• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

“So here we go again with the Biden ATF’s Newspeak”.

February 15, 2023

Biden and His Rogue ATF Better Brace for the Backlash

By Jessica Geraghty at American Thinker:

During his recent State of the Union address, President Biden demonized AR-15s as “assault weapons” even though they aren’t.

That’s obvious enough for anyone with knowledge of firearms.

With AR-15s, only one cartridge is expended each time the trigger is pressed, and these rifles are used for lawful purposes every day, with more than 24.4 million in circulation today. Biden failed to mention that more than half of the country opposes his proposed ban on millions of firearms, as the National Shooting Sports Foundation recently reported.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg for the Biden’s war on the Second Amendment.

With the exception of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (which didn’t ban or place restrictions on specific types of firearms, but did dump hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into mental health programs), Biden’s administration hasn’t made much headway with gun control through Congress. So the commander in chief and his stewards decided to weaponize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) instead.

Start with the ATF’s crackdown on firearms parts and serial numbers.

Biden’s ATF appears to be the latest government agency to reenact George Orwell’s 1984 with their language alterations. Case in point is their sudden reclassification firearms parts as ‘firearms.’ They have now changed the definition of “firearm” to “include unfinished pistols that would only require a small amount of time and effort to complete.” They are also punishing gun manufacturers that sell firearms without serial numbers.

Over the past year, we have seen the CDC change the definition of vaccine, Merriam Webster change the definition of “anti-vaxxer” and then the White House redefined the term “economic recession.”

Now this mirroring of 1984’s Newspeak is impacting the firearms industry and citizens’ right to bear arms.

Under the ATF’s new rules, a pistol frame that has no associated jig and doesn’t even operate as a firearm, is now defined as a firearm and requires serial numbers and background checks, simply because such parts can be used in a crime.

From an open letter from the ATF to federal firearms licensees dated December 27:

“[P]artially complete Polymer80, Lone Wolf, and similar striker-fired semiautomatic pistol frames, including, but not limited to, those sold within parts kits, have reached a stage of manufacture where they ‘may readily be completed, assembled, restored, or otherwise converted’ to a functional frame,” the letter reads. “Therefore, even without any associated templates, jigs, molds, equipment, tools, instructions, guides, or marketing materials, these partially complete pistol frames are ‘frames’ and also ‘firearms’ as defined in the [Gun Control Act] and its implementing regulations.”

I discussed these new developments with Philip Smith, founder and president of National African American Gun Association (NAAGA).

He says that in theory, he understands the concept of concern over criminals having access to guns. But, Smith says, “when you have people that are just building a gun for their own leisure and their own home and they’re not selling that gun, I really do not see the harm in that, and I’m not trying to be dismissive or flippant.” 

In the end, he says these regulations interfere with American liberty and not only endanger law-abiding citizens, but remove their favorite pastimes and passions as well. Smith likens individuals who build firearms as a hobby to someone that enjoys building and breaking down cars. “And I just think that takes away from the spirit of this country that I know, where people are allowed to enjoy the merits of being an American. And I’m not trying to be super patriotic but I am trying to be realistic that folks like building guns at home, a lot of them. So that’s just my perspective.”

There’s more: The ATF has also redefined “rifle” in order to place it under new pistol brace regulations.

As many suspected, the crusade to “close the ghost gun loophole” by requiring serial numbers was only the beginning of this power grab by Biden’s ATF.

Now, they have gone as far as to criminalize handicapped gun owners. In the latest set of shenanigans from this new trend of bypassing Congress to create laws, the ATF has created a rule that now requires pistol brace owners to register their pistols as “short barrel rifles” (SBRs) with the federal government. If these legal gun owners fail to comply, they could spend up to 10 years in jail and face a fine of up to $10,000.

So here we go again with the Biden ATF’s Newspeak.

Once again changing language as they redefine “rifle” to be any weapon that is “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.”

The ATF is giving gun owners 120 days to register their gun as a short barrel rifle, and they will also be slapped with a $200 tax. Aside from registering their gun as an SBR, the only other option for pistol brace owners will be to dismantle the firearm, surrender it to authorities, remove the brace or convert the gun with a different barrel. If the brace is removed, gun owners will also have to make sure the attachment is destroyed, making it unable to be reinstalled, or else they will be in violation of the ATF’s rule.

Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb told the Daily Caller News Foundation that it’s Congress that has the authority to define what a firearm is, not the ATF. The NRA says that the ATF has no authority to regulate braces separate from a firearm.

I asked Mark Oliva, Director of Public Affairs at National Shooting Sports Foundation, his thoughts on this latest move to regulate pistol braces.

Incidentally, the ATF had a booth at Shot Show, which is the NSSF-sponsored trade show for the firearms industry that just took place in January.

“There are concerns that some of these regulations have no foundation in law, it is up to Congress to decide what is law, and what is especially criminal law,” says Oliva.

“So when we talk about the definition of firearms and punishments that can go with it for illegal possession and illegal manufacturing for firearms, that is up to Congress.”

Oliva said that since the ATF is the industry’s regulating body, the NSSF tries to maintain a professional relationship with them and work with them in whatever capacity possible while also staying within the confines of the law. He says that the ATF’s booth tends to be one of the busiest at Shot Show, and he thinks it’s important the retailers, manufacturers, dealers and others from the gun industry have the opportunity to ask the ATF any questions they have. But regarding concerns over whether these new ATF regulations are unconstitutional, he likens this situation to the Supreme Court decision in June which restricted the EPA’s authority to mandate carbon emissions reductions:

“The US Supreme Court said that the EPA was promulgating their own rules with force of law that had no foundation in law, they had to go back to Congress to do that so there are concerns, we expect there to be some challenges,” says Oliva.

“In the meantime we’re trying to make sure that we’re doing our best to ensure that our manufacturers, our retailers and dealers can stay within the confines of the law, make sure they’re not running afoul of that, and [that these organizations are] able to stay in business.”

Now let’s look at the pistol brace backlash.

Many fear that these ATF regulations would leave the door wide open for the Biden administration’s previously-expressed desire to create a national firearms registry and confiscate weapons. This is why patriotic lawmakers like Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz brought the backlash in a heartbeat.

Senate Republicans Kennedy and Roger Marshall of Kansas immediately got to work with a Congressional Review Act they plan to introduce, which would render the ATF pistol brace rule null and void if it passes with a simple majority.

Marshall stated:

“The Biden administration’s war on every American’s fundamental right to bear arms is relentless and an offense to our founders. Congress must use every tool at its disposal to stop the Biden ATF from enacting this unconstitutional gun grab and creating its newly proposed anti-2nd Amendment gun registry. The Congressional Review Act is one of those important tools, and I’m pleased to co-lead this effort with Senator Kennedy.”

A corresponding Congressional Review Act was drawn up by the House as well, spearheaded by Republican Rep Andrew Clyde of Georgia.

Another member of the House, Republican Dan Crenshaw from Texas, is reintroducing the ATF Accountability Act with bipartisan support, thanks to the bill’s co-sponsor, Democrat Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar. This legislation would create a formal procedure for firearms dealers, importers and manufacturers to appeal ATF regulations, which the ATF must respond to within 30 days of the appeal. Then the attorney general is required to respond to these inquiries within 90 days, and business owners appealing ATF regulations will also have the opportunity to have an administrative law judge hear their appeal. 

Rep. Gaetz wants to take this all a step further and completely abolish the ATF. A few weeks ago, Gaetz introduced H.R.374, the “Abolish the ATF Act.”

The ATF has claimed that the rule regarding pistol braces doesn’t apply to the stabilizing braces used by disabled gun owners. Instead, they claim these new regulations apply to the pistol braces that are used for shouldering the weapon as a rifle.

But Gaetz told Fox News Digital that “the people at the ATF making these rules fundamentally don’t understand firearms.”

“I think they are under the flawed conception that a stabilizing brace increases the lethality or danger of a pistol,” says Gaetz. “It seems the ATF is on a snipe hunt for regulatory action that virtue signals to the anti-gun left, but that has no real practical safety impact on Americans.”

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty estimates there are over 40 million of these braces in the United States. And a lawsuit has been filed against the ATF on behalf of three military veterans who own these stabilizing braces. One of them is Darren Britto, a marine combat veteran and manager of training at Silverback Independent, LLC, Darren Britto. After suffering a rotator cuff injury, Britto had his pistol brace custom made.

“By having the brace I can affix it to my forearm and be able to have better control of the fire arm,” says Britto.

And to add to what is mentioned above, the NRA and 25 states have just joined forces to file a lawsuit against the Biden administration to stop the unconstitutional pistol brace rule. One thing is clear: Biden’s ATF has certainly entered new territory. And in coming weeks and months the firearms industry, members of Congress and other concerned citizens and businesses are likely to turn this pistol brace backlash into a full-on riptide.

Jessica Geraghty is an established freelance writer and blogger who has over 15 years of experience writing for businesses, political candidates and news publications. Most recently, topics she has written about include the 2020 election, informed consent, firearms and real estate.

“Why is affirmative action in jeopardy?”

After Affirmative Action


By Richard Samuelson at RealClearPolitics:

February 15, 2023

The betting odds are that the Supreme Court will soon rule against affirmative action. It is worth asking how we got here, and what we should do about it.

Why is affirmative action in jeopardy? The main reason, ironically, might be the increasing ethnic diversity of the United States. In 1960, the U.S. was roughly 88% white and 12% black. The census category “Hispanic” did not yet exist. Similarly, the U.S. did not have a separate “Asian” category for the less than one million Americans from various nations in Asia, though the 1960 census had separate boxes for some, but not all, Asian countries. Today the U.S. is 61% white and dropping. Among American children, the white/nonwhite population is rapidly approaching 50-50.

This demographic change is making our post-Jim Crow civil rights enforcement scheme unworkable. Passage and enforcement of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was an effort to end the tyranny of Jim Crow. Technically, the law made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, skin color, religion, sex, and national origin in most public and private domains, such as voter registration, employment, and public accommodations. But the interpretation of the law rapidly transformed from prohibiting categories of action to creating “protected classes” of people, to the point where it essentially pits white men – and now, with the introduction of sexual orientation as a protected class, specifically straight white men – against everyone else. Other than that shrinking group, all others are supposed to be “protected” from discrimination in our DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) regime.

Thanks in part to our demographic revolution, this approach is increasingly rife with contradictions. The lawsuit against affirmative action at elite private and public institutions is on the docket because its plaintiffs are Asian Americans, a protected class. From the perspective of elite university admissions offices, Asian students overperform and thus make it hard to admit the number of non-Asian, nonwhite applicants the schools would like to admit, without affirmatively favoring their candidacy on the basis of their protected status. Kenny Xu, writing in the Spectator, notes that “an Asian American student must score 450 points higher on the SAT to have the same chance of admission as a black student with the [otherwise] same qualifications.” In other words, affirmative action pits protected classes against each other.

If the Supreme Court cuts the Gordian Knot and rules affirmative action illegal under the Civil Rights Act, and/or declares that it is unconstitutional, what should be the next step? Even without affirmative action, our administrative bureaucracies, dedicated to the principle of equality of outcome, will work mightily to sustain the division between protected classes of people and others. They will, after the fashion of previous supporters of racialized schools, practice massive resistance. They, like their predecessors, need to be fought.

One way to fight may be to rework the government’s racial identification scheme. At the heart of our diversity enforcement one finds America’s census categories. One cannot apply to a college, or for a job, a promotion, a loan, or much else without being asked to check off optional demographic boxes. That fosters what one might call a protected class consciousness, and sows the seeds for conflict between what the bureaucrats and activists now call BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and anyone else. According to the logic of our civil rights regime, all nonwhite people, bound together under their oppressed status, share a fundamentally common interest.

The problem here is that by forcing all “people of color” into the same category, even after rapid demographic change fed by six decades of large-scale immigration, our legal regime points us toward civil war.

Voltaire once wrote that “If one religion only were allowed in England, the Government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another’s throats; but as there are such a multitude, they all live happy and in peace.” James Madison was fond of that statement, which informed his famous argument for an extended republic in Federalist10. “Extend the sphere,” Madison wrote, “and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens.”

Though we have extended the sphere with regard to protected classes, our enforcement bureaucrats act like it’s still 1964, with white men dominating the population and economy while everyone else scrambles for scraps. The binary enforcement guidelines reward people for identifying themselves among aggrieved, protected classes, ensuring that the American polity will remain divided and become more so as groups compete for the allocation of resources.

One way to counter this tendency is to extend the identity revolution further. If identity boxes must exist, why not make them more specific, allowing Americans to list their countries of origin, or even racial or ethnic identities beyond that. After all, it is not reasonable to put the descendent of indigenous people in, say, Bolivia, with a descendant of the (still largely Spanish more than African or indigenous) Mexican elite in the same box. And that puts aside the absurd idea of calling the descendant of a Nazi war criminal who fled to Argentina “Hispanic.”

The BIPOC identity is like the mirror image of the traditional racist perspective that all nonwhite people are alike. As such, it’s worth attacking on a moral basis. And extending the identity sphere would make it difficult for our cultural imperialists to sustain their efforts to impose the BIPOC identity on roughly half of the rising generation of Americans, and would, I suspect, point us away from cultural civil war by fostering assimilation after the fashion of previous generations of immigrants.

Allowing everyone to self-identify in the most specific way or ways they wish would explode the existing system of categorization, and could potentially disrupt and destabilize our racial caste system, as the number of protected classes proliferates beyond control.

Allowing for more genuine identity categories would point us toward civic peace, foster civil friendship among Americans of all background, and block the efforts of elites and activists to divide us to suit their own ambitions.

Richard Samuelson is an associate professor of history at California State University, San Bernardino.

“Sick of the news of the Biden Era”

 FEBRUARY 15, 2023 BY SCOTT JOHNSON at PowerLine:


We will resume our regular programming momentarily. Sick of the news of the Biden Era, I want to write a few posts on literary matters in the spirit of Robert Frost’s “Choose Something Like a Star.” Frost’s poem is complicated, yet his conclusion is at least simple on the surface. You know the spirit:

So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

It doesn’t have to be a star, just “something like a star.”

Last week in “Rolling down the river” I settled briefly on Mark Twain. I now turn briefly to William Faulkner. In my post on Huckleberry Finn I originally omitted anything by Faulkner from my list of the great American novels. Ladies and gentlemen, this was an oversight on my part. Faulkner wrote four in a row: The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Light In August (1932), and Absalom, Absalom (1936).

Each is challenging in its own way. Deeply influenced by his reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Faulkner drew on the technique of stream of consciousness, which is where we come in at the opening of The Sound and the Fury: “Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. They were coming toward where the flag was and I went along the fence.” That is the mentally challenged Benjy Compson’s description of men playing golf.

After offering my list of the great American novels last week I pulled down my copy of Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March to think about its (unjust) omission from my list. In the third paragraph of the novel Augie writes of his mother: “She didn’t have much to teach, poor woman. My brothers and I loved her. I speak for them both; for the elder it is safe enough; for the younger one, Georgie, I have to answer — he was born an idiot — but I’m in no need to guess, for he had a song he sang as he ran drag-footed with his stiff idiot’s trot, up and down along the curl-wired fence in the backyard…” I had never noticed Bellow’s own tribute to Faulkner at the opening of Augie March. There it is.

Flags in the Dust is the reconstructed version of the heavily edited Sartoris (1929), Faulkner’s first novel of Yoknapatawpha County. Immediately followed by The Sound and The FuryFlags In the Dust is conventional. It is not in the least difficult and it is not bad. As I read it I was amazed how Faulkner seems clearly to have foreseen the series of classic novels he intended to write from the beginning in Flags in the Dust, though in my view Flags in the Dust only sets the stage for the classic novels to come.

Faulkner undoubtedly awaits cancelation when the illiterate left get around to him, if he hasn’t been canceled already. Yet his sardonic take on the South is present even in Flags in the Dust. Aunt Jenny — Virginia Sartoris Du Pre — is the family historian who tells the tales of her Confederate siblings to succeeding generations. Her brother Bayard Sartoris was killed in 1862 by a Union Army cook when he foolishly tried to “capture” some anchovies from the army mess. Early in the novel Faulkner writes of Aunt Jenny:

It was she who told them [i.e., the Sartoris family] of the manner of Bayard Sartoris’ death prior to the second battle of Manassas. She had told the story many times since (at eighty she still told it, on occasions usually inopportune) and as she grew older the tale itself grew richer and richer, taking on a mellow splendor like wine, until what had been a hare-brained prank of two heedless and reckless boys wild with their own youth, was become a gallant and finely tragical focal-point to which the history of the race had been raised from out the old miasmic swamps of spiritual sloth by two angels valiantly fallen and strayed, altering the course of human events and purging the souls of men.

That is funny all by itself, but the tale of the anchovies is a stand-in for the not so funny Lost Cause school of Confederate mythology. Stream of consciousness appears in only a few sentences of the novel. I loved the eruptions — I noted them on pages 187 and 265 — but they are rare. Readers seeking an accessible point of entry to Faulkner’s great novels will find Flags In the Dust a good place to jump in.

NOTE: I want to remedy another omission. I should have noted that my appreciation of Flags In the Dust derives entirely from the St. John’s Summer Classics course on it with Messrs. Frank Pagano and James Carey.

“Five of the cars were carrying vinyl chloride….”

As officials investigate the recent derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in eastern Ohio, concerns about the disaster’s effects on human health and the environment are growing, and experts warned that understanding the causes and consequences could require a more comprehensive investigation than what they have seen so far.

“There’s just a lot of unknowns,” said Donald S. Holmstrom, a former director of the Western Regional Office of the United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, the federal agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents.

The derailment and chemical spill in the town of East Palestine, Ohio, had all the appearances of a nightmare. After the train ran off the tracks on Feb. 3, starting a huge fire, the authorities decided to intentionally burn the chemical cargo in some of the cars rather than risk an explosion or other uncontrolled disaster.

Five of the cars were carrying vinyl chloride, a colorless gas used in making plastic products that can cause dizziness, headaches and drowsiness when inhaled in the short term and a rare form of liver cancer after chronic exposure.

“The volume is just stupendous,” said Gerald Poje, an expert in environmental health and former member of the Chemical Safety Board. “It just is horrific to think about how much was released and how much was purposefully burned.”

The National Transportation Safety Board said its investigation into the causes of the derailment was continuing. The Environmental Protection Agency said it was monitoring the air in buildings and the surrounding area and had not detected any harmful gases in homes so far. Officials said last week that evacuated residents could safely return home.

Mr. Holmstrom managed the Chemical Safety Board’s investigation into the 2010 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which caused the worst offshore spill in American history. He said the Ohio derailment was significant enough that it could merit a presidential commission along the lines of the one that was created after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Mr. Holmstrom said such a commission would help to address the many questions about the responsibilities of government agencies and the rail operator, Norfolk Southern, as well as the effects on the community and the environment.

With chemical spills, the threats to human health can linger long after the emergency has been dealt with, said Erik D. Olson, the senior strategic director for health and food at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit focused on public health and environment.

“Some of the authorities are telling people that when they return, they should open their windows and wipe down all their surfaces,” Mr. Olson said. “Well, obviously, that means they know that there’s some contamination that remains in the area.”

Particles from a chemical plume can settle on the ground and seep into wells and other drinking water sources. Contaminants in groundwater can vaporize and migrate through cracks into the soil and into basements and homes. “The long-term effects are what often get overlooked,” Mr. Olson said.

“We’re taking this local emergency very seriously and we’ll continue to do everything in our power to protect the community,” Michael S. Regan, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said on Tuesday. “We stand ready to contribute in any way we can.”

One issue with toxic chemical releases is that the hazards are posed not just by the individual chemicals involved, Dr. Poje said. Chemical compounds can interact with one another in complex ways and persist after burning.

“There could be hundreds of different breakdown products that still remain, for which we have often very poor toxicological profiles,” Dr. Poje said. “We’re oftentimes in this unknown place.”

So far, the derailment’s harm to wildlife has been more immediately apparent than the effects on humans, though extensive questions remain there, too. The spill affected about seven and a half miles of stream, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and killed an estimated 3,500 fish as of Feb. 8, mostly small suckers, minnows, darters and sculpin. Residents have reported dead or sickened chickens and other animals.

Ecologically, one concern is for hellbenders, a prehistoric-looking aquatic salamander that can reach two feet long and is endangered in Ohio. Fighting drastic population declines, scientists, wildlife officials and other partners have been collecting hellbender eggs in the wild, rearing them in captivity and reintroducing them to the wild at about age three, when they are thought to have a better chance at survival.

One site, where about 250 hellbenders have been released since 2014, is between areas where dead fish have been found since the derailment, said Gregory Lipps, a herpetologist at the Ohio State University who leads the effort.

“So many people have poured so much time and energy into this,” said Mr. Lipps. “Our release site that’s been impacted is in state forest and nature preserve. You look around and think, ‘Boy, this is a nice protected area,’ but you can’t control what comes down the stream, can you?”

Mr. Lipps is hopeful that the torpor-like state that hellbenders are thought to enter during winter will help them survive. “Maybe a short-term exposure to pollutants is not going to be the end of the world,” Mr. Lipps said. “I don’t know.”

The post Health and Environmental Fears Remain After Ohio Derailment and Inferno appeared first on New York Times.

Meet Our America’s Chief Sleaze!

I Don’t Know What’s Going On With These UFOs, But I Know We Won’t Get The Truth

BY: JORDAN BOYD at the Federalist:

FEBRUARY 15, 2023

antony Blinken, Joe Biden, Lloyd Austin

Even if the Pentagon and Biden administration release information about these objects, will Americans believe it?

Author Jordan Boyd profile


Mere days after an F-22 fighter jet downed a Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean, three unidentified flying objects were shot down over Alaska, Canada, and Michigan in just three days. The Biden administration pledged from day one to “bring transparency and truth back to government” but is eerily silent about what the objects were and why they were shot down.

Not only has President Joe Biden gone days without saying anything about the downed objects, but the Pentagon also refused to give clear answers to reporters or the public about the unusual activity in the sky.

U.S. officials say they don’t know what the objects, which clock in at the size of a small car, are. They claim they don’t know what the objects are capable of nor do they know who sent them. They don’t even know how to hit some of them with a $400,000 missile on the first try.

Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of both U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), went so far as to say the U.S. hasn’t “ruled out anything” including an extraterrestrial threat, a claim the White House rejected on Monday.

That’s a bizarre statement that certainly does not instill confidence in Americans that our financially bloated Department of Defense can properly assess and neutralize threats to U.S. national security.

That also means any reassurance from the Pentagon that “these objects don’t present a military threat to anyone on the ground,” as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday, is pure speculation. As is the White House’s claim that these “could just be balloons tied to some commercial or benign purpose.”

If the Pentagon does actually know what’s going on, then the DOD is clearly stonewalling any attempts to inform the public.

Democrats, Republicans, and corporate media alike are frustrated with the Biden administration’s lack of communication. Even after a classified briefing about the objects Tuesday, some senators say the Pentagon is deliberately keeping information from Americans.

“99% of what was discussed in that room today can be made public without compromising security in this country,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Fox News.

If that’s the case, why aren’t Americans getting answers?

Rewind One Week

If the way the Biden administration handled the Chinese spy balloon at the beginning of the month means anything, we won’t get clear answers about these mysterious aircraft for a while — if at all.

It was a day after a big white object was spotted in Montana that reports indicated the Pentagon had “been monitoring a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been hovering over the northern U.S. for the past few days.” If the balloon hadn’t been spotted by the public, there’s a good chance the DOD would not have told Americans about it.

Through The New York Times, an anonymous “official” at the Pentagon once again claimed without evidence that “the balloon did not pose a military or physical threat” to Americans.

When the Defense Department finally announced it downed the balloon over the Atlantic Ocean, an unnamed official at the DOD allegedly told reporters at an off-camera press briefing on Feb. 4 that Chinese balloons like this one “transited the continental United States briefly at least three times during the prior administration.” This unsourced claim spread like wildfire through the corporate media even though multiple Trump-era officials went on the record to deny it.

It wasn’t until two days after the Pentagon’s initial accusation that VanHerck “clarified” that“we did not detect those threats” at the time Trump was in office. So the DOD knew Trump couldn’t be blamed for failing to shoot balloons he was never informed about but let lies about the former administration spread among the public without consequence or pushback.

A Pentagon that prioritizes its political agenda ahead of the security of the American people it is sworn to protect clearly doesn’t have its priorities straight. Why should we believe anything they say about the series of UFOs?

Even if the Pentagon finally decides to release information about these last three objects, who sent them, and why they were hovering over North America, will Americans even believe it? Trust in the U.S. military is falling and currently sits under 50 percent. It has broken the trust of Americans, and that won’t be helped by further obscuring information.

I’m not going to pretend to know what’s going on with the downed UFOs. What I do know is the Pentagon and the Biden administration both have long histories of lying to Americans to protect their political agendas.

“In 1991, taking advantage of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Ukraine declared independence”.

February 14, 2023

Since When did Ukrainians Become Entitled to the State they Got?

By Alexander G. Markovsky at American Thinker:

This is the history of the transformation of a tiny area occupied by Zaporozhian Cossacks into the largest country in Europe after Russia, larger than France or Germany. How did Ukraine pull off an expansion of this magnitude without a single conquest?

The starting point of the history of Ukraine began is 1654 when Bohdan Khmelnitsky, a Hetman of the Zaporozhian Host, leader of Cossacks living beyond the Dnieper Rapids, petitioned Russian czar Alexey to accept the Zaporozhian Host into Russia. The land inhabited by the Cossacks (the orange area on the map) was part of what Russians called the Wild Fields, or “u kraine,” which means in Russian “at the edge.” The term originated in the 12th century to describe lands populated by half-savage tribes on the outskirts of Russia.

Khmelnitsky was desperate to save his Cossacks from annihilation by the Poles. Initially, Alexey turned down the request. But eventually, the request was granted, and the Treaty of Pereyaslav was signed. According to the treaty, the territory was to be absorbed into Russia and named Malorossiya or Little Russia, administered by the Hetmanate with limited suzerainty.

During the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-1796), the Russian Empire underwent a massive expansion, and new territories were added to Malorossiya, including the city of Kiev, where the land of the Rus began in the 8th century (yellow and orange areas on the map). In 1764, as Malorossiya had grown in size, Catherine, for administrative reasons, abolished the Hetmanate and created the Malorossian Governorate.

In the same year, the Russian Empire conquered the Crimean Khanate and founded a new province, Novorossiya or New Russia (the blue area on the map). In a relatively short time, Russia turned the region from an undeveloped steppe with rare pastures into a powerful agricultural and later an industrial region that became the backbone of the economy of the first Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union. 

In 1783, Catherine the Great wrested Crimea from the Ottoman Empire in a bloody war, securing access to the Black Sea and completing Peter the Great’s vision of making the Russian Empire the dominant European power.

In 1919, two years after the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin became the architect of Ukraine, combining Novorossiya and Malorossiya into the new Socialist State of Ukraine (the yellow, blue, and orange areas on the map).  In 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was formed, and the Socialist State of Ukraine was inaugurated as the Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic, hereafter Ukraine, with the capital Kharkov. Novorossiya was renamed Eastern Ukraine, and the term Malorossiya was no longer in use. In 1934, the capital of the new republic was moved to Kiev.

Between 1939 and 1940 as a result of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, Stalin annexed the eastern territories, including the Polish city of Lvov and Northern Bukovina from Romania. In 1945, he annexed Hungarian Carpathian Ruthenia, nowadays Zakarpattia. All those territories were merged with Ukraine and became known as Western Ukraine (the green area on the map).

By 1950, Ukraine’s territory exceeded that of any country in Europe other than Russia. But the territorial handouts to Ukraine did not end there. In 1954, Nikita Khrushchev, transferred Crimea from the Russian Federation to Ukraine. The status change was mainly symbolic since the transfer was within the Soviet Union, governed by a single set of laws, common defense, and total Moscow control. No one in the Kremlin could foresee that it would manifest as an unimaginable strategic error a few decades later.

The historical record demonstrates that contemporary Ukraine emerged from a mosaic of lands assembled by Russian conquests and paid for with Russian blood and treasure. Except for a small area of the Zaporozhian Host (the red area on the map), Ukraine has no historical connection to the land it occupies and is the product of Russian geopolitical engineering.

The foregoing is the reason Henry Kissinger wrote, “The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country.”

If Americans had been more aware of Ukrainian history, they would have raised reasonable doubts about the validity of Ukraine’s territorial aspirations. Konrad Adenauer once said, “History is the sum total of things that could be avoided.” It couldn’t be better said about Ukraine; if Czar Alexey in 1654 had not protected the Zaporozhian Host’s Cossacks, the precursors of Ukrainians, from annihilation, we would never have heard about Ukraine.

In 1991, taking advantage of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Ukraine declared independence. So when the initial jubilation and smoke of promises of democracy and prosperity cleared, Ukrainians who had never governed themselves faced the gloomy reality of governing. Trying to make a clean break from Russia, Ukraine failed economically and politically.

The Ukrainian economy had been integrated into the Soviet Union’s economy. It produced a variety of goods and services, and though the products were outdated by Western standards, they were reliable and cheap. Russia was the natural market for Ukraine. However, Ukraine decided to join the EU. But the EU was not interested and Ukraine lost the Russian market. As a result, the economy contracted to the point that Ukraine was not able to shape its future by itself. Ukraine landed in the unfortunate position of needing financial assistance from the USA and Western Europe to survive.

To impress donors, the Ukrainian leaders have tried to convince the world that they are on a mission to protect democracy. Regrettably, their commitment to democracy was limited to the declaration of principles. Politically immature and inexperienced, the Ukrainian people have consistently elected leaders who recognize the importance of democracy primarily as means for achieving their enrichment. Indeed, endemic corruption became a fundamental necessity, a precondition for functioning governance. Ukraine’s most distinguishing features are thefts of economic aid and natural resources.

The history, geography, the state of the economy, and the nature of domestic institutions predetermine a country’s behavior internationally. Ukraine, lacking strategic vision and experience in geopolitics, did not grasp the underlying reality when she pushed for NATO participation, ostensibly for security reasons. Whatever the motivation, she failed to realize that the issue of war and peace is the product of mutual security — the security of one doesn’t produce insecurity for other. Ukraine’s drive to join NATO ignored thirty years of Russia’s warnings that NATO’s eastward expansion poses an existential threat to Russia.

Even the New York Times, no friend of Putin, in its January 9, 2022 editorial, just before the invasion, challenged the wisdom of Ukraine joining NATO and admitted that “Mr. Putin’s concerns cannot be entirely dismissed.  Were Ukraine to join NATO, the alliance would then have a 1,200-mile land border with Russia, a situation no major power would abide, no matter how loudly the Atlantic alliance claims to be purely defensive.”

Whether political naiveté, recklessness, incessant appetite for foreign aid, or all of the above, Ukraine’s tenacious insistence on NATO membership, even in the face of a looming Russian invasion, instigated a war that could easily be avoided.

It was a blunder of historic magnitude.

And, as this failed state, with the borders drawn by the Soviet Union, rotten with incompetence and corruption, collapses in blood and destruction, the eerie premonition is that Ukraine will remain a wasteland for generations.

So, if Ukrainians deserve a state, they may indeed deserve the state they got.

Alexander G. Markovsky is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a conservative think tank that examines national security, energy, risk analysis, and other public policy issues. He is the author of “Anatomy of a Bolshevik” and “Liberal Bolshevism: 

Note from Glenn. I taught Russian, the language, for fifteen years here in Minneapolis at the high school level from 1960 to the 1970s. The city took advantage of a national event established by Dwight Eisenhower when he was President. Things Russian following the 1920s had been become dangerous throughout the world including our USA when its Soviet fascism had become the worlds’ greatest terror from the 1920s to the 1970s. Eisenhower was determined to advance teaching Russian, the language, to overcome the angst sold throughout our American colleges by Wisconsin’s GOP Senator Joe McCarthy in the late 1940s. I was teaching Russian in the early 1960s because the Soviets needed money to keep up threatening our USA with its Communism.

Because of World War II, I wanted to help my country, if needed, by learning Russian, the Soviet’s control of language. I loved the learning of Russian, the language and began teaching it in the 1960s at the University of Minnesota HIGH SCHOOL. Based upon that agreement between Eisenhower when he was President and the Soviets when they needed their money, didn’t arrive to our America until the 1970s. It was then the Eisenhower grant from the Soviets was finally paid from Moscow to fulfill its agreement so it could receive more American dollars when needed.

Those dollars took me among twenty five other Russian teachers in American High Schools to the University of Indiana in the early Summer around 1970 where we practiced speaking the language entirely to be better prepared for our visits in European USSR for five weeks later in the season.

I was able to spend nearly all of my time in the USSR walking the streets late that summer by myself….in Leningrad, Kiev, Moscow, Rostov, and at the Black Sea. There were times when along the street I was followed….but there was no trouble. I could and did pick my choices with whom I’d speak in public. I bought and wore the universal sloppy looking black Soviet Russian summer trousers and white shirts so no one would know I was foreign. I met folks who in parks were more able to talk with me than in buildings. Usually, few Soviet citizens didn’t talk much in public during the 1970s.

It turned out I was speaking the beautiful old fashioned tsarist Russian somewhat of the old style which, of course had disappeared from the Soviet Union. Many of my “Russian” teachers came from China and Manchuria when the Communists took over in the late 1940s which gave me a winsome accent whenever I was with Soviet Russians. Most Russians in Manchuria were aristocrats who fled Russia when the Communists took over.

That gangster, Mao Tse Tung, was a Communist killer of the first degree in human life as long as he lived. Today’s Red China prison was his gift to today’s modern evil world.