The Spectacle Blog

Hamas Searches for a Better Bargain

By on 7.16.14 | 5:01PM

Shopping in the Middle East can be a surprise to Westerners. There's the greeting, the inquiry after one's family, leading questions from the buyer, perhaps a cup of Arabic coffee from the seller. The buyer suggests a price, and the vendor protests that to accept it would bring his children to the brink of starvation. The buyer strides ostentatiously from the establishment, only to be called back by a better deal.

The rejection by Hamas of Egypt's cease-fire deal after more than a week of missile exchange with Israel was merely good business for Middle Eastern bargaining, said Ghaith al Omari of the American Task Force on Palestine at an American Enterprise Institute discussion. 

The Egyptian deal did not meet any of Hamas's demands, namely: a re-release of the prisoners Israel first freed in 2011, funds from Qatar to pay employees' salaries, and a reopening the "secret" supply tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. That last one is especially relevant; some have speculated that the supply tunnels are what drove Hamas to enter a unity government with Fatah, which is what started the recent hostilities in the first place. 

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CBO Predicts a Hangover of Economic Proportions

By on 7.16.14 | 4:43PM

According to the CBO, the Clairvoyant Bureaucratic Office, “federal debt will be growing faster than GDP, a path that would be ultimately unsustainable.” Our national debt is already bigger than our economy.

The key source of upward pressure on the federal debt is expanded federal spending in the form of Obamacare, its gluttonous siblings Medicare and Medicaid, and its senile cousin Social Security. Because of government encroachment into the health care industry, health care spending will double over the next twenty-five years to 14 percent of GDP.

In order to stop the Social Security trust fund from defaulting and return to sustainable levels of unfunded liabilities by 2025, future and current Americans will have to incur a 25 percent cut in their benefits.

The CBO hearing had the tone of a doctor’s appointment for a self-destructive addict. The doctor says, “You know you can’t keep overspending like this, America,” and the government nods sheepishly and then scampers off to print more money.

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Bergdahl: I’m Deeply Grateful to Obama

By on 7.16.14 | 4:30PM

Bowe Bergdahl directed his newly appointed attorney Eugene Fidell to make the following statement, “Sergeant Bergdahl is deeply grateful to President Obama for saving his life.”

Perhaps Obama will reward Bergdahl by giving him an Obamacare waiver.

It's good to know that Bergdahl doesn't feel that Obama deserted him.

No word if the Taliban leaders released in exchange for Bergdahl are grateful to Obama for being free once again to plot attacks against Americans.

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Darrell Issa, Subpoenas, and Political Theater

By on 7.16.14 | 4:06PM

Congressman Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, issued a subpoena to White House senior adviser David Simas, compelling him to testify at a Wednesday morning hearing exhaustively titled, “White House Office of Political Affairs: Is Supporting Candidates and Campaign Fund-Raising an Appropriate Use of a Government Office?”

White House counsel Neil Eggleston pushed back against the subpoena in a letter, describing it as a violation of the separation of powers, as it “threatens longstanding interests of the executive branch in preserving the president’s independence and autonomy, as well as his ability to obtain candid advice and counsel to aid him in the discharge of his duties,” the Washington Post reported. Issa insisted the subpoena remain in place.

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God Bless the IRS

By on 7.16.14 | 1:27PM

In a series of releases from the House Oversight Committee last night, Chairman Darrell Issa released new information in the ongoing investigation of the IRS. The revelations deal with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. According to a YouTube video released here, the recording is of Solis soliciting funds for President Obama’s reelection campaign. Federal law, under the Hatch Act, prohibits federal officials and bureaucrats from campaigning during work time. Issa is alleging that these calls were made on federal time, which is a clear violation of the act. 

In another allegation, this one from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Issa points to several tweets from an April Sands, who was Lerner’s deputy before resigning earlier this year. One of the tweets, posted on Issa’s Twitter page, shows Sands attacking Mitt Romney on federal time:

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A Few Words About the UN Relief Works Agency

By on 7.16.14 | 11:50AM

Micah Meadowcraft is absolutely correct to say that it is Hamas that bears responsibility for the deaths of civilians in Gaza. This is illustrated by Hamas' refusal yesterday to accept an Egyptian brokered ceasefire which Israel accepted.

But what struck me about Micah's post was the fact that he cited the UN Relief Works Agency and quoted Pierre Krahenbuhl, its Commissioner General.

The UN has two agencies which deals with refugees - the aforementioned UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA)which deals exclusively with Palestinian refugees and the UN Refugee Agency (a.k.a. the UN High Commissioner for Refugees) which deals with the rest of the world's refugees.

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Demolishing Democrat Claims After Hobby Lobby

By on 7.16.14 | 10:40AM

Few people do as good a job making important points in very few words than George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux.

In today's note, he demolishes Democrats' arguments that the Hobby Lobby decision "allows employers to deny women access to certain kinds of contraception."

Please read and share widely:

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Morning Round-Up 7-16

By on 7.16.14 | 10:17AM

Feature of the Day: How Do You Pay For a Drug That Costs $84,000?


Morning Headlines




Associated Press


1. Palestinians Flee After Israel Warning, Airstrikes

2.  Mexico Southern Border Control So Far Just Talk



1. Who's Talking About Impeachment? Barack Obama

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Rove American Crossroads in Mississippi Controversy

By on 7.16.14 | 8:00AM

The headline in the Washington Post on June 4 was clear:

Rove-backed American Crossroads won’t get involved in Cochran runoff

Said the Post story the day after Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel had defeated six-term Mississippi GOP Senator Thad Cochran in the first round of the state’s GOP primary:

American Crossroads, a GOP establishment organization, has decided to shift its political focus almost entirely to the general election and will not be spending money in the likely runoff election to decide the Mississippi Senate nomination that was virtually deadlocked after Tuesday night. […]

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AL Wins Back to Back All-Star Games; Trout Named MVP

By on 7.16.14 | 12:21AM

For the second straight year, the American League won the All-Star Game. The Junior Circuit prevailed 5-3 in the midseason classic which was played at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The AL took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a triple by Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and a two-run home run by Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. All three runs were scored of NL starter Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals. 

The NL scored two runs in the second on back to back doubles by Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. In the fourth, Lucroy would tie the game at 3-3 on yet another RBI double. 

The AL would take the lead for good in the fifth on a double by Trout and added another run on a sacrifice fly by Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. Both runs were scored off Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek who would end up taking the loss.

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