Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2

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Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5500 on: July 04, 2022, 11:44:19 AM »
Republicans like to pretend that high gas prices only exist in the United States but say nothing about the high gas prices all over the world which are even higher.

Republicans lie saying Joe Biden made gas prices high when it's Big Oil price gouging consumers and Putin's war in Ukraine which skyrocketed gas prices even higher.

House Republicans had the opportunity to vote on the "Big Oil and Gas Price Gouging Bill" which will stop Big Oil from gouging consumers at the pump. EVERY single Republican in the House voted "NO" to lower gas prices for you.

Senate Republicans are currently blocking this bill from being voted on because they don't want it to become law.

Mitch McConnell is purposely blocking this bill from becoming law to lower gas prices for you. McConnell wants gas prices to remain high, because he thinks high gas prices will help the Republicans win the November election so he can become Majority Leader in the Senate. So, McConnell is blocking this bill which would immediately lower gas prices, while he attacks Joe Biden daily on Twitter for high gas prices. That's the entire goal for Republicans which is to block and obstruct bills in the Senate, and then attack Biden.

Republicans are playing politics with your finances! The Republican Senate could pass this bill right now to lower gas prices but they are purposely blocking it for political purposes.   

Are Republicans going to blame Biden for the price of gas in Belgium, too?

And you can see the official House of Representatives vote where EVERY single Republican in the House voted NO to lower gas prices for you.

Remember in November!

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5500 on: July 04, 2022, 11:44:19 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5501 on: July 04, 2022, 12:59:46 PM »
Well folks, today is July the 4th better known as Independence Day.

This is a day where Americans celebrate our great country and the freedoms that were given to us by our Founding Fathers who were some of the most brilliant men in history. They were able to come up with a Bill of Rights and a Constitution from scratch to make us the greatest nation on Earth.

But as we look at the current landscape of our government today, with the right wing Supreme Court and the Republicans in charge of red states, our freedoms are becoming less each day as they are under attack by the radical right.

This is especially true in states like Florida, with a Trump wannabe named Gov. Ron DeSantis who is banning books, restricting speech, making it harder to vote, going after people who are gay, going after teachers in school that teach slavery in our history, and criminalizing women and doctors.

Not only is this happening in Florida, it's happening in all Red states, and now even in purple states that have Republican legislatures.

How can Americans celebrate their "freedoms" today when Republicans are doing everything possible to take them away? This is certainly not the "Land of the free" when citizens no longer have the freedom to read books of their choice or speak their mind. Their freedoms are being taken away by the radical right.

Women are no longer allowed to control their own bodies. Far right wing radical religious Republicans are forcing them to give birth even if it kills them under the Republican "no exception" abortion law.

Social Security and Medicare are next on the chopping block as Republicans have said they want to end these "entitlements" as they call them. How will a senior on a fixed income have the freedom to live independently when their income is taken away?

Republicans tried to steal the election from the American people in 2020 which would have ended our democracy. They even tried to seize power via a violent coup and insurrection attack on January 6th. Trump and his fascist MAGA candidates still push blatant lies about imaginary voter fraud which is a direct attack on our democracy. Voting is the most patriotic thing you can do and Republicans are attacking our election process based on nothing but lies. Then Republicans use those "election fraud" lies to pass voter restriction laws which is a direct attack on the freedom to vote.           
So, with the stripping away of our rights and the dismantling of our Constitution (which explicitly states that we have a separation of church and state) these right wing radical Republicans have the audacity to wave a flag and tell us to celebrate our "freedoms" when they continue to take away our rights and freedoms from us.         

If these right wing radicals ever get full control of our government again we will lose even more of our rights. And once they are gone we will never get them back.     
If we could bring back our Founding Fathers today, they would be shocked, appalled, and disgusted to see how the Republican party has been dismantling what they worked so hard to envision and document for the new country they founded on July 4, 1776.

Our Founding Fathers explicitly documented that America is to have a "separation of church and state". The Republican religious fanatics and conspiracy theorists in the GOP today do not see it that way. They feel their evangelical religion and their absurd conspiracy theories are superior to what our Constitution defines. And that is extremely dangerous, when you have these radical people in power taking away freedoms based on insane conspiracy theories and an extreme radical evangelical religion that goes against normal Christianity. They don't believe in our laws, they believe in creating new laws for us based on their radical extreme religion and QAnon conspiracy theories. This is not what America is supposed to be. Oppression is not freedom and the GOP is forcing their barbaric laws on us.

It’s time to stand up and vote them all out. Don’t let them take your freedom or you will never get it back.

Enjoy the 4th, but remember, you can't celebrate freedom once it's been taken from you.   

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5501 on: July 04, 2022, 12:59:46 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5502 on: July 04, 2022, 11:14:56 PM »
In my post above, I wrote about the extreme radical religious right taking away our freedoms as they believe their religious beliefs are far more superior than our Constitution. The perfect example would be Republican Trump backed candidate for Pennsylvania Governor Doug Mastriano who is a far right wing radical religious extremist who wants to rule based on conspiracy theories and his religion. There are other MAGA candidates just like him itching to run our government to take away more of our rights and freedoms. We can't allow these dangerous kooks that promote religious violence to turn America into country based on conspiracy theories and radical right wing extremism.

He's on a mission from God: Pennsylvania GOP candidate Doug Mastriano's war with the world

An animating element of politics in the age of Trump is that some people are increasingly living out religious metaphors. These metaphors are derived from contemporary understandings of the Old Testament by new elements within Christianity. This has been central to the campaign of Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who recently won the Republican nomination for governor of Pennsylvania. (He will face Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state's current attorney general, in November.) These metaphors are also integral to a movement of the post-insurrection religious and political right that is still in its formative stages.

As reporting by the New Yorker, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Word & Way and Paul Rosenberg at Salon has shown, there is something going on in Pennsylvania that is transforming politics in the state, and maybe on a larger scale as well.

Mastriano, a retired Army strategist and intelligence officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, appears to have a disturbing understanding of the relationship between metaphor and reality when it comes to biblical narratives. He suggested to an interviewer that today's Christians should emulate the warriors of Old Testament Israel.

"God can intervene in history," he said, adding that such interventions are carried out by "a man or a woman," such as the biblical Queen Esther (who got authorization from the King of Persia for the Jews to kill all their enemies); and the prophet Gideon (who led 300 soldiers against a far greater force).

Mainstream media generally describe Mastriano as an "election denialist" and a "Christian nationalist." He unconvincingly denies the latter, but he and his supporters are also more complicated than the label usually suggests. He is well known for having spoken at the Jericho March in December 2020 that unsuccessfully called for the Electoral College to switch its votes to Donald Trump. He was also slated to speak at the "wild protest" on Jan. 6, 2021, organized by "Stop the Steal" activist Ali Alexander, along with the likes of Roger Stone, theocratic activist Lance Wallnau and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. And of course, promoting the Big Lie has been central to his politics since Trump's election defeat.

But there's more.

Some religious leaders who back Mastriano's campaign say they are in direct communication with God, see themselves as God's army, and see Mastriano as a general in their war for the world.

Mastriano's core support is a fusion of QAnon, the far-right Patriot movement and the revivalist New Apostolic Reformation -- which views him as a military and political leader in advancing the biblically prophesied end times. We see this in his role in the Jericho March during the run-up to Jan. 6, and more recently when he joined members of the "Shofar Army'' in a ceremony of "spiritual warfare" on the Gettysburg battlefield, and as the headliner at a conference, Patriots Arise.

May the metaphors be with you

The Jericho March was derived from the biblical story of the battle of Jericho, which took place during the journey of the Israelites, led by Joshua, to the Promised Land. God had instructed them to march seven times around the city blowing shofars. The walls of the city collapsed, and the army rushed in, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, and killing everyone in the city. The Ark of the Covenant, as fans of the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" film (among others) will recall, is a chest containing the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses.

Religious extremists who back Mastriano's campaign say they have direct messages from God, and see him as a general in God's army of conquest.

The story of the 2020 Jericho March purportedly began with God giving two different individuals the same vision, calling them to set up a march in Washington as well as in the capitals of the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the days before the presidential electors were to cast their votes. (They were ultimately held in other states and Canada as well.)

Supposedly God wanted the marchers to oppose alleged corruption and restore election integrity — as well as Donald Trump's presidency. In Washington, crowds marched around the Capitol, the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court.

"God commanded this to happen like he did to Joshua," Apostle Abby Abildness explained on a religious talk show. "We believe God is gonna move'' and "that there will be that victory," she continued. There was "great hope" that Pennsylvania's electoral votes, which Joe Biden had won convincingly, would "go to the president." Of course, that did not happen.

In instances like this, believers see a difference between a foretelling of events,and a prophecy that reveals God's intentions. If an event doesn't turn out as expected, they believe, it is necessary to keep on trying, to ensure that somehow, someday, God's will will be done.

Her immanence

Apostle Abby Abildness is a quietly powerful national and international religious leader, as well as a legislative lobbyist at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. She says she meets with legislators at least once a week, praying and "bringing forth a religious freedom agenda." She also led Jericho marches in Harrisburg.

Her manner is more that of a soft-spoken college professor (which she used to be) than a political preacher. She is nevertheless an important leader in the contemporary religious movement called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), which is a dynamic theological and organizational revamping of much of pentecostal and charismatic Christianity. For decades, NAR has led the abandonment of traditional mainline Protestant and evangelical denominations in favor of prayer networks.

These prayer networks are led by what is known as the "five-fold ministry" as mentioned in the biblical book of Ephesians: Apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor and evangelist. The networks comprise both physical churches and prayer groups of various sizes.

Abildness is a leader in several such networks, which aim to take control of what they call the "Seven Mountains" of society in order to achieve Christian dominion. These metaphorical mountains are religion, family, government, business, education, arts & entertainment and media. Abildness, whose mountain is government, is working with her allies to increase electoral engagement in apostolic networks, and to involve them in pushing for legislation. She heads the Pennsylvania Apostolic Prayer Network and plays leading roles in other important international networks, including the Oklahoma-based Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network headed by Apostle John Benefiel and the Texas-headquartered Reformation Prayer Network, led by Apostle Cindy Jacobs.

The NAR has generally abandoned written doctrines along with denominations, in favor of its own notions of Old Testament biblical law. Its movement is further informed by revelations from those understood to be apostles and prophets revealing what God wants. They believe God wants Doug Mastriano.

Dancing with the ones who brung him

Last year, Mastriano denied to Eliza Griswold of the New Yorker that he was a Christian nationalist. "Is this a term you fabricated?" he asked. "What does it mean and where have I indicated that I am a Christian Nationalist?" Of course Griswold did not invent the term, which has been used by scholars and journalists for decades.

Mastriano doth protest too much. He has sponsored several bills based on models found in the Christian nationalist legislative playbook formerly called "Project Blitz." These bills would have mandated teaching the Bible in public schools and made it legal for adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples. In the face of organized opposition and intensive media coverage by the New York Times, the Guardian and Salon, among others, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, which published the Project Blitz legislative playbook, scrubbed all mention of Project Blitz from its website in 2019. But the affiliated Pennsylvania State Legislative Prayer Caucus remains. Its state director, then as now, is Abby Abildness.

Mastriano has also denied that he works directly with NAR. He has however, had a close relationship with Abildness and the wider NAR. She has, for example, interviewed him on her podcast and worked with him in the legislature. She calls him "a military strategist" who leads a group of about 30 conservative state legislators (although he's only been in the legislature since 2019). She also introduced him at a regional NAR conference of several hundred people in October 2020, in Gettysburg, which is in Mastriano's senatorial district.

On the Fourth of July in 2019, Mastriano joined Apostle Abby Abildness on the Gettysburg battlefield, where they prayed to "preserve the monuments" from antifa. They were victims of an internet hoax.

There, Abildness told the story about walking the Gettysburg battlefield with Mastriano, his wife and a "prayer team" on the previous Fourth of July. The senator and the apostle went to "pray to preserve the monuments" from antifa, which she believed might be coming to destroy them. She had trepidations, she said, but explained, "When the people pray, God is with us. We're not to fear, we have God. We need to stand up. Speak out. And move forward in this battle. Amen!" (Hundreds of armed militia members, bikers and others who had also heard the rumors showed up to defend the monuments and prevent the burning of the American flag. It turned out the whole thing was a hoax perpetrated by a troll on social media and then hyped by right-wing media.)

The conference's headline speaker, Apostle Chuck Pierce from Texas, was preceded by the sounding of the shofar by the Shofar Army, which then led the crowd in shouting, "Arise, oh God, and let your enemies be scattered!" This refrain is from Psalm 68, one of many Old Testament imprecatory prayers in which the faithful ask God to smite his enemies.

A new Joshua

Reported here for the first time are two videos featuring Mastriano before his run for governor. Filmed on the Gettysburg battlefield on July 18, 2020, just days after his prayers against antifa with Abildness, the videos reveal his involvement with a group called the Shofar Army. In the videos, Mastriano performs a ritual act of spiritual warfare — blowing shofars with the Shofar Army and Prophet Bill Yount of Blowing the Shofar Ministries. But as later became clear, they understood the warfare as physical, not just spiritual.

Some of these Christians wore a Jewish prayer shawl called a tikkit, and wielded the three-foot-long hollowed-out ram's horns called a shofar, which was used by ancient Israelite armies to sound battle commands and community alerts, and is used today in religious services for the Jewish High Holidays.

In one video, the leader, Earl Hixon, prays, "Thank you Father, we tread upon the enemy." Pointing to Mastriano, he continues, "Father God, I am looking to our new general here, that you have appointed, this Joshua. In Jesus' name!" Mastriano raises his outstretched arm in apparent acknowledgment. A year later, Warren Baker, a member of the group, sounded the shofar at the launch event for Mastriano's campaign for governor. (Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis also attended the launch.)

In the second video, Hixon follows the Army's shofar blasts by declaring he wants to "mark this day in the history of eternity." He then leads the Army in shouts of the imprecation, "Arise, oh God, and let your enemies be scattered!"

Salon asked André Gagné, professor of theological studies at Concordia University in Montreal, and author of a study of Trump's evangelical followers, to help interpret the videos.

Hixon recognizes "the 'angelic hosts, the warring hosts that have gathered here on this journey,'" Gagné explained. "This is a reference to the assistance of angelic beings in the battle to be waged. Hixon thanks God for this 'Joshua,' pointing to Mastriano, believing that from this moment there will be new 'anointing' on him."

Joshua, of course, led the Jews to the Promised Land, fighting the Canaanites along the way, including the genocide at Jericho.

Gagné continued, "Hixon also says that Mastriano now has 'got new eyes, the new eyes of a seer' and connects it to the idea that "we're on the physical ground, yes, there's the grassroots, but there is a double-edged sword as well in Jesus' name."

This, Gagné says, refers to the "opening of Mastriano's 'spiritual eyes' and the presence of the 'angelic and warring hosts.'" It may also refer to the need to wage war on two fronts, both the physical and the spiritual.

"This entire ritual," says theology professor André Gagné, builds a bridge between the language of 'spiritual warfare' and possible physical violence."

"This entire ritual," Gagné continued, "potentially builds a bridge between the language of 'spiritual warfare' and the physical realm, where possible physical violence could eventually be enacted to push back against the forces of darkness and establish the Kingdom of God."

"Now, the blowing of trumpets," he concluded, "is found in different contexts in the biblical record, and the ritual means different things for Christians. But in this specific 'spiritual warfare' ceremony, the most likely meaning is associated with the expectation and possible eruption of physical warfare."

Rising and shining

Mastriano was the star of a two-day Patriots Arise conference at a hotel near the Gettysburg battlefield the following year, in April 2021. The small stage was festooned with flag bunting and "Mastriano for Governor" signs. The event announcement declared,

It is TIME (sic) for the Patriots to Arise for God & Country! Just as they did in the first American Revolution during 1776.

The conference opened with a sounding of the shofar by 10 members of the Shofar Army. The call, blown three times, was what leader Don Kretzer called "an alarm sound that has been around for almost 4,000 years."

"Blow the trumpet in Zion! Sound the alarm on holy mountain! The day of the Lord is here!" Kretzer declared. Paraphrasing (and embellishing) God speaking to Moses in the Old Testament book of Numbers, he continued:

When you go into a land against an enemy who appears to be stronger than you, that tries to oppress you; when I hear the sound of alarm, I will remember the covenant I've made with you, and I am coming to rescue you, America!

The Shofar Army and NAR leaders envision themselves as waging "spiritual warfare" against a host of enemies, whom they understand to be possessed or controlled by demons. So when they repeatedly ask God to smite his enemies in this way, some people, as Gagné suggests, may feel compelled to act out the metaphors in more literal fashion. (It's probably fair to wonder whether that informed what happened on Jan. 6.)

The conference hosts, "apostolic and prophetic" leaders Allen and Francine Fosdick, auctioned items as a fundraiser for Mastriano ("our dear brother in Christ warrior") but not for any of the other far-right Christian GOP primary candidates from Pennsylvania and Maryland who were also present.

He was clearly in his element.

Prophet Julia Green of Iowa preceded Mastriano at the podium. She said that Mastriano had heard about a prophecy God had given to her, and that was why he had invited her to appear at his events. She read the prophecy from her laptop while Mastriano waited to speak at a nearby banquet table:

Doug Mastriano, I have you here for such a time as this, saith the Lord. It is now time to move forward with the plan that you have been given. Yes, Doug, I am here for you and I have not forsaken you. The time has come for their great fall; for the great steal to be overturned. So keep your faith in me.

Green further prophesied that current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, would be "removed by my hand" in the wake of a scandal, and that "Treason will be written on him for all eternity." The crowd cheered. Wolf's allegedly treasonous acts were not identified (and have not surfaced to this point). Mastriano said nothing.

The conference began with a dramatic QAnon video comparing conspiracy-theory adherents to American soldiers. It was followed by anti-vax, anti-mask and anti-tax speakers, as well as Bobby Summers, an advocate for the idea of "sovereign citizenship."

Making the demons tremble

The event was similar (albeit much smaller) in terms of theme, tone and content to the ReAwaken America tour, led by Michael Flynn. There have been 15 such conferences since April of last year, drawing thousands of people to each event.

These events are headlined by such figures as Roger Stone, Jenna Ellis and Eric Trump, along with anti-vax and anti-mask presentations and, of course, endless propaganda about alleged election fraud. There is also a strong revivalist Christian component, including opening the event with the blowing of shofars, and speeches by pastoral provocateurs such as noted book-burner Greg Locke.

At a ReAwaken event last year, Prophet Amanda Grace explained the meaning of blowing the shofar, saying it had driven some of God's greatest biblical victories:

When the shofar was blown the walls of Jericho fell. When the shofar was blown, Gideon and an army of 300 men defeated over 147,000 Midianities. It's an announcement to the enemy that his stronghold is about to fall. Demons tremble at the sound of the shofar.

She calls the shofar "a weapon of our warfare. And when we blow it, the power of God comes full force into that situation."

One aspect of the tour is the evident cross-fertilization of the factions of the religious and political right that is reshaping American conservative politics and public life, from the MAGA movement to Jan. 6 to the Mastriano campaign.

Controversial right-wing activist and publisher Floyd G. Brown explained a bit about how this works in his introduction of tour regular Pastor Dave Scarlett at an April 2022 ReAwaken event in Salem, Oregon. Many people who watch Scarlett's "His Glory" show are Christians, Brown said, "but many of them aren't."

"They are Patriots," he continued. "And I've heard him say many, many times, if you watch 'His Glory' and you're a Patriot, you often become a Christian. And if you watch 'His Glory' and you're a Christian, and if you don't know what's going on, you slowly become a Patriot."

Brown announced that "His Glory" would air on his new commercial streaming service, Liftable TV, which seeks to promote a "biblical worldview" and "truth-centric news." It's like a Reader's Digest of Christian-right streaming, rebroadcasting shows from the likes of anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, 7 Mountains Dominionist Lance Walnau and of course Dave Scarlett, who often hosts Julie Green as a guest.

Green's May 25, 2022, interview with Scarlett illuminates much about the Mastriano campaign and the wider movement. Green says that Mastriano campaign functions "are not a normal, everyday political event. … They are all focused on the Lord. They are powerful! They are anointed!" She calls Mastriano "a very powerful man of God."

Scarlett replies that he has talked with a "certain general" (without naming him) who said, about candidates he supports, "that these rallies in the 2024 cycle will start out with [evangelical Christian] praise music, then the candidate, who is a Patriot Christian, will come forward, give whatever their message is, then it will end with revival. It's going to end with altar calls."

Green replied that this was "already happening" at Mastriano's events.

Throughout Mastriano's rise, those around him have been open about their intentions. In a December 2020 broadcast of "The Damascus Road," host Earl Hixon explains their common purpose, to murmurs of agreement from his panelists: Abby Abildness, shofarists Don Kretzer and Bill Yount, and Pastor Brett McKoy, whose Maryland church hosts the broadcast.

Mastriano was supposed to be present, but was under COVID quarantine at the time. Hixon says that in light of that, they wanted the group to serve as Mastriano's "surrogate":

What we have here is the introduction of an army. This is what our King is endeavoring to do — especially on this battlefield we call the United States. This is what we are here for. ... We are all on the front lines. We are aware of what's happening in this country... that's why we're here, talking about the Mountains of Dominion.

A time to "break the bonds"

Those around Mastriano and his campaign — from Abildness to the Patriots Arise conferees, the Shofar Army and Prophet Julie Green — see themselves as entering a future where the temporal meets the supernatural.

When God is ready, they believe, the heavens will open and angelic forces allied with Christians of the right sort will battle the demonic forces of Satan to the end. This apocalyptic vision drives their support for Mastriano.

Those around Mastriano believe that when God is ready, angelic forces allied with Christians of the right sort will battle demonic forces to the end.

There is always some tension, in this domain of Christianity, between what people believe may be imminent and what may turn out to be a long way off. Regardless of the timing, they have no doubt about God's intentions, and about their commitment to carry them out.

Abildness made this clear in her keynote on the second day of Patriots Arise, when she revealed an experience she had on the Gettysburg battlefield. God had called her there, she said, because he was ready to answer a general's 150-year-old prayer. She and members of her apostolic network found themselves "in a portal where the general had prayed."

"We realized heaven is watching," she said, and that "we are joining heaven. We are joining the people of the ages in this prayer." The time was coming, she said, to "break the bonds" with "a government that is not leading the way they should."

"We realized that heaven is with us."

Mastriano himself declared, later that day, "We will win in November, and my God will make it so."

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5502 on: July 04, 2022, 11:14:56 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5503 on: July 04, 2022, 11:20:57 PM »
'He knows that this is all a lie': Trump insider claims ex-president told him he's 'playacting'

As part of a New York Times analysis on the impact that the Jan 6th hearings are on having on those who are skeptical that Donald Trump will be held to account for the Capitol riot that sent lawmakers fleeing, one Donald Trump insider is claiming that the former president knew fully well that he had lost the 2020 election and that he has been playing a part.

As the Times' Baker wrote, "For a year and a half, Mr. Trump has been shielded by obfuscations and mischaracterizations, benefiting from uncertainty about what he was thinking on Jan. 6, 2021," before adding, "But for a man who famously avoids leaving emails or other trails of evidence of his unspoken motives, any doubts about what was really going through Mr. Trump’s mind on that day of violence seemed to have been eviscerated by testimony presented in recent weeks by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack."

According to the report, the tide has been turning against the former president with each hearing and more witnesses come out of the woodwork to describe his actions leading up to and on the day of the insurrection.

Noting the devastating testimony given by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former senior aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Baker wrote, "When added together, the various disclosures have produced the clearest picture yet of an unprecedented attempt to subvert the traditional American democratic process, with a sitting president who had lost at the ballot box planning to march with an armed crowd to the Capitol to block the transfer of power, brushing aside manifold concerns about the potential for violence along the way."

According to attorney Joshua Matz, who assisted the Democrats during both of Trump's impeachments, "The innocent explanations for Trump’s conduct seem virtually impossible to credit following the testimony we have seen. At the very least, they powerfully shift the burden to Trump and his defenders to offer evidence that he did not act with a corrupt, criminal state of mind.”

His assertion is borne out by Anthony Scaramucci -- a longtime Trump associate who briefly held a position in the ex-president's administration.

Speaking with Baker, Scaramucci recalled a conversation with the former president when he made his initial presidential run.

"Anthony Scaramucci, a longtime associate who served briefly in the White House before breaking with Mr. Trump, has talked in the past about Mr. Trump’s power to interpret reality in whatever way suited him. But Mr. Scaramucci said he had concluded that Mr. Trump understood perfectly well that the election was not stolen and that his actions on Jan. 6 to overturn it were illegitimate," Baker wrote before quoting the Trump associate telling him, “I do believe that President Trump knows that the whole thing that he is doing is a ruse. On more than one occasion throughout the campaign he would turn to me and others and say funny things like, ‘Why can’t people realize what you guys realize about me, that I am playacting and full of it at least 50 percent of the time?’ That sort of joking. So he knows that this is all a lie.”

You can read more here:

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5503 on: July 04, 2022, 11:20:57 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5504 on: July 05, 2022, 12:06:04 AM »
As I stated above, we are losing our freedoms because of the radical right.

So, how can Americans celebrate "freedoms" on the 4th of July when Republicans are taking them away?

Another freedom that we are rapidly losing is the freedom of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". We are losing our freedom just to live our every day normal lives by going out to an event and enjoying ourselves.

Republicans with their insane pro gun laws have made it possible for anyone to get easy access to military grade assault weapons in red states. All one has to do is buy a weapon in a red state with loose gun laws and take it into a blue state with strict gun laws to commit their act of violence. And this happens in Illinois every single day.

Today is Independence Day, and the people of Highland Park, Illinois can't even celebrate America's Birthday because of a mass shooter shooting up a 4th of July parade. So, Americans have lost their freedom to watch a parade in safety and not be killed while doing it.

There was a recent poll where 44% of Republicans said we should "learn to accept mass shootings" in order to allow military weapons to still be sold. Are these people insane? They actually want their lives to be endangered each day where they could be shot just so military assault weapons can still be sold.

These weapons have no business being sold on the market. They are designed for the battlefield. No 18 year old should be allowed to use a high powered weapon that can shoot hundreds of rounds of ammo per minute. They are using these weapons to murder innocent people.

These mass shootings have happened everywhere in America. Large cities, suburbs, and small towns so nobody is safe from a mass shooter. Yet, Republicans continue to do the bare minimum and still allow this carnage to take place.       

If you can't even celebrate Independence Day without a mass shooting taking place, then you know there's a major problem and we are losing our freedoms.

If you go back 30, 40, 50 years...people never had to deal with mass shootings. They had their freedom to go anywhere and watch an event without the risk of being shot. That's because these military assault weapons were not circulating in our cities in mass quantities.

We still should have the same freedom folks decades ago had, but with Republicans and their gun fetish, we can no longer go in public without the risk of a mass shooting. That's how Republicans want us to live our lives. That's no way to live and we have no freedom to be safe. That's why these Republicans need to be voted out so we can restore our freedom and safety. With Republicans in control, we will lose more of our freedoms and gun violence will continue to get worse. 

6 dead, more than two dozen hospitalized in mass shooting at Highland Park Fourth of July parade; shooter sought

The shooter appeared to have fired “a high-powered rifle” from a rooftop, police said. “This doesn’t happen here,” said a witness who ran to safety with his family. “It shouldn’t happen anywhere.”

Police in Highland Park escort people Monday afternoon who had sought a safe place after a shooter with a high-powered rifle opened fire hours earlier at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade.

Six people were killed and more than two dozen others wounded when a gunman used a high-powered rifle to fire from a rooftop on people attending the Highland Park Fourth of July parade Monday.

Authorities continued to hunt Monday afternoon for the shooter, and “the offender still has not been apprehended so far,” Christopher Covelli of the Lake County sheriff’s office and the Lake County major crimes task force said at a news conference hours after the shooting.

The gunman used “a high-powered rifle,” Covelli said and fired from a rooftop. “He was very discreet and very difficult to see.”

He called the crime “very random, very intentional,” and he called it “a very sad day.”

It appeared that the gunman had used a ladder to get to the building’s roof, authorities said.

The FBI asked that anyone who had video of the shooting or possible information about the shooter call their toll-free tipline at (800) CALL-FBI. As of 3:30 p.m., authorities said the shooter was still being sought but said they’d made “progress” toward finding him.

By 3:30 p.m., investigators were focusing their manhunt the downtown area bounded by Green Bay Road, Laurel Avenue, St. John’s Avenue and Elm Place, according to Highland Park police Cmdr. Chris O’Neill. People outside that area no longer were being asked to shelter in place.

Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said five people were dead at the scene, all adults, and another died at a hospital. It wasn’t clear how old the sixth victim was.

All of the victims have been identified, though authorities still were notifying families as of 3:30 p.m.

Dozens of the injured were taken to Highland Park Hospital, Lake Forest Hospital and Evanston Hospital. The “vast majority” were treated for gunshot wounds, though some “sustained injuries as a result of the ensuing chaos at the parade,” according to NorthShore University Health Systems, which owns the Highland Park and Evanston hospitals.

Authorities said a child was among those wounded and was hospitalized in critical condition.

One witness said he counted more than 20 shots.

Miles Zaremski, a Highland Park resident, told the Chicago Sun-Times: “I heard 20 to 25 shots, which were in rapid succession. So it couldn’t have been just a handgun or a shotgun.”

Miles Zaremski, a Highland Park resident, told the Chicago Sun-Times: “I heard 20 to 25 shots, which were in rapid succession. So it couldn’t have been just a handgun or a shotgun.”

Zaremski said he saw “people in that area that got shot,” including “a woman covered with blood . . . She did not survive.”

Terrified parade-goers fled Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade after shots were fired, leaving behind their belongings as they sought safety.

As they fled the parade route on Central Street in downtown Highland Park, panicked parade-goers left behind chairs, baby strollers and blankets as they sought cover, not knowing just what happened. Even as people ran, a klezmer band, seemingly unaware of the gunfire, continued to play.

O’Neill said that a rifle the gunman used has been recovered and that the suspect appeared to be 18 to 20 years old, white and wearing a blue T-shirt.

Adrienne Drell, a former Sun-Times reporter, said she was sitting on a curb along Central Avenue watching the parade when she saw members of the Highland Park High School marching band start to run.

“Go to Sunset,” Drell said she heard the students shout, directing people to nearby Sunset Foods.

A man picked her up off the curb and urged her to get out, Drell said.

“There’s panic in the whole town,” she said. “Everyone is just stunned beyond belief.”

She ran across to a nearby parking lot with other people who had been watching the parade.

“It was a quiet, peaceful, lovely morning, people were enjoying the parade,” Drell said. “Within seconds, to have that peacefulness suddenly ripped apart, it’s scary. You can’t go anywhere, you can’t find peace. I think we are falling apart.”

Eric Trotter, 37, who lives blocks from the shooting, echoed that sentiment.

“I felt shocked,” Trotter said. “How could this happen in a peaceful community like Highland Park.”

As police cars sped by on Central Avenue, sirens blaring, Alexander Sandoval, 39, sat on a bench and cried. He’d gotten up before 7 a.m. to set up lawn chairs and a blanket in front of the main stage of the parade. He lives within walking distance from there, so he went home to have breakfast with his son, partner and stepdaughter before going back for the parade.

Hours later, he said he and his family ran after hearing the gunfire, afraid for their lives.

“We saw the Navy’s marchers and float pass by, and, when I first heard the gunshots, I thought it was them saluting the flag and shooting blanks,” Sandoval said. “But then I saw people starting to run, and the shots kept going. We started running.”

He said that, in the chaos, he and his partner Amairani Garcia ran in different directions, he with his 5-year-old son Alex, she with her 6-year-old daughter Melani.

“I grabbed my son and tried to break into one of the local buildings, but I couldn’t,” Sandoval said. “The shooting stopped. I guess he was reloading. So I kept running and ran into an alley and put my son in a garbage dumpster so he could be safe.”

Then, he said he ran in search of the rest of his family and saw bodies in pools of blood on the ground.

“I saw a little boy who was shot being carried away,” Sandoval said. “It was just terror.”

He found his partner and stepdaughter, safe, inside a McDonald’s nearby.

“This doesn’t happen here,” he said. “It shouldn’t happen anywhere.”

Don Johnson, 76. who lives about two blocks from the shooting scene, thought at first the gunfire was a car backfiring. He said he ran with several other people to a nearby BP gas station and described the scene as “surreal.”

“It’s just a terrible thing,” he said. “I never wouldn’t thought this would’ve happened in downtown Highland Park.”

Johnson said his daughter lives in Chicago with her son and that he’s been urging them to move to Highland Park, telling her recently, “It’s safe.”

Now, he said, it’s clear that “it can happen anywhere.”

David Goldenberg, the Midwest regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, was among those at the parade. He’d gone early to set up chairs for his family along the parade route. He said he ended up moving their chairs to be closer to friends.

If not for that, Goldenberg said, “We would have been awfully close” to the shooting.

“It was chaotic,” he said. “Those sorts of things that you hear about — those split-second moments accounting for everyone in your family as people are yelling, ‘There’s a shooter! There’s a gun!’ ”

He said he knows of an adult who was killed, though he declined to discuss details.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called on “all Illinoisans to pray for the families who have been devastated by the evil unleashed this morning in Highland Park, for those who have lost loved ones and for those who have been injured.

“There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families with children celebrating a holiday with their community. There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams, their futures.

“We must — and we will — end this plague of gun violence.”

Responding to the Highland Park shooting, President Joe Biden said in a written statement: “Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day.”

News of the shooting spree in Highland Park prompted other suburbs to cancel their Fourth of July celebrations.

Former Obama White House adviser David Alexrod tweeted that someone he knew was at the parade, writing: “A friend took his kids to July 4th Parade in Highland Park today. His son has special needs. When shots rang out, they ran for their lives, the dad pushing his grown son’s wheelchair —which at one point tumbled over. On America’s day, what has become a sickeningly American story.”



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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5504 on: July 05, 2022, 12:06:04 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5505 on: July 05, 2022, 02:36:41 PM »
Highland Park shooter 'part of a new wave of terror' that advanced 'well past Donald Trump': extremism expert

The alleged gunman in the Highland Park massacre was photographed at Donald Trump rallies, but an expert on online extremism said he's part of a "new wave of terror" that doesn't appear to have a specific political motivation.

Robert "Bobby" Crimo III was taken into custody hours after the shooting that killed six people and wounded 38 others at an Illinois parade on the Fourth of July, and NBC News correspondent Ben Collins told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" what he had learned about the person of interest in the massacre.

"I will say that -- man, there's no other way to put this -- the one thing that combines all these things is ready access to weapons, and this guy had ready access to weapons," Collins said. "That's just the one thing. He had ready access to a machine that could kill a bunch of people in a short period of time. You're not going to be able to stop this on a rhetorical level."

"This guy, he posted on Spotify, on Discord, on a bunch of websites that you and I would never hear of," Collins continued. "He posted on Twitter, on YouTube, Instagram, posted everywhere he could post. Even if there was a consortium of people who worked at the private companies monitoring this stuff, you couldn't get them all. There's no way to get them all necessarily. Also, I want to say, like, you can't drill this down to one specific traditional political subculture. I know a lot of people want to point out he was a Donald Trump fan, there were pictures of him draped in a Trump flag outside of a Donald Trump motorcade."

"This is part of a much larger, deeper subculture that Donald Trump is in the past of -- like, this guy grew up as a child and Donald Trump was the president, he's trying to advance the acceleration well past Donald Trump," Collins added. "He is part of a new wave of terror, and that's something we have to get our brains around right now. This is not tied to one guy. This is tied to a much larger cell of people who think they're lone wolves who are really acting in concert, to express their disaffection with the world by murdering a bunch of people. We have to stop that. I don't know how else to stop that."

Collins said limiting access to high-powered firearms must be part of that conversation, because the online networks that motivate mass shooters are simply too large.

"The one thing you can stop at the very end is the gun part, but we have to at least, you know, try to start to learn how people are getting to this point," he said. "Otherwise, we're going to come here every two weeks, guys, like every two weeks, we're going to be on this show talking about what's going to happen and how we can't stop this thing. We have to wrap our brains around this very new reality, where there are a bunch of different subcultures that are extremely violent."

Watch the video below:

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5505 on: July 05, 2022, 02:36:41 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5506 on: July 05, 2022, 02:45:19 PM »
Indictments are coming: At long last, criminal justice will catch up with Donald Trump

After Cassidy Hutchinson, there's not much doubt: Federal charges will happen — but Georgia may get there first

Putting a former president on trial for alleged criminal behavior would be the first prosecution of its kind in American history. It would also do much toward restoring the myth that no person or corporation is above the law. As James Doyle has explained, putting Trump on trial "redeems American justice."

Looking both backward and forward, I would argue that putting the former racketeer in chief and his accomplices on trial for seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government — arguably the ultimate constitutional crime — is more tangible than the abstract goal of redeeming American justice. In this insurrectionary moment, "substantive" due process justice trumps "procedural" due process justice.

After the first five public hearings held by the House select committee investigating the organized and coordinated activities of Donald J. Trump and his allies to steal the 2020 presidential election, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, it seemed apparent that Attorney General Merritt Garland would not prosecute Trump for two likely federal crimes: "obstructing an official proceeding" and engaging in a "conspiracy to defraud the United States."

But the sixth hearing, and the dramatic testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — the proverbial "fly on the wall" — was truly a game-changer. Knowing that Trump welcomed the armed weapons and the assault on the Capitol was certainly no surprise to most people who have been paying attention.

Knowing Trump as a criminal biographer, I was not surprised to learn that he may have physically assaulted another person under circumstances similar to those on the occasion when he struck his first-grade teacher in the head before a whole classroom of his peers.

It was a surprise to me initially that Trump wanted to be present at the Capitol during the assault. For both legal and safety reasons, that would have been highly inadvisable. Jumping into Trump's fantasy world, however, where he believed that he was not at physical risk, I could also imagine Trump envisioning himself riding up the stairs and into the Capitol on a white stallion, ahead of his troops.

Recall that Trump had successfully defended himself from "incitement of insurrection" during his second impeachment trial, contending that his Ellipse speech was protected by the First Amendment and that he had no knowledge about the crowd's makeup, its intentions or its possible weaponry.

In Trump's fantasy world, he believed he was in no physical danger, and imagined himself riding up the Capitol steps on a white stallion, leading his troops.

after only four weeks of investigation the House impeachment managers' case against him was based on circumstantial rather than direct evidence. All of that changed with the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson.

That's why the testimony of Pat Cipollone, Trump's former White House counsel, who was quoted by Hutchinson as saying, "We're going to get charges of every crime imaginable," including seditious conspiracy as well as jury tampering, has now been subpoenaed by the select committee.

I do not imagine that any federal prosecution of Trump will occur before the end of 2023. In the meantime, however, it is likely that the former president will be prosecuted before the end of 2022 for the felony of asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the outcome in that state by "finding" 11,780 fake votes, one more than Trump lost the state by to Joe Biden.

In the Georgia case, Trump could be charged with violating as many as four statutes. These include seeking to have ballots counted that Trump knew were "materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws" of the State of Georgia; conspiring with Meadows and two other lawyers "to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person…"; "soliciting another person" to willfully tamper "with any electors list, voter's certificate…"; and engaging in "criminal solicitation to commit election fraud."

Following a lifetime of crime, corruption and impunity, it now appears that the criminal law is at last catching up with the man who has operated a criminal enterprise within the Trump Organization since the early 1980s.

Over more than four decades, a non-exhaustive listing of the former president's alleged crimes would include sexual assault; tax evasion; money laundering; the non-payment of employees, contractors and attorneys; financial fraud; racketeering; and obstruction of justice.

Trump is a veritable Houdini of white-collar crime, a master of lawlessness and impunity. Not only has he never been convicted of any crime, he has never even been charged with a felony.

As a litigator, Trump is in a league of his own. Since 1973 he has been involved in more than 4,000 lawsuits, and in some 60 percent of those as the suing plaintiff.

Until now, his litigation has almost always been about attracting attention and wearing down opponents. As the late, great litigator James D. Zirin, author of "Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits," wrote of Trump: "What was important was to use the lawsuit to attract attention, to exert economic pressure, and to prove he was the kid on the block not to be messed with."

The impending criminal charges to be filed against Donald Trump by the district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, and the U.S. Department of Justice are both very different from the thousands of previous lawsuits in Trump's career. Those civil cases, both past and present, have always been about money. The soon-to-be criminal cases will be about Trump's personal freedom — and whether he will be wearing an orange jumpsuit for the next several years.

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5506 on: July 05, 2022, 02:45:19 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5507 on: July 06, 2022, 12:31:06 AM »
Lindsey Graham and Rudy Giuliani issued subpoenas in Georgia election investigation

A Georgia grand jury has subpoenaed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and members of Donald Trump's campaign legal team.

In addition to the South Carolina Republican, the Fulton County special grand jury investigating Trump's efforts to overturn his loss has issued subpoenas to Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesbro and Jenna Ellis, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The subpoenas were filed Tuesday and signed off by Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who is overseeing the grand jury and must approve summons for individuals who live out of state.

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis is also engaged in legal battles with at least two current and former GOP officials, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and ex-state Sen. William Ligon, in Georgia over subpoenas, arguing in a recent court filing that seeking to reverse election results were not protected by legislative immunity.

The special grand jury has permission to meet until May 2023, but Willis has said she expects her investigation to end long before then.

Trump attorney with ‘unique knowledge’ ordered to testify in Georgia election case

A Georgia judge has ordered an attorney from former President Donald Trump's campaign team to testify in a special grand jury investigation about efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Joe Henke of 11Alive obtained the order, which names attorney Kenneth Chesebro as a "necessary and material" witness for the investigation focusing on Trump.

Chesebro allegedly had a role in organizing an "alternate" slate of electors that would elect Trump instead of Joe Biden. On December 14, 2020, the group assembled at the state capitol to cast their illegitimate votes for Trump.

"The court's order said he was involved in the 'coordination and execution of a plan to have 16 individuals meet at the Georgia State Capitol on December 14, 2020 to cast purported electoral college votes in favor of former President Donald Trump, even though none of those 16 individuals had been ascertained as Georgia’s certified presidential electors by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp,'" 11Alive reported.

Chesebro "[d]rafted at least two memoranda in support of this plan, which were provided to the Georgia Republican Party, and... provided template Microsoft Word documents to be used by the Georgia Republican Party at its meeting on December 14, 2020," the order said.

The document asserted that the attorney has "unique knowledge" of the plot to overturn the election.

The House Select Committee on Jan. 6 and the Justice Department have also subpoenaed Chesebro.

‘Striking’ how close Georgia election investigation is getting to Trump: legal expert

An Atlanta grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election have subpoenaed a handful of Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Cleta Mitchell, and Kenneth Chesebro.

As CNN points out, several state officials have already been subpoenaed and have appeared before the special grand jury led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Speaking on MSNBC this Tuesday, legal analyst Allie Vitale said, it's "striking how close this investigation is now getting to the former president, but then also ... how closely these names are now tracking with what [the Jan. 6 committee] is now bringing to light."

"Many of the names the committee has been focused on in recent weeks, like John Eastman, like Rudy Giuliani, like others, we've seen now in these seven subpoenas that Fulton County has issued," Vitale said.

Watch the segment in link below:

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5507 on: July 06, 2022, 12:31:06 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5508 on: July 06, 2022, 11:11:51 AM »
Trump real estate firm hit with $10,000 a day fine by New York judge

New York Justice Arthur F. Engoron has imposed a daily $10,000 fine on real estate giant Cushman and Wakefield for failing to turn over documents to state investigators examining in Donald Trump inflated the value of his real estate holdings.

"On Tuesday afternoon, a clearly irked Justice Arthur F. Engoron signed an order ripping into the real estate behemoth for missing a deadline to turn over documents—after having two months to meet it," The Daily Beast reported. "He criticized the company, which routinely helped Trump value properties in ways that benefited him directly, for dragging its feet."

In April, the same judge ruled that Cushman & Wakefield lied and broke its own internal policies to help the Trump Organization.

"The massive, national real estate firm was supposed to deliver documents related to its valuations of all kinds of properties—so that state investigators could compare how the company treated other projects compared to Trump developments," The Beast reported. "The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas between September 2021 and February 2022 that the firm still hadn’t complied with, so the judge ordered the company to play ball in April. But the firm fought that in appellate court—and lost."

The company had failed to comply with a June 29 deadline set by the judge.

"Time is of the essence. State investigators are set to interview former President Donald Trump and two of his children—Don Jr. and Ivanka—in closed-door depositions the week of July 18. And investigators have said they need to review the evidence from Cushman and Wakefield before those interviews," The Beast noted.

Read the full report:

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5508 on: July 06, 2022, 11:11:51 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5509 on: July 06, 2022, 01:31:55 PM »
The fascist Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claims his state is all about "freedom" but he is now forcing University students and professors to register their political views with the state of Florida. 

I keep warning people that these right wing radical Republicans are taking away your freedoms and privacy every chance they get. And here is another perfect example of rights and freedoms being taken away by Republicans. 

State officials have no business knowing which political party you belong to because you have the right to your privacy.

Some people might say, "I don't care if the state knows what my political party preference is". Well, you would care if state officials use your political preference against you. There should be no reason for them to know what your politics are, unless they have an agenda to use against politics they don't like.

These state officials could easily target professors at Universities if they don't like their political views. The state could basically refuse funding to the school unless the university hires professors that align with their politics.

Students could be affected as well if the state disagrees with their political views. The state could force Universities to accept students of their preferred political party or they would refuse to fund the school if they didn't.

It's written right there in the law that schools would lose funding if the state feels "students' beliefs do not satisfy Florida's GOP-run legislature". So, if the majority of students are Democrats, the Republican legislature could cut funding to the school and demand professors who register Democrat be fired since it doesn't "satisfy" Republicans.

Basically, the state of Florida wants to promote their radical right wing political agenda in Universities and this "law" gives them the authority to do it.

With the hostile political climate we have today, you can bet your last dollar that Republicans in Florida would use this unconstitutional law of gathering political information against Democrats at Universities.

This is just another way for Republicans in Florida to push their radical laws and to continue to discriminate against people they don't like.

And this could open the door for the state to force people at other places of employment to divulge their political party preference, and even your medical records or religious beliefs. And if they don't agree with your religious beliefs, you could be targeted by them.

Forcing students and professors to declare their political views is not "freedom", that is fascism. And especially when the opposition party can cut funding to the school or have professors fired if they don't like their political views.

You can bet that other right wing Governors will be doing the same as Florida. And if Republicans ever control Congress again, they could make a federal law forcing you to divulge your political party preference or any other personal information, and it could be used against you.

How is that "freedom"? It's not freedom, and the GOP is doing everything possible to oppress the people and the groups they don't like. And when they have your personal information, don't think for a minute that they won't use it against you because they will.

The only way for this oppression to stop is if you vote all these right wingers out of office.                     

DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state

Universities may lose funding if staff and students' beliefs do not satisfy Florida's GOP-run legislature

Public universities in Florida will be required to survey both faculty and students on their political beliefs and viewpoints, with the institutions at risk of losing their funding if the responses are not satisfactory to the state's Republican-led legislature.

The unprecedented project, which was tucked into a law signed Tuesday by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, is part of a long-running, nationwide right-wing push to promote "intellectual diversity" on campuses — though worries over a lack of details on the survey's privacy protections, and questions over what the results may ultimately be used for, hover over the venture.

Based on the bill's language, survey responses will not necessarily be anonymous — sparking worries among many professors and other university staff that they may be targeted, held back in their careers or even fired for their beliefs.

According to the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Ray Rodrigues, faculty will not be promoted or fired based on their responses, but, as The Tampa Bay Times reported Tuesday, the bill itself does not back up those claims.

The only details on the survey come via a passage over its purpose, to discover "the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented" at public universities, and whether students "feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom."

"It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you'd be exposed to a lot of different ideas," DeSantis said at a press conference following the bill signing. "Unfortunately, now the norm is, these are more intellectually repressive environments. You have orthodoxies that are promoted, and other viewpoints are shunned or even suppressed."

Republicans have long held that universities promote left-wing ideologies and discriminate against conservative students and staff.

Though the bill does not specify what the survey results will be used for, both DeSantis and Rodrigues suggested that the state could institute budget cuts if university students and staff do not respond in a satisfactory manner.

"That's not worth tax dollars and that's not something that we're going to be supporting moving forward," DeSantis said.

When pressed by reporters, the governor did not offer any specific examples of repression and discrimination faced by conservative students, simply saying that he knows "a lot of parents" who worry about their children being "indoctrinated" on campus.

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson was more pointed in his criticism Tuesday at a meeting of the state university system's Board of Governors, calling the institutions "socialism factories" — again without much detail on what makes the schools so left-wing.

"We always hear about the liberal parts of the university system, and we don't hear so much of that from the college system," he said, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

In addition to the survey, the bill also prevents officials from limiting campus speech that "may be uncomfortable, disagreeable or offensive" — a measure that, as Democrats in the state Legislature pointed out, will also make it easier for groups like the KKK or the Proud Boys to hold events on campus.

In a conversation with the Miami Herald this April, Barney Bishop, one of the top lobbyists pushing the bill in Florida's state legislature over the past year, shone a light on the justifications behind such measures — which he said were less about "intellectual diversity" and more concerned with maintaining the country's conservative Christian identity in the face of younger, more diverse generations that share a dimmer view of religious right-wing orthodoxy.

Bishop also told the paper he "certainly hopes" the effort will expand into the K-12 system over time.

"I think the problem isn't just in higher ed. The truth of the matter is that kids are being indoctrinated from an early age," he said.

"I think that those of us who have diverse thinking and look at both sides of the issue, see that the way the cards are stacked in the education system, is toward the left and toward the liberal ideology and also secularism — and those were not the values that our country was founded on. Those are the values that we need to get our country back to."


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