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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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AUGUST 7-8,  2023

ANOTHER MILITARY THREAT – THE MIDEAST:   A few days ago we noted the presence of Russian and Chinese warships off the coast of Alaska.  Now we see that more American warships are moving through the Mideast in a show of force.  There's no shortage of hotspots.  Maybe the mainstream media should pay some attention...before the blowup occurs.  From Breitbart:   

Upwards of 3,000 U.S. sailors and Marines sailed into the Red Sea on Monday after transiting the Suez Canal in a pre-announced deployment, the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet said in a statement.

The reinforcements were carried aboard the USS Bataan and USS Carter Hall warships, providing “greater flexibility and maritime capability” to the Fifth Fleet, the statement seen by Agence France-Presse (AFP) added.

Their arrival followed a U.S. announcement last month it would deploy a destroyer, F-35 and F-16 warplanes, along with the Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit, to the Middle East to deter Iran from seizing ships in the Gulf.

The U.S. military says Iran has either seized or attempted to take control of nearly 20 internationally flagged ships in the region over the past two years and the Biden White House wants to see more forces in the region to stand ready to engage Iran if required, as Breitbart News reported.

USS Bataan is an amphibious assault ship which can carry fixed-wing and rotary aircraft as well as landing craft. The USS Carter Hall, a dock landing ship, transports Marines, their gear, and lands them ashore.

“These units add significant operational flexibility and capability as we work… to deter destabilising activity and deescalate regional tensions caused by Iran’s harassment and seizures of merchant vessels,” Fifth Fleet spokesman Commander Tim Hawkins told AFP.

The deployment comes after Washington said its forces blocked two attempts by Iran to seize commercial tankers in international waters off Oman on July 5.

About a fifth of the world’s crude oil and oil products passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow choke point between Iran and Oman.

COMMENT:  The press is clearly not paying enough attention to foreign threats.  Iran is always a threat, and Russia and China are working together.  There's a lot more going on in the world than the Trump story here at home.  

August 8,  2023     Permalink

 

THIS IS AMERICA?  GEORGIA PREPARES FOR TRUMP.  THEIR LOCAL POLS WANT A PIECE OF THE ACTION.  FROM DAILY MAIL:

Days after former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to his third set of criminal charges, police in Atlanta set up barriers Monday around the city's courthouse as the city braces for an indictment in yet another case related the 2020 election.

Officers closed roads, dogs patroled the area and food trucks stayed away from the normally busy court district.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is in the final stages of her investigation into Trump's efforts to reverse his defeat in the key swing state of Georgia.

If he is indicted, it will the fourth time he has been criminally charged since March. 
Last week, Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat set out what he called a 'protective plan.'

'Our goal is to have all the services we normally have open and operational but at the same time create a safe environment for those that we actually service,' he told a press conference.

The precautions reflect how a divided country is entering uncharted territory, with the potential for mass demonstrations or a repeat of the violence that broke out on January 6, 2021.

Trump, 77, remains the clear frontrunner for the Republican Party's 2024 nomination.
But his election timetable must now accommodate a slew of court hearings. 

Last week he appeared in federal court in Washington to plead not guilty to charges that he conspired to defraud the U.S. by preventing Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden's victory, depriving U.S. voters of their right to a fair election. 

Earlier in the summer it was Miami. There he pleaded not guilty to charges related to his handling of government documents and an alleged cover-up.

And in April he surrendered to authorities in New York where he is accused of falsifying business records as part of a hush money payment to a porn star. He pleaded not guilty in that case.

Now Atlanta could be the next setting for his criminal battles.

On Monday, the front of the courthouse had been lined with rows of orange plastic barricades as well as steel fencing. 

Local media are reporting that an indictment is expected this week... 

...The state was a focus of Trump and his allies as they sought to cling to power in the wake of his 2020 election vote.

The then president was caught on tape urging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to help him.

'The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,' he said in audio obtained by the Washington Post. 'And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.'

Raffensperger insisted that Trump's data was not correct but the president insisted: 'I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.' 

COMMENT:  The issue is not whether you like Trump or think he's the worst man in the world.  The issue is the appearance of a conspiracy, however loose, to destroy him politically.  All the legal charges against him have reached fruition in a five-month period just before a presidential election campaign. And many of the charges are brought by a Justice Department controlled by his opponent. 

And some guy in Brooklyn is sitting there, looking at his TV screen and saying, "Whadaya kiddin' me?  You're tellin' me that this is all a coincidence?" That's the way a lot of real people see it, and that is not good for this country.  Also, there are nations around the world that depend on us, that have cast their fate with us.  How do you think we look to them right now?  The mess we're in domestically can have a profound effect on our foreign policy.  Countries. especially those who see an alternative like China, can decide to drift away from us, or become neutral.  It would be nice if some TV "journalists" would discuss these things.  But they're too busy anticipating the Trump trials, and praying that they're televised.

August 8, 2023      Permalink

 

 

AUGUST 5-6,  2023

Here's...nobody:  You all know that parts of the entertainment industry are currently shut down by a strike of writers and actors.  (Full disclosure:  I am a member of the Writers Guild of America, which is on strike.) 

Many observers are speculating on what the business will be like after the strike is settled.  One of the most fascinating arenas of speculation involves the late-night talk shows.  They weren't doing well before the strike, and the strike won't do them any good.  There are reasons:  From Fox: 

For several years, The Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City was a hot spot for liberal fans to absorb the latest Trump headlines through what's been dubbed as "clapter," a term that meshes "clapping" and "laughter" to describe the Democrat pep rally-like atmosphere that has taken over late-night audiences.

The theater is the home of CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," which became must-watch television for anti-Trump audiences, overtaking NBC's "Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" as the most-watched late-night program.

Today, however, the Ed Sullivan Theater is collecting dust. That's because the writers strike that began in early May has now reached the three-month mark with no end in sight.

The writers strike (now in tandem with the actors strike) has halted production of movies and TV shows across the entertainment industry. Among the first immediately impacted were the late-night shows including "The Late Show" and "The Tonight Show" as well as "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Late Night with Seth Meyers," "The Daily Show," "Real Time with Bill Maher," "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" and "Saturday Night Live," all of them forced to air re-runs. 

Political satirist Tim Young says their months-long absence makes it "easy to forget" about them.

"Their tired attempts at making funny news-based monologues that were always about Trump had become exhausting and unquotable, so they'd rarely even be covered by entertainment news anymore," Young told Fox News Digital. "Late night shows are so forgettable that I think people have just moved on... they just aren't missed."

Viewership across the late-night landscape had been dropping long before the writers strike. In 2018, the midpoint of Trump's presidency, Colbert averaged 3 million viewers. In 2023, the "Late Show" audience fell to 2.1 million, losing nearly a third of viewers the process. Fallon lost almost half of his audience during the same timeframe, going from an average of 2.3 million viewers in 2018 to 1.3 million in 2023. 

Kimmel, who notably expressed he didn't mind in 2017 if viewers were turned off by his liberal politics, shed roughly half a million viewers since 2018, averaging just 1.5 million this year. 

Other late-night offerings are doing even worse. Seth Meyers's "Late Night" audience has cratered to a 778,000 average following his 1.3 million average five years ago. "The Daily Show," which has rotated guest hosts after Trevor Noah stepped down last year, averaged just 366,000 viewers leading into the strike, losing more than half of viewers since 2018.  

Meanwhile, Fox News' "Gutfeld!" quickly surged since its debut in April 2021 to become one of the most-watched late-night shows, frequently beating Colbert and regularly crushing Kimmel and Fallon. 

The show, hosted by "The King of Late Night" author Greg Gutfeld, is the only late-night offering still airing on television during the writers strike and continues to thrive in its new 10 p.m. ET timeslot, averaging 2 million viewers in a cable news slot.

COMMENT:  Most readers know that I was a talent coordinator, sometimes called segment producer, on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Carson was the true king of late night because he understood that members of the audience weren't interested in a political lecture.  They were interested in laughing.  He called The Tonight Show a variety show, not a talk show, to emphasize its entertainment mission.  I don't think the staff ever knew Johnny's political views, and no one really cared.

Carson also understood, through the mentoring of his idol, the great comedian Jack Benny, that the whole show had to be good.  Guests were carefully chosen, and Carson did everything he could to make them successful.  They had to be good because the whole show had to be good.

Johnny Carson lasted almost 30 years as host of The Tonight Show. 

I don't mean to diminish any of the hosts today, but I'm really not interested in their inner thoughts about abortion.  And I really won't stay long to watch a show whose guests are known only to those between the ages of seven and twenty-two.

There really is a difference. 

August 6, 2023       Permalink  

 

CHINESE AND RUSSIAN WARSHIPS ON THE MOVE; THIS IS NOT GOOD.  FROM FOX: 

China and Russia conducted a joint naval operation near U.S. territory earlier this week, triggering a large response from the U.S. Navy, Fox News Digital has learned.

The joint operation, conducted by two significant American adversaries, consisted of 11 ships and neared Alaska's southwestern coast, according to Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, who was briefed on the matter earlier this week by U.S. defense officials. Sullivan said the U.S. Navy ultimately mobilized four destroyers to guide the Chinese and Russian ships away from American waters.

"This is unprecedented in terms of the size and scope of this joint naval task force between Russia and China, working very closely together," Sullivan told Fox News Digital in a phone interview late Saturday. "Whether you live in Alaska like I do, or on the East Coast of the United States, a very large surface action task force between our two main adversaries, probing very closely to United States shores, is concerning."

"It just solidifies this idea that we've entered a new era of authoritarian aggression led by the dictators in Beijing and Moscow who are increasingly aggressive," he continued.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the joint Chinese and Russian operation Saturday.
In addition to the four destroyers mobilized, the U.S. also sent P-8 Poseidon aircraft to shadow the Chinese and Russian ships away from the Alaskan coast, according to The Wall Street Journal. The ships neared the Aleutian Islands, but never entered U.S. territorial waters.

Sullivan added that the American response was considerably improved compared to a similar, albeit smaller, incident that occurred in September. The U.S. sent a single Coast Guard cutter after it noticed a Chinese guided missile cruiser alongside two other Chinese ships and four Russian ships about 90 miles north of the Aleutian Islands on Sept. 19, 2022.
"We ramped that up significantly. Four U.S. destroyers and air assets, P-8's, that were tracking and monitoring this large-scale Russian-Chinese task force quite closely. So that is a significant improvement," said Sullivan. "That's a lot of naval power up here demonstrating American resolve."

COMMENT:  Provocative actions like the kind Russia and China took can suddenly light the spark of war.  Or, they can reveal our weakness.  They can never be ignored.  The fact that Russia and China got together at a time when Russia is already engaged in the Ukraine, and did so at a moment when China clearly is looking for the chance to take Taiwan, should force Congress to increase our inadequate defense budget, but probably won't.  Let's wait to be surprised again.  It's so gracious.

August 6, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.


"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
     - Jacques Barzun

"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
     - Schiller

 

 

 

 



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