Fox News 2024-02-03 16:08:41


Tech billionaire reveals what he thinks is behind Biden’s wide open border policy

Elon Musk has again railed against President Joe Biden’s approach to securing the southern border, arguing that the commander-in-chief is letting millions of people into the country on purpose, so the Democrats can permanently stay in power.

Billionaire Musk, who has been a vocal critic of Biden’s border crisis, ripped into the president on X late Friday while sharing a 2021 news story headline revealing that Biden had intended to prioritize offering legal status to an estimated 11 million people while in office. 

MUSK HITS OUT AT BIDEN’S CALL FOR BORDER DEAL: ‘NO LAWS NEED TO BE PASSED’

“Biden’s strategy is very simple,” Musk wrote.

 “1. Get as many illegals in the country as possible. 2. Legalize them to create a permanent majority – a one-party state.” 

“That is why they are encouraging so much illegal immigration. Simple, yet effective.”

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report for fiscal 2023 shows that the number of illegal immigrants on the non-detained docket has soared from 3.7 million in FY 2021 to nearly 4.8 million in FY 2022 to nearly 6.2 million in FY 2023.

Musk, a legal immigrant from South Africa, went on to pin his post to the top of his X page account, adding in the caption “This explains why there are so few deportations, as every deportation is a lost vote.”

“As happened this week, you can literally assault police officers in broad daylight in New York, be released with no bail, give everyone the finger and *still* not be deported!! Outrageous.”

He further commented on the migrant attack on two NYPD officers, writing it “makes no sense” after many of them were released on bail.

“What is even the point of arresting criminals if nothing is done!?” Musk wrote later about a report on a Venezuelan woman who had been arrested eight times in the last six months. “No prison, no deportation.”

He previously argued that gaining asylum status after illegally crossing the southern border is as easy as a Google search. 

Musk, the owner of Tesla, SpaceX and X (formerly Twitter), also suggested that the influx of illegal immigrants will be used as a ruse for ballot harvesting in upcoming elections. 

Last week the billionaire fired back at President Biden’s calls for a bipartisan Senate deal to be passed to fix the unprecedented levels of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border. The bill is expected to include billions of dollars to Ukraine. 

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT POPULATION SOARS UNDER BIDEN: GOVERNMENT DATA

“No laws need to be passed,” Musk wrote. “All that is needed is an executive order to require proof before granting an asylum hearing. That is how it used to be.”

He also agreed with Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor David Sacks who wrote last week that the border is broken “because this administration refuses to enforce the laws we already have.” Musk responded by writing, “exactly.”

Musk visited the southern border in Eagle Pass, Texas, in September and livestreamed what he saw, giving people a firsthand account of the migrant crisis.

Last week, Biden told reporters he has done, “all I can do” with his executive authority to secure the border.

House Republicans are currently working to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his handling of the crisis. 

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Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La, said on the House floor last week that Biden and Mayorkas designed the “catastrophe” at the southern border.

“He’s inviting chaos and disorder within our land that is tearing at the very fabric of our society. The president can put a stop to this,” Johnson said. 

“And now, rather than accept any accountability or responsibility for what they have clearly done, President Biden wants to somehow try to shift the blame to Congress for his administration’s catastrophe by design. It’s absolutely laughable. No one’s falling for this.”

Homeowner pulls out big guns in feud with contractor over shoddy work

A British man outraged over how his kitchen was reportedly poorly remodeled is protesting the work by parking a decommissioned Cold War-era weapon in a home improvement store’s parking lot – and is refusing to move it. 

“I intend to stay as long as it takes for justice. I find it bizarre that Wickes can choose which bits of the law they will obey. The tank is there as a peaceful protest. If they wish it to be moved, there is a simple solution: Pay me back what they have of mine and my out-of-pocket expenses,” Paul Gibbons, 63, said of his protest against U.K. home improvement store chain Wickes. 

Gibbons said his kitchen ordeal started last year in February, when Wickes installed a new kitchen in his Kingsclere home for £25,000, or roughly $31,700. He told British media that he had scouted other home improvement shops and contractors before settling on Wickes to carry out the job. 

Gibbons argued he’s been left with a nightmare kitchen that has led to mold growing under his sink, drawers that don’t close, and one drawer that nearly fell on his dog. 

PROTESTING FRENCH FARMERS PLAN ‘SIEGE OF THE CAPITAL’ IN PARIS, REJECTING GOVERNMENT CONCESSIONS

“The finish throughout is so poor, and half of the kitchen doesn’t fit as it should. I agreed to the contract and what I was told would be two weeks of work, and 10 months later I am still left with a kitchen which I can’t even use as you should,” he said in December, according to the Telegraph.

He said the store has not rectified the allegedly shoddy kitchen, and he is “making a stand” by parking a 1963 decommissioned Abbot self-propelled gun outside of a Wickes’ location in Basingstoke. 

“The worst thing about it is that Wickes refuses to accept that the quality of the kitchen is nowhere near the standard it should be,” he said late last year. “They should deal with these issues when they arise rather than palming people off, and I’m making a stand simply to say that it’s not right.”

FOUND IN A 78-YEAR-OLD’S CELLAR: A WWII TANK

Gibbons said he borrowed the artillery piece from his friend, who loans out the vehicle to people protesting big stores, and parked it outside the store on Dec. 27. He’s demanding the store refund his money. 

“Warning Incompetent Complacent Kitchen Equipment Supplier,” a sign on the vehicle reads. 

This month, Gibbons said a note was posted on the gun warning it would be removed “within 14 days,” as of Jan. 23. 

“This vehicle/item has been notified to us as being abandoned and/or not having valid road tax and will be removed within 14 days of this notice being issued,” the note states, SWNS reported. 

“If this vehicle is not abandoned, please contact us on the below number immediately and/or arrange for it to be removed from site.”

If it’s not removed, the vehicle will reportedly be “sold or destroyed.”

‘ALIEN TANK’ FOUND ON THE MOON, UFO HUNTERS SAY

Gibbons shot back that he has no intention of moving the vehicle until he is refunded. He added that he plans to contact local police if the store attempts to move or destroy the vehicle.  

“I am not looking for huge amounts of compensation, I just want to be back to where I was last year when this debacle started,” he said, according to SWNS. 

A Wickes spokesperson previously told local outlets they are aware of the vehicle and are working “to resolve the issue.” 

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“We are aware of the situation at the Basingstoke store and would like to apologise for any inconvenience that has been caused to shoppers visiting the store today,” the spokesperson said. “Our Customer Relations team is in contact with the customer to discuss their installation and help to resolve the issue.”

SEE IT: US launches airstrikes in Middle East, hitting more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria

Pinned

WATCH: US airstrike launch in Iraq

Video footage showed an U.S. airstrike launch in western Iraq Friday evening.

In the  footage, the airstrike’s missile is seen launching into the night sky and huge plumes of smoke rising from the area.

In a statement, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said that forces conducted airstrikes on more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups.

The 85 targets included command and control operations, intelligence centers, militia group’s rockets, missiles, unmanned vehicle storages and supply chain facilities, CENTCOM said.

All of Friday’s airstrikes were conducted by U.S. warplanes, not Navy vessels, according to a senior defense official.

CENTCOM said that the attack came at 4 p.m. EST on Feb. 2.

President Biden put out a statement shortly after the strikes were confirmed Friday, warning, “If you harm an American, we will respond.”

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US continues strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen

The United States military continued strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen on Friday while conducting retaliatory airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced Saturday.

At approximately 10:30 a.m. local time on Friday, the USS Carney engaged and shot down one unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the Gulf of Arden, CENTCOM said. No injuries or damage were reported.

Hours later at 4:40 p.m., U.S. forces conducted strikes against four Houthi UAVs that were prepared to launch, officials said.

“U.S. forces identified the UAVs in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the U.S. Navy ships in the region. U.S. forces subsequently struck and destroyed the UAVs in self-defense,” CENTCOM said in a statement.

Then at 9:20 p.m., the USS Laboon and F/A-18s from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group engaged and shot down seven UAVs over the Red Sea. There were no injuries reported. 

“These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels,” CENTCOM said. 

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Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed says strikes were ‘strong, proportional response’

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, praised the U.S. retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria as a “strong, proportional response.” 

President Biden ordered the strikes in response to a drone attack in northeast Jordan that killed three U.S. service members and wounded dozens more.

“This was a strong, proportional response. In fact, the 85 targets struck tonight mark a greater number than the prior administration. Iran’s proxy forces in Syria and Iraq have been dealt a significant blow, and Iranian-linked militias around the Middle East should understand that they, too, will be held accountable,” Reed said in a statement. 

“I salute the brave U.S. military members who carried out today’s strikes, and I support President Biden’s robust action. These strikes, in concert with wise diplomacy, send a clear signal that the United States will continue to take appropriate action to protect our personnel and our interests,” he continued. 

“I am confident the Biden Administration will continue to respond and safeguard the American people.”

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Iraqi militia official downplays US strikes, says group does not ‘wish to escalate’ tensions

An Iraqi militia official appeared to back off threats to launch more attacks on United States forces in the Middle East after the retaliatory airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

Hussein al-Mosawi, spokesperson for Harakat al-Nujaba, one of the main Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, in an interview with the Associated Press in Baghdad condemned the U.S. strikes, saying Washington “must understand that every action elicits a reaction.” But he then struck a more conciliatory tone, saying that “we do not wish to escalate or widen regional tensions.”

Mossawi said the targeted sites in Iraq were mainly “devoid of fighters and military personnel at the time of the attack.” Suggesting there was not too much damage could allow him to justify the lack of a strong response.

Just a day earlier, Harakat al-Nujaba leader Akram al-Kaabi said the militia group would continue military operations against U.S. forces until Israel ends the war in Gaza and America ends the “occupation of Iraq.” 

The seeming reversal comes after the U.S. began retaliatory strikes on more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups.

The strikes came in response to the deaths of three U.S. service members last Sunday on a U.S. base in Jordan.  

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, Fox News Digital’s Brie Stimson and Sarah Rumpf-Whitten and the Associated Press contributed to this update.

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US airstrikes in Iraq, Syria reportedly kill nearly 40

The US retaliatory airstrikes launched in Iraq and Syria have reportedly killed more than 30 people, according to Iraqi and Syrian officials.

Iraq said the airstrikes killed 16 people including civilians. In Syria, the strikes killed 23 people who had been guarding the targeted locations, said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organisation that reports on war in Syria.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that forces conducted airstrikes on more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups. The strikes were carried out by long-range B-1 bombers and were President Biden’s first response to the attack by Iran-backed militia groups that killed three American soldiers in Jordan last weekend.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after the strikes that Biden had directed additional action against the IRGC and those linked to it. “This is the start of our response,” Austin said.

“We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but the president and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces,” Austin said.

Reuters contributed to this update.

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Iraq condemns US airstrikes, says 16 people killed including civilians

Iraq’s government said the U.S. retaliatory airstrikes on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated forces killed 16 people, including civilians. 

In a statement on Saturday, the Iraqi government condemned the strikes and accused the U.S. of falsely stating that they were coordinated with Iraqi authorities.

“The American side intentionally engaged in deception and distortion of facts, stating coordination with Iraqi authorities — an unfounded claim crafted to mislead international public opinion and evade legal responsibility for this condemned crime according to international law and principles,” Iraqi government spokesman Basim Alawadi said.

“This aggressive airstrike will push the security situation in Iraq and the region to the brink of the abyss, jeopardizing the efforts of establishing stability,’ Alawadi continued.

“We assert that the presence of the international coalition, which deviated from its assigned tasks and mandate, has become a reason for endangering security and stability in Iraq. It also serves as a justification for entangling Iraq in regional and international conflicts.” 

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Iran condemns US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria

Iran’s foreign ministry condemned overnight the U.S. retaliatory airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as a “violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the two countries. 

In a statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said the attacks were also “a clear violation of the United Nations Charter.” 

“In addition to an all-out support of the US for four months of relentless and barbaric attacks by the Zionist regime against the residents of Gaza and the West Bank, and military attacks on Yemen and violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, last night’s attacks on Syria and Iraq were another adventurous action and another strategic error by the US government which will have no result but to intensify tensions and instability in the region,” Kanaani said.

“The attacks merely support the goals of the Zionist regime. Such attacks increasingly involve the US government in the region and overshadow the crimes of the Zionist regime in Gaza,” he concluded. 

The U.S. airstrikes came in response to the deaths of three U.S. service members last Sunday on a U.S. base in Jordan.

The American soldiers were killed in a drone strike launched by militant groups supported by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), according to U.S. officials. 

Reuters contributed to this update.

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Syrian government says US ‘blatant air aggression’ killed civilians and soldiers

The Syrian Defense Ministry on Saturday condemned the U.S. retaliatory airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, referring to them as “blatant air aggression.

In a statement, the Syrian army said a number of civilians and soldiers were killed in the strikes and others were wounded. There was also significant damage to public and private property, according to the Syrian government. 

“Occupying parts of Syrian lands by American forces cannot continue … the Syrian army affirms continuing its war against terrorism until it is eliminated and is determined to liberate the entire Syrian territories from terrorism and occupation,” the ministry said in a statement.

The U.S. airstrikes hit more than 85 targets across seven locations, four in Syria and three in Iraq, according to the U.S. military.

The strikes targeted the Quds Force — the foreign espionage and paramilitary arm of the IRGC that heavily influences its allied militia across the Middle East, from Lebanon to Iraq and Yemen to Syria.

U.S. Lieutenant General Douglas Sims, the director of the Joint Staff, said the attacks appeared to be successful, triggering large secondary explosions as the bombs hit militant weaponry, though it was not clear if any militants were killed.

Reuters contributed to this update.

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Libertarian presidential candidate says US ‘on a path to war’ without ‘serious change of direction’

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Chase Oliver said the “war machine is starting” and that the U.S. is “on a path to war” if it does not make a “serious change of direction.”

“Like clockwork the war machine is starting,” Oliver wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “It will begin with airstrikes, and make no mistake, without a serious change of direction, we are on a path to war.”

“My generation is still recovering from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he continued. “I condemn any measures that will bring that pain and trauma onto another generation of Americans. No more war!”

This comes after the U.S. began strikes on militias in Iraq and Syria on Friday in retaliation for a drone attack that killed three U.S. service members.

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Fmr Rep. Amash says best way to protect US troops is to ‘stop placing them unlawfully in war zones’

Former Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a Libertarian, said the best way for the U.S. to protect its troops is to not put them in harm’s way by “unlawfully” placing them in war zones overseas.

“The best way to protect U.S. personnel is to stop placing them unlawfully in war zones,” Amash wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “American troops swear an oath to support the Constitution, but they’re constantly stationed overseas in hostile regions without adequate support from their own government. Bring them home!”

This comes after the U.S. began strikes on militias in Iraq and Syria on Friday in retaliation for a drone attack that killed three U.S. service members.

In another post, Amash said President Biden “clearly hasn’t learned a single lesson from the follies and missteps of all recent U.S. presidents.”

“Congress is the body empowered under our Constitution to authorize the commencement of acts of war,” Amash wrote. “The separation of powers isn’t some frivolous obstacle to be sidestepped for expediency. The point is to ensure that the American people are represented in matters of war and have the opportunity to contemplate the proposed mission and other strategic options, including alternatives to our permanent presence overseas that leaves so many of our troops in harm’s way.”

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RFK Jr. says military escalation wouldn’t have been necessary if troops weren’t placed near militias

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said military escalation “would not have been necessary” if the U.S. had not put troops in the “crosshairs” of Shi’a militias that he says only exist “as a legacy of our illegal war in Iraq.”

“Both Iraq and Syria have asked the U.S. to leave their territory,” Kennedy wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “The Iraqi Parliament voted unanimously for U.S. troops to leave in 2020, and were only allowed to stay because Trump threatened sanctions and to confiscate Iraq’s own oil and tax revenue held at the NY Fed. Biden has maintained this policy of occupation by economic blackmail.”

“In the same way that the U.S. would not tolerate Russian forces in Cuba and Russia would not tolerate NATO forces in Ukraine, Iran does not tolerate U.S. forces on its border,” he continued.

This comes after the U.S. began strikes on militias
in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for a drone attack that killed three U.S. service members.

Kennedy said the U.S. must “get unwelcome ground troops out of the Mideast, and maintain only long-standing bases welcomed by their national hosts,” adding that the U.S. “must focus instead on bolstering our Sunni allies in the region, committing to enforcement of shipping lanes (an extension of Fortress America), and fostering diplomatic summits where grievances can be aired, trust can be built, and piecemeal solutions can be negotiated by those nations who have a right and reason to be on the ground out there.”

“We are risking our young people’s lives and spending money we do not have,” Kennedy said. “These tiny outposts have no ability to stop Iran attacking our allies or getting the bomb. All they do is open the U.S. up to mandatory escalations each time an American hero gets killed.”

“But perhaps that is the point,” he concluded.

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Mike Pompeo said airstrikes will only succeed if ‘they deter further Iranian aggression’

Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state during the Trump administration, said that the U.S. retaliatory strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq will only succeed if they convince Iran to stop pushing its proxies to attack American personnel “anywhere in the world.”

“The single measure of their effectiveness will be whether they deter further Iranian aggression,” Pompeo told Fox News Digital.

“Not just aggression in Jordan or Iraq, but Iranian attacks on U.S. interests anywhere in the world, support for Hamas and Hezbollah against our ally Israel and Iranian attacks on military and commercial vessels in the Red Sea included,” he explained. 

Pompeo said that to succeed, due to the Biden administration’s delayed response, the White House will need to display a willingness to “impose real costs” on Iran.

“To achieve this, after such a delayed response following the killing of three Americans, will take a level of seriousness and willingness to impose real costs on Iran we have not seen to date,” he added. “This failure has caused escalation that will not stop until the Biden administration — along with our allies — restores deterrence.”

Read more on Mike Pompeo’s assessment here.

Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.

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Speaker Johnson calls for Biden to ‘wake up,’ stop ‘placating Iran’: ‘America must project strength’

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., blasted President Biden’s “long overdue” response following retaliatory strikes carried out in Syria and Iraq on Friday evening.

Johnson said that the “tragic deaths” of the three American soldiers, who were killed in an Iran-backed drone attack, “demanded” a “clear and forceful response” from the Biden administration.

“The tragic deaths of three U.S. troops in Jordan, perpetrated by Iran-backed militias, demanded a clear and forceful response,” Johnson said in a statement on Friday evening. “Unfortunately, the administration waited for a week and telegraphed to the world, including to Iran, the nature of our response.”

Johnson said that the Biden administration’s “excessive signaling” weakens America’s standing.

“The public handwringing and excessive signaling undercuts our ability to put a decisive end to the barrage of attacks endured over the past few months,” he said.

The Republican house speaker noted that since Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel on Oct. 7, U.S. troops have suffered more than 150 attacks in the Middle East.

Johnson argued that it is “long overdue” for the Biden administration to “admit” that its Middle East foreign policy has been “disastrous.”

“We have suffered more than 150 attacks on U.S. forces, lost American lives, and spent billions of dollars in the region since October,” Johnson said. “It is long overdue for the Biden administration to admit that its strategy of appeasing Iran has been disastrous for the international community and regional stability. We must stand firmly against those who would harm Americans, propagate terror, or threaten our allies.”

Johnson said that it is time for Biden to “wake up” and to admit that his policy of “placating Iran” has failed.

“Now is the time for President Biden to wake up to the reality that his policy of placating Iran has failed,” he said. “To promote peace, America must project strength.”

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Violence from Iran-backed militia against US has increased since Oct. 7 Hamas attack

In the wake of the Israel-Hamas war
, which began on Oct. 7, tension in the Middle East against U.S. forces has exponentially increased.

U.S bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria have been struck by more than 160 rockets and drone attacks since mid-October.

The Biden administration made it clear that the U.S. would take military action after a drone attack, by Iran-backed militants, killed three and injured more than 30 others at a U.S. base.

Three U.S. soldiers were killed at a U.S. military base in Jordan on Sunday.

President Biden attended the dignified return of three slain service members at Dover Air Force Base on Friday afternoon.

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US ‘not looking for a war with Iran,’ strike to ‘put an end’ to attacks on troops

The White House stressed Friday evening that the United States is “not looking for a war with Iran,” saying the retaliatory strikes carried out in Syria and Iraq were designed to “de-escalate” tensions and “put an end” to attacks on U.S. troops in the region.

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Friday that the strikes were meant to “send a signal” to those who “seek to bring Americans harm.” 

“We do not seek a conflict with Iran,” Kirby said. “These targets were chosen to degrade and disrupt capabilities of IRGC and groups they sponsor and support.”

Kirby said that “the goal” of the strikes was “to get these attacks” on U.S. service members in the region “to stop.”

“The signal is the attacks have to stop,” he continued. “These facilities were being used by IRGC and their proxy groups to conduct attacks on U.S. personnel in the region.”

“These responses began tonight—they are not going to end tonight,” Kirby said. “There will be additional responses, additional action we will take, all designed to put an end to these attacks.”

Read more about the White House’s statement on the strikes.


Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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Kirby: US airstrikes ‘carefully selected’ to avoid civilian casualties

White House National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said that the airstrikes against Syria were “carefully selected” to avoid civilian casualties.

“Targets were carefully selected to avoid civilian casualties and based on clear, irrefutable evidence,” Kirby told reporters on Friday evening. “They were connected to attacks on U.S. personnel in the region.”

Kirby said that all US aircraft are now “out of harms way” following the airstrikes on more than 85 Iran-backed targets in Iraq and Syria.

Kirby stressed that the U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran or in Middle East.

He noted that while the airstrikes began tonight, they will not end tonight.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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House Republicans say airstrikes are ‘too little and five days late’

House Republican said that the President Biden-authorized airstrikes against Syria are “too little and five days late.”

“The Iranians didn’t warn our troops before murdering them,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-IN, said in a statement. “These strikes are better than nothing but they’re too little and five days late.”

Florida Rep. Mike Waltz said that he is interested if the airstrikes will impose any “real costs” on Iran.

“I’ll be interested in what effect the Biden Administration
telegraphing these strikes for the past five days had on our ability to impose real costs on Iran,” Waltz said.

Rep. Carlose Gimenez, R-FL, said that Biden’s weakness “emboldened the enemies of freedom” to target the U.S. and it’s service members.

“Biden’s failure to isolate the regime in Iran, annihilate Hamas, and support our strategic partners in the Middle East has emboldened the enemies of freedom to target, attack, and murder US troops,” Giménez said in a statement.

“President Biden is weak and our enemies know it,” he continued. “His misguided foreign policy has invited these attacks against the United States. In fact, Biden lifted President Trump’s sanctions
on Iran which were among the most effective in history. Oil sanctions need to be immediately reimposed on the Iranian regime and Biden should’ve taken action much sooner to adequately deter further attacks from Iran & its terrorist proxies.”

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Defense Secretary Austin said U.S. ‘will not tolerate’ attacks on American forces

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the U.S. “will not tolerate” attacks on American forces.

The airstrikes came after the deaths of three U.S. service members last Sunday on a U.S. base in Jordan.

“Following the attack on U.S. and Coalition Forces in northeastern Jordan this past Sunday that killed three U.S. service members, at President Biden’s direction
, U.S. military forces today conducted strikes on seven facilities, which included more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria, that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated militias use to attack U.S. forces,” Austin said in a statement on Friday evening. “This is the start of our response.”

The secretary explained that the retaliatory airstrikes will hold the IRGC and affiliate militias “accountable” for their attacks on the U.S. service members.

“The President has directed additional actions to hold the IRGC and affiliated militias accountable for their attacks on U.S. and Coalition Forces,” Austin said. “These will unfold at times and places of our choosing.”

Austin concluded his statement reiterating Biden’s statement that the U.S. does not “seek conflict” in the Middle East, but that the Biden administration “will not tolerate” attacks on American forces.

“We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but the President and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces,” Austin said. “We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our forces, and our interests.”

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Biden says US response ‘will continue’ after retaliatory airstrikes

President Biden addressed airstrikes in the Middle East in a statement Friday, adding the U.S. response “will continue.”

“This past Sunday, three American soldiers were killed in Jordan by a drone launched by militant groups backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),” Biden said in a statement on Friday evening. “Earlier today, I attended the dignified return of these brave Americans at Dover Airforce Base, and I have spoken with each of their families.”

“This afternoon, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces,” Biden said.

Biden said that while the U.S. does not “seek conflict” in the Middle East, that they will respond if they “harm an American.”

“Our response began today.  It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” he said.

“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world,” Biden said. “But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”

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CENTCOM releases statement on US retaliatory airstrikes

Central Command released a statement Friday following 85 U.S. retaliatory airstrikes Iranian targets in Iraq and Syria.

“At 4:00 p.m. (EST) Feb. 02, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups. U.S. military forces struck more than 85 targets, with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from United States. The airstrikes employed more than 125 precision munitions. The facilities that were struck included command and control operations, centers, intelligence centers, rockets, and missiles, and unmanned aired vehicle storages, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities of militia groups and their IRGC sponsors who facilitated attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces.”

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Sen. Lindsey Graham unimpressed with US airstrikes

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he is unimpressed with the retaliatory airstrikes the U.S. has launched in the last hour, Fox News’ Chad Pergram reported.

“The lapse of time has lessened the impact of deterrence,” Graham told Fox News on Friday. “And by not hitting oil infrastructure in Iran or Revolutionary Guard personnel, you will have failed to make the point.”

The strikes come nearly a week after three U.S. service members were killed in a drone strike on a base in Jordan by Iranian-backed militia groups.

A number of lawmakers have also expressed concern about the “war powers” authority to executive strikes – be it today’s action or the regular exchanges the U.S. has been engaged in for weeks with the Houthis.

Congress has the power under Article I, Section 6 to “Declare war.” Bipartisan lawmakers have indicated that the President must come to Congress to seek a broader authorization.

However, the President can rely on his power in the Constitution as “Commander in Chief.” There is also the “War Powers Resolution of 1973.” That gives the President broad power to act – only reporting to Congress later about hostilities overseas.

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US begins Middle East airstrikes in response to deaths of three soldiers

WORLDUS begins Middle East airstrikes in response to deaths of three soldiers
The U.S. has begun airstrikes on Syrian targets from multiple platforms, a U.S Defense official has told Fox News.

The U.S. has begun airstrikes on Middle East targets from multiple platforms, a U.S Defense official has told Fox News. 

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Kate Gosselin spotted walking dog in North Carolina nearly two decades after rise to fame

Kate Gosselin may be most known for her time starring on “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” but it seems like the mother of eight has opted to slow things down.

In January, Gosselin was spotted walking her dog near her North Carolina home. Kate was bundled up in gray sweatpants, a black puffer jacket and a beanie with gloves as she made her way around Lake Norman.

Gosselin’s fluffy, white pup was leashed close to her as she walked around her waterfront property.

The New York Post reported Kate made the move from Pennsylvania to North Carolina in 2022. A source told the outlet at the time the reality television star is “very happy and at peace in her new downsized lifestyle.”

KATE GOSSELIN SAYS SON COLLIN IS ‘VERY TROUBLED YOUNG MAN’ AFTER ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

Although Kate made the move just two years ago, the outlet reported she purchased a four-bedroom, five-bathroom home in 2018 for $750,000.  

Here’s a look at Kate’s life over the years.

Divorce from Jon

In 2009, Kate and Jon Gosselin ended their marriage.

At the time, Jon and Kate and their eight children — twins Mady and Cara and sextuplets Hannah, Leah, Alexis, Joel, Aaden and Collin — were all starring on the TLC Series “Jon & Kate Plus 8.”

The couple announced their divorce in a broadcast episode of the show.

“Over the course of this weekend, Jon’s activities have left me no choice but to file legal procedures in order to protect myself and our children,” Kate said in a statement, according to People magazine.

“While there are reasons why it was appropriate and necessary for me to initiate this proceeding, I do not wish to discuss those reasons at this time in the hope that all issues will be resolved amicably between Jon and myself. As always, my first priority remains our children.”

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The outlet reported Jon issued a statement of his own.

“This afternoon, Kate filed for divorce. Our kids are still my No. 1 priority. I love them and want to make sure they stay happy, healthy and safe. My job is being the best, most supportive and loving father that I can be to my kids, and not being married to Kate doesn’t change that,” he said.

“This will be a difficult transition for all of us,” Jon continued, “but Kate and I will work out a schedule that enables our kids to have plenty of quality time with both of us at home in Pennsylvania. In terms of my marriage, it’s no secret that the past six months or so have been very difficult for Kate and me. We are no different than other couples and parents who are facing a crossroads in their marriage. I am, of course, deeply saddened that we are divorcing.”

Kate filed for divorce two months after allegations of Jon cheating dominated headlines.

At the time, Jon was photographed with Deanna Hummel. They both adamantly denied the cheating allegations.

Estranged relationship with Collin

In 2022, Collin, one of the sextuplets from “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” told Entertainment Tonight his relationship with his mom was severed after he was sent to the Fairmount Behavioral Health Institute.

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Jon previously said Kate sent Collin to the Philadelphia institution, and he removed Collin in 2018. The 19-year-old has lived with Jon since and announced that, after his high school graduation in 2023, he planned to join the Marines.

KATE GOSSELIN’S DAUGHTER MADY ACCUSES BROTHER COLLIN OF RECENT VIOLENT THREATS AGAINST FAMILY

“After being there, I didn’t have a relationship with her,” Collin told the outlet. “Even before [being] there, I don’t think we had much of a relationship, and I think that just kept tearing it even more down.”

Collin told the outlet the pressure of his family being on a reality television show led to the estrangement with Kate.

“I want to believe it was because of TV and what being in the public eye does to a family. I think it tore us apart,” he said. “It gave us less time to actually be together as a family [and] more time to be in the public eye.”

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Reflecting on his upbringing, Collin shared that his childhood “was worse than what you would say the average teenage kid goes through with their parent.

“I came to the conclusion that everybody has their own agenda, you know? My mom had her own agenda, and I don’t know exactly what that was. But I was put in a tough spot, and my agenda was to make it out on top of that tough spot.”

Collin revealed to the outlet he would like to have a relationship with Kate, who has since responded to her son’s allegations, in the future.

“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have a relationship,” he said. “I think every son wants to have a relationship with their mom. But I’m doing very well.”

Relocating to North Carolina

Prior to moving to North Carolina in 2022, Kate lived in Pennsylvania.

According to the New York Post, Kate’s 7,300-square-foot home sits on nearly 24 acres. The outlet also reported her 3,560-square-foot home in Pennsylvania had less than 1 acre. 

The outlet reported in 2021 the Gosselin house, featured in “Kate Plus Eight,” sold for $1.085 million.

It’s rare to see Kate out and about in North Carolina. 

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Prior to being seen in January, Gosselin was spotted walking her dog and pumping gas in her new home state in 2022. The Sun reported she obtained her North Carolina Board of Nursing license in June 2021.

Prior to reality TV fame, she had been a labor and delivery nurse in Pennsylvania.

FOX’s ‘Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test’

Kate appeared on the first episode of the first season of FOX’s “Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test” in January 2023. On the show, she went through boot camp-style physical training and challenges, but she withdrew early in the competition due to a medical issue.

Gosselin was falling backward into water from a helicopter with her co-stars.

“I landed right on my neck, and I screamed when I landed because it was absolute ridiculous pain,” she told People last year. “Then, at some point, I started feeling nauseous, and I was dry heaving over the edge into the water.

“Everyone by then on the cast was like, ‘I think you should probably say something.’ I was like, ‘No,’ because I knew if I said something I was going to … well, I didn’t know I was going to be out. So, I braved through it and it just kept getting worse.”

The injury ultimately led her to leave the show.

“It took me so long to get over that,” she told the outlet. “I still don’t think I am. Because I really wanted to challenge myself.”

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Gosselin’s appearance on “Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test” was her first reality television appearance since “Kate Plus Date” in 2019. The six-episode show aired for one season. “Kate Plus Date” showcased Kate’s dating journey a decade after her divorce from Jon.

Finance expert reveals critical strategy for retiring comfortably

Living out your golden years should not be a struggle.

“The Ramsey Show” co-host Jade Warshaw revealed the key to “thriving, not just surviving” in your later years in an interview with “The Big Money Show” Monday.

“It’s so important to make sure that you’re planning for your own social security by investing on your own,” she stressed.

NEW IRS 401(K), IRA CONTRIBUTION LIMITS A WIN IF YOU NEED CATCHING UP

The expert hit on the need for diversification for investing in the markets and the utilization of other retirement benefits to maximize financial security in retirement.

“We suggest investing 15% of your gross monthly income into things like 401(K)s, Roth IRAs, because Social Security is only going to pay 40 percent of what you’re used to earning, and that’s if it’s still around,” she said.

Social Security benefits for Americans could be cut by 20% as soon as 2034 if no changes are made to the system, according to the Treasury’s annual trustees report.

A growing number of Americans are struggling to save for their future, with Forbes reporting the median U.S. household is $470,000 short of what they need to retire comfortably.

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Warshaw suggested those who have reached 62 years of age should begin taking Social Security even if they don’t need it and invest it until they do.

“That will get you a better rate of return, certainly higher than 2%,” she explained. 

FOX Business’ Kristen Altus contributed to this report.

Ex-Obama adviser cites toxic nickname as proof of young voters’ disdain for Biden

Former Obama official Van Jones warned on Thursday that Biden has his “work cut out for him” trying to regain the trust of young, Arab and Muslim voters who object to his support of Israel amid the war in Gaza.

President Biden is facing an electoral revolt among Arab and Muslim voters in Michigan who are outraged by his ongoing support for Israel, with some even accusing him of enabling genocide. Arab Americans living in Michigan have traditionally been reliable Democrats, with Biden carrying over 75% of the vote in the Arab-majority city of Dearborn in 2020. That voting block is now under threat, however, with some members of the community launching an “abandon Biden” campaign in protest of his handling of Israel’s retaliatory war in Gaza. 

Thursday night’s episode of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront focused heavily on Biden’s attempts to regain the trust of Arab American voters by visiting Michigan in person. It featured students who would be voting for the first time as well as a former field organizer for the Biden campaign who said he will not vote for the president again, viewing him as complicit in Palestinian deaths. 

AOC REACTS TO BIDEN BEING LABELED ‘GENOCIDE JOE’ BY FAR LEFT: ‘YOUNG PEOPLE ARE APPALLED’

When asked if he was concerned if such a move would help re-elect former President Donald Trump, the former Biden campaign staffer said, “It probably will. “We have seen four years of Trump and we have seen four years of Biden and people don’t really see a difference between the presidents.”

Burnett turned to Jones and asked about the former campaign staffer that had turned on Biden over his foreign policy in Gaza. Burnett recalled how he had told their CNN reporter in Michigan “that he will not vote for Biden again even knowing that it may help Trump. He says Biden is ‘not somebody I can trust.’ How big of a problem is this for Biden right now, Van?”

YOUNG PEOPLE TURN ON ‘GENOCIDE JOE’ OVER HIS CEASE-FIRE STANCE: BIDEN ‘ABSOLUTELY SUCKS’

“It’s a big problem for him right now,” Jones replied. “There are four syllables that are aimed at him. ‘Genocide Joe.’ That is becoming something you’re hearing from the younger people, the younger voters in the Arab American community.”

He then added that while Biden can turn it around, it will take serious effort to do so.

“I think that he can turn it around, but you’ve got to be honest right now. You’ve got disappointment in the base with how he’s handling the war in Gaza,” Jones said. “Now, the reality is Joe Biden has deep ties and long friendships in the Muslim community, Arab community. He can get back there but he’s got his work cut out for him right now.”

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Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report

Christian McCaffrey’s mom says she’s boycotting Taylor Swift songs

Taylor Swift is Public Enemy No. 1 in the Bay Area.

In case you live under a rock, Swift is dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, and on February 11, the Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will face each other in the Super Bowl for the second time in four years.

Ironically, Swift even got one of her viral gameday outfits from Kristin Juszczyk, the wife of 49ers fullback Kyle, But now, the Niners and Swift are full-on rivals.

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Lisa McCaffrey, the mother of Niners running back Christian, is a self-proclaimed “Swiftie,” but she’s putting her fandom on pause for a bit.

In fact, she says the entire family is “boycotting” the pop star.

“I refuse to listen to Taylor Swift songs for the next couple days,” Lisa said on Olivia Culpo’s podcast, “Your Mom.” 

“I love her, I love the relationship, but we are boycotting any T. Swift songs.”

McCaffrey admits it will not be an easy task, “because I have her on my running playlist and everything.”

OLIVIA CULPO SURPRISES CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY’S MOM WITH SUPER BOWL SUITE AFTER CONCERNS OVER PRICE

“But if she pops up on the radio station . . . nope. She’s dead to us this week,” says Momma McCaffrey.

Ahead of the Chiefs’ matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this season in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl, Philly radio station Q102 refused to play any Swift songs until after that game was over.

“This weekend we gotta focus, so we’ve been forced to punt Taylor Swift from the playlist,” show host Buster said.

“There’s only one Swift-and-Kelce duo we care about here in the ‘City of Brotherly Love,'” said host Bex, referring to Travis’ brother, Eagles center Jason Kelce, and running back D’Andre Swift. The Eagles won that game, 21-17.

The boycott could turn awkward if the two run into each other though. Culpo bought Lisa a suite for the Super Bowl as a birthday gift, and Swift is expected to be in one for the game, fresh off a concert in Tokyo the night prior.

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The Super Bowl will kick off next Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET in Las Vegas.

Kansas City will be aiming for their third title in the last five seasons, while San Francisco has not won the Lombardi Trophy since the 1994 season.

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Fentanyl ‘killing the mentally ill for a dollar a pill’ in state with loose drug laws

This story is part of a series examining the drug and homeless crises plaguing Oregon. Read part one.

PORTLAND, Ore. – People sleeping — or passed out — in downtown Portland hardly get a second glance. Most pedestrians keep their eyes trained straight ahead as they walk past clouds of fentanyl smoke or slumped figures with lolling heads. Maybe they cross the street or look sidelong at someone who starts shouting or throwing things.

But Nikki is different.

CRISIS IN THE NORTHWEST: ARE VOTERS ‘BEYOND A TURNING POINT’ AFTER DECADES OF PROGRESSIVE POLITICS?

“Are you okay? Are you sleeping?” she called out, approaching a cocooned form next to the light rail tracks. Somewhere inside the sleeping bag, a man grunted in response.

Nikki, who has been homeless for two and a half years, repeats this process any time she sees someone lying on the ground, making sure they’re responsive.

Fentanyl “literally makes people so careless that they will stand over someone who is dead or dying and continue to get high,” she said. It happened to one of her friends, a man in his mid-20s who appeared to be sleeping, but had died.

“They were gonna have a lot of life left,” she added.

State of emergency

Oregon has turned into a battlefield in the war over drug policy since the state became the first to decriminalize drug possession. Nearly 60% of voters approved Measure 110 but, three years later, numerous polls suggest they regret that move. And no other states have followed Oregon’s lead, despite assurances from researchers and decriminalization advocates that the law is not responsible for increased addiction, overdoses and crime.

State lawmakers are poised to re-criminalize drug possession in a special legislative session that begins Monday, though Democrats and Republicans have drafted competing bills. And Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek declared a 90-day state of emergency this week in downtown Portland, where the fentanyl crisis has been most pronounced.

“Our country and our state have never seen a drug this deadly and addictive, and all are grappling with how to respond,” Kotek, a Democrat, said in a release. “We are all in this together.”

WATCH: FENTANYL ‘KILLING THE MENTALLY ILL FOR A DOLLAR A PILL’

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Fentanyl strikes fear among even longtime drug users.

“This is creating zombies,” Lori, a homeless woman in Portland, told Fox News last summer. “This sh– should be illegal because they’re killing the mentally ill for a dollar a pill, because I guarantee ya, all these people have some kind of mental illness.”

Michael Dusek, who uses marijuana and meth, agreed.

“They’re incoherent most of the time, they’re babbling about something to themselves quite loudly, like they can’t hear themselves,” said Dusek, who has been homeless off and on since 1992. “They’re like living dead.”

‘LET THIS SERVE AS A WARNING’: ANARCHISTS CLAIM RESPONSIBILITY FOR BURNING CAR OUTSIDE CITY LEADER’S HOME

Overdose deaths in the state surged from 800 in 2020 to 1,394 in 2022, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overwhelming majority of fatal overdoses are now attributed to fentanyl, according to Oregon health data.

“It seems like we got all of Oregon coming, just to pick up fentanyl now,” Dusek said of Portland.

Decriminalization advocates point out that fatal overdoses surged across the country beginning in early 2020, not just in Oregon. Many analysts attribute the spike to isolation and despair during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Regardless, Nikki said she has revived 32 people in the past year, collecting as many doses of naloxone as she can from clinics, shelters and even places where citizens have “just nailed a box to a tree or to a wall and keep it stocked with Narcan.”

It seems like we got all of Oregon coming, just to pick up fentanyl now.

— Michael Dusek, homeless in Portland

Most fentanyl users Fox News spoke to were difficult — if not impossible — to understand. One woman chattered breathlessly while absently sorting syringes inside her tent, one hand protected by a blue latex glove. A 27-year-old man muttered that he was originally from Idaho, then lived on the Yakama Indian Reservation before a family member dropped him off in Portland so he could “live homeless and do drugs.”

“Most of them are mentally ill, and the families don’t wanna take care of them,” Lori said. “Or they’re sick and old and their families don’t take care of ’em.”

The rise of fentanyl

Methamphetamine was historically Oregon’s drug of choice. But around 2018, law enforcement started to see a trickle of fentanyl, and then a surge, outpacing cocaine, heroin and meth. The small blue pills looked like Oxycodone and were filling the void left after states cracked down on opioid prescriptions.

And they were cheap to produce.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot of fentanyl to meet the supply side for particular users to give them the effects that they want,” said Chris Gibson, executive director of the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

The number of pills law enforcement seized soared from about 100,000 in 2019, to more than 3 million in 2022, according to HIDTA’s annual report. And while preliminary data from 2023 shows the increase in pill seizures slowing, powder seizures more than tripled last year. Police who participate in the HIDTA reported finding more than 180 kg (nearly 400 lbs) of fentanyl powder, Gibson said.

“When you start thinking about the fact that it’s estimated that two milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dose to a new user, we start seeing the dangers of that,” Gibson said.

The ingredients to make fentanyl are typically shipped from China to Mexico, Gibson said, then the finished product makes its way up the I-5 corridor from border to border, fanning out along the way.

“Oregon can’t control the southern border, but we have Honduran cartel members all in our urban areas pushing deadly fentanyl,” Clackamas County Commissioner Ben West said. “We can’t control that. But that costs Oregonians lives and it causes a lot of criminality and despair.”

But Oregon can control its drug policies, West said, and “elections have consequences.”

The end of the decriminalization experiment?

Measure 110 made possession of user amounts of all drugs, including fentanyl, a Class E violation, punishable by a $100 fine that could be waived if the suspect called a hotline and completed a treatment assessment. But it quickly became apparent that drug users were not calling the hotline or paying the fine.

The other major part of the law — and one that many decriminalization critics want to keep — was redirecting a large chunk of the state’s marijuana tax revenue to pay for addiction services, theoretically improving access to treatment. But that rollout was beleaguered by bureaucratic flubs and a tight implementation timeline. 

Oregon approved $264 million in grants for more than 200 service providers as of December, according to the most recent audit from the Secretary of State’s office, which found issues with oversight and noted it has been difficult to demonstrate the new law’s effectiveness. 

Many Oregon voters feel duped.

“I voted for it because I thought it would reclassify drug crimes and allow people to get into treatment and then it would be treatment focused,” Kristin Olson, an attorney and host of the Rational in Portland podcast, previously told Fox News.

But the majority of users who take advantage of Measure 110 funds are accessing harm reduction supplies like clean needles, pipes and Naloxone. Residential treatment and detox centers were not prioritized in grant spending, raising alarm among some providers, according to a recent audit of the measure.

“In Oregon, it’s really easy to get high and really, really hard to get treatment,” West said. “You would think we would want to reverse that culturally.”

Providers that “required sobriety for housing or supportive employment” were more likely to have their grant applications denied for not being “in line” with the spirit of the law, the audit also found.

“There’s a lot of money that is being put into out of sight, out of mind programs,” said Matt Maceira, who suffered from addiction and frequent homelessness for 27 years. “The money’s wasted is what I’m saying.”

In Oregon, it’s really easy to get high and really, really hard to get treatment.

— Ben West, Clackamas County Commissioner

After getting sober, Maceira founded Be Bold Street Ministries, a Christ-centered nonprofit. Volunteers can often be found praying with those living in one of Oregon’s biggest encampments, just across the Wilamette River from the state capitol. They tell them about shelter and detox options and, on a cold Friday in January, helped a 28-year-old meth user call and register for treatment.

Maceira opposed Measure 110 from the start.

“The decriminalization of deadly, mind-altering substances — you know what that will never produce? Decreased crime, increased public safety and lives saved,” he said. “But that’s what was promised.”

He said drug use is rampant at the low-barrier shelters prioritized by Measure 110.

“People are dying in those places. I’ve done celebrations of life services for people that have overdosed at low-barrier shelters,” he said, adding that he would rather see providers require sobriety.

PORTLAND LEADERS FRUSTRATED, SAY CITY ALLOWED TO SET HARSHER RULES FOR CIGARETTES THAN FENTANYL: ‘IT’S INSANE’

“Letting people use methamphetamine, fentanyl and heroin or any other deadly substance is not compassionate,” he said. “Having a rule that says, ‘Hey, government money is paying for this, you can’t use drugs here,’ is a really loving message. Like, I actually care about you. I don’t want to see you be another statistic.”

Measure 110 a top priority in special legislative session

Democrats, who control both chambers of the state legislature, have signaled they want to make drug possession a Class C misdemeanor, the lowest crime classification available in the state. Their proposal offers numerous off-ramps for those caught with drugs to avoid charges.

Republicans, meanwhile, released a bill that would make possession of drugs like fentanyl, heroin and meth a Class A misdemeanor and would require treatment to avoid jail. If convicted, drug users could face up to a year behind bars, a $6,250 fine, or both. They argue the stiffer penalties are necessary to incentivize people to get clean.

Lawmakers will meet for a short session beginning Feb. 5. It’s not clear whether the sides can compromise.

“We’re not looking to put a Band-Aid on something,” GOP Rep. Lucetta Elmer said. “We’re looking to actually see effective change.”

Elmer is particularly passionate about addressing youth addiction.

“A tragedy that came out of Measure 110 is that there was no differentiation between youth and adults,” she said. “If a youth is caught with alcohol, they actually would get a minor in possession charge. But if that same youth is caught with fentanyl, under Measure 110, that’s decriminalized.”

Danielle Bethell, president of the Association of Oregon Counties, said she doesn’t know any county commissioners who favor locking up drug addicts.

“That’s just not the narrative,” Bethell said. “The reality, though, is that everybody who has an addiction needs help. And most of them, if not all, need a nudge. And that nudge doesn’t exist anymore.”

‘THIS IS THE WILD WEST’: LONG POLICE WAIT TIMES IN MAJOR CITIES LEAVE VICTIMS FEELING HELPLESS

Yamhill County Sheriff Sam Elliott said his rural community had a “very successful drug court program” that helped people recover from addiction and avoid a felony conviction. Now, that’s essentially nonexistent.

“When you give them a violation citation that they don’t have to appear on … they don’t come back in and have that interaction with those resources,” he said.

Decriminalization advocates don’t want change, though, arguing the law is “doing its part to address drug use and addiction with a health approach,” according to the George Soros-backed Drug Policy Alliance, which poured millions into the campaign for Measure 110.

“Our opponents are using it as a scapegoat for other, longstanding issues such as homelessness, crime, and public disorder,” the group’s website reads. The alliance did not respond to multiple interview requests.

Researchers at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine wrote in a September paper that they found no evidence of an association between decriminalization and fatal overdose rates in Oregon.

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Gibson with the HIDTA and Elliott both said it’s difficult to attribute fentanyl’s rise in Oregon to Measure 110. The law took effect during the coronavirus pandemic, when overdose rates rose nationwide. And fentanyl has been ravaging east coast communities like Philadelphia’s notorious Kensington neighborhood for nearly a decade.

But Oregonians and their representatives seem unwilling to continue the experiment.

“I really think there is an opportunity to completely course correct,” Maceira said, by “not allowing people to use those deadly substances or be okay with it.”

Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video.

Amex revamps Delta SkyMiles card — here’s a breakdown of the new benefits and fees

Cardholders of American Express and Delta’s six co-branded credit cards will receive new benefits and increased annual fees in changes the companies revealed Thursday.

Delta SkyMiles American Express credit cardholders can already make use of the new benefits, the companies said. 

Under the updates, people who use their co-branded cards for some Resy restaurants, certain rideshares and prepaid Delta Stays accommodations can earn annual statement credits of varying amounts depending on their card type, according to American Express. The total value of the credits range from up to $300 for Gold to $610 for Reserve Business.

Platinum, Platinum Business, Reserve and Reserve Business card holders will get a leg up on meeting the qualifications for Silver Medallion status in Delta’s loyalty program with $2,500 medallion qualification dollars each year.

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Delta said last month customer engagement with its SkyMiles program “reached an all-time high, with record membership growth, co-brand spend and revenue from travel-adjacent services.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 39.98 +0.22 +0.55%
AXP AMERICAN EXPRESS CO. 206.40 +3.21 +1.58%

In another travel-related perk, the companies have added Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America as destinations that cardholders can get companion certificates for, they said.

DELTA ADJUSTS LOYALTY PROGRAM CHANGES AFTER CUSTOMER BACKLASH

Platinum Business and Reserve Business customers will see “new everyday business spending categories” as well as an “expanded buying power” feature that gives them “flexibility to spend above their credit limit” to a point, according to American Express.

They add to the benefits already offered with the Delta Skymiles American Express credit cards.

American Express

Meanwhile, existing cardholders will see the higher annual fees that accompanied the new perks come into force “at their next renewal dates on or after May 1, 2024,” American Express said.

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The companies upped the annual fees for Reserve, Reserve Business, Platinum and Platinum Business credit cards by $100, making them $650 for the Reserve ones and $350 for the Platinum ones. The Gold and Gold Business cards fees went up by $51 to $150.

Delta Air Lines

American Express and Delta said they sought to “improve the travel experience and deliver everyday value to consumers and business owners” with the co-branded credit card changes.

The two companies have worked together on credit cards since 1996.