World & Nation
China watching U.S. response on Ukraine closely, with Taiwan in mind
Biden critics say failure to deter Russia will send a message to Beijing
China is watching closely as the U.S. responds to the escalating tensions in eastern Europe, military experts and lawmakers say.
President Biden has, for weeks, mobilized the full force of his administration and rallied allies in a bid to cool tensions spurred by Russia’s troop buildup of more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine. But with Russia still refusing to rule out military action against Kyiv, some in Washington are raising fears that a weak U.S. and Western response could embolden the Chinese Communist Party and accelerate the long-simmering standoff over Taiwan.
Texas Rep. Michael T. McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said last week he already fears China has already become emboldened by the events in Ukraine. He expressed growing concerns that China could make a move for Taiwan soon after the Winter Olympics conclude in Beijing next month.
The chaotic U.S. pullout from Afghanistan last summer and Russia’s increasingly menacing stand toward Ukraine and NATO underscore a foreign policy truth — that actions positive and negative affect international perceptions of power and deterrence.
China Gives U.S. Three Urgent Demands
China gave the United States a list of three priorities on Thursday, as its top diplomat bemoaned the lack of progress in bilateral relations despite the arrival of a new president inside the White House.
In his call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Joe Biden administration had sent more positive signals than those received under Donald Trump, but that he was unhappy about "new shocks" that continued to emerge in the already delicate U.S.-China relationship.
Wang said President Biden responded positively to Xi Jinping's "three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation" when China's leader proposed the guidelines during their high-level summit last November. Quoting Biden, the Chinese diplomat said the U.S. "does not seek a 'new Cold War,' does not seek to change China's system, does not seek to strengthen its alliances in order to oppose China, does not support 'Taiwan independence,' and does not intend on conflict and confrontation with China."
Russia Sees Some Room for Dialogue After US Security Response
Russia said on Thursday the United States had shown it was not willing to address Moscow's main security concerns, set out during their standoff over Ukraine, but that both sides had an interest in continuing dialogue.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow, which has massed troops near Ukraine, would not rush to draw conclusions after Washington formally responded to Russian proposals for a redrawing of post-Cold War security arrangements in Europe.
Describing tensions on the continent as reminiscent of the Cold War, Peskov said it would take time for Moscow to review Wednesday's response from Washington. But he said U.S. and NATO statements that Russia's main demands were unacceptable did not leave much room for optimism.
Biden eyes long list of Black female candidates to fill Supreme Court vacancy
President Biden has a deep bench of Black female legal scholars to choose from for a history-making Supreme Court pick, and his shortlist is replete with figures who will thrill the party’s racial justice and far-left activists.
Mr. Biden promised during the 2020 campaign that he’d appoint a Black woman to fill a vacancy on the court and Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s pending retirement gave him that chance.
The top two names on the list, court watchers say, are Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was confirmed in June to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.
Breyer retirement gives Biden fresh opportunity for badly needed victory...
Justice avoids Ruth Bader Ginsburg's mistake...
Dershowitz: 'Absurd' to Think Kamala Harris Will Get SCOTUS Nod
TIME: How Republicans Can Block...
Confirmation battle could shift focus in midterms...
Denmark to End Most COVID Restrictions and 'Welcome the Life We Knew Before'
Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced on January 26 Denmark would be throwing out most of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions it placed, including mask mandates.
Restrictions currently in place are for the public to wear masks on public transportations, in restaurants, in shops, and people entering healthcare facilities and retirement homes, according to the Associated Press. However, following the February 1 change of restrictions, masks will only be required in hospitals, healthcare facilities and homes for the elderly.
"We say goodbye to the restrictions and welcome the life we knew before," Frederiksen said. "As of Feb. 1, Denmark will be open."
According to Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, Denmark's recent cases of COVID were more than 46,000 daily on average; however, only 40 people are in hospital intensive care units.
U.S. economy grew 5.7 percent in 2021, fastest full-year clip since 1984, despite ongoing pandemic
The U.S. economy grew by 5.7 percent in 2021, the fastest full-year clip since 1984, roaring back in the pandemic’s second year despite two new virus variants that rocked the country.
The growth came in fits and starts, with a burst of government spending helping propel a fast start, even as a surge in new cases and deaths in the second half of the year created new pressures. The economy grew at a 6.9 percent annual rate from October to December, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday, a sharp acceleration from 2.3 percent in the previous quarter.
In a powerful rebound from 2020, when the economy contracted by 3.4 percent — its worst result since 1946 — 2021′s strong growth created a record 6.4 million jobs. But it also brought a host of complications, helping fuel the highest inflation in 40 years and creating supply chain snarls as consumers hungry for products overwhelmed the global delivery system. To beat back rising prices, the Federal Reserve is now shifting its strategy and preparing for interest rate hikes this year, convinced it has given enough support to help the labor market and now must keep the economy from overheating further.
Fed likely to hike rates in March as Powell vows sustained inflation fight
Powell says Fed ‘of a mind’ to raise interest rates in March to fight high inflation
Nikki Haley says Biden should 'step down and take Kamala with him' because the US looks 'weak' on foreign policy heading into the Beijing Olympics
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley called on President Biden and VP Harris to resign.
In a Fox News radio interview, Haley said Biden should "step down and take Kamala with him."
Haley also said she's worried the US will look "weak" on foreign policy at the Beijing Olympics.
Gun rights group sues San Jose over liability insurance requirement
A national gun rights group is suing a California city that has approved legislation requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance.
The measure, which the San Jose City Council approved Tuesday, is an “unprecedented step,” according to the federal lawsuit that the National Association for Gun Rights and local gun owner Mark Sikes filed that evening.
The complaint seeks nominal damages and an injunction to overturn an “unconstitutional and unlawful ordinance” that violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms by placing an unfair financial burden on gun owners.
Bodycam Footage Shows Migrants Flown into NY in Dead of Night: ‘Everything Is Supposed to Be Hush-Hush’
Bodycam footage released through a Freedom of Information Act request shows federal contractors dropping off migrants at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., last summer, with one contractor on the scene saying the Biden administration was “betraying the American people.”
New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino obtained the footage, a 51-minute clip from the body camera of Westchester Police Sgt. Michael Hamborsky on August 13, 2021. Astorino discussed the footage on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News on Wednesday.
In the footage, Hamborsky can be heard questioning federal contractors and lamenting the lack of adherence to security procedures at the airport. Some of the contractors were employees of MVM Inc., according to the Post, a firm that signed a contract with the federal government to transport illegal immigrants to locations throughout the country.
“You’re on a secure facility here; we really don’t know anything and we’re in charge of security,” Hamborsky tells a contractor at one point. Hamborsky is able to learn that a plane with 142 migrants arrived at the airport at 11:48 p.m. on August 12.
“Listen, my thing is I like to comply but technically we’re not supposed to show IDs or anything. Like I said, everything is supposed to be hush-hush,” one of the contractors tells Hamborsky at one point.
The state wants to own your child
California aims to pass law so children can get COVID-19 shots without parental consent
For a good reason, there has been a lot of coverage and outrage over the news that the Democratic-controlled state of California intends to pass a bill allowing 12-year-old children to be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine without parental consent. For context, remember what 12-year-olds are — 6th-graders.
It is, of course, worthy of outrage and in a normal world, we would wonder how politicians suddenly lost their minds. But this is not sudden. Politicians have been working at taking complete control of your children for decades and have made significant inroads. Step by step, state and city governments have been changing laws allowing minors to consent without their parent’s involvement or knowledge to a myriad of “health care” decisions.
Both Republican and Democratic governors of California have continually expanded the “health care” minors can receive not just without a parent’s consent, but providers and others are forbidden by law to inform a parent about what is happening without the child’s consent!
The failure of the White House whiz kids
Ron Klain won't retweet this column
Washington is a company town, and companies love to have meetings. So, it was a surprise when a few days before Christmas, Politico led one of its stories with this most remarkable sentence: “About two months ago during a fire drill, the White House emptied, and aides congregated outside. It was their first-ever all-staff meeting, an official quipped at the time.”
That seems … unexpected for an administration that we were assured repeatedly was experienced, highly skilled and super smart. But maybe it shouldn’t have been unexpected.
So far, this senior White House staff has produced a string of embarrassments. It’s not just the policy failures concerning inflation, border security or Afghanistan. It’s a simple lack of competence at the jobs they are being paid to do.