The Army and the Navy cannot do what they once could and might soon be required to do again. They don’t have enough soldiers and enough ships. Even reduced to the lowest force levels in years, the Army, as USA Today reports:
... is nearly 14% short of the recruits it will need to fill its ranks, marking the first time in six years — and only the third in the last 20 — that it may fall short of its recruiting goal for the year.
And the Navy does not have enough aircraft carriers to keep one on station in the Persian Gulf. As Navy Times reports:
When the carrier Theodore Roosevelt leaves the Persian Gulf this fall, U.S. Central Command will be without a flattop for as long as two months even as airstrikes continue against the so-called Islamic State militants.
And those militants of the “so-called Islamic State” are not the only threat out there. Russia and China must be accounted for. Plus the unanticipated humanitarian mission. The U.S. military is famous for its “can do” culture. But there is a limit to what you can do if you don’t have the weapons and the personnel.
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, as well as Martin O'Malley and Ben Carson, will speak today at the National Urban League Conference in Florida.
"The candidates will share their visions for saving our cities on Friday, July 31, during a session entitled 'Off To The Races: The 2016 Presidential Candidates’ Plenary,'" a press release reads.
“As we convene in Florida to deliberate solutions to the economic and social challenges our cities are facing, it’s vital that those contending for the highest office in the land be part of that conversation,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said.
The candidates’ plenary will take place on the second full day of the Conference themed “Save Our Cities: Education, Jobs + Justice.”
“Our focus was inspired was by a year that saw little accountability for law enforcement responsible for killing unarmed Black men, teenagers and children; a continual assault on voting rights; widening economic inequality gaps; and an increasingly partisan education debate far more rooted in political agendas than in putting our children first,” Morial said.
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reports, "For Mrs. Clinton, the event is an opportunity to highlight a passionate speechabout race that she gave last month in the wake of the shooting that killed nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. ... Mr. Bush, who seemed to roll his eyes at the Black Lives Matter movement recently, has often talked about the need for the party to expand its tent. This speech is another opportunity."
The Jeb Bush campaign announced today that the candidate's son, George P. Bush, will file his father's S.C. presidential paperwork.
"George P. Bush, Governor Jeb Bush’s son, will visit South Carolina TODAY on behalf of his Dad’s campaign for President of the United States. George P. will attend a Young Professionals reception in Columbia this morning. He will then visit the South Carolina Republican Party’s headquarters to file Governor Bush’s South Carolina primary paperwork, accompanied by members of the Jeb! 2016 South Carolina campaign leadership team. George P. will end the day with a meet and greet at Lizard’s Thicket in Lexington," reads the email from Bush spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger.
George P. Bush has 3 public campaign stops set for South Carolina. Two in Columbia and one in Lexington.
The young Bush has gone into the family business himself. George P. Bush is the Texas land commissioner.
A top Democratic believes President Obama may break the law to implement the Iran deal. The Democrat is Brad Sherman, a congressman from California, who made the comments after meeting with Obama personally about the Iran deal.
“The main meat of what he said is, ‘If Congress overrides my veto, you do not get a U.S. foreign policy that reflects that vote. What you get is you pass this law and I, as president, will do everything possible to go in the other direction,’” Sherman told reporters after meeting with Obama.
“He’s with the deal — he’s not with Congress ... At least to the fullest extent allowed by law, and possibly beyond what’s allowed by law.”
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who has been one of the more skeptical Democrats on the agreement, said that Obama appeared ready to ignore Congress, even if lawmakers vote to kill the deal and then marshal the two-thirds majorities to override a White House veto.
“The main meat of what he said is, ‘If Congress overrides my veto, you do not get a U.S. foreign policy that reflects that vote. What you get is you pass this law and I, as president, will do everything possible to go in the other direction,’” Sherman told reporters off the House floor after the meeting.
“He’s with the deal — he’s not with Congress,” Sherman added. “At least to the fullest extent allowed by law, and possibly beyond what’s allowed by law.”
Sherman suggested that Obama could refuse to enforce the law and could actively seek to undermine congressional action in other countries, if Capitol Hill insists on stymieing the plan.
Over the decades, Donald Trump has been involved in a handful of businesses ventures -- some lucrative (game shows). Others, like steak sold at the Sharper Image, have been more of a flop.
Now that The Donald is running for the highest office in the land, it seemed appropriate to review his 1989 Milton Bradley board game -- appropriately titled "Trump: The Game" -- to see what insights could be gleaned about the man.
The game cost $11 on eBay, the author being a very good negotiator... Very successful.
I grabbed a few interns and asked them to join me for a very special project: playing a round of Trump: The Game.
The Donald has two taglines for the game. The first is, "It's like no other game you've ever played." That is a bit of an exaggeration, as it's pretty much an accelerated version of Monopoly and for half of its eight maximum players.
The second appears on the front of the box above the title: "It's not whether you win or lose, but whether you win!" Suffice it to say, this also might be a slogan adopted by Mr. Trump should he not win the GOP presidential nomination and run as a third party candidate.
Opening the rule book, you're greeted with a letter from Trump himself:
Now that you are about to play my game, I invite you to live the fantasy! Feel the power! And make the deals!
The object of the game is to make the most money. I'm talking about hundres of millions of dollars. If you are clever, aggressive and lucky, you could end up with a billion or more!
Start by bidding against opponents for eight different properties on the board. Play it smart and stack up huge profits! Pay too much and you could lose your shirt!
When all of the properties have been purchased, the deal-making starts!
Here's where shrewdness really pays off! Just about anything in the game can be bought, sold or traded! Millions of dollars can be won or lost in seconds.
When the dealing's done, count up your cash! The player with the most money wins!
Now, read the rules. Have fun -- and remember, it's not whether you win or lose, but whether you win!
Donald J. Trump
The game is certainly about making deals. Players are dealt "Trump Cards" and pick them up throughout phase one: the buying phase. The cards all play a central role, though only a few can be used during phase one.
Players move their pawns -- yes, we are all but pawns in Trump's game -- around the board, having to pay money to a property, become the broker for a sale of a property, or have the opportunity to win money on a dice throw.
The sun is a stubborn on-again-off-again partner in our solar energy relationship. With no way to store excess solar energy, solar homes are forced to return shamefacedly to the electrical grid each evening, not to mention in moments of cloud cover and/or rain.
Tesla Motors offers a solution to this dilemma, or claims to. Powerwall is billed as a home battery system that reserves extra solar energy during the day for use when the sun goes down. Powerwall is purported to revolutionize solar energy. The first systems will be installed in a matter of weeks. The Powerwall technology is impressive and even beautifully packaged. But Tesla’s global ambitions are perhaps far-fetched and over-hyped.
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, and a bona fide rock star in the green energy movement, has said that his goal “is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy.” He believes that solar power “can and will become the world’s predominant source of energy within our lifetimes.” Powerwall, and the revolution it will bring, has been eagerly anticipated since Musk’s announcement. The technology is critical to Hillary Clinton’s recent promise to install, within her first term, a half billion solar panels across the country.
Initial interest has surpassed Tesla’s most optimistic estimates. Thirty-eight thousand Powerwall units have already been pre-ordered. Based on the sale of these introductory units, Musk intends to expand globally in the hopes of selling some two billion batteries.
There are several snags in Tesla’s plans for world domination, however. The most interesting and fundamental objections come from Daniel Nocera, Harvard professor and inventor of artificial photosynthesis. He predicts that no matter how solar energy develops, the United States made its choice between fuel and batteries a hundred years ago. Simply put: the U.S. has invested too much to leave the grid now.
“In the United States, the economics don’t make sense. If we could calculate all that you’ve invested in your energy infrastructure - all the wires, all the power plants, we’re talking 70 hundred trillion dollars which you’ve already paid off," Nocera said, exaggerating for effect, "You’re not going to walk away from that,” Nocera explained in an interview with the Washington Post.
Nocera is also unsure of Tesla’s chemistry. The larger 10killowatt-hour version of the lithium Powerwall battery uses a mixture of nickel and manganese, while the smaller 7killowatt-hour version relies on a mixture of nickel and cobalt. “Lithium has to be paired with other metals, so it’s paired with cobalt, and nickel. But on the global scale you run into materials issues, there is not enough of these metals,” said Nocera.
As a Swede living in the U.S., one of the most common reactions when I tell people where I am from is the question of why I would ever leave Sweden in the first place.
Many Americans seem to truly believe that life in the Scandinavian countries is superior to that in virtually all other places on earth, and that the Nordic welfare state model is the magical formula that explains it all. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont recently echoed these beliefs when he said that he wants America to be more like Scandinavia, where both incomes and equality are higher, the middle class stronger, both education and health care are publically funded, and even graduate school is free.
Sanders is not alone. The Scandinavian countries are regularly praised for their income equality, quality of life, gender equality, maternal care and many other traits, not just by leftist politicians and activists, but also by left-leaning economists like Paul Krugman. The Scandinavian model, they believe, is the ultimate proof that you can combine a high-growth economy with a generous welfare state.
The problem is that much of the praise is wrong.
True, the Scandinavian nations are very successful in many ways. Quality of life is considerably higher there than in most other parts of the world, and equality is a strong social norm. But despite what many in the American left who idealizes Scandinavia might wish, the success was not achieved thanks to the welfare state model, but perhaps despite its existence.
In the new book Scandinavian Unexceptionalism, Swedish author Nima Sanandaji dispels many of the popular conceptions about the Nordic countries. Scandinavia’s success came before the welfare state, not after it. Between 1936 and 2008, when much of the welfare expansion occurred, Sweden’s growth rate dropped to being the 13th highest out of 28 industrialized countries.
Just two weeks after Western nations and Tehran struck a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the Pentagon says Saudi Arabia wants to buy 600 new Patriot missile interceptors.
This “$5 billion-plus purchase is likely just the first of many more as America’s Middle Eastern allies arm themselves in response to the nuclear deal, which would lift Iran’s conventional-arms embargo sanctions in five years and sanctions on long-range missile projects in eight.”
Today! A chance to chat with President Obama about the Iran deal! Be there or be square!
We at THE WEEKLY STANDARD wanted to let our readers know about a White House conference call later today that you're entitled to call into--despite the fact that "The White House urged us to urge you to not send this invite to anyone outside the TIKKUN and NSP community and not to put it on your Facebook or other social media."
In 1935, Sinclair Lewis published what would go on to be his most famous novel, It Can’t Happen Here. The novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a populist politician who resembling Louisiana’s Huey Long or, for modern readers, Caracas’ Hugo Chavez. He is described thusly:
The Senator was vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his "ideas" almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a traveling salesman for church furniture, and his yet more celebrated humor the sly cynicism of a country store.
Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only wings of a windmill.
Windrip goes on to take over America, slowly turning it into a fascist state.
While totalitarianism does not threaten the United States today, and does not seem likely to in the future, Populism (a sort of soft-despotism) does. Rhetorical over-inflation—one of the hallmarks of a populist—is a continuous threat to a country whose decision-making process relies on sober conversation. And while we have had our share of sober-sounding (and minded) politicians, recentcomments by presidential hopefuls should serve as a reminder that a populist trend is always a few utterances away.
What is interesting about populism in the United States, is its copy-cat quality. After all, once the political class takes note that rhetoric sells, it is hard to scale back. Take, for instance, Donald Trump’s surge in the polls, despite numerous controversial, tone-deaf statements. Below is a wonderful collection tallied by NPR:
On South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham
"I see your senator, what a stiff. What a stiff: Lindsey Graham."
"And then you have this guy Lindsey Graham, a total lightweight. Here's a guy — in the private sector he couldn't get a job. Believe me. Couldn't get a job. He couldn't do what you people did. You're retired as hell and rich. He wouldn't be rich; he'd be poor."
Donald Trump, to borrow a phrase, is “dead to me.” Well, not exactly, but in a radio interview Wednesday with a San Francisco-based nutritionist, Trump did indulge in one of modern politicians’ most irritating habits: praising the airports in developing countries like China, and lamenting the “third world” airports we supposedly have here in the United States.
“Look at our airports,” Trump thundered, with his inimitable combination of contempt and braggadocio, “JFK, LaGuardia, Newark . . . they’re like third world airports.”
If you go to China, meanwhile, Trump averred, “you won’t even believe what you’re seeing. And then you come home and land at LaGuardia where they have potholes in the runway.”
As it happens, I have been to China several times, and I can attest that they do have a few nice airports. Indeed, many of them have been newly constructed. But that’s because a few years ago, most Chinese airports looked like this. Of course, as that country develops and the aviation industry there expands, it’s going to build new airports. America, by contrast, has had a developed aviation industry for decades; the infrastructure needed to support the industry has been in place for quite some time.
Trump et al. seem, bizarrely, to want to build new airports simply for the hell of it. Would he support demolishing Trump Tower and constructing a new one its place just because there happen to be a few new skyscrapers in Shanghai? There’s a reason we refer to the United States as a developed country, and China as a developing one.
And that’s not to say that American airports are languishing in disrepair – in fact, the ones we have are constantly being improved. Dulles International Airport, just outside of Washington, recently opened a superb indoor train system, largely replacing the awful “moon rovers” that passengers used to rely on. Detroit’s airport, already one of the nicest in the country, is sprucing up its restaurant selection; the airport now even hosts an outpost of the famous Zingerman’s Deli of Ann Arbor. And it was recently announced that the much-maligned LaGuardia Airport in New York will have its terminals completely rebuilt.
Wednesday’s illogical screed was a depressing indication that Trump, for all his claims to being the anti-politician, can easily succumb to Biden-itis.
Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal called sancruary cities "partners in crime" in an interview last night with Bill O'Reilly. Jindal said the city officials of these cities should be held "criminally liable."
"Let's recognize these mayors, these city officials, they are partners in crime. They should be held criminally liable as accomplices for the crimes committed by these folks that are here illegally thanks to these sanctuary cities," said Jindal. "They are partners in crime."
A new national Quinnipiac University poll finds Donald Trump leading the crowded Republican presidential primary field with 20 percent support, even as 30 percent of registered Republican voters say there is "no way" they would support him for president. The New York reality TV star and real-estate magnate is trailed by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, at 13 percent support, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, at 10 percent.
Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio all have six percent support while Ted Cruz and John Kasich have 5 percent and Chris Christie has 3 percent.
This is a big jump for Trump in the Quinnipiac poll; in May, he registered just 5 percent support. Dropping the most support since May are Carson, Huckabee, and Rubio, who each registered 10 percent support two months ago.
Although he leads the GOP field in this latest poll, Trump doesn't poll so well against his potential Democratic opponents in the general election. Hillary Clinton, who holds a commanding lead of 55 percent among registered Democratic voters, is currently beating Trump 48 percent to 36 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, who is not yet in the race, earns 49 percent support to Trump's 37 percent, and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has 45 percent to Trump's 37 percent.
The other top Republicans are a little more even with Clinton. Bush has a one-point edge on her, 42 percent to 41 percent, while Clinton leads Walker by a single point, 44 percent to 43 percent.
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a complaint Wednesday with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies on behalf of Colorado Family Action against a Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood abortionist and another employee. According to information obtained from a recently settled civil lawsuit, the two employees failed to comply with Colorado law by not reporting the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl, performed an abortion on the girl without giving notice to her parents, and returned her to the custody of the sexual predator, who continued to sexually molest her.