The Spectacle Blog

Donald Trump’s Hits and Misses in Foreign Policy

By on 5.4.16 | 2:13PM

Donald Trump has offered his foreign policy vision. It was a bit of a mishmash, but he is no Neoconservative and broke with pro-war Republican orthodoxy in important ways.

The speech, delivered last week in downtown Washington, was standard campaign fare, intended to demonstrate that the candidate was serious, and included some of the usual bland generalities.

Still, there was considerable good in the talk.

After the Cold War, he noted, “Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which led to one foreign policy disaster after another.” Hard to argue with that. Moreover, said Trump, it was a mistake to believe that the U.S. could impose Western-style democracy on countries “that had no experience or interests” in the process.

Indeed, he noted that “the legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions will be weakness, confusion and disarray, a mess.” It actually is the Bush-Obama-Clinton interventions, but point taken. “Our actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria have helped unleash ISIS,” Trump added.

Characteristic Kasich

By on 5.4.16 | 12:49PM

In characteristic fashion, John Kasich has suspended his campaign, which saw him in fourth place running among three active candidates. What’s worse, we’ll never hear Trump say the nice things about him that he said about Ted Cruz after Cruz’s withdrawal last night. There are those who think Kasich will still make a good veep for Trump, though more than once Kasich has put the kibosh on any such future for himself. So whatever immediate future he has will now be all up to Trump.

I’ll remember him most for the great job he did in the food-fight debate that saw Trump, Cruz, and Marco Rubio go at it. Only to have Kasich follow up in the next debate by patting himself on the back for the great job he did in the previous debate. Oh, well. Characteristic Kasich.

NYT’s Sensationally Incorrect Headline and Other Climate Notes

By on 5.4.16 | 12:45PM

The silliest news items are those that belie their headlines, as is the case with a sensational front-page story in Tuesday’s New York Times, titled “Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees.’” From the eye-popping title, one would think that the subjects of the article are refugees fleeing the impacts of climate change. This would indeed be news! After all, just two weeks ago, I read in The New York Times that Americans don’t care about climate policy because the primary effect of global warming has been to render the weather more pleasant. It would be strange, and quite news-worthy, if climate change were leading to refugees at the same time it is making the weather more comfortable.

But it turns out that the headline is grossly misleading. Half-way down the article, the reporters clarify that:

Bernie Upsets Hillary in Indiana

By on 5.3.16 | 9:59PM

While Donald Trump has put the Republican nomination away, Hillary Clinton can't quite close the deal as Bernie Sanders upset Hillary with a 7-point win in Indiana.

Unlike Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders isn't going away nor are his supporters at least for now. 

So what happens to Bernie's supporters when their candidate doesn't get the Democratic Party nomination? I suspect the Millenials will support Hillary. Trump's racist tropes about Mexican and Muslims simply do not resonate with people under 30. But older Sanders' supporters who have faced tough economic times might not be so eager to cast their lot with Hillary and cast a protest vote for Trump. 

The longer Bernie is in the race the more this will be a factor.

Rage Triumphs Over Reason as Trump Effectively Clinches The GOP Nomination

By on 5.3.16 | 9:35PM

With 74% of the ballots cast, as of this writing, Donald Trump has won 53% of the vote in Indiana and Ted Cruz, scarcely a week removed from picking Carly Fiorina as his running mate, has dropped out.

The Republican race is over and rage has triumphed over reason.

I truly had a sinking feeling when Cruz was confronted by Trump supporters yesterday. As he has done with the likes of Code Pink, Cruz debated Trump supporters with reason and respect while Trump supporters could only respond by name calling him and his wife. Trump supporters showed themselves to be impervious to factual information and basic human decency. 

Since last June, the now presumptive Republican presidential candidate has demeaned one of his predecessors' war record, expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin and demeaned the physical appearance of one his presidential rivals and has been rewarded for it. Shame!

Tampa Tribune, RIP

By on 5.3.16 | 8:00PM

The Tampa Tribune, a daily that has published in the Big Guava since 1895, is no more. It was announced Tuesday afternoon that the Tampa Bay Times, the publication formerly known as the St. Petersburg Times, bought the Tribune for an undisclosed amount. Tribune subscribers will begin receiving the Times Wednesday morning. There will be job cuts at the Tribune to reduce redundancy.

The Tribune has been wasting away for years, losing circulation, advertising linage, and suffering the shrinking news hole that comes with these doleful developments. This news about news in the Tampa area shouldn’t surprise anyone.

The Times, already the largest newspaper in Florida before the purchase, hasn’t enjoyed boffo finances itself in recent years, but has been doing much better than the Tribune.

I’m Surprised Trump Didn’t Claim Cruz’s Dad Was Friends With John Wilkes Booth

By on 5.3.16 | 6:31PM

It doesn't surprise me that Donald Trump would claim that Ted Cruz's father was seen with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before JFK's assassination.

Honestly, I'm only surprised that Trump didn't claim that Rafael Cruz wasn't part of John Wilkes Booth's conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. 

Why does Trump do such things? For the same reason that he says he could commit mass murder in Times Square and not affect his poll numbers. Because he can.

These are the excretions of someone who lives in the gutter. But because Trump lives in any palace of choosing and because he's been on TV for so long, a critical mass of this country accepts what he says at face value no matter how stupid it is.

Schilling Now a Non-Person

By on 5.2.16 | 6:43PM

ESPN was not done with Curt Schilling after firing him for having the temerity, against left-wing fashion, to suggest publicly that men should use the men’s room. Taking a page from the old Soviet Union, that very political network is working to make Schilling a non-person.

Before Sundays’ Red Sox/Yankees game, ESPN re-broadcast “Four Days in October,” the documentary on the 2004 American League Championship Series, perhaps the most dramatic and unlikely comeback in sports history. The Red Sox were down three games to none to the Yankees and just an inning away from elimination. Then the magic stuff began: the most consequential stolen base in baseball, more long-ball heroics by Big Papi, and a heroic pitching performance by Schilling.

When I first saw the dramatic series some years back, it properly included Schilling’s victory in game six of that series, when he pitched with an injured and tacked together ankle, the famous bloody sock game.

Second Amendment Rights for Me But Not for Thee

By and on 5.2.16 | 2:25PM

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Among lawyers, the buzzword we looking for in an equal protection case is “strict scrutiny,” because chances are that once the court has said that standard applies, the government will lose. Nevertheless, there are plenty of cases — including last term’s Obergefell decision on gay marriage — in which a government action has transgressed even less rigorous levels of scrutiny.