The Spectacle Blog

State Department Tries, Fails to Use Hillary’s Email Evasion as an Excuse

By on 7.21.15 | 3:02PM

The Department of State was caught red-handed, and they are dragging Hillary Clinton to court with them. According to a report by Politico, the State Department delayed responses to Associated Press concerning information about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's schedules and her top staffers for FOUR YEARS.

Naturally, this delay isn’t the State Department’s fault. As reported by Politico:

Justice Department lawyers representing State said a surge in FOIA requests caused large backlogs at the agency. They also said State is struggling with a wave of lawsuits since the disclosure in March that Clinton exclusively used a private email server during her service as secretary. In December, she returned 55,000 pages of emails at her former agency's request.

O’Malley: Global Warming Created ISIS

By on 7.21.15 | 1:54PM

After ostensibly trying to separate global warming from national security concerns, Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley Monday jumped on the bandwagon of those claiming global warming created the conditions necessary for Islamic State to grow.

“One of the things that preceded the failure of the nation-state of Syria and the rise of ISIS was the effect of climate change and the mega-drought that affected that region, wiped out farmers, drove people to cities, created a humanitarian crisis that created the symptoms — or rather the conditions of extreme poverty — that has now led to the rise of ISIL and this extreme violence,” O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, told Bloomberg news in a question about foreign policy.

O’Malley’s comments echo those of the Obama administration and environmentalists who are trying to paint global warming as not just an environmental issue, but also a national security problem.

White House Lowers Flags to Half Staff for Chattanooga Victims

By on 7.21.15 | 1:32PM

President Obama has finally ordered that the White House flags be lowered to half-staff in memory and honor of the five servicemen killed last week in Chattanooga. The U.S. Capitol flags were lowered earlier this morning.

The President also issued a statement:

Our thoughts and prayers as a Nation are with the service members killed last week in Chattanooga. We honor their service. We offer our gratitude to the police officers and first responders who stopped the rampage and saved lives. We draw strength from yet another American community that has come together with an unmistakable message to those who would try and do us harm: We do not give in to fear. You cannot divide us. And you will not change our way of life.

The move comes after much criticism over the past five days, noting that the White House had lowered the flags for other shooting victims, including those who perished at Ft. Hood, and for a number of celebrities, including Whitney Houston. 

Huckabee Continues to Dodge on Entitlement Reform

By on 7.21.15 | 1:24PM

Yet again, as a guest with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business, presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was asked about reforming Social Security in order to help it avoid insolvency. And yet again, he used a straw man argument to dodge the question.

Huckabee said that he is not interested in changing the Social Security system because "I don't think you can tell somebody who's worked for 51 years and had their check taken out involuntarily that 'Oh by the way, we lied to you, we stole from you, and we're going to stick it to you one more time.' I just think that's not something you push on people who have worked a lifetime and you blame them for government screwing up."

Huckabee's argument is a straw man designed to let him avoid a difficult discussion.

Nobody is proposing changing terms of Social Security for those in or even near retirement.

To say that he's against changing the deal for someone "who's worked for 51 years" is meaningless. Nobody is for that.

And we don't need to change the deal for those in or near retirement to help this federal Ponzi scheme survive at least another generation or two.

Kasich’s Fiscal Record

By on 7.21.15 | 1:03PM

John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, makes his presidential announcement today. He becomes the 16th person to join the Republican field and the 8th current or former governor.

Kasich is a fiscal policy expert. He has made a federal Balanced Budget Amendment a key talking point in his speeches and appearances so far, and was known for being a budget cutter while in Congress. His record in Ohio tells a very different story. Spending has risen rapidly  during Kasich’s tenure in Columbus.

Data from the National Association of State Budget Officers illustrates the rapid growth general fund spending. From fiscal year 2012, Kasich’s first full fiscal year, to fiscal year 2015, general fund spending increased in Ohio by 18 percent. Nationally, state general fund spending increased by 12 percent during that period. Kasich’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 increased spending further. It included a year-over-year increase of 11 percent. The average governor proposed a spending increase of 3 percent from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016.

John Kasich Jumps In

By on 7.21.15 | 12:38PM

On Tuesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced that he's running for president.

In July 2015, it's a bit strange to say he's a little late to the race but that's the case. It's not going to be easy for him to make the top ten to be on the stage during the first debate -- which takes place in his state. And while he has $12 million raised so far, that puts him behind many of the other candidates and with only a tenth of Jeb Bush's war chest. But longshots have won in the past (not least our current president) and Kasich should, on paper, not be among the longest of longshots.

Let's start with the elephant in the room: Many conservatives won't forgive John Kasich for being among the handful of Republican governors who went along with Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. Kasich is also a moderate on immigration and has told social issues conservatives to "get over it" when it comes to campaigning against same-sex marriage.

But this is a guy deserving of serious consideration.

Lindsey Graham to Donald Trump: Stop Being a Jackass; UPDATED: Trump Releases Graham’s Cell Number

By on 7.21.15 | 11:29AM

UPDATE: So that happened:

Needless to say, please don't call it.


Perhaps the best part of the "Donald Flub" from over the weekend, is that it's drawn out a number of pots who should not be calling the kettle a "jackass." 

The latest Republican Presidential candidate to wade into the debate over Trump's commentary on John McCain's military service is Lindsey Graham, who cautioned the current Republican frontrunner that he's starting to sound like like the rear end of a donkey. He would know, I suppose, since Lindsey Graham is, well, the king know.

After Trump undermined the military service of Graham's longtime colleague Sen. John McCain, Graham had a clear message for his GOP rival.

"I don't care if he drops out. Stay in the race, just stop being a jackass," Graham said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."

Thoughts on John Kasich’s Entry Into the 2016 GOP Race

By on 7.21.15 | 11:13AM

Today, Ohio Governor John Kasich will formally announce his entry into the 2016 GOP race for the White House.

Earlier this month, I saw Kasich take center seat on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier. For someone who spent a good part of a decade on TV at FNC, he looked awkward and ill at ease. Kasich was also on the defensive, especially when Jonah Goldberg asked him about the expansion of Medicaid under the auspices of Obamacare. He made a rather peculiar explanation that he accepted the money so he wouldn’t have to keep the mentally ill in prison. Kasich then said, “Now, maybe some people want to lock up the mentally ill in prison. Maybe some people want to throw away the drug addicted.” To his credit, Baier interjected, “You’re making a leap from someone opposing Medicaid expansion to that person wanting to jail Medicaid...” but then Kasich cut him off and resumed his demagoguery.

Second Planned Parenthood Video: We Won’t Accept Bargain Basement Prices for Our Baby Parts

By on 7.21.15 | 10:57AM

There's a rule in crisis communications that says you should never fully acknowledge, apologize or excuse behavior you've kept secret until you're sure your opponent has revealed everything they have on you. After all, if you configure your response too early, subsequent revelations are likely to undercut your carefully concocted excuses, sending them crashing to the floor, and destroying your credibility. 

Cuban Embassy Opens in DC

By on 7.21.15 | 10:42AM

 As of midnight, the Cuban flag now hangs in the State Department to mark the reestablishment of political ties between Cuba and the U.S. As reported by AP and ABC news:

The United States and Cuba restored full diplomatic relations Monday after more than five decades of frosty relations rooted in the Cold War.

 The new era began with little fanfare when an agreement between the two nations to resume normal ties on July 20 came into force just after midnight Sunday and the diplomatic missions of each country were upgraded from interests sections to embassies. When clocks struck 12:00 in Washington and Havana, they tolled a knell for policy approaches spawned and hardened over the five decades since President John F. Kennedy first tangled with youthful revolutionary Fidel Castro over Soviet expansion in the Americas.