April 16, 2024

Tuesday: Below the Fold

Johnson announces stand-alone bills, a win for kids in Idaho, “temporary” amnesty expanded, and more.


  • Johnson announces stand-alone bills on Israel, Ukraine, and more: It’s been anything but a cakewalk since Mike Johnson was elected to the speakership last October, with his Republican ranks having dwindled, his margin for error having all but vanished, and certain of his GOP colleagues having decided that posturing is more important than governing. Despite this, and no doubt buoyed by his Christian faith, Johnson has persevered. Indeed, yesterday he announced his plan to introduce three separate bills for aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. “What we’ll do,” he said, “is bring to the House floor independent measures. We won’t be voting on the senate supplemental in its current form, but we will vote on each of these measures separately in four different pieces.” Thus, at least for the nation’s three major geopolitical interests, instead of trying (and, thankfully, failing) to ram through a single $118.3 billion abomination as Chuck Schumer’s Democrat-controlled Senate did in early February, lawmakers will now be allowed to vote their consciences on independent bills with independent aims. As for that fourth piece Johnson referred to, that bill would muddy things up by facilitating the seizure of Russian assets, a lend-lease option for Ukraine funding, additional sanctions on Iran, and the divestiture of that poisonous ChiCom spyware known as TikTok. But, hey, with apologies to Meatloaf: Three out of four ain’t bad.

  • Did Biden green-light the Iran attack on Israel? It seems too strange to be true, but then we remind ourselves that we’re talking about the Biden administration. The strangeness here is about this weekend’s attack by Iran on Israel and whether the U.S. knew in advance of the terror state’s plans. The Jerusalem Post says we learned about Iran’s plans for a strike on Israel through a Turkish intermediary. According to the Post, “The Turkish source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan had spoken to both his US and Iranian counterparts in the past week to discuss the planned Iranian operation, adding Ankara had been made aware of possible developments.” Secretary of State Tony “Captain Obvious” Blinken apparently harrumphed at this news, telling his Turkish counterpart that escalation wasn’t in anyone’s interest. And yet, according to a U.S. source: “Iran informed us in advance of what would happen. Possible developments also came up during the meeting with Blinken, and they (the US) conveyed to Iran through us that this reaction must be within certain limits.” This, then, was Iran trying to save face and the U.S. trying to keep the situation from escalating. And it makes sense, given Iran’s back-channel statement to the U.S. that it now considers the matter closed. It’ll be interesting (and telling) to see whether Israel defies Joe Biden and responds anew, or moves on. In other news from the Death to America crowd, Iranian state TV, in an effort to show that its attack had frightened the Israeli people to their core, aired footage it said showed “Israelis panicking” while under attack from the Iranian onslaught of missiles and drones. Unfortunately, reality intervened to reveal that the clip was actually “just a throng of excited Louis Tomlinson fans.”

  • A win for kids in Idaho: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that an injunction previously placed on Idaho’s law banning gender-bending medical intervention on minors will be lifted, allowing the law to go into effect. The Idaho law bans gender-bending medical surgical procedures and/or the administering of puberty-blocking hormones to children. The law includes a penalty with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for a medical professional who performs any of these procedures on minors. The Court did not issue an opinion regarding the merits of the law itself. Instead, the justices weighed in on the merits of the injunction against the laws. “Ordinarily, injunctions like these may go no further than necessary to provide interim relief to the parties,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote. “In this case, however, the district court went much further, prohibiting a State from enforcing any aspect of its duly enacted law against anyone.” In the meantime, Idaho’s law will go into effect while challenges work their way through the lower courts and likely eventually to the Supreme Court. Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador praised the Court’s decision: “Those suffering from gender dysphoria deserve love, support, and medical care rooted in biological reality. Denying the basic truth that boys and girls are biologically different hurts our kids. No one has the right to harm children, and I’m grateful that we, as the state, have the power — and duty — to protect them.”

  • “Temporary” amnesty expanded: The Biden administration has quietly expanded eligibility for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to include roughly 1.2 million migrants. This TPS designation, which has been primarily applied to Venezuelans, will protect them from being deported. Since Joe Biden took office, the number of foreign-born individuals living in the U.S. has officially expanded by more than 6.4 million. That total is larger than the population of 33 states. The specific group of foreigners targeted by this latest expansion and extension of TPS status are Ethiopians. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas pointed to human rights abuses as well as environmental issues such as droughts and floods as reasons for the decision. Just how long will these Ethiopians remain as “temporary” residents of the U.S.? Based on the Biden administration’s record, the answer is: As long as they want to stay.

  • Texas energy scare: It’s not even summer, but Texas, the state with the highest renewable energy production of any state, with renewables responsible for powering nearly 27% of its electrical grid, recently got a power scare. Last Friday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas requested that power generators across the state postpone scheduled maintenance “to help alleviate potential tight conditions” as temperatures had risen into the 80s. Uh, this is Texas, where temperatures rising into the 80s is common for April. But this is the problem with renewables: They need to go offline for regular repairs and maintenance, and the spring is targeted as the best time weather-wise for this process. Adding to the complication is the state’s growing demand for power. While the state’s population growth has certainly contributed to this higher power demand, the bigger culprit is Texas’s growing tech industry — specifically, a growing number of data centers that nationally, as of 2022, accounted for 2.5% of all electricity used in the U.S. That total energy usage is predicted to expand to 20% by 2030, especially so with the expanding development of Artificial Intelligence. In short, relying on uninterrupted power generation from renewable energy sources at current demand is problematic. How much more so when that demand for electricity increases exponentially?

  • MSM obscures Trump prosecutors’ Dem affiliations: The Leftmedia narrative against Donald Trump has been that he is a criminal running for the presidency. To help underscore this narrative, Leftmedia pundits repeatedly point to the myriad of charges that have been raised against him and the multiple trials he is facing. Furthermore, in its effort to project the notion that the charges against Trump are not what they are — purely politically motivated and aimed at preventing him from becoming president — the Leftmedia has avoided reporting significant facts. According to a recently released study from the Media Research Center, 90% of ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news coverage of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution of Trump has failed to mention Bragg’s political affiliation. Bragg is a Democrat. He won office in November 2021 by running as a Democrat, and one of his campaign promises was to hold Trump “accountable.” The prosecutor in Trump’s recent New York civil trial was NY Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who, upon taking office in 2021, effectively promised to get Trump. In the 44 stories from ABC News reporting on James’s lawsuit against Trump, only one mentioned the fact that she is a Democrat. CBS News similarly only mentioned James’s party affiliation in one of its 33 stories on the trial. NBC News had the highest ratio mentioning James’s party affiliation in 27% of its reporting.

  • Maybe we didn’t have the Kabul bomber in our sights: This August 27 will mark an awful American anniversary: that of the jihadist suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, which slaughtered at least 169 Afghan civilians and 13 American warriors. It was, infuriatingly, a massacre we saw coming. More recently, we covered the powerful congressional testimony of a gravely wounded Marine Corps sniper, Sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews, who recounted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee how his team had deployed to the airport on August 26, 2021. As the New York Post reported, they were “tracking a man who intelligence officers believed was a suicide bomber ‘throughout the entirety’ of the day leading up to the explosion.” Now, though, it appears that Vargas-Andrews and his fellow Marines might’ve been mistaken — at least if we’re to believe the results of a new military review. As The Democracy Dies in Darknessers report: “The findings, released Monday after they were shared with the families of 13 service members killed in the August 2021 attack … relied in part on facial recognition technology and interviews with the Marines and with others who were not questioned during a previous investigation conducted soon after the explosion. The new review found that the Marines, while diligently performing their jobs on a sniper team, conflated vetted intelligence reports with unverified ‘spot reports’ made by service members on-site, leading to confusion.” There’s a reason why the most famous term to come out of Clausewitz’s On War is “the fog of war,” and nowhere would this have been more apparent than in the utter chaos at Kabul Airport just prior to the bombing. But this finding in no way excuses Joe Biden’s disgraceful and disastrous handling of that war.

  • Imagine that — Americans are stressed out: For the life of us, we can’t figure out why, but Americans are reportedly feeling under stress of late — to the point where they’re not getting enough sleep at night. As the Gallup organization reports: “For the first time in Gallup polling since 2001, a majority of U.S. adults, 57%, say they would feel better if they got more sleep, while 42% say they get as much sleep as they need. This is nearly a reversal of the figures last measured in 2013, when 56% of Americans got the sleep they needed and 43% did not.” Gallup’s findings further indicate that women, particularly those under 50, are reporting less sleep and higher stress levels than men. But this at least makes sense given that women do all the work. Again, though, as for what might be behind this general increase in anxiety and decrease in lumber-sawing, we’re clueless. After all, it’s not as if we’ve got a cognitively disabled commander-in-chief and a wide-open southern border, coupled with bone-crushing inflation and a surge of violent crime. Oh, wait.


  • Golden Gate Bridge shut down as anti-Israel protesters disrupt cities nationwide (National Review) | Left-wing dark money behemoth behind bail fund for “Free Palestine” bridge blockers (Washington Free Beacon)

  • NPR suspends veteran editor Uri Berliner, who called out left-wing bias (NY Post)

  • Bidens report adjusted gross income of $619,976 in 2023 (Fox News)

  • House overcomes final hurdle to send FISA reauthorization bill to Senate (Daily Wire)

  • Mother moves son to California for chemical castration (PJ Media)

  • Gordon Ramsay’s high-end pub has been taken over by squatters (Not the Bee)

  • “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed sentenced to 18 months in prison over deadly 2021 shooting (CBS News)

  • Rebranding DEI: How colleges are getting around state bans (Hot Air)

  • Satire: Biden retaliates against Iran by attaching note to pallet of cash that says, “Please do not use for terrorism” (Babylon Bee)

For more editors’ choice headlines, click here.

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