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September 22, 2023

Friday: Below the Fold

Menendez indicted, KJP and the border, DeSantis trails, Zelensky visits, and more.


  • Dem Senator Bob Menendez indicted: Long-time New Jersey Democrat Senator Bob Menendez was indicted Friday on bribery charges. According to the indictment, Menendez and his wife Nadine are accused of engaging “in a corrupt relationship” with Fred Daibes, a New Jersey developer and former bank chairman, and two of Daibes’s associates, Wael Hana and Jose Uribe. The Menendezes allegedly accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s power and influence as a senator to protect and enrich Hana, Uribe, and Daibes and to benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt.” The only remaining question is when will Joe Biden face impeachment for his bribery?

  • KJP blows off a border question: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attempted to continue the Biden administration lie that there is no illegal immigration crisis, that the southern border is secure. Yet there are countless images and stories in recent days showing massive numbers of migrants crossing into the U.S. illegally. Fox News’s Peter Doocy challenged KJP, asking, “What do you call it here at the White House when 10,000 people illegally cross the border in a single day?” Flustered, KJP sought to spin away from giving an answer by asking a question: “So, what do you call it, Peter, when [the] GOP puts forth a…” Doocy interjected that she wasn’t answering the question, so she shot back, “No, no, no,” claimed victim status for the interruption, and moved on to another question. To answer his question, we’d call it an intentional invasion.

  • DeSantis sinks to fifth in NH: A recent poll of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire conducted by CNN and the University of New Hampshire found that Donald Trump still leads the field in the Granite State, polling at 39%. The news is that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has dropped from second with 23% back in a July poll to 10%. That puts DeSantis behind Vivek Ramaswamy at 13%, Nikki Haley at 12%, and Chris Christie at 11%. Does this spell doom for DeSantis? No, but it is a gut check. DeSantis has been focusing the lion’s share of his campaign efforts in Iowa with the aim of building on a strong opening. In any case, the only polling numbers that count are the votes tallied on (primary) election day. With months to go before any primary vote is cast, the media chatter surrounding Republican presidential candidates will continue, while the vast majority of Americans haven’t really begun paying attention.

  • Bin Salman interview: Fox News host Bret Baier conducted an exclusive and intriguing interview with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Wednesday. Two highlights: Baier asked about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi back in 2018, a murder the CIA concluded was ordered by Salman after Khashoggi had published several stories critical of the crown prince. Salman claimed that the murder was “a mistake” and “painful,” and that those involved had been punished. Next, Salman spoke regarding Iran and its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. If Iran were to obtain a nuclear weapon, then Salman noted that Saudi Arabia would “have to get one, for security reasons, for balancing power.” That real consideration is one of many reasons Joe Biden’s coddling of Iran is so problematic.

  • McCarthy turns down Zelensky: While in the U.S. to meet with the UN, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky requested a opportunity to deliver a public address to both chambers of Congress. Zelensky did so last December, but this time House Speaker Kevin McCarthy rejected the request. “Zelensky asked for a joint session, [but] we just didn’t have time. He’s already given a joint session,” McCarthy explained. “This is a little busy week. We’re dealing with the funding issue. I don’t know how we can slip that in at such a short time.” Zelensky has been plying lawmakers for more military aid. According to Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, who met with Zelensky, his request boiled down to this: “If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war.” Clearly, with McCarthy in the midst of a battle to get all House Republicans to come together to pass a spending stopgap, the last thing he wants to talk about is giving more money to Ukraine.

  • Fake news about “book bans”: The Leftmedia has gone to bat to promote the Rainbow Mafia’s false narrative regarding parental rights groups seeking to prevent the dissemination of graphic and sexually explicit books in school libraries. The Hill’s recent article — “Book bans jumped by 33 percent last year: report” — is the latest example of this false framing about “book banning.” The article highlights a recent report produced by the leftist PEN America, noting, “There were 3,362 book ban attempts in K-12 schools across the country last school year” that “resulted in the removal of 1,557 individual titles.” While the data is accurate, what is conspicuously absent from the report is the literal pornographic nature of these books. Instead, The Hill implies bigotry: “The most recent wave of book bans continues to target titles about racism or books with queer characters or characters of color.”

  • NYT “conservative” Brooks gets roasted: Waiting for a flight at Newark Airport, New York Times “conservative” columnist David Brooks made an effort to highlight the bad economy, posting on X an image of his dinner. “This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport,” he complained. “This is why Americans think the economy is terrible.” The picture showed that he had purchased a burger and fries, but it also included what appeared to be a glass of whiskey. Commenters were soon able to hunt down where he had eaten — the 1911 Smoke House BBQ, located in Newark’s Terminal A. When contacted by the New York Post, the restaurant owner thanked Brooks for the publicity and observed that he had ordered “a cheeseburger and a double whiskey.” The owner noted that a double whiskey cost between $28 and $29, which means with a bill of $78 Brooks likely ordered “two doubles.” Maybe that’s what it takes to cope with inflation.


  • Poll: “Dread” tops list of Americans’ feelings about 2024 election (Yahoo)

  • House budget panel Republicans deliver plan to tackle $33T debt (Daily Signal)

  • Biden announces $325 million in Ukraine aid during Zelensky visit (Axios)

  • Consequences of “Defund the Police”: Big city police departments bleeding staff, unable to recruit (Just the News)

  • Chicago spends $30 million to hire firm and relocate immigrants to permanent camps (Washington Examiner)

  • Boston University opens “inquiry” into Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracism Center (Washington Free Beacon)

  • Family that fled Germany amid homeschooling persecution faces deportation from the U.S. (PJ Media)

  • Migrants overwhelm Texas city of Eagle Pass (Wall Street Journal)

  • Bodies of two migrants, including 3-year-old boy, found in Rio Grande amid border surge (Washington Free Beacon)

  • Federal government program allows more than 200,000 illegal aliens to fly right over the border (Daily Signal)

  • Not satire: Senator John Fetterman promises to wear a suit to work, and it will only cost us $886 billion (Not the Bee)

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