The Brew: Would You Like to Ride in My Communist Balloon?

By Al Perrotta Published on February 6, 2023

Happy State of the Union Eve!

Today’s Brew, obviously, will be more of a Chinese blend.

Yeah, Chinese Spy Balloon Splashed After 8 Day Romp Across America

Joe Biden is taking a victory lap over shooting down the Chinese spy balloon Saturday. But the lap is more like the time he fell over on his bicycle, judging from the reaction.

Yesterday we wrote an in-depth look at the incident in “Chinese Spy Balloon is Down, But So Much Remains Up in the Air.”

Meanwhile, China is threatening repercussions for the U.S. dropping its dirigible into the drink. Said China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, “China will resolutely uphold the relevant company’s legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time reserving the right to take further actions in response.”

Uh-oh. No more diamonds and million-dollar deals for Hunter!

Or maybe for Valentine’s Day they’ll send balloons and fentanyl-laced chocolate.

The Trial Balloon Meets Blinken Trip

Why send the balloon in the first place? Pentagon seems to think there’s no intel the balloon could have picked up that its spy satellites don’t already grab. (As if that were reassuring.) Answer’s simple to Sen. Tom Cotton. He told Fox News Sunday it was a “trial balloon” sent to test Biden’s strength and resolve and “Unfortunately, the president failed the test.”

Yes, he said “trial balloon.”

Sen. Cotton claims “The president was paralyzed for a week by the balloon.”

Don’t know if that’s true. Given how indifferent Biden is to Chinese fentanyl coming across the border what does he care about a Chinese eye in the sky? Seems more likely the sharp-eyed Montana citizen who spotted the balloon Thursday forced his hand.

Trump’s former National Security Chief of Staff Fred Friez told Newsmax Sunday morning that Biden was “warned about this, and chose to ignore it because they didn’t want to upset this effort to go to China.” Meaning, Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s planned big meeting this weekend. Shoot down the balloon and there goes the trip. No chance to talk to our most dangerous enemy about “climate change.”

But once the balloon became public, there was no way Biden could have not downed it before the State of the Union.

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Speaking of which, perhaps during the SOTU, Biden can explain why he seems so casual … or is it fatalistic … about potential cataclysmic assaults on America. The possibility of a nuclear war with Russia. “Eh.” China waltzing in with a spy balloon (and possible EMP platform) like they own the place. “Eh.”

But a guy in a Viking hat and a gaggle of MAGA grannies step into the Capitol and it’s “Mobilize the entire federal government!”

Administration Claims Similar Balloon Flights During Trump Administration

On Saturday, an anonymous Defense Department source said “Chinese balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration. The idea was to spread the notion, “This happened under Trump.” And of course, the media and Democrats are running with it like a puppy with a stinky shoe.  

One problem. Trump and several Trump officials are stating on the record it’s a lie. “It’s not true,” former DNI John Ratcliffe told Fox News. “I can refute it.” John Bolton, Ric Grenell, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper deny it as well.

Sen. Marco Rubio explained. “What we have never seen, what is unprecedented, and whoever the source was at the Department of Defense would have to acknowledge this, what is unprecedented is a balloon flight that entered over Idaho and flew over Montana, over all these sensitive military installations, air force bases, ICBM fields, right across the middle of the country.”

Having a balloon fly “briefly over some part of the U.S. … that’s one thing,” said Rubio. “But what we saw this week, it’s unprecedented.”

Trump himself had a response that is fully Trumpian.


An anonymous “senior” Biden administration official now claims the previous incursions were only “discovered after” Trump left office. It’d be funny if not deadly serious. The official did admit those brief incursions were nothing like what we saw last week.

We close the China Balloon story with this:

A tip of the cup. That’s funny.

Okay … one more.

Silly. But it does raise the question: Will this finally be the incident that knocks the Biden presidency off its feet? 

Celebrating a Grammy Moment for the Ages

The Grammy Awards were held last night. What used to be a must-watch is now … meh. But it does give us an excuse to recall a special moment from the Grammys 25 years ago.

February 25, 1998. Opera legend Luciano Pavarotti is scheduled to perform. In fact, he was the headliner, slated to receive the Living Legend Award. The telecast is well under way, when doctors rush in to deliver the bad news. Pavarotti is too sick to sing. He’s out of action. You’ve got a huge hole in your show and hardly any time to fill it.

Fortunately, you’ve also got the Queen of Soul in the house. Aretha Franklin. A producer realizes he had heard Aretha sing the Italian classic “Nessun Dorma” a couple nights earlier at a charity event. He rushes to Franklin.

We don’t know if Aretha said “Hold my beer.” What we do know is with just one listen to Pavarotti’s rehearsal tape of song, no time for even a run-through, no experience with the orchestra, and hundreds of millions of music and opera fans around the world looking on, Aretha takes the stage. “Literally, at a moment’s notice,” says Sting in his introduction.

What happened next … well … touches the divine.

Beyonce who?

Along The Stream

Odd story from John Zmirak: “Facebook Censors Story of a Persecuted Afghanistan Girl from a Conference It Hosted.” He interviews Vulnerable People Project Legislative and Diplomatic Liason Marilis Pineiro about it and the amazing young woman profiled.

Our Aliya Kuykendall has a special “Sunny Side of the Stream.” A reflection on the role of men in the protection of woman in the wake of a Metro worker who gave his life to protect a female commuter. 


Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, chief barista for The Brew and co-author, with John Zmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl at GETTRGabParler, and now at TRUTH Social.

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