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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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APRIL 20,  2014

EXPLAINING THE NEW COLD WAR – QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 11:24 A.M. ET:   Russia is an adversary again.  But wait.  Didn't the Cold War end?  Didn't we win?  Janet Daley, one of the best commentators around, examines that issue for London's Telegraph.  Here is her take:

The mistake, of course, was to think that the Cold War was about what it suited all the parties to present it as being: an ideological argument, a battle of ideas, a contest between philosophies of how men should live. As it turns out, it was actually about what unfashionable historians believed all wars were fought for: territory and power.

Vladimir Putin, the former KGB officer, does not present his case for annexing Crimea and destabilising the government in Kiev as a crusade on behalf of the proletariat, or a struggle against the evil forces of international capital. There is no theory of the betterment of the human condition involved here, or any prescription for a superior form of society which would bring justice to the world. It is just a land grab justified on the basis of racial identity.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry has described this Russian aggression as a “19th-century war”, a throwback to undisguised imperialism. Maybe the conceit of our time was that the 20th century had got beyond this: that its disputes were based on profound and sincere disagreements about value systems.

COMMENT:  Very well said.  Obama and Kerry can think of themselves as "progressive" and "21st century," but the world will not cooperate.  We are once again being sold a military drawdown on the grounds that we no longer need large standing forces.  Right.  Where have you heard that before?  And how did it turn out?

April 20, 2014       Permalink

 

RUBIO RISING – AT 10:33 A.M. ET:  After being down for a time in the great mentioning game for 2016, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida appears to be rising again.   He's an attractive guy, and he's making moves suggesting that he's serious about the presidency.  From The Hill:

Sen. Marco Rubio hauled in a load of cash from Washington business interests during the first three months of the year, building out a donor network that could propel a White House run in 2016.

The Florida Republican’s Rubio Victory America and Reclaim America raised a combined $1.1 million in 2014’s first quarter, including donations from heavyweight lobbying firms like Capitol Counsel and BGR Government Affairs.

Other potential 2016 candidates tallied larger fundraising totals during that same time span. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for instance, raised $1.6 million during 2014’s first quarter.

But Rubio’s extensive fundraising support from Washington’s business class could give him a leg up in the shadow money primary that has long been central to the presidential process.

“Over the time he's been in town, he's established a network of folks in the downtown community who would consider themselves Team Rubio,” said one longtime GOP fundraiser.

Rubio’s donor rolls read like a who’s who of the business community. In the first three months of the year, the PACs of corporate heavyweights such as Microsoft, American Airlines and Verizon have chipped in a donation.

Donations also came from a political action committee linked to the Koch Brothers and the chief executive of the Palm Restaurant Group.

Despite the show of support from the business community, Rubio is in the middle of the pack when it comes to possible 2016 contenders.

Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who have both indicated White House ambitions, are more popular than Rubio among the conservative grassroots.

COMMENT:  Getting the nomination will be tough for Rubio, who is pro-immigration reform and tends to be seen as an establishment figure.  But of all the potential candidates, he is one of the most attractive on the stump.  He brings in voters.  Even the Republican Party will eventually realize that voters have something to do with elections. 

As readers know, I'm not impressed with Rand Paul, largely because of his archaic foreign-policy views.  Among the hard conservatives, Ted Cruz is vastly more attractive. 

A key for Rubio is whether his fellow Floridian, Jeb Bush, gets into the race.  Some commentators say that Rubio, out of loyalty to his senior, would then be forced out, at least for 2016.  I have no idea.

April 20, 2014       Permalink

 

UKRAINE – THE OUTRAGE GAME – AT 10:16 A.M. ET:  The outrage game is one of the oldest in diplomacy.  An "incident" occurs, and one side expresses "outrage" at it, negating any agreements that have been made, and short-circuiting any attempts at resolution.  The side expressing "outrage" then appeals to its own people for support.  You know the line:  "Your brothers and sisters are suffering."

Hitler was a smash at this.  Now the Russians are playing the same game.  From The Hill:

Russia's ambassador to the U.S. on Sunday decried the overnight attack on a pro-Russian checkpoint in Ukraine that has broken a fragile Easter truce.

“We are outraged by the attack on the checkpoint,” Ambassador Sergei Kislyak said on Fox News Sunday.

At least two people were killed near Slaviansk in Eastern Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Kislyak said the attack suggests Ukraine is not doing enough to implement a deal signed in Geneva aimed at ending tensions with Russia.

“Unless they do so in a faithful way, there will be no solution to this crisis,” he said, adding that only when Ukraine disarms anti-Russia militiamen will pro-Russian groups stand down.

COMMENT:  Real nice.  Turns out the pro-Russian groups in Ukraine don't even recognize the agreement signed in Geneva.  And they're taking their cue from Moscow.  Those groups have stormed and taken over military bases and police stations.

The Russians outplay us at every turn.  And they're better at the outrage game.  Ukraine is a tinderbox.  Putin may show some flexibility for a while, but he'll get what he wants.

April 20,  2014     Permalink

 

 

 

APRIL 19,  2014

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 11:31 P.M. ET: 

CAPITAL OFFENSE – Another great moment in school discipline.  From the New York Post:  "Totally worth it!  A Pennsylvania teenager suspended from school for three days for asking Miss America to prom says he wouldn’t take back the gutsy move.  'I was set on doing it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. It was a cool way to go out with a bang for senior year,' Patrick Favres, 18, of Manchester Township, told The Post on Saturday.  Word spread around Central York High School that Favres planned to pop the question at a school assembly on Thursday , where beauty queen Nina Davuluri spoke about diversity.  School administrators caught wind. Ten minutes before the assembly started, they warned Favres not to do it.
Favres — a popular class clown, who plays the drums — went ahead with his plan, and handed Davuluri a plastic pink flower that made her laugh and students cheer."  And for this he gets a suspension.  Maybe he wasn't included on the "diversity" list.

GREAT MOMENTS IN MATHEMATICS – Chicago authorities are boasting that they're making "progress" in their fight against the city's awful crime problem.  Really?  From Fox:  "...an investigation published by Chicago Magazine claims that the 'progress' is an illusion. The article says that under pressure from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago cops have been reclassifying murders and violent crimes. The result is a nearly unprecedented drop in numbers.  'This is a betrayal of public trust in a sense that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent Garry McCarthy are public servants. They are paid by our tax dollars and we deserve in return truth from them,' said Elizabeth Fenner, Editor in Chief of Chicago Magazine.  McCarthy responded that the article is 'patently false' and he criticized the near total reliance on anonymous sources. 'I'm troubled by it because it hurts our credibility while we're trying to build our credibility,' he said."  I'm shocked, shocked, that anyone would suggest that crime statistics could be rigged.  I don't know the facts, but sources in Chicago say things haven't gotten materially better.

LET'S TALK – Who cares about facts, right?  Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, new Democratic heroine, darling of the left, is about to launch a book tour.  Looks like she'll have company as a result of her claim that she's part-Cherokee.  From Legal Insurrection:  "Someone who wants to meet Warren is Twila Barnes.  Barnes is the Cherokee Genealogist whose groundbreaking genealogical research exposed the falsehood to Warren’s claims. Barnes and her team of Cherokee genealogists traced Warren’s family lines back to the early 1800s and documented that Warren’s family not only was not Cherokee or other Native American, but also that they never lived as such."  In universities these days a lie is called an "alternative narrative."  The alternative narrative is starting to catch up with Elizabeth Warren.

April 19,  2014     Permalink

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MINIMAL RESPONSE – AT 10:52 A.M. ET:  The U.S. is finally making some physical response to the Ukraine crisis, but it is minimal, and should not disturb Comrade Putin too much.  From The New York Times: 

WASHINGTON — The United States plans to carry out small ground-force exercises in Poland and Estonia in an attempt to reassure NATO’s Eastern European members worried about Russia’s military operations in and near Ukraine, Western officials said Friday.

The moves are part of a broader effort by NATO to strengthen the alliance’s air, sea and land presence in Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s new assertiveness in the region.

It is not yet clear what additional troop deployments the United States and other NATO nations might undertake in Eastern Europe after the exercises and to what extent the moves would ease anxieties there.

The land-force exercises the Obama administration is planning are extremely modest.

The exercise in Poland, which is expected to be announced next week, would involve a United States Army company and would last about two weeks, officials said. A company consists of about 150 soldiers.

COMMENT:  Well, at least it's something.  My great concern is that Putin will pull back for a time, under Lenin's doctrine of two steps forward, one step back, then, when we doze off, apply new pressure to Ukraine and eventually control most of that country.  He could then start trying to bring Baltic and East European states back under the Soviet thumb.

April 19, 2014       Permalink

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DISGRACE – AT 10:31 A.M. ET:  From what I've observed, left-wing radicalism is actually increasing on our college campuses.  There is increasing suppression of free speech, increasing influence by those who reject basic democratic tenets, and increasing intolerance toward dissent, especially dissent from the right.

Yale is one of our so-called "elite" universities.  But in recent years it has been the scene of a number of cave-ins to political correctness, which is a polite term for McCarthyism of the left.  And the beat goes on.  From the Yale Daily News: 

After spending the year as a provisional member of Dwight Hall, Choose Life at Yale (CLAY) — Yale’s pro-life student organization — was denied full membership status in Dwight Hall’s Social Justice Network for the upcoming school year.

The approximately 90-member Dwight Hall Cabinet, which comprises member group leaders and executive committee members, gathered Wednesday night to vote on CLAY’s status within Dwight Hall. After deliberation, they denied the organization membership, blocking further access to Dwight Hall’s resources, including funds, cars and printing services.

“We are all obviously disappointed and frustrated with this decision, especially after having gone through this year-long provisional process,” said Christian Hernandez ’15, the president of CLAY’s Spring 2014 board.

Each full member organization of Dwight Hall is allowed one vote during cabinet meetings, according to Shea Jennings ’16, Dwight Hall’s public relations coordinator. Representatives from each organization up for a vote, including CLAY, gave a brief presentation before the cabinet voted, she added.

Jennings said that the body does not debate immediately before a vote, as Dwight Hall assumes each representative comes bearing the carefully considered views of his or her member group. Still, in the weeks leading up to the vote, she added that discussion among member groups about CLAY far exceeded that of any other organization seeking full member status this year.

“Generally what happens is in most member groups the decision is made without as much discussion,” Jennings said. “Because this was a more political decision, there was more discussion.”

The vote was not unanimous and had an unusually high proportion of abstentions, said Dwight Hall co-coordinator Sterling Johnson ’15. Multiple members of Dwight Hall’s executive committee declined to specify the exact number or breakdown of votes cast.

Still, members of CLAY present at the meeting said that members of the executive committee seemed “biased” against their organization’s pro-life stance. Courtney McEachon ’15, CLAY’s president last spring, pointed to co-coordinator Teresa Logue’s ’15 decision to wear a “Yale feminists” T-shirt to the cabinet meeting.

“It was an affront because the person wearing the t-shirt was leading the meeting,” she said. “It seemed like a shameless plug against CLAY.”

COMMENT:  Although surveys show increasing support for pro-life positions among young people, many colleges and universities try to suppress pro-life advocacy.  No matter how you feel about abortion, this is a disgrace.  A university is a place for debate, for the weighing of issues.  The very universities that claim a commitment to so-called "diversity" are often the first to suppress the speech of those who refuse to take trendy or "correct" positions. 

In too many colleges and universities, students are not being trained to live in a democratic, free society.  They are being trained to live in a controlled society, which is exactly what some of their professors dream of. 

One of the great lies of history is that intellectuals love freedom.  Some do and some definitely don't.   The ones who don't are currently dominant.

April 19, 2014      Permalink

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OUTRAGE – AT 10:16 A.M. ET:  We elect leaders to lead.  At least that's what I thought.  The Keystone pipeline, with its obvious benefits for the U.S. and Canada, should clearly be given Washington's approval.  It's a no-brainer.  But I'm afraid the no-brains are in charge, and they're well financed.  From Fox: 

The Obama administration once again has punted on a final decision for the Keystone XL pipeline, announcing ahead of the holiday weekend it is extending a key review period indefinitely -- a move that could push off a determination until after the midterm elections.

They made the announcement on Good Friday, to minimize press coverage. 

Republicans, as well as red-state Democrats who want the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline approved, slammed the administration for the delay. Democrats even threatened to find ways to go around the president to get the project approved.

The working people in the Democratic Party want the pipeline because it will provide thousands of jobs.  But the elites look down on this crowd, and, with their millions and billions, finance environmental extremism.

"It's absolutely ridiculous that this well over five year long process is continuing for an undetermined amount of time," Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said in a statement.

Republican Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry called the decision "shameful," noting that another spring construction season will come and go without the project.

The administration had been in the middle of a 90-day review period for federal agencies assessing an environmental study from the State Department.

But the State Department said Friday it is giving agencies "additional time" to weigh in, in part because of ongoing litigation before the Nebraska Supreme Court which could affect the pipeline's route. If the route changes, officials made clear the State Department reserves the right to conduct another environmental impact study to include more public comments, which could delay the process more.

Further, the department said officials need to go over the "unprecedented number" of new public comments -- roughly 2.5 million of them -- received during a separate comment period that ended in early March.

COMMENT:  It is utterly disgraceful, and a slap in the face to our closest ally, Canada, where the pipeline would begin, bringing Canadian crude to refineries on our Gulf coast.  Of course, Obama doesn't care much about Canada. 

The pipeline is popular, and, as the Canadian ambassador to the U.S. said this week, represents far less environmental risk than carrying oil by train or tanker truck. 

I'm guessing that Keystone will never be built under this administration, so great is the power of the left wing of the Democratic Party.  How low we have sunk, but polls show that maybe, just maybe, the people are catching on.

April 19,  2014     Permalink

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THE ANGEL'S CORNER

Part I of The Angel's Corner
was sent Wednesday night.

Part II will be sent tonight.



 

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