The Spectacle Blog

CIA Follies Continue

By on 11.4.05 | 12:47PM

China's military thinkers are turning to capitalism to supplement their small incomes. (And good on 'em for it. As Churchill said, the old adage that one should read an old book before buying a new one finds little support among authors.) Two Chinese People's Liberation Army senior Cols. Qiao Liang and Wang Xangsui wrote a book called "Unrestricted Warfare" in 1999 that was published in English here in 2002. Pentagon analysts say that while much of it is theoretical, it is a very useful tool for those who are examining the meaning of the enormous Chinese miliary buildup.

Now, Liang and Xiangsui have written another book entitled "The New Warring States Era," which, I'm told, is a lot more than an academic exercise. Yet the CIA -- which usually interprets such for the government -- is refusing to do so. Why? One prominent China hand told me CIA is refusing because the book refutes much of their theory on how American relations with China should be conducted.

Meanwhile, CIA sources yesterday refused to identify the person (or even the rank of the person) who authorized and approved Joe Wilson's mission to Niger. I think I know who it is. Stay tuned.

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By on 11.4.05 | 11:46AM

In most large American cities, the inner cities are dangerous and the suburbs safe. In Paris, the opposite is true: tourists are told to avoid the suburbs and enjoy the safety of the inner city.

But France's indulgence of Eurabia is catching up with it. The project to "Frenchify" Islam hasn't mollified anyone. Now the very liberal politicians who made such a great show of welcoming Muslim immigrants are taking a more Napoleonic line. Dominic de Villepin complains that accommodating Muslims will threaten "French" identity.

There is a certain pattern to French rationalism: it begins with a liberal attitude for which France's pols congratulate themselves before the world; time goes by and problems stemming from that unreal liberal attitude percolate; chaos erupts; then the "liberty and fraternity" crowd call for the most illiberal crackdowns. French rationalists create just enough mayhem to give birth to Napoleons who will save them from it.

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Galloway’s Coming Perp Walk?

By on 11.4.05 | 10:33AM

George Galloway -- Saddam's bestest pal in the Brit parliament -- has always loudly (and, in the U.S. Senate, under oath) denied he's ever taken a dime from Saddam's regime. Unfortunately for Loud George, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found a pile of paperwork that contradicts his testimony. They have documents which they believe prove that Galloway and his politics were bought by Saddam.

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Profiles in Courage

By on 11.4.05 | 9:56AM

In a major public service, the N.Y. Times this morning gives Senator Leahy the first word:

He says he plans to assess Judge Alito on ideological grounds.

"This is not over competence," Mr. Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said. "He certainly is competent. This is the whole issue of ideology, and if the ideology is one that you go in with a predetermined agenda, then I don't care if they are a Democrat or a Republican. They don't belong on the Supreme Court."

It also gives Senator Kennedy pretty much the last word, which has him "urg[ing] his colleagues not to reject the nominee simply because they might not share his views":

"We are really interested in knowing whether the nominee has the background, experience, qualifications, temperament and integrity to handle this most sensitive, important and responsible job," Mr. Kennedy said.

Of course, he said that in 1967, apropos Thurgood Marshall.

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Kaine for Abortion

By on 11.4.05 | 9:56AM

Just in case you had any doubts about what sort of candidates (and Catholics) Tim Kaine and Leslie Byrne are, check out this email I just received from NARAL Pro-Choice America, formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League:

Virginia elections are this Tuesday, November 8, and your vote is so important this year. Numerous restrictions on birth control and abortion access are introduced each year in the state legislature and pro-choice voters are key to helping turn our state around.

Please GET OUT YOUR VOTE on Tuesday!

In the governor's race, although NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia did not officially endorse, we see more hope for the women of Virginia in the candidacy of Tim Kaine. We did endorse Democrat Leslie Byrne for Lieutenant Governor and Democrat Creigh Deeds for Attorney General.

We urge you to vote Kaine, Byrne, and Deeds on Election Day!

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Jersey, These Are Your Statesmen

By on 11.4.05 | 9:43AM

From the Asbury Park Press:

[Sen. Jon] Corzine's campaign headed to Edison again, where the candidate spoke to senior citizens, then reversed north to Livingston at nightfall, where the candidate joined [former Sen. Bill] Bradley and [acting Gov. Richard] Codey in a laugh-punctuated shoot-around on an outdoor basketball court.

As Bradley and Codey took foul shots, competing like the old hardcourt players they are, Bradley stood next to the governor and berated his shooting style, but the governor swished his first shot.

"In your face, Bradley!" Codey shouted.

"Let's get it on," said Bradley, a former star with the New York Knicks and Princeton University.

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Bummer: The Economy Adds Jobs

By on 11.4.05 | 9:38AM

The economy added 56,000 jobs in October, and unemployment dipped to 5 percent. Good news, right? Nope. "Tepid Payroll Growth in October."

CNN/Money: "Bonds Rise on Weak Jobs."

MSN Money: "Market Shrugs Off Tepid Job Growth."

UPI: "Weak Jobs Reports Strengthens U.S. Stocks."

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Re: Jimmy Rethinking

By on 11.4.05 | 7:49AM

Dave, the Carter piece you linked to was interesting in other respects, too. Perhaps none more so than the man's invincible narcissism, as when he offered that "the best treatment he has received since leaving the Oval Office was from the first President Bush, and the second-best treatment he got was during the Reagan administration, especially from Secretary of State George P. Shultz. The worst treatment he's received, the former president said, was from President Clinton."

He does not seem to have ever considered that his successors in office were under no obligation to even return his phone calls. And it becomes more and more apparent that they should never have bothered.

Carter ran for president in 1976 quoting Bob Dylan's famous line, "He not busy being born is busy dying." Another Dylan line seems more appropriate now: "There's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all."

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Jimmy Rethinking

By on 11.4.05 | 7:27AM

Former President Jimmy Carter sort of has a problem with abortion, he told reporters yesterday:

"I think abortion is wrong and that the government ought never do anything to encourage abortion," he said during that campaign. "But I do not favor a constitutional amendment which would prohibit all abortions, nor one that would give states [a] local option to ban abortions."

Looks like his abortion problem is with his thinking: it's wrong, but let's avoid confronting it. Still, he also said Democrats overemphasize abortion and that "I never have felt any abortion should be committed."

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iTunes of the Book World

By on 11.4.05 | 7:16AM

Call me a Luddite, but something about Amazon's plan to sell some books by the page bugs me. Cookbooks? Maps? Overprice textbooks? Great. Novels? I hope authors nix it.

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