The Spectacle Blog

Marie Harf’s Meteoric Rise of Mediocrity

By on 5.27.15 | 5:09PM

Last April, NRO's Mario Loyola called upon President Obama to fire Acting State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf:

Harf is a political campaign hack who has no business carrying a diplomatic passport or speaking for the State Department or this administration. Not even Obama deserves to be so poorly served.

Not only has Harf not been fired, but she will have a new job on June 1st. Starting Monday, Harf will serve as Secretary of State John Kerry's Senior Communications Advisor.

Rick Santorum Would Make a Great UN Ambassador

By on 5.27.15 | 4:01PM

I don't want to dismiss Rick Santorum's second White House bid out of hand. After all, he appeared to be an also ran in 2012 and then lo and behold he caught fire at the right time and won the Iowa Caucus. Santorum does not give up easily. Grit and determination certainly count for something.

Before proceeding further, I should state, as I have in the past, that I voted for Santorum in the 2012 Massachusetts Primary despite my disagreement with him on social issues.

However, I do think it will be much harder for Santorum to replicate his 2012 success in Iowa by virtue of the presence of 2008 Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee. Sure Santorum is a Catholic while Huckabee is an Evangelical, but their social conservative constituency is fairly similar. These socially conservative could also consider the likes of Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and let's not forget the Iowa born Scott Walker.

Rand Paul Claims Republicans Created ISIS; Jindal Calls Paul “Unfit for Command” - UPDATE

By on 5.27.15 | 2:48PM

In an interview on Morning Joe today, Rand Paul claimed Republicans created ISIS:

ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately. And most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS. These hawks also wanted to bomb [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad], which would have made ISIS's job even easier. They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved -- they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.

That's not the way I remember things. As I remember it, Republicans wanted Congress to have a say over American military involvement in Libya given that the Arab League, NATO and the UN vetted the thing.

Clintons Ensnared in FIFA World Cup Scandal, Attain Corruption Holy Grail

By on 5.27.15 | 1:27PM

Okay, guys, it's time to welcomeme back to civilization. As you've gotten used to some of our new contributors, coming to us from locales far and wide, I've been soaking up the rays and the key lime pie in Key West. Sadly, I am not being summoned back from Margaritaville to cover things that are more important to the world than whether it's possible to find a brunch that also features a drag show and really good Bloody Marys (there isn't, but Blue Heaven hits the brunch and Bloody Mary boxes).

A Bernie Sanders Presidency Is ALL About Socialism

By on 5.27.15 | 1:01PM

Weighing in on the importance of his campaign, presidential hopeful and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders noted if his campaign fails, it’s not just a reflection on him but also a reflection on his ideas.

“If I do badly, and I don’t run a good campaign, and we don’t get our message out, and we don’t bring people together, it reflects not just on me, but on the ideas that I’m talking about,” Sanders told CNBC.

True to his socialist beliefs, the Vermont senator has made retribution of wealth a main point of his campaign. If elected president he wants to use tax policy to reverse what he sees as a massive transfer of wealth to the richest Americans.

“So to my mind, if you have seen a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent, you know what, we’ve got to transfer that back if we’re going to have a vibrant middle class,” Sanders continued. “And you do that in a lot of ways. Certainly one way is tax policy.”

Everything You Need To Know About FIFA And The World’s Biggest Sports Scandal

By on 5.27.15 | 12:53PM

An FBI investigation led to the arrest Wednesday of seven top officials of FIFA, the organization that governs world soccer, in Switzerland.

Overall, 14 people will face 47 racketeering, corruption, money laundering and wire fraud charges. The investigation alleges, among other accusations, that members of FIFA’s executive committee accepted bribes for media deals, and sold their votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which will be held in Russia and Qatar.

The U.S. Department of Justice led the investigation because of American laws that grant it broad powers to investigate foreign nationals. Much of the investigation focuses on Concacaf, the FIFA sub-organization that oversees soccer in North and South America. CONCACAF is headquartered in Miami.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that the investigation “spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”

Raise a Glass to Lower Taxes

By on 5.27.15 | 12:47PM

You might not know it, but about half the cost of your preferred alcoholic beverage is made up of taxes and fees. One man in Congress, Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) wants to change that. Today he introduced a bill that would introduced a bill that would cut the current federal excise tax rate on whiskey, rum, vodka, and gin. For the first 100,000 gallons, the bill would reduce the tax from from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon, and for subsequent gallons the tax would be $9 per proof gallon.

Oakland Won’t Pay for New Raiders Stadium

By on 5.27.15 | 9:41AM

Oakland officials say they will not contribute any taxpayer dollars toward building a new stadium for the Raiders, even if that means the team will move back to Los Angeles.

Although Raiders owner Mark Davis and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have yet to receive an official response from either Oakland or Alameda County as to whether they would provide the $400 million necessary to keep the team in Oakland, recent statements by elected officials suggest the money may not be forthcoming, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Their reluctance seems to stem primarily from Oakland’s previous experience with stadium subsidies, which were used to finance renovations of O.co Coliseum that helped lure the Raiders back to Oakland in 1995. The team had previously moved to Los Angeles in 1982 after Oakland refused to make stadium upgrades demanded by then-owner Al Davis.

Obamacare Induces Emergency Room Trauma

By on 5.26.15 | 4:07PM

Three-quarters of the 2,099 doctors responding to the nationwide survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians indicate they have seen an increase in emergency room (ER) visits since the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, went into effect on January 1, 2014.

In the same survey, 28 percent of the respondents say ER use has “increased greatly.”

What providers are witnessing daily in the ER is not what the Obama administration promised would happen, says Dr. Richard Armstrong, a surgeon who practices in Michigan and serves as a board member of the Docs4PatientCare Foundation.

“Obamacare obviously did nothing to reduce the incentive for patients to use the ER as their primary care doctor,” Armstrong said.

All people make their choices based on incentives, and yet Obamacare did nothing to require co-pays from Medicaid patients, Armstrong says.

“It’s not unusual to see a Medicaid patient who simply has a headache to come to the emergency room instead, because it won’t cost them anything to get some Advil [there], which they could buy themselves at the drugstore across the street,” Armstrong said.

Will Congress Trade Principles for Politics on Ex-Im Vote?

By on 5.26.15 | 1:30PM

On the merits, the case for closing the Export-Import Bank is a slam-dunk. This has made life difficult for the bank’s supporters, especially since the bank will permanently close on June 30 unless Congress reauthorizes its charter. So they are switching to politics.

One of the top items on Congress’ agenda is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which despite some drawbacks, would make international trade a little freer than it is now. Seeing a point of entry, Ex-Im supporters tried to tie Ex-Im reauthorization into the TPA bill. This way, a Senator who opposes Ex-Im might have to hold his nose and vote for it anyway, since it would be part of the larger TPA bill he supports.

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