The Spectacle Blog

Iran War Warning

By on 3.9.06 | 12:35AM

Best signals source reports that Iran is over-confident, aggressive, ready for UN sanctions, U.S. aggression, any and all challenges to its authority as a messianic empire that is committed to armed struggle at the end of days.

In Iraq, Iran is in control of intelligence and security apparatus in the fledgling, incoherent, compromised Iraqi government. The Shia of Iraq have more weapons than the U.S. forces in Iraq, and Iran, in control of the Shia militants, can adjust to any U.S. plan.

In the nuke confrontation, Iran is indifferent to the UN sanctions because it already is a nuclear armed power and is eager to demonstrate its fierceness in confrontation or in a strike-counterstrike scenario. Iran's surrogates in Iraq, in Al Q, in Lebanon and Gaza and the West Bank are ready to attack Israel and the U.S. to harass and undermine confidence in the American security regimes of Iraq and Israel.

Ahmadinejad, the IRGC and the Council of Elders (mullahs) have prepared the Iran defenses not only to ride out a US/Israeli air strike but also to retaliate with a full range of weapons against the U.S. and against the Persian Gulf shipping lanes.

Re: The Fairer Sex

By on 3.8.06 | 6:45PM

More International Women's Day press -- this time at the Guardian, where Madeline Bunting scorns Britain's -- and the West's -- active contempt of the culture of life. Searing stuff:

What use is that sassy, independent, self-assertive, knowing-what-you-want-and-how-to-get-it type when you fast forward five years to the emotional labour of helping a child develop selfconfidence? Once there's a baby in the cot, you need steadiness, loyalty, endurance, patience, sensitivity and even self-denial - all the characteristics that you've spent the previous decade trashing as dull or, even worse, for losers. Forget trying to work out your own feelings - you'll be too busy trying to work out those of your children; ditto self-confidence and self-expression.

Save a Man, Kill a Candidacy

By on 3.8.06 | 3:47PM

This is a little old but....

We've all been asked at one point or another, usually by the type of half-drunk guy who wears sandles in the winter and spends a lot of time toying with his gnarly hair, whether if given the chance we would kill a young Hitler before he came to power and wreaked havoc on the world. Now comes a modern twist on the philosophical query for the politician in the Age of Abramoff: Would you save your unpcoming state senate primary opponent if he was choking in a restaurant? The answer for one Democrat in Maryland a couple weeks ago was an emphatic yes.

From AP:

State Sen. John Giannetti was waiting for his take-out order of Italian food at a Maryland restaurant on Monday when he saw a man choking. He rushed over, performed the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged a chunk of seafood -- saving the life of his political rival.

The choking man, Jim Rosapepe, is challenging Giannetti in the Democratic primary for the suburban Washington district.


Rosapepe thanked his opponent for saving him.

Hail to Stan Evans

By on 3.8.06 | 2:25PM

Just a little while ago, I randomly ran into the great M. Stanton Evans while walking through Union Station, and I take this opportunity to pay homage to one of the great heroes of the conservative movement. Mr. Evans has trained so many conservative journalists, and written so powerfully on conservative themes, and helped give organizational support to so many conservative enterprises, that he forever belongs in our pantheon of heroes. On a personal note, Mr. Evans' writings in Human Events in late 1975 and through 1976 were one of two main factors (along with a little book called Sincerely, Ronald Reagan compiled by Helene Von Damm) that turned me into a committed Reaganite at the ripe old age of 12. I still have many of those old HE issues. Finally, let me put in a plug for a book Mr. Evans wrote about 12 years ago, The Theme Is Freedom, which I finally got around to reading just last year.

RMC Strikes Again

By on 3.8.06 | 2:03PM

Apparently Sen. Arlen Specter's letter denouncing the Republican Majority for Choice's tactics against his Pennsylvania colleague, Sen. Rick Santorum, has done little to dissuade the group from its strategy.

Jennifer Blei Stockman, the RMC national co-chair I interviewed for the article last week tying Specter to the RMC, has an op-ed in today's Philadelphia Inquirer on the South Dakota abortion ban. She couldn't help but localize the story and take a substantial swipe at Santorum:

More and more, mainstream Republicans are alienated by the direction of the party. Relentless attacks on abortion rights, stem-cell research, and the teaching of evolution only further show how religious fundamentalists call the shots and are playing bully boy with our party leaders.

The Dark Side of Browne

By on 3.8.06 | 2:01PM

I've stayed quiet on Harry Browne, mostly on "don't speak ill of the dead" grounds. Besides, I said my piece on Browne's surrender-immediately foreign policy back in 2004 (see here and here). But I can't let all the eulogizing pass without mentioning something.

Browne violated Libertarian Party conflict-of-interest rules to secure the nomination in '96. (His campaign was also accused of mis-spending funds, though that's a murkier issue.) When Liberty magazine reported on this in 2001, the LP responded by refusing to grant press credentials to my fellow Liberty intern Jim Barnett at the 2002 convention (he ended up having to buy a party membership). This was pretty petty and stupid, especially since Liberty is, other than LP house-organs and activist's newsletters, pretty much the only magazine that has consistently bothered to take the Party seriously.

Over the Top vs. Bush

By on 3.8.06 | 2:01PM

Several thoughts about this Dana Milbank piece. First, it's at least a little absurd to identify Andrew Sullivan as a "conservative" blogger. He may lean conservative on some things, but he's more of an eclectic and sneering critic of everybody, right/center/left alike, than he is readily identifiable in any particular philosophical camp except his own camp of one. Second, while I agree with the gist of the criticisms of Bush's fiscal record and of some of his administration's other failings, it strikes me that both Sullivan AND Bartlett go way over the top; they paint Bush almost as if he's flat-out EVIL in all caps rather than as merely flawed. And really, doesn't Bartlett lose credibility when he says he would vote for Bill Clinton over W???? Methinks a little perspective, and a chill pill, is in order.

Santorum Writing Bill Dembski Foreword

By on 3.8.06 | 1:52PM

Reports the AP. No matter what one thinks of ID, where does this fit in to Santorum's reelection strategy?

Bet on Kansas

By on 3.8.06 | 1:44PM

Conservatives should be paying attention to the legislative session unfolding in Kansas, where state officials are considering passage of a bill that would allow the state to own and operate casinos in order to generate revenue to fund education budget shortfalls.

The bill, which has been floated before and failed, is a pet project of the governor, Democrat Kathleen Sebelius, and right now Republicans in the statehouse are telling associates that they support the legislation.

This is all the more mindboggling given that most Republicans in Kansas haven't seen much of the legislation's language. Given what Washington Republicans have just gone through with Indian casinos, Jack Abramoff, and lobbying, do they really think it's a good idea to get in bed with state-owned and operated gambling? And it if it isn't state-operated, just who is going to run these parlors of sin and temptation for them? Donald Trump?

Soros Bullish on Katrina Fallout

By on 3.8.06 | 1:16PM

George Soros' Open Society Institute is preparing to dole out a goodly sum to ensure that all the positive, fawning coverage Hurricane Katrina's death and destruction has been receiving finally gets balanced out a bit with the hitherto unheard bad news:

The Katrina Media Fellowships, sponsored by The Open Society Institute (OSI), will support media makers working in print and radio journalism, photography, and documentary film and video to generate and improve media coverage of critical issues of poverty, racism, and government neglect in the Gulf Region that were laid bare by Hurricane Katrina. This one-time fellowship will be awarded to mid-career or veteran print or radio journalists, photographers, or documentary filmmakers with proven track records as serious media-makers. OSI will give special consideration to applicants who have been displaced from or are residents of the Gulf Region. OSI expects to award 12-15 fellowships. Fellowship recipients will be announced in mid-May 2006 and receive between $15,000-$35,000, to cover a stipend and project expenses.