Republican Convention Day 2

Watched it on several channels.  Liked it best on MSNBC when Raquel Maddow would cut in when she could, to correct blatantly false statements.   So what were the worse moments of Day 2 in the Opinion piece in the New York Times:

Mimi Swartz Tough choice, with the recently subpoenaed Eric Trump’s breathlessly praising his tough, incorruptible dad and the former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s smearing Biden family members. Runner-up: Mike Pompeo plays politics for Trump on a taxpayer-funded trip to Israel.

** Yes, that Pam Bondi who would not prosecute Trump University.

Héctor Tobar Trump’s signing a pardon and staging a naturalization ceremony, with grateful people of color. These prime-time acts of White House theater were a cynical attempt to erase years of race-baiting and anti-immigrant rhetoric. We haven’t forgotten, Mr. President: You’re still the same man who questioned Barack Obama’s citizenship, praised white supremacists and caged thousands of immigrant children.

** Immigrants are not props.

First Lady Melania Trump generally got the highest praise, as she offered her sympathy to the families who lost loved ones in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stay tuned,

Dave

New York Times

 

Day 1 Democrat convention

This is the week for Democrats.  I watched the entire 2 hours, form 9:00 to 11:00 pm.  I’ll have to admit that everyone’s perspective is different, and each night, the Democrats will try to convince you that their candidates are the right choice.  Then it will be time for the Republicans.  I’ve already seen a couple of Trump’s interviews, and their campaign is built on some sensationally false narratives, particularly strong on the failure of the Obama administration.

The two issues that began dominated the first 2 hours were the coronavirus epidemic and the black lives matter movement.  The convention priorities seemed to turn to the headline news.  Plus, as the convention closed for day 1, Michelle Obama attacked the personal character of Donald Trump.   I would have like to have seen a long list of his lies.  I hope this will be coming today.

One of these false narratives will date back to 2016, when Trump will say that our economy was ready to collapse.  By any economic measure, in 2016 our economy was booming.  It had really plunged into recession under George Bush’s administration during the housing or subprime crisis.   Bush deserves credit for supporting the TARP program, with an unprecedented  700 billion dollar package designed to help our economy in 2008.   It was hard for Bush to do, as it was admitting that the economy was in terrible shape, yet he was working with his advisors to fix things.   The actions of Bush, made it possible for Obama to continue to add to the stimulus package.  Yet,  it wasn’t until late 2009, that the stimulus finally started working.  Unemployment dropped from over 10% in 2009 to less than 5% in 2016.    The economy was not revived by Trump.   The same boom started by Obama continued through the Trump years.

On the economy,  if tomorrow we have the miracle vaccine, perhaps the Sputnik 5 really does work, then we still will not be “open for business”  with a massive government deficit and enormous unemployment.  This means less federal revenue in 2021 and the prospect of higher inflation.   So, if Biden is elected, he will be inheriting a mess which comes from the trillion dollars of stimulus.  The only way out is cutting government spending.  There will be an attempt to rollback the Trump tax cuts, but it is a heavy lift.   It is crazy, but the Democrat party must become more “republicanized” and promote improving trade relations with China and numerous other countries,  and cut government spending.

Trump will say with 100% conviction that a vote for Biden is one small step towards economic disaster.   He will say that let the Democrats run government, will be like handing the keys to the kingdom to the Chinese and illegal immigrants.  The stock market is still on a roll with Biden in the lead in the swing states.   I see the recent upsurge in the stock markets in solar and fuel cell technology as a very positive sign of a better future ahead, with cleaner energy sources.   Fossil fuels are not going away, as there is too much invested in a gasoline based transportation system.   But a higher percentage of our energy needs can be met with other sources of energy, and it will be a strong positive in an recovering economy.

Stay tuned and keep watching the online  DNC convention.

Dave

Economic Policy of Barack Obama administration 

Economic policy of Donald Trump administration

 

 

The US Post Office Scandal and the Pushback

I can hear Elijah Cummings saying, “Folks, we are better than this.”   The USPS is on a rampage to slow down mail service, right in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic.   First step is installing a Postmaster General whose only qualification is that he donated millions to the Trump campaign.   There were no announcements when the post office began removing vital sorting machines from their backrooms.  The Washington Post reported 671 sorting machines each capable of sorting up to 35,000 letters per hour, have been removed.   Actually, they can sort outbound mail at up to 55,000 letters per hour.  This is exactly what the States need to send out ballots.  Obviously, each state would be sending out a huge number of ballots perhaps millions all at once in mid-October.  Trump can say he’s against mail-in ballots,  but he really crossed the line on this one.  He had a long standing dispute on the rates the Post Office charges for packages – but this is a completely different issue.

So far, the slowdown of postal service under the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy are:

  •  Disabling or removal of 671  sorting machines
  •  Removal of drop boxes nationwide
  • Denying overtime for postal employees.
  • Firing of 15 post office executives

GOP leadership has praised the new postmaster general as a man of strong action and leadership.   People involved in shipping have seen long delays in recent weeks.   Then legal counsel for the Post Office sent 46 letters to the Secretary of State of each state warning that the ballots might not arrive on time to be counted.   Florida allows residents to request mail-in ballots at 10 days before election day.   The USPS is saying this isn’t enough time.

Trump champions cost cutting and privatization.  But pulling our vital sorting machines about 100 days before an election, has nothing to do with cost cutting.   Yes, there had been a slump in general post office services, along with everything else, as our economy plunged.  But everything coming out of the White House has been rosy forecast of recovery, about how we’ll have a vaccine soon and we’ll be back in business.   To think we are gutting our postal services because of the current downturn in the economy is absurd.

Louis DeJoy is a wealthy man, and likely his investments will benefit from taking an axe to the  post office services.    He founded XPO logistics, and sold it in 2014 for 2014, but still retains stock in the company.

The news media didn’t catch the action of DeJoy to disable these huge sorting machines in  June.    I assumed the post office just ordered the machines shut off, and immediately mail piled up.  It just takes two people to run the machines, so do the math:  671 machines x 2 people = 1342 employees.   Maybe it’s twice this, if there are two shifts.  Now, how many letter per day are not sorted:  35,000 letters/hour x 671 machines x 8 hours per day (a guess assuming just one shift)  = 187 million letters per day not sorted.   If the machine operators are long gone, there has just been one massive slowdown of our mail.

The removal of mailboxes was first noticed in Billing, Montana.   Why there?   Surveys show that Trump is likely to win in Montana.   But Montana is an enormous swing state in control of the Senate by Republicans, with just 6 senate seats in the toss up category:  Montana (1),  Colorado (1),  Georgia (2),  North Carolina (1) and Maine (1).   Fortunately,  both Republicans and Democrats have renounced the mailbox removal and this has stopped.

Polls tell us that low voter turnout favors Republican candidates. From the recent Quinnipiac University  poll of Texas voters:

38. Thinking about the election for president in November, do you think you would feel comfortable or uncomfortable voting in person?

                                                               WHITE........
                                                               4 YR COLL DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Comfortable          60%    84%    31%    60%    65%    54%    64%    73%
Uncomfortable        38     14     67     38     33     43     34     25
DK/NA                 2      2      2      2      2      2      3      2

Look at the second line “uncomfortable”  and skip to the third number in that row –  67% of Democrats polled are uncomfortable with voting in-person verses 14% of Republicans. This is a dramatic difference.  Biden’s supporters tend to be older and  more educated.   I’m sure this has not escaped the view of Trump. Nothing else makes this kind of difference. There have been dozens of surveys all coming back saying that Democrats are more worried about the spread of coronavirus, are more reluctant to go out to bars, restaurants and yes, polling places.

I don’t know what Plan B is for Louis DeJoy.   He’s  picked up a slew of drop boxes.  You can’t exactly sell a mailbox except for scrap.  Same goes for the sorting machines.  Probably have to first strip off all that expensive scanning equipment which have really evolved over the years, so they can be efficiently maintained.  Louis DeJoy is an investor and ardent Republican supporter.  He’s never worked a day for the US Post Office or any government agency.  His wife has been nominated as ambassador to Canada.  While DeJoy and his wife are getting excellent returns on investing in Trump,   I imagine a lot of the postal workers will be looking at their pension plans.

So, if Joe Biden gets elected, he’ll have a long uphill battle to restore postal services.

So I’ll end with where I began,  “Folks we can do better than this.”

Stay tuned,

Dave

Who Is Postmaster General Louis DeJoy?

Postal Service calls off removing mailboxes around Montana

Rachel Maddow “Pressure works” Aired 8/14/2020

 

I tape the show.   Unfortunately it will be expiring soon.

Louis DeJoy was one of four members of the Republican National Committee – Finance team working under Steve Wynn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Wynn , Elliot Broidy, Michael Cohen and Louis DeJoy on April 3, 2017 were “long time friends of the Party.”  So, what have these fine people done lately.   Sexual misconduct, financial fraud, and writing a soon to be released best seller.

 

The DOJ’s Pardon Powers and General Flynn

“The Government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President,” Gleeson wrote in an 82-page brief to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.  Judge Gleeson was assigned by Judge Sullivan to act as a friend to the court, and provide reasons why General Flynn should be sentenced.

General Flynn pleaded guilty to perjury.  Lying to the FBI isn’t a big crime.  George Papadopoulos plead guilty to lying to the FBI and got two weeks in jail,  and did a total of 12 days behind bars.

So why is this case so important?   Only the President can give a criminal a pardon.  The DOJ has no pardon powers.  They can’t roll back time, and try to “unprosecute” someone that they have already prosecuted.

The Department of Justice can accuse people of crimes, and prosecute them. They prosecute plenty of people to “the full extent of the law” every single day.

There is no way to claim General Flynn had an unfair trial, because he never went to court.  He can’t say he was conned or trapped because he had the best lawyers money can buy.   He plead guilty to all charges.  If you can’t fight the charges, the best one can do, is try to get a shorter sentence.  So Flynn cut a deal with the Mueller investigation in an attempt to reduce his sentence.   But he broke his deal.   If he did what he promised to do, he likely would not serve any time, just put on probation.  He might have been facing 6 months maximum.   And after that, Trump likely would pardon him, so he’d have a clean record.  But before his sentencing hearing, the DOJ gave him a “get out of jail free card”  which was really just as good as a pardon.  DOJ issued a motion for “leave of court”

Judge Sullivan believes he has the right to hold a hearing on the DOJ’s motion to dismiss all charges against Flynn.  It is a really unique situation, but if the DOJ wins, they have created a new “pardon” authority  which goes into effect immediately and there is no court review.

Trump’s pardon authority is a powerful tool.  A corrupt president can use to pardon criminals because they are the president’s friends or could do great harm with their knowledge of his activities. Trump  is within his authority to issue pardons to those who help him get elected:   Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn,  George Papadopoulos and  Rick Gates.  He can also pardon Rudy Giuliani’s business associates:  Igor Furman (Ukraine scandal, campaign finance) and Lev Parnas (Ukraine scandal, campaign finance).  He’s already commuted the sentence of Roger Stone.   In fact, I would be surprised if he doesn’t issue a long list of pardon once he loses the election.

Nobody know how the Appellate Court will rule.   It could be months until  the 10 judges to rule on the case.   Some did not seem to like idea of a judge being required to take orders from the Department of Justice,.  As reported, “‘The judge has to do some thinking about it, right? The judge is not simply a rubber stamp,’ one of the judges asked Powell.”  Sidney Powell is Flynn’s lawyer.   See link below.

So, this is push back from Judge Sullivan that  AG Barr didn’t expect to his  heavy handed meddling in the Flynn trial.    Sullivan just wasn’t going be Barr’s rubber stamp.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/11/michael-flynn-case-appeals-court-hears-arguments-over-trump-aide.html

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Flynn

 

Upcoming Election

An incumbent president, usually runs on his achievements during the prior  three plus years.  But, much of what Donald Trump has claimed to have accomplished is not true.  From environmental issues, energy,  the economy and immigration, Trump has claimed credit for accomplishments during the Obama administration.  Trump also falsely portrayed much of his own administration’s efforts as successes, when in fact they were not.

The 20,000 lies that Trump has told over the last 3 1/2 years are quite incredible.  His version of a stupendous economic recovery in 2018-2019 is total nonsense.   The economy was not in collapse at the end of Obama’s term.  It definitely had crashed during George Bush’s last year, losing 800,000 jobs a month and it was President Obama had turned it around, adding about 200,000 jobs a month.  In fact, when Trump cites statistics on how well his administration has done, he typically goes back in time, to the date of his election (November 8, 2016) and not his inauguration date in 2017  just to steal some credit from President Obama.

In the upcoming blogs,  I intend to examine more closely the “three E’s”  – the environment, energy and the economy, plus I intend to  address immigration policy and the “build the wall” craze (it should be called enhance the “see-through fence” initiative).   Trump could brag all he wanted as a real estate developer.  Now he is getting caught every single day, in multiple lies.

Immigration policy is a real pile of crazy sh*t,  Sorry, I just didn’t know how to express this any better.  For months Trump kept bragging how great his policies were,  because apprehensions at the southern border were going down, 40%,  then 61% and finally 78%.   So, immigrants were not trying to sneak into our country, because they were afraid of being caught.  Of course, apprehensions started to rise,  and Trump again bragged that his policies were a tremendous success because they were going up.   Down is great, up is great, who cares, it’s all in the presentation?    In January 2020, the President celebrates great numbers on immigration again, this time apprehensions again were going down.   So, down, up and down again, all with dubious statistics, and all causes to celebrate the tremendous success.

I believe it is necessary to dispel the barrage of  false claims in order to establish the truth.   There is an enormous distribution system of false information.  Energy, environment and the economy issues are all intertwined.    The  “fake news” is often slick presentations, with selected facts helped along by industry lobbyist  groups.  Just one small example –  I saw on a cable news program, a clip showing barges filled with coal going down the Mississippi river,  and the newscaster was talking about how US coal exports had doubled since 2016, which is true.  Yet, in about 2 minutes, I could verify that US coal production had continued it’s steady decline during the Trump administration.  This rise in exports was simply that more coal was being sent overseas,  because the demand was dropping in the US.    Major coal companies filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and 2020, including Cloud Peak Energy and  Murray Coal.

So, I am preparing my first blog on the environment and more will follow.  I am always receptive to comments from my visitors, contrary to my opinions.  As usual, I will support my statements with links from the internet.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Your mail-in vote will be counted

“Mail-In Ballots will lead to massive electoral fraud and a rigged 2020 Election. Look at all of the cases and examples that are out there right now, with the Patterson, N.J., being the most recent example. Republicans, in particular, cannot let this happen!”

Donald Trump July 2, 2020 (repeated  26 times)

Washington Post labels this as False.  See links below.

All properly submitted mail-in votes will be counted.  Studies have shown that intentional fraud in voting is very rare, whether it is done by mail-in votes or in-person votes.   Russia did everything they could to influence our 2016 election.  Printing fraudulent ballots is not one of them.  At least, Attorney General Barr agreed that this has not happened in the past.   The problem is that voters have to register to vote.  When bar coded mail-in  ballots are received, they  are scanned to see if they are from approved registered voters.

In 2007, a voter in King County, Texas registered her dog to show how easily it was to fool the system.  In 2016, a voter in King County tried to do the same, but this time was caught when the information was run through state and federal databases.  Providing false information on registration is a crime.  Similarly,  it is a crime for anyone except the owner of a mail box to remove mail.  See link below.

Mail-in and in-person  ballots have been rejected in the past.  More mail-in ballots are rejected.   Three reasons for this are:  (1) Ballots arrive after the election day and  (2) Voters must sign the return envelope and will not be accepted if the signature does not match the registration form.   To avoid any problems, send in the ballot in the proper return  envelope provided at least 5 days before the election.

In a very close election,  it is likely the mail-in ballots will receive extra scrutiny, because they could make a difference in the outcome of the state’s electoral votes.

Although rare, fraud has occurred in both mail-in and in-person voting.   People who have multiple homes, have been able to vote twice, but have been caught.

In some states, there is “accidental voter fraud”   where felons who have completed their sentences and thought they were able to vote.  But, the states find after election day, that they had not completely made restitution (repaid their victims, done community service, etc) and so they accidentally broke the law.  The number of people who fall into this category are very small, and it can be for very minor crimes like writing a forged check.   Laws are not the same in all states.  The  “felony disenfranchisement”  has been challenged in the courts.  See below.

The felony disenfranchisement is a serious problem is only one aspect – it makes people who have done their time, and hopefully rejoined society,  fearful to vote. State laws vary and some are unrestricted while others require probation to be completed and   a formal petition to be approved prior to restoration of voting rights.

All mail-in ballots have to be counted.  It is the law.  They may not all be counted on election night,  but the count on election night is not the final tally of votes.   Your mail-in ballot could be the one, that CNN announces “the race in this state is too close to call.”    VOTE 2020.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

NYT The facts about mail-in voting and voting fraud

Wikipedia:  Felony disenfranchisement in the US

Washington Post: Tracking all of President Trumps Lies

(This is a free and incredibly detailed tracking system,  and is rated four Pinocchio’s their highest false rating,  All repetitions occurred from April to July 2020 and were done over Twitter.)

Also see:

Amazon:  Donald Trump and his assault on truth,  G. Kessler  and Washington Post fact checker.

 

Why the electoral college?

OK, not a barn burning question for sure.   I’ll admit this topic came up at a dinner party, and as I responded, everyone seemed to move away from me.  It is a good topic to bring up at any dinner party where you would like guests to leave.

First,  the electoral college was part of our constitution and you can’t pass a law in Congress and change this to the popular vote.

Second, the idea was a compromise solution in the creation of our constitution.  The delegates who met at the Philadelphia Convention from May 25, 1787 to September 17, 1787 had a single purpose, to replace the original  framework  of federal government, the Articles of Confederation, with  a more lasting structure.   Prior to this time, there was only the unicameral Continental Congress and no judiciary or executive branch.   The president of the Continental Congress was largely ceremonial and there was no salary for this position.

A debate raged at the Convention in 1787 on how to elect a president.   Many suggested Congress throw in a hat, the names of three people who could be president, and they would be drawn at chance, thus allowing the hand of Providence to govern our selection  (ok, I’m joking).    One option was to have the Congress elect the president.  Obviously, this could lead to a less democratic system.   The idea of direct elections was an alternative, yet the problem at the time was the difficulty in the circulation of information.  Radio  transmission had not yet been invented.   So, the compromise idea was the electoral college where the people of each state would vote for electors and en bloc they would cast their vote for the president.

There was a super wrong assumption made by some at the Convention in forming the electoral college.  They added that if one candidate did not get the majority vote of electors,  then the House of Representatives would decide by a majority the next president.  Those who favored the House electing the president, thought this would happen frequently, because we would have multiple candidates.   In fact, in our history this has only happened three times.   There was nothing in our constitution to have a runoff election, as in many other countries.  One candidate can become president if he wins the majority of the Electoral College by just one vote.   At present, a tie is possible (269 to 269) and the House would have to decide.

The number of electoral votes are based on the state’s population.  There have been improvements made in this system, such as the 12th amendment and the recent Supreme Court decision to allow States to bind electors to the candidate they have pledged to support.  States have laws that fine electors who fail to vote for their pledged candidate.    More information can be found in Wikipedia – see links.

Now, what precisely did I say that made guests at a dinner party move away from me?  I said the Electoral College was a good thing as opposed to the popular vote.  Here’s my logic.   We are a closely divided country, Republicans and Democrats.  Small splinter parties may emerge in the future to try to prevent a candidate from gaining 270 or more votes.  Candidates tailor their election campaigns to the swing state voters, particularly if they see one candidate is on the rise.  In this way, our elections in the 7 to 10 swing states will continue to be tight.    If we have a near tie, under the Electoral College system,   which could happen in this November,  the losing party may ask for the courts intervention  in a closely decided states.    Immediately, potential recounts in states like North Carolina,  Wisconsin or Florida come to mind, with the clock ticking to inauguration day. The Supreme Court decision on December 12, 2000 in  Bush v. Gore created this precedent.  However,  It would be a hundred times worse under the popular vote to do a recount, with thousands of voting districts whose tally is called into question.

So, the 1787 compromise lives on.  You’ll never get a 2/3 majority of both houses to amend the constitution.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Wikipedia:  Philadelphia Convention

Wikipedia:  Electoral College

Amending the US Constitution

 

 

 

Trump’s tax case

The Supreme Court ruled the President may be issued a subpoena for evidence from Congressional Committees and any Prosecutor in the country.   There is no blanket immunity because Trump is president.   This assertion of absolute immunity from the issuance of subpoena was part of the claim made by Trump.   Most legal experts felt Trump would lose on this point.    Trump attacked both the Supreme Court and the New York prosecutors who issued the subpoena;

“The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue,” Trump wrote. “This is all a political prosecution. … I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration! … Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!”

Trump went into this great conspiracy nonsense later on Fox News.   The judicial system is disgraceful when they they investigate his close associates.  Actually, the justice system is doing their job when they prosecuted Manafort, Flynn,  Stone, and Papadopolous.    Trump can rant and rave all he wants on Fox News.   What is so abundantly clear, is that when close associates of Trump don’t cooperate with prosecutors, then they are good people and don’t deserve to go to jail.   But those who rat on him, are the bad people (like Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer) and deserve their sentences.   Even Roger Stone admitted that his sentence was commuted from 40 months in jail to zero, because he kept his mouth shut.  This stinks to high heaven.

The truth of the matter, is that our judicial system is doing just fine.   The damage done is repairable, which I hope can happen after the November elections.  The court case in practical terms, was a win for Trump, because he doesn’t have to release his taxes prior to the election.  In fact, experts say there the cases could stretch on for a long time perhaps late 2021.  The broad subpoena from Congress will have may never be executed.

The Supreme Court very rarely has to rule on subpoenas from Congress because some accommodation is worked out.  The Supreme Court in their ruling has laid down certain criteria for executing subpoenas against a president, to really protect the president and also to allow appropriate requests from Congress and prosecutors to be executed.   I believe what was particularly important to Chief Justice Roberts was that this ruling included three conservative, Republican nominated justices (Roberts, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch) along with the four liberal justices on the court.

Having the subpoena issue pushed off to next year is likely for the best.  If the Supreme Court has enforced the Congressional subpoena, I believe it would be damaging to Trump just before the election. He could blame his defeat on “political prosecution.”   Oh gee, he’s already claiming this!

It isn’t political prosecution or harassment.   It is equal application of the law for everyone.  No absolute immunity for Donald Trump.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

I’ve copied a few opinions on the Supreme Court case.   The opinions are on the supremecourt.gov website.

NYT Opinion:  The Supreme Court Lets Trump Run Out the Clock

Politico: Supreme Court splits on Trump tax cases, potentially shielding returns until after election

Washington Post: Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may pursue Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Voting Fraud

RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!   Donald Trump’s Tweet, June 22.

The above tweet from Trump is total  nonsense.  It should be shoveled into a pooper scooper.   Twitter has flagged some of Trump’s more outrageous claims.

I and my wife are mailing in our ballots in the 2020 presidential election.  Many citizens will do the same in Florida.   We do not have to be absent from Miami to get one. It is expected that many people will use the mail in option with the Covid-19 risks.  Unfortunately, many others may not vote at all.  In 2016, 43% of eligible voters did not vote.

Voting fraud is extremely rare.  Investigations have uncovered cases, but never a systematic abuse.   The principal safeguard in election is voter registration, which gives officials opportunity to weed out any invalid voters.  See links below.  A study by the Washington Post found 0.0025% of votes were fraudulent.   So, given a million voters, we might have 25 votes that were not acceptable.  Sometimes valid votes are not accepted because people over time change their signature.

There are research groups who will, for a fee, find cases of voter fraud.  People who are guilty of committing a felony may not know that they are ineligible to vote.  This depends on the state they live in.  So, they are a handful of people committing “accidental” voter fraud, because if they had known, they would have never voted.  This is a minuscule number of voters.

Some people may still like to show up at the polling stations, because they are concerned their vote will not be counted.  There is some truth to this.  If their ballot does not show up before the deadline, the wrong return envelope is used or the signature does not match the one on record, then the ballot will be rejected.  About 1% of all mail-in ballots are rejected.    But, all properly sent in ballots have to be counted.

So, please ignore everything Donald Trump says.   Two reasons he is saying this:  (1) Higher turnout favors a Democratic win and (2) He can claim the election was rigged if he loses.

Please Vote 2020.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Analytical modeling from Moody’s showed Trump’s chances of winning were significantly higher when voter turnout is low, based on historical trends.

Click to access president-election-model.pdf

Washington Post: Minuscule number of potentially fraudulent ballots in states with universal mail voting undercuts Trump claims about election risks

Washington Post:  Here’s the problem with mail-in ballots: They might not be counted.

New York Times Arrested, Jailed and Charged With a Felony. For Voting.

New York Times: The Facts About Mail-In Voting and Voter Fraud

Fact Check:  Trump’s Latest Voter Fraud Misinformation

 

 

Supreme Court Decisions – 3 Down and one biggie to go.

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”    Trump’s tweets, June 18, 2020.   (Referencing the court’s decision in favor of the DREAMers, see last link)

The reference to Second Amendment rights is really pretty weird, because the Supreme Court refused to hear 10 petitions regarding gun rights, letting these issues be resolved in the lower courts. In the current term, due to expire very soon, there are no gun rights cases.

Trump has lost 3 cases in a row.  He loves to brag on how he’s backed the courts with conservative judges,  but in these cases, at least one has sided with the liberals on  the court.   The cases that were decided against Trump were:  (1) The Louisiana abortion restrictions case (2)  DACA legality case and (3) LGBQT discrimination case.   You can’t win a case in the Supreme Court unless a Supreme Court Justice nominated by a Republican president joins with the liberals.  If Biden wins,  I suspect Ginsburg will retire, so we will still be 5 conservatives and 4 liberals.

The most recent decision, the Louisiana abortion limitations case,  was decided in favor of the liberal minority, because John Roberts, normally a conservative, decided to join them.   Roberts concurred with the decision, but wrote a separate opinion, defending the decision based on the “Texas Case.”     Simply put, like cases should have like outcomes.   It is called “stare decisis.”

The Supreme Court made its interpretation of the Second Amendment in the District of Columbia v. Heller case.   Based on Heller, any  town, city or state  which passes a rule or law, which renders a gun not readily usable for the owners protection in their home has violated the Second Amendment, and judges must declare these rules to be unconstitutional.   For those who own guns and want to keep them in their homes for protection,  the Supreme Court ruled on this more than a decade ago and the doctrine of “stare decisis” will ensure that these rights are preserved.    Voting for Biden or Trump won’t change a thing.   The liberals on the court  believe strongly in stare decisis, because without this, the conservative majority could undo many decisions, including gay marriage, the right to an abortion and desegregation of schools, to name a few.

The big ones, coming any day now, are 3 lawsuits aimed at release of Trump’s taxes (Trump v. Deutsche Bank,  Trump v. Mazars, USA,  Trump v. Vance).    I think at least one of these, is going to succeed.  From what I understand it, the DOJ has opined that a sitting president can not be indicted,  and the extension of this, is that a sitting president may not be investigated for criminal actions.   Sort of blanket immunity.   We will see soon enough how far this blanket will stretch,

So in advance, let me re-tweet Donald:

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of me.”

If he’s got to give up his taxes, he will not exactly go gently into the night.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Wikipedia:  2019 to 2020:  Supreme Court Pending Cases

NPR:  Supreme Court Hands Abortion-Rights Advocates A Victory In Louisiana Case

NPR: Supreme Court Delivers Major Victory To LGBTQ Employees

NPR:  Supreme Court Rules For DREAMers, Against Trump

CNBC:  Supreme Court decides not to hear big gun-rights cases, dealing blow to Second Amendment activists

The DNC v-Convention

The Democratic Convention will be from August  17 to 20, in Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.   Officials have announced that the actual event will be scaled back due to the Covid-19 epidemic.   The delegates do not have to fly to Milwaukee, stay at hotel rooms, go to packed arenas, meet with others in photo ops  and sit together in numerous meetings, etc.  A convention is an epidemiologist worse nightmare.    Delegates can stay home and vote remotely.   For the health of the delegates, and their entourage, volunteers,  the press, the residents of Milwaukee and really for the state of Wisconsin, I think it’s a terrific move.

I believe the convention should be renamed the v-Convention as in the virtual convention.   Officials should play up this internet event, as not scaling down the convention but scaling up it by placing it on the internet.  The primary purpose of both the Republican and Democratic conventions is marketing of their candidate and bashing the opposition.   Recently, it seems more time is spent on the latter.  The Democrats can claim a health conscious convention and connect with voters in this manner.

I’ve also suggested to the DNC, that this should be called the v-Convention or Convention in the Clouds.   It can be amazingly successful, with live streams of supporters in all the key states.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Bolton’s book – Part 3

“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” writes Bolton, who left his position in September.  APF press reports, “Bolton writes that Trump, who came from the worlds of real estate and show business, was inclined to offer ‘personal favors to dictators he liked.'” These excerpts taken from Bolton’s book  have been repeated dozens of times.

John Bolton will be interviewed by Martha Raddatz, tonight June 21 at 9;00 pm ET on ABC.   It is an one hour program.   

John  Bolton served under three presidents (Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush  and G.W. Bush) prior to his 17 months as Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor.  I saw him very frequently as a commentator on Fox News, during the Obama administration.   He was always very quick to explain why Obama’s policies, particularly on the Iran Nuclear Deal, were completely wrong.  A summary of his experience is provided in the first link at the bottom of this blog.  According to Wikipedia, “Bolton is a former senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Fox News Channel commentator. He was a foreign policy adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”

I expect my book to arrive on Tuesday.   Shipments to booksellers have begun.  Legal action to block the book publication appears to  have failed.   But the court case isn’t over.  In the end, Bolton may lose the 2 million dollars that he was promised.  I’m thinking this could easily linger in the courts for a long while.

I am certain Trump admired Bolton’s combative style, his nationalistic approach to foreign issues  and conservative views.  I think Bolton’s way of skewing facts to his favor, really helped him convince Trump that he would be an asset to his administration.     His time at the UN showed that he was not a particularly diplomatic representative to the UN and could be very blunt.   I suspect this is why Trump selected him to head up the National Security Agency in 2018.   At a moments notice, John Bolton could present a clear and concise defense of any of Trump’s foreign policies.

Trump reminded everyone at a press conference that Bolton was not confirmed as Ambassador to the UN in December 2006 under the Bush administration after serving in the UN for 5 months.  What he fails to mention that the Senate was controlled at that time  by the Democrats in late 2006.    Senator Lincoln Chafee, a Republican from Rhode Island, on the Senate Foreign Relations  Committee opposed Bolton.  Bolton had been considered as a poor choice by Democrats as he had supported Bush in the Iraq War, but was  strongly supported by conservative Republicans and George Bush.   As stated in the link below,  at press conference, the President Bush said, “I received the resignation of Ambassador John Bolton. I accept it. I’m not happy about it. I think he deserved to be confirmed.”

I’m not particularly upset that Bolton chose to release all he know no and not during the impeachment inquiry.   In Bolton’s book, he states the impeachment inquiry was  too focused on Ukraine.   But Bolton is wrong.  Had the inquiry been broader, the evidence would have been weaker, and the Republicans in the Senate would have been accusing Democrats of making wild accusations.  Come to think of it, they did any way and tried to disparage the witnesses who had testified in the House.      They brought up the fact that the numerous Democrats thought Trump should be impeached based on Russian interference and his obstruction of justice related to the probe, then switched to Ukraine where there evidence was rock solid.

Had Bolton agreed to testify in House, Trump still would have been acquitted in the Senate.  No amount of evidence on the Ukraine scandal  could have changed the verdict.   This was re-iterated in the New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg,   “That Bolton did not testify to this earlier is to his immense disgrace. But it is a national disgrace that his confirmation of the Democrats’ impeachment case probably won’t matter, so inured are Republicans to staggering corruption.”    In fact, according to excerpts in the book,  Bolton felt acquittal in the Senate was a done deal, and if the Republicans had been  allowed subpoenaed him, Trump still would have been acquitted.  I’m paraphrasing this a bit.

I would have liked it even better if Bolton had released his book in August 2020, as Trump was really trying to rev up his base support.    From the beginning, I was not a big fan of the impeachment inquiry, because it was as clear as day,  Trump would be acquitted in the Senate, regardless of the evidence.   I said the proper way to get rid of President Trump was through the ballot box in November.

Vote, 2020.

Stay tuned and safe,

Dave

Links:

Bolton, John,  The Room Where it Happened ($19.95 Hardcopy, available June 23, 2020 Amazon Prime).  Accepting pre-orders.

Wikipedia Link:  John Bolton

APF: John Bolton’s explosive charges against Trump

(There are many copies in circulation among journalists, so many posts like the one above can be found on the internet)

Propublica, John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked With Him
Please note this article appeared when Bolton was in March 2018, when Trump announced Bolton’s appointment as National Security Advisor.

Time, John Bolton’s Temper  (Please not the date of this article,  April 25, 2005)

 

 

Bolton’s book – Part 2

Seems everybody knows what’s in this book, entitled “In the room where it happened” that I could just as well read the excerpts.  Fox New quotes Chris Hayes (MSNBC commentator) for criticizing John Bolton, but they carefully cherry pick Chris Hayes’ comments.   Of course, all this discussion is occurring when not a single copy has been distributed to the public.   What seems to really upset Chris Hayes, is a statement within the book, which blames the Democrats for failing to impeach Donald Trump, with a narrow focus on just Ukraine.   Bolton had his chance to set the record straight four months ago in front of Congress and he didn’t.   But, I think he and just about everyone else knew that once in the Senate, impeachment would fall short of the two-thirds majority as required to send Trump packing.   So, he chose the book rather than the grilling in front of Congress.  If he had chosen to  testified,  the Republicans would have attacked Bolton, despite his life long allegiance to the Republican party.

To correct the record, see below for all the comments made by Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/bolton-blames-democrats-for-failed-impeachment-despite-refusing-to-testify-85295173778

Stay tuned,

Dave

Bolton’s book is coming

John Bolton served as National Security Advisor to Donald Trump from April 2018 to September 2019.  He refused when asked to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee, in the impeachment inquiry.   Interestingly, he was never subpoenaed to testify,  His book, entitled  “The Room Where It Happened”  will be  distributed on June 23, 2020.   Release has been delayed several months in order to obtain a security clearance.  After nearly 6 months, no security clearance was given, and the publisher decided to proceed without it.

I ordered a copy from Amazon, and hope they will deliver my copy on June 23, 2020 as promised.  I have not read the other books by John Bolton, but just by their titles, I know he advocates a more militant posture for the US, particularly in our relations to Iran.   John Bolton was a very frequent guest on Fox News as was KT McFarland, typically critical of President Obama’s foreign policy.

A lawsuit has been filed by the Department of Justice, as reported below by CNN:

Trump said Bolton would have “criminal problems” if the book was published as is. The lawsuit filed Tuesday is a civil suit, and carries no criminal penalties. Initially, Attorney General William Barr did not confirm that his department was preparing a lawsuit but said the administration was focused on getting Bolton to complete the clearance process for publishing books.

At the end of the CNN article as given below, there is a link  to the DOJ civil complaint.   If this were a criminal charge, the lawsuit would have cited violations of rule 18 US Code 798, “Disclosure of Classified Information” and charged  John Bolton or the publisher of releasing information which damages the interests of the US.   The lawsuit claims John Bolton violated his non-disclosure agreement.  The remedies for this breach are generally monetary.

According to the DOJ lawsuit, the process to obtain clearance was an iterative one, beginning in December 30, 2019.  In the DOJ filing, it is stated that, “In late January 2020,  … [it was]  confirmed in writing [by the NSC reviewer, Ellen Knight] that the chapter in question contained significant classified information.”    This indicates it was not the entire book, but just one chapter that the reviewer was concerned about.   The lawsuit also reveals that on April 27, 2020 this NSC reviewer had concluded that the book contained no classified material.    It is very clear from the filing, that there was a very active period between mid February to April 27, 2020 when the book was being revised to eliminate classified information.  On April 28, 2020,  NSC decided to cut off this interaction,  and Bolton was simply told the process was ongoing.    Anyone reading the DOJ filing can feel that John Bolton was being given the run around, after close interactions with Ellen McKnight.

What happen after April 28 is clear from the filing.   Ellen Knight’s expedited review process was the normal process.   She worked with John Bolton to make the necessary changes so the manuscript was good to go.   Likely, a lot of factual details had to be removed.  The “chapter in question” as identified in January 2020,   containing classified information,  I am assuming, was the one on the Ukraine scandal leading to the impeachment of Donald Trump.   The  White House did not  want to see the book published, so they restarted the entire  review, not wanting a single sentence to be published.   It was no longer a chapter, but the book in its entirety that was under a new review.   On May 1, 2020, this new review  can only be described as a slow boat to China.  Michael Ellis holds the title of Senior Director of Intelligence Programs.  He assumed the position in March 1, 2020, and on May 1, 2020 began his review.   This time around, there were no meetings or phone calls with John Bolton or his lawyer.    It sure looks as if this was a desperate attempt to stop the publication of the book by the White House as, unlike the Knight’s review,  Ellis simply informed Bolton that “the process is ongoing” and that he was bound by the Non-Disclosure Agreement.  Unlike McKnight’s review,  Ellis kept Bolton in the dark.

I have read the complaint.   The DOJ lawsuit  does not accuse either John Bolton nor the publisher of  committing the crime of disclosure of classified information.    No lawsuit has been filed against Simon and Schuster, so there is nothing preventing them from printing the book.   Everything Trump says or does as President is not automatically classified and former employees have First Amendment rights.

In fact, the DOJ filing, provides sufficient evidence that the government did not expeditiously and in good faith work with John Bolton from May 1 to June 7, 2020 to revise or remove any classified information.  They basically stonewalled him for 5 weeks, after the book had been with the NSC for 5 months.  The  second phase of the review was simply to push approval to after November 2020.  If the book was in praise of Trump, it would have been out the door in days.  Certainly, Nikki Haley’s book faced no long term scrutiny.

The court case will be a civil lawsuit, as whether Bolton breached his non-disclosure agreements and what remedies are appropriate.  It will be a drawn out process.    As part of the remedy, the lawsuit asks the court to instruct the Bolton to tell Simon and Schuster to destroy all the pre-print copies of the book, if he can.  Just not going to happen.

I will get my copy of The Room Where it Happen.  Amazon, Simon and Schuster and of course,  John Bolton will get more publicity than they can imagine.  Amazon will publish two more books, one by Trump’s niece in July 2020, Too much is never enough,  and the second book by H.R.  McMasters entitled, Battlegrounds.   See links below.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

 Links:

Trump Administration  sues Bolton over Book Dispute (includes a link to the lawsuit)

From Amazon:

John Bolton: The Room Where it Happened (June 23, 2020)

Mary Trump:  Too much and never enough: How my family created the world’s most dangerous man (July 2020)

H.R McMasters:  Battlegrounds:  The fight to defend the free world,  Sept 2020