The Spectacle Blog

War Warning Part 6 supplemental: North Korea/Iran

By on 7.21.06 | 11:58AM

Below from my column in today's New York Sun: detail of the Iran observers was confirmed in public (open source) yesterday in Congress testimony. Additional note: the Iranians are now ready for the US air strikes. The North Korea test (and there may be a second test) was a full scale exercise in wartime conditions. North Korea trained Iran's rocket brigades. The Iran warhead is North Korean design.

Congress’ Bad Old Tricks

By on 7.21.06 | 11:24AM

As usual, the nonpareil reporter David Rogers of the Wall Street Journal has all the inside scoop today on congressional action. And, once a conservative analyzes the unbiased, factual reporting of Rogers, that conservative again will start to feel his blood boil -- on social issues and especially on spending.

Let's start with spending. Once again, Congress is using ruses to disguise how much money it is spending, and thus how much debt to load onto our grandchildren's grandchildren. Apparently these folks have never heard of honest budgeting. It's bad enough that they spend like thoroughly drunken billionaires; it's even worse that they don't have the guts to do so on the up-and-up, but instead try to hide their handiwork. To quote David Rogers: "The Senate Appropriations COmmittee gave final approval to a $453.5 billion Pentagon budget, cutting $9.1 billion from the administration's request.... An estimated $3.8 billion in savings would come from operations accounts, suggesting that the military will have to rely on Iraq-war emergency funds to help weather the reductions."

Bush at the N-A-A-C-P

By on 7.21.06 | 9:11AM

The New York Times, in its special way of imputing vaguely sinister motives to benign phenomena, takes issue with President Bush’s pronunciation of N-A-A-C-P, “attracting some notice from those who use the more traditional pronunciation of N-double-A-C-P.” They don’t say who, or why. I also enjoyed John Lewis’s statement that he was disappointed Bush hadn’t mentioned the Iraq/>/> war in his speech. Of course if he had, Lewis and the Times would have complained how inappropriate it was for the President to use his first speech to the group to promote his war policies.

Bush should have stayed away from the NAACP the rest of his term, in the hopes that the organization would either die of neglect or reconstitute itself along constructive ends.

Secularist Articles of Faith

By on 7.21.06 | 8:35AM

Ross Douthat and the Catholic News Service both caught Arlen Specter promoting the old (and largely manufactured) war between science and religion during the stem cell research debate in the Senate. He suggested the study of human cadavers was blocked by the Catholic Church during the 13th century. Wrong. And that Michael Servetus ran afoul of the church for his study of cadavers in the process of learning about the circulation of blood. Wrong. Servetus got in trouble over the Trinity, not medical practice or study.

I've played the staffer role enough times to know what happened here. The big strategy is to paint opposition to stem cell research as purely religious and to draw the noose tight with a good story about how irrational religion has been. So, you go out trawling issues of Village Atheist or books by Prometheus Press and you get what you're looking for.

After the voting's over, who cares if any of it was true?

Condi, Stay Home

By on 7.20.06 | 9:09PM

Does she really want to follow in the shallow footsteps of Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell? What is it about having an office in Foggy Bottom that makes people choose to fail while humiliating their nation and its allies? Can someone restrain her? (Note to boards of directors of Nordstrom's and Neiman-Marcus: if ever there was a week to hold a sale, this is it, guys. The fate of the Middle East is in your hands.)

Annoying Phrases, Pt 7

By on 7.20.06 | 6:09PM

Bruce writes:


It's never for the children, its always about getting more money, power, authority or other benefit for some group of adults who proclaim to 'know' what the children need. Did anyone ask the children what they want?


By on 7.20.06 | 4:00PM

Why would Bill Clinton choose Waterbury as the spot of his appearance for Joe Lieberman? A friend writes:

"Waterbury is considered a pivot point in the 1960 Kennedy campaign, where the worshipful crowds foreshadowed a Kennedy win. Clinton has to know this. Given his ongoing emulation of JFK, is this location an accident? I have no idea…"

War Warning update

By on 7.20.06 | 3:35PM

Update search for abducted IDF in Lebanon. The two are separated. No confirm in Beirut at this time. High probability they have been transferred separately to Syria.

IDF invasion of HizbAllah zones imminent. Mobilized at border jump offs.

As soon as hours.

Best theater source expects UN resolution for ceasefire within days. This is a race to degrade Hizb as much as possible (50-75 percent) before withdrawal to be replaced by UN supervised Euro troops -- Brits or French.

More soonest.

And the redline for Israel is an Iran missile into TelAviv. Redline for Cairo and Tehran is airstrikes on Damascus.

Two Cheers for Samuelson!

By on 7.20.06 | 3:23PM

Overall, this column by Robert Samuelson is excellent. Here is one part, though, that is a bit confusing:

…the budget should be balanced -- or run a surplus -- when the economy is close to "full employment," as it is now. Balancing the budget forces politicians to make uncomfortable choices. Which programs are sufficiently needed or popular to justify unpleasant taxes? Balancing the budget also lightens the debt burden. One figure Bush doesn't praise is the annual interest payment on the growing federal debt. Even by White House estimates, it will rise from $184 billion in 2005 to $302 billion in 2011.

In the third sentence of that paragraph, is Samuelson suggesting that taxes should be raised, or that politicians need to make choices about which programs to keep and which to eliminate? Your thoughts would be appreciated.