Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Mind The Gap Edition, Con't

And this week's story on "possible" call records missing from the Trump WH call log on January 6th, 2021 just became actual calls missing as the Guardian's Hugo Lowell backs up the Washington Post story with information that GOP Utah Sen. Mike Lee's call should have been on that list, because Trump absolutely talked to him during the nearly 8-hour gap.

Donald Trump used an official White House phone to place at least one call during the Capitol attack on January 6 last year that should have been reflected in the internal presidential call log from that day but was not, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The former president called the phone of a Republican senator, Mike Lee, with a number recorded as 202-395-0000, a placeholder number that shows up when a call is incoming from a number of White House department phones, the sources said.

The number corresponds to an official White House phone and the call was placed by Donald Trump himself, which means the call should have been recorded in the internal presidential call log that was turned over to the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack.

Trump’s call to Lee was reported at the time, as well as its omission from the call log, by the Washington Post and CBS. But the origin of the call as coming from an official White House phone, which has not been previously reported, raises the prospect of tampering or deletion by Trump White House officials.

It also appears to mark perhaps the most serious violation of the Presidential Record Act – the statute that mandates preservation of White House records pertaining to a president’s official duties – by the Trump White House concerning January 6 records to date.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump called Lee at 2.26pm on January 6 through the official 202-395-0000 White House number, according to call detail records reviewed by the Guardian and confirmation by the two sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

The call was notable as Trump mistakenly dialed Lee thinking it was the number for Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville. Lee passed the phone to Tuberville, who told Trump Mike Pence had just been removed from the Senate chamber as rioters stormed the Capitol.

But Trump’s call to Lee was not recorded in either the presidential daily diary or the presidential call log – a problem because even though entries in the daily diary are discretionary, according to several current and former White House officials, the call log is not.

The presidential daily diary is a retrospective record of the president’s day produced by aides in the Oval Office, who have some sway to determine whether a particular event was significant enough to warrant its inclusion, the officials said.

But the presidential call log, typically generated from data recorded when calls are placed by the White House operators, is supposed to be a comprehensive record of all incoming and outgoing calls involving the president through White House channels, the officials said.

The fact that Trump’s call to Lee was routed through an official White House phone with a 202-395 prefix – either through a landline in the West Wing, the White House residence or a “work” cellphone – means details of that call should have been on the call log.

The only instance where a call might not be reflected on the unclassified presidential call log, the officials said, would be if the call was classified, which would seem to be unlikely in the case of the call to Lee. The absence of Trump’s call to Lee suggests a serious breach in protocol and possible manipulation, the officials said.


As I said, we're at the "cover-up" part of this, on top of the crime being "seditious conspiracy to defraud the United States government".  January 6th Committee knows, Merrick Garland knows, the cases are being prepared.

The only question is time now.

The Tik-Tok GOP PNG Tech Wreck

Expecting Facebook to go after the hot mobile social media app of the moment Tik-Tok is normal, they're a direct competitor for social media clicks, ads, and eyeballs. But what Facebook actually did was far worse and far more frightening: it hired a GOP online disinformation factory to create fake controversy in order to bury the company and make it ripe for takeover.

Facebook parent company Meta is paying one of the biggest Republican consulting firms in the country to orchestrate a nationwide campaign seeking to turn the public against TikTok.

The campaign includes placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor. These bare-knuckle tactics, long commonplace in the world of politics, have become increasingly noticeable within a tech industry where companies vie for cultural relevance and come at a time when Facebook is under pressure to win back young users.

Employees with the firm, Targeted Victory, worked to undermine TikTok through a nationwide media and lobbying campaign portraying the fast-growing app, owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, as a danger to American children and society, according to internal emails shared with The Washington Post.

Targeted Victory needs to “get the message out that while Meta is the current punching bag, TikTok is the real threat especially as a foreign owned app that is #1 in sharing data that young teens are using,” a director for the firm wrote in a February email.

Campaign operatives were also encouraged to use TikTok’s prominence as a way to deflect from Meta’s own privacy and antitrust concerns.

“Bonus point if we can fit this into a broader message that the current bills/proposals aren’t where [state attorneys general] or members of Congress should be focused,” a Targeted Victory staffer wrote.

The emails, which have not been previously reported, show the extent to which Meta and its partners will use opposition-research tactics on the Chinese-owned, multibillion-dollar rival that has become one of the most downloaded apps in the world, often outranking even Meta’s popular Facebook and Instagram apps. In an internal report last year leaked by the whistleblower Frances Haugen, Facebook researchers said teens were spending “2-3X more time” on TikTok than Instagram, and that Facebook’s popularity among young people had plummeted.

Targeted Victory declined to respond to questions about the campaign, saying only that it has represented Meta for several years and is “proud of the work we have done.”

In one email, a Targeted Victory director asked for ideas on local political reporters who could serve as a “back channel” for anti-TikTok messages, saying the firm “would definitely want it to be hands off.”

In other emails, Targeted Victory urged partners to push stories to local media tying TikTok to dangerous teen trends in an effort to show the app’s purported harms. “Any local examples of bad TikTok trends/stories in your markets?” a Targeted Victory staffer asked.

“Dream would be to get stories with headlines like ‘From dances to danger: how TikTok has become the most harmful social media space for kids,’ ” the staffer wrote.

Meta spokesperson Andy Stone defended the campaign by saying, “We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a level of scrutiny consistent with their growing success.”
And please note who Meta went to: a GOP firm, with GOP lobbying clients and direct connections to GOP members of Congress, to turn the national GOP disinformation machine against Tik-Tok in order to destroy it completely. 

They're doing it with complete disinformation, accusing Tik-Tok of starting "trends" that are "harmful to kids", trends that simply don't exist:

One trend Targeted Victory sought to enhance through its work was the “devious licks'' challenge, which showed students vandalizing school property. Through the “Bad TikTok Clips” document, the firm pushed stories about the “devious licks” challenge in local media across Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

That trend led Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to write a letter in September calling on TikTok executives to testify in front of a Senate subcommittee, saying the app had been “repeatedly misused and abused to promote behavior and actions that encourage harmful and destructive acts.” But according to an investigation by Anna Foley at the podcast network Gimlet, rumors of the “devious licks” challenge initially spread on Facebook, not TikTok.

In October, Targeted Victory worked to spread rumors of the “Slap a Teacher TikTok challenge” in local news, touting a local news report on the alleged challenge in Hawaii. In reality, no such challenge existed on TikTok. Again, the rumor started on Facebook, according to a series of Facebook posts first documented by Insider.
Facebook really is a tremendously evil company, and of course they are paying the tremendously evil political party to user their propaganda and disinformation outlets.

Remember that in November.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

In the last 24 hours, Republicans have unleashed their plan to fully go after Joe Biden's son, Hunter, and make his prosecution the number one political issue heading into November. Donald Trump flat-out asked Vladimir Putin to release anything that Moscow happens to have on Hunter Biden.
In a new interview published Tuesday, former President Donald Trump called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release any damaging information he has about the Biden family, in a brazen request for domestic political assistance from America's top adversary. 
It's the latest example of Trump's willingness to solicit and embrace domestic political help from foreign powers -- even from Putin, who is currently overseeing a bloody war against Ukraine. 
In an interview with JustTheNews, Trump pushed an unproven claim about Hunter Biden's business dealings in Russia, and asked Putin to release any information that he might have about the situation. It's not clear that any material exists, or if the Kremlin has access to it. 
"I would think Putin would know the answer to that," Trump said, referring to Hunter Biden's potential dealings in Russia. "I think he should release it. I think we should know that answer." 
It is true that Hunter Biden was paid handsomely for consulting work he did in foreign countries, including Ukraine and China, while his father -- President Joe Biden -- was vice president. The Justice Department has an ongoing criminal investigation into these dealings and potential financial crimes. 
But no evidence has emerged to support Trump's claims that the Bidens engaged in corruption or influenced US policy for personal gain, and the President hasn't been implicated in the probe. Hunter Biden has denied wrongdoing and says he'll be cleared when the criminal probe is over.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) entered a copy of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop hard drive into the Congressional record during a House cybersecurity meeting Tuesday.

The Florida Republican had earlier asked for unanimous consent to do so, but was denied after House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) objected.

Eventually, Gaetz received his wish as Nadler relented, meaning the notorious drive from the son of President Joe Biden is a matter of Congressional record.

Gaetz celebrated on his Twitter account and shared a video of the moment.

“Moments ago, I successfully entered the hard drive of Hunter Biden’s laptop into the Congressional Record. SUBPOENA HUNTER BIDEN!” he tweeted.
Gaetz, by the way, still facing his own Justice Department bribery and sexual assault of minors investigation, so his "hard drive" could, you know, have anything on it. But Gaetz is almost certainly headed for federal indictment soon, why not go for broke with fake evidence?
The clown show continues.


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