The Spectacle Blog

The Stupidity of Hash Tag Activism

By on 7.30.14 | 4:00PM

The World Cup ended weeks ago, but the next competition that has captured the spirit of voyeurism is midway through another round—the Israeli-Palestinian conflict!

It's convenient, in a way, this affair with Gaza coming so close on the heels of the World Cup. Soccer and football fans alike had a few days to rest their vocal chords with some hot tea and lemon before the bellowing started up again. A few reporters probably relocated from South America to the south of Israel, but most viewers didn't even have to change the news channel to get​ near-continuous coverage of the next international contest. 

For those without front-row seats, media fall-out awaits, and with it comes #hashtagactivism. During the World Cup, #USA was automatically followed with an American flag on Twitter. Perhaps we could do the same thing now, using Israeli and Palestinian flags. That way, even the illiterate could decide which team to support. Better yet, this quick system of icons would make it easier to check which side your favorite celebrity is on. Here are a few to get us started.

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Latin American Double Standards on Israel & Syria

By on 7.30.14 | 2:30PM

In the past week, five Latin American countries have recalled their ambassadors to Israel in protest over Operation Protective Edge. Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru have all withdrawn their envoys in protest over what they view as acts of "collective punishment" and "use of disproportionate force".

Not to be outdone, Brazil was joined by Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela in issuing a statement during the Mercosur trading summit in Caracas condemning Operation Protective Edge. It is worth noting that Paraguay did not sign onto the statement.

David Harris of the American Jewish Committee blasted Mercosur for making no mention of Hamas and pointing out Venezuela's steadfast support for Syria.

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Lois Lerner: Conservatives Are A-Holes

By on 7.30.14 | 1:49PM

A new series of emails was released today by the House Ways and Means Committee in the investigation into the improper targeting of conservatives by IRS official Lois Lerner. The emails, viewable here, show her disdain for conservatives:

Great maybe we are through if there are that many a#@holes.

This was in a response to co-worker making fun of “preppers,” people concerned about the shocking growth in the size of the welfare state and immigration.

Further in the exchange, Lerner says:

So we need to worry about alien teRrorists. It’s our own crazies who will take us down.

Amusing, especially with that capital "R" as if this is some high school prank gone awry.

In an open letter to disgraced Attorney General Eric Holder, Committee Chairman David Camp states:

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Making the Case for Impeachment

By on 7.30.14 | 11:17AM

Over at NRO this morning is a lengthy, clear-as-a-bell article by Andrew McCarthy on impeachment. A few weeks back in this space I reviewed Andy’s superb book Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. 

Amidst a flurry of controversy, with Democrats talking up the “I-word” as successful fundraising bait and Governor Palin recommending it, Andy has become a go-to source on the issue.

Which is exactly why his piece this morning at NRO takes on some real—and calming—importance.

The title of Andy’s article is "Against Premature Impeachment: The point is to revive it as a credible threat — and restrain presidential lawlessness."

That speaks volumes. Writes Andy:

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The Chasms at the End of the World

By on 7.30.14 | 11:01AM

What’s life without a little mystery? Three giant holes have suddenly appeared in the wastes of Siberia. The first emerged a couple weeks ago, a crater leading down a funnel to an icy lake below, its diameter nearly 262 feet. That prompted an inconclusive investigation. Now two more holes have appeared. They are smaller: one is about fifty feet across, the other almost fourteen feet.

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Even The Fugitive Couldn’t Escape Vin Scully’s Voice

By on 7.30.14 | 9:45AM

As Larry Thornberry informed us last night, Vin Scully will be broadcasting Dodger games in 2015. As Larry noted, the announcement was made by Dodger players Hyun-Jin Ryu in Korean, Yasiel Puig in Spanish and Justin Turner in English in between innings of last night's Dodgers-Braves game. It will be his 66th year in that capacity.

In this mad, mad, mad world, this is the one development that never fails to bring a smile to my face and I am far from alone in this feeling.

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Sandra Fluke Is Her Own Biggest Campaign Donor

By on 7.30.14 | 1:18AM

Sandra Fluke rose to fame after advocating for Obamacare before members of Congress on the grounds that she couldn't afford her own birth control. But just a few years later, she can afford a generous donation to her California State Senate campaign. That's the scoop from a great piece written by Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner. Per Schow, Fluke donated $12,000 to her campaign and made $4,826.27 in non-monetary contributions. In addition, Fluke loaned her campaign $100,000.

Looking at the raw numbers, Fluke has outraised her opponent, Ben Allen. However, Fluke's own contributions, along with donations from her wealthy in-laws, total 33 percent of her fundraising. Allen's family and personal contributions, on the other hand, only make up 15 percent of his total donations. Schow breaks it down: "[i]f you remove family donations and loans, Allen has raised $330,141. Removing the same from Fluke and she’s only raised $278,859.01."

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Israel Isn’t Alone in Disliking Kerry’s Ceasefire Proposal

By on 7.30.14 | 12:47AM

Lucy Schouten tells us that Israel did not like Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal and made no secret of their displeasure.

Well, no kidding.

By my count, there have been at least five ceasefires all of which Hamas has broken. The difference between the other negotiated ceasefires and Kerry’s is that the Secretary of State gives Hamas a lifeline of legitimacy. Hamas’ raison d’etre always has and always will be the extermination of Israel.

Yet Israel isn’t the only one that didn’t like Kerry’s ceasefire. As Lucy notes, Kerry negotiated the ceasefire in Egypt. Curiously, she doesn’t mention that the Egyptians didn’t exactly welcome Kerry with open arms. In fact, President Sisi’s security detail made Kerry go through a metal detector before welcoming him into his office. 

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Vin Scully to Return for 66th Year

By on 7.29.14 | 11:47PM

Hall of Fame Dodger TV broadcaster Vin Scully will return in 2015 for his 66th year of calling Dodger games, both of the Brooklyn and the Los Angeles variety. And the team took an unusual way to get the word out.

In between the top and bottom of the second inning of Tuesday’s Braves/Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium, with the Braves leading 1-0, Dodgers’ broadcaster Alanna Rizzo came on the stadium jumbotron — locally called Dodger Vision — to say that the team had some breaking news. This was followed by short messages from three Dodger players. Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu spoke briefly in Korean, outfielder Yasiel Puig in Spanish, and infielder Justin Turner in English.

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Israelis Call Kerry’s Ceasefire a Betrayal

By on 7.29.14 | 5:28PM

John Kerry's most recent trip to the Middle East earned him such discouraging reviews in the local papers, not to mention receptions from Israeli politicians, that American officials have made their diplomatic displeasure known—diplomatically, of course.

Kerry spent last weekend in Cairo negotiating the latest ceasefire in missile exchanges between Hamas and Israel, but the Knesset rejected the plan outright as giving too much to Hamas and too little to them. They leaked their non-support through the media to avoid a diplomatic stand-off, and the media took off. The Times of Israel referred to the whole episode as "the betrayal," and that's only in the headline:

Leaked comments from unnamed senior government sources to Army Radio, Channel 2 and other Hebrew outlets have described the secretary as amateurish, incompetent, incapable of understanding the material he is dealing with — in short, a blithering fool.

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