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TheProle

TheProle's Journal
TheProle's Journal
June 14, 2024

Pentagon ran secret anti-vax campaign to undermine China during pandemic

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. military launched a secret campaign to counter what it perceived as China’s growing influence in the Philippines, a nation hit especially hard by the deadly virus.

The clandestine operation has not been previously reported. It aimed to sow doubt about the safety and efficacy of vaccines and other life-saving aid that was being supplied by China, a Reuters investigation found. Through phony internet accounts meant to impersonate Filipinos, the military’s propaganda efforts morphed into an anti-vax campaign. Social media posts decried the quality of face masks, test kits and the first vaccine that would become available in the Philippines – China’s Sinovac inoculation.

Reuters identified at least 300 accounts on X, formerly Twitter, that matched descriptions shared by former U.S. military officials familiar with the Philippines operation. Almost all were created in the summer of 2020 and centered on the slogan #Chinaangvirus – Tagalog for China is the virus.

“COVID came from China and the VACCINE also came from China, don’t trust China!” one typical tweet from July 2020 read in Tagalog. The words were next to a photo of a syringe beside a Chinese flag and a soaring chart of infections. Another post read: “From China – PPE, Face Mask, Vaccine: FAKE. But the Coronavirus is real.”


https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-covid-propaganda/
June 12, 2024

Ohio Election Shock as Republican District Shifts 20 Points to Democrats

https://www.newsweek.com/ohio-special-election-congress-results-1911576

A Republican district in Ohio has shifted 20 points to the Democrats in the state's latest special election.

Republican state Senator Michael Rulli defeated Democrat Michael Kripchak to win the election held in eastern Ohio's 6th District on Tuesday to fill a vacancy left by Bill Johnson, who resigned in January after 13 years in Congress to become president of Youngstown State University.

While Rulli was able to win by nearly 10 percentage points, with 54.7 percent of the vote to Kripchak's 45.3 percent, the results mark a notable decline in GOP support the Ohio district compared to previous elections. Johnson won his last four elections by more than 30 percentage points.

Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for November's presidential election, won the former battleground state by 8 points in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. Newsweek contacted the Ohio Republican Party by email outside of normal business hours to comment on this story.
June 9, 2024

"Centre, liberal and green parties are set to retain the balance of power in the 720-seat (EU) parliament"

Gains by the right will be a thorn in the side of the EU and may impact legislation, but the Far Right is NOT going to dominate the EU Parliament.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/european-parliament-poised-rightward-shift-000608486.html

June 6, 2024

Russia deploying air and sea assets for military exercises in Caribbean, U.S. official says

Russia is preparing to deploy aircraft and combat naval vessels to the Caribbean to conduct military exercises in the coming weeks, its first exercises in the Western Hemisphere involving both air and sea activity in five years, a senior administration official told McClatchy and the Miami Herald.

The Biden administration is not expressing concern over the deployment, with the official stating it poses “no direct threat to the United States.” But the administration believes Moscow intends to use the exercises as a “messaging tactic” after President Joe Biden gave Ukraine permission last week to fire U.S.-made weapons across its border into Russia to defend its territory.

The official said the administration expects Moscow will “conduct heightened naval and air activity near the United States” that will likely include port calls by combat naval vessels in Cuba, and possibly Venezuela — two longstanding Russian allies that have seen occasional visits from Russian naval assets in the past two decades. The exercises may also include “aircraft deployments” and flights in the region, the official said.

Administration officials suspect that Cuba approved the Russian port call “at least in part” over an incident last year in which a U.S. nuclear submarine docked at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, angering the Cubans, a second U.S. official said.


https://www.yahoo.com/news/russia-deploying-air-sea-assets-230000018.html
June 5, 2024

Top news app in US has Chinese origins and 'writes fiction' with the help of AI

LONDON (Reuters) -Last Christmas Eve, NewsBreak, a free app with roots in China that is the most downloaded news app in the United States, published an alarming piece about a small town shooting. It was headlined "Christmas Day Tragedy Strikes Bridgeton, New Jersey Amid Rising Gun Violence in Small Towns."

The problem was, no such shooting took place. The Bridgeton, New Jersey police department posted a statement on Facebook on December 27 dismissing the article - produced using AI technology - as "entirely false".

"Nothing even similar to this story occurred on or around Christmas, or even in recent memory for the area they described," the post said. "It seems this 'news' outlet's AI writes fiction they have no problem publishing to readers."

NewsBreak, which is headquartered in Mountain View, California and has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, told Reuters it removed the article on December 28, four days after publication.

The company said "the inaccurate information originated from the content source," and provided a link to the website, adding: "When NewsBreak identifies any inaccurate content or any violation of our community standards, we take prompt action to remove that content."


https://www.yahoo.com/tech/top-news-app-us-chinese-100328243.html
June 4, 2024

How 1980s Yuppies Gave Us Donald Trump

A wealthy New York real estate mogul may not have seemed particularly well suited for the role of populist hero, but Donald Trump’s historic realignment of white working-class voters not only delivered him the presidency in 2016, but changed the GOP as we know it. A recent Gallup survey indicates that more Republicans now identify as working or lower class than Democrats. And white voters without a college education, once a core Democratic constituency, remain a key element of Trump’s reelection bid heading into November.

But for all the ink spilled over Trump’s connection to the white-working class, it’s actually a very different demographic that explains his ascension: Yuppies.

If you really want to understand Trump’s appeal, you need to go back a few decades to examine the social forces that shaped his rise as a real estate developer and remade American politics in the 1980s. Specifically, you need to wind back the tape to the 1984 Democratic primary, the almost-pulled-it-off candidacy of Colorado Senator Gary Hart and the emerging yuppie demographic that made up his base. They don’t remotely resemble the working-class base we associate with Trump today. But together, they helped shift the Democratic Party’s focus away from its labor coalition and toward the hyper-educated liberal voters it largely represents today, eventually creating an opening for Trump to cast Democrats as out-of-touch elites and draw the white working class away from them. In fact, if it weren’t for 1980s yuppies and the way they shifted America’s political parties, the modern MAGA GOP might never have arisen in the first place.


https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2024/06/04/yuppies-donald-trump-book-excerpt-00160689
June 3, 2024

Judge blocks key defense evidence and witness on eve of Hunter Biden gun trial

The federal judge overseeing Hunter Biden’s gun trial dealt his defense two setbacks Sunday, on the eve of jury selection, by blocking one of his expert witnesses and excluding a key piece of evidence the president’s son hoped to use.

The rulings from Judge Maryellen Noreika resolved some of the sticking points that were still simmering before the trial begins Monday. Taken together, these decisions could make a tough case for Hunter Biden even more challenging to win. President Joe Biden’s son has pleaded not guilty to illegally buying and owning a gun while abusing illicit drugs.

Noreika granted a request from special counsel David Weiss to block one of Hunter Biden’s expert witnesses from testifying. The defense had lined up a Columbia University-based psychiatrist who would’ve tried to poke holes in prosecutors’ assertions that Hunter Biden knew he was an addict in 2018 when he bought the gun that led to his indictment.
Hunter Biden walks with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden to board Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on May 31.

“The inadequacy of Defendant’s expert disclosure for Dr. (Elie) Aoun leaves the government in the dark as to what his opinions about the facts of this case will be, thus rendering the government unable to prepare for trial,” Noreika wrote in her ruling.

The judge also blocked Hunter Biden’s lawyers from using what they thought was a key piece of exculpatory evidence: an altered version of the federal firearms form he filled out when he bought the gun in 2018 that was tweaked in 2021 by the gun store employees.


https://www.cnn.com/2024/06/02/politics/judge-blocks-evidence-hunter-biden-gun-trial?cid=ios_app
May 30, 2024

Fact Check: The jury needs to reach a unanimous verdict in each of the 34 counts against Trump

Former President Donald Trump has claimed that Judge Juan Merchan “is not requiring a unanimous decision on the fake charges against me" as the jury deliberates in the hush money trial against him.

Trump made the claim in a social media post on Wednesday in which he described Merchan’s supposed position as “RIDICULOUS, UNCONSTITUTIONAL, AND UNAMERICAN.” He was echoing assertions that had been circulating among conservatives after Fox News anchor John Roberts wrote on social media earlier on Wednesday that “Judge Merchan just told the jury that they do not need unanimity to convict.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim inaccurately depicts what Merchan said.

Merchan told the jury in his instructions on Wednesday that their verdict “must be unanimous” on each of the 34 counts that Trump faces and that, to convict Trump of felony falsification of business records, they have to unanimously agree that he falsified business records with the intent to commit, aid or conceal another crime — that other crime being a violation of a New York election law.

But Merchan explained that while this New York election law prohibits people from conspiring to use “unlawful means” to promote a candidate’s election, jurors don’t have to unanimously agree on which particular “unlawful means” Trump may have used. They can find him guilty as long as they unanimously agree that Trump used some unlawful means. Prosecutors provided three theories of what unlawful means Trump used.


https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-hush-money-trial-05-30-24/index.html
May 30, 2024

PEW: More than half of Americans are following election news closely, and many are already worn out

More than half of Americans (58%) say they are following news about candidates for the 2024 presidential election very or fairly closely. Another 28% say they aren’t following it too closely, and 13% aren’t following it closely at all.

The share of Americans who are closely following election news is slightly higher now than it was in April 2020 (52%). In October 2020, however, that share increased to 75%.

This year, Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party are slightly more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to say they are closely following election news (64% vs. 58%).

snip

Although many Americans are following news about the 2024 presidential candidates, they are also experiencing fatigue over election coverage. About six-in-ten U.S. adults (62%) already say they are worn out by so much coverage of the campaign and candidates, while 35% say they like seeing a lot of this coverage.


https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2024/05/28/more-than-half-of-americans-are-following-election-news-closely-and-many-are-already-worn-out/

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