Obama’s Intel Scandal


President Obama

Barack Obama says he wants the truth. On November 21, the New York Times reported allegations that military intelligence officials provided the president with skewed assessments that minimized the threat from ISIS and overstated the success of U.S. efforts against the group. The Times story was an update of reporting from the Daily Beast earlier this fall. “More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials,” the Beast reported in September. These analysts say their superiors regularly massaged pessimistic assessments to make them more upbeat before sending them up ...

Woman Silhouette

Who Gets In, Who Doesn’t?


Next month the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, one of the most important cases ...


The Democrats’ Boutique Issues

There’s a reason they talk of nothing but climate change.


Will she vote for a candidate who agrees?

When Hillary Clinton announced her opposition to the Keystone pipeline from Canada, she said climate change was the reason. In the first Democratic presidential debate (CNN), Martin O’Malley listed the greatest national security threats to America as nuclear Iran, ISIS, and “climate change, of course.” And in the second Democratic debate (CBS)—it was the day after the Paris terrorist attacks—Bernie Sanders insisted climate change “is directly related to the growth of terrorism.”

These comments were disingenuous (Clinton), exaggerated (O’Malley), and absurd (Sanders). But there was another problem, the issue of global warming itself. In polls, voters list it as one of their lowest priorities, even while paying lip service to it as a serious matter.

Yet President Obama and Democrats can’t stop talking about it. Obama regards the United Nations Climate Change Conference he’s set to attend in Paris ...

A rising ugliness in politics

The Disloyal Opposition

We need a better form of partisanship.


If you were to acquire political information only from former and current officials of the Obama administration, you would think the Republican party is borderline seditious. President Obama himself regularly castigates Republican motives as un-American. Last week, in a typical ...


The Threat from ‘Minnesota Men’

Where ISIS goes for American recruits.


If you get your news from the headlines, you can be excused for thinking that “Minnesota men” pose a special risk of taking up the terrorist jihad at home and abroad. As the Wall Street Journal

Melissa Click

Not on My Dime

Time to phase out subsidies for higher education?


At the University of Missouri, feminist professor Melissa Click cried out “I need some muscle over here!” to expel a reporter from the Concerned Student 1950 protest in a public quad. A more apt encapsulation of what ...

‘Magnolia’ flag of the Confederate state of Mississippi, captured by the 2nd Iow

Under the Old Magnolia Tree

A better flag for Mississippi.


The lowering of the state flag from the campus of the University of Mississippi in October is another salvo in the war over that emblem’s future. Voting 41-1 in the faculty senate, university officers cited many of the arguments—the divisiveness of the symbol, a sea change in ...

Jennifer Connell and Sean Tarala

Everyone’s Least Favorite Aunt

A tale of tort law run amok.


At first she was the “Aunt From Hell,” with an #AuntFrom-Hell hashtag to match. Jennifer Connell, age 54, had sued her young nephew, Sean Tarala, for $127,000 over an incident at the boy’s eighth birthday party in 2011. Sean ...

‘With both death and taxes, government  can have full control over inevitability

The End-of-Life Bureaucracy

Medicare and advance directives.


The federal technocracy, like the old B-horror-movie monster The Blob, grows by sucking all surrounding life into its amoeba-like digestive system. There are never enough bureaucratic controls or government programs to “incentivize” us—in the jargon—to behave in ways the technocrats ...


Who’s Afraid of Campbell Brown?

Teachers’ unions, and for good reason


Jim Cole AP

New York
Campbell Brown doesn’t seem intimidating, and she certainly doesn’t put on airs. The former NBC Nightly News anchor and CNN host warmly greets visitors in person at her office in lower Manhattan. This is something of a necessity. Not only does she not have a receptionist, she doesn’t even have a regular office. Her new venture is being run out of a franchise of “WeWork,” a startup specializing in “collaborative workspaces,” which is a baroque way of saying she’s saving a few bucks by sharing an office with a bunch of unrelated businesses.

But don’t let this modest arrangement fool you: Brown’s new endeavor is all about kickstarting her ambitious plans to reshape the education debate in America. In June, she launched the Seventy Four, an online news agency with a staff of 14 dedicated to covering education reform. The name refers to the 74 million Americans under age 18 who ...

Books & Arts

Oh, Henry!

Kissinger finds his chronicler.


Henry Kissinger, Jill St. John, Los Angeles (1970)

This attentive, magnificently written, and profoundly researched biography of Henry Kissinger before he took office is stunningly good, and stuns as much for what it does not say as what it does. Earlier Kissinger biographers have tried to comprehend him, not quite in order to forgive his crimes but to share with others—usually Adolf Hitler—the blame for them. Hitler stung Kissinger at a tender age into his amoral realism, and caused him to lure us into a foreign policy that history has proved was unnecessary. Walter Isaacson’s 1992 biography ends with the triumph of the West in the Cold War in spite of realpolitik. Kissinger’s machinations came to naught because the Cold War was more like a TED conference than a life-and-death struggle: Victory came to us because our values “eventually proved more attractive.”

Niall Ferguson is 15 years younger than the midcentury baby boomers like Isaacson, Christopher Hitchens, and me, ...

Standing: Alan Campbell, St. Clair McKelway, Russell Maloney, James Thurber Sitt

Their Golden Age

The invention of the New Yorker, in myth and memory.


Hearing about someone else’s office politics can often be like eavesdropping on his class reunion, the narrative too narrowly tribal to interest those of us beyond the clan. Even so, for more than half a century, books about the inner workings of the New ...

A letter to Santa Claus

Dear Mr. Claus

What letters to the North Pole tell us about America.


Whenever I feel a twinge of despair over America’s challenges—a not infrequent occurrence—I ask myself a simple question: “What year or decade would you like to return to?” It’s a useful exercise for anyone harboring undue pessimism about the future or gauzy ...

Portrait of Charles Darwin by George Richmond (1840)

Faith of Their Fathers

Religious conscience meets scientific mind.


By the late 19th century, the majority of working scientists, including geologists, had come to accept that the Earth was a very, very old place, as evidenced by an extensive fossil record. This acceptance had not come easily, but the unearthing of strange ...

‘The Murder of Lorenzino de’ Medici’ by Giuseppe Bezzuoli (1840)

Lorenzo the Mysterious

More than one way to see a Florentine drama.


Who lured his cousin, confidant, and sovereign by promising him sex with one of their famously virtuous relatives, and then stabbed him repeatedly, remaining in the bloody murder chamber for more than three hours afterwards, to laugh and joke about it with his lackey-accomplices? ...

Tearing down the statue of King George III

A War of Words

Reading the arguments that led to rebellion.


Long before cannons, muskets, blood, and bitter sacrifices settled the question of American independence, a revolution occurred “in the minds and hearts of the people,” John Adams recalled late in life.

The citizens of the ...


Knowledge Can Kill

A diplomat’s dilemma on the eve of calamity.


Vladimir Putin has systematically worked to rehabilitate the image of Stalin, downplaying his record of mass murder while celebrating his role as the architect of victory in World War II. But Stalin almost lost that war before he won it. Disregarding multiple warnings from the ...

The Old Course at St. Andrews

A Duffer’s Progress

No staying put when there’s putting to be done.


Golfers have a hard time explaining the appeal of their game to those who do not play. And in fact, golfers sometimes have a hard time accounting for their passion even to themselves. The old quip about how a round of golf is a “good walk spoiled” seems to ...

On 45th Street, looking west from Broadway (1925)

Shuberts’ Symphony

No business like show business, especially on Broadway.


New York Post columnist Michael Riedel has great timing: Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway arrives just as Times Square has once ...

Former president John Tyler opens the peace convention (1861).

The Talking Cure

One last-ditch effort to avoid Civil War.


In a city where the sine qua non of life is failure, it is amazing that political miscarriages don’t receive more studious treatment. But in The Peace That Almost Was, Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, offers us a ...


The Shadow Knows

A novel of wartime suspicion and suspense. by Jon L. Breen


How many literary genres and how many specialized backgrounds can one novel encompass? The latest from Gerard Woodward, a British writer frequently shortlisted for prestigious literary awards, has aspects of war, espionage, coming-of-age, comedy, mystery, saga, gay romance, and ...


Where Angels Fear to Tread

David Skinner, intrepid traveler.


gary hovland

Friends of mine once saved for a trip to Europe by emptying their pockets at the end of each day and placing any money in a big plastic jug. Occasionally, when short of cash, they had to turn the jug upside down and withdraw a bill or two with a pair of tweezers, but the system worked. After a couple years, they bought plane tickets and were on their way. 

When my wife Cynthia and I visited Italy recently, we too were counting nickels, dimes, and euros. Like my old friends, we saved money whenever possible, to spend it more lavishly when desire struck.

In Rome we stayed in a simple pensione and walked everywhere. Traveling between cities, we took trains and even buses, which were slower but less expensive. On our third day, I reveled in the wisdom of our frugality, as our almost empty bus rose and fell like a ship sailing the hills of Tuscany, the region’s beautifully furrowed ...




Elise Labbott

Speaking Flattery to Power

Last week, CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott—who according to her Twitter bio is also a self-appraised “truth seeker”—was suspended from the network for two weeks for editorializing on social media. The offending tweet was this: “House passes bill that could limit ...

Douglass North

Douglass North, 1920-2015

Scrapbook friend and frequent Weekly Standard contributor Ike Brannon, a visiting fellow at the Cato Institute, emailed us last week upon hearing of the death of a legendary economist:

General Kelly, USMC

Giving Thanks

A reader writes: “I just finished reading Aaron MacLean’s article ‘A Family Affair,’ in your November 9 issue, reporting the recent retirement of General John F. Kelly from the Marine Corps. I am deeply grateful for the supremely moving description of General Kelly’s life and ...


Headline of the Week

Oh, holy Moses. It’s probably the headline of the year, and possibly even of the millennium. From Haaretz, November 23: “Jewish Law Was Never Meant to Be Set in Stone.”


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