The New Hampshire Union Leader has endorsed Chris Christie for president. The state's largest daily newspaper, which has a conservative-leaning editorial board, published the endorsement Saturday. Here's an excerpt:
Our choice is Gov. Chris Christie. As a U.S. attorney and then a big-state governor, he is the one candidate who has the range and type of experience the nation desperately needs.
We don't need another fast-talking, well-meaning freshman U.S. senator trying to run the government. We are still seeing the disastrous effects of the last such choice.
Chris Christie is a solid, pro-life conservative who has managed to govern in liberal New Jersey, face down the big public unions, and win a second term. Gov. Christie can work across the aisle, but he won't get rolled by the bureaucrats. We don't need as President some well-meaning person from the private sector who has no public experience.
Gov. Christie is right for these dangerous times. He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters. But the one reason he may be best-suited to lead during these times is because he tells it like it is and isn't shy about it.
Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly. But it's important when you are telling it like it is to actually know what you are talking about. Gov. Christie knows what he is saying because he has experienced it. And unlike some others, he believes in what he says because he has a strong set of conservative values.
The Union Leader has a mixed record in endorsing the winner of the New Hampshire primary as well as the eventual Republican nominee for president. In 2012, the paper endorsed Newt Gingrich, who would lose New Hampshire's primary but did win a week later in South Carolina. John McCain earned the Union Leader endorsement in 2008, winning the New Hampshire primary and the GOP nomination afterward.
In contested primaries before that, though, the paper frequently endorsed conservative outsiders, including Steve Forbes in 2000 (McCain would win New Hampshire's primary that year, too), Pat Buchanan in 1996 and 1992 (he won New Hampshire in '96 but not '92), Pete duPont in 1988 (George H.W. Bush won the primary), and Ronald Reagan in 1980 (Reagan won that year) and 1976 (Gerald Ford won).
The Christie endorsement may be a boon to the New Jersey governor's campaign. Christie has invested a lot of time and energy in the Granite State over the primary so far, but he currently comes in seventh place in polls there, behind Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump. His placement in national polls has been so low that he was not invited onto the main stage in the last debate.
President Obama may be walking into a trap of his own side's devising as he departs for the latest climate action summit in Paris. If Republicans can suppress their innate ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the summit’s outcome could hand the GOP an incredibly potent election-year weapon.
I’ll state up front that I believe that rising CO2 levels are largely the result of man-made processes, that this is warming the climate, and that it could lead to negative consequences down the road, albeit something short of the apocalyptic forecasts that many of climate-change warriors espouse.
I think the solution is for the U.S. to impose some form of a carbon tax, preferably in conjunction with other countries, done in a more or less revenue-neutral way. Even those who are of the opinion that climate change is a crock ought to agree that it could be a better way to raise revenue than having effective marginal tax rates above 50 percent on small businesses (as well as on low-income earners facing the steep phase out of various benefits) or taxing the returns to saving. Using a carbon tax to lower tax rates elsewhere would be an obvious pro-growth improvement on our current tax code, and with oil and natural gas being cheaper today than at almost any other time this century and the evidence suggesting low prices are in store for the foreseeable future, it's an especially propitious time to make such a change.
Of course, doing so would not constitute an acceptable solution for the climate change crowd. The real debate to take place in Paris is not how to deal with climate change--it's long since been decided that a comprehensive cap and trade regime is the only acceptable solution to this crowd. Rather, the central debate at hand is over how much of of the revenue raised in the U.S. and Western Europe from selling carbon credits should be handed over to India and the other developing nations as penance for our previous actions that have created the current predicament, and to get them to go along with the trading regime.
The amount of the transfer currently being bandied about is $100 billion per annum. There's no longer much debate over the size of the bribe amongst the climate change community--just who pays what, how will it be used (the recipients insist on a very generous definition of “climate change mitigation” while the wealthy countries want to put strings on it) and when will it start.
If President Obama were to present this issue to Congress openly and tell them that our share of this tribute is $25 billion a year, it could hand Republicans the White House in an electoral season where the party seems determined to fritter it away. While a slight majority of Americans might tell a pollster they believe in climate change and can be persuaded to make some sort of sacrifice for it, the median amount they say they are willing to pay to stave off global warming is under $50. Even someone lacking proficiency in demagoguery could make this a winning issue.
Do the countries that industrialized decades ago owe money to the developing world for their impact on the environment? Not being a philosopher I'll steer clear of that debate but good luck to the president who tries to sell that argument in the hinterlands.
In a statement released this morning by the White House, President Obama used the shooting yesterday at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado to push gun control.
"This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this -- if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience -- then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough," Obama says in his statement.
Here's the president's full statement:
The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence -- people who woke up in the morning and bid their loved ones goodbye with no idea it would be for the last time. And yet, two days after Thanksgiving, that’s what we are forced to do again.
We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve people, or for terrorizing an entire community, when he opened fire with an assault weapon and took hostages at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado. What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect. We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America. And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them.
This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this -- if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience -- then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.
May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save -- and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.
On the surface, little seems to have changed as the opening bell rang for the retailers’ battle that is the holiday shopping season. On Thanksgiving day we carved some 46 million turkeys and downed 50 million pumpkin pies despite a shortage of pecans created by Chinese consumers who imported the best quality nuts and bid the price too high for many bakers and American families to match. We watched some 12-15 hours of football, with 250-pound behemoths considered too light for many positions. Some 3.5 million people jammed the streets of Manhattan to watch the Macy’s parade, and 47 million, the largest number since 2007, took to the air and the roads, drivers benefiting from gasoline prices averaging about $2 per gallon. Some 135 million people will have shopped in stores and online by closing time Sunday, the majority having trooped to the malls.
Just like old times in the case of a willingness to gorge, travel, shop, attend football matches and congregate despite freezing temperatures in part of the country and Islamist terrorists’ attacks on Paris – Obama took to television to assure Americans that he and his security team are “on the case”, that team including Homeland Security, responsible for TSA employees who failed to detect weapons brought on flights by investigators 95 percent of the time.
But not like the past when it comes to consumers’ ability to spend and how we shop and what we buy. For one thing, consumers have more ability to spend than they have had in recent years. The jobs market has improved, inflation is nil, incomes are up, and Americans last month saved a larger portion of those incomes (5.6 percent) than they have in the past three years. So consumers, who account for about 70 percent of the nation’s GDP, can and will probably spend this holiday season. But the pattern of spending is less likely to mimic that of past years.
No longer do shoppers prowl department stores in search of the latest fashions, even if deeply discounted. Instead, this year they seem to be spending their money on four things:
· In defiance of the trend away from “stuff”, anything with “Star Wars” on it is being snatched up, to the likely tune of $4 billion, driving toy sales to a 10-year high, and Apple watches and iPods seem to be doing surprisingly well.
· Cars are flying off the showroom floors (pun intended) in response to attractive discounts and a three-day weekend that gave buyers time from work to test-drive and savor that “new car smell”, perhaps after checking prices on the web.
· House furnishings, practical and beautifying continue to drive sales in DIY and related chains.
· “Experiences” -- dining out, spa treatments, hobbies – were not “hot” items, but have steadily claimed am ever-larger portion of consumers’ cash otherwise available for Black Friday.
Consider this: Here's roster of the eleven men who've won Republican presidential nominations going back to 1944: Mitt Romney, John McCain, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Tom Dewey. Seven had previously run for the nomination before winning. Almost all were nominated after substantial time in public office or the public limelight; the two who might be considered exceptions (George W. Bush, who had only six years in office, and Mitt Romney, who had only four) were the sons of a former president and a former presidential candidate, respectively.
Or look at it this way: In the 18 presidential elections going back to 1944 and constituting the voting lifetime of all but the very oldest primary voters, a Bush has been on the general election ballot six times, Richard Nixon five times, and the voters have had a chance thrice to consider, in the primaries and/or the general election, Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan, and a Romney.
So this a deeply conservative party accustomed to the discipline of repetition and the comfort of familiarity. It always nominates a white male, usually middle-aged to elderly, who is well-credentialed, politically experienced and widely recognized by the Republican primary electorate.
But this year has of course been all topsy-turvy. The candidates who'd run before (Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee) haven't fared well. Nor have the "dynastic" candidates (Jeb Bush and Rand Paul), nor the ones with the most years in office (John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Bobby Jindal).
Instead, the four who now lead the pack include two men--one of them African-American--who've never held public office, and two young first-term Cuban-American senators. The other two most likely to sneak into final contention are a woman who's never held office and a second-term governor.
Who knows if all of this is good or bad for the party, a welcome change or a dangerous departure? And who knows how the traditional GOP primary voter--an older, white Nixon-Reagan-Bush-oriented fellow--will react when he actually shows up to vote, and there's no Nixon-Reagan-Bush type to default to?
One can construct all kinds of theories. But the truth is, this year much more than before, we really don't know.
In his newsletter this week, the boss reported that "our friends over at National Review asked several contributors to write brief reflections for their 60th anniversary issue (by the way, congratulations!) about what book influenced us the most." The boss encourages everyone to take a look at the interesting symposium, featuring contributors like Elliott Abrams, Wilfred McClay, Garry Kasparov. And he reproduced his own answer to the question of what book may have influenced him the most. Here it is, for readers who may have missed that issue of National Review:
The Republic of Plato, translated with notes and an interpretive essay by Allan Bloom (Basic, 512 pp., $22).
In the fall of 1970, a freshman at Harvard with "sophomore standing" (easy to get in those days), I showed up for the first meeting of my sophomore tutorial in the Government Department. The teacher was a first-year assistant professor, Mark Blitz, and the six of us in the group were to spend the entire term reading Plato's Republic. Blitz told us to buy the Bloom translation and start reading Book One.
I remember opening the book in my dorm room the night before the next class, beginning to read Plato, making nothing much of it, and then turning to Bloom's interpretive essay--and seeing, really for the first time, what it was to read a text carefully. I went through the first few pages of Bloom's essay with an excitement and amazement I can still recall. One could say that it was the opening of an American mind.
In retrospect, I see that the unobtrusive education of my parents had prepared me for that moment. What's more, Blitz was a terrific teacher, so it may well be that I would have begun to learn to read Plato without the benefit of Bloom's essay. And the next year I took Harvey Mansfield's lecture course on the history of political philosophy; Mansfield dazzled and challenged from the podium in an incomparable way. But of the books I have encountered, I may well owe the most to what we students came to call Bloom's Republic.
In a move that has sent shockwaves throughout Egypt, the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, travelled to Jerusalem Thursday at the head of a distinguished delegation of bishops from the Coptic Church. The short flight from Cairo to Tel Aviv can be measured in minutes; the psychological distance stretches back decades.
It is the dream of every Copt to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem before one’s death, and for centuries the Copts did. In the process, the Coptic community acquired a dozen churches and several monasteries in the Holy Land as well as partial rights to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. After the six-day war in June 1967, it became impossible to make the pilgrimage with Egypt and Israel at war.
Those who held hopes that the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1979 would open the gates of Jerusalem to Coptic pilgrims were quickly disappointed as the late Pope Shenouda III (1971-2012) quickly made his decision known: No Copt would be allowed to travel to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. Copts would only enter Jerusalem with Muslims, he declared. The decision was purely political, with the man once described as Egypt’s most astute politician reasoning that if Copts went to Israel for the pilgrimage, the rest of the Arab world would see them as traitors. Many sins could be forgiven in the Arab world, he presumably reasoned, but visiting Israel is not one of them.
Personal animosity may also have played a role. As a young man, Shenouda had fought in the 1948 war, and throughout his life he continued to hold the anti-Semitic position that Jews were responsible for killing Christ. And then perceived Israeli bias towards the Ethiopian Orthodox church in the dispute with the Coptic church over the Deir El Sultan Monastery further complicated matters.
For thirty plus years, Pope Shenouda held firm. Nonetheless, the lure of visiting Jerusalem continued to have its hold on the hearts and minds of Copts, and some decided to ignore the Pope’s ban and make the pilgrimage. The situation became embarrassing to a Pope known for his stubbornness. In the 1990s as the hopes of peace between Israel and the Palestinians encouraged more Copts to make the journey, the Pope decided to enforce his ban by prohibiting those travelling from receiving communion. Was redemption not possible? Well, one way was presented; those making the pilgrimage would then publish an apology in Egypt’s leading newspaper asking forgiveness from the Pope. Only then would they be allowed to take communion. The formula soon turned into a farce when tourism companies included the fee for the newspaper apology as part of the travel package to Israel.
Sources in Beirut are confirming reports from various Middle East media outfits that Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ expeditionary unit, was wounded in the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo recently. Fighters from Hezbollah, according to sources close to the party of God, believe the Quds Force commander may be in a hospital in Tehran, or already dead.
According to AsrIran, an anti-regime website close to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Suleimani was seriously injured along with two other personnel in an anti-tank rocket attack 12 days ago. Other sources say the wounds he sustained were not that serious. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, told AFP that Suleimani was "lightly injured three days ago in the Al-Eis area in the south of Aleppo province.”
All lies, says the IRGC, which contends that reports of injuries are Israeli fabrications. Hajj Qassem is “in perfect health and full of energy," says IRGC spokesman Rameza Sharif. “Often, the Israelis write down their dreams in the form of news and spread them through their media in the cyberspace,” he said. “The fake news about Major General Qassem Suleimani’s martyrdom is of this sort.”
It’s certainly the case that there have been rumors of Suleimani’s death previously, but the overly animated nature of the Iranian denials is evidence of an anxiety that runs much deeper than the fate of the IRGC’s celebrity general. While pictures of Hajj Qassem at Middle East battlefields, from Syria to Iraq, have become a fixture of Iranian propaganda the last few years, the fact is that the regime’s Mr. Fix-It has a mixed record, at best.
As Israeli analyst Yossi Mansharof explained recently, the anti-regime opposition has long been documenting the numerous battlefield deaths of senior officers and other key figures close to the Quds Force commander—the “Curse of Suleimani,” they call it. If Suleimani has fallen victim to his own curse, then so eventually will the rest of the regime. The stark reality is that Iran and the Shiite International it has enlisted to fight in Syria will someday lose the war it has started in the middle of the Middle East. It’s simply a matter of numbers.
I'm ready to concede that Donald Trump is the most anomalous figure I've seen in presidential politics. He has defied the laws of electioneering so many times-reversing his favorable-unfavorable numbers despite universal name identification; thriving in the wake of incidents that would have sunk ordinary campaigns-that I'm close to believing that Trump is a political singularity: a figure so dense that he warps the rules of space-time around him in ways the observer can't fully understand.
For exhibit #17, I present to you this CBS poll from over the weekend. What's interesting isn't (just) the Iowa top-line numbers, where Trump has turned aside Ben Carson's brief challenge and now sits on 30-percent support, which is a 9-point lead over the retired surgeon.
It isn't just that outside of Trump's supporters, another fifth of Iowa Republicans say that Trump is "ready to be commander in chief."
It's this: CBS asked Trump supporters--that is, not all Republicans in the survey, just the people supporting Trump--what their favorite thing about Trump is. And guess what percentage said that their favorite thing about their guy was "his faith and beliefs"? No, really. Guess. I'll wait.
You have that number in your head now? We're talking about the percentage of Trump supporters who say their favorite thing about Donald Trump is his faith and beliefs.
The number is zero.
How do you lead the field in Iowa-comfortably!--when not a single one of your own supporters are especially convinced of your "faith and beliefs?"
Beats me. But it's happening. For now. I still believe, as I have since the summer, that in order for Donald Trump to be the nominee, then everything we think we know about politics would have to be wrong.
Then again, I believe in the laws of physics, too. But they don't hold up in the presence of a singularity either.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie directly challenged an account from presidential rival Donald Trump that "thousands" of Muslims in the Garden State cheered on the day of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"Thousands of people did not cheer in Jersey City on 9/11. It just didn’t happen. I was there that day. Nothing like that was ever shown on the news. There’s no video of that. It didn’t happen," Christie told THE WEEKLY STANDARD Tuesday. "As I understand it, he says he saw it on the news. It didn’t happen!"
Christie had previously said Sunday he did not recall the incident Trump has recently described. At a rally last week, Trump said "thousands and thousands of people were cheering" in Jersey City as the World Trade Center buildings across the Hudson River in lower Manhattan. There were no reports of such a large celebration, although the Washington Post did report on September 18, 2001, that law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river." There have also been reports that in Paterson, about 20 miles northwest of Jersey City, a small group of teenagers of Arab descent celebrated in the streets.
But Christie says any celebrations in his state weren't documented on video and were much smaller—"a small number of people, allegedly"—than Trump has claimed. "As I said Sunday, that was a very emotional, difficult day for me, so I can’t say I have perfect recollection of the day, except for the things that I was really concerned about that day, which was the safety of my wife and my brother," he said. "But if that had happened, thousands of people in New Jersey cheering, and I’d been named U.S. attorney the day before, I think I would have remembered."
Christie, who gave an address to the Council on Foreign Relations Tuesday afternoon, spoke about New Jersey's "large Muslim-American population," the second largest percentage-wise after Michigan, in defense of his position that more Syrian refugees should not be allowed into the U.S. until the vetting process is improved. President Obama has criticized governors opposed to allowing in refugees in the wake of the ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, and leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has said blocking those refugees engenders distrust among Muslim-American communities and law enforcement.
Are you watching Scream Queens? Me neither. But I did catch a scene of the FOX slasher-comedy and was surprised to see that my father, Justice Antonin Scalia, made a cameo appearance. Sort of.
The show, set on a college campus, is about a murder spree waged by mysterious figures dressed as devils, and features Jamie Lee Curtis evading death as she did in 1978’s Halloween. The scene in question begins with Curtis re-enacting the famous shower scene from Psycho in which her mother, Janet Leigh, plays a character murdered by—I’d better not give anything away.
But Curtis avoids her mother’s fate, emerges safely from the shower, and is fending off the devils when a surprise third assailant arrives, wearing a different disguise. Curtis asks, “Are you supposed to be Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia?” (Give her credit for pronouncing his name correctly.)
The masked man nods his head before attacking her. But, a skilled martial artist, she thwarts him and his devilish companions. She takes particular delight in knocking the Scalia-guised assailant to the ground, punching him like Ronda Rousey Holly Holm and talking to him like Linda Greenhouse. Between every punch to the face, she makes a claim that, presumably, is meant to rebut something Justice Scalia has said.
“The homosexual lifestyle is not destructive to the fabric of American society!”
“The Voting Rights Act should be authorized in every state!”
“And the Affordable Care Act does not require people to eat broccoli!”
Why, it’s almost as if she’s speaking to the real judge.
I imagine that at both of the Scream Queen viewing parties around the country, people wondered who this guy was supposed to be. But the ideal Scream Queen viewer, the enlightened type the show’s writers congratulate themselves for attracting, stood up and cheered Curtis on. She’s not only a tough grrrrrrl, but she’s also striking blows for truth, justice, and progressivism! (Though they were probably disappointed that Curtis didn’t mention Citizens United. Oh well, gotta leave ’em wanting more.)
Yet the character’s righteous indignation comes off as particularly strange given that she hasn’t exactly been a beacon of morality. She has affairs with students; she decapitated her husband; and she framed her husband’s mistress for the murder. But hey, at least she’s not an originalist.
Ahmed Mohamed, the 15 year-old Muslim kid who was invited to the White House after he was arrested for bringing a clock that he allegedly built to school, has filed a $15 million lawsuit:
The son of Sudanese immigrants who lived in a Dallas suburb, the young robotics fan brought in a homemade clock to impress a new teacher at MacArthur High School.
Instead, Mohamed was accused of trying to scare people with a hoax bomb and escorted from the school in handcuffs. His lawyers insist that the school, police force and city officials violated Mohamed's rights by wrongfully accusing and detaining him and then decided to "trash" him when the media got wind of the story.
"Ahmed clearly was singled out because of his race, national origin and religion," attorney Kelly Hollingsworth wrote.
Let's stipulate that zero tolerance rules in schools are asinine and Mohamed shouldn't have been arrested. Let's also stipulate that there are far better examples of kids getting harmed by zero tolerance rules than Mohamed, considering his clock really did look a heck of a lot like an IED. Seriously, start showing a "clock" that looks like that to people in public places and see if it doesn't start alarming people.
The willingness to ignore facts here to serve a politically correct narrative is pretty damning. Ahmed Mohamed and his family have since relocated to Qatar, not exactly a bastion of tolerance that encourages open inquiry. In any event, if the lawsuit does proceed, the discovery process should be interesting.
While campaigning in New Hampshire recently, Hillary Clinton sounded a Donald Trumpian note on immigration.
“Look, I voted numerous times, when I was a senator, to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in,” she said, “and I do think you have to control your borders.”
Perhaps realizing the error of her ways, on Tuesday, the former secretary of state expressed regret for her remarks. But not for the reason you'd think.
Rather than apologize for the policy she espoused (liberals, after all, have for years decried the notion of building a “barrier” along the Mexican border) Clinton instead bemoaned her “poor choice of words”–in this case, “illegal immigrants.”
“That was a poor choice of words,” she wrote, “As I’ve said throughout this campaign, the people at the heart of this issue are children, parents, families, DREAMers. They have names, and hopes and dreams that deserve to be respected. I’ve talked about undocumented immigrants hundreds of times and fought for years for comprehensive immigration reform.”
It will be interesting to see if people were, in fact, more incensed by Clinton’s language than by the Trump-like policy of wall-building that she expressed her support for. If so, perhaps the Donald can expect support from the left if he starts talking about deporting the “undocumented” rather than “illegal immigrants.”