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Biden Commits to Evacuating All Americans From Afghanistan, Even if Troops Have to Stay Past Deadline



The president’s latest commitment came in response to concerns that his current withdrawal date of Aug. 31 is too unrealistic if the U.S. hopes to fly all hopeful refugees and Americans out of the country.

Biden Admits Aug. 31 Withdrawal May Be Pushed Back

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, President Joe Biden finally conceded that the U.S. may not be able to pull all of its troops out of Afghanistan by his quickly approaching Aug. 31 deadline.

Biden has been rigid regarding the current U.S. objective to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by Aug. 31, and in this at time tense interview, he was no less adamant; however, for the first time, he has confirmed that the U.S. would stay beyond that date so long as there are Americans still seeking to flee the country. 

“We’ve got like 10 to 15,000 Americans in the country right now, right?” Stephanopoulos asked in the interview, which was published Wednesday. “Are you committed to making sure that the troops stay until every American who wants to be out is out?” 

“Yes,” Biden said. 

“How about our Afghan allies?”  Stephanopoulos followed up. “Does the commitment hold for them as well?”

“The commitment holds to get everyone out that, in fact, we can get out and everyone that should come out,” Biden said. “And that’s the objective. That’s what we’re doing now, that’s the path we’re on, and I think we’ll get there.”

“So Americans should understand that troops might have to be there beyond Aug. 31st?” Stephanopoulos pressed in an attempt to have the president give a clear answer on whether he was willing to push back his current timeline.

No, Americans should understand that we’re gonna try to get it done before Aug. 31st,” Biden said.

“But if we don’t, the troops will stay—” Stephanopoulos said

“If we don’t, we’ll determine at the time who’s left,” Biden said.

“And?” Stephanopoulos continued to press.

“And if there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out,” Biden admitted.

Biden Pressed on “Highly Unlikely” Takeover Comments

During another part of the interview, Stephanopoulos sought to hold Biden accountable for a comment he made last month when he said a Taliban takeover was “highly unlikely.” 

“Was the intelligence wrong, or did you downplay it?” Stephanopoulos asked. 

“I think — there was no consensus,” Biden responded. “If you go back and look at the intelligence reports, they said that it’s more likely to be sometime by the end of the year.” 

“You didn’t put a timeline on it when you said it was highly unlikely,” Stephanopoulos pushed back. “You just said flat out it’s highly unlikely the Taliban would take over.”

“Yeah, well, the question was whether or not it — the idea that the Taliban would take over was premised on the notion that somehow, the 300,000 troops we had trained and equipped was gonna just collapse, they were gonna give up,” Biden said. “I don’t think anybody anticipated that.” 

Stephanopoulos went on to ask if the last week has been “a failure of intelligence, planning, execution, or judgment” on the part of the U.S. government.

Biden said that he doesn’t consider it a failure. Rather, he said the rapid downfall of Afghanistan was a result of the country’s president quickly fleeing, as well as the sudden collapse of Afghan troops. 

“There is no good time to leave Afghanistan,” he later added. “Fifteen years ago would’ve been a problem, 15 years from now [would be a problem]. The basic choice is am I gonna send your sons and your daughters to war in Afghanistan in perpetuity?” 

“We spent over $1 trillion, George. 20 years. There was no good time to leave.” 

“But if there’s no good time, if you know you’re gonna have to leave eventually, why not have everything in place to make sure Americans could get out, to make sure our Afghan allies get out, so we don’t have these chaotic scenes in Kabul?” Stephanopoulos asked. 

“As you know, the intelligence community did not say back in June or July that, in fact, this was gonna collapse like it did,” Biden said. 

“They thought the Taliban would take over, but not this quickly?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“But not this quickly,” Biden reiterated. “Not even close.”

At a press briefing the same day, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also stressed that point, saying, “Nothing I saw indicated a collapse of this government in 11 days.”

What’s Happening in Kabul?

The U.S. has reportedly evacuated 7,000 since Saturday. Officials hope to increase that capacity to 5,000 to 9,000 a day before the U.S. pulls out.

In Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, the Taliban clashed with protesters Thursday. According to several reports, the protesters had been peacefully chanting while waving the flag of their now-overthrown government. That then led to Taliban fighters firing into the air, though some also appeared to take aim at the crowd, according to viral video. 

In a desperate attempt to find new lives for their children whatever the cost, another video shows Afghan mothers throwing their babies over barbed wire to UK troops at the airport in Kabul. 

See what others are saying: (ABC News) (New York Post) (NPR)


Conservatives Slam Elmo For Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19 



While critics accused the muppet of promoting propaganda, CDC data shows the shots are safe and effective.

Elmo Gets Vaccinated 

Conservative politicians expressed outrage on Twitter after the beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo revealed he got vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently cleared the way for children between the ages of six months and five years to get vaccinated against the virus. The famous red muppet is three years old, making him finally eligible for the jab. 

In a video shared by “Sesame Street,” Elmo said that he felt “a little pinch, but it was okay.” 

Elmo’s father, Louie, then addressed parents who might be apprehensive about vaccinating their own kids. 

“I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine,” he said to the camera. “Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice.” 

“I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors, and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love,” he continued. 

Republicans Criticize “Sesame Street”

While some praised the video for raising awareness and addressing the concerns parents may have, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) quickly lambasted the effort.

“Thanks, Sesame Street for saying parents are allowed to have questions,” Cruz tweeted. “You then have Elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”

Despite Cruz’s claim, the CDC has provided ample resources with information on vaccines for children. 

He was not alone in criticizing the video. Harmeet Dhillon, a committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, suggested that Elmo would be taking puberty blockers next. 

Other anti-vaxxers claimed Elmo would get myocarditis and accused “Sesame Street” of promoting propaganda.

COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective against transmission of the virus, but this is not the first time conservatives have turned their anger against a friendly-looking muppet who opted to get the jab. When Big Bird got vaccinated in November, Cruz and other right-wing figures accused the show of brainwashing kids.

Big Bird’s choice to get vaccinated was not a shocker though, clips dating back to 1972 show him getting immunized against the measles. 

See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hill) (Market Watch)

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Uvalde Puts Police Chief on Leave, Tries to Kick Him Off City Council



If Pete Arredondo fails to attend two more consecutive city council meetings, then he may be voted out of office.

Police Chief Faces Public Fury

Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave Wednesday following revelations that he and his officers did not engage the shooter at Robb Elementary for over an hour despite having adequate weaponry and protection.

Superintendent Hal Harrell, who made the announcement, did not specify whether the leave is paid or unpaid.

Harrell said in a statement that the school district would have waited for an investigation to conclude before making any personnel decisions, but chose to order the administrative leave because it is uncertain how long the investigation will take.

Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, the second in command at the police department, will assume Arredondo’s duties.

In an interview with The Texas Tribune earlier this month, Arredondo said he did not consider himself in charge during the shooting, but law enforcement records reviewed by the outlet indicate that he gave orders at the scene.

Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told state senators on Tuesday that some officers wanted to enter the classrooms harboring the shooter but were stopped by their superiors.

He said officer Ruben Ruiz tried to move forward into the hallway after receiving a call from his wife Eva Mireles, a teacher inside one of the classrooms, telling him she had been shot and was bleeding to death.

Ruiz was detained, had his gun taken away, and was escorted off the scene, according to McCraw. Mireles later died of her wounds.

Calls for Arredondo to resign or be fired have persisted.

Emotions Erupt at City Council

Wednesday’s announcement came one day after the Uvalde City Council held a special meeting in which community members and relatives of victims voiced their anger and demanded accountability.

“Who are you protecting?” Asked Jasmine Cazares, sister of Jackie Cazares, a nine-year-old student who was shot. “Not my sister. The parents? No. You’re too busy putting them in handcuffs.”

Much of the anger was directed toward Arredondo, who was not present at the meeting but was elected to the city council on May 7, just over two weeks before the massacre.

“We are having to beg ya’ll to do something to get this man out of our faces,” said the grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old victim. “We can’t see that gunman. That gunman got off easy. We can’t take our frustrations out on that gunman. He’s dead. He’s gone. … Ya’ll need to put yourselves in our shoes, and don’t say that none of ya’ll have, because I guarantee you if any of ya’ll were in our shoes, ya’ll would have been pulling every string that ya’ll have to get this man off the council.”

One woman demanded the council refuse to grant Arredondo the leave of absence he had requested, pointing out that if he fails to attend three consecutive meetings the council can vote him out for abandoning his office.

“What you can do right now is not give him, if he requests it, a leave of absence,” she said. “Don’t give him an out. We don’t want him. We want him out.”

After hearing from the residents, the council voted unanimously not to approve the leave of absence.

On Tuesday, Uvalde’s mayor announced that Robb Elementary is set to be demolished, saying no students or teachers should have to return to it after what happened.

We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.

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Texas Public Safety Director Says Police Response to Uvalde Shooting Was An “Abject Failure”



New footage shows officers prepared to engage the shooter one hour before they entered the classroom.

Seventy-Seven Deadly Minutes

Nearly a month after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, evidence has emerged indicating that police were prepared to engage the shooter within minutes of arriving, but chose to wait over an hour.

The shooting at Robb Elementary began at 11:33 a.m., and within three minutes 11 officers are believed to have entered the school, according to surveillance and body camera footage obtained by KVUE and the Austin American Statesman.

District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly called a landline at the police department at 11:40 a.m. for help.

“It’s an emergency right now,” he said. “We have him in the room. He’s got an AR-15. He’s shot a lot… They need to be outside the building prepared because we don’t have firepower right now. It’s all pistols.”

At 11:52 a.m., however, the footage shows multiple officers inside the school armed with at least two rifles and one ballistic shield.

Law enforcement did not enter the adjoined classrooms to engage the shooter until almost an hour later, at 12:50 p.m. During that time, one officer’s daughter was inside the classrooms and another’s wife, a teacher, reportedly called him to say she was bleeding to death.

Thirty minutes before law enforcement entered the classrooms, the footage shows officers had four ballistic shields in the hallway.

Frustrated Cops Want to Go Inside

Some of the officers felt agitated because they were not allowed to enter the classrooms.

One special agent at the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived about 20 minutes after the shooting started, then immediately asked, “Are there still kids in the classrooms?”

“It is unknown at this time,” another officer replied.

“Ya’ll don’t know if there’s kids in there?” The agent shot back. “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there.”

“Whoever is in charge will determine that,” the other officer responded.

According to an earlier account by Arredondo, he and the other officers tried to open the doors to the classrooms, but found them both locked and waited for a master key to arrive. But surveillance footage suggests that they never tried to open the doors, which a top Texas official has confirmed were never actually locked.

One officer has told reporters that within minutes of the police response, there was a Halligan bar, which firefighters use to break down locked doors, on-site, but it was never used.

At a special State Senate committee hearing Monday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw called the police response an “abject failure” and “antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre.”

“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from (entering rooms) 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said. “The officers have weapons, the children had none.”

We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.

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