With egg prices soaring, more try to smuggle them from Mexico.
Rep. “George Santos” denies performing drag, stealing money for disabled veteran’s dog.
US, Germany in standoff over tanks for Ukraine
With egg prices soaring, more try to smuggle them from Mexico
The recent outbreak of avian flu has necessitated the culling of over 43 million egg-laying hens in the US. This has created a shortfall in egg production, just as demand spiked over the holidays. Most shoppers will have noticed a steep climb in egg prices at the grocery store. A carton of a dozen eggs now averages $4.25 in the US, up from $1.79 a year ago. In some urban markets, a dozen eggs can be more than $10. Some businesses, such as bakeries, have had to raise prices on baked good to offset the cost. Others are actually losing money on products they sell, keeping prices low to maintain their customers and hoping that prices will come down soon.
Customs officials have also seen more Americans attempting to smuggle in cheaper eggs from Mexico. Bringing certain agricultural products, including eggs and live poultry, over the border is strictly prohibited as these imports can spread disease and pests. The fine for being caught smuggling these items is $10,000. If you declare the items, border agents will seize and destroy them, but spare you the fine.
Despite the risks, Americans continue taking the chance. In Ciudad Juarez, a busy border crossing near El Paso, TX, a 30-count carton eggs is about $3.40, while a 12-count carton at a local Walmart in El Paso is $5.44!
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Rep. “George Santos” denies performing drag, stealing money for disabled veteran’s dog
We already knew of at least three aliases used by new Rep. George Santos: Anthony Zabrovsky, George Devolder, and Anthony Devolder. This week, we learned of a fourth – Kitara Ravache. This, according to people who knew Santos in Brazil, was Santos’ stage name when he performed in a drag competition for Miss Gay Rio de Janeiro.
Although he was married to a woman until a few weeks before he declared his candidacy the first time he ran in 2020, Santos now says he is openly gay. Nevertheless, he has joined in with fellow Republicans taking a hard line against transgender identity and supported Florida’s “Don’t say gay” law which bans discussion of LGBT issues in classrooms.
Despite numerous independent sources confirming Santos’ drag-performing past, and photographic evidence, Santos has denied ever performing drag. According to the Brazilian sources, Santos wasn’t much of a performer anyway. He participated in the Miss Gay Rio competition twice and didn’t make it past the qualifying round either time.
“Anthony Devolder” stole $3000 donated to save a disabled veteran’s dog
George Santos, under the name “Anthony Devolder”, once ran a charity called Friends of Pets United. In 2016, disabled homeless veteran Richard Osthoff of New Jersey reached out to “Devolder” to help raise money for a life-saving operation for Sapphire, Osthoff’s pit mix.
The campaign met its $3000 goal and Osthoff thought Sapphire was as good as saved. But that’s when Santos started giving him the run-around. First, Santos told Osthoff to take Sapphire to a vet in Queens, NY, that Santos claimed to have “credit” with. That vet told Osthoff that Sapphire’s growth was inoperable. This contradicted what Osthoff’s New Jersey vet had told him.
When Osthoff asked Santos to pay the money to his own vet so Sapphire could get her operation, Santos refused. Santos said that since Osthoff “didn’t do things my way,” Santos put the GoFundMe money from Sapphire’s fundraiser into the charity to use “for other dogs.”
Michael Boll, a fellow vet and former police sergeant, attempted to intervene and contacted Santos on Osthoff’s behalf. Boll found Santos similarly uncooperative. Santos soon broke off contact altogether and Osthoff never saw a penny of the money donated by his family and friends. Sapphire sadly died in 2017.
Santos, predictably, denies any involvement and even denies knowing Boll or Osthoff. This is despite ample screenshots of Osthoff’s text exchanges and other communications with “Anthony Devolder”, which you can see here.
When told of Santos’ denial, Osthoff said Santos should “go to hell”. Osthoff said that if he spoke to Santos now, he would ask: “Do you have a heart? Do you have a soul?”. He then added, “He’d probably lie about that.”
US, Germany hesitant to send tanks to Ukraine
The war in Ukraine has been a hot topic at this year’s Davos conference of world leaders. The representatives of multiple countries in attendance have increased their pledges of military and other supplies in Ukraine. Fighting has recently intensified in Eastern Ukraine, raising fears that Russia may be redoubling its war efforts. Reports suggest that Russia is planning to call up a new wave of 500,000 conscripts, having already called up 300,000. The Kremlin is also moving more advanced weapons systems and other military assets to its border with Ukraine.
The US has so far given more than any other country to help the Ukrainians fend off the Russian advance. US military personnel are now training Ukrainian soldiers to used advanced weapons systems in Germany and Oklahoma.
Although Germany has sent humanitarian aid and safety equipment, Europe’s only superpower has been more hesitant to send heavy military equipment to the Ukrainians. Not only this, Germany has not granted export licenses to other countries who would like to send Ukraine German-made equipment.
Earlier this week, Germany’s defense minister resigned, apparently due to rampant criticism of the standoffish approach. But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been equally reluctant to make any firm commitments. Now, the US and Ukraine’s other allies are piling pressure on Schulz to authorize the transfer of German-made Leopard tanks to the Ukrainians. Leopard tanks are considered state-of-the-art, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking for them since the war began.
However, Scholz appears reluctant to authorize the transfer of the tanks, but has hinted he might be willing if the US sent Ukraine its own tanks, the Abrams. So far, the Biden administration hasn’t agreed to send any Abrams tanks, claiming they would be too difficult for the Ukrainians to maintain.
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