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JUNE 16,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT: 

THE HEAT IS ON – FROM DAILY MAIL:   Russia and China are flexing their military might with provocative war games, stepping up the pressure on U.S. President Joe Biden as he meets with G7 allies in the UK and faces Vladimir Putin in Geneva.  In recent days, both Beijing and Moscow have goaded Biden with aggressive military exercises, with Chinese warplanes encroaching on Taiwan and Russian bombers flying off Hawaii.  On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy responded with its own show of force, saying an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan had entered the South China Sea to conduct maritime security operations and strike exercises.  The Navy said the strike group is committed to upholding U.S. security agreements with 'regional allies', as well as demonstrating the capability of forward-deployed naval forces to quickly respond to 'any contingency across the region.'   The U.S. carrier group's presence in the disputed South China Sea is sure to infuriate Beijing, which claims the entire vast waterway as its own.  The South China Sea is pivotal to the free flow of commerce that fuels the economies of those nations committed to international law and rules based order,' said Rear Adm. Will Pennington, commander of the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, in a statement.   'It is both a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside our allies, partners, and joint service teammates to provide full spectrum support to key maritime commons and ensure all nations continue to benefit from a free and open Indo-Pacific region,' he added.   Do not underestimate the importance of this story.  While Americans debate whether critical race theory should be taught to teenagers, our opponents are happily planning our defeat in the next conflict.

SOMETHING ELSE TO WATCH CAREFULLY – FROM FOX:    Israel’s Defense Forces launched a counterattack into Gaza after a balloon attack sent incendiary devices floating into southern Israel.  The counterstrike, which happened Tuesday evening in the U.S. and early Wednesday morning local time, targeted Hamas military compounds, according to the IDF.  The targets were used by Hamas' Khan Yunis and Gaza Brigades for "terror activities," according to the IDF.  "The Hamas terror organization is responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences for its actions," the military said in a statement. "The IDF is prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities, in the face of continuing terror activities from the Gaza Strip."  Authorities on both sides said there were no injuries, the Times of Israel reported.  The violence comes just three weeks after a cease-fire halted 11 days of fighting that marked the worst clashes between the IDF and Hamas militants since a small-scale war in 2014.
The balloon attacks sparked nearly two-dozen fires.  There is a new Israeli government in power, and it's likely that Hamas, and its Iranian masters, will test that government's resolve. 

June 16, 2021      Permalink


BIDEN THE PERFORMER GETS PANNED – OVERNIGHT:    Okay, so he's not Lincoln.  Okay, so he's not Reagan.  Okay, so he's not Laurence Olivier.  The problem is, what is President Biden?  No one can quite figure it out, but a tiger on the world stage he is not. 

He refused to hold a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin after their summit conference today, and maybe that's all to the better.  Putin, about whom nothing good can be said, at least cuts a dynamic figure.  From Daily Mail: 

President Joe Biden said he stressed the importance of free speech during his summit with Vladimir Putin before taking questions from another list of pre-approved reporters in Geneva on Wednesday.  

In his description of their sit down, Biden emphasized the American commitment to human rights and said: 'I also raised the ability of Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty to operate, and the importance of a free press and freedom of speech'. 

'I'll take your questions and as usual, folks, they gave me a list of the people I'm going to call on,' he then said at his press conference after finishing talks with the Russian president. In a separate press conference, Putin picked which reporters he would be taking questions from.

Biden also mistakenly referred to Putin as Trump, before quickly correcting himself, and ended the series of  questions by shouting at CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins. 

She yelled out a question asking why he was so confident the Russian strongman would change his behavior, given his denials and his history.  

'I’m not confident I’ll change his behavior. What do you do all the time?' he sneered. 

Biden walked up to the reporter, with his suit jacket off on an unusually hot day, and accused her of not knowing her business.  

'When did I say I was confident?  I said … What I said was – let’s get it straight,' Biden said. 'I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world. I’m not confident of anything. I’m just stating the facts.'

The latest remarks come days after he said he would 'get in trouble' with his staff if he didn't take questions from certain reporters.  

During his stern comments on Wednesday, Biden says he warned Putin that Russian cyber attacks on 'critical' U.S. infrastructure would draw a serious American response – and told his counterpart just how harmful a cyber attack might be on an oil pipeline that is the lifeline of the Russian economy.

Biden threatened retaliation and made his comment publicly even as he denied making any kind of a 'threat' in his meetings with the Russian president as they discussed ransomware attacks that shut down Colonial pipeline and has other U.S. and multinational businesses on edge.  

In separate, back-to-back press conferences after their sit down, both leaders expressed satisfaction with the outcome of their meeting and described their conversations in positive terms. 

COMMENT:  The general feeling is that Biden got nothing from Putin, and Putin got a chance to strut on a world stage, without too much opposition.  Advantage:  Putin. 

Not exactly a Reagan outcome.

June 16, 2021      Permalink

 

 

 

 

JUNE 15,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT: 

HYPOCRISY INDEED – FROM THE NEW YORK POST:   The Biden administration is urging state and local officials across America to hold Independence Day celebrations this year — but is standing firm in preventing a fireworks display from being held at Mount Rushmore.  South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted out a letter Tuesday from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs which read in part: “Thanks to the Biden administration’s whole of government pandemic response, the United States has made incredible progress in vaccinating Americans and getting our country back on track …  “On July 4, because of our strong response, America will mark independence from the virus by celebrating with events across the country …,” the letter continued. “We welcome you to join us by hosting your own events to honor our freedom, salute those who have been serving on the frontlines, and celebrate our progress in fighting this pandemic.”  "What a hypocrite,” Noem tweeted. "President @JoeBiden wants ‘a summer of freedom’ where we ‘mark independence from the virus by celebrating with events across the country.’ Translation: fireworks are fine at the White House, but not at Mount Rushmore.”  Kristi is correct, but I doubt if the decision will be reversed.  The political left can't stand Mount Rushmore because it features four straight white men.   Maybe they can add a little statue of AOC.

NOW THIS IS AN EVENT – FROM PJ MEDIA:  Donald Trump has accepted Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s invitation to join him on an official visit to the United States’ southern border, he announced in a statement. The visit will take place Wednesday, June 30, 2021.  “The Biden Administration inherited from me the strongest, safest, and most secure border in U.S history and in mere weeks they turned it into the single worst border crisis in U.S history,” Trump said. “It’s an unmitigated disaster zone.”  “We went from detain-and-remove to catch-and-release. We went from having border security that was the envy of the world to a lawless border that is now pitied around the world. Biden and Harris have handed control of our border over to cartels, criminals, and coyotes,” Trump said. “Drug dealers, MS-13 gang members, human smugglers, sex traffickers, and the criminal elements of the world now have free reign.”  What a photo op this will be.  I can't wait to see the reaction on the faces of CNN's wrecking crew.

June 15, 2021      Permalink

HIGH NOON? – OVERNIGHT.  Well, Joe Biden isn't exactly Gary Cooper, and Jill doesn't suggest Grace Kelly, but the press is framing tomorrow's summit between Biden and Russian big dog Vladimir Putin as a kind of "high noon."  Or maybe a mouth fight at the not-okay corral.  Can Joe handle Vlad?  From Fox: 

As President Biden heads into the summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers is calling on the president to raise the issue of directed-energy microwave incidents targeting U.S. diplomats and top national security and CIA officials.

"Certainly the Russians are one of the key suspects. We don't know for sure, but keep in mind there have been more than a hundred American public servants who have been injured by these directed energy attacks," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, during an interview with CBS' "Face The Nation."

"We need not only to take care of their medical needs, but also to find out who it is."
She added, "I hope the president will bring up this issue with President Putin directly."

Lawmakers led by Collins and other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee pushed a bill to provide compensation for the 130-plus American diplomats and CIA agents who have been affected by an apparent microwave weapon leading to what is now known as "Havana Syndrome." The attacks were first noticed in Cuba five years ago, but since then have been documented taking place in Moscow, Shanghai and even Washington, D.C. Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said these incidents are "ongoing."

The Senate bill, which will now go to the House, would amend the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 and authorize "the provision of payment to personnel of the Central Intelligence Agency who incur qualifying injuries to the brain," as well as to State Department personnel who incur similar injuries.

Under the Trump administration, some of those affected by these apparent attacks involving suspected microwaves said that senior leaders at the CIA, including former Director Gina Haspel, did not believe them and, as a result, the CIA health officers did not authorize them for the state-of-the-art treatment given to U.S. military service members for traumatic brain injuries at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Some CIA officers are now getting treated by Walter Reed’s National Intrepid Center of Excellence following forced retirements and fighting the government bureaucracy that prevented them from doing so.

COMMENT:  The Russians are suspected of a number of electronic and microwave attacks, including the recent cyber attack on the Colonial pipeline.  It is imperative that President Biden confront Putin, and make it clear that attacks that can be shown to originate on Russian soil will be answered.

Biden has a long history of poor judgment in foreign policy.  This will be his first face-to-face meeting, as president, with a major adversary.  The whole world is watching.

June 15, 2021      Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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