‐ When Clinton became secretary of state and said she would build stronger relations with foreign countries, she really meant it.
‐ On the morning of April 12, Freddie Gray was arrested after fleeing from police near the Gilmor Homes housing project in Baltimore. He was hauled into a police van to be transported to the local police station. When he arrived, less than half an hour later, he required urgent medical treatment. He died at Baltimore’s Shock Trauma Center one week later, his spine “80 percent severed” at the neck, according to his family’s attorney. How that happened is the outstanding question that has much of Baltimore’s black community outraged — and, indeed, it is difficult to envision a scenario in which the police were not, at best, grossly negligent. (Requests by Gray, during his arrest, for medical attention were ignored by the arresting officers.) As in Ferguson and Staten Island and elsewhere, however, the Black Lives Matter crowd had no interest in allowing the investigation to run its course, and, predictably, peaceful protests did not remain so. On Saturday, April 25, hundreds of protesters shattered storefronts, threw trash cans into police cruisers, and brawled in the streets, while a mob of “youths” assaulted a Russia Today camerawoman and robbed her of her handbag. Two days later, the city was engulfed in riots; stores were looted and burned, and the police force was beaten into retreat. Such violence has nothing to do with Freddie Gray, with “anger,” or with “justice.” It is “rioting mainly for fun and profit,” in Edward Banfield’s famous phrase. And it’s no coincidence that it is happening in a city ruled for nearly half a century by Democrats. Look on your works, ye mighty, and despair.
‐ President Obama responded to the rioting in Baltimore by condemning the rioters, calling for criminal-justice reform, lamenting such problems as fatherlessness, and then, in a long riff, urging Americans to do some “soul-searching.” We know how to fix Baltimore and other troubled communities, he said, and would make the large investments necessary if we saw their children as ours. This is, of course, delusional. If Obama knows how to revivify marriage or compensate for its decline, he should share his insight. In reality, his confidence that he has the answers, and that the rest of us do too but are too callous to act on them, is a reminder that his worst personal failing is the same as his worst ideological one: vanity.
‐ Everyone supports “marriage equality,” including opponents of same-sex marriage. Americans gay and straight have all lived under exactly the same marriage rules since the founding of the Republic. When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the same-sex-marriage cases, then, it wasn’t considering “marriage equality” but rather “marriage redefinition.” Observers nearly unanimously expect the Court to rule that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. That expectation ought to offend Justice Kennedy, since it assumes that all his rhetoric about the dignity of states two years ago — when he voted to strike down the federal government’s definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman for the purposes of federal programs — was for show.
‐ The Democrats have been working overtime to gut the First Amendment. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presumptive Democratic front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination, has endorsed this effort. The Democrats have repeatedly attempted to use federal law to stifle the political speech of activist groups and independent parties, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly told them that they may not do this, most notably in the Citizens United case — a case that turned on the question whether people showing a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton should be prosecuted as criminals for doing so. The courts keep telling the Democrats that the First Amendment exists primarily to protect political speech, but the Democrats seem to think that it’s about pornography, and keep trying to criminalize the act of criticizing politicians in unapproved-of ways. That culminated last year in Harry Reid’s attempt to pass a constitutional amendment that would exempt political speech from First Amendment protections — which is to say, that would effectively repeal the First Amendment — an effort that received the support of every Democrat in the Senate. Mrs. Clinton makes it official: The Democrats are now an anti–First Amendment party.
‐ Marco Rubio and Scott Walker traded shots, with Rubio saying that governors could not be prepared to handle foreign policy and Walker noting that this standard would have disqualified Ronald Reagan. It’s not the first time Walker has cited Reagan in making the case for his foreign-policy credentials: He has also said that his battles with the unions proved his readiness just as Reagan’s firing of the striking air-traffic controllers showed he was serious. Walker’s response nicely shows that Rubio’s claim is too categorical. But Reagan was more like Rubio than like Walker in one respect: He had spent years thinking and talking about foreign policy; the Soviets already knew what he thought before they were sure he would follow through. If Walker knows what he thinks about foreign policy, he should share it with the public — which would also give Rubio something better to talk about than the candidates’ résumés.
‐ Walker has not come out “against legal immigration,” as some reports have put it. He has said that he thinks immigration policy should be set with an eye on its impact on wages, and should welcome more newcomers when labor markets are strong than when they are weak. He has said, as well, that he is listening to Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), the leading congressional advocate of lower legal-immigration levels. Walker is taking a lot of flak for these comments, some of it from Republicans. But his general statement is inarguable — what’s the case for ignoring labor markets? — and the implied position is reasonable. Immigration increases national wealth, but most of that increase accrues, naturally, to the immigrants themselves. The average impact on people already here is negligible. When more low-skilled immigrants come here, however, people in low-wage jobs — many of them immigrants themselves — come under more economic stress. In this way and others, high levels of immigration can retard assimilation. These points may explain why 39 percent of Americans in a recent Gallup poll favored reducing immigration. Only 7 percent wanted more. Yet the “comprehensive immigration reform” that all the great and good in Washington have been seeking for years includes much higher immigration levels. It is a mark of how out of touch American elites are that, in all those years, that feature of the plan has occasioned less debate than Walker’s remarks have in a few weeks.
‐ Ian Reisner, a strong supporter of Israel, held a “fireside chat” in his Manhattan duplex for presidential candidate Ted Cruz, another strong supporter of Israel. Politics as usual? No way — because Reisner is gay, while Cruz wants the Supreme Court to let states decline to recognize gay marriage. The gay Left jumped on Reisner — a Facebook call to boycott his businesses (he is a hotelier) got 8,200 likes. Reisner promptly crumbled (“I am shaken to my bones. . . . I made a terrible mistake”). The new Stalinism politicizes the political, and is utterly unforgiving. All that is needed to complete the picture is a photo of the fireside chat, photoshopped to remove Cruz.
‐ On April 27, Loretta Lynch was sworn in as the first female African-American attorney general in U.S. history — a triumphal moment for those who care passionately for such milestones. Far more important was the swearing in of an attorney general who declared in hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had no concerns about the constitutionality of, or the alarming precedent set by, President Obama’s November executive amnesty, and that she would happily give her imprimatur as America’s chief law-enforcement officer to its implementation. Ten Republican senators, including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, voted to confirm Lynch. Even Republicans who voted against her made a point of saying that she was qualified for the job: a testament to their unclear thinking, since adherence to the Constitution is among the most important qualifications an attorney general can have.
‐ Obamacare was carelessly designed and lawlessly implemented. A Supreme Court decision imposing legal limits on Obamacare this summer could lead to millions of people seeing their premiums rise or their coverage disappear. Senate Republicans do not believe that these people should pay the price for the administration’s recklessness, so Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and 29 of his colleagues have introduced legislation to extend subsidies to the affected people until 2017, when a new president could revisit health-care policy. At the same time, the Republican bill would eliminate some of Obamacare’s regulations. That’s not a bad place to end up — but it might be a bad place to start. We think Republicans would be better off allowing states to opt out of Obamacare. Extend subsidies, yes, but let people use them outside of Obamacare’s exchanges. And let these states convert most of their Medicaid funds into cash assistance for low-income people buying regular health insurance. Five years after Obamacare became law, Republicans have an opportunity to stand, at long last, for a model of health-care policy that puts markets and states, rather than the federal government, at the center of the action.
‐ Democrats finally surrendered in a standoff over bipartisan legislation intended to toughen penalties against human trafficking. They had filibustered the bill because it included a provision that would prevent money from a victims’-compensation fund from going to abortion services; they contended that this was an expansion of Hyde-amendment precedent that generally bars funding for abortion. As a practical matter, it wasn’t, but the abortion lobby, presumably, was worried about legislative penumbras. Both parties finally agreed to fund health services for victims from other, existing federal funding that is already subject to the Hyde Amendment, and to restrict the new victims’ fund to non-health services. Thus, no (meaningless) expansion of Hyde precedent, and (meaningfully) no more money for abortion. It was a small victory for Republicans, and a reminder that picking their battles shrewdly on life issues can force Democrats to defend a decidedly unpopular position.
‐ Standardized tests in the schools can serve useful roles, especially in letting parents, voters, and policymakers know how well schools are doing. But testing can be taken too far, as well, and many parents have come to believe that schools are making that error as part of their states’ implementation of Common Core. Many parents are opting out of tests for their kids in New York and New Jersey. Much of the unhappiness appears to stem from a sense that the testing regime, like Common Core generally, was adopted without input from them. That sense is justified. Common Core resulted from an elite consensus, not a public debate, and solidified because the Obama administration made federal funding and regulatory waivers contingent on its adoption. Supporters of the tests are now lashing out at the opt-out parents, calling them irrational and enemies of civil rights (on the theory that it is harder to address failing schools without widespread testing). Tests show whether learning is taking place; Common Core’s supporters are failing theirs.
‐ As an Army general, David Petraeus was a hero of the Iraq War. As CIA director, he had an affair with his biographer and gave her classified information. With FBI investigators and others, he was apparently untruthful. He has now gotten off with a slap on the wrist: two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine (which Petraeus, who has landed handsomely in the private sector, can easily afford). He said, “I now look forward to moving on with the next phase of my life and to continuing to serve our great nation as a private citizen.” We trust he will do this well. And who among us is unspotted? Also, his Army service was stellar, even invaluable. Still: The charge made by MoveOn.org, the left-wing organization, in 2007 has a creepy ring now. That charge was “General Betray Us.”
‐ In Washington, D.C., residents who wish to exercise their right to own a firearm are subjected to an absurdly draconian permitting process, and then to a set of harsh, often irrational, restrictions that govern which models they may own in their homes. These rules, however, do not apply to members of Congress, who may possess and transport whatever guns they please. When Representative Ken Buck (R., Colo.) was recently seen holding an AR-15 in his Capitol Hill office, onlookers reasonably wondered whether he had broken the law. But the Metropolitan police were swift to confirm that he had not, and to note that the rules don’t apply to the lawmakers who wrote them. The District’s gun laws are thus a double offense against republican government.
‐ A deranged woman named Dynel Lane lured Michelle Wilkins to her home and cut her unborn child, Aurora, from her womb. Aurora died, but under Colorado law an assault that results in an unborn child’s death does not count as a homicide. The Colorado legislature is aiming to change that and join the federal government and 37 other states in recognizing that unborn children can be victims of crime. The abortion lobby is resisting. In the New York Times, one opponent of the law opined that the “core harm” of crimes like Lane’s is that “reproductive freedom is trampled.” If Wilkins is like most victims of such crimes, she probably takes a clearer view of the crime against her and her daughter. So should the law.
‐ In California, the health committee of the state assembly recently passed a bill that would require staff at crisis-pregnancy centers to tell clients how they can get state-funded abortions. Eighty witnesses testified against the proposed legislation. Federal courts have struck down similar laws in New York, Texas, and Maryland. Jor-El Godsey of Heartbeat International, a pro-life group, notes the lack of evidence that clients of pregnancy centers in California have been harmed. He suggests that one motive behind the bill is to make the centers spend time and money defending themselves in court. As usual, there seems to be only one choice that pro-choicers are pro.
‐ As the American Civil Liberties Union is demonstrating anew. When some 60,000 unaccompanied minors poured across America’s southern border last year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops took seriously Christ’s call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and harbor the harborless, partnering with the federal government to tend to the least of these. But no good deed goes unpunished. In April, the ACLU filed suit, seeking to end the partnership because Catholic agencies do not offer contraception or abortions to unaccompanied minors in their care. This lawsuit is not unprecedented: In 2009, the ACLU sued the Department of Health and Human Services for contracting with the USCCB to provide help to victims of human trafficking. The ACLU opposed the bishops on the same grounds. Its stand has nothing to do with liberty, and less with compassion.
‐ The full Senate has taken up legislation, known as the Corker-Menendez bill, that would require President Obama to submit a nuclear deal with Iran to Congress. The problem, and the reason the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed it unanimously and President Obama promised he would sign it: The current bill would effectively require a two-thirds majority to reject a deal. That risks making a congressional failure to reach that high threshold look like a tacit endorsement of a deal. So what to do? The Senate should consider strengthening the bill by passing amendments that require any deal with Iran to include certain reasonable measures, such as unfettered inspections access and only phased relaxation of sanctions. Perhaps that will send a message to Iran that the West will not be as pliant as Obama would like it to be. The virtue of the Corker bill is that it would at least force President Obama to submit the text of a deal to Congress, which he had hoped to avoid. But Congress should insist on more: The Iranians shouldn’t be the only ones to win concessions from Obama.
‐ Over and over, President Obama has said that Ali Khamenei, the “supreme leader” of Iran, has issued a fatwa that prohibits Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Trustworthy authorities say that there is no such fatwa. If there is no such fatwa, Obama should stop proclaiming the existence of one. If there is such a fatwa — what are we negotiating about? Is the Iranian government defying its supreme leader? Someone, preferably the U.S. president, should clear this up.
‐ In the aftermath of a drone attack that inadvertently killed two hostages — an American and an Italian — commentators immediately decried American “failures” in the drone war, thus suggesting that anything but the most surgical strike is unacceptable. This is a dangerous notion, one that is incompatible with the laws of war. When terrorists hide among civilians and surround themselves with human shields, their actions make civilian deaths inevitable. To avoid those deaths at all costs would tie the hands of our men and women in uniform, empower terrorists, and cost American lives. Americans weep for the lost hostages and their families, but our mourning must turn not into self-doubt but into a renewed resolve to find and kill terrorists — no matter how, or behind whom, they hide.
‐ The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade pact, is being threatened by demands that measures intended to curb Chinese currency manipulation be inserted into the deal. This is curious for many reasons, not least of which is that China is not a party to the TPP, and that, of the pact’s potential signatories — which include Canada, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand — the most significant currency manipulator is the United States, which through quantitative easing has exnihilated digital dollars equivalent almost to the GDP of Japan, another TPP party. One almost suspects — is it possible? — that Beijing’s monetary policy is not the real issue here. Experts disagree about the extent and significance of Chinese efforts to keep the renminbi cheap relative to the dollar, thereby boosting Chinese exports at the expense of Chinese consumers. But there is no disagreement about the fact that the left wing of the Democratic party hates trade pacts categorically on ideological grounds. Thus Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) is on the warpath against TPP, while Hillary Rodham Clinton, hoping to split the difference between the anti-TPP Warren camp and the pro-TPP White House, is walking sideways away from a deal she strongly supported until the day before yesterday. The Democrats’ retreat into naked xenophobia has been something to behold, but playing the “Yellow Peril” card when China’s not even part of the deal? That’s new.
‐ Stalin was wrong: The recent drowning of more than 900 migrants fleeing to Europe in a boat that capsized in the Mediterranean is more a tragedy than a statistic. Regrettably, statistics do, however, affect decisions that Europe and the West must make about mass illegal immigration. If the 900 were the forerunners of more hundreds or even thousands, Europe and the world could make reasonable provision for receiving them. It is because they may be the forerunners of millions that the West must resolve to prevent further influx. Relatively stable countries should agree on specific numbers of political refugees to whom they will grant asylum. Apart from that, they should make it unmistakably clear that no illegal immigrant will be admitted under any circumstances and that those who make it halfway will be returned to the countries from which they embarked. It sounds harsh, but anything short of that measure is incentive for desperately poor people to take the terrible risk of setting sail in unreliable craft.
‐ The PEN American Center is giving its annual free-speech award to Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper whose staff was massacred by Islamists in Paris. This has, remarkably, led to protests, with six writers — Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner, and Taiye Selasi — withdrawing from the awards gala. Kushner, hilariously, cited the newspaper’s “intolerance” for her decision: Charlie Hebdo’s “intolerance” was expressed through cartoons of dubious taste, which were met with intolerance of a rather more robust sort. Meanwhile, the cartoonist Garry Trudeau dismissed Charlie Hebdo as an example of “hate speech,” declared that free speech is “its own kind of fanaticism,” and blamed the murdered for having “brought a world of pain to France.” PEN calls its prize the “Courage” award — better that these supine members of the literary establishment stay away. Far away.
‐ Speaking of Rachel Kushner: We found uniquely nauseating Ms. Kushner’s valentine to Cuban dictator (ahem, “president”) Raúl Castro in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” issue. Kushner, whose qualification for estimating the Cuban leader is having written a reasonably successful novel about Cuba a few years ago, neglected to mention the dissidents daily tortured on the island, or the gulag archipelago where that torture occurs. But she did make sure to note Cuba’s “main achievements, such as education and universal health care,” the “insulting, cruel, and utterly failed 50-year U.S. embargo,” and the prospect of “the destabilizing influx of foreign capital,” now that the U.S. and Cuba have reached a “historic rapprochement.” Only a true leftist could look on Cuba and declare the most urgent concern the possibility of gentrification.
‐ President Obama is determined to normalize relations with the Castro dictatorship in Cuba. Naturally, the Castros have some conditions. One of those conditions is that Cuba be removed from the State Department’s list of terror sponsors. Obama has obligingly moved to do this. Does Cuba deserve the removal? Have the Castros repented? They support the FARC in Colombia, ETA in Spain, paramilitaries in Venezuela, and other such actors. They harbor a man who plotted to kill Álvaro Uribe, the former president of Colombia. They were recently caught smuggling arms to North Korea. Even more recently, they were caught smuggling arms from China. They harbor some 70 American fugitives, one of whom is among the FBI’s ten most-wanted terrorists. We could go on. The point is, the Castros have not repent-ed or reformed. Obama is simply determined to romance them.
‐ The massacre of up to a million and a half Armenians 100 years ago was not the first ethnic cleansing of Christians in the Middle East, but it was the grossest in modern times; ISIS is doing its best to emulate it now. Armenians worldwide insist on calling it “genocide,” as if this were a post-graduate degree in suffering. The Young Turks who tried to save the Ottoman Empire did not start out wishing to slaughter Armenians, but after rushing into World War I they willed that result, and many of the Armenians’ neighbors threw themselves into the bloodletting. Ancient communities were wiped out; survivors had to change their names and their religion. One good consequence of Recep Erdogan’s campaign to remake Turkey in his own image was his willingness to nod to Armenian suffering, though as the centennial approached he reverted to denial. Acknowledgment cannot bring back the dead, but modern Armenians deserve it and modern Turks would benefit from offering it.
‐ “Do as I say, not as I do” has long been a progressive mantra, but rarely has the chasm between the Left’s piety and the Left’s behavior been as poignantly exposed as it was in April, in which month National Review discovered that more of MSNBC’s rabble-rousing hosts are behind on their taxes, making four in total. According to the State of New York, liens have been leveled against Touré Neblett ($59,000), Melissa Harris-Perry ($70,000), and Joy Reid ($5,000). Al Sharpton, meanwhile, owes almost $4.5 million. When this crew says taxes are too low, perhaps they’re generalizing from experience.
‐ Bruce Jenner won the 1976 Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, and a place on the Wheaties box. More recently and dubiously, he married into the Kardashian clan. Now he has announced that he is a woman. He has had minor cosmetic surgery and expects to adopt new pronouns and a new name soon. There are people so cross-wired by nature that they feel they are in the wrong body; the desire to remake one’s gender, however, is often a mask for extreme unhappiness or madness, which no change of wardrobe or genitals can cure. As trans becomes the flavor du jour — gay is so 20th-century — cases of gender confusion will only increase. Encouraging children to act on these impulses is the height of irresponsibility: People should not think of changing sexes before they can drink or drive. Adults will find doctors to supply every need and cater to every whim. But let them read Horace before they take their hormones: You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back.
‐ NPR’s Ira Glass recently declared Shakespeare to be “unrelatable.” If he were in college today, he would likely be spared the bother of trying to relate. A survey of 52 top-rated American colleges and universities shows that only a widely assorted four — Wellesley, UCLA, the Naval Academy, and Harvard — require English majors to take a course in Shakespeare. To be sure, some colleges feel a Shakespeare requirement would be superfluous, like requiring poetry majors to smoke Gitanes; others include the Bard in required survey courses, or strongly recommend a Shakespeare course without making it mandatory. But too many English departments now have requirements like those of Northwestern, which make no mention of Shakespeare but include “one course in Transnationalism and Textual Circulation and one course in Identities, Communities, and Social Practice.” In the bad old patriarchal days, English departments didn’t care whether Shakespeare was relatable or not; you read it because it was the foundation for centuries of classic English literature. Nowadays, evidently, that’s considered a bad thing.
‐ Former Columbia student Paul Nungesser is suing the school, and good on him. Nungesser was accused of raping another student, and was exonerated, the accusation appearing to be a fiction of a piece with the rape hoaxes seen of late at other campuses. His accuser, Emma Sulkowicz, embarked on a theatrical campaign to ruin Nungesser’s life, and did so with the effective sponsorship of Columbia, which blessed her protest — carrying a mattress around on her back like Christ with His cross — as approved coursework, and which published material that depicted Nungesser as a rapist, though he was acquitted by a campus tribunal; Sulkowicz, perhaps conscious of the fact that lying in court is more consequential than lying on campus, declined to make a criminal complaint. Subsequently released e-mails and social-media messages — with at least one declaration of love from the purported victim to the man she says forcibly sodomized her, along with an invitation to “chill” and a great deal of small talk — show Nungesser and Sulkowicz maintaining a close, affectionate relationship after the alleged sexual assault. Nungesser is charging gender-based defamation and harassment, in an effort to make Columbia live up to its own pieties.
‐ To peruse the prospectuses of America’s many liberal-arts colleges is to be invited into a world of learning, of open-mindedness, and of rambunctious debate. The reality, alas, is a long way from the promise. In April the mere presence of a dissenting voice on campus was enough to send some students into paroxysms. At Oberlin and at Georgetown, the visit of the “factual feminist,” Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute, prompted the creation of “safe spaces” into which those who disagreed fled. Outside the lecture hall, protesters called Sommers names and accused her of being an “apologist” for rapists; inside, they interrupted her, and some taped their mouths shut in dissent — a reflection of their conviction that, by speaking to a voluntary crowd, she had “silenced” them. And, of course, silencing people is the protesters’ job.
‐ In a show of exquisite sensitivity joined to galloping imagination, students at Stevenson College at the University of California, Irvine, reportedly protested that Mexican food was served at an “Intergalactic” campus party. “The program planners made a poor decision when choosing to serve a Mexican food buffet during a program that included spaceships and ‘aliens,’” Carolyn Golz, a college administrator, explained in an apology e-mailed to students. Because “this incident caused harm within our community,” she would “require cultural competence training for Programs staff.” She was “working closely” with the coordinator for diversity and inclusion “to continue to increase the cultural intelligence (CQ) of our staff.” Concerned students were directed to the office of counseling and psychological services as well as to a couple of offices whose names included the words “diversity,” “inclusion,” “bias,” and “hate.” No word yet on whether the college has plans for a human-rights conference where the food catered will be Chinese-Cuban.
‐ Johns Hopkins University had no apparent plans to lease space in a mixed-use development, currently under construction, to a Chick-fil-A franchise, but that did not deter the student-government association from declaring against the possibility. In a resolution passed by a vote of 18–8, they noted that Dan Cathy, president and CEO of the fast-food chain, opposes same-sex marriage. Somewhere between the parts about “a safe, supportive environment” and being “subjected to microaggression,” the resolution included the accusation that Cathy “has publicly stated divisive statements.” The students thus prevented themselves from ever having to seek a “safe space” from politically incorrect chicken sandwiches and waffle fries.
‐ A hundred years have passed since British and Allied troops landed at Gallipoli, a bleak shore on the Dardanelles. Turkey had made the fateful decision to side with Germany in World War I, and this campaign was intended to knock it out. The incompetence of the admirals and generals in command was matched by the bravery and endurance of the men. Led by German officers and Mustapha Kemal, the future president of his country, the Turks held their ground. Trench warfare and hand-to-hand fighting over a period of eight months left more than 34,000 British, and about 87,000 Turks, dead. In addition, almost 9,000 Australians and 3,000 New Zealanders were killed, so high a number that the British have been accused of callousness toward the Anzacs, as they then began to be known. Gallipoli has numerous gravestones and the Anzac Memorial. For this centenary, tens of thousands came to remember the fallen, and reports quote one of them expressing what has been something of a general view: “All those brave lads who sacrificed their lives at the behest of Britain.” At one of the several church services held there, Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, spoke for many when he said that the “baptism of fire” had given the nation its identity. Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, was long held responsible for Gallipoli, which could have altered the course of history by putting an end to his career.
‐ The sesquicentennial of the Civil War has ended. Previous commemorations brought presidents to Gettysburg, hoping no doubt to share Lincoln’s luster: Woodrow Wilson spoke at the 50th anniversary, and FDR at the 75th; for the 100th, President Kennedy was in Europe, though he had toured the battlefield earlier that year. President Obama did not speak at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, though he did something equally meaningful, awarding a belated Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing, killed on Cemetery Ridge while helping to repel Pickett’s charge. In “Little Gidding,” T. S. Eliot wrote of the English Civil War that “we cannot restore old policies.” But this must not be true of a nation founded on principles, as the United States is. Many of our struggles, from daily politics to civil strife, have been over those principles and how they should guide us now. Alonzo Cushing and hundreds of thousands of other men gave their lives for them; keep them bright in the new millennium.
A Global Clinton Slush Fund
Peter Schweizer, author of the forthcoming book Clinton Cash, did the country a favor by delving seriously into the foreign money sloshing around the Clinton Foundation. Schweizer’s story was picked up, pre-publication, by the New York Times, which delved into the matter as well, adding details of its own and giving the story the credibility it might have lacked with the rest of the media.
During Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the State Department okayed a deal whereby a Russian company acquired a majority interest in Uranium One, a Canadian firm that owned a string of uranium mines stretching from Wyoming to Kazakhstan (the American mines triggered U.S. oversight). Uranium One executives gave the Clinton Foundation millions over the years — not all of it disclosed by the foundation. While the deal was going forward, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 by a Kremlin-linked bank for giving a speech in Moscow. In sum: Hillary did her part to let Vladimir Putin scoop up uranium properties here and abroad; Putin gave her charitable donors and her husband a payday.
Once more, the Clinton songbook. These tireless strivers — “dead broke,” Hillary claimed, when Bill left the White House
– show that their appetite for acquisition is undiminished. Not that the money is all or even mainly for whoopee. The Clinton Foundation, besides its charitable work, is a parking lot for loyalists who can be moved to the next Clinton campaign. (Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a watchdog for charities, called it “a slush fund for the Clintons.”) Donations support politics, and serve as down payments for current and future access.
After sleaze comes demagogy. Mrs. Clinton is a Democrat, a member of a party that, since its inception, has demonized the rich, especially when they support other parties (James Madison called them “the opulent”). She cannot switch modes as smoothly as her husband, but even she can leave fundraising long enough to stop at a midwestern Chipotle to show solidarity with the middle class.
Her minions carry the refrain of parsing and partisanship. George Stephanopoulos, grilling Schweizer on ABC, insisted that he had found no “smoking gun.” There’s a ringing endorsement: The woman who would be president has not yet committed Richard Nixon’s crimes. He went on to implicitly accuse Schweizer of bias, noting that he had written speeches for George W. Bush. This is rich, coming from a former flack for the Clinton White House.
After a quarter century in public life, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton are who they are. They cannot change their spots. May the first Clinton White House be the last.