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Devil Child

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Gender: Non-binary
Member since: Mon Jun 16, 2008, 07:51 PM
Number of posts: 2,349

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Axios: Panama warns of even bigger Haitian border surge to come

Why it matters: The worst may still be coming. Mouynes said there are as many as 60,000 migrants — mostly Haitian — poised to make their way north to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Panama is expecting more migrants to cross through the dangerous jungles of the Darién Gap this month than in all of 2019 — nearly 27,000, according to Panamanian government estimates provided to Axios.

Mouynes is calling on the U.S. to help enforce a plan coordinated with countries in the region, saying, ultimately, "Let's recognize that they all are heading toward the U.S."

The foreign minister wrapped up meetings Monday and Tuesday in Washington with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and members of Congress, among others.


Quick article providing some breakdown and analysis in brief on a potential new or continued surge of Haitian migrants seeking entry into the US.

US special operations vets carry out daring mission to save Afghan allies

With the Taliban growing more violent and adding checkpoints near Kabul's airport, an all-volunteer group of American veterans of the Afghan war launched a final daring mission on Wednesday night dubbed the "Pineapple Express" to shepherd hundreds of at-risk Afghan elite forces and their families to safety, members of the group told ABC News.

Moving after nightfall in near-pitch black darkness and extremely dangerous conditions, the group said it worked unofficially in tandem with the United States military and U.S. embassy to move people, sometimes one person at a time, or in pairs, but rarely more than a small bunch, inside the wire of the U.S. military-controlled side of Hamid Karzai International Airport.

The Pineapple Express' mission was underway Thursday when the attack occurred in Kabul. Two suicide bombers believed to have been ISIS fighters killed at least 13 U.S. service members -- 10 U.S. Marines, a Navy corpsman, an Army soldier and another service member -- and wounded 15 other service members, according to U.S. officials.


After succeeding with helping dozens of Afghan commandos and interpreters get into the protective ring of the airport created by the 6,000 American troops President Joe Biden dispatched to the airfield after Kabul fell to the Taliban, the group initiated an ambitious ground operation this week aided by U.S. troops inside. The objective was to move individuals and families through the cover of darkness on the "Pineapple Express." The week-long effort and Wednesday's operation were observed by ABC News under the agreement of secrecy while the heart-pounding movements unfolded.


Respect to those on the ground taking initiative to save lives.

Task Force Pineapple

Pandemic gun violence surge was not linked to rise in gun sales, study finds

Through July of last year, there was no clear association between the increase in firearm purchases and the increase in most interpersonal gun violence at the state level, according to a new study published in Injury Epidemiology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

The findings suggest that “we need to be looking at other factors, like job loss, economic change, the closure of schools and community organizations and nonprofits, and civil unrest,” in order to understand last year’s increase in gun violence, Julia Schleimer, the lead author of the new study, said.

There did appear to be some association between the increase in gun purchasing and an increase in domestic violence gun injuries in April and May, but that correlation might also be explained by other factors, including increased substance abuse or the decreased access to domestic violence support services during the early months of lockdown, Schleimer said.

Article available at The Guardian.

Study available here.

Bill Clinton Went to Jeffrey Epstein's Island With 2 'Young Girls', Virginia Giuffre Says

Source: Newsweek

In recently unsealed court documents involving dead child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, a woman named Virginia Giuffre, who publicly accused Epstein of sex trafficking, said that she once saw former Democratic President Bill Clinton on Epstein's island with "two young girls" from New York.

In the questioning by lawyer Jack Scarola, Guiffre was asked, "Do you have any recollection of Jeffrey Epstein's specifically telling you that 'Bill Clinton owes me favors?'"

"Yes, I do," Guiffre answered. "It was a laugh though. He would laugh it off. You know, I remember asking Jeffrey what's Bill Clinton doing here [on Epstein's island] kind of thing, and he laughed it off and said well he owes me favors."

"He never told me what favors they were," Guiffre continued. "I never knew. I didn't know if he was serious. It was just a joke... He told me a long time ago that everyone owes him favors. They're all in each other's pockets."

Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/bill-clinton-went-jeffrey-epsteins-island-2-young-girls-virginia-giuffre-says-1521845

So disappointed if true.

Facebook's Election Rules Are No Match for Bloomberg's Billions

Over the past four years, Facebook has made a big show of demonstrating how much it cares about democracy and how much it’s doing to combat election interference or fake news. It has assembled “war rooms” and published white papers. It has hired thousands of content moderators (as in, they’re looking at content; they’re actually miserable). And the company is constantly reminding people that it’s spending more on security now than the total of its revenue at the beginning of the decade. Big numbers! Facebook cares!


Over the past couple of weeks, candidate Mike Bloomberg has rolled out an aggressive program of buying endorsements on social media. He isn’t just asking celebrities and other mayors (of smaller cities) for their backing or posting weird tweets: Last week, a number of popular Instagram accounts with tens of millions of followers rolled out jokey sponcon for the former New York City mayor. Today, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Bloomberg’s campaign will go one step further by paying regular social-media users to post about the candidate on the platforms.


That’s more than $1.25 million Bloomberg is spending just to kinda shotgun his name all over social media and into group chats. This comes in addition to a reported program for “microinfluencers,” i.e., people with small follower counts, whom Bloomberg would pay $150 in exchange for their support. That’s a lot for any campaign, but it’s nothing for the former mayor, who seems more than willing to throw money at the wall and see what sticks.


Bloomberg has managed to exploit loopholes and vagueness in various Facebook policies. That Facebook’s rules for political ads and fact-checking are clearly toothless and that Facebook doesn’t recognize how Bloomberg’s strategy may run afoul of its current rules on coordinated inauthentic behavior make it clear that Facebook’s policies are not robust. Or maybe Facebook is just willing to bend the rules for certain clients — like, I dunno, a billionaire named Mike who’s spending exponentially more on Facebook ads than any other Democratic candidate is.


Will Faceboook enforce their established rules to reign in or regulate campaign activity on their platforms? Probably not when looking at the sheer amount of money involved.

Bloomberg campaign paying workers $2,500 per month to promote Bloomberg through texts, social media

In addition to promoting Bloomberg, the campaign's job description for the position states that organizers may be asked to do more traditional campaign tasks such as phone banking. Source accounts and documents revealed to the Journal that the undertaking will cost the campaign millions of dollars monthly.

The staffers will be aided by Outvote, an app that allows users to send pre-written texts, post to social media platforms and then send data back to the campaign.

Outvote, which was created by a Democratic political tech incubator, also reportedly allows users to see if their friends are registered to vote by cross-referencing their phone contacts with public data.

"We are meeting voters everywhere on any platform that they consume their news," Bloomberg's senior national spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told The Hill.


More insight into the efforts of the Bloomberg's online efforts to sway public opinion. $2500 a month is quite an income boost to flood your social media or forum platform with pro-Bloomberg posts. This news coincides quite nicely with the following link describing suspension of pro-Bloomberg twitter accounts for platform manipulation.


Turkey and Russia Near Breaking Point in Syrian Standoff

Source: Bloomberg

As Turkey slides toward war with Russian-backed Syrian forces, Ankara has appealed to the U.S. and European allies for support in a conflict that risks undermining the friendly ties he’s built with Moscow. The about-turn comes as the threat rises of a mass refugee movement toward Turkey, and of the defeat of Turkish-backed rebels in Syria.

Ankara’s answer is to reach out to Washington to ask for a pair of Patriot missile-defense batteries to be deployed on the Syrian border. It needs the U.S.-operated Patriots to deter Russian air strikes in support of an offensive on Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria, by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey also signaled its readiness to accept similar support from European allies.

The request is an abrupt change of tack for Erdogan after years of goading the U.S. and European partners, and underlines how much is at stake for Turkey as it wades into the Syrian conflict on the opposing side to Russia. While Turkey insists it will avoid any confrontation with Russian forces, the pressure on Erdogan to respond is rising as the toll of Turkish casualties mounts.

“We’re on the edge of the precipice and we need to come to a deal,” said Irina Zvyagelskaya, a Middle East expert at the state-funded Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow. The latest Turkish deaths this week brought home the dangerous and unpredictable nature of the situation, and “should be a wake-up call,” she said.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-21/turkey-and-russia-near-breaking-point-in-syria-military-standoff

As war between Turkey, Syria, and Russia loom on the horizon, Erdogan has pulled a 180 and come crawling back to the West for military and humanitarian assistance. Now he is asking (quite ironically) for a pair of US Patriot missile systems to deploy in southern Turkey to threaten Russian air assets. Quite a troublesome request as these systems would have US service members at their controls.

There are also reports out in the twitterverse that Russia has struck Turkish armored forces and destroyed several of their tanks.

China expels foreign journalists as coronavirus deaths climb

Source: Al Jazeera

China has ordered the expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters as criticism mounts over the country's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which has so far killed more than 2,000 people and infected close to 75,000 others.

The order, which escalates Beijing's fraught relations with foreign media, came late on Wednesday after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the publication of racism for publishing an opinion piece with the headline, China is the Real Sick Man of Asia.

"The Chinese people do not welcome media that publish racist statements and smear China with malicious attacks," Geng Shuang, the foreign ministry spokesman, said at a press conference.


In a statement, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China said the decision was an "extreme and obvious attempt by the Chinese authorities to intimidate foreign news organisations by taking retribution against their China-based correspondents".

Read more: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/china-expels-foreign-journalists-coronavirus-deaths-climb-200220003102995.html

China continues the crackdown on free-flow of information regarding the outbreak and freedom of speech in general.

Devices found in missiles, Yemen drones link Iran to attacks

Source: ABC

A small instrument inside the drones that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry and those in the arsenal of Yemen's Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, two reports say.

These gyroscopes have only been found inside drones manufactured by Iran, Conflict Armament Research said in a report released on Wednesday. That follows a recently released report from the United Nations saying its experts saw a similar gyroscope from an Iranian drone obtained by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, as well as inweaponsshipmentsseized in the Arabian Sea bound for Yemen.

The discovery further ties Iran to an attack that briefly halved Saudi Arabia's oil output and saw energy prices spike by a level unseen since the 1991 Gulf War. It also ties Iran to the arming of the rebel Houthis in Yemen's long civil war. Iran denies it had a hand in that assault but has increasingly promoted its influence over the Houthis and launched a ballistic missile attack on American troops in Iraq after a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad last month.

“This gyroscope ... we've seen it now enough times in Iranian-manufactured material to be able to confidently say that the presence of it in a Houthi-produced item suggests that the material was supplied from Iran,” Jonah Leff of Conflict Armament Research told The Associated Press.

Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/devices-found-missiles-yemen-drones-link-iran-attacks-69064032

This can be filed under: Not surprising in the least.

LAT Op-Ed: Bloomberg is not the candidate to take on Trump. Here's why

This should be a happy time for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Right now, his ads are drowning the airwaves in the 14 states that will vote on Super Tuesday, March 3, while in most of those states, the campaigns of his non-billionaire opponents for the Democrats’ presidential nod have barely begun.

As the campaign rolls on, however, Democratic voters will learn more about Bloomberg’s actual record. The mass incarceration in black and brown communities that resulted from police practices he put in place as mayor; the preemptive arrests he authorized of people who sought to protest the 2004 Republican convention in New York (for which the city had to pay hefty fines for false arrests); his defense of Wall Street bankers in the wake of the 2008 financial panic (he termed the fines levied against banks for misconduct “outrageous”) — these are just some of the many Bloomberg policies and positions that should give Democrats pause.


It’s hard to imagine a Democrat less able to win working-class votes — those of young black and Latino workers, and those of the white workers who swung the 2016 election to Trump. Minority voters are unlikely to look kindly on his mayoral record: intensifying stop-and-frisk, vetoing legislation that banned predatory lenders from doing business with the city, and opposing city legislation to raise the living wage. Now that he’s running for president he says he backs a minimum wage hike, but in 2014, he told Fox News, “I’ve always thought that this impetus to raise the minimum wage is one of the most misguided things we can do.”

For those white workers who pushed Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania into Trump’s column, Bloomberg is the personification of everything they can’t abide. On one hand, he’s perhaps America’s biggest-spending proponent of gun control and a prominent advocate for other socially liberal positions — those the right denigrates as heralding “the nanny state.” On the other, he’s been a constant advocate for deepening economic globalization, for the very trade deals many American workers believed decimated manufacturing here. To this very day, he remains, with Henry Kissinger, the American public figure most supportive of the Chinese regime.


Good analysis highlighting the many concerning issues that a Bloomberg nomination would bring.
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