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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JULY 13-14,  2023


President Joe Biden has authorized the military to call up 3,000 reserve troops to support operations in Europe after tens of thousands were sent there last year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a top general said Thursday.

Although it is not clear whether Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin plans to actually deploy these reservists anytime soon, the move suggests that the U.S. military’s training mission in Europe, along with the deployment of several new brigades after the invasion, has stretched active-duty forces.

“This reaffirms the unwavering support and commitment to the defense of NATO’s eastern flank in the wake of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war on Ukraine,” Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, the director of operations for the Joint Staff, told reporters on Thursday.

While the move gives the military’s European Command “greater flexibility” to defend the continent, it will not change the actual force levels in Europe, Capt. Bill Speaks, a spokesperson for U.S. European Command, said in a statement.

The president’s order also for the first time designates Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S. effort in Europe, as a contingency operation, which allows the Pentagon to call up reserve forces and implement sped-up acquisition authorities to supply those troops with equipment.

The designation not only allows the president to mobilize reservists, but also ensures they are paid and supported as active-duty troops. It also provides support for families and dependents of any reservists who might be deployed.

The U.S. rushed 20,000 more troops to Europe after Russia’s invasion, bringing the total to over 100,000 on the continent. That includes new rotations of 10,000 troops in Poland, which has emerged as a critical hub for supporting and supplying Ukraine.

The potential callups come on the heels of the NATO summit in Lithuania this week, where allies pledged to make 300,000 troops ready for rapid deployment within 30 days or less. It’s a tall order for the 31-member alliance whose individual members struggle with equipment and troop readiness after decades of skimping on military funding.

The news also comes as Ukraine continues to hammer away at Russia’s main defensive lines in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Although senior Pentagon officials express hope that Kyiv’s forces will recapture more significant territory soon, they say progress has been slower than hoped.

COMMENT:   I favor aid to Ukraine.  But we're getting in deeper and deeper without the president so much as addressing the American people.  The nation will accept a well-thought-out plan to help Ukraine win.  It will not accept an aimless aid program that drains us without result. 

We've been here before.  We know the result.

July 14, 2023       Permalink



JULY 11-12,  2023

INSANITY:  California continues to live in its own world.  From Fox:

California's public university system is looking to increase its tuition for the 2024-2025 school year.

According to California State University's website, the university is considering a "multi-year tuition proposal." The website states that the proposal is a "revenue sustainability plan for system-wide tuition, nonresident tuition and the graduate business professional program fee."

"The CSU’s first priority and commitment continues to be to pursue full funding from the state and to collaborate with partners across the system to make the case in Sacramento for the level of new funding that supports student success," a statement on the proposal reads.

The proposal would impose an annual 6% tuition increase that is projected to "generate hundreds of millions of dollars."

The proposal is expected to generate $148 million in revenue in the first year. CSU officials also plan to use that revenue to allocate $49 million to CSU’s State University Grant (SUG) program, a financial aid support program for low-income students. 

Furthermore, the proposal would generate $840 million in revenue over five years.
The first increase in the 2024-25 academic year would be $342 for full-time undergraduate students.

Under the proposal, full-time undergraduate students would increase tuition from $5,742 to $6,084 in the first year. After that, tuition would increase by 6% each subsequent year, resulting in a full-time undergraduate student paying $7,682 a year by the 2028-2029 academic year. 

Along with the tuition increase, trustees will evaluate the increases every five years. 

The LA Times reported, "Cal State officials say the hike is necessary to contend with a nearly $1.5-billion budget gap across the 23-campus system. A report released in May found Cal State is significantly underfunded, with its two main revenue sources — the state and tuition — covering only 85% of what it needs for student services, academic support, instruction and other expenses in the 2021-2022 year."

COMMENT:  It might be nice, just for appearances sake, for some of these scholar/empire builders to suggest cuts in personnel and expenses.  The University of California system is overflowing with administrators, many of whom are employed in the equity business.   The profound "educators" might even consider eliminating departments that seem to exist more for propaganda purposes than educational ends.

I doubt if there'll be any meaningful cuts.  California has gone socialist, and the heart of socialism is huge government spending.  I have no doubt that we'll soon see immense scholarship programs for undocumented immigrants.  And there will be vast checks written for all kinds of ethnic projects.  I wonder what will happen to physics, chemistry and medicine.  Maybe I don't want to know.

July 12,  2023     Permalink 


ARE WE TRYING TO DESTROY OUR CHILDREN?  We continue to receive reports on the enormous damage done to children during the pandemic.  That damage is continuing.  It is a national crisis that too many in the press try to avoid.  From Fox: 

America's failure to curb post-pandemic learning loss despite increased federal aid is unsurprising given the education system's many deep-rooted problems combining to create a "recipe for disaster," a former school principal turned homeschool mom told Fox News.

"Even after billions were put into the system, to see that learning loss is only continuing, I'm not that surprised," said Mandy Davis, who left her education job last year. "We're seeing a lot of different factors come to a head right now."

Students have shown steep and ongoing academic decline since the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the federal government spending billions in aid. Students, even after returning to in-person learning, are learning at a slower rate than before the pandemic, meaning gaps may be widening, according to a report the research group NWEA released Monday.

"We are trying to close that gap on learning loss, but at the same time, we're working with an all-time high of behavioral issues in the classroom," she said. "We're in a mental health crisis in our public schools for our children, and we're watching more and more teachers leave. All of this has just become this recipe for disaster."

Math scores for 13-year-olds this school year were the lowest since 1990, while reading scores dropped to a nearly 20-year low, according to a report the National Assessment of Educational Progress released in June.

"Children are needing more support," Davis said. "That support is leaving because of the environment that we're currently seeing in our public schools."

"The learning loss is set to continue because there's less and less instructional time happening in the classroom and more and more time needed for management in larger and larger class sizes," she continued.

Davis began teaching in 2008 and advanced her education career all the way to becoming a private school principal in Central Oregon during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the former principal quit in June 2022 to home-school her three kids after witnessing the education system struggle from the exodus of well-qualified teachers and schools' inability to provide one-on-one instruction amid managing large classrooms.

"It wasn't every student," Davis said of the learning loss she noticed. But when some students fall behind it impacts every student as teachers have to cater to different learning levels, she said.

In March 2021, Congress provided over $122 billion for schools to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequential academic loss and mental health decline in students.
"That's the question and biggest concern," Davis said. "Where has all of this money gone?" 

School districts nationwide had spent more than half of the relief funds as of May 31, according to the Department of Education. By law, the funding must be spent or committed by September 2024. 

COMMENT:    A great nation cannot remain great while letting its children deteriorate.  Parent groups are being formed all over the country to fight the academic decline.  Yet, instead of welcoming these concerned parents, school authorities, the woke press, and self-interested politicians often drive them away. 

Our international leadership is based largely on our being educationally strong, and turning out scientists and professionals.  But the academic establishment has been taken over by people who seem more interested in indoctrination than education.

The decline moves slowly, but I fear for the next generation. 

July 12,  2023     Permalink





JULY 9-10,  2023

THE DECLINE OF A ONCE-GREAT NEWSPAPER:  Well, I worked there, but it ain't the same place.  Their latest march toward self-destruction is a stab in the back.  From CNN:

The New York Times will shut down its sports desk and shift its daily coverage of athletes and teams to The Athletic, the newspaper announced Monday.

The decision to dismantle The Times’ long-standing Sports desk comes as the paper aims to provide a “greater abundance of sports coverage than ever before,” New York Times Chairman A.G. Sulzberger and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien announced in a memo Monday. The closure will allow the paper to maximize both The Times’s and The Athletic’s respective newsrooms, they said.

Sports stories across The Times’s website will be sourced from the nearly 150 daily stories published by The Athletic, which includes coverage of leagues, teams, and players, both domestic and international, Sulzberger and Levien said.

The New York Times acquired The Athletic last year in a bid to expand its sporting coverage.

“Since the acquisition of The Athletic 18 months ago, our goal has been to become a global leader in sports journalism, which represents a major pillar of our company strategy to be the essential subscription for curious people around the world,” they said.

Sulzberger and Levien said there were “no plans for layoffs” due to the changes, “and newsroom leadership will actively work with all our Sports colleagues to ensure they land in the right roles.”

Sports reporters and editors will instead shift from the previous freestanding Sports desk to other desks around the newsroom where some will continue to produce stories about sports, they said.

The New York Times Guild, the newspaper’s union, blasted the move, saying sports staffers were given “virtually no notice of this change,” with several members learning of the decision in a Times news alert on their phones just prior to being called into a meeting regarding the matter.

“This announcement is a profound betrayal of our colleagues and of Times values,” the Guild said in a statement. “Times leadership is attempting to outsource union jobs on our sports desk to a non-union Times subsidiary under the preposterous argument that The Times can ‘subcontract’ its sports coverage to itself.”

COMMENT:  Are we serious here?  The New York Times has a legendary history in sportswriting and sports photography.  Why, when I was at The Times, many generations ago, I sat right next to Sam Falk, a renowned news photographer, who regaled us with stories about his carousing around New York with Babe Ruth.

Sports reporting isn't just about sports.  It's about the spirit of a city, about the glory of competition.  It's about winning and losing in life.  Some of the best newspaper writers have been sports reporters. 

And The Times closes its sports desk.  One of those "business decisions."  Real love for the people of New York. 

And who really cares about Lou Gehrig.  Right?

July 10, 2023       Permalink



More of New York City’s police officers are reportedly rushing for the exit as crime plagues their communities.

The news comes on the heels of former New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant Sewell’s resignation, even though she would not say why she handed in her notice, NBC New York reported.

Meanwhile, a New York Post article published Saturday cited data regarding the officer exodus, stating that “Through June 30, 648 officers quit before retiring this year — a 22% spike from 2021, when 530 left, and an 87% rise from 2020, when 347 quit, NYPD pension data show.”

The decision to quit, along with NYPD’s recruiting issues, reportedly means the 34,000 officers are lacking over 1,000.

“Cops are being squeezed from every direction. They are working inhumane amounts of forced overtime. The brass is pushing for more enforcement, while the police-oversight complex is pushing to ruin more cops’ careers,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry noted.

He said many officers cannot afford the risk because they are not being paid enough, and the NYPD needs to be more accommodating to those it already employs.

Officers usually stay on the job for 20 years to collect a pension, and the Post cited data that reportedly shows officers are burning through their accrued days off before quitting.

Hostility towards police officers, bail reform, and the crime wave have fueled the frustration among the police agency, the outlet said.

“The latest Finest exodus has been sparked by the ‘continued piling on’ by the City Council and police watchdogs, insiders told The Post,” it added.

Meanwhile, New York City police officers reportedly suffered 32 percent more injuries so far in 2023 than in 2022 as rampant crime bears down on their communities.

COMMENT:  New York is in decline, and its City Council, and the New York State legislature, don't care.   They are locked in an ideology of resentment and destruction.  "Bring it down!" is their presumed battle cry.  And they have brought it down, on the heads of ordinary citizens.

I've spoken recently to knowledgeable observers of the New York tragedy who tell me that there's no visible way out of the current decline.   The city has had periods of stress before, but its basic institutions were strong, and New York was packed with visible talent.  That is simply not the case today.  The city is fading.

Somewhere, Frank Sinatra is in despair. 

July 10, 2023       Permalink




JULY 7-8,  2023

AH, THE JOE THING:  We're hearing more and more stories about plots within the Democratic Party to retire the president, and remove him from the 2024 presidential ticket.  We are a year and four months away from the election, and it's virtually impossible to read the importance of stories, rumors, and dreams.  But Michael Goodwin of the New York Post, one of the best political reporters around, has some very worthwhile observations. 

Stein’s Law holds that “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

The late Herbert Stein made the observation about economic trends, but his axiom perfectly describes Joe Biden’s shaky dance with political death. 

The president is trying to navigate a narrow path between two potential disasters.
Each one could prove fatal to his tenure, but if the twain shall meet, he doesn’t have a prayer. 

And it’s a near certainty they will meet because the facts we already know are overwhelmingly stacked against him and more damaging information is coming soon. 

One track of his predicament stems from general public unhappiness with his performance.
Averages of recent polls compiled by RealClearPolitics show him with an approval rating of a saggy 42%, and the number sinks to the mid-30s on his handling of the economy.
He’s taken to boasting of his policies as “Bidenomics,” which is an odd move given public sentiment about the results. 

By consistent margins of at least 3-1, voters say the nation is on the wrong track and an astonishing 71% of respondents, including half of Democrats, said in a recent survey the 80-year-old-Biden is too old to seek a second term.

His doddering nature and frequent brain freezes compound the view he’s way over the hill. 

The other track of the president’s predicament is the gathering storm related to his son.
The obvious fact that Hunter Biden is getting favored treatment from the father’s Department of Justice has broken through the media’s Praetorian Guard and the public doesn’t like the smell of it. 

Although Hunter has agreed to plead guilty to two tax violations and a gun charge later this month after a supposedly five-year investigation, he’ll likely avoid spending a day in prison. 

A sweetheart deal for a notorious family member would be political trouble for any president, but the Bidens’ scandal is mushrooming now because of the sensational testimony of IRS whistleblowers.

They allege Justice officials obstructed efforts to seek more serious charges against Hunter, tipped off his lawyers to searches and interviews and refused to let them probe whether Joe played a role in the family’s multimillion-dollar schemes. 

“The criminal tax investigation of Hunter Biden has been handled differently than any investigation I’ve ever been a part of for the past 14 years of my IRS service,” said Gary Shapley, a supervisory special agent in the Criminal Investigation unit.

He added that decisions at every stage were “benefiting the subject.” 

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  It's a good statement of where we are.  I have to believe that it is far too early to say that either Biden or Trump will head their tickets next year.   And I will not be shocked if a third party tries to make its appearance. 

A Chinese curse says, "May you live in interesting times."  We are living in very interesting times.

July 8,  2023    Permalink


NOTHING TO SEE, NOTHING TO SEE...OR MAYBE THERE IS:  There are strange land deals going on around the United States.  You think we should take a look?  From Daily Mail: 

Government officials are investigating a mysterious company that has bought around 55,000 acres of dry farmland around a USAF base in California.

Travis Air Force base, northeast of San Francisco, houses large transport aircraft used for refueling smaller planes and sending aid and munitions around the world.

Starting in 2018, a company called Flannery Associates LLC has spent around $800million buying swathes of land around the base, leaving local, state and federal officials flummoxed as to who they are and what they want with it.

Government officials are investigating a mysterious company that has bought around 55,000 acres of dry farmland around a USAF base in California.

Travis Air Force base, northeast of San Francisco, houses large transport aircraft used for refueling smaller planes and sending aid and munitions around the world.

Starting in 2018, a company called Flannery Associates LLC has spent around $800-million buying swathes of land around the base, leaving local, state and federal officials flummoxed as to who they are and what they want with it.

In a letter to Solano County, the majority of which is owned by Flannery, the company is described itself as being 'owned by a group of families looking to diversify their portfolio from equities into real assets, including agricultural land in the western United States,' according to county newspaper the Daily Republic.

But after eight months of investigation, the Air Force's 'Foreign Investment Risk Review Office' has failed to identify any one individual behind the Flannery, according to the Journal.

Meanwhile, the US Agriculture Department has made its own inquiries, also to no avail.
'Nobody can figure out who they are,' Ronald Kott, mayor of nearby Rio Vista, which is now largely surrounded by Flannery land, told The Journal. 'Whatever they're doing - this looks like a very long-term play.'

Over the years that Flannery, registered in Delaware, has been buying up land, it has given a variety of accounts and indications as to what it wants to do with it.

An attorney for Flannery, Richard Melnyk, said in an email to the county in 2019 that it was considering working with local farmers to farm 'new types of crops or orchards,' according to The Journal.

Mitch Mashburn, who works for the county, cast doubt on the viability of using the land for agricultural purposes.

COMMENT:  There has long been a suspicion that this land, and other lands throughout the United States, are being bought by China, through front companies.  Owning land here would give the Chinese an enormous level of control over specific parts of the United States.

I think we'd better nail this down.  I really do.  I'd hate to see us in a confrontation with China, with China owning serious land around our military bases.

July 8, 2023      Permalink




JULY 5-6,  2023

WHAT KIND OF KIDS ARE WE RAISING HERE?  FROM BREITBART:   Don't ask whether they're tough enough to defend the country.  Ask whether they're tough enough to button their shirts:

Boston University School of Law students are being urged to seek therapy in the wake of several conservative Supreme Court decisions, including a decision striking down the use of racial preferences in university admissions.

Fox News Digital reports that the BU Law Student Government Association’s (SGA) sent an email to students denouncing the Court’s decisions in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard (the racial preferences case), 303 Creative LLC. v. Elenis (upholding the right of a website designer not to include pro-same-sex messages if the state demanded them), and Biden v. Nebraska (ending President Joe Biden’s student loan transfer program).

Fox noted that the SGA reminded students of the availability of mental health “wellness resources” in response:

“[The assenting judges] went so far as to say that the race-based admission system uses race as a negative and operates it as a stereotype,” the letter stated. “They may couch their opinion in legal jargon, but we all know what this opinion aims to do: advocate for a ‘colorblind’ admission process.”

“However, as many of our students know and Justice Sotomayor says in her dissent, ‘ignoring race will not equalize a society that is racially unequal,'” the letter proclaimed.

“As a reminder, BU also offers a number of wellness resources that are willing and able to help students navigate these times.”

Law schools have become notorious in recent years for coddling left-wing students disappointed by reality. In 2016, some offered counseling services to students upset by Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election.

In 2020, students pressured some universities to cancel exams after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

COMMENT:  How absolutely pathetic.  Would you hire any of those children to be your lawyer?  Would you like to be taught by the professors who make this thinking possible?  I'm afraid that Boston University isn't an aberration.  It's a reflection of a weak, overfed generation whose greatest sin is forgetting to charge the iPhone. 

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” warns Corinthians in the New Testament.  We depend on our young to defend us, to make clear to enemies that our youth will never let our country down.  Is the young generation's trumpet uncertain?  Their image is terrible.  Weak.  Pathetic.

But don't despair.  Throughout this country, I have to believe, we still have the great ones.  I wish they would just shout a little louder.

July 6, 2023       Permalink


THE HISPANIC JOURNEY:  One of the remarkable developments of the last few years is the steady drift of Hispanic Americans to the right.  Once a major component of the Democratic Party, Hispanics are showing muscular independence of a sort that can give that party major worries in the 2024 elections.  From HotAir: 

Ruy Teixeira has written about this topic many times. Today he has an opinion piece in the Washington Post arguing that the Hispanic drift toward the GOP is still happening. He opens with a review of just how significant this shift was in 2020:

Trump improved his performance among Hispanics by 20 points in Wisconsin, 18 points in Texas and Nevada, 12 points in Pennsylvania and Arizona and among urban Hispanics in Chicago, New York and Houston. In Chicago’s predominantly Hispanic precincts, Trump improved his raw vote by 45 percent over 2016.

In 2022, Teixeira writes there was no further evidence of a continued shift to the right but also no evidence Democrats had regained any of that lost ground. So how are things shaping up for 2024?

Since then, polls consistently find that Hispanic voters prefer Republicans to Democrats on inflation and handling the economy. Nearly all — 86 percent — Hispanics say economic conditions are only fair or poor and about three-quarters say the same thing about their personal financial situation. By 2 to 1 they say President Biden’s policies are hurting, not helping, them and their families. In a just-released 6,000 respondent poll from the Survey Center on American Life (SCAL) on evolving party coalitions, almost two-thirds believe Biden has accomplished not that much or little or nothing during his time in office…
Beneath this discontent is an emerging gulf between the cultural outlook of many Hispanics and the increasingly left-wing values of the Democratic Party. In the SCAL survey, half of Hispanics think Democrats are “too extreme” and slightly more than half think Democrats don’t share their values.

Again, this isn’t the first time Teixeira has touched on the idea of a cultural gap between progressives and Hispanics. Last year he wrote that Hispanics were essentially “normie voters.”

It is becoming clearer and clearer that Democrats have seriously erred by lumping Hispanics in with “people of color” and assuming they embraced a litany of liberal causes around race and other issues that are dear to the hearts of Democratic activists. This was a flawed assumption. In reality, Hispanic voters are overwhelmingly an upwardly mobile, patriotic population with practical and down to earth concerns focused on jobs, the economy, health care, effective schools and public safety.

In short, they are normie voters. And like other normie voters, if they feel Democrats are falling short on the things normie voters care about, they are more than willing to punish the party they hold responsible.

COMMENT:  And there are signs that Asian-American voters are moving right as well, believing that the Democratic Party  really doesn't care about them.  The party threw them under the bus when it clearly sided with African-American voters on the issue of college admissions, where Asian-Americans are often required to have much higher test scores than blacks even to be considered.  After a while, when one's child is involved, that hurts.  And hurt produces votes.

July 6,  2023     Permalink
















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