May 28, 2015

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Victor Davis Hanson on the collapse abroad and at home.

Things are starting to collapse, abroad and at home. We all sense it, even as we bicker over who caused it and why.

ISIS took Ramadi last week. That city once was a Bastogne to the brave Americans who surged to save it in 2007 and 2008. ISIS, once known at the White House as the “Jayvees,” were certainly “on the run” — right into the middle of that strategically important city.

On a smaller scale, ISIS is doing to the surge cities of Iraq what Hitler did to his neighbors between 1939 and 1941, and what Putin is perhaps doing now on the periphery of Russia. In Ramadi, ISIS will soon do its accustomed thing of beheading and burning alive its captives, seeking some new macabre twist to sustain its Internet video audience. We in the West trample the First Amendment and jail a video maker for posting a supposedly insensitive film about Islam; in contrast, jihadists post snuff movies of burnings and beheadings to global audiences. We argue not about doing anything or saving anybody, but about whether it is inappropriate to call the macabre killers “jihadists.”

When these seventh-century psychopaths tire of warring on people, they turn to attacking stones, seeking to ensure that there is not a vestige left of the Middle East’s once-glorious antiquities. I assume the ancient Sassanid and Roman imperial site at Palmyra will soon be looted and smashed.

What is unique about American foreign policy today is not just that it is rudderless, but how quickly and completely the 70-year postwar order seems to have disintegrated — and how little interest the American people take in the collapse, thanks to the administration’s apparent redeeming message, which translates, “It’s their misfortune and none of our own.” …

 

… Meanwhile, no one seems to much care that between 2009 and 2017, we will have borrowed 8 trillion more dollars. Yet for all that stimulus, the U.S. economy still has staggering labor non-participation rates, flat GDP growth, and stagnant household income. As long as zero interest rates continue, the rich make lots of money in the stock market, and the debt can grow by $500 billion a year and still be serviced. Financial sobriety is now defined as higher taxes bringing in record revenues to service half-trillion-dollar annual additions to an $18 trillion debt.

The liberal approach to the underclass continues as it has been for the last 50 years: The elites support huge, unquestioned redistributionist entitlements for the inner city as penance for avoiding it. Minorities are left to run their own political affairs without much worry that their supposed benefactors live apartheid lives, protected by the proof of their caring. The public is left with the lie “Hands up, don’t shoot” as a construct that we will call true, because the made-up last-seconds gasps of Michael Brown perhaps should have happened that way. As an elite bookend, we have a Columbia coed toting around a mattress as proof of society’s insensitivity to sexual violence, which in her case both her university and the New York City police agree never occurred. In theory, perhaps it could have and thus all but did.

As far as scandals go, no one much cares any more about the implosion of the Veterans Administration. In the public’s defense, though, how does one keep straight the multitudinous scandals — Lois Lerner and the rogue IRS, the spying on and tapping of Associated Press journalists, the National Security Agency disclosures, Fast and Furious, the serial lying about needless deaths in Benghazi, the shenanigans at the General Services Administration, the collapse of sobriety at the Secret Service, the rebooting of air-traffic controllers’ eligibility to be adjudicated along racial and ethnic lines, and the deletions from Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server, which doubled as her government server. …

… Whatever liberalism is, it is not working. Our country’s policies overseas are falling apart, while at home our society stagnates and turns tribal — with a growing and embittered underclass, a shrinking and angry middle class, and a plutocratic and apartheid elite who, as absolution for their privilege, are desperate to praise in the abstract what they so studiously avoid in the concrete.

 

 

Jennifer Rubin posts on the Current Occupant’s dangerous misconceptions about the world. 

President Obama remains impervious to world events that do not comport with his singular goal — a deal with Iran, which by virtue of his desperation will bear little resemblance to the “good deal” he promised was possible. In three instances last week, we got a peek into his motives and thinking. It was disturbing, to say the least.

The first revelation concerns the war against the Islamic State. On the heels of the defeats in Ramadi and Palmyra, the president gives no indication he is considering a dramatic course correction in the war against the Islamic State. More horrifying than the losses we have suffered is his determined passivity. …

… The second revealing episode came in a speech at a Washington synagogue. Obama emotionally recalled Israel in the 1960s (when it was far weaker and less prosperous than it is now) before saying something truly extraordinary: “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.” Acknowledging the Palestinians’ refusal to accept Israel he insisted that “it is worthwhile for us to keep up the prospect, the possibility of bridging divides and being just, and looking squarely at what’s possible but also necessary in order for Israel to be the type of nation that it was intended to be in its earliest founding.”

In other words, it is only because he loves you so much, Israel, that he holds you to a different standard than the rest of the world and that he demands Israel meet his own conception of Israeli democracy (“type of nation that it was intended to be in its earliest founding”). The insistence that Israel be treated differently than other nations and that others can define what is good for it is a sly but all too common form of anti-Israel rhetoric. …

 

 

David Bernstein picks up these thoughts about Israel and says that the president is “nostalgic for white Israel.” This is a good lesson about the racial divide in Israel between Western Jews and Eastern Jews.

Oh, the irony. Here’s an excerpt from the president’s interview with Jeffrey Goldberg:

“Obama: And I care deeply about preserving that Jewish democracy, because when I think about how I came to know Israel, it was based on images of, you know—

Goldberg: We talked about this once. Kibbutzim, and—

Obama: Kibbutzim, and Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir, and the sense that not only are we creating a safe Jewish homeland, but also we are remaking the world. We’re repairing it. We are going to do it the right way. We are going to make sure that the lessons we’ve learned from our hardships and our persecutions are applied to how we govern and how we treat others.”

To understand how this sounds to someone sensitive to the history of various historically disfavored groups in Israel, imagine a foreign leader had said “I came to know America based on images of Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, the American Federation of Labor, the Daughters of the American Revolution…” Each of these individuals and groups had their virtues, but lots of us would think, “Geez, you’re nostalgic for an America dominated by White Protestants, and you aren’t even sensitive enough about the course of American history to recognize it, or assumedly you wouldn’t say it.”

The Israel of kibbutzim (kudos to Obama for using the proper Hebrew plural), Dayan, and Meir, was perhaps a more idealistic, and certainly more socialistic Israel. But it was also an Israel dominated by a secularized, Ashkenazic (European) elite.

Mizrahim (Jews from Arab countries), though more than half the population, were marginalized at every level of society. Discrimination was to a large extent institutionalized; the governing Labor Party was run by socialistic Ashkenazim, and given that state capitalism dominated the Israeli economy one’s political and social connections (protectsia in Hebrew) went a long way toward determining one’s economic prospects.

The kibbutzim in particular were a font of anti-Mizrahi chauvinism; as late as 1985, when I stayed for three weeks on a far-left Hashomer Hatzair kibbutz, the teenage kibbutzniks casually and derogatorily referred to the Moroccan city kids staying on the kibbutz for the Summer as “shechorim” (blacks) (for what it’s worth, the Moroccan kids were much nicer than the kibbutzniks). …

 

 

Roger Simon says Jeb Bush owes it to the country to withdraw.

… If Mrs. Clinton were to win the presidency, she would do so under a cloud of distrust unprecedented in any of our lifetimes.  She would have no honeymoon period and would not deserve one.  And this would be happening at a moment in history when the entire world is on a knife edge because of the rise of radical Islam and ISIS throughout the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Latin America and, increasingly, Europe, not to mention having to monitor the controversial nuclear deal with Iran, if and when such a thing is signed.

More than ever, we would need a man or woman in the White House we could trust — yet so many of us wouldn’t.  America would be split asunder at the beginning of a Hillary presidency as never before since the Civil War. No other Democratic candidate would create such a rift. If that sounds like an exaggeration, I assure you it is not.

Jeb Bush is eminently positioned to prevent this from happening. He can sacrifice his own presidential ambitions for the good of the country.  In the process he would be free to detail his reasons, free to be specific about the lies and evasions surrounding Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the erased emails and missing server, the Benghazi prevarications, the ill-conceived and disastrous war in Libya, the dizzying corruption of the Clinton Foundation and then the inability to face the truth when confronted by her own myriad dishonesties, the quasi-fascistic silence of her political campaign during which she avoids substantive questions whenever possible.

While Jeb reminds us that the founding of our country was a rebellion against “royal families,” not a blind embracing of them, he can be the one to save us from a rupture that has the potential to destroy our social fabric for years to come. …

May 27, 2015

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Today we have one of the wonderful days without selections recounting the latest outrage from governments.

 

One of medicine’s biggest worries is bacteria strains that are resistant to antibiotics. Israeli researchers are finding ways to combat this resistance. Can you imagine a story about researchers anywhere in the Islamic world? The story was in ARS Technica.

… So, some researchers at Tel Aviv’s Sackler School of Medicine came up with a clever idea: why not create a virus that gives bacteria something that’s useful to them, but gets rid of antibiotic resistance at the same time? Under normal growth circumstances, the bacteria would readily pick up the virus, because it’s useful. But, when faced with an antibiotic assault, they’d be helpless to resist it.

To create this magical construct, the researchers turned to a virus that infects bacteria called λ (familiar to anyone who’s taken a class in gene regulation). λ has a mode of infection in which it inserts itself into the host genome and resides there, dormant until some point in the future. λ was modified so that it would remain dormant indefinitely.

To give this version of λ something that’s useful to bacteria, the authors equipped it with the CRISPR-Cas9 system along with genes for targeting RNAs that would direct it to other viruses. Now, if those viruses tried to infect a cell with the modified λ already in it, they’d be cut to pieces. In essence, they were using a virus to make bacteria immune to another virus. Viral infections went down by three orders of magnitude.

To make it useful to us, the researchers added a second set of genes for targeting RNAs. These directed the CRISPR-Cas9 system to cut up antibiotic resistance genes. This worked as expected: λ infected cells couldn’t pick up the antibiotic resistance genes and, if they had any before the infection, they were lost. The bacteria remained susceptible to antibiotics. …

 

 

Washington Post tells us why there’s so much BS about eating. 

Here’s how public thinking on food gets shaped: Every year, researchers publish hundreds of academic studies about the health effects of various foods – chocolate, kale, red wine, anything. Those studies, in turn, become fodder for  newspaper articles, books and blog posts.

But how much of this torrent of information is worth the trouble? Surprising little, according to a number of key researchers.

In recent years, these skeptics have caused a stir by poking big holes in the nutritional science behind popular diet advice. Even the findings published in distinguished health journals have come under fire.

Collectively, their work suggests that we know far less than we think we do about what to eat.

“Is everything we eat associated with cancer?” a much noted paper in this vein asked. …

 

 

A few weeks ago we had a review of David McCullough’s book about the Wright Brothers. NY Times reviewed it also. Pickerhead has to plead guilty to too much interest in the Wright Bros.. However, it is an interesting story in that these two men spent very little money compared to the government funded efforts of Samuel Langley. Just another example of Pickerhead’s Iron Rule of Government – It always f**ks up.

… The Wrights have been a welcome inspiration to David McCullough, whose last big book, “The Greater Journey” (2011), was about assorted, unrelated Americans venturing to Paris in pursuit of culture and badly needed a better raison d’être. And Mr. McCullough’s primary audience is not kids, though many of them may appreciate “The Wright Brothers.” He writes for fathers, as in Father’s Day, with publication dates usually well timed for that holiday. (Marketing aside, anyone can enjoy them.) So the same dads who got blue-ribbon gifts of “1776,” “John Adams,” “Truman,” “Mornings on Horseback” or other McCullough chestnuts should enjoy the way this author takes the Wrights’ story aloft

Merely by choosing them, Mr. McCullough makes his subjects extra-estimable. And in the case of the Wrights that may be fitting. If Wilbur, the older, bossier and more rigorous brother, ever had an impassioned relationship with any human being who was not a blood relative or fellow aviation enthusiast, this isn’t the book to exhume it. Mr. McCullough appreciates Wilbur’s aloofness, intelligence and austerity, even after he became a celebrity. During the Wrights’ grand, two-day welcome home whoop-de-do in Dayton, a New York Times reporter caught them sneaking off to work in their shop three times on the first day. …

 

 

WSJ Essay on some modest looking models on display in a New York museum

Among the treasures in “Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral,” on view through June 14 at New York’s Museum of Biblical Art, are two rather plain wooden models. Placed alongside breathtaking sculptures by leading artists of the 15th century, these unadorned representations of the dome and lantern that crown the Florence church seem ordinary by comparison—until one discovers that they were likely crafted by the very genius whose architectural and engineering talents made the construction one of the marvels of the age. …

… It all began when the Commune of Florence in 1294 announced plans to replace a crumbling fifth-century church on the site of Santa Maria del Fiore with “a more beautiful and honorable temple than any in any other part of Tuscany.” It was to be capped with the widest dome that anyone had ever seen. In 1296 a foundation stone was laid. But by 1418, after more than a century of effort had gone into raising the building, a gaping hole remained where the dome had been planned. …

 

 

NY Times reports on stone tools found in Kenya. 

One morning in July 2011, while exploring arid badlands near the western shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya, a team of archaeologists took a wrong turn and made a big discovery about early human technology: Our hominin ancestors were making stone tools 3.3 million years ago, some 700,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The findings promise to extend knowledge of the first toolmakers even deeper in time, probably before the emergence of the genus Homo, once considered the first to gain an evolutionary edge through stone technology.

“Immediately, I knew that we had found something very special,” said Sonia Harmand, a research associate professor at Stony Brook University in New York, in a telephone interview from Nairobi, Kenya. …

May 26, 2015

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Charles Krauthammer says the mess in Iraq is the president’s fault. 

Ramadi falls. The Iraqi army flees. The great 60-nation anti-Islamic State coalition so grandly proclaimed by the Obama administration is nowhere to be seen. Instead, it’s the defense minister of Iran who flies into Baghdad, an unsubtle demonstration of who’s in charge — while the U.S. air campaign proves futile and America’s alleged strategy for combating the Islamic State is in freefall.

It gets worse. The Gulf states’ top leaders, betrayed and bitter, ostentatiously boycott President Obama’s failed Camp David summit. “We were America’s best friend in the Arab world for 50 years,” laments Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief.

Note: “were,” not “are.”

We are scraping bottom. Following six years of President Obama’s steady and determined withdrawal from the Middle East, America’s standing in the region has collapsed. …

  

 

The Streetwise Professor calls it the “fiasco on the Euphrates.”

The situation in Ramadi (and Anbar generally) is an utter fiasco, with the Iraqi forces reprising the rout that occurred in Mosul almost exactly a year ago, thereby helping re-equip Isis with brand new American equipment. To paraphrase Wellington: Isis came on in the same old way, and the Iraqi army ran away in the same old way.

The Shia Hashd militia are claiming that they will retake Ramadi. As if. In Patton’s felicitous phrase, they couldn’t fight their way out of a piss soaked paper bag, especially in the offensive: “militia” means “militarily ineffective amateurs”. Oh they will no doubt die in large numbers, but in another Patton phrase: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” (Or sect, as is the case here.) Their reputation alone will drive those few Anbari Sunnis who haven’t thrown over to Isis out of self-preservation into arms of the caliphate.

The only thing that can redeem the situation is a major commitment of American ground forces. But that is not in the cards. The most Obama could muster today was a milquetoast statement that he was “weighing” “accelerating” training of Iraqi troops. That is so wildly inadequate to the emergency of the moment that one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. …

  

 

Our friends in Great Britain can also recognize the president’s mistakes. This from The Telegraph,UK.

Have any words come back to haunt President Obama so much as his description of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant last team as a “JV” – junior varsity – team of terrorists?

This wasn’t al-Qaeda in its 9/11 pomp, he said; just because a university second team wore Manchester United jerseys didn’t make them David Beckham.

How times change. As of this weekend, the JV team is doing a lot better than Manchester United. With its capture of Palmyra, it controls half of Syria. …

 

 

Never fear the disasters in the Middle East, Andrew Malcolm says the president has just the solution – fighting global warming.

Finally, President Obama addressed what he sees as the nation’s worst security threat, just days after the fall of Ramadi to ISIS and North Korea’s declaration that it has miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit on an ICBM capable of reaching the United States.

In a speech to graduates at the CoastGuardAcademy, Obama said, yes, yes, terrorism is a grave danger. But there’s another one. “We cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations,” the commander-in-chief declared ominously.

That threat? Global warming.

“Cadets,” Obama intoned, “the threat of a changing climate cuts to the very core of your service. You’ve been drawn to water -— like the poet who wrote, ‘the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.’ You know the beauty of the sea, but you also know its unforgiving power.” …

 

 

Turning our attention, once again, to the disaster in waiting, Matthew Continetti comments on Clinton’s press strategy.

There it was—the classic Hillary charm. Close to a month had passed since the Democratic frontrunner answered questions from the press. So this week, when reporters were invited to gawk at the spectacle of Clinton sitting with “everyday Iowans,” Ed Henry of Fox wanted to know: Would the former secretary of state take a moment to respond to inquiries from non-stage-managed reporters?

Before Henry was able even to finish his sentence, however, Clinton interrupted him, tut-tutting his impertinent shouting and raising her hand, empress-like, to quell her subject. After a few seconds of talking over each other Clinton must have realized that she had to give Henry an answer. Whereupon she said, slowly and sarcastically: “I might. I’ll have to ponder it.” What a kidder.

After the photo-op was over, Clinton did take six questions from reporters—raising the total number of media questions she has answered since announcing her candidacy in April to a whopping 26. She committed no gaffes, but unleashed the full blizzard of Clintonian misdirection, omission, dodging, bogus sentimentality, false confidence, and aw-shucks populism. Voting for the Iraq war was a “mistake,” like the kind you make on a test; she and Bill are lucky people (that’s one way of describing them); Charlotte needs to be able to grow up in an America where every little boy and girl has the chance to go from public office to a foreign-funded slush fund; and family courtier and dirty trickster Sid Blumenthal is just an “old friend” who sent her emails about Libya, where he had business dealings, so that she could get out of her “bubble.”

Not much for an enterprising reporter to go on. And for all we know, the ice caps will have melted before Clinton submits to more questions. It’s part of her strategy: limiting press availabilities also lessens the chances of another “dead broke” moment, of giving answers that raise more questions. Clinton is busy—raising money, positioning herself on the left to thwart a liberal insurgent, doting on Iowa so as not to repeat her defeat there in 2008. Talking to reporters would be a distraction or, worse, an error. …

 

 

Congrats to the president and other leftists – the police in Baltimore have given up. Jonathan Tobin knows who the real victims will be. So we get more unintended consequences of liberal foolishness.  

From last summer’s disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri to the more recent riots in Baltimore, the country has been engaged in a debate about police violence that has hinged on accusations of systematic racism. Regardless of the findings about the shooting in Ferguson or the racial identity of the Baltimore officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a narrative about police racism has become entrenched in our popular culture that has remained impervious to reason or the facts. One of the consequences of this war on police that has been encouraged by statements coming from the very top of our government, including the president and the attorney general, have been incidents of violence against police. When officers go down that generates some attention, yet less discussed is the way the lives of people in poverty-stricken minority neighborhoods are affected by this attempt to blame the nation’s ills on white racism. But as the Wall Street Journal reports today, it is precisely they who are suffering as arrests have gone down in Baltimore in the last month while violent crime has increased dramatically.

In the weeks after Gray’s death as scrutiny and criticism of the Baltimore police has intensified, arrests have gone down by a rate of 40 percent when compared to the same period of time in 2013 and 2014. What makes this figure so startling is that it includes the hundreds that were arrested during the riots that rocked portions of the city. At the same time, violence in the Western district of the city where the riots occurred has gone up in a way far outpacing the increase in the rest of the city. …

 

 

Not all American cities are governed by Baltimore style idiots. Paul Mirengoff posts on Cleveland’s police.

On Saturday, a Cleveland judge ruled that Officer Michael Brelo was not guilty of voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault in the 2012 deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams following a 22-mile car chase. The judge found that although Brelo did fire many shots at Russell and Williams, so did other officers. Thus, he could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Brelo’s bullets — and no others — killed Williams and Russell.

The judge also found Brelo not guilty of the charge of felonious assault. He ruled that Brelo’s decision to use force was “constitutionally reasonable.” Although no gun was found in the vehicle of the deceased, the officer’s “perceptions were objectively reasonable,” the judge concluded.

It was feared that, in the aftermath of this controversial decision, the inevitable protests might turn into riots. So far, however, they have not.

Why not? Probably because the Cleveland police have declined to tolerate lawlessness. Paula Bolyard of PJ Media reports: …

 

The Cartoonists are strong again.

May 25, 2015

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The cartoonists have a special day of fun with the Clinton campaign.

 

Ron Fournier, left/liberal, from The National Journal continues the charge against H.Clinton.

I don’t believe her.

I don’t believe Hillary Rodham Clinton when she says—as she did at a brief news conference on Tuesday—that she has no control over the release of her State Department email. “They’re not mine. They belong to the State Department.”  

I don’t believe her because a person’s actions are more revealing than words: She kept her government email on a secret server and, only under pressure from Congress, returned less than half of them to the State Department. She deleted the rest. She considered them hers.

I don’t believe her when she says, “I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in those being released than I do.”

I don’t believe her because I’ve covered the Clintons since the 1980s and know how dedicated they are to what former Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry called “telling the truth slowly.” The fact is that she would rather delay the document dump until early 2016—and then have the email released on a single day to overwhelm the media and allow her to declare herself exonerated. That was her strategic choice, Clinton advisers confirmed for me, until a federal judge ordered the State Department on Tuesday to release the email in stages. …

 

 

Roger Simon wonders if Sid Vicious will upend the Clinton campaign.

Another shoe, a big one this time, dropped in the endless Benghazi-missing-emails-erased-servers-what-difference-does-it-make controversy that the Clintonistas are trying so hard to push under the rug before it upends Dame Hillary’s presidential campaign.  And the scoop comes, once again, from the New York Times, of all places, not some rascally website run by rightwing lunatics like this one.

Emails have surfaced from long-time Clinton bag man Sid Blumenthal indicating the whole Libya debacle was instigated by a cast of sleazy lowlife profiteers out of an Elmore Leonard novel.  Smarmy Sid was pumping info from this dramatis personae to Hillary (at more than one email address) about goings on in that benighted country and our then secretary of state believed him — at least most of the time — passing his “knowledge” on to her underlings.

And this is a woman who wants to be president?

We know the results of this insider information: Gaddafi gone, four Americans killed in Benghazi, including an ambassador, with Libya a massively failed state overrun by ISIS goons who lop the heads off Christians by the seaside for sport.  Good work, Hillary. Good work, Sid. …

 

 

Paul Mirengoff has more on the curious Clinton connection to Sid Blumenthal.

… Blumenthal reprised his role as Clinton hatchet man during the 2008 campaign. Team Obama came to despise Blumenthal so much that President Obama barred Hillary Clinton from giving him a spot at the State Department.

Which brings us to 2011 and Libya. According to the New York Times account, a group of U.S. businessmen who hoped to do business in post-Qaddafi Libya retained Blumenthal. From all that appears, the Clintons’ hatchet man had zero experience with Libya or with the businesses the Americans hoped to establish there.

Plainly, Blumenthal was retained because of his connection to Secretary of State Clinton. The Times points out that the projects contemplated by the U.S. businessmen — creating hospitals and building schools — would have required State Department sign off (but they never got that far).

Blumenthal began writing memos to Hillary Clinton about the situation in Libya. The existence of such memos became known due to the efforts of a Romanian hacker. Otherwise, given Hillary’s document non-retention policy, the memos probably would never have come to light.

According to the Times, Blumenthal sent at least 25 Libya memos to Hillary. One of them praised the efforts of Libya’s new prime minister to stabilize his government by choosing officials experienced in dealing with Western governments and businesses. …

 

 

Jennifer Rubin posts on the Clintons’ “blizzard of malfeasance.”

Perhaps Hillary Clinton is counting on the number of scandals, untruths and misdeeds to numb the public and media at some point. It’s not a bad strategy given the stuff that seems to wash up on the shore from the Clintons each day.

Recall what we already know: She kept a private server at her home in violation of State Department policy. She wiped the server clean so no third party could examine more than 30,000 e-mails. She signed an agreement with the administration promising to disclose potential conflicts regarding her husband’s speeches; she violated it repeatedly. Her foundation continued to receive foreign donations and in some cases pay for Bill Clinton’s speeches while Hillary Clinton was in office. The foundation has been described by a charity watchdog as a sort of slush fund whereby those wanting to gain access and favors to a president-in-waiting could contribute (with a tax write-off!). Numerous firms (including a Russian purchaser of critical uranium) and countries from whom the Clintons received speaking fees and/or contributions to the foundation wound up with business before the administration. The foundation in turn gave her visibility, paid for exorbitant travel and employed her cronies. That catches us up to this week.

So far — and it is only Tuesday — we have learned that despite her lawyer’s representations to the contrary, Hillary Clinton used yet another private e-mail address. Those e-mails (the ones not destroyed) that were turned over to the State Department are not going to be made public until January 2016. So much for coming clean any time soon. And now to top it off we learn famous Clinton flunky Sid Blumenthal, who was barred from working at the State Department, was busy writing policy memos for the secretary. The New York Times reports: …

 

 

From NY Post Page Six we learn that Chelsea is driving away Clinton Foundation staff.

Chelsea Clinton is so unpleasant to colleagues, she’s causing high turnover at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, sources say.

Several top staffers have left the foundation since Chelsea came on board as vice chairman in 2011.

“A lot of people left because she was there. A lot of people left because she didn’t want them there,” an insider told me. “She is very difficult.”

Onetime CEO Bruce Lindsey was pushed upstairs to the position of chairman of the board two years ago, so that Chelsea could bring in her McKinsey colleague Eric Braverman.

“He [Braverman] was her boy, but he tried to hire his own communications professional and actually tried to run the place. He didn’t understand that that wasn’t what he was supposed to be doing,” said my source. “He was pushed out.” …

 

 

Looking forward to the 2016 vote, John Podhoretz wonders if the “ick factor” will doom Hillary and the Dems.

… At that point, a few million votes either way might be likely to decide the outcome.

That’s when the get-out-the-vote skills of the campaigns will come into play — as well as certain intangibles that play a key role in helping those last few million voters who may or may not go to the polls or have not yet decided make up their minds.

One of those is something you might call “the ick factor.” What kind of association does the candidate’s name conjure up? Is it positive or negative?

Democrats spent most of 2012 raising the ick factor associated with Mitt Romney’s name — condemning the supposed evils of his investment banking firm, publicizing his privately uttered remark that 47 percent of the electorate had become wards of the state, raising questions about his essential character because he was mean to a kid in high school and once put the family dog in a carrier on the roof of his car.

In this respect, Republicans are ahead of the game. Hillary is beginning her trek to November 2016 with a built-in “ick factor” regarding her essential truthfulness and the sense that she spends her life dancing around and about ethical lines.

Now, there will be a Republican nominee, and what was done to Romney will be done to him to the extent possible.

So what we may have, as Election Day nears, is a choice between relatively unattractive options. What’s far from clear is how Hillary can make herself even remotely attractive from here on in to anyone who isn’t already in her camp.

The tarnishment is permanent. The Clinton brand is damaged. The question is whether it’s going to tarnish the Democratic Party.

 

 

Spengler asks if the American people are as corrupt as the Clintons.

I have been reading Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash with brief pauses to wipe the puke off the computer screen. For the past fifteen years, there has been no sewer too stinky for Bill and Hillary to bathe in. Most of Schweizer’s research has already made the mainstream media, but the sheer mass of it still amazes. It’s not one malfeasance or three, but an unbroken pattern of overtly corrupt behavior trading half-million-dollar speaking fees and multi-million-dollar payoffs to the Clintons’ foundation in return for billion-dollar mining concessions and corporate takeovers staged by the most revolting gangsters in the jungle of Third World governance. The English language needs a word like the Yiddish term “chutzpah” to describe them, but without the connotation of modesty and discretion.

What kind of people are we Americans, that we allow these kleptocrat’s hirelings to persist in public life? The answer, I fear, is that we have become corrupt ourselves. I’ve seen enough corruption in the Third World to know that it requires the consent of the governed. …

… As Schweizer reports, America’s favorite power couple made millions from Kazakhstan dictator Nurslatan Nazarbayev. In 2005 Bill came to the homeland of Borat with Canadian penny-stock speculator Frank Giustra. Giustra’s  shell company UrAsia Energy, a paper entity with no track record, beat out bigger competition to scupper Kazakhstan”s uranium mining concession. Bill endorsed Nazarbayev’s bid to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe. a human rights organization founded by the 1975 Helsinki Accords, despite Nazarbeayev’s execrable human rights record. Senator Hillary Clinton lifted her previous objection to Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the organization. …

… Americans are becoming a nation of hustlers. 87% of men of working age used to belong to the labor force. Now it’s down to 70%. …

… Democracy exists to give people the kind of government they deserve. If the American people do not have the moral fibre to extirpate corruption on the Clinton scale, they will deserve what’s coming to them.

 

May 24, 2015

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George Freidman of Strafor provides an overview of the world’s chaos.

A pretentious title requires a modest beginning. The world has increasingly destabilized and it is necessary to try to state, as clearly as possible, what has happened and why. This is not because the world is uniquely disorderly; it is that disorder takes a different form each time, though it is always complex.

To put it simply, a vast swath of the Eurasian landmass (understood to be Europe and Asia together) is in political, military and economic disarray. Europe and China are struggling with the consequences of the 2008 crisis, which left not only economic but institutional challenges. Russia is undergoing a geopolitical crisis in Ukraine and an economic problem at home. The Arab world, from the Levant to Iran, from the Turkish border through the Arabian Peninsula, is embroiled in politically destabilizing warfare. The Western Hemisphere is relatively stable, as is the Asian Archipelago. But Eurasia is destabilizing in multiple dimensions.

We can do an infinite regression to try to understand the cause, but let’s begin with the last systemic shift the world experienced: the end of the Cold War.

The Repercussions of the Soviet Collapse

The Cold War was a frozen conflict in one sense: The Soviet Union was contained in a line running from the North Cape of Norway to Pakistan. There was some movement, but relatively little. When the Soviet Union fell, two important things happened. First, a massive devolution occurred, freeing some formally independent states from domination by the Soviets and creating independent states within the former Soviet Union. As a result, a potentially unstable belt emerged between the Baltic and Black seas.

Meanwhile, along the southwestern border of the former Soviet Union, the demarcation line of the Cold War that generally cut through the Islamic world disappeared. Countries that were locked into place by the Cold War suddenly were able to move, and internal forces were set into motion that would, in due course, challenge the nation-states created after World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire that had been frozen by the Cold War. …

 

 

Erik Wemple is still after an answer from ABC News.

… After Politico’s Dylan Byers published his story on George Stephanopoulos’s donations to the Clinton Foundation, Washington Free Beacon staffers — including editor in chief Matthew Continetti and digital managing editor Andrew Stiles — tweeted out denunciations of ABC News, saying that they’d inquired about this matter the night before. …

… ABC News has failed to respond to numerous inquiries from the Erik Wemple Blog about this move. In the most recent e-mail, we asked ABC News spokeswoman Heather Riley whether the network had logged any run-ins with the Washington Free Beacon that would contextualize its alleged behavior. No response just yet. …

 

 

Mark Steyn has Stephie comments with the idea we turn it around and have Karl Rove hired by ABC.

Picture it the other way around:

Karl Rove is hired as an anchorman by ABC News. Whoa, you can stop right there. We’re already in the realm of the fantastical, even though it is, objectively, exactly the same as hiring Stephanopoulos.

But Rove says not to worry, my partisan days are behind me. I’m strictly Mister Even-Handed Newsman now.

And then he spends ten years as a high-profile pitchman for the George W and Jeb Bush Foundation.

And, when he interviews some guy who’s written a book on all the dodgy donations to the Jeb Bush Foundation, he doesn’t mention that he’s a member of it.

The only interesting question is whether ABC knew about all this, and colluded with Stephanopoulos in perpetrating a fraud on their audience.

As for Stephanopoulos’ regret that he didn’t go “the extra mile” in disclosure, the loyal Clinton flunkey didn’t go the initial inch-and-a-half. At the very least, he should be dropped from all election coverage between now and November 2016. There’s plenty of other stuff he could do – Kim’n’ Kanye, Bruce transitioning – where his faithful service to his longtime benefactors is of less obvious advantage.

 

 

Jennifer Rubin turns here attention to the Clinton/Blumenthal links. 

The discovery that Hillary Clinton received some 25 memos from Clinton family confidante and hatchet man Sidney Blumenthal is causing another round of angst for Democrats. It should. Why are the memos a problem?

1. They show the degree to which Hillary Clinton defied the Obama administration edicts. Told she couldn’t hire him through the front door, she let him in the back. Perhaps the Obama team will conclude she was a disloyal and problematic employee and cease making her life easier (e.g. by refusing to investigate unreported conflicts of interest).

2. Blumenthal had no foreign policy expertise and yet his unvetted memos were given credence. Clinton’s judgment in relying on him is troubling; her decision to share his views with State Department officials is worse.

3. Blumenthal was engaged in a massive conflict of interest since he was working with people attempting to do business in Libya. If Clinton knew, her behavior in circulating the memos was egregious. If not, her recklessness is once again apparent. …

 

 

Maybe there’s hope for higher ed. The University of Texas’ new president rejects the offer of a “vulgar” salary. Taxprof has the story.

Gregory Fenves recently got a big promotion, from provost to president of the University of Texas at Austin. A raise came with it. Instead of his current base of about $425,000, he was offered $1 million.

And he rejected it — as too much. … He suggested, and agreed to, $750,000.

That’s hardly chump change. But in the context of the shockingly lucrative deals that have become almost commonplace among college presidents, the sum — or, more precisely, the sentiment behind it, — is worthy of note and praise. 

Another of those deals came to light late Tuesday night, when The Wall Street Journal reported that YaleUniversity had paid its former president, Richard Levin, an “additional retirement benefit” of $8.5 million after he retired from his post in 2013. The Journal characterized this as an “unprecedented lump-sum payment” for a college president and noted that Levin’s annual compensation package during his final years at Yale was already over $1 million. …

May 21, 2015

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Bret Stephens wonders if Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor, actually believes the stuff he’s saying.

Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser, has been offering a reassuring view of the Iranian nuclear deal in the face of some Arab skepticism. “If you can diplomatically and peacefully resolve the nuclear issue in a way that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he told reporters last week, “we believe that will lead to a much more stable region.” Mr. Rhodes also contends that with a deal “there will be no need to see [a] regional arms race.”

So what’s more frightening: That Mr. Rhodes believes what he’s saying? Or that he does not?

Just for Mr. Rhodes’s benefit, here’s a refresher course on stability and the arms race in the Middle East since April 2, 2015, the day Mr. Obama announced his framework nuclear agreement with Iran.

April 2: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif immediately accuses the U.S. of “spin” and contradicts Mr. Obama’s key claims regarding the terms of the deal. … (etc., etc., etc.  . . . . . )

… I recount these events not just to illustrate the distance between Ben Rhodes’s concept of reality and reality itself. It’s also a question of speed. The Middle East, along with our position in it, is unraveling at an astonishing pace. Reckless drivers often don’t notice how fast they’re going until they’re about to crash.

We are near the point where there will be no walking back the mistakes we have made. No walking away from them, either. It takes a special innocence to imagine that nothing in life is irreversible, that everything can be put right, that fanaticism yields to reason and facts yield to wishes, and that the arc of Mideast history bends toward justice.

Ben Rhodes, and the administration he represents and typifies, is special.

 

 

Craig Pirrong posts on the military brains in the administration who think special forces ops are a substitute for a strategic vision.

The administration is hyping an allegedly successful Delta Force attack on an Isis target in Syria. I say “allegedly successful” because even though it appears that at least one high value target was killed, and some intelligence was seized, there are doubts that the raid killed the original target. But even if the raid was successful in that it achieved its objective, it testifies to the broader strategic failure of the American campaign to “counter Isis.”

One does not win wars by special operations alone. As their name implies, special operations are special, exceptional. They can be an important and very specialized component of a military campaign that uses all elements of combat power to destroy a conventional or semi-conventional enemy force that holds territory: they cannot be the entire campaign, or even the main element of that campaign. Special operations support the main operations. They are not a substitute for infantry, armor, artillery, and airpower: they are a complement. …

… Given the grave risks of these raids, the limited number of operators, and the very high cost of training and retaining these unique personnel, they should not be employed in operationally and strategically barren operations. It is almost certain that the recent raid in Syria will be operationally and strategically barren. It should not have been mounted, and similar operations should not be mounted in the future, except as part of a sound operational plan that utilizes conventional forces to achieve a strategically meaningful objective.

Obama is categorically opposed to using conventional forces in Iraq and Syria, but feels that he has to do something, and drones and special forces raids are something, even if they accomplish little or nothing of strategic importance. It is pointless to rely  on these instruments of national power, which are only truly useful if joined up with other elements of that power, as the backbone of a campaign against Isis. If there is a more telling testament to the strategic vacuity of Obama’s “slow burn” campaign than the daring raid in Syria, I would be hard pressed to name it. So much professional expertise and courage put at grave risk to achieve a glittering tactical victory that will have no effect on the ultimate outcome in Syria and Iraq. One cannot win wars by special operations alone, and it borders on the criminal even to try.

 

 

WSJ Op Ed says the fall of Ramadi is a perfect illustration of the emptiness of our strategy. 

In the closing years of the Vietnam War it was often noted sardonically that the “victories” against the Viet Cong were moving steadily closer to Saigon. The same could be said of Baghdad and the victories claimed against Islamic State, or ISIS, in Iraq in the past year. The ISIS takeover of Ramadi in the Anbar province over the weekend exposed the hollowness of the reported progress against ISIS. The U.S.-led bombing campaign in support of Iraqi forces isn’t working.

Clearly, the Iraqi government needs greater military assistance if it is to defeat what is proving to be a formidable enemy. ISIS in Iraq, the successor of al Qaeda in Iraq, is made up of Iraqi Sunnis and foreign Islamist fighters, similar to those the U.S. Army and Marines fought so hard for so many years. ISIS has routinely defeated other rebel groups in neighboring Syria and claimed large swaths of that country’s territory. The militants almost took the Iraqi Kurdish capital city of Erbil in February, despite the fierce resistance of the vaunted fighters of the Kurdish Peshmerga. …

… Like it or not, the U.S. is the only country with the strength and know-how to rid Iraq of ISIS. Iran’s proxy forces are on the defensive in Syria and have made no overall progress in Iraq. Some argue that Iran isn’t serious in trying to defeat ISIS. It’s more likely that Iran isn’t capable of doing so. What is needed is decisive U.S. leadership. Without it, the long-term entrenchment of Islamic State in Iraq may become a disturbing reality.

  

 

Turning our attention back to last week’s poverty summit, Thomas Sowell has some thoughts.

… Since free speech is guaranteed to everyone by the First Amendment to the Constitution, there is nothing to prevent anybody from asking anything from anybody else. But the federal government does not just “ask” for money. It takes the money it wants in taxes, usually before the people who have earned it see their paychecks.

Despite pious rhetoric on the left about “asking” the more fortunate for more money, the government does not “ask” anything. It seizes what it wants by force. If you don’t pay up, it can take not only your paycheck, it can seize your bank account, put a lien on your home and/or put you in federal prison.

So please don’t insult our intelligence by talking piously about “asking.”

And please don’t call the government’s pouring trillions of tax dollars down a bottomless pit “investment.” Remember the soaring words from Barack Obama, in his early days in the White House, about “investing in the industries of the future”? After Solyndra and other companies in which he “invested” the taxpayers’ money went bankrupt, we haven’t heard those soaring words so much. …

… When all else fails, redistributionists can say, as Obama did at Georgetown University, that “coldhearted, free-market capitalist types” are people who “pretty much have more than you’ll ever be able to use and your family will ever be able to use,” so they should let the government take that extra money to help the poor.

Slippery use of the word “use” seems to confine it to personal consumption. The real question is whether the investment of wealth is likely to be done better by those who created that wealth in the first place or by politicians. The track record of politicians hardly suggests that turning ever more of a nation’s wealth over to them is likely to turn out well.

It certainly has not turned out well in the American economy under Barack Obama.

 

 

Income inequality is also the subject of Richard Epstein’s column for the week.

… One outspoken critic of income inequality is the New York Times’ columnist Nicholas Kristof, who in a recent column, “Inequality is a Choice,” made it appear that the issue is more tractable to legislative fixes than is in fact the case.

Kristof used as his lightning rod the deplorable state of affairs in Baltimore, Maryland, to explain the urgency of the income inequality crisis. But, as I have already argued, the precarious situation in Baltimore is the necessary outcome of the very economic policies that progressives like Kristof would like to see implemented on a national scale. The simple economic truth is that the prolonged downturn in Baltimore does not trace its roots back, as has often been claimed, to segregation, but to the simple fact that Democrats have controlled every aspect of the public life in the city from 1963 to the present, during which time crime increased, taxes rose, regulations proliferated, and about one-third the city’s population fled. The challenge is to find a set of progressive policies that do not have that combined toxic effect.

It is just there that the tired suggestions of Kristof demonstrate the futility of his position. He berates his fellow Americans for not thinking that inequality is the result of conscious social choices. He is surely right about the general point, but wrong in sizing up the situation when he denounces the nation, which has “chosen to prioritize tax shelters over minimum wages, subsidies for private jets over robust services for children to break the cycle of poverty.”

But his argument breaks down because of two mistakes; the first is the near random juxtaposition of two programs, each of which should be considered separately from the other. The second is the failure to ask which of these proposals will pass muster in an economy that runs on the principles of strong property rights, freedom of contract, and limited government. …

  

 

While the president goes to poverty conferences, the results of his ruinous ideas continue in Baltimore. The Washington Post reports on the murders after the riots. Thirty murders in thirty days. Left liberals have supported policies that have made husbands and fathers superflous and we are reaping the whirlwind as families have been ruined.

Andre Hunt counseled troubled kids through the Boys and Girls Club. He volunteered at the local NAACP chapter. A barber, he befriended the son of an assistant high school principal, swapping tales of football and life while the boy grew into adulthood under the clips of his shears.

“He was like a big brother to my son,” the mother, Karima Carrington, said of her trips to Cut Masters on Liberty Heights Ave­nue.

The 28-year-old Hunt was lured out of the barbershop, according to his attorney, and shot in the back of the head on the afternoon of April 29. He was among more than 30 people slain in Baltimore in 30 days, an alarming number of killings and part of an undercurrent of violence here.

Although riots and protests after the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured in police custody, brought national attention to the city, the slayings have attracted little notice. They come as Baltimore works to recover from the unrest, with a police force demoralized by the arrests of six of its members — three of whom face murder or manslaughter charges in Gray’s death — and under the scrutiny of the Justice Department.

The Rev. Jamal H. Bryant, pastor of the Empowerment Temple and a local activist, said city residents have “almost been anesthetized” to the killings. “In any other community, these numbers would be jaw-dropping.”

A month before Gray’s death, Bryant joined Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) at a summit to urge black men to help stop black-on-black killings. African Americans comprised 211 of Baltimore’s 216 homicide victims in 2014. Now Bryant, who eulogized Gray at his funeral, believes in “enlarging the narrative beyond Freddie Gray” to harness the anger and renew the focus on curbing violence. …

… Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, said Hunt volunteered at her office. “He was trying to change his life around,” she said, “and was looking forward to serving his sentence and starting over. I’m so sorry he didn’t have a chance to do that.”

Hill-Aston was talking on the phone with a reporter on a recent Monday afternoon. A friend had just called her from a doctor’s office in West Baltimore and told her she dived to the floor when three gunshots went off outside.

It was 1:30 in the afternoon, at a place called Walbrook Junction. Another man shot in the head. Another death.

Hours later would be a funeral for another man killed May 2, the last day of the curfew imposed during the rioting. He was the grandson of a founder of Bible Way Church, oldest son of the church’s former bishop, nephew of the bishop-designee.

The shootings and the burials continued their frenzied pace.

“It’s almost like there’s a war going on,” Hill-Aston said.

May 20, 2015

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Last week we devoted some space to the president’s failure to get the leadership of the Gulf Arabs to attend his summit. Another of his failures took place closer to home as the Dems in congress snubbed his trade authorization bill. Along with this defeat, he went on to display the famous presidential petulance those of us on the right have seen for the last six years. It was fun to see it turned on the Democrats. Jonah Goldberg tells the story well.

These are not good times for the Republic (and if you laughed or scratched your head at me calling America a republic, I rest my case). But they are amusing times, at least for those of us capable of extracting some measure of mirth and schadenfreude from the president’s predicament. With the sand running out on the Obama presidency, it’s finally dawning on the president’s friends and fans that he can be a real jerk.

Consider the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank. For the last six years, he’s spent much of his time rolling his eyes and sneering at Republicans. His subspecialty is heaping ridicule on conservative complaints about, well, everything and anything. If it bothers conservatives, it must be irrational, partisan, churchy, fake, hypocritical — or all of the above. Meanwhile, poor Barack Obama, while not always without fault in Milbank’s eyes, is the grown-up, the good guy trying to do good things amidst a mob of malcontents and ideologues.

That is, until this month. President Obama wants to get a trade deal passed. He needs Democrats to do it. But, Milbank laments, Obama’s blowing it.

“Let’s suppose you are trying to bring a friend around to your point of view,” Milbank writes. “Would you tell her she’s emotional, illogical, outdated, and not very smart? Would you complain that he’s being dishonest, fabricating falsehoods and denying reality with his knee-jerk response?”

“Such a method of a persuasion is likelier to get you a black eye than a convert,” Milbank notes. “Yet this is how President Obama treats his fellow Democrats on trade . . .”

Yes, well, true enough. But lost on Milbank is the fact that this is precisely how Obama treats everyone who disagrees with him. …

 

 

Bill McGurn has more on President Arrogant. 

So this is what the president means by having a “conversation.”

At a GeorgetownUniversity conference last week, President Obama appeared on a panel billed as a “conversation” on poverty. It proved illuminating, though not in the way its sponsors intended.

Begin with the panel itself. A solitary conservative, the American Enterprise Institute’s Arthur Brooks, was pitted against two liberals, President Obama and Harvard social scientist Robert Putnam. The panel was moderated by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne.

To put it another way, what we had here was a “conversation” stacked in favor of liberals, moderated by a liberal, and taking place before a liberal crowd at a liberal university.

As if to underscore the point, the president and the moderator squeezed off three boorish references to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—all rooted in the idea that it would take a “miracle” to get GOP leaders to care about the poor. …

 

 

Mona Charen calls it his “third class temperament.”

Like cult members who awake to find their leader swigging gin and squirreling money into a Swiss bank account, liberals are rubbing their eyes in disbelief at President Obama’s behavior. The figure they worshipped so fervently and for so long is now revealed to be a “sexist” – at least according to National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill.

Her view is seconded by Senator Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio). They are upset about the president’s derisive treatment of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), who committed a sin to which the president does not take kindly: She disagreed with him. For differing about the merits of the TPP trade deal, she got what everyone should already recognize as the Obama treatment — her views were caricatured and her motives were questioned. “The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else.” Senator Brown thought the president’s use of Warren’s first name betokened sexism.

No, Senator Brown, that’s not sexism, that’s all-purpose disrespect. The president has been displaying the same condescension to world leaders, Senate majority leaders, House speakers, and everyone else since first taking office. It was always “John” and “Harry” and “Hillary” — never Speaker Boehner, Leader Reid, or Secretary Clinton. It was “Angela” and “David,” not Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Cameron. Can’t wait to see whether, when the Pope visits in September, the president refers to him as “Jorge.” There was one exception to this rule — Obama was at pains to refer to Iran’s Ali Khamenei, who has never been elected to anything, as “Supreme Leader.”

It’s hard to think of another figure whose self-esteem is so inversely proportional to his merit. …

… During the discussion, Mr. Obama disparaged John Boehner’s and Mitch McConnell’s interest in helping the poor. So it’s worth recalling that one of Obama’s first acts as president was to seek to defund the District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program. When the Democrats controlled Congress, he succeeded. But someone who cared waited for a chance, and when Republicans gained control of the House and Congress was in a tense budget showdown with the White House, John Boehner personally saw to it that the program was revived.

So who is judging whom when it comes to the poor?

 

 

Enough of DC idiots. Here’s a story about California idiots? You know, the state that’s running out of water. The WSJ Weekend Interview is with a man who wanted to build a desalinization plant near San Diego. It took six years to get the permits.

… Poseidon does have a $1 billion desalination plant slated to open this fall in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. Upon completion it will be the largest in North America, capable of producing 54 million gallons of water each day. Construction began in 2013, but first Poseidon spent six years battling 14 environmental lawsuits.

For instance, the Surfrider Foundation charged that the plant’s open-ocean intakes might harm marine life, though a judge ruled that Poseidon had reasonably mitigated the threat. Mr. Riva says the intakes “entrain two to three fish eggs or larvae” for every thousand gallons of water sucked in. “Not to make value judgments about fish, but these aren’t from any protected species,” Mr. Riva says. “They’re anchovies and things like that.” He adds that environmentalists believe that “all fish life is precious, and you have to do everything to save it.”

Obtaining the dozen or so permits required to build the plant was vexing as well, since regulatory authority over water in California is spread among state, federal and local agencies—the Bureau of Reclamation, the State Water Resource Control Board and the California Coastal Commission, to name a few.

“Because there are multiple agencies,” says Mr. Riva, there are “multiple opportunities for intervenors to delay.” The CEO is careful in his choice of words to avoid giving offense. However, what he appears to mean is that environmental obstructionists waged war on numerous fronts. Not totally without success, either: To obtain final approval from the Coastal Commission, Poseidon had to agree to restore 66 acres of wetlands and buy renewable energy credits—green indulgences.

Urged on by the Surfriders, the Coastal Commission is now gumming up Poseidon’s plans to build a second plant, which has been in the planning stages for 15 years, south of Los Angeles in Huntington Beach. …

 

 

Back to Stephie. Turns out ABC has reason to be upset. They agreed to pay him $105 million for the next seven years. Emily Smith at NYPost Page Six has the story.

… Sources have said ABC News execs were blindsided by Stephanopoulos’ largesse, and one TV insider noted Monday that “ABC really has all their money on Stephanopoulos.”

“ABC was desperate to lock him down after Josh Elliott left,” the source said.

“But network execs didn’t announce the figure because they didn’t want George to get the kind of backlash that Matt Lauer got over his huge NBC contract,” which pays him $20 million a year to host the “Today” show.

“If [Stephanopoulos] stumbles, so does the network,” the source added.

When Stephanopoulos signed his contract extension in April 2014, an ABC spokesman said, “George is vital to the success of the news division and will continue to be a leader here at ABC News. We expect him to remain with us for many, many years.”

Republicans have already said that Stephanopoulos’ donations disqualified him from moderating a GOP primary debate, and a spokesman for one candidate, US Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), went even further on Monday. …

 

 

Howard Kurtz writes on the sinking reputation of the press. 

By failing to disclose his donations to the Clinton Foundation, George Stephanopoulos has damaged his credibility and tarnished his network.

But you know something? He’s got plenty of company.

What an awful couple of years it’s been for the news business, even by our already-tattered standards.

While ABC’s chief anchor has landed himself in a heap of trouble, this comes at a time when NBC’s chief anchor, Brian Williams, is serving a six-month suspension for fabricating an Iraq war tale and possibly embellishing other reporting exploits. And it comes weeks after Rolling Stone had to retract its horrifyingly irresponsible tale of a gang rape at the University of Virginia.

When these episodes erupt, critics carp about how this or that organization has suffered a grievous blow. What’s often missed is that all of us who practice journalism suffer as well, that it reinforces public doubts about whether the business is riddled with bias and conflicts of interest. …

May 19, 2015

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Stephanopoulos is still in the news. John Fund writes on his long record of loyal service to the Clintons.

… So, to recap: Stephanopoulos first came to public attention as the relentlessly slash-and-burn Clinton communications director in the 1993 film The War Room, a chronicle of the Clinton presidential campaign.

During his White House years, Stephanopoulos was always known to be among those who were most eager to discredit any Clinton critic at the first get-go. Even Rahm Emanuel, another famously aggressive Clinton aide, sometimes thought Stephanopoulos wanted to go too far.

After being hired by ABC News, Stephanopoulos used his position soon after the Lewinsky scandal broke to outline the White House’s scorched-earth strategy to discredit and expose potential opponents. He then sought to avoid legal questions about his role by claiming to be a journalist. He was rebuked by a federal judge for providing “not truthful” testimony in a lawsuit.

Now, Stephanopoulos shows up again, aggressively trying to discredit Peter Schweizer’s new book Clinton Cash when it becomes clear that it’s a threat to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He chooses not to reveal his extensive ties with the Clinton Foundation, which go way beyond the mere donation of $75,000 to include the following items compiled by NewsBusters:

Asserted that “there is hope” donations to foundation will “lead to something”

Appeared on conference calls with Democratic strategists

Used his ABC News platform to run unofficial infomercials for Clinton Foundation

In his 1999 memoir, recounted his “love” for Hillary Clinton

Hillary’s campaign manager Robby Mook interned for Stephanopoulos; thanked in memoir

In addition, NewsBusters’ Geoff Dickens has compiled a list of ten times George Stephanopoulos sucked up to the Clintons on ABC’s airwaves. …

 

 

And at the Daily Beast, Lloyd Grove continues to lead the charge.

It has been a rough weekend for ABC News’s embattled chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, and an even worse Sunday.

On CNN’s Reliable Sources media criticism program, Stephanopoulos’s former ABC News colleague, Carole Simpson, unloaded on the former top aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton that she said she likes and respects.

“There is a coziness that George cannot escape,” said Simpson, who toiled for two decades at ABC News, notably as the weekend anchor of World News Tonight from 1988 to 2003. “While he did try to separate himself from his political background to become a journalist, he really isn’t a journalist.”

Thus Simpson attempted to obliterate Stephanopoulos’s claims of impartiality as the 2016 presidential campaign heats up, featuring Hillary Clinton’s status as the prohibitive frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Like Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter and another former ABC News colleague, Jeff Greenfield, Simpson said she was “dumbfounded” by Thursday’s revelation that Stephanopoulos failed to disclose $75,000 in recent donations to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation—this, as he conducted a confrontational April 26 interview with Clinton Foundation critic Peter Schweizer.

“I wanted to just take him by the neck and say, ‘George, what were you thinking?’ Clearly, he was not thinking. I thought it was outrageous,” Simpson said. “And I am sorry that again the public trust in the media is being challenged and frayed because of the actions of some of the top people in the business.” …

 

 

Media Mash Up has more.

We don’t think saying you’re sorry is enough. But most media types are willing to give ABC media maven George Stephanopoulos a pass for apologizing for his ethical error, bypassing ABC News’ standards and letting his liberal skirts show. At least Fox News’ Howard Kurtz got it right: “For George to give money to the Clinton Foundation, out of all possible charities, knowing full well that Hillary was gearing up to run, is a grave error in judgment. For him not to disclose this to his network or viewers—especially when he was aggressively interviewing ‘Clinton Cash’ author Peter Schweizer about that very foundation—is unthinkable. And for ABC to brush this off as an ‘honest mistake’ is embarrassing.” …

  

 

Scott Johnson says Stephie’s apology is a bunch of ”weasel words from a weasel.”

… Stephanopoulos wraps his statement in a profession of his great generosity, of which the Clinton Foundation was coincidentally an additional beneficiary. He made the donations over the past three years only to support worthy causes: to heal the sick, protect the weak and feed the starving. Make room for the apostle George.

Nevertheless, Stephanopoulos gave a somewhat more jaded account of contributions to the Clinton Foundations only last month to Jon Stewart. At that time, before the Free Beacon had dug out the record of Stephanopoulos’s contributions to the Clinton Foundations, Stephanopoulos lucidly explained: “But everybody also knows when those donors give that money, President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him, there is a hope that is going to lead to something.” Everybody knows!

This is all before we get to the proposition that Stephanopoulos’s failure to disclose the contributions in connection with the Schweizer interrogation represented a failure to go “the extra mile.” It didn’t represent a failure to comply with the fundamental requirements of honesty and integrity (or ABC News policy). I believe the technical term of art that applies here, as explicated by William Voegeli, is “bullshit.”

  

 

Michael Goodwin says Georgie has forfeited all trust as a newsman.

My, my, the bigger they are, the dumber they think we are.

Dan Rather of CBS was toppled by a phony document scam. Lyin’ Brian Williams at NBC casually mixed fact with self-aggrandizing fiction. Now George Stephanopoulos is caught in a Clinton web of deceit at ABC.

The hat trick of arrogant anchor scandals helps explain why Americans don’t trust network news. With apologies to Walter Cronkite, that’s the way it is, and the way it is stinks.

Stephanopoulos shares with Rather and Williams the rotten distinction of fessing up only after being exposed by real journalists. In his case, the Washington Free Beacon uncovered his secret donations to the Clinton Foundation and contacted ABC for a response.

That was the honorable thing to do — get the other side of the story before publishing it. But Stephanopoulos ditched his journalistic veneer and reverted to his Clinton White House roots by quickly leaking the info to what he regarded as a more friendly news outlet, Politico.

His track record of secrecy, partisanship and dishonorable behavior blows up his claim that he made an honest mistake. He engaged in a prolonged and brazen act of dishonesty. …

  

 

And Erik Wemple of WaPo is still on the warpath about the slight of the journalistic efforts of Andrew Stiles at the Free Beacon. He wants an apology or at least an explanation from ABC News.

… Unresolved by Stephanopoulos’s repeated meae culpae is the conduct of ABC News’s PR operation, which stands accused of “running” to Politico with the story of Stephanopoulos’s donations after having received an inquiry from the Washington Free Beacon. Staffers from the Washington Free Beacon attest that they received official statements after ABC News provided them to Politico.

ABC News’s PR has failed to respond to inquiries from the Erik Wemple Blog on this matter.

May 18, 2015

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Craig Pirrong points out the ways the left is exploiting the train tragedy. Wait ’til you see what the New Yorker cooked up.

One of the least savory aspects of human behavior is the tendency to exploit tragedy for personal or political ends. This low tendency was on display in spades in the aftermath of the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia. Before the bodies of the dead were even cold, pundits and politicians were out in force moaning that the tragedy proved the lamentable decay of American infrastructure, and the lack of government spending on it. Remarkably (or maybe not), the lamentations have continued even after it was revealed that the train had been going more than twice the speed limit, thereby making it highly unlikely that shoddy track or a poorly maintained train was to blame. No tragedy should go to waste, apparently, and the facts shouldn’t get in the way of a politically useful narrative.

There are many examples of the mo’ guvmint types exploiting the deaths of 8 people in Philly, but for 99.9 percent pure, unadulterated stupidity, you have to read this screed by Adam Gopnik* in The New Yorker. Where to begin?

To leverage the Philadelphia tragedy into a justification for more government spending, Gopnik has to claim that railroads, and passenger railroads in particular, are public goods:

“And everyone knows that American infrastructure—what used to be called our public works, or just our bridges and railways, once the envy of the world—has now been stripped bare, and is being stripped ever barer.

. . . .

This week’s tragedy also, perhaps, put a stop for a moment to the license for mocking those who use the train—mocking Amtrak’s northeast “corridor” was a standard subject not just for satire, which everyone deserves, but also for sneering, which no one does. For the prejudice against trains is not a prejudice against an élite but against a commonality. The late Tony Judt, who was hardly anyone’s idea of a leftist softy, devoted much of his last, heroic work, written in conditions of near-impossible personal suffering, to the subject of … trains: trains as symbols of the public good, trains as a triumph of the liberal imagination, trains as the “symbol and symptom of modernity,” and modernity at its best. “The railways were the necessary and natural accompaniment to the emergence of civil society,” he wrote. “They are a collective project for individual benefit … something that the market cannot accomplish, except, on its own account of itself, by happy inadvertence. … If we lose the railways we shall not just have lost a valuable practical asset. We shall have acknowledged that we have forgotten how to live collectively.”

Trains take us places together. (You can read good books on them, too.) Every time you ride one, you look outside, and you look inside, and you can’t help but think about the private and the public in a new way.”

In point of fact, railroads are not public goods, as defined by economists. Not even close. I get no benefit whatsoever from your trip on a train, or a train that ships a good to you. The benefits of rail travel and rail transport are internalized by the traveler and the consumer of the transported good.

Further, what characterizes public goods is non-exclusivity. If you produce it, I get to consume it too, and you can’t exclude me from doing so. Not true of railroads. You have to buy a ticket to ride. …

… Gopnik’s economic illiteracy is annoying, but his supercilious tone and East Coast superiority makes his ignorance almost unbearable: he fits in perfectly at the New Yorker, and personifies the famous cover depicting the view of the US from 9th Avenue. A condescending ignoramus. Not an appealing combination.

In sum, it’s appalling enough that Gopnik, like others, leaped to use the Philadelphia tragedy to advance his pet political cause.  It’s even worse that this pet political cause is economically retarded.

*Gopnik’s name cracks me up, because in Russia the term “gopnik” (го́пник) refers to lower class street punks known for their drinking, loutish behavior, petty criminality, and stylish dress, usually consisting of Adidas track suits and dress shoes. In other words, го́пники are pretty much the antithesis of Manhattan prog Adam Gopnik, and no doubt the typical го́пник would take great pleasure in beating the snot out of the likes of Adam Gopnik.

 

 

Carl Cannon says a train crashes and the Dems jump the tracks.

Even in the context of our hyper-partisan politics, the press release that landed in my inbox Thursday morning was surprising in its ugliness. “Republican Cuts Kill… Again,” it screamed, announcing a new attack ad funded by a fledgling liberal group called The Agenda Project Action Fund.

The group’s previous spot—“Republican Cuts Kill”—blamed the Ebola crisis on Capitol Hill conservatives, earning the dreaded “four Pinocchio” designation from The Washington Post face-checking team. The newest installment splices graphic images from Tuesday’s crash of Amtrak Train 188 with random budget figures and videos of Republican leaders calling for cuts in Amtrak’s subsidies and other federal programs.

Yes, you heard right. As Amtrak’s twisted railroad cars remained on their sides, bodies were still being recovered from the wreckage, and the critically injured were being prepped for surgery, self-styled “progressives” sought to score political points by essentially accusing fiscal conservatives of murder. …

 

 

Walter Jacobson says if H. Clinton is elected we can expect continuing executive power grabs.

… Obama expanded his power domestically far more than any other president in memory. His executive action on immigration is a good example of legislating from the bureaucracy by implementing policies directly contrary to existing law and anything Congress would be willing to do. So too his use of Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking power to remake the energy sector where previous efforts to do the same legislatively had gone nowhere. And let’s not forget Obama’s unilateral changes to Obamacare to postpone its day of financial reckoning beyond the 2014 elections.

Whether such executive power grabs are upheld or rejected in court, they all show the degree to which Obama has tried to expand his power at the expense of Congress.

Should we expect any better from Hillary should she become president? I don’t think so; in fact, I think we can expect worse. …

 

 

Paul Mirengoff says Stephie has more to disclose.

George Stephanopoulos has admitted, under pressure, that he is a donor to the Clinton Foundation. He has also acknowledged that he should have so informed his viewers before attempting to light into Peter Schweizer and feebly trying to discredit Peter’s reporting about the Clinton Foundation on the grounds that he worked (for a few months) as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

But there is much Stephanopoulos has yet to disclose to his viewers. Schweizer lists the following: …

  

 

More on Michelle’s Tuskegee address from Rich Lowry.

Michelle Obama gave a commencement address at TuskegeeUniversity that was a ringing call for the graduates not to be discouraged by her whining.

Much of the first lady’s speech was what is right and proper for a Tuskegee commencement, drawing on the story of the determination and skill of the Tuskegee Airmen. But she devoted a long passage to her own struggles that was off-key and characteristically self-pitying. …

 

 

But, the Target story was told by Michelle the Victim another way on the Letterman show. Michelle Malkin was keeping track.

… On David Letterman’s show in 2012, the haute-couture-clad first lady recounted the same “incognito” Target visit to demonstrate her just-like-you bona fides. She chuckled as she shared how the shopper asked, “Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?” As the audience laughed with delight and Mrs. Obama grinned from ear to ear, she told Letterman: “I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down — she said, ‘Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.’ That was my interaction. I felt so good.”

From overjoyed Regular Mom to Oppressed Martyr, can Mrs. Obama’s shopping fable get any more absurd? To paraphrase a popular slogan of the social-justice mob: Jig’s up, don’t compute.

It just goes to show you: Once a race hustler, always a race hustler. …

 

 

Here’s another race hustler in training. Al Sharpton’s daughter sprained her ankle in New York. Now she’s suing the City for $5 million. Daily Caller has that story.  

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, especially when the tree is rotten.

Dominique Sharpton, the 28-year-old daughter of MSNBC host and race activist Al Sharpton, sprained her ankle last October on the corner of Broome Street and Broadway in New York City, and now she wants the city to pay – big time.

Claiming to have been “severely injured, bruised and wounded” by uneven pavement, Dominique is seeking $5 million in damages from taxpayers for the sprain. …

May 17, 2015

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Kevin Williamson writes on the particular failings of Stephanopoulos.

… When I was editing a small newspaper in the Philadelphia suburbs, one of my reporters asked for a meeting with me, which was in itself unusual — my standing policy for reporters was that after hiring them I did not care if I ever saw them again, so long as their stories showed up on time. I’d assumed we were going to do the usual thing where he asked for a raise and I told him no, but he sheepishly explained that he needed to modify his beat because he was beginning to develop a personal relationship with one of the people he covered. His reasoning was sound: Whether it worked out or went nowhere, he could not claim to be disinterested.

What would have happened if he hadn’t told me? I’d have fired him. And if I hadn’t, somebody would have fired me. And I would have deserved it. …

… Stephanopoulos has offered a half-hearted apology: “I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict.” But “extra mile” assumes a previous mile, and he did not really hike an inch to disclose this conflict — not an “appearance of a conflict,” but an actual conflict. The Clintons’ relationship with the eponymous nonprofit organization is a legitimate public issue, and Stephanopoulos has significant relationships with both family and foundation.

It is impossible to see how Stephanopoulos could do his job with any integrity in an environment in which the Clintons and their foundation will be central to the political news for the foreseeable future. Certainly not after concealing his relationship with the foundation. ABC News owes it to itself to live up to at least the standards of a small-town weekly newspaper. It owes them a lot more than that, in fact, but it cannot deliver the goods with Stephanopoulos at the desk.

 

 

Jonathan Tobin has more thoughts on the Stephie flap.

… Author Schweizer is understandably upset that Stephanopoulos questioned him closely about his own possible bias in writing a muckraking book about the Clinton. Schweizer has a history as a writer connected to conservative causes and served briefly as a speechwriter to George W. Bush. That’s fair game. But how is it that the ABC host thought that was worthy of exposure but believed his own hefty contributions to the Clinton’s foundation was neither relevant nor of interest to viewers watching him try to shoot down the allegations about the Clintons?

The answer is that like the Clintons themselves, some of those around them seem to have the sense of entitlement and belief that the normal rules of political conduct or journalism ethics don’t apply to them.

To be fair, unlike most of those who gave far more than he did, Stephanopoulos cannot be accused of hoping to trade the donation for favors. He may well have given the money in order to support efforts to combat AIDS and deforestation as he said in the apology he issued today. Nevertheless, a savvier journalist than the ABC host might have noted the fact that the Clinton foundation actually spends only a fraction of the money given to it on actual charitable work (only ten percent) and contributions given to other more ethical and less political organizations would have done a lot more for those causes.

The revelation makes everything Stephanopoulos has said on the air trying to pooh-pooh the Clinton Cash scandal seem self-interested or biased but in the great scheme of things, it can’t be said that those comments did much to alter the trajectory of the story or harm the future of the republic.

But it does remind us of the intolerable coziness of so many media elites with the people they cover. …

 

 

And liberals at the Daily Beast like Lloyd Grove are not pleased with the weak apology.

… In a non-apology apology that is unlikely to appease the referees of press ethics, let alone his Republican detractors—and may just baffle morning television viewers who haven’t paid attention to the blossoming scandal within the media-political complex—the former top aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton put the very best face possible on his lapse in judgment in not disclosing $75,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation when he conducted a contentious April 26 interview with foundation critic Peter Schweizer on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, ABC News’s Sunday show.

Although Stephanopoulos’s case is very different from—and nowhere near as serious as—the embellishments of suspended NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, his explanation of his mistake on Friday morning was much in the same vein as Williams’s claim last February that he made up a story about a helicopter ride in Iraq simply in an innocent, good-hearted attempt to honor America’s fighting men and women.

Willams wrapped himself in the flag; Stephanopoulos cloaked himself in charity. …

 

 

More from the left, this time Jack Shafer from Politico. Pay attention to the pretention that a Politico reporter “broke” the story. We’ll have more on that later as a WaPo blogger calls ABC News on the shaft they gave to a Free Beacon reporter.

Former Clintonland insider George Stephanopoulos, who has excelled at both politics and journalism, appears to have failed both professions with a single transgression.

As my POLITICO colleague Dylan Byers reported today, ABC News’ “This Week” and “Good Morning America” host Stephanopoulos has donated a total of $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation, something he had not previously disclosed to viewers or his employers. In a statement to Byers, Stephanopoulos apologized for not disclosing the gifts. ABC News called the oversight an “honest mistake,” a sentiment Stephanopoulos amplified in an afternoon interview with Byers.

“We stand behind him,” the network also offered, which is corporate-speak for we will bind George in barbed wire and dump him into a surging storm sewer and drive off into the night the minute he becomes an intolerable distraction.

The donation corrodes much of the journalistic credibility Stephanopoulos has labored so carefully to build since joining ABC News as a correspondent and analyst in December 1996. …

 

 

Victor Davis Hanson calls out Stephie’s “staggering hypocrisy.”

The problem with George Stephanopoulos’s Clinton-gate mess is that his own words prove him to be both a bully and a hypocrite, as well as abjectly unethical.

Set aside the fact that — if not outed — he would likely never have informed his viewership about his contributions to the Clinton Foundation (and presumably would have continued to grill authors like Peter Schweizer for attacking the pay-for-play Clinton culture). Set aside the fact that, in Clinton Foundation tax-reporting fashion, he “forgot” a $25,000 donation when he initially and erroneously stated that he had contributed $50,000 rather than the actual $75,000. And that he confused the news source that originally discovered his gifts. What we are left with is George Stephanopoulos indicting George Stephanopoulos. …

… And when it is reported that ColumbiaUniversityJournalismSchool professor Richard Wald intones of the scandal that, “It’s a mistake, and it’s a dumb one, but it’s not a criminal offense; other people have done other dumb things,” one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Wald once worked as “ethics czar” for Stephanopoulos’s own ABC network and, in good Clintonian fashion, is invoking for him the now familiar Bill/Hillary defense of “at least it can’t be proven a crime in a court of law” and “everyone does it.”

  

 

Now we get to the story about how ABC News treated a Free Beacon reporter in shabby fashion. And it is a Washington Post blogger who tells ABC he’s not gonna rest until they answer some questions. The post is by Eric Wemple

Every journalist lives in fear of a certain scenario: You have a news story, quite possibly an exclusive, on a significant public figure. You Google the keywords and a jumble of old links pops up; no one has written it! So you take your revelations to the public figure’s PR rep and ask whether your reporting is true and real. In making that inquiry, you relinquish a bit of control over your investigation; now someone outside of your news organization — a PR official — knows what you have. You have no choice but trust that the official doesn’t play any games with a prospective scoop.

Games may have been played yesterday in connection with the week’s resounding media story. On Thursday morning, Politico media reporter Dylan Byers broke the story of George Stephanopoulos’s big-money donations to the Clinton Foundation (at first they were reported as $50,000 but grew to $75,000 by day’s end). The headline of Byers’s story: “George Stephanopoulos discloses $75,000 contribution to Clinton Foundation.” …

… Continetti is the editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website that launched in February 2012. Stiles is the digital managing editor for the Washington Free Beacon. The Stephanopoulos story surfaced on Wednesday just before 3:30 p.m., when Stiles found his name on the Clinton Foundation’s donor lists. He e-mailed Continetti, who told him to move on the story and also directed a researcher to check whether Stephanopoulos had seeded any of his on-air work with disclosures about the donations.

The research turned up no evidence of Stephanopoulos having told viewers of his largesse to the Clinton Foundation, clinching the need for a story. “I think you have to write this one straight,” Continetti wrote to Stiles, who sometimes takes attitudinal approaches to the news. The editor-in-chief also cited the need for a comment from Stephanopoulos’s office. “I knew immediately that this was a news story,” says Continetti.

Despite Stiles’ best efforts, ABC News didn’t cough up a response on the spot. Heather Riley, a spokeswoman for ABC News, e-mailed Stiles just after 9 p.m., promising him “something.” “What time are you posting? Want to make sure I get it to you in time,” she wrote.

Hear this, knee-jerk detractors of modern web journalism: Absent a comment from ABC News, Continetti & Co. decided to let the matter sit overnight. They just waited. …

… The Washington Free Beacon’s industrious use of Twitter ensured recognition of its pioneering efforts on the Stephanopoulos story. Major news outlets, in their writeups of the story, credited the site for its inquiry into the donations. That dynamic undercut whatever result the network sought in releasing its statements to Politico first.

Silence is unacceptable here. ABC News has to do one of two things: Either apologize to the Washington Free Beacon for whatever precisely it did or explain how its actions meet the commonly acknowledged standards of the industry. Today Stephanopoulos issued his second apology for his evasions in the Clinton Foundation case, so that story may ebb in the coming weeks. Yet the Erik Wemple Blog is committed to keeping this unfinished business about the Washington Free Beacon in play until the network resolves it.