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JANUARY 26,  2023

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE:

WHO NEEDS THAT LEARNIN' STUFF?  From Fox:   A Biden judicial nominee was unable to answer basic questions about the U.S. Constitution posed by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., during a Senate hearing on Wednesday.  Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren, of Spokane County Superior Court in Washington State, was nominated by President Biden to serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Bjelkengren could not answer Kennedy's questions about what different parts of the U.S. Constitution do and how courts might interpret laws.  "Tell me what Article V of the Constitution does," Kennedy instructed Bjelkengren at the beginning of his question time.
"Article V is not coming to mind at the moment," the judge said.  "How about Article II?" Kennedy followed-up, but she was unable to recall the answer.  Article V of the Constitution concerns the amendments process, and Article II invests the Executive power in the president of the United States, enumerating the powers of the Executive Branch.  Next, Kennedy asked if Bjelkengren knew what "purposivism" is, but she was again unable to give an answer. Purposivism, or the purposive approach, a philosophy of interpreting the law that emphasizes the law's purpose – advocating for judges to enforce the spirit of the law when it contradicts with the text of the law, according to Harvard Law professor John F. Manning, writing in the Columbia Law Review.   How impressive.  But I'm sure she'll be confirmed, and maybe someday she'll be qualified for the job.

NATIONAL SURVIVAL:  From American Thinker:  As recently as 2004, 91% of Americans were extremely or very proud to be American, and the United States ranked first in the world in national pride. However, in less than twenty years there has been a stunning reversal that portends a dire future for the United States as a precipitous erosion in national pride has undermined societal confidence, self-reliance, optimism, and cohesion.  A recent poll revealed that a record low of just 68% of the citizenry are extremely or very proud to be American. However, underlying that overall dismal outcome is the reality that among the two youngest generations only 38% of Millennials and 16% of Gen Z are proud to be American despite being the beneficiaries of living in a unfathomably prosperous nation that has not known any profound national adversity since the Great Depression.  What we are seeing play out is the reality of demographic change in America as the younger mal-educated generations account for over half of the populace and are increasingly becoming culturally and politically influential. Within these generations an overwhelming majority have been indoctrinated by socialist/Marxist ideologues to believe that a capitalist United States as founded is irredeemable and must be transformed.  One of the best histories of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is called "At Dawn We Slept."  A history of the present American period might someday be called "For a Generation We Slept."  There are some signs that America may be awakening, realizing what's been done to our national character.  The spreading revolt of parents against the educational establishment is perhaps the most encouraging sign.  We'd better hurry, for the time to save America is getting short. 

January 26, 2023       Permalink

 

UKRAINE – THE SHADOW OVER EVERYTHING

Even when it's not in the daily news, Ukraine is there, one of the few situations that has the potential to spin out of control and involve us in a major war.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but the Western nations have decided to defend the country against the brutal Russian invasion.  Why?  Because of the lessons learned in the 20th century, that aggression by a major power, if unchecked, leads to more aggression and wider conflict.  Some don't buy the comparison with the 1930s, but I agree with the growing bipartisan consensus that, in the basics, it applies.  Not too many Americans care much about Ukraine's borders, but they care about containing the new version of imperial Russia. 

And yet, one yearns for a clear military strategy and a presidential address from the Oval Office that lays out our goals.  Are we merely going to supply Ukraine with enough weapons to keep its conflict with Russia going, or will we go all out and supply all that is needed, even at painful financial cost, to achieve victory?  I suspect most Americans dread the possibility of a long war that goes nowhere and ends in a question mark.  Been there, done that.

But even at the level of our contribution today, there are problems because our own stockpiles are diminished, thanks to misguided policies.  From Fox: 

Despite President Biden’s promise to send 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine on Wednesday, it could take months for the artillery to arrive, according to reports.

The New York Post reported that Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh confirmed that the U.S. does not have enough M1 Abrams tanks in its stockpile to send over to Ukraine at this time.

If the tanks were in the Pentagon’s possession, it would take less than a week to get the tanks boxed and shipped. But when using the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI, program, it could take months or years because the government goes through procurement to identify and hire contractors to build the weapons.

Biden announced the weapons approval on Wednesday, just hours after German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz said Ukraine would also get Leopard 2 tanks from Berlin as Russia plans for a major offensive.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin joined Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who described the tanks as the "most capable tanks in the world," which will enhance Ukraine’s ability on the battlefield.

"This is about freedom, freedom for Ukraine, freedom everywhere," President Biden said.
The decision to send tanks came after weeks of stalled and frustrated negotiations with Germany, which senior defense officials described as the "product of good diplomatic conversations."

COMMENT:  Not very encouraging.  Douglas MacArthur once remarked that all military disasters begin with two words:  too late.  He was correct.

January 26, 2023       Permalink 

 

 

 

JANUARY 24-25,  2023

NO CONFIDENCE:  New polling shows a strong belief by Americans, across the political spectrum, that their leaders no longer represent their beliefs and values.  This is not good.  From Issues and Insights: 

Washington, you have a problem, and elected officials should take note: Regardless of party affiliation, those who elected you no longer have faith in the idea that you actually represent them, the latest I&I/TIPP Poll shows.

It’s no surprise that many voters are turned off by the political class these days. As repeated polls show, voters from both parties agree that the results of recent years from Washington have been less than stellar. And the voters feel Washington is divorced from their everyday concerns.

In the most recent online I&I/TIPP Poll, taken Jan. 4-6 from 1,107 registered voters across the country, we asked voters two questions about their elected officials in Washington.

In the first we asked simply: “In general, do you believe that elected officials in Washington represent MOSTLY the views and values of … ” with the choices being “their constituents,” “big donors,” or “not sure.”

The answer was overwhelming and doesn’t bode well for official Washington. Two-thirds (66%) said elected officials represent mostly the views and values of their big donors, not average Americans. Just 16% said they felt their elected officials represented their constituents. Another 18% said they weren’t sure.

When it comes to the politics of those who took the poll, which has a margin of error of +/-3.0 percentage points, this was one of the most uniform responses in I&I/TIPP Poll history.

Among Democrats, 61% said “big donors,” compared to 68% of Republicans and 73% of independents. “Constituents” garnered 20% of Democrats, 16% of Republicans and just 9% of independents.

So the political disgruntlement is deep, widespread and multi-partisan.

But there were some deeper demographic differences. Most notably, the older the person responding, the more likely they were to believe that their elected officials were really representing the interests and views of those who gave them big bucks.

Among voters from 18-24 years of age, just 53% responded “big donors,” while 21% said “their constituents.” That compares to the 25-44 age group (57% “big donors”, 24% “their constituents”), the 45-64 age group (70% big donors, 13% constituents) and age 65+, the most negative group at 75% “big donors,” compared to a mere 8% for “their constituents.”

The older the voter, the more wary they are of their Washington representatives.

Race was another big difference. Among white voters, 71% said their representatives worked for their big donors, while a tiny 12% said for their constituents. Among black and hispanic Americans, 52% felt their representatives reflected the views and values of their big donors, compared to 27% who responded “their constituents.”

We then asked one more closely related question, reflecting how people felt about their own representatives in Washington: “How satisfied are you that your congressional representative represents your views and values?”

Once again, voters were not happy. Just 39% of Americans said they were satisfied with their congressional representative, while 52% said they were not satisfied.

This time, the political differences showed. Overall, 50% of Democrats called themselves “satisfied,” vs. 43% “dissatisfied,” with their representative. Not so Republicans or independents. For GOP voters, just 36% said they were happy with their representative, 53% unhappy.

By far, independents were least happy: Only 27% declared themselves “satisfied,” compared to a whopping 64% who said they were “dissatisfied.”

COMMENT: As always, we caution that a poll is a snapshot in time, and the results are affected by the way questions are worded.

However, please consider:  Alan Jay Lerner, the great lyricist, once said, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."  Success in politics often comes to the side that works the hardest, is most dedicated, and is willing to remain committed over time.  In the last 50 years, that side has been the American left.  Not liberals.  The left.  They have penetrated into every aspect of American life – the universities, the churches, local school boards, small towns, the media.  They are relentless...but they rarely represent the basic American values that most of America cherish.  I suspect the sense of distance from their elected officials that Americans feel comes in some important measure from the dedication of the left, and the ability to keep that determination quiet when necessary. 

Our side has to work harder, every day.  Politics is not a gentleman's game, nor a weekend sport.  Our ideas are better, and usually more popular.  We have to have a greater will to win. 

January 25, 2023       Permalink

 

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE:

A SIGN OF THE TIMES:  From CBS:   NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams didn't hold back Monday when asked about a decision from Chase Bank to close some of their city ATMs during overnight hours, citing crime and vagrancy concerns.  Customers didn't hold back, either.  Using an ATM is exactly what Sunny Ng wanted to do last Tuesday night, but when he tried to enter a Chase ATM vestibule in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the only paper he got was a warning that, for now, the once 24-hour ATMs will close at 10 p.m.  "The advantage of using Chase is that they have so many ATMs, and so for it to close at night is kind of unbelievable," Ng said.  So Ng got online and complained to Chase in a tweet, and the company replied, apologizing and saying it has decided to close some ATM vestibules not just at 10 p.m., but at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., depending on the location. The bank even gave a reason: rising crime and vagrancy in vestibules that were 24/7..."Those are all indicators, when you have to lock up supplies, when you have to close early due to people sleeping inside," Adams said.  The mayor said the city is working to provide care to homeless people in need of help, and also said the city needs to create an environment where people feel safe.  "People don't want to walk into their ATM and see someone urinating, see someone screaming and yelling. People don't want to go through that," Adams said. "And that is what I am saying I need to stop, because I don't want my ATMs closing down. I don't want people leaving our city."  The mayor gets it right.  People are leaving New York in droves.  What has to be closed next, in New York and elsewhere, before people realize that their city is dying?  The problem is that the hard left, which controls the mayor's Democratic Party, won't do a thing for public safety.  It's against the party line.

A RISING GOP STAR GETS IT RIGHT AGAIN:  From Fox:   Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an unprecedented school choice bill called the Students First Act on Tuesday, allowing any Iowa student to use public money to pay for private school tuition or other expenses.  "For the first time, we will fund students not systems!" Reynolds said on Twitter.  "Parents, not the government, can now choose the education setting best suited to their child regardless of their income or zip code. Iowa has affirmed that educational freedom belongs to all!"  After the Students First Act was passed, Iowa is now the third state to pass a school choice measure that expands to every student in the state.  "This is one of the best vehicles for providing families with more options, since parents can use the ESAs for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, curricular materials, special-needs therapy and more. We’ve already seen success from ESAs in Arizona," Jason Bedrick, a research fellow in the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, told Fox News Digital.  "Although Iowa is the 3rd state to pass universal school choice, it is the state with the heaviest foot on the accelerator. Although Arizona was first state to pass school choice for all families last year, their program had been around for over a decade. Gov. Reynolds just signed into law a program that includes most families in its first year and automatically expands to all families after two years," American Federation for Children Senior Fellow Corey DeAngelis told Fox News Digital.  The latest example of a significant passing of school choice legislation happened in Arizona under Gov. Doug Ducey, who signed the most "monumental" education savings account program in the United States.  Good for Kim!  She's an excellent governor and would be an excellent vice-presidential candidate in 2024.

January 24, 2023     Permalink


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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