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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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FEBRUARY 22-23,  2023

MORE AND MORE SERIOUS:  The numbers are small, but the United States is sending more troops to Taiwan to help train the Taiwanese military.  From Fox: 

The U.S. is preparing to send 100 to 200 troops to Taiwan for training amid rising tensions with China, a U.S. official familiar with the planning confirmed to Fox News on Thursday.
This number will expand a much smaller training program which has included the National Guard, Special Ops, and U.S. Marines in the past.

The Michigan National Guard will also train a contingent of the Taiwanese Army, including some training as part of larger exercises, on U.S. soil.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, cited U.S. officials as saying only around 30 American troops were stationed in Taiwan about a year ago.

"We don't have a comment on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would highlight that our support for, and defense relationship with, Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China," Lt. Col. Marty Meiners, a Defense Department spokesperson, told Fox News on Thursday.

"Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region," he added.

COMMENT:  Inevitably, this will remind some older Americans of the prelude to the Vietnam war, when the United States sent training units to help build the South Vietnamese army.   The American people have a right to know just how committed to Taiwan we're prepared to be, and we have a right to know if any other non-Asians are involved, helping us.

It is an odd relationship we have with Taiwan.  On the one hand, we don't actually recognize it as China.  That label is reserved for mainland China.  On the other hand, we see Taiwan as an extension of the free world in Asia, and therefore worth defending. 

I think we're right to train the Taiwanese.  Taiwan is an old ally.  But what's next in the script, and whose lives will pay for it?  If the president is willing to make a "rock-solid" commitment to Taiwan's defense, maybe it would be wise to have a treaty, ratified by the Senate, with the guarantee written in detail.

February 23, 2023       Permalink 


CRACKING DOWN ON PRO-CRIMINAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS:  I wasn't aware of this story until now, but I like the way it sounds.  Finally, some action to correct the bizarre behavior of many liberal district attorneys, whose actions have made us less safe and criminals more free.  From Fox:   

The Missouri Attorney General has given embattled Democratic St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner an ultimatum amid public safety outcries following a major incident over the weekend: resign or be removed.

Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, gave Gardner "until noon tomorrow" to announce her resignation, after a motorist who repeatedly violated his bond conditions on earlier charges crashed and injured a teenage volleyball player.

"We are giving Kim Gardner until noon tomorrow to resign. If she refuses, she will face immediate removal proceedings in the form of a writ of quo warrant brought by our office," Bailey revealed on Twitter.

Janae Edmondson, 16, visited St. Louis with her family last Saturday for a volleyball tournament. While the family was in the downtown area, a speeding driver failed to yield and caused a collision, ultimately striking Edmondson. The incident took place around 8:40 p.m.

Edmondson only survived due to her father’s quick thinking and military training, KTVI reported.   One of her legs was severely damaged and the other was maimed.  She remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Attorney General Bailey accused Gardner of facilitating crimes, rather than preventing them.

"As AG, I want to protect the people of St. Louis, and that includes protecting victims of crime and finding justice for them," Bailey said.

The statement added: "Instead of protecting victims, Circuit Attorney Gardner is creating them. My office will do everything in its power to restore order, and eliminate the chaos in St. Louis caused by Kim Gardner’s neglect of her office."

Many officials, including Democrats, joined in criticizing Gardner.

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, a Republican, said Gardner should resign, calling her "incompetent and grossly unfit to hold her office."

COMMENT:  Gardner's election campaign was partially funded by George Soros.  (I'm sure that will shock you.)  Soros is an ultra-left billionaire who has made it his goal to put soft-on-crime district attorneys in office, and he's succeeded.  The press, naturally, protects him.

What's happening in St. Louis gives me guarded optimism that our side is pushing back, at least in some places.  In other places, like New York, leftists are the establishment, and they show little sign of abandoning their adolescent hostility toward law enforcement.  Sane New Yorkers are responding by leaving the state by the hundreds of thousands.  Same in California.

February 22, 2023       Permalink

 

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, DON'T COUNT ON IT:  From Just the News: 

The Department of Education has proposed eliminating a Trump-era regulation requiring the suspension of federal funds to colleges that restrict the activities of religious organizations on campus.

"After its thorough review, The Department today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to rescind a portion of the regulation related to religious student organizations because the Department believes it is not necessary in order to protect the First Amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religion given existing legal protections," the department announced on Tuesday.

Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Nassar H. Paydar contended that the Trump executive order, issued in 2019, "prescribed a novel and unduly burdensome role for the Department in investigating allegations regarding public institutions' treatment of religious student organizations."

The DoE proposed returning to the system wherein the judicial branch of government would make a determination as to whether an institution improperly restricted First Amendment rights

"[T]he Department certainly shares the view that public institutions should not treat religious student organizations less favorably than other student organizations, we do not, at this time, believe that a threat of remedial action with respect to the Department's grants helps achieve this goal," Paydar contended. "This proposed recission does not alter the Department's commitment to religious freedom, which is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as a fundamental human right that contributes to the vibrancy, diversity, and strength of our nation."

The Education Department further solicited stakeholders and the public to provide comment on the proposed recission.

COMMENT:  This administration has an antagonism toward religion that is typical of today's Democratic Party.  Religious believers are not among the in-groups that are favored by the crowd in favor.  It may well have a lot to do with the abortion issue.  The faithful must assert themselves more strongly, and make clear their voting strength.  That's what gets results.

February 22,  2023     Permalink

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 20-21,  2023

FIGHTING FOR WOMEN IN SPORTS:  Despite the indifference from what passes for "women's rights" groups, others are organizing to prevent the Biden administration from caving in to the woke left and destroying women's sports.  From Fox: 

EXCLUSIVE: More than two dozen organizations are urging the Biden administration to "abandon plans" to allow biological males to compete in women's sports and use the same locker rooms.

In 2022, Biden's Education Department proposed regulations on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to expand the meaning of sex discrimination to include "gender identity." Another round of regulations will be released by the department this spring that will specifically address Title IX's application to transgender athletes participating in women's sports.

But in a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Tuesday organized by the Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies, a diverse coalition of lawyers, subject-matter experts, parents, civil rights groups and former education officials said the Biden administration's additional anticipated regulations will "unfairly" penalize female athletes.

"The Department does not have the legal authority to issue regulations that would subvert rather than fulfill the requirements of Title IX by permitting or requiring biological males who identify as females to compete in sex-separated women’s sports and to use the intimate facilities and shared spaces of female students … we anticipate that the coming rulemaking on athletics will similarly conflate gender identity with Title IX’s sex-based protections and degrade those very protections," the groups wrote in their letter.

They argue that Title IX, which "is limited to" the prohibition of sex-based discrimination involving "any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance," does not include gender identity.

The letter was signed by the Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action for America, Ethics and Public Policy Center, SAVE, Independent Women's Law Center, Child and Parental Rights Campaign, Texas Eagle Forum, Family Policy Alliance, No Left Turn in Education, Southeastern Legal Foundation, American Civil Rights Project, Parents Defending Education and others.

"The Department’s view that Title IX extends to gender identity is an extremist position not supported by the purpose, text, structure or legislative history of Title IX," said Bob Eitel, president of the Defense of Freedom Institute. "More importantly, if the administration proceeds with its radical rewrite of Title IX, it will result in severe harm to biological women and girls and cause them to lose positions on athletic teams, awards, scholarships and prizes, as well as risk bodily harm in certain sports."

Cardona has said that he supports allowing biological male transgender people to compete in women's sports. He said during his confirmation hearing that it is "critically important" that educators and school systems "respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender" and that all students should be able to participate in activities.

COMMENT:  I suspect that the administration, which has a high crackpot quotient, will ignore these protests and go with wokism, which probably means the issue will have to be decided by the Supreme Court.  I'm confident that this court will protect women in sports.

February 21, 2023       Permalink

 

 

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE: 

MAJOR NEWS, BIGGER THAN UKRAINE, HUGER THAN TRUMP:  From Fox:   Meghan Markle is reportedly not too happy with how she's been portrayed on Wednesday night's episode of the adult comedy show "South Park" titled "The Worldwide Privacy Tour."  A source told The Spectator that Markle has been "upset and overwhelmed" by the episode's release and is "annoyed by South Park but refuses to watch it all."  Though the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not directly named in the episode, it featured characters described as Canadian royalty and dubbed "the prince and his wife," which clearly parodied the couple. In the parody, the young royal couple beg for privacy while drawing attention to themselves in a spoof-like way.  The show also calls the "wife" character a "sorority girl, actress, influencer and victim," to which she replies, "Yeah, that's totally me."  The prince and his wife, who wears a dusty pink outfit that clearly resembled Markle's outfit for Trooping the Colour in 2018, also plug the prince's book — "Waaagh" — the cover of which strongly spoofs Prince Harry's bestselling memoir "Spare."  My heart breaks at Meghan's distress.  I mean, where does a duchess go to get back her good name?  She could, of course, give up her title and start acting like a grown woman, but that takes all the fun out of it.  I know:  She could announce her candidacy for president.  She's American born and over 35.   There may be some fuss over her being a foreign duchess, but a good lawyer or large campaign contribution could take care of that.  She could run a real campaign, and Harry could walk behind her.  Look, you never know.  Given the state of American politics, she might break into double digits. 


COULD IT BE JAMES BOND AT WORK?  WELL...:   From PJ Media:   The UK’s Prevent program, which is supposed to be protecting the Sceptered Isle from terrorism, recently came under fire for treating actual Islamic terrorism as if it were a mental illness. But that doesn’t mean that Prevent has been wanting for terrorists: like its counterparts in the FBI, it has kept busy looking for “far-right extremists” and has now published a helpful guide to spotting those dangerous right-wingers. It turns out that they’re people who read Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, 1984, and other great works of English literature.  Gee, you’d almost get the idea that the Leftist culture warriors who control Prevent, Britain as a whole, and the U.S. as well, want to destroy the civilization of which those works and writers are a hallmark. And you’d be right.  Prevent casts a wide net. The UK’s Daily Mail reported Friday that among the “potential signs of far-Right extremism” and “key texts” for “white nationalists/supremacists” that Prevent flagged were the “comedies Yes Minister and The Thick Of It, the 1955 epic war film The Dam Busters, and even The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare.”  We have no business lecturing Britain on the sickness of this.  After all, we stood by just a few years ago and watched statues of the greatest Americans torn down before our eyes.  The West generally is in decline, and turning its back on the very things that have made Western Civilization great.

February 20, 2023       Permalink

 

A LITTLE TOO COZY:  The NBA, our NBA, moves closer to China.  From Fox: 

The NBA and Chinese fintech company Ant Group have entered a strategic partnership in China to work on different projects like video content, broadcasting and membership, Ant Group announced Tuesday.

Chinese fans would gain access to NBA video content on Alipay, a payment app owned by Ant Group, the company said in a statement.

The relationship between the NBA and Ant Group will also feature joint marketing campaigns, digital collectibles and other areas, according to the statement.

Last week, NBA China launched a channel in Alipay that showcases user-generated content from NBA China's network of influencers and Alipay's authorized content creators.

The NBA is a popular cultural export to China and the basketball league's presence in the Chinese market brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. But the NBA's longtime partnership with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV was strained in recent years after former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressed his support for anti-government protestors in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong in 2019.

Morey, now general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, shared an image on Twitter in October 2019 that read, "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong." He later deleted the tweet and said he did not mean to offend Rockets fans or the people of China.

China condemned Morey's tweet and NBA games were pulled from CCTV shortly after.

The NBA initially said Morey's tweet was "regrettable" and that he had "deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China." The league later issued another statement saying it remains committed to free speech.

NBA free agent Enes Kanter Freedom, an outspoken critic of China over its human rights abuses, has repeatedly called out Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and other athletes for doing business with China.

In 2021, Chinese video-streaming site Tencent pulled a Boston Celtics’ game after Freedom, who played for the team at the time, wore shoes criticizing China's treatment of Tibet.

Yet, despite criticisms of China from some NBA personnel, the league's games returned to Chinese televisions last March. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in June that the league lost "hundreds of millions" of dollars because of the 18-month blackout, but affirmed the NBA's commitment to free speech.

"If the consequences are that we’re taken off the air or we lose money, we accept that," Silver said at the time.

The commissioner, in his remarks in June, also addressed criticisms of the NBA's business relationship with China given its human rights abuses of the Uyghur population, pointing out that a number of other U.S. companies also do business with the country.

COMMENT:  Sort of like major league baseball having a cozy relationship with Nazi Germany in the years before World War II.  No matter how it's sliced, agreements like this increase Chinese influence in the United States, especially when they involve video content and broadcasting.  This is just common sense. 

We are in danger from growing Chinese power, and we seem so unconcerned about it.

February 20, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
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