Nel's New Day

April 18, 2021

Sunday: Religious Numbers Drop, Court Gives Christianity Preference

On Sunday, fewer people than ever are going to a church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious gathering. Pew Research reports that the share of religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. has been growing across all demographic groups. The “nones”—those who self-identify as atheists, agnostics, or religion as “nothing in particular”—have become 23 percent of the population, almost 50 percent up from 2007 when 16 percent of people were “nones.” At the same time, the number of “Christians” have dropped from 78 percent to 71 percent.

More Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996) self-identify as “nones,” and the median age of unaffiliated adults is currently 36, down from 38 in 2007 and younger than the 46 years of media age of adults in the U.S. More in the older generations, however, are also becoming unaffiliated: 17 percent of Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now unaffiliated, compared to 14 percent in 2007.

Of people raised as Christian or another faith, 18 percent now have no religious affiliation, compared to the roughly half of the 9 percent of U.S. adults raised without any affiliation now who identify with a religion, mostly Christianity. More men than women are “nones,” but education, race and ethnicity, and income make no difference. Nearly two-thirds of the seven percent of atheists and agnostics are men who are more educated and more White than the general population.

Two years ago, then-VP Mike Pence announced the nation’s religiosity “has remained remarkably consistent.” Yet a Gallup poll reinforced the Pew Research in its finding that only 47 percent belonged to a congregation in 2020, down from 70 percent in 2000. The percentage of people who think religion is important dropped to 48 percent with the number of people regularly attending worship services even lower.

While the general population becomes less religious, the Supreme Court, because of appointments by Deposed Dictator Trump (DDT) and confirmations by GOP senators, gives preference to Christians. Late Friday night, April 9, 2021, in a “shadow docket,” justices made a 5-4 decision in a case not on the docket and had no oral argument. The Tansom v. Newsom ruling determined that religious groups can gather in homes although other groups are still banned from this practice.

With no signature, the ruling changed the constitutional view of “religious liberty that now permits religious exemptions to situations not discriminating against religion. The court’s new rule, “most favored nation” permits any secular exemption to a law permitting a claim for a religious exemption. The decision stated required permission to gather for Bible study just as they would to get haircuts, food, or pedicures. Any time a government grants any exemption to a law for any reason, it has to grant the same exemption to religion—which in the U.S. typically means Christianity.

These conservative justices have gone far beyond the belief of Justice Antonin Scalia, formerly the most conservative judge of the modern era, when he said this type of ruling should be done “sparingly, and only in the most critical and exigent circumstances,” where “the legal rights at issue are indisputably clear.” The new ruling doesn’t fit these criteria because the high court gave a different meaning to the scope and applicability of the free exercise clause. With no explanation for the court’s decision, five justices are trying to bind lower courts to their personal opinion. The current Supreme Court has used its emergency injunctions seven times, all of them in COVID-19 cases. Before last November, the court had not done so for five years.

DDT used emergency relief from the high court 41 times, winning 28 of those appeals. In contrast, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama together went to the court for this relief only eight times in 16 years. Almost all DDT’s cases requested “stays” pending appeals against a lower court ruling, but the current support for a Christian group froze a government policy losing in the lower courts pending appeal. Scalia pointed out that an injunction “grants judicial intervention that has been withheld by lower courts,” unlike a stay, a short-term delay of a proceeding.

This injunction overrides the lower courts instead of the justices’ position from the past of “a court of review, not first view” as an “appellate tribunal.” The action reverses the function of the Supreme Court and exceeds the justices’ statutory authority to issue such relief—for the seventh time since October. As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent, the majority relied only on “separate opinions and unreasoned orders” to make a new constitutional rule. Conservative justices “using procedural tools meant to help them control their docket to make significant substantive changes in the law, in defiance not only of their own standards for such relief, but of fundamental principles of judicial decision making,” wrote legal expert Stephen I. Vladeck.

Since the new term began last October, the court has used shadow dockets at least 20 times to make secret rulings with no arguments and no identification of how each justice ruled. The new justices, in control of making law over legislatures and lower courts, remove transparency from the process of law.

The recent ruling agrees with an earlier decision that religion should allow people to infect others with COVID-19 by opening church services in California while other public activities are closed. Last December, SCOTUS also put religion over public health by siding with religious groups in Colorado and New Jersey. At that time, the U.S. had almost 400,000 deaths from COVID-19 and 16.5 million infections.

Over five years ago, Jerry Falwell Jr, then president of Liberty University, endorsed DDT for president which gave him the evangelical vote in 2016. The past few years have not been good for Falwell. After a series of failed to gain traction, the photo of him and his wife’s pregnant assistant in an inappropriate pose on a boat was the tipping point. He lost his leadership position at the university but claimed a resurrection comeback on Good Friday with his belief the “community still embraces him.” Denied a contracted $10.5 million severance package, Falwell, worth over $100 million, told the media the dispute was resolved.

Good Friday passed, and Liberty is now suing Falwell for over $40 million in damages, alleging breach of contract and fiduciary duty. The lawsuit states Falwell withheld “scandalous and potentially damaging information from Liberty’s board of trustees, while negotiating a generous new contract for himself in 2019 under false pretenses,” according to journalist Ruth Graham. Some of the scandal included an on-going three-some among himself, his wife, and a former pool boy. (More details about Falwell’s scandals.) 

Employees have been ordered to not communicate with either Falwell or his wife Becki Falwell other than any concerns about their daughter, a student. The university also wants Falwell to return its electronic equipment with confidential information. Their oldest son, Trey Falwell was also forced from his vice-presidency at Liberty, while Jerry Falwell Jr’s brother Jonathan Falwell has taken a bigger role at the school.

Also gone from Liberty University is the name for its political “think tank,” Falkirk Center, named after Falwell and DDT’s former pet, Charlie Kirk. Over 400 Liberty students and recent graduates signed a petition to close down the group because the Center “is trying to undo Liberty’s mission.” They rejected the idea they are “people who were educated to become champions for Trump and Western Civilization in the ‘cultural battlefield.’” They also object to the “fellows” using the Center as a “gateway for … people who claim Christ’s name because it is convenient for their personal or political gain.” The Falkirk Center sank $50,000 into political ads for DDT and other GOP candidates before the election.

The Center did not renew Charlie Kirk as a fellow, and he plans to start his own group called Turning Point Faith. Falkirk is now Standing for Freedom Center but kept its political philosophy and some of its questionable “fellows,” such as conservative commentator Eric Metaxas who punched an unarmed anti-DDT protester in the back of his head last year and continues to spread conspiracy theories about voter fraud.  

Liberty’s direction is shown by two new fellows, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, both wannabe presidential candidates—Huckabee in the past and Pompeo in 2024. Pompeo, claiming he wants “religious freedom, created many federal groups promoting evangelical Christianity around the world including one educating officials that the Bible mandates them to support back right-wing social, economic, environmental, and criminal justice policies. When in Congress, Pompeo worked with anti-Muslim activists to promote Christian nationalism. Pope Francis denied an audience with Pompeo because of his use of “religious freedom” for political gain.

Pompeo’s background as Secretary of State illustrates his lack of ethics. The Inspector General reported Pompeo violated government federal ethics rules in using the agency’s resources by asking its employees to carry out personal tasks over 100 times, as did Pompeo’s wife, Susan. Pompeo said they were just things friends did for friends—like working all weekend “to envelope, address, and mail personal Christmas cards for the Pompeos” with no compensation.

Just a few reasons that the number of religiously unaffiliated grows every year.

 

April 3, 2021

DDT’s Future: Defending Himself in Court

As Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) remains ensconced at Mar-a-Lago permitting favored ones into his presence, his advisers grow increasingly concerned about the immense buildup of legal investigations and filings. Yet loyalists must tell him he will probably remain safe from lawsuits emanating from his incitement of violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Last week, two Capitol Police officers injured on January 6 while engaged in hand-to-hand combat are suing DDT for inciting his supporters who mobbed the Capitol to stop the Electoral College election of President Joe Biden. Officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby assert DDT has the direct responsibility for the insurrection because of his call to riot. Blassingame describes how rioters slammed him into a stone column while shouting racial slurs. Hemby, who was also sprayed with a chemical spray, said his hand and knee injuries still require medical care two months later. Both men suffer emotional trauma. DDT has tried to rework stories of January 6 by calling it a peaceful assembly with “zero threat.”

After breaking free of the crowd, Blassingame helped House members evacuate to a committee room and stayed among the maskless people until 7:30 pm. Hemby couldn’t get medical assistance until 9:00 pm. Part of the lawsuit uses speeches by GOP congressional members such as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-CA) who stated DDT could be legally liable for inciting the riot.  

Their suit follows ones by Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA). Another political case against DDT filed in late December accuses DDT and the Republican National Committee of conspiring to violate the rights of Black voters. The case asks the judge to not only stop them from any further actions to overturn or undermine the 2020 election but also issue an order forcing them to obtain court approval for demands of recounts or participation in future “post-election activities.” In January 2018, a federal judge in New Jersey lifted the 1982 court-monitored settlement banning the RNC from “ballot security” activities based on the “racial or ethnic composition” of a specific community. In that agreement, the RNC agreed it had tried to intimidate, threaten, and disenfranchise voters through voter roll purges and by paying police officers to patrol polling sites in predominantly Black and Latino areas under the pretense of preventing election fraud.

This lawsuit expands a November case that the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) filed in federal court in Washington, DC, against DDT and his campaign for deliberately focusing fraud accusations on cities with large Black populations, including Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. These claims were brought under the federal Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act.

The Fulton County (GA) DA, Fani Willis, is pursuing an investigation into DDT’s election fraud through his telephone calls begging officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to cheat on counting votes from the 2020 general election in DDT’s favor. Willis is putting together an investigative team, and two grand juries are underway, close to making subpoena demands for documents and recordings. She’s searching for three more lawyers and another investigator.

DDT’s Supreme Court justices, who were appointed to return him to the White House, have rejected the last of three cases to challenge his election loss, the one about absentee ballots in Wisconsin. The other two were about Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Another rejected case asking justices to block the January 5 Senate runoff elections in Georgia was filed by DDT’s loyalist Lin Wood. Democrats won both these elections bringing their total to 50 members.

Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is going to court for over $250,000 from DDT that the state paid to defend the popular vote against his attempt to overturn the vote so he could return to the White House. The request for an order states DDT and his attorneys brought their two lawsuits “in bad faith.”

A New York appeals court is permitting a defamation lawsuit by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos against DDT because he is no longer in the White House. DDT denied her allegations about sexually assaulting her in 2007, and Zervos wants to depose DDT as part of her lawsuit. She is one of two women suing him for defamation. 

Three cases against DDT are being prosecuted by Roberta Kaplan, well-known for the Supreme Court case U.S. v. Windsor regarding legalized marriage equality. Kaplan is filing civil suits for defamation, fraud, and more fraud against DDT by his niece Mary Trump and writer E. Jean Carroll. DDT had claimed Carroll was lying about his raping her, and Trump’s case is about DDT and two of his siblings depriving her of an inheritance worth millions by lying about the worth of his father’s estate. Kaplan’s third case concerns the relationship of DDT and his three oldest children with a purported pyramid scheme by ACN.

DDT’s biggest problem may come from the New York criminal probe into his business affairs. Prosecutors are examining millions of pages recently acquired in a search for witnesses who can explain these to a jury. The next step is issuing subpoenas regarding the investigation into DDT’s reduction of his tax liabilities by lying about property values. Financial records about DDT’s Chicago skyscraper and his Seven Springs estate in Westchester County (NY) have been subpoenaed. In addition to possible criminal charges filed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., New York Attorney General Letitia James may file civil charges.

A judge has voided DDT’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Jessica Denson, his former Latinx outreach director, ruling it too vague and broad to enforce under New York’s contract law. Although the decision applies only to Denson’s NDA, the same ruling may be possible for all DDT’s NDAs. The judge described the scope of the NDA as “unlimited,” that “campaign employees are not free to speak about anything concerning the Campaign.” The broadness makes the NDA “not reasonable.” Earlier, a campaign arbitrator issued a $50,000 award against Denson for violating the NDA, but it was overturned. Denson believes the NDAs blocked criticism about DDT for the past six years. 

DDT typically required the same secrecy of his companies’ employees and staff before he followed the same practice in his campaign and the White House. First Amendment experts warned him public employees could not constitutionally be forced to swear an oath of secrecy. Last year, DDT’s DOJ used an NDA to file a lawsuit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former volunteer adviser to first lady Melania Trump, over Winston Wolkoff’s tell-all book. The suit was dropped days after Biden’s inauguration.

While in the White House, DDT and his top officials indulged themselves in shady deals now coming into the light. They fought key oversight investigations conducted by government watchdogs in at least nine different cases. A high profile one concluded Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), abused her position as Transportation Secretary for personal reasons such as helping a family business. In another one, a White House physician, retired Navy rear admiral Ronny Jackson who raved about DDT’s superb health, abused substances while on the job and created a toxic work environment for his staff. 

The revelations can have no consequences because Chao resigned her position after the Electoral College determined Biden as president. Jackson has been elected as a U.S. representative from Texas.

Investigators described almost impossible obstructions: DDT’s attorneys made internal communications off limits because of their confidential nature and demanded to be present at witness interviews. Information was released either extremely slowly or not at all, preventing the ability to assess and correct internal problems in real time. DDT’s ultimate solution to investigations was to fire internal investigators.

Future releases of investigations may be the White House blocking delivery of Puerto Rico’s financial aid after Hurricane Maria and the Commerce Department’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the U.S. census. The Pentagon is also looking into the $400 million border-wall contract DT wanted to award to a subpar North Dakota construction company. The General Services Administration inspector general is conducting a sweeping review of responses to the coronavirus from several different federal agencies. 

Congress will now have the ability to examine records from DDT’s term, blocked from them during the past four years. The Presidential Records Act (PRA) allows former presidents to restrict access to their records for 12 years, but an exception permits release of records to Congress or “any committee or subcommittee thereof if such records contain information that is needed for the conduct of its business and that is not otherwise available.” These can include DDT’s blackmail in Ukraine, Michael Flynn’s lies to the FBI, the January 6 attempted insurrection, White House visitor logs, DDT’s phone logs, and other abuses of power. In the past, Democrats could not get records from the archives, which released them only to the majority party. Democrats now are the majority although they may suffer some delays. DDT can cite privilege, but Biden must uphold his claims. In filing lawsuits, DDT no longer has the support of the Department of Justice and must fund the lawsuits himself with personal lawsuits.

The import of the business lawsuits is beginning to sink into Eric Trump’s perception as shown by his meltdown on the Fox network. He was close to tears when he talked about what his family was facing.

Defending himself from defamation, fraud, and corruption. That is the future of the man who spent the last four years ruling from the White House and now hides in Florida.

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.

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 13, 2020

DDT: Week 203 – Chaos to Cover Disasters

The past week celebrated huge pieces of news: the certification from 50 states for their presidential choices with Joe Biden receiving 306 votes; the Supreme Court rejection of the Texas case in its lawsuit against voting practices in four other states; and the authorization of the Pfizer vaccine, the first one for COVID-19 approved in the United States following the UK use of the vaccine beginning last Tuesday. Congress also passed the National Defense Authorization Act with a veto-proof vote and a one-week extension of the budget bill to stave off government closure for that time.  

Certification of votes: Biden’s 306 votes were the exact number of votes Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) received four years ago, and the losing lawsuit brings DDT’s losses to almost 60. In one win

The Texas loss from the Supreme Court led the state’s GOP to encourage states to secede from the U.S.:

“Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.” 

Supreme Court Rejection: Texas AG Ken Paxton led an insurrection last week against the legal certification of electoral votes with the support of 17 red state AGs and 126 House Republicans. They all lost when the justices unanimously ruled against overturning votes in four swing states to give the Oval Office to DDT. After he heard about his Supreme Court loss, DDT refused to leave his bedroom to join a White House Christmas party. Earlier, on November 14, he had refused to greet the newly elected GOP House members in the White House after Joe Biden was declared the president-elect.

The GOP keeps filing lawsuits: after a federal judge ruled against election fraud in Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court took a case asking for 221,000 ballots in two counties be thrown out with the false claim the jurisdictions didn’t follow state law. In the unlikely event Biden would lose the majority in the state that he won by 20,000 votes, he would lose only 10 electoral votes, still winning with 296 votes—26 over the necessary 270 to become president. All the 38 GOP-appointed judges who have ruled against DDT’s election fraud myth, the most recent, a federal judge in Wisconsin, was appointed by DDT like some other judges ruling against him.

After 126 members of the U.S. House supported Paxton’s case to put DDT back into the Oval Office, Rep. Brad Pascrell (D-NJ) tweeted:

“The 14th Amendment expressly forbids members of Congress from engaging in rebellion against the United States. Trying to overturn a democratic election and install a dictator seems like a pretty clear example of that.”

He declared the 126 Republicans trying to overturn the election, violating the Constitution, and attempting to “demolish democracy” should not be sworn into office on January 3, 2021. Pascrell also justified his argument on Article I, Section 5 of the 14th Amendment giving each congressional chamber final authority over membership with a two-thirds vote. Pascrell explained:

“These lawsuits seeking to obliterate public confidence in our democratic system by invalidating the clear results of the 2020 presidential election attack the text and spirit of the Constitution, which each member swears to support and defend, as well as violate the rules of our House of Representatives, which explicitly forbid members from committing unbecoming acts that reflect poorly on our chamber.”

He added that the 126 members supporting the Supreme Court case are “seeking to make Donald Trump an unelected dictator.” Pascrell argued their actions “must be repudiated in the strongest possible terms” because this time “may be without parallel since 1860. The fate of our democracy depends on us meeting that moment.”

After the top GOP House leader, Kevin McCarthy (CA), and VP Mike Pence’s brother, Greg Pence (IN), joined 124 other representatives in the attempted coup, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused the 126 of “subverting the Constitution” and engaging “in election subversion that imperils our democracy.” In her statement, Pelosi said:

“The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. …The pandemic is raging, with nearly 300,000 having died and tens of millions having lost jobs.  Strong, unified action is needed to crush the virus, and Republicans must once and for all end their election subversion—immediately.”  

The GOP attorneys general who did not join the attempted coup explained that states should be able to govern themselves and expressed concern that a precedent of one state suing another could result in Democratic states forcing their procedures on Republican states. Opposing federalism, Ohio AG Dave Yost said the Supreme Court has no right to tell states how to appoint electors, an ideology from conservatives in the past.

Vaccine Approval:

DDT also tainted the approval of the first virus vaccine by threatening to fire the FDA leader, Stephen Hahn, if the Pfizer vaccine is not approved for emergency authorization by Friday. DDT, who called the FDA “a big, old, slow turtle,” tweeted, “Get the dam [sic] vaccines out NOW, Dr. Hahn @SteveFDA. Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!” The authorization was announced later on Friday.

Dr. Charlotte Kent, a CDC manager, has testified to congressional investigators about the order purported by CDC’s director Robert Redfield to delete an email reporting a spread of coronavirus if children gather together. Redfield claimed he instructed agency staffers to ignore the mail but didn’t order its deletion. By law, federal officials are to retain records. When Kent looked for the email from Paul Alexander and Michael Caputo, now departed from HHS, it was missing.

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): Some congressional Republicans did turn on DDT when they voted for the $741 million NDAA in sufficient numbers to overturn his threatened veto if all of them repeated their “yes” votes. DDT was upset because it didn’t contain an amendment removing protection for social media platforms. Twitter is currently marking his false tweets as “disputed” and could drop his account when he no longer has the label of a world leader. He wants a law allowing him to sue the company if is doesn’t do what he wants.

DDT also threatened to veto the NDAA if it changes the names of ten military bases honoring Confederate officers, but the bill does make that change. If he takes no action on the bill by the day before Christmas Eve, it becomes law providing Congress is still in session. An congressional adjournment would make the bill defunct. To keep President Obama from appointing people during a recess, Congress held “pro forma” sessions when one lone person, the Presiding Officer, walks into the room, calls the body to order, and immediately dismisses it without transacting any business. They could do the same to get the NDAA passed if DDT doesn’t veto it.

The Senate vote for NDAA was 84-13, the House 335-78. McCarthy voted for the bill but said he wouldn’t vote against DDT’s veto. If enough Republicans follow the Minority Leader’s example, the NDAA would not be passed during the 116th Congress for the first time in 59 years. Washington Post reporter Paul Kane wrote:

 “It’s another destruction of what it means to be a conservative in the Trump era, as support for a strong national security has been a bedrock of party orthodoxy for decades and decades.”

Budget Continuing Resolution: The government stays open until December 11 after Congress passed a “C.R.” to continue funding for most government programs at the same levels as fiscal 2020 through December 18, 2000. The deadline for the omnibus spending package of 12 appropriations bills was last October 1, but a C.R. put it forward until last Friday. It contains no COVID-19 relief, as many congressional members had hoped. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) both said they would agree to the one-week extension but not vote for the bill again without stimulus checks for people. Sanders is asking for $1,200 per person, a repeat of last March. A House vote of 343-67 vote preceded the final Senate voice vote on Friday. DDT signed the bill late Friday

DDT’s chaos is not only in an attempt to win the election. He wants to use it to hide the problems he faces:

COVID-19: The number of daily cases and deaths increased almost 30 percent from two weeks earlier.

Economy: Since corporations received billions of dollars from earlier virus stimulus bills, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocks the current bill because Democrats want $160 billion to help state and local governments and won’t shield businesses from their intentionally-caused coronavirus injuries and deaths.

Control of GOP: DDT plans to keep the power over Republicans with both the funding and the list of supporters for GOP candidates.

Electoral College votes are set to be cast on Monday. Republicans have promised to agree Joe Biden is president-elect if he receives at least 270 votes. We’ll see.

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.

December 5, 2020

DDT: Week 202 – More Losing

The day after states certified 279 Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris, making Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) officially the loser, DDT begged Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to call a special session for the state legislature to switch the electors’ votes to DDT. He also wants Kemp to order an audit of absentee ballot signatures although Kemp had told DDT he lacked that authority. Last week, DDT trashed Kemp and said he was sorry he had supported him. Five states still need to certify electoral votes—Hawaii, Colorado, and New Jersey bringing Biden to a total of 306 plus Missouri and West Virginia to give DDT his 232 votes.

After 32 days with no rally, DDT traveled to Georgia, ostensibly to persuade people to vote for the two GOP incumbent senators in January 5’s runoff. He had a few scripted lines about this race being “the most important congressional runoff probably in American history” before running true to form by making people question whether they should vote in a “rigged” election. DDT started out by stating he won the election and rambled for most of the speech, whining and lying.  

In five hours Friday, DDT lost court cases throughout the nation’s six swing states when judges, several of them conservative, either refused the cases or ruled against him. In a Douglas County (GA) machine count, GOP mandated, Biden netted another two votes.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito stalled one case until December 9, the day after the “safe harbor deadline” for certified votes to the Electoral College. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) wants the high court to nullify all his state’s votes and turn over the electoral decision to the GOP state legislature. Alito’s date most likely won’t allow a decision before the final vote on December 14. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court makes the final decision regarding violations of the state constitution, not the U.S. Supreme Court. Also the state’s General Assembly cannot call itself into session until January 5 and lacks authority to overturn the popular vote or its own slate of electors, according to the 1937 Pennsylvania Election Code requiring the popular vote selecting electors.

Forty-six days before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) leaves the White House, he filled the Pentagon’s assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs with another totally unsuited loyalist. Scott O’Grady will oversee military relationships with NATO members and countries in the Middle East and Africa. His qualifications are claims that DDT won the election in “landslide fashion,” millions of votes were stolen from DDT, and DDT should declare martial law to take the majority of votes. O’Grady also condemned former Defense Secretary James Mattis as a “traitor” and accused Hillary Clinton and George Soros of involvement in a foreign plot against elections. Add to that his support for Sidney Powell, lawyer who can’t even file lawsuits against Biden’s election without massive misspellings and other mistakes. O’Grady joins DDT’s recent acquisitions in the Pentagon such as Michael Flynn’s foreign aide Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) former Russia naysayer aide Kash Patel.

These faithfuls have prevented President-elect Joe Biden from meeting with U.S. intelligence officials of agencies controlled by the Pentagon, including the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence, and other military-run spy services with classified budgets and global espionage platforms. Biden was cleared for these meetings two weeks ago. A Defense Department spokesperson claimed no meetings had been denied before saying the requested meetings could happen next week—over a month after the election allowed DDT’s team to contact intelligence agencies with multibillion-dollar budgets, satellite networks, and vast surveillance authorities. With the delay, the president-elect lacked information about espionage operations regarding Iran, China, Russian, and other of the nation’s adversaries from weapons proliferation to foreign interference in U.S. elections. The CIA gave not only extensive access to senior members of Biden’s transition team but also the agency’s computer system and office space in its area used for visiting VIPs.

DDT also purged the more than a dozen members on the advisory Defense Business Board. Two former secretaries of state, Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger, were replaced with Cory Lewandowski and David Bossie. Former DDT campaign manager Lewandowski was fired after he became violent with press members; Bossie, DDT’s deputy campaign manager in 2016 and insider on the network Newsmax hosting QAnon, currently runs DDT’s legal efforts to award electoral votes to DDT. Other removed members include retired Adm. Gary Roughead, former chief of naval operations and onetime ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Rudy De Leon, a former chief operating officer at the Pentagon considered by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis for a high-level policy role. 

What DDT wants from his new Defense Department leadership:

Continued removal of troops from the world: DDT’s order to take almost all the 700 special-ops military members from Somalia means no guard against terrorists. The removed troops aren’t coming home, however; they’ll go someplace else in Africa.   

Sale of $23 billion in arms and F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates: Congress may vote against the sale with a bipartisan concern the UAE may provide U.S. technology to Russia and China. Joint resolutions, up for vote next week, also point out the sale’s risks to Israel.

Leasing the Pentagon airwave spectrum to a private company: Republicans are backing Rivada Networks to create a nationwide 5G network, but career Pentagon officials stated Rivada may lack the knowledge and the plan may be illegal.

Other supposed DDT loyalists are drifting away. DDT accused both the FBI and his former fixer DOJ AG Bill Barr of election fraud to get Joe Biden elected with crazy claims of people receiving up to four ballots and dead people applying for ballots. Barr had told the public he found no widespread evidence of election fraud.

John Ratcliffe, appointed as director of intelligence to supervise 17 agencies because of his loyalist attitude, said—reluctantly—foreign governments are “amplifying” DDT’s false election fraud claims. He said  their goal is “to undermine public confidence in our democratic processes.”

Citing the Russia-connected OAN network, DDT claims the USPS, led by his loyalist Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, “is responsible for tampering with hundreds of thousands of ballots” because the agency is “a Democratic stronghold.” With 99.9 percent of ballots sent on time, DeJoy’s sabotage on the part of DDT may still have disenfranchised 25,000 to 50,000 ballots by delaying voters’ ballots. The problem might have been much worse without congressional hearings for DeJoy’s postal service and lawsuits against his slowing down the first-class mail.

While DDT pushes to stay in the White House, he only has the false claim of election fraud. Gone is his lie about “best economy in history,” especially after November added only new 245,000 jobs. Unemployment shrank from 6.9 percent to 6.7 percent because people stopped looking for work, but only the well-off bounced back.

Most of the populace is struggling. Employment rate for people making $60,000+ is up, and low-wage jobs are down by almost 20 percent. The Dow Jones went over 30,000 last month—a “sacred number,” according to DDT—while car lines at food banks stretch for miles. Of the 3.4 million leisure and hospital jobs lost in the past nine months, only 31,000—under one percent—returned last month. With surging cases of COVID-19 and little hope for a sizeable stimulus package, layoffs are on the horizon. Airlines are down 81,749 employees in nine months, and Southwest Airlines plans to furlough another 6,800 workers, about 12 percent.

Consumer spending, measured by credit and debit card data, began to fall by the end of October. Thirteen percent of households with children report food insecurity, and one-third of people have difficulty paying household expenses. And November’s job report was based on the pay period through November 12 and surveys of households through November 14—before the coronavirus surge.  

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wants the stimulus bill included in the must-pass budget measure to keep the government open after December 11. A bipartisan plan for $908 billion:

  • $180 billion: unemployment benefits ($300 per week on top of existing state unemployment).
  • $288 billion: assistance for U.S. businesses.
  • $160 billion: state and local governments.
  • $82 billion: schools.
  • $45 billion: hard-hit transit agencies including airlines, airports, and Amtrak.
  • $25 billion: housing and rental assistance.
  • $10 billion: U.S. Postal Service.
  • $10 billion: childcare.

Also included is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s line in the sand, a liability shield to protect companies against coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Another line in the sand for McConnell is not bringing a new House bill to the Senate floor, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. Passed by 228 to 164 with only four Republicans and one independent joining all but six Democrats, the law would remove marijuana from the Federal Controlled Substances Act and expunge many prior convictions for its possession. The government’s five-percent sales tax on cannabis products would go toward grant programs to help people find work, re-entry services, and legal aid if they have been negatively impacted by the War on Drugs. Forty-four states have decriminalized, legalized for medical use, or fully legalized the substance. In a Gallup poll, 68 percent of adults, the highest percentage every recorded, support cannabis legislation; this year, both red and blue states voted to legislate cannabis.

December 5, 2020: DDT still refuses to discuss the huge cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (208,790) and deaths (2,251). Numbers typically shrink on the weekend because of less reporting. Infections will go over 15 million tomorrow, and deaths will hit 300,000 within a week.

December 3, 2020

Biden/Harris Plan, DDT Fails

President/VP-elect Joe Biden/Kamala Harris:

After his inauguration, Biden will address COVID-19 plan by asking all people in the U.S. to wear masks for 100 days and mandate face coverings in federal buildings and on interstate transportation. Biden also said in an interview he had asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to remain as the government’s top infectious disease expert as well as Biden’s chief medical adviser. Many GOP senators are antagonistic toward Biden, refusing to recognize his election, but he plans to work on a coalition with some of the more moderate ones—Mitt Romney (UT), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rob Portman (OH), and Pat Toomey (PA). A major question is how Biden will work with Mitch McConnell (R-KY); it depends on whether Georgia adds two Democratic senators in five weeks.

VP-elect Kamala Harris is putting together her staff. For her thus far all-female team of chief staffers, Harris started with Tina Flournoy as chief of staff earlier this week along with Symone Sanders (senior adviser) and Ashley Etienne (communications director). Today, Harris added Rohini Kosoglu as her domestic policy adviser and Ambassador Nancy McEldowney for national security adviser. Harris will work on rebuilding small and medium businesses hurt by the pandemic, focusing partly on coronavirus problems for women and people of color. She will also address education, including children without access to the broadband during the pandemic. Harris has a background in intelligence from her four years on the Senate committee and criminal justice and climate justice reform after her experience as California’s AG and San Francisco DA. She plans to draw on Biden’s vice presidency for Barack Obama as a “model” for shaping her own position.

DDT’s Myth of Election Fraud:

Rudy Giuliani’s lawsuit alleging fraudulent votes in Michigan’s election went completely off the rails when his star witness Melissa Carone testified to ballots being smuggled inside food vans. Even Fox host Lou Dobbs, one of DDT’s greatest defenders, didn’t seem able to swallow Carone’s story. A Wayne County judge ruled her tale “simply … not credible,” but Giuliani still put her in front of a Michigan House panel. Giuliani even shushed her as she rudely insisted on her evidence-free claim tens of thousands of votes were counted multiple times. The video, reminiscent of a Saturday Night Live skit, has been watched millions of times, for good reason.  

Lawmakers listened for six hours to testimony about election fraud like that above from Carone. A favorite, however, was the poll watcher who found election fraud when Black Lives Matter supporters wore rhinestones. 

Wisconsin’s high court won’t hear DDT’s request to eliminate over 221,000 ballots in the state’s two largest counties, telling him the case needs to go through lower courts first. DDT paid the state $3 million for a recount in the two counties where Biden picked up 87 votes.

Georgia may actually have a case of election fraud. Former U.S. attorney Michael Moore, serving the Middle District of Georgia from 2010 to 2015, requested the State Board of Elections to investigate Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) alleged criminal interference in Georgia’s election when he pressured the Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to trash valid mail-in ballots. Graham wanted ballots tossed out in all counties with a high rate of “signature mismatch” on voters’ registration forms. Georgia permits voters to “cure” a mismatched signature. Georgia prohibits solicitation to commit election fraud by attempting to cause another person to commit an election-related offense as well as interference with the secretary of state’s official election rules, including asking him to falsify records. From Raffensperger’s account, Graham did both.

In another case of Georgia voter fraud, Bill Price, a Florida attorney, announced he will change his residency to Georgia for two months in order to vote in Georgia for Republicans in the Senate runoff. He encouraged others to join him and gave his brother’s address in Hiram (GA) where he planned to register. Asked if others can register at that address to vote, Price said, “Sure.”

Georgia’s Board of Elections told county election supervisors they could challenge anyone registering to vote who didn’t own a car. Forced hearings could delay a voter past the January 5 vote.  New “rules” require a 90-day advance warning so the Board calls the change a “guidance” directive. At first, this restriction seemed like a poll tax for students, seniors, and the poor, but perhaps they were thinking about Floridians flooding the state to vote for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

The Republicans biggest concern about the Georgia runoff election is DDT’s appearance there on Saturday, supposedly to support Loeffler and Perdue. First, the state voted against DDT. Even more important, however, is that he will likely launch into how all the votes were rigged, discouraging more Republicans from voting. Polls are not reliable, but Perdue is behind by two points and Loeffler by seven points. DDT’s supporters are telling Republicans to boycott the election unless the GOP incumbents denounce the general election as rigged. In a video, Perdue appeared to acknowledge the legality of Biden’s election when he talked about a Senate GOP majority curbing the Biden administration.

Heidi Stirrup (right), an ally of DDT’s racist adviser Stephen Miller, has been banned from the DOJ because she demanded sensitive information about election fraud and other information to take to the White House. She had been put into the DOJ as a liaison a few months ago to get insider information. She also offered job offers to political allies at high DOJ levels without consulting anyone and tried to interfere in hiring career staffers. DDT has made her a member of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Earlier, Stirrup was central in DDT’s push for hard-line immigration policies and a deputy HHS liaison at the White House where she argued access to birth control encourages “sexual promiscuity.” 

Furious with AG Bill Barr for claiming no widespread election fraud, DDT is considering firing him. DDT is also angry because Barr’s investigator John Durham failed to issue a public report with damaging information about the Russian investigation before the election. White House aides are trying to convince DDT not to fire Barr, but DDT yelled at him throughout a 150-minute meeting yesterday.

Census:

Last Monday, the Supreme Court heard a case from DDT arguing undocumented immigrants—who several conservative justices called “illegal aliens”—aren’t persons as designated for census-taking in the Constitution. DDT has been pushing the Census forward but hit a roadblock with “high complexity” and incorrect handling problems in data issues. The delay until February means DDT can’t exclude some U.S. residents to divide seats in the U.S. House to be more favorable to Republicans.

Congress:

With seven more days before a government shutdown, the Senate confirmed Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve, hopefully leaving Judy Shelton out in the cold. The 48-47 vote continued partisan positions on DDT’s appointments; all Democrats and one Republican, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, voted against Waller. He is the first member of the board to be seated during a lame-duck session. DDT has appointed all governors except Democrat Lael Brainard into their Fed posts. The institution is supposed to be independent, but nothing for DDT has been independent.

DDT’s recent power play to control Twitter isn’t going well with Republicans. He threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has easily passed for 59 years, unless it includes the repeal of the liability shield for social media companies. As always litigious, DDT wants to be able to sue Twitter if it fact-checks him or refuses to give him an account, as it can do on January 21. For almost four years, DDT could spew his vile lies on social media because of his classification as a world leader. That disappears after Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Republicans disagree with DDT’s claim that the law, Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, is “a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity.” Conservative Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) declared there is no connection between Section 230 and the NDAA, and other GOP members of Congress have said they will vote for a veto override. Section 230 protects small startups from frivolous lawsuits. Repealing it stifles innovation. Congress can postpone the NDAA until after January 20 if it acts promptly then.  

Republicans rebuked DDT through a variety of provisions in the NDAA. They laid out specific conditions before a president can reduce the military in South Korea and Germany and ordered the Secretary of State to annually report on Russian-sponsored bounties for attacks against U.S. military personnel. Another provision limits military construction funding transferred to domestic projects such as DDT’s wall and mandates federal officials, military, and National Guard “visibly display” both their names and their agencies in protests. The Pentagon cannot provide state and local law enforcement with bayonets, weaponized tracked combat vehicles, and weaponized drones, and most grenades. It includes the renaming of the Confederate-named bases and much more.

Postponing approval of the NDAA until the next Congress—and the next president—might not be a bad idea. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley, the highest-ranking military official, said the Pentagon needs a “reality check” in future defense budgets with other needs such as the coronavirus pandemic. During an event, Milley said, “We have to tighten up and take a much harder look at priorities.” He predicted that budgets could even “decline significantly, depending on what happens.” Milley suggests the Defense Department question the necessity of overseas deployments and bases. The first step is to “breathe new life into the economy.” Sanity may be returning.

Thanksgiving gatherings were a week ago with millions traveling across the U.S. On December 3, 2020, new COVID-19 cases in the U.S.: 218,572 and deaths, 2,918—another 9/11 with one death every 30 seconds. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told his employees to have no gatherings before he invited 900 people to one party in an inside venue. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/01/us/politics/white-house-holiday-parties.html  The 20+ parties planned at the White House also don’t require masks. DDT plans to go out with lots of infections. Watch the coronavirus increase during the next several weeks.

November 27, 2020

DDT: Week 201 – A Time of Contrasts

In a CNN op-ed on Thanksgiving Day, President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill, in a CNN op-ed, thanked people who keep the nation functioning during the pandemic:

“We are grateful for the frontline workers who have never stopped showing up over these long and confusing months, making sure our food is harvested and shipped, keeping our grocery stores stocked, picking up our trash, and keeping our cities and towns safe.

“We are grateful for the health care workers who put in long shifts and isolate themselves from their loved ones, the nurses who comfort and help people say one last goodbye, and the doctors who fight for every breath.

“We are grateful for the educators who learned to teach in virtual classrooms almost overnight, who did extra work to reach families without technology, or who took late-night phone calls from parents on the verge of tears.

“We are grateful for the parents who have carried their families through the chaos, working or searching for a job, navigating childcare and remote learning.

“We are grateful for the researchers and scientists who have spent this year learning everything they can to understand how to fight this pandemic and working tirelessly to find a vaccine and therapeutics.”

On Thanksgiving Day, in the midst of ranting tweets, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) held a press conference, the first time he has taken questions since his defeat. He claimed proof for election fraud is people voting for Biden. Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asked DDT if he would concede to Biden, and DDT shouted, “Don’t talk to me that way! I’m the president of the United States.” For the first time, he declared he would leave the White House if the Electoral College selects Biden.

DDT paid Wisconsin $3 million for recounts in two counties. One of them, Milwaukee, announced Biden picked up another 132 votes in the recount. About 65 percent finished, Dane County will be done by the state’s certification of ten electoral votes for Biden on Tuesday. DDT still wants to throw out over 238,000 ballots in the two counties.

Unable to win lawsuits to stop voting and certification, DDT tries to decertify existing certifications. He failed in Pennsylvania this morning when a three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit Court rejected the case, writing, “Calling an election unfair does not make it so.” Like the other almost 40 rejections to DDT’s arguments, the ruling determined lawyers had no “specific allegations and … proof.” A DDT-appointed judge wrote the opinion. Jenna Ellis, DDT’s lawyer, wrote, “On to SCOTUS!” Biden won the state’s 20 electoral votes by an 80,000 majority.

A Commonwealth court uncertified Pennsylvania’s certified votes until an evidentiary hearing in the case. The same court has rejected GOP arguments two other times. GOP Rep. Mike Kelly challenged 2.5 million mail-in ballots, accusing the state legislature of constitutionally expanding the process. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman pointed out that lack of certification would eliminate “down-ballot elections”:  

“If [votes are] not certified, we don’t have a House or have our state Senate, and those are controlled by Republicans. So they’re literally trying to make the argument that there was fraud with Joe Biden’s race but my race, there was no fraud in that race. So there’s absolutely no basis in reality, but that’s never stopped them from lying.”

Fetterman said Pennsylvania found only two cases of voter fraud, both from Republicans who tried “to vote for Trump with their relatives, whether they were dead or living.” The Pennsylvania GOP legislature approved mail-in voting over a year ago, but no one objected because they thought it could favor the Republicans.

With QAnon queen Sidney Powell as lawyer, Michigan electors and local GOP officials are using her conspiracy theories against Biden in a federal court case. On Monday, Michigan certified the win for Biden. and Powell’s arguments have already been ruled “not credible” by a Wayne County judge. The lawsuit also demands voting machine and software be impounded for inspection. Powell, dropped by DDT’s campaign, also filed a wacko lawsuit in Georgia with both filings marked by inaccurate spelling. Losing in Pennsylvania, she’s heading to Arizona with allegations already rejected in a court case there.  

Rudy Giuliani receives $20,000 a day for his inept lawyering, but Powell asks for the checks to be made out to her personally. She set up her website on November 11, the day after she appeared on Fox’s Lou Dobbs Show.

DDT had a busy week, at least for him, with two major appearances last Tuesday—each about a minute. One of them was the pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkeys, this year named Corn and Cob. Hailing from Iowa, the turkeys are returning to their home state after a time in a luxury hotel. He was kinder to these than Carrot two years ago when he ridiculed Carrots for losing the count and refusing to “concede.” Matt Flegenheimer and Maggie Haberman have a great piece on how DDT had expected his time in the Oval Office to be “a rolling turkey pardon.”

DDT’s bad relationship with birds doesn’t seem to have improved since before his inauguration. Over five years ago, Time’s cover story, “The Donald Has Landed,” featured a photo of him and “Uncle Sam” who evidently didn’t approve of bigots and demagogues. Footage for the photo shoot.

Before Michael Flynn’s ruling, DDT pardoned him. DDT fired Flynn for lying to VP Mike Pence, and Flynn pled guilty to lying twice to the FBI about promising Russia in secret conversations before the inauguration that DDT would remove Russian sanctions. Flynn also secretly worked with Turkey. QAnon members are upset because the pardon means “guilt” when they want “exoneration.”

Still struggling to win by disenfranchising millions of voters, DDT called an informal meeting of Pennsylvania legislators at Gettysburg (PA) despite the state’s formal certification of 20 electoral votes. DDT originally meant to appear in person, but his legal team leader, Rudy Giuliani has again been exposed to COVID-19. Giuliani appeared with the group, most of them not wearing masks.

DDT’s conservative Supreme Court increased the rate of infections and deaths from COVID-19 by agreeing with New York religious organizations claiming they were illegally targeted by virus restrictions. In the 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John G. Roberts joined the three progressive justices, writing:

“It is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic.”

Roberts also noted restrictions were already eased, eliminating the need for court intervention. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was alive, Roberts’ vote created a majority to treat religious groups the same as others. Justice Sonia Sotomayor added the state treated churches equally or more favorably when compared with other groups; thus it did not discriminate. Cuomo increased restrictions because some religious groups turned areas into “hot spots” of spiking coronavirus cases. Changes were temporary, based on numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

In a tweet, Joyce Vance, a federal prosecutor for 25 years, addressed the majority of justices who elevated Christian and Jewish beliefs over public health officials and state laws for other groups:

“Your religious views now give you the right to withhold the services of your business from people whose ‘lifestyle’ you disagree with, withhold healthcare from women & attend superspreader events that let you infect your neighbors with a deadly virus.”

After DDT demanded churches open last summer, the virus surged across areas in which religious groups refused to take precautions. The disease hits not only the people within the church but also others throughout the community as church members become superspreaders. For example, 12 deaths and 213 cases are connected to events at the Charlotte (NC) United House of Prayer for All People earlier this year, and 11 buses brought people for another superspreader event two weeks ago to further spread disease. 

War in the Middle East could add to DDT’s death toll. For the third time in 18 months, he sent several heavy bombers to the Middle East threatening Iran after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s secret meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salam. Pompeo was supposedly on a diplomatic mission. The last threat was when DDT used an airstrike to assassinate top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. DDT’s “maximum pressure” against Iran led to more nuclear material at higher levels of enrichment. Within the next 54 days before he leaves the Oval Office, DDT plans far more sanctions and “covert actions” against Iran to sabotage Biden’s efforts to rejoin the anti-nuclear deal.

DDT may have killed 33 unaccompanied Guatemalan children by deporting them after a judge ordered them to stop a deportation. Agency officials claimed they didn’t know about the order until the plane landed in Guatemala, but they didn’t bring them back. DDT’s administration claims it’s protecting the public during the pandemic, but the permission for unlimited church gatherings shows no protection from the virus. Coronavirus cases and deaths per capita in Guatemala are far fewer than in the U.S.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has lost another member, Lamar Alexander (TN) to a COVID-19 infection, but McConnell keeps punishing people. He plans a pay freeze for all civilian federal workers in the spending package required to keep the government open after December 11.

October 29, 2020

More Voting Decisions Cause Chaos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three reasons for giving reasons from Rick Hasen:

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

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

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

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

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