USA will celebrate freedom in three and a half years!

150 dead, thousands feared missing as floods devastate Western Europe

Rats! Tesla won’t pay for rodent damage to cars

Iowa Climate Science Education

Street-rat

Any Teslas round here? [image credit: Edal Anton Lefterov @ Wikipedia]

A bit of light relief perhaps, unless you’re already one of the victims or could soon become one. Are electric cars more appealing than combustion-engined types to hungry rodents? Check those brake cables.
– – –
Elon Musk may have a rat problem, says The New York Post.

Fans of the South African billionaire’s electric cars say rats, mice and rodents are chomping down on their Teslas.

And despite having dropped tens of thousands of dollars to buy the pricey vehicles, Tesla refuses to cover the damage.

Sarah Williams, a 41-year-old physician who lives in Manhattan and uses her Tesla to commute to work in the Bronx, told The Post of an alarming incident when she took her 2018 Model 3 into Tesla’s Paramus, NJ, dealership in mid-May after her air conditioner had stopped working.

“They opened the…

View original post 219 more words

South Korea Imposes ‘Ridiculous’ Rules Banning High Speed On Treadmills, Fast Music At Gyms During COVID Spike

www.dailywire.com

Charlotte Pence Bond

South Korea took measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the country on Tuesday with the country’s capital of Seoul and nearby areas instructing gyms on what kind of music they are allowed to play. 

According to the BBC, “Gyms in South Korea’s capital Seoul and its surrounding region have been told not to play music with a tempo higher than 120 beats per minute (bpm), in order to limit the spread of Covid-19.”

Treadmills will also only be allowed to reach a maximum speed of 6km/h (or 3.7 mph). People are also not permitted to use the showers at the gyms and must limit their time at indoor sports complexes to two hours. Health authorities have said that the limitations will prohibit people from breathing too quickly or getting sweat on one another. 

BBC reported: 

The move has been questioned by gym owners.

Kang Hyun-ku, who owns a gym in Seoul, asked whether there was any proof a choice between classical music and BTS had an impact on spreading the virus.

He also told Reuters many people used their own earphones, asking: “How do you control their playlists?” 

But officials say the measures help prevent gyms from closing completely.

South Korea recently had a spike in COVID-19 cases with 1,193 new cases reported on Monday, per Worldometer. Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Friday that the nation had gotten to “maximum crisis level.” The last time that the country had a similar number of cases was in December when the numbers were recorded at 1,047 cases.

According to The Korea Herald, the public is criticizing the move, saying that the rules are “nonsensical” and “ridiculous.”

“Starting Monday, Korea started enforcing the most restrictive social distancing measures in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province for the next two weeks,” the outlet noted, adding that “[p]rivate gatherings of three or more are banned from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. in these areas, and private gatherings of five or more are banned throughout the rest of the day. Violators face fines of up to 100,000 won ($87).” 

“I don’t know what’s more to worry about these droplets when everyone wears masks without exception,” said Jang, a 32-year-old office employee based in Seoul who frequents the gym nearly every day.  

“They require us to wear face masks while working out, check temperature before entry and provide our phone numbers, and I have closely followed these rules every day, and now they want us to stop running and listen to ballads?” 

“Hardcore cardio has marked the start and end of my daily exercise routines, and now they want me to run slower, but they ask us to leave in two hours,” Jang added. “What do they want from us? Does the government want me to get fat and give up our lifestyle for the sake of these dumb rules?”

Health officials appear to be standing by their decision, however, as Son Young-rae, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said in a radio interview Monday. 

“When you run faster, you spit out more respiratory droplets, so that’s why we are trying to restrict heavy cardio exercises,” Son Young-rae said, adding, “We also agreed on this (120 bpm) standard (with related groups) to transition strenuous aerobic exercises at fitness clubs to less-intense ones.”

Additional elements of the rules also seem to include that three individuals cannot be in the same taxi after 6p.m. when the private gathering limitation goes into effect. Officials have said, however, that it depends on each circumstance. “If the three were going to the same private gathering together, it could be a violation, but if each were heading to different destinations, it could be allowed, they explained,” per The Herald. 

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.

https://www.dailywire.com/news/south-korea-imposes-ridiculous-rules-banning-high-speed-on-treadmills-fast-music-at-gyms-during-covid-spike?%3Futm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dwtwitter

Alec Baldwin’s White Wife Who Pretended to Be Spanish Has Resurfaced To Offer Another Bad Take on Culture by Matt Vespa

townhall.com

Matt Vespa

Time doesn’t always heal, and you just need to shut the hell up forever, especially if you’re a white liberal who was caught culturally appropriating Spanish culture for years. Remember, Hilaria Baldwin? She’s Alec Baldwin’s wife who paraded as some Spaniard but was really some white chick from a well-to-do family from Massachusetts. Her accent is fake—everything. Even after she was busted around Christmas time last year, she insisted she was Spanish. Again, total white liberal woman nonsense right here. 

Now, Hilaria has woken up from her siesta to declare that culture can be fluid. No, that’s not how this works, señora. No es la verdad (via Entertainment Weekly): 

Seven months after an outcry erupted on social media questioning her heritage, and in particular, her connection to Spain, Hilaria Baldwin says she sees herself as “multi,” and believes culture can be “fluid.”

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Baldwin, wife to Alec Baldwin, said she recently had an opportunity to have a discussion with family members, now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased. 

“We talked about how we grew up, our languages, our cultures-multi& very valid. We discussed belonging& how there are people who want to deny others their right to belong,” she wrote, not mentioning the December 2020 scandal when various social media users questioned her Spanish heritage and sometimes use of a Spanish accent (like when she forgot the word for cucumber on Today), forcing her to later clarify that she was born in Boston.

In Thursday’s post, Baldwin, who has previously said she grew up in Massachusetts and Spain, lamented labels.

“When you are multi, it can feel hard to belong. You are constantly going back and forth, trying to be more this or more that,” the mom-of-six shared. “You feel you have to explain why you are the way you are, trying to fit into a world of labels when there might not be one that perfectly defines you.”

[…]

In her post, Hilaria employed the word “fluid,” and said it applied to culture.

“We need to normalize the fact that we are all unique-our culture, languages, sexual orientations, religions, political beliefs are ALLOWED TO BE FLUID. No two of us are completely alike,” she wrote.

I was raised by my parents who are of Italian and Irish descent. I’m Korean. There’s no way in hell I’m going to identify as either because I’m not. Just take the “L,” Baldwin. You were a white lady that got caught pretending to be a Spanish woman. I do feel bad for your white kids who have very Spanish-sounding names. This whole fiasco makes you look like an idiot. Just walk away. Please. Granted, you’re not as nuts as the English dude who got a ton of plastic surgery and then declared himself Korean. That’s not saying much, though. 

Alec Baldwin is supposedly on vacation in the Hamptons while this latest public relations nightmare has resurfaced again for his family. Maybe he just fled to someplace that was safe. 

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2021/07/12/alec-baldwins-white-wife-who-pretended-to-be-spanish-culture-can-be-fluid-n2592341?amp=true&__twitter_impression=true

WATCH: Minneapolis Police Chief Blasts Anti-Police Sentiment After 3-Year-Old Shot

www.dailywire.com

Jon Brown

The Minneapolis police chief asserted over the weekend that the police are not the biggest threat to the safety of the city after a three-year-old was reportedly shot Friday.

“The biggest threat to public safety in our city, and particularly to our African-American community, is not the police,” Chief Medaria Arradondo said. “We have an epidemic right now of unequivocal gun violence particularly in our African-American communities. And that must stop.”

WATCH:

As Alpha News MN reported:

The chief’s remarks came during a press conference on Saturday afternoon regarding the shooting, which took place on Friday night on the 3300 block of Emerson Avenue North in Minneapolis.

Police were called to the address about 9:47 p.m. on a report of a child being shot. Initial police dispatches indicated the child was 10, but information was later updated stating the child was three years old.

The chief said when officers arrived at the location of the shooting, they observed that the child had suffered a critical gunshot wound. Officers made the decision to transport the child to the hospital in a squad car instead of waiting for the ambulance, which was reported to be three or four minutes away.

Chief Arradondo praised the officers for their quick action and said they “made the right choice.” He said had the officers not made the decision to transport, he could very well be reporting the death of another child in Minneapolis.

A group of police chiefs from the Minneapolis suburbs warned Monday that gun violence has recently surged to unprecedented levels. “I’ve never seen the gun violence like it is,” Brooklyn Park Police Chief Craig Enevoldsen told local Fox 9.

“Enevoldsen and police chiefs from Crystal, Maple Grove, Plymouth, and New Hope, spoke to FOX 9 about the gun violence they are seeing in their communities,” Fox 9 reported.

“Violent crime in Hennepin County increased 24 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 and was up 36 percent in the last three months of 2020,” the outlet continued. “When you exclude Minneapolis from the calculations, violent crime in the rest of Hennepin County increased by 19 percent over the previous year.”

Minneapolis has been hemorrhaging police since the unrest that has roiled the city since the death of George Floyd in May 2020. As The Daily Wire reported:

Police officers are leaving the Minneapolis Police Department in droves because they feel “helpless” amid the city’s skyrocketing crime, according to one who left the force last year.

“This goes back before George Floyd,” former Minneapolis police officer Steve Dykstra told Fox News on Tuesday. “Since around 2015, I know the city of Minneapolis has been backpedaling, taking tools away from police to enforce the law and keep the streets safe.”

Related:

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.

https://www.dailywire.com/news/watch-minneapolis-police-chief-blasts-anti-police-sentiment-after-3-year-old-shot?%3Futm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dwtwitter

Reports of Haiti’s First lady dying is false… she’s being transported to a hospital in Florida

Woke Catholic School Sued for Return of Donations After Family Claims Institution ‘Lost Its Way’

www.westernjournal.com

Kipp Jones

A couple who made a large donation to a Catholic school in Tampa, Florida, is suing for the money back, alleging the school has lost its way by pushing “woke culture.”

The Tampa Bay Times reported that in 2017, when the couple had two daughters attending the Academy of the Holy Names, they offered the school $1.35 million.

Anthony and Barbara Scarpo said they “cherished” the academy and wanted to give money to allow disadvantaged kids a way in through scholarships. The Academy of Holy Names even renamed its auditorium the “Scarpo Family Theatre.”

Four years later, the love affair is over, thanks to the school’s pushing of divisive racial politics, according to the parents. One of their daughters has graduated and the couple has pulled their other daughter out of the exclusive academy.

According to the Scarpos, the school has defrauded them by going against its Catholic values. Anthony Scarpo wrote a letter to the school following the graduation of his oldest daughter.

“The continued indoctrination of your twisted version of social and racial justice, equity, inclusion, sexuality and today’s politically correct narrative has permeated like a stench through the halls of the Academy and been allowed to seep into the minds of our children, causing stress, anger, guilt and confusion,” he wrote.

“You were always eager to solicit our hard-earned money and take what you could but held firm as you dragged dozens if not hundreds of conservative families and teachers through your reimagined, highly progressive world, even as parents and students asked you … pleaded with you to stop, slow down.”

According to the couple, the Academy of the Holy Names has “lost its way.”

In a 45-page lawsuit, the couple is asking for its donation money back, saying the administration has embraced “woke culture” while separating itself from mainstream Catholicism. The couple said “gender identity, human sexuality and pregnancy termination among other hot button issues,” are now being taught over the traditional curriculum.

Would you send your child or grandchild to a school that became ‘woke?’

The Scarpos even allege that white students, such as their children, and those who can afford tuition to the school, have faced being shamed.

“The lawsuit makes clear the couple’s displeasure with the way the school has dealt with issues of race, saying students are made to feel guilty for being white and having enough money to attend the academy,” the Times reported. “In addition to asking for a return of the pledged donation, the lawsuit seeks a tuition refund.”

The Scarpos additionally are asking the Florida Catholic Conference to pull the school’s accreditation and are asking the Academy of the Holy Names to immediately stop portraying itself as a Catholic school.

The school’s attorney called the lawsuit a publicity stunt and wants to force the Scarpos to pay their full $1.35 million pledge, vowing to countersue if the couple doesn’t drop the lawsuit.

“We can discern no motivation behind the lawsuit other than attention-seeking by your clients, and a desire by you to build a brand,” attorney Gregory Hearing wrote in a letter to the Scarpos’ legal counsel.

“For a court to delve into whether the substance of matters taught by a Catholic school are consistent with a Catholic education would entangle the court in excessively religious matters, and thereby violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Hearing added. “That we should need to educate you on this is absurd.”

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Scarpos have paid $240,000 of their pledge and have also raised $9 million for the school. The school, according to the Scarpos, has pushed on white students the idea that “their families are personally responsible for the historic harm(s) some members of our society have visited on other members of our society.”

The Academy of the Holy Names has also allegedly encouraged its Catholic students to become “allies” for the LGBT movement.

SummaryMore Biographical InformationRecent PostsContact

Johnathan “Kipp” Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor and a producer in radio, television and digital media. He is a proud husband and father.

Johnathan “Kipp” Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.

https://www.westernjournal.com/catholic-school-lost-way-introducing-woke-education-now-family-suing-return-massive-donation/?utm_source=spotim&utm_medium=spotim_recirculation&spot_im_redirect_source=pitc&spot_im_comment_id=sp_MHM5Sp76_2669082_c_1v3MNizf8MXrcEPHUwrBtLt4qUc&spot_im_highlight_immediate=true

Well he did want to become famous.

Live Now – “Dynamo-2 Sounding Rocket Launch – July 7 Attempt”

Facebook is banning anyone charged (not convicted) with participating in January 6 US Capitol riot

reclaimthenet.org

By Tom Parker

Facebook has revealed that it will ban anyone who’s charged in connection with the riot at the US Capitol on January 6 and may start “fact-checking” claims that the riot was staged.

In an article detailing how Alan Hostetter, a man who has been charged with obstructing official government proceedings and breaching restricted government property, was banned from Facebook and Instagram within hours of posting a video describing the January 6 riot as a “false flag” and a “fakesurrection” because he believed infiltrators were in the crowd, The Washington Post notes that:

“Facebook says that it does not allow people charged in the insurrection on the platform and that it may fact-check claims that the riot was staged.”

In the case of Hostetter, the prosecutors do not allege that he was violent or entered the Capitol building but claim that he “pushed through the area that the law enforcement officers had been blocking, moved up the stairs onto a structure erected for the Inauguration, and continued moving on to the Upper West Terrace.”

After arriving at the terrace, the indictment alleges that Hostetter declared, “The people have taken back their house. … Hundreds of thousands of patriots showed up today to take back their government!” and posted a picture of himself and co-defendant Russell Taylor on the terrace to the Instagram account of Hostetter’s non-profit – the American Phoenix Project.

Hostetter’s attorney, Bilal Essayli, argues that his client was there to lawfully protest.

“This whole thing — trying to make it sound like an insurrection or trying to block Congress — is troubling,” Essayli said. “He’s working within the legal process. He was there to support the objection to the election, which members of Congress did do. I am concerned because we are getting to a dangerous place where we’re trying to criminalize political differences.”

But under Facebook’s newly revealed policy, Hostetter and anyone else facing similar charges, will lose their Facebook and Instagram accounts before they’ve had a trial and before guilt has been established through a conviction.

By basing the policy on charges and not convictions, it appears that Facebook will also deplatform users who are charged, even if the charges are subsequently dropped or they’re acquitted at trial.

Not only has Facebook stated that it will ban users based on charges related to the January 6 riot but the potential “fact-checks,” which slash the click-through rate of posts by 95%, only appear to target specific narratives related to the US Capitol riot.

https://reclaimthenet.org/facebook-bans-us-capitol-january-6/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

WeChat terminates LGBT+ accounts of Chinese college students in overnight crackdown – SupChina

shanghai pride

supchina.com

Jiayun Feng 4

A participant takes part in the Pink Party, an event of the annual week-long LGBT festival Shanghai Pride, in Shanghai, China June 15, 2019. Aly Song / Reuters

In a crushing blow to LGBT+ communities in China, WeChat has, for unspecified reasons, permanently banned nearly all public accounts created and run by LGBT+ groups at Chinese colleges. 

According to Weibo user Xiǎolán Sānhàojī @小蓝三号机 (in Chinese), who frequently shares information and news about LGBT+ issues, complaints about the removals started to roll in on the evening of Monday, when followers of the affected WeChat accounts discovered that they had been shut down. 

WeChat is Tencent’s messaging, social, and payment app, which has become essential to communication and daily life in China.

The LGBT+ groups found that their content had been permanently deleted, and the accounts’ main pages replaced with a notice saying that after receiving “relevant reports from users,” WeChat decided to terminate them because they “had violated regulations on the management of accounts offering public information service on the Chinese internet.” But beyond the brief note, the platform has yet to offer any further explanation. 

While there has been no official word on the exact scope of the crackdown, Weibo user Xiaolan Sanhaoji wrote that the purge appeared to have affected most public accounts of campus organizations serving LGBT+ students in Chinese colleges, including top institutions like Tsinghua University and Peking University. 

In comments to a post (in Chinese) where Xiaolan Sanhaoji provided updates on casualties of the removal, some Weibo users pointed out that some of the deleted accounts had been inactive for years, which means that the termination was unlikely to have been caused by recent violations of content rules. Rather, they speculated that the removal was part of a government-backed campaign to stifle LGBT+ voices and activities on Chinese college campuses. This is despite the fact that most of the affected student groups had never received recognition from their schools.

Speculation about an official campaign was further fueled by a photo of a government order that has been making the rounds on Chinese social media. In the unverified document, which is dated May 19, the Education Ministry of Jiangsu Province ordered Hohai University to conduct a “comprehensive inspection” of feminist and LGBT+ student organizations on its campus, which it said should include reviews of their members and presences on social media.

The large-scale termination of accounts has been met with outrage from LGBT+ individuals and others on the Chinese internet. “What saddens me the most is that we have no idea how to revolt and who we should react against,” a Weibo user wrote (in Chinese), while another one commented (in Chinese), “What a giant step backward for my country. I’m so disappointed.”

WeChat’s move against LGBT+ communities comes amid increasingly strident official discrimination and widespread homophobia in Chinese society. Earlier this year, a court in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province ruled in a landmark case that a university textbook’s description of homosexuality as “a psychological disorder” was not a factual error but merely an “academic view.” In June, which is celebrated internationally as Pride Month, Shanghai Pride, China’s longest-running and only major annual celebration of sexual minorities, was canceled following its abrupt announcement of taking an indefinite hiatus due to “safety concerns” last year.

https://supchina.com/2021/07/06/wechat-terminates-lgbt-accounts-of-chinese-college-students-in-overnight-crackdown/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

“Gold medal winner reacts to Gwen Berry”

“Meghan McCain DEMOLISHES Disgraced Olympian Gwen Berry for Turning her Back on the Flag”

Search Efforts Resume For 118 Missing Residents After Crews Demolish Collapsed Miami High Rise

www.dailywire.com

Emily Zanotti

Search crews have resumed combing through the rubble of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, on Monday, looking for the tower’s 118 missing residents, following a decision to implode the building’s remains.

Around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, crews set off explosives designed to bring down what was left of the Champlain Towers following an unexpected partial collapse in late June that left much of the condominium building in a pile of rubble on top of what was once the tower’s pool deck.

Miami-Dade officials announced the demolition Sunday morning, concerned that an incoming tropical storm could further damage the already crumbling structure, putting search and rescue crews in danger. Demolition crews from a Seattle-based company, which has experience in large-scale building demolitions, were dispatched Sunday afternoon.

CBS News captured the dramatic explosion and posted the footage to social media.

By the time search efforts halted earlier this weekend, rescuers had found the remains of 24 residents, but it has been days since anyone has been recovered from the rubble alive. Following the demolition, crews found the remains of an additional 3 residents.

NBC News reported Monday that search efforts resumed following the demolition, but could be put on hold again as Tropical Storm Elsa moves up the Florida coast.

“Search and rescue efforts for 118 unaccounted for residents continued Monday now that the unstable remnants of a Miami-area condo tower that collapsed nearly two weeks ago has been brought down,” the outlet said. “The destruction of the remaining structure has allowed search and rescue teams to explore more of the debris without concerns that the unstable building will collapse on the crews, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on NBC News’ ‘TODAY’ show.”

“We owe it to all of those waiting to get this pile and open it up for search and that’s exactly what happened last night before midnight,” Cava said. “They were out there again, searching in the rubble. And we understand that families realize the fact that time has gone by, they realize that the chances are going dimmer and dimmer.”

Surfside, Florida, mayor Charles Burkett said Monday that the demolition has allowed crews to work faster, and that the search teams are now exhuming the collapsed apartments at a much faster rate because they are now able to use heavy equipment, which was, before the demolition, prohibited, lest the machines destablize the remaining structure.

Officials, the New York Times added over the weekend, are now struggling with how long to call the operation a “search and rescue” operation, given that the chances of finding a survivor in the wreckage are “dimming.” Declaring the effort a “recovery” process “could unlock new, potentially faster ways of tunneling through the layers of concrete to find remains” and it “could also allow the families of the missing to move forward in the grieving process.”

But the drawback, of course, is that it would involve admitting that its likely the 118 missing residents of the Champlain Towers South are dead.

Burkett told media that the search’s official designation was immaterial.

“Efforts will continue 24/7 until every unaccounted for person will is found, with the exception of bad weather, Burkett said,” per NBC.

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member

https://www.dailywire.com/news/search-efforts-resume-for-118-missing-residents-after-crews-demolish-collapsed-miami-high-rise?%3Futm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dwtwitter

Illegal Alien Accused of Killing 24 Senior Citizens Escapes Death Penalty

www.breitbart.com

John Binder 30 Jun 2021

An accused illegal alien serial killer will escape the death penalty in the murder trial against him, Dallas County, Texas prosecutors revealed this week.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot announced that his office will not seek the death penalty against Billy Chemirmir, an illegal alien from Kenya who is accused of murdering 24 elderly Americans in Texas from April 2016 to 2018.

Instead, Cruezot said prosecutors will seek life in prison while only pursuing two of the 18 capital murder charges against Chemirmir should they win the cases. The other charges would be dismissed.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

In a statement, Creuzot’s office said he spoke with victims’ families last month and explained that he hoped to secure convictions against Chemirmir in two jury trials, each with an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole, and ask a judge to order that those sentences be served consecutively. [Emphasis added]

“In effect, there will be no chance for Mr. Chemirmir to die anywhere except in a Texas prison,” the DA’s office said. [Emphasis added]

“[The death penalty] something that’s being turned away from,” Creuzot told the families. “Society is less accepting of it.” [Emphasis added]

Chermirmir’s 24 alleged victims include:

  • 83-year-old Leah Corken
  • 82-year-old Juanita Purdy
  • 88-year-old Mary Brooks
  • 84-year-old Minnie Campbell
  • 82-year-old Ann Conklin
  • 75-year-old Rosemary Curtis
  • 85-year-old Norma French
  • 92-year-old Doris Gleason
  • 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris
  • 81-year-old Carolyn MacPhee
  • 81-year-old Miriam Nelson
  • 91-year-old Phyllis Payne
  • 94-year-old Phoebe Perry
  • 80-year-old Martha Williams
  • 82-year-old Joyce Abramowitz
  • 87-year-old Glenna Day
  • 89-year-old Solomon Spring
  • 90-year-old Doris Wasserman
  • 86-year-old Margaret White
  • 79-year-old Diana Delahunty
  • 93-year-old Mamie Dell Miya
  • 86-year-old Catherine Probst Sinclair
  • 90-year-old Marilyn Bixler
  • An 81-year-old “Jane Doe”

Breitbart News exclusively reported that Chemirmir first arrived in the U.S. on a B-2 tourist visa in July 2003. Though Chemirmir was supposed to only temporarily be in the U.S., he overstayed his visa and became an illegal alien who was eligible for deportation.

Rather than being deported, Chemirmir was able to use a loophole in the nation’s legal immigration system, allowing him to obtain a green card after marrying an American citizen. In November 2007, Chemirmir was approved for a green card.

Chemirmir had a criminal record, Breitbart News exclusively learned, including convictions for drunk driving, trespassing, assault, and obstructing a police officer. Chemirmir is currently being held in the Dallas County Jail.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/06/30/illegal-alien-accused-of-murdering-24-senior-citizens-escapes-death-penalty/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Shock Photos Show Damage In Miami Building Just 36 Hours Before Collapse

www.dailywire.com

Emily Zanotti

A pool contractor who evaluated the Champlain South Tower pool deck just 36 hours before the building suddenly collapsed, took shocking pictures showing extensive damage to the building’s basement parking garage, according to an exclusive report from the Miami Herald, which also obtained the photos.

The photos, posted to social media by a Miami Herald reporter, show cracks and standing water in hallways of the building’s lower levels.

“There was standing water all over the parking garage,” the contractor reportedly told the Miami newspaper. “He noted cracking concrete and severely corroded rebar under the pool.”

“The contractor visited the condo building last week to put together a bid for a cosmetic restoration of the pool as well as to price out new pool equipment — a small piece of the multimillion-dollar restoration project that just was getting underway at the 40-year-old building,” the outlet noted.

“While he had worked in the industry for decades and had ‘gone in some scary places,” the Herald continued, “he said he was struck by the lack of maintenance in the lower level. The amount of water at Champlain Towers seemed so unusual that the contractor mentioned it to a building staff member, Jose, who was showing him around.”

Jose, the contractor said, thought the damage was from a waterproofing issue. The contractor, though, was concerned about what appeared to be more systemic issues, including pools of standing water and “exposed and corroding rebar,” as well as cracks in the concrete.

An expert noted to the Herald that the damage, shown in the contractor’s photos, was likely not enough to cause the collapse, but that it may represent just a fraction of the deterioration in the building: “If the condition of the beam in the pool guy’s photo is something that was also happening under the building, that is a really major concern.”

A 2018 report, now at the center of the investigation into how the Champlain South Towers collapsed so suddenly last Thursday, leaving at least 11 dead and 150 people missing, documented extensive damage, earlier reports noted, and in a letter to Champlain South Tower residents, the condominium board president specifically referenced corroding rebar and cracking concrete in her plea for a $15 million assessment to cover major repairs.

The board president, Fox News reported Tuesday, “noted that in fall 2018, engineering firm Morabito Consultants was hired to inspect the building, reports said. The engineering report pointed out flaws of the building ahead of work that would be needed for the building to meet 40-year recertification in 2021, documents showed.”

“The report found that the pool deck’s waterproofing had failed and was not sloped to drain water. It also pointed to ‘abundant cracking’ in concrete columns and beams,” Fox continued.

Experts who spoke to the New York Times on Monday said they suspected the building suffered from a catastrophic structural failure somewhere near “the bottom” of the building.

“It does appear to start either at or very near the bottom of the structure,” a consulting engineer who is not affiliated with the search and rescue operation told the New York Times. “It’s not like there’s a failure high and it pancaked down.”

A female resident of the building, who is now missing, reportedly called her husband just ahead of the collapse and reported that the pool had disappeared into a “sinkhole.”

Officials say they are still hopeful that they will find survivors in rubble and that the “search and rescue” operation has not yet turned into a “search and recovery” effort. They are also collecting and preserving items that could serve as evidence in ongoing investigations at both the state and federal levels.

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member

https://www.dailywire.com/news/shock-photos-show-damage-in-miami-building-just-36-hours-before-collapse?%3Futm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dwtwitter

Don’t worry folks… we’ll have gas when the prices get higher!

“Florida rescue crews pull at least 35 people from partially collapsed condo as search continues”

Elephant trashes wedding and flips six cars after someone lets off firecracker

Video

https://cdn.metro.co.uk/video/amp-embed/2439053/14764732/#amp=1

Author image

Jimmy NsubugaSunday 13 Jun 2021 4:57 pm

Terrifying footage shows the moment an elephant went on a rampage after it was frightened by a firecracker at a wedding.

Groom Anand Tripathi, who rode the animal to the ceremony, fled the scene in fear after it became agitated.

The elephant was startled by the noise of the cracker, which caused it to start trashing the area in Uttar Pradesh, India, on Friday.https://www.oo-syringe.com/prod/AMP/minute-media-player.html?content_type=specific&content_id=01erzct8rp0g2e5k71%2301esrgd16tpw2twhvj

It destroyed the venue, overturned six cars and damaged a few bikes as it went on a warpath. 

A team of forest officials later arrived to bring the elephant under control.

https://embed.newzit.com/embed.html?limit=7&enlargeFirst=true&renderer=amp&forceIto=Metro_AMP_Module_Article_Related#amp=1

Police said no one was injured in the incident but there was substantial damage to property, according to the Times of India.https://3f594fe086a28b1dff9a3581e36f2fbc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

https://metro.co.uk/2021/06/13/elephant-trashes-wedding-and-flips-six-cars-after-firecracker-is-let-off-14764732/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

US Gave More Money to Chinese Lab for Bat Research Than Fauci Claimed: Documents – Judicial Watch

www.judicialwatch.org

June 14, 2021 | Judicial Watch

From The Epoch Times:

The United States gave more than $800,000 to the top-level laboratory in China from which some believe the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus emerged, according to newly released documents.

Internal emails from officials with the National Institutes of Health and an office inside the agency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), show they discussed a question posed by Republican members of Congress in 2020 regarding how much the agencies sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The total amount sent between fiscal years 2014 and 2019 was $826,777, according to the emails.

The funding went to EcoHealth Alliance, which channeled money to the lab for the purpose of “understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence.”

The total amount is different from the amount that Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, told members of Congress the Wuhan lab received from the U.S. government.

“We had a modest collaboration with respectable Chinese scientists who are world experts on coronavirus, and we did that through a subgrant from a larger grant to EcoHealth. The subgrant was about $600,000 over a period of five years,” Fauci told members of the House Appropriations Committee during a hearing last month.

Read More Here.


https://www.judicialwatch.org/in-the-news/fauci-wuhan-bats/?utm_source=deployer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tipsheet&utm_term=members&utm_content=20210622184608

Illegal Aliens Who Killed Americans Removed from DHS ‘Most Wanted’ List

www.breitbart.com

Illegal Aliens Who Killed Americans Removed from DHS ‘Most Wanted’ List

By John Binder June 18,2021

ICE

Six illegal aliens accused of killing Americans have been removed from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “Most Wanted” list.

This week, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that ICE’s Victim Of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office, which served Angel Families in navigating their cases, would be disbanded in order to create the Victims Engagement and Services Line (VESL) which will expand to include providing benefits to illegal aliens who claim to be crime victims.

Following the announcement, as the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jon Feere first noted, top DHS officials removed six criminal illegal aliens accused of killing American citizens from ICE’s Most Wanted list — that is illegal alien fugitives who have yet to be captured by the agents.

In April 2019, ICE placed illegal aliens Saul Chavez, Jesus Maltos-Chacon, Alan Jacob Mogollon-Anaya, Edwin Mejia, Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, and Luis Alberto Rodriguez-Castro on its Most Wanted list after each was charged with killing an American citizen and subsequently was evading arrest and criminal charges.

ICE detailed each case, at the time, and named each American victim:

Saul Chavez, a Mexican national charged in Cook County, Illinois, with vehicular homicide resulting in the death of William Dennis McCann, 66. Despite a detainer lodged by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in November 2011 following his arrest, Chavez was released from Cook County custody. Chavez, who entered the country without inspection at an unknown place and unknown time, is wanted by ICE as an illegal alien in addition to being a criminal fugitive.
[Emphasis added]

Jesus Maltos-Chacon, a Mexican national, charged in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with homicide and vehicular manslaughter for the death of 20-year-old Blake Zieto. Maltos-Chacon also had previous convictions for DUI and assault. Maltos-Chacon, who entered the country without inspection at an unknown place and unknown time, was ordered removed in October 2006. He is an ICE immigration fugitive in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]

Alan Jacob Mogollon-Anaya, a Mexican national, charged April 2017 for aggravated vehicular homicide, DUI and aggravated assault following the crash that resulted in the death of Shirra Branum, 37, in Washington County, Tennessee. Mogollon-Anaya, who had two prior DUI convictions, entered the country without inspection at an unknown place in 2003. He was ordered removed in October 2017. He is an ICE immigration fugitive in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]

Edwin Mejia, a Honduran national, charged in Omaha, Nebraska with motor vehicular homicide in the death of Sarah Root, 21 in January 2016. Mejia, who entered the country unlawfully as an unaccompanied minor in 2013, was ordered removed in April 2016. He is an ICE immigration fugitive and criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]

Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, a Mexican national, indicted by a Gilmer County, Georgia grand jury on charges of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, and reckless driving in the death of Dustin Inman, 16, in January 2001. He is wanted by ICE as an illegal alien in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]

Luis Alberto Rodriguez-Castro, as Honduran national, charged in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina in October 2011 with negligent homicide and vehicular manslaughter linked to the death of Joseph Storie, 51. Rodriguez-Castro, who entered the country without inspection at an unknown place in 1998, is wanted by ICE as an illegal alien in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]

Michelle Root, the mother of 21-year-old Sarah Root who was allegedly killed by illegal alien Edwin Mejia in January 2016 on her graduation day, alerted Senators this week to the DHS’s erasing criminal illegal aliens from ICE’s Most Wanted list.

“The administration also removed the VOICE office’s most wanted list from their website — including my daughter’s killer, Edwin Mejia,” Root said before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “They want to abolish ICE and get rid of any law enforcement whose mission it is to carry out our immigration laws and protect the homeland.”

Searches for each of the criminal illegal aliens removed from ICE’s Most Wanted list result in a message that reads “Page Not Found,” indicating that the previous web pages for the fugitives have been wiped clean off the agency’s website.

(Screenshot via ICE.gov)

It is unclear if ICE has changed its metrics for how it identifies criminal illegal aliens as “Most Wanted” fugitives. ICE officials did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by Breitbart News.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/06/18/illegal-aliens-who-killed-americans-removed-dhs-most-wanted-list/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Critical Race Theory

Hunter famous for killing giraffe arrested for assaulting boyfriend with chicken

www.dailystar.co.uk

by Chris Murphy, Sebastian Murphy

Jennifer Booth, 43, from Florida is accused of hitting the 56-year-old who cooked her dinner after she launched the plate of chicken at his face in a “violent” outburst

A hunter who was once derided around the world for shooting a giraffe before posing with the corpse is in trouble again for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend with a chicken dinner.

The Smoking Gun reports that Jennifer Booth from Florida is now facing a domestic battery charge.

According to a report from the Manatee County Sheriff’s office, the 43-year-old allegedly hurled the plate of chicken at her boyfriend. The police report says it hit Bill Booth in the face and chest.

Investigators claim Booth struck the 56-year-old man with the chicken while they were eating last Wednesday night on the porch of their Bradenton home.

Jennifer Booth is a keen hunter and boasts about her kills online

Jennifer Booth is a keen hunter and boasts about her kills online

Booth’s companion, who cooked dinner told investigators that she “became violent” during a verbal argument and “picked up the paper plate of chicken and threw it in my face.”

Furious, the man dialled 911 and told officers about the alleged dinner assault.

Booth was arrested and booked into the Manatee County jail on a misdemeanour charge and later released Friday on a $500 bond. Jennifer and Bill Booth pose with bones

Booth, who works at a Lakewood hospital, has three prior arrests, “most recently 2015 Domestic Violence,” according to a court filing that does not include case dispositions, reports the investigative website.

While Booth and the man share a surname, a pre-trial services report lists her marital status as “single”. An arrest report identifies the victim as her boyfriend, who was not injured in the alleged attack.

Jennifer Booth is accused of attacking Bill Booth in Florida

Booth is an avid hunter whose Facebook page is stocked with pictures of her posing with animals she has shot dead, images that have prompted online derision.

One photo shows Booth holding the head of a giraffe killed during a 2017 hunt in South Africa, which she described in a Facebook caption as “One of the best days of my life.” Jennifer Booth is accused of chucking her plate of chicken at her boyfriend in Florida

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/hunter-who-shot-dead-giraffe-24337226.amp

Shock Trials: Why the U.S. Navy Detonates Bombs Near New Aircraft Carriers

nationalinterest.org

Kris Osborn

The Navy will explode bombs near its new USS Ford aircraft carrier as soon as next year to assess the new platform’s ability to operate in high-threat, major-power warfare on the open seas. They are called Shock Trials, a specific combat preparation exercise wherein Navy testers fire a wide range of weapons against or near the ship in a variety of different sea states.

Service weapons testers will detonate a wide range of bombs, including a variety of underwater sea mines to assess the carrier’s ability to withstand enemy attacks. “Shock Trials,” as they are called, are typically one of the final stages in the Navy process designed to bring warships from development to operational deployment.

report from USNI states that USS Ford Shock Trials are slated for 2021. Having Shock Trials as soon as next year is considered a major milestone as the ship nears its anticipated operational service several years from now. For instance, the Shock Trials may help move preparations along for the USS Ford, which has been experiencing some maintenance and technical delays. 

Interestingly, an essay on Shock Trials from several years ago explains that detonating bombs near the ship closely approximates the kinds of serious threats the ship might face in full combat. A 2007 Department of Defense-directed Shock Trials analysis by the non-profit MITRE corporation explains that many of the expected or most probable threats to warships come from “non-contact explosions where a high-pressure wave is launched toward the ship.”

MITRE’s report, interestingly, also identifies the inspiration for Shock Trials as one originating from World War II.

“During World War II, it was discovered that although such “near miss” explosions do not cause serious hull or superstructure damage, the shock and vibrations associated with the blast nonetheless incapacitate the ship, by knocking out critical components and systems,” the MITRE assessment, called “Navy Ship Underwater Shock Prediction and Testing Capability Study” states.

The MITRE analysis further specifies that, following a nearby explosion, the bulkhead of a ship can oscillate, causing the ship to move upward.

“Strong localized deformations are seen in the deck modes, in which different parts of the decks move at different frequencies from each other,” MITRE writes.

The first-in-class USS Ford has been specifically engineered for expanded air attack, being built with a larger deck space than the Nimitz-class to enable a greater sortie rate. Navy developers explain that the Ford configuration was developed to increase the air mission rate by as much as 33%, with a mind to creating a new dimension of air power projection. This strategy, initiated years ago, did seem to anticipate what could be described as a modern threat environment. More air power would be needed in any kind of major-power engagement, carriers need to have an ability to operate the first-of-its kind carrier-launched F-35C5 stealth fighter, and perhaps of equal or greater significance, modern carriers need to have longer attack reach.

Kris Osborn is the new Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Reuters

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/shock-trials-why-us-navy-detonates-bombs-near-new-aircraft-carriers-164714?amp&__twitter_impression=true

I’m sure sea life really appreciated that… that’s some powerful testing!

Immigration Cases Have Doubled Since 2017

amp.dailycaller.com

By Kaylee Greenlee

Immigration cases deciding if migrants will be legally allowed to stay in the U.S. have doubled since 2017, according to migration data released Monday.

Over 1.3 million cases are pending, with more than 110,000 pending in New York courts alone, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Migrants wait an average of two and a half years for a judge to decide their case, Axios reported Monday.

“The number of pending deportation cases more than doubled during the Trump administration, but the court backlog still continues to grow under the Biden administration,” TRAC Assistant Professor Austin Kocher told the Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday.

The wait times caused by the backlog in the court system can encourage some migrants to come to the U.S. since they’ll probably be permitted to live and work in the U.S. as their case proceeds through court, according to Axios. (RELATED: Is The Biden Admin Breaking The Law By Not Issuing Migrants Court Dates?)

Immigration courts accepted nearly 127,000 cases between October 2020 and May, compared to the 68,000 cases the courts ruled on in the same time frame, according to Kocher. Less than 4% of new cases issued deportation orders based on the migrant’s alleged criminal activity, Kocher tweeted.

“As of the end of May 2021, there were more than 1.3 million people facing deportation just in the immigration courts. That’s about the number of people that live in Dallas, Texas. And the number only grows each month,” Kocher told the DCNF.

“At this point, it seems unlikely that the president  — whether Democrat or Republican — can fix the problem, and that Congress will need to step in and enact immigration reform,” Kocher added.

Nearly 28,000 removal and voluntary departure orders were issued from October 2020 through May, Kocher said in a tweet. Only around 20% of migrants issued deportation or removal orders had legal assistance.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

https://amp.dailycaller.com/2021/06/15/immigration-court-cases-backlog-biden?__twitter_impression=true

Just another day at the border…

Woman who died at 97 shares her signature fudge recipe on her headstone

The headstone of Kay and Wade Andrews showing Kay's fudge recipe

mypositiveoutlooks.com

Most headstones include information such as names, birth dates, and death dates. But for Kathryn Andrews, her unique headstone displays her fudge recipe.

Set in Logan Cemetery in Utah, the headstone has been gaining popularity worldwide, thanks to photos being shared on different social media platforms.

“She really loved people,” Janice Johnson said of her mother, Kathryn, who went by “Kay.”

Janice said she would write poetry and bring her famous fudge whenever there’s a get-together. Photo by Todd Tanner | h/t: Fox News

 

Kay Andrews and Wade Andrews

Kay’s husband, Wade Andrews, first passed away in 2000. The couple’s headstone and the engravings in them provide a peek into the incredible lives that they lived.

Janice said her mom was crazy about her dad from the beginning. The pair were both members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and met at a church event in New York City.

Kay moved from Utah to New York to study and fashion design, while Wade was already a U.S. Air Force Captain due to return to Europe.

 

Kay and Wade only had time for one date—a dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. A photographer at the hotel snapped a photo of the pair, and the following day, Wade left for the war.YouTube

Kay, who went by “Katie” at the time, made an impression on Wade.

When he first got his B-24 bomber, the crew had painted a naked lady on it. But the man said the lady got a swimming suit, and that painting became “Salt Lake Katie.”

 

Salt Lake Katie plane

During their separation, the couple wrote over a hundred letters to each other. And when Wade’s duties were over, he traveled to Salt Lake City and asked Kay to marry him.

“Took her to the Capitol steps and gave her the Diamond and they were married 18 days later,” Janice said.

 

The couple had never seen each other in daylight until after their engagement as their date at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and their trip to the Capitol Building in Utah had taken place at night.

Kay and Wade tied the knot on December 18, 1944, and went on to have five children.YouTube

The Andrews family moved around the country a lot, living in Michigan, Ohio, and Colorado as Wade earned his Ph.D. in Sociology and became a professor. They ultimately settled in Logan.

 

Janice said her mom is the type of person who always looked out for others. The kind woman even kept Tootsie Rolls in her purse in case she meets children who need to have their day brightened.

Kay also kept a strong faith.

“She felt like prayer was so important. She lived by that,” Janice said.

When Wade passed away in 2000, Kay helped select the images that will represent him on one side of the headstone she now shares with him.

Her children suggested that she get equal billing, and Kay decided she wanted her fudge recipe to be displayed there.

Kay went home to her creator in 2019 at the age of 97.YouTube

Kay Andrews and Wade Andrews hugging each other

 

She was aware of the growing popularity of her headstone before her passing as it had been engraved there earlier. She’s glad that it made so many people smile.

Janice said the first headstone made included a typo that called for one tablespoon of vanilla, which can result in “runny fudge.” It has been recently updated to read one teaspoon.

If you’re in the mood to make some, here is Kay’s signature fudge recipe.

2 squares chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
Melt on low heat
Stir in 1 cup milk
Bring to boil
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
Cook to softball stage
Pour on marble slab
Cool & beat & eat

 

Kay’s headstone ended with the words, “Wherever she goes, there’s laughter.”

Learn more about this story in the video below.

 

https://mypositiveoutlooks.com/woman-shares-signature-fudge-recipe-on-her-headstone/

Smartphone smugglers: How social media is reshaping border crime

amp.washingtontimes.com

The Washington Times https://www.washingtontimes.com

Mark Delgado told Border Patrol agents he was scrolling through TikTok one day when he came across a video asking for drivers and offering $4,000 a trip.

He needed the money, so he reached out to the guy on WhatsApp, a messaging service owned by Facebook. They made arrangements to meet this month in the Rio Grande Valley, where the TikTok recruiter put a man in the trunk of Mr. Delgado’s Nissan Altima and piled clothes on top to try to conceal the migrant, according to court documents.

Mr. Delgado was sent on his way with a warning — stay relaxed while going through the Border Patrol checkpoint — and a promise of $5,200 when the migrant was dropped off outside Houston.

A canine at the checkpoint alerted on Mr. Delgado’s car, and agents found the migrant. Agents said Mr. Delgado begged them to cut him a break: “Can’t you let me go since this is my first time?”

A day later, at the same checkpoint, agents nabbed another man, Alvaro-Vazquez-Ruiz, who said he was recruited over Telegram, another social media app. He was promised $1,500 for every person he was able to get through the checkpoint.

He turned the fuel tank of his Ford F-350 truck into a compartment to hide a migrant, but the smugglers told him he had to transport two people, so he tried to stash the second person underneath the back seat. Agents manning the checkpoint spotted that person and swooped in to make the arrest, according to court files.

Social media apps such as TikTok, Snapchat, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have upended the smuggling world.

Connecting a driver to a group of migrants is as easy as messaging a GPS “pin” location. Scouts can alert smugglers to Border Patrol agents so they can avoid them or, in some cases, to make sure the migrants are spotted, distracting agents while a more valuable load is sneaked through.

FBI agents in California revealed that smugglers holding illegal immigrants for ransom also use WhatsApp to arrange meetups with relatives to transfer the cash.

Recent news reports show smugglers advertise their services on social media like regular businesses. The difference is that the “customers” are desperately poor migrants willing to go $10,000 into debt for an attempt to cross illegally into the U.S.

The value and dangers of a smartphone

There seem to be few areas where social media has not touched the smuggling world and few cases where it is not a factor.

The Washington Times reviewed 25 criminal smuggling cases filed in Arizona over the past two months in which migrants were held as witnesses — court documents usually provide the information — and found 17 had indications that smartphones were involved. That’s a rate of 68%.

The actual figure could be higher because Border Patrol agents filing other cases might not report smartphone use in court documents.

In about half of the Arizona cases, migrants were guided across the border and to rendezvous locations by smartphone.

Smugglers in several cases received real-time instructions or scouting reports. One smuggler said a text message gave a pin-drop location for his pickup. Another said he was communicating via WhatsApp with the smuggling coordinator throughout his trip. When agents got on his tail, he said, he was ordered not to pull over and to try to escape.

Smuggling organizations know the value — and the dangers — of the smartphone. Criminal case files are full of reports about foot guides, drivers and boat captains who tossed, smashed or wiped data from their phones once they saw Border Patrol agents closing in.

When agents do get access to texts or apps, they can build better cases and often puncture smugglers’ stories and excuses.

Smartphones also are valuable to migrants.

“I’ve never met an immigrant who didn’t have a modern cellphone, a smartphone, that was fully plugged into the social media world and that gave them live-time intelligence information about where to go, when to go and how people upstream were doing,” said Todd Bensman, a national security fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.

He said the most powerful lure is the collection of selfies their relatives, neighbors and friends text back home, advertising the ease of gaining a foothold in the U.S.

Smugglers have been using Facebook and Snapchat for years, but TikTok is relatively new, according to The Times’ database. Most major social media platforms have been used to recruit drivers or connect them with migrants.

Malik Jackson was nabbed in 2019 for smuggling after a citizen tipped off authorities. He said he responded to a Snapchat ad seeking drivers, according to court documents. He told agents the ad offered $300 per person to smuggle Mexicans and $600 per Chinese migrant.

Gequon Willis, nabbed at a highway checkpoint in California in 2019, said he saw a Snapchat video titled “Want to make some money.” He had been fired from his job and needed work, so he clicked through and someone contacted him and gave him instructions.

He picked up two illegal immigrants and was to be paid $1,000 per person.

WhatsApp is the most popular platform for smugglers, according to The Times’ database, followed by Facebook and Snapchat. WhatsApp is particularly useful once drivers are recruited. Smuggling organizers use the app to relay instructions, help connect drivers and migrants and make sure they get through checkpoints.

Connecting migrants with drivers, which used to be tricky in remote areas, is now as easy as messaging a GPS pin to the driver over one of the apps. Smuggling scouts can give step-by-step directions to help migrants on foot avoid checkpoints.

Drivers about to be caught are ordered to trash phones or erase data. Smuggling networks have been derailed by undeleted texts with stash house locations or names that can be used to build cases.

Trying to crack down

Customs and Border Protection said it is “aware of the use of social media” to connect with migrants and recruit operators.

The agency’s answer: public relations.

“CBP works in close coordination with its federal, local and international partner agencies, including local community leaders to message the inherent dangers to all would-be migrants thinking of crossing the border illegally, especially those using the services of smuggling organizations,” the agency told The Times.

Neither Telegram nor TikTok responded to questions about the platforms’ use in smuggling.

Snap, the company that runs Snapchat, also didn’t answer questions.

Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp along with its own platform, said it tries to ban illegal activity such as advertising for smuggling. The company pointed to an exchange between CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Rep. Buddy Carter, Georgia Republican, at a hearing this spring.

“That’s against our policies, and we’re taking a lot of steps to stop it,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

Mr. Carter told The Times this month that whatever Facebook is doing, it’s “clearly not enough.”

“We are facing a crisis at the border, and Facebook’s products are contributing to it. More needs to be done by them faster,” he said. “Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight over these companies, and I will continue to press them until their products are no longer used for human smuggling at the border.”

Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee have begun to probe TikTok’s use as a recruiting tool, particularly for the teenage audience that the app attracts.

Rep. John Katko of New York, the top Republican on the panel, said TikTok does have the power to flag and remove messages and can control which videos “go viral” and which clips are aimed at certain users.

“With such control, TikTok should be able to eradicate the cartel activities outlined above from the platform,” the Republicans wrote.

Illegal activity is sometimes in plain sight for those who know where to look.

Rolando Lucio, nabbed at the Falfurrias, Texas, checkpoint in December, told agents he used a YouTube video to coach the three migrants he was carrying on how to act and what to say to agents. He got tripped up when he told the agent the two migrants were family members but couldn’t remember their names.

An agent dryly wondered whether a relative wouldn’t know his family’s names. Lucio then came clean, according to court documents.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced this spring to 15 months in prison.

At times, social media accounts come back to bite the smugglers.

Edward Olivas, arrested at a Laredo, Texas, checkpoint in March, said he was a Lyft driver on a run from Laredo to San Antonio, albeit one booked outside of the app. He said he charged about $100.

When agents looked through his phone — after getting his legal consent — they found messages confirming that he knew he was smuggling and expected to be paid $2,000 to transport a Mexican woman through the checkpoint. He even checked to see whether her English was “decent.”

https://amp.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/jun/16/smartphone-smugglers-how-social-media-is-reshaping/?__twitter_impression=true