We place animals in order of importance They suffer like us so of course it's nonsense Pets are family but pigs are just product Pigeons are rats in our speciesist construct Cats have character but cows can have none Admit they all love life and our mind-games are undone#Vegan💖 pic.twitter.com/f2QwzRGokE
Like the ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk) and ‘Ua‘u (Hawaiian Petrel), the ‘Alae ‘Ula, or Hawaiian Common Gallinule, is revered in folklore. According to legend, this bird brought fire from the gods to the people, burning its white forehead red in the process. In fact, its Hawaiian name, ‘Alae ‘Ula, means “burnt forehead!”
The ‘Alae ‘Ula is one of 12 subspecies of Common Gallinule, which is found worldwide. (It differs slightly from the more familiar Common Gallinule in having a reddish blush on the front of its legs and a more extensive facial shield.)
The Hawaiian Common Gallinule was once found throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, but now occurs only on the islands of Kaua‘i and O‘ahu—mainly due to loss of habitat and invasive species such as domestic cats.
Surveying a Subspecies
‘Alae ‘Ula are territorial and defend an area of wetland ranging from a quarter-acre to a half-acre. Although not as secretive as other members of the rail family, such as the elusive Black Rail, this gallinule’s preferred habitat—dense aquatic vegetation—can complicate efforts to accurately estimate its population size.
Both sexes appear similar, although males are larger, and both give voice to chicken-like cackles and croaks. The birds cannot fly for about 25 days each year during their molting period, usually from June-September, which increases their vulnerability to predation.
The ‘Alae ‘Ula’s striking red frontal shield is thought to protect its face as the bird forages through dense vegetation for grasses, seeds, mollusks, and aquatic insects and their larvae. The shield may also be used in courtship display and territorial defense.
‘Alae ‘Ula are opportunistic feeders. They may take food from the water’s surface, dip or dive underwater, or turn over aquatic vegetation as they seek prey.
‘Alae ‘Ula can nest year-round, but the majority of nesting occurs from March to August and may depend on suitable water levels. This bird’s platform-style nest is built from twigs, stems, and leaves, with the male collecting materials and the female arranging them at the nest site. The parents frequently incorporate a ramp on one side to allow chicks to easily clamber in and out.
Hawaiian Common Gallinule by Michael Walther
Female gallinules lay a clutch of around five eggs, which hatch after two to three weeks of incubation by both sexes. Like Wilson’s Plover and Piping Plover chicks, ‘Alae ‘Ula hatchlings are precocial: They can walk and swim within a few hours of hatching. However, they depend on their parents for protection and food for several more weeks.
Rekindling the Fire-bringer
The Hawaiian Common Gallinule was listed as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1967; it’s also listed as endangered at the state level. The filling, dredging, and draining of wetlands in Hawai’i has greatly reduced the amount of habitat available for the gallinule, limiting their distribution and abundance.
Introduced predators such as cats, mongooses, bullfrogs, and turtles are another problem for the ground-feeding birds. And climate change, particularly rising sea level, threatens the species’ low-lying coastal habitat.
(Amy Coney Barrett: Jim Lo Scalzo/Reuters; Brett Kavanaugh: Jabin Botsford/Reuters)
They joined Roberts and the Court’s progressives in declining relief to Maine health-care providers, who must now be vaccinated against their beliefs or lose their jobs.
NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE L ate Friday, Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh joined Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court’s three progressives in denying a preliminary injunction to a group of medical professionals who sought to be exempted from Maine’s vaccine mandate because of their religious convictions.
Justice Neil Gorsuch filed a compelling dissent in the case, John Does 1-3 v. Mills, joined by his fellow conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. The dissenters stressed that, besides being likely to win on the merits, the religious objectors were merely asking to maintain the status quo — to keep their jobs despite being unvaccinated — while the Court decided whether to grant a full review of their case. In turning them down, Barrett and Kavanaugh dodged the weighty civil-rights issues, seeing the case, instead, as an opportunity to gripe about the Court’s emergency docket.
Maine now requires certain health-care workers to be vaccinated or face the loss of their jobs and medical practices. Unlike many such mandates, Maine’s does not provide an exemption for religious objectors. The plaintiffs are medical professionals who object to the vaccine, and thus the mandate, based on their Christian faith. Specifically, because fetal tissue from terminated pregnancies was used in developing the approved vaccines, the plaintiffs see immunization as an implicit endorsement of abortion, in violation of their religious beliefs. The sincerity of those beliefs is not in dispute.
The plaintiffs made an emergency application for a preliminary injunction. In his dissent from the 6–3 majority’s refusal to grant that application, Gorsuch explained that the main issues on such an injunction request are whether the applicants are likely to succeed on the merits and, if so, whether they would suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction. Gorsuch proceeded to make a strong case that the claimants would prevail on both issues.
Religious liberty is fundamental, expressly protected by the First Amendment. Under currently controlling precedent (which, as I’ve previously detailed, is disputed), a law that impinges on religion may survive if it is both neutral (i.e., not hostile to religion) and generally applicable (i.e., imposed on everyone equally). Maine’s vaccine mandate does not meet this standard because it provides for individualized exemptions. Though medical professionals are not excused from compliance based on their religious beliefs, they needn’t comply if they get a note from a health-care provider claiming that, in their cases, immunization “may be” medically inadvisable.
As Gorsuch elaborates, this medical exemption is remarkably lax. There is no requirement that the note explain why the health-care provider believes vaccination would entail medical risk; nor is there any limitation on what qualifies as a valid “medical” concern. As Gorsuch tartly observes, “It seems Maine will respect even mere trepidation over vaccination as sufficient, but only so long as it is phrased in medical and not religious terms.” (Emphasis in original.)
Even if a law fails to qualify as neutral and generally applicable, it can still survive a First Amendment challenge if it satisfies the Court’s “strict scrutiny” tier of review — the most demanding for state action to meet. Generally, strict scrutiny requires a state to show that (a) its law furthers a compelling government interest, and (b) the conditions imposed by the law are the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.
The dissenters were willing to stipulate that Maine has a compelling interest in halting the spread of COVID-19, but only for argument’s sake. Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito point out that much has changed for the better since the Court presumed a compelling state interest nearly a year ago (in Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo), there now being not one but three approved vaccines, as well as greatly improved therapeutics, with more on the way. The dissenters are skeptical about the specter of “indefinite states of emergencies,” by which state power imperils civil liberties regardless of changed circumstances.
On the second test, Gorsuch demonstrated that Maine appears to fall woefully short of meeting its burden. Many states that impose a comparable mandate provide an exemption based on religious objections. The state has already exceeded the 90 percent level of vaccination compliance at designated health-care facilities that it originally claimed was necessary; even putting aside that the state never backed up this goal with evidence, forcing religious objectors to be vaccinated would not help if the goal already has been achieved. Maine, moreover, allows unvaccinated workers who have been exempted on claimed medical grounds to take other precautions, such as protective gear and regular testing, in lieu of being immunized. Clearly, there is no reason that these same alternative measures would be any less effective for workers whose exemptions were based on religious scruples instead.
Ergo, Gorsuch aptly concludes, “Maine’s decision to deny a religious exemption in these circumstances doesn’t just fail the least restrictive means test, it borders on the irrational.”
Moving on to other injunction factors (besides the plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits), the dissenters pointed out that the denial of religious liberty amounts to irreparable harm under the Court’s precedents — quite apart from the fact that the medical workers are also losing their livelihoods. By contrast, the public interest would not be harmed by granting religion-based exemptions, any more than it is harmed by the health-related exemptions that the state provides.
Therefore, Justices Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito saw no justification for refusing to grant a temporary injunction. After all, that would merely maintain the status quo until the Court could decide whether to grant review (known as certiorari) and fully consider the case on the merits.
As for the six-justice majority, it is to be expected that the Court’s three progressives (Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) would elevate state authority over religious liberty. Nor is it surprising that Chief Justice Roberts would subordinate religious liberty to a draconian state mandate. He has a track record in COVID cases of deferring to the judgment of elected officials — no matter how arbitrary that judgment or how fundamental the rights at stake — on the rationale that they, unlike politically unaccountable judges, answer to the voters and have more institutional competence. (See, e.g., his dissent in Cuomo and his upholding of California’s restrictions on attendance at religious services in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom.)
What is stunning, and will be troubling for conservatives, is the decision by Justices Barrett and Kavanaugh to side with the progressives and turn a blind eye to a state government’s suppression of a fundamental freedom that the Constitution is supposed to protect. And equally troubling: the thin gruel they offer as a rationale.
Barrett filed a one-paragraph opinion, joined by Kavanaugh, concurring in the Court’s refusal to grant injunctive relief. She explained that she “understands” the weighing of an injunction applicant’s likelihood of success on the merits to include “a discretionary judgment about whether the Court should grant review in the case.” Discretion in this context means the justices’ power to choose to ignore a claim that should be heard, rationalizing that to entertain it could potentially undermine the Court’s institutional protocols.
Barrett and Kavanaugh have apparently been seized by anxiety over potential abuse of the Court’s so-called emergency docket — a hobby horse among legal academics, particularly now that (a) the Court has a conservative majority, and (b) critics of progressive federal and state administrations are turning to the courts for relief from sundry mandates and decrees.
The emergency docket entails cases that arise in exigent circumstances and must be addressed expeditiously, often by injunction applications, on schedules far tighter than what might generously be described as the Court’s customary pace of a hobbled snail. Barrett frets that when the Court takes the “extraordinary” step of entertaining such a case, the justices are put to the unwelcome burden of providing a “merits preview” — a forecast of how the case is likely to be decided if fully reviewed. This is said to be less than optimal because the Court must proceed “on a short fuse without benefit of full briefing and oral argument,” when, if they’d had more time to think it through, the justices might not grant review of the case at all.
Cue the violins.
Justice Barrett’s temporizing is overwrought. The Court should only grant preliminary relief — which, again, simply freezes a matter in place, but doesn’t decide it with finality — if (a) the moving party plainly appears likely to win on the merits, (b) the failure to act would truly cause irreparable harm (e.g., there is no irreparable harm if money damages would eventually make the harmed party whole), and (c) there is not some consequential public interest that an injunction would undermine. That is a very small universe of cases, especially for a tribunal that, on a yearly basis, is not exactly overtaxed. (Last term, the justices issued opinions in just 67 cases out of the approximately 8,000 in which review was sought, continuing the Roberts Court trend of historically low output; in the early 1980s, by comparison, the Court typically decided over 150 cases per term.)
Furthermore, who cares if the Court has to give a merits preview? It is a fact of life that emergency circumstances occasionally arise, forcing us mere mortals to do the best we can, ruefully realizing we could do better if only there were time for calm deliberation. Why should the Supreme Court, the last bastion for safeguarding our fundamental rights, be spared that burden? If it turns out that, upon further consideration of a fully developed record, the justices would not have taken the emergency case in the first place, the “merits preview” does no harm. To the extent it has precedential value, it is understood to be a preliminary decision based on an incomplete factual record.
Most significantly, even if their reservations had persuasive force, Barrett and Kavanaugh are prioritizing the Court’s airy model for conducting appellate litigation over its principal duty to defend the fundamental rights of Americans against government overreach.
At issue here is a flesh-and-blood dispute, not an abstraction. Medical professionals are being stripped of their religious freedom and their jobs because of a state mandate that capriciously discriminates against them. Yet rather than take action, Barrett and Kavanaugh basically say: Let’s just wait a year or three, so we can have an exacting record and full briefing. And mind you, granting a preliminary injunction would not deprive the justices of their coveted full briefing; it would just mean that the unvaccinated medical professionals got to keep their jobs until the Court finally decided to either deny full review (in which case the injunction would lapse) or grant review and then rule on the merits.
Presumably Justices Barrett and Kavanaugh appreciate that when they exercise their “discretionary judgment” to duck a case, it doesn’t mean the case goes unresolved. There is still a winner and a loser. Here, overbearing government prevailed, and the loser was the Constitution.
Have you decided what you and your dog are going to be for Halloween?
While dressing up in costumes is not for everyone or every dog, a recent survey by Rover found that nearly half (47%) of pet parents plan on wearing matching Halloween costumes with their dog.
The survey asked 1,000 pet parents how they were including their dog in their Halloween festivities.
And it turns out that dogs will be involved in most of the fun activities.
Some pets find Halloween to be stressful with the constant ringing of the doorbell, strangers at the door in costumes, and dangerous candy within reach. If this is your pet, please allow them to stay indoors and in a safe and quiet area.
On the other hand, if your dog doesn’t mind costumes and doesn’t stress over strangers, consider dressing up in matching Halloween costumes.
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According to the survey results, 65% of dog parents plan to dress up their dog and are planning on spending up to $40 for their dog’s costume.
A majority of pet parents (47%) are taking it a step further by wearing matching Halloween costumes.
Some dogs are completely fine with a full costume, while others would do best with just a bandana. Please consider your dog’s comfort when choosing a costume or involving them in activities.
The #1 way pet parents are easing their dog’s anxiety about wearing a costume is getting them used to it by wearing it early to get comfortable.
There are endless options of “couple” costumes that you and your pet can go as. But if you need inspiration, take a look at these adorable dog costumes and the list of ideas below.
Creative Human & Dog Halloween Costumes
From the Wizard of Oz: Dorothy dog costume & wicked witch, tin man, scarecrow, or lion for human
Iron Man dog costume & Black Widow for human
Bumblebee dog costume & sunflower for human
Spider dog costume & web for human
Dinosaur dog costume & Jurassic Park Ranger for human
Trick or Treat?
58% of dog parents plan on having their dog help hand out candy or greet trick-or-treaters at the door. Make sure you keep a close eye on Fido to make sure he doesn’t eat any dropped candy or sneak out of the house.
For those parents heading out to go trick-or-treating, over half (55%) are bringing their dogs.
The vast majority (69%) of dog parents can’t resist showing off their adorable pup and plan on posting a photo or video on social media of their dog in their Halloween costume.
And let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy seeing their feeds full of adorable dogs in costumes?!
Doting parents want to make sure everyone sees their fang-tastic pup so 54% are planning on sharing photos with coworkers or including their dogs in a Zoom call.
No matter how you choose to spend the holiday, we wish everyone a safe and happy Howl-oween!
Check out The Dog People, a blog by Rover, for more pet tips, tricks, and information.
Pet food has long been a source of worry for pet owners and health officials. Reports of salmonella contamination are frequent, and threaten not only animals eating the food but also the owners handling it. Nutritional deficiencies and toxins have been found in pet foods as well — including melamine and salmonella which has led to multiple pet deaths.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the manufacture of cat food, dog food, and dog treats or snacks you have in your pantry1. One of the ways it does that is through the the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled2.
However, we regularly see violations of this law in tragic headlines reporting pet illness and death.
The FDA’s new proposal includes safety requirements similar to those in place for manufacturers of human food, ensuring that manufacturers are proactive in their efforts to keep pet food safe3. The current system is reactive; the government does not respond to pet food safety issues until after they are reported. In the past, it’s taken weeks of reports from consumers before contaminations were discovered and recalls announced, and thousands of dogs and cats are believed to have died.
The FDA is proposing that pet food companies follow rules very similar to those that manufacturers of human food must follow. That means that companies that take part in manufacturing any pet food component would be required to keep a record of, monitor for effectiveness, and report their manufacturing practices4.
Important pieces of this proposal include sanitation, hygienic practices and training, processes and controls, storage and distribution of pet food, and equipment design, use and maintenance.
Manufacturers will be required to develop procedures to prevent foodborne illness, and have plans in place to correct any problems, under the new law5.
This long-awaited move by the FDA is likely to be opposed, and possibly diluted, by large pet food manufacturers and importers. Make your voice heard now: It’s past time for the FDA to help ensure that the food we feed our pets is safe!
More on this issue:
U.S. Food & Drug Administration (19 February 2021), “Pet Food.”
As you know, the discovery and recall of contaminated pet food happens on far too frequent a basis. Recalls of pet food are announced regularly.
The melamine scandal of 2007, which caused the tragic loss of thousands of beloved pets and even made it into the human food supply via chicken feed, should have served as a warning of how sweeping pet food contamination can be.
It seems the lessons from that tragedy have not been learned, as pets continue to die every year from pet food contamination.
Still today, dozens of pets die from food contamination every year and far more become seriously ill.
I am incredibly supportive of your proposal to enact stronger pet food manufacturing safety regulations similar to those in place for food for humans. No doubt you will receive many communications from organizations determined to dilute and weaken your proposal. I choose to support strong regulation to protect health and lives. Please continue to consider the health of our animals and our population, and enact these regulations faithfully and completely.
Ethiopia: Access to telephone and internet in the Tigray region remains cut. Basic services, including electricity, is spotty. Reports of interruptions to essential items persist. The U.S. Embassy is unable to contact American citizens in the region. https://t.co/xnQ2TympB6pic.twitter.com/f16KAdgVvy
They insist ingredient splitting is a deliberate attempt by pet food companies to mislead consumers… and a deceptive trick designed to make an ingredients list look more attractive to potential buyers.
What Is Ingredient Splitting?
Ingredient splitting is the creative practice of dividing a more abundant (inferior) ingredient into smaller portions of similar items.
It’s a sneaky way to artificially boost a more desirable item (like meat) to a higher spot on the ingredients list… while lowering the ranking of a less desirable item (like rice or corn).
And it’s all completely legal.
Here’s How It Works
Let’s say you have a dog food in which corn and rice are the main ingredients in the recipe.
Because grains are less appealing to a dog food shopper than meat, designers are compelled to lower the positions of non-meat items on the ingredients list.
Keep in mind…
Pet food manufacturers are required by law to arrange each item on every ingredients list in order of its precooking weight.
Check out this example…
Notice that corn and rice rank #1 and #2… before ingredient splitting.
What happens if we “split” the first two items on the list into smaller portions of similar ingredients?
With that goal in mind…
Let’s divide corn into smaller amounts of corn meal and corn flour… and let’s split the rice into smaller portions of brown and white rice.
And like magic…
Even though the amount of chicken meal remains unchanged, it’s now been raised to the first position on the ingredients list.
Avoid ‘The First Ingredient’ Trick
Can you see how a dog food company could use ingredient splitting to mislead shoppers?
Here’s a real life example.
Have you ever noticed a dog food package boasting, “meat is the first ingredient”?
It’s easy for a pet food shopper to misunderstand this claim.
Do the words, “Chicken is the #1 ingredient” mean chicken is the most plentiful ingredient in the recipe?
Or do they mean that the food’s designer was able to successfully use ingredient splitting to manipulate the order of the list?
Do they mean chicken is the first ingredient because the recipe actually contains a generous amount of chicken meal?
The Bottom Line
Ingredient splitting is neither good… or bad.
Unless a company chooses to use ingredient splitting to mislead consumers.
Don’t place excessive value on claims that meat is the first ingredient. Keep in mind, ingredients can be manipulated to change their order.
Which is why…
The first 5 ingredients in any recipe tend to provide a much more accurate picture of a pet food’s actual content.
What to Look for?
When searching for ingredient splitting, follow these suggestions:
Ingredients matter. Begin every dog food evaluation with the label. After all, how could any food be magically better than the ingredients that were used to make it?
Don’t overvalue the first ingredient. Ignore scammy claims. Instead, consider the healthiest and most plentiful components at the top of the recipe.
Study the first 5 ingredients to determine the most abundant items in any dog food formula
Look for evidence of ingredient splitting. Be skeptical when you find multiple versions of similar ingredients clustered together near the top of the list. For example, if you find white rice, brown rice and rice flour included in the first 5 items of a recipe, you can be fairly certain the main ingredient in the food is not meat.
Our Best Advice
If you’d like to save time, consider visiting one of our “Best Dog Food” pages below. We’ve already assessed over 5700 recipes to uncover these top-rated dog and puppy foods.
Tell your legislators to demand Fauci stop funding of abusive and cruel dog experiments!
Fauci’s NIH division funded part of a grant to a lab to drug 44 beagles and lock their heads in mesh cages filled with hungry sand flies so that the insects could eat them alive. Some of the dogs had their vocal cords removed so scientists could work without hearing their incessant barking.
Leading the effort is Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), writing a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) saying these are “cruel” and a “reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.” Mace’s letter was signed by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Scott Franklin (R-Fla.), Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Fred Keller (R-Pa.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Maria E. Salazar (R-Fla.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.)
If you don’t see your congresspersons listed here, contact them and demand they join with these to hold reprehensible Fauci accountable!
The Biden administration announced on Monday that children under 18 and people from dozens of countries with a shortage of vaccines, will be exempt from new rules that will require most travelers coming to the United States to be vaccinated from COVID-19.
The new updated policy comes as the Biden administration moves away from restrictions that ban non-essential travel from several dozen countries, most of Europe, China, Brazil, South Africa, India and Iran, instead of focusing on classifying individuals by risk they pose to others.
It also reflects the White House’s embrace of vaccination requirements as a tool to push more Americans to get the shots by making it inconvenient to remain unvaccinated.
Beginning on November 8, foreign, non-immigrant adults traveling to the U.S. will need to be fully vaccinated, with only limited circumstances or exceptions, and all travelers will need to be tested for the virus before boarding a plane to the U.S. It will require unvaccinated U.S. citizens and long-term residents to have to present a negative Covid test taken a day before re-entering the country, while unvaccinated foreign nationals will be able to enter only in limited circumstances, an administration official said Monday. Fully vaccinated Americans will have to be tested three days before traveled with tightened restrictions for American and foreign citizens who are not fully vaccinated.
For foreign nationals, the administration announced in September it will require all visitors to be fully vaccinated before entering the country, but on Monday outlined exemptions to that requirement.
People coming from countries with vaccination rates under 10 percent, for example, will also have to provide a compelling reason for why they are traveling to the U.S., a senior administration official said. The government will require airlines to collect contact information on passengers regardless of whether they have been vaccinated to help with contact tracing, if that becomes necessary.
The officials also said the U.S. will accept any of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) even if they are not cleared in the U.S., including Russian and Chinese vaccines, which have limited data on their effectiveness against the Delta variant.
On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security awarded a $456,548 contract to a Sussex County, Delaware construction company, to erect a security fence around President Joe Biden’s $2.7 million summer North Shores Delaware beach house. The contract was awarded to Rehoboth’s Turnstone Builders, according to USA spending.
The Biden summer beach home is near Cape Henlopen. Biden’s second property in Delaware is his main residence in Greenville, just outside of Wilmington. Biden bought the North Shores home in 2017 for $2.7 million, according to county tax records. Biden has visited the property twice so far during his presidency.
Construction on the wall had not begun as of October 20, the Cape Gazette reported, but the government spending website says the project is expected to be finished by the end of the year. The New York Post asked the U.S. Secret Service about the fence but the Secret Service “declined to discuss protective means and methods.”
With all the problems this country is having under Biden’s leadership, our southern border is close to the top of the list, if not the top. The president has yet even visited the border, but did take time to cancel all the contracts Trump had in place to finish the wall.
Biden has received criticism over not visiting the border himself, but did say he and his wife had been in the past and his wife was there recently, if you call 2019 recently. But she hasn’t been there since becoming the First Lady. White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted in an exchange with Fox News’ Peter Doocy that “He (Biden) did drive through the border while he was on the campaign trail in 2008,” but could not recall any other time. Facts show that it was a brief drive by, not through, as he was driving a car to New Mexico from Texas.
Biden has told reporters that he hasn’t had time to visit the border. Counting this weekend, President Biden has spent 20 weekends at home in Delaware, 10 weekends at Camp David, and only nine weekends at the White House during his presidency, so far.
One would think the president could have taken one of these 39 weekends to visit the most critical security situation our country has had in recent history.
On Friday, President Joe Biden told the press details about his meeting with Pope Francis as debate over Biden’s stance on abortion as a self-professed Catholic continues in the United States.
“We just talked about the fact that he was happy I’m a good Catholic,” Biden said, per Fox News. “And I should keep receiving communion.”
Biden noted that the pope did not provide him with communion during their time together. The president also reportedly delivered a “challenge coin” to the pope.
“I’m not sure this is appropriate, but there is a tradition in America that the president, that he gives to warriors and leaders,” Biden said. “You are the most significant warrior for peace I’ve ever met, and I’d like to be able to give you a coin.”
“I know my son would want me to give this to you,” Biden said, referencing his late son Beau.
The New York Times also reported that Biden responded, “Yes,” when he was asked by the media if Francis said if he should keep getting communion.
The Times added:
Asked to confirm Mr. Biden’s remarks, Matteo Bruni, the Vatican spokesman, said the Holy See limited its comments to the news release about subjects discussed during the meeting and added, “It’s a private conversation.”
The practice of communion among pro-abortion government leaders who say they are practicing Catholics has been a debate for some time. Pope Francis was asked about the topic of abortion, and the intense discussion over communion, last month.
“Answering questions aboard the papal plane from Bratislava, Slovakia, to Rome on Sept. 15, the pope emphatically said that abortion ends a human life and that human life must be respected,” CNA News reported.
“Abortion is more than an issue. Abortion is homicide,” Pope Francis said. “It’s a homicide. No middle terms. Whomever does an abortion, kills.”
“Scientifically it’s a human life. The textbooks teach us that. But is it right to take it out to solve a problem? And this is why the Church is so strict on this issue because it is kind of like accepting this is accepting daily murder,” Pope Francis noted.
“As for whether to deny a pro-abortion politician the ability to participate in communion, the Pope was less decisive, suggesting that bishops and priests should seek to be pastoral and counsel those who seem confused about Church teachings because a pastor’s responsibility does not end when an individual has been excommunicated or has excommunicated themselves by disagreeing publicly with core dogma,” The Daily Wire reported.
“The problem is pastoral, how do we, as bishops, manage this principle,” Pope Francis said. “If we look at the history of the Church, we will see that every time the bishops acted not as pastors in a problem, they became politicians.”
“And what should the pastor do? He shouldn’t go around condemning. And he must also be a pastor with those who are excommunicated and be so with God’s style, which is closeness, compassion and tenderness,” Pope Francis said. “Those people who are not in the community cannot take communion, because they are out of the community. It is not a punishment: Communion is linked to the community.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a fierce supporter of abortion, has also faced scrutiny for her stance. She met with Francis earlier this month at the Vatican.
As The Daily Wire reported, “Pelosi, a lifelong Roman Catholic, has described herself as a ‘devout Catholic,’ but she has been criticized recently by her own bishop in San Francisco for her public support of legal abortion. The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is morally wrong and kills the unborn child, whose life begins at conception.”
“We must never lose sight of this fact: In the last 50 years, in the United States alone, 66,000,000 babies have been murdered in their mothers’ wombs,” San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said in May.
“This is not a matter about which one can use judgment. It is a fact,” the bishop added.
The Department of Homeland Security won’t allow immigration agents to apprehend illegal immigrants where “essential” activities or services happen, the agency announced on Wednesday.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are prohibited from apprehending illegal immigrants around “places where children gather, disaster or emergency relief sites, and social services establishments,” according to the new directive. The guidance also applies to religious facilities and events, public events like parades or demonstrations and medical treatment facilities.
“In our pursuit of justice, including in the execution of our enforcement responsibilities, we impact people’s lives and advance our country’s well-being in the most fundamental ways,” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “As a result, when conducting an enforcement action, ICE and CBP agents and officers must first examine and consider the impact of where actions might possibly take place, their effect on people, and broader societal interests.”
For the first time, a single DHS-wide policy will guide @ICEgov and @CBP enforcement actions for protected areas, and it expands the list of protected areas to include places where children gather, disaster or emergency relief sites, and social services establishments.
The DHS also stopped “mass” ICE worksite raids of illegal immigrants and announced it would instead focus on prosecuting employers, the agency announced on Oct. 12. The enforcement actions at worksites were unfair to illegal immigrants and didn’t have enough consequences for the exploitive employers who don’t adhere to legal standards, the agency said at the time.
“With today’s directive, Secretary Mayorkas has accomplished to radical left’s goal of abolishing ICE,” Federation for American Immigration Reform President Dan Stein said in a statement, according to the Associated Press News. “The agency still exists, but it has been stripped of all of its functions with regard to the enforcement of immigration laws.”
“Nearly all illegal aliens are already off-limits to enforcement due to a Sep. 30 memo, and as a result of Mayorkas’ ‘expanded and non-exhaustive list of protected areas,’ where ICE agents are permitted to do their work, the secretary has essentially nullified an entire body of constitutionally enacted laws,” Stein added.
DHS instructed immigration officials to focus on apprehending migrants with serious criminal histories over those who just illegally enter the country, according to a Sept. 30 memorandum. Immigration officials were instructed to evaluate migrants on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they are threats to the public, national security or border security.
ICE arrests fell to the lowest numbers recorded in the last decade, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday. The agency provided substantial assistance to CBP officials in Texas’ Del Rio sector, but it only made around 72,000 arrests in the fiscal year 2021 ending in September compared to 104,000 arrests during the same time frame in 2020.
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“Liberty Counsel recently filed a class action lawsuit  along with a motion for a temporary restraining order and injunction  against Joseph R. Biden, U.S. Secretary of the Department of Defense and U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of members from all five branches of the military, federal employees and federal civilian contractors, who have been unlawfully mandated to get the COVID shots or face dishonorable discharge from the military or termination from employment. The preliminary injunction hearing will be on Monday, November 15 at 9 a.m., in the Middle District Court of Florida…
The COVID shots cannot be mandatory under the federal Emergency Use Authorization law (EUA). While BioNTech’s COMIRNATY is FDA approved, it is not available and will not be for at least many months. There is no FDA-approved COVID shot available . Under the EUA, individuals have the “option to accept…
The Biden administration and congressional Democrats are scaling back a controversial proposal to have banks report more information to the Internal Revenue Service after their initial plan was met with a backlash from the financial services industry and Republicans.
The original proposal, part of a larger effort to generate more revenue by cracking down on tax cheats, called for financial institutions to provide data to the IRS on accounts with annual deposits or withdrawals totaling more than $600. But the plan generated a storm of criticism from Republicans, and a fierce lobbying campaign by banks, with both groups raising alarms about a government invasion of privacy.
The revised plan, outlined Tuesday by Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and endorsed by the Treasury Department, would set the reporting threshold at $10,000 a year and includes exemptions for payroll deposits and Social Security benefits, among other things. “We’re adding language to ensure enforcement efforts are focused on the very wealthy,” Wyden said.
The Biden administration insists that the new reporting requirement is meant only to help collect unpaid taxes from the rich and that audit rates won’t go up for taxpayers making less than $400,000 a year. The requirement is aimed at addressing what the Biden administration describes as a two-tiered system in which wage earners, who have their incomes reported to the IRS, comply with tax rules at a far higher rate than people, mostly wealthy, who generate substantial income from sources that don’t get reported to the government, making it harder to rule out tax evasion.
“Under the current system, American workers pay virtually all their tax bills while many top earners avoid paying billions in taxes, they owe by exploiting the system,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement Tuesday. “This two-tiered tax system is unfair and deprives the country of resources to fund core priorities. Today’s new proposal reflects the administration’s strong belief that we should zero in on those at the top of the income scale who don’t pay the taxes they owe, while protecting American workers by setting the bankaccount threshold at $10,000 and providing an exemption for wage earners like teachers and firefighters.”
The proposed changed did little to quell criticisms from Republicans and the banking industry. “Even with the modifications announced today, this proposal still goes too far by forcing financial institutions to share with the IRS private financial data from millions of customers not suspected of cheating on their taxes. The exclusion of payroll and federal program beneficiaries does not address millions of other taxpayers who would be impacted by the proposal,” said Rob Nichols, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, in a statement. “If enacted this new proposal would still raise the same privacy concerns, increase tax preparation costs for individuals and small businesses, and create significant operational challenges, particularly for community banks.”
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) reported warned: “Marx is at the doorstep.”
Biden Administration Wants To Force Law-Abiding American Taxpayers to Pay $450,000 Per Person “Compensation” To Illegal Alien Lawbreakers
About Author Pawel Styrna 4 – 5 minutes
The Biden administration never ceases to surprise and amaze in its unrelenting drive towards ever greater absurdity when it comes to immigration and border security. A recent and telling example is the Biden administration’s attempt to “compensate” illegal aliens, by paying them $450,000 per person, for “trauma” suffered as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “[t]he Biden administration is in talks to offer immigrant families that were separated during the Trump administration around $450,000 a person in compensation, according to people familiar with the matter, as several agencies work to resolve lawsuits filed on behalf of parents and children who say the government subjected them to lasting psychological trauma.”
The newspaper revealed that the payments being considered “could amount to close to $1 million a family,” and the “total potential payout could be $1 billion or more.”
What this means is that law-abiding American taxpayers, as well as legal immigrants who respected our laws and followed the rules, will be forced to compensate illegal aliens for the consequences of violating our borders and breaking our immigration laws.
While the previous administration’s “zero tolerance” (mislabeled “family separation”) policy was attacked for being cruel and inhumane, we should keep several things in mind. To begin with, it was an attempt to finally get a grip on a border security and illegal migration problem – coupled with an asylum abuse problem – that had been allowed to fester for way too long due to pressure from various lobbies and relative neglect by previous administrations.
Second, the U.S. was not forcing anyone to come to the U.S. illegally or attempt to enter the country by fraudulently invoking the magic word “asylum.” Illegal aliens knew the risks – including the potential to be temporarily separated from the children they brought with them (who, in some cases, were not their children) – and many nevertheless kept coming. Others actually chose to leave their children in the U.S. after themselves being removed.
Third, family separation is an unfortunate, but routine, result of people violating laws. We do not compensate for any trauma that they, or their children, may undergo as a result of their incarceration. Moreover, a law-abiding American citizen or legal immigrant will also not be compensated if they lose a loved one as a result of illegal alien crime. In fact, the Biden administration – which is currently attempting to shower illegal aliens with American taxpayer money – actually dismantled a Trump-era office for victims of illegal alien crime.
The Wall Street Journal appears to take issue with comparisons between the potential payout to illegal aliens with compensation to the families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The 9/11 victim compensation fund,” stated the paper, “averaged awards to the dead of around $2 million, tax-free, at the time an unprecedented payout, the administrator of the fund has said.” Of course, the fact that many illegal alien families will be getting approximately half of that amount is still quite jarring.
Also, keep in mind that a $450,000 per person payment for foreign lawbreakers who have no legal right to even be in the country is still much larger than the $100,000 Military Death Gratuity, which is a one-time (non-taxable) payment to the surviving family of U.S. service members.
The administration’s scandalous attempt to make such generous payments to illegal aliens is a slap in the face of American citizens and legal immigrants. It also reflects Team Biden’s consistent prioritizing and favoring of unauthorized foreign nationals at the expense of everyone else. One thing is for sure: generous rewards for illegal aliens, coupled with constant attempts to ram through amnesty during a historic border crisis, will undoubtedly be viewed as welcome news among potential illegal border crossers in other countries.
Apparently, Google doesn’t want us criticizing “America’s Doctor” for funding the abuse of beagles with our tax dollars in experiments opposed by most Americans.
Photo of parasite experiments on beagles funded with a $375,800 grant from Dr. Fauci’s division at the NIH. The dogs were drugged and had their heads confined in these mesh cages full of biting sand flies. https://www.youtube.com/embed/D_On5SH67Ec
The King Vulture is a clownish-looking bird with a serious mission: In most of its extensive tropical range, this species is the largest scavenging bird. The King’s smaller, more plentiful relations, including Black and Turkey Vultures, depend upon this heavy-billed bird to tear into larger carcasses first. The King only plays second fiddle to the Andean Condor in a few areas, such as northern Peru, where both species live side by side.
At 6.5 feet, the King Vulture’s wingspan is certainly impressive, but it doesn’t match up to those of the condors: The Andean Condor, wingtip to wingtip, can reach 10.5 feet; the California Condor is only slightly smaller.
Top of Their Line
Despite having larger cousins, the King deserves its royal moniker for at least three reasons: As mentioned before, it outranks other vultures of the Americas in size in most of the remote lowland forest and environs where it occurs. And its size, including its hefty bill, puts it at the top of the “picking order” — able to muscle its way into feeding frenzies and dig deeper into carcasses than other species sharing its habitats.
The King Vulture also wins the “beauty” prize for most colorful vulture. Adults sport multicolored, featherless heads that are a hodge-podge of peach-orange, yellow, red, and pink, all framed nicely by a charcoal feather neck ruff. Another eye-catching accent: the bird’s piercing white eyes, which are outlined by cherry-red orbital rings. These birds are striking in flight as well: Adult King Vultures can be easily identified from great distances, thanks to gleaming white backs, underparts, and underwing coverts fringed by black flight feathers. (At a distance, soaring Wood Storks are the birds most likely to cause confusion.)
Widespread but Generally Scarce
King Vultures occur from southern Mexico to northern Argentina and northern Uruguay. This range includes most of Brazil. In Central America, distribution is now spotty, with this majestic bird most frequent in remaining wilderness areas. For example, in Costa Rica, King Vultures are most reliably found in the remote Osa Peninsula in the south and the San Carlos River region near the border with Nicaragua.
King Vultures are mostly found in forested lowlands, but in the southern Andes they can occur at elevations up to 6,000 feet. The species is thought to be nonmigratory, but individuals travel long distances in search of food. While most frequently encountered in or over humid and semi-humid forest habitats, the King Vulture also occurs in regions with dry forest, usually where large areas of habitat remain. Although associated with forest, these birds also soar over and forage in open areas.
King Vultures have been documented emitting at least a half dozen harsh vocalizations at nest sites. Most are from nestlings and some by adults attending the young. These include growls, groans, screeches, and a noise like a cutting saw. Otherwise, while out and about, this bird is not known to vocalize.
Late to the “Party”
King Vultures cover large areas and tend to occur in low numbers, especially compared to some of their smaller relatives. But they have a special “seat at the table” at carcasses. For a study published in 1987 in the journal The Auk, researchers observed the goings-on at 217 animal carcasses in northern Peru, where five scavenging bird species vied for the spoils. These feeding assemblages might seem chaotic, but the study revealed a certain order that likely helps explain how these species coexist: Turkey Vultures, which likely have among the best olfactory senses in the family, often showed up first at carrion, holding sway over arriving, smaller Black Vultures, unless their numbers exceeded dozens. The Crested Caracara, not a vulture but an opportunistic follower, cautiously skirted the edges of the frenzies, visiting for leftovers after the main feeding. Arriving last were the largest birds — the King Vulture (which may not have a good sense of smell) and the even-larger Andean Condor. These birds brought their superior cutting equipment — their heavy bills — which allowed them to tear open large carcasses the other birds could not. For these larger meals, the smaller early arrivals had to wait on the sidelines until the giants had their fill.
King Vulture in flight by Ondrej Prosicky, Shutterstock
Although King Vultures are best known as scavengers supreme, feasting on a wide variety of dead creatures from fish to monkeys to livestock, they have also been seen eating maggots, and also palm fruits. In addition, there are reports that these birds sometimes kill small lizards, wounded animals, and newborn livestock.
King Vulture pairs, like those of the Laysan Albatross, put all their energy into a single egg. Incubation and feeding duties are taken on by both female and male. King Vulture breeding remains rather poorly understood, in good part because the birds are stealthy nesters often in remote areas. The egg is laid in a secluded spot. Locations have included a simple scrape on the ground, a rotting stump or tangle, a large tree hole, a cliff ledge, and even in Mayan ruins. Parents incubate the egg for almost two months, and then the hatchling remains at the nest site until it fledges, after between two to three months, or longer.
Not only do King Vultures have only one shot at success — it takes them a long time to reach breeding age. Female Kings don’t reach adulthood for four to five years; males take longer, at five to six.
Saving Room for the King
Although still found in 20-plus countries and ranked as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the King Vulture is declining in many parts of its range. Causes of decline likely include habitat loss and persecution, including unregulated shooting, capture, and poisoning. Along Mexico’s Pacific and Gulf coasts, the northern extent of this species’ range shrank dramatically over recent decades, and it has become scarce in many other regions with extensive forest clearing, including western Ecuador and southeastern Brazil.
NO HAPPY ENDING FOR HOLLYWOOD ANIMAL STARS. Kathy the bottlenose #dolphin featured in the 60s TV series Flipper, was retired to a tank at an aquarium. Her trainer visited her & noticed she looked anxious. She swam to his arms & ceased to breathe. #AnimalsAreNotEntertainment (1/4) pic.twitter.com/sagGXTgEmU
Supply chain disruptions, a worker shortage and pain at the gasoline pump have made inflation an economic and political problem for the White House.
Oct. 26, 2021Updated 1:44 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — At least once a week, a team of President Biden’s top advisers meet on Zoom to address the nation’s supply chain crisis. They discuss ways to relieve backlogs at America’s ports, ramp up semiconductor production for struggling automakers and swell the ranks of truck drivers.
The conversations are aimed at one goal: taming accelerating price increases that are hurting the economic recovery, unsettling American consumers and denting Mr. Biden’s popularity.
An inflation surge is presenting a fresh challenge for Mr. Biden, who for months insisted that rising prices were a temporary hangover from the pandemic recession and would quickly recede. Instead, the president and his aides are now bracing for high inflation to persist into next year, with Americans continuing to see faster — and sustained — increases in prices for food, gasoline and other consumer goods than at any point this century.
That reality has complicated Mr. Biden’s push for sweeping legislation to boost workers, expand access to education and fight poverty and climate change. And it is dragging on the president’s approval ratings, which could threaten Democrats’ already tenuous hold on Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
Recent polls shows Americans’ concerns over inflation are eroding their economic confidence and dimming their view of Mr. Biden’s performance. National surveys by CNBC and Fox News show a sharp decline in voter ratings of Mr. Biden’s overall performance and his handling of the economy, even though unemployment has fallen quickly on his watch and economic output has strengthened to its fastest rate since Ronald Reagan was president. Voter worry over price increases has jumped in the last month.
Administration officials have responded by framing Mr. Biden’s push for what would be his signature spending bill as an effort to reduce costs that American families face, citing provisions to cap child care costs and expand subsidies for higher education, among other plans. And they have mobilized staff to scour options for unclogging supply chains, bringing more people back into the work force, and reducing food and gasoline costs by promoting more competition in the economy via executive actions.
Daily business updates The latest coverage of business, markets and the economy, sent by email each weekday.
“There are distinct challenges from turning the economy back on after the pandemic that we are bringing together state and local officials, the private sector and labor to address — so that prices decrease,” Kate Berner, the White House deputy communications director, said in an interview.
Mr. Biden’s top officials stress that the administration’s policies have helped accelerate America’s economic rebound. Workers are commanding their largest wage gains in two decades. Growth roared back in the first half of the year, fueled by the $1.9 trillion economic aid bill the president signed in March. America’s expansion continues to outpace other wealthy nations around the world.
Inflation and shortages are the downside of that equation. Car prices are elevated as a result of strong demand and a lack of semiconductors. Gasoline has hit its highest cost per gallon in seven years. A shift in consumer preferences and a pandemic crimp in supply chains have delayed shipments of furniture, household appliances and other consumer goods. Millions of Americans, having saved up money from government support through the pandemic, are waiting to return to jobs, driving up labor costs for companies and food prices in many restaurants.
Much of that is beyond Mr. Biden’s control. Inflation has risen in wealthy nations across the globe, as the pandemic has hobbled the movement of goods and component parts between countries. Virus-wary consumers have shifted their spending toward goods rather than services, travel and tourism remain depressed, and energy prices have risen as demand for fuel and electricity has surged amid the resumption of business activity and some weather shocks linked to climate change.
But some economists, including veterans of previous Democratic administrations, say much of Mr. Biden’s inflation struggle is self-inflicted. Lawrence H. Summers is one of those who say the stimulus bill the president signed in March gave too much of a boost to consumer spending, at a time when the supply-chain disruptions have made it hard for Americans to get their hands on the things they want to buy. Mr. Summers, who served in the Obama and Clinton administrations, says inflation now risks spiraling out of control and other Democratic economists agree there are risks.
“The original sin was an oversized American Rescue Plan. It contributed to both higher output but also higher prices,” said Jason Furman, a Harvard economist who chaired the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama.
That has some important Democrats worried about price-related drawbacks from the president’s ambitious spending package, complicating Mr. Biden’s approach.
Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a centrist, has repeatedly cited surging inflation in insisting that Mr. Biden scale back what had been a $3.5 trillion effort to expand the social safety net.
Mr. Biden has tried to make the case that the investments in his spending bill will moderate price increases over time. But he has struggled to identify things he can do right away to ease the pain of high-profile price spikes, like gasoline. Some in his administration have pushed for mobilizing the National Guard to help unclog ports that are stacked with imports waiting to be delivered to consumers around the country. Mr. Biden has raised the possibility of tapping the strategic petroleum reserve to modestly boost oil supplies, or of negotiating with oil producers in the Middle East to ramp up.
During a CNN town hall last week, Mr. Biden conceded the limits of his power, saying, “I don’t have a near-term answer” for bringing down gas prices, which he does not expect to begin dropping until next year.
“I don’t see anything that’s going to happen in the meantime that’s going to significantly reduce gas prices,” he said.
Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury secretary, told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that she expects improvement in the overall inflation rate “by the middle to end of next year, second half of next year.”
With an American public that had gone nearly 40 years without seeing — or worrying — about inflation, the issue provides an opening for the opposition. Republicans have turned price spikes into a weapon against Mr. Biden’s economic policies, warning that more spending would exacerbate the pain for everyday Americans.
“It’s everywhere,” said Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, in an interview. “You can’t live your life without seeing your paycheck buy less.”
White House officials have monitored inflationary pressure for months. They remain convinced, as they were in April, that price increases will not spiral out of control and force abrupt interest-rate increases from the Federal Reserve that could slam the brakes on growth.
The president and his top advisers remain confident that price growth will start to fall well before the midterms. They defend the size of the rescue plan and say Americans are focused on inflation right now because the success of the stimulus bill accelerated economic and employment growth and took a larger issue — the availability of jobs for people who want them — off the table.
“It is a highly incomplete view to try to assess the economy, and even people’s views about the economy, by looking at inflation alone,” Jared Bernstein, a member of Mr. Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “You also have to appreciate the robustness of the expansion, and how it’s lifting job and earnings opportunities.”
Mr. Bernstein and other advisers say many of the causes of inflation are already improving. They point to calculations by Mark Zandi, a Moody’s Analytics economist, that suggest Americans who have left the labor force will begin flocking back into the job market by December or January, because they will likely have exhausted their savings by then.
The advisers are also continuing to explore more actions they could take, including efforts to increase the number of truck drivers near ports and to force lower prices and more competition in the food industry.
“We are always all in on everything,” Ms. Berner said.
To which many officials add a caveat: Almost anything the White House could do now will take time to push prices down.
The U.S. has begun discharging thousands of Afghan evacuees from military facilities and placing them in communities across the country as part of the new phase of a massive, nationwide resettlement effort, the latest government figures show.
In recent weeks, 6,000 Afghan evacuees have left temporary housing sites at U.S. military installations to start new lives in America with the help of nonprofit refugee resettlement agencies, according to Department of Homeland Security data. Another 3,000 U.S. citizens, green card holders and Afghans with close ties in America have left the facilities on their own.
Nearly 4,000 Afghan evacuees were resettled in U.S. communities during the past week alone.
More than 55,000 Afghans, half of them children, remain at eight U.S. military sites in Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Virginia and Wisconsin. Another 5,000 evacuees housed at overseas military bases are waiting to be placed on U.S.-bound flights, according to the DHS statistics.
The pace of relocations from the military sites has ramped up in recent days after the U.S. completed a campaign to vaccinate evacuees against COVID-19 and other diseases. The number of arrivals has also increased after the U.S. lifted a three-week pause on evacuation flights earlier this month.
More than 10,000 evacuees have arrived in the U.S. since the flights resumed, bringing the total number of people relocated since mid-August to more than 75,000, DHS figures show. Roughly 89% of the evacuees are Afghans, while the rest are U.S. citizens or green card holders.Afghan families walk through the waiting area for departure to the U.S. On the wall of the tent is written “Welcome to the USA.” Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images
Before the mass evacuations started in August, the U.S. government relocated thousands of Afghans who were determined to be eligible for Special Immigrant Visas because of their assistance to American military forces.
A senior Biden administration official, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said the government is working to process evacuees as quickly as possible, while making case-by-case decisions on which U.S. communities can receive them.
“It’s not easy to move large groups. Our overall goal is to get the balance right here,” the official told CBS News. “We certainly could just move people to a big housing facility somewhere. But we’re really keen to move people to their final resettlement destination and a place that meets the needs of their family.”
Resettlement officials said a major hurdle in getting Afghans out of the military bases more expeditiously is the limited housing in U.S. communities where many of evacuees have family ties, including northern California and the Dallas, Houston and Washington, D.C., suburbs.
“The bottom line is that housing is and will remain a major stumbling block, especially in these preferred destinations,” Erol Kekic, a senior vice president at Church World Service, one of the nine national resettlement agencies, told CBS News.
The administration official acknowledged the housing shortage, saying the government is encouraging evacuees to move to states like Oklahoma, which has offered to subsidize their housing for more than a year. The state is set to host the third-largest number of Afghan arrivals during the first resettlement phase. Volunteer Sandra Hoeser plays frisbee with Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy U.S. Army base, in Wisconsin, U.S., September 30, 2021. Barbara Davidson/Pool via POOL / REUTERS
The administration has also allowed resettlement groups to place Afghans with family members living in the U.S. and outside the typical 100-mile radius limit from a local resettlement office, the official noted. It is also working to identify short-term housing options in popular destinations.
“It’s not ideal to not put people in their final homes right from the very beginning. But in some of these areas where it’s busier, I think it’s probably better to get them at least off the bases, into some kind of housing. Their kids can be registered in their ultimate school, etcetera,” the official said.
Before boarding flights to the U.S, Afghans have been subjected to biometric and biographic security screenings conducted by multiple law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including DHS and the FBI.
Flights of Afghan evacuees were suspended in September after several cases of measles were identified among the new arrivals. Before lifting the suspension in early October, the U.S. vaccinated 49,000 Afghans at the military sites against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella.
Under the terms of their entry into the U.S., Afghan evacuees are also legally required to receive vaccines against polio and COVID-19. As of October 15, approximately 98% of the evacuees had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to DHS data.
As part of a pilot program, personnel at the military sites have been asking evacuated Afghans about their skills and education and whether they speak English. Officials are then including their information in a database that prospective employers can use to hire them, the senior Biden administration official said. Afghan flights halted over measles 05:14
At the military facilities, adult evacuees have access to English classes and children are receiving ad hoc educational services, the administration official said. Evacuated Afghans are also getting help filing immigration paperwork, including applications for asylum and Special Immigrant Visas, the official added.
The Biden administration has determined that at least 50% of the at-risk Afghans relocated to the U.S. are eligible for Special Immigrant Visas because they aided American forces during the 20-year war in Afghanistan, according to the DHS. Special visa holders become permanent U.S. residents.
Those who do not qualify for the special visas — like journalists, activists and humanitarian aid workers — don’t have a pathway to secure permanent U.S. legal status. Unless Congress legalizes them, they will likely have to seek U.S. status though the backlogged asylum system.
Many Afghans evacuated to the U.S. have family members in Afghanistan or in neighboring countries like Pakistan whom they believe could be harmed by the Taliban. Refugee advocates have urged the administration to set up a process for these individuals to request U.S. resettlement.
The senior Biden administration official said the government will try to make parole — a humanitarian process that authorizes the entry of immigrants without visas — available to certain Afghans overseas, particularly immediate family members of evacuees in the U.S.
“Family reunification for children with parents is always going to be an immediate priority,” the official said. “That is one thing we’re looking at parole for.”
According to internal notices sent this month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees have been asked to volunteer to help process “an increasing number of requests for parole for Afghan nationals outside the United States.”
Following in the spirit of Britain's Queen Boudica, Queen of the Iceni. A boudica.us site. I am an opinionator, do your own research, verification. Reposts, reblogs do not neccessarily reflect our views.