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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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JULY 11,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT: 

CUBA'S GROWING CRISIS – FROM THE NEW YORK POST:   Thousands of Cubans took to the streets Sunday in protest of the country’s food shortages and high prices amid the coronavirus pandemic.  The anti-government protest in the capital of Havana lasted about 2 ½ hours before it was broken up when a few protesters tossed cobblestones at police, leading to several arrests.  Before its conclusion, hordes of demonstrators, many of them young, marched around the capital chanting “Freedom,” “Enough” and “Unite” with police trailing behind them.  “We are fed up with the queues, the shortages. That’s why I’m here,” one middle-aged protester told The Associated Press.  The communist country is suffering from its worst economic crisis in decades and has recently seen a surge in coronavirus cases.  If these demonstrations grow, they can lead to a major crisis in American foreign policy.  Barack Obama restored relations with Cuba, without getting a single thing in return, and without seeing any improvement in the living conditions of Cubans.  Now America will have to decide whether to intervene should we see a full-scale revolution.  This will be a day-by-day story. 

KAMI SPEAKS AGAIN – FROM FOX:  Vice President Kamala Harris was criticized Saturday for arguing against voter ID laws because rural Americans couldn't get photocopies of their ID's.  "I don't think that we should underestimate what that [compromise on voter ID laws] could mean," Harris said in her interview with BET News. "Because in some people's mind, that means you're going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove who you are. Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don't - there's no Kinkos, there's no OfficeMax near them."  "Of course people have to prove who they are," Harris continued, but "not in a way that makes it almost impossible for them to prove who they are."  The vice president's comments come in the midst of a nationwide battle over voter ID laws, with states like Georgia and Texas taking center stage. Many progressives argue that voter ID laws are "racist," while Republicans suggest the laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud.  Rural Americans took issue with the vice president's comments, suggesting she is out of touch with the nation.  "We built this country. We can manage to photocopy our ID's," tweeted former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright.  Kami sounds more and more like the typical, wealthy, out-of-touch liberal who believes that she understands what the common peasants do not.  I wouldn't trust her in the Oval Office, even as a visitor.

July 11, 2021       Permalink

 

AFGHANISTAN FIASCO – OVERNIGHT:  American forces are pulling out of Afghanistan, with every expectation that our enemies will quickly take over the country.  Shades of Vietnam.  But will the American public care?  From Fox: 

Penntagon officials are watching the Taliban's sweeping advances in Afghanistan "with deep concern" and are encouraging its Afghan partners to "step up" and defend their country amid the pullout of U.S. forces, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Sunday.

With the Taliban claiming to have taken control of 85% of Afghanistan – a claim that U.S. government officials dispute – Kirby told "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace that the Pentagon was "not unmindful" of the situation.

"We're certainly watching with deep concern, Chris, the deteriorating security situation and the violence which is of course way too high, and the advances and the momentum that the Taliban seems to have right now," he said.

Kirby said that officials are monitoring the Taliban's movements in the country and were working with the Afghan military "to encourage them to use the capacity and the capability that we know they have, and we know that they know how to defend their country."

He stated that Afghanistan's capacity and capabilities included a "very capable" Air Force and "very sophisticated" Special Forces that can help defend the country from the Taliban resurgence.
"This is a time for them to step up and to do exactly that," Kirby said of their Afghan partners.

With U.S. Central Command estimating that more than 90% of the withdrawal process is complete, Kirby said that even though U.S. troops won’t be supporting Afghanistan on the ground, the U.S. will continue to support the country and its people.

"We are not walking away from this relationship," Kirby said. "We’re going to continue to support them from a financial perspective logistical perspective and certainly aircraft maintenance."

COMMENT:  Yup, that aircraft maintenance will certainly turn things around.  No doubt about that.  There's no calculating what a new windshield can do.

Look, it's hard to place blame here.  We've been in Afghanistan for 20 years, since just after the 9/11 attacks.  Our presence has probably been effective in preventing the country from being used as another training ground for terror raids against America.  But, in the end, we're losing.  It's clear that the enemy is on the offensive, and there'll be little we can do to prevent a complete collapse of Afghanistan's current, America-friendly government. 

Once again our allies will wonder whether the United States can be depended upon.  Yes, 20 years is a long time, but we've been in South Korea some 71 years and Germany some 76 years.  And those are success stories.  Both countries are secure allies of the United States. 

July 11,   2021       Permalink

 

 

 

 

JULY 10,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

I WEEP, I WEEP – FROM REUTERS:    SEOUL (REUTERS) - Everyone in North Korea is heartbroken over leader Kim Jong Un's apparent weight loss, said an unidentified resident of Pyongyang quoted on the country's tightly controlled state media, after watching recent video footage of Mr Kim.  The rare public comment on Mr Kim's health comes after foreign analysts noted in early June that the autocratic leader, who is believed to be 37, appeared to have lost a noticeable amount of weight.  "Seeing respected general secretary (Kim Jong Un) looking emaciated breaks our people's heart so much," the man said in an interview aired by state broadcaster KRT last Friday (June 25).  "Everyone is saying their tears welled up," he said.  I don't know if I can control myself.  If I'm off the air, you'll know I'll be in mourning, or maybe Whole Foods.

LET THE VIRTUE SIGNALING CONTINUE – FROM LEGAL INSURRECTION:  A tomahawk once owned by Chief Standing Bear, a pioneering Native American civil rights leader, is returning to his Nebraska tribe after decades in a museum at Harvard.  The university’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology says it’s been working with members of the Ponca Tribe in Nebraska and Oklahoma to repatriate the artifact.  Larry Wright, Jr., chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, said Tuesday the return of the historic weapon is a powerful symbol of homecoming for the tribe, which was among many forcibly relocated from their homelands to other territories by the federal government in the 1800s.   I'm sure every Native American will be eternally uplifted.  Next stunt please.

July 10, 2021       Permalink

 

CALIFORNIA VS. FLORIDA – A BATTLE FOR THE NATION'S FUTURE – AT 11:41 P.M. ET:  Two huge states have gone in entirely different directions during the pandemic, and in response to the demands of the political left.  Each of these states will play a major role in American politics in the upcoming years.  How do they stack up against each other?  From the New York Post: 

Thanks to the blessings of decentralization, life can vary greatly in America depending on where you sit. Those differences are growing into a chasm of philosophical and practical contrasts between two basic models for the American future. Call them the California way and the Florida way.

On many critical questions facing our culture, our economy and our society, California and Florida offer radically different answers.

Should lots of new housing be built in the interest of affordability? California says no, Florida says yes. Should homeless people be allowed to turn public spaces into tent cities? California says yes, Florida says no. Should public elementary schools teach critical race theory? California says yes, Florida says no. Should gas be $4 a gallon? California says yes, Florida says no. Should biological males be allowed to dominate girls’ sports? Florida says no. California not only says yes, but it is trolling Florida by forbidding its employees to take state-funded trips to Florida, as well as 16 other states.

California fancies itself imposing its cultural values on other states and tackling global warming independently; Florida has a more modest view of what a state government does. People are voting on all of this with their U-Hauls. California’s population in 2020 shrank for the first time ever, by 180,000 people, whereas Florida had the second-highest increase in population, after Texas.

During the pandemic, California introduced some of the harshest lockdown measures in the country, crashing its economy, while Florida was among the first states to begin reopening, way back in May of 2020, and has been almost entirely open since September. Disney World reopened in July of 2020; Disneyland reopened at the end of April 2021. One survey found that Florida had the second-fewest coronavirus restrictions; California ranked 45th by the same measure.

Should homeless people be allowed to turn public spaces into tent cities? California says yes, Florida says no.

Though Florida has the second-highest percentage of old people of any state, the death tolls look like they will come out about even. Florida stands 26th in COVID-19 fatalities (1,769 deaths per million) while California is 34th (1,614). Yet California’s economy is still suffering, its unemployment rate standing at 7.9 percent in May, the most recent survey. Florida hasn’t seen such a high jobless rate since last August; its unemployment has stood below 5 percent throughout 2021.

COMMENT:  And Florida has a governor, Ron DeSantis, who may well be the Republican candidate for president in 2024.  California has a governor, Gavin Newsom, who is facing a recall election in the fall. 

On balance, you've got to give first prize to Florida.  A well-run state, government based on common sense, and people moving in rather than out, which is the key indicator.  California?  Well, it ain't the place Ronald Reagan ran half a century ago.  Then it was truly the golden state.  Now some of its gems, like San Francisco, are a disgraceful mess.

July 10, 2021       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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