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Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, who oversaw mass executions, dies in helicopter crash

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

From LifeSiteNews

By Matt Lamb

Ebrahim Raisi, a Muslim cleric expected to eventually replace Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, oversaw the execution of thousands of dissidents and supported Hamas in its terrorist attacks.

The president of Iran died in a helicopter crash Sunday evening.

Ebrahim Raisi was a Muslim cleric who claimed his family descended from Muhammed, the founder of Islam. He died near Azerbaijan along with other officials who were visiting the country for an event celebrating a new dam, according to Reuters.

Raisi was a Shiite leader who served on the 1988 commission that sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death. He was expected to eventually replace the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Human rights organizations estimate that between 4,500 and 5,000 men, women and children were killed in the summer of 1988 in prisons across Iran,” according to Amnesty International’s summary. “The pattern of political executions changed dramatically from piecemeal reports of executions to a massive wave of killings that took place over several months.”

“The true number of dead, however, is still unknown as the executions were carried out in secret. In fact, many relatives were never told about the killings or where their loved ones had been buried,” Amnesty International reported.

In September 2022, his government killed hundreds of protesters against clerical rule, according to the BBC.

“The ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement was sparked the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who had been detained by morality police in Tehran for allegedly wearing her hijab ‘improperly,” the BBC reported. “Authorities denied she was mistreated, but a UN fact-finding mission found she was ‘subjected to physical violence that led to her death.’”

Raisi oversaw Iran’s further enrichment of uranium and attacks on Israel, according to the Associated Press. He was “a hard-line protégé of the country’s supreme leader who helped oversee the mass executions of thousands in 1988 and later led the country as it enriched uranium near weapons-grade levels and launched a major drone-and-missile attack on Israel,” according to the AP’s article on his death.

“An Israeli official told Reuters it was not involved in the crash,” the news outlet reported. “It wasn’t us.”

The terrorist group Hamas also mourned Raisi’s death and that of Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who also died in the plane crash. Hamas thanked them for supporting them in the terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023, and the ensuing war.

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Automotive

‘Save Our Cars’ Is A Winning Campaign Message In An Age Of EV Mandates

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By KEVIN MOONEY

 

Automobile consumers who treasure the open roads during the summertime could upend the presidential campaign and U.S. Senate races in surprising places if public opposition to electric-vehicle mandates and other regulations continues to rise.

That is what some recent polls suggest and it certainly helps to explain why the Biden administration is poised to artificially reduce fuel prices by selling one million barrels of gasoline from an energy reserve in New England timed with the summer driving season and in anticipation of the November elections.

Since the East Coast consumed in excess of three million barrels a day of gasoline last June, it is not evident that having an additional one million barrels on the market will make an appreciable difference.

Moreover, there is an argument to be made that by tapping into the reserve Team Biden is leaving the region open to cyberattacks that would disrupt energy supplies. (Recall, that is precisely what happened throughout the southeast in 2021 when a ransomware attack hit the Colonial Pipeline.)

But even in the absence of any cyber drama, the cumulative effect of President Joe Biden’s anti-energy agenda is already registering with consumers who benefit from affordable, reliable energy. This is particularly true where conventional, gas-powered cars are concerned.

On holiday weekends, cars erase differences, bring families together and improve the quality of life. The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts almost 50 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their homes to celebrate Independence Day over the weekend of June 30 to July 4.

This would represent an increase of 3.7% from 2021 bringing travel volumes to where they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. This increase will be particularly acute with AAA expecting 42 million Americans to hit the roads this coming Independence Day.

But what about those EV mandates?

President Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a fellow Democrat, remain undeterred by the paucity of charging stations, the limited range of EV’s, their exorbitant costs, and the vulnerability of foreign supply chains leading back to China as they press ahead with new regulatory initiatives. Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency finalized a tailpipe emissions rule in March aimed at coercing automakers into selling more EVs while the California Air Resources Board is pressing ahead with a “zero emissions” rule the board approved last year to meet Newsom’s stated climate goals.

California is clearly working hand in glove with the Biden administration to achieve zero emissions goals for vehicles by 2035. This effort will most certainly limit consumer choice and raise costs.

Despite all the subsidies and regulatory schemes developed to favor EV’s, they represent only about 1% of the 290 million vehicles in the U.S. today. Meanwhile EV costs continue to soar.

Recent studies also show that EVs, on average, are more expensive to own and operate than their gas-powered counterparts. So how should consumers respond to the regulatory onslaught?

Enter the “Save Our Cars Coalition,” which includes 31 national and state organizations devoted to preserving the ability of consumers to select the vehicles most suitable to their needs.

Tom Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, a coalition member that favors free market energy policies, views cars as an integral component of American life. The Biden-Newsom regulations amount to what Pyle describes as “an assault on American freedom.”

“In a nation as expansive as the United States, cars are not merely vehicles, they are integral to the American way of life,” Pyle says. “They play a pivotal role in our daily lives, especially in suburban and rural settings. This modern-day prohibition would outlaw a product and a value–in this case, gasoline-powered cars and trucks that have created personal mobility on an unprecedented scale – that it cannot persuade people to forego themselves.”

The coalition is perfectly positioned to make EV mandates a campaign issue in areas where the affordability of cars capable of traversing long distances without frequent stops is very much on the minds of voters. State officials who continue to double-down on California-type regulations will only serve to bolster the coalition’s arguments.

By contrast, states that break free from California’s emissions standards could become surprisingly competitive in the presidential race. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, recently announced that he would end California’s EV mandate in his state by the end of this year. Although Virginia hasn’t backed a Republican for president since George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, polls show Biden and  Donald Trump are in a dead heat. The former, and perhaps future Republican president, is on record opposing Biden’s EV mandates.

By contrast, Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat elected in 2017 and re-elected in 2021, is moving full speed ahead with a California-type mandate requiring all new car sales to be electric by 2035. Polls show Murphy’s Jersey constituents are not keen on the policy change. In fact, more than half of state residents say they are not inclined to buy an electric car even with the mandates.

New Jersey has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George Bush Sr. won the state in 1988. But fresh polls show Biden leading Trump by just seven points in the Garden State. It is worth noting that New Jersey has a large block of unaffiliated voters that can be pliable in tight races such as the most recent gubernatorial campaign.

Murphy almost lost his re-election bid to Republican Jack Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman and businessman, who came within a few percentage points of pulling off an upset. Trump’s campaign rally in Wildwood, N.J., that attracted more than 100,000 people could also serve as a barometer for a potentially close election. A beach resort community, Wildwood is practically inaccessible without the kind of vehicles Biden and Newsom are attempting to ban.

The big prize though may be Pennsylvania where Trump is leading Biden in recent polls. There is also a competitive U.S. Senate race in that state between Sen. Robert Casey Jr., the Democratic incumbent, and Dave McCormick, the Republican challenger.

Polls show Casey is only ahead by six points. So far, Casey has been ducking and avoiding any questions about his position on EV mandates. With Trump already leading, and McCormick gaining in the Keystone State, anyone running on a platform of “Save Our Cars” could have a field day.

Kevin Mooney is the Senior Investigative Reporter at the Commonwealth Foundation’s free-market think tank and writes for several national publications. Twitter: @KevinMooneyDC

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illegal immigration

Biden Announces Widespread Amnesty Plan for Illegal Immigrants

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From Heartland Daily News

President Joe Biden announced a new plan on Tuesday that will fast track a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals who’ve been living in the country illegally for more than 10 years and married a U.S. citizen. He also expanded protections for DACA recipients, according to several reports.

In a statement issued by the White House, the president blamed Republicans in Congress for not securing the border and fixing the “broken immigration system.”

Because of Republicans putting “partisan politics ahead of national security,” he announced additional measures to implement deportation protections to some illegal foreign nationals. Doing so reflects his commitment to “expanding lawful pathways and keeping families together,” he said, arguing that those who entered the country illegally “who have been in the United States for decades, paying taxes and contributing to their communities, are part of the social fabric of our country.”

His new action will help “people who have been here many years to keep American families together and allow more young people to contribute to our economy,” according to the statement.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the plan zeroes “in on the population of mixed-status families, where typically the children and one parent are U.S. citizens, because they believe that demographic is the most compelling, according to administration officials and advocates who have spoken with them.”

One way to do this would be to implement another parole policy called “parole in place,” enabling illegal foreign national spouses of U.S. citizens to obtain green cards and U.S. citizenship. They would also receive work permits and deportation protections, according to several reports on Monday.

In order to be eligible for the new parole program, noncitizens, as of June 17, 2024, must have resided in the U.S. for 10 or more years and be legally married to a U.S. citizen. On average, those who are eligible have resided in the U.S. for 23 years, according to the White House statement released Tuesday.

Advocates in support of providing amnesty estimate there are more than one million spouses who could apply to the new parole program, the Journal reported.

The announcement at the White House came on the 12th-year anniversary of former President Barack Obama creating by executive order the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). DACA shielded children from deportation who were brought into the country illegally by their parents and has been in litigation for 12 years. A federal judge has twice ruled that the program is illegal. The most recent ruling was in a multi-state lawsuit led by Texas to end DACA once and for all, The Center Square reported. The case is expected to ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Biden announced an expanded program for DACA recipients to “streamline the process” for them “and other undocumented immigrants to request waivers that would make it easier for them to obtain temporary visas, such as H-1B visas for high-skilled workers,” CBS News reported.

DACA recipients who earned a degree at an accredited U.S. institution of higher education and who received an offer of employment from a U.S. employer in a field related to their degree will be able to quickly receive work visas, according to the White House statement.

Numerous reports suggest between 700,000 and 800,000 people living in the U.S. are DACA recipients. The Los Angeles Times reports there are 578,680 DACA recipients on record with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as of March 2023.

After announcing earlier this month he was limiting asylum claims, the president is now proposing a measure to ensure those in the country illegally aren’t deported. Both announcements made five months before the election aren’t solutions but political ploys and will only incentivize illegal immigration, critics argue.

“It is definitely an incentive and will drive more illegal immigration,” former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan told The Center Square. “In a time where we are facing historic numbers on the southern border, President Biden announces yet another giveaway program, another reward for illegally entering this country.

“This reinforces that you can enter this country illegally and if you can hide out long enough, you get legal status. This will drive more illegal immigration and they know that and that is why they are doing it.”

If the president really cared about border security and reforming immigration law, he would “reimplement the Migrant Protection Protocols; … restore Asylum Cooperative Agreements with Central American partners; finish construction of new border wall system that Congress funded years ago [which he halted]; and … end mass catch-and-release,” U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, R-TN, said in a statement. The president “could stop the flow of hundreds of thousands entering this country via unlawful mass-parole programs created by his DHS secretary. And he could encourage Senate Democrats to pass H.R. 2, the only border bill passed by either house of the 118th Congress, to further close loopholes and end avenues for exploitation of our borders by the cartels.

“But he won’t, because the rabidly anti-enforcement, open-borders left is calling the shots for the Biden administration. And the rest of us are paying the price.”

Any executive actions taken related to newly created parole programs or DACA are likely to be challenged by Republican attorneys general.

Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.

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