The Spectacle Blog

Kerry at Davos: Don’t Blame Muslims for Crimes Not Committed by Muslims Alone

By on 1.24.15 | 2:33AM

Here is an excerpt from John Kerry's speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland:

Against this enemy, we are increasingly organizing and fighting back, but in doing so we have to also keep our heads. Obviously, the biggest error that we could make would be to blame Muslims collectively for crimes not committed by Muslims alone – crimes that the overwhelming majority of Muslims oppose, crimes that their faith utterly rejects, and that Muslim leaders themselves have the greatest ability to address.

Religions don’t require adherence to raze villages and blow up people. It’s individuals with a distorted and an even ignorant interpretation of religion who do that, abetted by networks of individuals who have a different agenda and who incite and finance those actions. And we will certainly not defeat our foes by vilifying potential partners or by suppressing the very freedoms that terrorists try to destroy. Unless we direct our energies in the right direction, we may very well fuel the very fires that we want to put out.

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Ernie Banks, R.I.P.

By on 1.24.15 | 12:38AM

Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks has passed away. The cause of death is unknown. He was 83.

After a stint in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs, Banks became the first African-American player to sign with the Cubs and spent his entire 19 year big league career with the Cubs and would become known as "Mr. Cub".

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Saudi King Abdullah Dies; Succeeded by Crown Prince Salman

By on 1.22.15 | 10:39PM

King Abdullah, who ruled Saudi Arabia for the past decade, has died following being hospitalized for a lung infection on New Year's Eve. He was 90.

Abdullah will be succeeded by his half-brother, Salman. However, Salman is no spring chicken. At 79, he has also had his share of health problems. 

Abdullah's death comes only hours after neighboring Yemen's government has fallen following fighting against the Iranian backed Houthi rebels. This is music to the ears of the mullahs in Tehran.

Look I get that Saudi Arabia is no paradise. King Abdullah did not brook dissent. Indeed, earlier this month a blogger named Raif Badawi received 50 lashes on top of 10 year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine for criticizing the country's clerics and morality police. In fact, Badawi is due to receive 950 more lashes over 19 more sessions. International pressure has forced the Saudis to twice postpone the next lashing session, but Badawi has to sit in a jail essentially for doing something I do every day.

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The White House on Ball-Gate

By on 1.22.15 | 5:43PM

My sources at 1600 tell me President Obama will finally comment later this evening on the most over-inflated issue facing the republic this week. But I doubt it will reassure many to hear our commander-in-chief say, “If you like your football, you can keep your football.”

And this does not tell us what climate change has to do with this?

Bah humbug.

Somebody throw a flag.

“Personal foul — pointless distraction —15 yards — repeat first down.”

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Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress Moved to March 3rd; Angry Obama Won’t Meet With Him

By on 1.22.15 | 4:31PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before a joint session of Congress has been moved from February 11th to March 3rd as Netanyahu also wants to attend the AIPAC Convention in Washington, D.C.

The White House, which was already angry because House Speaker John Boehner advise them of his invitation to Netanyahu beforehand, now says President Obama won't meet with him because the speech will take place two weeks before Israel's election and doesn't want to influence the outcome of the election.

As usual, Obama thinks the whole world revolves around him. John Boehner doesn't need Obama's permission to invite Netanyahu to speak before Congress.

But I'm sure Netanyahu has got to be happy. For once Bibi doesn't have to suffer that fool.

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On Eve of #MarchforLife, GOP Lawmakers Drop Abortion Bill

By on 1.22.15 | 3:56PM

In politics, you have only so many friends. Part of the great balancing act of being in elected leadership, aside from doing important work while sporting the approximate IQ of an electric toaster oven, is to keep those who are reliabily in your camp happy, while maintaining enough openness to attract those who could, one day, become part of your election campaign. Sometimes, this balancing act is difficult, as with foreign policy - a war-weary America is loathe to involve itself in more Middle Eastern conflicts, while Middle Eastern conflicts still provide the globe with the lion's share of its instability, for example - and sometimes this balancing act is easy  - don't, for example, anger an important key demographic, with a youthful component, on the eve of its most important event of the year. 

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Psaki on Yemeni Gov’t Collapse: “We Are Seeking a Peaceful Transition.”

By on 1.22.15 | 3:16PM

On September 10, 2014, in a nationally televised address by President Obama on ISIS/ISIL (the one in which he said ISIL isn't Islamic), he stated:

This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.

Scarcely 100 days have passed and now Yemen's government has fallen with the president and cabinet resigning.

So much for President Obama's counterterrorism strategy.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, "We are seeking a peaceful transition."

A peaceful transition to what?

On one side, there are the Iranian backed Shi'ite rebel Houthis and on the other you have al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Pick your poison.

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What Will Come of the Jeb-Mitt Summit?

By on 1.22.15 | 1:04PM

Jeb Bush is making his way to Utah to meet with Mitt Romney.

Somehow I don't think they'll be talking about jazz or bee keeping.

Speculation abounds that Bush will try to gently persuade Romney not to run in 2016.

Unless Bush makes Romney an offer he can't refuse, I don't see Mitt bowing out. And what can Jeb offer Mitt that he doesn't already have?

So don't be surprised if Romney tries to persuade Bush not to run. If that's the case don't expect Bush to budge either.

The argument is that if Bush and Romney run then someone like Ted Cruz can cruise his way to the nomination.

But if Bush and Romney cancel each other then surely Cruz and Rand Paul cancel each other out as well. Ditto for Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. While you're at it you can ditto Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal.

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Argentinian President Now Says Prosecutor Didn’t Kill Himself; Claims “They Needed Him Dead”

By on 1.22.15 | 12:09PM

Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has done an about face. Well, sort of.

When prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead hours before he was due to testify in front of Argentina's Congress to detail allegation that Fernandez de Kirchner had entered an agreement with Iran not to prosecute those responsible for the 1994 attack on Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center which killed 85 people in exchange for Iranian oil, Fernandez-Kirchner claimed that Nisman had committed suicide.

Argentinians reacted by taking to the streets with the Charlie Hebdo inspired slogan, "Yo Soy Nisman".

Now Fernandez-Kirchner says Nisman didn't kill himself after all. On her website, she wrote, "They used him while he was alive and then they needed him dead.”

Of course, Fernandez-Kirchner did not specify who "they" were. Yet let us consider Fernandez-Kirchner's rhetoric in recent years against Argentina's Jewish community which is the largest in Latin America.

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Healthcare.gov Sells Your Personal Data To Basically Everyone

By on 1.22.15 | 11:33AM

I was most of the way through my bottle of wine by 9pm CST on Tuesday, but I'm fairly sure that a major part of Obama's State of the Union proposals, made with regard to technology, centered around protecing Americans from cunning and dastardly commercial data companies who harvest your Internet preferences without your consent and sell them in bulk to major retailers who then use them to determine which products they can successfully market to you through social media. It's how one click over to Neiman Marcus's website to check on how much Michelle Obama's Michael Kors suit cost has managed to fill my Facebook news feed with ads begging me to drop $3K on something that looks like a Chanel knock-off Hazmat suit.

Anyway, the White House, which has often used micro-targeting data in its own campaigns wants to require companies to inform consumers that their data is being collected, and subsequently, allow those same consumers to opt out.

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