Nel's New Day

October 31, 2020

DDT: Week 197 – Violence, Fraud

Armed domestic terrorists carrying flags in support of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ambushed and attacked a Joe Biden caravan of cars and a bus traveling from San Antonio to Austin on I-35 for a campaign event yesterday. The DDT vehicles surrounded the Biden group, and observers took video of DDT cars attacking ones in the Biden group. A watching police officer refused to help the people being attacked, saying it wasn’t his “jurisdiction” although 911 calls brought other law enforcement to help. The almost 100 vehicles in the attack came from a “Trump Train group,” supporting DDT throughout Texas. People in them yelled profanities and obscenities while blockading the Biden entourage, slowing the group to 20 mph on the interstate highway. On the Biden bus was Texas Congressional candidate and former state senator Wendy Davis. DDT’s tweeted response about the travesty was “I LOVE TEXAS!” with an image of the attack. DDT’s supporters have made threatening actions across the United States to intimidate Biden supporters, but this event escalated the violence.

Other desperate Republican attempts to rig the election in their favor are using the USPS, now led by DDT’s appointee Louis DeJoy, to delay or eliminate mail delivery. Key swing states have the worst mail delivery in the U.S. This past week, on-time rates for ballots in 17 postal districts representing 10 battleground states and 151 electoral votes was 5.9 percentage points lower than the national average; over ten percent ballots are arriving later than the postal service’s maximum three-day delivery time for first class mail. Thanks to Republicans and GOP courts, 28 states refuse to count ballots received after Election Day even if they are postmarked by that time. The Black-predominant Detroit area delivered only 72.8 percent of ballots on time last week, compared to 84.3 percent delivery in the Greater Michigan district. In most of Kentucky, about 20 percent of ballots were delivered outside the three-day promise. Last Wednesday, three-day delivery occurred in Philadelphia for 58 percent of the time; Detroit dropped to 52 percent

The national average is 95 percent, two percent below the former 97-percent on-time delivery. Over 52 million people have voted by mail instead of in person, and over 37 million mail ballots are outstanding. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the U.S. District Court in D.C. ordered the USPS to provide a written explanation for each district delivering less than 80 percent of ballots on time each day or less than 90 percent of ballots on time for two days in the same week. Wisconsin and Minnesota ballots are not accepted after November 3. Courts have ordered ballots legally arriving within the allotted time after Election Day in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania set aside, setting the scene for courts to exclude these votes from the total. Compounding problems in Minnesota is its ballot tracking system going offline for maintenance today. A video at the Miami-Dade Post Office showed piles of undelivered mail, including ballots both completed and blank, more than a week overdue.

As part of its war on democratic voting, Republicans are suing to invalidate legally cast votes; i.e., over 100,000 votes in Harris County (TX) cast at drive-through voting centers. In Nevada, the GOP lawsuit demands detailed information about workers counting ballots, including their names, party affiliations, and work schedules as well as copies of every signature on mail ballots returned to elections officials and used to authenticate ballots. The hearing is Monday.

DDT’s failures of the past week make him appear more of a failure. His campaign events spread the virus in almost every area he goes and sent people to the hospital with hypothermia (Omaha) and heat stroke (Tampa). In Tampa, at least 17 people needed medical attention, and a dozen of them were taken to the hospital. DDT rescheduled a North Carolina to Monday because of high winds. Again today, he left members of his audience in the dark and cold while waiting two hours for buses at Butler (PA) after sitting outside for four to five hours. At another performance he ridiculed faithful follower Laura Ingraham (Fox network) for wearing a mask. 

Reports released this week covered DDT going easy on a Turkish bank allegedly breaking U.S. sanctions law when the bank funneled money to Iran and helped fund the country’s nuclear weapons program. Turkey provides millions of dollars to DDT for his businesses there. Bolton had said DDT would favor foreign leaders over government regulations to get personal returns from them. To protect DDT, AG Bill Barr had fired U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman, keeping him from pursuing the case against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  

U.S. taxpayers have also given DDT at least $2.5 million for excessive charges at DDT properties in addition to another $5.6 million paid by DDT’s campaign and fundraising committee.

Four years ago, James Comey sank Hillary Clinton’s election chances with a last minute accusation about her emails. This October, Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani tried the same schtick by trying to smear Joe Biden with infamous laptops supposedly containing salacious and damning material from Biden’s son, Hunter. On his Fox show, Tucker Carlson tried to help the scheme by saying UPS “lost” the damning laptop documents when a producer mailed them to Carlson’s home. UPS supposedly found the package, but Carlson complained about a missing flash card. Then he admitted he had copied the documents before he said they were missing. Asked about their contents, he first said he had not yet reviewed them and then said he didn’t want to be “piling on” Hunter Biden. Carlson’s story fell apart after the announcement that a fake “intelligence firm,” Typhoon Investigations, had disseminated the fake 64-page document about China. It was written by a self-identified Swiss security analyst, a fabricated identity with a profile photo created by artificial intelligence.The contents, highly promoted by the New York Post, were available on the internet a month before its article.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Giuliani about potential violation of lobbying laws in dealing with Ukraine and payments from Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, indicted last year for illegally funneling money to Republican political candidates. Bannon was arrested for conspiring to defraud people in the “build the wall” scheme and working with Chinese national to violate securities laws by bilking investors in a private offering. DDT has indicated he will be pardoning Bannon.

Republicans are trying to spin last quarter’s GDP figures into a positive for DDT, but that attempt appears to have fizzled. The 33-percent increase might look good, but economist Jay Shambaugh explained some “basic math”:

“If you own a stock priced at $100 and it drops 30 percent, it is now worth $70. If it gains back 30 percent, it is then worth $91 (the gain is just $21 because 30 percent of 70 is 21).”

Another economist, Dean Baker, explained “the economy would have to grow at a 53.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter to make up the ground lost in the first and second quarters.” Growth this next quarter will be minimal if not minus: the second quarter benefited from stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and perks for businesses. With a recalcitrant GOP Senate, chances of another stimulus bill after the election are slim to none because they would do it only to help their election prospects. Projections for the 2020 GDP is a minus 3 percent to 4 percent. DDT brags about his 11 million new jobs during the last quarter, but these are only half the 22+ million lost in the previous quarter. DDT has gained absolutely zero new jobs since he was elected.

COVID-19 is a major reason people are giving for their Biden’s votes. Yesterday, the U.S. broke the 100,000 number for new cases, almost 3,000 more than India with its population over twice that of the U.S. Deaths still average almost 1,000 a day, a figure Donald Trump Jr calls “almost nothing.” Hospitalizations have also skyrocketed although accurate numbers are difficult to find since DDT’s administration twisted the data collection system by giving it to a private contractor owned by DDT’s friend. The figures are no longer publicly available for all states.

In DDT’s rabid campaigning, he claims doctors inflate the number of deaths for financial gain. Calling DDT’s lies “malicious” and “completely misguided,” the AMA released a statement about how “physicians, nurses, and frontline health care workers have risked their health, their safety and their lives to treat their patients and defeat a deadly virus. They did it because duty called and because of the sacred oath they took.” AMA President Susan R. Bailey continued by asking people to use “public health steps” based on knowledge instead of following “the dangerous wave of misinformation.”

Data for this interactive map is here. 

 

DDT has also emphasized the “positivity rate” as the gold standard, and Dean Baker’s data shows GOP-governed states have the highest COVID-19 test rates, more than states governed by Democrats. Mississippi has a 100-percent positive rate, the number of positives for the tests.  

Ignore COVID: DDT’s final campaign message.

October 30, 2020

GOP Limping toward Finish without DDT

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 11:28 PM
Tags: , ,

A dozen senators struggle in their 2020 reelection, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) attacked some of them, perhaps because he doesn’t like “losers.” At a private party for donors, he said:

“There are a couple senators I can’t really get involved in. I just can’t do it. You lose your soul if you do. I can’t help some of them. I don’t want to help some of them.”

GOP strategists believe DDT’s divisive rhetoric and low poll numbers may endanger a GOP Senate majority. DDT also thinks the Republicans “are going to take back the House.” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) summarized DDT’s problem:

“In retrospect, I wish the president might have turned his marketing genius from his red MAGA hats to red MAGA masks.”

Fighting to keep their jobs, some of them in states turning blue, most of these GOP senators have turned vicious or pathetic–but always lacking in respect for their opponents.  

Lindsey Graham: Once highly respected in both his state of South Carolina and in the Senate when he and the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were a pair, Graham turned to total devotion for DDT, even losing the scraps of his reputation by pushing Amy Coney Barrett through the confirmation process in 10 days from the first day of committee hearings to the final floor vote. Once Graham completed the task as DDT’s boy, Lou Dobbs told his Fox audience not to vote for Graham in his tightly-contested race. Dobbs used DDT’s words from 2016:  

“I think Lindsey Graham is a disgrace and you have one of the worst representatives of any representative in the United States. I don’t think he could run for dog catcher in this state and win again.”

Democrats can support Dobb’s conclusion: 

“Graham … has betrayed the American people and his oath of office, he’s done absolutely nothing … except to tell everyone ‘stay tuned,’ time and time again, ‘stay tuned.’ Senator Graham needs to be tuned out in South Carolina.”

“It’s about time” for Graham to be defeated, commented a writer at the right-wing American Greatness website. They whined Graham followed DDT’s marching orders only 97 percent of the time, the highest percentage for any vulnerable senator.

Frustrated after his opponent, Jamie Harrison, brought in more donations for his campaign than he did, Graham proposed an investigation into ActBlue, a way to make small donations to Democratic candidates on the internet comparable to the less successful WinRed for Republicans. Graham cheered up when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) poured tens of millions of dollars into Graham’s campaign for his support of Barrett and the former Constitution Party senatorial candidate supported him. Some polls, however, show Harrison still two points ahead.

Answering a question about protests in a televised “conversation” with Harrison, Graham said Black and immigrants can “go anywhere” in South Carolina” if they are “conservative.” He denied any racism in his state because a Black can “go to the Senate” if they “share our values.” Both his opponent and the state’s junior senator, Tim Scott, are Black. Graham refused any debates. A Confederate state during the Civil War, South Carolina has a long history of institutionalized racism exacerbated by the Jim Crow era.

Barbara Bollier: After GOP incumbent Pat Roberts, 84-year-old congressional member for 40 years, decided not to run again for U.S. Senate, the Kansas race was open. Bollier, who changed parties to become a Democrat in the traditionally red state, didn’t appear to have a chance until GOP Roger Marshall became her opponent. He failed to answer repeated requests to participate in a debate with Bollier and then accused the moderator of a set-up by lying he hadn’t been contacted until the day before. The moderator showed the receipts for multiple certified letters she sent him and his tweet about a prior commitment for the time of the debate. Bollier pointed out the GOP Senate Leadership Fund used actors pretending to be Kansans in commercials lying about her positions on health care, guns, and taxes. She is ahead in the race by one point.

David Perdue: He has had two recent videos go viral, the first when he mocked Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) by repeatedly mispronouncing her name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). Perdue spent four years with Harris in the Senate and should be familiar with the name of a vice presidential candidate. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said:

“This is a sitting U.S. senator who he’s mocking and who is the first woman of color on a major party ticket—that’s not all a coincidence. That’s not only planned, but it’s the result of a president who has done everything he can to otherize and rile up crowds to do the same.” 

Jayapal suffered the same abuse last summer from her opponent, Craig Keller, who not only repeatedly mispronounced her name in a candidates’ forum this past summer, even after she asked him to correct it, but also sent the Washington Post an email that repeated calling her “Jail a pal.”  

The second viral video came from the Perdue-Ossoff debate. John Ossoff (above right)called Perdue a “crook” and said Perdue might have had time to respond to COVID-19 if he hadn’t “been fending off multiple federal investigations for insider trading.” Last winter, Perdue used classified information to buy and sell stocks. Ossoff told the television audience Perdue said the virus “was no deadlier than the flu” and allowed “insurance companies to deny policies to Georgians with preexisting conditions.” He also declared Perdue was “lengthening my nose in attack ads to remind everybody that I’m Jewish, … started calling me some kind of Islamic terrorist, [and] started calling me a Chinese communist.” Perdue backed out of the last debate, and Ossoff is up by three points. 

John Cornyn: Calling his race with MJ Hegar “too close for comfort,” Cornyn tried to separate himself from DDT with a comparison of DDT to abusive husbands whose wives can’t change them after they marry. Cornyn’s sexism isn’t helping him with female voters; he also described “women as civilizers, cunningly trying to domesticate their spouses.” In an ad, Cornyn shows his opponent swearing and himself being polite, his style when taking children from their parents at the border and health insurance from cancer survivors. Cornyn is above Hegar by five points, but the vote in Texas is already above 2016.

Martha McSally: After she faithfully followed DDT, often to her detriment among Arizonans, DDT treated her like a dog at his latest campaign rally in the state. He said:

“Martha, just come up fast. Fast. Fast. Come on. Quick. You got one minute! One minute, Martha! They don’t want to hear this, Martha. Come on. Let’s go. Quick, quick, quick. Come on. Let’s go.”

McSally did get only one minute, but her opponent, Mark Kelly, said, “The president of the United States should have respect for an Arizona senator.” Polls were good for Kelly earlier, but they vary within the past few weeks. At the time of the rally, she was behind over four points, and DDT’s behavior didn’t help her.

Susan Collins: In trouble for her votes in favor of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the disastrous tax cut for the wealthy, Collins finally came through with a vote against Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court—when her vote made no difference. Earlier, information surfaced about one of her votes providing millions of dollars for a donor after he embezzled millions from funding from the COVID-19 stimulus bill. Maine voters now learned about her authoring contracting reforms to directly benefit her future husband’s lobbying and consulting firm with tens of millions of dollars. Collins is behind two points.

Joni Ernst: Like most Republican candidates, she wants to hide what she really thinks—like getting rid of Social Security. She ran attack ads about her opponent calling the police racists when Ernst used the same term for police in her last debate. DDT barely gave Ernst a mention at his Omaha rally where thousands people were left out in the cold. “Joni doesn’t know beans” trended because she failed to answer a question at the debate about the “break-even price” for soybeans. Her opponent, Theresa Greenfield, had no trouble with a similar question about a bushel of corn. The exchange is well-worth watching. Ernst has picked up a two-point lead.

(Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell: Despite the excellent campaigning by the Senate Majority Leader’s opponent, Amy McGrath, McConnell is still leading Kentucky just because he’s a Republican. He deliberately sabotaged the proposed stimulus bill behind the scenes giving each poor Kentuckian—and there are a lot—thousands of dollars from checks and unemployment and laughed at McGrath when described it a “dereliction of duty” before interrupting her.  

Photographs of McConnell’s hands and extensive bruising, multiple bandages, and yellowing around his eyes give the appearance of a serious illness. Two weeks earlier, he had no marks. The bruising around his mouth could be from intubation, placing an airway into his mouth, and the purple hands could be from blood thinners and IVs. McConnell is up nine points.

 Other vulnerable senators: Thom Tillis, down ten points (NC); Steve Daines, up one point (MT); and Cory Gardner, down nine points (CO).

A hint for early Sunday morning, turn your clocks back for the end of Daylight Savings Time 2020. Just think of Amy Coney Barrett. 

October 29, 2020

More Voting Decisions Cause Chaos

The U.S. Supreme Court may wait until after Election Day to disenfranchisement voters, but the 8th Circuit Court thought doing it right now was just dandy. Today, just four days before Election Day, two federal judges, George W. Bush’s and DDT’s appointees, changed the date when ballots must be delivered in Minnesota, moving the goalpost up by seven days—a full week. The extension was made almost three months ago because of COVID-19, and it was the understanding of all the voters. The opinion stated, “There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution.” Two of three judges on a panel told voters to make different plans if they haven’t already mailed their absentee ballots. Although the ruling merely ordered the separation of ballots received after Election Day, the intent to remove them is clear. The disenfranchisement comes from deliberate delays in the USPS to suppress the votes. Tim Walz, the state’s governor, said, “It speaks volumes when your goal is to make it more difficult for people to vote.” 

You have to give Republicans persistence. After failing to definitely reduce extension time for returning North Carolina ballots yesterday, they went back to the Supreme Court. The majority again denied the GOP appeal with Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito again dissenting. The 1.4 million voters requesting absentee ballots in the state are seven times more than in 2016, and Democrats are twice as likely as to vote by mail as Republicans.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh had to correct one part of his error-riddled opinion denying Wisconsin its extension time for returning ballots after a Vermont official complained. Kavanaugh had used Vermont to show how “ordinary election rules” were not changed in spite of COVID-19. Earlier in the year, however, Vermont had authorized mailing ballots to all registered voters and processing them before Election Day—just like all the other successful vote-by-mail states do. After Vermont Secretary of State’s office formally requested a correction, Kavanaugh’s new opinion was changed to “ordinary election-deadline rules.” Although a minor change, it shows the sloppiness of Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court statements. In Vermont, mail-in votes are still due by Election Day if dropped off at polling places, but ballots are mailed out at least 45 days before Election Day—plenty of time for the two to three weeks needed for voters to receive and return them even with the GOP-orchestrated USPS delay.

Slate listed other Kavanaugh mistakes, but the most horrifying may be Kavanaugh’s belief that states formally declare elections on the night of the election deadline. He maintained any ballots after that time will “flip the results of an election,” a completely erroneous perspective with no legal standing. Justice Elena Kagan had to remind him, “There are no results to ‘flip’ until all valid votes are counted.” No states “definitively announce the results” on election night, as Kavanaugh declared, no matter how impatient people might be.

In addition, Kavanaugh was wrong when he stated the Supreme Court “has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election laws in the period close to an election.” No majority opinion has ever made that rule. Kavanaugh also quoted, out of context, an article New York University law professor Richard Pildes to support his personal opinion about late-arriving ballots causing crisis, an article supporting time extensions for states’ receiving ballots in opposition to Kavanaugh’s position. He also violated his rule that only legislatures have constitutional authority to make voting rules by preserving Alabama’s ban on curbside voting never addressed by the legislature.

No other justice signed on to Kavanaugh’s misguided statements.

Voters at Texas polls had to wear masks for under one day after a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court blocked an order for mask-wearing at the polls. A lower court found the governor’s not requiring masks at the polls violated the federal Voting Rights Act’s disallowance of discriminatory voting practices based on race. The appeals court said the lower court would have jurisdiction to order changes, probably after the election and people already contracted the virus.

Missouri may have the most restrictive laws in the nation for absentee voting. Justification for mail-in voting is narrow, ballots must be mailed and not dropped off (risking not being counted because of GOP-caused postal delays), be received by Election Day, and have a notary authorize the signature. The last item creates a poll tax with the cost of hiring a notary.

Three notable law professors wrote an opinion piece asking federal courts to stay out of state court rulings protecting voting rights under state law. DDT’s judges refuse the federalist argument to honor only decisions from state legislatures and refuse state courts to interpret state law. The conservative “originalists” hope that DDT’s newest justice will give them a comfortable majority to disenfranchise voters across the country although 56 percent of people in the polls want Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from any cases connected to DDT’s reelection attempt. Calling Bush v. Gore a disgrace, the authors bluntly state:

“Federal court have no business interfering in state-law matters.”

The Supreme Court rationale moving George W. Bush into the White House was already rejected by Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Redistricting Commission (2015): “legislature” in Article I of the U.S. Constitution means the lawmaking process set up by a state’s constitution. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that nothing in the federal Constitution “instructs, nor has this court ever held, that a state legislature” may regulate “federal elections in defiance of the provisions of the state’s constitution.” This rule also applies to Article II which empowers each state “legislature” to regulate the manner of picking presidential electors but does not empower a state “legislature” to ignore the state constitution creating that legislature, or the state supreme court that authoritatively interprets that state constitution.

A state court interpreting a state election statute to align it with a state constitution is in alignment with the authorization of the federal constitution. States use uniform rules for both state and federal elections; states should not be forced to develop separate rules because of a Supreme Court decision. State legislatures also deputize state courts to oversee elections to conform with state constitutions. One of the authors, Neal Kumar Katyal, is also a former acting U.S. solicitor general.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) began his strategy of voter disenfranchisement through disinformation during the 2016 election. Eric Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, explained the project, “We merely need to dampen turn out [sic]. … A shift of a few points in the right places can swing this election.” And it did. All it needed was the standard DDT barrage of lies, over-the-edge rhetoric, and disinformation, called “flood the zone with shit,” by DDT’s former adviser Steve Bannon—this year a heavy use of QAnon conspiracy theories. Rolling Stone writer Andy Kroll used “internal documents, tax records, and interviews about [Roger] Stone and Prince’s efforts [to] illustrate how a lax campaign-finance system and an overtly racist voter-suppression effort created the perfect opportunity to follow Bannon’s directive.”

For donations, DDT’s campaign leaders created a front, the Committee for American Sovereignty Education Fund and Project Clintonson, to develop the false scenario of Bill Clinton’s Black son, hoping to smear DDT’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. The Committee used a UPS store for its address, failed to incorporate with California listed as its legal domicile, had no employees or board members, and declared no “direct or indirect political campaign activities” despite its objective to depress the Black vote. DDT bragged to a group of prominent Blacks he won the election because fewer Blacks voted in the 2016 election.

Nine Supreme Court election rulings between April and October 26 were unsigned orders with no explanations, no full briefings, and no oral arguments. Some of these decisions concerned absentee voting during the pandemic in three states and the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of people with felony convictions in Florida. Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a Harvard law professor, compared the decisions to a “shadow docket”:

“If courts don’t have to defend their decisions, then they’re just acts of will, of power. They’re not even pretending to be legal decisions.”

Judge Frank H. Easterbrook wrote in 2000 that explaining is the difference between judges and politicians:

“The political branches of government claim legitimacy by election, judges by reason. Any step that withdraws an element of the judicial process from public view makes the ensuing decision look more like fiat, which requires compelling justification.”

Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, attributed the growth of the shadow docket to DDT’s administration which filed 36 “emergency” applications in three and a half years. Administrations of George W. Bush and President Obama filed only eight of these applications in 16 years.

Three reasons for giving reasons from Rick Hasen:

“Reasons will help lower courts use the right standards in election cases, rather than having to try to read tea leaves from unexplained court orders…

“[Reasons] bolster the legitimacy of the court in the eyes of the public, something especially important in controversial cases, such as election cases…

“[Reasons] may also discipline justices into deciding similar cases alike, regardless of the identity of the parties.”

DDT’s judges are suppressing votes, but he needs every vote he can get to win swing states, all of them hot spots for COVID-19. Pennsylvania, with 20 Electoral College votes, has a 50-percent increase in the past week. The highly infectious zones roll from northern Mississippi to the Canadian border. New U.S. cases in the last 24 hours, 91,530, and 1,047 more deaths that DDT doesn’t find concerning.

DDT’s Chaos Reported on October 28, 2020

With the election only six days away, the U.S. Supreme Court finally decided—at least for today—it was too late for them to meddle in voting decisions. In two questions dealing with Pennsylvania and North Carolina, the justices didn’t stop counting ballots arriving after Election Day. For Pennsylvania, U.S. justices refused to take the GOP appeal of a state court order to accept ballots, even without legible postmarks, up to three days after Election Day. Justice Samuel Alito did leave the door open to exclude these ballots (maybe depending on who they support) and ordered ballots received after Election Day be separated from those by November 3. Today’s nondecision follows the 4-4 vote on October 19 regarding the state Supreme Court decision to accept the ballots because of COVID-19 and the deliberate mail delivery delays. Nine days ago Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the three remaining progressive justices which left standing the lower court decision for extending the time. Despite dissents from conservative justices, the state constitution gives the state court to make that decision. GOP lawyers had asked justices to take the case before Election Day while GOP senators pushed through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.

North Carolina can count ballots for nine days after Election Day if they are postmarked by November 3. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas dissented from the opinion. The time extension was granted by the State Board of Elections; state law gives that body the right to adjust elections rule in exigent circumstances. The board changed the extension after the postal service promised mail delays.

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Wisconsin’s extension of ballot return to require all ballots be received by Election Day. (Evidently, interfering with election rules nine days before the election is acceptable.) In his insistence that all election returns be announced on November 3, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) claimed, “We just had a big victory yesterday in Wisconsin on that matter.” He didn’t pay attention to the situation. Although Wisconsin cannot accept late ballots, the state legislature, like the one in Pennsylvania, prevents any processing of mail-in ballots before Election Day, meaning days and perhaps even weeks after Election Day to determine winners. Another way for GOP to try to block voting: don’t permit a way to count ballots by Election Day and then say they won’t count if they aren’t counted by Election Day. Wisconsin gerrymandering means Republicans hold 63 of 99 seats in the legislature although Democrats had the majority of votes for lawmakers in the 2018 state elections. The Republican legislature makes the rules.

The insistence from DDT, the commander-in-chief, to stop all ballot counting the night of November 3 will disenfranchise votes from overseas military personnel and diplomats that can be counted as late as two weeks after Election Day. Ellen Weintraub, election attorney and commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, said, “Counting ballots—all of ’em—is the appropriate, proper, and very legal way to determine who won.” She tweeted:

“An election is not a reality show with a big reveal at the end. All we get on Election Night are projections from TV networks. We never have official results on Election Night.”

In a Michigan campaign rally yesterday, DDT continued to lose his cred for “law and order” when he described the kidnap plot for the state’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer:

“Maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t.”

Last spring, two of the participants threatened to shoot, lynch, and otherwise physically abuse her and possibly kill her when their armed militia took over the capitol to stop legislators from entering. The man in the Oval Office who wants to close down the media said people have the right to incite violence. DDT walked out of the 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl when she asked him about his encouraging his audiences to say “Lock her [them] up” and repeated it with the crowd.

Before the Roberts’ Supreme Court overturn part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, federal judges made important decisions about last-minute decisions requiring emergency actions, such as the government’s deliberate slowdown of mail delivery and the dangers of contacting COVID-19. The high court’s 2013 ruling moved many of these last-minute decisions to state courts. A sweeping Supreme Court decision could create federalism in voting procedures in opposition to conservative philosophy—at last until now.

As DDT spreads COVID-19 across the country, he developed another method of sickening and killing his faithful followers. To build up his crowd in his try for one Electoral College vote in Omaha (NE), he bused 25,000 people to Eppley Airfield with 40 buses beginning at 10:00 am in freezing, windy conditions. After the rally, buses couldn’t pick them up for hours, leaving many elders and children out in the cold while others walked several miles to the parking areas. The last person got on a bus at 11:50 pm, three hours after the rally ended. Buses weren’t there to get them out in the snowy weather, and 30 people, many suffering from hypothermia, needed medical attention. Seven of them were taken to the hospital.

One of Washington’s mysteries was solved today when former DHS chief of staff Miles Taylor told the world he wrote the anonymous New York Times op-ed describing the insider “resistance” to block DDT’s agenda. He resigned his job 18 months ago, spoke out against DDT’s abuses, and endorsed Joe Biden as a member of Republican Voters against Trump because DDT wants to “exploit the Department of Homeland Security for his own political purposes and to fuel his own agenda.” Part of the DHS agenda has been separating children from parents at the border with no way to reunite them and overlooking the physical abuse of asylum seekers, including sexual assault. In Taylor’s claim for the op-ed, he admitted to being “wrong” about one statement in it:

“The country cannot rely on well-intentioned, unelected bureaucrats around the President to steer him toward what’s right. He has purged most of them anyway. Nor can they rely on Congress to deliver us from Trump’s wayward whims. The people themselves are the ultimate check on the nation’s chief executive.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called Taylor a “low-level, disgruntled former staffer,” the usual term for anyone who disagrees with DDT, and “a liar and a coward who chose anonymity over action.” Taylor also wrote A Warning describing DDT as an “undisciplined” and “amoral” leader whose abuse of power threatened the foundations of American democracy. 

By now, DDT has packed his administration with unthinking loyalists. John Ratcliffe, head of 17 intelligence agencies, is one of the most recent. Last week, Ratcliffe announced threatening emails to Democrats, supposedly from a white supremacist group, were actually from Iran in order to hurt DDT’s reelection. This week, two senior officials said Ratcliffe’s script, agreed to by FBI Director Chris Wray and Director of DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency Chris Krebs, said nothing about DDT. Ratcliffe’s political slant took Wray and Krebs by surprise. Although the prepared remarks included the Proud Boys, Ratcliffe failed to mention them by name—possibly because DDT has been supportive of them. Since he was appointed, Ratcliffe tried to stop election security election briefings to Congress and inappropriately intimated the FBI is investigating Joe Biden’ son Hunter.

One of the most common words used for DDT is “unprecedented,” which he coined early in his term as “unpresidented.” Retired Brig. Gen. Peter B. Zwack, who had a 34-year career in tactical and strategic military intelligence, suggests that DDT could be a “flight risk.” DDT always sends up trial balloon statements to determine public reaction, and people are wondering about his statement that he might leave the country if he loses the election. A specialist in “what if” scenarios, Zwack discusses how DDT, facing massive problems with tax evasion, financial fraud, and loans when he leaves office, will no longer have any protection without his Oval Office. If DDT can’t even face 60 Minutes Lesley Stahl, his ego will be crushed by auditors, prosecutors, and other challengers who bring him humiliation and loss of assets.

Other authoritarian leaders have fled: Bolivian president Evo Morales sought asylum in Mexico, Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych found refuge in Russia in 2014, and Ferdinand Marcos fled from the Philippines in 1986. Zwack also ponders when DDT would flee, if he does. Perhaps sometime during the 78 days after election and before inauguration while he is still under immunity. As “president in exile,” he could lead his followers in a resistance against election results. Zwack concludes:

“I fervently hope we won’t face such a disturbing turn of events. But if there is anything to learn with this president, it is to expect the unexpected. As his unabashed admiration of authoritarian world leaders has shown us these past four chaotic years, Donald Trump values autocrats over democratic government, and places his self-interest well above the sacred trust he was elected to protect and uphold four years ago.”

If voters elect Joe Biden, people might start watching DDT’s schedule for trips out of the country.

Much as I have avoided having hope about DDT leaving the White House, I want to share this one article about secret Biden voters—lifelong Republicans who can no longer stomach DDT but don’t want anyone to know they’re voting for Biden. 

October 28, 2020

DDT, GOP Lie about the COVID-19 Surge, Voting Rights

Filed under: Health Care,Voting — trp2011 @ 12:28 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is crossing the nation, spreading COVID-19 among his campaign rallies and telling his audiences COVID-19 is “rounding the turn” and no longer a problem. He says any cases come from all the testing.

The “turn” evidently means far more coronavirus cases. In many regions—the Upper Midwest, the Mountain West, the Southwest, and the heart of Appalachia—hospitals have record levels of people infected by coronavirus. Over 42,000 people were hospitalized in the U.S. just yesterday, a number nearing the midsummer peak. The result is a nightmare on the horizon–triaging patients to pick which ones will get care and putting younger ones over the older. The 83,000+ cases of last Saturday, a single-day record, set up the motion the COVID-19 pattern: spiking diagnoses, hospitalizations, and then deaths. 

Johns Hopkins University has reported increases of 20 percent in new cases, 13 percent in hospitalizations, and 11 percent in daily death. Nineteen states announced more cases in the past seven days than any other seven-day period of the epidemic, and dozens of states have a seven-day average of over 100 new daily cases per 100,000 people with over 700 per 100,000 in North Dakota, five times the U.S. average. El Paso (TX) hit 100-percent hospital capacity Sunday and moved patients to field hospitals. Tulsa (OK) said the soaring number of hospitalizations “is not sustainable.” North Dakota has only 25 ICU staffed beds remaining in the entire state.

North and South Dakota are the poster states of bad leadership and dramatic surges of COVID-19. Earlier, they bragged about having no problem. North and South Dakota report the highest and second-highest rates of hospitalizations and deaths. South Dakota is second only to North Dakota in the number of virus cases per 100,000 people for all 50 states while North Dakota reduced testing by 2 percent. In South Dakota, the testing average rose by 11 percent, but cases increased by 20 percent over the previous week. South Dakota’s tests have 40 percent positives.

South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem started big outbreaks by forcing infected people to continue working in the state’s meat processing plants, and she thinks the state still has no problems.  Last week she wrote in an op-ed, “Our trust in the data and in each other has been rewarded.” The “data” shows South Dakota reported over 1,100 new cases, 95 cases per 100,000 and a single-day record after the record of 973 the day before. Of the ten hottest spots for coronavirus in the nation, six are South Dakota cities. Nearly half the 3,138 inmates in South Dakota’s prison system tested positive as of Monday. About masks, Noem wrote that people should make “informed decisions” about wearing them because people “question” their effectiveness. The state has no limit at gatherings; last summer’s Sturgis biker event drew almost one-half million people who spread the virus to thousands of people throughout the nation. DDT held another superspreader event at Mt. Rushmore on July 3. Noem sounds like DDT and wants his position in four years: she’s traveled to at least 11 other states as a DDT surrogate for his campaign.

Noem is wrong: masks do work. Last summer after a stay-at-home order expired, Arizona’s COVID-19 daily cases spiked 151 percent for weeks, putting the state with more capita numbers than almost all countries in the world. After the governor lifted his ban on local mask mandates, the number of cases dropped 75 percent later in the summer. Loosening of safety measures, however, are causing another spike in the number of the states’ cases and hospitalizations, matching the June spike. Numbers could be even worse because Arizona includes only electronically-reported test results. By October 28, Arizona almost doubled the number of counties with moderate levels of community transmission (26 percent to 37 percent of counties) and high levels of community transmission, 7 percent to 13 percent. According to an estimate, 7,405 lives would have been saved with a universal mask mandate. With a mask mandate for over five months, Oregon has over five times lower death rate.

A University of Kansas study of counties in the states with and without mask mandates also discovered orders to wear face masks cuts back on the number of COVID-19 cases. The 21 counties adopting rules of wearing masks and distancing six feet from others reported an average of seven fewer cases per 100,000 compared to the spike of up to 40 average daily cases per 100,000 in the other 80 counties. The report concluded a saving of 130,000 lives of the predicted 510,000 deaths in the next four months if 95 percent followed these guidelines.

In his campaign rallies, DDT urges his audience to ignore the surging number of cases. Like a tsunami, each COVID-19 wave is higher than the last one. The first wave reached 9.7 cases per 100,000 on April 7 and dropped before increasing to 20.5 cases per 100,000 on July 19. The latest one rose to 23 cases per 100,000 on October 24 and may not have stopped. DDT’s chief of staff Mark Meadows said the White House planned to do nothing to stop the cases, the hospitalizations, and the deaths. 

DDT actually has a few plans. After he gave farmers $46 billion in welfare to cover his disastrous tariffs, he is in federal court to stop emergency food stamps to 700,000 people during the virus crisis. He has already kept $480 million out of Pennsylvania, a state with extraordinarily high unemployment and a swing state DDT wants to win. The emergency funding is $2 per meal for a person. A federal judge has accused the USDA of “egregious disobedience” for not following congressional mandates. With no backup plan, DDT also wants to rid the country of the Affordable Healthcare Act, leaving tens of millions of people without health insurance. In another idea, DDT said he wants to make reporting about the coronavirus illegal. It “should be an election law violation,” he ranted.

Republicans and conservative judges are trying to infect more people by forcing them to the polls. Virus cases are rising in Texas again, but people fearful of infection who want to avoid exposure cannot cast ballots by mail because of GOP restrictions. The governor, Greg Abbott, has shot down every plan to make voting safer and more accessible. Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee are going along with strict restrictions on absentee ballots. All states also have strict voter ID requirements, and Mississippi limited early in-person voting. Anyone not working for an elections office in Tennessee and handing someone an application for absentee voting faces one to six years in prison. These conditions discriminate against less privileged groups such as people of color and those made vulnerable by medical conditions. Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas have some of the country’s highest rates of poverty and chronic health conditions.

One recent cheery piece of news comes from a federal judge order for South Carolina counties to stop rejecting absentee ballots over mismatched signatures and a review of ballots eliminated for that reason. County election boards wanting to have that procedure must get court approval and give voters the chance to correct any mismatches. Ten of the state’s 46 counties, some of them highly populated, were using “signature matching.”

Voter suppression, however, seems to be failing. A week before Election Day, the number of early voters equals about half the total number of people voting in November 2016. Even in restrictive Texas, almost half the registered voters have submitted ballots a week before Election Day, exceeding last year’s complete early votes by over three million and almost equaling the entire number of votes cast in Texas four years ago.

An outstanding occurrence in the current election comes from the large number of young people voting. Both parties have long said that more voters, especially young ones, benefit the Democrat party. For that reason, Republicans have tried to suppress the vote for decades.  

As DDT travels the country negating the disaster he has caused by mismanaging the COVID-19 crisis, health officials and scientists on DDT’s coronavirus task force are offended by the announcement from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that DDT has successfully ended the pandemic. The group called the lying statement to be one of DDT’s major first term accomplishments. The lie explains it “has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.” In the conservative Hill, Nathaniel Weixel writes:

“The rosy outlook flies in the face of reality, and underscores the efforts of Trump to continuously try to downplay the severity of the pandemic that continues to rage nearly uncontrolled across the country.”

On October 27, one week before the election, COVID-19 shows no sign of abating in the U.S. Total cases: 9,038,030. New cases during last 24 hours: 75,072. Total deaths: 232,084. Deaths during last 24 hours: 1,039. With under five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has provided planet with over 20 percent of cases and deaths from coronavirus.

October 26, 2020

Congressional Civil War: A Play in Three Acts about the Supreme Court

Today, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) proudly showed off his new Supreme Court justice, showing the country that she is his third Republican member of the high court who join another three right-wing “justices” for a radical-right supermajority. To prove which side she’s on, he orchestrated her swearing-in at the White House as he did for his first two confirmations. No president has done that.

Act One of the Supreme Court drama began only 38 days ago with the death of wise, intelligent jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The action moved quickly with DDT nominating Amy Coney Barrett almost immediately, before the nation had any time to mourn. With raw bullying power, Senate Republicans rapidly moved her confirmation proceedings through before the public could learn more about her background, and GOP senators deemed her brilliant because she could spout judicial jargon and supposedly care for a family of seven. Their fixation on her children looked like an interview for teacher or day-care worker. None of the “brilliance” came from her answers: she answered almost no questions although admitting that she knows little about science when asked about climate change.

Much was said about her willingness to overturn women’s rights to their own bodies because of the right-to-life positions, preserving life from fertilization to birth. Rights for persons after that are up for grabs except for corporations. Barrett supports the rights of felons to own as many guns as they want but not to vote. Workers lose in her court, but police are rewarded for excessive force. In a dissent from the entire 7th Circuit Court, she argued for a “separate-but-equal” arrangement in a discrimination case. Barrett’s defenders claim no evidence for her rulings against Roe v. Wade, giving women the right to an abortion in the first trimester, but she made two decisions opposing a woman’s right to choose.

Barrett’s religion, the 1,700-member People of Praise “covenant community,” requires “submission” to both its leadership and her husband. As a member of the off-shoot evangelical Catholic group,  Barrett served on the board of its private schools banning children of same-gender parents and refusing to hire openly gay and lesbian teachers. Knowing her discrimination against LGBTQ rights, including her ties to the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, same-gender couples have been lining up to get married before he confirmation. For example, a St. Louis (MO) pastor offered four days of “pop-up elopements” in which 16 same-gender couples married. Florists, bakers, photographers, and other vendors offered free services. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have already written about their opposition to marriage quality, claiming Obergefell v. Hodges had “ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”

The hypocrisy of Barrett’s appointment and confirmation was well documented in the media, complete with videos of several senators who claimed four years ago that “the people” should make the decision this soon before an election. Two extremely conservative lawyers who served for Ronald Reagan and W. Bush called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a hypocrite after he demanded, four years ago, “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice.” They accused Republicans of politicizing the high court modern-day and undermining public trust in the Supreme Court.

Despite massive protests against the Senate process at this time, Act One ended today with her swearing in by Clarence Thomas, Barrett’s choice.

Act Two began today when five of the eight Supreme Court justices refused to reinstate a lower court order mandating the counting of mailed ballots received up to six days if postmarked by Election Day after the 7th Circuit Court, Barrett’s old home, put the order on hold. The Supreme Court has refused to make decisions about voting within months before Election Day because of the “confusion.” That was when it might benefit Democrats; now all cases benefiting Republicans can be heard in court—even one week before Election Day.

Brett Kavanaugh supported DDT’s myth about “chaos … if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day….” To them, late ballots make people believe “the election has been stolen,” instead of understanding that voting is not to be taken lightly and voters are not to be disenfranchised. Justice Elena Kagan responded to Kavanaugh:

“But there are no results to ‘flip’ until all valid votes are counted. And nothing could be more ‘suspicio[us]’ or ‘improp[er]’ than refusing to tally votes once the clock strikes 12 on election night. To suggest otherwise, especially in these fractious times, is to disserve the electoral process.”

Kagan also wrote:

“On the scales of both constitutional justice and electoral accuracy, protecting the right to vote in a health crisis outweighs conforming to a deadline created in safer days.”

“Must have final total by November 3,” DDT tweeted after he slowed down the mail delivery to ensure late ballots cannot be included in the vote, according to his Supreme Court. Neither Kavanaugh nor DDT has any proof for their conspiracy theories. Eighteen states plus DC have allowed ballots to be delivered after Election Day for decades with no problems before DDT began ranting. The six-person Supreme Court radical right could overturn all those laws to put DDT back into the White House. Or make other decisions for the same end.

The Supreme Court has refused to make decisions about voting within months before Election Day because of the “confusion.” That was when it might benefit Democrats; now all cases benefiting Republicans can be heard in court—even one week before Election Day.

That’s Act Two.

Act Three? With the confirmation, Democratic senators pointed out to their Republican “colleagues” they had lost all rights to complain if Democrats take the majority and change rules. In 2017, Republicans dropped the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, knowing they couldn’t get 12 Democratic votes for any of DDT’s nominees. In 2019, Republicans reduced the debate time for lower court and executive picks, the only way they could get 215 of DDT’s judicial appointments confirmed. Barrett’s confirmation has picked up support within the Senate for expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said:

“Do we just unilaterally stand down and not choose to use the same tools that Republicans did in the majority? … I think there are now new rules in the Senate, and I think Republicans have set them.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) warned:

“With this vote, my Republican colleagues forfeit their right to call procedural fouls.” 

And that could be Act Three of DDT’s Supreme Court drama.

McConnell’s win for the Supreme Court and loss of all ethical reputation was at the loss of any stimulus help for the vast majority of people in the U.S. in need. His decision wasn’t good for today’s stock market, DDT’s sole marker for his economy; by closing the Dow Jones clawed its way from a 900-point drop to only 650 points below its opening. In addition to no assistance, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are soaring. Oil prices also dropped because of the world’s rising infections. Investors may move their money to Europe where countries are using methods to limit the coronavirus.

The petri dish named White House saw an outbreak of five members of VP Mike Pence’s staff, two of them close to him—his chief of staff and his “body man” whose job is to accompany him 24 hours for help with multiple duties. Pence’s task force requires quarantine for exposure to the virus, but DDT declared Pence an “essential worker” because he flies across the U.S., campaigning for DDT while infecting people in the airplane and at the rallies. Even staunch Republican and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie thought Pence should be in quarantine. Christie spent a week in the hospital, experiencing COVID-19 first hand. Although Pence claims he tested negative, he uses rapid testing equipment, wrong about 30 percent of the time.   

Another disaster over the weekend was an admission from the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that the White House has no plan regarding COVID-19. He said the administration isn’t “going to control the pandemic.” The plan to just quit trying to stop the killing of hundreds of thousands of people happened the day before GOP senators confirmed their Supreme Court appointee who will kill health care for tens of millions of people. Tomorrow, the U.S. will surpass 9 million reported cases and kill over 230,000 in the United States.

The official GOP policy regarding coronavirus: It is what it is. No relief for suffering people and no health care for the afflicted, but a new “Christian” in the Supreme Court to push her religion onto everyone. Meadows also said that the White House was hiding the positive virus cases of Pence’s staff.

Pence has a history of not wearing a mask, and he intended to go to the Senate today for Barrett’s confirmation vote. After widespread criticism, he decided to not go.

Shorts of the whining DDT on last Sunday’s Sixty Minutes show his whining and constant interruptions of interviewer Lesley Stahl. as he constantly interrupts and tries to direct interview Lesley Stahl. President Obama said, “If you have to walk out of a 60 Minutes interview, you’re never going to stand up to a dictator.” DDT tried to defend his health plan by giving Stahl a four-inch thick volume—that had no plan. Both DDT’s and Joe Biden’s Sixty Minutes interviews are here. 

October 25, 2020

GOP’s Sole Winning Strategy: Block Voting

Just nine days before Election Day, the courts are still fiddling with state procedures, creating more confusion. Despite Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) incessant false claims of fraudulent votes, especially mail-in votes, the mere 372 cases of double voting or voting on behalf of deceased people out of about 14.6 million votes cast by mail in the 2016 and 2018 general elections, about 0.0025 percent, proves DDT claims completely false, yet he uses “fraud” to disenfranchise millions of people in his scam to get more GOP votes. Millions of people in the U.S. still believe DDT, as they believe his other lies, and feel insecure about voting, allowing them to reinforce the tactic of blocking their votes.

Poll are increasingly against Republicans, and the GOP figures they can win only if they can prevent millions of people from voting. In GOP states, the biggest number of rejected ballots come from Democratic and minority districts. GOP strategy delays postal service for mail-in ballots but mandate all ballots to be delivered by Election Day, even when state and federal courts permit allowing these ballots postmarked on Election Day to arrive after that date. When courts grant this right, Republicans still try to eliminate any ballots not available to election officials by November 3. At the same time, the GOP tries to block processing of ballots before Election Day to speed up the counting before trying to force states to announce the results on Election Day to have “integrity.”

If this system doesn’t work, the GOP wants legislatures to negate the vote of the people by permitting the state legislature to select Electoral College representatives who will vote for DDT even if the majority of people in the state voted for Joe Biden. That’s one mission for their new Supreme Court justice.

Recent voting rulings sort of good:

Pennsylvania cannot challenge or reject mail ballots and applications for signature mismatches, according to the state Supreme Court. DDT’s campaign also lost its appeal against Philadelphia’s elections officials who don’t permit poll watchers in satellite elections offices. The state Supreme Court also agreed Pennsylvania voters’ ballots postmarked by Election Day can be counted for three more days, and a 4-4 tie in the U.S. Supreme Court could not overturn that decision. The GOP is again suing to not count any votes delivered after Election Day, hoping a new Supreme Court justice will join four conservative justices to overturn the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Republicans argue all votes received and counted after the November 3 deadline “dilutes the votes of a lawful voter, the same way that ballot box stuffing does.” Summary: Republicans delayed mail delivery; legislature says ballots can’t be counted after Election Day; the state Supreme Court said they can; the U.S. Supreme Court couldn’t overturns the state Supreme Court; the GOP is still appealing; the Supreme Court hears the case again; DDT’s new Supreme Court justice rules the votes can’t be counted; ballots legal at election time can be eliminated. That’s how desperate Republicans are.

Voters from 4.7 million people in Harris County (TX) still have only one drop box, but they can cast their ballots at one of ten drive-through polling places after the state Supreme Court denied a challenge by state and county Republicans. The same court ruled against expanded voting access because changing procedures during an election could cause voter confusion.

A state appeals court upheld the Travis County district court ruling overriding Gov. Greg Abbott’s order of only one absentee ballot drop-off location per county. Abbott’s appeal blocks the order—and the ballot boxes. Three drop-off locations in Travis County and 11 in Harris County were shut down. Voters must present an approved form of identification when dropping off ballots.

In Nevada, a judge denied Republicans a temporary restraining order for a halt in counting procedures for Clark County’s mail-in ballots until it establishes a “meaningful” poll and ballot-counting observation plan. State law permits election officials to process mail ballots starting 15 days before Election Day, allowing more rapid accounting after polls close and addressing any issues with a mailed ballot. Over 1.2 million ballots were sent to voters in the county. The judge scheduled an evidentiary hearing for a final ruling on Wednesday morning.

Because of delayed mail delivery, the 4th Circuit Court extended the North Carolina timeline for mail-in ballots to arrive by an extra six days until November 12 if postmarked on Election Day. Republicans appealed to the Supreme Court, again using the argument of the “integrity” of the election process.

One of five states restricting people from voting by mail, Mississippi has expanded access to curbside voting for people with COVID-19 symptoms and set up a process for people to “cure” minor discrepancies with signatures on absentee ballots.

The ugly in courts’ voting decisions:

The 6th Circuit Court upheld Michigan’s voter transportation law banning groups or individuals paying for assistance to the polls as long as the voter is “ambulatory.” Michigan is the only state in the nation with this law. Unpaid individual volunteers can drive voters for free, but they can’t deliver ballot applications for others unless “affirmatively” asked to provide this help.

The 7th Circuit Court overturned a U.S. district court ruling to uphold Indiana law allowing only county boards of election to ask a state court to keep polls open in an emergency. The lawsuit argued voters should have the right to ask courts for an extension of voting hours in cases of voting irregularities such as broken voting machines, long lines, or problems with ballots.

Maine’s Supreme Court refused to allow any mail-in ballots to be counted after Election Day.

The 8th Circuit Court overturned a lower court ruling and fill force Missouri voters to use the unreliable mail service to deliver mail-in ballots by Election Day instead of dropping them off in person as people in neighboring Kansas can. Missouri is one of only seven states without a statewide tracking service for mail ballots.

The Supreme Court ruled that Alabama can ban curbside voting for people with disabilities and those at risk from contracting the virus.

Intimidation:

Another Republican strategy to win is intimidating voters so they are afraid of dropping off ballots and going to polls. Crowds of shouting people carrying guns who claim to “love their country” gather near polling places.    Two armed men said they were hired by DDT’s campaign to patrol the polls at St. Petersburg (FL). DDT’s campaign is videotaping voters at ballot drop boxes, a tactic classified as illegal voter intimidation by Pennsylvania’s attorney general. A landlord in a Colorado trailer park sent tenants notice he would double the rent if Joe Biden were elected. North Carolina voters are being intimidated across the state.

Atlas Aegis, a Tennessee-based security company not licensed in Minnesota, posted a job listing for armed military veterans and an “Army for Trump” volunteers to go to polling places. Applicants need a rifle, pistol, and body armor. The job lasts for a week after Election Day. Minnesota law permits no poll watchers; only one “challenger” is allowed at a polling place, and all must be registered voters and a state resident.

Latino civic engagement organization Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and individual voters are suing DDT, AG Bill Barr, and DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf for violating the federal law against voter intimidation with white supremacist vigilantes, threats to send sheriffs and other law enforcement, and promises of rejection a peaceful transfer of power to a new administration. The lawsuit cites the remaining pieces of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. 

Other strategies to block votes:

In 2018, then Secretary of State Brian Kemp, running for governor at that time, purged 107,000 eligible voters for Georgia’s registered voters, disproportionately Black. Since then, the court has ruled against Kemp’s “exact match” law, halting voter registration if government ID names don’t exactly match names on voter rolls, including hyphens and accents. He also closed polling places.

The United States lost 20 percent of its polling places, almost 2,100, from 2016 sometimes because of increased mail-in voting. Maryland eliminated 80 percent of the polls with 90 percent in heavily Black Baltimore, and Gov. Larry Hogan blocked a proposal to send every registered voter a ballot. North Dakota dropped almost 60 percent of polling places. Texas and Georgia, states with a history of voter suppression in mostly minority areas, did nothing to make voting easier, and their lines are long as people sometimes wait for many hours. Ohio eliminated 860 voting sites since 2016, while its secretary of state has rejected some proposals to expand absentee voting.

AG Bill Barr alone closed over 100 polling places in swing states with claims they didn’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 99 more than the annual average of 100. Again, these closures impacted communities of color, lacking resources to make polls ADA-compliant, and several were on Native American tribal land. All other DOJ civil rights enforcements are at a two-decade low: cases for disability rights violations in schools, pursued by President Obama, have disappeared.

October 24, 2020

DDT: Week 196 – His World Falling Apart

Most of last week’s news concentrated on the presidential debate and the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court justice. But—unfortunately for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)—there was much more.

Approximately 50 percent of DDT-supporters also follow QAnon as shown by their “yes” answer to whether “top Democrats are involved in elite child sex trafficking rings.” Only 16 percent of DDT-supporters familiar with would agree that the conspiracy theories have no basis in fact. QAnon’s fake “save the children” message has become so lethal that legitimate groups working to stop human trafficking can no longer use the term. Donors to Marjorie Taylor Greene, disbeliever of a plane hitting the Pentagon on 9/11 and a House GOP candidate from Georgia, include Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who refused to report sexual assault of athletes when he was assistant wrestling coach, and DDT’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, who has consistently blocked the COVID-19 relief funds.

In 2016, Newsweek reported how one of DDT’s companies violated strict U.S. trade bans with Communist Cuba by secretly conducting business in the country. His illegal $68,000+ expenditure in 1998 was funneled through a U.S. consulting firm that told DDT to make it appear as if it were a charitable effort. Seven months after Trump Hotels made the payment, DDT sought the nomination of the Reform Party and traveled to Miami where he promised a group of Cuban-Americans he would maintain the embargo and never spend money, either from himself or his business, in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power. Castro served until 2008. DDT is still wooing Florida’s Cuban-American votes. [visual trump castro]

New York City, Seattle, and Portland (OR) have filed a complaint against DDT’s illegal removal of grants based on his designation of those cities as “anarchist jurisdictions.” The Federal Transit Administration is using the designation to deny these cities COVID-19 public transportation research grants. For months, DDT has threatened to remove federal funding from cities with ongoing protests. DDT has long threatened this punishment but skips over places in Minnesota and Wisconsin, swing states in the election. He may also remove funding for housing, health, and emergency relief.

With like-minded governments (aka authoritarian), the U.S. signed a declaration to ban abortion in “women’s rights” and health. The “Geneva Consensus Declaration,” led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has 32 other “core supporters” such as Brazil, Egypt, Hungry, Saudi Arabia, and Uganda. The signatories include the 20 worst countries to be a woman according to Georgetown University’s Women, Peace and Security Index. None of the top countries on the index, except for 19th ranking U.S., signed the declaration.

DDT signed an executive order for a separate category of public employees not covered by civil service protections to keep only those he considers “loyal.” Agency heads can hire these people without using the merit-based system created in 1883 and fire them at will. The order, similar to the one created two years ago for administrative law judges, changes hiring qualifications from ability to political party. Hundreds of thousands in the federal workforce may become purely political appointees instead of the current 4,000 who can be changed with each administration.

DOJ AG Bill Barr is using taxpayer money to fight DDT’s lawsuits, beginning with E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit, because DDT’s broke campaign can’t afford to pay for the legal actions. Lawyers know DDT will stiff them for payments if he isn’t reelected so they’re working on cheap settlements. For example, they’re asking $52,000 from Omarosa Manigault Newman for writing an unauthorized book about the White House, down from $1 million. According to a Washington attorney, DDT faces massive legal bills, starting with workers he wouldn’t pay before he was elected. More details here. 

As Joe Biden mentioned in this week’s debate, DDT operated an office in China during his first presidential campaign, partnered with a major Chinese government-controlled company, and maintains a bank account not on DDT’s mandated public financial disclosures. From 2013 to 2015, DDT paid China $188,561 in taxes while he paid nothing to the U.S. DDT also made money from the Chinese through property leases and sales, and his income in 2017 spiked with an increase of $17.5 million, more than the combined funds for the previous five years. He withdrew $15.1 million from the account. DDT made millions of dollars in capital gains from sales of real estate to foreign entities since he started his campaign in 2016. Ivanka Trump received multiple patents after DDT’s election and her appointment to a White House position. Biden’s taxes, released to the public, show neither income nor business dealings in China.

DDT bragged about committing felony bribery in his Arizona campaign rally:

“I call the head of Exxon. I don’t know. I’ll use a company. Hi, how, how are you doing, how’s energy coming? When are doing the exploration? Oh, you need a couple of permits, huh? Ok, But I call the head of Exxon, I say, ‘you know, I’d love you to send me $25m for the campaign’” Absolutely, sir, why didn’t you ask? Would you like some more?”

In the same speech, DDT accused Biden of being a criminal and accused reporters of crimes for not spreading DDT’s lies about Russia. DDT and his family are under criminal investigation in New York City for alleged loan and bank fraud.

DDT called Dr. Anthony Fauci a “disaster” and said people are tired of him and “all these idiots.” Fauci’s polling is higher than those for DDT: in a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute regarding U.S. trust in COVID-19 sources of information, Fauci came in second at 49 percent with DDT last at 14 percent. DDT says he’s tired of the virus, but his failure to handle it has not only sickened and killed millions of people but also driven an additional eight million people into poverty, totaling 55 million.   

Fauci confirmed on 60 Minutes that the White House frequently blocked him from interviews with the media. White House communications director Alyssa Farah lied about Fauci’s restrictions and the refusal to allow other coronavirus task force members in Fauci’s place. Earlier, Fauci demanded the removal of DDT’s advertising which took Fauci’s words out of context by making it appear Fauci praised DDT’s response to the pandemic. The mild-mannered Fauci said, “I got really ticked off.” Fauci also said DDT hasn’t attended the task force meetings for “several months.”

DDT now supports the concept of “herd immunity,” people intentionally contracting the deadly COVID-19, and he made Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist, his new “expert.” From this came the Great Barrington Declaration, promoting the sickening and dying of people from COVID-19 until the virus disappeared. Experts estimate over one-half million people would die with this approach. DDT wants to open up businesses and schools, but Fauci calls the theory “utter nonsense.” Others call it unethical. The declaration from the American Institute for Economic Research has supposedly been signed by thousands of doctors, but the names on the petition bring its validity into question; i.e, Dr. I.P. Freely, Dr. Person Fakename, and Dr. Johnny Bananas. Another supposed signatory, Harold Shipman, a doctor arrested over two decades ago for killing 250 of his patients, died in 2004. No credentials were necessary for signing.

According to interviews with 41 people with inside information, Atlas opposes testing and openly fights with other doctors on the coronavirus task force. Colleagues find him manipulative, uninformed, and dishonest, and he challenges Dr. Deborah Birx’s analysis. Marc Lipsitch, director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said:

“It seems to me this is policy-based evidence-making rather than evidence-based policymaking. In other words, if your goal is to do nothing, then you create a situation in which it looks okay to do nothing [and] you find some experts to make it complicated.”

DDT is using taxpayer money to campaign throughout the country because he and the RNC have only $251.4 million remaining, DDT’s share being $63 million. Joe Biden has $177 million, and the DNC has another $260 million. 

Parents for half the 1,000+ children separated (kidnapped) at the border two years ago are still missing. The program deported about two-thirds of those parents while keeping the children. DDT tried to cover up what he did by saying that parents bringing their children for asylum to the U.S. were human traffickers.

With “encouragement” from Karl Rove, DDT is pushing agencies to grant a no-bid contract to lease the Department of Defense’s mid-band spectrum, the 5G market, to Rivada Networks. DDT, Rove, and other prominent Republicans invested in the company which could receive up to $25 billion.

DDT made a treaty with Taliban in Afghanistan and promised to pull out all U.S. troops; now the Taliban violence is skyrocketing. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan may become a genocidal global war. Turkey, DDT’s friend, is funneling Islamist mercenaries from Syria to fight for Azerbaijan in a sectarian, jihadist fight opposed by Russia and Iran. Failing to act diplomatically, DDT permits the conflict to escalate.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may think DDT’s leaving the White House next year. In response to DDT’s begging Netanyahu to criticize Biden, the PM answered, “Mr. President, one thing I can tell you is we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America.” This video shows DDT’s face falling.

Despite the DDT-supporter wishes about his accomplishments, a 13-part set of editorials from the New York Times paints the accurate picture.

As of Aug. 27, 2020, the anniversary of his accepting the nomination for presidential candidate, DDT made 22,247 false claims in 1,316 days. By now, the total is likely 25,000, with a possible 30,000 by the election. DDT’s most repeated claims at 407 times that the U.S. economy today is the best in history. Even before COVID-19, the economy—better under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bill Clinton—was beginning to fail with a manufacturing recession and the trade war disaster. DDT’s stock market is sixth in increased percentage during the past century among the 14 presidents lasting at least 45 months. Information available in this database and the book, Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth: The President’s Falsehoods, Misleading Claims and Flat-Out Lies.

In the last day, almost 80,000 cases of COVID-19 edges the U.S. total to almost 9 million, and deaths are over 230,000. 

October 23, 2020

Barrett: Polar Opposite of RBG, Part II

Two notable liars in GOP leadership made news yesterday—Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). DDT survived his last, and second, debate by interrupting the moderator far fewer times than in the first debate and talking more calmly. The last debate set his performance bar so low some people ignored the incessant lying and inability to answer questions. No compassion for people, no concern for the country. Just covering up all his problems in the hopes that people will change their minds about him and put him in the White House again, like he did in his interview with Lesley Stahl.     

The second event broke Senate rules by moving the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court justice to the Senate floor despite rules requiring the presence of at least two members of the minority party for a quorum. All ten Democrats boycotted the Judiciary Committee meeting. Graham waived the rules and approved Barrett. One third of the GOP committee members—Graham, Joni Ernst (IA), Thom Tillis (NC), and John Cornyn (TX)—facing difficult reelections and a shortage of campaign funds may receive funding from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for delivering Barrett by the Election Day deadline.

Graham’s dishonesty in supporting the confirmation before people select a president and Senate members, made four years ago when he refused President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, is now followed by his ignoring  rules. He claimed the boycott did a “disservice” to Barrett to not consider her vote under two weeks before the election but ignored Garland for almost nine months before Election Day. People have already submitted is already over one-third of the total vote four years ago; voting in the general election started over three weeks before Graham gaveled in the Judiciary Committee hearings for Barrett.

According to Graham, Democrats are responsible for the dissension surrounding Supreme Court justice confirmations after objecting to Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork in 1987. Republicans aren’t to blame for objections to bigoted nominees, according to both Graham and McConnell.

Former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) said about Bork:

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, school children could not be taught about evolution, writers and artist could be censured at the whim of government.”

Steve Benen wrote:

“Bork, who developed an unfortunate reputation stemming from his role in Nixon’s ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ in 1973, was on record defending Jim Crow-era poll taxes, condemning portions of the Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in public accommodations, and arguing against extending the equal protection of the 14th Amendment to women.”

Even six Republicans voted with Democrats against Bork, and Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy, confirmed by a unanimous 97 votes. He served with honor until his alleged deal to resign if DDT put highly-flawed Brett Kavanaugh on the high court. Three years after Anthony, David Souter, nominated by GOP President George H.W. Bush, was also unanimously confirmed by a Democrat-controlled Senate. 

By 2016, radically-right GOP Senators followed McConnell in denying middle-of-the-road Merrick Garland the decency of listening to him and giving him a hearing within eight months of the general election. Yet they pushed Barrett in an ill-considered and rapid process starting three weeks and one day before a decision for a president and almost one-third of senators.

Thus far, 47 Democrats and Independents are committed to voting against Barrett along with possibly two or three Republicans. If VP Mike Pence breaks a 50-50 tie, she would be the only Supreme Court justice in history to be confirmed by a vice-president who used undue power in selecting a justice nominated by his president. McConnell dropped the Senate requirement for a Supreme Court confirmation to a simple majority because DDT’s first two nominees couldn’t achieve 60 votes: Neil Gorsuch was confirmed 54-45 and Brett Kavanaugh, 50-48. Even a strong DDT supporter like Alan Dershowitz expressed concerns about future, greater divisive politicization caused by fewer than 51 senators putting a person, particularly a young one, on the Supreme Court for a lifetime job, especially a person obviously selected and confirmed for purely political right-wing reasons.

Barrett is anti-abortion, anti-IVF, anti-contraception, anti-LGBTQ rights.  She dodged questions about the constitutionality of Medicare and Social Security, legality of voter intimidation, need for absentee voting in a pandemic, and presidents’ pardoning themselves, unilaterally changing the date, and staying in the White House through judicial decisions. She expressed ignorance about climate change although she will rule on climate cases. She also can’t remember that the right to protest is covered by the First Amendment. 

In addition, she’s anti-worker, ruling 85 percent of her time on the 7th Circuit Court for corporations. With five conservative justices, Barrett can destroy workers’ rights of unions, collective bargaining, and safety. She already twisted the law to rule against workers for corporations, maintaining the law prevented truckers assigned to yard duty from overtime from overtime (interstate commerce) and blocking minimum wages and other benefits to delivery drivers (identification them as contractors). In the first case, she said driving short distances makes them transportation workers; in the second she said driving short distances doesn’t make them transportation workers.

In another anti-worker opinion, Barrett follows Janus v. AFSCME decision when the right-wing faction of the Supreme Court trashed four decades of precedent to public sector workers don’t have to pay dues or even small fees to unions still forced to represent them.

Barrett tried to conceal her pro-business past as one of two lead attorneys in a six-month case defending a Pittsburgh steel magnate charged with helping drive a major Pennsylvania Hospital System into bankruptcy. The $1.5 billion settlement was one of the largest nonprofit bankruptcies in U.S. history and resulted in several investigations as well as a criminal probe. The Senate questionnaire requests ten cases and their descriptions; Barrett provided only three cases, saying she couldn’t remember any others.

Following the “pro-life” position of protection ends at birth, Barrett deported an immigrant seeking asylum from an El Salvador MS-13 gang after he witnessed them shooting his friends and killing one of them. A dissenting judge on the appeals court called minor discrepancies in the refugee’s story “trivial,” but Barrett sent the terrified man back in hiding. Barrett lacked the decency to comply with his request to redact his name in the decision to keep the El Salvadoran corrupt local police and the vicious gang from learning he was being sent back. 

In a dissent, Barrett upheld DDT’s “public charge” rule, objecting to immigrants’ permanent residence status if they use any public assistance—Medicaid, food stamps, etc. for over 12 months in a three-year period. The time is computed by one type of safety-net program: two different programs in one month accounts for two months. She tried to cover for her opinion by saying she was only ruling on immigrants not affected by the rule, but the majority opinion was addressing the group with restrictions.

In her dissent for Kanter v. Barr, she argued a state doesn’t have the right to ban a felon from buying firearms but can ban them from voting. Several times, she sided with felons in gun cases, using “history” as her justification. 

Barrett overturned a district court finding damages for a Wisconsin county after a prison guard repeatedly raped a pregnant teenage prison inmate hundreds of times before and after she gave birth because the sexual assaults were outside the guard’s official duties. In a similar case, however, she joined a majority of the 7th Circuit Court, finding another Wisconsin county liable in a case in which a jail guard assaulted five women hundreds of times.

Last year Barrett helped college students accused of sexual assault more easily sue their universities. She wrote that the university officials may have chosen to “believe Jane because she is a woman and to disbelieve John because he is a man.”

Barrett also supports giving religious schools the ability to fire anyone they want on the basis these employees are “ministers.” One school fired a woman with cancer to save money on insurance.

On her questionnaire, Barret failed to divulge her involvement in putting George W. Bush into the White House. Twenty years ago, she worked with Bush’s legal team to find thousands of Republican absentee ballots in Bush v. Gore. Martin County officials permitted Republicans to fill in missing information on ballot request forms—a procedure that DDT and Republicans opposed in Iowa and eliminated 70,000 absentee ballot applications. With an appointment on the Supreme Court, Barrett would join two other sitting justices who participated in Bush’s Supreme Court win. John Roberts advised the Bush campaign and prepped a lawyer appearing before the Florida Supreme Court for the election dispute, and Brett Kavanaugh oversaw a manual recount of about 200,000 ballots in which voters failed to properly fill in the bubble next to a candidate’s name.

When asked at last night’s debate for his plans regarding COVID-19, DDT made his usual comment the coronavirus had “rounded the corner” and was getting much better. Today, the United States recorded its highest one-day number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic with at least 82,600 new infections. The surge is across the nation with drastic increases in central and western states such as South Dakota, and Wyoming. In the past two weeks, 24 states broke their records for single-day highs. Over 170 counties in 36 states were designated as having rapidly rising hotspots. DDT blames high numbers on testing, but COVID-19 hospitalizations increased in 38 states last week. Today, the U.S. recorded 8,746,953 cases and 229,284 deaths. Thus far this year, over 300,000 more people than average died in the U.S. All COVID-19 cases are classified as pre-existing conditions, and Amy Coney Barrett wants to do away with the Affordable Care Act. If she succeeds, people with pre-existing conditions, including those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, can be denied health insurance.

October 22, 2020

Bad Times for DDT, Good for Democracy

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is having another hard week. His polls keep going down compared to Joe Biden, and media questions aren’t easy like they are on Fox. He walked out on an interview with Leslie Stahl for 60 Minutes, after Stahl pointed out he was lying about never saying “Lock her up” in questioning about DDT’s attacks on Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer following DDT’s supporters threatening to kidnap Whitmer. During the second presidential debate, he glowered, lied, and deflected although most of the time he restrained himself from excessive interruptions for the first hour.

DDT and his personal lawyer were convinced Giuliani’s fabricated story about unauthenticated material on a laptop a blind computer store owner identified as somebody named Hunter Biden, maybe Joe Biden’s son. The only media source willing to publish the story was the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid New York Post. That debacle was followed by the release of movie footage in which Giuliani was pranked by Sacha Baron Cohen in his recent mockumentary, a sequel to his Borat film. The scammed Giuliani was filmed in a hotel room, his hand down his pants and lying next to an actress who had pretended to be a journalist. The easy pranking of Giuliani shows how susceptible he is to Russian false propaganda being sold on the street in Ukraine 18 months ago. 

DDT’s bribe of $200 discount cards for prescription drugs for seniors before Election Day may be illegal, according to the HHS general counsel, a political appointee. The $7.9 billion would take from Medicare’s trust fund. Officials who originally approved the idea are now ducking for cover.  

The Government Accountability Office will investigate DDT’s alleged interference with COVID-19 response at CDC and FDA in an effort to forcibly match the agencies’ policies and communications to his own political lies.

Greg Sargent suggests that Fox watching may lessen the number of votes for DDT. A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute found Fox-loving Republicans are “not all confident” vote-by-mail will be secure. Strategists predicted that outcome since DDT began raging against the convenience of mail-in voting. Republicans who believe voting is fraudulent because of DDT’s lies may not even vote on Election Day. According to the polling, 39 percent of U.S. people think vote-by-mail is not as secure, 34 percent are somewhat confident, and 27 percent are very confident. Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to say they aren’t confident at all in vote-by-mail—56 percent to 25 percent. With independents, 38 percent are not confident in mail-in voting. Almost three-fourths of Fox-trusting Republicans are not confident at all in sending their ballots by mail. Even robocalls from the RNC encouraging vote-by-mail doesn’t seem to change Republicans’ minds.

In the courts, Elliott Broidy, one of DDT’s biggest donors and DDT’s friend, pled guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent for accepting millions of dollars to secretly lobby DDT for Malaysian and Chinese interests, described a case study of foreign governments’ influence on U.S. policy through politically influential proxies. Broidy could be paid over $80 million for successful lobby in ending U.S. investigation into a multibillion-dollar embezzlement of a Malaysian state investment fund. He worked on a senior Chinese security minister to return Chinese exile Guo Wengui to his home country from the U.S. Broidy also pled guilty in 2009 in an unrelated pension fund bribery case.

A federal judge ruled decisions by William Perry Pendley when he was acting Bureau of Land Management are invalid. Pendley served illegally in his position for 424 days. DDT withdrew Pendley’s name from nomination in August: Pendley’s beliefs are so extremist that even the “confirm-anybody” Republicans might not vote in favor of him. To save the Pendley’s decisions, DDT gave him another title in early October but kept his job description the same. A judge has already struck three industry-favored, illegal Resource Management Plans in Montana and allows people to challenge other Pendley decisions.

A federal judge struck down DDT’s removal of food stamps from almost 700,000 people to annually save about $1 billion. The Department of Agriculture refused to say how many people would have lost food if the new policy regarding benefits had been denied in spring during the pandemic. Enrollment in the program increased when millions of people lost their jobs because of COVID-19. About 10 percent of adults live in households without enough to eat sometime during the past seven days. AGs from 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York challenged the USDA rule to remove food stamps. The USDA still hopes to take benefits from over 300 million people and free school meals from almost 500,000 children. Another plan is taking allowances for utility expenses.

A federal judge ordered the Treasury Department and the IRS to give prisoners their stimulus money of $1,200 per person after the agencies disallowed people their rights and tried to pull back the money if it had already been sent. The law did not exclude incarcerated people. The money must be sent to prisoners, and they have until October 30 to file paper returns to get their owned money before the end of the year. Prisoners are not usually permitted to use computers which would give them easier access to requesting the money. IRS must also contact correctional facilities to communicate the ruling.

A three-judge panel for the 2nd Circuit Court upheld a lower court when it declined to consolidate multiple appeals by Ghislaine Maxwell, alleged madam to child predator Jeffrey Epstein who died in a New York jail last year, and struck down the release of her deposition in a now-settled civil lawsuit. The case involved then-teenaged Virginia Roberts Giuffre and her claim Maxwell told her to have sex with Prince Andrew. Epstein had escaped serious sentencing although he was well-known for sexually abused underage girls. Epstein was a friend of DDT, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, then Florida’s U.S. attorney, approved a plea deal from Epstein to let him off with a 13-month sentence in highly comfortable circumstances and blocked any further investigation in Epstein’s crimes.  

The Supreme Court denied an appeal from Kim Davis after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled same-gender couples can sue Davis in her individual capacity as county clerk for refusing them marriage licenses. Davis spent five days in jail because she defied court orders to issue licenses. Both Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito maintain the case Obergefell v. Hodges, granting marriage equality, has “ruinous consequences” for religious liberty. Only three judges ruling for marriage equality remain on the high court, scheduled to hear a case about Philadelphia’s refusal to use a Catholic agency barring same-gender couples from become foster parents.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court ruled 2-1 against DDT using $3.6 military construction funds for building his southern wall. The decision determined DDT’s actions illegal in upholding a December 2019 ruling. The blockage comes in Texas where the government is taking privately-owned land through eminent domain. DDT’s Judge Daniel Collins dissented from two Clinton appointees. The case will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.

For two years, DDT largely ignored the torture and dismemberment of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but the human rights organization Khashoggi founded and his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, have filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia Crown Prince  Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi’s murder. The case claims MBS killed Khashoggi because he advocated for democracy and human rights for all. In 2018, the CIA concluded MBS order the murder, but DDT has defended the crown prince. The suit has been filed under the Alien Tort Statute and a 1991 law called the Torture Victim Protection Act, providing recourse in U.S. courts for violations of international law and for victims of “flagrant human rights violations,” including torture and summary execution abroad. MBS lured Khashoggi to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by promising his safety when he required his presence to obtain a document Khashoggi needed for his marriage. Two months ago, former top Saudi intelligence officer Saad Aljabri accused MBS of targeting him for assassination and taking his children hostage because of Aljabri’s damaging knowledge about MBS’ rise to power.

In requiring taxpayers to bear the cost for DDT’s defamation lawsuit by E. Jean Carroll, AG Bill Barr said DDT’s denial of rape was an official act.  

In my favorite recent court case, DDT’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, swore under oath people should not believe DDT’s tweets. On October 6, DDT tweeted, “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to… the Russia Hoax.” BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold had used DDT’s statement for access to Robert Mueller’s unredacted report through a Freedom of Information Act request. A federal judge demands DDT be asked about his intentions. The question: Is the report fully declassified or does DDT not mean anything he tweets? Maybe we’ll see.

There’s lots more to make DDT uncomfortable, including tonight’s presidential debate. Only his staunchest supporters will declare a “win” for him. In the conservative Gallup poll, 56 percent of voters say DDT doesn’t deserve to be reelected; only 43 percent disagree. We can only hope they vote the same way.

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