The Spectacle Blog

After Paris, Obama Will Not Change Tactics on ISIS

By on 11.16.15 | 1:20PM

Obviously, President Obama has had a tough weekend, what with a terrorist attack on a major ally and then a long flight to Turkey for the G20, so I suppose we can give him a pass on his foot-stomping tantrum this morning at the world summit in response to questions about how the US will respond to a freshly motivated Islamic State. 

But why would we do that?

Although the attacks in Paris came just hours after the President claimed ISIS was "decapitated" and "contained," and although even liberal allies in the New York Times and elsewhere are calling for a greater focus on defeating, not just controlling the advance of ISIS on the Arab penninsula, Barack Obama spent most of his first G20 press conference insisting that there would be no change to US policy

Obama Does Have Religious Tests For His Compassion

By on 11.16.15 | 1:01PM

While at the G-20 summit in Turkey, President Obama said that giving priority to Syrian Christians over Syrian Muslims is "shameful.":

And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who's fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that's shameful. That's not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

These remarks appeared to have been aimed mainly at Ted Cruz who said over the weekend, "There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror."

The Donald’s Captain Queeg Speech

By on 11.16.15 | 12:54PM

For those who have an hour and a half to abuse, you could listen to what I call the Donald’s Queeg speech here. I’m not saying I recommend it. In any case, you’ve probably seen clips on TV of what for almost any other candidate would be a political-career-ending rant. (Howard Dean hit the skids over one lousy scream in 2004 — Trump’s speech was Dean-scream-squared.)

At least Captain Queeg’s unraveling came under tough questioning from a take-no-prisoners prosecutor. Trump’s performance here is unforced.

The Patriots & Giants Played One Hell of a Game — Again

By on 11.16.15 | 12:18PM

While I was writing my article about yesterday's rally in the Boston Common for those who perished in Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, I had the Patriots-Giants game on and I'm glad I did.

It proved to be a most welcome distraction from the subject matter at hand with the Pats winning 27-26 on a 54 yard field goal by Steve Gostkowski with one second remaning in the game. The victory puts the Pats at 9-0. The Pats are one of three undefeated teams in the NFL as the Carolina Panthers are also 9-0 and the Cincinnati Bengals could boast a 9-0 record with a victory tonight against the Houston Texans.

Was The Bataclan Considered a Jewish Target?

By on 11.15.15 | 1:06AM

On Friday night, I spoke with my father during the Paris terror attacks. As the details were still being sorted out he wondered if there were any Jewish targets as was the case when Hyper-Cacher was targeted back in January (despite President Obama's insistence that it was random) or the Chabad-Lubavitch House during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. 

Well, according to The Times of Israel, it appears that the Bataclan may have been targeted because its owners were Jewish and held pro-Israel events at the facility. It should also be noted that The Eagles of Death Metal performed in Tel Aviv this past July. The Laloux family sold The Bataclan in September. Not that it would have mattered much to the attackers.


CBS Iowa Democrat Debate Post-Mortem

By on 11.14.15 | 11:31PM

I have just finished live tweeting the Democrat debate which aired on CBS from Des Moines, Iowa and here are my observations.

Before I get to the candidates, I will say I thought John Dickerson did a competent job in moderating the debate. He and the panelists (who were Iowa print and broadcast journalists) challenged the candidates without making the show about them.

Bernie Sanders - He was very uncomfortable talking about foreign policy in the wake of the Paris attacks. While Hillary and O'Malley spent their entire opening statements on the Paris attacks, he spent about five seconds on it before moving to the more familiar terrain of millionaires, billionaires, Wall Street and the rigged economy. To give you an idea how out to sea he is on foreign policy he actually said climate change causes terrorism. Tell that to the people of Paris.

Will Hillary Calls Republicans Enemies in Tonight’s Democrat Debate?

By on 11.14.15 | 6:32PM

Tonight's debate in Des Moines between the three Democrats seeking their party's nomination will shift to foreign policy in light of last night's ISIS terrorist attack in Paris

It will be interesting to see if the candidates are asked about President Obama's statement that ISIS had been contained.

It will be interesting to see if Bernie Sanders is now willing to commit U.S. troops to fight ISIS.

It will be interesting to see if Hillary Clinton will refer to Republicans as enemies.

I will be live tweeting the debate at #DemDebate. You can follow me on Twitter at @aargold24. I will write a debate post-mortem later this evening.

The debate airs tonight at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.

So Much For ISIS Being Contained

By on 11.13.15 | 11:25PM

Only 24 hours before the Paris terror attacks, President Obama declared in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that ISIS had been "contained." The interview was conducted on Thursday, but aired Friday morning. Obama stated:

I don't think they're gaining strength. What is true, from the start our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them.

Evidently the people responsible for the attacks didn't get Obama's memo. It would certainly go a long way in explaining why Obama said following the attacks, "I don’t want to speculate at this point in terms of who was responsible for this." Of course he didn't. Any such "speculation" would make his lack of credibility in these matters plain for the world to see just as when he claimed that al Qaeda was on the run during the 2012 election campaign. It's time for President Obama to stop treating ISIS like the jayvee squad.

The Bataclan in Happier Times (Featuring Jeff Buckley)

By on 11.13.15 | 10:27PM

The Bataclan will now be forever known as the focal point of the worst terrorist attack in French history. 

Prior to tonight, however, The Bataclan was a world renowned concert venue. Although it is a small venue holding approximately 800 people, it has long attracted the creme de la creme of musicians.

Now I've never been to The Bataclan, but I do have a sense of the atmosphere as demonstrated by the late Jeff Buckley who performed there in February 1995. This concert has been bootlegged ever since and for good reason. 

Have a listen to Buckley's rendition of Edith Piaf's "Je n'en connais pas la fin". After Buckley sings in French, the audience erupts into applause so loud you would think there were 80,000 people in attendance instead of 800. 

While The Bataclan must be remembered for the evil that took place there tonight, it must also be remembered as a place of joy.

One of Paris Attackers Says “I Am From ISIS!!!”; Obama Doesn’t Want to Speculate Who is Responsible - UPDATE

By on 11.13.15 | 7:50PM

What an absolute horror.

As I write this more than 140 people have been killed in Paris in multiple attacks across the city. A majority of the deaths have taken place inside the Bataclan Concert Hall where the band The Eagles of Death Metal were playing. The two others major attacks took place outside Stade de France during a soccer match between France and Germany (which was attended by French President Francois Hollande) and outside a Cambodian restaurant called Le Petit Cambodge. The gunmen from the latter attack are still at large at this hour. 

Witnesses says that two shooters were responsible for the Bataclan attacks. They chanted "Allahu Akbar!!!" and "This is for Syria!!!" before eventually being killed by French authorities. Evidently many of the concertgoers were being held hostage before they mowed down by bullets or had grenades thrown at them. One person arrested by Paris police has said that he is from Syria and that this is an ISIS operation.