Archive for February 7, 2023

By Christopher Harper

For those of us who lived through the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the Chinese spy balloon seemed like déjà vu all over again. The incident seemed far more dangerous than President Biden and his administration believed it was.

Sure, a balloon isn’t a bomber. But past spy vs. spy endeavors have had near-disastrous consequences.

In May 1960, American pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down in his CIA spy plane over Russia. President Eisenhower thought the pilot had died and declared the mission was aimed at surveying weather. The aircraft had accidentally wandered off course.

The Russians quickly showed the spy plane and the pilot, embarrassing the Americans just before a critical summit with Russia. The incident seriously affected East-West relations, ultimately leading to the Berlin Wall and the Cuban missile crisis.

It’s unclear what will happen because of the Chinese balloon, but it’s unlikely to be anything good.

The Chinese have engaged in ongoing espionage in the United States, and little has been done to stop it. Now is the time to do so.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies has found 160 serious incidents of Chinese spying in the United States since 2000. See

U.S. companies have also filed more than 1,200 cases of intellectual property theft against Chinese companies and their agents.

The results of the investigation are rather chilling:

–42% of the spies were Chinese military or government employees.
–32% were private Chinese citizens.
–26% were non-Chinese, usually persons recruited by Chinese officials.
–34% of the incidents sought to acquire military technology.

The investigation also found that the Chinese have become far more aggressive in recent years. More than three-quarters of the espionage incidents happened between 2010 and 2021. Also, the number of hacking incidents has dramatically increased, particularly from Chinese government operations known as People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398 and APT4.

Moreover, the investigation found that various university professors had used their positions to obtain funding from the U.S. government and then provided the results to China in various scientific fields.

The balloon incident should underline the need for greater emphasis on battling Chinese espionage. If the Biden administration fails to stand up to China, the Beijing government and President Xi will only become more emboldened in their efforts.

In the 1985 edition of the Bill James Historical Baseball abstract James ranks the best players at each position based on both “Peak Value” (How they played at their peak) and “Career Value” (How they played over their career). At the position of left field James Ranked Stan Musial as the #1 of all time with Ted Williams 2nd. By the 2001 edition of the book which didn’t have the Peak vs Career editions he had flipped the pair based on his revised win shares formula but back in 1985 he made this argument concerning his choice:

Look I am not saying anything at all negative about Ted Williams. The further we go into the analysis of batting statistics the closer we come to being forced to accept the conclusion that Williams, not Babe Ruth, was the greatest hitter who ever lived. I think he was the second greatest left fielder who ever lived. That’s not critizism.

But if I had to choose between the two of them I’d take Musial in left field, Musial on the basepaths, Musial in the clubhouse and Williams only with the wood in his hands. And Stan Musial could hit a little too.

This is actually one of my pet peeves. I get sick of hearing people say on talk radio, “Aaron Rogers sucks, when talking about Brady or or Lebron sucks when talking about Jordan. One can acknowledge that Brady is better than Rogers or Jordan is better than James without deciding the other stinks.

And that takes us to Trump vs DeSantis.

In one sense this conversation is premature as Ron DeSantis hasn’t announced that he’s running but I’m getting really sick of the “DeSantis sucks” stuff coming out of the Trump camp and the “Trump sucks” stuff coming out of some republicans.

If you look at the data, from the economic numbers to the accomplishments one had to conclude that not only was Donald Trump the best and most effective president of the 21st century so far, but you can make a credible argument that he was superior to Ronald Reagan and the best GOP president since Teddy Roosevelt who I think is the most compatible president to Donald Trump.

One can see this, acknowledge this and even assert, as I do, that the 2020 election was literally stolen from him, and still decide that DeSantis is the better choice in 2024. That’ doesn’t mean that Trump is a bad choice it just means that you think DeSantis is a better this time.

On the other hand if you look at the data, again from the economic numbers to the accomplishments and conclude that Ron DeSantis is not only the most effective and successful GOP governor currently in office but that he is likely the best GOP governor that we’ve seen in the 21st century and I don’t think it’s close.

One can see this, acknowledge this and even assert that he would make an excellent president and still decide that Donald Trump is the better choice for 2024. That doesn’t mean DeSantis is a bad choice, it just means you think Trump is a better one at this time.

I supported Rick Santorum in 2012, in 2016 I supported Ted Cruz over Santorum, not because I thought Santorum was bad but because I thought Ted Cruz was a better choice at the time.

I will happily support either Trump or DeSantis as the GOP nominee but let’s not pretend that either one of them is a bad choice, and let’s stop hitting either as if they are.

Oh and if you claim to be a conservative and say you won’t vote for Trump or DeSantis over a Biden, Harris, Newsom or an Obama then please don’t waste my time with your opinion because you’re no conservative.