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.
In fact, she’s had a series of bad days since she announced her presidential bid April 12. But Monday was the worst of them.
In a bombshell report, the New York Times reported that Clinton, as secretary of state, used her private email to share private intelligence reports from noted conspiracy theorist and political hitman Sidney Blumenthal, at a time when Blumenthal was being paid by the Clinton Foundation and liberal political organizations that helped lay the groundwork for Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The emails included reports on Libya at a time when Blumenthal was seeking business in the country and included dubious information. The Times reported that Clinton nonetheless “took Mr. Blumenthal’s advice seriously” and “continued to pass around his emails even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal’s assessments were often unreliable.”
A second story about Clinton and Libya broke the same day, this one casting further doubt on the Obama administration’s narrative about the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, and specifically on claims Clinton made about nature of those attacks and motivations of the attackers. An intelligence report prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency and sent to Clinton and other senior administration officials on September 16, 2012, just days after the attacks, concluded that the attack “was planned ten or more days” in advance and was meant to “kill as many Americans as possible.” The report identifies al Qaeda-linked terrorists believed to have been involved in the assault.
The Obama administration crafted a public narrative that the attack had evolved from a “spontaneous” protest over a YouTube video and included a wide range of individuals. Clinton cited the video in remarks at a memorial service on September 14, 2012, for those killed in the attacks. She told members of the victims’ families that the administration would bring to justice those responsible for the video. The DIA report and several other Benghazi-related documents were released to Judicial Watch pursuant to a court order in response to a FOIA request.
… a Russian Su-27 fighter jet buzzed a US military plane over the Baltic Sea, only veering off after coming within twenty feet of causing a mid-air collision. Such an event could have prompted retaliation by NATO and possibly given Moscow a pretext for invading Estonia (population 1.2 million), where a few NATO planes are now based.
Troubling stuff and all the more so since it was not an isolated incident but part of a pattern of intimidation, provocation, and aggression by Russia and one that includes some alarming talk of nuclear weapons and:
… opinion polls in Russia [that] show that large numbers of Russians are ready to discuss the possibility of nuclear war with the West and that some 40 percent of young people believe that Russia could win a nuclear war with the US and Europe.
After that, it comes almost as a consolation that:
For now, though, the greatest threat may come from Russian fighter jets. It’s not clear that NATO has a strategy for dealing with these everyday provocations. To some extent, NATO forces can meet the Russian incursions by scrambling their own jets and making clear it is ready to defend Baltic airspace. In 2014, for example, it conducted over one hundred intercepts of Russian aircraft, triple the number of the previous year; nearly seventy “hot” identification and interdiction missions were conducted off the coast of Latvia alone. Talks, trade sanctions, bluster, and appeasement have all been tried at one time or another and nothing has worked with Putin.
Last week, I noted that Harvard's Robert Putnam had made a rather baffling and slanderous statement about American Christians. As an empirical matter, it was utterly indefensible and not the kind of untrue generalization you would expect a prominent social scientist to indulge in. So, that was pretty bad.
I’m a progressive and I think the evidence is that first of all, there has been a collapse in the working family class family, black and white, and that’s bad for kids ... But there is a presidential candidate, who yesterday quoted me as saying therefore—he’s quoted me as saying all black men are sexual predators. I’m not going to say who it is but what I’m trying to say is, he’s a conservative and he took what I was saying and sort of so misinterpreted it that it’s nothing like—it’s just isn’t even in the universe of what I said. But that’s an example of how at least this one guy was in effect taking advantage of the fact that I was trying to be open. He says "isn’t it amazing that this liberal", actually he said "this extreme leftist at Harvard acknowledges that blah, blah, blah."
It would appear that the candidate in question is Rick Santorum, who recently cited Putnam's new book, Our Kids. Here's what Santorum said:
“Another new statistic just came out in his book. A majority of children being born out of wedlock today in America are born in families where the father is in the home. But they’re not married,” said Santorum. “So they are born to cohabiting couples. So the majority of children born out of wedlock are born to cohabiting couples. And what does Putnam say about these? They stuck to them longitudinally, they never get married. Let me use that term, never, like one or two percent ever get married.
"And he compared it when he was growing up in the 1950s and when children were conceived out of wedlock, what happened in the 1950s,” added Santorum. “We all know what happened in the 1950s and here is the amazing thing, this is Putnam saying this, 80 plus percent of these marriages succeeded.
“And children were raised in stable homes. Now these fathers leave the home and not just father children with that particular women, they father a child with another women, and another and another. We have created predators, sexual predators particularly where, again, Putnam—low income America.”
I haven't read Our Kids and it's certainly possible Santorum is misrepresenting Putnam's work. But how Putnam gets from what Santorum actually said to characterizing it as "all black men are sexual predators" is inaccurate and again slanderous. It paints Santorum out to be racist, rather than quite validly concerned about the breakdown of family formation. Santorum even says "we have created predators," as in all bear collective responsibility for the problem—and he further says it's a problem of "low income America," which is basically something Putnam himself acknowledges in his response. Santorum's not invoking race at all.
Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post captures the sorrows of Baltimore with this striking datum:
Fifteen Baltimore neighborhoods have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Eight are doing worse than Syria.
It is bad and we’ve known that for a long time. But if The Wire didn’t make the point emphatically enough, the recent riots certainly should have. But agreement on just how dire conditions are is about all we are likely to get, especially in this political year. One where, incidentally, one of the candidates was actually mayor of that city not very long ago. That will be a tough record to run on but never doubt the creativity of a major American politician.
Baltimore has been a project of the Democratic party political class for years now. It schools (and teachers unions) are lavishly funded. But it has failed to the point where a child born in one of the city’s neighborhoods:
...could expect to die 20 years earlier than another kid who simply had the good fortune of being born just a few miles up the road from you. For Baltimore's poorest, that's the reality they're living in.
But I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the media are banking a good deal of credibility reporting on Hillary now, because they intend to spend it later. For one thing, nearly all of the reporting is piggybacking on Peter Schweizer's investigative work, who the media never fail to remind us worked for Sarah Palin briefly, without disclosing their own conflict of interest. For another, the media are letting Hillary Clinton stonewall even as various Clintonistas make laughable excuses. Lanny Davis must have carpal tunnel syndrome from furiously banging out disingenuous op-eds, and it almost goes without saying that David Brock and the rest of the flying monkeys at Media Matters are bad at what they do and should feel bad about themselves for doing it. Even those elements of the overtly liberal press that don't have direct ties to the Clintons (that we know of, anyway) are already falling back on whatever flavor of "vast right-wing conspiracy" they think sounds discrediting.
Further, while the media are expressing some mild frustration that Hillary Clinton is refusing to answer any questions, they are for the most part letting her get away with it. If a Republican candidate were dogged by this much scandal and trying to avoid the press, their silence would lead every nightly newscast for weeks until the candidate agreed to be locked in a room with Andrea Mitchell and a cattle prod for a three hour network special called "50 Shades of Jeb."
Late last week, hundreds of dedicated WEEKLY STANDARD readers flocked to Colorado Springs to attend the magazine's yearly summit at the Broadmoor resort.
There, the boss conducted a straw poll for the event's attendees. Here's a summary of the results from today's Kristol Clear newsletter (which you can sign up for here):
As you know, Scott Walker led in the three polls we've done through this newsletter over the past few months. But it was Marco Rubio who prevailed among the 400 or so Broadmoor attendees, with Scott Walker second, and no one else really close to either of them.
Here are the results. The first number is the percentage of first place choices, the secondis the percentage of ballots on which the candidate took first, second, or third place.
No one else showed up in the first three positions on more than 5% of the ballots.
So it was Rubio's moment at the Broadmoor. We'll see where you all stand on the race when we do another poll of readers in a couple of weeks.
In a speech today in South Korea, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Internet "needs rules to be able to flourish and work properly." This, according to Kerry, is necessary even for "a technology founded on freedom."
Speaking on behalf of the Obama administration, Kerry said that Internet policy is "a key component of our foreign policy."
Kerry made his remarks in the context of talking about how international law is applicable to the Internet. "As I’ve mentioned, the basic rules of international law apply in cyberspace. Acts of aggression are not permissible. And countries that are hurt by an attack have a right to respond in ways that are appropriate, proportional, and that minimize harm to innocent parties. We also support a set of additional principles that, if observed, can contribute substantially to conflict prevention and stability in time of peace. We view these as universal concepts that should be appealing to all responsible states, and they are already gaining traction," said Kerry.
"First, no country should conduct or knowingly support online activity that intentionally damages or impedes the use of another country’s critical infrastructure. Second, no country should seek either to prevent emergency teams from responding to a cybersecurity incident, or allow its own teams to cause harm. Third, no country should conduct or support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, trade secrets, or other confidential business information for commercial gain. Fourth, every country should mitigate malicious cyber activity emanating from its soil, and they should do so in a transparent, accountable and cooperative way. And fifth, every country should do what it can to help states that are victimized by a cyberattack.
"I guarantee you if those five principles were genuinely and fully adopted and implemented by countries, we would be living in a far safer and far more confident cyberworld.
"But even with these principles, ensuring international cyber stability will remain a work in progress. We still have a lot of work to do to develop a truly reliable framework – based on international law – that will effectively deter violations and minimize the danger of conflict.
"To build trust, the UN Group of Governmental Experts has stressed the importance of high-level communication, transparency about national policies, dispute settlement mechanisms, and the timely sharing of information – all of them, very sound and important thoughts. The bottom line is that we who seek stability and peace in cyberspace should be clear about what we expect and intend, and those who may be tempted to cause trouble should be forewarned: they will be held accountable for their actions. The United States reserves the right to use all necessary means, including economic, trade and diplomatic tools, as appropriate in order to defend our nation and our partners, our friends, our allies. The sanctions against North Korean officials earlier this year are one example of the use of such a tool in response to DPRK's provocative, destabilizing and repressive actions, including the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures. Now, as the international community moves towards consensus about what exactly constitutes unacceptable behavior in cyberspace, more and more responsible nations need to join together to act against disruptors and rogue actors.
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on the TWS Summit at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and who fared well (Rubio, Walker) and who didn't (Kasich, Cruz) in the summit's straw poll.
Bobby Jindal is forming a 2016 presidential exploratory committee. The Louisiana governor made the announcement in a press release from advisor Timmy Teepell.
"Today, Governor Bobby Jindal formed an exploratory committee to assist him in deciding whether to seek the Republican Party nomination for President," reads the press release.
The announcement comes with a statement from Jindal himself. "For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the Presidency of our great nation. We'll make a final decision in June, after the legislative session in Louisiana ends," says Jindal.
"If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.
"President Obama has started to redefine the American Dream, turning it into the European Nightmare. Because of this, I believe our country is in serious trouble and that the hour is late for America. Economic collapse is much closer to the door than people realize, our culture is decaying at a rapid rate, and our standing in a dangerous world is at an all-time low.
"However, the problems caused by 7 years of weak leadership and mistakes in the Obama administration can be corrected. But they won’t be fixed by just sending Republicans to Congress. It will only be fixed by a President who is willing to make hard decisions and who has the ideas to change our country's future.
"While other Republican leaders are talking about change, I've published detailed plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, rebuild America's Defenses, make America energy independent, and reform Education for our nation's children.
"So today I’m announcing the launch of an exploratory committee, which will help me to decide whether to seek our party's nomination."