Author Topic: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2  (Read 72933 times)

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4430 on: November 24, 2021, 06:16:22 AM »
Violent MAGA's are threatening the lives of GOP members in their own party! They are a dangerous cult! 

Trump supporters' death threats lead to Arizona GOP lawmaker not seeking re-election

An Arizona GOP lawmaker who has stood up to Donald Trump and his "big lie" says he won't seek re-election in part due to death threats from the former president's supporters.

Sen. Paul Boyer is one of the few Republican state senators who've criticized his chamber's partisan audit of 2020 election results in Maricopa County. And Boyer is "best known for his role as the lone Republican vote against holding the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt of a Senate subpoena for election equipment," according to a report from the Arizona Agenda.

Boyer told the Agenda that "several factors" led to his decision not to seek re-election, "including anger at Senate Republican leadership (and Senate President Karen Fann specifically)" and "disillusionment with the direction of his party."

"The birth of his first son in 2019 and the death threats he received in the past year for standing up to the lie that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election in Arizona also played a significant role, he said," according to the Agenda, which noted that Boyer's family had to get police protection and temporarily leave their home.

"I had to put security doors on my home because of some of the threats I was getting. Nobody should have to have that worry just because of a vote you've taken or didn't take," Boyer said.

Trump attacked Boyer in a statement on July 22, calling the staunchly conservative senator a "RINO if there ever was one" and "nothing but trouble." Trump also signaled support for Boyer's GOP primary challenger, former state Rep. Anthony Kern, who attended the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Responding to Trump's statement on Twitter, Boyer mocked the former president:

"Had Trump built the wall like he promised, perhaps he could've prevented the 40k #BambooBallots from being imported into Arizona," Boyer wrote. "And if he hadn't started an insurrection in D.C. and gotten kicked off here, I could've responded directly to him. So there's that."

According to the Agenda, Boyer said "he wasn't pushed out by Trump's opposition." But he "acknowledged his re-election would be a lot harder with the former president's personal grudge against him and the farther-right wing of the Republican Party's bloodlust for anyone who doesn't toe the Trump line on election fraud."

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4431 on: November 24, 2021, 02:18:20 PM »
Thanks to the GOP, any nut can walk around with semi automatic weapons and threaten store employees over a pizza.

Tennessee man holds up Little Caesars with AK-47 after being told of 10-minute wait for pizza

On Tuesday, WVLT reported that a Knoxville, Tennessee man held up a Little Caesars in Cedar Bluff with an AK-47 rifle after being told his pepperoni pizza order would take ten minutes.

"Officers responded to the restaurant just after 9 p.m. Friday where they were told that the suspect, identified as Charles Doty Jr., 53, became upset when he was told that his pepperoni pizza would take ten minutes to make. According to the report, 'he got upset and demanded a free bread stick order and went outside the business to wait for the pizza,'" reported Camruinn Morgan-Ramsey. "When Doty Jr. returned, he had the rifle in hand and was pointing it at employees, demanding his pizza immediately, the report reads. Doty Jr. reportedly stopped an employee who was trying to leave the Little Caesars, asking 'where in the hell he thought he was going,' and a woman waiting in line ended up giving him her pizza in an attempt to get him to leave."

According to the report, police later tracked him down and arrested him. He is charged with aggravated assault and especially aggravated kidnapping.

"He comes walking back in and hasn't pointed at anybody yet. I was taking care of a female customer and she was just getting ready to leave, then he gets the gun. He pointed at me saying where is my damn pizza I want my pizza," said former Little Caesars employee Kimberleigh Smith. "I was shocked it was over a six dollar pizza."

Tennessee's Republican-controlled legislature recently enacted what is known as a "permitless carry" law, allowing people to carry handguns without any training or licensing from the state — although that law does not apply to long guns like the AK-47. Federal background check laws still apply, although these can be circumvented by buying guns through private sales without the involvement of licensed dealers; websites like exist to facilitate these unchecked gun sales.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4432 on: November 24, 2021, 02:20:47 PM »
January 6 organizer demanded aides buy burner phones with cash to talk with Trump officials

Organizers of the Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally reportedly used "burner phones" purchased with cash to communicate with former president Donald Trump's team — including his son Eric Trump, daughter-in-law Lara Trump, chief of staff Mark Meadows, and campaign consultant Katrina Pierson.

"Kylie Kremer, a top official in the 'March for Trump' group that helped plan the Ellipse rally, directed an aide to pick up three burner phones days before Jan. 6, according to three sources who were involved in the event," Rolling Stone reported Tuesday night. "One of the sources, a member of the 'March for Trump' team, says Kremer insisted the phones be purchased using cash and described this as being 'of the utmost importance.'"

While Kremer used one of the phones to communicate with Trump's team, another was given to her mother, Amy Kremer, who was also a key organizer of the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the Capitol insurrection, according to the magazine. It is unclear who received the third phone. The three sources told Rolling Stone that "some of the most crucial planning conversations between top rally organizers and Trump's inner circle took place on those burner phones."

"That was when the planning for the event on the Ellipse was happening, she needed burner phones in order to communicate with high level people is how she put it," the March For Trump team member said of Kylie Kremer. "They were planning all kinds of stuff, marches and rallies. Any conversation she had with the White House or Trump family took place on those phones."

Kylie Kremer reportedly directed an aide to purchase the phones in Palm Springs, California, one week before the Jan. 6 rally. In addition to the nationwide "March for Trump" bus tour that culminated in the "Stop the Steal" rally, the Kremers led "Women for America First," which obtained the permit for the Jan. 6 event.

"Burner phones — cheap, prepaid cells designed for temporary usage — do not require users to have an account. This makes them hard to trace and ideal for those who are seeking anonymity — particularly if they are purchased with cash," Rolling Stone reported. "The use of burner phones could make it more difficult for congressional investigators to find evidence of coordination between Trump's team and rally planners."

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4433 on: November 24, 2021, 02:28:09 PM »
Manhattan DA is investigating the Trump Organization-owned 40 Wall Street for changing its valuation from $527 million to just $16.7 million a few months later

Investigators are reportedly probing swings in valuations of properties owned by the Trump Organization

In 2012 it valued 40 Wall Street at $527 million, according to the Washington Post, but months later said it was worth only $16.7 million

The scrutiny follows the indictment this summer of the company and its chief financial officer on charges of running a scheme to evade taxes

The Manhattan district attorney is investigating how the Trump Organization gave widely differing valuations for a number of its properties, it emerged on Monday.

Prosecutors appear to be examining whether the company broke the law by giving low values in tax assessments, while using high ones to generate tax breaks or bolster loan applications, according to the Washington Post.

In particular they are looking at 40 Wall Street, which in June 2012 was described by the Trump Organization as worth $527 million in a list of assets - making it among the most valuable in New York.

But months later the company told tax officials it was worth only $16.7 million, according to city records.

The scrutiny follows the indictment this summer of the company and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who have been charged with a scheme to evade taxes.

Weisselberg and the company deny wrongdoing and are contesting the charges.

The company says the investigation is a witch hunt and a waste of resources while New York is coping with surging crime. 

In recent weeks, it was reported that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has convened a new special grand jury to hear evidence against the company.

Along with New York Attorney General Letitia James, it has been investigating whether Trump valued his holdings one way when seeking loans and a different way when preparing taxes - allegations raised by Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen in congressional testimony.

'It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes,' Cohen said in 2019. 

The New York Times also reported last month that Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah had launched a probe into whether the Trump Organization misled officials to secure tax cuts for a golf course.

Among other properties reportedly under investigation are the former president's California golf club - allegedly valued at $900,000 or $25 million depending on the audience - and an estate in suburban New York, valued at $56 million through to $291 million, according to the Washington Post.

'This is way, way beyond anything that's believable,' Norm Miller, professor of real estate finance at the University of San Diego, told the newspaper. 'I've never seen anything with a gap that extreme.'

The 72-story skyscraper at 40 Wall Street was among Trump's proudest acquisitions, but Reuters last month reported that problem that pre-dated the pandemic were getting worse.

After the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, tenants began exploring whether they could abandon their leases.

And occupancy was 84% in March 2021, well below the average of about 89% for that downtown New York office market, according to Mike Brotschol, managing director of KBRA Analytics LLC.

The rents Trump has been able to charge are lower, too – between $38 and $42 per square foot in a market where the average runs closer to $50, he said.

The property's financials have tumbled into risky territory, the reports say.

Trump took out a $160 million loan in 2015 to refinance 40 Wall Street – personally guaranteeing $26 million. Last year, the building was placed on an industry watchlist for commercial mortgage-backed securities at risk of defaulting, according to reports by KBRA and Trepp, which also monitors real-estate loans.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4434 on: November 25, 2021, 12:45:47 AM »
We may be at an inflection point for political violence in the U.S.

Political violence is on people's minds now that Kyle Rittenhouse has been acquitted. According to USA Today, far-right groups celebrated last week's unsurprising verdict. "Kyle Rittenhouse is the hero we've been waiting for" was posted on the Gab profile for VDare, a self-consciously fascist organization headquartered in the foothills of Washington, Conn. The takeaway appears to be that it's now OK to shoot anti-racists as long as the shooting can be credibly characterized as "self-defense."

Protests broke out in Kenosha, Wis., where Rittenhouse traveled two summers ago to "protect" property while demonstrators, including some violent looters, protested the police murder of George Floyd. These newest protests were accompanied by a father-daughter duo carrying the same long gun Rittenhouse did. Instead of being white, though, they were Black. Instead of protecting property, they were protecting "anti-Rittenhouse protesters," said the New York Post.

Political violence is on people's minds. The right to petition the government for redress of grievances enshrined in the First Amendment seems to be running against the grain of the right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment. After Rittenhouse's acquittal, anti-racists may feel it's too dangerous to petition. (The fascists are taking it to mean they can shoot first and often.) But some won't let the Second Amendment nullify the First. They'll arm up.

When racists with guns meet anti-racists with guns, it's likely the results will be bad, bad, very bad. USA Today, citing a study by Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, said "armed protests are six times more likely to turn violent compared to protests where no guns are present." That study examined more than 30,000 public demonstrations over 18 months between January 2020 to June 2021.

Lead researcher Roudabeh Kishi told USA Today: "Oftentimes guns can kind of play a role with just increasing tensions. They're used as intimidation and kind of makes a tense environment even more tense. And so sometimes we'll see other types of violence breakout, not necessarily always a shooting," she said. "So it's like an indirect way arms can actually contribute to violence and destruction."

Political violence is on people's minds. Lee Drutman, a political scientist and New America fellow, said today that "violence is the alternative to politics. By normalizing violence, we undermine politics."

But what if political violence is normal? What if it should always be on people's mind. And what if our democratic politics is always already being undermined in some way by political violence. I suggest Rittenhouse's acquittal will not be the cause of future political violence. It is the effect of past political violence always already at work. We don't see it, though. Political violence is so normal it's practically invisible.

Political violence is the predictable consequence of democratic politics seeking to advance the cause of liberty, equality and justice for all coming into conflict with conservative politics seeking to maintain a social order in which white men rule American society with impunity.

Because democracy won't stop, and conservative politics won't stop, that means political violence is always already there. It's better to see Rittenhouse's acquittal not as a cause of future violence but, I think, as an inflection point after which private political violence goes public.

Private political violence? What we are seeing now, in the potential for armed racists to silence free speech through intimidation or murder, didn't come from no where. It started at home, in the family, especially between husband and wife. When women challenge "authority," when children challenge "authority," conservative politics does not turn to democracy as a means of resolving conflict. It turns to violence.

It also covers it up. When a husband hits his wife, when a father hits his kids, our discourse almost never calls it political violence though the maintenance of the man's authority over his wife and children is almost always the reason he hits his wife and children. We call it "domestic violence." We call it "child abuse." These terms are accurate but incomplete. Suffering is a political problem in democratic politics. Suffering is a political goal in conservative politics. Without suffering — without punishment for those people who deserve to feel their pain — anything can happen. Even liberty, equality and justice for all.

Political violence has been growing acutely since we elected a Black president. The violence was enabled by Republicans loosening gun laws after Barack Obama's reelection. The Supreme Court is considering whether to make carrying a firearm openly a constitutional right. The NRA never gloried in mass murders. It did after Rittenhouse's acquittal. The private political violence that inspired the nation's worst shooting massacres is inspiring the institutionalization of public political violence. Where that leaves democratic politics, God only knows.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4435 on: November 25, 2021, 12:50:21 AM »
FBI probes another election data breach linked to MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

The FBI is investigating a second local election data breach linked to conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, this time in Ohio, after raiding the home of a Colorado election clerk accused of leaking voting system passwords last week.

FBI and state investigators are looking at an attempted breach of an Ohio county's election system at the office of John Hamercheck, the Republican president of the Lake County Board of Supervisors, The Washington Post first reported last week. The incident appears to be similar to a data breach in Mesa County, Colorado, where election clerk Tina Peters is under federaI investigation after voting system passwords were leaked to right-wing blogs and QAnon conspiracy theorists. Data from both breaches were featured at the MyPillow founder's conspiracy-laden "cyber symposium" in August. Both Hamercheck and Peters discussed voter fraud claims with Lindell's sidekick Douglas Frank before the breaches, according to the Post.

State and county officials told the Post that no sensitive information was obtained in the Ohio breach but they determined that a private laptop was plugged into the county network at Hamercheck's office. Routine network traffic data obtained in the breach was distributed at Lindell's event.

The FBI confirmed that it is investigating the breach. A spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, told the Post that investigators believe that a government official "facilitated the attempted breach."

Officials said several layers of security prevented the laptop from accessing sensitive information.

"It's concerning that somebody would — especially somebody in a government office, somebody who is an elected official, or somebody who's part of county government — would not realize all of those safeguards exist and would try to engage in some sort of a vigilante investigation," LaRose told the outlet. "The good news is that our system of cybersecurity in Ohio is among the best in the nation."

Hamercheck denied any knowledge of the breach during a board meeting on Tuesday, saying there has been "much false or misleading information" about what happened.

"To my knowledge, there was never an attempt to access or breach the Lake County Board of Elections computer network that day," Hamercheck claimed, though he did not elaborate.

Hamercheck said he has not been interviewed in the investigation but vowed to share more information "as soon as we are finished gathering and verifying the appropriate materials."

The breach came after Frank, a part-time math and science teacher who has claimed to have discovered secret algorithms used to rig the presidential election against former President Donald Trump, traveled the country to recruit local election officials into Lindell's conspiracy theory campaign, ostensibly aimed at undoing the 2020 election result and "reinstating" Trump. (There is no constitutional pathway for doing that.) Frank previously told the outlet he had traveled to more thant 30 states and met with 100 election administrators, claiming that his presentation had convinced Peters to pursue his baseless conspiracy theory. He told the Post he had no recollection of speaking with Hamercheck but the newspaper reported that Frank took part in a phone conversation with the official earlier this year.

"Do I remember that call? No," Frank said. "Does it sound like me? Yes."

County records obtained by the Post show that Hamercheck, an engineer, used his security badge to swipe into the offices where the breach originated multiple times and that a private laptop was connected to the county network.

Local resident Lois Osborn pressed Hamercheck on the breach during Tuesday's board meeting after saying she was "very disturbed" by the news reports.

"There was a breach coming from John Hamercheck's office," she told the board, calling for him to be censured. "In my mind, this was something very inappropriate for an elected official in Lake County."

Ron Young, one of the other commissioners, told Osborn it was too early to consider sanctions.

"We have very sophisticated, very skilled law enforcement — nationally, state level, locally — working on this issue," Young said. "And I think it'd be absurd for me to stand up and offer some sort of censure of this gentleman, who at least from my observation has always performed ethically, morally and properly."

The FBI and state authorities last week raided the home of Peters and three others, including Sherronna Bishop, who previously worked as campaign manager for Rep. Lauren Boebert's, R-Colo. Bishop has spoken at events with Peters and introduced Frank during a recent event in Colorado. Search warrants in the raid suggest the FBI is investigating potential wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and damage protected computers.

State investigators say Peters shut off surveillance in her office and allowed an unauthorized person to access voting machine servers, data from which were later leaked to conspiracy theorists and featured at Lindell's August symposium.

A judge last month barred Peters from overseeing elections. Peters has denied wrongdoing and accused the Justice Department and state officials of political bias.

Lindell has used the leaked data and Frank's "research" to push wild conspiracy theories that Dominion voting machines were set up to flip votes from Trump to President Joe Biden. Dominion sued Lindell and other TrumpWorld conspiracists for $1.3 billion over the false allegations earlier this year.

After his August "cyber symposium" failed to show any evidence of a massive election-fraud conspiracy, Lindell on Tuesday announced that he would hold a 96-hour "Thanks-a-thon" live stream on his web channel to rehash his claims.

Lindell promised over the summer to bring a fantastical lawsuit to the Supreme Court "before Thanksgiving" that would overturn the election and reinstate Trump. Lindell claimed that "tons" of state attorneys general were ready to sign on to the suit, though he did not name a single one. On Tuesday, Lindell appeared to reverse field once again, claiming that attorneys general had backed away from his case under pressure from Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, who admitted last week that Biden won the election — which Lindell sees as another part of a grand conspiracy.

"You can't tell me why Ronna McDaniel, the head of the RNC, made a statement saying Biden won three days before this Supreme Court complaint was supposed to go to the Supreme Court," he said. "What about the timing of that, America!"

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4436 on: November 25, 2021, 01:07:12 AM »
Here's another perfect example of how these media companies protected Trump. They refused to release the outtakes of Trump using racial slurs and showing more of his vile behavior. And some people still want to falsely claim there is a "liberal media".   

Trump family suffers another legal defeat as they try to hide infamous 'Apprentice' outtakes

A team of attorneys will finally view the guarded outtakes of former President Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice. The case involves questions about whether Trump and his family knowingly pulled people into investing in a scam.

Due to years of corruption in the 1950's game show laws require that cameras continue rolling even during breaks. The Daily Beast reported that Tuesday U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield ordered MGM studio that the footage must be made available at a secure location for investigators to review.

The case only involves the scams, however. Comedian Tom Arnold said that those tapes show several times when Trump would use racially charged language including the N-word.

"I've seen this compilation tape," Arnold told Jimmy Kimmel in 2018. "If you're on one of these reality shows -- there's compilation tapes of me doing horrible, disgusting things. Of course, I do horrible, disgusting things, but I'm also not running for president. I remember this tape I saw, and I described it exactly. He says the N-word, he calls Eric the R-word. Now they call it the N-word tape. I have friends that worked on that show, and I explained it exactly."

When speaking to CNN, Arnold claimed that he even knows the exact episodes to go to in finding the worst of Trump.

"My whole goal, really, is to get one 12-hour day of the boardrooms shoot, because if America could see that, they'd know what's going on in the White House right now, how incompetent the guy is," Arnold said. "That's really my goal. It's not to hear one N-word -- and by the way, you'd hear much worse than that."

Because the judge is putting the investigators in a secure location, it isn't likely that those videos showing the worst of Trump will ever see the light of day.

Producer Mark Burnett has long held the tapes close and MGM continues to refuse to indicate why the tapes could be so damaging if released.

"In court filings made last week, the Beverly Hills studio would only describe what's in the tapes in a document that remains sealed from public view," the Beast reported. "But lawyers for these four scorned entrepreneurs, know what they're looking for: anything that shows Donald Trump and his kids knew that they were duping would-be investors by leading them to ACN, a multi-level marketing company based in North Carolina."

Trump and his children, Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka and Eric were "characters" that focused on recruitment, portraying themselves as businessmen and women with the qualifications of being judges. ACN was a major feature on the show because it promised investments and even had a challenge where celebrities would have to produce a commercial for the company. ACN reportedly had a new phone, the "Iris 5000," but the company was a disaster facing financial problems.

The lawsuit for the tapes comes from a 2018 complaint by four entrepreneurs who claim that they were hoodwinked into joining ACN's multi-level marketing scheme. They only did it because of the Trumps' endorsement.

"Lynn Chadwick of Pennsylvania says she was duped into the program in 2013, while Catherine McKoy and Millard Williams of California started in 2014. Markus Frazier of Maryland says he signed up in 2016. None of them stuck around past year two," the report recalled."

Going through the tapes will likely take weeks. Judge Schofield said that the lawyers for the entrepreneurs "shall review the requested footage onsite" and they can copy the relevant clips.

Angry Entrepreneurs Will Finally See Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ Outtakes

The Trump kids are at the center of a scam lawsuit, and a federal judge has ordered that behind-the-scenes tapes of “Apprentice” will be reviewed by plaintiffs in an MGM safe room.

After more than a year of delays, a team of attorneys will finally make a trip to Los Angeles next month to review highly guarded, never-before-seen outtakes of Celebrity Apprentice—seeking any evidence that the Trump family knew they were suckering people into investing in a scam.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York City ordered that the movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer make the footage available at a secure location, potentially ending a long-running battle that’s still draped in secrecy.

MGM won’t say what’s in the tapes or why it could be so damaging to make public. It’s not even clear why the movie studio is fighting so hard to keep unaired footage of Trump’s old show under wraps. And in court filings made last week, the Beverly Hills studio would only describe what’s in the tapes in a document that remains sealed from public view.

But lawyers for four scorned entrepreneurs know what they’re looking for: anything that shows Donald Trump and his kids knew that they were duping would-be investors by leading them to ACN, a multi-level marketing company based in North Carolina.

Trump and his kids—Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric—were the top recurring characters of The Apprentice, playing the role of business judges. During the show, the family featured ACN as a promising investment, even having celebrities compete to produce a commercial for the company’s supposedly high-tech new video chatting phone, the “Iris 5000.” In reality, the tech was a dud and the company was facing financial turmoil—but viewers weren’t told that.

The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by four entrepreneurs who say they were suckered into joining ACN’s multi-level marketing scheme—and lost time and money doing it—as a result of the Trumps’ endorsements. Lynn Chadwick of Pennsylvania says she was duped into the program in 2013, while Catherine McKoy and Millard Williams of California started in 2014. Markus Frazier of Maryland says he signed up in 2016. None of them stuck around past year two.

Reviewing the footage could take weeks, even if they’re only outtakes from two episodes of Celebrity Apprentice that aired in the spring of 2011. In those episodes, opposing teams led by rapper Lil John and television personality “NeNe” Leakes competed to produce ridiculous commercials for ACN’s new video phone.

In her order on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield wrote that attorneys representing these entrepreneurs “shall review the requested footage onsite” and be able to copy relevant clips.

The case is set for a jury trial, so if the legal fight makes it that far, the public might get to see the video as well.

Roberta A. Kaplan, whose firm represents the entrepreneurs, declined to speak about the case. Lawyers for MGM, ACN, and the Trump family did not respond to requests for comment.

The entrepreneurs sued the Trump Corporation and the family members that starred on the NBC show—the Donald, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric—claiming that they were presenting ACN as a decent investment without revealing that they were secretly getting paid millions to do so. The New York Times, citing Trump tax returns reporters there had managed to obtain, would later reveal that the multi-level marketing company had paid him $8.8 million over 10 years.

“Trump repeatedly misrepresented ACN’s risk profile to consumers, falsely claiming that investing in ACN was a low-risk entrepreneurial venture,” the lawsuit states. “Trump repeatedly told his audiences that he endorsed ACN because he believed it offered a reasonable probability of commercial success. He touted ACN’s commercial prospects and his regard for its founders. And he failed to disclose that he was, in fact, being paid millions of dollars for his ACN endorsement.”

But the legal fight inevitably involved the entities with the actual evidence: MGM and JMBP, which stands for J. Mark Burnett Productions. Burnett, the British producer behind The Apprentice and a long-time Trump ally, is now the chairman of MGM’s Worldwide Television Group.

The lawsuit, originally filed in October 2018, has dragged on for years because it has met stiff resistance every step of the way. At first, the family tried to pull the case out of federal court and into closed-door arbitration proceedings. That failed when Judge Schofield and an appellate court ruled against that.

Then in April 2020, when the judge told MGM to hand over the tapes, any effort to review the taps went sideways with COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. MGM refused to let the entrepreneurs’ lawyers watch the footage remotely, and the attorneys wouldn’t risk getting sick by taking the six-hour flight from New York City to Los Angeles and being crammed into video-screening rooms. That disagreement was finally resolved by Tuesday’s judicial order.

The complaint was also initially filed by entrepreneurs using pseudonyms, but in August the judge ordered them to refile their lawsuit using their real names.

The amended version of the lawsuit describes how McKoy, for example, only realized ACN was a scam during her second year with the company. She remembers bringing recruits to company meetings for more than a year and had only made $38, she claims.

“She realized that she had been scammed. Trump was selling a dream to people like her—people who were struggling financially, were really desperate, and would leap at a promise of the kind of success Trump embodied,” the lawsuit says.

Expect a slow burn. The judge has scheduled a trial sometime after March 2023.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4437 on: November 25, 2021, 01:10:43 AM »
Lock Him Up!

NY prosecutors zero in on Trump's alleged 'pattern of fraud' as investigation enters 'critical phase'

New York prosecutors are focusing on whether former president Donald Trump artificially inflated the value of his company's assets in seeking loans from financial institutions, as their investigation enters a "critical phase," according to a new report from the New York Times.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who has overseen the investigation for more than three years, will leave office at the end of the year. Vance previously said he wanted to decide whether to charge Trump before his term expires, but now it appears the case may be left to his successor, Alvin Bragg.

According to the Times, Vance's prosecutors have recently issued subpoenas for records about the Trump Organization's hotels, golf clubs and office buildings.

"They recently interviewed a banker employed by Deutsche Bank, Mr. Trump's top lender," the Times reports. "And earlier this month, they told a top Trump executive who had been under scrutiny, Matthew Calamari, that they did not currently plan to indict him in the purported tax-evasion scheme that led to charges against Mr. Trump's company and its chief financial officer."

The tax-evasion investigation, which led to charges against CFO Allen Weisselberg, was reportedly a detour from the original focus of the probe — Trump's statements about the value of his assets.

"If Mr. Vance's office concludes that Mr. Trump intentionally submitted false values to potential lenders, prosecutors could argue that he engaged in a pattern of fraud," the report states.

The Manhattan case is one of at least three ongoing criminal investigations focused on Trump and/or his company. Prosecutors in Georgia are looking into whether Trump illegally interfered with 2020 election results, while the district attorney's office in Westchester County, N.Y., is focused on whether the former president's company misled local officials about the value of a golf course to reduce its tax liability.

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4438 on: November 26, 2021, 10:39:44 AM »
Just another right wing con man making money off these gullible suckers. 

Guide to All the Times Mike Lindell and QAnon Promised Trump Would Definitely Be Back in the White House

The pillow baron may be the most obnoxious believer that the former president is returning to office soon, but a disturbing number of Americans are right there with him

It’s Thanksgiving, and with respect to any relatives who may have colorful takes about vaccine mandates, critical race theory, and the Rittenhouse verdict, the craziest uncle of 2021 is, without a doubt, Mike Lindell.

The pillow baron has for a year now been claiming vociferously that the 2020 election was rigged, that he can prove it, and that it won’t be long before everyone realizes the truth and Donald Trump is reinstated as president of the United States. Lindell most recently trumpeted Thanksgiving as the date Trump will be back in office. He has promoted a 96-hour holiday weekend livestream in which he will unpack “the historic U.S. Supreme Court complaint on the 2020 election” he says will reinstall Trump in the White House. (The livestream got off to a rocky start.)

Lindell is a clown and easy to mock. So is the idea that there is any sort of legal pathway for Trump, who lost to President Biden by a considerable margin, to be reinstated as president. But just because something is easy to mock doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously (see: the 45th president himself).

The idea that Trump will return to office has been spreading throughout the MAGA movement since January. A Politico/Morning Consult poll published in June found that 29 percent of Republicans believe this is actually going to happen by the end of the year. A YouGov poll conducted in early November found that 28 percent of Republicans believed it was either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” Trump would be back in office by the end of the year.

In other words, millions and millions and millions of people have, like Lindell, lost touch with reality to a truly terrifying degree. In other words, millions and millions and millions of people have, like Lindell, lost touch with reality to a truly terrifying degree. Many of them are determined to stay out in orbit, perpetually setting and resetting dates Trump will definitely, this time, return to power. It can be a little hard to track all of these deadlines, so here’s a guide to one of the year’s most unhinged conspiracy theory rabbit holes, which doesn’t appear to have a bottom.

Jan. 20: QAnon is based on the belief that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles, and that Trump in his capacity as president was going bring all of these people to justice. The fact that he got trounced by Biden last November accelerated the timeline for this to happen, and once the election results were certified on Jan. 6, conspiracy theorists decided he was going to do it on Biden’s inauguration day, while at the same time revealing a secret plan to remain in office. This did not happen. QAnon adherents were confused, but not deterred. In fact, they were more not deterred than anyone realized possible.

March 4: Yeah, Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20. So what? The real Inauguration Day is March 4, conspiracy theorists claimed, and it was on March 4, 2021 that Trump would be sworn in for his second term.

The theory hinged on the idea that in 1871 Congress turned the government into a corporation, and that every president who has held office since is illegitimate. March 4 served as Inauguration Day prior to 1933, when the 20th Amendment was passed, and it would be on this day that Trump would be inaugurated as the 19th president, or the first legitimate successor to Ulysses S. Grant. (Don’t think too hard about the logic here. It’s not supposed to make sense.)

The theory became widespread enough that hashtags like #march4th and #19thpresident started spreading across social media. The Capitol Police even warned of a “possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group” on the date, leading the House of Representatives to cancel plans for a session.

March 20: OK, nothing happening on March 4. What about March 20? It’s basically the same thing, right? I mean, when you think about it, all that’s differentiating the two dates are things like time and math, both of which are being foisted on us by liberal scientists. Can we just say he’ll come back on the 20th, instead?

There were corners of QAnon that did indeed say this, citing the Presidential Enhancement Act. Signed into law in 2020, the act is designed to smooth the transition of power by, in part, providing certain support to the president-elect’s team for 60 days after the inauguration. Conspiracy theorists misinterpreted this to mean that Trump retained control of the freaking military for 60 days after inauguration, and that the official transfer of power would not take place until March 20.

Aug. 13: All right, March was a bad month for conspiracy theorists. It was time to take a breather and really figure out when Trump was going to return to power. Lindell announced on March 29 that it was happening in August, citing all of the evidence of election fraud he was going to show the Supreme Court.

It wasn’t just Lindell, either. Trump himself had been telling people he expected to be back in the White House by August, as Maggie Haberman of The New York Times reported in June.

In July, Lindell locked down a specific date. “By the morning of Aug. 13 it’ll be the talk of the world, going, ‘Hurry up! Let’s get this election pulled down. Let’s right the right. Let’s get these communists out, you know, that have taken over,'” he told right-wing conspiracy theorist Bannon Howse.

Nov. 25: Nothing happened in August, either, but that’s OK. Lindell soon thereafter pegged Thanksgiving as the new date Trump would return to office based on his plan to deliver his “historic” election fraud complaint, which would be signed by state attorneys general, to the Supreme Court earlier this week. “I talked to all the lawyers today,” he said in September. “One hundred percent we are getting this before the Supreme Court before Thanksgiving. That is locked in stone, everybody.”

This did not happen.

Lindell explained why to Steve Bannon, noting that the attorneys general he claims to have spoken to “have so much going on right now that last Friday they gave them until today to fight these mandates where kids had to take the vaccine.” …OK. There are also, of course, the attorneys general who are refusing to sign onto the suit, whom Lindell says simply “don’t want to help save our country.”

“You know a lot of things are happening out there that are very suspicious,” he added.

Lindell also blamed Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who he said on his livestream Monday pressured attorneys general not to sign the complaint. “How dare the RNC try and stop this case from getting to the Supreme Court,” he ranted. “Shame on you, RNC! You are worse than Fox now! You can’t tell me why Ronna McDaniel, the head of the RNC, made a statement saying Biden won three days before this Supreme Court complaint was supposed to go to the Supreme Court.”

Lindell even released the complaint that all of these traitors prevented him from filing in time for Turkey Day. It’s 82-pages long, chock full of disproven conspiracy theories, and lists the plaintiff as “State of [Insert Your State Here].” Lindell has said the complaint is so rock solid that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of [Insert Your State Here] unanimously, and that this will somehow result in Trump’s return to office.

It’s no longer going to happen by Thanksgiving, but it surely won’t take Lindell long to come up with another date to tell supporters to expect Trump to return to office. Go ahead and tune into his livestream and find out. He may even offer a promo code for a Black Friday pillow deal.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #4439 on: November 26, 2021, 11:04:07 AM »
Conspiracy theories about the pandemic are spreading offline as well as through social media

A consistent feature of the pandemic has been the presence of a relatively small but vocal number of conspiracy theorists who resist attempts to tackle COVID-19. Their views might seem marginal and extreme but recent research suggests that we should take them seriously.

Survey data shows that belief in conspiracy theories is associated with a lack of confidence in steps aimed at addressing the pandemic and risky health behaviours and that conspiracy adherents are more likely to refuse to socially distance, wear a mask or get vaccinated.

One reason for this is that conspiracy theories work differently to other forms of misinformation. Rather than simply trading in inaccurate or misleading information, conspiracy theorists believe they have discovered the hidden truth that world events result from the deliberate actions of unseen, malevolent actors.

This might mean blaming the emergence of COVID-19 on “big pharma" or believing that social distancing measures form part of an attempt by a hidden “world government" to restrict civil liberties. This kind of thinking provides a simple explanation for complex and unpredictable events. In a time of widespread uncertainty and fear it is easy to see the appeal in claims that the pandemic is deliberate and controlled.

When we think about how conspiracy theories like these spread, there is a tendency to focus on the role of social media. We've become accustomed to seeing fact checking and moderators working in these spaces to manage to problem.

But with colleagues, I've been exploring the offline space through an analysis of the Light, a monthly newspaper (and self-described “truthpaper") delivered free of charge across the UK. It provides sceptical coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and we've concluded that a significant proportion of its content can be seen as conspiracist in nature.

What is a 'truthpaper'?

In terms of style and layout, the Light looks like a conventional newspaper. It has a masthead and banner headlines and each article is laid out in columns. The content varies in both style and topic, with opinion pieces and interviews appearing alongside news items.

Conspiracist articles are presented alongside other, unrelated material, so that overall, readers experience the variety of content that might be expected in a mainstream source of news. For instance, the same issue might include an article suggesting COVID vaccines could be used for mind control and a more conventional news item on Russian shipping.

As an example of the offline dissemination of conspiracy theories related to the pandemic, the Light is important for a number of reasons. It seemingly has a wide reach, with claims of a print run of over 100,000 copies for each issue. It is produced and distributed by a network of activists, drawing on a closed Facebook group of more than 8,000 members.

A front cover of an issue of The Light.

Author provided

Conspiracy and activism

However, the Light's real significance is that it appears to be encouraging a highly participatory engagement with its content. Readers are encouraged to seek out, disseminate and act on the issues they are reading about rather than simply passively receiving the information. This approach means that the Light doesn't just aim to broaden readers' knowledge but to engage them in a process of discovery, revelation and action.

We found this happens in a number of ways. There are direct calls for action, for example, through articles encouraging readers to attend rallies and events, or promoting the refusal to wear face coverings.

Other articles promote the importance of “doing your own research", directing readers to seek out content that challenges mainstream opinion on the pandemic. There are even puzzle features that require the reader to conduct research into conspiratorial content in order to be successfully completed.

Being “awake" is a central theme in conspiracist content. Readers are invited to join an in-group of conspiracy adherents who refute the “official narrative". The state of being “awake" is often put across as being virtuous and exceptional, and readers are frequently encouraged to view their knowledge of the pandemic's “true" nature as a motivating factor to action.

Alongside this are frequent moral appeals to action which play upon readers' emotions to drive them to act. This includes content written in language that draws on themes of war and conflict and emotive articles warning of the effects of public health measures on children.

Why it matters

These calls to action are taking place in the context of an increasingly dangerous atmosphere. We already know that conspiracy theories have the potential to promote political polarisation, extremism and violence. Recent months have seen numerous examples of COVID-19 conspiracy theories influencing real-world activism.

Some of these might seem relatively trivial, such as sticker campaigns disputing the safety of the vaccination programme, or leaflets promoting unproven treatments posted through letterboxes. But there have also been protests at media organisations' offices, attempts to disrupt the work of vaccination centres and even footage of threats of violence being made against public figures associated with the pandemic response.

Offline material like the Light is highly potent because readers experience a sense of agency when they pick it up. They are being offered a way to actively engage in public issues which is outside of mainstream forms of political participation. And it's all happening without the automated warnings and links to more reliable sources which are now a mainstay of social media sites.


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