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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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JUNE 8,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

ANOTHER GREAT MOMENT IN EDUCATION – FROM DAILY MAIL:   Oxford students have voted to take down a portrait of the Queen from their common room because she 'represents recent colonial history' and would make some people feel unwelcome.  Members of the Middle Common Room at Magdalen College - which is made up of graduates - passed the measure by a substantial majority, with one student commenting that 'patriotism and colonialism are not really separable'.  The committee will now explore replacing the portrait with 'art by or of other influential and inspirational people' and subject any future depictions of the Royal Family to a vote.  One student argued that the move was 'about making people feel welcome,' according to committee minutes seen by the Guido Fawkes blog.  It sparked an immediate backlash today, with one royalist opponent saying: 'In an era where debates on no-platforming and cancel culture rage strong, effectively ''cancelling'' the Queen and brandishing her as a symbol of colonialism – so often used as a synonym for racism – sends a dire message that is sure to enrage.  Moreover, it is culturally insensitive for a common room so heavily comprised of international students to seek to remove a national symbol from a British institution.'    Western nations, including the United States, seem to have a death wishThey may get the wish.  I don't want to live in that society.

IMPORTANT ADVANCE – FROM THE JERUSALEM POST:    An unmanned Boeing aircraft successfully refueled a US Navy fighter jet while in mid-flight for the first time in aviation history.  The combined US Air Force-Boeing refueling exercise demonstrated that the Boeing MQ-25 Stingray can carry out tanker missions utilizing the Navy's probe-and-drogue aerial refueling method, the US NAVAIR Public Affairs office announced in a statement.  “This flight lays the foundation for integration into the carrier environment, allowing for greater capability toward manned-unmanned teaming concepts,” said Rear Adm. Brian Corey. Corey oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.  “MQ-25 will greatly increase the range and endurance of the future carrier air wing – equipping our aircraft carriers with additional assets well into the future,” he added.  During the historic June 4 exercise, the Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet warplane made an approach to the MQ-25 T1 test asset and established a tight formation - at points coming in close to 20 feet behind the unmanned drone - to ensure peak "performance and stability prior to refueling," Boeing said.   An important step forward, which will allow aircraft carriers to stay much further away from a target when launching planes against it.  The mainstream media shows little interest in defense developments.  We don't feel the same way here. 

June 8, 2021       Permalink

 

NO PROGRESS – OVERNIGHT:   Looks like the promise of bipartisan cooperation on an infrastructure bill has just collapsed.  The culprit appears to be Joe Biden, under pressure from the leftist fanatics who have taken over his party.  From Fox:

President Biden broke off negotiations with a group of GOP senators led by Sen. Shelley Capito on Tuesday (R-W.Va.) amid disagreements regarding the structure and size of his proposed infrastructure spending plan.

Discussions between the White House and Capito’s group were cordial, and Biden walked away feeling as though the negotiations ran their course and were in good faith, an administration source told Fox News. Talks broke down because Biden wanted Republicans to present a more significant number for infrastructure investments and because he felt their plan to pay for a proposed $1 trillion package lacked specifics.

President Biden "informed Senator Capito today that the latest offer from her group did not, in his view, meet the essential needs of our country to restore our roads and bridges, prepare us for our clean energy future, and create jobs," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. "He offered his gratitude to her for her efforts and good faith conversations, but expressed his disappointment that, while he was willing to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, the Republican group had increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion."

With talks with Capito’s group effectively dead, Biden shifted his efforts toward negotiations with a bipartisan group of 20 senators. The president and top Cabinet members will continue discussions with the group on infrastructure during Biden’s upcoming trip to Europe.

GOP lawmakers offered a $928 billion infrastructure proposal that included roughly $330 billion in new spending on related projects. Biden had proposed a $1.7 trillion spending plan funded by tax hikes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

"Despite the progress, we made in our negotiations, the president continued to respond with offers that included tax increases as his pay for, instead of several practical options that would have not been harmful to individuals, families, and small businesses," Capito said in a statement.

COMMENT:  The White House should have been more skilful, realizing that the American people will not accept new taxes or new gimmicks that will result in higher prices.  A deal could have been made.  The GOP proposals were reasonable.  But Democratic rigidity, based on ideology, does not allow for fruitful discussions.  We are not far from the launching period for the 2022 midterms, and both parties are maneuvering with that in mind.

June 8, 2021       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

JUNE 7,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

THE NERVE! – FROM FOX:    Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Monday appeared to place America in the same category as the Taliban and Hamas, saying the U.S., Israel and the terrorist groups have all committed "unthinkable atrocities." Omar, a member of the progressive "Squad," posted a tweet that said that the U.S. needs to "have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity." The Minnesota Democrat then claimed America and Israel have committed "unthinkable atrocities" like those committed by the terrorist groups. "We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban," wrote Omar. "I asked [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] where people are supposed to go for justice." The post also included a video of the congresswoman questioning Blinken during the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Monday hearing on the State Department's budget request and foreign policy strategy.  This woman should be censured by the House.  Our country saved her, a poor Somali immigrant, and has allowed her to sit in our House of Representatives.  She's returned the favor with repeated insults launched at her new home.  I certainly wonder if she can be trusted with national secrets. Maybe the voters in her Minneapolis district will become truly woke and throw her out.

THE PLOT THICKENS – FROM DAILY MAIL:    A Chinese military scientist with ties to the United States reportedly filed a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine well before the disease was declared a global pandemic. Yusen Zhou, who worked for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), lodged the paperwork on behalf of the Chinese political party on February 24 2020, according to The Australian newspaper.  That date was just five weeks after China first confirmed human transmission of the coronavirus.  Zhou is also said to have 'worked closely' with scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), including Shi Zhengli - the deputy director of the lab who is famous for her research on coronavirus in bats.  Their relationship is likely to strengthen speculation that the virus leaked from the lab and that China was aware that it was spreading between humans long before they alerted the international community.   Zhou mysteriously died less than three months after he filed the patent. The New York Post claims his death was only reported in one Chinese media report, despite the fact he was one of the country's most prominent scientists.  If this story is on the level, it can be explosive, very close to a smoking gun.  We'll watch to see if the story is expanded and pursued, or suppressed by the "move on" crowd.

June 7, 2021       Permalink 

 

BACK TO THE REAL WORLD – OVERNIGHT:  A funny thing happened to Biden's Iran nuclear deal on the way to completion:  it ran into Iran.  Stubborn, those Iranians.  Not quite the reasonable, misunderstood peacemakers advertised by the left wing of the Democratic Party.  Reality has intruded.  From the Jerusalem Post: 

WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that Iran has not given indications that it’s willing to return to compliance of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

In a wide-ranging hearing at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken said that the sides are “not even at the stage of returning to compliance for compliance” with the 2015 nuclear agreement.

“We don’t know if that’s actually going to happen,” Blinken emphasized. “We’ve been engaged in indirect conversations for the last couple of months and it remains unclear whether Iran is willing and prepared to do what it needs to do to come back into compliance.”

“What we do know, unfortunately, is that meanwhile [Iran’s nuclear] program is galloping forward,” he said. “It has lifted restraints imposed on it by the agreement including the amount of enriched material that it has; material that’s now, in some cases, enriched up to 20% and even a small amount to 60%. It has started to deploy some more advanced centrifuges.”

He went on to say that “the longer this goes on, the more their breakout time gets down.” The agreement had pushed it to a year or more, Blinken said, “it’s now down – by published reports – to a few months at best. And if this continues, it will get down to a matter of weeks, exactly what we sought to avoid and what the agreement stopped.”

“We have a real incentive if we can to at least put that back in the box, and then to use it as a platform, both to look at whether the agreement itself can be lengthened and if necessary, strengthened, and also to capture these other issues. We’re going to be in a much better place with our allies, with our partners who wanted to stick with the agreement for all this time to do exactly that, to insist that Iran engage on these other issues. And there will be a united front to hold them to account.”

COMMENT:  I think that's a reasonable statement.  Blinken is emerging as one of the grown-ups in the Biden administration.  I'm surprised he's lasted this long.  

Iran has been cheating repeatedly.  Even the UN, not known for its spine, has expressed alarm at how far along Iran is to a bomb. 

The signs don't look good that Tehran will suddenly change policy and give us the guarantees that we want.  And so we will be stuck with a nuclear Iran, as we would have been anyway.  Reagan urged us, in his talks with the Soviet Union, to "trust but verify."  We cannot trust the Iranians because they won't verify a thing.

June 7, 2021       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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