Nel's New Day

November 13, 2018

Lawyers Winners of Elections, Other Lawsuits

The real winners of the midterm elections and the first 662 days of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the Oval Office are the lawyers. Nowhere has this been more obvious in the past week than in the South where Georgia and Florida Republican officials—candidates for offices—are screaming “fraud” and charging off to the courts.

During a campaign rally a few days before the 2016 presidential election, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election—if I win.” He won and accepted the electoral vote although not the popular vote—which he lost. Now he’s losing in at least three states and refusing to accept the midterm election races.

As Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s lead over his opponent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) dwindles, Scott, also the U.S. Senate candidate, has been joined by Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to echo DDT’s cry of voter fraud despite disagreement from the state secretary of state, a Scott-appointed Republican. Scott didn’t object to GOP counties breaking his own emergency order when predominantly GOP Bay County, hit hard by a recent hurricane, allowed voters to illegally cast ballots by email.

Scott filed at least five lawsuits trying to defeat Nelson, including not counting all ballots received after Election Day which disenfranchises all overseas voters including veterans. Florida voters are now suing him for illegally abusing his position as governor to win his race for U.S. senator by stopping the counting of legal votes. Despite Scott’s lawsuits, Florida has started a machine recount of the vote and may have a manual vote if the difference in that election drops below 0.25 percent. Scott is ahead by about 12,000 votes in 8 million plus ballots before all have been counted; Florida’s gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is behind GOP Ron DeSantis by about 40,000 votes.

In Georgia, former Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who resigned when he falsely declared himself governor-elect, has lost a lawsuit to block ballots. In this election of almost four million voters, his Democratic opponent, Stacy Abrams, is behind by about 58,000 votes, but a judge has ruled that provisional ballots must be counted because Kemp, in charge of elections, has not maintained voter information security, increasing the risk that his purge of over 700,000 names on the registered rolls was illegally “manipulated or mismanaged.” The court orders mandated publicity about a website for provisional ballot voters to find information about whether their provisional ballots had been counted and why. The judge stated that the ballots were rejected “through no fault of their own.”

Under Kemp, Georgia voter updates by people getting or renewing state driver’s licenses never moved into the state’s voter database, and they didn’t know that Georgia had illegally failed to register them to vote. State law mandates that provisional ballots are counted only if names are on the voter registration list where they may have been removed because of Kemp’s actions. The Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) requires the provisional ballots be counted if voters are eligible to vote.

Another judge ordered Georgia to count 5,000 ballots rejected because voters didn’t complete date of birth when signing mail-in ballot envelopes and ordered the state’s vote counting to continue until Friday instead of ending today. As of Sunday, Abrams needed 19,000 more votes to trigger a recount and 21,000 more to force a December runoff. The almost 22,000 provisional ballots plus over 2,000 ballots coming from overseas and military brings the total of uncounted ballots to nearly 29,000.

The November 27 run-off for U.S. Senate pits Mississippi candidates Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) against Mike Espy, behind by 8,000 votes, for the final two years of a senate term because neither candidates garnered 50 percent of the vote. At a campaign rally four days before the midterm elections, Hyde-Smith responded to a man who praised her, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” Mississippi recorded at least 581 lynchings of black people, about 12 percent of the 4,743 between 1882 and 1968 and the most of any state in the country. DDT-supporter Hyde-Smith repeatedly refused to answer questions by saying that she had issued a statement calling the remark an “exaggerated expression of regard.”

DDT already lost the U.S. Senate position in Arizona that went to the Democrat Krysten Sinema. Opponent Martha McSally was gracious in her concession, perhaps because she expects to be appointed to former Sen. John McCain’s position if Jon Kyle leaves in January.

A sour-grapes failed GOP candidate for the Arizona legislature is suing her winning opponent, U.S.-born Latina Raquel Terán, accusing her of not being a U.S. citizen. Alice Novoa already sued Terán in 2012 for the same (non)offense, and the case was dismissed because her attorney provided the birth certificate. Novoa avoided $650 in court fees with her claim that she doesn’t work and has no income.

Nonelection lawsuits:

Maryland opened to door to lawsuits involving DDT’s unlawful appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting AG for Jeff Sessions replacement. Brian Frosh, Maryland AG, asked a federal judge to remove Whitaker from that position because the appointment is unconstitutional. This request is part of the state’s ongoing lawsuit to force DDT to retain a key provision of the Affordable are Act, including protections for people with pre-exiting conditions. Maryland AG Brian Frosh declared that any action Whitaker takes regarding the ACA for the federal government would be invalid because he cannot legally serve as acting AG and asks for an immediate injunction. In 2014, Whitaker maintained that the U.S. Supreme Court’s upholding the ACA was one of the worse rulings in its entire history.

DDT believes that he is protected in Whitaker’s appointment by the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act, stating that a president may temporarily fill a vacancy for a position requiring Senate confirmation with any senior official who has been in the department for at least 90 days. Another statute makes the deputy attorney general next in line at the DOJ. The lawsuit maintains that a more specific law takes precedence over a more general law. The AG also argues that DDT should have less flexibility in replacing the AG because a president under investigation could install a “carefully selected senior employee who he was confident would terminate or otherwise severely limit” the inquiry. Whitaker is justifying his position with an 1898 Supreme Court Case supporting the appointment of the acting U.S. consult in the country that is now Thailand when no one else was available after the Senate-confirmed consult was sick. The argument against this case is that the AG office did not become vacant through an unexpected emergency and several Senate-confirmed DOJ officials are available.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has also called for hearings to address “serious questions” about his appointment because of Whitaker’s outspoken opposition to the Robert Mueller investigation.

In a First Amendment lawsuit, CNN is suing the White House for stripping Jim Acosta’s of his press credentials. Acosta was targeted after false accusations of “laying hands” on a press intern. The accurate video shows her stepping into his space to grab his microphone and his saying, “Pardon me, ma’am.” Also included in the suit are tops aides John Kelly, Sarah Sanders, Bill Shine, the head of the Secret Service, and the officer who took Acosta’s pass. After a complaint was filed, the White House claimed that Acosta lost his credentials because he refused to give up his microphone.

The DOJ has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop lawsuits in three courts of appeal—the 2nd, the 9th, and the D.C.—to block President Obama’s DACA program where these courts allow the program to continue.

DDT’s administration is also facing a lawsuit accusing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and a top deputy of sexism in determining their policy decisions. Filed in January, the lawsuit argues against DeVos’ prevention of Title IX guidance on handling campus sexual assault cases; the current filing adds that her decision was impacted by discriminatory and stereotyped views of women, based on evidence obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. These records show that the Department of Education obtained input from sources pushing inflated and widely discredited statistics about false rape allegations. Another source came from Candice Jackson, who provided a book  Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus (Laura Kipnis), that falsely described the Title IX guidance permitting women to seek legal recourse for “awkward sexual experiences” and then ask for protection from “sexual bogeymen.” Jackson also received information from Gordon Finley, part of the National Coalition for Men, who referred to the former Title IX guidance as a “war on men,” and she falsely maintained that 90 percent of sexual assault accusations come from misunderstandings or drunken regrets. Other sources provided prejudicial information to the department’s leaders about claims regarding sexual assault. DDT’s statements and behavior toward women also figure into the lawsuit’s amendment on sexism.

Two weeks ago, DeVos lost her court battle after she tried to end regulations helping defrauded students receive federal loan forgiveness and keep colleges from mandating arbitration for complaint resolution instead of going to court. President Obama’s consumer protections are now in effect.

November 10, 2018

Midterm Elections Not ‘Big Victory’ for GOP

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) claims that Democrats want “to steal the election.” His proof? Democrats want to count every vote. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wants new elections in Florida and Arizona because a continued count of ballots is favoring three Democrats, both governor races and the U.S. Senate race in Florida. GOP lawsuits against continuing to count ballots are flying fast and furious, and Gov. Rick Scott, also candidate for U.S. senator from Florida, wants to use his gubernatorial power to stop counting votes before his opponent gets a majority and at least manages a recount. And Republicans no longer care about the caravan in Mexico that consumed their media before the election.

Gov. Scott tried to stop the votes from being counted with the law enforcement after three-fourths of his lead on Election night disappeared, leaving him only 15,000 votes ahead. Candidate Scott is suing to block counting after accusing “liberal activists” of trying to “steal the election.”

Former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), once a Republican, said his absentee ballot was rejected for “invalid signature.” Another voter was told that her signature with her finger on a smart pad at the polling place didn’t match the ID. Cindy McCain, widow of former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tweeted about the vote counting issue:

“I am one of those mail in ballots. I was under the impression my vote was always counted.”

While Republicans win, GOP leaders stay quiet; the minute that the vote swings in the opposite direction, they go batsh*t crazy. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who once called Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) a “con man,” joined Scott in coming unglued about Broward County, home to almost two million people, taking longer to count votes than Bay County with 150,000 residents. Broward County leans Democrat, so Rubio alleges that “democrat lawyers” are descending on Florida “to try to steal a seat in the U.S. Senate.” The GOP game plan in Florida is the same as in 2000 when Al Gore supposedly lost Florida by 537 votes: stop the recount and declare Republicans the winner before the discovery that the Democrats have more votes.

With no evidence, DDT and his sort-of lawyer Rudy Giuliani leaped into the fray to portray the Florida counts as rigged, supporting Scott and Rubio in their unfounded claims of voter fraud. Despite lack of legal basis, Giuliani wants to “disqualify [Broward and Palm Beach] votes counted only after all other counties were finished.” He also referred to “[Clinton] Hillary’s lawyers trying to steal Florida election,” probably meaning Nelson’s lawyer Marc Elias who was Clinton’s general counsel during her 2016 presidential campaign. Fox’s Sean Hannity said, ““I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” meaning that he was born after 2000.

Three retired military leaders respond to GOP attempts to stop the voting in three of the 50 states:

“We, the men and women who served under our command, and everyone who served in the Armed Forces swore an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States. Many died, and many were wounded, protecting it, and our sacred right to vote — and see that vote counted.

“It is appalling that Trump Republicans in Florida, Arizona and Georgia are fighting to stop accurately counting all the votes, as they lose ground. It dishonors everything our troops have fought for, and died for.

“We want to be very clear: Taking actions to stop counting votes is not only un-democratic, it is downright un-American.” – General (US Army, Ret.) Wesley K. Clark, Major General (US Army, Ret.) Paul D. Eaton, and Brigadier General (US Army, Ret.) Steven M. Anderson

Despite GOP efforts to suppress the vote, at least 123 women—103 Democrats and 20 Republicans—will be in the 116th Congress beginning in January 2019, and another ten women could join them. Many of the women are “firsts” in congressional records: age, ethnicity, religion, and states that they represent. Barry Blitt celebrated these women for the New Yorker cover.

Six state legislative chambers also flipped from GOP to Democratic.

Democrats may have fewer senators, governors, and state legislatures, but they comprise the majority of state attorneys general. After flipping four seats in Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin from Republicans, the 27 Democratic AGs will continue to protect states and serve as a check to DDT’s executive orders. Another four AGs are in play as governors of Alaska, Hawaii, and Wyoming appoint three of them, and the statehouse in Maine elects one.

Voters in 37 states voted on a total of 157 ballot measures on Election Day; here’s sample of the mostly good news:

North Carolina: Voters blocked constitutional amendments that would have packed a state supreme court to continue more gerrymandering and voter suppression, measures that the courts had failed to stop earlier. A GOP election-rigging scheme blew up and installed a civil rights Democrat in the state Supreme Court that led to a court of five Democrats and two Republicans. Voters in the state did pass the GOP photo voter ID mandate, but the state Supreme Court could hear a lawsuit against it.

Michigan: Voters instated a fully independent redistricting commission, removing the ability of GOP lawmakers to gerrymandering congressional and legislative redistricting. Colorado and Missouri passed redistricting reform, and a similar measure in Utah has a one-point lead. To illustrate the importance of Michigan’s vote to remove gerrymandering, President Obama won the popular vote of the state by almost 60 percent in 2012, the same year that the GOP took over 60 percent of the U.S. representatives. Pennsylvania gained three Democratic seats in the House after the state’s Supreme Court struck down its gerrymandered maps last January. These six states show the effect of gerrymandering. [visual gerrymandering]

Maryland: Voters approved same-day voter registration by two to one. Michigan also passed the same law; 18 states and D.C. now let voters register at the same time that they vote on Election Day. North Carolina voters can register during the early-voting period. Other increased voting accessibility in Michigan include automatic voter registration, removal of the need for an excuse to vote absentee, protection of the straight-ticket voting option, and regular election audits for accuracy. Previously, Michigan Republican legislators had allowed unrestricted absentee voting only to voters 60 or older, the GOP base. Republicans also hate straight-ticket voting because it is more popular with blacks, who largely tend to be Democrats.

Nevada: Voters passed an automatic voter registration while doing business with the DMV. That brings the total of “motor-voter” registration to 13 states and D.C.

Florida: Voters overwhelmingly voted to allow people with felony convictions to vote—1.5 million citizens in the state. Laws like this passed in many states after the Civil War were intended to block black voters. Gov. Rick Scott almost ended clemency to return voting rights for specific individuals (aka non-GOP supporters) in 2011. People in prison, on parole or probation, and with murder or sexual offenses may not vote, allowing another 1.4 million people this right. The remaining question is whether Florida will require a poll tax in the form of repaying all court fines and fees, cutting the number to 840,000 new voters.

Michigan & Colorado: Voters elected Democrats for secretaries of state, positions that Republicans use to purge eligible voters. In New Hampshire, the newly-elected Democrat state legislature can replace longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner, the Democrat-in-name-only appointed by Republicans. Georgia’s Democratic Secretary of State John Barrow, trailing by only 0.6 percent heads to a December 4 runoff. Arizona has called the position for its GOP candidate for the position, but the Democrat is behind by only 21,000 votes with hundreds of thousands of ballots left to be counted.

Idaho, Nebraska, & Utah: Medicaid expansion passed but failed in Montana.

Missouri & Arkansas: Voters passed minimum wage increases.

Washington: New gun control measures passed.

Missouri & Utah: Voters approved medical marijuana with that ballot measure the most popular one in Missouri. Thirty-three states and D.C. now have some form of legalized medical marijuana, and another 14 have laws allowing cannabis but limiting that THC content. Michigan passed recreational marijuana, bringing the total to ten states. Only North Dakota blocked a cannabis initiative, keeping medical marijuana but not approving recreational marijuana. Former AG Jeff Sessions, who declared a war on cannabis, has been fired.

Massachusetts: Voters stopped discrimination against transgender rights by keeping a 2016 law barring discrimination against transgender people in public spaces.

Oregon: Voters rejected a measure banning public funding for abortions available to low-income women. Alabama and West Virginia voters passed measures to prevent a woman’s right to have an abortion through “personhood,” but the initiative is unconstitutional until the GOP Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

In paranoid North Dakota, voters approved a change to the constitution: instead of “every citizen” can vote, they approved “only a citizen” can vote. And Colorado voted to prohibit slavery, once and for all, despite 35 percent of the voters—26 DDT-supporting counties of 64 in the state—supporting the practice as punishment for a crime.

Midterm elections are not over. Florida and Georgia are still counting votes for governor, and Arizona and Florida are doing the same for the U.S. Senate. Mississippi has a run-off for one of the U.S. senate positions as well as a congressional representative. Another dozen House races in nine states are still up in the air. And those undecided races don’t include the recounts and lawsuits that will emerge.

November 8, 2018

Republicans are nuttier than squirrel shit. #ThursdayThoughts

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 9:00 PM
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I try to be controlled in my language in Nel’s New Day, but it doesn’t mean I don’t admire the passion of others. For your enjoyment, here’s the take from a blog post by two fabulous elders, Margaret and Helen. Enjoy! Thanks, Helen!

[And for a short note, I’m not writing off Andrew Gillum and Ben Nelson for Florida governor and U.S. senator. Things are so close in that state that Gov. Rick Scott–running for senator–is suing Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes over the county’s delay in counting the votes while accusing “unethical liberals” of “trying to steal this election” from him. Stranger things have happened than these changes since Tuesday night. Like pagan bisexual Kyrsten Sinema has taken the lead for U.S. Senate in a sort-of red Arizona. The state has changed since I moved away!]

Margaret, if you want to know just how deplorable Trumpsters are, this week they elected two indicted criminals, a Nazi and a dead brothel owner.  And the fact that most people reading this are asking themselves “which Nazi?” is just bat shit crazy.  To be honest, it could have been multiple Nazis, but it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between a GOP Congressman and a Nazi these days. Some might be just your run-of-the-mill racists. You know what they say about old, white men standing in front of a flag, pledging allegiance to Donald Trump… they all look alike.

A dead brothel owner.  I’m sorry.  I just had to say that again. The party of family values elected a dead pimp. Bless their hearts but Republicans are nuttier than squirrel shit.

Now, I know that some of you Democrats out there, especially in Florida, Georgia and Texas, are filling a bit blue today and not in a good Blue Wave way. We’re feeling blue because we fell in love with Andrew, Beto and Stacey and hoped that racists in red states would be standing in line at a Cracker Barrel instead of a polling station.  Damn you Cracker Barrel! What happened to your all-you-can-eat chicken fried opossum steak on Tuesdays?

Honestly, it was going to be an uphill battle and we got a bit ahead of ourselves. After all, this is Florida, Georgia and Texas we are talking about. They are GOP red mixed with a little scarlet, crimson, cardinal, ruby, magenta, brick, carmine, rose, vermilion, cerise, coral, and burgundy. The fact that Beto was even in the hunt and the other two are still too close to call is pretty amazing.  Sure, it stung. But we really do have a great deal to celebrate. We took back the House. Our wave was big enough to overcome gerrymandering and voter suppression, sending several hundred state and federal members of the GOP packing.

If you are feeling a bit down, maybe this will pick you up. Here are a few of my favorite casualties:

Karen Handel.  Remember her? This homophobic, she-devil in wolf’s clothing managed to destroy the otherwise stellar reputation of the Susan G Komen Foundation when she picked a fight with Planned Parenthood.  Komen recovered somewhat but it never returned to its former glory. Well, now a Democrat in Georgia named Lucy McBath is my new favorite person and Georgia’s 6th Congressional District’s newest Representative.  Kiss my ass Karen. The only organization I liked more than Komen was Planned Parenthood and you damaged one in order to attack the other.  Don’t mess with Planned Parenthood. Ever. By the way, McBath ran on more gun control… in Georgia.

Kim Davis.  This walking hairball in need of a hairstyle became famous in Kentucky for refusing to give marriage licenses to same sex couples, claiming Jesus told her to hate people. She then crashed a party pretending to be the Pope’s BFF and became the white trash darling for white trash religious nutjobs everywhere when she traveled to Romania to fight gay marriage there.  Wait.  What?  Listen, folks.  The cheese slid off this gal’s cracker years ago. Thank goodness that Kentucky Democrats dropped a house on Kim.  To be honest, she lost by less than 700 votes, but that was to be expected considering she was related to, married to, divorced by and otherwise had children out of wedlock with a sizable percentage of the male voting population in the county.  Hypocrisy is what the GOP now calls a family value.

Jason Lewis.  I bet you don’t remember this asshat from Minnesota’s 2ndCongressional District unless you’re a slut… I mean a woman… I mean a slut.  Lewis complained that political correctness had gotten so bad that he couldn’t even call a woman a slut anymore without getting in trouble. He lost to Democrat Angie Craig.  I don’t know you Angie, but I love you regardless of what Jason is most assuredly calling you at this moment.

Jack Phillips.  He’s probably the most famous baker in Colorado, but not because his cakes taste good, bad or otherwise.   Jack is the Colorado Baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple and took his argument all the way to the Supreme Court.  He then tried to sue the Governor of Colorado because he didn’t want to bake a pink and blue cake for a transgender woman. Guess what?  Jack now has a new Governor in Colorado.  His name is Jared Polis and he’s gay.  Please, please, please Governor Polis, order your inauguration cake from Jack if for no other reason than shits and giggles. [Phillips’ new first family; Polis on the right.]

Kevin Yoder.  I know nothing about this congressman from Kansas except he was a Republican in Kansas, which is rarely a good thing. He lost to a Native American woman named Sharice Davids. Now Sharice has a remarkable story and you should read about it.  But I don’t want to talk about that now because I am being a little selfish. I just want to sit a minute and imagine Donald Trump watching Fox News on Tuesday when they gave a Democratic pick up seat to a woman who happens to be Native American and who also happens to be a lesbian and a mixed, martial arts fighter.  Ah! Sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee…  Sharice honey, if you meet the President, please kick him where it counts.

Barbara Comstock.  When Florida Parkland Students came to talk to her about gun violence, she refused to meet with them.  Barbara lost to Democrat Jennifer Wexton.  Bye, bye Barbara. Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

Listen.  I was sad.  I wanted Beto as much as anyone.  I really did. But here in Texas we picked up so many down ballot Democrats because of Beto that I don’t think being sad is an appropriate way to remember Beto, or Stacey or Andrew.  And maybe it’s not even over for Stacey who is still fighting the good fight. Good luck Stacey.  Every vote counts. But no.  We can’t be down. We have just too much to be excited about.

  • Chairman Elijah Cummings, House Oversight Committee
  • Chairman Adam Schiff, House Intelligence Committee
  • Chairwoman Maxine Waters, House Financial Services Committee
  • Chairman Richard Neal, House Ways and Means Committee
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the woman who gave us the Affordable Care Act the last time she had that title

That is huge.  We took back the House and turned a huge section of the country blue, while Trump kept Georgia, Florida and Texas red… barely.  We changed everything.  He changed nothing.

Maybe the Blue Wave wasn’t as big in some parts of the country as others. As it swept from east to west across the country like an invading army of immigrants… no wait.  As it swept from east to west, it hit patches of gerrymandering and mountains of voter suppression.  But it indeed swept across the country no matter how large or small it seemed at times.  One thing we know for sure, if left unchecked, Trump could bring out the worst in all of us.  And sadly, he’s proud of that. But then again, he’s an idiot.  The blue wave came, and it was big enough.  I mean it. Really.

November 7, 2018

Midterms Lead to New U.S.

Midterms 2018 ended last night after the most vicious campaigning that I can remember. In a bittersweet victory, elections brought at least 27 additional Democrats to the House, giving them a majority in the 435-seat chamber and splitting the Congress as the Senate keeps a GOP majority. Three Democratic incumbent senators in Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota lost their re-election bid, and the GOP incumbent in Nevada has been replaced by a Democrat. Two other races in Arizona and Florida are still undecided, and a third in Mississippi heads to a recount because no candidate got over 50 percent of the votes.

In seven states, GOP gubernatorial positions lost to Democrats in Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wisconsin. The new number of Democratic governors gave the party trifectas in 14 states—those with the same party in both legislative chambers and the governor. The number of GOP trifectas shrank from 34 to 22, leaving 14 states split between the two parties. Going into redistricting for state and federal legislative representation in 2020, Democrats have “regained majorities in seven [state] chambers and flipped 350 seats from red to blue nationwide,” according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

The flips leave 23 Democrats and 26 Republicans in charge of the 50 states. Stacey Abrams has not conceded to Brian Kemp in Georgia; she is waiting until provisional and absentee ballots are counted, ballots mandated by a court ruling after Kemp, also Secretary of State, had purged or thrown away. Since 2010, Kemp has purged over 1.4 million voters from registration, including 660,000 last year and almost 90,000 this year. Another 53,000 couldn’t vote until the court ruling because of typos; almost 80 percent of these registrations were from black voters. If Kemp drops below 50 percent of the vote, he will be forced into a runoff election with Abrams. Kemp prepared to fight a loss by claiming that Democrats had hacked the voting system, but he has a long record of carelessness and lack of investigation as P.R. Lockhart describes.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker may have the highest profile of the Democratic flips. Almost eight years ago, at the beginning of his first term, he declared war against unions, teachers, voters, etc., but his decision to provide over $4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies, the biggest in U.S. history for a foreign corporation, to bring tech plant  and key Apple supplier Foxconn to his state may have helped his downfall. With a cost of up to $1 million per job, averaging $230,000 per job, Foxconn is “trying to tap Chinese engineers through internal transfers to supplement staffing” because “it’s very difficult to find skilled labor in our market.” University of Wisconsin-Madison students worry about intellectual property and academic freedom in a Foxconn takeover, and residents of Wisconsin and neighboring states are concerned about the loss of Lake Michigan’s water when the company uses as much as 7 million gallons per day from the lake, 39 percent of it lost through evaporation. Foxconn, the single largest employer in mainland China with 1.3 million employees, became known for the large number of employee suicides at its enormous Longhua plant in Shenzhen. Life at “iPhone City.”

Yesterday’s election brought several “firsts”:

  • Governor-elect Jared Polis (D-CO): First gay man to be elected governor.
  • Governor Kate Brown (D-OR): First bisexual to be re-elected for a second time—or even a first time!
  • Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY):  At the age of 29, youngest woman elected to Congress.
  • Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley (D-MA): First black representative from Massachusetts.
  • Reps.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-): First Muslim representatives; Tlaib the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress and Omar, an immigrant, the first Somali-American in Congress.
  • Reps.-elect Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Deb Haaland (D-NM): First Native American representatives; Davids also first lesbian representative from Kansas.
  • Rep.-elect Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL): Immigrant from Ecuador flipped a GOP seat.
  • Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): First female senator from Tennessee.
  • Gov.-elect Janet Mills: First female governor of Maine.
  • Rep.-elect Abby Finkenauer (D-IA): First woman representative from Iowa.
  • Rep.-elect Johana Hayes: First black woman representative as well as one of the youngest, matching Ocasio-Cortez at 29 years old.
  • Reps.-elect Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): First Latina representatives from Texas, a state that is over one-third Latinx.
  • Gov.-elect: Lou Leon Guerrero (D): First woman governor of Guam.
  • Iowa State Sen.-elect Zach Wahls (D-IA): 27-year-old winner of 78 percent of the vote, seven years after he stood before the state House of Representatives to defend marriage for his two lesbian mothers.

The oddest win came when pimp Dennis Hof won a seat in the 36th Nevada State Assembly. The Republican died three weeks before the election, but voters wanted a Republican. Iowa voted for bigotry by re-electing Steve King to the House, and California and New York supported indicted representatives with Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter. (Remember when the GOP ran as the “party of law and order”?) Racism was also victorious in Florida and perhaps Georgia in the governor’s races. Florida also voted to inundate cities with the sea rise with narrow wins for the GOP governor over Andrew Gillum and perhaps a GOP senator over the Dem incumbent.

Over 100 women will be seated in the House of Representatives for the 116th Congress, far more than the record of 85 of the 435 House seats. Thus far women of color will comprise at least 38 of these seats, and 18 of the 27 flipped seats from GOP to Dem were earned by women, all except two against male opponents.  Projections of 98 women in the house include 84 Democrats and 14 Republicans; the Senate has 12 women, ten Dems and two Republicans. Veterans Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) both won; Amy McGrath, former Marine fighter pilot, narrowly lost a House race in Kentucky. Despite false smears from Tea Party incumbent opponent, Dave Brat, Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) had a big win, especially as the first Democrat in this district in a half century.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and Department of (In)Justice (DOJ) AG Jeff Sessions set the scene for the loss of the House by claiming voter fraud before the election, using the same tactic DDT did in 2016 until he took the Electoral College. DDT lied at a recent campaign rally in Cleveland with the false claim that voter fraud is commonplace. The United States has almost zero voter fraud while the GOP perpetuates voter suppression, intimidation, and a massive number of lies about their policy positions. The greatest GOP claims of voter fraud came in races where GOP positions are most at risk, including at least six governors, some senators—including Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas—and many representatives.

Session left his job hours after the election when DDT asked for Sessions’ resignation and appointed his bootlicker Matthew Whitaker as the acting AG. Whitaker, good friends of possible Russian colluder Sam Clovis, has constantly lambasted the Robert Mueller investigation, calling it a witch hunt—just like DDT—and limiting “the scope” of the investigation. In his new position, Whitaker will be in charge of Mueller and his investigation, giving a direct pipeline to DDT about any discoveries and curtailing Mueller’s activities. In a segment on Whitaker, Rachel Maddow discussed Whitaker’s strategies for doing away with the investigation such as not funding it and telling lawyers not to cooperate. Much more about Whitaker. Whitaker has defended Donald Trump Jr. for his Trump Tower meeting when DDT’s son looked for dirt on Clinton from the Russians, part of Mueller’s investigation. Whitaker also believes that “[Hillary] Clinton clearly intended to send and store top secret, classified information on an unsecured, personal server, which I believe is a case that any reasonable prosecutor would bring against her or anyone else who committed such reckless acts.” As for corruption, Whitaker was part of World Patent Marketing, fined $26 million by the federal company of running a multimillion-dollar scam. Democratic legislators are protesting Whitaker and stopping the investigation, and protests are organized across the nation for 5:00 pm tomorrow.

After delivering fire and brimstone at his campaign rallies during the last two months, DDT said the day before the election that he “would like to have a much softer tone” but that he had “no choice” in his rhetoric.  He wished for more harmony between Republicans and Democrats after the election but added, “If you’re criticized you have to hit back.” Hours after his interview with a conservative Sinclair station, he delivered his usual racism and hatred in a campaign rally and tweeted threats to Democrats after he got the election results. If Democrats dare investigate him, he claimed, he will institute investigations “of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else” by the Senate and refuse to work with them on substantive issues. [News, DDT: the Senate doesn’t investigate the House, and no one thinks that you can work with anyone.]

In today’s press conference, DDT had a meltdown after CNN reporter Jim Acosta questioned him about the Russian investigation and the term “invasion” for the immigrant caravan in Mexico. Hours later DDT made the unprecedented move of suspending Acosta’s press credentials for the White House. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders falsely accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” on an intern when he calmly raised his arm to keep her from taking his microphone. Acosta held on to his microphone and said, “Pardon me, ma’am.” The exchange is shown here; you can decide the truth for yourself.

DDT continued his attacks at the unhinged press conference by snapping at journalist April Ryan to “sit down,” abusing GOP lawmakers who lost elections, accusing PBS Yamiche Alcindor of asking a “racist” question about DDT’s “nationalism,” babbling an answer about uniting the country, and shouting down questions about women’s defeating GOP House candidates. In a weird somber tone, he called out the names of GOP representatives, almost joyously blaming their losses for not wanting his “embrace.”  DDT also claimed that he has a “solution” to abortion but won’t tell anyone what it is. (Maybe the one to the left?)  Jake Tapper’s response to DDT’s behavior at the press conference: “That’s how gangsters act.”

The stock markets like the split Congress, a sign of government inactivity; the Dow Jones shot up over 500 points today. Watch for DDT to take credit for economic success because of the GOP loss.

October 20, 2018

GOP, DDT Try to Pull Cons

As midterm election fever ramps up, the Republicans become more desperate with the thought of losing. Because over half the population supports the Affordable Care Act, GOP candidates and their leader Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) have decided to pretend that they support coverage of pre-existing conditions on all health insurance.

Last Thursday, DDT tweeted:

“All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them. I am in total support. Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!”

These GOP candidates claiming to supported coverage of pre-existing conditions voted against the Affordable Care Act, and some of them are involved in legal challenges to the law. With his executive order to change the ACA, DDT already permitted insurance companies to not allow pre-existing conditions. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that the GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act after the midterms and reduce Medicare to cover ballooning deficits from deep tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. The underlying GOP goal is to strip almost everyone in the United States of any safety net while taking all power and giving the nation’s resources to the wealthiest and big business.

In another serious problem for DDT, the horrific scandal of a reporter’s murder in Turkey won’t disappear. Saudi Arabia commonly kills dissidents, but the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is unique: he was a U.S. resident who was tortured, dismembered, and murdered in an embassy on foreign soil. DDT is also supporting Saudi Arabia in its fantasy explanation of the murder, appearing to act as a PR person for the Saudi royalty. Vali R. Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said:

“This is a drastic break from American practice. It signals a very different foreign policy that does not hold governments accountable for things that are outside normal legal or ethical parameters. In effect, the U.S. is setting a new standard for itself.”

Vladimir Putin is well aware of the new standard for the U.S. that represents a double standard—punish Russia for its killing of a Russian but reward Saudi Arabia for its killing of a U.S. resident. DDT has been very clear, however, that he won’t hold foreign countries accountable for human rights, and now that lack of concern impacts a murdered U.S. resident with three U.S. citizen children. Not addressing Khashoggi’s murder removes the U.S. from the high ground when China tells the West to stop its false regard for human rights.

In addition to taking Saudi’s assurance that Khashoggi’s death came from a “fist-fight,” DDT is accepting Putin’s guarantee that Russia didn’t interfere in U.S. elections and Kim Jong-Un’s pledge that North Korea will denuclearize. Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the U.S. policy of “trust but verify” has been changed to “trust but look away.”

Conservative commentator Max Book wrote about DDT:

“This is the president who said it’s “great” that Xi is declaring himself ruler for life, praised Duterte for the ‘unbelievable job’ he was doing ‘on the drug problem,’ congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a rigged referendum that spelled the death of Turkish democracy, and declared his ‘love’ for Kim Jong Un of North Korea. When confronted by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes about Kim’s catalogue of crime — ‘repression, gulags, starvation’ — Trump was dismissive. ‘I get along with him really well,’ Trump said. ‘I have a good energy with him.’ He was equally blasé when Stahl asked him about reports that Putin is involved in ‘assassinations’ and ‘poisonings.’ He probably is, Trump conceded — but ‘it’s not in our country,’ so who cares? Britain can deal with Russian hit teams on its own.”

Boot concluded:

“This is a good time to be a dictator — and a dangerous time to be a dissident. Trump has given every despot on the planet a license to kill without worrying about the American reaction.”

Saudi Arabia has been paying for positive PR in the U.S. since 15 of 19 plane hijackers in the attack on the U.S. were Saudi nationals, but the amount of money poured into its effort escalated in 2017 to $27.3 million in lobbying alone after DDT’s inauguration to $27.3 million in lobbying alone. More money was given to universities, think tanks, and over 100 people registered as Saudi foreign agents in the U.S. who contacted media outlets over 500 times. The Saudis also had 45 contracts with FARA-registered firms. Agents contacted officials at the State Department almost 100 times in 2017 and over 200 congressional members with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) the most contacted. These congressional members received $390,496 for campaigns. In 2018, Saudi lobbyists fought to defeat a House bill that would end U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen, asking them to ignore the 10,000 civilians who were killed in Yemen.

DDT has been very upfront about how he is selling himself and the U.S. to gain money from the Saudis. And he has the blessing of fundamentalist Christians. Televangelist Pat Robertson wants people to “cool” it about the torture, dismemberment, and killing of Jamal Khashoggi because he’s just “one journalist.” What would Jesus do, according to Robertson? Profit from that probably nonexistant $100 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia so that they can kill thousands more civilians.

One reason that people voted for DDT was their belief that he is a great businessman. The New York Time researched proved that claim to be a myth, but he’s still bragging about his wonderful economy. Despite his cheerleading, cracks are appearing—the lowest housing sales in three years, retail sales down for the past two years, a volatile stock market, an increase in trade market deficits—some of the same signs that led to the deep recession of 2008, especially the falling housing prices that were the first evidence. George W. Bush failed to see the warning signs in 2006, just as DDT’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow thinks that the U.S. is booming. A few months before everyone became well aware of the 2008 recession, Kudlow said, “There is no recession coming.” Four months later, he wrote “The Therapeutic Power of Recessions.”

That recession didn’t have the problem of tariffs. A trade war with the U.S. already prompted luxury-car makers BMW AG and Daimler AG to warn about lower profits while Chinese consumers staying away from showrooms forced Jaguar Land Rover to temporarily shut a factory. Sales to Chinese dealerships fell for a third month in September. Steve Man, senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong, said that this slump may be the biggest that auto manufacturers experienced in China, the world’s largest car market. GM, VW, and Honda are also decreasing in deliveries, and carmakers may have to close factories.

DDT promised to balance the budget in one year. He didn’t. The deficit blew up to $898 billion in the 11 months through August, exceeding the Congressional Budget Office’s forecast for the first full fiscal year after DDT was inaugurated. DDT’s deficit for the 11 months was one-third higher than the $674 billion for the same time during the previous year. While revenue gained one percent to about $3 trillion, spending rose by seven percent to almost $3.9 trillion. Thanks to the new COP tax cut law, revenue from corporations dropped $71 billion from a year before to $163 billion. The annual budget for President Obama’s last three years was $500 billion. Thanks to the GOP and DDT’s law and policies, the nation’s debt is growing out of control.

DDT’s family con jobs seem to have trickled down to son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has paid almost no income tax from 2009 to 2016 while quintupling his assets to almost $324 million. For example, in 2015, he made $1.7 million but declared $8.3 million in losses from his self-identified “significant depreciation” on real estate because the law allows scams with decline values on the books as properties appreciate. DDT, however, participated in illegal fraud to hide his and his family’s fortune from taxes.

DDT is so unpopular that the Trump name has been removed from a seventh building since DDT’s election, this one a condo tower at 200 Riverside Boulevard in Manhattan. Almost 70 percent of owners voted to take down the name after they were threatened with legal action 18 months ago when they made the decision. A judge ruled that the signage could go that’s what the residents wanted.

The Trump Ocean Club Panama also ripped DDT’s name off its sign after it evicted the Trump Organization. Ivanka Trump had lied about the number of units sold although the involvement of shell companies created difficulty in identifying why buyers had backed out. DDT’s family made millions on just this one project, an example of their system to lure investors into building projects and then walk away with the money when the projects collapse.

With his gullible base, DDT treats the United States like one of his scams, but most of us have no solution when he takes the money and leaves us bankrupt. And Congress will let DDT carry out his plans unless the electorate stops the GOP from controlling Congress. During the past half centuries, all the recessions have occurred while the president was a Republican with a supportive Congress.

March 19, 2018

Data Mining Elected DDT, ‘Corrected’ the Stock Market

Stock markets have been drastically dropping during the past six weeks although sometimes crawling upward only to drop again. Today, the closing Dow Jones as over 2,000 points below February 5 with “corrections by Facebook and tech investments. While investors try to guess why stocks lose ground, today’s loss in Facebook—as much as seven percent at times—was clearly from the problems in a company working to control the win of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the presidential election.

With the help of Russian oligarchs and officials, multi-billionaire Robert Mercer bought the presidency for DDT, and Mercer’s political-data firm Cambridge Analytica was instrumental in this success by targeting people’s emotional needs with information from social media. Last Friday night at the same time that AG Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe, Facebook admitted that Cambridge lied about deleting Facebook user data obtained from Facebook in violation of the social network’s policies.

A detailed Facebook post stated that Russian-American psychology professor, Aleksandr Kogan, obtained 50 million Facebook users’ information in 2014 with his app “thisisyourdigitallife.” Kogan collected data from people and their friends who took that quiz. Only 270,000 people took the quiz, but Kogan gathered data on another 50 million people from network connections. He promised that the data was exclusively for research purposes and then sent the data to Cambridge Analytica for political purposes. The company funded his app for $800,000, and the Russian government also paid Kogan for his research into the psychology of specific Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica was also involved in the Leave.EU leading to the success of the Brexit vote for separating Britain from the European Union.

Cambridge’s control over voters comes from its “psychographic” targeting that creates psychological profiles to “effectively engage and persuade voters using specially tailored language and visual ad combinations” that appeal to each person on an emotional level. Kogan claimed that his data predicted individual neuroticism, political views, agreeableness, and interests in subjects such as militarism, horoscopes, and the environment that could be used for targeting voters. Cambridge built profiles by maximizing the use of “up to 5,000 data points on over 230 million American voters,” according to the company’s website.

In August 2016 when Cambridge was targeting voters without their knowledge for DDT’s campaign, Facebook said it was deleting the collected data but didn’t tell Facebook users that GOP operatives were in possession of their data. Kogan’s company Global Science Research had paid people $1 or $2 in 2014 to complete its quiz and required that they download an app and share data about themselves and their social network. Facebook let app developers access data, such as their friends’ names and personal information about both themselves and their network. In 2015, Facebook claimed to receive certification that Kogan, Cambridge Analytica, and founder of Cambridge Christopher Wylie had destroyed all data collected by the quiz. They didn’t.

Wylie, a data analyst for Cambridge, shared the company’s activities with The New York Times and London’s The Observer in addition with UK cybercrime investigators. Former employees and contractors of Cambridge maintain that the company still possesses all or most of the data. In an interview on Today this morning, Wylie said that Cambridge worked with Corey Lewandowski, DDT’s first campaign manager, and Steve Bannon in 2015. Wylie described the method that Cambridge used:

“This data was used to create profiling algorithms that would allow us to explore mental vulnerabilities of people and then map out ways to inject information into different streams or channels of content online so that people started to see things that may or may not be true. This is a company that took fake news to the next level.”

Facebook blocked Wylie, and he retorted:

“Suspended by Facebook. For blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for two years.”

Tracking responses to social media messages in real time showed the locations where DDT should go and the words that his audience would want to hear. Bannon said just before DDT’s election:

“I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine. Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.”

Theresa Hong, an IT member of DDT’s campaign, told BBC in an interview last year, “Without Facebook, we wouldn’t have won.” She explained how a working mother could be targeted with information about child care instead of war with a more “warm and fuzzy” ad without DDT’s voice. She said, “It wasn’t uncommon to have about 35 to 45 thousand iterations of these types of ads everyday.”

Cambridge emerged in Robert Mueller’s investigation last December through its employee emails that revealed the FEC violations about non-U.S. people working on political campaigns. Cambridge’s CEO, Nix, is British, and many of the company’s employees are European or Canadian. In its Russian connections, Cambridge contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in June 2016, and the DDT campaign started paying Cambridge in July–almost $9 million by the end of the campaign.

In now-deleted tweets, Facebook’s head of security, Alex Stamos, tried to justify Kogan’s actions by stating that he “didn’t break into any systems, bypass technical controls, or use a flaw in our system to gather more data than allowed.” Yet Facebook did not permit Kogan to give data to a voter-targeting operation.

An undercover reporter has video of  Cambridge CEO Nix who suggested that his company could use honey traps and bribery to discredit politicians. In defining “deep digging,” Nix said that a way to target someone is to “offer them a deal that’s too good to be true and make sure that’s video recorded” and “send some girls around to the candidate’s house…” He added that Ukrainian girls “are very beautiful, I find that works very well.” Nix said, “I’m just giving you examples of what can be done and what has been done.”

Mercer has largely stayed out of the limelight while he funds Cambridge Analytica, which keeps a shell company in the United States, and he pours his money into electing nationalist candidates. Former CEO of the investment firm Renaissance Technologies, Mercer was also a main funder of Breitbart News and the biggest donor to DDT-supporting Super PACs. Steve Bannon was VP of Cambridge Analytica while he chaired Breitbart News but quit to join DDT’s campaign. Bannon is gone from the White House, but Kellyanne Conway, close friend of Mercer’s daughter Rebecca and creator of the term “alternative news,” stayed.

Some of Mercer’s beliefs:

  • During the 1990s, Hillary Clinton used the CIA for drug trafficking.
  • Blacks were better off economically before the civil rights movement.
  • The only racists in the U.S. now are black, not white.
  • The U.S. should have stripped Iraq of oil.
  • Radiation outside the immediate blast zones of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Japanese people healthier.
  • Nuclear accidents aren’t any big deal.
  • Climate change would cause future generations to “enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life,” as Art Robinson wrote.
  • The U.S. should return to the gold standard.
  • (And many more wacky, radially far-right conspiracy theories.)

Mercer used Breitbart.com as a weapon to promote negative stories about Hillary Clinton that got the most clicks and likes. He put his daughter, Rebekah, on DDT’s transition team where she picked people for top government jobs including Cabinet positions. Her push for John Bolton as Secretary of State failed, but now he’s being considered for national security adviser. She was also behind Michael Flynn’s selection for that job. On the board of Cambridge, Rebekah Mercer plans to stay there.

Elizabeth Denham, Britain’s information commissioner, plans to apply for a warrant to access Cambridge’s servers because the company has not cooperated with her investigation into its illegal activities. The EU and Democrat officials in the U.S. have joined her in demands for further investigation. Republicans, some of whom used Cambridge in their elections such as Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Thom Tillis (NC), are mostly staying quiet about the problem.

Cambridge Analytica wasn’t totally responsible for the loss in investment value today: under a new chairman, Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates with another two increases planned before the midterm elections. Rational influences on DDT from former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and economic adviser Gary Cohn are gone, replaced by Mike Pompeo who wants to go to war and Larry Kudlow who is usually wrong about economics. Add to that DDT’s rabid tweets against special investigator Robert Mueller last weekend, and the nation has plunged into an uncertainty that frightens investors.

As for data mining, the future may bring regulations.

November 8, 2017

A Very Different Kind of Election Day

Just one year ago today, the presidential election created a nation of either depressed or angry—or both—people. Yesterday was another election, and a day of firsts for people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and Democrats.

Virginia is the poster state for the most wins. DDT supporters who ran on the “nationalistic” agenda of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lost in droves starting with the governor. Democrat Ralph Northam was supposedly even with GOP Ed Gillespie going into the election but came out winning by nine percent.  Democrats Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring beat conservative Republicans for lieutenant governor and attorney general by over five percent and almost seven percent respectively. Fairfax’s opponent sponsored a bill to force women to have vaginal ultrasounds before having abortions, and Herring’s opponent fought his refusal to defend Virginia’s ban on marriage equality.

Republicans worked hard to move Ed Gillespie into the position of governor. DDT’s robo calls supporting Ed Gillespie (VA) went out to voters all day before his loss. Sour grapes from the loss, however, caused DDT to tweet that Gillespie “did not embrace me or what I stand for.” Gillespie’s loss was also one for white supremacist and former DDT aide Steve Bannon who had stated before the election:

“I think the big lesson for Tuesday is that, in Gillespie’s case, Trumpism without Trump can show the way forward. If that’s the case, Democrats better be very, very worried.”

While those robo calls were going out to voters in Virginia, DDT’s son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted to his 2.2 followers that they should vote for Ed Gillespie today, not yesterday on Election Day, and did it twice—once in his initial tweet and the second time in his “correction.”

More impressive than Northam winning the governor’s seat, however, was the turnover in Virginia’s House of Delegates, one of two chambers in the state’s General Assembly. Republicans went into the election with a majority of 66-34. Thus far they have lost at least 15 seats, and another five of them are in play. Of the 15 lost seats by white men, eleven of them have been replaced by women with great diversity and firsts—the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, two Latinas, an openly lesbian, and the first openly transgender person to win a state legislative office in the nation. Danica Roem defeated self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” Bob Marshall who promoted the “potty police” law which would have banned Roem from using the women’s bathroom.

Another of the 15 Democratic winners for Virginia’s House of Delegates is Chris Hurst who ran for the office after his girlfriend was shot and killed on live television two years ago. He ran on a pro-commonsense gun reform campaign against someone with an A+ rating from the NRA.

Next year gives Democrats a chance to pick up more members in the House of Delegates if a court challenge of legislative district maps requires special elections, and all 100 seats are on the ballot again in 2019. All the seats are also up for grabs in 2019 in the Senate where the GOP has a 21-19 majority. Even if Democrats fall short of taking control of the chamber this year, they see a potential for additional pickups next year, if a court challenge of legislative district maps forces special elections, and in 2019 when all 100 seats are on the ballot again.

New Jersey saw another gubernatorial win for Democrats after Philip D. Murphy defeated Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who ran on a platform of cutting property taxes. Guadagno’s boss, Gov. Chris Christie, has an approval rating of 14 percent. Each chamber of the solidly Democratic New Jersey legislature may have added at least one member and perhaps more. New Jersey and Washington now make seven states that have both Democratic governors and legislatures. Maybe Virginia will add the eighth.

Other states benefiting from a Democratic sweep:

  • Washington: Manka Dhingra won a special election which flipped the state Senate to Democrat. With that change, all three states on the west coast—California, Oregon, and Washington—have blue governors and legislatures.
  • Georgia:  Democrats flipped three GOP-held legislative seats which broke the GOP super-majority in the state Senate.
  • New Hampshire:  Erika Connors became the fourth New Hampshire Democrat to flip a Republican seat blue in special elections this year.

Other achievements yesterday:

  • Andrea Jenkins is now the first openly trans woman of color elected any public office in the U.S. after her victory to become a Minneapolis city councilor.
  • Democrat Ashley Bennett won a seat as a freeholder in Atlantic County, New Jersey. She ran because the incumbent joked about whether the Women’s March would be “over in time for them to cook dinner.” 
  • Sheila Oliver has become New Jersey’s first woman black lieutenant governor.
  • Vi Lyles defeated a Republican to be the first woman black mayor of Charlotte (NC).
  • Ravinder Bhalla became the city’s first Sikh mayor in Hoboken (NJ) despite the smear campaign calling him a terrorist.
  • Wilmot Collins is the first black mayor in Montana’s history; he came to Helena 12 years ago as a refugee from Liberia.
  • Tyler Titus’ win for a seat on the Erie School Board makes him the first openly transgender person to be elected in the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Melvin Carter has been elected the first black mayor of St. Paul (MN).
  • Jenny Durkan became the first out lesbian elected mayor of Seattle (WA) as well as the first woman to take that position in 96 years. She takes over on November 28 after the resignation of Ed Murray, a gay man who was accused of sexually abusing younger men. Durkan won by 61 percent.
  • Women took all six appeals court seats in Pennsylvania that were on the ballot.
  • Maine voters chose to expand Medicaid to 70,000 of the state’s residents with a 59-percent majority in the first state to bring the Affordable Care Act to a state with a referendum. (Maine Gov. Paul LePage is threatening to block the vote.)
  • And more!

Satirist Andy Borowitz wrote about how Northam and Murphy were “unfit” for their new offices because of their lack of reality-show experience.

Republicans deny that yesterday’s elections create any problems for GOP elections, but their feeling of desperation is manifested in an increasingly frantic attempt to pass the tax bill that favors the rich and penalizes everyone else. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that the blue wave makes passing legislation even more urgent. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said,  “If you don’t get [tax reform] done, you’re guaranteed a bad midterm.” [Photo: AP/Scott Applewhite – Cole above right with Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said that the largest number of Democratic votes yesterday came from the suburbs, the same place that will suffer the most from DDT’s tax cuts.

The House has spent three days tweaking the bill and plan to continue tomorrow because the scoring shows a $1.7 trillion deficit. An amendment created a $74 billion hole by reversing a 20-percent excise tax on transactions between subsidiaries of multinational corporations. The Senate also plans to come out with its own bill tomorrow before the House has a chance to vote on a bill that doesn’t yet exist to keep from needing 60 votes to pass the bill.

At least two senators and 18 representatives have declared that they will not be running for re-election next year. All are Republicans. Get ready for November 6, 2018.

December 18, 2016

Electoral College Votes Tomorrow

Religious faith is turning electoral voters against Donald Trump (DT) after 80 percent of the evangelical world supported him before the election. One so-called “faithless elector” in the Electoral College, Christopher Suprun, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he said that he would vote for someone else than DT. Texas state law permits him to do so. The Republican called DT unfit for office:

 “Given [Trump’s] own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.”

Suprun detailed his concerns about DT such as his promotion of violence against Trump-protesters, his choice of advisers he writes. Asked if his faith influenced his decision to vote against Trump, the Roman Catholic paramedic and former firefighter said, “Of course.” He added that he learned from his faith that “it is allowable to choose the lesser of two evils.”

A former Texas electoral voter, Art Sisernos, stepped down from the Electoral College because supporting Trump would “bring dishonor to God,” but he couldn’t break his pledge to the Texas GOP to vote for the Republican candidate. A number of electoral voters struggling between their political requirements and their faith are Mormons who see DT as an opponent of the U.S. Constitution.

The members of the Electoral College lobbying for casting ballots for a moderate GOP instead of DT call themselves “Hamilton Electors,” referring to the constitutional process of voting for the president. In a Federalist Paper, Alexander Hamilton wrote that the Electoral College should be an “intermediate body” that’s less exposed to the people’s “heats and ferments.”

Hamilton Electors argue that DT is a threat to U.S democracy because of his unfit temperament as a tyrant and demagogue, his threat to world peace and closeness to Russia, and his corruption with his personal dealings. Another argument is that the Founding Fathers envisioned the electors preventing “an irresponsible demagogue from taking office,” according to Atlantic’s Peter Beinart.

In the Electoral College, the 538 people selecting the President of the United States (two senators plus the number of representatives from each state plus another three from Washington, D.C.) cast ballots tomorrow.  Twenty-nine states require these “electoral voters” to select the person who the state chose in its popular vote. Maine and Nebraska are the only states to not vote in a block for the popular vote; they divide the vote based on the percentage of the votes for president in the state. The votes are read in a special joint session of Congress on January 6 when the official winner is declared.

Seuss satires took over Twitter in October. Here is a recent one from John Pavlovitz, a pastor in Raleigh.

trump-seuss

HOW THE TRUMP STOLE AMERICA

john-pavlovitzIn a land where the states are united, they claim,

in a sky-scraping tower adorned with his name,

lived a terrible, horrible, devious chump,

the bright orange miscreant known as the Trump.

 

This Trump he was mean, such a mean little man,

with the tiniest heart and two tinier hands,

and a thin set of lips etched in permanent curl,

and a sneer and a scowl and contempt for the world.

 

He looked down from his perch and he grinned ear to ear,

and he thought, “I could steal the election this year!

It’d be rather simple, it’s so easily won,

I’ll just make them believe that their best days are done!

Yes, I’ll make them believe that it’s all gone to Hell,

and I’ll be Jerk Messiah and their souls they will sell.

 

And I’ll use lots of words disconnected from truth,

but I’ll say them with style so they won’t ask for proof.

I’ll toss out random platitudes, phrases, and such,

They’re so raised on fake news that it won’t matter much!

They won’t question the how to, the what, why, or when,

I will make their America great once again!”

 

The Trump told them to fear, they should fear he would say,

“They’ve all come for your jobs, they’ll all take them away.

You should fear every Muslim and Mexican too,

every brown, black, and tan one, everyone who votes blue.”

 

And he fooled all the Christians, he fooled them indeed,

He just trotted out Jesus, that’s all Jesus folk need.

And celebrity preachers they all crowned him as king,

Tripping over themselves just to kiss the Trump’s ring.

 

And he spoke only lies just as if they were true,

Until they believed all of those lies were true too.

He repeated and Tweeted and he blustered and spit,

And he mislead and fibbed—and he just made up sh*t.

 

And the media laughed but they printed each line,

thinking “He’ll never will win, in the end we’ll be fine.”

So they chased every headline, bold typed every claim,

‘Till the fake news and real news they looked just the same.

 

And the scared folk who listened, they devoured each word,

Yes, they ate it all up every word that they heard,

petrified that their freedom was under attack,

trusting Trump he would take their America back.

From the gays and from ISIS, he’d take it all back,

Take it back from the Democrats, fat cats, and blacks.

And so hook, line, and sinker they all took the bait,

all his lies about making America great.

 

Now the Pant-suited One she was smart and prepared,

she was brilliant and steady but none of them cared,

no they cared not to see all the work that she’d done,

or the fact they the Trump had not yet done thing one.

They could only shout “Emails!”, yes “Emails!” they’d shout,

because Fox News had told them—and Fox News had clout.

And the Pant-suited One she was slandered no end,

and a lie became truth she could never defend.

And the Trump watched it all go according to plan—

a strong woman eclipsed by an insecure man.

 

And November the 8th arrived, finally it came,

like a slow-moving storm but it came just the same.

And Tuesday became Wednesday as those days will do,

And the night turned to morning and the nightmare came true,

With millions of non-voters still in their beds,

Yes, the Trump he had done it, just like he had said.

 

And the Trumpers they trumped, how they trumped when he won,

All the racists and bigots; deplorable ones,

they crawled out from the woodwork, came out to raise Hell,

they came out to be hateful and hurtful as well.

With slurs and with road signs, with spray paint and Tweets,

with death threats to neighbors and taunts on the street.

And the grossest of grossness they hurled on their peers,

while the Trump he said zilch—for the first time in years.

 

But he Tweeted at Hamilton, he Tweeted the Times,

And he trolled Alec Baldwin a few hundred times,

and he pouted a pout like a petulant kid,

thinking this is what Presidents actually did,

thinking he could still be a perpetual jerk,

terrified to learn he had to actually work,

work for every American, not just for a few,

not just for the white ones—there was much more to do.

He now worked for the Muslims and Mexicans too,

for the brown, black, and tan ones, and the ones who vote blue.

They were all now his bosses, now they all had a say,

and those nasty pant-suited ones were here to stay.

And the Trump he soon realized that he didn’t win,

He had gotten the thing—and the thing now had him.

 

And it turned out the Trump was a little too late,

for America was already more than quite great,

not because of the sameness, the opposite’s true,

It’s greatness far more than just red, white, and blue,

It’s straight, gay, and female—it’s Gentile and Jew,

It’s Transgender and Christian and Atheist too.

It’s Asians, Caucasians of every kind,

The disabled and abled, the deaf and the blind,

It’s immigrants, Muslims, and brave refugees,

It’s Liberals with bleeding hearts fixed to their sleeves.

And we are all staying, we’re staying right here,

and we’ll be the great bane of the Trump for four years.

And we’ll be twice as loud as the loudness of hate,

be the greatness that makes our America great.

And the Trump’s loudest boasts they won’t ever obscure,

over two million more of us—voted for her.

 

You can see Pavlovitz’s latest post about DT here and follow his blog, Stuff That Needs To Be Said.

December 9, 2016

Electing Trump Hurts ‘Working-Class White Trump Voter’

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 2:43 PM
Tags: , ,

The recent Brexit vote resulted in regret among many of those people who voted in favor of it because they thought it would never pass. Voters for Donald Trump (DT) were convinced that he would be elected, but, like the Brexit voters, they are beginning to feel remorse because they believed in his promises. Those days have rapidly dissipated since November 9. There’s even a website that reports the tweets from all those DT supporters who now realize that they made a stupid decision on Election Day. Samplings of these include Deplorable Jeff—yes, that’s what he calls himself—who rejoiced in his success. The Twitter bio for this life member of the NRA reads, “We did it! The country spoke. This election was about saving The Forgotten Man!” Yet he now worries about losing Medicare to vouchers and writes, “Y would Ryan/Price jeopardize health of seniors/disabled??” Trump supporter John Harrison tweeted, “I regret voting 4 U because u chose a woman who will defund public education.” Joe Walsh and Sarah Palin, former arch DT supporters, are now crying about his refusal to follow their definition of capitalism—crony capitalism, to quote Palin.

NEW YORK, NY - February 27: Behind the scenes at MSNBC. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/ Reportage by Getty Images)

 (Photo by Charles Ommanney)

Joy Reid, MSNBC’s match for Rachel Maddow, has written a letter to “Working-Class White Trump Voter.” Excerpts follow:

“You’re probably going to read this as sour grapes, and I certainly am sour about a family of kleptocrats moving into the White House because 80,000 of your votes in states that get more federal tax dollars than they put in trump 2.7 million of ours, even though we carry you financially, and California and New York could function just fine as our own countries, without you.

“But the reality is, I do live in a blue state. My governor and mayor are Democrats. Undocumented immigrants are safe where I live. Two of my kids attend a private college, so they wouldn’t have gotten free tuition anyway, and the third goes to a really good public school, where they teach science. I have a job (actually, multiple jobs) that can’t be outsourced to Mexico. And I’ll probably get a tax cut. So I’ll be fine over the next four years, as long as I don’t encounter an angry cop who’s had a bad day. But allow me to be blunt, since I don’t have any desire to pander to you, and it wouldn’t work to pander to you anyway.

“You voted for Donald Trump, thinking that he was on your side; that he will save your jobs and your way of life, whatever you imagine that is. Well, you got played. Over the course of his decades in business, Donald Trump has never given a damn about people like you. When he tore down the old Bonwit Teller building—where my Jamaican godmother was one of the few black women allowed to work as a cashier in the 1960s (her big claim to fame was meeting Troy Donahue)—to build Trump Tower, Trump used undocumented white laborers, mostly Polish, to do it. When his company forced them to work in deplorable, dangerous conditions and even failed to pay them the meager wages they were promised and they complained, Trump threatened to have them deported.

“Trump built Trump Tower using mob concrete, not Bethlehem steel. In fact, he has rarely used American steel in the few buildings he’s actually built; opting for Chinese steel instead. That includes two of his last three projects: the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. Then again, Nevada and Illinois voted with us in the anti-Trump majority, so the joke wasn’t exactly on them.

“Now, your supposed hero of the working class, the ‘blue collar billionaire’ who you insisted both during the campaign and afterward heard you, understood you, spoke to you, and cared about you, is attacking one of you. Trump used his Twitter account this week to savage United Steelworkers 1999 of Indiana and its president, Chuck Jones, an ordinary working man who dared to tell the truth about the phony Carrier deal that the media shamefully allowed Trump to ride to glowing headlines and boosted poll numbers.

“To review, Trump used his Twitter feed to credit himself for saving 1,100 jobs at Indiana furnace and air conditioning manufacturer Carrier. In fact, it was still-governor Mike Pence, Trump’s soon-to-be vice president, who cut the deal to hand over $7 million in state tax abatements to Carrier in exchange for delaying the movement of 770 jobs to the company’s new plant in Monterrey, Mexico. That move, over the next three years, and the shutdown of the Indianapolis plant, is still planned. Another 300 white collar jobs Trump claimed credit for, meaning researchers and administrators, not steel workers, were not being moved to Mexico in the first place. And an additional 600 jobs at that plant, plus 700 at a plant in nearby Huntington, Indiana, plus 350 more at a ball bearings factory owned by Rexnord Corp., are still being shipped south of the border.

“Meanwhile, despite the willingness of the incoming Trump-Pence administration to bribe a company with your tax dollars, there’s no guarantee that the small number of jobs saved are more than temporary. For all you know, Carrier only agreed to delay moving those 770 jobs until Christmas, to get the good press. And unlike President Obama’s deal to save literally millions of auto industry jobs in 2009, there’s no agreement for Carrier to pay taxpayers back with interest.

“When Jones pointed out that Trump used Carrier employees as props and ‘lied his ass off’ about the jobs he was supposedly saving, Trump got mad. He tweeted at Jones, blaming him, and US1999, for driving jobs out of Indiana and out of the United States. Think about that for a moment—your next president doesn’t think corporate greed and the pursuit of low wages are driving jobs out; he thinks unions are. That means he thinks your health care benefits and retirement package are the problem, not your CEO and the singular goal of ‘enhancing shareholder value’ at your expense. Sounds like a proper plutocrat to me. Well, Trump went after Mr. Jones, and now Mr. Jones is getting death threats.

“You see, Trump is ‘for’ you, as long as you’re quiet and obedient. The moment you step out of line and stop praising him, it’s on. He’ll treat you no differently from how he treated the Gold Star family, the Khans, or former Miss Universe Alicia Machado for criticizing him during the campaign. You didn’t care much about them, since they belonged to groups you were voting to sideline—the Muslims and the Hispanics you think are taking over ‘your’ country. But you might want to give a damn about Mr. Jones. Because what Trump is doing to him is a sign of things to come for you.

“Meanwhile, Trump torched the stock of another American manufacturing company, Boeing, in retaliation for its CEO criticizing him; first inflating the size of their new contract to upgrade the Air Force One fleet, and then threatening to cancel the deal altogether, which would cost American jobs and help Boeing’s only competitor: Airbus, of France.

“Trump is a big businessman. He’s your boss or CEO, not one of your brothers on the line. He is on record saying that in his view, wages in the U.S. are too high. Trump’s pick for labor secretary, fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, is against raising the federal minimum wage, too.

“Trump the CEO manufacturers his tacky suits and ties in Mexico, and his daughter manufactures her clothes and shoes in China. But neither of them plans to set the example for their fellow tycoons by moving those jobs to the U.S.A. Ivanka is moving some of her production to Ethiopia. And she just struck a new production deal in Japan, while on the phone with her dad and the Japanese prime minister. The Trumps have spent exactly zero percent of their lives caring about anyone other than themselves. Don’t expect that to change now, especially since they can now enrich themselves on international bribes, courtesy of daddy’s new job.

“Trump’s threat (again via Twitter) of a 35 percent tax on companies who ship jobs overseas is complete bull. It’s never going to happen, and he knows it. It’s Congress, not the president, that moves legislation. And this Congress, which you voted for, is controlled by Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who don’t want to take the country back to the 1950s, where you want to go, but rather to the 1920s. You might want to Google “Calvin Coolidge” or order the collected works of Aldous Huxley for Christmas if you need a primer.

“Many of you voted based on the fiction that Hillary Clinton was going to take your guns—the way Barack Obama sent fleets of black helicopters to take them, right? Just pause for a moment to think about how ridiculous that sounds; sending who, the military, door to door to collect your silly firearms? Wake up, people. That idea is as foolish as the notion that before Nov. 9 you weren’t allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas.’

“So Merry Christmas, Trump voters. Your guns are safe. They always were. Instead, while Trump is entertaining you by hiring white generals named ‘Mad Dog’ to make you feel powerful again, the Republicans in Congress fully intend to take away every program that saved your parents and grandparents from the Great Depression.

“Sure, they’re coming for ‘Obamacare’ first. And you’re happy about that because you think that’s just free insurance for black ‘Obama phone’ users and so-called illegals. But it’s not. It’s the access to insurance covering 20 million people, including millions of people like you; including 400,000 of you in very-not-black Kentucky. It’s covering disabled kids and people with pre-existing conditions, many who are too sick to get insurance without it. And Ryan and his friends want to cancel it, and then take three years to replace it, probably with Ryan’s favorite thing: vouchers.

“But that’s not all. Ryan is also coming for Medicare. He wants to privatize that, too, and not for your mom and dad—they vote in midterms. He’s going to privatize it for you. So when you retire, working stiff in your forties or fifties, you’re going to get a handful of vouchers, instead of Medicare. And he’s also coming for Medicaid, to turn it into a block grant. That’s not a problem for me, since my blue state will keep caring for our poor. Your state—with its Republican governor and legislature? Not so much. Your emergency rooms are going to fill up with the sick, and your bankruptcy courts will fill up with their cases when they can’t pay the bills. And your rural hospitals are going to close.

“You’ve turned your country over the top tenth of 1 percent. Talk about ‘establishment.’ Their interest is not in helping you. It’s in further enriching themselves, by privatizing every public program—Social Security can’t be far behind—dropping the corporate and top income tax brackets as close to zero as possible, and making you pay, for everything from privatized roads owned by multinational corporations to elementary school. They’re into taking land, including our public lands and parks, or using another Trump favorite—public domain—to drill and frack, endangering your water just as surely as they poisoned Flint’s. And when they can’t steal any more from the Native Americans—who have shown they still have some fight left—they’ll come for your farms.

“In Michigan, Republicans have already gotten started. They voted to further gut unions’ ability to bargain for decent health care and retirement through the use of strikes, and congressional Republicans have already voted to strip the ‘buy American’ clause out of a bill to repair the nation’s water infrastructure.

“As for black Trump supporters, don’t be fooled. Remember when Trump said he didn’t want black people counting his money, only Jewish people? Well look at his appointments. He didn’t even respect neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson enough to insist that he take over Health and Human Services. Instead, he’s tossing the black guy in the “urban” chair.

“So good luck, Trump voters. I hope at some point you realize what’s happening and fight back. Your choices, unfortunately, do affect us all, and they will until we wake up and junk the Electoral College, which puts rural states’ zeal for Christian rule ahead of blue states’ desire for good government.

Until then, all I can do is try to warn you, and then wish you good luck.”

Thanks, Joy Reid! [Those who want more “Reid” can watch her weekday program at 2:00 pm EST on MSNBC.]

December 5, 2016

Portland Women March against Hate

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 12:10 PM
Tags: , , ,

Over 1,000 people participated in the mile-long Portland Women March against Hate last Saturday, that included live music and speeches. The signs carried by marchers showed their activism as participants addressed issues such as Portland remaining a sanctuary city and gun safety laws. The group gathered in protest of “misogyny, misogynoir, racism, xenophobia, transmisogyny, and transphobia.” Barbara Chapnick said, “My message is for Tom Price. It’s my body, my choice and get out of my vagina.”

As with any peaceful protest, the media gave the march short shrift; the Oregonian buried the event on p. 13. Fortunately, my photographer friend Ann Hubard sent me the following pictures.

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