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

 

 

OCTOBER 22-23,  2023

THE COLLAPSE OF AMERICAN EDUCATION; ONCE AGAIN, OREGON LEADS THE WAY.  What is it with that state?  It's such a beautiful place, but its politicians have the maturity of 12-year-olds.  From Fox: 

High schoolers in Oregon won't need to demonstrate basic competency in reading, writing or math in order to graduate for at least five more years because, according to education officials, such requirements are unnecessary and disproportionately harm students of color.

"At some point … our diploma is going to end up looking a lot more like a participation prize than an actual certificate that shows that someone actually is prepared to go pursue their best future," former Oregon gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan told Fox News.

The essential skills requirement has been on pause since the coronavirus pandemic, and last week the Oregon State Board of Education voted unanimously to continue suspending the graduation requirement through the 2027-2028 school year.

Under the requirement, 11th graders had to demonstrate competence in essential subjects through a standardized test or work samples. Students who failed to meet expectations were required to take extra math and writing classes in their senior year — thus missing an elective class — in order to graduate.

Board members said the standards were unnecessary and harmed marginalized students since higher rates of students of color, students with disabilities and students learning English as a second language ended up having to take the extra step to prove they deserved a diploma, The Oregonian reported.

Hundreds of people submitted public comments opposing the move and urging the board to reinstate the standards. Many of the comments were generated from a call to action from Drazan's advocacy group, A New Direction Oregon.

Board Chair Guadalupe Martinez Zapata previously described the opposition as a "campaign of misinformation" and "artistic quality mental acrobatics."

"If only they weren't automatically discredited by the myopic analysis and bigotry that follows them," Martinez Zapata said in a late September meeting, adding that "rhetoric about cultural and social norms being the underlying reason for underperformance on assessments by systemically marginalized students" was reminiscent of "racial superiority arguments."

COMMENT:  Same old story.  Argue for higher standards and you're a racist, a bigot, a fascist, and a capitalist.  What will our country look like in 25 years?  I fear to ask. 

October 23,  2023     Permalink

 

THE DRUMBEAT GETS LOUDER:  We've noted the sense that Washington is holding information that this country is in imminent danger from events in the Mideast.  Now Congress is sounding the same alarm.  We aren't being given details, but I'd take this very seriously.  Our forces could be attacked in the Mideast, or something could happen right here on our own soil.  From Fox: 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Sunday deemed China, Russia and Iran the new "axis of evil" amid wars in Ukraine and Israel, while addressing U.S. funding of allies' responses to those duel conflicts.

In a new sit-down interview with "Fox News Sunday" host Shannon Bream, McConnell, the highest-ranking Senate Republican, agreed with fellow Republican Kentuckian Sen. Rand Paul that the $1.5 trillion deficit is "entirely too big." But while Paul remarked last month that the U.S. under the Biden administration was borrowing heavily from China just to send aid to Ukraine, McConnell instead emphasized Sunday that the deficit also expanded during the prior administration under former President Donald Trump. 

"You have to respond to conditions that actually exist that are a threat to the United States. The Iranians are a threat to us as well. And so, this is an emergency. It’s an emergency that we step up and deal with this axis of evil – China, Russia, Iran – because it’s an immediate threat to the United States," McConnell said. 

"In many ways the world is more endangered today than it has been in my lifetime," McConnell said, recalling that unlike when the Berlin Wall fell, the world faces a "big power competition" coinciding with the terrorism threats in the Middle East and culminating in Israel's war against Hamas terrorists.

"The question is, is American going to lead?" McConnell posed to Bream. "I think the Biden administration sent the wrong signal and they had the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. I think that was like giving a green light to Putin to go into Ukraine. And we see that Iran, principal sponsor of terrorism, sending drones to the Russians and attacking – Hezbollah and in this particular situation, Hamas – attacking the Israelis with drones. So it’s all connected. You can’t separate out one part of it and say we’re only gonna deal with this. It’s all connected." 

COMMENT:  I've heard that now many times, and it's becoming a common notion – that this is the most dangerous period we've seen in many years.  You can feel the tension.  Several news commentators have remarked that this, internationally, is the most crisis-ridden period of their careers.  I've even heard some informed people say that the United States is becoming unstable and weak, and that they're afraid.  And I think I've heard a few young people talk about something other than global warming.

The talk is healthy.  I wish we'd had more of it before World War II, so we were psychologically ready.  But the talk is also blunt.  Something has happened to our politics in the last month.  Foreign and defense policy are taking center stage, and there's a remarkable amount of bipartisan agreement on standing firm against our enemies.  I'm heartened to see some liberals express support for a strong and well-defended America.  Haven't seen that in a long time. 

All citizens should familiarize themselves with the crises we now face simultaneously.  And make sure your children learn the facts from you, and not the teachers unions.

October 23,  2023     Permalink

 

 

 

 

OCTOBER 20-21,  2023

IS THERE A LULL?  Not much war news today, but it may just be an illusion.  There are always lulls.  A "peace summit" in Cairo with many Arab and European nations participating produced nothing, and didn't even denounce Hamas.

There is still considerable talk about a possible American intervention.  The secretary of defense is taking a number of steps to insure that American forces are ready if needed.  From Fox: 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the U.S. Department of Defense's plan on Saturday evening to further "bolster regional deterrence efforts" in the Middle East amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, reiterating the department's defense of Israel.

In a press release, the secretary said that the plan comes following "detailed discussions" with President Joe Biden.

The secretary said that USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group will join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which was recently moved to the Eastern Mediterranean following the unprecedented assault on Israel from Hamas terrorists.

Secretary Austin said that the warships will "further increase our force posture and strengthen our capabilities and ability to respond."

Austin said that the DOD has deployed their anti-ballistic missile defense system, called the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery, as well as additional Patriot battalions "throughout the region."

Without sharing an exact number, Austin said that he has an "additional number of forces prepared to deploy," to "increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required."

"I will continue to assess our force posture requirements in the region and consider deploying additional capabilities as necessary," the Defense Secretary concluded.

President Biden has aggressively affirmed Israel's right to defend itself in the wake of Hamas's surprise attack.

At least 5,600 people have been killed in the war on both sides, including at least 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers and 32 Americans. 

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims at least 4,137 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank and more than 13,162 wounded. 

At least 11 Americans are feared to be held captive by Hamas.

COMMENT:  First, I wouldn't take seriously any figures supplied by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.   Believing Hamas is like believing the old Pravda.

American forces are being sent to deter Iran from enlarging the Israel/Hamas war.  It's a wise move on our part.  Our forces will also be in place to strike the Iran nuclear program, should the situation require it, and I wouldn't be shocked if it did.

October 21, 2023       Permalink

TWO AMERICAN HOSTAGES RELEASED BY DEAR, BROTHERLY HAMAS:  You all know that two American hostages, a mother and daughter from Illinois, have been released by Hamas.  They were captured during the Hamas slaughter of Israelis on October 7th. 

Now the hostage game begins.  Bad actors don't take hostages because they're lonely or need babysitters.  They take them to be used as bargaining chips.  Sadly, the game often works.  Hamas says that more "foreign" hostages, meaning non-Israeli, will be released if the Israelis stop bombing Hamas targets in the the Gaza Strip.  They also add some "humanitarian" demands that at least one journalistic nitwit that I saw described as "reasonable."  No doubt.  Hamas will now strive to sound moderate, even benevolent, as compared to that nasty Israel and the Great Satan, the United States. 

Most hostage situations involve the country taking the hostages and the country whose citizens are taken.  This one is more complicated.  There are hostages from a number of countries.   No national leader can appear to sacrifice his own citizens, so the heat will now be on Israel to 1) be sensitive; 2) recognize the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people; 3) understand that Hamas members are human beings; 4) realize that Israel's refusal to accept Hamas demands will result in the deaths of citizens from countries that are at least friendly to Israel; 5) avoid the childish impulse for vengeance over the unfortunate slaughter of October 7th.

There is a much longer list available.  You've all heard it.

The United States and Europe are already putting pressure on Israel to delay its offensive into Gaza to allow time for more attempts to release other hostages.  I have no idea what Israel will say, but I'm guessing that Prime Minister Netanyahu will be forced to provide more time.  Once that cycle starts, it's hard to say where it ends. 

I doubt if Israel will achieve its goal of wiping out Hamas.  There are, after all, Hamas operatives and assets in a number of countries.  But if this war does not end with Hamas badly hurt and bleeding, you can be sure that it will launch another attack soon, possibly right in the middle of our presidential campaign. 

October 21,  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."
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