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US Residents in Afghanistan Hiding From Taliban

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Every night in yet another house in Afghanistan’s capital, a U.S. green card-holding couple from California take turns sleeping, with one always awake to watch over their three young children so they can flee if they hear the footsteps of the Taliban.

They’ve moved seven times in two weeks, relying on relatives to take them in and feed them. Their days are an uncomfortable mix of fear and boredom, restricted to a couple of rooms where they read, watch TV and play “The Telephone Game” in which they whisper secrets and pass them on, a diversion for the children that has the added benefit of keeping them quiet.

All of it goes on during the agonizing wait for a call from anybody who can help them get out. A U.S. State Department official contacted them several days ago to tell them they were being assigned a case worker, but they haven’t heard a word since. They tried and failed to get on a flight and now are talking to an international rescue organization.

“We are scared and keep hiding ourselves more and more,” the mother said in a text message to The Associated Press. “Whenever we feel breathless, I pray.”

Through messages, emails and phone conversations with loved ones and rescue groups, AP has pieced together what day-to-day life has been like for some of those left behind after the U.S. military’s chaotic withdrawal — that includes U.S. citizens, permanent U.S. resident green-card holders and visa applicants who aided U.S. troops during the 20-year war.

Those contacted by AP — who are not being identified for their own safety — described a fearful, furtive existence of hiding in houses for weeks, keeping the lights off at night, moving from place to place, and donning baggy clothing and burqas to avoid detection if they absolutely must venture out.

All say they are scared the ruling Taliban will find them, throw them in jail, perhaps even kill them because they are Americans or had worked for the U.S. government. And they are concerned that the Biden administration’s promised efforts to get them out have stalled.

When the phone rang in an apartment in Kabul a few weeks ago, the U.S. green card holder who answered — a truck driver from Texas visiting family — was hopeful it was the U.S. State Department finally responding to his pleas to get him and his parents on a flight out.

Instead, it was the Taliban.

“We won’t hurt you. Let’s meet. Nothing will happen,” the caller said, according to the truck driver’s brother, who lives with him in Texas and spoke to him afterwards. The call included a few ominous words: “We know where you are.”

That was enough to send the man fleeing from the Kabul apartment where he had been staying with his mother, his two teenage brothers and his father, who was in particular danger because he had worked for years for a U.S. contractor overseeing security guards.

“They are hopeless,” said the brother in Texas. “They think, ’We’re stuck in the apartment and no one is here to help us.′ They’ve been left behind.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Congress this past week that the government does not track U.S. permanent residents with green cards in Afghanistan but he estimates several thousand remain in the country, along with about 100 U.S. citizens. He promised the U.S. government was working to get them out.

As of Tuesday, 36 American citizens had been evacuated and 24 green card holders since the U.S. military left last month, according to the State Department. More were flown out Friday but the administration did not release those figures.

Neither the U.S. nor the Taliban have offered a clear explanation why so few have been evacuated.

That is hardly encouraging to another green card holder from Texas, a grandmother who recently watched from a rooftop as militants pulled up in a half-dozen police cars and Humvees to take over the house across the street.

“The Taliban. The Taliban,” she whispered into the phone to her American son in a Dallas suburb, a conversation the woman recounted to the AP. “The women and kids are screaming. They’re dragging the men to the cars.”

She and her husband, who came to Kabul several months ago to visit relatives, are now terrified that the Taliban will not only uncover their American ties but those of their son back in Texas, who had worked for a U.S. military contractor for years.

Her son, who is also not being named, says he called U.S. embassy officials in Kabul several times before it shut down, filled out all the necessary paperwork, and even enlisted the help of a veteran’s group and members of Congress.

He doesn’t know what more he can do.

“What will we do if they knock on the door?” the 57-year-old mother asked on one of her daily calls. “What will we do?”

“Nothing is going to happen,” replied the son.

Asked in a recent interview if he believed that, the son shot back, exasperated, “What else am I supposed to tell her?”

The Taliban government has promised to let Americans and Afghans with proper travel documents leave the country and to not retaliate against those who helped the United States. But U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said there is evidence they are not keeping their word. She warned Monday that the country had entered a “new and perilous phase,” and cited credible reports of reprisal killings of Afghan military members and allegations of the Taliban hunting house-to-house for former government officials and people who cooperated with U.S. military and U.S. companies.

AP reporters in Afghanistan are not aware of any U.S. citizens or green card holders being picked up or arrested by the Taliban. But they have confirmed that several Afghans who worked for the previous government and military were taken in for questioning recently and released.

The California family, which includes a 9-year-old girl and two boys, ages 8 and 6, say they have been on the run for the past two weeks after the Taliban knocked on the door of their relative’s apartment asking about the Americans staying there.

The family moved to Sacramento four years ago after the mother got a special immigrant visa because she worked for U.S.-funded projects in Kabul promoting women’s rights. Now, the mother says both she and her daughter have been wearing burqas each time they move to their next “prison-home.”

The father, who worked as an Uber driver, has been having panic attacks as they wait for help.

“I don’t see the U.S. government stepping in and getting them out anytime soon,” said the children’s elementary school principal, Nate McGill, who has been exchanging daily texts with the family.

Distraction has become the mother’s go-to tool to shield her children from the stress. She quizzes them on what they want to do when they get back to California and what they want to be when they grow up.

Their daughter hopes to become a doctor someday, while their sons say they want to become teachers.

But distraction is not always enough. After a relative told the daughter that the Taliban were taking away small girls, she hid in a room and refused to come out until her dad puffed himself up and said he could beat the Taliban, making her laugh.

The mother smiled, hiding her fear from her daughter, but later texted her principal.

“This life is almost half-death.”

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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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