ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos has given $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation in recent years, charitable contributions that he did not publicly disclose while reporting on the Clintons or their non-profit organization, the On Media blog has learned.So he thought it was enough to assume that his viewers were all reading the Foundation's records and would know that he'd donated money. Yeah, right.
In both 2013 and 2014, Stephanopoulos made a $25,000 donation to the 501 nonprofit founded by former president Bill Clinton, the Foundation's records show. Stephanopoulos never disclosed this information to viewers, even when interviewing author Peter Schweizer last month about his book "Clinton Cash," which alleges that donations to the Foundation may have influenced some of Hillary Clinton's actions as Secretary of State.
In a statement to the On Media blog on Thursday, Stephanopoulos apologized and said that he should have disclosed the donations to ABC News and its viewers.
"I made charitable donations to the Foundation in support of the work they’re doing on global AIDS prevention and deforestation, causes I care about deeply," he said. "I thought that my contributions were a matter of public record. However, in hindsight, I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation. I apologize."
The Daily Beast also reports on this scandal.
tephanopoulos’s recent coverage of the topic has been challenged by critics who question his objectivity as a longtime Clinton aide. The host’s April 26 interview with Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer, for example, elicited partisan reactions after Stephanopoulos repeatedly pressed the Schweizer to acknowledge the lack of a “smoking gun” among the allegations in his book.Jeryl Bier reminds us that this isn't the first time that Stephanopolous has hidden his connection to the Clinton Foundation.Twitchy reminds us, Stephanopolous also attacked Bernie Sanders for criticizing the Clinton Foundation.
Conservative commentators, meanwhile, complained about Stephanopoulos’s “aggressively” dismissive questioning, and took issue with a former Clinton operative asking Schweizer, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, about his “partisan interest” in writing Clinton Cash. Jonathan H. Adler at the Washington Post argued that while there was nothing wrong with Stephanopoulos making note of Schweizer’s ties to Republicans, ABC News viewers should have also been reminded of the host’s connection to the Clintons, the politicians at the center of the discussion.
“If Schweizer’s former funders and employers are relevant to ABC News, George Stephanopoulos’s should be as well,” Adler wrote. “Simple disclosure in the context of a news segment is not too much to ask.”
Stephanopoulos was hit with accusations of bias back in 2012 when, while moderating a Republican primary debate, he somewhat randomly asked Mitt Romney about a decades-old Supreme Court case concerning a state’s right to ban contraception. ABC News is one of several networks chosen to host a Republican primary debate in the 2016 cycle.
ABC is standing by their man. Deceiving viewers about their anchor's political bias is just fine by them. Of course.
The New York Times Magazine describes the coming Democratic crack-up for 2016.
For all the much-discussed ailments of the Republican Party — its failure to win the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections; the corrosive bickering between its mainstream and its Tea Party stalwarts; and the plummeting number of Americans who identify themselves as Republicans — the inescapable reality is that the Democrats have fallen into a ditch arguably as deep and dismal as the one Republicans have dug for themselves. “It isn’t that the Democratic Party is struggling,” says Jonathan Cowan, the president of the centrist policy center Third Way. “It’s that at the subpresidential level, it’s in a free fall.” The Democrats lost their majority in the Senate last November; to regain it, they will need to pick up five additional seats (or four if there’s a Democratic vice president who can cast the tiebreaking vote), and nonpartisan analysts do not rate their chances as good. The party’s situation in the House is far more dire. Only 188 of the lower chamber’s 435 seats are held by Democrats. Owing in part to the aggressiveness of Republican-controlled State Legislatures that redrew numerous congressional districts following the 2010 census, few believe that the Democratic Party is likely to retake power until after the next census in 2020, and even then, the respected political analyst Charles Cook rates the chances of the Democrats’ winning the House majority by 2022 as a long shot at best.So how to build the party again given this damage to the Democratic coalition. Do they move more to the left or to the center. Doing the latter will anger those groups who now make up the majority of the party. The NYT looks at the race in Maryland to replace Barbara Mikulski as a model of the fight looming in the Democratic Party.
Things get even worse for the Democrats further down the political totem pole. Only 18 of the country’s 50 governors are Democrats. The party controls both houses in only 11 State Legislatures. Not since the Hoover Administration has the Democratic Party’s overall power been so low. A rousing victory by Hillary Rodham Clinton might boost other Democratic aspirants in 2016; then again, in 2012 Obama won 62 percent of Electoral College votes yet carried 48 percent of Congressional districts and a mere 22 percent of the nation’s 3,114 counties. Through a billion dollars of campaign wizardry, the president did not lift up but only managed to escape a party brand that has come to be viewed in much of America with abiding disfavor.
For a giddy moment seven years ago, Democrats dared to believe that Barack Obama’s election would significantly reconfigure partisan alliances. Instead, his presidency has only calcified them. “When Obama swept the 2008 primary and general elections, Democrats’ image suddenly came to be defined by a city-dwelling law-school professor whose life experiences had been far different from those of most working-class whites,” said David Wasserman, a congressional analyst for The Cook Political Report. “It was the culminating moment of a half-century of realignment. Democrats had already ceded Southern whites, but in the last few years they have lost droves of Midwestern, small-town and working-class whites who feel like they have little in common with the party anymore.”
Michael Brendan Dougherty presents Republican candidates for the presidency with lessons they can learn from Carly Fiorina.
Instead of merely gesturing in the direction of "economic growth" or "prosperity," as most conservative candidates are wont to do, Fiorina makes a political argument. It runs this way: Federal regulations are written by a political class of lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians for the benefit of well-connected corporate interests. Big business and big government are two sides of the same corrupt deal.She also does well on social issues and is the best at bashing Hillary, one of the advantages of being a female candidate. She wouldn't be my choice for president, but she is adding quite a bit to the campaign in a way that will benefit the Republican Party.
The "dirty little secret," she has said, "of ObamaCare or Dodd-Frank or all of these other huge complicated pieces of regulation or legislation, is that they don't get written on their own... They get written in part by lobbyists for big companies who want to understand that the rules are going to work for them."
Meanwhile Ruth Marcus is depressed that Carly Fiorina is the only female candidate on the GOP side. I agree with Marcus that Fiorina is not qualified to be president. I am not in favor of the presidency being a leader's first elected office unless that candidate has also led the effort that won the war in Europe against Hitler. That might have been fine in earlier years of our country when leaders could become president without much, if any, political experience such as Jackson, Lincoln, and Grant. Jackson's and Grant's presidencies were a mixture of good and bad while Lincoln was sui generis. So I would not support Fiorina or Ben Carson. And Marcus is right to point out that Fiorina's business background was not a great success. Where I do have problems with Marcus is how she tries to fit her criticism of Fiorina with her defense of Hillary Clinton's candidacy.
I can already hear the sputtering out there: But what about Hillary Clinton, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee? After all, the sputterers will say, Clinton’s road to the White House is paved on gender: She rose to prominence in her spousal capacity, and in part by playing the gender card (women’s rights are human rights, and all that).Count me among the sputterers. Hillary's time as First Lady was no more successful than Fiorina's as head of HP. She failed terribly in her efforts to remake the health care system. She was known for throwing her weight around against those whom she distrusted such as the employees of the White House travel office. She became the first First Lady to have to answer a subpoena and we never found out how those missing Rose Law Firm records mysteriously showed up in the White House. She went along with her husband in using the White House to raise money and then to protect her husband as he tried to hide his sexual activities as president. And as senator and Secretary of State, what did she do? It's not enough to hold the title. Marcus should acknowledge that she would be nowhere politically if she weren't a woman. And she would not be virtually unopposed in the Democratic race if she weren't a woman. That is her qualification. Since neither she nor Fiorina's have a professional biography worthy of the presidency, we have to evaluate them on their character and proposed policies. And there Fiorina has it all over Clinton.
Yes, Clinton’s path to power came through her husband; if I were designing the perfect First Woman President, she would not be the daughter or the wife of a prominent politician. Yet Clinton’s history does not negate the current reality of her résumé and her deep grounding in both foreign and domestic policy.
Contrast Fiorina, but first a pause to highlight a positive comparison with Clinton: Fiorina has been answering hundreds of questions from reporters; as of Monday Clinton had taken just eight in the past month. Not a good omen for a Clinton presidency.
Joseph Epstein notes that the big strength of Hillary's candidacy is the excitement some would have to vote for the first woman president. I hear that wish among quite a few of my female students.
If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in 2016 she will not only be the nation’s first woman president but our second affirmative-action president. By affirmative-action president I mean that she, like Barack Obama, will have got into office partly for reasons extraneous to her political philosophy or to her merits, which, though fully tested while holding some of the highest offices in the land, have not been notably distinguished. In his election, Obama was aided by the far from enticing Republican candidates who opposed him, but a substantial portion of the electorate voted for him because having a biracial president seemed a way of redressing old injustices. They hoped his election would put the country’s racial problems on a different footing, which sadly, as we now know, it has failed to do. Many people voted for Obama, as many women can be expected to vote for Hillary Clinton, because it made them feel virtuous to do so. The element of self-virtue—of having an elevated feeling about oneself—is perhaps insufficiently appreciated in American politics.
How have we come to the point where we elect presidents of the United States not on their intrinsic qualities but because of the accidents of their birth: because they are black, or women, or, one day doubtless, gay, or disabled—not, in other words, for themselves but for the causes they seem to embody or represent, for their status as members of a victim group?
In writing about the legal crack-down on free-range parenting, George Will notes the schizoid approach society now has towards children.
Today’s saturating media tug children beyond childhood prematurely, but not to maturity. Children are cosseted by intensive parenting that encourages passivity and dependency, and stunts their abilities to improvise, adapt and weigh risks. Mark Hemingway, writing at the Federalist, asks: “You know what it’s called when kids make mistakes without adult supervision and have to wrestle with the resulting consequences? Growing up.”
....Writing in the Utah Law Review, David Pimentel of Ohio Northern University notes that at a moment when “children have never been safer,” government is abandoning deference to parents’ discretion in child rearing. In 1925, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of parents “to direct the upbringing and education of children.” Today, however, vague statutes that criminalize child “neglect” or “endangerment” undermine the social legitimacy of parental autonomy. And they ignore the reality that almost every decision a parent makes involves risks. Let your child ride a bike to school, or strap her into a car for the trip? Which child is more at risk, the sedentary one playing video games and risking obesity, or the one riding a bike? It is, Pimentel says, problematic for the legal system to enforce cultural expectations when expectations, partly shaped by media hysteria over rare dangers such as child abductions, are in constant flux.
Time was, colleges and universities acted in loco parentis to moderate undergraduates’ comportment, particularly regarding sex and alcohol. Institutions have largely abandoned this, having decided that students are mature possessors of moral agency. But institutions have also decided that although undergraduates can cope with hormones and intoxicants, they must be protected from discomforting speech, which must be regulated by codes and confined to “free speech zones.” Uncongenial ideas must be foreshadowed by “trigger warnings,” lest students, who never were free-range children and now are as brittle as pretzels, crumble. Young people shaped by smothering parents come to college not really separated from their “helicopter parents.” Such students come convinced that the world is properly devoted to guaranteeing their serenity, and that their fragility entitles them to protection from distressing thoughts.
As Penn State historian Gary Cross says, adolescence is being redefined to extend well into the 20s, and the “clustering of rites of passage” into adulthood — marriage, childbearing, permanent employment — “has largely disappeared.” Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Cross says that “delayed social adulthood” means that “in 2011, almost a fifth of men between 25 and 34 still lived with their parents,” where many play video games: “The average player is 30 years old.” The percentage of men in their early 40s who have never married “has risen fourfold to 20 percent.”
In the 1950s, Cross says, with Jack Kerouac and Hugh Hefner “the escape from male responsibility became a kind of subculture.” Today, oldies radio and concerts by septuagenarian rockers nurture the cult of youth nostalgia among people who, wearing jeans, T-shirts and sneakers all the way, have slouched from adolescence to Social Security without ever reaching maturity.
Jim Geraghty reminds us of all the unresolved scandals there are out there from this administration. As he says, the scandal breaks, people are outraged, and the media cover it for a few days and then it just...fades away.
We’re in the era of “The Unresolved.”
Remember Fast and Furious? It was the first of many embarrassing scandals, one that put American guns in the hands of drug cartels. These guns were used to kill a U.S. border patrol agent and numerous innocent people -- 211 deaths and injuries in Mexico. Was there ever any sign that anyone in the administration or our government as a whole learned anything, or went about their jobs any differently, from that?
Probably not. “The Committees and the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General found that ATF employees in Phoenix and Washington bore responsibility for the conduct of Operation Fast and Furious and that the Justice Department failed to adequately supervise ATF’s conduct of the case. It remains unclear, however, whether and to what extent additional disciplinary actions were taken,” wrote Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Jason Chaffetz to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, in a letter in April of this year. Brian Terry was killed in December 2010. It’s been four and a half years, and the U.S. Senate still doesn’t know who was punished and how.
Remember Healthcare.gov? The president goes out, tells the American public the site is working at the precise moment it is thoroughly dysfunctional. The Inspector General later confirms the obvious: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “did not perform thorough reviews of contractor past performance when awarding two key contracts.” The contractor, of course, was CGI Federal.
Here’s CGI Federal, getting a ten-year, multi-billion dollar contract from the General Services Administration in July 2014. Here’s CGI Federal, getting half of a $2.5 billion contract from the U.S. Navy in January of this year.
Remember the Syrian red line? It’s broken again....
Remember the VA scandal? Remember how outraged everyone was, and how adamant President Obama and the new VA Secretary were to get to the bottom of it and hold everyone accountable? Well, now we know:
Then in February, the new secretary, Robert A. McDonald, asserted in a nationally televised interview that the department had fired 60 people involved in manipulating wait times to make it appear that veterans were receiving care faster than they were. In fact, the department quickly clarified after that interview, only 14 people had been removed from their jobs, while about 60 others had received lesser punishments.
Now, new internal documents show that the real number of people removed from their jobs is much smaller still: at most, three.The documents given this month to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, which provided them to The New York Times, show that the department punished a total of eight of its 280,000 employees for involvement in the scandal. One was fired, one retired in lieu of termination, one’s termination is pending, and five were reprimanded or suspended for up to two months.Remember Benghazi? No one at the State Department was ever fired for making the decision to turn down Ambassador Chris Stevens’s requests for additional security. Because four employees were put on paid leave, as Darrell Issa put it, the administration’s review “ends in a game of musical chairs where no one misses a single day on the State Department payroll.”(See original for links._
Nate Silver argues that there is no "blue wall" making the Electoral College tilt to the Democrats.
If the 2016 election turns out to be close, we’ll be sweating the small stuff by October and November. The difference between a 50 percent and a 55 percent chance of victory for Clinton or Marco Rubio or whomever because of Electoral College dynamics will seem like a pretty big deal.
But for now? The Electoral College just isn’t worth worrying about much. If you see analysts talking about the “blue wall,” all they’re really saying is that Democrats have won a bunch of presidential elections lately — an obvious fact that probably doesn’t have much predictive power for what will happen this time around.
I’m not saying Clinton is doomed. Rather, I think the “fundamentals” point toward her chances being about 50-50, and I wouldn’t argue vigorously if you claimed the chances were more like 60-40 in one or the other direction. But Clinton is no sort of lock, and if she loses the popular vote by even a few percentage points, the “blue wall” will seem as archaic as talk of a permanent Republican majority.
Young people need to realize how terrible their economic future looks now. Diane Furchtgott-Roth and Jared Meyer, the authors of Disinherited: How Washington is Betraying America's Young, have some warnings for this year's graduating class.
Seventy percent of you are graduating with student-loan debt, and your average debt is $27,000, according to the New York Federal Reserve. It is the current system of federal student aid that is raising your college tuition, and your debt will burden you for years after you graduate.Gosh, it's depressing. When I point some of the projections on the federal debt and the role of entitlements in driving it up, my students get very, very depressed. I advise them to vote based on how politicians are going to address such issues that will directly affect their futures. But they've all been so used to deciding ideology based on cultural or environmental issues that it is hard for them to move beyond those issues. It's a lot harder to base your votes on entitlement spending.
It gets worse. After an inferior education and taking on thousands of dollars in debt, you will find that state occupational-licensing requirements will stop many of you from starting a business. These rules are said to protect public safety, but instead they protect established businesses and hurt you.
Forget about starting a tree-trimming business in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland or Rhode Island, because doing so requires a license. How the greenery in the 43 other states survives unlicensed trimming is a mystery.
If you live in Florida, Nevada, Louisiana or the District of Columbia and want to be an interior designer, good luck: It will take six years of experience (and paying average of $364 in fees) before you can get a license. Even becoming an emergency medical technician is easier: You need to take an average of 33 days’ training and pass two exams.
About those unpaid internships: Don’t count on one from a for-profit company in banking or publishing. These might provide a path to a permanent job, but they have been practically banned by the Labor Department. The government and community organizers, on the other hand, are still allowed to sign up unpaid interns.
Let’s say you do eventually find work. Then you will start paying taxes, mostly to subsidize government programs that increasingly benefit middle-aged and older Americans, many of whom have jobs and assets. The average household headed by an adult 65 or older has nearly 50 times the wealth of the average household headed by an adult younger than 35. In 1984, when the Census Bureau started compiling these statistics, the ratio was 10 to 1.
Yet programs to benefit older Americans, like Social Security and Medicare, increasingly are eating up the budget of a federal government that is $18 trillion in debt. Those two programs account for more than four dollars out of every 10 in the federal budget.
Oh, and many of you will pay taxes to help out state governments that are among those facing a collective $5 trillion in unfunded liabilities, mostly from unfunded promises made to government retirees.
You’ll even be expected to pay for the health care of older Americans with your higher health-care premiums under the Affordable Care Act, just so older people get to pay less. So considerate of you.
Where will the absurdity end? Now some disease names are offending people. We wouldn't want any microaggressions along with a deadly disease, would we?
If governments and doctors around the world follow WHO advice, familiar terms such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, swine flu, legionnaire’s disease and paralytic shellfish poisoning will be dropped and replaced by names judged more politically correct.Where will it all end? At some point, wouldn't any name be offensive to someone?
The guidelines also call for the words ‘unknown’, ‘death’, ‘fatal’ and ‘epidemic’ to be avoided in descriptions of human disease because they can ‘incite undue fear’.
Geographic locations will be sidelined to protect the feelings of people living in those regions, spelling the end of Middle East respiratory syndrome, Rift Valley fever and Japanese encephalitis.
Swine flu will also be dumped because the designation led to the unnecessary culling of pigs which had no connection with the 2009 pandemic, according to a WHO spokesman. Virologist and bird flu expert Professor John Oxford said: ‘This document is laudable in its intent but slightly daft. There is a danger the WHO will be seen as a laughing stock.’
However, the three-page paper on ‘best practice’ was strongly defended by WHO assistant director-general Keiji Fukuda.
He said certain disease names had created a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities and had erected barriers to travel and trade, as well as sometimes triggering the needless slaughtering of animals. The WHO was founded in 1948 with the aim of protecting populations around the globe from the scourge of infectious disease. Spokesman Dr Margaret Harris said: ‘We want to get away from emotive and stigmatising terminology.’
We're talking about terrible diseases here. Isn't the last thing people should be worried about is stigmatizing some group?
Continuing the theme of what delicate flowers people have become, Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes at Reason about the students now objecting to the teaching of Ovid's Metamophoses.
In Columbia University's student newspaper, four members of the school's student Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board call on professors to be more sensitive when teaching provocative or controversial material... such as the Roman classical poet Ovid.Smith links to this advice from psychological research that trigger warnings might actually defeat the purpose of helping people recover from traumatic events.
Ovid is best known for The Metamorphoses, a 15-book narrative poem that covers more than 250 mythological stories. Written entirely in dactylic hexameter, The Metamorphoses inspired future writers from Dante to Chaucer to Shakespeare. Whether or not it's something today's students should spend time on may be up for debate, but I think most people can understand why an instructor teaching it would focus on things like the language and imagery invoked.
Not these Columbia students, however. See, some of the myths Ovid recounts involve sexual violence. Zeus' daughter Persephone (aka Prosperina), for instance, is kidnapped, raped, and taken as a bride by Hades, king of the underworld. The op-ed writers suggest this ancient Greek and Roman myth is too triggering to be taught in today's classroom....
We don't know much about what happened between the student and the professor. Was there an assignment or further lectures on Persephone she wished out of? One would hope that when approached privately about such a matter, a professor would be sensitive to the student's concerns and offer alternative assignment options. But the fact that an occasional student might feel uncomfortable with certain material seems a strange reason to think no one should read and discuss it.
What's more—the hyperbolic language of trauma that's used! Sheesh. Apparently this discussion of Ovid was so threatening it was a matter of self-preservation to ignore it. If that's really true—if the mere discussion of rape causes this student to feel panicked and physically unsafe—than she needs help treating severe post-traumatic stress disorder, not a f****** trigger warning.
I say that with no judgment; being raped can obviously be traumatic enough to produce lingering psychological trauma. But that's what that level of reaction represents: psychological trauma. Which, while something professors should be sensitive to, shouldn't dictate the parameters of acceptable education for all students.
That the student physically stayed in the classroom for the discussion and talked to the professor immediately afterward, however, suggests she wasn't as struck with crippling post-traumatic terror as the op-ed makes it seem. Rather, the writers are merely engaging in the malapropism du jour, wherein words can be "violence" and challenging or uncomfortable thoughts make people "unsafe."
Trigger warnings are designed to help survivors avoid reminders of their trauma, thereby preventing emotional discomfort. Yet avoidance reinforces PTSD. Conversely, systematic exposure to triggers and the memories they provoke is the most effective means of overcoming the disorder. According to a rigorous analysis by the Institute of Medicine, exposure therapy is the most efficacious treatment for PTSD, especially in civilians who have suffered trauma such as sexual assault. For example, prolonged exposure therapy, the cognitive behavioral treatment pioneered by clinical psychologists Edna B. Foa and Barbara O. Rothbaum, entails having clients close their eyes and recount their trauma in the first-person present tense. After repeated imaginal relivings, most clients experience significant reductions in PTSD symptoms, as traumatic memories lose their capacity to cause emotional distress. Working with their therapists, clients devise a hierarchy of progressively more challenging trigger situations that they may confront in everyday life. By practicing confronting these triggers, clients learn that fear subsides, enabling them to reclaim their lives and conquer PTSD.Sounds like common sense, doesn't it?
—“Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Assessment of the Evidence,” The National Academies Press, Institute of Medicine, Washington, D.C., 2008
MAKING TRAUMA CENTRAL TO ONE'S IDENTITY BODES POORLY FOR SURVIVORS
Many women who have experienced sexual assault reject the label victim in favor of survivor. But although the latter term connotes empowering agency, having trauma become central to one’s identity bodes poorly for one’s mental health. The psychologists Dorthe Berntsen and David C. Rubin developed a short questionnaire called the Centrality of Event Scale (CES) that assesses how important a specific event is to one’s personal identity. The CES captures how integrated the event is in one’s autobiographical memory, the extent to which it marks a turning point in one’s life story, and the degree to which it shapes one’s expectations for the future. My Ph.D. student, Donald J. Robinaugh, and I found that among 102 women who reported histories of childhood sexual abuse, the more central their abuse was to their identity—as measured by the CES—the worse their PTSD symptoms. In particular, seeing one’s future through the lens of one’s abuse was especially associated with the severity of PTSD symptoms. These data suggest that acknowledging one’s abuse but not allowing it to dominate one’s sense of self may foster resilience against the long-term psychologically toxic effects of childhood sexual molestation.
—“Trauma Centrality and PTSD Symptom Severity in Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse,” Robinaugh, D. J., & McNally, R. J., Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2011
What sort of people wholesale abandons golden retrievers because they're no longer status symbols? Perhaps the same sort of people who deny their clear genocidal murders of Armenians a century ago.