The Spectacle Blog

China Must Confront Its North Korea Problem

By on 4.11.16 | 3:22PM

Great powers usually have client states. Although a sign of influence, the latter often are more trouble than they are worth. North Korea increasingly appears that way for Beijing.

The Chinese-North Korean relationship was oft said to be like lips and teeth, forged in blood during the Korean War. But even then, the relationship was fraught with tension.

Today those look like the “good ol’ days.” There is little doubt that the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has lost the support of Chinese public opinion.

Academics and analysts outside of government also show little love for China’s one ally, which only takes and never gives. Top officials no longer attempt to disguise their frustration with the North’s behavior.

The Kim regime has returned ill-disguised contempt. Emissaries from the People’s Republic of China came and went as the North Korean leader failed to make even a pretense of listening.

Thoughts on The Trump Campaign’s Pathetic Accusation of “Gestapo Tactics” Against Cruz

By on 4.11.16 | 12:27PM

In an interview with NBC's Meet the Press yesterday, new Donald Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort claimed Ted Cruz was using "Gestapo tactics" at various state GOP Conventions including Colorado where Cruz swept Trump over the weekend.

Somehow I doubt Cruz hired an army of blond men to rouse Republicans out of their sleep and tell them to vote for Cruz or never see their families again. Invoking the Nazis is utterly pathetic, but pathetic is what I have come to expect of the Trump campaign.

Manafort also claimed that Cruz "wasn't playing by the rules." No, Cruz is absolutely playing by the rules. If the Trump campaign had actually bothered to study delegate selection procedure at the state GOP level instead of threatening riots at the RNC, they wouldn't find themselves in this situation. A situation of their own making.

Our Friends at CEI Face a Subpoena Over Climate Dissent

By on 4.10.16 | 9:44PM

The campaign to attach legal consequences to supposed “climate denial” has now crossed a fateful line. On Apri 7:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) today denounced a subpoena from Attorney General Claude E. Walker of the U.S. Virgin Islands that attempts to unearth a decade of the organization’s materials and work on climate change policy. This is the latest effort in an intimidation campaign to criminalize speech and research on the climate debate, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and former Vice President Al Gore….

The subpoena requests a decade’s worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information. It demands that CEI produce these materials from 20 years ago, from 1997-2007, by April 30, 2016.

Canada’s NDP Takes a Leap & Ousts Thomas Mulcair

By on 4.10.16 | 6:27PM

Today, delegates at the Federal NDP Convention in Edmonton voted to oust leader Thomas Mulcair and have a race for a successor. Mulcair appealed to delegates to remain as leader. Although a simple majority of delegates would have technically kept his job, but in February outgoing NDP President Rebecca Blaikie (basically the equivalent of being Chair of the Democratic National Committee) said Mulcair needed 70% of support from delegates to carry on. Mulcair will remain leader until his successor is chosen. 

The Attack on Mark Levin

By on 4.9.16 | 11:12AM

Well, this is just great.

Amid the usual clamor of a hot presidential primary season, over here at the Conservative Tree House, someone named “sundance” posted this:

The Senate Conservatives Fund (PAC) purchasing massive quantities ($400,000) of Mark Levin’s books in exchange for favorable candidacy political opinion. Conveniently Hidden by the radio host who avoids mentioning the financial conflict created.

Then again, Levin never informed his audience of his family working within the Staff of Senator Ted Cruz either. Does Levin’s endorsement, when contrast against the crony-constitutional advocacy, clarify with a little sunlight? You decide.

OK, Sundance. I’ve decided.

Ross Stripling Stripped of Chance To Throw No-Hitter in MLB Debut

By on 4.9.16 | 3:00AM

The Los Angeles Dodgers did not know what to expect of pitcher Ross Stripling in his MLB debut.

Stripling, who was named the Dodgers' fifth starter after injuries to Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon Beachy and Mike Bolsinger, would exceed all expectations by not allowing a hit against the San Francisco Giants.

However, Stripling was deprived of the chance to become the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his MLB debut since Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bumpus Jones in 1892 when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed Stripling after walking Angel Pagan 7 1/3 innings into his masterpiece. Even Giants fans booed Stripling's removal.

Dodgers reliever Chris Hatcher promptly gave up a game tying hit to Trevor Brown. Minutes later, Roberts was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. It was the first time in nearly 20 years as a player or coach that Roberts had ever been ejected from a game. Somehow I have a feeling he won't go 20 years before his next ejection.

Bill Clinton is Right About Black Lives Matter, But That Won’t Matter for Hillary UPDATE

By on 4.7.16 | 11:31PM

As you probably know by now former President Bill Clinton got into a raucous shouting match with Black Lives Matter protesters while speaking at a rally on behalf of HIllary Clinton in Philadelphia.

To be sure, much of his address was self-serving as was the case when he said this country needed a President "who will tell you the truth." The Clintons have scarcely a passing acquaintance with the truth.

But even the most accomplished of liars occasionally drops a kernel of truth:

I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African-American children. Maybe you thought they were good citizens .... You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth. 

Explaining Trump

By on 4.7.16 | 10:02PM

I had an interesting chat a few days back with a friend of mine, a very plugged-in political reporter. Like a good reporter, he aspires to neutrality, but he can’t hide his distaste for Cruz and his appreciation for Trump. What gets him about Cruz is the pose of smarmy rectitude, which he sees as entirely hypocritical. I can see that, but what surprised me was his analysis of what’s behind Trump’s appeal: his compassion. Ordinary voters sense that he’s on their side, as opposed to people who really don’t care a fig about them.

There isn’t much compassion around these days, not from people who think ordinary Americans are bigoted meth addicts who deserve to die out. From Obama you expect that, but this is from people we thought were on our side!

Compassion is also absent from people who see politics as a kind of political geometry. Start with the right postulates and axioms and the theorems will line up nicely. That’s how Mitt Romney came up with his 59-point plan. Anybody remember that? Maybe just one point? Bueller? Bueller?

Thoughts on Rudy Giuliani’s Endorsement of Trump

By on 4.7.16 | 6:43PM

I don't think we should be surprised that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani picked Donald Trump over Ted Cruz.

Given that Cruz made a point of maligning so-called "New York values", an endorsement from a former Big Apple mayor would have been a Brooklyn Bridge too far.

Yet when one thinks of Giuliani one invariably thinks of his response to 9/11. Notwithstanding Trump's eloquent statement during a GOP debate about the aftermath of 9/11, he has also blamed former President Bush for the attacks rather than al Qaeda and erroneously claimed thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered on the attacks. Such statements ought to have given Giuliani pause. That he did not is lamentable. 

Marine Pooch Is Honored

By on 4.7.16 | 3:33PM

Not all Marines can say “Sir, Yes sir!” or “Semper Fi.” But they too serve, witness the story of Lucca, a brave and loyal Marine dog trained to search out roadside bombs.

Home and retired for four years, Lucca has been awarded the Dickin Medal by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a British charity. 

The group calls the honor the equivalent of the Victoria Cross. Whatever it’s equivalent to, it’s deserved. The final bomb of many that Lucca found in protecting human Marines in Afghanistan ignited and cost her her left front leg (though looking at the film of her playing now in the preceding link, this does not seem to have slowed her down much).

Lucca gets high praise from the Marines she served with, including Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham, with whom Lucca now lives near Camp Pendleton in California. Willingham says he sees it as his mission to spoil Lucca in her retirement.

Exactly so. Thank you for your service Sergeant, and for yours, Lucca.