Nel's New Day

February 23, 2021

DDT’s Lawsuits ‘the Rest of My Life’

With Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) out of Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court may stay out of his legal messes—at least for now. On Monday, the justices’ refused to block a lower court giving DDT’s financial records and tax returns, both personal and corporate, to New York City prosecutors. The grand jury will have eight years of tax returns, 2011-2018, for a grand jury investigation, and last July, the high court ruled 7-2 against DDT’s claim he was immune from prosecution while still in the Oval Office. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority:

“No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.”

This decision not to hear the appeals court case frees Manhattan DA Cy Vance to continue his criminal probe. Michael Cohen, DDT’s former personal lawyer, has claimed the Trump Organization committed insurance fraud, avoided taxes, and jacked up loan collateral by manipulating real estate valuations. New York state AG Letitia James is pursuing the same information for a civil probe. DDT’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, and his bank, Deutsche Bank, said in the past they will release the information if subpoenaed.

Vance recently issued another dozen subpoenas for the investigation, including one for Ladder Capital Finance, one of DDT’s major creditors for commercial real estate holdings. DDT’s $160 million interest-only mortgage with Ladder on Trump Tower comes due in 18 months.  

Taking part in the inquiry is Mark Pomerantz, who both prosecuted and defended mob figures.

In another New York case, Manhattan prosecutors subpoenaed documents from an engineer working on the Trump-owned 200-acre Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County. In the past decade, DDT’s valuation of the property, purchased in 1995 for $7.5 million, ranged from $25 million to $291 million. In 2014, he deducted $2.2 million in taxes by claiming it as an investment property and then claimed a $21.1 million tax deduction for donating a conservation easement for 2015, not “reflected on applicable tax returns.” DDT tried to build a golf course on the property, but quit after local opposition, and then considered a development with 15 mansions.

DDT’s returns may not be public unless they lead to criminal charges. In that case, the documents could be evidence, allowing them to be public. If those charges lead to conviction, DDT can’t escape it with a pardon, even a secret blanket one he might have made before he left the Oval Office, because it’s a state, not a federal, charge.

In another rejection of DDT, SCOTUS refused to consider cases out of Pennsylvania to block a deadline for absentee ballots three days after Election Day which were postmarked by Election Day in cases from a legislator and from DDT to block Pennsylvania’s certification of election results. The disposition of absentee ballots either way would not have affected President Joe Biden’s win in the state.

Thanks to Fulton County (GA) DA Fani Willis, DDT may also face RICO, an anti-racketeering law to prosecute the mob, in trying to change Georgia’s majority to favor himself. Willis successfully used the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in a case against Atlanta teachers accused of organized cheating by falsifying student standardized scores to improve schools’ standing. Former Georgia public defender Ryan Locke said RICO is used “in a case where someone commits a number of crimes that all lead toward one common corrupt aim.” RICO can be used for using a legal entity, i.e., a government agency or public office, to break the law.

More fallout has come from 60+ frivolous lawsuits claiming, with no evidence, fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Both public officials and private companies want to hold DDT and his GQP (Grand QAnon Party) allies accountable for the rhetoric causing insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. Federal rules prohibit lawyer participation in frivolous suits or use of litigation for such improper purposes as to delay or harass. Laws prevent attorneys from lying in court. Judicial sanctions to discourage bad practices could be monetary penalties or references to disciplinary action.

Michigan and Detroit asked a federal judge to sanction attorneys filing lawsuits falsely alleging fraud in the election. Al Schmidt, GOP Philadelphia City Commissioner facing threats with falsehoods about fraud in vote counting, asks for reconciliation. “Moving on isn’t enough,” he said. Last Friday, a federal judge in D.C. referred a lawyer for possible disciplinary action.

In Wisconsin, lawyers representing the state council of the Service Employees International Union requested a criminal investigation about ten false Wisconsin electors who secretly met at the state Capitol in an attempt to appoint themselves electoral voters for DDT. On the same day Wisconsin convened electoral representatives representing the state’s voters, the illegitimate group signed fake certificates of election with DDT’s name and sent them to federal and state officials. The six laws possibly broken include forgery and falsely assuming the role of public officer.

In New York, Stephen Gillers, a NYU law school professor, helped draft a complaint to investigate DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s conduct and possibly revoke his license to practice law in the state. State rules prohibit lawyers from “conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer.” A court can suspend the lawyer’s license on an interim basis while the disciplinary process is being resolved, sometimes three to four years.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MI), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, is suing DDT, Giuliani, and members of two extremist groups, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, on the basis of the 1871 Ku Klux Klan law banning violent interference in congressional duties. His representation, NAACP, said other congressional members may join.

Two election technology companies filed multibillion-dollar defamation suits against DDT’s allies for telling lies about the software and equipment. Dominion Voting Systems, with $1.3 billion defamation lawsuits against lawyers Giuliani and Sidney Powell, has a new $1.3 billion suit against the MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Dominion claims Powell has been evading service of its suit. Smartmatic’s lawsuits have forced conservative media into reversing its lies.

While DDT prepares for his first speech since leaving Washington for Mar-a-Lago, possibly to announce his presidential candidacy in 2024, he fears he will be sued for the rest of his life—sort of like his life before the White House. A few non-political cases:

Former journalist E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit is still active. After the statute of limitations for rape expired, she is suing DDT for defamation because he said she lied about a rape in a New York department store. Former AG Bill Barr tried to move the case from state to federal court and assign DOJ lawyers to defend DDT, but the new administration dropped that effort.

A one-time contestant on DDT’s former TV reality show The Apprentice, Summer Zervos, has requested a continuation of her suit now that DDT, presently a private citizen, no longer has protection from a deposition regarding alleged sexual assault.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, once a close friend of DDT who advised him for his campaign, is considering a lawsuit because DDT repeated—and falsely—called Scarborough a murderer.

DDT may be in financial trouble despite grifting throughout four years in the White House. Vornado Realty Trust, owning 70 percent of two first-class commercial buildings in New York and San Francisco, may force DDT to sell his 30 percent stake at a discount. With control over DDT’s cash flow, Vornado can withhold money from DDT, who desperately needs the funds to pay for his loan. After a decade, DDT has owned a share worth $784 million with a $285 million share of the debt. Almost $400 million in DDT’s debt partially backed by Trump International Hotel (Washington, D.C.) and the Trump National Doral Golf Resort (Miami) comes due in 2023. Without money to maintain the facilities in good shape, he loses the ability to attract future business.

Since DDT left the White House, members are leaving Mar-a-Lago because of bad food and a depressing atmosphere, lacking even entertainment. Calling DDT an “employee,” however, Palm Beach allows DDT to live at Mar-a-Lago, despite his agreement in 1993 to not stay there for longer than seven days at a time and only three times a year. Neighbors still oppose his residence there.

DDT lost over $120 million in revenue last year, according to his financial disclosure forms, the worst losses at his D.C. hotel, down over 60 percent, and Doral Resort, dropping 44 percent. Revenue amounts for 47 companies declined over 35 percent, and banks and law firms are cutting ties with DDT’s businesses. Gone are three of four banks with DDT’s largest deposits. Even a small event like the triathlon at DDT’s golf course outside Charlotte canceled when the January 6 Capitol attack caused sponsors and vendors to drop out. The event’s founder had canceled another event almost four years after DDT’s comment about “very fine people” among white supremacists,  but he came back to lose again.

And DDT’s supporters think he’s a good businessman.

December 9, 2020

DDT Spirals Downward in Court

All 50 states have certified their electoral college votes according to the votes of their populations. President-elect Joe Biden has 306 votes; loser Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has 232 votes. The party totals are exactly the opposite from those in 2016 when DDT received 306 votes. After December 8, 2020, votes cannot be challenged in court or in Congress. Fox network traumatized supporters of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) when Neil Cavuto broke into DDT’s “vaccine summit” programming to announce Joe Biden is president-elect and the Supreme Court isn’t going to put him back into the Oval Office.

Next Monday, December 14, the electors meet in their separate states to vote by paper ballot for president and vice president. After the vote, they sign “Certificates of the Vote” with the list of votes and distribute them to officials along with the Certificate of Ascertainment. Thirty-three states have laws requiring electors to follow the vote of the people; Georgia, with 16 votes, and Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, are the only swing states without this law. Without those 36 votes, Biden still has the necessary 270 electoral votes to be president.

Tuesday was another marker in losing for DDT. He and his allies passed the marker for 50 lost post-election legal battles, exactly 51, according to Marc Elias, Democrats’ top election attorney. The GOP came out victorious in one minor case allowing them to move from ten feet to six feet away from ballot counters. The icing on the losing cake was a rejection from the U.S. Supreme Court for a request to throw out all of Pennsylvania’s 6.7 million votes. The order from conservative Justice Samuel Alito had no dissents from the conservative 6-3 court—including the three justices DDT appointed to give him the White House in the next term. The case was the first—and perhaps the last—to reach the Supreme Court to overturn Biden’s win. In arguing the Supreme Court case, lawyers tried to use the 2000 decision putting George W. Bush into the White House, but that case overturned Florida’s Supreme Court decision on the basis its ruling “impermissibly distorted [state law] beyond what a fair reading required.” SCOTUS rejected the argument.

The basis of the case, filed by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) was against Act 77, last year’s law to allow unlimited absentee ballots to eligible voters. Republicans passed the law with the belief it would increase Republican voters, but DDT’s belief it would help Democrats drove Republicans to oppose the law that they passed. The state Supreme Court stated that the challenge was filed far too late, after Biden’s 80,000 majority was known. Challengers to Act 77 already ignored the 180-day window set by the GOP legislature to raise any constitutional objections. The GOP goal was to disenfranchise over 2.5 million voters so they could give the state to DDT.

One Pennsylvania state legislator gave an explanation for the recent interest in nullifying election results. Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward said defying DDT’s position might “get my house bombed.” Armed threatening men gathered around the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and extremists are posting photographs of the home of Ann Jacobs, Wisconsin Elections Commission chair, and threatening her children.    

After the conservative Supreme Court rejected the GOP’s effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump’s supporters are using Parler social media to call for martial law and armed rebellion across the nation. The same people called liberals “snowflakes” in 2016 and accused them of not being able to accept DDT’s victory four years ago. DDT lost both the electoral college and the popular vote to Biden, but DDT’s supporters claim people would not have voted for Biden.

After DDT’s Supreme Court loss came Nevada’s Supreme Court agreement with a lower court of “no credible or reliable evidence that the 2020 general election in Nevada was affected by fraud.”

Arizona’s Supreme Court unanimously rejected the “election fraud” lawsuit from the state’s GOP chair, Kelli “Chemtrail” Ward, who tried to give the state’s certified votes to DDT instead of the popular vote for Biden. The case accused both election workers and foreign countries of manipulating the results. After Arizona’s GOP Gov. Doug Ducey certified the vote for Biden, Ward told him to “shut the hell up.” The state GOP has asked Republicans if they are willing to die in the cause of obtaining the election for DDT. Activist Ali Alexander set the tone when he said he was “willing to give my life for this fight [to put DDT in the Oval Office].” The party sent out Alexander’s statement with the words, “He is. Are you?” with a clip from Rambo. A few respondents said they would, but far more ridiculed the approach.

A Georgia judge denied a lawsuit to force the state’s GOP governor and secretary of state decertify the election results for Biden to give the state to DDT. Desperate to get votes despite their openly fraudulent activities, Georgia’s GOP incumbent senators, up for reelection on January 6, have both signed a statement asking the state to invalidate the vote of the people for Biden.

Another Tuesday event was learning that DDT’s campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, who worked closely with COVID-19 infected Rudy Giuliani, also tested positive for the virus. She had told Fox she was bringing lawsuits to put loser DDT into the Oval Office for “Lord Jesus Christ.” Evidently, God blocked Ellis by giving her coronavirus.

The “safe harbor deadline” has passed, but 17 flaming red states are following Texas AG Ken Paxton in his filing opposition to Biden’s election in the Supreme Court, claiming four states—Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia—for “illegal election results.” DDT needs to get electoral votes from an additional four states to pass the 270-vote threshold for presidential election; he is ignoring the other 46 states.

Paxton’s lawsuit has serious problems. (1) It has no evidence. (2) One state has no standing to sue another state for its election processes. If so, many states could sue Paxton’s Texas for its multiple voter suppression tactics. (3) DDT has joined the lawsuit. Acting “in his personal capacity” as a presidential candidate, DDT wants “to protect his unique and substantial personal interests as a candidate for re-election.”

DDT’s new attorney, John Eastman, is using his birther belief attempting to disqualify VP-elect and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for both her government positions because she was born in Oakland (CA) to U.S. immigrants. Newsweek ran an article from Eastman and then profusely apologized for having published his highly discredited column. 

Paxton’s lawsuit appears self-serving. After being under indictment for five years for securities fraud, several of his senior officials accused him of “bribery, abuse of office and other crimes.” He may be shopping for a pardon before DDT leaves office.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies turned sour Tuesday when Republicans rejected the customarily pro-forma resolution stating Joe Biden is president-elect in a preparation for him and VP-elect Kamala Harris. With six members on the committee, the resolution met with a tie. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) accused Democrats of getting “ahead of the electoral process [to] decide who we are inaugurating.” He wants them to “adhere to the committee’s longstanding tradition of bipartisan cooperation.” The other two Republicans on the committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), look upset about planning a Democrat’s inauguration. 

GOP leaders are giving December 14, the meeting of electors as the end of the elections. Next Tuesday will determine whether Republicans come up with a new personal deadline. Chair of the committee, Blunt indicated it won’t be meeting again. More sabotage of what should be a celebration of democracy. Blunt also said the committee members would accept the president-elect after the Electoral College meets. When the 249 GOP congressional members were asked if they would accept Biden as president-elect after formalization by the electors, only 32 said yes. Two said no, and the remaining 215 wouldn’t answer. The 32 accepting the inevitable is only five more than the 27 who had already agreed with Biden as the president-elect.

Meanwhile, Biden is moving forward with his own inaugural committee. He has appointed five chairs with Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), the lead, with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer the co-chair. Others are Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE). At the same time, Ivanka Trump, deposed for an investigation into the misuse of funds for her father’s inauguration called it “a politically motivated demonstration” and “waste of taxpayer dollars.” After the 50+ lawsuits against states because Republicans can’t believe Joe Biden can get over 80 million votes.

U.S. COVID-19 for December 9, 2020: cases – 225,441; deaths – 3,243. Within the next two days, anticipate total cases to go over 16 million and deaths over 300,000.

November 28, 2020

DDT: Week 201 – The Swamp Gets Swampier

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may be tootling off to play golf while he stays at Camp David with his family, but he’s still losing. Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice DDT’s attempt to invalidate 2.5 million voter. In Pennsylvania, the fight is over unless the Supreme Court takes the appeal after the 3rd Circuit Court turned him down—highly likely. DDT’s lawyer Jenna Ellis called the situation “a ridiculous political game,” highly accurate because her only evidence of fraud is that people voted for Joe Biden. Yet she isn’t quitting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cut a deal between his country and Saudi Arabia, according the conservative Wall Street Journal. MBS backed out because he’s waiting for a Biden administration.

To sabotage any Iran deal, DDT praised the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Israel blamed him for nuclear weapons and was probably behind the murder although DDT praised the death. Gunmen ambushed Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle near Tehran and killed him; Iranian officials vowed revenge for the attack that they called terrorism and “an act of war.” Former CIA Director John O. Brennan also described the attack as “a criminal act & highly reckless,” recognizing Iran is planning revenge for the “state-sponsored terrorism.” DDT was planning a U.S. attack on Iran a few weeks ago. Iran has not had a nuclear weapons program since 2003 and accepted extensive and intrusive inspections since 2015.

Replacement of DDT’s loyalists for long-term members of foreign policy experts on the Defense Policy Board to advise the Secretary of Defense and his team leaves the new Pentagon leaders ignorant. Gone are former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, serving Democratic President Bill Clinton, and Henry Kissinger, supporter of GOP foreign policy for a half century as well as since the Richard Nixon administration, as well as former leaders of Congress and the Pentagon. Of the 60 department positions requiring Senate confirmation 24 are “acting” DDT supporters.

DDT’s October 21 executive order reclassifying workers and stripping them of job protections may cause mass firings of federal civil servants within the next 53 days. Agencies must finish their reviews for reclassified positions by January 19, the day before Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration. DDT’s goal is to speed employment of political appointees “without regard to merit … including economists, scientists, and data analysts,” according to a letter from 13 Democratic lawmakers. They warn of “a mass exodus” of federal employee before the inauguration, designed to continue the draining of expertise and skills in DDT’s administration. DDT’s Office of Management and Budget wants to reclassify 88 percent of its 425 workers.

In his failure of his pledge to “drain the swamp,” DDT retained special interests while eliminating career federal officials and experts or reducing their influence by undercutting them:

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decimated his department and established a hiring freeze. Successor Mike Pompeo created controversy and deflated the diplomatic corp.

With at least six directors, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) omitted an emphasis on cybersecurity and counterterrorism with DDT’s total concentration on immigration crackdowns on the southern border and deportations, frequently with illegal actions.

Under Secretary Alex Azar, the Department of Health and Human Services, especially the CDC, has lost almost all public confidence.

Other agencies suffer from DDT’s destruction.

People donating their money to the so-called nonprofit National Rifle Association have funded executives’ personal benefit and enrichment for at least four years in addition to paying multimillion-dollar legal bills, according to a New York state lawsuit. Several departed officers are cooperating with the case against NRA. Although executive Wayne LaPierre paid $300,000 back to the NRA for travel expenses, he charged for many other “not appropriate” expenses. The lawsuit aims to shut down the organization suffering from declining membership dues and other revenue. Last year, the NRA had a $12.2 million operating shortfall, compared to $2.7 million the year before. In 2019, legal costs went to $38.5 million from $25 million in 2018. Another lawsuit questions the relationship between the NRA and its charity, NRA Foundation, which may be used to cover NRA deficits.

While DDT’s Supreme Court protects Christian and Jewish religion, his administration plans to give ownership of an Arizona aboriginal religious site to a copper mining company. The San Carlos Apache tribe has prayed and performed ceremonies on the site for centuries. Like many others, the effort is being rushed before DDT leaves the White House in 53 days. Also at the site is an historical cliff memorializing tribal losses from European immigrants. 

Upset with Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf closing essential and limiting gatherings’ size—including DDT’s campaigns—he denied FEMA aid to the state for Tropical Storm Isaias disaster in nine counties.

DDT’s Department of Justice is claiming the right to kill U.S. citizens without any judicial review. The DOJ made the claim in the Washington, D.C. circuit court about two journalists claiming they were wrongly targeted as terrorists in Syria. Withholding information, the U.S. has not confirmed if either one poses any threat.

The FAA has cleared the 737 MAX, responsible for 346 deaths, as safe and ready to fly after being grounded for 20 months. Boeing updated the faulty software and added a backup sensor. Documents about the inconclusive investigation are still not released because of an open investigation into the Ethiopian crash. Without information to formulate questions, families cannot depose key company engineers. Following damning information about the 737 MAX, the House passed a bill to reform FAA oversight over airplane manufacturers, but the Senate hasn’t touched it. David Gelles has an analysis of Boeing’s failures with the 737 MAX.

Wealthy North Carolinian Fred Eshelman donated $2.5 million to the far-right Tea Party group True the Vote on November 5 because it promised to “litigate … the fraud in the 2020 general election.” The group dropped four lawsuits, stating on November 17 it needed “to pursue a different path.” Eshelman is suing to get his money returned. In asking for donations, the group had promised lawsuits in seven states, using “sophisticated data modeling and statistical analysis to identify potential illegal or fraudulent balloting.” For 11 years, the Texas-based True the Vote pushed for stricter voter ID laws with false allegations of voter fraud by Democrats.

YouTube has suspended new videos and demonetized current ones from DDT’s favorite network, One America News (OAN), for a week because of its content guaranteeing a cure for COVID-19. The second strike against OAN would be two weeks, and the Google-owned video service would permanently drop OAN after the third strike within 90 days.

This coming week the Supreme Court hears DDT’s case in which he wants to eliminate undocumented immigrants from the U.S. Census. In two different places, the U.S. Constitution declares that the census is of all “persons.” The question is whether the “originalist” justices who follow only the words of the constitution will find a way to assert humans are not “persons.”

DDT won’t concede, but he’s also said he’ll declare his 2024 presidential candidacy before the end of 2020 with campaign rallies up against Biden’s inauguration.  He’s also trying to figure out how to make money for the next five years. Along with trying unsuccessfully to stay in the Oval Office, DDT is trying to take over the Republican National Committee, turning it into his political subsidiary. Success in this endeavor permits DDT to retaliate against whatever legislators who were not 100 percent loyal to him, perhaps the reason Georgia’s Gov. Kemp asked for another hand recount. Part of DDT’s influence in the RNC is the installation of his supporters in state-level party posts. His maneuvers also delay other 2024 presidential wannabes from campaigning. 

DDT apparently plans a new home in Florida. Secret Service agents have been asked about a permanent move to Florida, and the Miami field office is investigating physical reinforcements to Mar-a-Lago. Living quarters for both DDT and his wife Melania are also undergoing renovations. On January 21, the NYPD will work with the Secret Service to reduce law enforcement at Manhattan’s Trump Tower. DDT wants to maintain Florida as his legal residence for voting and other purposes, keeping the Bedminster (NJ) resort and Trump Tower apartment for visits, but he may run into legal problems.

To tax Mar-a-Lago as a private club in 1993, DDT had to promise Palm Beach County he would not use it for his residence. The club’s website states DDT maintains “private quarters” there. His choice may be to keep the club or keep the property as his residence. Wealthy neighbors oppose the residence idea because DDT could then build a large number of condos in the surrounding area, depreciating their property. History of the conflict.

In the midst of a pandemic causing poverty, DDT’s friend Sean Hannity, whose annual salary is $40 million, talks about the misery of the wealthy. A week ago, he said on his show:

“You know, you say, ‘Oh, rich people have it easy.’ There’s nobody that I know that gets through this life without pain, without difficulty, without striving, without suffering, without things being hard. I don’t care what it is, but for whatever it is, we all go through that.”

Hannity probably comforted the almost one million people with no shelter, the 25 million who filed for unemployment, and the 50 million who are food-insecure. 

DDT has a busy schedule tomorrow: he goes from Camp David to the White House.

November 25, 2020

DDT’s Flailing Attempts to Get Votes

Filed under: Judiciary — trp2011 @ 12:08 AM
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With 36 losing lawsuits and eight more pending, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has not yet found any election fraud. He even admitted that he failed by tweeting he “will” find evidence. For the past month, DDT and other Republicans have thrown lawsuits to block Biden from winning, going from county jurisdictions to the federal circuit courts. Media differ on the number of lawsuits, going as high as the 44 listed above. GOP lawyers have tried to prevent counting and certifying votes while changing the rules and just having the electoral votes given to DDT with no justification. All of the cases declare nothing about widespread voter fraud in court; it appears only in the court of public opinion. Sometimes, attorneys claim in court that no fraud exists. By now, all the lawyers are incompetent.

Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn’s failed lawyer, accused Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp of conspiring with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to steal the election from DDT. Rudy Giuliani, still DDT’s personal lawyer and QAnon member Jenna Ellis said Powell doesn’t work on the election cases, but Ellis described Powell as a member of Trump’s legal team and praised her performance at the press conference. Giuliani said that the press conference was “representative of our legal team.” DDT’s campaign claimed Powell is “practicing law on her own” and “not a member of the Trump Legal Team,” but DDT had tweeted the three of them with Joseph deGenova and Victoria Toensing, who DDT refused to hire years ago, are “a truly great team.”

A taste of the recent cases:

Last weekend, a U.S. District Court judge in Pennsylvania dismissed DDT’s case in federal court. Matthew W. Brann wrote:

“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more.”

Fox showed a pre-recorded segment with DDT’s lawyer Jenna Ellis about a promising case possibly going to the Supreme Court—hours after the judge threw out the lawsuit. The Supreme Court has refused to take the case about counting ballots arriving within three days after Election Day but mailed on time.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed five consolidated appeals yesterday in DDT’s attempt to disqualify a few thousand mail-in ballots. The majority ruled the election code does not disqualify votes with no fraud or irregularity. Justice Christine Donohue wrote:

“Failures to include a handwritten name, address or date in the voter declaration on the back of the outer envelope, while constituting technical violations of the Election Code, do not warrant the wholesale disenfranchisement of thousands of Pennsylvania voters.”

In Pennsylvania, officials asked the 3rd Circuit Court to end DDT’s challenge of the election because it has been certified and resolved. The case was about rejecting millions—or at least tens of thousands—of legally cast ballots with no evidence to support the surrounding allegations. Parties were given 24 hours to submit arguments; rejecting DDT’s legal team may close down most of DDT’s ability to contest the election in that state, especially after today’s certification for Biden.

When Brann tossed the Pennsylvania case to remove all 6.8 million ballots from consideration last Friday, he described the case as a “Frankenstein’s Monster … haphazardly stitched together” and the GOP solution “unhinged.” That case led Pennsylvania Republicans to file a petition for the state supreme court which rejected it Monday before the 3rd Circuit Court was willing to take briefs. The same case also led to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) to declare Biden as the president-elect.

The appeal for the circuit court didn’t ask for a delay in certification or a reversal in the trial court’s motion to grant preliminary relief. All it wants is an order for the district court to decide the case that the judge already called “Frankenstein’s Monster.”

Yesterday, DDT also lost a case in Michigan. A representative from the Brennan Center for Justice said the Michigan decision rejecting DDT’s poll observers to stop the certification could be the end of the road for DDT in that state. Michigan certified its electoral college votes for Biden yesterday. Another Michigan case had been rejected as “defective” for improper filing and was never corrected. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel (Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney’s niece) and state GOP Chair Laura Cox asked Michigan’s state canvassing board to delay certification for 14 days, allowing for a “full audit and investigation.”

Republicans’ Tuesday lawsuit asking the Wisconsin state supreme court to block certification during the recount uses DDT’s typical arguments as well as a repeat of a rejected argument in September that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to “illegally circumvent Wisconsin absentee voting laws” through grants awarded by a nonprofit center he funds. It’s slightly less daring than the Pennsylvania case to eliminate all 6.8 million votes based on hearsay, according to the judge.

A Wisconsin judge refused a request to throw out 60,000 mail-in ballots not associated with a written application in Democratic Dane County—all cast during in-person early voting. DDT’s team also lost the request to eliminate all ballots in which clerks added in a witness’ address information on the ballot envelope. In 2016, the state elections commission told municipal clerks to add that information if it was missing and they could reasonably discern it.

A Nevada district judge denied a former senate candidate her request to stop this week’s certification. The judge also denied a motion to strike down Nevada law allowing mail-in ballots and denied the request from a failed GOP congressional candidate for a revote in Nevada’s biggest county, calling it a “shocking ask.” Another Nevada case is still waiting for a decision, but the case probably won’t affect the state’s vote count.

This morning, DDT promised a “big lawsuit” will be filed “soon.” Last week, DDT’s legal team leader Rudy Giuliani also promised “a major lawsuit in Georgia,” but nothing has yet to emerge. The only lawsuit in Georgia, filed the day after the election, was quickly dismissed.

Miserably failing in court, DDT has developed other undemocratic tactics. Thus far, they have gained no traction other than to lead DDT’s gullible cult followers into rejecting democracy.  

Recounts:  Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp, elected with his personally chosen and possibly faulty voting machines, is calling for a second complete hand count of all ballots after the first one shows Biden ahead by 12,670 votes. DDT is also calling for a machine hand count although Georgia has already certified its votes for Biden. In the last hand recount, DDT gained about 1,300 votes. Georgia’s taxpayers will have to finance the second recount.

Too cheap to do a total Wisconsin recount, DDT picked the two heaviest Democratic counties. Observers’ sole goal is to delay the recount past the deadline to certify votes for the state. Never mind that certification from other swing states—Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan—put Biden at 280 electoral college votes, ten points over the required 270. Observers not only break social distancing rules by doubling up at tables but also engage in other illegal activity. One of them questioned every ballot for no reason at all. One refused to wear a mask, and another assaulted a ballot counter when she moved his jacket from a chair. Some observers claiming to be independent or nonpartisan later admitted to the media they were present to help DDT.

State legislatures:  DDT’s campaign said Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan will have public hearings on election, but the states disagree. Pennsylvania’s Senate Majority said the “hearing” is an “informational meeting.”  The other two states won’t confirm any hearing.  DDT’s daughter-in-law said about winning by swaying GOP state legislators, “We’re open to anything.” And DDT lobbied Michigan lawmakers in the White House to give the state to himself.

Twitter:  Since DDT’s abdication of any responsibilities, he has unlimited time to rant and rave over Twitter although his tweets are sometimes flagged for “misinformation.” Tomorrow is another day with no public events scheduled after he pardoned two turkeys and had a 63-second press conference today.

Re-vote: DDT retweeted this message from Randy Quaid, adding Republicans should take note:

“We need an in-person-only-paper ballot re-vote, especially in the States where flagrant irregularities have occurred. No accuracy, no democracy!”

AG Bill Barr, DDT’s fixer in the past, has maintained two weeks of silence without taking any action in the fake election fraud accusation. The U.S. Supreme Court has also shown no interest, already turning down one appeal.

Months ago, DDT began his strategy of telling his supporters the election is rigged and filled with fraud. Now those same supporters may boycott the Georgia election on January 5 to select two senators for the 177th Congress, senators who could give the Senate control to Democrats. The PAC connected to Roger Stone, DDT’s friend who Barr saved from part of his prison sentence, calls for Republicans to avoid the runoffs. On social media Parler are posts such as “Don’t vote! Don’t be part of the corruption.” Lin Wood, a DDT campaign worker in Georgia, tweeted, “I will NOT vote in GA runoff.”

November 24, 2020 – U.S. daily COVID-19: 175,168 cases (hitting over 13 million tomorrow); 2,194 deaths (hitting over 266,000 tomorrow).  

November 8, 2020

DDT Looks to Courts for His Winning

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) using the court system to stay in the Oval Office is like a Keystone Cops movie. In this case, however, the humorously incompetent cops are replaced by people like Rudy Giuliani who is still trying to dig himself out his relationship with a Russian agent while searching for dirt on Joe Biden. Now Giuliani’s under DOJ investigation while trying to find dirt on half the voters of the United States. DDT figures he can stay in the Oval Office because Jeb and George W. Bush convinced Florida to get him there in 2000, but by now Joe Biden has leads in several states, not just one. On Fox network, Rudy Giuliani said ten states conspired to throw the election to Joe Biden. DDT has had to use a number of excuses for suing them. 

With no evidence of election fraud, the lawyers’ activities were even more ludicrous. DDT picked Pam Bondi, who he bribed to drop the Florida suit against his corrupt university, and Corey Lewandowski, who got in trouble for violent actions while briefly DDT’s campaign manager, for Pennsylvania. DDT’s former acting intelligence director Richard Grenell went to Nevada in a search for “dead people voting” with Matt Schlapp, part of George W. Bush’s team in 2000. Neither one would answer any questions at a press conference, not even their names, and they ran away in a van. 

Even classier, DDT announced a “big press conference” in Philadelphia on Saturday at the Four Seasons. Instead of the posh hotel, however, the location was in the industrial area at the parking lot of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping, next to an adult book store offering “Dildo Sales” and across the street from a cremation center. At least the event seemed to have no cases of hypothermia or heat stroke. In the middle of the press conference, Giuliani discovered that the presidency had been called for Biden.  

Buzzfeed News breaks down the claims leading to lawsuits: unverified, misleading, and flatly false. DDT can’t even get some of his claims into Twitter without their being flagged as false:

  • A video supposedly of a man rolling a ballot box into a Detroit (MI) vote counting center that turned out to be camera equipment.
  • Over 138,000 voter “magically found” in Michigan came from a “simple error” being changed for the accurate tabulation. 
  • The report of more votes in Wisconsin than registered voters was just plain false.
  • “Sharpiegate” bringing out armed mobs came from the rumor of people alleging their votes were invalidated by the use of Sharpie markers given them by poll workers; they were flat-out wrong—the votes were counted.
  • The lie from DDT’s son Eric Trump and his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany that DDT had won Pennsylvania ignored the 500,000 votes still not counted last Thursday.

DDT has filed lawsuits to stop ballot counting in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin although the ballots were received legally on or before election Day. With no evidence of statutory or constitutional violation, the accusations are only “a tweet without a filing fee,” according to Justin Levitt, professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He said judges have “actually demanded facts and haven’t been ruling on all-caps claims of fraud or suppression.” University of Chicago law professor David Strauss said:

“He has the same attitude toward the Supreme Court that he has toward the rest of the government—that it works for him, not for the American people.”

DDT has at least 13 “nuisance” lawsuits in just Pennsylvania, partly because of his obsession with Philadelphia. Thus far, DDT’s only success has been moving poll watchers from ten feet to six feet away from ballot counters. His goal is to block the ballots postmarked by Election Day from being counted; Biden has already won the state without those ballots.

A Michigan judge dismissed DDT’s lawsuit accusing the counting of absentee ballots without bipartisan observers and challengers. She stated the lawsuit was filed a few hours before the end of ballot counting against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the wrong person to sue.

A Georgia judge dismissed DDT’s lawsuit alleging about 50 late ballots mixed with on-time ballots, citing no evidence.

DDT has decided Arizona’s results of fewer than 13,000 separation between Biden and DDT are close enough to attack. His suit alleges Maricopa County incorrectly rejected votes from Election Day because poll workers told voters to press a button because the machine detected an “overvote.” DDT’s campaign claimed the order disregarded voters’ choices which could prove “determinative.”

Twice, a federal judge rejected GOP attempts to block the use of a signature verification machine for mail ballots. Two law firms representing DDT’s campaign may have violated USPS regulations and privacy law in the course of advocating for a voter fraud case in the state of Nevada. Originally, the Nevada suit was filed by a “credentialed member” of DDT’s new favorite right-wing media One America News as senior adviser to the Nevada GOP and congressional campaign for Nevada Republicans Dan Rodimer and Jim Marchant.

The charge of faulty signature verification and observer access to ballot counting mentioned “over 3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots.” DDT’s campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh then involved AG Bill Barr through a law firm sending information from the USPS change-of-address database, a violation of federal law. Anyone accessing the data may use the data only for mailing reasons, and disclosed records without a written request violate the Privacy Act of 1974. In addition, Clark County voters, however, to not need to live in the county to cast ballots there. The firm has only one employee, Shana Weir, an official delegate for the Nevada GOP.  She opened the firm nine months ago and “legally advised” poll watchers. The other involved law firm worked for Sen. Ron Paul (R-KY) in 2016 to protect his deputy campaign manager who pled guilty to hiding campaign payments through a third-party vendor. DDT has the same problem with its own campaign.

In other DDT criminal activity, his campaign is trying to persuade Wisconsin voters to contact DDT’s Pennsylvania supporters to add late submissions to mail-in ballots. The reason is to claim Election authorities are not correctly sorting late ballots. A multi-state conspiracy to engage in election fraud is a crime. DDT’s campaign officials and Minnesota Republicans are trying to get DDT’s supporters to falsely claim ballot fraud. The Minnesota GOP chair told DDT activists the recruiting plan for all states came from the RNC chair Ronna McDaniel in another act of election fraud.

After a second court order for USPS to find ballots, the postal service delivered about 40,000 ballots last Thursday, after 150,000 went out on Wednesday. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy ignored the first order. At least 1,700 were discovered in Pennsylvania and had to be delivered by last Friday to be counted. Another 15 states have this deadline during the coming week—Nevada and North Carolina by Tuesday. DeJoy has deliberately delayed postal service since DDT put him in charge of USPS late last spring despite his promises to stop the practice and deliver ballots on time. According to government assets, DeJoy and his wife hold over $75 million in assets with USPS competitors. 

As for election fraud, Michael Georg Link, a German lawmaker who heads an observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe, told German public broadcaster rbb they found no evidence of election fraud in the mail-in voting process.

“We looked into this. We found no violations of the rules whatsoever.”

He said they found some errors but “no systemic interference or even manipulation with the postal ballots whatsoever.”

Ongoing litigation includes permission in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to count votes arriving after Election Day if the ballots were mailed by Election Day. Those ballots have been segregated and won’t be counted until the courts approve. DDT wants the Supreme Court to decide because he thinks at least three of the justices are under his control. Another litigation concerns “cured” ballots in several counties, ones in which individual voters fixed deficiencies.

Giuliani promised a flood of new lawsuits tomorrow, including ones with already failed allegations. One of them is a supposedly “recorded” vote by a dead woman in the Pittsburgh area among 350,000 votes from Allegheny County. “Recorded” may not mean counted. The woman planned to vote for DDT.

The reason for DDT’s lawsuits? He’s raising funds to pay for his campaign debts. He’ll wait to concede and beg, but he won’t leave the White House as long as he can live there in style and do no work. For months, he’s made promises for “when I become president” as if he isn’t at this time. He’s desperate to stay in the Oval Office to avoid prison. Donating to DDT’s recount fund? Half your money goes to erasing his campaign debt.

Today, Joe Biden worked on a transition, DDT rage tweeted and golfed, and his son Eric demanded a manual recount for every ballot in the United States—“right now!”

October 29, 2020

DDT’s Chaos Reported on October 28, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 1, 2020

A Lighter Look at Politics

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 12:27 AM
Tags: , , , ,

After the grimness of last night’s debate, it’s time for some humor. The following story comes from Republican insistence that mail-in (aka absentee) ballots not be counted in Pennsylvania if they aren’t enclosed in both the secrecy envelope and the mailing ballot. Those ballots are nicknamed “naked ballots” and may be the nine ballots accidentally discarded in one Pennsylvania county by a temp worker.

Three Pittsburgh women—two Allegheny County council members and a state representative candidate—are using the “naked” terminology to do some educating about the two envelopes. They posed topless to remind people about the necessity of using both envelopes. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has ruled “naked” ballots would be counted for the primary in August but not in the general election.

Bethany Hallam (above right), Allegheny County councilwoman at large, said:

“Immediately when I heard the term naked ballots, and being a woman in the male-dominated environment of politics, where they are always trying to control our bodies, I thought, ‘Why not take some control back? And also get the voters’ attention.”

Hallam said the tweet got a million views in the first 24 hours. Not everyone approved, but the women weren’t really naked. They were wearing strapless bras. And they encouraged men to join the ad campaign.

The women’s directions guide people through the mail-in voting process: (1) fill out your ballot; (2) put the ballot in the white secrecy envelope; and (3) put that envelope into the outer envelope; (4) sign the back of the envelope (and in Pennsylvania fill out the voter’s declaration). Not every state requires a voter’s declaration; for example, Oregon requires only a signature and mandates it be exactly the same as on the vote registration.

In other words, “dress your ballot.” Emily Kinkead (above left), running for a state House seat in the 20th district, tweeted, “No one wants a naked politician—or a naked ballot!” The women’s advertising got even more attention after Keith Rothfus, a Republican in Pennsylvania’s 12th District, insinuated it was vulgar. Other people approved, calling it “awesome,” “amazing,” “brilliant,” “clever,” and “wonderful.”  

With the other council member, Olivia Bennett, in the above photo, Hallam works on criminal justice reform, police accountability, environmental protection, LGBTQ equality, and workers’ rights. She used a progressive platform to defeat a 20-year council member incumbent last year.

The three women are just the start of an ongoing ad campaign using different volunteers.

By Monday, September 28, 2020, Allegheny County had mailed about 106,000 ballots of 325 thus far, and the other 66 counties will mail out ballots on individual timelines. Some counties will have satellite elections offices where people can vote early by requesting, receiving, completing, and submitting mail ballots in one trip. Democrats have already requested 1.5 million ballots to vote by mail compared to 535,000 from Republicans and 223,000 from other voters. In August, Pennsylvania had 8,725,566 registered voters.

Fewer Republicans are using absentee ballots thus far because of DDT’s false scare tactics about not voting in person. This is the first year all Pennsylvanians can request ballots by mail without giving a justification. Because of recent lawsuits, envelopes provide the wrong directions about when ballots must be returned; the law now requires ballots be accepted through Friday, November 6, 2020, because of DDT’s mail delivery slowdown. Voters can check whether their ballots have been mailed through the Department of State’s online ballot tracker and receive email notification if they provided an address.

Pennsylvania’s court ruling against “naked” ballots was intended to be a victory for the Republicans and DDT. Three “naked” women may turn it around.

October 29, 2018

DDT: Week 92, Part II – Jamal Khashoggi, GOP’s Promotion of Violence

The tragic events in the U.S. have taken front and center over the vicious murder of U.S. resident and WaPo reporter Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabians in their Turkish embassy, but the Saudis continue to contrive a number of explanations for the horrific event since October 2, 2018.

Robbie Gramer, Diplomacy/National Security Reporter, tweeted a “tongue-in-cheek” sequence of events listing Saudi’s “official” positions since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi embassy in Turkey to get papers so that he could marry his fiancé:

  • He’s not dead; he left the consulate; we have evidence.
  • OK, he has disappeared.
  • OK, he may be dead.
  • OK, he’s dead but we didn’t do it.
  • OK, he’s dead, but it was a rogue group who worked for us.
  • OK he’s dead and we did it, but it was only because a 1 vs. 15 fight broke out.

That tweet is ten days old, and more has happened since then:

  • OK, so we thoroughly cleaned and painted the embassy, but we’re tidy.
  • OK, one of the killers dressed up like him and wandered the streets to confuse people.
  • OK, it was premeditated, but rogue officials did it.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) keeps trying to cover up what he called a “cover-up” while Jared Kushner orchestrates DDT’s responses to the innocent man’s torture, dismembering, and murder.

Other events since Gramer’s tweet:

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam (MBS) called his BFF Jared Kusher to ask, “Why the outrage?”
  • Turkish police found an abandoned Saudi consulate car in Istanbul.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin uncanceled his attendance at an economic conference in Saudi so that he could hobnob with MBS.
  • Foreign investors sold off $4 billion from the already faltering Saudi stock market, causing it to drop five percent before it slightly rose today.

Both Canada and France plan to continue their arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and DDT continued to insist on the sales that must be approved by Congress. He has kept escalating the number of jobs for his yet non-existent arms deal—from 40,000 six months ago to over one million jobs now. DDT fabricated over one million jobs in an industry that currently has 355,000 jobs, 0.5 percent of the total U.S. labor force if the number includes every job connected to the sale or production of airplanes, tanks, bombs, and services for the entire U.S. military. The Saudis have signed commitments for only $14.5 billion in U.S. weapons, not $110 billion, since DDT was inaugurated, but no contracts have been signed. Congress may pass the sales, but the jobs won’t last: Saudi Arabia plans to start manufacturing its own arms. The U.S. won’t get Saudi money, but DDT and his businesses will.

In a piece called “It Takes a Village to Make a Hate Crime,” Dan Doubet wrote about the events leading up to the slaughter of innocent people at a place of worship last weekend. The suspect gave his reasons which were directly related to the GOP and right-wing hysterical conspiracy theories about invasion from poor people, mostly women and children, fleeing the violence of Honduras.

  • The GOP Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate, Scott Wagner, called George Soros a “Hungarian Jew” who has a “hatred for America” and a menacing conspirator in his opponent’s reelection bid.
  • Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) reiterated the Soros’ myth as a “fact” on Sunday’s Meet the Press, and host Chuck Todd not only failed to correct his lie but also compared it to the Democrat’s factual statements about the Koch brothers.
  • Meghan McCain, the daughter of former POW prisoner and Arizona senator, compared the bombs sent to a dozen U.S. leaders to Republicans being “heckled at restaurants.”
  • Kellyanne Conway, DDT’s counselor, blamed “antireligiosity” for the killing in the synagogue because late-night commedians are “making fun of people who expresses[sic] religion.” She compared this hate crime toward Jews to the hate crime toward blacks in a South Carolina, also calling it anti-faith. No one on Fox & Friends questioned her analysis of a hate crime toward a specific religious or ethnic group. (Her husband, George Conway, tweeted a quote from a WaPo op-ed by Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter: “This president will never offer comfort, compassion or empathy to a grieving nation. It’s not in him. When questioned after a tragedy, he will always be glib and inappropriate. So I have a wild suggestion: Let’s stop asking him. His words are only salt in our wounds.”
  • Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that DDT is merely “showing contrast.”
  • DDT continues to blame the media and uses it as an excuse for not limiting his violent language:

“I’d have a much different tone frankly if the press was evenhanded. If the press was fair, I’d have a much different tone all the time. But I’m fighting the media, I’m fighting – the media is not being honest and I’m fighting that lack of honesty so I have to have that tone. Otherwise I’ll never get my points across, we’ll never get what we have to get across, and we are making America great again.”

Conservative Max Boot describes the “tone” that DDT continues to use that brings out violence in his followers:

“Trump calls Democrats ‘evil’ and ‘crazy.’ He accuses them of being ‘treasonous’ and ‘un-American.’ He claims they are in league with MS-13 gang members. He says they are trying to open our borders to criminals and to turn America into Venezuela—a bankrupt socialist dictatorship. He denounces the media as ‘the enemy of the people.’ He applauds a congressman who assaulted a reporter and calls for his political opponent to be locked up. He singles out minorities such as Waters for opprobrium, and he promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that hold George Soros responsible for everything from the Central American caravan to protests against Brett M. Kavanaugh.

“When Trump talks about ‘globalists’” the far right hears ‘Jews.’ When Trump says there were ‘fine people’ on both sides in Charlottesville, the far right hears official approval….

“And Trump continues his incendiary rhetoric even after the tragic consequences have become clear. On Friday, after a pro forma denunciation of political violence, Trump laughed as a group of black conservatives at the White House chanted ‘Fake News!’ He echoed their chants of ‘Lock him up!’ about Soros. Hours later, he presided over a rally in Charlotte, where supporters chanted ‘CNN sucks.’ Asked by reporters whether he would tone down his hateful rhetoric, he defiantly replied, ‘I could really tone it up.’ Asked if he bore any responsibility for what is happening, he answered, ‘There’s no blame. There’s no anything.’”

One GOP congressional members admits the GOP connection to white supremacy. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), known for his bigotry and enamored with Austria’s far-right party founded by a former Nazi SS officer, said:

“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans.”

The former leader of this neo-Nazi party called “Freedom Party,” Heinz-Christian Strache, was forced to resign after the discovery that he led a fraternity using a songbook joking about murdering Jewish people. King, who also endorsed a Toronto mayoral candidate who promoted a book calling for the “elimination” of Jewish people, is expected to win his upcoming election for the ninth time although his conservative newspaper has endorsed his opponent for the first time. The Sioux City Journal wrote that King “holds up this district to ridicule.”

The uncle of DDT’s anti-immigrant strategist Stephen Miller, retired neuropsychologist Dr. David Glosser, again repudiated his nephew’s practices:  “It is absolutely unacceptable to utilize hatred, bigotry to advance your political ends. This is a shallow, shabby expression of ambition. It’s poisonous to the country, destructive to society, and a complete repudiation of your own background and your own past.”

Miller grew up in a Jewish family. His mother’s family escaped the anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia during the 1900s when they immigrated to the United States.

Over 35,000 people from Pittsburgh signed an open letter to DDT asking him to not come to the city until he denounced white nationalism and stops targeting minorities. Yet DDT insisted on going to the city tomorrow as the funerals of the 11 slaughtered people begin. Pittsburgh’s mayor asked DDT to come later because of sensitivity issues and the lack of security resources for both him and the people attending the funerals, but DDT ignored all these requests. He plans to go where and when he’s not welcome.

DDT continued to attack three recipients of the pipe bombs in his rallies since the explosives were sent. When asked about toning down his rhetoric, he said, “Rallies are meant to be fun” and that “You have to go on with your lives.”

Even Fox network is tired of his attacking a caravan far away that may never get to the border. In response to adding 5,200 military members on the Mexico border by the end of the week with more in the future in addition to the 2,000 National Guard members, Shep Smith accused DDT of exploiting the people fleeing violence for political gain in the election eight days away.

“Tomorrow the migrants, according to Fox News reporting, are more than two months away, if any of them actually come here. But tomorrow is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about. There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.”

DDT displays his insensitivity, his promotion of killing by covering for Saudi Arabia, and his inciting violence, for example today tweeting that the media is “the true Enemy of the People” and attacking opponents. He won’t stop.

October 27, 2018

DDT: Week 92 – Continued Incitement to Violence

Republicans, including VP Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, express “thoughts and prayers” after a white 46-year-old man killed at least 11 people and wounded another six at a synagogue in Pennsylvania. The killer was heard to shout “all Jews must die” during his slaughter and earlier posted on Gab, a social media source for alt-right activists and white nationalists, that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), liked to bring “invaders in that kill our people.” He also wrote, “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.”

Dictator Donald Trump’s first statements (DDT) after the shootings criticized the synagogue for not having security guards and said that all churches and synagogues should have this armed “protection.” Later, the self-avowed “nationalist,” made a comment about being surprised that such an anti-Semitic act would happen in “this day and age,” perhaps after his staff recommended the statement. In 2017, DDT’s first year in office, anti-Semitic events increased almost 60 percent over the previous year, in the largest single-year increase on record and the second-highest number reported since these events were first tracked in 1979.

Having called for “unity” in the United States after bombs were sent to at least a dozen high-profile Democrats in the United States, DDT said after the Pennsylvania shooting that “something has to be done.” Yet he refuses to accept any responsibility for the pervasive conservative anger resulting in violence and blames the “fake news” despite his frequent targeting CNN and people who were sent explosives. DDT false attacked the first victim of the bombs, George Soros, by saying that he paid people on the caravan going from the Honduras to the United States. After the capture of the person suspected of sending the bombs, a white male U.S. citizen living in Florida, DDT whipped the crowd into changing “CNN Sucks!” at a rally, the same image on the suspect’s van.

DDT also accused Democrats of sending the bombs to make Republicans look bad and was annoyed that this domestic terrorism detracted from his Medicare drug price announcement, a campaign “promise” that he has been making for several years. DDT also told a black audience that Democrats had betrayed them and encouraged them to chant “Fake News!” and “Lock him up!” about Soros. Before the Pennsylvania shooting, DDT told reporters that he doesn’t plan to tone down his rhetoric, saying, “I could really tone it up.” He described the suspect accused of sending the pipe bombs as “a person that preferred me over others.” The person who “preferred” DDT lived with his mother because he had lost his home in a “dodgy” (aka illegal) foreclosure by the bank owned by Steve Mnuchin, DDT’s Treasury Secretary.

Only ten days ago, a Montana audience cheered DDT when he talked about GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte who had physically assaulted a Guardian reporter the night before Gianforte’s election: “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my guy.” (The physically attacked reporter is considering suing Gianforte after the representative started lying to the newspaper about what happened.) Since people called on DDT to stop the hateful rhetoric, he has said such things at his rallies as “I’m gonna be nice tonight” before he reverts to his showman behavior to reassure his base that he isn’t changing.

Tony Schwartz, DDT’s ghostwriter (and probably real author) of his 1987 autobiography, said that DDT has a “fascination of violence”; his two obsessions are football and boxing. Schwartz added, “He loved black people to commit violence against other black people—while he watched.” DDT just didn’t want to be in the middle of the violence. Rage is the reason behind this obsession, according to Schwartz:

“He’s in the business of being aggrieved, and he’s using that in these 10, 12 days leading up to the midterms in trying to bring it out in all the people that are possibly going to vote on the Republican side in this next phase.”

The mailed bombs and today’s killings in Pennsylvania are two more examples of how DDT is pushing unstable people toward increasing levels of violence. Neuroscientist Bobby Azarian pointed out that DDT and his far-right propaganda media targets “mentally vulnerable people with their heated and divisive rhetoric, as well as their outlandish conspiracy theories. These theories describe nefarious plots by the ‘deep state,’ a cabal of Left-wing politicians and powerful co-conspirators that is trying to undermine President Trump, while running child sex trafficking rings on the side.” Perpetrators who follow DDT’s direction don’t need to be “delusional”; they only need to be “suggestible.” A trigger pushes them over the edge, and DDT refuses to take any responsibility while fueling more hatred and copycat attacks from his supporters. People criticizing DDT put their lives at risk.

With Election Day only 10 days away, self-identified “nationalist” DDT upped the ante this past week with his press releases and comments to reporters by declaring “Congressional Democrats Want to Take Money from Hardworking Americans to Fund Failed Socialist Policies” and other fake claims about Democrats:

  • Make Venezuela is the “model.”
  • Destroy the economy.
  • Support Karl Marx.
  • Give undocumented immigrants free cars.
  • Turn America “into a giant sanctuary for criminal aliens and the MS-13 killers.”
  • “Impose socialism” on America.
  • “Take away your health care.” [The first item on the GOP Senate agenda after midterms is to repeal healthcare.]
  • Destroy Americas borders.
  • Turn the nation over to “deadly drugs and ruthless gangs.”
  • Destroy the military.
  • “Launch an assault” on the sovereignty of our country and the safety of citizens.

DDT also described non-existent “riots” at his campaign rallies and falsely accuses “mobs” of “rioting” against “sanctuary cities.” The real “mobs” that DDT doesn’t mention include those by the violent “Proud Boys,” supported by Republicans, who are beating up protesters and verbally assaulting Democrats such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) who was in southern Florida for a campaign event.

DDT plans to deploy 800 military members to the border to illegally stop anyone from seeking asylum in the United States. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen promised they won’t shoot the members of the caravan—at least not right away. The border patrol may shoot them first. The National Patrol Council, the union representing BP agents, is featured in a new video, “Killing Free Speech,” including white nationalists and anti-Muslim extremists that the union has endorsed. Shown to agents throughout the country, the video describes Democrats as “dark and evil” and correlates gang rapes, Islam, and immigration. Also featured in the documentary are members of the Proud Boys, a white supremacist, misogynist, anti-Muslim hate group. It also attacks the mainstream media that “will stop at nothing to … demonize those who risk their lives protecting America’s borders.” The video’s director created the same message in “Killing Europe” and plans “Killing Canada.”

The union represents 90 percent of the almost 20,000 BP agents in the field. Within 100 miles of any U.S. border, agents can enter private property, set up highway checkpoints, and profile people for stopping, questioning, and detaining them. That  “constitution-free zone” contains 65.3 percent of the U.S. population.

Over 500 employees of the border patrol agency have been charged with drug trafficking, accepting bribes, and other crimes during 2016 and 2017, according to a report from Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Human Resource Management and its Office of Professional Responsibility. Some of the most heinous of these crimes in 2018 include the ten-year agent accused of killing four women and assaulting a fifth, two of them U.S. citizens, in two weeks and the BP agent who shot and killed a 19-year-old woman illegally crossing the border near Laredo.

VP Mike Pence, self-identified fundamentalist Christian, continues to follow the liar-in-chief to be vice-liar-in-chief. With no evidence, he cites the apprehension of “more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists” at the U.S. southern border and claims that “people of Middle Eastern descent” (aka Muslims) could be on the caravan still 1,000 miles from the United States. DHS says that most people stopped from entering the country try to come on airplanes, and being on a watch list isn’t the same as being a terrorism suspect. Pence’s religion is to win votes for GOP candidates through fear-mongering from lying.

In a display of how little concern DDT has for the slaughtered people at the Pennsylvania synagogue, he proceeded with a campaign rally today, using the excuse that his friend, Dick Grasso, opened the New York Stock Exchange the day after the 9/11 attacks. But he didn’t: the exchange was closed for three trading days after the disaster. When he asked his audience if he could “tone it down a bit,” they yelled in disapproval. He continued to stir up the crowd to yell “Lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and then denigrated the conservatives who don’t support him, calling them “very stupid” and “losers.” A member of the crowd called out “Pocahontas” when he referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and he false said she had “no Indian blood.” He added, “I can’t call her Pocahontas anymore, but I think I will anyway. Do you mind?” The crowd continued to cheer every one of DDT’s personal attacks. DDT continues to incite violence.

Part II: Jamal Khashoggi update.

 

 

February 19, 2014

Fracking = Earthquakes?

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:53 PM
Tags: , , ,

Imagine living in a state that has 103 earthquakes in one weekend. That was the case in Oklahoma last weekend. Yesterday, Oklahoma had 39 earthquakes over 2.5 in magnitude with many others below that. Each year saw between 0 and 11 earthquakes of at least 2.0 in Oklahoma between 1990 and 2008; that number grew to 49 in 2009 and 180 in 2010. Yesterday there were more than three dozen in just a day. A chart of five years shows the exponential growth, with 780 earthquakes in under two months this year. And that was before the 39 yesterday.

maddow_earthquakes_ spiike

What’s the difference during the past few years? Even doubters are beginning to believe that fracking–underground explosions to free oil and gas–and the resulting waste-water disposal may be the cause. They might want to note that the growing number of earthquakes near the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport stopped a few years ago when the facility shut down fracking wells on the airport property.

These are fracking experiences across the nation:

  • Arkansas: two couples are suing two companies for causing earthquakes that damaged their homes by fracking. The complaint states that “Arkansas experienced almost as many earthquakes in years following disposal well activity than it did in the previous twenty years collectively.”
  • California: The federal government approved three new fracking jobs off the state’s shores despite concerns from state coastal regulators who can stop fracking in federal waters at least three miles offshore if the work threatens water quality closer to shore. U.S. government permits treat fracking like oil drilling.
  • Florida: This may be the latest state to have whole-sale fracking: a company has applied for a permit to frack in the middle of the Florida panthers’ Everglades habitat. The EPA will hold a hearing on the permit on March 11. Collier Resources Company owns mineral rights in 800,000 acres in the wilderness. In addition to southwest Florida, fracking companies are looking at the northwest part of the state. Although two bills before the legislature would require companies to divulge what chemicals are being used, the measures do not ask for disclosure of the amount or concentration of the chemical.
  • Kansas:  Gov. Sam Brownback has assigned a committee to study the possibility that fracking is the cause of a recent increase of earthquakes in the state. Kansas was one of five states least likely to experience earthquake damage until the state experienced a spate of tremors last fall, culminating in a 3.8 quake on December 16, 2014 near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. 
  • North Dakota:  Last week, an oil well leaked fluid and spewed oil. No one knows what chemicals are in the water because fracking companies are not required to release this information.  There is no report about whether the well is under control almost a week later.
  • Ohio: After state lawmakers approved fracking and drilling in state parks, Gov. John Kasich and state regulators began to make plans for this extraction. Allies include Halliburton, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and America’s Natural Gas Alliance.  Update on 2/20/14: Kasich has stated that he doesn’t support fracking in state parks after all. Series of events in Ohio:

*Kasich opened up state parks and forests to fracking.

* Kasich’s team met to discuss a marketing plan to promote fracking on public lands.

* Kasich’s spokesperson said the governor’s office didn’t know about the plan.

* Kasich’s spokesperson concedes the governor’s office did know about the plan.
* Kasich announces he’s not for fracking in state parks and forests after all.
 Democrats have called for an investigation into Kasich’s actions.
  • Pennsylvania: On February 11, a Chevron natural gas well exploded in Greene County, killing one person and injuring another. Chevron’s fracking well exploded, killing one person and injuring another. A massive blaze caused by the explosion spread to another well and burned for over a week, sending smoke and noxious fumes across the community. Referring to the disaster as an “incident,” Chevron gave each householder a gift certificate for a large pizza, hoping that this mollify them. Certificates expire in less than three months.

The fracking companies wield great power. Since October 21, one Pennsylvania opponent, 63-year-old Vera Scroggins, is legally barred from 312.5 square miles that Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation owns or leases. That means she cannot go to the county hospital, animal shelter, recycling center, shops, and lake shore. Cabot was not required to identify or map lands of its drilling leases. Her peaceful and legal protests included taking Yoko Ono to frack sites to elevate public concerns about fracking.

  • Texas: Although the EPA dropped an inquiry last year into a claim of contaminated water in Parker County, the agency relied on tests done by the driller. Independent research from Texas Duke University has discovered high levels of methane in the county’s wells, exceeding the federal minimum safety level.

In the Barnett Shale area, the small town of Azle is fighting back against the fracking and waste-water disposal that has resulted in cracked foundations, sinkholes, and reduced property values after over 30 earthquakes have hit the area in the past three months. Dissatisfied with response from the state, a busload of residents went to Austin to a meeting of the Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator.

U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Dr. William Ellsworth tried to claim correlation but not causation. He noted last summer than that rate of quakes of 3.0 and over in the central and eastern U.S. had multiplied to about 100 a year during 2010 to 2013 and coincided with the increase in fracking. A shutdown of disposal wells has ended the earthquakes.

Most of the current fracking in the U.S. occurs in areas suffering the greatest from drought, usually Colorado and Texas. Water use for almost 40,000 wells from January 2011 to March 2013 was 97 billion gallons of water. California has called on Gov. Jerry Brown to suspend fracking during the state’s record-breaking drought.

More than property values are at risk because of fracking proximity. A study released in early February shows that children born within a 10-mile radius of fracking sites have a greater chance of having congenital heart defects (CHD). The research studied 124,842 rural Colorado births from 1996 to 2009. In Colorado, 26 percent of the over 47,000 oil and gas wells are within 150 to 1000 feet of a home or other building for human occupancy. Researchers reported that their analysis was restrict to rural towns of under 50,000 with less potential for other pollution sources such as traffic, congestion, and industry.

According to the study:

“Studies in Colorado, Texas, Wyoming and Oklahoma have demonstrated that natural gas development (NGD) results in emission of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from either the well itself or from associated drilling processes or related infrastructure, i.e., drilling muds, hydraulic fracturing fluids, tanks containing waste water and liquid hydrocarbons, diesel engines, compressor stations, dehydrators and pipelines.

“Some of these pollutants [e.g., toluene, xylenes, and benzene] are suspected teratogens or mutagens and are known to cross the placenta, raising the possibility of fetal exposure to these and other pollutants resulting from NGD. Currently, there are few studies on the effects of air pollution or NGD on birth outcomes.”

In Pennsylvania, a study shows that proximity to fracking wells has a correlation with lower birth weight. Water pollution does not seem to be related; researchers are wondering about the air pollution of fracking as a potential cause. Over 15 million people in the United States live within one mile of a fracking well.

There is at least one recent victory. In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court ruled 4-2 in December that the zoning provisions of Act 13 are unconstitutional. The 2012 act amended an existing Oil and Gas Act by destroying local zoning control over fracking and other oil and gas drilling. Companies could frack 24 hours a day anywhere they wanted.

Thanks to the court decision, state municipalities can use the same land use authority over fracking that they do for all other industrial activities. The beauty of the decision is that the court wrote that people have the “right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.” It keeps the state legislature from imposing new zoning laws surrounding fracking. Other states have a number of home rule cases similar to this; Pennsylvania has set a precedent.

Vera Scroggins is appealing her banishment from her community. Maybe she will win too.

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