I used to think the quote “If you strike at a king, you must kill him” came from Machiavelli — it certainly sounds like the great Italian — but apparently it comes from the not quite as great American Ralph Waldo Emerson. But no matter the provenance, the import is obvious: Go for the throat or leave your enemy to exact revenge at your peril — and on his own time. Back in WWII, the United States took Emerson’s advice, going so far as to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki and lay waste to Dresden. But, hey, we won. And Japan
We are in a no win situation. Without moral clarity it is impossible to chart a course through the Arab world. Either there is right and wrong or we flail around on the world stage with no influence. We lost moral clarity right after 9/11 when Islam was declared a religion of peace. The Muslims lost their self-declared high ground when they did not demand expulsion of any cleric who encouraged terror or anyone who commited terror in the name of their god. The self imposed silence was consent. Now we are an impossibly dangerous situation. There are no good guys on either side. Innocent civilians are used as a lure to pull us into a civil war where both sides would love to kill us and Russia and China with cheshire grins will assist them. Obama´s weakness and naïveté has brought us to the brink of WWIII.
A World War II fighter pilot’s dog tags will be returned to their rightful heirs this Veterans Day after a nearly 70-year trek home to the United States. Air Force Lt. Jack Robbins’s plane was shot down by enemy fire on June 24, 1944, near St. Giles, France, and a French family hid and cared for him for several weeks until Germans evacuated their farm. Robbins was captured and spent the next 10 months as a prisoner of war. He lost his dog tags somewhere along the way. Robbins escaped imprisonment in April 1945, returned to the United States, and became a farmer
America appears to be witnessing the Party that Can’t Win, versus the Party that Can’t Govern. From the self-inflicted fiscal crisis to Obamacare’s failed unveiling, Washington could hardly appear worse. While long-term success awaits the party that can win and govern, right now neither party seems able to do so. The fiscal crisis was of Washington’s own making. Although they did not do it singlehandedly, Republicans took the bulk of the blame for it. Republicans’ biggest failing was attempting to force the White House to acquiesce in a high-stakes struggle with a low probability of success. From the beginning, they knew
In the wake of successful slavery-themed movies like “12 Years a Slave,” “The Butler” and “Lincoln,” the History Channel just announced plans to remake “Roots,” the landmark 1977 mini-series that drew record ratings. How will they handle the hoax problem? “Roots” was based on the late Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning runaway best-seller, which was billed as a factual account (albeit with some fictional embellishments) of his family’s history from Africa through slavery in the South to present times. All this was said to be based on generations of oral history corroborated by painstakingly researched outside documents. But as I wrote in these
As millions of Americans grapple with letters from their insurance companies notifying them that their policies have been cancelled despite President Obama´s repeated promises over a five year period that it wouldn´t happen, it´s become clear that Americans have no reason to trust his word. It also reinforces why there´s no reason for the rest of the world to believe another famous pledge: "I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say." Despite Secretary of State John Kerry playing footsie
The most anticipated chess match in decades is happening right now in Chennai, India. The match pits current world champion Viswanathan Anand against the 22-year-old Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, who is the highest-rated player in the world. One obvious reason the contest is so exciting is that Carlsen is a young prodigy, while Anand (43) is part of an older generation. The pair are playing a best-of-12 series. If neither side has won a majority of games by that point, a series of tiebreaker games will be played. Garry Kasparov, probably the most famous chess player of all-time, wrote here that a Carlsen
Imagine a world in which the Middle East is not descending into carnage and chaos but is on the brink of a monumental series of breakthroughs. By next spring,Iran’s nuclear program will be secured and Egypt will be a liberal democracy. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has stepped aside. And, not least, Israelis and Palestinians have settled on the terms for a Palestinian state. This is the world that John Kerry inhabited as he shuttled across the world last week: a fantastical realm created by his billowing vision of what he can accomplish as secretary of state. Meanwhile, on this planet, aid
The Obama administration has a schizophrenic attitude toward requiring people to go through criminal-background checks. Last week, Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) grilled Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, about why the 45,000 “navigators” who assist people in signing up for Obamacare aren’t required to undergo a criminal-background check, even though they handle sensitive personal information. “So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them?” Cornyn asked her. “That is possible,” said Sebelius, noting that states could always impose their own requirements — as some have done. The risk
If the battles roiling the Republican Party over the last four years were a Star Wars film, last week’s elections might be titled “The Establishment Strikes Back.” No matter what you call it, the star is Chris Christie. After suffering repeated indignities at the hands of conservative activists and political neophytes, the party’s donors, consultants, and less Tea Party-friendly politicians reminded the country that they too can win—and also sit on their hands whenever the GOP nominates candidates they dislike, just as much as any grassroots conservative group. But this bit of conventional wisdom, while truer than most, can be overstated. The
There are few better examples of the fecklessness of the Obama presidency than the sight of the huckster-in-chief speaking at a conference to sell foreign companies on the advantages of investing in the United States, which is what he stooped to on October 31 at the SelectUSA Investment Summit. There are two possible reasons for him to have done this: The first is that he really thinks that he can give a speech and spur foreign direct investment. That perspective is, of course, asinine, and would be the Washington equivalent of a Pacific island cargo cult. It’s not like a
WASHINGTON — When President Obama travels abroad, his staff packs briefing books, gifts for foreign leaders and something more closely associated with camping than diplomacy: a tent. Even when Mr. Obama travels to allied nations, aides quickly set up the security tent — which has opaque sides and noise-making devices inside — in a room near his hotel suite. When the president needs to read a classified document or have a sensitive conversation, he ducks into the tent to shield himself from secret video cameras and listening devices. American security officials demand that their bosses — not just the president, but
e’re three years from the next presidential election, and Hillary Clinton is, once again, the inevitable Democratic nominee. Congressional Republicans have spent months investigating her like she already resides in the White House. The New York Times has its own dedicated Clinton correspondent, whose job it is to chronicle everything from Hillary’s summer accommodations (“CLINTONS FIND A NEW PLACE TO VACATION IN THE HAMPTONS”) to her distinct style of buckraking (“IN CLINTON FUNDRAISING, EXPECT A FULL EMBRACE”). There is a feature-length Hillary biopic in the works, and a well-funded super PAC—“Ready for Hillary”—bent on easing her way into the race.
As you dig into your Butterball with all the trimmings this Thanksgiving, remember that millions of famished schoolkids around America may be forced to forgo classic turkey — and chow down instead on vegan black-bean patties and organic locavore quinoa salad. On Nov. 1, sizable cuts were gouged into the federal food-stamp program (or, as it’s now called, SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which feeds 47.6 million people, or nearly one in six Americans. In the city, 1.9 million folks get the bulk of their Jell-O and Campbell’s Soup from stamps. But news has spread among the poor, like leafy green vegetables,
WASHINGTON — President Obama was seething. Two weeks after the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov, Mr. Obama gathered his senior staff members in the Oval Office for what one aide recalled as an “unsparing” dressing-down. The public accepts that technology sometimes fails, the president said, but he had personally trumpeted that HealthCare.gov would be ready on Oct. 1, and it wasn’t. “If I had known,” Mr. Obama said, according to the aide, “we could have delayed the website.” Mr. Obama’s anger, described by a White House that has repeatedly sought to show that the president was
Hillary Clinton remains the most formidable presidential nomination frontrunner for a non-incumbent in the modern era. (snip)The only candidate in my mind who could catch fire, Massachusetts´ Senator Liz Warren, has already declared her support for Clinton. In fact, every single female Democratic senator is behind Clinton. What a difference that is from 2008. Much of the establishment was actually encouraging Obama to run in 2008. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid weren´t backing Clinton. Claire McCaskill´s endorsement of Obama in 2008 was particularly memorable. All three of them are now openly pleading for and endorsing Clinton for 2016.
President Obama likes to say he will never again be running for office, but every Democrat knows he will be on the ballot figuratively in 2014, and 2016, as well. Right now they are rightly nervous about that prospect. A month ago, political Washington was transfixed by the errors committed by congressional Republicans. Those missteps led to a partial shutdown of the government, which in turn has brought approval of the GOP to record lows in many public opinion surveys. Nothing about that has changed. But today, it’s Obama in the spotlight. A president famous for his unflappability, he is
McAllen, Tex. — They were already running late for a doctor’s appointment, but first the Salas family hurried into their kitchen for another breakfast paid for by the federal government. The 4-year-old grabbed a bag of cheddar-flavored potato chips and a granola bar. The 9-year-old filled a bowl with sugary cereal and then gulped down chocolate milk. Their mother, Blanca, arrived at the refrigerator and reached into the drawer where she stored the insulin needed to treat her diabetes. She filled a needle with fluid and injected it into her stomach with a practiced jab. “Let’s go,” she told the children,
Marathon talks on a deal to temporarily curb Iran´s nuclear program have broken down after a negotiations between foreign ministers ran into trouble late last night.[Snip] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of six other delegations conferred with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a late-night session which broke up after midnight. The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told France Inter radio yesterday that Paris would not accept a ´sucker´s deal´. They complained the text which was drafted as part of the agreement had been presented a ´fait accompli´ and did not want to be forced
Jim Capretta saw the Obamacare debacle coming when it was months away. On July 5, the Obama administration released a 600 page regulation announcing a one-year delay in part of Obamacare’s implementation. States would not have to check the income of people applying for subsidies, according to the administration’s guidance. The administration simply would not be ready in time. “This announcement is another indicator—as if we needed one—of the complete fiasco that is Obamacare implementation,” Capretta wrote the following Monday for the Weekly Standard. It wasn’t the first delay, as a few days earlier the administration had let all big businesses off the
Don’t count Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus among those who believe comprehensive immigration reform is dead this Congress. Despite exasperation among reform advocates that the House has refused to vote on any major immigration bill — particularly the Senate-passed legislation — Priebus said that his “gut” feeling is that the House will indeed pass an immigration overhaul in the next 14 months. “Something significant is going to happen because obviously mass deportation is not an option. I don’t think doing nothing is an option. And I believe most people would agree that something significant needs to take place. Now what that
In their new book ”Who’s Bigger: Where Historical Figures Really Rank,” computer scientist Steven Skiena and former Google engineer Charles B. Ward rank the 100 most significant people in world history using an algorithm they created. What goes into the algorithm? It’s complicated. If you really want to know the math behind it, read the book. Or you can learn a little about it here. But click below to see who makes the top 100 — then let us know who the list should and should not have been included in the comment section.
Sheilah Johnson was a building inspector for the city for 28 years, a college graduate who passed up jobs that paid more because a city job offered stability and the promise of a good pension. But the city´s recent plunge into bankruptcy — overseen by an outside emergency manager answerable to the state government, not the citizens of Detroit — makes her wonder whether she and other African American residents of the impoverished city will be able to stop Wall Street creditors from seizing what´s left of a municipal treasury they paid into for most of their lives. "When my
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Before Ted Cruz burst on the national political scene, there was Sarah Palin. After Ted Cruz, is there still much of a place for her? Sarah Palin, 49, is the original hero of the Tea Party, rallier of the right wing and basher of Barack Obama. But it has been five years since she gained a place in the history books as John McCain´s surprise choice of running mate on the Republican presidential ticket. Four years since she unexpectedly resigned as Alaska governor before her term was up. Two years since she bypassed the chance to jump into the
Jeff Fager, the CBS News chairman and executive producer of “60 Minutes,” has said that his team spent “more than a year” reporting the story about the attack on Benghazi that aired on Oct. 27.Yet it wasn’t until Thursday night that they learned first-hand what their principal source, a security contractor named Dylan Davies, had told the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the attack. In conversations with POLITICO, sources familiar with “60 Minutes” reporting said that it was only on Thursday night that “60 Minutes” obtained the official account of events that Davies had given to FBI officials after the
“If I don’t have sex every day, I get a headache,” John F. Kennedy would remark to anyone who would listen, from British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to a lowly senatorial aide. Even in the pantheon of sexual narcissists drawn to politics, Kennedy’s obsessive conquesting remains the gold standard for bad behavior. Here, a gallery of some (but almost certainly not all) of his most notable trysts. Marlene Dietrich, ActressThe German actress, a longtime friend and lover of JFK’s father, Joe, accepted an invitation from the president to have drinks at the White House in September of 1963 — when