards through new trade agreements, the Administration supports new tools that would strengthen the Administration's ability to level the playing field for U.S. workers, businesses, and farmers.
"I am pleased that Chairman Hatch, Senator Wyden, and Chairman Ryan have agreed to swift consideration of the bipartisan Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act by the end of June. Many of these new tools – such as Super 301, elements of the ENFORCE Act and the Level the Playing Field Act, and constructive tools to address unfair currency practices – would strengthen our ability to both facilitate trade and improve enforcement of the rules. We must also repeal the consumptive demand exception for child and forced labor.
"I look forward to working with both chambers to improve certain provisions and to ensure swift, strong and effective enforcement. These critical enforcement tools are complementary to new trade agreements. This legislation should be considered and reach my desk as quickly as possible."
Get ready for Father's Day with The Dadly Virtues: Adventures from the Worst Job You'll Ever Love, the new book from Jonathan V. Last, featuring contributions from Christopher Caldwell, Andrew Ferguson, Jonah Goldberg, Michael Graham, Matt Labash, P. J. O'Rourke, Stephen F. Hayes, Joseph Epstein, Matthew Continetti, Tucker Carlson, and many more.
Last was joined by several of the contributors -- Rob Long, Carlson, Goldberg, Hayes, James Lileks, and P. J. O’Rourke -- for a panel discussion on fatherhood last week. Watch here:
After an event in Iowa on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton responded to a report from the New York Times that an old aide to President Bill Clinton and family friend, Sidney Blumenthal, may have inappropriately advised Clinton when she served as Secretary of State.
The Times report, which draws from a congressional investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attack, found that Blumenthal had been sending briefings to Clinton on Libya while consulting for clients who had business interests in the North African country.
Answering a question from the press, Clinton chuckled. "I have many, many old friends," she said. "I'm going to keep talking to my old friends no matter who they are."
The Blumenthal question was one of two the Democratic presidential candidate answered, and it marked the first time in several weeks Clinton has made herself available to the press. Earlier at the event, Fox News reporter Ed Henry asked Clinton if she would be taking questions from the media.
Congressman Adam Schiff won't be running for California's open Senate seat in 2016. But the Los Angeles-area Democrat says someone from his part of the state should offer a challenge to Kamala Harris, the attorney general from the Bay Area and the perceived leading candidate in the race to replace retiring Democrat Barbara Boxer.
"I do think there is a real opportunity for a candidate from Southern California," said Schiff at a breakfast Tuesday morning sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "There has been a desire for some time to have representation from the south, and I do think that there’s also a strong desire within the Latino community to have a senator." One such candidate currently in the race is Schiff's House colleague Loretta Sanchez, whom Schiff said could make the race "very competitive."
"At the same time, Kamala Harris is a very strong candidate," Schiff added. "She has consolidated support in the north, and is off to a very strong start in her campaign."
California's Democratic party has succeeded in the last two decades in large part because of its strong hold on the massive (and growing) Latino vote, which is based in the southern half of the state. The party's elites, however, largely hail from Northern California. Both Boxer and her fellow Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein have their political roots in the San Francisco Bay area, although Boxer now lives in Southern California. Governor Jerry Brown is also a San Franciscan. Before her election to the attorney general post in 2010, Harris was the district attorney for San Francisco. Harris has powerful fans nationally, too. Barack Obama once called her America's "best-looking attorney general."
At Tuesday's breakfast, Schiff suggested another Democrat besides Sanchez—who has already run into controversy in the first few days of her campaign—might also get in. Xavier Becerra, another Southern California Latino Democrat, is openly considering a bid. "It certainly could be Xavier, but I also think if it’s not Xavier, you could very well have a self-funding candidate get in the race," said Schiff.
California has a jungle primary system, meaning every candidate will run in an open primary, and the top two vote-getters (regardless of party) proceed to a general election. Schiff noted the entry of other Democrats to run alongside Harris will depend on the strength of any Republican candidates who may run.
"I don’t think that any of the GOP candidates are viable, but that doesn’t mean that one of them won’t make the runoff," he said. "It’s entirely possible, notwithstanding the weakness of the Republican candidates, you get another Democrat in the race that it ends up being a Democrat and a Republican in the general." Schiff said that unless the GOP runs a "substantial, nationally-known" candidate like Condoleezza Rice, the party would have a difficult time winning the general election.
“Islamophobia,” which carries with it implications of viciousness, pain, and disease, is not considered a neutral term, either by Muslims who accuse others of it (including some moderate believers in Islam), or by those who supposedly spread it. “Islamophobia” suggests deliberate, if not deranged, hatred and cruelty toward Muslims.
But who does the most harm to Muslims? At Western colleges and universities, where charges of “Islamophobia” might wreck careers, a movement flourishes to punish the state of Israel. It is designated the “boycott, sanctions, divestment” (BDS) effort. A recent BDS uproar at Bowdoin College, a liberal arts college in Maine, described by Jeffrey Herf in The Times of Israel, ended when students rejected its strictures by a large majority: 71 percent against, 14 percent for, 15 percent abstaining. The BDS campaign was coordinated by a group visible on numerous campuses, “Students for Justice in Palestine” (SJP).
Two leaders of the successful anti-BDS response at Bowdoin, Matt Friedland and Jared Feldman, inventoried the effects of BDS as follows:
“* No academic collaboration with scholars acting as representatives of Israeli universities
“* No ability for someone to study abroad at an Israeli University
“* No visiting appointments for Bowdoin faculty at an Israeli University
“* No publication in any journal or press affiliated with an Israeli institution
“* No exchange of curators or scholarship related to antiquities in our museum
“* No visits to Bowdoin by anyone acting as a representative of an Israeli institution.”
The anti-BDS organizers emphasized that such measures against Israel would distort discussion of Israeli-Arab issues, limiting the academic freedom of Bowdoin faculty and students. But other matters, seldom addressed, also deserve notice in the debate over BDS.
A BDS prohibition on partnership with Israeli institutions in the preservation of antiquities cannot but remind us of the ultra-Wahhabi Islamic State and its doctrine that ancient monuments merit demolition. If Israel does not gain international assistance in protecting historical objects and structures, how can the world learn about them? Israeli academics include some outstanding experts on Islamic history, theology, and literature, as well as Jewish, Christian, and other sources of interest to Muslim scholars. Israeli academic works are typically serious and thorough. Does excluding their voices from audiences outside Israel benefit the ostensible Arab victims of Israeli policies?
On Monday, Senator Rand Paul told CBS radio host Dom Giordano that if he were the Republican nominee for president he would attack Hillary Clinton on crime. “I’ll ask Hillary Clinton, what have you done for criminal justice? Your husband passed all the laws that put a generation of black men in prison.”
Paul did not go into detail. If he does, he will discover he is on thin ice. The total federal and state prison population (not broken down by race) grew 49 percent between 1992 (883,593) and 2000 (1,312,354). It would be difficult to establish what portion of this change was caused by Clinton administration actions. Certainly, some administration measures contributed—as did a range of state initiatives. And certainly black men were among those who went to prison in greater numbers during this period—although the reference to putting “a generation of black men in prison” is demagogy.
In fact, as the various “tough on crime” forces played out, black arrest rates dropped 18 percent—from 13,362 per 100,000 in 1992 to 10,955 in 2000. Of course, crime overall dropped during the Clinton administration (and continued dropping).
Did this make a difference for black Americans? Well, the rate of violent crime victimizations for black Americans declined 30 percent between 1992 and 2000—dropping from 50.4 per 1,000 aged 12 and above in 1992 to 35.3 in 2000. In fact, among all racial groups, black American victimization by crime was the highest and declined the most.
Perhaps no one will defend the criminal justice policies of the Clinton administration, but if they do, Rand Paul might be asked whether he is on the side of criminals or on the side of their victims. Or, he might be asked whether he really cares about the safety and security of African Americans.
John P. Walters co-directs Hudson Institute's Center for Substance Abuse Policy Research and was director of Drug Control Policy for President George W. Bush.