Biden Defends Attacks on Balloons

Determined to deflect criticism for his delayed response to a suspected Chinese spy balloon, President Biden ordered a series of strikes against at least three other aerial objects. The targets were described by the pilots that shot them down as very small. Now, the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade’s (NIBBB) says its globe-trotting $12 pico balloon and $80 ham radio transmitter has gone missing.

Biden took full responsibility for ordering the downing of these objects, explaining that “from all outward appearances they seemed to be innocent amateur science projects, but rather than be caught with our pants down like we were with the Chinese spy balloon I felt compelled to take them out. Sadly, little of the debris has been recovered. So, the NIBBB can’t prove it was their balloon that I ordered destroyed or that it wasn’t spying on secret military sites.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mocked the balloon fiasco, saying “we sent out a $140 million aircraft to fire a $485,000 missile to take out a hobby group’s science project. I guess this level of ferocity is supposed to show the world not to mess with the USA.”

Biden shrugged off Cruz’s criticism and pointed out “Sen. Cruz lost his bid for the presidency. I won mine. I will go down in history as the 46th president of the United States. Cruz will hardly be remembered. I think everyone will know who the real buffoon is in this controversy.”

Meanwhile, China has threatened retaliation for the US shooting down its balloon. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “what we have learned over the past week is that dozens, maybe hundreds, of these so-called amateur balloons have been launched from within the United States over the past few years. This provocation cannot go unanswered.”

Vice-President Kamala Harris brushed off concerns about China’s possible retaliation, pointing out that “the President has already demonstrated his sympathy by starting the process of taking out these balloons by whatever means necessary. And let’s not forget all the confidential information his son Hunter has passed on to his Chinese business partners. I don’t think President Xi will let things get too far out of hand.”

Illegal Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Tweaked

Although courts have already ruled that President Biden’s attempt to unilaterally decree the forgiveness of a portion of student loan debt is not legal, plans are underway to reissue the illegal decree with a new twist. Students who major in studies that provide few opportunities for remunerative employment will be given “first dibs” on loan forgiveness.

Secretary of Education Miguel Angel Cardona explained “there’s little sense in forgiving the debt of students who major in science or engineering. Grads with degrees in these subjects are in great demand in the private sector and will likely be paid well. In contrast, a student with a degree in transgender studies faces a much bleaker future because there is little to no need for such people in the private sector.”

“Our plan in the short term is to free the bearers of useless degrees from having to repay their debt,” Cardona said. “In the meantime, we need to create new laws and regulations that would make it mandatory for private businesses to employ these people to help them navigate the complex social equity requirements that the new laws and regulations will implement.”

GOP Against Socialism, Dems Split

A House Resolution condemning socialism that was introduced by Rep. Maria Salazar (R-Fla) passed with unanimous GOP support. Democrats, though were split on the issue with about half voting for it and half not. Salazar argued that the resolution was “intended as a message to our youth. Right now 40% of generation z and millennials see Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto as a better guide for government than the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness cited in our Declaration of Independence.”

“As history has shown, Marx’s ideas have led to tyranny and murder carried out by communist regimes,” Salazar pointed out. “The freedoms that our youth take for granted would be snuffed out if socialist policies ruled America.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) condemned the resolution, calling it “undemocratic. If our youth want communism, then so be it. The bourgeois freedoms promoted by Republicans are becoming less acceptable to the American people with each passing day. The enforced conformity of the Marxist system can provide a unifying theme for the next stage of human civilization. The House is out of line condemning it.” Jeffries’ justified his departure from his 2021 vow to “never bend a knee to hard-left democratic socialism,” citing “the new responsibilities incumbent on a person in a leadership position.”

In related news, interviews with 75 top media executives revealed that there is strong opposition to objectivity in news reporting. Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, editor-in-chief at the San Francisco Chronicle summed up the prevailing thinking, saying “objectivity has got to go.” Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, asserted that “journalism must free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” The Washington Posts Leonard Downie warned that “allowing the notion that different perspectives ought to get a hearing to pollute the media’s coverage of a topic will only slow down the transformation of America into the utopian progressive society that former President Obama promised would be our future.”

By John Semmens

Parties Spar Over “Show Up” Act

Now that the pandemic emergency is over, House Republicans want federal employees to come back to their offices. The Stopping Home Office Work Unproductive Problems Act or SHOW UP Act of 2023 introduced by Rep. James Comer (R-Ken) was passed by a vote of 221-206.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md) called the GOP “hypocritical. These are the guys who say they want to shrink the government by cutting unneeded bureaucracy. Now they want these supposedly unneeded employees to travel into the city to work? Won’t this increased traffic congestion impede the private sector workers who actually produce products and services that customers willingly buy?”

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va) echoed Raskin’s take, saying “none of us in Congress has any idea of what these workers do or don’t do. What difference would it make to us whether the unknown activities of these federal employees takes place at home or at the office?”

The issue has been confounded by the fact that thousands of these employees supposedly “working from home” falsely “self-certified” as unemployed during the covid pandemic in order to fraudulently receive payments for being out of work. Comer cited this behavior as a reason to simplify the work environment by having the government’s employees show up at the office. Raskin cited “the small number of crooks–less than ten thousand from what I hear–seems to be petty theft compared to the trillions that have been frittered away over the last two years.”

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) suggested that “the unused office space created by the widespread use of telecommuting as the basic work model could be put to better use housing the City’s homeless population. Bringing these mentally ill drug-users to live closer to where Congress does its business might inspire them to take the problem more seriously.”

In other Capital news, a dozen students from Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenville County, South Carolina were kicked out of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum because they were wearing hats with a pro-life message. Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III explained “pro-life is not the policy of our organization. It would be improper to allow outsiders to advocate for an unapproved political position within the walls of the museum.”

Republican legislative candidates escape the drag of top ticket candidates in 2022

The Democrats were bracing for disaster. 

President Biden’s approval ratings were at record lows. Inflation skyrocketed and the economy was unstable. Not to mention the pain at the pump. By every measure and metric, Republicans were predicted to cruise to majorities and flip several key races in 2022. All the signs were there.

But when the polls closed in Arizona and the first batch of votes posted to the Secretary of State’s website, it wasn’t a celebration that ensued. Instead, a nauseating feeling of distress crept into the stomachs of Republicans. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

Over the course of the week, as the votes rolled in, it became increasingly clear that Republicans had lost the top offices in the state: Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and U.S. Senate. A dramatic turn of events.

However, there was one silver lining for the GOP: securing legislative majorities.

So what went wrong for the top of the ticket — and right for legislative candidates?

Top of the ticket Republicans weren’t talking about issues Arizonans had rated as their top concerns, like jobs and the economy, border security, and education. Instead, they were focused on fringe, polarizing issues that deterred voters. That’s why it’s no surprise voters in competitive districts reject them by significant margins.

Meanwhile, legislative candidates focused on topline issues, stayed on message, and took their message to voters across their respective districts. They were more focused on building coalitions than dividing the party and telling independents to take a hike. Legislative candidates were rewarded with victories. 

Taking a closer look at the numbers, here’s what we know.

In LD2, Steve Kaiser won by a little over 3 percent, while Blake Masters trailed Mark Kelly by over 6 percent. Kari Lake trailed by 2. According to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC), LD2 was rated an R+3.8 percent district. 

Steve Kaiser’s story isn’t an isolated occurrence. 

Look at LD13, an R+1.6 percent district according to the AIRC, where J.D. Mesnard won with a comfortable 3 percent. Kari Lake was down nearly 4 percent and Blake Masters by 8 percent. That’s an 11 point difference between Mesnard and Masters, respectively.

Even in LD16, where T.J. Shope won by 10 percent, Kari Lake squeaked a majority with just over 3 percent while Blake Masters still trailed by 2 percent. 

Losing these key districts cost Blake Masters, Kari Lake, and the rest of the top of the ticket their races. 

Now with Governor Hobbs on the 9th Floor, the only thing standing between her and turning back the clock on our state’s progress is our legislative majorities. The top of the ticket GOP counterparts failed to keep Democrats out of our top offices. 

Maybe Republicans should take the hint and get back to talking about issues Arizona cares about -— then they might start winning again. 

Dems Being Treated Unfairly

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif) complains that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s determination to keep him off the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) “is so unfair.”

McCarthy defended his position, pointing out that “Swalwell’s long-term sexual liaison with a Chinese spy indicates that he should not be privy to the kind of sensitive national security information that the HPSCI deals with on a regular basis.”

Swalwell called McCarthy’s explanation “unconvincing. President Biden stored classified documents at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, DC. This Center was funded by Chinese Communist Party money and included sharing office space with CEFC China Energy. If I’m not fit for sitting on the HPSCI, how is Biden fit to remain president?”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif) is also targeted for removal from the HPSCI by McCarthy “for his incessant leaking and lying,” the Speaker said. “Leaking is a violation of the law. And the constant lying marks him as untrustworthy. There’s no way he should be on this committee.”

Schiff dismissed McCarthy’s standards as “naive and out-dated. The election of President Biden–perhaps the most prolific liar to ever hold the office–shows that the voters don’t demand honesty from their rulers. As an elected official, McCarthy ought to abide by the wishes of the American people.”

By John Semmens

Dems & GOP Spar Over Debt

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) rejected President Biden’s demand for a “clean” debt ceiling hike, saying “cramming a bloated federal spending package through during the ‘lame duck’ session showed total disrespect for the American people’s concerns about government overspending. The Republican majority in the House intends to give these concerns a fair hearing. Fending off bankruptcy should be a bipartisan effort.”

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen called the Republicans’ focus on the national debt “naive. The federal government isn’t your random seeker of borrowed money. It is the most powerful organization on the planet. It can crush any opposition–foreign or domestic. It can take whatever it needs from anyone it wants to. It can even create new money out of thin air. The debt ceiling is just an arbitrary number. A simpler solution would be to abolish the ceiling.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) called McCarty’s resistance “futile. The GOP may hold the majority in the House, but they can’t force the Senate or the President to compromise. Sooner or later, the Republicans will have to give in. If they don’t, we and the media will blame them for whatever calamities or inconveniences that result from failure to pass a clean debt ceiling increase and the voters will then punish them at the polls.”

“The Democrats’ insistence on no limits to federal spending has sparked the highest inflation in since the 1980s,” McCarthy argued. “Taxpayers are now paying $500 billion in interest on the money borrowed because we don’t have a balanced budget. This cannot go on.”

Yellen asserted that “what the Republicans don’t understand is that the federal government would actually come out ahead if our dollar becomes worthless. As the world’s biggest debtor, a collapse of the dollar will let the US government off the hook. All the debt would be wiped out by a flood of newly created worthless dollars. The only losers would be those who foolishly hold dollar-denominated assets like cash and bonds.”

Biden Mishandles Classified Documents

The Democrats’ quest to demonize former President Donald Trump for having classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida was dealt a serious setback when it was disclosed this week that President Biden had stashes of classified documents–some of them marked “Top Secret”–in separate locations.

One of the locations was the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, DC. This “think tank” was funded by a grant of $54 million from donors linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

A second location was in a garage where he keeps his Corvette at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden rejected suggestions that a garage might not be a very secure site, saying “my Corvette’s in a locked garage so it’s not like it’s sitting on the street.” Notably, the surveillance cameras at the address were disconnected a few years back because an excessive number of false alarms sparked complaints from neighbors.

A third location now undergoing a search for classified documents is an office shared by Joe and Hunter Biden with CEFC China Energy. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed doubt that any classified documents would turn up “because the President was between his terms as vice-president and his later election as president. The partnership was solely focused on profit-making opportunities in oil and gas, not matters of national security.” She rebuffed allegations that the President had falsely denied any knowledge of his son’s business activities, saying “the President was just a figurehead whose name was being used to help open doors for his son–something any good father would do for a son.”

Not everyone was buying these innocent explanations. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga) claimed “the President’s enemies are setting him up. Those MAGA terrorist dudes know where the President’s home is. They probably waited until he was far away on his border inspection to sneak in and dump the classified stuff in his garage.” This suspicion was also voiced on ABC’s “The View” where Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sunny Hostin reasoned that “since the key beneficiary of this turn of events is Trump we have to believe his supporters may have engineered this seemingly fortuitous blemish on the President’s sterling record of achievement.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) called the differential treatment of Trump and Biden “further evidence of DOJ’s blatant political bias. The DOJ was first aware of Biden’s mishandled documents on November 2, 2022, yet declined to make this information public so as ‘not to influence the elections’ six days later. They had no such qualms about staging a well-publicized armed raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in August 2022. This blatant protection of Democrats and maligning of Republicans is an abuse of the law-enforcement powers entrusted to the DOJ.”

By John Semmens

Is America’s Investment in the Ukraine War Worth It?

Both President Biden and Congress have sent tens of billions of our tax dollars in the form of weapons, ammunition, and cash to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to help save his regime from Russian invaders. While support for these outlays has come from both Democrats and Republicans, no clear benefit to our country can be detected.

Ostensibly, the claim is that we are trying to save Ukraine’s democracy. But is Ukraine really a democracy? In the past week, Zelensky signed legislation that allows the Ukrainian government to censor news sites, control the flow of information to the Ukrainian people, and shut down news sites that are deemed insufficiently loyal to the government. Zelensky says “we were inspired by revelations that the US government has been doing the same thing.”

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken cautioned against “drawing the wrong conclusion. Censoring the enemies of democracy–whether domestic or foreign–is sometimes necessary. Making our covert suppression of free speech public like Elon Musk has done has needlessly damaged America’s image. Our credibility as a foe of Russian dictatorship has been undermined.”

On the other hand, many members of Congress have accrued substantial profits from well-timed purchases of stock in corporations that manufacture the weapons we are providing to Ukraine. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore) got a 40% return on his investment in defense industry stocks. Rep. Marjorie Taylor (R-Ga) got a 35% return. Blumenauer was irked that Greene also profited from these stocks. “She voted against aid to Ukraine,” he complained. “It isn’t fair that she should make almost money as I did since I had to help with the heavy lifting.”

In related news, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) signed a bill raising state legislators’ salaries by 30% to $142,000 per year. Income from other employment is also capped at $35,000 per year to discourage gainful employment. “We don’t want them to work themselves to death,” the Governor said. “Likewise, there are no limits on gifts from admirers, or investments because salaries are never enough to fulfill all the needs of the people’s representatives.”

By John Semmens

Administration Refuses to Condemn China’s Crackdown

The experience of seeing mask-less players and fans at the World Cup soccer matches in Qatar on TV this week sparked millions of Chinese to take to the streets to protest their continued home-confinement under their country’s severely restrictive covid lockdown policies. Videos of protesters being clubbed in the streets has sparked outrage around the world.

In the US, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), likely to be the next House Speaker, tweeted: ‘The Chinese Communist Party’s lockdowns have imprisoned people against their will—many have died. As Chinese citizens bravely protest, Joe Biden and the corporate class shrug. Our Select Committee on China will do what Biden refuses—finally reckon with the pariah that is the Chinese Communist Party.”

Republican Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla), member of the House China Task Force, complained ‘The White House statement Monday reiterated ‘everyone has the right to protest’, but didn’t go far enough in condemning the Chinese Communist Party for their overt atrocities.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted: “The people of China are standing up and demanding freedom, even knowing the major risk of doing so in their country. People are born to be free, not oppressed by government regimes. They need our moral support.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken took a more balanced perspective, saying that “while we are sympathetic to the idea that people ought to be free to speak their minds and demonstrate to express their grievances, we also must recognize that China has the right to govern as it sees fit. How would we like it if foreigners tried to interfere with the lockdowns, mask requirements, and vaccine mandates that our President and many state governors have deemed necessary? Theoretically, people ought to be free, but from a practical perspective they must sometimes be forced to obey the government for the common good. We can’t be too critical of China’s positions and methods since we may one day have to take these same positions and use these same methods here.”