Nel's New Day

October 19, 2022

Debates from High-profile GOP Candidates:

Debates from High-profile GOP Candidates:

In Utah, Sen. Mike Lee, being overtaken by unaffiliated Evan McMullin, desperately campaigned for a return to the U.S. Senate with nasty responses to McMullin level and factual presentation about Lee’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election in favor of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). McMullin said:

“Senator Lee, you sought to find a weakness in our system. You advised the White House, find an alternative slate of electors for Trump to overturn the will of the people. That’s what you said [about states sending alternative slates to vote for DDT] …

“You said the president should listen to legal quack Sydney Powell, ‘Please make time for her, let her in,’ you told the White House chief of staff. You told the president that you were working overtime—14 hours a day, I think you said—to unravel this for him, to keep a president who had been voted out of office according to the will of the people in power despite the will of the people. Senator Lee, it is a betrayal of the American republic. You were there to stand up for our constitution, but when the barbarians were at the gate you were happy to let them in.”

Lee answered, “I disagree with everything my opponent just said, including the words ‘but,’ ‘and,’ and ‘the.’”

Lee begged for Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) endorsement on Fox’s Tucker Carlson show, a program that regularly roasts Romney. Pundits with short memories slam Romney for no endorsement, but Lee refused to endorse Romney in 2018 and gained his first Senate term in 2010 by destroying popular GOP senator, Bob Bennett, for not being sufficient right-wing. Again desperate, Lee wrote an op-ed glorifying himself in third person “he.”  

A.B. Stoddard has an excellent piece on Lee’s need for power so great that he faithfully follows DDT after rejecting him in the beginning. 

In Ohio, J.D. Vance, another DDT endorsement, faced off with Tim Ryan for the U.S. Senate in a close battle rife with anger and lies. Ryan pointed out Vance’s praise for Alex Jones as an example of Vance’s extremism. Vance denied he said that “Alex Jones is a far more reputable source of information than Rachel Maddow,” but a screen shot of his tweet proves Ryan was right. A believer in the GOP “replacement theory” that Democrats were trying to replace all white people with minorities, Vance tried to hide behind his biracial child. His wife is Indian American. He frequently connects President Joe Biden’s southern border policies with increased fentanyl trafficking in his state, accusing Biden of trying “to kill a bunch of MAGA voters in the middle of the heartland.”

In the debate, Vance followed the DDT party line, dismissing the House investigation into the insurrection. The attack on Ryan’s voting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came from Ryan’s statements in the first debate about DDT’s remark regarding Vance’s “kissing my ass” to get his support. Ryan said Vance should move back to San Francisco if he wants to run against Pelosi. 

Vance has joined the crazy QAnon conspiracy theory of kitty litter boxes in schools for “furries, ”the evidence-free belief about students pretending to be cats, and said he wants the school to tell him if his child “identifies as a chipmunk.” Despite multiple claims from losing GOP candidates, only one school districts keeps kitty litter in classrooms: a Colorado school keeps it in “go-to” buckets for children’s use during school shootings.

In another evidence-free claim, Vance said that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “don’t say gay” law is to ban “sexually explicit material that propagandizes and encourages children to take different identities and to engage in sexually explicit acts.” The law highly restricts any discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity.  

More about Vance.  

In Georgia, DDT-endorsed Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate survived one debate telling his lies, including holding up a child’s “Junior Ranger Badge” for law enforcement in violation of debate rules he had signed. He skipped the debate at the Atlanta Press Club. His opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock, used the extra time to describe Walker’s domestic violence and lies. A former state senator and GOP chair said people took “comfort” about Walker’s “ability to stand up … and look like he’s fundamentally in charge of … himself.”

Immediately after the announcement of the first abortion, a prayer circle hosted by First Baptist Church Pastor Anthony George called for Walker’s divinely anointment. About pointing a gun at his wife’s head and threatening to kill her, he claims to be redeemed. In far-right Christian evangelical lexicon, Walker paid to have his own child murdered, but they abandoned  the teachings of Jesus to control the U.S. Senate. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called Warnock, a pastor, an “abomination.” 

A third candidate, Libertarian Chase Oliver, participated in the debate. A gay man, Oliver attacked Walker’s anti-LGBTQ stance. If no one receives at least 50 percent of the vote on November 8, a run-off on December 6 between the top two will determine the winner. Republicans moved up the timing since the last Senate election as well as eliminating any new voter registrations between Midterms and the run-off, trying to avoid their problems in 2021 when they lost two Senate seats.

In the past two weeks, Walker admitted he lied about not knowing the ex-girlfriend, mother of one of his illegitimate children, and paying her; denied he urged her to get another abortion two years after the first one; and uses his book, published two years before the ex-girlfriend’s first abortion, to excuse himself because he was saved “by the grace of god.” Walker claimed abortion kills babies but there “was nothing to be ashamed of” if the claims are true.

Perhaps trying to divert the media from the abortions’ stories, Walker claimed his grandmother was “full-blood Cherokee” and his mother “part Native American, a big part.” Walker’s mother said she couldn’t confirm his claims,” and the Cherokee Nation, which keeps excellent records, has no evidence of Walker’s claim. When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) claimed to have Native American ancestry, she was ridiculed for years; Walker’s lie was barely a blip on the radar.

Walker is the classic deadbeat dad who he claims to hate. He’s a typical poorly-parented adolescent who lies to get out of trouble, tells really bad, pointless jokes like the one on bulls and cows, threatens to beat up or kill people, and runs away from all his responsibilities. DDT didn’t even go to Georgia to support his own candidate. Instead, surrogates Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rick Scott (R-FL) were sent, and Cotton was forced to laugh at transgender servicemembers along with Walker. Although Walker never served in the military, he claimed to do “lots of things in the military,” and his son is gay. Cotton also lied when he claimed to be “a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said he couldn’t vote for Walker but can’t vote for Warnock. He described himself and “hundreds of thousands of other Republicans here in Georgia … confused. We don’t really have anywhere to go right now.” Mistaking Duncan for a TV pundit, Walker disparaged his statements. Polls are all over the place in Georgia from a two-percent lead for Walker to a 12-percent lead for Warnock. Early voting started last Monday with big crowds.

Joe Scarborough called Walker “the perfect lab experiment on just how low Republican voters are willing to go.” According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, DDT “wants to show that nothing matters.” The more DDT and MAGAs abolish the rules, the less the rules count.

More about Walker.

Also in Georgia, a debate between Gov. Brian Kemp and Democrat opponent Stacey Abrams in the gubernatorial election drew much less notice, likely because of no buffoon for the policy-based event. and the hour-long event was policy-based. Four years ago, Kemp was able to purge voter rolls and otherwise control the election while he was Secretary of State; this year, he commands the field as an incumbent who has not destroyed the state and can still control some campaign financing to benefit himself.

Abrams presented a list of Georgia’s problems—spiking crime, rising home prices, and Chinese government’s purchase of the state’s farmland. Kemp attacked her on a position of “defund the police,” touting his endorsements, but she pointed out that endorsements are typically related to long-entrenched power in the state. His answer to any question was that Georgia reopened the state’s businesses and schools earlier than any other state in 2020, including those about racial disparities, local economy, expanding Medicaid, and budget surplus.

Kemp also signed a law permitting anyone in Georgia to carry a firearm without a license after the mass shootings in 2021. He claimed he wouldn’t seek any further restrictions in laws or contraception although he secretly expressed an openness to these changes. Georgia already blocks abortions after six weeks before many women are unaware of a pregnancy. Caught on audio, he claimed he was just humoring his audience. He does want a law stopping “divisive concepts” and a “parent’s bill of rights”—meaning white nationalist curriculum and only conservative parents’ “rights.”

In a Wisconsin debate, an audience laughed at Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) when he whined about being “set up” by the FBI to explain why he had to be warned that the Kremlin tried to make him a “Russian asset.” He claimed that the FBI used “a corrupt briefing and then leaked that to smear me.” Johnson blamed the laughter on college students who might have sneaked into the debate because they are “taught leftist propaganda” and called the January 6 insurrection “peaceful” by “people … that truly respect law enforcement [who] would never do anything to break the law.”  

Johnson is paying a law firm connected to a January 6 probe into overturning the 2020 election. The campaign listed expenses as “recount,” indicating he may be getting ready for a loss in three weeks. Johnson also received donations from a DDT attorney accused in the state’s fake elector effort. Asked the usual question to say something positive about his opponent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Johnson said he wanted to know why “he turned against America.” Johnson was booed.

Other Johnson policies: retirees should go back to work, Social Security and Medicare will disappear if they aren’t voted in every year, and he doesn’t know if he will accept defeat. Johnson is also open to the conspiracy theory that COVID vaccines cause AIDS and wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Plus more.

May 25, 2022

Primaries – May 24, 2022

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) was up with another round of endorsements for the May 24 primaries in Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas. Candidates not receiving over 50 percent of the vote will have runoffs on June 21. Minnesota also a special primary for one congressional district, and Texas, requiring primary winners receive at least 50 percent of the vote, had a few controversial elections.

Pennsylvania Recount:

Dr. Oz’s race with David McCormick for U.S. Senate goes to a mandatory recount with the difference in Oz’s favor at only 947 votes out of over 1.3 million ballots. The deadline of June 7 will tell Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) if he lost his endorsement for Oz and must scream “rigged election.” Oz is staying quiet while McCormick sues to keep the state to stop them from discarding mail-in ballots lacking handwritten dates. Mail-in ballots favored McCormick over Oz by 32 to 23 percent. Instead of “find the votes” as DDT demanded in Georgia almost 17 months ago, DDT demands, “Stop FINDING VOTES in PENNSYLVANIA! RIGGED?” Pennsylvania’s GOP delayed counting mail-in ballots by blocking any preparation of them before the election. In the chaos, exhausted election officials have quit, leading to more chaos in November.

Oregon Failure:

Kurt Schrader’s battle with Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Democratic candidate in the 5th Congressional District slogs on because of the extreme incompetence of the GOP Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall. With 66 percent of the vote counted, McLeod-Skinner is still 18 percent ahead, and Hall has no projection of when results will be announced. She does have a deadline of June 13. Much more about this later!

(X) = DDT’s endorsement lost.

Texas Runoffs:

Incumbent Texas AG Ken Paxton just destroyed the Bush dynasty by defeating George W. Bush, Poppy Bush’s grandson and Jeb’s son, in Paxton’s re-election. The start to the presidency should have been little Bush’s election to land commissioner, but this year’s loss was the end. Since 2015, candidate Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud while four judges have moved the case from one place to another. A large number of his staff quit in 2020 after Paxton abused his office in helping a campaign donor raided by the FBI. The FBI is investigating Paxton for corruption, and the state bar filed a professional misconduct lawsuit against Paxton for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections in four battleground states won by President Joe Biden. His election in November is highly possible because of suppression of votes from those opposed to his anti-immigrant, anti-climate, anti-healthcare access, and anti-transgender crusades. Paxton beat Bush 68 to 32 percent.

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar has declared the race for himself, but his opponent Jessica Cisneros hasn’t conceded with only 0.4 percent separating them—175 votes—and votes left to count. Traditional House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), support Cuellar despite his anti-abortion stance, but his reputation suffers from an unexplained FBI raid on his home and campaign office under six weeks before the primary election raised more questions. Automatic recounts in Texas are only in the case of ties; otherwise the requester pays for it. There is no deadline for the completion.

Wayne Christian, friend of Chevron, won another term on the Railroad Commission overseeing the oil with an easy win in the runoff, 65 to 35 percent, despite a $2 million donation to underdog Sarah Stogner. Corruption continues as ranchers continue to get no help.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, who won his second primary unopposed on March 1, faces ethics charges before the general election for inappropriate use of campaign funds. During his first term, the Pentagon inspector general’s office accused him of “inappropriate conduct” while he was DDT’s White House doctor. A Defense Department’s inspector general’s report earlier found that Jackson drank while on duty and abused his staff. Later, the physician called the COVID omicron variant a Democratic conspiracy theory to win 2022 elections. Jackson also faces questions about why Oath Keepers members texted him during the January 6 insurrection and claimed he needed protection.

The Ethics Committee also reported that DDT’s choice and winner of a West Virginia primary, Rep. Alex Mooney, likely accepted an impermissible gift for a vacation in Aruba and violated federal law by using congressional staff to plan the trip on official time and with official resources. Seven current and past employees identified “frequent requests to complete unofficial tasks—ranging from babysitting and car repairs for a personal vehicle to assisting with personal finances and businesses—solely for the personal benefit of Mr. Mooney and his family.”

Georgia: 

DDT suffered two losses important to him in the state where he attempted retaliation against both governor and secretary of state who refused to invent over 11,000 votes for him to win in the 2020 election despite DDT’s consistent begging.  

(X) Gov. Brian Kemp beat DDT’s endorsement for U.S. senator, David Perdue, big time by almost 52 points. In a last-ditch gathering, Perdue said he might not accept the election results and claimed his polls losing to Kemp by big margins were “full of crap.” He smeared Stacey Abrams by saying the Black woman’s statements were “demeaning her own race” and she should “go back to where she came from.” Perdue fought both Democrats and Republicans, including DDT’s former VP Mike Pence. Kemp makes the third primary gubernatorial defeat for DDT—Idaho and Nebraska—with two wins, one of them Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania who Republicans will support in only a lukewarm fashion and Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Arkansas who was a given. Initially reluctant to run, Perdue was pushed by DDT and ran an apathetic campaign. Abrams, who lost the 2018 gubernatorial election when Kemp was controlling the votes, is again the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

(X) Brad Raffensperger defeated DDT’s pick Jody Hice for secretary of state by 19 points with a majority vote, meaning no runoff. Crossover Democratic votes in the open primary may have helped Raffensperger beat his conspiracy “stolen election” believer Hice.  

Burt Jones may have to go to a runoff for lieutenant governor candidate.

(X) John Gordon, DDT’s endorsement for attorney general, lost with only 26 percent of the vote, and (X) Patrick Witt received only 17 percent of the vote for Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.                             

Herschel Walker did bring in the GOP U.S. Senate primary for DDT to run against incumbent Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor who was elected in a special January 2021 election. The positive part of Walker? He was an NFL star in the last century. Political experience? Nothing. Otherwise? Lying about education and business, corruption, fraud, domestic violence, sexual abuse, murderous urgesconsignorance, illogic, and much more. Asked about Walker’s problems, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “Every candidate has flaws and assets.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, QAnon Queen of Congress, won her primary by almost 70 percent although the conservative National Review endorsed her opponent Jennifer Strahan, calling Greene “a disgrace to her office and a disservice to her constituents in Georgia’s 14th district.” Another notch for DDT. 

Alabama: 

Mo Brooks, unendorsed by DDT after a spat, came in second for the U.S. Senate primary to Katie Britt, but they’ll face a runoff on June 21. Britt’s exposure as McConnell’s lobbyist didn’t help her get votes. DDT endorsed no other Alabama candidate, but incumbent GOP Gov. Kay Ivey avoided a runoff for her fall candidacy. Brooks is getting ready for the runoff by returning to DDT’s fold. In an interview on the day of his election, he repeated lies about the insurrectionists being “antifa” and the election was “stolen” because of the “800,000 to 1.7 million non-citizens that voted in 2020.” When confronted with lack of evidence, he said that he has proof but won’t give it to the January 6 investigation committee because he doesn’t want it to be “secret.”

Arkansas:

DDT won all three of his state endorsements: Sanders as heir to governor, Tim Griffin for attorney general, and John Boozman for U.S. senator—despite Boozman’s three opponents. One of them, 33-year-old billionaire football star Jake Bequette, criticized Boozman for not challenging the 2020 electoral college count on January 6, 2021, but got only 20 percent of the vote. Boozman also played football—1969-1973.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections named 36 petitioner circulators whose petition sheets contained only invalid signatures and described the current election cycle as having wholesale fraud. The question is whether the disqualified candidates knew about the problem. They cry foul about being eliminated from the race. For the signatures, petition circulators used outdated voter lists with outdated addresses and dead people.  The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers will decide this week whether it will act on the bureau’s recommendation.

No primaries next week, but there will be seven of them on June 7.

 

May 13, 2022

5th Circuit Denies 1st Amendment Rights, January 6 Investigation Broadens

With no explanation, two Fifth Circuit judges, one nominated by Ronald Reagan and the other by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), supported a new Texas law to control private business. The dissenting judge, appointed by George W. Bush, is considered a “liberal” compared to the rabidly right circuit court. Republicans retaliated against their misguided liberal bias perception of ”Big Tech” by forcing large social media companies to disseminate objectionable speech such as dangerous misinformation, foreign propaganda, and hateful expression and permitting anyone to file lawsuits combatting content moderation. These corporations have lost their First Amendment rights although H.B. 20 sponsors claim the legislation is vital to keep “West Coast oligarchs” from silencing “conservative viewpoints and ideas.”

The GOP permitted “smaller” conservative platforms such as Parler and Gab to keep their First Amendment rights, but large companies are even blocked from posting warnings on their own websites for subjects with violence, vulgarity, disinformation, etc. Targeted companies must also submit a great deal of information to the state about algorithms, curation, and account suspension. Twice each year they must also provide a “transparency report” with every “action” taken against “content.” Anytime a company “removes content,” it must present a complex process of notice and appeal. Another provision prevents companies from blocking spam on emails, allowing users to daily collect $25,000 for impeding “the transmission of an unsolicited or commercial electronic mail message.”

YouTube will be forced to accept neo-Nazi and KKK videos promoting racism; Twitter will have to accept ISIS fighters’ terrorist advocacy; and Facebook must allow Russian propaganda about Ukraine. Only illegal incitement and “unlawful” speech can be suppressed, a very small percentage of hateful or violent expression because even intimidation and promotion of illegal conduct are allowed under the First Amendment.

Currently, large platforms use automated editorial tools to remove billions of posts and comments every year. They lack resources to review and resolve each appeal, especially within the 14-day limit. Companies can stop monitoring content, but all complaints of “illegal content” must be assessed within 48 hours. And the law prevents social media companies from providing services in Texas.

The ruling is completely against the First Amendment rights guaranteed to social media companies, according to the Supreme Court, especially Citizens United which gave rights to almost unlimited political donations because of free speech. “Editorial control and judgment” is speech shielded by the Constitution even if it discriminates against a specific group. While on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Justice Brett Kavanaugh ruled that the government cannot “tell Twitter or YouTube what videos to post” or “tell Facebook or Google what content to favor.” Also, a government cannot force corporations to disclose information in an “unjustified or unduly burdensome” manner.

Last December, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman blocked the Texas law because social media platforms are not “common carriers” like telephone companies and postal services that “merely facilitate the transmission of speech of others.” Common carriers have far greater regulation because they don’t engage in expression and may hold monopoly power. Those carriers, however, don’t exercise editorial control. Pitman followed U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling in Florida on a similar law. Hinkle also ruled that penalizing content moderation violates Section 230, the federal law limiting platforms’ liability over their content.

Judge Edith Jones declared that the plaintiffs, websites, “are not websites.” Although appointed 37 years ago, she’s only 73 and should know better—especially if she’s going to rule on the subject. Judge Andrew Oldham worried that overturning H.B. 20 “would allow phone companies to kick off users.” He formerly clerked for Samuel Alito.

One choice for the tech companies is leaving Texas–except the law prevents them from doing that.

The new Texas ruling immediately lifted an injunction against the law without ruling on its merits, meaning that it can go into effect until future action. Plaintiffs NetChoice and CCIA filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court and asked for amicus briefs. They argue that H.B. 20 is unconstitutional, compelling private businesses to carry speech they would otherwise remove. Chris Marchese, counsel for NetChoice, said:

“The First Amendment prohibits Texas from forcing online platforms to host and promote foreign propaganda, pornography, pro-Nazi speech, and spam. Left standing, Texas HB 20 will turn the First Amendment on its head—to violate free speech, the government need only claim to be ‘protecting’ it.”

Marchese added:

“Texas HB 20 strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content.”

The request is for the Supreme Court to reinstate the injunction on the law while appeals work through the full Fifth Circuit. Without that happening tech giants such as Meta, YouTube, and Twitter will suffer “irreparable harm.” Justice Clarence Thomas has already said that telephone companies are just like “digital platforms” because they both operate on physical wires. He and the two judges ruling against the tech companies ignore the fact that telephone calls are private; social media messages are designed to be communicated to the world.

The last time the Supreme Court was asked to reinstate an injunction, its “shadow docket” refused to do so, leaving the egregious anti-choice law in place while it is adjudicated. Justice Samuel Alito, liaison to the Fifth Circuit court, is responsible for deciding whether to unilaterally rule or refer the case to the full court.

The Texas case could now be decided on the court’s shadow docket, through which it issues orders without hearing arguments. The decision of whether to take up the case in this way is now up to Justice Samuel Alito, who is assigned to the Fifth Circuit. He will decide whether to rule unilaterally or refer the case to the full court. If the court does take up the case, the decision could come within days.

Did I mention that the law mandates all the social media companies continue to do business in Texas?

The House investigation committee into January 6 insurrection and overturning the election keeps chugging along, and emails from John Eastman, a pet DDT lawyer, reveals more of the corruption. He urged Pennsylvania GOP legislators to recount the state’s vote and trash tens of thousands of absentee ballots to show DDT won. By doing this, legislators would have “some cover” in replacing Biden’s electors with those supporting DDT and overturn the election results. According to his suggestion, GOP legislators could just express a concern with the state’s absentee ballot procedures and use historical data to “discount each candidates’ totals by a prorated amount based on the absentee percentage those candidates otherwise received.” That leaves them “with a significant lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors — perfectly within your authority to do anyway, but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote.” Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by over 80,000 votes.

The committee obtained Eastman’s emails from the University of Colorado where he was a visiting professor. On December 4, 2020, Eastman wrote Pennsylvania state Rep. Russ Diamond to change the language of his proposed resolution, hiding Eastman’s participation, and explained how to do. Later Eastman said that then-VP Mike Pence could merely refuse to count Biden’s electors on January 6, 2021. The House committee has been in court a number of times trying to get Eastman’s emails sent through another previous employer, Chapman University. 

The House investigative committee has subpoenaed five GOP members: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA), Jim Jordan (OH), Mo Brooks (AL), Andy Biggs (AZ), and Scott Perry (PA). Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said that they learned that these colleagues have relevant information on the January 6 attack “and the events leading up to it.” McCarthy had pulled all his nominations for the committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected Jordan.

The DOJ has opened a grand jury investigation into the classified documents that DDT took to Mar-a-Lago when he moved out of the White House and subpoenaed the documents from the National Archives.

In Georgia, fake GOP electors are cooperating with the criminal probe as prosecutors investigate DDT’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Fulton County DA Fani Willis is attempting to determine their connection with a broader, illegal plot to pressure election officials and overturn Biden’s win of over 11,000 votes. DDT has made his loss the basis for GOP primaries there, especially for governor and state secretary of state, and the incumbents running in the election, Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger wouldn’t give in to his begging.

After Vernon Jones, DDT’s endorsement for Georgia’s governor, quit, DDT moved to supporting David Perdue who lost his senate seat last year to Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue lost support of law enforcement when he denigrated the state troopers in an awkward attempt to blame Kemp, and DDT is growing disillusioned because Perdue came out 16 points below Kemp in the most recent poll. Thursday a judge dismissed Perdue’s lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results, because his evidence didn’t go beyond “speculation, conjecture, and paranoia.”

In a defiant action, DDT’s former VP, Mike Pence, will hold a rally with Kemp on May 23, the night before Georgia’s primary, with Kemp. Pence called his candidate, who refuses to support the lie of election fraud in a “stolen” election, “one of the most successful conservative governors in America.” Headed toward a presidential run, Pence also criticized DDT for admiring Russian President Vladimir Putin.

June 27, 2021

DDT’s Life Goes Downhill

In his first rally since Joe Biden became president of the United States, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) whined and ranted through 90 minutes of lies about being defrauded out of his re-election and his bad treatment since he lost the election on what he called his “revenge” tour. Mainstream networks avoided DDT’s rally speech although CSPAN ran it as part of his presidential campaign for 2024, and people left the rally before he was finished.

Two days after DDT delivered his lies, the Trump Organization “will be criminally charged” and “will have faced criminal charges” from an investigation by the Southern District of New York City. Charges will deal with whether taxes were paid on the company’s fringe benefits for a top executive and false valuations of properties to obtain large loans and pay small taxes.  

Prosecutors gave DDT until tomorrow afternoon to make final arguments about why DDT’s business should not face these criminal charges. The Trump Organization, controlled by a DDT-owned trust, uses a web of hundreds of individual limited liability corporations. The case against the company is moving forward because DDT’s CEO Allen Weisselberg wasn’t “cooperating.” Weisselberg went to Trump Tower while DDT was in residence. 

Since the investigation into DDT and his business, most of its longtime employees, DDT’s family members who worked there, and some of his protectors such as former lawyer Michael Cohen left. After being his fixer for decades, Cohen turned on DDT. Now DDT works at the business, mostly alone, with two assistants and a few body men. A grand jury, convened earlier this year, is to consider indictments from the investigation.

Indictments could financially destroy DDT and his family, driving DDT into bankruptcy. DDT almost may owe hundreds of millions of dollars to the IRS, and his loans of hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign banks like the Chinese are coming due soon. Even without criminal indictments of the Trump Organization, DDT’s money-making could be shut down.

Rudy Giuliani’s former lawyer, replacement for Cohen, is also in trouble: the New York Supreme Court suspended his law license, and he can not practice law at this time. He faces disbarment for making “demonstrably false and misleading statements” while pushing DDT’s multiple court cases challenging the legal 2020 election. The court called Giuliani an “immediate threat” to the public who had “directly inflamed” the tensions leading to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. “This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden,” according to the court. 

DDT angrily attacked “the same court that would handle any appeals in any prosecution the Manhattan DA may bring against the Trump Organization or any of its principals or employees,” according to George Conway’s tweet.

Examples of Giuliani’s incompetence and dishonesty:

Told a court that voter fraud cost DDT the election before Giuliani admitted he isn’t claiming voter fraud.

Defended lies about absentee ballots by saying he sincerely believed the lies at one time.

Lied to a court about a dead boxer voting in Philadelphia.

Claimed underage Georgia residents gave President Joe Biden up to 165,000 votes when the number was zero.

Repeatedly claimed “a few hundred thousand” undocumented immigrants voted for Biden in Arizona after being told no data existed to support his statement.

Giuliani is bringing down others with him.  FBI agents searched the home of George Dickson, a marijuana entrepreneur who worked with Giuliani for financing a documentary, never completed, to present the lies about Joe and Hunter Biden’s corruption in Ukraine. Giuliani thought the film would kill Biden’s chances to be elected. Federal prosecutors are probing Giuliani’s actions for violating foreign lobbying laws when he worked with former Ukrainian government officials and Russian agents to spread lies about false allegations about Biden.

DDT has faced a few others disasters:

A Georgia Superior Court dismissed seven of nine claims in a lawsuit alleging 147,000 fraudulent ballots were cast in the Fulton County 2020 election. Two of them were argued under a different claim, but the Fulton County elections board intends to file to get those claims dismissed as well. The ballots have been legally audited three times, including one hand recount with finding no evidence of widespread fraud.

The United States AG, Merrick Garland, announced a DOJ lawsuit against Georgia for its new anti-voting laws. Garland stated Georgia’s law was intended to be discriminatory against people of color instead of doing so accidentally. The DOJ is also following anti-voting bills and laws in other states for possible more lawsuits, according to Garland. Federal prosecutors are to make voter intimidation a priority, and Georgia may end up on preclearance requirements again. As states move to strip powers from elected secretaries of state, the DOJ lawsuit plans concrete steps to protect their legal powers.

In another move, the DOJ has established a task force to deal with the growing threats against election workers. In a number of states—including Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin—intimidation and threats have resulted in these officials’ early retirement. Pennsylvania lost at least one-third of county election officials. Last May during the Pennsylvania municipal primary, new election directors with no experience or knowledge took control. Untrained staffers can make mistakes programming races into the right districts, and the ignorance can lead to lack of consistency. Some counties haven’t even replaced election directors who resigned.

But it’s not just high-profile officials. One-third of election officials don’t feel safe in their jobs, and one-fifth have received death threats related to their jobs. Garland said, “The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all other rights ultimately flow.” In Georgia, new ordinances or state laws have removed or eliminated positions of members of at least ten county election boards, mostly Democrats and some people of color. Republicans have largely replaced these people.  

The DOJ also told Missouri that states cannot overturn federal laws after Republicans passed a law not to enforce federal gun laws in the state. Gov. Mike Parsons signed the bill fining any local law enforcement agency $50,000 if it enforces federal gun laws and regulations constituting “infringements” of the Second Amendment. The DOJ told Missouri the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause outweighs Parson’s measure. Missouri’s law doesn’t even refer to current federal law; GOP legislators merely passed the law in case Congress passed a law that Missouri didn’t like. Eight other states have already passed similar laws, and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said federal legislators should not pass any laws that any states would consider “nullifying.”

Other GOP governors are trying to keep members of Congress from supporting voting rights by lying about the proposed federal bill and their own anti-voting laws:

Florida: Ron DeSantis claimed that the laws were passed “so that someone can’t dump 100,000 votes two or three days later.” It didn’t happen, and DeSantis didn’t try to identify when his claim occurred. Sen. Rick Scott had falsely claimed in his 2018 race that “they found 95,000 votes after election night.”

Georgia: Brian Kemp claimed the new restrictions on drop boxes expanded the number, but it limits the number of drop boxes per county to “either one drop box for every 100,000 registered voters or the number of advance voting locations.” Larger counties, predominantly Black, are limited to 23 or fewer drop boxes, down from 94 in the 2020 election. Drop boxes, available only during early voting hours, are located inside. My Oregon county in Oregon has seven drop boxes, one per 5,467 voters, accessible 24 hours a day.

Arizona: Doug Ducey said no one loses their right to vote with Arizona’s new law, but the state automatically removes everyone from the early voter list, determining who receives mail ballots, if they don’t vote in a two-year cycle, removing over 100,000 Arizonans.

The Arizona ballot “fraudit” or ballot count or whatever is over after two painful months, but news about it is still available. Doug Logan, head of Cyber Ninjas running the operation, has claimed to be completely unbiased, but his possible appearance in the documentary Deep Rig belies his claims. Directed by a man whose work claims aliens were behind the 9/11 attack, the current conspiracy theorist film trying to prove the 2020 presidential election was rigged againt DDT uses Logan as the voice of “Anon.” 

The star of the film, Patrick Byrne, wrote the book used for the documentary and is working to get $2.8 million funding for the Arizona fake audit. Former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, liaison for the “fraudit,” also took part in the film. The movie showed scenes of the audit floor, including close-ups of ballots with clearly visible choices, although a journalist was thrown out of the counting site for accidentally taking a photograph of this. Some GOP lawmakers, including Senate President Karen Fann, attended the premier of the film, filled with QAnon conspiracy theories and other lies about voter fraud.

April 4, 2021

Voting: States Polarize

When Georgia passed the most anti-voting rights law in over a half century, they likely hoped that the anti-Georgia backlash to authoritarianism would soon disappear. It’s just getting worse for them.

Atlanta has become the business hub of the South, moving the state from a backwoods region to a leader in world economy. At one time, Coca-Cola was the only major business, but the area’s development ballooned into the 10th largest in the country and the 18th in the world. The estimated GDP in 2014 came in over $324 billion, and investments cover the waterfront—finance, media, film and TV, healthcare, manufacturing, education, travel, etc.

Corporate objections to the law quelling voting by minorities and low-income people started slowly but took on momentum after the public backlash. Coca-Cola, a world empire, called the law “unacceptable” and objections from 73 Black business executives included Merck & Co. and American Express. Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, stated the company would have second thoughts about a decision “to invest substantially in Atlanta.” The Major League Baseball removed its July 13, 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta. A list of over 170 companies asking elected officials to protect voting access and oppose voter suppression.

After Delta objected to the new law, the state House tried to punish Delta by removing tens of millions of dollars of tax breaks, but the Senate wouldn’t touch the bill before it adjourned for the year.

MLB’s decision caused loud GOP cries of “cancel culture”—a term deteriorated into “anything the GOP doesn’t like.” Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp complained about MLB and the corporations’ opposition to his law being “woke”—defined as “alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice.” He’s correct, but being “woke” simply means fighting for voting rights. 

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) stated, “Boycott Major League Baseball (MLB), Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS, and Merck” He ranted about the “rigged” 2020 presidential election before he finished with “Happy Easter.”

Yet the GOP is blaming talk about boycotts on Black activist Stacey Abrams who protested the new Georgia anti-voting law but opposed boycotting Georgia because it hurts minorities and low-income people. Instead she asked corporations to find other ways to support voting rights activists and hold Republicans accountable.

Southern GOP bigotry already cost North Carolina $3.76 billion in lost business after its “bathroom” bill blocked transgender people from using facilities matching their gender identities. In addition, Gov. Pat McCrory lost his re-election attempt in the same year DDT won the state. Kemp, who signed the punitive Georgia bill the same day it passed, is up for re-election in 2022. To win, he will have to convince Georgia should return to the days of the Confederacy.

Georgia is leading the way for anti-voting bills in Arizona, Florida, and Texas, and companies in those states and others are responding with the same opposition as the ones in Georgia. Huge international businesses with headquarters in Texas such as American Airlines (Fort Worth) and Dell Technologies (Round Rock) are criticizing voter suppressions. Southwest Airlines and AT&T have already criticized these restrictive proposals.

After MLB backed out of Georgia, another 193 companies joined in a statement against states’ proposals threatening access to voting in almost all states. Signatures of CEOs include those from Armour, Salesforce, HP, Twitter, Estée Lauder, and Dow. Companies are called upon to testify in legislatures, withdraw financial support from lawmakers supporting anti-voting laws, and back federal election reform legislation.

Arizona temporarily pulled its anti-voting bill because the Republicans lost enough votes to pass it. A concern might be the potential loss of the 2023 Super Bowl, scheduled in Glendale (AZ).

Yet there is another side to new voting laws. With Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature, Virginia became the first state to approve a voting rights law, protecting state citizens against voter suppression, discrimination, or intimidation. It not only restores but also expands the provisions of the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act overturned by John Roberts and his Supreme Court in 2013. A description of the state law:

“The Voting Rights Act of Virginia prohibits discrimination in elections administration, requires local election officials to get feedback or pre-approval for voting changes, and allows individuals to sue in cases of voter suppression. It requires localities seek public comment or pre-approval from the Office of the Attorney General on any proposed voting changes and empowers voters and/or the Attorney General to sue in cases of voter suppression. Civil penalties awarded as a result of voting discrimination will go towards a newly-established Voter Education and Outreach Fund.

“Additionally, the Voting Rights Act of Virginia prohibits at-large local elections if they dilute the voting power of racial minorities. It also ensures accessibility by requiring local election officials provide voting materials in foreign languages, as needed. The Governor’s minor technical amendments clarify that certain provisions apply to all localities not just “covered jurisdiction(s).”

Other provisions of the new law eliminate witnesses for absentee ballot signatures during public health emergencies, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote for automatic addition to the rolls at the age of 18, permits curbside voting, moves municipal election voting from May to the November elections, and restores voting rights to people on parole or probation for a felony conviction and codify the restoration of rights to those who have fully completed their sentences.

Virginia also has same-day voter registration; a holiday for Election Day replacing one honoring Confederate generals; elimination of an excuse for absentee voting; permission to permanently receive absentee ballots; inclusion of ballots received three days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day; extension of polling close on Election Day from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm; permission to use non-photo IDs and some out-of-state college IDS for voter identification; permission for municipalities to use instant run-off for local elections; mandatory hand-filled paper ballots or printouts of ballots; a bipartisan redistricting commission with nonpartisan redistricting criteria; and a ban on prison gerrymandering.

For equitable access to voting during the pandemic, Northam signed H.B. 1888 and SB 1245 requiring drop boxes, prepaid return postage, and ability to fix mistakes on envelopes for absentee ballots. Blind or vision-impaired Virginians can also receive the help they need to cast votes.

These laws should be passed in all states to maintain the GOP desire for “election integrity,” the false name for Georgia’s law.

  • Even Kentucky is passing election laws with “integrity”:
  • Three days of in-person voting on Thursday-Saturday before Election Day.
  • Permission to “cure” absentee ballots of problems such as mismatched signature.
  • Reinstitution of an internet system for requesting absentee ballots.
  • Permission for counties to have vote centers where people can turn in absentee ballots.
  • Secure drop-boxes for absentee ballots.
  • Phasing in paper ballots for electronic voting systems.
  • No-excuse early voting although people will again need an excuse for absentee voting.

Washington state automatically restores voting rights of people convicted of felonies after they are released from prison, and Delaware passed a House bill automatically registering voters when they visit the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Georgia has a history of blocking minorities from voting. Blacks attempting to register to vote and Whites attempting to help them were beaten and killed during the 1960s. Perpetrators of the crimes included the Ku Klux Klan and law enforcement officials. The current bills and laws to block ease of voting comes from the GOP evidence-free belief that Republicans cannot win elections if every eligible voter can vote without great difficulty.

Although Republicans have openly given this reason to justify their support of these bills, much of the publicity promotes DDT’s “big lie” about massive election fraud. The 2020 election was the most carefully guarded one perhaps ever, and no one—not DDT’s courts, Department of Justice, elected GOP officials, the FBI—could find systemic fraud. Hundreds of searchers and thousands of hours found under 100 cases of voter fraud among 161 million voters, and most of these were by Republicans.

In his bigoted response to the backlash against the Georgia law, ordained Baptist minister Mike Huckabee tweeted on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, celebrating Christ’s resurrection:

“I’ve decided to ‘identify’ as Chinese. Coke will like me, Delta will agree with my ‘values’ and I’ll probably get shoes from Nike & tickets to @MLB games. Ain’t America great?”

Ain’t religion great?

Today, April 4, is the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s death. In Memphis (TN), the Black activist was shot and killed in his fight for Black people to have equal access to the ballot box. At the end of the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, King talked about “the roots of racism and the denial of the right to vote.” In his 1957 “Give us the ballot” speech, he decried the “types of conniving methods” used by Southern elected officials to disenfranchise Black voters. Republicans are forcing the U.S. to come full circle, destroying the rights of all to vote, in little more than a half century.

March 27, 2021

Georgia:   Republicans Opposed to ‘Cancel Culture” Decides to ‘Cancel Voting’

People who know nothing about the new voter-prevention law in Georgia are either hiding under a rock or watching Fox network. Passing legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in one day, state GOP legislators included a large number of provisions, all designed to destroy democracy and elect only Republicans. Yet they claim to try to prevent the non-existent fraud which could not be found by multiple investigations and court cases, many of them by Republicans.

The so-called “Election Integrity Act of 2021,” two pages long in addressing absentee votes, grew to 96 pages in the hour before the voting. Some provisions:

  • Allows state lawmakers to take over local election boards—meaning Republicans can eliminate votes they don’t like with their ability to certify results if Democrats win close race—something DDT failed to do in 2020.
  • Gives GOP-controlled legislature to appoint a majority of members to the State Election Board.
  • Removes the authority of Georgia’s secretary of state from any control over the election (because Brad Raffensperger wouldn’t find 11,000 for Dictator Donald Trump [DDT] to win the state.
  • Criminalizes photographing one’s own ballot.
  • Eases ability to challenge vote eligibility.
  • Prevents anyone from giving even water to people standing in voting lines even if they are forced to be outside for up to ten hours before casting their votes.
  • Blocks counties from having almost all ballot drop boxes during early voting, allowing them only inside early voting locations during business hours.
  • Removes drop boxes during last four days before an election, a time when mail-in ballots are most likely not receive in time.
  • Disqualifies provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct. 
  • Makes counties responsible for deciding Sunday voting but permitted only twice.
  • Moves runoffs to four weeks after general elections with early voting reduced to one week.
  • Eliminates mobile voting vans to alleviate long lines in heavily Democratic Fulton County.
  • Sets up hotline to report election activities in the attorney general’s office.
  • Mandates certification of votes within six days instead of ten days.
  • Requires election voters to count ballots without stopping until they finish.

The only piece missing in the final bill was ending no-excuse absentee voting, a system allowing Republicans to win the elections until the past few months, but the stricter requirements for voter ID with these ballots again creates more problems for minorities and low-income people. Absentee ballots will be verified based on driver’s license numbers or other documentation instead of voter signatures. The law did reduce the time in which voters can request an absentee ballot to 11 days before Election Day and complicated the request process.

The Georgia legislature now permits the kind of voter fraud DDT demanded. In addition to begging Raffensperger for enough votes to win, he earlier asked Raffensperger’s lead investigator, Frances Watson, to find fraud in specific counties, promising she would “be praised” by finding “the right answer.” The GOP search for voter fraud was investigated only in states where President Joe Biden won. DDT pushed Watson to keep looking for votes in his favor until January 6, 2021, when Congress certified the presidency for Biden.

Georgia made more history when state troopers handcuffed state Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta) and charged her with a felony for knocking on the governor’s door while he signed the law in the midst of six other white men. (Right: Cannon – Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Biden called the law an “atrocity” and said the DOJ is taking a look at it. He added:

“If you want any indication that it has nothing to do with fairness, nothing to do with decency—they passed a law saying you can’t provide water for people standing in line while they’re waiting to vote.”

The law directly attacks Black voters.They are more likely to vote remotely and less likely to have the required identification for an absentee vote, formerly allowed through signature-matching. Over 200,000 Georgia voters have no driver’s license or state ID number. The average wait time to vote in Black communities is also far more than in predominantly White communities.

Groups immediately began to file lawsuits against the new law, calling it an effort to impose “unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote.”

Historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote: 

“The United States defeated the Confederacy, outlawed human enslavement except as punishment for crime, declared Black Americans citizens, and in 1867, with the Military Reconstruction Act, began to establish impartial suffrage. The Military Reconstruction Act, wrote Maine politician James G. Blaine in 1893, ‘changed the political history of the United States.’

“Today, as I looked at the photograph of Governor Kemp signing that bill, I wondered just how much.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is responsible for the draconian voting law in Georgia and probably other states. Eight years ago, he authored the majority opinion of 5-4 in Shelby County v. Holder which trashed the Voting Rights Act protecting voting procedures from discrimination. Roberts wrote, “Things have changed dramatically [in the South].” He may be right—the South may be able to make discrimination against Democratic voters much worse.

Georgia’s new law is one of 253 measures in 43 states designed to keep the GOP in complete control no matter what. With Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WY) determined to refuse any bills not supported by Republicans, H.R. 1, For the People Act, won’t be able to defend democracy through people’s right to vote.

Journalist Bonnie Kristian points out that a conservative (a real one!) should oppose Georgia’s law. Her definition of conservative is “someone who wants to preserve tradition and institutional stability, to thicken the thin veil that separates our society from chaos.” She quotes psychologist Jonathan Haidt as conservatives have five moral values: Harm/Care; Fairness/Reciprocity; In-Group/Loyalty; Authority/Respect; and Purity/Sanctity. Liberals have only the first two—care and fairness—because they value diversity over in-group loyalty and question authority and traditional notions of social and sexual purity. Georgia’s law fails in-group loyalty in self-governance, lying about trying to stop voter fraud; authority, by diminishing moral authority necessary in popular government; and fairness, the law being a dishonorable act. It is “shameless, disgraceful, a poor loser’s move … changing the rules of the game instead of putting in the work to win it as-is or accepting victory isn’t possible.” Now, someone needs to explain this position to the “conservatives.”

Republicans are working hard to get the subject back to what they see as Biden’s failure of immigration at the southern border. Toward that end, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took 17 friends, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in armored patrol boats along the Rio Grande for a midnight visit to prove abuse of migrant children. They were also looking for human traffickers taunting border agents across the “open border” and, hopefully, chaos and lawlessness. All they could say was that VP Kamala Harris, now in charge of the immigration situation, should come down to the border as well instead of working on a solution.  

As a British newspaper describes, the 18 mostly White, male Republicans left “Anzalduas Park Mission, on four Texas Highway Patrol power boats, bristling with machine guns, and armed officers.” A woman said she had been birdwatching in the same location where the tour created a false danger with “fancy camo gear and [a] ride in boats with guns,” according to writer Annie Hartnett. Asked about the U.S. being a nation of immigrants, Cruz bragged about his father coming to the county in 1957. Graham bailed him out by telling journalists they should talk to border patrol officers instead of politicians. Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said DDT’s promise to build a border wall caused a jump in crossings.

Next time, Cruz and his far-right colleagues might want to get protection from the birdwatchers. And they aren’t getting the focus off voting rights.

December 1, 2020

Biden/Harris Close in on Leadership

Arizona’s and Wisconsin’s certification of their votes for President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris completes the six states where Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) fights to get a majority by overturning the legal counts. The electoral votes are still at 306 (Biden) to 232 (DDT). In Wisconsin, DDT paid $3 million a hand count in two Democratic counties so that Biden could pick up 87 votes. Biden is ahead in that state by over 20,000 votes. DDT would need to force at least three of these states to reverse the popular vote for him to have enough electoral votes. He’s also behind Biden by over six million votes. Four more steps for Biden:

  • December 8, 2020: Deadline for states to settle disputes about awarding electors.
  • December 14, 2020: Votes by the electoral college.
  • January 6, 2021: Congressional certification of electoral votes.
  • January 20, 2021. Biden’s inauguration.

Furious with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, DDT called him “hapless,” because Kemp said he would follow the law in certifying votes. When DDT asked Kemp to use “his emergency powers” to overrule his secretary of state and give DDT the electoral votes, Kemp’s spokesperson said:

“Georgia law prohibits the governor from interfering in elections. The Secretary of State, who is an elected constitutional officer, has oversight over elections that cannot be overridden by executive order.”

DDT wants Kemp to match ballot signatures with the ballots during the election recount, impossible and illegal because the two pieces are separated for privacy. He also said he was ashamed to endorse Kemp for governor in 2018. In a Fox interview, DDT claims the January 5 election for two senators will be fraudulent. A judge issued a restraining order preventing Georgia from wiping Dominion voting machines. Paperless voting machines were mysteriously wiped during a research before the 2018 election of Kemp over Stacey Abrams.

Like most of 2020, Biden just calmly proceeds, now setting up his inauguration committee. CEO Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, will work with Executive Director Maju Varghese, COO and senior adviser of Biden’s 2020 campaign. The event of fewer than 1,600 people will require masks and social distancing within ticketed parameters. COVID-19 testing is also being considered. The committee, accepting corporate donations up to $1 million, bans funding from registered lobbyists and fossil fuels companies, executives and PACs. Individuals can donate up to $500,000. With unlimited—and sometimes illegal—donations from anyone both domestic and foreign, DDT raised $107 million. Washington, D.C. AG Karl Racine is suing the committee for misusing funds in violation of D.C. law.

Biden and Harris received their first daily briefing today, three weeks late. Ironically, Harris, as U.S. senator, had more access to classified information than Biden since he was declared president-elect.

Topping off Thanksgiving week by twisting his ankle, Biden’s moving forward with appointments for his new administration.

Economic Team:

Office of Management and Budget: Neera Tanden, CEO of Center for American Progress.

Deputy Treasury Secretary: “Adewale ‘Wally’ Adeyemo, Nigerian-born attorney and former senior international economic adviser.

Chair, Council of Economic Advisers: Cecilia Rouse. The other two members are expected to be economists Jared Berstein and Heather Boushey. Rouse is the first woman of color to chair the council.

Director, White House National Economic Council: Brian Deese, recently managing director at Blackrock, one of the world’s largest investment firms.

Communications Team (seven women):

White House Press Secretary: Jennifer Psaki, former political adviser.

Team leader: Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s campaign communications director.

Deputy Press Secretary: Karine Jean-Pierre, former top official of MoveOn and Sen. Kamala Harris’ chief of staff during the campaign.

Principal Deputy Press Secretary: Pili Tobar, formerly with immigration reform group America’s Voice.

VP-elect Kamala Harris’ communications director: Ashley Etienne.

Harris’ chief spokeswoman: Symone Sanders.

Communications Director for Jill Biden: Elizabeth Alexander, former federal prosecutor and Jill Biden’s spokeswoman when her husband was VP. 

Current White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany cried foul with the news about Biden having the first all-female communications team, tweeting DDT already has one. Her umbrage raises questions about whether Judd Deere and Brian Morgenstern, both deputy press secretaries, have had gender transitions. Morgenstern is also deputy communications director. At this time, the VP top spokesperson is Devin O’Malley. Biden appointment women for these three jobs. She classified the statement about an all-women team it as “fake news” to discredit the Washington Post. McEnany might want to focus on more serious problems in the White House than parsing “female” and “top.”

The award for GOP rational thought comes from Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) who called Republicans’ refusal to recognize Biden’s win a “massive grift” that’s “just money-making for the 2024 election.” Riggleman added, “I’m so damn sick of it. I’m sick of it.” He blamed Emily Murphy’s “fear of losing your tribe” for her illegally holding up Biden’s transition. About the belief in DDT’s evidence-free claims of widespread voter fraud, Riggleman said, “Really speaks to where your intelligence level is… to believe in that type of operation.” Referring to DDT’s actions, Riggleman said, “[DDT] got so desperate to retain power that he forgot he was serving people and not himself.” Unfortunately, DDT may never had understood “he was serving people,” but it’s a grand start for the “Grand Old Party.”

Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) called on DDT to stop repeating his election hoaxes “for the sake of our Nation” with hashtag #stop the stupid. Tired to his party’s disgusting political moves, Mitchell didn’t run for re-election this year, and Riggleman lost his primary to Bob Good. DDT’s denial is comparable to the 1918 strategy of Imperial Germany when it denied the country had lost World War I.

In an amazing move, Dr. Scott Atlas resigned from DDT’s coronavirus task force 51 days before Biden’s inauguration, 50 days counting the resignation from its date on December 1. Atlas’ strategy of herd immunity was for everyone to get infected by behaving normally–going to work and school with no masks and social distancing. Hypothesizing a large number of people then being infected would stop problems with COVID-19 and return the economy to the past. He ignored the massive death rate and the inability of hospitals to handle the ensuing disaster. A neuroradiologist, Atlas has no infectious-disease or public health background but was the only medical adviser meeting DDT for the past several months. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner brought Atlas to DDT; Atlas’ 130 days ended this week although DDT could have extended the tenure. 

Since Atlas began his influence with DDT, the U.S. has added ten million cases and almost doubled its number of deaths to 274, 332. Today, before the U.S. begins its Thanksgiving surge, the nation had 161,568 new cases and 1,238 deaths. With no evidence, Atlas cut out real experts, advanced fringe theories, opposed testing, and argued people already are protected from COVID-19 by the common cold. Condoleezza Rice, Director of the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, criticized Atlas but has left him there as a fellow–for now.    [visual covid cases]

Ajit Pai, the man in charge of Federal Communications Commission who led the rollback of net neutrality rules and merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, is leaving the commission on January 20, 2021. His resignation may open the opportunity for two Biden nominations because DDT withdrew his renomination of Michael O’Rielly at the end of 2020. The two departures leave FCC with a 2-1 Democratic majority unless the Senate creates a deadlock by confirming Nathan Simington, DDT’s appointee for O’Rielly’s replacement. Even with one GOP and one Democratic nomination, the FCC would have a Democratic majority to work on restoring net neutrality rules. That majority may not follow DDT’s desired crackdown on social-media companies such as Twitter and Facebook for its attempts to stop DDT’s misinformation on these platforms.  Before the election, Pai, a Verizon lawyer from 2001 to 2003, announced his plan to limit legal protections for these websites blocking or modifying content from users. In court, Pai lost his attempt to remove broadband subsidies from tribal residents and to kill environmental and historic-preservation reviews of 5G small cells. Judges also permitted states to establish net neutrality laws after he dropped rules for the nation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and DDT may not have recognized Biden as the next president, but the European Union is delighted. Their Commission and Council have already prepared policy papers delineating ways the EU can coordinate with the new U.S. administration, especially for the pandemic and economic fallout. Another point is renewed cooperation on climate change.

Since the election, DDT’s approval rating from the conservative Gallup poll has dropped three points to 42 percent, and Biden’s approval rose six points to 55 percent. Ratings by Democrats for Biden were already in the mid-90s so the increase for him came from Republicans and independents who also dropped their ratings for DDT. In the polls, DDT stayed more stable than any other man in the Oval Office although his average approval never achieved 50 percent.  stable for his entire term, never reaching as high as 50 percent in approval.

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.

November 19, 2018

Midterm Elections: A Postmortem

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 11:43 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

EPA/CHRIS TODD

The midterm elections of 2018 are winding down. Only two House races are still undecided, a Georgia Republican ahead by 29 votes out of over 280,000 votes and a Utah Democrat with a 739-vote lead with 270,000 votes. Without those two decisions, Democrats gained 38 seats to have the majority of 233 to the 200 GOP seats. Georgia will definitely go to a recount. In the Senate, four Democrats lost their seats, and two Republicans lost theirs. With the determination that Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott took the U.S. Senate seat, the Senate settled in with 52 Republicans out of 100 as it waits for the election in Mississippi on November 27. Usually, that state would automatically pick a Republican, but Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (left) has made a poor showing lately, seeming to laud lynching and criticized the legality of black college students voting.

Now that Republicans won three important races—Florida’s governor and U.S. senator and Georgia’s governor—Scott and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) decided that the elections are not rigged. The question will always be there, however, as the winning GOP Florida candidate for senator and Georgia candidate for governor control the elections that they won.

An opinion piece by Abe Rakov in conservative USA Today states:

“We’re seeing Republican politicians run a political strategy to manipulate who can vote and, ultimately, remake the electorate in their favor. They’re trying to rig our elections because they don’t think they can win any other way. It’s cheating, it’s wrong and it’s anti-democratic.

“Jason Kander and I started Let America Vote in 2017 to create political consequences for politicians who try to stop eligible voters from voting. Over 65,000 people across the country have signed up to volunteer to help us in that effort. Through this November and beyond, Let America Vote is going to fight back against these proposals because our democracy is bigger than politicians who will do anything to win an election.”

Florida GOP Influence over Voting:

Scott kept the painfully inept election supervisor Brenda Snipes in her position after many missteps, one of which took her to court. Kitty Garber, research director and co-founder of the nonpartisan Florida Fair Elections Coalition, said that Snipes’ “behavior has disproportionately harmed Democratic candidates. When absentee ballots go missing in largely Democratic Broward County, you can be sure that most of them belong to Democratic voters.”

Scott also tried to use law enforcement to control the voting process and filed several lawsuits.

Truthout did a detailed analysis of data available in the election to show how computer software can manipulate voter outcome and what happened in Florida.

Absentee ballots may not have been counted if they were locked in a mail facility after the Florida man sent pipe bombs through the USPS.

The pastor of a church posted this sign when it was used as a polling place:

Don’t vote for Democrats on Tuesday and sing, ‘Oh how I love Jesus’ on Sunday.”

Georgia GOP Influence over Voting:

The GOP may use voter suppression in Georgia as a model for future efforts.

Brian Kemp, the candidate for governor and coincidentally state secretary of state, “doxed” 291,164 absentee voters by posting their personal details online for anyone to download. “Doxing” has become a common harassment practice of posting people’s personal information, including addresses, phone numbers, and even Social Security numbers.

Some voters waited over four hours to vote in suburban Atlanta. The state installed only three voting machines in a Fulton County polling place; Atlanta is in Fulton County. In other areas, the voting machines were broken or automatically registered Kemp’s name when voters selected his opponent.

Kemp refused to have any paper trail for the voting machines.

Voters also faced intimidation in several states:

Texas (where Rep. Beto O’Rourke narrowly lost to Sen. Ted Cruz by 220,000 votes out of 8.3 million): An election judge was filmed screaming at a black voter and threatening to call the police when the voter asked where she was supposed to vote. The DHS had planned a “crowd-control” exercise near a Latinx neighborhood in El Paso but decided to cancel the exercise after critics pointed out its intimidation effort.

Virginia: A DDT supporter stood outside a polling place with a German Shepherd that barked at voters. A member of the GOP said that the man is a known, excited DDT supporter who would do no harm.

Idaho: Intimidating signs regarding student voting were posted at polling places.

Tennessee: Five or six men outside a polling place told voters they should not be voting.

Indiana: At least one voting machine refused to accept votes for Democrats.

Arizona: Republicans sued to keep mail-in ballots from being counted because the 15 county recorders done have the same standard for adjusting problems. Two counties being sued allow people to verify their signatures up to five days after the election; both are major Democratic-leaning urban counties. (Democrat Kyrsten Sinema finally won her election for U.S. Senate.)

Those who criticize Democrats for more wins or claim that Republicans are better because the Dems picked up “only” 38 to 40 seats in the House aren’t aware of the control on elections from the GOP gerrymandering. Wisconsin is a classic case. This chart tells it all: Democrats won in all state elections and cast more votes for people in the state legislature while losing almost two-thirds of the seats. State assembly Democratic minority leader Gordon Hintz pointed out the lack of competitive districts, the reason that a district court ruled the legislative maps unconstitutional. The case, Gill v. Whitford, went to the Supreme Court, which sent it back to a lower federal court. These maps

Richard Hasen wrote that Wisconsin’s continued gerrymandering is thanks to retired Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy. Last summer, the court unanimously determine that plaintiffs had not proved they had standing to sue because they didn’t suffer direct injury. In 2004, Kennedy demanding a “workable standard” to decide if partisan decisions on district crossed a constitutional line. The court managed to avoid making any decision about whether the U.S. Constitution forbids gerrymandering and, if so, standards for decisions. The Republicans in Wisconsin draw the districts to favor Republicans so that Republicans can continue drawing districts to favor Republicans.

A contrast in House districts can be found in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. After a court order mandated redrawing districts, Pennsylvania went from solidly GOP to one evenly split. North Carolina stayed overwhelmingly GOP with the Republican-drawn map despite an even split in party votes for the delegation members. Associated Press determined that more states have GOP-tilted districts than Democratic ones.

Karma came to the GOP sponsor of the restrictive North Dakota law mandating that no one (aka Native Americans) could vote if they didn’t have an ID with a street address. A Native American Democrat beat him in the election. And the Georgia secretary of state vote goes into a runoff on December 4.

This election breakdown as of November 16 shows the great diversity of Democrats in the 116th Congress, starting in January 2019. Of the 36 women additions to the House this coming year, one is a Republican.

 

 

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.

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