Misinformation a Growing Threat to Democrats Anxious About Their Standing With Latino Voters

Misinformation represents a growing threat to Democrats, who are anxious about their standing with Latino voters after surprise losses last year in places like South Florida and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

Heading into a midterm election in which control of Congress is at stake, lawmakers, researchers and activists are preparing for another onslaught of falsehoods targeted at Spanish-speaking voters as was targeted at Joe Biden in his run. And they say social media platforms that often host those mistruths aren’t prepared.

Biden ordenó arrestar a padre de una joven violada por un trans,” read one of several misleading articles, translating to “Biden ordered the arrest of a father whose daughter was raped by a trans.”

The mistruth was spun from an altercation during a chaotic school board meeting months earlier in Loudoun County that resulted in the arrest of a father whose daughter was sexually assaulted in a bathroom by another student. The father claimed the suspect was “gender fluid,” which sparked outcry over the school’s policy allowing transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity. The White House was not involvedin the meeting.

“For a lot of people, there’s a lot of concern that 2022 will be another big wave,” said Guy Mentel, executive director of Global Americans, a think tank that provides analysis of key issues throughout the Americas.

Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, a nonprofit that mobilizes Hispanics to become politically engaged said, “It has everything to do with trust in institutions. Trust in government. Eroding that trust will transfer not just to voting in the midterms, but just overall disengagement from your government.” She works to combat misinformation.


Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser: Biden Pushes Shots and Booster

Speaking on behalf of the president, Biden’s chief medical adviser has informed the American citizens that Biden will encourage Americans to get vaccinated and take the booster as well. He will not push for more restrictions to stop the spread of the new variant beyond travel to and from South Africa and seven other countries in the region.

The new variant poses the latest test to Biden’s efforts to contain the pandemic, mitigate its impacts on the economy and return a sense of normalcy to the U.S. during the holiday season.

Other nations were also moving to close their borders or reinstate lockdowns amid a host of other severe measures to prevent the omicron variant from spreading, but Dr. Anthony Fauci indicated that the U.S. was not following suit. Fauci says the ban from travels from South Africa will give the U.S. time to learn more about the variant and to “intensify” its vaccination campaign. Fauci believes that omicron will eventually show up on the U.S. shores and could become the dominant strain since omicron “has a transmissibility advantage” over other variants.


No Middle Ground in the Fight Over Abortion

Roe v. Wade is back in court. This landmark 1973 ruling that declared a nationwide right to abortion, is facing its most serious challenge in 30 years in front of a court with a 6-3 conservative majority that has been remade by three appointees of President Donald Trump.

“There are no half measures here,” said Sherif Girgis, a Notre Dame law professor who once served as a law clerk for Justice Samuel Alito.

The justices can either reaffirm the constitutional right to an abortion or wipe it away altogether.

A ruling that overturned Roe and the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey would lead to outright bans or severe restrictions on abortion in 26 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.

The case being argued Wednesday comes from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability. The Supreme Court has never allowed states to ban abortion before the point at roughly 24 weeks when a fetus can survive outside the womb.

Lower courts blocked the Mississippi law, as they have other abortion bans that employ traditional enforcement methods by state and local officials. Mississippi is one of 12 states ready to act almost immediately if Roe is overturned.


Twitter Co-founder Jack Dorsey to be Replaced by Parag Agrawal

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is stepping down as CEO of the social media platform. He will be succeeded by Twitter’s current chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal. Dorsey will remain on board until his term expires in 2022. Agrawal came on board Twitter in 2011 and has been CTO since 2017.

“If he’s actually stepping away from Twitter this time, Dorsey leaves behind a mixed legacy,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. “A platform that’s useful and potent for quick communication but one that’s been exploited by a range of bad actors, including former President Donald Trump, who did his best on Twitter to undermine democracy — until Dorsey’s people finally had enough and shut him down.”

Dorsey has faced several distractions as CEO, starting with the fact that he’s also founder and CEO of the payments company Square. Some big investors have openly questioned whether he could effectively lead both companies. He proved he could do both.

While Twitter has high-profile users like politicians and celebrities and is a favorite of journalists, its user base lags far behind old rivals like Facebook and YouTube and newer ones like TikTok. It has just over 200 million daily active users, a common industry metric.

In his goodbye letter, Dorsey said he has “worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders” and that to focus too much on whether companies are led by their founders is “severely limiting.”


Libya’s Late Dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s Son Disqualified From Running for President

The name of Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, Libya’s late dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s son, appeared on a list of ineligible candidates running for president in elections to be held next month. This report was issued by the country’s High National Elections Committee.

Seif’s previous convictions are working against him. Seif al-Islam had been sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in 2015 for using violence against protesters in a 2011 uprising against his father, but that ruling has since been called into question by Libya’s rival authorities. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity related to the uprising.

The son of Libya’s former dictator submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabha on Nov. 14. It was the first time in years that the 49-year-old, who earned a PhD at the London School of Economics, appeared in public.

He had been captured by fighters in the town of Zintan late in 2011, as the uprising ended his father’s rule after 40 years. Seif al-Islam was released in June 2017.

The announcement of his possible candidacy stirred controversy across the divided country.


U.N. Officials Estimate That 1,600 People Have Died or Gone Missing in the Mediterranean Sea Already This Year

The Mediterranean Sea is the main gateway to Europe for migrants trying to enter the continent with the help of human smugglers. The sinking of a boat with more than 30 people on board this week is the deadliest migration tragedy to date in the English Channel. Thus far, an estimates 1,600 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea.

This year the busiest and deadliest migrant route to Europe is the central Mediterranean where people travel in crowded boats from Libya and Tunisia — and in some cases all the way from Turkey — toward Italy. About 60,000 people have arrived in Italy by sea this year, and some 1,200 have died or disappeared on the journey, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Their travel vessels consist of rickety boats or rubber dinghies and are unable to stan dup to the sometimes inclement weather especially this time of the year what with the cold weather setting in.

The International Organization of Migration estimates that 23,000 people have perished since 2014 while trying to cross the Mediterranean, peaking at more than 5,000 in 2016. In the same seven-year period, about 166 people have died in the English channel.

The number of missing is an estimate partly based on information from survivors of shipwrecks.


West Point Graduates Call on Rep. David Eastman to Resign Stating Betrayal of Academy Values

A total of 69 West Point Graduates have called on state representative David Eastman to resign stating he has ties to a right-wing extremist group thus betraying the values of the U.S. Military Academy that he attended.

A letter signed by 69 fellow West Point graduates was published in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman and called on Eastman to resign after his membership in the Oath Keepers became public, with another name added after publication. Eastman had previously confirmed to the Anchorage Daily News that he became a member of the organization shortly after it formed more than a decade ago.

“We give it as our fixed opinion that, as a serving member of the Alaska State Legislature who has repeatedly emphasized your status as a veteran and a graduate, you have discredited yourself and betrayed the values of West Point,” the letter said. “We call on you to do the honorable thing and resign from office.”

Can one effectively serve two masters?

Ivan Hodes, a West Point graduate living in Anchorage, authored the letter. He served in the same military police battalion at Fort Richardson in Anchorage as Eastman.

“I thought that the decent thing to do would be to offer an opportunity for resignation,” Hodes told the Anchorage Daily News.

Hodes said he reached out to other West Point graduates because he was concerned Eastman, a Republican from Wasilla, was violating his duties as a legislator.

“It’s serving two masters,” Hodes said. “You can’t be loyal to the U.S. government and the government of Alaska and at the same time belong to this militia. . . . It’s OK for him to be an Oath Keeper as a private citizen. David Eastman has a duty here: he can choose to choose Oath Keepers or he can choose state government.”

Eastman is known for making divisive statements, and as Hodes said, “The reputation of the Academy is at stake.”


Unidentified Assailants Open Fire Outside City Hall in Northern Mexico

Two men and one woman were killed when unidentified assailants opened fire outside city hall in Sonora in northern Mexico. Sonora has been the scene of bloody turf battles between several cartels, but it was unclear if Thursday’s shooting was related to that.

The shooting comes one day after state authorities said they found 14 clandestine graves near Miguel Aleman, a town north of Guaymas. State prosecutors say the burial pits contained bones, some burned, and decomposing bodies, but said they cannot yet determine the number of victims.

Sonora has been the scene of drug gang turf battles thought to involve factions of the Sinaloa Cartel, allies of the Jalisco cartel and a gang allied with fugitive drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.

Residents are urged to stay away from the downtown area in the Gulf of California port of Guaymas.


Syracuse Beats Arizona State 92-84

Buddy Boeheim scored 17 of his 23 points before halftime to help Syracuse build a huge lead and beat Arizona State 92-84 in Thursday’s consolation round at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Syracuse advances to face No. 19 Auburn in Friday’s fifth-place game, while Arizona State will meet Loyola Chicago in the seventh-place game and avoid being the only team to go 0-3 at the Atlantis resort.

Marreon Jackson scored 17 points to lead six players in double figures for the Sun Devils, who made 11 of 23 3-pointers after halftime and 15 of 39 for the game. Jackson, D.J. Horne and Luther Muhammad each hit three 3s after halftime.

Arizona State got as close as seven three times in the final 3 minutes, though Edwards and Cole Swider each had three-point plays to answer and hold off the Sun Devils.


U.S. Adds Pressure on Russia to Stop or Slow Construction of Nord Stream 2

The U.S. has unsuccessfully tried to slow or stop the construction of Nord Stream 2, which would carry Russian gas to Germany, fearing the added leverage that the energy project will give Russia in Europe.

Russian-controlled gas giant Gazprom owns the pipeline with investment from several European companies. The United States reached a deal with Germany, a key NATO ally, last summer to allow the pipeline’s completion without imposing U.S. sanctions on German interests involved in the project.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement the Biden administration has now sanctioned eight people and 17 vessels linked to the pipeline.