The Spectacle Blog

Less Waterboarding, More Severe Beatings?

By on 12.19.05 | 1:33PM

In a segment with Mickey Kaus, Eric Umansky brings up something that's been bugging me for a while: Won't the McCain Amendment simply encourage rendition? This really should give those who've been self-righteously pounding the table on this issue some pause.

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Hey, New York Times!

By on 12.19.05 | 12:07PM

Maybe someone at the Grey Lady ought to start reading their NewsMax -- Clinton had been "misusing" intelligence far more than Bush did, and he did not have the excuse of 9-11. Here's a snippet:

Echelon expert Mike Frost, who spent 20 years as a spy for the Canadian equivalent of the National Security Agency, told "60 Minutes" that the agency was monitoring "everything from data transfers to cell phones to portable phones to baby monitors to ATMs."

...Still, the Times repeatedly insisted on Friday that NSA surveillance under Bush had been unprecedented, at one point citing anonymously an alleged former national security official who claimed: "This is really a sea change. It's almost a mainstay of this country that the NSA only does foreign searches."

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Blair’s EU Sellout

By on 12.19.05 | 8:15AM

Today's Telegraph has a superb editorial on Tony Blair's sellout of the British rebate to the EU and France. Without any gains against the French agricultural subsidy, Blair gave up most of the Thatcher-negotiated rebate that now amounts to about 10 billion pounds annually. As the Telegraph points out, Blair's internationalism has never been based on Britain's interests. Here's the money quote:

"Make no mistake: the sums of money involved are immense - £7 billion, the amount Mr Blair has handed away, is roughly the entire police budget for England and Wales. At the last election, Mr Blair claimed Tory plans for a £4 billion tax reduction would mean savage cuts in public services. Never again will he be able to level such an accusation...From now on, every time they are asked where they would find the money for tax cuts, the Tories can reasonably reply: from Brussels."

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A Catholic Court? So What

By on 12.19.05 | 7:22AM

Marci Hamilton succinctly debunks the Christopher-Hitchens-popish-conspiracy school of thought about a majority of Catholic justices on the Supreme Court. In the era of cafeteria Catholics, there's no telling how one Catholic will come down on an issue, Hamilton argues.

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Much Better Than Nothing

By on 12.19.05 | 7:09AM

House GOP leaders secured $41.6 billion in spending cuts over the next five years and attached ANWR drilling to the defense bill -- forcing a tough vote for Senate Democrats. Seeing as both pieces of legislation were in dire straits last week, this is very good news.

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Re: Last night on Heartland

By on 12.18.05 | 8:09AM

Peter: Thanks for the kind words. If anyone missed the segment, they can see it here. The media - again leading the Dems by the nose - wants the NSA intelligence program to blow the good news from Iraq off the front pages, which it has done. The president, in his speech tonight, will try to refocus on the astonishing accomplishment of the Iraqi people. But nothing will divert the media from this story.

The Sunday morning talk shows later today will be full of it. The NSA story, I mean.

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Re: Tonight: on Heartland with John Kasich

By on 12.17.05 | 5:31PM

Jed, good work last night and good luck tonight. But one thing I'm still trying to figure out is why would the President not simply use the law on the books to approach secret courts for approval on these taps?

The only way my imagination can rationalize it is by seeing the surveillance as a far broader activity than could possibly be performed if warrants had to be sought regularly from the "secret court," which I imagine looks something like Judge Judy's court, only with worse lighting and smoke for effect.

The press seems incredulous at the moment that Bush actually offered frank honesty as a result of this. The New York Times offered:

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Tonight: on Heartland with John Kasich

By on 12.17.05 | 2:57PM

I'll be on Fox again, this time on "Heartland with John Kasich" tonight about 8 pm EST, talking about the NSA intel flap. The more I research this, the more likely it seems that the president acted legally. But there's still a lot of law to read. More Monday in Loose Canons.

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