|From: Brumar89||10/21/2021 6:55:13 PM|
|Liberal poll worker proves instance of voter fraud and collects bounty from Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick|
Liberal poll worker proves instance of voter fraud and collects bounty from Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
The lieutenant governor of Texas cut the check on his first bounty for voter fraud evidence to a poll worker in Pennsylvania, but it wasn't the proof he was expecting.
Almost a year after Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that he would pay for evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, someone has received their payout. Patrick sent a $25,000 check to Eric Frank, a Democratic poll worker from Chester County, Pennsylvania, who reported a 72-year-old Republican for voting twice.
"It's my belief that they were trying to get cases of Democrats doing voter fraud. And that just wasn't the case," Frank told the Dallas Morning News. "This kind of blew up in their face."
Patrick announced in December 2020 that he had set aside $1 million of his campaign funds for tipsters who could turn over credible evidence of voter fraud that would lead to an arrest and conviction. Anyone who did so would receive $25,000. While several incidents were forwarded to Patrick's office, none of them led to a conviction and sentence.
Frank decided to use Patrick's offer to make a profit — he had previously reported local voter Frank Thurman for casting a ballot twice, once for himself and once for his son.
Frank forwarded evidence of Thurman's conviction to Patrick's spokesman, Allen Blakemore. The poll worker received a payout of $25,000 and was told he didn't receive more because Blakemore was saving the higher payments for "bigger fish."
Thurman's lawyer contended that the event "stems from a miscommunication at the voting center" in which Thurman misheard poll workers and thought he could vote a second time on behalf of his son. Thurman pleaded guilty to repeat voting in September and was sentenced to three years probation.
Government officials report that they have found sparse incidents of voter fraud in the 2020 election. However, the individual incidents are not enough to justify widespread claims of voter fraud that could have changed a presidential election outcome.
Blakemore did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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|From: Glenn Petersen||10/22/2021 5:00:41 AM|
|Republicans who put it all on the line|
Alayna Treene, Sarah Mucha, Andrew Solender
October 21, 2021
Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.
Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.
-- They also face blowback from their caucus leaders, after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) tried to rally the GOP against the vote.
The big picture: Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), one of the most conservative lawmakers policy-wise, is a clear example of what's at stake.
-- After she voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, McCarthy moved to strip her of her leadership role, Wyoming Republicans targeted her in her re-election fight and she became the focus of Trump's ire.
-- Now lobbyists are beginning to turn on her, the New York Times' Jonathan Martin reports, with one warning that consultants must choose between her and McCarthy.
-- Cheney continues to dig in — hoping her gamble that voters are less attached to Trump than Republican leaders think will pan out.
-- "It's fundamentally not acceptable," she told Axios after Thursday's vote.
Between the lines: Besides Cheney, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — the other Republican member of Jan. 6 Select Committee — voted "yea."
-- They were joined by Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) — all of whom voted to impeach Trump in January.
-- Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) provided the final two Republican votes to hold Bannon in contempt.
What they're saying: Mace's vote surprised many Republicans, given she didn't vote either for impeachment or the creation of the Jan. 6 commission.
-- Mace, a freshman and the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, told reporters: “I want the power to subpoena when we start to investigate some of the crises that are facing the Biden administration right now, from what's happening at the border, to Afghanistan."
-- Katko said, "I never feel pressure," when asked about the potential repercussions he faces for voting yes. "I do what I think is right."
-- Upton said in a statement: “No one is above the law. That has always been one of my guiding tenants."
In a tweet, Meijer — a veteran — also said his vote was aimed at protecting the power of Congress.
-- "Holding individuals who refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas in contempt is the sole recourse available to Congress to protect its power of inquiry [McGrain v Daugherty]," he tweeted.
-- "I voted today to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress to protect this power."
9 Republicans put it all on the line with Bannon vote - Axios
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|From: Glenn Petersen||10/22/2021 5:19:42 AM|
|Trump’s new social network could fit an old business model: Lending his name to make low-risk profits|
By David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell
The Washington Post
Yesterday at 3:06 p.m. EDT
Former president Donald Trump is pitching his new social network as a mold-breaking “media powerhouse” set to challenge Big Tech, but the venture could also echo an old Trump strategy — lending his name and reputation to other people’s businesses, producing revenue for Trump with little work or overhead.
At a time when the Trump Organization is facing unprecedented challenges — including mounting losses at some businesses and an indictment of its chief financial officer — the social media venture could allow Trump a way to enter the tech sector without much risk.
“Avoiding being responsible, in any ultimate sense, is a constant in his strategy,” said Michael D’Antonio, who has written biographies of Trump. D’Antonio said he saw the new social media venture as an extension of that strategy: “If you think of him always looking for ways to try businesses without being truly responsible — combined with his sense that he can do anything — then this is kind of natural.”
On Wednesday, the former president announced a new company, Trump Media & Technology Group, and immediately said it had merged with a company called Digital World Acquisition Corp. — an entity set up to raise money for investments.
The company announced grand ambitions to “unify” the conservative media market and compete with tech and media giants as varied as Facebook and Disney. But in the short term, the company’s product was less than impressive: Its social network, called Truth Social, was defaced by pranksters within hours of its launch. Visitors saw a video of a pig defecating, supposedly posted by “donaldjtrump.”
Though many details of the new venture were still unclear Thursday, its structure and business plan does differ from Trump’s other companies. Most are privately owned by Trump, based at Trump Tower, and run by a set of executives who are either Trump’s relatives or his longtime employees.
This company, by contrast, is intended to be publicly traded and run by executives who don’t have a long history with Trump. In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, its CEO is listed as Patrick Orlando, a finance executive who is also CEO of a company in Wuhan, China. He has listed an office address that corresponds to a WeWork co-working space in Miami.
Its chief financial officer, Luis Orleans-Braganza, claims to be a member of the defunct Brazilian royal family and a member of the Brazilian Congress from the party of hard-right president Jair Bolsonaro.
It is unclear what Trump’s role will be in the company, or if he will have an ownership stake. Neither the new company nor the Trump Organization responded to requests for comment from The Washington Post on Thursday.
Trump began his career in the high-risk, high-reward business of buying and selling New York real estate. But, after he achieved TV fame on “The Apprentice,” he entered another line of business with far less risk: selling his name to people who wanted to slap it on their products.
In the heyday of that merchandising business, Trump was paid to lend his name to apartment buildings, eyeglasses, cologne, mattresses, vodka, steaks, coffee, chandeliers, suits — even a brand of urine test. Many of these products failed, but that was not Trump’s problem. It was the people who had bought Trump’s name who made the products and took the risk.
That revenue from licensing streams was reduced, sharply, after Trump entered politics in 2015 and brands seeking a broad market sought to distance themselves from his rhetoric.
But this venture seems to show Trump again lending his name and reputation — to a business that may see his politics as a plus and not a minus. While it’s not clear yet whether Trump is investing his own money or how much, experts said the new media company looks more like the post-“Apprentice” merchandising deals than his capital-intensive real estate projects.
“There’s nothing surprising. The only surprising thing would be if he actually put his own money into it. He’s always an other-people’s-money people guy,” said Gwenda Blair, who wrote a biography of Trump, his father and his grandfather. If Trump doesn’t have to invest money, she said: “What’s the downside. It’s all upside.”
Trump has previously run one publicly traded company, which included many of his Atlantic City casinos and was called Trump Entertainment Resorts. The company operated for roughly two decades, starting in 1995. For Trump’s investors, it was a disaster: The company lost more than $1 billion, its stock price nosedived, and it filed for bankruptcy three times, in 2004, 2009 and 2014. The company was eventually taken over by investor Carl Icahn.
But Trump himself did well: The struggling company paid him more than $44 million in salary, bonuses and other compensation. Tim O’Brien, another Trump biographer, said this demonstrated Trump’s willingness to try new ventures while reducing his risk — but also his struggles to succeed while running a complex operation.
“They’re asking anyone who might invest in this to simply trust that, because Donald Trump’s involved with it, it might make money,” O’Brien said.
Trump has ventured into new industries in the past, including airlines, education and casinos, and struggled. If Trump’s role in the new venture is bigger than simply lending his name, O’Brien said, he may find the tech sector equally complex: “When push comes to shove, he’s going to have to prove that he can actually manage a media company.”
This new venture comes at a time when Trump’s old business — the Trump Organization — is facing problems on multiple fronts.
The Trump Organization is heavily invested in bricks-and-mortar operations — hotels, golf courses and office buildings — many of which suffered from political backlash and the covid-19 pandemic. Several of the company’s biggest properties, including Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington, have lost millions of dollars in recent years, according to financial filings.
The company is also facing at least three state-level investigations into its financial practices, including one by the Manhattan district attorney that has already led to the indictment of Trump’s longtime chief financial officer on charges of felony tax fraud. Two of Trump’s corporate entities were also indicted at the same time. Both the companies and the executive, Allen Weisselberg, have pleaded not guilty.
Trump appears to remain the owner of the Trump Organization, but he has left day-to-day leadership to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric — continuing an arrangement he set up when he entered the White House.
Under their leadership, the previously fast-growing company began to shrink: The Trump name has come down from hotels and apartment buildings, and the company canceled plans for domestic hotel expansion.
Since his election, Trump and his family repeatedly bemoaned the deals the company had forgone to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest. Upon being elected to office Trump promised no new deals abroad and that his company would only honor “normal and customary arrangements” made before his election.
“We walked away from billions of dollars’ worth of deals and ceased virtually all expansion,” Eric Trump said in 2019.
Now that Trump is out of office, however, the company does not seem to have resumed expansion. The company has again put its D.C. hotel lease on the market, hoping to recoup its more than $220 million investment in the property, which lost more than $70 million while Trump was president. It has lost a number of tenants from the office space at its landmark New York property, Trump Tower. And it has seen its name come down off apartment buildings in New Jersey and Connecticut.
There has been no evidence that the company is attempting to restart expansion plans for its hotel line, either in America or abroad.
Trump’s new social network could fit an old business model: Lending his name to make low-risk profits - The Washington Post
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|From: Glenn Petersen||10/22/2021 2:42:29 PM|
|Trump’s social network has 30 days to stop breaking the rules of its software license|
Truth Social ripped off open-source platform Mastodon
By Adi Robertson @thedextriarchy
Oct 22, 2021, 12:27pm EDT
The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) says former President Donald Trump’s new social network violated a free and open-source software licensing agreement by ripping off decentralized social network Mastodon. The Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) has 30 days to comply with the terms of the license before its access is terminated — forcing it to rebuild the platform or face legal action.
TMTG launched a special purpose acquisition company fundraising effort yesterday with promises to build a sweeping media empire. Its only product so far is a social network called Truth Social that appears strongly to be forked from Mastodon. While anyone can freely reuse Mastodon’s code (and groups like right-wing social network Gab have already done so), they still have to comply with the Affero General Public License (or AGPLv3) that governs that code, and its conditions include offering their own source code to all users.
Truth Social doesn’t comply with that license and, in fact, refers to its service as “proprietary.” Its developers apparently attempted to scrub references that would make the Mastodon connection clear — at one point listing a “sighting” of the Mastodon logo as a bug — but included direct references to Mastodon in the site’s underlying HTML alongside obvious visual similarities.
TMTG’s strategy hasn’t sat well with the SFC, an organization that enforces free and open-source software licenses. “The license purposefully treats everyone equally (even people we don’t like or agree with), but they must operate under the same rules of the copyleft licenses that apply to everyone else,” SFC policy fellow Bradley Kuhn wrote in a blog post. “Today, we saw the Trump Media and Technology Group ignoring those important rules — which were designed for the social good.”
Truth Social hasn’t officially launched. But users could access a test version of the platform, where many of them created prank accounts that flooded the service with false company announcements and even fake Donald Trump posts. (The platform has since been replaced by a waitlist.) The SFC demands that TMTG offer all these users access to the Truth Social source code. “If they fail to do this within 30 days, their rights and permissions in the software are automatically and permanently terminated,” Kuhn says.
If Truth Social fails to make the source code available, the SFC could sue it for violating the terms of the license it used. Earlier this year, the group sued electronics maker Vizio for “repeated failures to fulfill even the basic requirements” of free software licensing. “We will be following this issue very closely and demanding that Trump’s Group give the corresponding source to all who use the site,” Kuhn writes.
Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko also said yesterday that he intended to seek legal counsel about the situation, although he didn’t discuss a specific course of action. “Compliance with our AGPLv3 license is very important to me as that is the sole basis upon which I and other developers are willing to give away years of work for free,” he told Talking Points Memo.
Trump’s site Truth Social broke software rules, says copyleft group - The Verge
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|From: Brumar89||10/22/2021 3:22:38 PM|
|'I've lost my joy': Anti-vax Republican, who worked for the Trump campaign and embraced QAnon, says she has COVID-19|
Thu, October 21, 2021
Lauren Witzke was the 2020 GOP Senate nominee in Delaware.
She ran against Democratic incumbent Sen. Chris Coons, winning 37.9% of the vote.
She has suggested COVID-19 vaccines are part of a satanic plot.
A Delaware Republican who said coronavirus vaccines were part of a satanic plan to cause "mass death" is recovering from COVID-19, she announced Thursday, saying the illness had caused her to lose "all of my senses."
Lauren Witzke, a self-styled "Christian nationalist" who embraced QAnon and support from white supremacists, was the Delaware GOP's candidate for Senate in 2020, receiving 186,000 votes in her failed run against Democratic incumbent Sen. Chris Coons.
In a post on Gab, a social network popular with right-wing extremists, Witzke claimed she was "recovering from this insane bio-weapon called Covid." The 33-year-old, who has worked as a political commentator for the right-wing Christian conspiracy site TruNews, said she had decided not to tell anyone earlier so as not to alert "the shitlibs in the media."
"This bio-weapon is demonic," she wrote. "I've lost all of my senses and struggle with constant indifference, brain fog, and I've lost my joy."
In posts shared on her Telegram channel, Witzke blamed TruNews for making her aware of the infection, insisting that nasal swabs were ultimately responsible for her getting COVID-19. "I'm an idiot for submitting to their demands and getting tested," she wrote, "and yes I know I need a good husband in my life to keep me from making bad decisions."
She left the company in September.
Prior to her departure, Witzke attributed a June outbreak of COVID-19 among TruNews staff to a " demonic attack" for having hosted far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart writer who now claims to be "ex-gay."
"I don't think it's any coincidence that the TruNews crew all got deathly ill, got very sick, right after they brought Milo on," she said, as reported by PinkNews.
Witzke currently works with Stew Peters, an online broadcaster who has repeatedly pushed false claims about vaccines. On his program, Witzke herself claimed that COVID-19 vaccinations were a "mass death scale injection" that would precede the end of the world.
Witzke's Senate run was likewise characterized by an open flirtation with extremists, the candidate, for example, tweeting thanks to white nationalist Nick Fuentes for supporting her campaign, The Daily Beast reported. She also shared racist attacks on Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.
In October, a supporter of Witzke's campaign was convicted of two felonies for pointing a gun at people who were protesting her campaign. The conviction, she maintained, was the product of an "anti-white, and anti-conservative system" that is "coming for us all."
Before running for office, Witzke worked on the Iowa campaign of former President Donald Trump.
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