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As Media Platforms Muzzle Trump, Joe Biden Faces Animal Crossing Ban

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Last month, Joe Biden took his campaign into the Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing and began promoting himself in the digital world. He now faces a ban from the platform, along with all other political campaigns and businesses.

Nintendo appears to have updated its guidelines in response to the Biden campaign’s efforts on its platform.

 

“Please refrain from using the Game inappropriately or creating any content within the Game that would be considered vulgar, discriminatory, or offensive. Please also refrain from bringing politics into the Game,” the new guidelines read.

The guidelines go on to forbid players from using Animal Crossing “as a marketing platform that directs people to activities or campaigns outside the game (including directing people to a sales page, distributing coupons, sweepstakes, giveaways, requiring consumers to follow social network services accounts, gathering customers’ information, or other invitational activities).”

The Biden campaign reportedly created its own island in the game and called it “Biden HQ.”

The island had campaign flyers and a flag with the “Team Joe” logo and included a “massive ad for the Democratic Natonal Committee’s ‘I Will Vote’ website,” accord to The Verge.

The island includes plenty of ice cream, trains, aviators, chucks, swag, and more weaved throughout the entire island — but there are also features that encourage players to organize and mobilize,” Christian Tom, who served as director of the campaign’s digital partnerships, reportedly said after the island was established.

Nintendo says that groups that break these rules will be asked to stop their promotion, and if they refuse they could be baned from “future business usage of the game.”

For now, Biden’s island Dream Address is still active, and can still be accessed. It is unclear when Nintendo will begin enforcing the new policy.

Nintendo said that the new rules are intended to “preserve the experience for the millions of people enjoying the Game recreationally.”

The game was previously used by activists in Hong Kong, as a platform to protest, using flags containing protest slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” and funeral photographs of Communist Party of China (CPC) general secretary Xi Jinping as part of the virtual protests. In reaction, the game has been removed from online stores in China.

New Horizons was a major commercial success, breaking the console game record for most digital units sold in a single month with five million sales, and has currently sold over 26 million copies. It became the best-selling game in the Animal Crossing series, and the second best-selling game on the Nintendo Switch, after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It is currently the 28th best-selling video game in history.

In North America, it was the best-selling game of March 2020, becoming the second best-selling game of 2020 and surpassing the lifetime sales of all previous Animal Crossing games. New Horizons generated the third-highest known launch month sales of any Nintendo-published game.

On August 9, 2020, it was reported that Animal Crossing: New Horizons became the second-highest selling game of all time in Japan, after Pokemon Red and Blue.

Mark Horowitz is a graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in political science. Horowitz could have had a job at one of the top media organizations in the United States, but when working as an intern, he found that the journalists in the newsroom were confined by the anxieties and sensibilities of their bosses. Horowitz loved journalism, but wanted more freedom to pursue more complex topics than you would find on the evening news. Around the same time, he began to notice that there was a growing number of independent journalists developing followings online by sharing their in-depth analysis of advanced or off-beat topics. It wasn't long before Horowitz quit his internship with a large New York network to begin publishing his own material online.

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Trump Says Supreme Court Probably Won’t Take His Election Case

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In a phone interview with Fox News on Sunday, US President Donald Trump acknowledged that his legal battle “probably” won’t reach the Supreme Court, which had been the primary goal of his legal team for the past few weeks.

“It’s very hard to get a case to the Supreme Court. I probably can’t get a case,” Trump said on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

 

However, he continued to insist that widespread fraud took place during this year’s elections, claiming that millions of votes across several battleground states were illegitimate. He also refused to give any type of “drop-dead” date for when his team will give up their legal battle.

“I’ve got the best Supreme Court advocates, lawyers, that want to argue the case if it gets there, but they said it’s very hard to get a case up there,” Trump said.

This admission from Trump is a major blow to those who were trying to maintain hope for legal victories.

With each legal defeat that the team has suffered, they have claimed that it won’t matter when they bring the case to the Supreme Court. Now, with chances of a Supreme Court hearing looking bleak, the Trump team is running out of legal options to keep the White House.

At one point during the interview, Trump even suggested that the FBI and Department of Justice could somehow be involved in helping to rig the election.

“This is total fraud. And how the FBI, and Department of Justice — I don’t know, maybe they’re involved — but how people are allowed to get away with this is stuff is unbelievable. This election was rigged. This election was a total fraud,” Trump said.

Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo was criticized for not challenging Trump on many of his assertions about the election, which have previously seen push back from other employees of the network.

In the week after the election, Fox News host Neil Cavuto abruptly cut off White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, over claims about the election being stolen, saying that he could not air “false claims” in “good conscience.”

In his first public appearance after the election, Trump gave a controversial speech from the White House, which caused many networks to cut their coverage prematurely after he claimed that he would win the election if the “legal” votes were counted. MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, and NPR, decided to cut their coverage of the speech prematurely.

Fox continued to air the speech, but in the following days began to challenge Trump’s claims, causing the network’s relationship with the president to deteriorate. There have even been rumors that Trump is planning to launch his own media network when he leaves office, and that he wants to compete directly with Fox.

The day before his interview with Fox on Sunday, Trump slammed the network on Twitter and called its coverage “unwatchable.” He then directed his followers to watch OANN and Newsmax instead, which has given his efforts to contest the election much more favorable coverage than Fox.

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Justin Trudeau Pranked By Russians Posing As Greta Thunberg

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Russian comedians Vovan and Lexus managed to prank Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau with a phone call where they claimed to be climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, who call themselves Vovan and Lexus, are notorious for similar phone pranks.

 

They released the recording this week on YouTube with an animation. In the recording, they have a conversation with Trudeau in which he seemed convinced that he was talking to Greta for a moment.

However, he caught on when they asked about setting up a meeting with the fictional South Park characters Terrance and Phillip.

In the prank call, the “Greta” character said that she has fears of “growing international crisis and anticipation of the world war”.

“It already leads to disaster,” fake Greta said.“It’s very scary,” to which Trudeau replies: “Yes indeed.”

Also in the conversation, she said, “You are adults but you act like children. We can create a world where there is a place for everyone. For white and black. Christians and Muslims. Trump and Putin. for you and me. For Boris Johnson. For Corbyn. For Terrance and Phillip, who are also known in your country.”

“No, that is exactly, exactly the right perspective,” Trudeau responds.

At one point later she interrupts Trudeau and says, “But leave Nato. Drop your weapons. Pick flowers. Smile at nature.”

Trudeau responded, “I also dream of a world in which soldiers are not necessary, but we don’t live in that world yet, unfortunately.”

Next, she asked if he could set up a meeting with Terrance and Phillip.

That is when Trudeau started to catch on, but continued to play along a bit.

“I would be happy – I’ll ask my team to try and figure out how we can connect you. Because I don’t have their direct coordinates with me now. Wait, Terrance and Phillip, where they not in South Park? I don’t personally know them. I believe they are South Park parodies of Canadians,” he said.

He ended the call with the comedians shortly after.

Trudeau is the second-youngest prime minister in Canadian history. He is also the first to be related to a previous holder of the post, as the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau.

In the short year that Greta has been involved in her activism, she has quickly been thrust into the heights of fame.

There is also some discussion of nominating the child for the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.

The call and animation can be viewed below.

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Thousands of Inmates Scammed Unemployment Fund For Millions

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Tens of thousands of inmates in the state of California, even serial killers, and high profile murderers like Scott Peterson, were able to defraud the government of roughly a billion dollars through pandemic unemployment benefits. In court on Tuesday, prosecutors said that this was possibly the largest fraud scheme in California history.

“The fraud is honestly staggering,” Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

 

Schubert said that between March and August, inmates across every California prison filed 35,000 claims totaling around $1 billion. $140 million in benefits had already been sent out.

Some of the payments were made to friends and families of the inmates, while others were paid directly to the inmates inside the prisons. 133 of the state’s 700 death row inmates also filed for benefits under their real names, including high profile murderers like Cary Stayner, who murdered four people near Yosemite National Park in 1999, Susan Eubanks, who murdered her four sons in 1996; and Peterson, who killed his wife and unborn son in 2002.

In Kern County, district attorney Cynthia Zimmer said investigators noticed that something was wrong when prisoners across the state began receiving money orders. The forms that were filled out to receive the benefits included fake social security numbers and fake names like John Doe, John Adams or, in one case, “poopy britches.”

“Quite frankly, the inmates are mocking us,” Schubert said.

She said inmates were able to pull this off because California lacks a system that “cross matches” prison and jail data with unemployment claims. Only 35 states in the US currently has one of these systems, which means that widespread fraud could have taken place in other states as well.

In a statement, Loree Levy, deputy director of the state’s Economic Development Department, said it was “pursuing how to integrate such cross-matches moving forward as part of enhanced prevention efforts during this unprecedented time of pandemic-related unemployment fraud across the country.”

Earlier this year, a man from Florida was arrested after he was caught scamming the COVID relief fund out of $3.9 million and spending the money on a variety of different personal items and expenses. 29-year-old David T. Hines fraudulently applied for over $13 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for a few different companies.

Due to the rushed nature of the PPP program and the urgency of the pandemic, the government was sending out funds to pretty much anyone who applied, without checking IRS records first. However, the agency is starting to catch up with many of these scammers as they go back and evaluate which recipients qualify for the loan forgiveness. Numerous cases of PPP scammers have been reported across the country.

52-year-old David Staveley was recently arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in Alpharetta, Georgia, after he faked his own death to avoid fraud charges for the $500,000 he received from the government through fraudulent PPP loan applications.

Large corporations like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse received millions in PPP loans, but were later forced to return the money after a massive public outcry was sparked by their applications. Over 9,000 Catholic churches were approved for the loans as well, even though they are exempt from taxes.

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