Of Men and Balloons 

We officially have an absurd debate over Chinese surveillance balloon toughness. Yes, this is now a thing. A slew of Republicans today lashed out at President Biden for not shooting down the balloon just as the Pentagon carried out his orders to do so. The balloon was shot down by an F-22 firing a sidewinder missile just off the coast of South Carolina.

This was followed by new claims that President Trump never would have allowed a Chinese balloon into US airspace at all. Rep. Joe Wilson, a notorious goober who represents a district in South Carolina declared: “The catastrophic Chinese Spy Balloon spectacle clearly threatened American families from Alaska to my home community in South Carolina and confirms President Biden and Vice President Harris should resign.”

But according to a Pentagon press release out this afternoon, Chinese surveillance balloons entered US airspace at least three times during Trump’s presidency. He not only didn’t shoot them down he also, it would seem, kept it a secret.


The Costa Rica Balloon is Also From China 

I was half joking in the post below about the unidentified high altitude balloon over Costa Rica. But the Pentagon now says that it believes that balloon is another Chinese surveillance balloon. WTF?


WTF? Now There’s a Balloon over Costa Rica? 

I’ve been sort of mystified by the apparent Chinese spy balloon over Montana. It seems highly provocative for relatively little intelligence pay-off. And it happens at a time when both countries appear to be attempting to at least stabilize tensions between the two countries. But TPM Reader JS points out that there seems to be another unauthorized and unidentified balloon currently over Costa Rica. Weird!

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Does the White House Need to Restate Its Refusal to Negotiate the Debt Ceiling? 

It seems like the White House may have some clarifying to do about just what came out of this week’s first meeting between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy. The statement from the White House seemed pretty clear. They’re ready, eager to negotiate budget issues separate from the debt ceiling, which has to be passed without conditions. This I think has always been the actual and proper position and the one I noted back on Monday was worth reiterating.


Meet the Contract Killer who Now Represents George Santos in Brazil 

Jonymar Vasconcelos, 47, lawyer for Rep George Santos in Brazil

I’m not sure the George Santos stories keep getting worse. But they do get weirder, more bizarre.

As we learned way back at the beginning of the Santos saga, he remains a wanted man in Brazil for check fraud he committed back in 2008. After he became an international celebrity in December, Brazilian authorities decided to reinitiate the case which had stalled when they couldn’t locate him. After the case was reopened, Santos hired a Brazilian lawyer to represent him in the revived case. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, since it’s George Santos, that he managed to find a lawyer who’s a convicted murderer. In fact, he’s a convicted contract killer.



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