Friday, June 4, 2021

Trump Cards, Con't

Facebook has extended its ban for Donald Trump until January 2023 after deliberation by its oversight board. 

Facebook announced today that former president Donald Trump will be suspended for two years after his Facebook and Instagram accounts made posts that praised the violent insurrection at the US Capitol that sought to overturn his loss in the presidential election.

“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” the company said in the announcement.

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, said when the ban expires on Jan. 7, 2023, the company will “look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” which means that civil unrest or violence would be considered in allowing Trump back on Facebook.

The former president called the two-year ban an “insult” in a statement, adding, “They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After two years, if Facebook thinks there's a "serious risk to public safety" by letting Trump back on, the restriction will be renewed for another period of time, after which it would again be reevaluated.

When — or if — Trump is allowed back on Facebook and Instagram, any infractions against the platform’s community standards would result in “a set of rapidly escalating sanctions” that could include the “permanent removal of his pages and accounts,” according to the post.

Facebook also admitted fault in how it handled Trump's posts in January 2020. It noted that the social network “did not have enforcement protocols in place adequate to respond to such unusual events,” but said that they were in place now.

On May 5, the Oversight Board, a Facebook-administered advisory committee, upheld the suspension but asked the company to revisit the penalty. The ruling included 19 recommendations, and Facebook said that it would fully implement 15 of them. These included a mandate to "act quickly on posts made by influential users that pose a high probability of imminent harm" and consider the context when making assessments about harm. 
Don't get me wrong, Facebook is still an evil social media cancer that should be broken up, but it did the right thing here. Of course, Trump will get his revenge in 2023 just in time for the 2024 campaign season to start up after the midterms, which is of course, the point.
And Trump will play the aggrieved victim for months, if not years, and he'll love every minute of it.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, DeJoy

Liberals have (rightfully!) been grumbling about when Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will be replaced before he can do any more damage to the US Postal Service. New USPS board members have been named by Biden, and the process should be underway.

It turns out though what was actually underway is a federal investigation into DeJoy possibly misusing campaign finance funds.

The FBI is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in connection with campaign fundraising activity involving his former business, according to people familiar with the matter and a spokesman for DeJoy.

FBI agents in recent weeks interviewed current and former employees of DeJoy and the business, asking questions about political contributions and company activities, these people said. Prosecutors also issued a subpoena to DeJoy himself for information, one of the people said.

That person, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing and politically sensitive investigation.

Mark Corallo, a DeJoy spokesman, confirmed the investigation in a statement but insisted DeJoy had not knowingly violated any laws.

“Mr. DeJoy has learned that the Department of Justice is investigating campaign contributions made by employees who worked for him when he was in the private sector,” Corallo said. “He has always been scrupulous in his adherence to the campaign contribution laws and has never knowingly violated them.”

The inquiries could signal impending legal peril for the controversial head of the nation’s mail service — though DeJoy has not been charged with any crimes and has previously asserted that he and his company followed the law in their campaign fundraising activity.

Spokesmen for the FBI, Justice Department and Postal Service declined to comment.

DeJoy — who was appointed to run the Postal Service by its board of governors last May — has been dogged by controversy for almost his entire time in office. Soon after starting in the job, he imposed cost-cutting moves that led to a reduction in overtime and limits on mail trips that mail carriers blamed for creating backlogs across the country.

Democrats accused the prominent GOP fundraiser, who personally gave more than $1.1 million to the joint fundraising vehicle of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican Party, of trying to undermine his own organization because of Trump’s distrust of mail-in voting. Two Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to the FBI asking agents to investigate whether DeJoy or the Postal Service’s governing board “committed any crimes” in stalling mail.

In a congressional hearing last year, DeJoy disputed he was trying to affect the vote.

“I am not engaged in sabotaging the election,” DeJoy said at the time. “We will do everything in our power and structure to deliver the ballots on time.”

In early September, The Washington Post published an extensive examination of how employees at DeJoy’s former company, North Carolina-based New Breed Logistics, alleged they were pressured by DeJoy or his aides to attend political fundraisers or make contributions to Republican candidates, and then were paid back through bonuses.

Such reimbursements could run afoul of state or federal laws, which prohibit “straw-donor” schemes meant to allow wealthy donors to evade individual contribution limits and obscure the source of a candidate’s money. In April, though, Wake County, N.C., District Attorney Lorrin Freeman (D) said that she would not pursue an investigation of DeJoy and that the matter was better left to federal authorities

And that's exactly what the federal authorities are apparently doing.

Bye, Louie.

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