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« Reply #195 on: Sep 09, 2020, 05:12 AM »

Experts: Here’s the ‘real threat’ Trump poses this election year — and why we must be ready

on September 9, 2020
By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Many of President Donald Trump’s critics fear that if he loses in November, he will refuse to accept the election results. But journalists Joshua A. Geltzer and Dahlia Lithwick, this week in an article for Slate, argue that the greatest threat to democracy in the United States isn’t that Trump will disregard the country’s laws, but that he will undermine faith in the system itself.

“When it comes to the most likely ways in which Trump might resist a valid defeat at the polls, it’s not the legal but the cognitive aspects that are poised to sow the greatest chaos,” Geltzer and Lithwick write. “Recognizing the most glaring threats requires a look back at Trump’s most brazen moments of resistance to election results, all of which are largely forgotten now.”

The “real threat,” according to Geltzer and Lithwick, “lies not in formal guardrails, but in our confidence.”

The journalists go on to cite some of Trump’s “brazen moments” of the past, including Trump’s claim that Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas “illegally stole” the Iowa Caucuses during 2016’s Republican presidential primary. And two years later in the 2018 midterms, they add, Trump tweeted that Russian government operatives were “pushing very hard for the Democrats.”

    Donald Trump seems to have just deleted this tweet pic.twitter.com/jJWfpkPXFE

    — Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) February 3, 2016

    I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018

“Trump appeared to be laying the groundwork for calling into question the midterm results as skewed by foreign election interference should his party suffer a debilitating defeat at the polls,” Geltzer and Lithwick explain.

It was also in 2018, they add, that Trump tried to discourage a thorough vote count in Florida.

“Election night left two prominent Republicans running in Florida — one for governor, one for senator — with a slim lead, but there were more ballots to be counted,” Geltzer and Lithwick recall. “As that counting continued, Trump tweeted yet again, baselessly claiming that ‘large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere’ and that America ‘Must go with Election Night!’ Never mind that ballots remained uncounted; Trump simply wanted to stop counting when the results conformed to what he wanted to see.”

    The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2018

A thorough vote count in Florida showed narrow GOP victories in those races. Ron DeSantis was elected governor, defeating Democrat Andrew Gillum — and Rick Scott was elected to the U.S. Senate. But Trump tried to discourage a thorough vote count before Floridians were certain of the election results.

Those events in 2016 and 2018, according to Geltzer and Lithwick, offer a preview of the type of thing Trump might try to get away with in November.

“The real challenge isn’t legal; it’s cognitive,” Geltzer and Lithwick argue. “Trump, actively aided by Attorney General William Barr, has devoted months to undertaking a domestic influence operation to lead Americans to distrust the legitimacy of any election in which Trump doesn’t win. For this to work, they need you to distrust the legitimacy of the laws that provide answers.”
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« Reply #196 on: Sep 09, 2020, 09:54 AM »

‘No demonstrable proof’: Republican election lawyer busts Trump’s lies about voter fraud

on September 9, 2020
Raw Story
By Travis Gettys

A Republican election lawyer says he’s spent decades looking for evidence of fraud, but there’s just no proof to President Donald Trump’s claims about the vote being rigged against him.

Ben Ginsburg, an election lawyer for 38 years and co-chair of the bipartisan 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss his Washington Post op-ed explaining his life’s work.

“I’ve been looking for 38 years on Election Days, along with literally legions of other Republican lawyers and political operatives, for elections that are rigged in fraud,” Ginsburg said. “It is true that there is an occasional election where you can prove fraud. Those are caught.”

“But elections and the credibility of the results of the elections is a fundamental bedrock of our democracy,” he added, “and to say overall that elections are rigged and fraudulent and the only way I can win is if there’s cheating going on, is just not borne out by 38 years of looking for those incidents, and it’s time for the Republican Party to basically deal with that reality in what they do.”

Ginsburg said he disagreed with sending out live ballots to voters — as nine states do — but he did not believe those would make any difference in the final results in the presidential election, despite Trump’s lurid warnings.

“There is no demonstrable proof of rigged or fraudulent elections or even really anything to be able to rise to the level of the rhetoric of rigged and fraudulent elections in the vast majority of states,” he said.

Watch: https://youtu.be/XRQZMrOePrQ
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« Reply #197 on: Sep 10, 2020, 03:54 AM »

US election: Two candidates, two polar opposite campaigns

on September 10, 2020
By Agence France-Presse

The cat-and-mouse campaigning by Donald Trump and Joe Biden has led the president and his Democratic challenger to the same locations, sometimes on the same day, while displaying radically different styles as they court American voters.

As the candidates criss-cross the battleground states likely to determine the outcome of the November 3 election, two competing trends have emerged: Biden holds small campaign gatherings, while Trump orchestrates crowded rallies that flout local health rules.

Trump, the 74-year-old rabble-rouser desperate to recreate the spectacle of his upstart 2016 campaign, is unmasked and unfazed by the threat of coronavirus.

Biden, a cautious adherent to pandemic policy, wears a face covering to mostly empty halls where he speaks to a television audience, but with few if any everyday voters present.

The glaring differences most likely will be on display for the remaining 55 days until the election, as they are this week in battleground Michigan.

On Wednesday Biden arrived at a United Auto Workers parking lot in Warren, near Detroit, and immediately addressed the specter of the pandemic and his eagerness to follow local mandates.

Such compliance is anathema to Trump, who usually barrels into a location unmasked and in defiance of ordinances, as he did in North Carolina on Tuesday before mocking the restrictions to a cheering crowd.

Outdoor gatherings in Michigan are currently limited to 100 people, but Trump is certain to ignore that restriction Thursday when he hosts a rally at an airport outside Saginaw.

“Nothing is going to move Trump away from as large a rally as he can generate,” professor Tobe Berkovitz, an expert on political communication at Boston University, told AFP.

“Being in everybody’s face is his strategy and he’s sticking with it.”

Biden admits he longs for a return to traditional campaigning, but he has signalled he will keep trading the image of a crowded rally for the substance of a sharp speech.

Berkovitz said the team around Biden — who would become the oldest US president ever, at 78, and whose mental acuity is repeatedly questioned by Trump — keenly uses the pretense of a coronavirus threat to reduce chances of spontaneous interaction triggering a Biden gaffe weeks before the election.

“The tighter the shield they can put around Biden, the better they are,” he said.

“But I don’t think it serves democracy,” added Berkovitz. Presidential candidates should be “challenged” by real voters, “and that’s just not happening.”

Trump and his team relentlessly mock Biden’s events, often posting images of the Democrat’s campaign stops, such as him seated in a garden talking to a handful of voters.

Biden “could hold a campaign event in a broom closet,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. Murtaugh also decried efforts by Nevada’s Democratic government officials to restrict the president’s large rally planned for Saturday.

On Friday, both candidates will be at the same event in pivotal Pennsylvania, commemorating the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

How the rival candidates will act, and whether they meet face to face, will be closely watched.

Biden backers are not displeased with their candidate’s low-key campaign, which has remained effective through the summer, Berkovitz noted.

Biden maintains a substantial lead over Trump in national polling, and smaller leads in the swing states.

With most Americans supporting mask-wearing and social-distancing guidelines, “until something happens so that (Biden’s) strategy no longer works, why change it?” Berkovitz said.

Biden has stepped up his ground game by visiting more states and not letting the narrative of hiding in his Delaware home congeal, said John Hudak, a senior governance fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

“And while they may not be the same setting — an airplane hangar versus a plant lot — they’re going to be getting the same amount of news coverage,” Hudak said of Trump’s and Biden’s competing events.

“The important thing to remember is that Biden doesn’t need to catch up to anything; it is the president who needs to catch up to Biden,” Hudak said.

And by “leading by example” on coronavirus measures like mask wearing and social distancing, he added, Biden is appealing to independents and progressives who strongly support such measures.

“A lot of Republicans will laugh at it,” Hudak said. “But a lot of Americans are going to look at that and say, ‘that’s what we’re doing.'”

**************

Joe Biden speaks in Warren, Mich.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKkIOqoZ2Ys
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« Reply #198 on: Sep 14, 2020, 04:47 AM »


The GOP is staging chaos on the way to a coup

on September 14, 2020
By David Atkins, The Washington Monthly
- Commentary

Two news stories story that almost speak for themselves without the need for commentary.

First, the 4-3 conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court has made a bizarre, nonsensical ruling that will throw Wisconsin’s entire election into disarray for no good reason.

    Then the Wisconsin Supreme Court stepped in. On Thursday afternoon, by a 4–3 vote divided along partisan lines, the court issued a strange, cryptic order that could throw the election into chaos. The conservative majority directed the Wisconsin Elections Commission to turn over a massive amount of information it did not actually have. These justices then halted the mailing of more absentee ballots while they consider nullifying every ballot that has been printed or mailed and forcing the state to start over. Their stunning eleventh-hour intervention could force election officials into an impossible position: either comply with the court’s order or violate both state and federal law.

Essentially, the Green Party failed to submit proper documents in Wisconsin. They refused to state reasons, or to seek redress in a timely manner. Then they asked the state at the last minute to place the Green Party on the ballot, anyway, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of ballots had already gone out to voters.

    A responsible court would have rejected this challenge for two reasons: Hawkins and Walker waited an unreasonably long time to bring it, and it has no plausible legal basis. But instead of dismissing the case, the infamously irresponsible court ordered the commission to reveal who has requested absentee ballots, who has been mailed a ballot already, and when these ballots were mailed. It also demanded to know who requested the ballots to be printed, implying the existence of some conspiracy to rush them out. In the meantime, the conservative majority effectively shut down the state’s election machinery, suspending the printing of more absentee ballots. Its order suggests that four justices are seriously considering a decision in favor of the Green Party. Such a ruling would compel the state to throw out every existing ballot and begin the entire, grueling, monthslong process anew.

There is no plausible rationale for the decision, and no way to implement it in a manner that won’t throw the election into chaos. The Wisconsin Supreme Court was made very well aware of this, and the conservative Koch-purchased majority choose this course of action, anyway. Nor was the cynical Green Party acting alone:

    Hawkins suggested in an interview that Trump supporters had helped the Green Party ticket with its legal claim before the state Supreme Court. The party’s petition was filed by attorneys from the Milwaukee-based von Briesen & Roper law firm, which has a history of representing Wisconsin Republicans.

    “You get help where you can find it,” Hawkins told The Washington Post when asked whether Republicans had financed the legal action. “They have their reasons and we have ours.”

If the presidential election is at all close, everything may hinge on the outcome in Wisconsin. And if Wisconsin is beset by legal challenges from thousands of voters casting legally received ballots prior to a court order demanding that different ballots be sent, even if those ballots go out later than the legally mandated deadline, you have a recipe for a chaos of litigation that will ultimately only be resolved by Justice Roberts of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s pardoned felonious close advisor and Russia-Wikileaks conduit Roger Stone just told Alex Jones that Trump should seize total power in a coup should he lose the election:

    Roger Stone is making baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and is urging Donald Trump to consider several draconian measures to stay in power, including having federal authorities seize ballots in Nevada, having FBI agents and Republican state officials “physically” block voting under the pretext of preventing voter fraud, using martial law or the Insurrection Act to carry out widespread arrests, and nationalizing state police forces.

We know that Trump listens to Stone as the closest person he still has in his orbit to his beloved Roy Cohn, and cares enough about him to have sprung him out of jail. And he’s recommending this course of action:

    Beyond Nevada, Stone recommended that Trump consider several actions to retain his power. Stone recommended that Trump appoint former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) as a special counsel “with the specific task of forming an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.”

    Stone also urged Trump to consider declaring “martial law” or invoking the Insurrection Act and then using his powers to arrest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the Clintons” and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity.”

Even if Trump doesn’t actively take any of these measures–and there is a great deal of evidence that he might–right-wing groups may well take some of these matters into their own hands.

The context for all of this upheaval is that conservatives know they have lost the argument and the culture. The nation’s greatest problems, from police racism to inequality to climate change to the pandemic itself, simply do not lend themselves to conservative “solutions.” Conservatism itself would have to change to adapt to the moment, and it is unwilling to do so.

Meanwhile, the Right is losing the culture wars, evangelicals are declining as a percentage of the population, and older social conservatives are aging out of the electorate, replaced by young progressives. White supremacists know that whites are declining as a percentage of the population, Black Lives Matter is broadly popular, and the country is also slowly coming to grips with some of the consequences of toxic masculinity. Universal healthcare, taxing the rich and even previously radical solutions like an income floor funded by taxes on Wall Street speculation are increasingly mainstream.

And finally, they know that the consequence of McConnell’s brinksmanship and Trump’s norm destruction is that Democrats are increasingly unafraid to actually wield power and govern in a way that finally maximizes majoritarian power: eliminating the filibuster, adding states to the union, bypassing the Electoral College, changing the composition and size of the courts, enacting broad voter rights and gerrymandering reforms, and much else. If they do, the conservative movement as it currently exists may not be able to hold national power again–not because the Democrats staged a coup, but rather because they simply undercut the apartheid structures that prevented the voice of the majority from being heard and implemented into law.

The conservative response to all this is to create as much chaos as possible, with a view toward seizing power in a coup–thereby short-circuiting the consequences of failing to secure the legitimacy of popular will.

The Republican Party has become the Chaos Party. And it will take all citizen hands on deck to resist them, overwhelm them at the ballot box, and move the country forward in a stable and more progressive direction.
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« Reply #199 on: Sep 14, 2020, 03:53 PM »


Trump escalates the signals to his followers: Use lethal violence to help me hold power

on September 14, 2020
By Amanda Marcotte, Salon
- Commentary

Well, that escalated quickly. Only a couple of weeks ago, Donald Trump and his allies were using the term “self-defense” to condone the behavior of armed right-wingers who showed up at Black Lives Matter protests to intimidate demonstrators — and also to justify the alleged murder of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, by 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse.

Now Trump has expanded the universe of excuses for such lethal violence, suggesting that it’s acceptable in the name of “retribution.”

In this case, the lethal violence was inflicted on Michael Reinoehl, a self-identified supporter of antifa, which isn’t an organized movement so much as a loose association of left-wing activists who use confrontational tactics to fight perceived fascists. Most people who identify as antifa aren’t violent, but some have become enamored of seeking violent confrontations with far-right or white supremacist groups. Reinoehl appears to have been such a person: He seemingly confessed on camera to killing a right-wing activist named Aaron Danielson during an Aug. 29 skirmish in Portland, Oregon.

U.S. marshals shot and killed Reinoehl near Olympia, Washington, on Sept. 3, and justified the shooting by claiming he had pulled a gun, which at least one witness says is not true. But when Trump discussed the killing, he didn’t even bother with the usual talk about how it was necessary to protect the officers from harm. Instead, he claimed it was justified as “retribution.” And because Trump loves to play-act being a tough guy while avoiding all difficult decisions, he tried to take personal credit for ordering Reinoehl’s death.

“Two and a half days went by and I put out, when are you going to go get him?” Trump bragged to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. “That’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this.”

Retribution: That’s how Trump sees this killing. Not, as law enforcement claims, a necessary self-defense action in the course of trying to apprehend a criminal suspect. Trump seems to understand this as one faction getting revenge on a rival faction for the murder of one of their own.

That’s even more alarming when you consider that Aaron Danielson, the man killed in Portland, had no connection to law enforcement. He was a member of Patriot Prayer, a militia-style group whose main purpose is to descend on progressive communities, mostly Portland and Seattle, to troll local residents and try to provoke street fights with antifa and other left-wing activists. With this talk of “retribution” talk, Trump is explicitly linking law enforcement paid for by taxpayers with extralegal militias. Effectively, the president views them as part of the same faction and in opposition to antifa, a group Trump regularly — and falsely — conflates with progressives and Democrats generally.

At first blush, it would seem unwise for Trump and his far-right allies to justify killing Reinoehl by invoking the logic of gangland murders. Trump and his supporters have sought to celebrate Danielson as a martyr, and his death is being leveraged for maximum propaganda value, as “proof” of the supposed outbreak of leftist violence that, in turn, justifies violent assaults from the right. One would think that capturing Reinoehl alive so he could be tried in court would have aided this propaganda campaign, creating a show trial that would enable the telling and retelling of the fable of Danielson’s martyrdom.

But there is another, deeper purpose to this “retribution” talk. For one thing, it encourages police and right-wing militias to see themselves on the same “team,” hastening a process that was already well underway, as evidenced by the cordial treatment Rittenhouse and other militia types got from police on the night he shot three people in Kenosha.

For another, Trump is signaling to his followers that they don’t even need to wait for a semi-plausible “self-defense” situation to justify using violent force to silence leftists. Instead, he’s trying to redefine what constitute “legitimate” reasons for his followers to use violence.

He kept up the excuse-making on Sunday night, at a rally in Henderson, Nevada, bragging that Reinoehl was “taken care of in 15 minutes.”

The implication isn’t subtle, especially as Trump has ranted for years about how law enforcement is supposedly hobbled by all these silly rules about respecting people’s constitutional rights. Now he’s encouraging his followers to see due process and laws against vigilante violence as unjust burdens, and suggesting they should just define for themselves when lethal force is justified against people they see as “un-American.”

Trump has long flirted with the idea of turning the sea of armed and angry white men who worship him into a militia he can use to seize power he can’t win through democratic means. During the 2016 campaign, Trump told his supporters that “Second Amendment people” should consider taking action against Hillary Clinton, if she won the election.

Trump’s current Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has a healthy lead in the polls, and Trump likely understands that he can’t win a fair election. The blueprint for stealing this one — helpfully laid out last week by convicted felon and long-time Trump ally Roger Stone, in an interview with Infowars — will rely on an alliance between law enforcement and armed right-wing civilians to prevent people from voting, prevent election officials from counting the votes, and the suppressing the inevitable street protests by Trump’s opponents demanding that votes be counted.

So Trump is preparing his people — both the armed civilians and his right-wing allies in law enforcement — to take violent action by teeing up the rationales now. Using false claims of “voter fraud,” he’s encouraging his followers to be “poll watchers,” an obvious euphemism for trying to intimidate anyone whose race, appearance or demeanor makes them look like a probable Democrat. Now he’s pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a legitimate use of violence.

The beauty of “retribution” as an excuse for violence is how flexible it is. Implicit in Trump’s unhinged comments is a belief that laws against murder are too strict, and that his followers should feel free to transgress them if they conclude that the target of their ire has it coming. In lionizing people like Rittenhouse or the marshals who shot Reinoehl out of “retribution,” Trump is sending a clear signal to his followers: Forget what the law says, and do whatever you think is necessary to “make America great again.”
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« Reply #200 on: Sep 15, 2020, 03:48 AM »

Joe Biden gives speech on US wildfires and climate crisis

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPdESARyY-g

Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden

We’ve never backed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history—until now

By THE EDITORS
Scientific American
October 2020 Issue

Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.

The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump's rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic in the U.S. He was warned many times in January and February about the onrushing disease, yet he did not develop a national strategy to provide protective equipment, coronavirus testing or clear health guidelines. Testing people for the virus, and tracing those they may have infected, is how countries in Europe and Asia have gained control over their outbreaks, saved lives, and successfully reopened businesses and schools. But in the U.S., Trump claimed, falsely, that “anybody that wants a test can get a test.” That was untrue in March and remained untrue through the summer. Trump opposed $25 billion for increased testing and tracing that was in a pandemic relief bill as late as July. These lapses accelerated the spread of disease through the country—particularly in highly vulnerable communities that include people of color, where deaths climbed disproportionately to those in the rest of the population.

It wasn't just a testing problem: if almost everyone in the U.S. wore masks in public, it could save about 66,000 lives by the beginning of December, according to projections from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Such a strategy would hurt no one. It would close no business. It would cost next to nothing. But Trump and his vice president flouted local mask rules, making it a point not to wear masks themselves in public appearances. Trump has openly supported people who ignored governors in Michigan and California and elsewhere as they tried to impose social distancing and restrict public activities to control the virus. He encouraged governors in Florida, Arizona and Texas who resisted these public health measures, saying in April—again, falsely—that “the worst days of the pandemic are behind us” and ignoring infectious disease experts who warned at the time of a dangerous rebound if safety measures were loosened.

And of course, the rebound came, with cases across the nation rising by 46 percent and deaths increasing by 21 percent in June. The states that followed Trump's misguidance posted new daily highs and higher percentages of positive tests than those that did not. By early July several hospitals in Texas were full of COVID-19 patients. States had to close up again, at tremendous economic cost. About 31 percent of workers were laid off a second time, following the giant wave of unemployment—more than 30 million people and countless shuttered businesses—that had already decimated the country. At every stage, Trump has rejected the unmistakable lesson that controlling the disease, not downplaying it, is the path to economic reopening and recovery.

Trump repeatedly lied to the public about the deadly threat of the disease, saying it was not a serious concern and “this is like a flu​” when he knew it was more lethal and highly transmissible, according to his taped statements to journalist Bob Woodward. His lies encouraged people to engage in risky behavior, spreading the virus further, and have driven wedges between Americans who take the threat seriously and those who believe Trump's falsehoods. The White House even produced a memo attacking the expertise of the nation's leading infectious disease physician, Anthony Fauci, in a despicable attempt to sow further distrust.

Trump's reaction to America's worst public health crisis in a century has been to say “I don't take responsibility at all.” Instead he blamed other countries and his White House predecessor, who left office three years before the pandemic began.

But Trump's refusal to look at the evidence and act accordingly extends beyond the virus. He has repeatedly tried to get rid of the Affordable Care Act while offering no alternative; comprehensive medical insurance is essential to reduce illness. Trump has proposed billion-dollar cuts to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agencies that increase our scientific knowledge and strengthen us for future challenges. Congress has countermanded his reductions. Yet he keeps trying, slashing programs that would ready us for future pandemics and withdrawing from the World Health Organization. These and other actions increase the risk that new diseases will surprise and devastate us again.

Trump also keeps pushing to eliminate health rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, putting people at more risk for heart and lung disease caused by pollution. He has replaced scientists on agency advisory boards with industry representatives. In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it. The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires and extreme flooding.

Joe Biden, in contrast, comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making. He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals.

On COVID-19, he states correctly that “it is wrong to talk about ‘choosing' between our public health and our economy.... If we don't beat the virus, we will never get back to full economic strength.” Biden plans to ramp up a national testing board, a body that would have the authority to command both public and private resources to supply more tests and get them to all communities. He also wants to establish a Public Health Job Corps of 100,000 people, many of whom have been laid off during the pandemic crisis, to serve as contact tracers and in other health jobs. He will direct the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to enforce workplace safety standards to avoid the kind of deadly outbreaks that have occurred at meat-processing plants and nursing homes. While Trump threatened to withhold money from school districts that did not reopen, regardless of the danger from the virus, Biden wants to spend $34 billion to help schools conduct safe in-person instruction as well as remote learning.

Biden is getting advice on these public health issues from a group that includes David Kessler, epidemiologist, pediatrician and former U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief; Rebecca Katz, immunologist and global health security specialist at Georgetown University; and Ezekiel Emanuel, bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. It does not include physicians who believe in aliens and debunked virus therapies, one of whom Trump has called “very respected” and “spectacular.”

Biden has a family and caregiving initiative, recognizing this as key to a sustained public health and economic recovery. His plans include increased salaries for child care workers and construction of new facilities for children because the inability to afford quality care keeps workers out of the economy and places enormous strains on families.

On the environment and climate change, Biden wants to spend $2 trillion on an emissions-free power sector by 2035, build energy-efficient structures and vehicles, push solar and wind power, establish research agencies to develop safe nuclear power and carbon capture technologies, and more. The investment will produce two million jobs for U.S. workers, his campaign claims, and the climate plan will be partly paid by eliminating Trump's corporate tax cuts. Historically disadvantaged communities in the U.S. will receive 40 percent of these energy and infrastructure benefits.

It is not certain how many of these and his other ambitions Biden will be able to accomplish; much depends on laws to be written and passed by Congress. But he is acutely aware that we must heed the abundant research showing ways to recover from our present crises and successfully cope with future challenges.

Although Trump and his allies have tried to create obstacles that prevent people from casting ballots safely in November, either by mail or in person, it is crucial that we surmount them and vote. It's time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.
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« Reply #201 on: Sep 15, 2020, 10:49 AM »


Bill Barr slapped down for spreading ‘impossible’ vote-by-mail conspiracy theory

on September 15, 2020
Raw Story
By Brad Reed

Attorney General Bill Barr has been spreading a new conspiracy theory about mail-in voting that experts are saying would be nearly “impossible” to pull off.

As Bloomberg reports, Barr has repeatedly floated an idea that foreign countries will try to alter the results of the 2020 election by sending out counterfeit ballots en masse to American households.

However, elections experts say that the difficulties in mass producing counterfeit ballots for every individual county in America on a nationwide scale would make enacting such a scheme a massive logistical headache for any foreign country.

“You would basically have to reproduce the entire election administration infrastructure atom-for-atom in the middle of Siberia in order to have any chance of doing that,” Charles Stewart III, an elections scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tells Bloomberg.

In addition to needing county-by-county knowledge of each ballot, Bloomberg notes that a foreign saboteur would also need to reproduce “the unique printing on the correct type of paper for scanners programmed to read that ballot,” as well as “the bar codes and signature on envelopes used to identify each voter.”

And that all assumes that the would-be saboteurs sent out ballots to voters who wouldn’t be flagged for potential double voting.

“If I just printed 10,000 ballots and took them over to the county to try to get them to tabulate them, they’re going to have a sheriff on top me in a heartbeat,” said Jeff Ellington, president of Arizona-based Runbeck Election Services Inc.
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« Reply #202 on: Sep 16, 2020, 03:51 AM »

‘Barr has gone off the rails’: The attorney general’s new comments are stunning even his fiercest critics

on September 16, 2020
By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Attorney General Bill Barr sparked outrage once again on Tuesday when a new round of his dangerous and inflammatory comments about voting by mail were published in the Chicago Tribune.

In a new column by John Kass, Barr floated more of his baseless fearmongering about mail-in votes, while hypocritically criticizing those who are afraid of President Donald Trump’s threat to democracy.

First, echoing Trump but putting his own spin on it, Barr attacked mail-in voting, which has existed for generations:

    “Just think about the way we vote now,” Barr said. “You have a precinct, your name is on a list, you go in and say who you are, you go behind a curtain, no one is allowed to go in there to influence you, and no one can tell how you voted. All of that is gone with mail-in voting. There’s no secret vote. You have to associate the envelope in the mailing and the name of who’s sending it in, with the ballot.

    “There’s no more secret vote with mail-in vote. A secret vote prevents selling and buying votes. So now we’re back in the business of selling and buying votes. Capricious distribution of ballots means (ballot) harvesting, undue influence, outright coercion, paying off a postman, here’s a few hundred dollars, give me some of your ballots,” the attorney general said.

Barr has made similar comments about the practice of voting by mail undermining the secret ballot before, which have been debunked. As CNN reported:

    Elections experts say Barr is wrongly suggesting that mail-in ballots somehow violate people’s privacy and that he is ignoring safeguards that are in place to ensure the security of people’s ballots when they vote by mail.

    Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine, professor and one of the nation’s top experts in election law, told CNN, “There is no validity to this claim and it shows once again that either AG Barr has not done even a rudimentary amount of research into how mail-in balloting actually works or he’s deliberately obfuscating.”

But Barr isn’t simply wrong. His attacks on voting by mail are simply nonsensical and contradictory. In a recent interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Barr attacked voting by mail while praising absentee voting:

    I have no problem with — I voted by absentee ballot, not by mail. I actually went to the office to cast my vote, but absentee ballots are fine.

Of course, absentee voting is simply a form of voting by mail. The terms are often interchangeable, though sometimes they have slightly different meanings in particular jurisdictions. But importantly, Barr’s objection to voting by mail, if it were true, would apply just as strongly to absentee ballots as to mail-in ballots, which are typically identical. Even if he dropped off his absentee ballot at the election office, he almost certainly placed it in an envelope with his identifying information — exactly what he claimed to be worried about when it comes to voting by mail.

CNN’s Abby Philip added: “Several states have voted almost entirely by mail for years. It makes no sense that suddenly there would be a rash of “buying and selling” of votes. There is no evidence to support this claim, yet Barr keeps making it.”

The only conclusion we can draw, then, is that Barr has no principled objections to voting by mail. He’s just making up rationalizations for some other purpose.

The Chicago Times column continued:

    “You know liberals project,” Barr said. “All this bulls— about how the president is going to stay in office and seize power? I’ve never heard of any of that crap. I mean, I’m the attorney general. I would think I would have heard about it. They are projecting. They are creating an incendiary situation where there will be loss of confidence in the vote.

    “Someone will say the president just won Nevada. ‘Oh, wait a minute! We just discovered 100,000 ballots! Every vote will be counted!’ Yeah, but we don’t know where these freaking votes came from,” Barr said, promising to watch “Key Largo.”

First, it should be noted that attorney generals don’t usually talk this way. Dismissing and demeaning “liberals” (or conservatives!) as a group should not be the rhetoric of the person in charge of federal law enforcement in the United States; it suggests not only that he cannot fairly enforce the laws but that he has no interest in even appearing to do so impartially.

Second, it’s absolutely absurd for Barr to go from complaining that Democrats “are creating an incendiary situation where there will be a loss of confidence in the vote” to floating a completely baseless hypothetical in which 100,000 ballots will appear out of nowhere. And he has the nerve of saying his critics of projecting. (He has previously been caught spreading false claims about a prosecution of mass vote fraud that turned out to be completely wrong.)

Third and finally, Barr’s claim that there’s been no private discussion of Trump trying to stay in office and seize power despite an election loss is not reassuring precisely because of everything else he said. Trump and Barr don’t need to have private discussions to plan to undermine the November election because they’re doing it all in public. Barr and Trump are both spreading bogus information about voting by mail, and suggesting that Democrats will use fraud to change the results of the election. They’re undermining normal and legitimate elections procedures and dismissing any criticism of them as delusional. This is how you lay the groundwork for rejecting an election result.

And Trump hasn’t made a secret of the fact that he’s open to rejecting the results of the election. He has said, in public:

     “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged”
    “The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!”
    Asked if he’ll accept the results if he loses, he said: “I have to see. I’m not just going to say yes. I’m not going to say no. …  I’m not a good loser. I don’t like to lose. I don’t lose too often.”

So Trump already has opened the door to rejecting the election results, and Barr has opened the door to concocting false claims to legally contest the results. The plan is perfectly clear, the only question remaining is what they think they can get away with and how far they’ll push it.

“AG Barr has gone off the rails,” said Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, a legal reporter and critic of the attorney general. “He is spreading dangerous disinformation about voter fraud designed to undermine the legitimacy of the election. And he remains the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. His slide into delusional paranoia is profoundly alarming.”

“This from Attorney General Barr continues to be extremely incorrect and harmful,” said reporter Grace Panetta. “You absolutely do still have a secret when you vote by mail because you sign the envelope your ballot comes in, not the actual ballot itself. The envelope and the ballot are kept separate.”
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« Reply #203 on: Sep 16, 2020, 07:23 AM »


Kamala Harris undercut Trump’s campaign to win over Indian-American voters ‘in a matter of weeks’: report

on September 16, 2020
Raw Story
By Matthew Chapman

On Wednesday, Politico reported that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is half Indian-American, set back years of efforts by President Donald Trump to win support in the Indian-American community when she joined Joe Biden’s presidential ticket.

“Donald Trump has worked for years to make inroads with Indian Americans in ways Republican presidential candidates never have — recruiting volunteers at Indian grocery stores, holding events in five Indian languages and paying for targeted digital ads,” reported Anita Kumar, adding that he had also pursued a strong relationship with India’s right-wing populist prime minister Narendra Modi. “Joe Biden undercut those efforts in a matter of weeks.”

“Within days, Harris was speaking to Indian Americans on India’s Independence Day about her grandfather, who helped push for India’s liberation,” said the report. “Then she was boosting the campaign’s launch of a new Indian coalition. And last week, Biden supporters released a video with a song remix from the popular Bollywood movie ‘Lagaan’ about an Indian village fighting British rule.”

“About 1.8 million Indian Americans are eligible to vote this year, many living in contested states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada, where their vote could make a difference,” said the report. “Traditionally, Indian Americans have voted for Democrats at a higher rate than other Asians — Trump garnered just 16 percent of the Indian American vote in 2016 — but polling has shown rising Indian American support for the president. Now, 28 percent of Indian Americans support Trump, though 68 percent support Biden, according to the latest Asian American Voter survey released Tuesday.”

Trump may still improve on his 2016 numbers, but according to the report, experts now expect “Trump is more likely to increase his Indian American support by 5 to 10 percentage points.”

“It was always going to be an uphill climb for the Trump campaign to make significant inroads with the Indian American population,” said political science professor and Asian American Voters Survey director Karthick Ramakrishnan. “That has become near impossible now with Kamala Harris’ appointment.”
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« Reply #204 on: Sep 17, 2020, 04:09 AM »

Ohio’s conservative chief justice slams GOP for partisan attack on judge who made mail voting easier

Raw Story
9/17/2020

A state judge in Ohio recently ruled against Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s order restricting mail-in ballot drop boxes to one per county, saying that his interpretation of the law lacked merit and that local election boards were free to install additional drop boxes if they wished.

The Ohio Republican Party immediately attacked the decision, claiming in a statement, “After the corruption and deceit we have seen from Ohio Democrats, it comes as no surprise to discover they have colluded with a Democrat Common Pleas Court judge regarding a ruling on ballot drop boxes.”

This attack on the judiciary earned a sharp rebuke from Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor — herself a conservative Republican — who issued her own statement firing back at the state party.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms both the statement released by the Ohio Republican Party on September 15, 2020, and its unsigned authors,” wrote O’Connor. “Every one of Ohio’s 722 judges, 800 magistrates, and numerous active-retired judges should be greatly concerned and voice their dismay at the irresponsible Republican Party allegation that politics controlled the judge’s decision. This is a blatant and unfounded attack on the independence of the Ohio judiciary.”

“The Republican Party’s statement should be seen for what it is: part of a continuing string of attacks against any decision that doesn’t favor a political end, regardless of party, even if that decision may be legally correct and indeed legally required,” O’Connor continued. “Attacks such as these, no matter the source, reflect poorly, not on the judiciary, but on the leadership of those who would perpetrate them.”

Read Justice O’Connor’s full statement below:

    Ohio's Supreme Court Chief Justice has a strongly worded condemnation of the statement issued by the Ohio Republican Party yesterday on the dropbox ruling pic.twitter.com/0u8QpuaLT7

    — Jo Ingles (@joingles) September 16, 2020
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« Reply #205 on: Sep 17, 2020, 06:04 AM »

Trump and Barr are creating a perfect storm for post-election violence: British journalist

on September 17, 2020
Raw Story
By Travis Gettys

A British journalist warns the U.S. is on a path to election-related violence — no matter who wins.

Financial Times columnist Edward Luce told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump were actively undermining trust in November’s election, and they’ve already tainted the results.

“We have an election here in which people on both sides believe that if the other side wins, that there will be an existential threat to the future of American democracy,” Luce said. “The playing field will be tilted against them in other words, that this is a zero sum, an all-or-nothing election very different to the normal business of democracy. This is a game that has to be won, and if the other side wins, it will be because of fraud.”

The president himself has for months been calling the election the most corrupt in history, and right-wing news outlets have been priming his followers that an election loss will be the result of fraud — but those efforts have also raised questions about legitimacy on the left.

“There is exactly the same fear that, you know, if Trump wins it will be because he’s allowed a pandemic to rage, where I think, if you listen to the scientists, going into COVID 2.0, a second surge as the influenza season begins, which it is beginning round about now, which is going to be escalating in the build up to Nov. 3,” Luce said. “We’re going to see a sort of day facto suppressed votes with the mail-in ballot, and if Trump wins it’s not going to be seen as legitimate by many people on the left.”

“This is a perilous moment for American democracy,” he added. “This is not how things should work. You don’t see the opposition as the enemy, you see them as an opponent. Americans increasingly see the other side as the enemy, and the stakes as all or nothing — I feel a visceral sense of dread about this election in a way I never have before.”

Luce warned the president has enormous power to work up a last-minute foreign policy crisis for his own political benefit, but less authority to interfere with elections at the state or county level — where Republicans are already preparing for legal battles to challenge unfavorable results.

“There’s no daylight between Bill Barr and the president on this,” Luce said. “They see mail-in balloting as a fraudulent activity. They know that more Democrats than Republicans by far are planning to vote by mail this year, and, again, are teeing up not just their own base, but also a lot of Republican lawyers for a lot of cases to stop counting in swing states across the country.”

If the president appears to have more votes on Election Night, even if absentee ballots have not been counted or close results must be recounted, he attorney general is prepared to make sure those preliminary results stand.

“This idea of there being a red mirage on the day of the election with the physical count, it looks like Republicans have won, you then have President Trump claiming he’s won and all further counting should stop,” Luce said. “Bill Barr has teed himself up to legally intervene on behalf of that claim.”

Watch: https://youtu.be/_OuoYj9QYKc

**********

Trump panics over mail-in voting: ‘Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED’

on September 17, 2020
By Brad Reed
Raw Story

President Donald Trump on Thursday ratcheted up his fear mongering about mail-in voting and went so far as to suggest that we may never truly know the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Because of the new and unprecedented massive amount of unsolicited ballots which will be sent to ‘voters’, or wherever, this year, the Nov 3rd Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED, which is what some want,” the president wrote in an early morning tweet. “Another election disaster yesterday. Stop Ballot Madness!”

Trump has regularly attacked mail-in voting for the past several months, though this is the first time he’s explicitly said that the election results would be invalid no matter the outcome.

The president drew a bipartisan rebuke over the summer when he floated delaying the November election until the COVID-19 pandemic had passed.

    Because of the new and unprecedented massive amount of unsolicited ballots which will be sent to “voters”, or wherever, this year, the Nov 3rd Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED, which is what some want. Another election disaster yesterday. Stop Ballot Madness! https://t.co/3SMAk9TC1a

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2020

*************

Former Trump Intel chief warns American democracy is threatened by ‘sinister conspiracies’ to undermine election

on September 17, 2020
Raw Story
By Travis Gettys

President Donald Trump’s former intelligence chief issued a thinly veiled rebuke of his conspiracy theories and attacks on the election process.

The president and attorney general have been questioning the integrity of mail-in voting, while the Department of Homeland Security has downplayed threats from foreign election interference — and former director of national intelligence Dan Coats expressed his alarm in a new op-ed for the New York Times.

“Our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic, want us to concede in advance that our voting systems are faulty or fraudulent; that sinister conspiracies have distorted the political will of the people; that our public discourse has been perverted by the news media and social networks riddled with prejudice, lies and ill will; that judicial institutions, law enforcement and even national security have been twisted, misused and misdirected to create anxiety and conflict, not justice and social peace,” Coats wrote.

“If those are the results of this tumultuous election year, we are lost, no matter which candidate wins,” he added.

“No American, and certainly no American leader, should want such an outcome. Total destruction and sowing salt in the earth of American democracy is a catastrophe well beyond simple defeat and a poison for generations. An electoral victory on these terms would be no victory at all. The judgment of history, reflecting on the death of enlightened democracy, would be harsh.”

Coats urged Congress to establish a “supremely high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election,” pledged by oath to set aside partisan concerns to protect the election’s integrity.

“Both presidential candidates should be called upon to make such personal commitments of their own,” Coats wrote.

“If we fail to take every conceivable effort to ensure the integrity of our election, the winners will not be Donald Trump or Joe Biden, Republicans or Democrats. The only winners will be Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Ali Khamenei. No one who supports a healthy democracy could want that.
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« Reply #206 on: Sep 18, 2020, 04:36 AM »


‘Intentional effort’ to sabotage election: Judge orders reversal of DeJoy’s USPS changes

on September 18, 2020
By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

“At the heart of DeJoy’s and the Postal Service’s actions is voter disenfranchisement,” said Judge Stanley Bastian.

A federal judge late Thursday issued a nationwide injunction temporarily blocking and reversing dramatic changes to mail operations imposed in recent months by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, slamming the policies as a “politically motivated attack” on the U.S. Postal Service that—if allowed to stand—would disenfranchise voters in November.

“Although not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy’s and the Postal Service’s actions is voter disenfranchisement,” wrote Judge Stanley Bastian of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington in a 13-page ruling (pdf), largely granting a request by 14 states for a court order halting the postmaster general’s sweeping changes.

Bastian said that based on President Donald Trump’s repeated and ongoing attacks on mail-in voting, it is “easy to conclude” that DeJoy’s changes are part of “an intentional effort” by the White House to “disrupt and challenge the legitimacy of upcoming local, state, and federal elections, especially given that 72% of the decommissioned high-speed mail sorting machines… were located in counties where Hillary Clinton received the most votes in 2016.”

The judge’s ruling requires the USPS to immediately stop instructing postal workers to leave mail behind in order to leave for their trips at set times, continue treating all election mail as First Class mail, and return or reconnect any sorting machines deemed essential for efficient processing of election mail.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who led the coalition of states in suing the Postal Service, celebrated the ruling as a major victory that “protects a critical institution for our country.”

In a statement to the Washington Post, USPS spokesman Dave Partenheimer said the agency is “exploring our legal options” following the nationwide injunction.

“There should be no doubt that the Postal Service is ready and committed to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives,” said Partenheimer. “Our number one priority is to deliver election mail on-time.”

    Huge victory for democracy and for all Americans that rely on this critical institution. https://t.co/8NpyWTFBJH

    — Bob Ferguson (@BobFergusonAG) September 17, 2020

Pointing to statistics showing that “there has been a drastic decrease in delivery rates,” Bastian dismissed the USPS leadership’s “remarkable position that nothing has changed in the Postal Service’s approach to election mail from past years.”

An investigation led by Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, found that “on-time mail delivery fell abruptly following Postmaster General DeJoy’s July 2020 directives ordering operational changes to mail service and delivery.”

“By the second week of August 2020, on-time delivery of First Class mail nationwide had fallen nearly 10 percentage points compared to the week preceding the changes,” reads a report (pdf) Peters released this week. “This means approximately 85 million more deliveries were late in a single week, compared to what the late deliveries would have been that week under on-time delivery rates before the changes.”

In a statement late Thursday, Peters applauded Bastian’s ruling as further confirmation that “Postmaster General DeJoy’s changes were directly responsible for slowing down the mail for seniors, veterans, small businesses, and other Americans.”

“While today’s ruling is a welcome development,” said Peters, “I will continue to work to push Mr. DeJoy to ensure the Postal Service returns to providing reliable, on-time delivery and pass my legislation that would reverse changes to the Postal Service during the pandemic and provide necessary funding for the Postal Service during this crisis.”
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« Reply #207 on: Sep 18, 2020, 05:57 AM »


Working-class roots, empathy on display as Joe Biden commands town hall

on September 18, 2020
By Agence France-Presse

Joe Biden on Thursday lashed President Donald Trump over his “close to criminal” handling of the coronavirus as the Democrat fielded questions from voters impacted by the pandemic in a state that is key to his election hopes.

Returning to the gritty city of his birth, the former vice president engaged in an outdoor town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he painted himself as the champion of hardworking Americans who he said have been ignored by a president more concerned about boosting Wall Street than helping working families.

Biden, appearing energized as he handled participants’ questions, also accused Trump of knowing the seriousness of the coronavirus threat early this year and hiding it from the nation.

“He knew it and did nothing. It’s close to criminal,” Biden said in one of several fiery criticisms of Trump.

“This president should step down,” he added.

The 77-year-old candidate also used a populist inflection, framing the 2020 election between him and billionaire real estate mogul Trump as “a campaign between Scranton and Park Avenue.”

Blue-collar Americans — like the family Biden grew up in — “are as good as anybody else,” he said.

“And guys like Trump, who inherited everything and squandered what they inherited, are the people that I’ve always found a problem with — not the people who are busting their neck.”

The tough remarks appeared aimed at working-class white voters with whom he must do better if he is to win back swing states that went to Trump in 2016.

Biden also showed his famously empathetic side when speaking to questioners who had medical ailments, whose relatives died from Covid-19 or who were suffering financially.

“Thank you for what you do,” he told a nurse who voted for Trump in 2016.

– Contrasting styles –

With less than seven weeks before the November 3 election, Biden has ramped up his public appearances after spending large chunks of time at his Delaware home, even as Trump repeatedly barnstorms swing states.

Now both candidates are hitting the physical campaign trail in earnest, although still in different ways.

Trump returned to Wisconsin Thursday for a public rally fueled by his signature bravado — a contrast to Biden’s quieter style.

Ahead of his departure, Trump railed on Twitter against the move by many states to encourage voters to mail in their ballots, thereby avoiding possible coronavirus risks in polling stations.

The shift, which is popular with Democrats, will promote “ELECTION MAYHEM,” he tweeted, claiming that the results of the November 3 vote “may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED.”

He offered no evidence for his claims, and US mail-in voting has never been tied to any wide-scale fraud.

Biden is attempting to project a calming alternative to Trump’s fury.

At the CNN town hall Biden took questions from a live, socially distanced audience of 100 people, who parked in front of the stage to watch the event.

Trump, talking to supporters in Wisconsin, branded Biden’s drive-in town hall “the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Trump focused on promises of economic growth — one area where polls consistently show him ahead of Biden — and claimed that under the Democrat pension funds would “go down like to depression levels.”

Biden has largely kept close to his home in Delaware during the pandemic which has so far killed nearly 200,000 Americans.

He has traveled to swing states like Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania, but has dodged crowds and engages with voters in small, controlled settings.

The dueling events come amid rising tensions over the handling of the pandemic, and Trump’s insistence that a safe and effective vaccine was just weeks away.

Biden rejected the timeline.

“I don’t trust the president on vaccines,” Biden said, explaining that he trusts the government’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci instead.

“If Fauci says the vaccine is safe, I take the vaccine.”

The animosity has ramped up between Trump and Biden ahead of their first debate, scheduled for September 29 in Ohio.

Biden has consistently led Trump in national polls.

He is also ahead in several key battleground states like Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all won by Trump in his shock 2016 election victory — although by dwindling margins.

© 2020 AFP

Watch:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mlgvpG0JYI
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PBZMSte2cU
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RaaN0M3Yxg
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13iMUoK5fRA           
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« Reply #208 on: Sep 20, 2020, 09:36 AM »


Big win for Democrats in Pennsylvania as state Supreme Court clears the way for election officials to begin mailing out ballots

on September 20, 2020
By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Opponents of President Donald Trump have been worried that the Green Party’s 2020 presidential nominee, Howie Hawkins, could be a spoiler in swing states and take votes away from former Vice President Joe Biden. But voters in one of those states won’t be seeing Hawkins’ name when they vote: the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has blocked the Green Party presidential ticket from the ballot, thus clearing the way for state and local election officials to begin mailing out ballots to voters.

In a decision handed down on Thursday, the Pennsylvania justices ruled that Hawkins and his running mate, Angela Walker, did not qualify for the state’s ballot because they did not submit filing papers in person — which is required under Pennsylvania law.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling came only three days after the Wisconsin Supreme Court, on Monday, found problems in the Green Party’s ballot petition and excluded it from the Wisconsin ballot.

Washington Post reporter Amy Gardner notes, “The decision is a blow to the third-party ticket and a win for Democrats, who worried that the Green Party could siphon votes from presidential nominee Joe Biden in the key battleground state. In Wisconsin, the Green Party effort to get on the ballot was boosted by help from some Republicans and a prominent law firm that does work for the GOP. In Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court voted on a strict party line, with the Court’s two Republicans partially dissenting, writing in a separate opinion that the Green Party ticket should have been given a chance to fix its paperwork.”

However, the Green Party has qualified in many other battleground states that Trump won in 2016, including Florida, Ohio, Texas (a light red state where polls have been showing a surprisingly tight race between Trump and Biden), Michigan, Iowa and North Carolina.

Had the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Green Party, it would have been a major headache for election officials in the Keystone State — where they would have been forced to throw away millions of mail-in ballots that have already been printed and were ready to be mailed out. Now, with the ruling on Thursday, the ballots can be mailed and sent out to voters.

Most polls released in September have shown that Biden is ahead in Pennsylvania, but not by much. According to recent polls, Trump is trailing Biden in Pennsylvania by 4% (CNBC/Change Research), 2% (Susquehanna) or 3% (Monmouth). However, an NBC News/Marist poll released this month found Biden with a more comfortable lead of 9% in the Keystone State, which Trump won by less than 1% in 2016.
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« Reply #209 on: Sep 21, 2020, 07:12 AM »

Trump says he is ‘counting on the federal court system’ to declare winner on election night—before many ballots are tallied

on September 21, 2020
By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

“This is an open admission that Trump hopes to use the Supreme Court to steal the election.”

President Donald Trump said during a campaign rally over the weekend that he is “counting on the federal court system”—which he has packed with right-wing judges—to declare a winner of the presidential election on the night of November 3, a statement that one journalist described as an “outright pledge to use the courts to stop votes from being counted.”

“We’re counting on the federal court system to make it so that we can actually have an evening where we know who wins, OK,” Trump said during an event in  Fayetteville, North Carolina on Saturday. “Not where the votes are going to be counted a week later, two weeks later.”

Trump appeared to be referring to states that have extended absentee ballot deadlines to accommodate the unprecedented surge in mail-in voting driven by the coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to delay the announcement of an election winner. In the key battleground of Pennsylvania, for instance, the state Supreme Court ruled last week that mail-in ballots received by November 6 must be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. More than 20 other states are similarly allowing mail-in ballots to arrive days after November 3 if postmarked on time.

Watch Trump’s remarks, which came just 24 hours after the Supreme Court announced the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

    “We’re gonna have a victory on November 3rd the likes of which you’ve never seen. Now we’re counting on the federal court system to make it so we can actually have an evening where we know who wins” — Trump 😳 pic.twitter.com/q5bfsJQb76

    — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 19, 2020

“Trump said he wants to use the federal courts to cheat in November by denying Americans’ lawfully-cast mail-in ballots,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted Sunday in response to the president’s comments, which came less than 45 days ahead of the November election.

“This is an open admission that Trump hopes to use the Supreme Court to steal the election,” added Beyer.

MSNBC‘s Garrett Haake noted that while declaring an Election Night winner is “not a thing courts do,” the “fact that the president is calling for it demands our attention.”

    This shouldn’t get lost. At last night’s rally, President Trump said he was “counting on” the federal courts to declare a winner on election night. That’s not a thing courts do… but the fact that the President is calling for it demands our attention. https://t.co/m1AZHjBqVW

    — Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) September 20, 2020

Trump’s comments further validated growing fears that the president could attempt to falsely declare himself the winner on Election Night, even with many mail-in ballots—which Trump has baselessly characterized as uniquely vulnerable to manipulation—left to be counted.

“It’s easy to imagine the president, a geyser of self-serving lies and conspiracies, prematurely declaring himself the victor, crying foul as his lead evaporates as additional votes are counted, and challenging any loss based on the mail-in ballots he’s already condemned as fraudulent,” Vanity Fair‘s Eric Lutz wrote earlier this month. “Such a scenario would be every bit as dangerous as one in which he tried to postpone the election.”

As Common Dreams reported last week, major corporate media outlets are facing pressure to craft and publicize a plan to combat any misinformation or premature victory declarations by the president or other candidates on Election Night.

The National Task Force on Election Crises, a coalition of election experts and academics, warned in a letter to news outlets last Wednesday that the “period of uncertainty” caused by the historic flood of mail-in ballots “will add further pressure to an already strained system and allow bad actors to attempt to undermine our democratic process.”

New York magazine’s Ed Kilgore has argued that any effort by the president to falsely declare victory on Election Night will depend on media outlets echoing and failing to adequately debunk his “bogus claims.”

“Challenging the lies at the very point of utterance,” Kilgore wrote earlier this month, “will be essential to stopping them from developing into a contested election and possibly a constitutional crisis.”

**************

Trump openly admits he’s fast-tracking SCOTUS nominee to rule on ‘fake ballots’ during contested election

on September 21, 2020
By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

President Donald Trump is openly admitting he’s wasting no time, fast-tracking the replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to help him during a contested election.

Speaking on “Fox & Friends,” Trump on Monday said because of “fake ballots,” he does not want a 4-4 Supreme Court ruling on the election, should there be one. There is zero evidence of fake ballots.

    Trump suggests though he wants a confirmation vote before the elections, citing election disputes and his baseless claim of “fake ballots” being filled out. We don’t want a 4-4 tie at the court, he said

    — Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 21, 2020

    Trump says his SCOTUS appointment is important because of the “fake ballots” that will be sent out in the election. Again, total nonsense.

    — Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 21, 2020

He also admitted he is choosing a nominee based on how he thinks they can help him win votes in the election.

Asked to explain why Judge Barbara Lagoa is one of the top candidates on his list, Trump said, “she’s excellent, she’s Hispanic, she’s a terrific woman from everything I know. I don’t know her. Florida, we love Florida. So she’s got a lot of things. Very smart.”

Trump needs help with Hispanic voters, women, and Florida, so she checks all the boxes for him.

    Trump explains that Barbara Lagoa is under consideration for SCOTUS because “she’s excellent, she’s Hispanic, she’s a terrific woman from everything I know. I don’t know her. Florida, we love Florida. So she’s got a lot of things.” pic.twitter.com/p2MkTEja6x

    — Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) September 21, 2020

Trump, asked “is politics going to be part of” his decision on a nominee, says, “I try not to say so,” but admits, “I think probably automatically it is.”
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