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GOP Rift Widens Amid Growing Hostility To Afghan Refugees

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As the U.S. rushes to evacuate Americans and allies from the chaos of Afghanistan, a growing number of Republicans are questioning why the U.S. should take in Afghan citizens who worked side by side with Americans, further exacerbating divides within the party heading into next year’s midterm elections.

Little more than a week ago, as the Taliban’s stunning takeover of Afghanistan still was snapping into focus, former President Donald Trump issued a statement saying “civilians and others who have been good to our Country … should be allowed to seek refuge.” But in more recent days, he has turned to warning of the alleged dangers posed by those desperately trying to flee their country before an end-of-month deadline.

“How many terrorists will Joe Biden bring to America?” he asked.

As Republicans level blistering criticism at Biden during his first major foreign policy crisis, some are turning to the nativist, anti-immigrant rhetoric perfected by Trump during his four years in office. It’s causing dismay among others in the party who think the U.S. should look out for those who helped the Americans over the last two decades.

“I think these false narratives that these are a bunch of terrorists are just — they’re completely baseless in reality,” said Olivia Troye, a former White House homeland security adviser who currently serves as director of the Republican Accountability Project. “There’s no basis for this at all in terms of the intelligence and national security world.”

Neil Newhouse, a veteran Republican pollster, said the rhetoric reflects “a general, overall increase” in concern in the country over the risk of terrorist threats after Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban — not just in the short term from those who may not have been properly vetted, but a year or two down the road.

“There’s just a sense that we are less safe as a country as a result of this,” he said.

The Biden administration has stressed that every person cleared to come to the U.S. is being thoroughly vetted by officials working around the clock. But the refugees have become an emerging flash point, with Trump and his followers loudly demanding that Americans be prioritized for evacuation and warning of the potential dangers posed by Afghans being rescued in one of the world’s largest-ever civilian airlift operations.

That talk intensified Thursday after a suicide bombing ripped through the crowd at the Kabul airport, killing 13 U.S. service members and well over 150 Afghans.

“How many American military personnel have to die to evacuate unvetted refugees?” tweeted Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont. “Get American citizens out and bring our troops home.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Friday toured the Doña Ana Range complex at Fort Bliss, where many refugees will be housed, and later tweeted the U.S. “should rescue Afghans who’ve assisted the US military, but they should go to a neutral & safe third country.”

“They should NOT come to US w/o a FULL security vetting,” he said.

That followed a call Wednesday by Kentucky Rep. James Comer, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform committee, for the administration to brief lawmakers on their efforts to vet Afghan refugees and prevent terrorists from entering the country.

“In the chaotic situation left in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, we are particularly concerned that terrorists and others who wish to harm the United States may seek to infiltrate the country disguised as those who provided assistance to coalition forces in Afghanistan,” he wrote in letters to the secretaries of state and homeland security.

Still others, including Republican governors and members of Congress, have taken a different stance, welcoming refugees to their states and working furiously to help those trying to flee. On Capitol Hill, the effort to help Afghan friends and family of constituents is the rare undertaking that is consuming legislative offices of members of both parties.

The U.S. has evacuated more than 100,000 people from Afghanistan since the airlift began Aug. 14, including more than 5,100 American citizens. While the administration’s explicitly stated priority is to evacuate Americans, the numbers reflect the demographics of those trying to flee.

U.S. officials believe about 500 American citizens who want to leave Afghanistan remain in the country; others are believed to want to stay. And many of the Afghans, including those who served as American interpreters and fixers and in other support capacities, are desperate to escape, fearing they will be prime targets for retribution by the Taliban once the U.S. leaves.

But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from accusing the Biden administration of failing to put Americans first.

“We’re actually prioritizing Afghan refugees more than we’re prioritizing our own citizens,” said Republican J.D. Vance, who is running for Senate in Ohio and has made repeat television appearances blasting the administration’s approach.

On Fox Business Network, he claimed, without evidence, that the U.S. has “no knowledge” of 90% of the people being evacuated and said some have shown up on wide-ranging terror databases.

“They put Americans last in every single way, but Americans pay for it all,” echoed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who has shot to prominence with incendiary statements.

Trump and his former policy adviser Stephen Miller, along with conservative commentators like Tucker Carlson, have taken things even further, using the same anti-immigrant language that was the hallmark of Trump’s 2015 speech announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

“You can be sure the Taliban, who are now in complete control, didn’t allow the best and brightest to board these evacuation flights,” Trump said. “Instead, we can only imagine how many thousands of terrorists have been airlifted out of Afghanistan and into neighborhoods around the world.”

Carlson has warned about Afghans invading America.

The rhetoric underscores the transformation of a party once led by neoconservatives who championed interventionist nation-building policies and invaded Afghanistan — followed by Iraq — nearly 20 years ago.

But not Republicans all are on board.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., whose office has been working around the clock to rescue the “countless” Afghans he says deserve evacuation, chastised those in his party invoking “terrorist” rhetoric.

“I would say that they need to do their homework,” he said. “When you talk to the people that we’ve spoken with, when you look at their service record … when you recognize that they sleep in the same tents, they carry arms together, they’ve been in live firefights, how dare anyone question whether or not they deserve to come to this country or to a safe third country?”

“We’re not talking about just walking down the street and picking and choosing people,” Tillis added. “We know these people. We know who their children are. We know what their service record was. And quite honestly, somebody taking that position, each and every time they do, is insulting a service member who considers these people like brothers and sisters.”

Many of the Afghans seeking to come to the U.S. are doing so under the Special Immigrant Visa program designed specifically for individuals who worked with U.S. forces. Adam Bates, policy counsel at the International Refugee Assistance Project, said that, due to their work, those individuals were extensively vetted by U.S. authorities before applying to the program — and are again extensively vetted “by a wide array of federal agencies” before the visas are granted.

Troye, who has spent significant time on the ground in Afghanistan over the years, said Americans became extremely close to the Afghans with whom they served.

“These people became like family to many of us,” she said. “It’s really shameful to see some of these Republicans speaking in this way about people who really risked their lives to help us, who were really our allies on the ground.”

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Religious liberty is one of America’s most important freedoms

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Religious liberty, the freedom to practice one’s faith, is a vital component of American society. Our founding fathers ensured generations to come that our great nation will always respect every individual’s right to adhere to a certain belief. 

“Although no one in America is forced to go to church, we have had more churchgoers in our history than any nation in the world. Religious liberty – meaning we can chose any faith or none – was a wild concept when the Founders decided to try it 250 years ago,” Eric Metaxas, author of the new book, “Is Atheism Dead?” wrote in his recent opinion piece.

“So it was America’s founders who uniquely understood that religious liberty was the key to all other liberties. Liberty – or self-government – required a virtuous people, which was usually the result of freely held faith. Those who answered to a “higher power” didn’t need government to coerce them into doing the right thing. They did it on their own,” Metaxas added.

We are said to be more fortunate than those who are living under extreme Sharia Law in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, where other faiths are totally outlawed. One would be hard pressed to find a single catholic church in the city of Riyadh as the only accepted religion there is Islam. Even though the prophet Muhammad taught cultural and religious tolerance, some of his followers have become too austere in their interpretation of the Holy Quran and mandates that only one religion be allowed in their respective domains.

The United States constitution however is vastly different from the authoritarian laws and principles of other countries as it grants total freedom to exercise one’s belief, as long as it corresponds with the basic tenets of morality. 

On the other hand, Muslims and Buddhists in China are suffering under the repressive atheist communist regime, as the people continue to face the assault on their religious liberties. Non-believers should understand that embracing atheism or agnosticism is in itself, a personal freedom that can only thrive under a legitimate democracy.

“And while a free nation cannot and should not try to coerce atheists toward belief, people of faith, while we still have a voice, have an urgent duty to alert our fellow citizens that, although religious freedom protects atheists, atheism itself nonetheless has an inherent and – alas – well-established tendency to work not only against religious freedom, but against all freedoms,” Metaxas said.

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Rep. Drew Ferguson blasts the Dems for bank account surveillance plan

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In a recent press conference held by House Republicans, Georgia congressman and chief deputy whip Drew Ferguson lambasted the Biden administration for their ineffective economic and financial policies. 

Ferguson, who is a member of the Committee on Ways and Means, put a spotlight on the government’s proposal to grant the IRS unlimited power to conduct surveillance on bank accounts with at least $600 worth of annual deposits.

“Probably the most egregious provision in the Democrats tax and spend plan, the largest in American history, is a provision that would allow the IRS to spy on your bank accounts. To put that in perspective, if you spent $28 a day, you would get caught up in the IRS drag net. $28 a day, and this is wrong,” Ferguson stated.

“Americans do not want the IRS looking in their bank account and the federal government has no business looking at your private bank accounts and your money,” Ferguson stressed.

The draconian proposal sparked widespread outrage among the public as the topic went viral on social media and various community forum boards. Republican politicians strongly resisted and swiftly introduced the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act in an attempt to block the repressive agenda that is being put in motion by the Biden administration.

“So we introduced a bill to prevent this treasury secretary from implementing rules that would allow the IRS to tap local banks, credit unions, and other entities to spy on your bank accounts,” Ferguson said.

“I can’t imagine a single American, Republican, Democrat, independent, rich, poor that wants the IRS looking into their bank account and for good reason. If you look at the recent history of the organization, they have failed to gain the trust of the American people,” he added.

The Democratic Party’s plan to violate the people’s privacies, clearly resembles the laws that are being enforced by some of the world’s most oppressive totalitarian governments. There is no logical explanation behind their proposal, save for the glaring fact that liberals are simply hungry for more power.

“The Democrats want control. They want control of your life. They want control of your finances. They want control of everything. And we’re here to stand up against that, to push back, and we’re going to continue to raise awareness about this. It is wrong, we think it’s unconstitutional,” Ferguson said.

“It is your private business. It is not the business of the IRS. So with that, we stand committed to blocking this horrible provision and to make sure that we maintain freedom in America’s lives,” he reiterated.

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Rand Paul thinks crypto could become the reserve currency of the world

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When one of the most severe global economic meltdowns hit the world more than a decade ago, the United States was at the forefront of the uphill struggle. The 2007-2008 financial crisis was often compared by experts to the Great Depression in terms of the magnitude of damage.

The catastrophe subsequently put world governments – including America – on the hot seat.  Financial experts and the entire populace started to question the capability of our leaders to handle the fate of our economies. After all, we are the ones who put these public servants in power, giving us every right to demand what’s best for the future of our families.

Fuelled by the frustrating financial system, Bitcoin was developed in 2008 by a certain Satoshi Nakamoto, as a solution for the problems created by unreliable governments and untrustworthy central banks. “Satoshi Nakamoto” is an alias used by a person or possibly a group of people involved in the creation of the world’s first cryptocurrency. The secretive nature of Bitcoin’s origins is a reflection of the decentralized financial system that it wants to promulgate.

Today, America is at the cusp of autocracy as Biden and his cohorts continue to propose harsh policies that mirror the ones that Xi Jinping and the communist party has put in place in China. While the Democratic Party constantly attempts to utilize the “tax the rich” card, the Federal Reserve just keeps on printing cash like there’s no tomorrow. Soon we will all be caught in a tough financial predicament with the continued devaluation of our hard-earned cash. For some, a hedge such as a digital asset, is the only viable option to protect one’s wealth from further depreciation.

Recently, GOP Sen. Rand Paul expressed his bewilderment towards the vigorous growth of cryptocurrencies. The Kentucky senator believes that virtual coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum can become global reserve currencies.

“I’ve started to question now whether or not cryptocurrency could actually become the reserve currency of the world as more and more people lose confidence in government,” Paul said in a recent interview on HBO.

“I’ve been amazed at the growth of it and I’ve always been, you know, more a person who believed that our currency should be backed by something of real value like gold or silver or commodities, and always was wondering well crypto is not backed by anything either,” Paul continued.

“But here’s what I’ve started to believe now is that the government currencies are so unreliable, they’re also fiat currencies, they’re not backed by anything. The dollar has been more stable than most other countries and so it is the reserve currency,” he added.

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