Friday, 3 February 2023

Blinken Trip to China Postponed After Suspected Reconnaissance Balloon Spotted Over U.S. (VIDEO)

This is freaky cold war-level shit. 

At the Wall Street Journal, "Blinken Trip to China Postponed After Suspected Spy Balloon Spotted Over U.S.":

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration said that a suspected Chinese reconnaissance balloon drifting over the continental U.S. violated American sovereignty, and indefinitely postponed a scheduled visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Antony Blinken aimed at easing the acrimony in the nations’ relationship.

Officials pulled the plug on the trip hours before Mr. Blinken was set to depart, underscoring the enormous challenges of finding areas of constructive cooperation, even as both capitals reiterated on Friday their commitment to reviving talks at a later date.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry denied Friday that the craft was for spying, saying it was a civilian balloon designed primarily for meteorological study that had blown off course. “China will continue to maintain communication with the U.S. to properly handle the unexpected situation,” the ministry said in a brief statement.

But the U.S. said it was certain of its assessment of the balloon’s intended purpose, and that conditions therefore didn’t allow for constructive dialogue.

The Biden administration has made competition with China a central tenet of its broader national-security strategy. In doing so, it is bearing down on a range of contentious issues, from Taiwan to technology, while expanding its own military presence in the Asia-Pacific to counter Beijing’s rising influence.

Mr. Blinken on Friday reiterated the U.S. government’s confidence that the craft was a Chinese surveillance balloon, calling it “a clear violation of our sovereignty, a clear violation of international law, and clearly unacceptable.”

“We concluded that conditions were not conducive for a constructive visit at this time,” he said in a joint press conference with South Korea Foreign Minister Park Jin. Referring to the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Blinken said, “The PRC’s decision to take this action on the eve of my planned visit is detrimental to the substantive discussions that we were preparing to have.”

He said that the U.S. was focused on getting the surveillance asset out of U.S. airspace and said it was premature to discuss consequences.

“I can only imagine what the reaction would be in China if they were on the other end,” Mr. Blinken added.

The Pentagon said Friday that the balloon had changed course, was flying east at 60,000 feet over the central U.S. and posed no threat to commercial aviation or to people on the ground. Officials declined to specify its location, but Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall wrote on Twitter that the balloon had been detected over northeastern Kansas. The night before, U.S. officials said the balloon was loitering over Montana, having earlier crossed Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and Canada.

The Pentagon scrambled F-22 jet fighters and at one point considered shooting down the balloon, which one U.S. official described as roughly the size of three school buses, but didn’t over concerns that the debris would pose a risk to people on the ground.

Defense Department spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said that the balloon bore a payload of surveillance equipment and was expected to drift over the U.S. for a few more days. The Pentagon said it was still reviewing options and wouldn’t say whether it would shoot the balloon down before it leaves U.S. airspace.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that President Biden had first been briefed on the presence of the balloon on Tuesday and had asked the military to present options. All options, she added, remained on the table.

Mr. Biden agreed with the decision to postpone Mr. Blinken’s trip to China, she added, calling it a consensus...

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman, Spin Dictators

See, Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman, Spin Dictators : The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century.

Christopher Rufo at New College, Sarasota, Florida (VIDEO)

This man is amazing.

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

Ken Block, Rally Driver and YouTube Stuntman, Dies at 55

Very Sad:

Block's video of him flying and sliding through San Francisco in a 650-horsepower Ford Fiesta has been viewed at least 110 million times. 

WATCH: "Ken Block, Rally Car Racer and Hoonigan Founder, Killed Snowboarding in Utah (VIDEO)."

Sunday, 18 December 2022

Orlando Figes, The Story of Russia

This man is an incredible historian.

Check him out, Orlando Figes, The Story of Russia.

Antisemitism Is Rising at Colleges, and Jewish Students Are Facing Growing Hostility

Yes, and it ain't "right-wing" antisemitism.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Some students report being spat upon and harassed, while some campus groups have forced out those who support Israel":

Adina Pinsker commutes to Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., to study supply-chain management. She is also active in Hillel International, the nation’s largest collegiate Jewish organization.

When she arrives on campus, she takes an indirect route to class and tucks inside her shirt the silver Star of David she wears around her neck. These are precautions, she said, to avoid harassment from students who dislike Israel, the people who support it, or both.

“We have basically been shunned,” said Ms. Pinsker, who said she has been subject to derogatory remarks about her beliefs.

Ms. Pinsker’s actions are emblematic of rising fear among some Jewish college students around the country, who have begun shrouding their religious identity and political beliefs to avoid growing ostracism and harassment, according to interviews with dozens of students.

College campuses have long hosted heated debates about the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But now, students say anti-Jewish antagonism is on the rise: Antisemitic incidents have increased, and a growing number of campus groups bar students who support Israel from speaking or joining.

Hostility, including vandalism, threats and slurs toward Jewish students on college campuses increased more than threefold to 155 incidents in 2021 from 47 in 2014, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a New York-based Jewish civil rights organization which has tracked reports of such behavior since 2014. The group counted 2,717 antisemitic incidents in the U.S. overall last year, up 34% from 2020 and the highest number in its records dating to 1979.

Students at schools including the University of Vermont, Wellesley College and DePaul University have ejected Jewish students who support Israel from clubs and study groups, according to interviews with affected students.

Students at Tufts University, University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles tried to prevent Jewish classmates from serving in student government or attempted to remove them from positions in student government because of their support of Israel, according to students, administrators and campus news reports.

The uptick in incidents and tension on some campuses comes amid a string of recent high-profile controversies that have drawn renewed attention to antisemitism. This month Twitter suspended the account of rapper and entrepreneur Kanye West—who now goes by the name Ye—after he tweeted to his 32 million followers an image of a swastika merged with the Star of David, weeks after he tweeted: “I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”

On campus, students say that stereotypical antisemitic slurs are directed at Jews, but that much of the hostility derives from growing criticism of Israel’s handling of its political and military conflict with Palestinians over land rights. Jewish students say harassment often compounds when criticism of Israel increases.

Most American Jews feel an attachment to Israel, though many are critical of the Israeli government, according to a 2021 survey from the Pew Research Center.

Some of the conflict on campus stems from competing definitions of antisemitism and anti-Zionism and whether they overlap.

Anti-Zionism is a political position distinct from antisemitism, which is a prejudice, said Dylan Saba, an attorney with New York-based Palestine Legal, which works to support the civil and constitutional rights of people in the U.S. who advocate for Palestinians. The two are conflated by supporters of Israel to discredit critics, he said.

Condemning Israel may make some Jewish students feel uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean it is antisemitic, he said. “All we are asking for is equal rights,” he said...


Anti-Zionism is anti-Israel is antisemitic. Full stop. "From the desert to the sea, Palestine will be free" means wiping Israel --- and all its Jewish citizens --- off the face of the map.

It's easy to prove, too. Just walk up to any pro-Palestine student organization --- literally in any college campus in America --- and ask its leaders if they support Hamas. In my experience they will not answer. Not only that, in my case, they'll call the police on you. 

Christmas Shopping

Check out all the sales, at Amazon.

BONUS: Husqvarna 570BTS powerful X-Torq engine, 65.6 cm³ Speed Backpack Blower.

Friday, 9 December 2022

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack, December 7th, 1941 (VIDEO)

Today's an important day, the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 7, 1941. The U.S. declared war on Japan the next day, and Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany declared war on the U.S. three days after that. 

See, from 2016, "Pearl Harbor’s 75th Anniversary: A Look Back at the Attack."

Please take the time and watch the video below, featuring U.S. Air Force Captain Jerry Yellin, who flew the last combat mission of World War II. In later life, he reconciled with the Japanese and at home he worked on various causes to support American veterans of foreign wars, especially those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Yellen passed away in 2017 at the age of 93. Yellen, and men like him, are the last of a dying breed --- patriotic Americans who volunteered for military service to defend their country, and they were just boys, teenagers often of 18, or even younger, as the young one lied about their age because they wanted to serve their nation so badly. 

Yellen's youngest son married the daughter of a Japanese Kamikaze ("divine wind") pilot. The joining of family was a major element of healing for Captain Yellen and serves as an example of American honor and magnanimity in the wake of the evil of man's inhumanity to fellow man.

Think hard about the men (and women) of this generation, sometimes called the "Greatest Generation." Would you sign up for military service at 18-years-old, still just a babe in the woods, barely out of high school, prepared to fight and die for your country --- with few if any reservations whatsoever?  The fact is, millions of Americans today --- in particular far-left Democrats (who often despise American and its history) --- would not. (Scroll down to "WHAT WOULD AMERICANS DO?")

I can't help but think the decline of patriotism among young people, and their unwillingness to sacrifice for one's country, foretells bad things for America in the future, and the not too distant future at that. Liberty is not free, and there's nothing to guarantee its survival, unless those who enjoy its blessings will stand up --- in time of need --- for truth, justice, and the American way of good in the world. 

Again, think hard. What would you do if faced with virtually the same circumstances, the specter of world totalitarianism threatening peace and freedom in the world? 

Here, below, Captain Yellen tells his story, during a visit to Iwo Jima, in 2010. 

Have a great day.