The Spectacle Blog

Fort Hood Families to Receive Purple Hearts…Finally!!!

By on 2.6.15 | 11:34PM

Finally, some good news.

After the Obama Administration refused to give the families of those who perished at Fort Hood Purple Hearts because they considered it an act of workplace violence, they have now done an about face.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh has now announced that the Obama Administration will go along with the new law which the previous Congress passed in December that allows military personnel to be eligible for Purple Heart designation if they are killed or wounded in an attack carried out on U.S. soil by someone affiliated with a foreign terrorist organization. With the Purple Hearts, these families will also receive benefits. 

This was long, long overdue. But better late than never.

Even if President Obama never says the Fort Hood shootings were an attack of terrorism, the dissemination of the Purple Hearts confirms what almost of all us knew the moment we learned that Nidal Malik Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar!!!" as he killed 12 soldiers, a civilian and an unborn child more than five years ago.

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Susan Rice Wouldn’t Know an Existential Threat If It Screamed “Allahu Akbar!”

By on 2.6.15 | 9:50PM

Susan Rice, best known for claiming the Benghazi attacks were a spontaneous reaction to an Internet film and that Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction, today outlined the Obama Administration's national security strategy

But, too often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective.  Yes, there’s a lot going on.  Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or the Cold War.  We can’t afford to be buffeted by alarmism and an instantaneous news cycle.  We must continue to do the hard work of leading a complex and rapidly evolving world, of seizing opportunities, and of winning the future for our children.

 

I find it interesting that Rice that acknowledges that WWII was an existential threat. Yet consider what Winston Churchill said in the British House of Commons in November 1936:

 

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Biden to Boycott Bibi’s Speech

By on 2.6.15 | 8:11PM

Vice-President Joe Biden's office made a point of announcing that he would not be attending Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before Congress on March 3rd.

Biden is due to be out of the country. Which country Biden is going to is anyone's guess. Maybe he'll go to France with Carole King and give them a big hug. Or perhaps he'll make a point of visiting Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to make a point of sticking it to Bibi.

It's probably just as well that Biden won't be sitting behind Bibi. He won't be rolling his eyes, making faces or laughing.

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Mugabe May Have Fallen But Not From Power

By on 2.5.15 | 10:14PM

It is good to see that Zimbabwe's President for Life Robert Mugabe is being ridiculed for having fallen following a speech given at Harare International Airport and demanded that the images be deleted from the Internet. Mugabe has been memed on social media ever since.

While Mugabe may have fallen, he has not fallen from power. Mugabe, who turns 91 later this month, has been in power since 1980 and has just been elected President of the African Union. The EU is very likely to ease travel sanctions against Mugabe because of it.

Mugabe richly deserves to be lampooned, but he is not likely to lose power anytime soon. No doubt Mugabe will take out his anger over being mocked on the people of Zimbabwe who have suffered plenty.

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Obama’s High Horse on Islam

By on 2.5.15 | 10:12PM

President Obama was in his usual form at the National Prayer Breakfast:

And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

His comments are disingenuous for three reasons.

First, it is yet another strawman argument. Can President Obama name one person who is arguing that people haven't been killed in the name of Christianity? To say that we cannot comment on the misdeeds of Islamists because Christians are not without sin is simply a cop out and an excuse to ignore our present state of affairs.

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If Brian Williams Resigns Then What About Hillary Clinton?

By on 2.5.15 | 3:28PM

If Brian Williams' disclosure that he was not aboard a helicopter that came under fire in Iraq in 2003 results in his resignation from NBC News then what will happen to Hillary Clinton's likely 2016 White House bid? If Williams can no longer be the face of NBC then can Hillary no longer be the face of the Democratic Party?

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Study Finds John Kerry Worst Secretary of State In the History of Ever

By on 2.5.15 | 1:18PM

We all knew it. Even he probably knew it. But now, there's scientific proof.

John Kerry is the worst Secretary of State in history according to a survey of professors at the top 25 foreign policy schools conducted by Foreign Policy Magazine, losing out, even, to "Don't Know."

Foreign Policy magazine this week announced the results of its 2014 Ivory Tower survey of 1,615 international relations scholars from 1,375 U.S. colleges.

One question they were asked was: “Who was the most effective U.S. secretary of state of the past 50 years?

The winner? Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry A. Kissinger, who was secretary for four years during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Since the Vietnam thing didn’t turn out so well, the scholars must have been grading him on openings to China and the Soviet Union when he was at the National Security Council?

Kissinger got 32.21 percent, extraordinary in such a large field.

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Hillary Clinton’s Million-Dollar Air Travel

By on 2.5.15 | 1:00PM

Hillary Clinton is, maybe not best know for her utter destitution upon her husband leaving office in the early 2000s, but may be most recently known for her claim that she and Bill struggled desperately to make ends meet once they were relegated to only two homes and lucrative speaking tours that paid in the six figures per appearance. 

It now seems that those hard times were even shorter than previously imagined. Starting with her campaign for President in 2007, Hillary Clinton may have been chowing down on ramen noodles and buying pantsuits made of polyester instead of silk shantung, but she wasn't skimping on air travel

Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney each finished second in their party’s primaries when they ran for president in 2008, but they took dramatically different routes to arrive at the same result — literally, in a way.

A deeper look into the candidates’ campaign expenditures reveals that Clinton spent more than nine times as much as Romney did on private jets during the 2008 race.

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NBC’s Brian Williams Probably Didn’t Get Shot At In Iraq

By on 2.5.15 | 11:23AM

There are a lot of things from my earlier years I don't really remember orrectly, largely due to a mix of Country Time Lemonade and cheap vodka, but they're mostly innocous things, like how the cat ended up with a red wine stain on its back, how my furniture ended up in that particular formation, or whether Chicago's baseball team had, in fact, won the World Series sometime in April of 2009. I think, though, if I'd been shot at in a helicopter while covering a story in Iraq, I'd have remembered it correctly. It seems like a big event that people could corroborate, right, so that even if I wasn't clear on the details, someone who'd been there would be.

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Ben Carson Injects Dose of Reason Into Vaccine Discussion

By on 2.4.15 | 2:57PM

I have very strong reservations about the viability of Ben Carson as a presidential candidate. While there are silly and stupid things happening in this country, America ain't Nazi Germany.

Nevertheless, I am glad to see that Carson has injected a dose of reason into the hysteria over vaccines:

Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.

In recent days, both Chris Christie and Rand Paul (who are usually on the opposite side of things) have both taken heat on comments they have made that vaccines should be voluntary rather than mandatory. Paul got into a shouting match with CNBC's Kelly Evans about it a couple of days ago in which he claimed that vaccines caused "profound mental disorders" in some children.

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