Monday: Below the Fold
Mayorkas blame-shifts on border crisis, Biden plays Americans for suckers, Air Force stretches the age bar, and more.
Eighteen Senate Republicans vote with Dems to advance $95 billion foreign aid bill: Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, wisely warned his fellow Americans against “entangling alliances” with other nations. Unfortunately for our federal fisc, 18 Republican senators decided yesterday to ignore his advice, instead voting with Democrats to advance a $95 billion foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, as well as civilians in Gaza and the West Bank. And this without having prioritized the far more urgent matter of securing our southern border. The 18 Republicans who voted for the bill no doubt did so against the wishes of many of their constituents. “I know it’s become quite fashionable in some circles to disregard the global interests we have as a global power, to bemoan the responsibilities of global leadership,” said a condescending Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, adding, “This is idle work for idle minds.” On Saturday, a day before the Senate vote, Donald Trump suggested a different approach: “From this point forward, are you listening U.S. Senate(?), no money in the form of foreign aid should be given to any country unless it is done as a loan, not just a giveaway. It can be loaned on extraordinarily good terms, like no interest and an unlimited life, but a loan nevertheless.” Sounds like a sensible idea for a nation racing toward insolvency. In 1794, six years after helping to secure the ratification of the Constitution, then-U.S. congressman and future president James Madison wrote sardonically of a $15,000 congressional appropriation for French refugees, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” Madison, who’s recognized as “the Father of the Constitution,” knew of what he spoke. And our nation would be in infinitely better shape had we heeded his age-old wisdom.
Interest payments on national debt will exceed defense and Medicare spending: In a story that bears directly on the Senate’s passage yesterday of a $95 billion foreign aid bill, a new analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says that interest payments on the U.S. national debt are on pace to become the second-largest federal government expenditure this year. The CRFB says interest on our $34 trillion national debt is the fastest-growing part of the federal government’s annual budget. You don’t say. And just think: This year, we’ll spend more money on interest payments than we will on national defense or Medicare or Medicaid. And soon enough, our interest payments will outstrip our funding for Social Security. As the report adds: “Such high levels of debt carry significant risks and threats to the economy and the nation as a whole. High debt levels put upward pressure on interest rates, discourage investment, slow economic growth, threaten economic vitality, place a strain on the budget through rising interest payments, create geopolitical challenges and risks, make responding to new emergencies more challenging, and impose intergenerational unfairness between current and future generations.”
Mayorkas blame-shifts on border crisis: In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed that the border crisis that has been unfolding and escalating — by design — during the entirety of Joe Biden’s time in office is not his fault. Mayorkas effectively denied the Biden administration’s policy of open borders by saying that claims he was “willfully” avoiding enforcing immigration laws were “baseless.” Yet he did not explain why, even as record numbers of illegal aliens have crossed into the U.S. under his watch. Interviewer Kristen Welker pressed Mayorkas on his recent acknowledgment that more than 85% of migrants caught crossing the border have been released into the U.S. and pointedly asked, “Why do you deserve to keep your job, Mr. Secretary?” He had no answer. What Mayorkas did do was blame shift, claiming that Congress’s failure to pass new immigration legislation was the problem and that the Biden administration doesn’t “bear responsibility for a broken system, and we’re doing a tremendous amount within that broken system.” If the system was so broken, how come Donald Trump had significant success in culling the number of illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S.?
Sanctuary cities are “inherently unsafe”: Speaking of the border crisis, the Biden administration has repeatedly argued that “root causes” such as crime and high poverty rates in Central American countries need to be addressed to stop the problem of mass illegal migration. It’s an excuse used in leu of the Biden administration’s refusal to secure the southern border. However, more significant than push factors are pull factors within the U.S., known as “sanctuary cities,” that act as magnets for illegal aliens. As U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Patrick Lechleitner recently observed, “Sanctuary jurisdictions are inherently more unsafe because they’re letting these individuals out who have serious convictions.” And Joe Biden has only contributed to the problem. After assuming office, he reversed a federal order barring sanctuary cities from receiving Justice Department funding. To make matters worse, under Biden’s watch, deportations of criminal illegal aliens have fallen 67% while at the same time arrests of criminal aliens have dropped by 57%. That is a recipe for higher crime.
Biden plays Americans for suckers: For the second year in a row, Joe Biden avoided doing a pregame interview before the Super Bowl, a tradition begun by George W. Bush back in 2004, which both Barack Obama and Donald Trump continued. Instead, Biden dropped a public service announcement during the game in which he gaslighted the American public over the problem of high inflation that has been a feature of his tenure and instead blamed American snack companies for effectively cheating consumers. In the prerecorded PSA, Biden notes how snack companies are giving consumers smaller quantities of their products while still charging the same prices. He rightly called it shrinkflation, but used his bully pulpit to demand that companies stop doing it. Worse, Biden avoided the reason behind this legal practice — inflation that he caused. Thanks to Biden’s massive government spending, inflation spiked to 40-year highs, causing the value of the dollar to decrease, which in turn caused the price of everything Americans purchase to increase. Shrinkflation is simply businesses’ effort to keep prices the same while also not going bankrupt to do so. Meanwhile, under Biden, the national debt has ballooned to over $34 trillion.
U.S. Air Force stretches the age bar: In an effort to tackle the problem of poor recruiting numbers, the U.S. Air Force will be implementing a new rule. The maximum number of years an enlisted service member may stay at a given rank will be automatically raised by two years. In other words, the Air Force is effectively tackling low recruiting with retention, keeping current service members in longer. Furthermore, the Air Force is also considering reintroducing warrant officers, a program it ended 65 years ago. Finally, the Air Force will be reaching out to recent service retirees with the implementation of the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program. The program aims to allow up to 1,000 retired officers or enlisted to join up for activity duty for no more than 48 months.
Public transportation languishes in post-pandemic America: There’s a death spiral currently at work among our urban transportation systems: These rail and bus entities have lost riders who are now working from home, who are fearful of catching the next COVID-like contagion, or who don’t want to risk being the next victim of rampant crime. In response, they’ve raised their rates to remain solvent, and the higher costs are pushing away still more riders and causing them to look for other transportation options. “That’s why public transportation systems from Washington to San Francisco raised fares and lobbied for more government subsidies last year as ridership plateaued at 71% of pre-pandemic levels,” The Washington Times reports. “The argument goes that if someone doesn’t pay to keep the emptier vehicles running frequently, more commuters will turn to their cars, rideshares, bicycling or other modes of transit.” No worries, though. Joe Biden’s beloved Amtrak is as financially sound as our federal fisc.
GOP rising star abruptly announces he’s leaving Congress: The future seemed exceedingly bright for Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher. And it might still be bright — just not as a U.S. congressman. As The Washington Times reports: “The 39-year-old lawmaker was considered a rising star in the Republican Party, building a brand as a top national security and foreign policy hawk. Last year, he was tapped to chair the high-profile Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.” And yet he says he’s not running for reelection in November. This is weird stuff. In the space of a week, the youngest committee chairman in recent history casts one of three GOP votes against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and announces he won’t run again. Gallagher, a retired Marine officer and a highly regarded China hawk, tried to justify his vote to save Mayorkas as a protest against not impeaching Joe Biden — as if the two are mutually exclusive. “Electoral politics was never supposed to be a career and, trust me, Congress is no place to grow old,” Gallagher said. “And so, with a heavy heart, I have decided not to run for reelection.” We wouldn’t want to grow old in Washington, either, but he’s just 39. Again, this is weird stuff. Gallagher hails from a solidly red district, so reelection would have been a foregone conclusion. For whatever reason, we can’t afford to chase away our best and brightest young lawmakers.
Defense Secretary Austin transferred to critical care unit after hospitalization for apparent bladder issue (Fox News)
Biden allies go on the attack against the special counsel and the media (NBC News)
KJP on special counsel noting Biden’s memory issues: “That part of the report does not live in reality” (Daily Wire)
Putin discusses Ukraine war, Nord Stream pipeline, future relations with U.S. in interview with Tucker Carlson (RealClearPolitics)
Biden’s climate agenda will cost taxpayers nearly $800 billion (Townhall)
2.34 billion metric tons of rare earth minerals discovered in Wyoming that could make U.S. world leader (Daily Mail)
Feds discover Chinese hackers embedded in American infrastructure for at least five years (The Washington Times)
Instagram and Threads will not recommend political posts (Washington Examiner)
Police take down active shooter at Joel Osteen’s church in Houston (Not the Bee)
Nearly 20 states are weighing legislation that would make assisted suicide legal (Daily Caller)
IDF rescues two hostages from south Gaza’s Rafah in daring nighttime operation (Times of Israel)
IDF uncovers secret Hamas data center directly beneath UNRWA’s Gaza HQ (RedState)
Humor: San Franciscans continue crapping in the street in honor of 49ers crapping the bed (Babylon Bee)
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- Executive Summary