The Spectacle Blog

Special Interest Filibuster

By on 1.20.06 | 9:31AM

The only folks in Washington seriously advocating a filibuster are extreme liberals with nothing to lose, like the National Organization for Women.

Strangely, even the People for the American Way doesn't mention the "f" word on its home page or its Stop Alito petition. PFAW doesn't seem to take its own Alito opposition seriously: just take a look at its laughably apocalyptic flash flick, "It's a Less Wonderful Life." If Alito on the Court would be so bad, why not advocate a filibuster? My guess is that Ralph Neas understand the political and legal realities where the Nags don't: Alito will be a fine justice. PFAW's holding their fire for the really conservative nominee.

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And Iran: Iran, So Far Away

By on 1.20.06 | 9:00AM

Ebrahim Sheibani, nimble and quick, tells the world in his capacity as Tehran's top banker that Iran has o'erleaped the singeing candle of "smart" sanctions -- by pulling its foreign currency reserves out of European banks.

Those cruising Drudge lately will also have learned in old-school counterpoint that -- as human paragon of international law and Nobel Laureate M. ElBaradei refuses to condemn Iran -- non-Laureate Jacques Chirac has started talking up the nuclear option against any would-be terrorist enemy of France. It appears, perhaps not yet a day late and dollar short, that the French leadership understands the limits of diplomacy backed by more panicked diplomacy.

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Grant, Not McAuliffe

By on 1.20.06 | 8:27AM

Today's NY Sun editorial entitled "Nuts!" imagines the famous response of BGen. Anthony McAuliffe, commander of the 101st Airborne surrounded and besieged in Bastogne in December 1944, to be what President Bush will say in response to bin Laden's truce offer. Forget for the moment that witnesses insist that Gen. McAuliffe's response was far more colorful (and less printable in family magazines) than a mere "nuts." But remember his role: besieged, only able to hang on bravely until relief arrived.

It would have been better for the Sun to put the president in the shoes of Grant at Vicksburg. When the Rebels sought terms, Grant demanded unconditional surrender. On his very worst day, Johnny Reb didn't come close to the level of evil OBL achieves at his most benign. If the troglodyte terrorist chief were in the president's shoes, he'd accept nothing less than America's utter destruction. He should -- and will -- get from G.W. Bush worse, much worse, than the Rebels got from U.S. Grant.

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Bootless State Department

By on 1.19.06 | 9:41PM

Conversation with Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar, chief of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, who treats PA President Abbas as a used car. The election next week, January 25, will deliver overwhelmingly to Hamas in Gaza and will demonstrate that the Palestinian Authority is a ruse. There is no authority. There are factions within the landscape that have divided loyalties and paymasters. The coalition will consist of Hamas, Al Aqsa, Islamic Jihad, HizbAllah, the Popular Resistance Committee, the PFLP and so forth. I asked al-Zahar if, as a major leader of the Coalition, if he would negotiate with the UN or the Quartet with regard the so-called Road Map. He was adamant. No road map after the elections.

The US State Department depends upon the road map as if it were holy writ. Up ahead is an unknown country. No guides. Bootless.

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OBL Speaks of Truce

By on 1.19.06 | 6:51PM

How long will it be before the first Dem says we should talk to bin Laden about his truce offer? It is only a matter of time until one of them does. Is there one among the Dems who will say we will not speak of truces with terrorists, that their unconditional surrender is the only condition on which this war can possibly end? Is there one of Dean's lemmings who will say that the terrorist ideology will bring only misery, suffering and death to bin Laden’s adherents and their kin in Iran, Syria and wherever else they may be?  No. There is none such among the party of George McGovern. It is left to us to say, play the degüello. We are not the barbarians we fight, so those who choose to surrender will be treated humanely. And the rest will be killed, just as fast we can find them.

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Re: Nuancing the Hillary

By on 1.19.06 | 6:21PM

Apropos of that, Mickey Kaus wrote yesterday:

P.S.: The Michael Goodwin NYDN piece linked above ably outlines the Essential Hillary Dilemma: She's supposed to be the candidate who has the base locked up and can appeal to the center. But thanks to her Iraq vote she now has to re-lock the base while simultaneously appealing to the center. An effective politician might accomplish this while projecting an interesting, variegated, forceful identity. An ineffective politician will look as if she has no identity at all, other than her fabled ambitious calculation. Goodwin:
All this zigzagging from left to right and back again on abortion, health care and national defense is supposed to make her look like a centrist.

It's just making her look confused.

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Nuancing the Hillary

By on 1.19.06 | 4:07PM

So -- as Jim points out -- the Junior Senator from New York believes President Bush is understating the threat that Iran’s nuclear program poses. According to The Daily Princetonian (not to be confused with the journal of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton), Ms. Clinton said, “"I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations.” Where is Hillary going?

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Hillary Incoherent, Even As A Hawk

By on 1.19.06 | 3:35PM

Matching the classic rant mode with neo-hawkishness, Sen. Clinton is covered in The Daily Princetonian taking mighty and principled swings at the current adminstration:

I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations.

On the verge of an argument that negotiations are futile, that recourse to European soft power is a recreation for the negligent, Sen. Clinton gets Churchillian, moving on to mighty and principled swings at the current administration in Tehran:

We cannot and should not - must not - permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons.

But then, of course, the other shoe drops. Fools that we were, outsourcing negotiations to our Western allies:

In order to prevent that from occurring, we must have more support vigorously and publicly expressed by China and Russia, and we must move as quickly as feasible for sanctions in the United Nations.

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Tel Aviv Bomber Al Aqsa

By on 1.19.06 | 3:22PM

Trusted source speaking to terror gangs identified Tel Aviv bomber as Sam Antar, 20 years old, who belonged to both Al Aqsa in Balata camp as well as Islamic Jihad in Balata camp. Like joining both the Dead Rabbitts and the Bowery B'hoys at Five Points. Dicey but doable if you are a bomb mule, sometimes known as a martyr. His head now rests in a body bag.

Attack commanded by Ala Senakreh of Al Aqsa, who is a regular chatty type. Early indiation that the bomber hit the wrong target. Either premature explosion (fussing with belt in boys bathroom) or just stupid nervous with his prayers, chanted himself into the wrong room.

IDF counter strikes going out now. Aim at Jenin area, at AA and IJ.

Abbas asleep already at Ramallah. Hamas in Gaza refuses to talk on air tonight, as if we might assume Hamas is part of the op. What's Arabic for "born-yesterday-not"?

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Damascus Face-to-Face

By on 1.19.06 | 1:45PM

Mention that Ahmadinejad must meet face-to-face in the same sealed, electronic-countermeasured Damascus room as the al-Assads (courtesy PRC-provided technology stolen from Silly Valley), because sigint can read anything the chatty bad boys put in the air or underground. Damascus is like the old days of the face-to-face in the Adirondacks, Cosa Nostra-style. Also, the terror gangs headquartered in Damascus deal in cash Euros banked in Geneva, and so Ahmadinejad must shove the access codes across the table to his hirelings.

Fun to consider how the gangs could defeat NSA by making a mobile phone call to Vegas to make supper reservations at Bellagio's Le Cirque, and while on hold, they could bounce the call to Gaza. How long before a DNC apparatchik said that satellite spying on Le Cirque is criminal?

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