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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: mike lindell

Judge Slaps Down Dershowitz Demand That FBI Return Pillow Guy's Phone

My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell will not be getting his cell phone back from the FBI any time soon, even after his new lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, demanded it from a federal court in their First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment lawsuit against Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Chris Wray.

Lindell’s phone was seized by federal agents at an Indiana Hardee’s drive-thru after a duck hunting trip the shredded foam entrepreneur and right-wing conspiracy theorist recently took. Last week he accused the federal government of engaging in “Gestapo tactics” for taking his phone, despite a warrant that shows he is reportedly under investigation for possible identity theft, conspiring to damage a protected computer connected to a suspected voting equipment security breach, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

On Tuesday Dershowitz and three other attorneys filed suit against the DOJ in a Minnesota federal court.

On Wednesday Dershowitz and the other attorneys filed a memorandum demanding the judge appoint a special master, and in an interview on Lindell’s streaming video website went so far as to state, “What we’re seeking is what President Trump got in the Mar-a-Lago case, the appointment of a special investigator to look into this – or return of the cell phone.”

On Thursday United States District Court Judge Eric Tostrud of Minnesota, appointed by Donald Trump in 2018, responded, in this order posted by Politico’s Kyle Cheney.

“Denied,” he wrote in his ruling, while criticizing the attorneys’ work, presumably including Dershowitz’s.

“Plaintiffs,” Judge Tostrud wrote, “have not served Defendants [Garland and Wray] with the Complaint, or at least Plaintiffs have not yet filed any proof of service.”

That was just the first slap.

Lindell’s attorneys, including Dershowitz, had said the seizure of Lindell’s phone constituted an “emergency,” and filed a request for a temporary restraining order.

Tostrud spent the next several pages of his Thursday order explaining all the technical and legal reasons why the motion requesting Lindell’s phone be returned were faulty or just wrong.

Among them: “A temporary restraining order is an ‘extraordinary remedy.'”

Other legalese include, “The request does not comply with Rule 65(b),” “With respect to subparagraph (b)(1)(B), however, Plaintiffs’ attorney filed no certification,” and “Plaintiffs do not discuss the Rule or cite any authority that might explain why the cellphone’s return is appropriate under the Rule.”

Other damning language includes, “But that’s it,” “that’s understating things,” and “it would be a stretch to grant relief.”

Then there’s this one: “It is a familiar rule that courts of equity do not ordinarily restrain criminal prosecutions.”

The judge even cited Wednesday evening’s 11th Circuit smack-down of Donald Trump’s attempt to claim 100 classified documents may or may not be classified but should be returned to him in his criticism.

Top national security attorney Brad Moss referred to that as he mocked Dershowitz, saying, “nice lawyering, sir.”


Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

How A Rural Colorado County Became An Epicenter Of Trump’s Big Lie

Colorado’s southwestern Mesa County is filled with desert lore. It’s also home to one of 2020’s stranger false stolen election narratives that keeps resounding like echoes in its canyons -- but offers lessons for 2022’s general election.

Tina Peters, Mesa County’s Clerk, was not a cultish election denier immediately before or after 2020’s presidential election. She did not make any accusations that her voting system’s computers had been secretly sabotaged when Sandra Brown, Mesa County’s back-office election manager, mistakenly double-counted 20,000 ballots in late October 2020—a procedural error during preprocessing ballots that Brown repeated in Mesa County’s municipal elections in April 2021.

But soon after April 2021’s elections, where a slate of conservatives who skipped a candidate forum all lost, the first of what became a parade of pro-Donald Trump, self-proclaimed election IT experts began telling Peters about anomalies with her county’s voting system computers. The anomalies were the same clichés about illegal voters and forged totals that had been put forth by Trump diehards in other states. Except the allegations were dressed up as statistics and technicalities. Peters, a businesswoman turned public official, was more than impressed.

As recounted in March 2022 indictments by Mesa County District Attorney Daniel Rubenstein, a Republican, and a recent New Yorker profile, Peters used a standard update of election software in late April 2021 to make unauthorized copies of her election system’s hard drives, software, and data. The apparent goal was gathering intelligence to show that the technology—made by Dominion Voting Systems—could not be trusted to produce accurate vote counts.

Trump’s lawyers and partisan IT specialists had made copiesof computer drives, software and data in December 2020 in Antrim County, Michigan, after a former state GOP leader turned state judge allowed it. The copies, of another Dominion system, were not to be shared. But they were soon leaked in Trump circles.

That effort, nonetheless, produced no evidence for any of Trump’s failed post-election lawsuits. Still, one day after the pro-Trump insurrection on January 6, 2021, some of the same data miners went to Coffee County, Georgia. There an election official let them copy the Dominion system’s drives, software, and 2020 data. Members of this loose cadre of IT experts showed up in Mesa County in late April—several weeks after back-office manager Brown again erred in using a computer as it was compiling vote subtotals in its municipal elections.

What happened next in Mesa County gets complex. It also reveals how a rare but recurring trend among a handful of local election officials—mistakes with setting up or using their system’s computers—can be exploited by partisans who claim that invisible forces are secretly stealing votes if their candidates lose.

In every cycle, there are some election officials who do not properly set up or use these computers—errors that usually are caught and corrected, but initially produce incorrect election results. This trend has been overlooked in the press coverage of the interstate plot by Trump’s IT gurus to steal election software and 2020 data.

The operational problems, however, are among the findings by the Independent Media Institute’s Voting Booth project, which has co-written a forthcoming guide about how election systems work. The co-author is Duncan Buell, a computer scientist who has studied voting systems, software, and data for more than a decade, and was an election official in Richland County, South Carolina, home to the state’s capital, Columbia. These errors recurred in each cycle that he studied.

In 2020’s general election, the programming, and operational mistakes were few and far between. Nonetheless, the errors that Trump’s IT squads seized upon—errors that were corroborated by post-election inquiries by other government bodies—helped fuel the lie that the presidential election was stolen.

Moreover, some of the election workers who made these mistakes—such as Mesa County’s Brown—and their elected superior—such as Peters—then fell under the spell of Trump’s conspiratorial IT squad—producing fodder for more false claims.

These trends—mistakes with programming or using election computers and rogue officials who abuse the public trust by making unfounded claims—offer warnings before 2022’s general election. Many 2020 election-deniers are candidates seeking state and federal office this fall. A few already have shown in their primaries that they will attack the process and technology if they fear they may lose.

Before 2020’s election, virtually all of the members of Trump’s IT squads did not know much about voting system computers or election administration safeguards. But they eagerly presented their credentials and claimed, that election computers had been hijacked, and, moreover, that no Dominion system should be trusted. Their unproven accusations became, and remain, fixtures in Trump circles.

“It wasn’t just Colorado,” said Walter Daugherity, a recently retired University of Texas lecturer in computer science and engineering, on an August 22 televised panel sponsored and hosted by Mike Lindell, a Trump ally who has spent millions to promote the stolen election fiction and whose actions are under investigation by federal authorities. “Everywhere across the country that had a Dominion trusted build [software] upgrade had the same thing happen.”

Daugherity was one analyst who received Mesa County’s pilfered data. He and Jeff O’Donnell, an IT analyst whose moniker in Trump circles is “the Lone Raccoon,” co wrote a series of reports concluding that Mesa County’s computers mysteriously allowed 20,346 presidential ballots to be counted twice. The double counting was not the fault of election officials, specifically back-office election manager Brown, they wrote, positing that an “external trigger,” “signal,” “software algorithm” or “pre-programming” had caused “unexpected voting patterns.”

Their speculation was one of many similar pronouncements in Trump circles. They accused Dominion of complicity in a scheme that would be illegal, if it were true.

“The report made claims which, if true, would indicate a crime was committed related to election fraud,” Mesa County District Attorney Rubenstein said via email on August 25. “I stand by the investigation that we conducted and am confident that there is no evidence of a crime being committed.”

Inside One Disinformation Bubble

Mesa County was among a handful of counties across America’s 8,000-plus election jurisdictions where Trump allies discovered glitches in administering the 2020 election. The glitches, which produced incorrect initial vote counts, were signs that Trump lost due to a vast conspiracy, they asserted.

That narrative, which continues today, ignores the most banal explanation of what happened in Mesa County and in jurisdictions such as Antrim County, Michigan. In both locales, county election officials erred with setting up or using their voting system’s computers, mistakes that initially were not noticed but were later caught and corrected.

The operational errors were recorded by the system’s computers, which keeps logs of every action—from ballot paper jams to vote counts. The errors were confirmed by other evidence, such as, in Mesa County, police investigators reconstructing the mistakes on the same equipment, parsing video footage from security cameras in the room where they occurred and interviewing witnesses. But conspiracy minded Trumpers, including O’Donnell and Daugherity, went looking for incongruities in computer logs and vote count databases, which, they said, masked programming that reassigned votes from Trump to other presidential candidates.

“The findings in this report were prepared by the authors as consultants to the legal team representing Tina Peters, the Mesa County Clerk,” the executive summary of their March 19, 2022 report said. “The findings provide evidence of unauthorized and illegal manipulation of tabulated vote data during the 2020 General Election and 2021 Grand Junction Municipal Election. Because of this evidence, which led to the vote totals for those elections being impossible to verify, the results and integrity of Mesa County’s 2020 General Election and the 2021 Grand Junction Municipal Election are in question.”

Among the incongruities they cited are batches of ballots that were not sequentially numbered in a results database. That can occur, several election experts explained, when batches of ballots with sloppy ink marks (made by voters) are detected by the software and set aside until the voter’s intent is determined. That process, called adjudication, is done in Colorado in the presence of political party observers. The batches are added to the database after the voter intent issues are resolved. (It was at this step where Brown failed to correctly use the system’s computers).

The Mesa County prosecutor took the duo’s report seriously and investigated. On May 19, 2022, Rubenstein sent a 24-page letter to Mesa County Commissioners and the Grand Junction City Council summarizing the investigation and debunking the vote-padding claims in the most pedestrian way. Two initial miscounts had occurred. The first was in 2020’s general election. The second was in municipal elections in April 2021. Both were “caused by direct action of the former Back Office Election Manager Sandra Brown.”

Investigators found that Brown had stopped and then restarted the computer during the adjudication process, including replacing one computer—without resetting the system. Brown did not call the vendor for assistance, the county prosecutor’s letter said. She was confused, tried to fix things, and erred—essentially double-counting votes at this stage in the process. Election judges from political parties witnessed this, as did an overhead video camera.

“No evidence exists that would indicate that Ms. Brown had any nefarious or criminal motive in those actions, but rather appears to have been trouble-shooting problems in the flow of the adjudication process,” Rubenstein wrote.

Human error in configuring and running election computers also sparked stolen election allegations in Antrim County, Michigan. There, the initial results in the conservative northern Michigan county were incorrect because one contest had been omitted on the ballots when configuring the system’s computers. Nobody caught the error until suspicious vote totals surfaced on Election Night. (Because one race was left out, votes were assigned to the wrong candidate in a tabulation spreadsheet, essentially bumping Trump votes down one line, where they were assigned to Joe Biden.)

In both counties, Trump supporters said that the entire state’s election apparatus was corrupt and demanded that the state’s certified results be thrown out. Beyond such hyperbole, a key observation emerges. Trump’s self-declared election experts were not looking at, nor may not even be aware of, the array of data sets, election records and administrative protocols that catch and correct the errors that occur. In Mesa County, for example, the district attorney’s report made this point.

“These actions were verified to have been done by her [Brown] through video evidence, corroboration of records, audit of randomly selected ballot images [created by ballot scanners], interviews with witnesses and experts, and recreation of certain scenarios using a test environment and prove that the conclusions of Report 3 [O’Donnell’s and Daugherity’s report] are incorrect claims of what may have occurred,” Rubenstein said. “At this time, no evidence suggests that these actions negatively impacted the election.”

In contrast, what the pro-Trump duo used as the basis for their inquiry—analyses built on Peters’ pilfered computer drives—is a thinner evidence base.

The pair, who were reached by email after their August 22 presentation at Mike Lindell’s “Moment of Truth Summit,” sent a rebuttal to Rubenstein’s summery where they rejected numerous assertions and questioned the district attorney’s expertise, evidence, and methods. (Rubenstein also noted they had lied about interviewing 11 people who had been in the room when Brown messed up.)

When asked by this reporter why they did not mention the DA’s review in their presentation at Lindell’s August 2022 forum—where O’Donnell said, “There is still no evidence that this was ever or even could have been something that was done by the clerk at the time”—O’Donnell replied that the DA’s investigation was a sham and said that my questions were “insulting.”

“We did not mention the DA’s report because it is such a sloppy ‘investigation’ that it deserves no recognition other than derision,” the “Lone Raccoon” said. “It is sad to me that somebody who is a ‘national political reporter’ would blindly fall fort the propaganda put by a small-time DA instead of actually doing their own research. However, that seems to be the rule these days.”

“Doing Their Own Research”

Perhaps my e-mail was too blunt when asking the pair if they were aware of other evidence that explained Brown’s incompetence (she was fired and faces charges related to the data breach); and what was their response to the D.A. saying they lied when they said they had talked to the party observers present (who spoke to police investigators) when Brown erred?

But I had done my “own research.” When reporting on the Cyber Ninjas’ review in Arizona in 2021, I had repeatedly seen the disinformation dynamic that I saw here. Partisans with forgone conclusions started to parse election records. Lacking prior experience in studying election systems, they did not understand where what they were seeing in the electronic records related to wider contexts and protocols. That didn’t stop them from putting forth doubts about the results. And I’d also heard about the duo’s missteps from a lifelong Republican and credible election data analyst.

Benny White, a former fighter pilot and lawyer who lives in Tucson, Arizona, has been an election observer and data analyst for the Arizona Republican party for years. He became a persona non-grata in Trump circles for analyses in early 2021 that found tens of thousands of ballots cast by otherwise loyal Republicans in the greater Phoenix area had not voted to re-elect Trump. (The voting patterns were found in the final spreadsheet of every vote cast in every race.)

Reached by phone, White said that the duo called him as they were parsing Mesa County’s tabulation-related databases. White recalled that he told them where their assumptions were mistaken, and what they were not considering because they were not familiar with election administration and safeguards that find and fix errors.

“These folks have no understanding or appreciation of election administration,” he said. “They’re looking at everything from a sterile, mechanistic perspective. There are problems that can be caused because of human interface in the system design where operators can make mistakes. And for that reason, I am always an advocate of having an independent body, whether it’s a knowledgeable person or a bipartisan group of overseers, that is present at all times to watch what’s going on and ask, ‘Why are you doing that?’”

For example, White recalled that the duo claimed that the county’s voting system “had done something nefarious because these ballots [during adjudication] weren’t all tabulated in sequence.” But that circumstance occurs if the voter’s intent on a ballot is in question, White said, in which case Dominion’s software “will hold that batch [of 1,000 ballots from] being included in the aggregate results… That was another thing that it seemed to me that Daugherity failed to understand.”

“He bases a lot of his conclusions on statistics, statistical analysis,” White said of Daugherity. “There have been single instances where he would tell me something, and I would say, ‘Walter, you’re not considering this other facet of what was going on in that particular election… You have to know more before you reach these conclusions.’”

Election administration is not simple. It takes years to understand election law, varieties in state rules and procedures, the voting system technology and all of the subsets of data created and compiled that add up to winners and losers. Trump’s IT squad might be forgiven for misunderstanding and misinterpreting what they saw, if they had been more humble and fair-minded. But they weren’t.

Their mindset is to create chaos and doubt, while claiming they are seeking the truth. The clearest evidence of that mindset is how they exploited human errors by election officials by not accurately contextualizing those mistakes, but repeatedly over claiming that an entire jurisdiction’s votes were suspect, and that the same election technology deployed nationwide must be rejected.

With scores of 2020 election-denying candidates running for state and federal office in 2022’s general election, this deceitful pattern is likely to recur.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

MAGA Conspirators Swamp Election Offices With Bogus Record Requests

Incited by MAGA conspiracy theorists like MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, Trump supporters are flooding elections offices nationwide with records requests from the 2020 presidential election—an election they lost handily according to all lawsuits and disputes but refuse to believe was fair and democratically won by President Joe Biden.

According to reporting from The Washington Post, dozens of states and a slew of counties across the country are being overwhelmed with what appear to be duplicate requests for “cast vote records,” as they’re called by Lindell.

In text exchanges with the Post, Carol Snow, a MAGA activist from Burke County, North Carolina, writes: “We believe those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. ... Their lack of transparency causes distrust of the electronic voting systems we are required to use to cast our ballots.”

As the Post reports, it seems as though the tsunami of requests started after a livestream from Lindell in mid-August, which was then pushed into wider viewership on Steve Bannon’s podcast. The profusion of public records requests, a tool used by journalists and the public, has effectively inundated offices—and that’s exactly the point.

The timing comes just weeks before early voting in October as election offices prepare to mail out ballots and decide on polling places. Claire Woodall-Vogg, the executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, tells the Post, “When you are asking for every single document under the sun, it becomes difficult for us to do our job.”

In Nevada County, California, clerk-recorder and registrar of voters Natalie Adona tells SFGATE that her office has been flooded with records requests for nearly two years, but in the last week, it’s been outrageous for her as well as offices around the state.

Shasta County Clerk Cathy Darling Allen says that most of the requests have similar wording, repeating the bogus allegations that the Dominion voting machines were somehow taken over by nefarious people or groups.

“I have staff requesting extensions and researching how to obtain the reports requested from our Dominion voting system,” Allen told SFGATE. “This cannot continue.”

According to Maine Public, election officials in the state report that one of the requests “closely mirrors language” used by Terpsichore “Tore” Maras-Lindeman. Maras-Lindeman was Sidney Powell’s “secret intelligence contractor” in the failed bid to have SCOTUS overturn the 2020 election, as well as a podcaster and mouthpiece for QAnon conspiracies.

Lindell recently boasted of donating at least $800,000 toward the legal defense of a “MAGA-supporting Mesa County, Colorado, elections clerk who, along with her deputy, Belinda Knisley, was recently indicted on charges connected to breaching election security, allowing the Dominion voting machines under their care be tampered with by a third party,” Daily Kos Walter Einenkel writes.

Election records are normally kept for 22 months, the Post reports, and Lindell has been desperate to retrieve as many of the records as possible before the Labor Day deadline.

“These machine companies have played out the clock, so to speak. ... But people can request them, and then obviously we can preserve them,” Lindell said.

Matt Crain, who leads the Colorado County Clerks Association, tells the Post the effort from Lindell to encourage the bombardment of election offices is absolutely intentional.

“The only way to look at it is as a denial-of-service attack on local government. ... The irony is, if Lindell wanted the cast vote records, he could have just put in a request to get them. They don’t do that. They put out this call to action for people to do it, and they know it’s going to inundate these offices, especially medium and small offices who are understaffed and overwhelmed already. They know exactly what they’re doing.”

Lindell was recently referred to as “white” Mike Lindell by Vincent James, a white nationalist and conspiracy theorist. James gave a shoutout to Lindell on this DailyVeracity.com livestream, for selling pillows with a discount via a coupon code.



Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Bizarre Extremists Dominate GOP Primary For Arizona House Seat

A leading contender for the Republican nomination in a competitive Arizona House seat said that doctors who perform abortions and people who receive them should both be charged with homicide.

State Rep. Walt Blackman made the comments during a GOP primary debate for Arizona's 2nd District after the moderator asked him whether he stands by a past comment about wanting to charge abortion providers and those who get abortions with homicide.

"Exactly," Blackman said, saying that homicide charges for abortions are, "already in our statute, Arizona statute. If a person commits abortion or kills a baby while in the womb, it's in our criminal statute."

Blackman is listed as a top candidate for the seat by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which seeks to elect Republicans to the House.

It's not the only controversial comment Blackman has made in the past.

In September, Blackman voiced his support for the Proud Boys — a white nationalist group that helped plan the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A leader of the extremist organization was arrested in March and charged with conspiracy for his apparent role in helping plan the attempt to subvert democracy and stop the certification of President Joe Biden's victory.

"The Proud Boys came to one of my events, and that was one of the proudest moments of my life," Blackman said at a September event seeking "justice" for those charged in the insurrection. He added that the Proud Boys set an "example of how to be an American."

Blackman saying women who get abortions should be charged with murder wasn't even the most controversial moment of Wednesday night's primary debate.

Another candidate, Ron Watkins — one of the leaders of the baseless QAnon conspiracy movement — lied about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Watkins ran the far-right website 8chan, which the New York Times has described as a "go-to resource for violent extremists" who have committed mass murders. At Wednesday night's debate, Watkins bragged about his efforts to push the false conspiracy theories about a stolen election.

Former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell — who was sanctioned for filing baseless lawsuits seeking to overturn the 2020 election — based some of her "evidence" on Watkins' conspiracy theories.

During the debate, Watkins defended his efforts to try to "decertify" Biden's 2020 victory, after Blackman told him that nothing in the Constitution allows for the decertification of an election.

"During the Revolutionary War ... there was nothing that said we could fight the British, but we did," Watkins said, using an analogy to describe why he would embark on a destined-to-fail endeavor. "Americans go, and they fight even when they know we can't win."

Watkins went on to tout his relationship with Powell, as well as pillow mogul and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, saying that "we found that the machines were stealing the votes." (The machines did not steal votes.)

Arizona's 2nd District is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran. In the redistricting process, the district became much more conservative, going from a seat Biden carried in 2020 to one that now has a 15-point Republican lean, according to FiveThirtyEight. The nonpartisan political handicapping outlet Inside Elections projects that Republicans will likely flip the seat.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Idaho Republicans Bitterly Divided Over Lindell’s ‘Fraud’ Claims

Although now-President Joe Biden enjoyed a decisive victory in the United States’ 2020 presidential election — winning 306 electoral votes and defeating then-President Donald Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote — it certainly wasn’t because of Idaho, a deep red state that Trump won by 30 percent. But far-right conspiracy theorist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a tireless promoter of the Big Lie, has claimed that Trump’s margin of victory was even higher than 30 percent in Idaho but that votes were stolen from Trump there through widespread voter fraud. And Lindell’s false claim, journalist Allan Smith reports for NBC News, has become a divisive issue among Idaho Republicans.

“Last summer, Idaho officials received demand after demand to investigate extraordinary claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election,” journalist Allan Smith reports in an article published by NBC News’ website on March 6. “In a state where former President Donald Trump won by more than 30 points, people claimed a vast conspiracy cheated the former president out of an even greater margin of victory. Almost all the e-mails referred to theories promoted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck said. Lindell, people claimed, had proof of major malfeasance — if only someone would look into it.”

Houck and the office of Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, according to Smith, investigated Lindell’s claims and “found them to be totally without merit.”

According to Smith, “Houck’s office decided to manually count the ballots in two of Idaho’s smallest counties — Camas and Butte — as well as manually recount the ballots in eight of the 32 precincts in Bonner County, a medium-size locale in the state. Between the three counties, it found an error rate of roughly 0.1 percent.”

But Lindell’s supporters in Idaho are not satisfied.

“Idaho’s work combating Lindell only seems to have made supporters of his fraud narrative angrier, Houck said, and has set the stage for midterm battles along fault lines Republicans are contending with nationwide,” Smith reports.

Houck told NBC News, “We’ve received two types of responses back to the office. One has been: ‘How dare you attack a patriot like Mike Lindell.’ On the flip side, (others) said: ‘Thank you for standing up to Lindell’s narratives’…. I’ve had counties that have had individuals come into county commissioner meetings and threatened the entire county commission that they were going to be unseated. And if they couldn’t do it through bureaucratic means, then they’re going to do it through physical means, to a point where I’ve had counties that have requested assistance in funding to put additional security measures into their county buildings, just to secure the election office from physical threat.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Trump Restoration Prophecy Failed, But His Cultists Still Believe

Friday, August 13, 2021, according to far-right conspiracy theorist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, was supposed to be "Reinstatement Day" — the day in which Donald Trump would be reinstated as president when evidence demonstrated that widespread voter fraud occurred in the 2020 election. But that evidence doesn't exist, Lindell's wacky conspiracy theories have been debunked by cybersecurity experts — and as of Friday morning, August 13, Joe Biden is still the democratically elected president of the United States and Kamala Harris is still vice president. Even if the non-existent evidence of election fraud appeared, there would still be no mechanism for returning Trump to power.

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Lindell And Dark Money Outfit Pushed ’Snake-Oil Covid Cure’ --With Tragic Result

A variety of bogus “treatments” or “cures” for COVID-19 have been promoted in MAGA World, from hydroxychloroquine to oleandrin (an extract from the poisonous oleander plant). According to Daily Beast reporters Roger Sollenberger and William Bredderman, one of the companies that has promoted oleandrin as a COVID-19 miracle cure is Propter Strategies — which has ties to two major allies of former President Donald Trump: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

“It’s an all-too-familiar story at this point: A person pushing an unproven COVID-19 cure — and pushing back against the vaccines — pays the ultimate price for their skepticism,” Sollenberger and Bredderman report. “But this time, there’s a new wrinkle. It’s not just one person dabbling in COVID quackery with tragic results; it’s actually a mysterious dark money organization, with ties to influential MAGA figures like Steve Bannon and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.”


The organization, according to Sollenberger and Bredderman, was Propter Strategies — and the person who became a “victim” of its “secretive work” was partner Kenneth Happel.

“To this day, Propter Strategies is a black hole, despite its high-profile connections and multi-million-dollar budget,” the Beast reporters explain. “Aside from Happel’s account, there is no evidence of Propter’s activities anywhere in the public record. And that might be with good reason: Those activities included hawking the snake-oil COVID treatment oleandrin at the highest levels of the government, as the pandemic’s lethal second wave peaked across the country.”Happel, according to Sollenberger and Bredderman, is presently hospitalized with his second COVID-19 infection — and his wife died from COVID-19 in January.

“In a phone interview from his hospital bed, Happel, 72, remained unrepentant and defiant about the numerous baseless theories that quite likely landed him back in the hospital, and killed the wife he loved dearly,” Sollenberger and Bredderman write. “Happel still places hope in the pseudo-science that he, Propter Strategies, and Lindell had pushed so hard — a proprietary compound derived from oleander extract, which the pillow tycoon and at least one Propter official had invested in.”

Registration data, according to Sollenberger and Bredderman, shows that Happel is the owner of Proper’s website, needsp.us, and Happel has “confirmed” to the Beast “that the Propter Strategies cited on his page was, in fact, the same group linked to those leading MAGA figures.”

“Happel, a former Tea Party activist with an entrepreneurial history that intersects with biotechnology, recounted working on oleandrin in 2020 with Propter board member Andrew Whitney,” Sollenberger and Bredderman note. “A serial entrepreneur and former Bain Capital investor, Whitney was actually pulling oleandrin double-duty — he was on the board at the nonprofit Propter, as well as at Texas-based Phoenix Biotechnologies, whose research centered on the product. Happel also acknowledged the connection to Lindell, who, it turns out, also holds a financial stake in Phoenix Biotechnologies.”

Whitney and Lindell, according to the Beast reporters, “paired up for a MAGA media parade” and promoted oleandrin “as a neglected medical miracle” on right-wing outlets such as Newsmax and Diamond & Silk’s YouTube show. And Lindell “confirmed he still has a financial stake in Phoenix.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Lindell Claims Banks Severing Ties With Him Over 'Reputation Risk'

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is now claiming that some financial institutions no longer want to do business with him because he poses a "reputation risk" as he continues to push former President Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

On Friday, January 14, Lindell appeared on Steve Bannon's podcast "War Room" where he claimed "Heartland Financial and Minnesota Bank and Trust are attempting to 'de-bank' him over concerns that they could face fallout related to having him as a client," Newsweek reports. During the broadcast, the two right-wing enthusiasts played an audio recording of what they claim was a discussion between Lindell and a bank official.

"Just because of our organization saying, 'Well, why are we connected with somebody that could be in the news.' And, not that the FBI is even sniffing and looking, but what if somebody came in and said, 'You know what, we are gonna subpoena all his account records...and then also we make the news,'" the person was reportedly heard saying in the recording. "So it's more of a reputation risk."

According to Lindell, he has been given 30 days to close his accounts but he has no plan to comply with the order.

"I said, 'I am not being part of this. I'm not leaving. So you're going to have to throw me out of your bank,'" he said. During their discussion, Bannon also exposed the names of the bankers and their contact information as he urged his listeners to flood their phone lines with complaints.

Lindell also appeared to echo Bannon as he complained about being criticized for his beliefs. "Where does it end everybody? Where does it end?" Lindell asked.

Lindell's latest interview comes follows his reaction to having his phone records subpoenaed in connection with the House Select Committee's January 6 investigation.

In a text message to CNBC News, Lindell said, "I wasn't there on January 6th and yes they did subpoena my phone records, but we filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the January 6th committee and Verizon to completely invalidate this corrupt subpoena."

Despite ongoing criticism and blowback, Lindell is continuing his efforts to prove that his claims of so-called voter fraud are valid.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet