Libya PM draws crowd for mass wedding and protest against parliament

FILE PHOTO: Libya’s unity government Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah looks on at Libya’s mission to the United Nations in New York, U.S. July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Michelle Nichols

September 24, 2021

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Several thousand Libyans packed a Tripoli square late on Friday for a state-funded mass wedding celebration that also drew supporters of transitional Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah and protesters against the eastern-based parliament.

Dbeibah was installed in March through a U.N.-backed process to head a unity government after years of division between rival administrations in the civil war, and to prepare for an election.

The election is planned for Dec. 24 but there is controversy over parliament’s handling of a law for the vote to take place and analysts fear the jockeying among rival factions could unravel the peace process.

Dbeibah has courted popular opinion with measures such as financial support for newlyweds but has faced problems with the parliament, which was elected nationally in 2014 but moved east as the country split between warring factions.

The parliament has not passed his budget and this week its speaker, Aguila Saleh, passed a vote to withdraw confidence from the government though some members of the chamber said he had falsified the vote count.

Saleh had earlier passed a law for a presidential election that his critics said was tailored to allow him to run without risking his existing role by stepping aside for three months before the vote.

Parliament has not passed a law for a parliamentary election.

Many of the people who attended the Tripoli wedding celebration on Friday were there to protest against the parliament and back Dbeibah.

“We are fed up with the parliament. We elected them and we now ask them to get out. They have become a real headache,” said Ali al-Hamdi, 41, a shopkeeper.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami, writing by Angus McDowall; editing by Grant McCool)





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Mass Student Loan Forgiveness Is Already Happening – Reason.com

While progressive Democrats in Congress have yet to pass a universal student loan forgiveness bill, the Department of Education has nevertheless forgiven billions of dollars in federal student loan debt since Joe Biden became president. And even without new statutory authority, the federal government is slated to forgive increasingly more student loan debt in the future, thanks to the Biden administration’s expansive interpretation of the Education Department’s existing authorities, as well as a law signed by George W. Bush way back in 2007 that mandates loan forgiveness for certain borrowers. 

Let’s start with the federal student loan debt forgiveness for low-income and disabled borrowers, which the Department of Education says has erased “$9.5 billion, affecting over 563,000 borrowers,” since January 1, 2021. That sum breaks down roughly as follows: 

  • $1.1 billion in federal student loan debt forgiveness for 115,000 borrowers under a policy called the “extended closed school discharge.” This action benefits former attendees of the now-shuttered for-profit college ITT Technical Institute who “did not complete their degree or credential and left ITT on or after March 31, 2008.” 
  • $1.5 billion in student loan debt forgiveness for 92,000 borrowers under “borrower defense to repayment,” which allows for the discharge of federal loans if borrowers can provide evidence their school “misled” them about their employment prospects or the transferability of college credits, or if it mischaracterized loans as grants, or if the school “engaged in other misconduct in violation of certain state laws.”
  • $7.1 billion in “total and permanent disability discharges” for borrowers who are classified as disabled by the Social Security Administration. According to the Education Department’s website, “this includes $5.8 billion in automatic student loan discharges to 323,000 borrowers and reinstating $1.3 billion in loan discharges for another 41,000 borrowers.”

Yes, that looks like $9.7 billion. But there is likely some overlap between the groups.

There is also an interesting wrinkle to the disability discharge announcement. The Education Department press release says that 98 percent of the 41,000 borrowers who are having their loan discharge reinstated initially lost their discharge because they “did not submit the requested documentation, not because their earnings were too high.” To prevent their discharges from being revoked in the future, “the Department will indefinitely stop sending automatic requests for earnings information even after the national emergency ends. This continues a practice that the Department announced in March 2021 for the duration of the national emergency. Next, the Department will propose eliminating the [3-year] monitoring period entirely in the upcoming negotiated rulemaking that will begin in October.” 

The above actions can be traced to the Biden administration’s interpretation of a section of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that authorizes the secretary of education to “enforce, pay, compromise, waive, or release any right, title, claim, lien, or demand, however acquired, including any equity or any right of redemption.” The Education Department under President Donald Trump took a far more limited view of that authority, though it did use the law in an unprecedented way when it suspended payments and interest on federal student loans at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. (You can read my analysis of the debate over that authority here.)  

Aside from people with disabilities and former attendees of for-profit colleges, an entirely different class of federal student loan borrowers is also receiving federal student loan forgiveness, thanks to George W. Bush and the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. 

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act states that anyone with a Federal Direct Loan who makes 120 qualifying payments after October 1, 2007, while employed by a nonpolitical 501(c)3 nonprofit or a government agency, will have the remainder of their direct loan forgiven under a program called Public Service Loan Forgiveness. It doesn’t matter how large your loan is. If your employer qualifies, your loan type qualifies, and you make 120 payments in a timely manner, the remainder is forgiven with no taxes on the forgiven amount. 

According to a Department of Education spokesperson, 

From July 2020 through June 2021, the cumulative number of borrowers receiving Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) has increased from 2,860 to 8,334, and the cumulative total amount forgiven has increased from $201 million to $756 million.

From July 2020 through June 2021, the cumulative number of borrowers receiving Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) has increased from 1,943 to 3,724, and the cumulative total amount forgiven has increased from $83 million to $166 million.

While $756 million and $166 million are far less than $9.5 billion, the more important figure, vis a vis the larger debate over student loan forgiveness, is the per-borrower forgiveness amounts. Using the numbers listed above,

  • beneficiaries of borrower defense and the closed school discharge have received, on average, $12,560 in federal debt forgiveness per borrower.
  • disabled borrowers have received, on average, $19,505 in federal debt forgiveness per borrower 
  • TEPSLF beneficiaries have received, on average, $50,702 in federal debt forgiveness per borrower 
  • PSLF beneficiaries have received, on average, $90,712 in federal debt forgiveness per borrower. 

Those last two numbers are why I think PSLF (which is a nondiscretionary entitlement program) and, to a lesser extent, TEPSLF (which is constrained by the appropriations process) are more significant to the larger student loan debate, even if for-profit attendees and disabled borrowers have snagged most of the headlines.

Given the high loan default rate among for-profit college borrowers and the truly awful business practices of some for-profit colleges, those low-income borrowers are a sympathetic group. While I have previously argued that making student loan debt dischargeable in bankruptcy would go a long way toward properly aligning incentives and bringing down higher education costs, discharging a poor person’s federal student loan in bankruptcy has the same impact on the public fisc as forgiving it. The same argument applies to the permanently disabled. With the federal government all but displacing the private student loan market over the last decade, bankruptcy versus forgiveness is a distinction without a difference. 

PSLF recipients are not nearly as sympathetic. They have good jobs in government and at nonprofits. They are well-educated. While some job types command significantly higher salaries in the for-profit world, many master’s and bachelor’s degree holders can make more in combined salary and benefits working for the government. Terminal degree holders can make more in the private sector, but they are also the most highly compensated public sector workers. 

The PSLF program, meanwhile, is designed so that all of these borrowers pay as little as possible towards their principal balance by using “income-driven repayment” (IDR) rather than the standard 10-year repayment scheme. This means what you pay each month is a small percentage of your income, rather than determined by the life of your loan. For years, the Education Department has given presentations to financial aid administrators showing that PSLF makes sense only if you use IDR, as there’d be no debt to forgive after 10 years of standard repayment. What’s more, PSLF applicants received an added bonus from the Education Department during the pandemic: While all federal student loan payments and interest accumulation have been frozen since March 2020, and will be through at least January 2022, PSLF applicants get to count each month in this period as a qualifying payment even if they didn’t actually make a payment. 

And while there are currently not many PSLF beneficiaries, there soon will be. When the first cohort of borrowers reached eligibility on October 1, 2017, student loan watchers expected a flood of forgiveness. In July 2021, the Education Department published a request for comment in the Federal Register stating that “to date, nearly 98 percent of student loan borrowers who have applied for PSLF did not receive forgiveness at the time of their application.”

But the Education Department is working, with the support of Democrats in Congress, to change that. From October 1, 2017, to April 1, 2021, $452.7 million in student loan forgiveness went to 5,467 approved PSLF applicants. That comes to $82,804 per borrower. We are now up to 8,334 people, $756 million, and $90,712 in forgiveness per borrower. 

Those first two numbers are virtually certain to increase. PSLF applicants are encouraged to submit a form to the Education Department once a year, so that the department can tell borrowers whether their employer qualifies for PSLF and how many payments they have made toward forgiveness. The Education Department received 391,333 of these forms from November 2020 to April 2021. Of that number, 168,197 forms met the criteria for PSLF. 

So while student loan forgiveness to the worst-off borrowers may be commanding the headlines, America’s white-collar government and nonprofit workers are quietly getting a massive reprieve from a debt they took on to advance their careers. And more is likely on the way.

It’s likely only a matter of time until millions of private-sector workers begin to wonder why you have to be poor or work for the government or a nonprofit in order to get your loans forgiven. And we can partially thank George W. Bush for helping to heighten that contradiction. 



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Thirteen shot, one dead in mass shooting at Tennessee supermarket

At least one person is dead, and 13 others are injured following a mass shooting Thursday at Kroger outside of Memphis, Tennessee.

According to the local news station WREG, officers responded to reports of a shooting at about 1:30 p.m. local time. 

The alleged shooter is dead from what authorities think is a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

At least 12 people were taken to local hospitals, while one person was able to walk into a local emergency room to seek care.

The extent of the injuries is not yet clear, and police are not yet aware of a motive for the shooting.

This is a developing story … 

 



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CNN’s April Ryan Grandstands, Takes Over WH Briefing and Demands Mass Immigration For Haitians, Africans (VIDEO)




CNN’s April Ryan Grandstands, Takes Over WH Briefing and Demands Mass Immigration For Haitians, Africans (VIDEO)



















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Mexican archdiocese suppresses Traditional Latin Mass parish run by the FSSP

In a stunning move, the Archdiocese of Guadalajara has issued a decree suppressing a Traditional Latin Mass parish community run by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP).

The decree also states that all priests who wish to continue to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass in the diocese must accept “the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform” and “the dictates of the Second Vatican Council,” that they must be willing to celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass, and that they must recognize that “the only expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite are the liturgical books promulgated by the Holy Pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul II.”.

The September 21 decree of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara is available on the internet in Spanish and in English. It was signed by Cardinal José Francisco Robles Ortega and is based on the July 16 motu proprio Traditionis Custodes issued by Pope Francis.

The Mexican cardinal begins his decree by pointing out that Pope Francis has now declared that the Novus Ordo liturgy is “the only expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite” and that the goal is “work for a return to a unitary form of celebration, verifying case by case the reality of the groups celebrating with this Missale Romanum.”

The archdiocese has ruled that one of the FSSP’s apostolates in the diocese, what it describes as “quasi-parish” of St. Peter in Chains, will be canonically suppressed. Confusingly, the decree also misnames Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter as the Sacerdotal Fraternity of Saint Peter in Chains.

Where FSSP Masses are allowed to continue in the diocese, the decree states that the readings of the Mass may only be read in the vernacular, not in Latin, and that the priests must use the modern translations as provided by the Mexican Episcopal Conference.

Cardinal Ortega claims that “pastorally I have received uninterruptedly ample information of the consequences for this archdiocese and other archdioceses and dioceses of Mexico,” indirectly supporting Pope Francis’ claim that members of traditional Mass communities are undermining unity in the Church by questioning parts of the Second Vatican Council.

While the main traditional Mass parish may for now continue its Masses, the cardinal states that, “once the time of the pandemic is over, the number of celebrations will be reviewed in each case.”

Ortega adds that the traditional Mass “will continue to be held only in the church of Our Lady of the Pillar on a daily basis; on weekdays only one Mass in the Chapel of Christ the King; and on Sundays in the Chapel of Christ the King, on Sundays and Tuesdays in the parish of St. Francis Xavier of the Hills.”

The decree adds that the Masses inside the FSSP’s house of formation “will be regulated according to the directives of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life” under Cardinal Brax de Aviz.  However, these places are not permitted to offer public Masses.

Any new priest wishing to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass is required to ask for permission. Such priests may only request permission to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass in two assigned places, and this after consultation with the Holy See.

All priests who wish to celebrate the traditional Mass have to write to the archbishop, “giving the reasons for such a request, along with which he must formally declare that:

A) He does not exclude the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform and of the dictates of the Second Vatican Council and of the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs (art. 3 §1 TC);

B) He also recognizes that the only expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite are the liturgical books promulgated by the Holy Pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul II (art. 1 TC);”

As an additional demand, such a priest has to write “that he is obliged to celebrate ordinarily according to the norm of the liturgical books promulgated by the Holy Pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul II (art. 1 TC), including the Holy Eucharist, in cases where he does not have the exceptional explicit authorization to follow the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum, or the other Sacraments, in all cases without exception (since previous norms, instructions, concessions and customs that do not conform to the provisions of the motu proprio are abrogated.”

That is to say: every traditional Catholic priest who wishes to celebrate the traditional Mass in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara has to agree to the condition that he will sometimes celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass and that it is the “unique” expression of the Latin rite. LifeSite is aware that there are many traditional priests in the world who would never do so, so it puts these priests in Mexico under an enormous pressure and into a situation where they will have to make a decision of conscience.

The FSSP is one of the communities that were established as Ecclesia Dei communities which received in 1988 permission from Pope John Paul II to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass. These communities recently issued a statement asking Pope Francis for mercy, after he had issued his motu proprio essentially trying to abolish the traditional Mass. They asked the Pope to “guarantee the identity of their Institutes in the full communion of the Catholic Church.”

“Can we deprive them [these priests] today of what they are committed to? Can we deprive them of what the Church had promised them through the mouth of the Popes?” they wrote.

— Article continues below Petition —

33853 have signed the petition.

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LifeSiteNews will hand-deliver this petition to the Holy See, recording the moment traditional Catholics from around the world stood up for the Traditional Latin Mass.

Pope Francis has issued a new decree, “Traditiones Custodes,” severely restricting the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition with other Catholics, and ask the Pope to reconsider this new and divisive Motu Proprio.

Pope Francis’ decree clamps down hard on the TLM. In it, he effectively does away with Pope Benedict’s protection of it, handing bishops in every diocese the right to suppress it, while demanding new priests get permission from their bishop and the Vatican to offer the Mass of the Ages. 

As Catholics who value Tradition and know the place of the Magisterium in safeguarding the Deposit of Faith, it is time to speak up and have our voices heard

Francis has decried rigidity and intolerance for years, but now is showing intolerance and rigidity himself by forcing his very narrow understanding of liturgy on one of the true sources of good fruit in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

Our Lord said that “a bad tree cannot bear good fruit”, and yet we see more and more souls drawn to Christ through the TLM, with marriages dedicated to God and open to many children, and vocations also abounding in traditional seminaries, orders and priestly societies.

Indeed, the Traditional Latin Mass has been a source of unity for the Catholic Church for more than 1500 years, producing great saints, repentant sinners, and souls won for Christ across the world. *Read below how Benedict XVI decried attacks against the TLM and its adherents.

To attempt to restrict the Traditional Latin Mass, as a new generation are rediscovering the treasures of God’s Church, will inevitably cause further division and hurt among the faithful, risking the loss of some souls who will regretfully turn away

Souls are now at stake with this Motu Proprio, as some will drift away from the Deposit of Faith in disillusionment, while others that are far from God will never be touched by the profound beauty and reverence found in the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to Pope Francis, urging him to reconsider his decision, not least for the good of souls and the glory of God, and making sure as many cardinals support the TLM as possible. 

Click “Show Petition Text” on the right to read the letter to Pope Francis.

Finally, please pray, fast and do penance for the salvation of souls, including that of our shepherds, during this turbulent time in Church history.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

‘BREAKING: Pope Francis abrogates Pope Benedict’s universal permission for Old Mass’ – www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-abrogates-pope-benedicts-universal-permission-for-old-mass

‘ANALYSIS: Pope restricts ‘divisive’ Traditional Latin Mass, says 52-yr-old Novus Ordo is ‘unique expression’ of Church’s liturgy’ – www.lifesitenews.com/news/analysis-pope-restricts-divisive-traditional-latin-mass-says-52-yr-old-novus-ordo-is-unique-expression-of-churchs-liturgy

* Pope Benedict XVI (Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000):

“For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 [the older Latin Mass] should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past. How can one trust her at present if things are that way?”

**Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Bishop Athanasius Schneider said in an interview prior to publication of Traditionis Custodes that it is a violation of conscience to force traditional Catholic priests to say the Novus Ordo. When asked whether Rome could force traditional priests to say the Novus Ordo Mass, Schneider answered that the Vatican would have the “right” to do so, but that it would be a “violation, kind of spiritual, of their rights, which the Church gave them.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in comments to LifeSite, expounded that those priests should resist the order of abandoning the traditional Mass. He insisted that priests have a right to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, adding that at times they might have to continue to do so in hidden ways. But the way of the saints, he adds, would be to go into open disagreement and even “disobedience” should their local bishop forbid them to continue to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.

It is to be hoped that the traditional communities now coming under pressure from their bishops will take courageous steps that will allow them to preserve the traditional liturgy and traditions, even at the risk of being punished by official Rome. Kind pleadings will not, it would seem, bring sufficient fruits.

As LifeSite will report in a separate article, in the Diocese of Le Havre, France, the local bishop ruled on September 11 that the FSSP may not administer baptisms and weddings in the traditional rite. The war against the traditional Mass as declared by Pope Francis has been opened. It is up to us to stand up and resist.

This resistance is what more than 100 lay Catholics and organizations announced last week, saying:

“We will not let anyone deprive the faithful of this treasure which is first of all that of the Church. We will not remain inactive in the face of the spiritual suffocation of vocations laid forth in the Motu proprio Traditionis Custodes. We will not deprive our children of this privileged means of transmitting the faith which is faithfulness to the traditional liturgy.”

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.





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Netflix’s Midnight Mass Favors Disenfranchised Whites Over People of Color

Hamish Linklater in Netflix’s Midnight Mass. Courtesy of Netflix

There’s something a little infuriating about a seven-episode series that has some sparse but brilliant commentary regarding the state of the world we exist in, but takes far too long to get to the point. Mike Flanagan’s latest Netflix horror installment, Midnight Mass, does offer some jump scares while providing a comparison of the rampant misinformation and zealotry of today. It also addresses how far too many are now using religion as a way to excuse their biases. But after a beginning that is too drawn out and a complete lack of awareness regarding how the show’s intended message omits those most affected by these behaviors—people of color and marginalized communities—what’s left is a lackluster, poorly executed tale of disenfranchised white people.

Crockett Island, aka “the Crock-Pot,” is a tiny island located somewhere in the Northeastern part of the United States that is home to a few hundred or so residents. After an oil spill nearly gutted their fishing industry, the island and its residents have been on a steady decline in their way of life. But, they are a profoundly Catholic bunch and devoted to the town church, St. Patrick’s Church, which also serves as the town’s center of everything. But, unfortunately, their longtime priest has gone on a journey far from the confines of the tiny island and has yet to return. That brings the arrival of a mysterious, young priest, Father Paul Hill (Hamish Linklater).

Father Hill starts to invigorate the residents—bringing a feverish rise to the town’s Catholic way of life. But, while Father Hill has infused a religious revival of sorts, his arrival also brings some strange occurrences. One example is a coast full of dead cats, which is curiously not addressed beyond the five minutes of imagery it receives. But then, “miracles” start happening; an elderly woman begins to de-age, a young girl who uses a wheelchair walks again, and couples start to reignite their marriages. Other residents, like Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford) and Erin Greene (Katie Siegel), approach the “miracles” with more caution, questioning how much the church is asking of them in exchange for salvation. 

The ensemble cast does some great work with the material given, and Linklater gives one of the best performances of his career. But it lacks the enveloping nature of Flanagan’s previous horrors, The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor. Instead, much of the show’s terror is derided from simple jump scares, and they aren’t very good ones at that. It’s a very one-note kind of fright, and it lost me pretty quickly, which is sad because I watched this after midnight when I was home alone and didn’t even blink when the scares (finally) arrived.

Midnight Mass feels like Flanagan preferred to ‘tell’ most of the story versus ‘showing’ us much of anything. It takes roughly three episodes to get to what the show is about, and much of the first two episodes are loaded with unnecessary dialogue and back story. For a series that wants to examine zealotry, it sure is preachy! Not just in the Father’s sermons, either. Throughout the series, it felt like Oprah showed up on set one day and exclaimed to everyone, “And you get a monologue! And you get a monologue! And you, you get TWO monologues!!”

Luckily, the cast of actors knows how to deliver on the over-explicative script. Aside from Linklater, the clear standouts are Rahul Kohli, who plays Sheriff Hassan, a Muslim and former NYPD cop, and Samantha Sloyan, who plays Bev, the ultimate white woman Catholic zealot. Kohli and Sloyan play entirely different characters, yet, they elevate the contrast while not minimizing the other to connect to our reality. These roles are complicated and, in lesser performers, can become reductive. But here, they are the most fleshed-out, believable characters that I wanted to see more of. The rest of the ensemble is excellent, but the material doesn’t carry them too far. 

Somewhere around the fourth episode, the message of the series is finally felt and delivers an exciting contrast between religious zealotry and addiction. The central theme is strong and defined, and it sparks a worthy discussion. Yet, it feels obtuse when the focus is yet again on disenfranchised white people. After living through the 2016 election and watching as a person of color, it’s surprising to see today’s focus continue to rest on that same group—the disgruntled white communities. We really do not need to keep hearing about that same sect when marginalized communities are still fighting for rights, recognition, and sometimes, their very lives.

If Flanagan wants the audience to question their beliefs and their judgment-filled religious leanings, the cast would be far more inclusive and diverse. But, instead, Sheriff Hassan has to do the heavy lifting in speaking up for all marginalized people—a weight that is too much for one character to carry and a responsibility that is unfair to place on one of the three people of color in the whole cast. 

Midnight Mass is a bit like an unfinished home—the bones are there, and the path is written, but aside from some necessary tools, it’s far too empty.

‘Midnight Mass’ Is Too Focused on the Wrong Group of People to Successfully Convert



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Senate Rules Didn’t Dash Dems’ Mass Amnesty. They Did It Themselves

The Senate’s parliamentarian appeared to dash Democrats’ mass amnesty dreams Sunday, issuing an opinion that the rules for a budget reconciliation bill — a privileged legislative vehicle that can be passed with a simple majority — don’t encompass providing permanent legal status to millions of illegal migrants.

Democratic leadership claimed they “are deeply disappointed,” but they know decision doesn’t matter, at least not as much as they’d like to pretend.

Why not? At the moment, they don’t have the votes for it regardless, but would love to blame the decision for their inability to push the whole conference behind a left-wing immigration overhaul.

That, however, doesn’t mean they won’t get anything at all for their efforts: The parliamentarian left the door wide open for more than a few left-wing wins on the immigration front.

The Votes

The office of the Senate’s parliamentarian generally flies under the radar. That is, until one party needs to blame them or use them as a handy foil for why something can’t be done. It’s cynical, but also cyclical: Both parties use the parliamentarian as a cudgel or a shield, depending on the circumstances.

In this instance, the Democrats are using Elizabeth MacDonough, the parliamentarian, to obscure the fact that they very likely don’t have the votes to pass this kind of amnesty. They have neither the 51 votes necessary to pass it in reconciliation, nor the 60 votes to waive the Byrd rule and add it to the bill (nor the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster as part of the Senate’s routine legislative process).

Rather than reveal that to their voters in the form of an actual vote and putting vulnerable Democratic senators in the uncomfortable position of actually voting for controversial measures in public, it’s far easier to feign helplessness and blame MacDonough. “Our hands are tied!”

Republicans pleaded the same impotency to conservative members and their voters in 2017, claiming the parliamentarian wouldn’t let them use an Obamacare repeal attempt to stop federal subsidies from going toward buying plans that pay for abortion or to cut Planned Parenthood funding for even a single year.

In that fight, the parliamentarian’s office hadn’t even issued an opinion; all conservatives were offered were reassurances from House and Senate leadership that it wouldn’t be allowed. It wasn’t until a handful of conservative senators pressed the issue with the parliamentarian herself that the excuse was revealed as a canard.

“What I understood her to be saying is that there’s no reason why an Obamacare repeal bill necessarily could not have provisions repealing the health insurance regulations,” Sen. Mike Lee reported after meeting with MacDonough. Moreover, according to Lee, she’d never even been asked the question.

Democrats’ Go-Around

The most recent plan the parliamentarian turned down would have given green cards to children whose parents brought them here (Democrats and corporate media call them “Dreamers”), refugees the United States granted temporary legal residency to (“Temporary Protected Status), and farm workers, as well as those called “essential.”

The sweeping change would grant permanent status to an estimated 8 million people at a cost estimated at $140 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The parliamentarian does have a role here, and that is to give her best interpretation of the Senate’s rules and precedents as they apply in various parliamentary scenarios. Reconciliation is governed by the Byrd rule, which is itself a congressional procedure, but one with the unusual status of being enshrined both in the Senate’s rules and in statute itself, meaning unlike all other Senate rules, it is a matter of law. And the rule itself is straightforward: The provisions contained in reconciliation bills must be explicitly budgetary in nature.

The Senate parliamentarian’s decision specifically cited the rule’s demand that reconciliation bills “not produce a change in outlays or revenues.” The bill and its associated cost, MacDonough said, are “by any standard a broad, new immigration policy,” and constituted “a policy change that substantially outweighs the budgetary impact of that change.”

So what’s next? Some options Democrats have include federal benefits for illegal immigrants with a “sunset” of, say, a decade. Why put “sunset” in quotation marks? Because when it comes to an end, gutless Republicans will be loathe to face sob media stories of illegal foreigners the American taxpayer is somehow now morally obligated to pay for.

That’s far from the only option Democrats have — less than $140 billion is a large window of opportunity — but it’s an example of how they might move toward compromise with more moderate senators while assuring their left-flank they have no choice.

If all of that seems dense or difficult to follow, that’s by design. Behind all the run-around lie two simple truths: Democrats don’t have the votes for this version of amnesty, but might if they water it down.

A rule to carry with you in Washington is nearly everything someone in power claims is too complicated to explain actually isn’t complicated at all. They just don’t want to tell you why.





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Biden Will Use Trump Rule To Justify Mass Deportation in Border Crisis

Homeland Security plans to deport thousands of illegal immigrants

Some of the thousands of immigrants sheltered near the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas / Reuters

Karl Salzmann • September 20, 2021 3:40 pm

The Biden administration plans to use Title 42, which former president Donald Trump activated in March 2020, to expel some of the roughly 14,500 illegal immigrants who are sheltering under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

The rule allows Customs and Border Protection to immediately expel immigrants, including asylum seekers, from the United States without hearings if they pose a serious risk of communicable disease. During the 2020 election, Joe Biden promised to deport no immigrants during his first hundred days in office and that afterward “the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies.” His campaign called the Trump administration’s immigration policy an “assault on our values.”

Biden’s campaign website promised that he would “secure our border, while ensuring the dignity of migrants and upholding their legal right to seek asylum.” A link prompted on the website called for special protections for Haitian asylum seekers.

The Department of Homeland Security will now use Title 42 to “accelerate the pace and increase the capacity” of deportations from Del Rio. More than 14,500 migrants, a majority of whom are Haitian, have flooded the border city, leading the city’s Democratic mayor to plead with Biden for more help alleviating the crisis, the Washington Free Beacon reported Friday. An inspector general’s report released this month found that Biden’s handling of the border has put Americans’ health at risk.

Around 3,300 of the immigrants have already been deported or detained, Border Patrol chief Raul L. Ortiz said at a Sunday press conference. Under the Biden plan, Homeland Security will deport families with children, a policy that has faced court challenges and led to harsh criticism from some human rights groups and Democratic lawmakers.





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Archbishop bars from Mass Catholics who do not take COVID-19 jabs

MONCTON, New Brunswick (LifeSiteNews) – A Canadian archbishop has barred Catholics who won’t take the COVID-19 jab from coming to Mass.   

On Friday, Archbishop Valery Vienneau of Moncton, New Brunswick issued instructions that anyone over 12 who attends a religious gathering in a church in his archdiocese “must be doubly vaccinated” against COVID-19.  

In a letter to Catholics in the Moncton Archdiocese, Vienneau wrote: “…beginning Wednesday Sep[tember] 22nd, at any gathering inside our churches, rectories or community centres under our supervision, those present must be doubly vaccinated.” 

The archbishop stipulated that such gatherings include “…religious celebrations (Sunday and weekly masses, prayer meetings, baptisms, weddings and funerals, Confirmation, First Reconciliation, First Communion), parish and pastoral meetings, catechesis meetings, management meetings, conferences, workshops, fraternal and social meetings, bingos, card games, etc.” 

Vienneau qualified that children under 12 are not required to take the jab to participate because they “cannot currently be vaccinated” against COVID-19. 

Many people throughout the world are reluctant to take the COVID-19 jabs because of the thousands of deaths and millions of other injuries that have been recorded following inoculation. Many Catholics and other Christians also object to the medical products because cell-lines derived from one or more aborted babies were used in their protection or testing. 

Meanwhile, Catholics normally have an obligation to attend Mass in person every Sunday and, in Canada, at Christmas and on New Year’s Day, unless they are ill, or caring for a sick child, or are physically impeded by travel from getting to Mass. Not fulfilling that obligation is considered a serious sin, and participating at Mass is considered central to the spiritual life of the faithful Catholic. Even Catholics who have incurred excommunication and thus cannot receive the sacraments are encouraged to take part in Sunday worship. 

The impetus for banning “unvaccinated” Catholics from Mass came from the provincial government. The archbishop recounted that New Brunswick’s Minister of Health, Dorothy Shephard, had “met with religious leaders in the province following the announcement of new measures regarding the pandemic” and that, although there is no mandate for proof of vaccination at religious gatherings, Shephard “wishes to have gatherings of fully vaccinated people to keep people safe and to act as an incentive for the unvaccinated.” 

Vienneau did say that parents who come to their child’s “First Reconciliation” (that is, First Confession) will be required to take the shot but did not stipulate that the faithful must be double-jabbed in order to receive the Sacrament of Penance themselves.  

Over the next few weeks, the archbishop has instructed that “several volunteers are expected to be at the doors of each church to ask worshippers for full proof of vaccination and collect their names on a list of fully vaccinated people.” After parishioners have been added to the list, they will not have to provide proof after the fact. However, any new parishioner or visitor will be required to provide proof of vaccination.  

Presumably regarding funerals, Vienneau said that “funeral home staff” should be informed that “family members and loved ones who come to church are to be doubly vaccinated.” He also said that he was informed by the Minister of Health that only those with “rare” medical exemptions will be admitted to a church facility without proof of vaccination.  

Employees of the archdiocese are allowed to keep their jobs if they are not vaccinated, but they are required to wear a mask and undergo frequent testing for COVID.  

New Brunswick announced on September 15 that province will be implementing new vaccine-passport restrictions tomorrow, September 21. According to the official announcement, people will need to show proof of vaccination whenever they access certain services, businesses and events, including: 

  • indoor festivals, performing arts and sporting events; 
  • indoor and outdoor dining and drinking at restaurants, pubs and bars; 
  • movie theatres, nightclubs, amusement centres, pool halls, bowling alleys and casinos; 
  • gyms, indoor pools and indoor recreation facilities;
  • indoor group exercise facilities; 
  • indoor organized gatherings including weddings, funerals, parties (excluding parties in a private dwelling), conferences and workshops; 
  • indoor organized group recreational sports, classes and activities; and 
  • visiting a long-term care facility. 

The province’s guidelines do not direct that residents of New Brunswick will have to provide proof of vaccination in order to attend religious services apart from weddings and funerals. 

LifeSiteNews has reached out to the Archdiocese for comment but has not yet received a response.  

To make your views respectfully and prayerfully known, please contact:

The Most Reverend Valery Vienneau

Archbishop of Moncton

224 St George St.

Moncton, NB

E1C 0V1

Tel: (506) 857-9531

c/o Annette LeBlanc, secretary to His Excellency: [email protected]

 



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