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Years After Mistaken Thanksgiving Invite, Accidental Tradition Continues

Western Journal

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Thanksgiving is one of the most family-oriented holidays — a time for gratitude, reflection and creating more memories.

Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton aren’t related by blood, but they’ve forged an unbreakable bond and always spend Thanksgiving together thanks to an erroneous text sent in 2016.

It all began when Dench, who is from Arizona, sent a text to her family, including her grandson, inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner. What she didn’t know was that her grandson had changed his number.

After the new owner of the number wrote back to ask who was texting him, and she said “your grandma,” he asked for a photo of her and sent one of him in reply, making it clear they were strangers.

“You not my grandma,” he responded, according to “Today.” “Can I still get a plate tho.”

“Of course you can,” Dench replied. “That’s what grandma’s do …feed every one.”

It was 17-year-old Jamal Hinton, also from Arizona, who’d received the wayward invite, but what started as a mistake has ended in a deep friendship.

“I just clicked when I met him and first talked to him,” Dench told NBC News in 2016. “(I thought), ‘Oh my gosh, I want to get to know this guy.’ ”

“It was a reminder that there are still some good people left in this world,” Hinton said of his adoptive grandma, according to People. “She is a very sweet lady, she told me her husband was a veteran and she always invited his friends over for dinner, so she’s used to having a lot of people over. I just got a vibe from her that made me feel at home.”

Every year since then, Hinton has had a place at the Dench family table, and they take a photo every year.

Hinton’s girlfriend, Mikaela, has been welcomed as well.

Last year was difficult for the Dench family, as Wanda and her husband, Lonnie, came down with COVID early in the year.

“I am so sad to announce that Wanda and Lonnie both have COVID-19 and that Lonnie is currently in the hospital fighting both COVID and Pneumonia please send words of love and encouragement their way,” Hinton shared on Instagram on April 1, 2020.

Wanda recovered, but Lonnie didn’t. He died in April; Thanksgiving would never be the same.

But the group still gathered, and they took their annual photo — this time standing around a framed photo of their beloved Lonnie.

“Thank you @wandadench for such an amazing celebration!” Hinton tweeted on Nov. 26, 2020. “You are such a blessing to this world. We miss you Lonnie.”

Hinton has kept followers updated, and on Nov. 14 he revealed that plans for Thanksgiving 2021 were settled.

“We are all set for year 6!” he tweeted, along with a screenshot of the text invite.

This friendship that started accidentally is still going strong, and Wanda is happy to have two more people in the family — especially since she was raised in a military family, something that has shaped her philosophy regarding strangers and family.

“We moved around a lot, so I was always going to new places,” she told ABC News. “And so strangers were not strangers to me.

“Family is more than blood. It’s the people you want to be with.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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Elon Musk Announces Twitter Deal ‘Cannot Move Forward’ Unless CEO Proves Key Claim

Western Journal

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In a tweet that could shake the foundations and future of Twitter, Elon Musk said Tuesday morning he believes fake accounts make up as much as 20 percent of the platform.

The billionaire tweeted that his offer to buy Twitter was contingent on the accuracy of the company’s estimate that fewer than 5 percent of its accounts are spam or bot accounts instead of real people.

As such, Musk said, he will not move forward with his proposal to buy Twitter until company CEO Parag Agrawal proves Twitter’s numbers are accurate.

“20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher,” he said. “My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate.

“Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

Earlier, Musk had responded with skepticism to a series of tweets from Agrawal about the company’s spam calculations.

“So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he said.

His point was that advertisers pay to connect to real people, and if the platform has fewer real people than it claims, its bottom line could be shakier than it has reported.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has long proclaimed that Twitter is riddled with fake accounts.

On Friday, Musk posted that the deal with buy Twitter was “on hold” over the issue because the company’s numbers were lower than what he thought they should be.

Twitter had said in a quarterly filing on May 2 that its “estimation of false or spam accounts may not accurately represent the actual number,” language similar to that used in its past filings.

Musk followed up shortly thereafter to say, “Still committed to acquisition.”

Between Friday’s tweet and Tuesday’s, experts and analysts have offered three groupings of opinion.

One is that Musk is using the issue of bots to walk away from the deal.

Others believe that he wants to use this to lower the price of the purchase.

Tim Draper, an investor in Tesla and SpaceX as well as the Twitter venture, said he thinks the deal will eventually go through, according to the New York Post.

“I think so,” Draper said. “But I think he’s going to get a better deal because he found out that, whatever, two-thirds [of users] are bots or something.”

Axios pointed to a third option: “Some are even wondering whether the entire takeover attempt is anything more than Musk trolling Twitter, using Twitter.”

On Monday, Musk had brought up the subject of bots while speaking at a tech conference in Miami and estimated that the 20 percent number he tweeted Tuesday could be accurate, according to Bloomberg.

“Currently what I’m being told is that there’s just no way to know the number of bots,” he said. “It’s like, as unknowable as the human soul.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

In a tweet that could shake the foundations and future of Twitter, Elon Musk said Tuesday morning he believes fake accounts make up as much as 20 percent of the platform. The billionaire tweeted that his offer to buy Twitter was contingent on the accuracy of the company’s estimate that fewer than 5 percent of its accounts are spam or bot accounts instead of real people. As such, Musk said, he will not move forward with his proposal to buy Twitter until company CEO Parag Agrawal proves Twitter’s numbers are accurate. “20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher,” he said. “My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.” 20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher. My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2022 Earlier, Musk had responded with skepticism to a series of tweets from Agrawal about the company’s spam calculations. Let’s talk about spam. And let’s do so with the benefit of data, facts, and context… — Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 16, 2022 Unfortunately, we don’t believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share). Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day. — Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 16, 2022 “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he said. So how do advertisers know…

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Op-Ed: Xi Jinping Is Watching Putin to Decide When to Attack Taiwan

Western Journal

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is watching Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine to decide when to attack Taiwan. At this point that decision is made, but the timing won’t be settled until this fall and before President Joe Biden leaves the White House.

Let me untangle some issues that will dictate Beijing’s timing for its assault on Taiwan: Xi’s enemies and economic challenges, Biden’s green light indicators for Putin’s war, a growing list of battlefield lessons, and Biden’s broken foreign policy.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and Xi stakes his future on returning it to Chinese rule.

Last fall, he declared the Chinese people have a “glorious tradition of opposing separatism” and that “complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.” The communist chairman added, “The Taiwan question is purely an internal matter for China, one which brooks no external interference,” and he warned last year, “Anyone who would attempt to [interfere] will have their heads bashed bloody.”

Yes, Mr. Xi is committed to reunification, but the timing is bound by two realities.

The first is the possible confirmation of his third term in office, an unprecedented eventuality since Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. Xi’s third term would begin this November.

Xi’s hold on power, however, isn’t assured. Feng Chongyi, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said last year that some officials are “in strong opposition and are trying their best to prevent Xi’s next possible term.”

Those enemies know Xi’s Achilles heel: a sagging economy. According to the Communist Party’s “Shanghai Gang” faction, Xi is ruining the Chinese economy and must be ousted.

So, if Xi is to gain a third term, he must balance his domestic opposition and his economic vulnerability before assaulting Taiwan. After all, he learned from the Ukraine war that an attack on the democratic island nation will earn him severe economic sanctions, further threatening China’s economy. Thus, he intends to delay any invasion until after he is assured another term.

The other reality for Xi’s anticipated assault is identified by Andrei Illarionov, Putin’s economic adviser for almost six years in the early 2000s.

Illarionov, now a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, said the Chinese are learning from Putin’s war. He explained that Putin’s “decision to invade Ukraine is based on his absolutely correct understanding of President Biden. Without Biden in the White House, Putin would never invade Ukraine.”

Xi learned from Putin that Biden is weak and broadcasts what he will and won’t do — a predictable enemy.

“Mr. Putin is a very good psychologist,” Illarionov said. “He studied [security agency] files for Mr. Biden. He understood that’s a person who would never do anything against his invasion against Ukraine.” In fact, Biden showed his hand long before the war began.

Last year, Biden removed sanctions on Nord Stream 2, renewed the U.S.-Russian nuclear arms agreement without negotiations, did nothing about the buildup of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border and ordered U.S. warships out of the Black Sea after a Russian-Dutch naval confrontation. Putin perceived these moves as weaknesses, an effort on Biden’s part to avoid confrontation.

Biden’s representatives weren’t any better.

He sent William Burns, the CIA director, to Moscow, where, according to Illarionov, he offered guarantees “on issues of security, even when Russian troops [were] on the Ukrainian border and ready to attack Ukraine. That can be understood only in one way: Biden administration is giving green light for Putin to attack Ukraine.”

Then, in December, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Russian counterpart to discuss the Ukraine crisis. However, Illarionov said, “90 percent” of the discussions were about the Iran nuclear deal, yet again “giving a green light to Mr. Putin to attack Ukraine.”

On other fronts, according to Illarionov, Biden recalled American citizens and military personnel from Ukraine. He even offered to help President Volodymyr Zelenskyy leave Ukraine. Once again, Illarionov said, “Mr.  Putin understood these signs in the exactly right way”: as weakness and a go-ahead to invade.

Xi understands that Biden was never serious about stopping Putin’s war. In fact, Illarionov said Xi, like Putin, “understands very well that there is a unique window of opportunity … when Mr. Biden is the president. With any other U.S. president … [an invasion of Ukraine or Taiwan] would be impossible.”

The Russian concluded, “This dangerous moment will last at least until January 2025, until hopefully another president will be in the White House.”

Of course, there are numerous other lessons from Russia’s war for the Chinese dictator. His invasion of Taiwan will be tougher than Putin’s assault on Ukraine because the Chinese are attacking a well-fortified island nation 160 miles from the mainland, a true logistics nightmare. Further, unlike the go-it-alone fight forced on Kyiv, the government in Taipei expects the U.S. and other Western powers to directly intervene.

The most important lesson for Xi is that Biden is a predictable, weak enemy who broadcasts his intentions. So unless the Biden team finds better foreign policy acumen, we could as soon as late fall see the skies reflect green lights signaling Xi to assault Taiwan.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is watching Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine to decide when to attack Taiwan. At this point that decision is made, but the timing won’t be settled until this fall and before President Joe Biden leaves the White House. Let me untangle some issues that will dictate Beijing’s timing for its assault on Taiwan: Xi’s enemies and economic challenges, Biden’s green light indicators for Putin’s war, a growing list of battlefield lessons, and Biden’s broken foreign policy. Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and Xi stakes his future on returning it to Chinese rule. Last fall, he declared the Chinese people have a “glorious tradition of opposing separatism” and that “complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.” The communist chairman added, “The Taiwan question is purely an internal matter for China, one which brooks no external interference,” and he warned last year, “Anyone who would attempt to [interfere] will have their heads bashed bloody.” Yes, Mr. Xi is committed to reunification, but the timing is bound by two realities. The first is the possible confirmation of his third term in office, an unprecedented eventuality since Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. Xi’s third term would begin this November. Xi’s hold on power, however, isn’t assured. Feng Chongyi, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said last year that some officials are “in strong opposition and are trying their best to prevent Xi’s next possible term.” Those enemies know Xi’s Achilles heel: a sagging economy. According to the Communist Party’s “Shanghai Gang” faction, Xi is ruining the Chinese economy and must be ousted. So, if Xi is to gain a third term, he must balance his domestic opposition and his economic vulnerability before assaulting Taiwan. After all, he learned…

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