Friday, February 18, 2022

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

The week keep actually getting worse for the Trump regime, with the National Archives not only now very publicly confirming that Donald Trump had classified documents kept at his Florida resort, but also adding that Trump "mishandled" phone and electronic records as well.

The National Archives confirmed on Friday that it had uncovered classified information among documents that President Donald J. Trump had taken with him to his home in Florida from the White House and that it had consulted with the Justice Department about the matter.

The agency “has identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes,” according to a letter posted on the National Archives and Record Administration website that was sent to Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, who has been scrutinizing how Mr. Trump handled presidential records.

“Because NARA identified classified information in the boxes, NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice,” said the letter, written by David S. Ferriero, the national archivist.

In the past two weeks, a series of disclosures has raised new questions about whether Mr. Trump followed federal record-keeping laws or mishandled classified information after he left office. The National Archives said in its letter on Friday that the Trump White House had failed to turn over records that included “certain social media records.”

Mr. Ferriero also wrote that “some White House staff conducted official business using nonofficial electronic messaging accounts that were not copied or forwarded into their official electronic messaging accounts.” The archives said it was in the process of obtaining some of those records.

The disclosure that Mr. Trump had classified information among the documents he took with him from the White House has prompted assertions from Democrats of hypocrisy. Mr. Trump made attacking Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of national security materials a centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign.

In January, after lengthy negotiations between his lawyers and the National Archives, 15 boxes of materials that Mr. Trump had taken from the White House were sent back to the National Archives. The boxes included items like official letters, White House documents and gifts that are considered presidential records, are government property and were supposed to be housed at the National Archives.

“In June 2018, NARA learned from a press report in Politico that textual presidential records were being torn up by former President Trump and that White House staff were attempting to tape them back together,” the archives said in the letter to Ms. Maloney on Friday.

The letter added: “The White House Counsel’s Office indicated that they would address the matter. After the end of the Trump administration, NARA learned that additional paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump were included in the records transferred to us. Although White House staff during the Trump administration recovered and taped together some of the torn-up records, a number of other torn-up records that were transferred had not been reconstructed by the White House.”

Other new information cast doubt on Mr. Trump’s handling of government records. The New York Times reported that among the documents that were sent back to the National Archives were some that archivists believed were classified. It was also reported that a book scheduled to be released in October by a Times reporter revealed how staff in the White House residence periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging a toilet, leading them to believe that Mr. Trump had tried to flush them.

The former president’s use of cellphones to conduct official business also could have led to large gaps in the official White House logs of his calls on Jan. 6, 2021, hindering the House select committee’s investigation into the Capitol riot. If Mr. Trump did not preserve cellphone records and failed to turn them over to the National Archives, that could also be a violation of the law.
This is Trump actually doing far worse than what Republicans accused Hillary Clinton of doing in 2016 and getting caught red-handed to the point where the National Archives are openly saying "Yes, Donald Trump needs to be investigated by the FBI."

Lot of locking him up needs to happen.

Meta Gotta Face The Face(book)

The collapse of Facebook parent company Meta since its reorganization a few months ago has been catastrophic for the company and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The company has lost more than a half-trillion dollars in value since Labor Day, and most of that crash has come in just the last few weeks.
Over its life as a publicly traded company, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to rebound after earnings disappointments or various controversies have weighed on the stock. Not this time.

The shares are coming off their lowest close since May 2020, and are down more than 45% from a September peak, a decline that’s unmatched among big U.S. tech stocks in recent years. The slump has pushed Meta out of the top 10 of largest global companies by market value, yet also left it trading at its cheapest on record.

The stock has seen a drumbeat of bad news, including Google’s announcement this week that it would bring a privacy initiative to Android phones. While the company said the move is ad-friendly, it’s reminiscent of Apple Inc.’s changed privacy policy, which dented digital advertising and was a factor behind Meta’s catastrophic earnings report this month. The results called its growth prospects into doubt and spurred the biggest selloff in Wall Street history in terms of value erased.

“The management team needs to show investors over the next few quarters a path to growth,” said David Wagner, portfolio manager at Aptus Capital Advisors. He added that the stock, which he owns, is “in purgatory,” and that sentiment “couldn’t be lower.”

Meta’s growth woes stand in stark contrast to other technology behemoths, which reported strong results this season, helping limit declines in their stocks amid a mostly negative start to 2022.

Investors have long been quick to buy big tech on weakness, as they bet that the group will continue to see robust growth. As a result, declines of the magnitude that Meta has seen haven’t happened in the era of trillion-dollar market caps for the companies.

Apple hasn’t had a 40% drawdown since 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. For Microsoft Corp., Inc., or Alphabet Inc., the last time they had a peak-to-trough drop of this scale was around the financial crisis.

Meta “is the company people love to hate, and Alphabet is an easy alternative if you want exposure to online advertising,” said Bill Stone, chief investment officer at the Glenview Trust Co. “You don’t get tough questions from clients for owning Alphabet, which is doing well and not nearly so hairy as a company.”
"Google: We're not as evil as Facebook!"  Nice slogan, huh.
And yet it works. Google has actually taken steps to increase security and protect user privacy, while it seems like every week we get a new tech journalism article that finds Facebook is selling your info to somebody different every time without your consent.  Hell, the company is still cleaning up privacy violations from a decade ago and that's just in the US, over in Europe, things are looking even more grim for Meta.

Even the state of Texas is suing Facebook over privacy laws these days.

Texas is suing Facebook over allegations that the social media giant violated Texans’ privacy through the company’s previous use of facial recognition technology, according to a complaint filed Monday.

“Facebook will no longer take advantage of people and their children with the intent to turn a profit at the expense of one’s safety and well-being,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said in a statement. “This is yet another example of Big Tech’s deceitful business practices and it must stop. I will continue to fight for Texans’ privacy and security.”

The lawsuit alleges Facebook, now under the parent company Meta, captured biometric data of Texans for commercial purposes without their informed consent and failed to destroy collected identifiers within a reasonable time.

The lawsuit also alleges that Facebook violated the privacy of people who were not even users on the platform by collecting biometric identifiers from photos and videos “innocently uploaded by friends and family who did use Facebook.”

“There was no way for such non-users to know of or contest this exploitation,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. A person familiar with the matter told the Journal the lawsuit seeks civil penalties in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

After the last few weeks, Meta has already lost hundreds of billions of dollars.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer company.

Retribution Execution, Con't

The scheduled execution of GOP Rep. Liz Cheney's career in Wyoming continues, as now Trump wants the state legislature and GOP Gov. Mark Gordon to change primary election laws in order to eliminate party switching and voting in the state's primary contests.

Former President Donald Trump and his allies have been privately lobbying Wyoming lawmakers to change the state’s election laws as part of an effort to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

On Thursday, Trump endorsed Wyoming legislation that would prevent crossover voting in a primary election. Were the law to pass, Democrats, Republicans, or independents would no longer be able to switch party affiliation on the day of the state’s primary to vote for a candidate in another party.

The bill, introduced by Republican state Sen. Bo Biteman, is part of a push by some Republicans in the state to oust Cheney by blocking Democrats from switching parties to support her in her upcoming election against Trump-endorsed congressional candidate, Harriet Hageman.

Behind the scenes, Trump and Club for Growth’s David McIntosh have both personally called Wyoming’s Republican governor, Mark Gordon, to encourage him to back the bill, according to two people familiar with the calls.

“The Governor has had many conversations about this issue, including with President Trump and David McIntosh, however characterizing that as ‘pressure’ would be incorrect. Governor Gordon is going to do what’s best for Wyoming and he respects the legislative process,” said Michael Perlman, the communications director for Gordon.

The intensity of the push for the legislation peaked earlier this week, when Republicans began speculating that Gordon could announce his support for it in his State of the State address. But he did not. And as the week has gone on, Trump’s private lobbying became public.

“This critically important bill ensures that the voters in each party will separately choose their nominees for the General Election, which is how it should be!” Trump said in a statement. “It makes total sense that only Democrats vote in the Democrat primary and only Republicans vote in the Republican primary.”

The former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., also called on Wyoming to “pay attention” to the bill and American Conservative Union president Matt Schlapp — a close Trump ally — tweeted on Thursday that his group might score the legislation as it considered its support of GOP lawmakers.

“There was a big push this morning to get all of our MAGA influencers to push it and make a big deal out of it,” said one Republican operative involved in the race.

Cheney told The New York Times she will not encourage party switching or support any effort to encourage Democrats to vote in the Republican primary.
Two observations:
One, yes, these are the lengths Donald Trump will go to in order to punish perceived disloyalty. In Trump's worldview, political power only exists to further his own ambitions, and anyone who interferes with that, let alone actively assists in conducting a congressional investigation against him, is exterminated.

Two, all Republicans at the state and national level work for Donald Trump as far as Donald Trump is concerned. There's a reason we keep coming back to the organized crime comparisons because Trump is essentially the political version of a mobster kingpin. 

This is a political version of a mob hit on someone turning states' evidence against Trump, and it's being done for the same reasons: everyone knows who ordered the trigger pulled, and everyone in the GOP will know who did it and why, and to never even think about following suit.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has endorsed Harriet Hageman, the Trump-backed opponent of incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming -- a rare endorsement from leadership in a divisive GOP primary, and one that marks the culmination of a simmering feud between the two powerful Republicans battling over the future of their party. 
The tension between the two began in the wake of the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol when Cheney called for her party to move on from former President Donald Trump and voted to impeach him, while McCarthy chose to cozy up to the former President. Cheney's criticism of Trump led to his backers in the House to successfully push for her to be removed from her position as the chairwoman of the GOP Conference. It was a move McCarthy initially resisted, but ultimately backed. 
"I am proud to endorse Harriet Hageman for Congress," McCarthy said in a statement Thursday. "[Throughout] her career, Harriet has championed America's natural resources and helped the people of Wyoming reject burdensome and onerous government overreach." 
McCarthy explained his endorsement in remarks to Fox's Sean Hannity. 
"Wyoming deserves to have a representative who will deliver the accountability against this Biden administration. Not a representative that they have today that works closer with Nancy Pelosi, going after Republicans instead of stopping these radical Democrats from what they're doing to this country," the California Republican said. 
Hageman responded to the endorsement in a statement, saying, "I am very grateful for Leader McCarthy's strong support, and I pledge that when I am Wyoming's congresswoman, I will always stand up for our beautiful state and do the job I was sent there to do."
It's a hit job alright, and Cheney's career is all but cold in the ground.
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