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'DODGY DEALS'

Is a Conservative Coffee Company Supporting “Kenosha Killer” Kyle Rittenhouse?

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Lin Wood, the lawyer of Kyle Rittenhouse – the man who shot two protestors to death on August 25 during a racial justice uprising in Kenosha, Wisconsin — posted a tweet announcing Rittenhouse’s recent release on bail. The  tweet includes an image of Rittenhouse wearing a shirt advertising Black Rifle Coffee, a conservative coffee company that has advertised on right-wing podcasts.

While a spokesperson for Black Rifle Coffee told The New Civil Rights Movement that it does not sponsor legal advocacy efforts and does not have a relationship with Kyle Rittenhouse, the question raised several important issues to do with those supporting the shooter.

The image led Sleeping Giants, a watchdog group that alerts advertisers of their connections to far-right rhetoric, to question whether the company supports the young murderer. In their tweet, Sleeping Giants showed an image recently posted by right-wing podcaster Elijah Schafer touting the coffee company, which also advertises on his podcast.

The question is particularly salient considering that Rittenhouse recently had his $2 million bail paid in part by Mike Lindell, the conservative CEO of the American company MyPillow, a regular Fox News advertiser, and right-leaning actor Ricky Schroeder.

Rittenhouse has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and other charges for the murders of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, on August 25.

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'DODGY DEALS'

Far-Right Social Network Parler Wanted to Bribe President Trump to Join It

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While in office, former Donald Trump repeatedly profited off of both the presidency and his businesses. So it isn’t really surprising that  Trump tried to profit off of the far-right Twitter-copycat Parler too. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.

“The Trump Organization negotiated on behalf of then-president Donald Trump to make Parler his primary social network, but it had a condition: an ownership stake in return for joining,” a recent Buzzfeed News report reveals. The talks reportedly began last summer and resumed after Trump lost the 2020 election.

Parler offered the Trump Organization a 40% stake in the company for Trump to join, with the idea that it would eventually challenge both Twitter and Facebook if Trump promised to post his content there four hours before posting it anywhere else. At a June 2020 meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Floria, Parler’s now-former CEO John Matze and shareholders Dan Bongino and Jeffrey Wernick met with Trump’s former campaign manager, accused grifter and spouse abuser Brad Parscale, as well as Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon.

Here’s the deal’s details:

“Upon completion of that deal, half of that stake would have been given immediately to the Trump Organization, while the other half would have been doled out in tranches over the 24-month period of the agreement…. Parler also asked that Trump link back to Parler when posting to other social media sites or emailing his supporters, and to allow the company to use his email lists to promote its platform. In addition, Parler wanted Trump to make introductions to any potential investors or advertisers.”

Surprisingly, “the White House counsel’s office soon put a stop to the talks, one person with knowledge of the discussions said, ruling that such a deal while Trump was president would violate ethics rules,” Buzzfeed reports.

Then, talks completely disintegrated after the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. After the attempted coup, Amazon, Apple, and Google all booted  Parler from their services because the social network had become a hotbed for right-wingers threatening violence and insurrection.

Parler has remained offline ever since. This week, Matze was booted as its CEO by the company’s board and was also stripped of his severance and equity in the company. Matze claims he was booted because he wanted the so-called “free speech” network to introduce content moderation and ban accounts associated with far-right extremists, although the company has said his claim is inaccurate.

In addition to hosting far-right conspiracy theorists and bigots, Parler has also had trouble with child pornography being posted on its network, though the company refutes this as well.

The Trump family and Trump Organization, run by his sons, have both repeatedly made international business deals that benefitted from Trump’s standing as president, according to Vox, CBS News, Politico, The Los Angeles Times and other publications.

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'DODGY DEALS'

‘Entire Family Fed on the Cash Cow’: Jerry Falwell, Jr. ‘Intertwined His Personal Finances’ With Liberty’s – Report

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Now that top Trump supporter Jerry Falwell, Jr. is gone from the school his father founded, reports about his management – or mismanagement – of the top Christian evangelical college reveal how his “entire family made millions off Liberty University,” as the NY Post reports.

“Falwell, who took over as president of Liberty in 2007 after years as a lawyer handling its real estate interests, intertwined his personal finances with those of the evangelical Christian university founded by his father,” the Post’s Paula Froelich reveals.

“During his time at Liberty, Falwell made sure his entire family fed on the cash cow by putting his two sons and their wives on the payroll. He also transferred a large Liberty facility to his personal trainer and had a friend’s construction company manage a university expansion project that cost hundreds of millions, according to Reuters.”

The sex scandal that derailed Falwell, Jr. was centered on a pool boy who says he had an “intimate relationship” with Falwell’s wife and that “Jerry enjoyed watching.” Falwell says he was not involved, but characterized his wife’s affair as a “fatal attraction.”

“Falwell is also said to have established a pair of companies that allowed him to make property deals with nonprofits affiliated with Liberty, Reuters found. In each of the deals, Falwell played multiple roles with potentially conflicting interests: He was an officer of the university, a board member for the nonprofit selling the land and a private developer who could profit from the transactions.”

Citing that Reuters report, the Post calls Falwell’s questionable financial arrangements “dodgy deals.”

Falwell, a top Trump supporter whose early endorsement as a leading evangelical helped Trump win the White House, called Reuters “liars,” and reportedly said: “You got nothing,”

“Trust me,’” he added, “you do not want to mess with me, OK?”

 

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