ORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – adaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa                   aaaaaaaaa `10





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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I appeared on Silvio Canto Jr's talk show from Dallas.  It's here.



FEBRUARY 6-7,  2023

AND IT IS OVER:  The president's State of the Union speech is over.  They sounded the all-clear in my neighborhood a couple of hours ago.  People came out of their soundproofed shelters, and all is normal again.  No Chinese balloons flew over in salute.

The speech was a routine SOTU.  No surprises, no strokes of genius.  It was the standard list of claimed accomplishments in the age of Biden, and a longer wish list designed to rally the Democratic Party base.

The analyzers were heavy with seriousness, but I thought the best comments, by far, were made by Fox's Brit Hume.   He divided his response to the speech into two categories – the substance and the delivery, and devoted almost all of his analysis to the delivery.  He wondered whether Americans, hearing and seeing the president's performance, would have enough confidence in him to give him a second term.  Hume concluded that they would not, and I agree.  The president looked and sounded as he is, an old man, impaired, and well past his vigorous years.  He slurred, he stammered, he seemed at times confused, and he rambled aimlessly. 

In addition, Mr. Biden's choice of priorities was odd, although probably acceptable to the woke wing of his party.  He barely mentioned the most important story of the last week, the incursion into our airspace of a Chinese vehicle presumably equipped with surveillance equipment.  The American people deserved a full discussion of the event, with the latest information on the probable intent of the incursion.  We got nothing.  Mr. Biden let us down.

Sitting behind the president was Vice President Harris, who sometimes seemed to slump down in her chair.  She was mostly expressionless, except for the required periods of polite applause.  In a strange way, she was the person who wasn't there, or shouldn't have been.  I did not notice her receiving any particularly notable reception from those in the hall.

An unimportant evening.

February 7, 2023       Permalink


THE SPEECH:  I am preparing for the president's State of the Union speech in my usual scholarly and professional manner.  First, I have the sleeping pills.  Next, in case they fail, I have my ear plugs.  Should they not do the trick, I possess an excellent wire cutter on a Swiss Army knife that can cut the cable cord to my TV.

Finally, there is medical intervention.  I can report to the emergency room at White Plains Hospital, complaining of near-terminal boredom.  I've done it before, with Obama.  They treated me with an immediate playing of Ronald Reagan declaring, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"  My recovery began.

The modern State of the Union speech is a joke.  It simply fulfils the Constitutional requirement that the president inform us from time to time about the state of the nation.  Long ago the speech wasn't even delivered in person.  It was written, and sent over to Congress by the lowest available messenger.  No one cared.

In the age of television, that old tradition is impossible.  The speech has become a regular spectacle, allowing TV commentators of every sort to give their blessed opinions on what every line really means.  These opinions, like the speech itself, will be forgotten by the next day.  Indeed, do you remember any State of the Union speech?  Can you quote a line?  Is any presidential utterance in the speech found on a building?  That tells the story.

What is the story of this State of the Union?  Well, I haven't read it so I don't yet know.  But the real story may well lie in the body language, in fact the very presence, of the two people behind the president as he speaks.  One will be the new speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, who will introduce him.  McCarthy, a Republican, wants to make his mark as the man who stops the Biden presidency and prepares the voting public for a Republican victory in 2024.

And next to McCarthy will be someone called the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, who wins no popularity contests.  It is not a coincidence that a great deal of material leaked to the press and printed this week told us that even her own Democratic Party is turning against her, with many feeling she is a liability going into the 2024 elections.  The president she serves is clearly frail.  If he runs again and is re-elected, the person in the vice-presidential office will almost certainly become president.  The prospect that it will be Kamala Harris horrifies millions of Americans. 

But can Harris, the first woman and first person of color to hold her office, be removed from the ticket?  That will be the question on many minds during the State of the Union, as she sits behind the president she hopes to succeed.  That will be the greatest drama in the room.  More eyes may well be on her than on the chief executive.

February 7, 2023       Permalink




FEBRUARY 4-5,  2023


THE CHILDREN ARE HOME:  From Fox:  In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, conversations around workplace burnout and mental health are coming to the forefront. One of the groups leading the charge to bring these issues to light is millennials.  But are some millennials taking matters too far?  Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 1996, are coming under fire after several recent polls appear to point out flaws within the generation's work ethic. One new Fortune poll shows that 35% of millennials across America rely on their parents to pay their bills.  Yeah, we've noticed.  Tap into your parents' retirement savings right after they've paid off your college loans.  And, apparently, they're not too keen on defending their country either.  Compare please to the "greatest generation."

February 5, 2023       Permalink

DEATH OF A CITY:  While we cope with a dramatically growing Chinese threat, the hard left is busy destroying as much of American civilization as it can.  They must be so proud of their work.  From Fox: 

EXCLUSIVE – Mayor Eric Adams's New York City forced all of its employees into a radical critical race theory-inspired training, according to a copy of the training reviewed by Fox News Digital. 

The "mandatory" training was sent to all New York City employees with a March 6 deadline. "The training provides all NYC employees with a framework to understand… the importance of racial equity… in the workplace," the email said.

The controversial lens expressed in the training is called critical race theory, which holds that America is and was always structurally racist; CRT adds that the U.S. was designed from its start to systematically oppress minority groups in order to uphold systems of power for the dominant culture or White racial group. CRT also maintains an oppressor versus oppressed lens of society and classifies people into groups based on supposed "privilege." 

A source familiar with the "racial equity" training told Fox News Digital, "Where they were discussing equity, how we have to look at people through a particular lens, that contradicted… [the idea that] we should treat everybody equally."

"I do not agree with what they want us to do as city employees. The [racial equity training] leads me to believe that they want the contracts with the city and the hiring from the city being looked at through this lens. And that's what I think is really unfair. It goes against their [stated claims]… that everybody should be treated equally."

The training said that there was no scientific basis to race, and that it was invented to create a system of "exclusion and oppression."

"Race has no genetic or scientific basis. It is a social construct created to classify people on the arbitrary basis of skin color and other physical features," it said. "Despite this, race has a very real impact on people's lives. This is because our society has used race to establish and justify systems of power, privilege, exclusion and oppression.

COMMENT:  Awful, just awful.  Real Marxist garbage, whose only effect is to divide people, one from the other.  It adds no useful skills, and generates hatred for this good nation.  We had great hopes for Mayor Adams, a black man who had served with the police.  I think he means well, but he has fallen under the influence of crackpots, and will probably fail. 

The losers in critical race theory are black children, who, instead of receiving an education that will sustain and broaden their lives, are treated as the forced labor of a cruel governing class, which wants to keep them as a private, blind army.

There is now national pushback against the awfulness of what is going on in New York.  It is led by Republicans like Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Glenn Youngkin of Virginia.  They must have our help.  The presidential election next year will be the most important of our generation.  Losing is not an option.

February 5, 2023     Permalink


THEY ARE SO UPSET, AND I REALLY DON'T CARE:  The Chinese government has expressed distress over our traffic stop of one of their balloons.  I weep for them.  From Fox: 

China’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday said it "strongly disapproves of and protests" the U.S. decision to shoot down a spy balloon that had been in U.S. airspace for the last several days and warned that it may take unspecified "responses" to that action.

"China strongly disapproves of and protests against the U.S. attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force," the Foreign Ministry said. "The Chinese side has, after verification, repeatedly informed the U.S. side of the civilian nature of the airship and conveyed that its entry into the U.S. due to force majeure was totally unexpected.

"The Chinese side has clearly asked the U.S. side to properly handle the matter in a calm, professional and restrained manner," it added. "The spokesperson of the U.S. Department of Defense also noted that the balloon does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground."

"Under such circumstances, the U.S. use of force is a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice," the Foreign Ministry added. "China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the company concerned, and reserves the right to make further responses if necessary."

China’s sharp reaction came a day after it warned the U.S. against taking any action against the surveillance balloon, and said U.S. politicians and the media had "hyped up" the incident in order to "attack and smear China."

The ministry also insisted that China has "no intention to violate and has never violated the territory or airspace of any sovereign country," even though the Pentagon determined that the balloon was "maneuverable" and had been floating through U.S. airspace at 60,000 feet for a few days.

China’s official government response was mirrored in China’s state-owned news services. The Xinhua News Agency accused the U.S. military and media of using the prevalence of a spy balloon over the U.S. to start "hyping" the China threat.

"The U.S. is being urged to be more sincere in making concrete moves to solve problems with China, instead of making more provocations, analysts said," Xinhua reported.

On Saturday, China’s embassy in the U.S. said Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of China’s Central Committee, spoke to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who postponed his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping because of the incident. The embassy reported that Wang told Blinken that China "will not accept any groundless conjecture or hype" over the incident.

"In the face of unexpected situations, what both sides should do is to maintain steadiness, communicate in time, avoid misjudgment and manage differences," the embassy said.

COMMENT:   The Chinese have some nerve to lecture us.  Their unwanted, unauthorized airship was shot down over American territorial waters.   Our analysis of the wreckage should tell us the complete story of the balloon's mission, but, no matter what the examination shows, we did the right thing in making it clear to China that we will defend our country.

February 4,  2023     Permalink



BULLETIN ON FEBRUARY 4th, 3:44 P.M. ET:   The Chinese spy balloon that has traversed the United States mainland this week was shot down by a US Air Force fighter as the balloon left the air space over South Carolina and entered into American territorial air space over the Atlantic.  Our territorial space, under international law, extends 12 miles from shore.

President Biden gave the order to take down the balloon on Wednesday, with the proviso that every precaution be taken to avoid civilian casualties below.  Thus the decision was made to wait until the balloon was over water.  This presents a major problem for us, since recovering the balloon's instrument package is far more difficult if it is hundreds of feet under the sea.  We may get nothing.

The balloon was hit while Fox News had a camera on it, giving that network a major jump on coverage.  And its coverage has been significantly more authoritative than CNN's.  We note that the three "major" networks, CBS, NBC and ABC, didn't even bother to interrupt their sports programming for the important bulletin, an absolute disgrace.  In a better time, those outlets would have broken into programs immediately, and covered the story nonstop, even if the picture was black-and-white. 

We're getting a flood of speculative journalism, of course.  But please be cautious.  We don't yet actually know what the balloon was carrying.  The assumption that it was hauling major surveillance equipment seems reasonable as it conveniently flew over some of the most top-secret military installations in the United States.

Stand by.

We've just been told, at 4:05 p.m. ET, that the balloon's instrument package came down in only 47 feet of water.  That's a break for us.  We also now know that the air action was taken by an F-22 Raptor fighter out of Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

More later.





FEBRUARY 2-3,  2023

BALLOON NEWS LATEST:   Much balloon talk in the media today.  Some of it must be causing high anguish in the balloon-manufacturing community, as anti-balloonism is a longstanding form of bigotry and exclusion.  

Two key questions:  What is the Chinese balloon carrying?  Not an easy question to answer.  Our government is making the assumption that this is a reconnaissance balloon, spying on American military installations, especially in our northwest.  However, it could also be part of a test run for carrying biological or chemical materials.  Or, the Chinese could be telling the truth in claiming that this is an ordinary weather balloon
off course.

Some scoff at the idea that so simple and primitive an instrument could have military value.  In fact, the atomic bomb we dropped on Hiroshima was carried to Earth by a simple parachute.  And American soldiers jumping into the Normandy night on D-Day used five-cent children's clicker toys, once they landed in the pitch dark, to signal to others around them that there were American soldiers nearby.  Amazing how simple devices have military uses. 

The second question is, what should we do about the Chinese balloon?  Being the nation of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart, many public figures argue that we should shoot it down.  I agree.  It would send a blunt message to the Chinese that we will not tolerate these illegal incursions.  But the Pentagon is apparently warning the president that a shootdown could result in dangerous debris over a large area.  The president of the United States, commander-in-chief of our now-WOKE forces, is presumably weighing his options.  The vice president has not been found, but I'd imagine she'd love to have a ride in that balloon. 

From Fox: 

A suspected Chinese spy balloon that was initially discovered over Montana has sailed across the United States and could end up over the Carolinas later this weekend, according to a report.

The Chinese balloon was discovered hovering at about 60,000 feet just north of Billings, Montana, on Thursday before it moved over Columbia, Missouri, Friday. It could make its way as far east as Raleigh, North Carolina, by Saturday afternoon, according to WNCN.

The high-altitude balloon has been the subject of international contention as its presence over Montana, home to Malmstrom Air Force Base and dozens of nuclear missile silos, caused doubt over Beijing’s claim that the balloon was gathering weather information before it went off course.

It also roiled diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Washington and abruptly broke off an upcoming trip U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was scheduled to make to China.

Blinken would have been the most senior official to visit the country since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2019.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry claims the "civilian airship" is being used for "research, mainly meteorological, purposes." A spokesperson said the balloon had "limited self-steering capability" and had "deviated far from its planned course."

President Biden has, so far, decided not to bring down the balloon as it "does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that the president is "keeping all options on the table."

"The president will always put the safety and security of the American people first," she added. "We are tracking closely and keeping all options on the table."

Members of Congress and 2024 Republican hopefuls have publicly pressured the Biden administration to bring down the balloon immediately.

"Shoot. It. Down," Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., tweeted Thursday. "The Chinese spy balloon is clear provocation. In Montana, we do not bow. We shoot it down. Take the shot."

"President Biden should stop coddling and appeasing the Chinese communists," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Neb., tweeted Friday. "Bring the balloon down now and exploit its tech package, which could be an intelligence bonanza."

COMMENT:   The whole image here is one of humiliation for the United States.  Sadly, we're getting used to it.   We watch as an air vehicle sent by a hostile nation floats over the United States, and our response so far has been lax.

February 3, 2023       Permalink 


EGG ROLLS OVER AMERICA:  We are attacked by Chinese balloons.  Do we have anti-balloon technology?  From Fox: 

China has announced its government is looking into reports that a suspected Chinese spy balloon was discovered flying in U.S. airspace over Montana.

"China is a responsible country and has always strictly abided by international laws, and China has no intention to violate the territory and airspace of any sovereign countries," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning during a daily briefing on Friday.

She also urged U.S. officials and Chinese authorities to proceed "calmly and carefully" amid the investigation.

"As for the balloon, as I’ve mentioned just now, we are looking into and verifying the situation and hope that both sides can handle this together calmly and carefully," Mao added.

Somehow I don't see the words "not guilty."

The foreign minister said judgment should be withheld "before we have a clear understanding of the facts."

Which we'll always get from China.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was scheduled to visit China on Friday, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His visit comes amid months of tense relations between Beijing and Washington over trade, Taiwan, human rights issues and China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

"What I want to emphasize is that before we have a clear understanding of the facts, speculation and sensationalizing will be unhelpful to the proper handling of the issue. As for Blinken’s visit to China, I have no information," Mao said.

Senior U.S. defense officials said the government is closely monitoring the high-altitude surveillance balloon.

"The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now," said Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a briefing on Thursday afternoon.

He added: "The U.S. government, including NORAD, continues to track and monitor it closely. The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information."

The U.S. government is "confident" the surveillance balloon belongs to the People's Republic of China, a defense official told Fox News. It is also considering bringing it down using military assets.

I'd love to see that.  Watch MSNBC ask for volunteers to fight the American warmongers.

It is not immediately clear how long the balloon has been in U.S. airspace. The senior defense official said the government has been tracking it for "some time" and that it entered U.S. airspace a "couple of days ago."

COMMENT:  I know nothing about this, although I plainly saw the words "We love you Hunter" painted on the balloon.  Can't place the reference.

February 2,  2023     Permalink




















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