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  1. #5236

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Kyle Griffin

    Gov. Whitmer to NBC: "It's incredibly disturbing that the president of the United States — 10 days after a plot to kidnap, put me on trial and execute me — 10 days after that was uncovered, the president is at it again and inspiring and incentivizing ... domestic terrorism."
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  2. #5237

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Here Are the Hundreds of Sites in a Pay-to-Play Local News Network
    By Davey Alba and Jack Nicas

    A fast-growing network of nearly 1,300 websites is filling a void left by vanishing local newspapers across the country. But many of their stories are ordered up by conservative political groups and corporate P.R. firms, a Times investigation found.

    We are publishing the names of those sites so readers can see whether the sites target their area.

    See the sites ›

    We compiled the list with the help of Global Disinformation Index, an internet research group, which analyzed Google advertising and analytics data imprinted in the sites’ digital codes to find links between the sites. We then confirmed that sites belonged to the network by analyzing their layouts, bylines, privacy policies and “About” pages, as well as by interviewing employees and examining internal records of the companies behind the sites.

    Columbia University’s Priyanjana Bengani tallied a similar number of websites in August.

    The network is run under a web of companies, though it is largely overseen by Brian Timpone, a former TV reporter who has sought to capitalize on the decline of local news organizations for nearly two decades. Mr. Timpone did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

    As a guide, the different segments of the network include nearly 1,000 local news sites under the Metric Media brand; more than 50 business news sites; 34 news sites in Illinois under the Local Government Information Services brand; and 11 legal-news sites owned by a U.S. Chamber of Commerce group.

    Some of the sites are dormant, and we culled ones from our list that are now defunct. In the past, dormant sites have sprung to life when news hit the region they target, like what happened with the Kenosha Reporter site after protests broke out in Kenosha, Wis., over the police killing of an unarmed Black man there.

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  3. #5238

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Susanne Craig

    New Tax Story: As Trump raises questions about Hunter Biden and China, his tax records show China is one of three foreign countries where he has reported having a bank account. He paid $188,561 in taxes in China in 2013-2015 w @mmcintire & @russbuettner
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  4. #5239

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    More on Tiny's China accounts:

    Robert J. DeNault
    BREAKING: Trump Tax Records show a secretly held bank account in China. The account did not show up on Trump’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names.

    In 2017, the company reported an unusually large spike in revenue — some $17.5 million, more than the previous five years’ combined. It was accompanied by a $15.1 million withdrawal by Mr. Trump from the company’s capital account.

    During the 2016 campaign, a shell company controlled by a Chinese couple from Vancouver bought 11 units, for $3.1 million, in the Las Vegas tower Mr. Trump co-owns with the casino magnate Phil Ruffin.

    The owner of a Las Vegas-based financial services firm said he was visited by two F.B.I. agents asking about the company behind the purchases, which he said had used his office address in incorporation papers without his knowledge. It is not known what became of the inquiry.

    Important to note: Christopher Steele wrote in his dossier that Trump was not nervous about connections to Russia, as they distracted from his corruption in China.

    And perhaps this secret bank account, and the secret payments from it in the first year of Trump’s term that we knew nothing about, explain this kind of behavior.

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  5. #5240

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Administration officials alarmed by White House push to fast track lucrative 5G spectrum contract, sources say

    By Jake Tapper, Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent

    Washington (CNN)Senior officials throughout various departments and agencies of the Trump administration tell CNN they are alarmed at White House pressure to grant what would essentially be a no-bid contract to lease the Department of Defense's mid-band spectrum -- premium real estate for the booming and lucrative 5G market -- to Rivada Networks, a company in which prominent Republicans and supporters of President Donald Trump have investments.

    The pressure campaign to fast track Rivada's "Request for Proposal" (RFP) by using authorities that would preclude a competitive bidding process intensified in September, and has been led by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was acting at Trump's behest, sources with knowledge tell CNN. To push his case, Meadows has sometimes used as his proxy an individual identified by sources in the telecommunications industry as a top financial management official in the US Army.

    Sources tell CNN that Trump was encouraged to help Rivada by Fox News commentator and veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove, a lobbyist for, and investor in, Rivada.

    Untold billions are at stake. A government auction of 70 megahertz of spectrum in August went for more than $4.5 billion. The Rivada bid would be for 350 megahertz of spectrum -- five times that amount.
    Rove denied to CNN that Rivada is seeking an RFP or any non-competitive process. "If we were offered a no-bid contract we would turn it down," he told CNN. "The technology should stand on its own."

    Denials notwithstanding, informed sources tell CNN that the White House is unquestionably pressuring the Pentagon to approve what would likely be, in the words of one senior administration official, "the biggest handoff of economic power to a single entity in history," and to do so without full examination of the impact on national security and without a competitive bidding process.

    Craig Moffett, a highly regarded Wall Street analyst of the telecommunications sector, concluded in a October 7 research paper: "The whole story smacks of cronyism at best and reeks of 'the swamp' at worst."

    "Spectrum is intensely valuable," Rove told CNN. "God is not inventing any more. There is a finite amount of spectrum available to carry wireless communications."

    Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House and noted Trump supporter, has also been advocating for the Pentagon to share its 5G network with commercial users, and doing so in a way that has left insiders under the impression that he lobbied for Rivada. Gingrich tells CNN he "never advocated for Rivada" specifically and "did all of it pro bono as a citizen."

    When asked directly for a comment about alarm that the White House was pressuring officials to offer Rivada the RFP, a White House official told CNN that "the White House has not taken a position in favor of any company over another with regard to 5G spectrum" and insisted that "conversations are ongoing but it is still pre-decisional. Regardless, whatever decision is ultimately made will be a result of best cost/benefit for the taxpayer, not any political reasons."

    The Pentagon declined to comment.

    A spokesman for Rivada denies that the company is pursuing a non-competitive RFP. "Absolutely not," Rivada spokesman Brian Carney told CNN. "We have always advocated for a competitive process."

    Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, has been arguing against anything but free market competition for the mid-band spectrum, which is seen as ideal for 5G because it can carry loads of data while also traveling significant distances. For years, Trump seemingly agreed with Kudlow. Yet something changed come election time, sources tell CNN, and the President began pushing Meadows to help Rivada.

    Informed sources speculate that Trump may have been trying to curry favor with Rove, who has never been a reliable member of the MAGA team but remains a powerful fundraising force and strategist in GOP politics.

    A more benign interpretation might be that the President and Meadows are focused on having 5G networks spread as quickly and safely across the US and have been frustrated with Pentagon and Federal Communications Commission timelines and bureaucracy.

    Pentagon resistance

    Pentagon leaders are resisting the move, sources tell CNN, since they are concerned that this is being rushed without thoroughly vetting the impact it could have on military readiness. Pentagon lawyers have told the White House that their department has no authority to issue RFPs for the purpose of leasing or selling off its spectrum, and they think that to do so in the manner the White House is pushing would be a complete deviation from normal rules and regulations.

    Even if the Pentagon had the authority to do this, and didn't have qualms about doing it in a non-competitive way, sources say that Pentagon officials are unsure that Rivada has the ability to lease the spectrum for commercial use while also preserving the US military's ability to use the spectrum for military exercises and the defense of the country.

    Rivada officials are publicly confident about their ability to do both. But that confidence is not shared by many key players in this process. One Pentagon official told CNN that while Rivada believes it has the best solution for sharing the spectrum, the Pentagon hasn't vetted that assertion, so it would be premature to ask the company for an RFP, which would be "an absolute gold mine" if awarded, the official said.

    FCC officials have also been stunned at the White House's push, both at its attempt to do this using other agencies instead of their independent commission, and the attempt to do so without respecting the normal independent bidding process.

    Concern on Capitol Hill

    Both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill are concerned. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, and the chair of the relevant subcommittee, Rep. Mike Doyle, Democrat of Pennsylvania, recently requested more information about whether "the White House has instructed DoD to proceed immediately to a Request for Proposal ('RFP') in order to move forward toward a national 5G network."

    "According to press accounts, several political operatives or lobbyists with close ties to President Trump or his staff...are pushing for the seismic shift in spectrum policy contemplated by the RFI. These reports also suggest these Republican operatives are working for the benefit of a specific company, Rivada, Inc., which has long championed a national network that Rivada would construct and operate using its sharing technology," Pallone and Doyle wrote.

    It's not just Democrats who have raised red flags. At the end of September, Sen. John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, along with 18 other GOP senators, protested any potential move which would not "rely on private industry and market forces to foster multiple, facilities-based 5G networks" but rather push "nationalizing 5G and experimenting with untested models for 5G deployment." The GOP lawmakers did not mention Rivada by name.

    Failed effort to win first responder contract

    Rivada Networks is a privately-held communications company that has won government contracts in the past. Among its investors is Peter Thiel, the noted tech venture capitalist billionaire and Trump supporter. Spokespeople for Thiel did not respond to a request for comment.

    Beyond the enthusiasm of Rivada's investors and lobbyists, many administration officials are confused as to why Rivada is even being considered for the lucrative contract.

    In 2016 and 2017, the company pursued a nationwide public safety contract, First Responder Network Authority, losing out to AT&T. (AT&T is the parent company of CNN, but no one affiliated with this story has communicated with anyone at AT&T in any way about this story.) Rivada appealed that decision, which a federal court rejected.

    "The grounds on which we were turned down was that we did not charge first responders enough," Rove said.

    That's not how the court would put it. In her 2017 ruling, Judge Elaine Kaplan said that due to "Rivada's financial situation and the restrictions in the solicitation, there was an unacceptably high likelihood that the banks might invoke those conditions, leaving Rivada without the financial capacity to even begin performance on the contract."

    The court also noted that FirstNet had assessed that Rivada "possesse(d) few capabilities, staff, or financial resources"; did "not itself have material experience in...building and operating a nationwide wireless network"; and lacked any experience in "supervising a project of the size and scope" of the nationwide public safety broadband network.

    "We think that the evaluation committee in FirstNet erred because it judged Rivada Networks as a standalone entity bidding for FirstNet," Carney told CNN, noting that Rivada was working with a consortium of several large communications companies. But Rivada Networks didn't bid on FirstNet. Rivada Mercury, a consortium jointly owned by Rivada, Harris, Fujitsu and Black & Veatch (IIRC) bid on FirstNet."

    Speeding the process

    Earlier this year, Meadows asked Pentagon leadership to examine what could be done to free up some of this 5G spectrum for auction by the FCC, and chief information officer Dana Deasy was assigned to the task, according to sources.

    This task, which would normally take around 15 months, was fast-tracked to take only 15 weeks. In August, the White House and Pentagon announced plans to free up for auction 100 megahertz band of spectrum. In September the FCC proposed a plan for doing so, with a scheduled auction end-date of December 2021.

    This process is being done by the book, observers note, albeit extremely quickly. Separately, in September the Pentagon issued a Request for Information about what should be done with a band of spectrum that Rivada has its eyes on. The due date for the RFI responses was Monday.

    Beyond that, and less transparently, is the push by the White House to force the Pentagon to hand over control of this mid-band spectrum to Rivada, sources tell CNN.

    "Something is really fishy about this," a senior administration official told CNN.

    Neither Rove nor Carney would offer any names when asked who the company had lobbied. "We have spoken to people in the administration about what we support," Carney told CNN.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  6. #5241
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    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Even if that contract is awarded, it will be protested.
    Tiz the Dude! Now a winner after his second race!

  7. #5242

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Should this go here or in the "Run to the White House" thread?

    A 19-year-old with a van full of guns and explosives plotted to assassinate Biden, federal officials say
    Timothy Bella
    Oct. 23, 2020 at 6:54 a.m. EDT

    As it was becoming clear in March that Joe Biden would be the Democratic presidential nominee, Alexander Hillel Treisman started to map out his plot to assassinate the former vice president, federal authorities say.

    “Should I kill Joe Biden?” Treisman wrote in a caption to a meme he posted in April.

    It didn’t appear to be an idle threat, the feds say.

    The 19-year-old searched online for Biden’s home address and for night-vision goggles, and purchased an AR-15 in New Hampshire, according to federal court documents first reported Thursday by WBTV. At one point in May, Treisman ended up at a Wendy’s within four miles of Biden’s home in Delaware. And when he was arrested later that month in North Carolina, police searching his van found four rifles, a 9mm handgun, explosive materials, books on bomb making, and $509,000 in cash that’s believed to be his inheritance.

    Those revelations all come in an order that a federal magistrate judge filed earlier this month outlining why Treisman, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in September on child pornography charges, should remain in custody.

    It’s unclear whether Treisman will face additional charges related to the alleged plot.

    News of the arrest is the latest violent threat against the former vice president to be broken up by authorities. A 42-year-old Maryland man was charged Wednesday for allegedly writing a letter in which he threatened to kill Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).

    Originally from Seattle, Treisman, who also went by the alias Alexander S. Theiss, was arrested May 28 after tellers at the Fifth Third Bank in Kannapolis, N.C., reported a white Ford van abandoned in the parking lot. When the police in the town about 30 miles northeast of Charlotte arrived, they said they could see numerous guns and boxes of ammo in the windows.

    “Further investigation uncovered several indicators that criminal activity was afoot,” Kannapolis Police Chief Terry Spry said in a statement to WBTV. “Federal agents were contacted and while awaiting their arrival the suspect returned to the business.”

    Police initially arrested Treisman, who was carrying identification cards for Washington state, California and Florida, for carrying a concealed weapon, discovering that he had purchased weapons in at least four states. Federal officials then allegedly found 6,721 images and 1,248 videos of child pornography on eight different digital devices, according to the eight-page detention order.

    Treisman pleaded not guilty to the three counts of child pornography earlier this month. He has not been charged with any crime related to gun possession. According to court documents, Treisman’s attorney noted he has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

    The judge’s order first reported this week, though, reveals that federal agents also found a wealth of threats and alarming Internet postings by the suspect.

    In October 2019, the agents say, Treisman created a note on his phone that outlined “a plan to perform a mass shooting at a mall food court on Christmas or Black Friday.” Posting on Reddit under the name AlextheBodacious, he referenced executing those he hated and stated that he was “going to do a columbine for a while, [but] I think it would better to put it towards something more memorable.”

    A video taken from Treisman’s cellphone in April showed the teen driving by the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas and praising the 2017 massacre that killed 58 and injured more than 500 in what became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. “That’s the one, that’s where they did it … nice,” he said, according to the order. Another cellphone video taken in April at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago featured a male voice suggesting that it would be “awesome” to hijack a plane and crash it into a building.

    The 19-year-old’s focus on Biden started in the spring, according to the order. Between March and May, Treisman ran a number of Google searches linked to his plot against Biden, including queries on state gun laws and rifle parts. Days after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) suspended his presidential campaign, Treisman, who had suggested in a Reddit post that he had to “save bernie,” posted a meme with the caption questioning whether he should kill Biden.

    He did so from the meme-sharing platform iFunny, which has become a popular hub for white nationalists and far-right propaganda. Last year, another 19-year-old was arrested for posting a meme in which he threatened to “slaughter and murder any doctor, patient, or visitor” at an abortion clinic.

    Judging by cellphone records and financial transactions, federal officials say Treisman made his way to within a few miles of the former vice president’s home in Delaware on May 3, the Daily Beast reported. Biden campaign spokesman Michael Gwin declined to comment to The Washington Post and referred questions on the matter to the Secret Service, which did not immediately return a request for comment.

    In an interview with a Joint Terrorism Task Forces official, Treisman acknowledged having “an interest in terrorist incidents and mass shootings,” and said he consumed YouTube videos and Wikipedia articles about the tragedies. He described how he had “lost friends because of jokes he has made about mass shootings and the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” according to the order.

    A cellphone photo of a doctored Polish passport and a rental agreement for an apartment in Canada suggested that Treisman had made tentative plans to leave the country, according to officials. The day after he was arrested, his mother told him in a jail call to “jump bail,” the order said.

    Treisman is being held without bail. Judge Joe L. Webster, a federal magistrate in Durham, N.C., noted that while the teen did not have any prior criminal history, the court concluded that “the record establishes by clear and convincing evidence that no combination of available release conditions would reasonably assure the safety of the community.”

    Neither federal prosecutors nor Treisman’s attorney immediately returned a request for comment early Friday.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  8. #5243

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    So much for distraught parents who have no idea what their "poor misguided son was up to".
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

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