Saturday, November 14, 2020

New Reasons To Believe Trump Will Not Attempt A Coup

 Officially Trump continues to hold a hard line of denying he has lost, with most GOP officeholders continuing to support his denials publicly, and he is likely to continue to not officially concede in various ways, including such as blocking official support for the transition process to a future Biden admin, which is potentially damaging in various ways.  Nevertheless, after some important developments in the last day or so and Trump's presser today (well, technically yesterday as it is now early morning on Saturday, Nov. 14), I think there is good reason to believe that whatever irresponsible and damaging things he may yet do, I think it is now seriously unlikely that he will attempt a coup to block the transition.

I think the most important development that has triggered this is one I did not foresee: the sudden withdrawal of law firms supporting his legal efforts to demand ballots to be thrown our and to block certification of results, with those efforts becoming less able to overturn the electoral results given the calling of both Arizona and Georgia for Biden. A crucial part of the scenario I posed was Trump piling on endless lawsuits, however frivolous and vacuous, in various crucial states in a way to block clear certification of results in those states, leading ultimately to a confused or contested outcome when the Electoral College votes in mid-December, all of this opening the door for him to refuse to step down while bringing in various forces to support him.  

What I did not know is that courts can punish attorneys for bringing clearly ridiculous lawsuits, especially repeatedly, with judges able to actually throw them in jail for contempt of court, not to mention them possibly losing their licenses to practice.  Add all this to just more general public embarrassment as these suits became increasingly absurd, we have now seen several major law firms that were making these suits for Trump decide to withdraw from doing so.  This has crucially undercut Trump's strategy, such as it was.  He has always liked to sue and sue and sue, but I do not think he has ever so overdone it that his own lawyers have abandoned him.  But they have been doing so now, and I think this is the bottom line fatal development for any coup effort by him, with others supposedly under his authority in various parts of the government beginning to openly refuse to do his bidding.

On the sort of positive side is this alternative that he has been reportedly increasingly considering seriously, to let Biden get in, even if he continues not to allow a proper transition and engages in other inappropriate and damaging conduct, but not to concede and continue to claim he deserved to win, but then to use this as a basis for running for president in 2024.  For various reasons, such a run may well run into serious problems quite quickly once he is out of office, but the hope to be able to do so, bolstered by his 89 million Twitter followers, may be sufficient to allow him not go to the extreme move of trying to remain in office by means of a coup.

While he certainly did not clearly concede in his remarks in his presser (in which he showed up with gray/white hair with the orange gone), one aside remark suggests he knows that the end has arrived.  In talking about future Covid policy, he referenced "whatever administration will be in charge" after Jan. 20 to carry out the policy, obviously a recognition of the possibility it might not be his administration.  Let us hope indeed that the reality he has lost the election really is penetrating and Donald J. Trump will not attempt to remain in power via a coup.

Barkley Rosser


Anonymous said...


Mary Trump says he will say he is running in order to raise money and to save face after having the election 'stolen'. That said, she indicated that he will not actually run because he could not risk another defeat due to its oversized negative impact on his ego. She also said he will be distracted by prosecutions and civil law suits, age, and possible health changes that make a run less likely. He will likely try to be kingmaker due to his control of the party which is another reason for him to say he is running - that freezes Pence, Christie, Haley, Cotton, Cruz, and others that want to run for president. I think at this point we all need a session from Mary Trump to recover from the last 4 years. Let's us long remember and never forget the sentiments expressed in the op-ed about a wartime's letter to his son that is the perfect antidote to Trump - please read the article as well as the actual letter - see link. It is a worthy read and will serve to encourage us to redouble our efforts to bind our wounds and heal the country and get back to basics.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Mrs Fred gets very anxious when I suggest he is still
pressing 'his generals' to support - in effect - a coup.

So, hopefully he is only 'keeping his options open.'

Otherwise, government of the people,
for the people, by the people
would seem to be at risk.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

John Kelly says delaying Biden transition hurts US national security

via @BostonGlobe - November 14

President Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly said the president is hurting the country’s national security by delaying the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.

“You lose a lot if the transition is delayed because the new people are not allowed to get their head in the game,” Kelly said in an interview with Politico on Friday.

“The president, with all due respect, does not have to concede," he added. "But it’s about the nation. It hurts our national security because the people who should be getting [up to speed], it’s not a process where you go from zero to 1,000 miles per hour.”

Kelly, a retired four-star general, served as Trump’s homeland security secretary before assuming the role of chief of staff from July 2017 to January 2019.

“The transition, in the national security realm in particular and the homeland security realm, is just so important that every day that the transition is delayed really kind of handicaps” the incoming team, Kelly said.

“I think it’s crazy not to” begin the transition process, Kelly added.

He went on to note that knowing Trump, he does not believe the president will ever “accept defeat” but said he doesn’t have to. "He just has to do what’s best for the country and in the country’s interest.”

Kelly also said that Biden should begin receiving intelligence briefings, according to Politico, joining a number of Republican members of Congress who have called on Trump to continue the tradition of allowing the incoming president and his top aides to receive access to high-level and sensitive material. ...

Anonymous said...

Joe Biden will soon be the president, however the Trump administration is actively implementing policy designed to limit the carrying out of plans of the coming administration. The Trump administration has been and is remarkably active domestically and in foreign affairs.

Anonymous said...

November 13, 2020



Cases   ( 11,064,364)
Deaths   ( 249,975)

New Cases   ( 183,527)
New Deaths   ( 1,395)

Current Serious, Critical Cases   ( 32,297)

Anonymous said...

United Nations officials are warning of imminent mass starvation in Yemen, and I can only hope each day that Joe Biden will address the matter since the Trump administration takes no evident notice even though American policy has supported war on Yemen.

Anonymous said...

November 10, 2020

1 in 5 COVID-19 patients develop mental illness within 90 days: study

Many COVID-19 survivors are likely to be at greater risk of developing mental illness, psychiatrists said on Monday, after a large study found 20 percent of those infected with the coronavirus are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days.

Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common among recovered COVID-19 patients in the study who developed mental health problems, and the researchers also found significantly higher risks of dementia, a brain impairment condition.

"People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings ... show this to be likely," said Paul Harrison, a professor of psychiatry at Britain's Oxford University.

Doctors and scientists around the world urgently need to investigate the causes and identify new treatments for mental illness after COVID-19, Harrison said.

"Services need to be ready to provide care, especially since our results are likely to be underestimates (of the number of psychiatric patients)," he added.

The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, * analyzed electronic health records of 69 million people in the United States, including more than 62,000 cases of COVID-19....


Fred C. Dobbs said...

(Best approach: Keep reminding Trump
why he doesn't really want the job.)

Biden Implores Trump to Confront a Surging Pandemic

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. demanded on Friday that President Trump do more to confront the coronavirus infections exploding across the country, calling the federal response “woefully lacking” even as Mr. Trump broke a 10-day silence on the pandemic to threaten to withhold a vaccine from New York.

In a blistering statement, Mr. Biden said that the recent surge, which is killing more than 1,000 Americans and hospitalizing almost 70,000 every day, required a “robust and immediate federal response.”

“I will not be president until next year,” Mr. Biden said. “The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now. Urgent action is needed today, now, by the current administration — starting with an acknowledgment of how serious the current situation is.” ...

Anonymous said...

Where is the Governor of Massachusetts?

November 13, 2020



Cases   ( 183,095)
Deaths   ( 10,265)

Deaths per million   ( 1,489)

Anonymous said...

What about the Governor of New York?

November 13, 2020


New York

Cases   ( 588,381)
Deaths   ( 33,955)

Deaths per million   ( 1,745)

Anonymous said...

The point of looking to Massachusetts and New York is our failure to be properly protective from the beginning, since there was ample time to be protective in the beginning, and continuing to be properly protective even now. This public health failing needs to be thoroughly examined.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Covid record shatter

NY Times - November 14

Governors and public health officials across the United States are pleading with Americans to change their behavior and prepare for a long winter as the country shatters record after record on coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

Both records were broken yet again Friday, as more than 181,100 new cases were reported nationwide. It was only eight days earlier that the U.S. reported its first 100,000-case day. Now the seven-day average of new daily cases is more than 140,000, with upward trends in 49 states. Some 30 states added more cases in the last week than in any other seven-day period.

The virus has killed more than 1,000 Americans a day in the past week, a toll that would shock the nation, were it not for the fact that people were dying twice as fast in April, when doctors knew less about how to treat them.

More than 1,380 new deaths were reported on Friday, pushing the seven-day average to more than 1,090 a day. Wyoming reported 17 new deaths on Saturday; Oklahoma 23; Montana 36 and South Dakota 53, all single-day records.

And hospitalizations for Covid-19 also set a national record on Friday for the fourth-straight day, reaching 68,516, according to the Covid Tracking Project — a figure that has more than doubled in just five weeks.

On Saturday, officials in New Jersey announced 4,353 new cases, a single-day record that exceeds the previous record of 4,305 cases announced on April 3. And through the day, state after state declared new single-day records: West Virginia announced with 1,153; Maryland with more than 2,050; Minnesota with 8,689; Indiana with 8,327; Utah with more than 4,980 and Montana with more than 1,620; all are single-day records. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

New survey tracks rise in activities that spread COVID-19 in Massachusetts

via @BostonGlobe - November 14

A new survey examining behavior during the pandemic has found that the state’s rise in COVID-19 infections unfolded as residents more frequently participated in activities that spread the virus, such as patronizing restaurants and gyms or being indoors with people who were not members of their immediate household.

The findings suggest the state should take more dramatic steps to stop the spread of the virus by temporarily halting indoor dining and closing gyms, because imploring residents to avoid large gatherings won’t be enough to keep them healthy, one of the researchers said Saturday.

“We are in a very dangerous place in Massachusetts, and part of that is almost certainly how we’ve changed our behaviors,” said David Lazer, a Northeastern University professor and researcher with the COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States, which sponsored the survey.

In its polling last month of 357 Massachusetts residents, the consortium found the number of people who reported visiting gyms and restaurants or being indoors with non-household members increased from April when much of society was closed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

For example, in April and May, fewer than 5 percent of respondents reported visiting a restaurant during the previous 24 hours, compared to 15 percent last month. In March, Massachusetts limited restaurants to take-out and delivery business. Options for outdoor and indoor dining resumed in June. At the end of August, nearly 20 percent of respondents said they had visited a restaurant. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

A website of possible interest


Anonymous said...

November 14, 2020



Cases   ( 11,226,038)
Deaths   ( 251,256)


Cases   ( 8,814,902)
Deaths   ( 129,674)


Cases   ( 1,954,599)
Deaths   ( 44,246)


Cases   ( 1,344,356)
Deaths   ( 51,766)


Cases   ( 997,393)
Deaths   ( 97,624)


Cases   ( 788,899)
Deaths   ( 12,619)


Cases   ( 291,931)
Deaths   ( 10,891)


Cases   ( 86,325)
Deaths   ( 4,634)

Anonymous said...

November 14, 2020

Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

UK   ( 761)
US   ( 757)
Mexico   ( 754)
France   ( 677)

Canada   ( 288)
Germany   ( 150)
India   ( 94)
China   ( 3)

Anonymous said...

November 15, 2020

Chinese mainland reports 13 new COVID-19 cases

The Chinese mainland registered 13 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, all from overseas, the National Health Commission announced on Sunday.

A total of 6 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, all from overseas, while 613 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No COVID-19 related deaths were reported on Saturday, and 16 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovering.

As of Saturday, the total confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 86,338, with 4,634 fatalities.

[ There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since May 17.  Since June began there have been 5 limited community clusters of infections, each of which was contained with mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, with each outbreak ending in a few weeks.

Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine.  Asymptomatic cases are all quarantined.  The flow of imported cases to China is low, but has been persistent.

There are now 385 active coronavirus cases in all on the Chinese mainland, 3 of which cases are classed as serious or critical. ]

Anonymous said...

Latin American countries have recorded 4 of the 11 and 6 of the 19 highest number of coronavirus cases among all countries.  Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile.  Mexico, with more than 1 million cases recorded, has the 4th highest number of cases among Latin American countries and the 11th highest number of cases among all countries.

November 14, 2020

Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

US   ( 757) *

Brazil   ( 777)
Argentina   ( 779)
Colombia   ( 662)

Mexico   ( 754)
Peru   ( 1,061)
Chile   ( 771)

* Descending number of cases

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(Best approach: Keep reminding Trump
why he doesn't really want the job.)

Not so fast, folks.

Now that there are two (TWO)
covid vaccines ready to go, both due
to the efforts of you-know-who, a
grateful nation will want to
reconsider its vote.

Anonymous said...

November 15, 2020



Cases   ( 188,275)
Deaths   ( 10,329)

Deaths per million   ( 1,499)

Anonymous said...

November 16, 2020

Why the 2020 Election Makes it Hard to be Optimistic About the Future
If we can’t face up to a pandemic, how can we avoid apocalypse?
By Paul Krugman

The 2020 election is over. And the big winners were the coronavirus and, quite possibly, catastrophic climate change.

OK, democracy also won, at least for now. By defeating Donald Trump, Joe Biden pulled us back from the brink of authoritarian rule.

But Trump paid less of a penalty than expected for his deadly failure to deal with Covid-19, and few down-ballot Republicans seem to have paid any penalty at all. As a headline in The Washington Post put it, “With pandemic raging, Republicans say election results validate their approach.”

And their approach, in case you missed it, has been denial and a refusal to take even the most basic, low-cost precautions — like requiring that people wear masks in public.

The epidemiological consequences of this cynical irresponsibility will be ghastly. I’m not sure how many people realize just how terrible this winter is going to be.

Deaths from Covid-19 tend to run around three weeks behind new cases; given the exponential growth in cases since the early fall, which hasn’t slowed at all, this means that we may be looking at a daily death toll in the thousands by the end of the year. And remember, many of those who survive Covid-19 nonetheless suffer permanent health damage.

To be fair, the vaccine news has been very good, and it looks likely that we’ll finally bring the pandemic under control sometime next year. But we could suffer hundreds of thousands of American deaths, many of them avoidable, before the vaccine is widely distributed.

Awful as the pandemic outlook is, however, what worries me more is what our failed response says about prospects for dealing with a much bigger issue, one that poses an existential threat to civilization: climate change.

As many people have noted, climate change is an inherently difficult problem to tackle — not economically, but politically.

Right-wingers always claim that taking climate seriously would doom the economy, but the truth is that at this point the economics of climate action look remarkably benign. Spectacular progress in renewable energy technology makes it fairly easy to see how the economy can wean itself from fossil fuels. A recent analysis by the International Monetary Fund suggests that a “green infrastructure push” would, if anything, lead to faster economic growth over the next few decades.

But climate action remains very difficult politically given (a) the power of special interests and (b) the indirect link between costs and benefits....

Anonymous said...

November 17, 2020

Over 1 m U.S. children diagnosed with COVID-19, pediatricians say

Over a million children in the U.S. under 18 have been diagnosed with coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to data released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Association.

As of November 12, a total of 1,039,464 children have tested positive for the virus since the onset of the pandemic. And in the one-week period ending November 12, there were nearly 112,000, which is by far the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began, according to the report.

The increase tracks surges in the virus in communities across the U.S..

"At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children," the report said, but warning that there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects.

"As a pediatrician who has practiced medicine for over three decades, I find this number staggering and tragic. We haven't seen a virus flash through our communities in this way since before we had vaccines for measles and polio," Dr. Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents pediatricians, said....

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Giuliani Conjures Up Vast Election Conspiracy in Court Hearing

Bloomberg - November 17

President Donald Trump’s long-shot effort to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn his election defeat faced its first test Tuesday with a key hearing in Pennsylvania, in which campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed without evidence that Democrats nationwide conspired to steal the election.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann began hearing arguments on Pennsylvania’s motion to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit seeking to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s projected victory in the state. Giuliani, who had been granted permission to participate just before the hearing began, quickly launched into a tale of several cities, including Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta and Phoenix, where he said Democratic officials took advantage of the pandemic to push “dangerous” mail-in ballots susceptible to fraud.

If the alleged fraud by Democrats isn’t stopped, “this would become an epidemic,” Giuliani said. “You give them an inch they’ll take a mile. They’ve already taken a mile, now they’ll take the whole city. They stole an election.”

Pressed by Brann for evidence, Giuliani submitted photos of several Republican poll observers who said they were kept too far away from ballot-counting to monitor for fraud. He also said he had affidavits. Such evidence has been presented by Republicans in other election lawsuits but has largely been dismissed as lacking in credibility or understanding of the ballot-counting process.

Daniel Donovan, the lawyer for the Pennsylvania secretary of state, said in his opening statement that Giuliani had spent a lot of time describing claims the Trump campaign dropped from a revised complaint filed on Sunday. “There is no claim that any voter cast more than one ballot, that a voter had his ballot wrongfully rejected, that anyone not eligible to vote voted” and no allegation of “voter fraud,” Donovan said. ...

Anonymous said...

November 17, 2020

Don’t Fear the Robots, and Other Lessons From a Study of the Digital Economy
A task force assembled by M.I.T. examined how technology has changed, and will change, the work force.
By Steve Lohr

L. Rafael Reif, the president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, delivered an intellectual call to arms to the university’s faculty in November 2017: Help generate insights into how advancing technology has changed and will change the work force, and what policies would create opportunity for more Americans in the digital economy.

That issue, he wrote, is the “defining challenge of our time.”

Three years later, the task force assembled to address it is publishing its wide-ranging conclusions. The 92-page report, “The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines,” * was released on Tuesday.

The group is made up of M.I.T. professors and graduate students, researchers from other universities, and an advisory board of corporate executives, government officials, educators and labor leaders. In an extraordinarily comprehensive effort, they included labor market analysis, field studies and policy suggestions for changes in skills-training programs, the tax code, labor laws and minimum-wage rates.

Here are four of the key findings in the report:

Most American workers have fared poorly.

It’s well known that those on the top rungs of the job ladder have prospered for decades while wages for average American workers have stagnated. But the M.I.T. analysis goes further. It found, for example, that real wages for men without four-year college degrees have declined 10 to 20 percent since their peak in 1980. (Two-thirds of American workers do not have four-year college degrees.)

The U.S. economy produces larger wage gaps, proportionately fewer high-quality jobs and less intergenerational mobility than most other developed nations do, the researchers found. And America does not seem to get a compensating payoff in growth. “The U.S. is getting a low ‘return’ on its inequality,” the report said.

Nor does the lagging position of American workers appear to be the result of technology. “It’s not that we have better technology, automating more middle-wage jobs,” said David Autor, an M.I.T. labor economist and a co-author of the report. “We have worse institutions.”

Robots and A.I. are not about to deliver a jobless future....


Anonymous said...

November 16, 2020



Cases   ( 11,538,057)
Deaths   ( 252,651)


Cases   ( 8,873,994)
Deaths   ( 130,552)


Cases   ( 1,991,233)
Deaths   ( 45,054)


Cases   ( 1,390,681)
Deaths   ( 52,147)


Cases   ( 1,006,522)
Deaths   ( 98,542)


Cases   ( 817,526)
Deaths   ( 12,891)


Cases   ( 302,192)
Deaths   ( 11,027)


Cases   ( 86,346)
Deaths   ( 4,634)

Anonymous said...

November 16, 2020

Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

UK   ( 767)
US   ( 762)
Mexico   ( 761)
France   ( 690)

Canada   ( 291)
Germany   ( 154)
India   ( 94)
China   ( 3)

Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 9.8%, 3.7% and 2.3% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

Anonymous said...

November 17, 2020

Chinese mainland reports 15 new COVID-19 cases

The Chinese mainland registered 15 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, all from overseas, the National Health Commission announced on Tuesday.

A total of 12 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, all from overseas, while 512 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No COVID-19 related deaths were reported on Monday, and 19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovering.

As of Monday, the total confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 86,361, with 4,634 fatalities.

Chinese mainland new imported cases

Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

[ There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since May 17. Since June began there have been 5 limited community clusters of infections, each of which was contained with mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, with each outbreak ending completely in a few weeks.

Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine. Asymptomatic cases are all quarantined. The flow of imported cases to China is low, but has been persistent.

There are now 353 active coronavirus cases in all on the Chinese mainland, 3 of which cases are classed as serious or critical. ]

Anonymous said...

November 18, 2020

New Pfizer Results: Coronavirus Vaccine Is Safe and 95% Effective
The company said it planned to apply for emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration “within days.”
By Katie Thomas

The drug maker Pfizer said on Wednesday that its coronavirus vaccine was 95 percent effective and had no serious side effects — the first set of complete results from a late-stage vaccine trial as Covid-19 cases skyrocket around the globe.

The data showed that the vaccine prevented mild and severe forms of Covid-19, the company said. And it was 94 percent effective in older adults, who are more vulnerable to developing severe Covid-19 and who do not respond strongly to some types of vaccines.

Pfizer, which developed the vaccine with its partner BioNTech, said the companies planned to apply to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization “within days,” raising hopes that a working vaccine could soon become a reality.

The trial results — less than a year after researchers began working on the vaccine — shattered all speed records for vaccine development, a process that usually takes years.

“The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic,” Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive, said in a statement.

If the F.D.A. authorizes the two-dose vaccine, Pfizer has said that it could have up to 50 million doses available by the end of the year, and up to 1.3 billion by the end of next year.

However, only about half of its supply will go to the United States this year, or enough for about 12.5 million people — a sliver of the American population of 330 million. Americans will receive the vaccine for free, under a $1.95 billion deal the federal government reached with Pfizer for 100 million doses....

Unknown said...

Jeremy Corbyn has been falsely maligned and maliciously, viciously removed from British Labour:

Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald

Everyone now knows that Labour centrists did everything possible to sabotage Corbyn, preferring that May or Boris win than they win with Corbyn. Now this.

Why would any leftist keep supporting Labour under Starmer? What else do they have to do to show they hate you?

Keir Starmer @Keir_Starmer

In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this situation under review.

Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald

I've never seen a more flagrant, repellent and cynical exploitation of anti-Semitism in my life than its disgusting use to smear Corbyn because of a lack of alternatives for how to defeat him.

Nothing has trivialized this cause more than what British Blairites have done.

Jeremy Corbyn is a better human being by a multiple of about 1,000 than all of the Oxbridge cretins in politics and media who have united to cynically smear him with accusations they know in their rotted souls are false.

12:02 PM · Nov 18, 2020

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects Trump campaign lawsuit over election observers in Philadelphia

via @nbcnews - November 17

WASHINGTON — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out one of the Trump campaign's longest-running post-election complaints Tuesday, ruling that officials in Philadelphia did not violate state law by maintaining at least 15 feet of separation between observers and the workers counting ballots.

The ruling is likely to undercut the Trump campaign's case in federal court, where Rudy Giuliani joined a hearing Tuesday afternoon to argue on behalf of President Donald Trump's effort to contest the election results in Pennsylvania.

Republican observers said they were kept so far back, behind a waist-high fence, that they couldn't see any of the details on ballot envelopes or reach any conclusions about whether vote counting procedures were correctly followed. The Trump campaign sued, and a state appeals court said the observers were not given enough access. It ordered the county to move the fence closer to the counting tables.

But the state Supreme Court reversed that ruling by a vote of 5-2. It said Pennsylvania law requires only that observers must be allowed “in the room” where ballots are counted but does not set a minimum distance between them and the counting tables. The Legislature left it up to county election boards to make these decisions, the court said. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

A loser unwilling to concede. A worsening pandemic. War drums with Iran. Happy Thanksgiving

via @BostonGlobe - November 18

As we prepare for Thanksgiving week, it appears that we have some actual, real, good news: two companies say they are making significant progress on separate COVID-19 vaccines that could begin to be distributed by late December. Dr. Anthony Fauci said by the end of April it is possible anyone that wants a vaccine could get one.

Thank goodness.

But that bright future is just a guess.

As for the present, well, there is a lot of reason to spend more time in prayer on the here and now.

For starters, it still remains unclear whether we are headed for one of the most serious constitutional crises in the nation’s history in the next few weeks.

President Trump hasn’t conceded that he lost the presidential election, hasn’t allowed his administration to help in the transition to President-elect Joe Biden, and won’t even answer if he will leave the White House.

In the case of the Department of Health and Human Services, the sprawling agency that is just a tad important during a pandemic, CNN is reporting that staffers there are not to talk to anyone associated with Biden and to formally report if anyone from the Biden team reached out.

Those around him are reportedly saying that Trump understands that he lost and he will leave the White House when Biden is inaugurated, and the traditional peaceful transition of power will go on like it always does, even if the exiting president departs a bit more begrudgingly.

But there is always the sense that Trump has a few tricks up his sleeve so until it is over, it isn’t over.

Second, while Trump might be plotting his final moves, the pandemic continues to expand at a record pace. More than 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. And America may be on the brink of another significant shutdown at the very moment when a lot of Americans are beyond fatigued, less vigilant, and the weather is forcing people to spend more time indoors. It is a recipe for a lot more death.

Third is the little thing about how we could end up in a major war in the next few weeks. Keeping his campaign promise, Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018 and now it has lots more uranium than was allowed under the agreement. The New York Times reported that Trump asked top aides last week whether he had options to strike Iran’s main nuclear site in the weeks ahead. The options include military and cyber attacks. Iran could respond to those.

All in all, there could have been a lot to discuss at a large family Thanksgiving, especially as America is more polarized than in anyone’s living memory. Does last Thanksgiving’s endless discussion about impeachment seem quaint? ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Here’s what happened when Rudy Giuliani made his first appearance in federal court in nearly three decades

Washington Post via @BostonGlobe - November 18

It was Rudy Giuliani’s first appearance in federal court since the early 1990s, and by late afternoon Tuesday it was clear that US District Judge Matthew Brann was losing patience with President Trump’s personal attorney.

Trump is seeking to stop the certification of Pennsylvania’s vote in the Nov. 3 election, alleging that Republican voters in the state were illegally disadvantaged because some Democratic-leaning counties allowed voters to fix errors on their mail ballots. Two voters named as co-plaintiffs with Trump’s campaign in the long-shot suit had their ballots voided and allege that they were not given a chance to correct their mistakes.

’'You’re alleging that the two individual plaintiffs were denied the right to vote,’' Brann said. ’'But at bottom, you’re asking this court to invalidate more than 6.8 million votes, thereby disenfranchising every single voter in the commonwealth. Can you tell me how this result can possibly be justified?’'

In response, Giuliani said that Trump’s campaign was seeking only to throw out about 680,000 ballots cast in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, because, he said, Republican observers were not allowed to watch them being counted.

But Trump’s attorneys had removed legal claims relating to that issue in an amended version of the lawsuit they filed over the weekend, the judge reminded him.

’'The poll-watching claims were deleted,’' Brann told Giuliani. ’'They’re now not before this court, so why should I consider them now?’'

Giuliani — who in the days before the hearing had falsely denied that the claims were deleted — was forced to acknowledge that they had been. On Wednesday Trump’s legal team informed the court that it intended to file a third version of its federal lawsuit.

Throughout the five-hour hearing in federal court in Williamsport, Pa., Giuliani — a former US attorney and mayor of New York — came under heavy criticism from opposing counsel and appeared unable to answer several questions from Brann about legal technicalities.

Brann asked what standard of review he should apply in the case. ’'I think the normal one,’' Giuliani replied.

’'Maybe I don’t understand what you mean by strict scrutiny,’' Giuliani said at another point.

At a different moment, Giuliani said: ’'I’m not quite sure what ‘opacity’ means. It probably means you can see.’'

The judge responded: ’'It means you can’t.’'

In a heated 45-minute speech delivered over a patchy telephone link, Mark Aronchick, an attorney representing several Pennsylvania counties, said that Giuliani was ignorant of the law, living in ‘‘some fantasy world,’’ and pushing wild allegations that were ’’disgraceful in an American courtroom.’’

Aronchick concluded by urging Brann: ’'Dismiss this case. Please, dismiss this case. So we can move on.’'

Brann declined to do so, setting a deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday for the president’s team to file a motion opposing the election officials’ attempt to dismiss the lawsuit.

This, too, appeared to confuse Giuliani, who asked if the judge was inviting him to file the retooled third version of the lawsuit that he’d promised earlier.

’'This is a brief in opposition to their motion to dismiss,’' Brann replied.

’'Oh!’' Giuliani said. ’'Oh, sure, absolutely.’' ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

... While the hearing was taking place, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled against Trump in a separate case on the count observers, holding that Philadelphia authorities had given reasonable access to representatives from Trump’s campaign.

And on Wednesday attempts by Trump and his Republican allies to throw out thousands of ballots in Pennsylvania suffered further setbacks in the state’s courts.

A judge in Allegheny County rejected a pair of requests from a GOP congressional candidate to bar 2,649 ballots where voters either did not write the date on their mail ballot envelope or signed on only one line rather than two when casting a provisional ballot.

In his orders, Judge Joseph M. James noted that the candidate, Nicole Ziccarelli, had “stated that she was not claiming any voter fraud” had occurred in either case.

“In light of the fact that there is no fraud, a technical omission on an envelope should not render a ballot invalid,” James wrote in one order. Separately, Trump’s campaign withdrew its appeal against a judge’s decision to allow about 600 mail ballots in Montgomery County where voters had failed to write their address on the envelope.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court meanwhile granted a request from Philadelphia authorities to fast-track a case in a lower court where Trump’s campaign is seeking to throw out more than 8,300 ballots for similar administrative errors. City officials asked the state’s top court to step in and rule on the case because counties are due to certify their final results by Monday.

Biden has been projected the winner of Pennsylvania and leads Trump by more than 74,000 votes in the state. Some counties are still counting their last outstanding ballots.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump Targets Michigan in His Ploy to Subvert the Election

NY Times - November 19

In a brazen step, the president invited Republican state leaders in Michigan to the White House as he and his allies try to prevent the state from certifying Joe Biden’s clear victory there.

President Trump on Thursday accelerated his efforts to interfere in the nation’s electoral process, taking the extraordinary step of reaching out directly to Republican state legislators from Michigan and inviting them to the White House on Friday for discussions as the state prepares to certify President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. the winner there.

For Mr. Trump and his Republican allies, Michigan has become the prime target in their campaign to subvert the will of voters backing Mr. Biden in the recent election. Mr. Trump called at least one G.O.P. elections official in the Detroit area this week after she voted to certify Mr. Biden’s overwhelming victory there, and he is now set to meet with legislators ahead of Michigan’s deadline on Monday to certify the results.

The president has also asked aides what Republican officials he could call in other battleground states in his effort to prevent the certification of results that would formalize his loss to Mr. Biden, several advisers said. Trump allies appear to be pursuing a highly dubious legal theory that if the results are not certified, Republican legislatures could intervene and appoint pro-Trump electors in states Mr. Biden won who would support the president when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14.

The Republican effort to undo the popular vote is all but certain to fail, as even many Trump allies concede, and it has already suffered near-total defeats in courts in multiple states, including losses on Thursday when judges in Georgia and Arizona ruled against the Trump campaign and its allies. The president suffered another electoral blow on Thursday when Georgia announced the completion of a full recount, reaffirming Mr. Biden’s victory there. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump’s Attempts to Overturn the Election Are Unparalleled in US History

... Mr. Trump has only weeks to make his last-ditch effort work: Most of the states he needs to strip Mr. Biden of votes are scheduled to certify their electors by the beginning of next week. The electors cast their ballots on Dec. 14, and Congress opens them in a joint session on Jan. 6.

Even if Mr. Trump somehow pulled off his electoral vote switch, there are other safeguards in place, assuming people in power do not simply bend to the president’s will.

The first test will be Michigan, where Mr. Trump is trying to get the State Legislature to overturn Mr. Biden’s 157,000-vote margin of victory. He has taken the extraordinary step of inviting a delegation of state Republican leaders to the White House, hoping to persuade them to ignore the popular vote outcome.

“That’s not going to happen,” Mike Shirkey, the Republican leader of the Michigan State Senate, said on Tuesday. “We are going to follow the law and follow the process.”

Beyond that, Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, could send Congress a competing electoral slate, based on the election vote, arguing that the proper procedures were ignored. That dispute would create just enough confusion, in Mr. Trump’s Hail Mary calculus, that the House and Senate together would have to resolve it in ways untested in modern times.

Federal law dating to 1887, passed in reaction to the Hayes election, provides the framework, but not specifics, of how it would be done. Edward B. Foley, a constitutional law and election law expert at Ohio State University, noted that the law only required Congress to consider all submissions “purporting to be the valid electoral votes.”

But Michigan alone would not be enough for Mr. Trump. He would also need at least two other states to fold to his pressure. The most likely candidates are Georgia and Arizona, which both went for Mr. Trump in 2016 and have Republican-controlled legislatures and Republican governors. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Four takeaways from Rudy Giuliani’s meandering press conference

via @BostonGlobe - November 19

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, held a press conference Thursday where he repeated a series of baseless allegations as he continued to make a show of alleging widespread improprieties. Evidence for his claims has been scant, and in many cases Trump’s lawyers are not even alleging fraud when appearing before judges.

The press conference, which lasted about 90 minutes, featured several combative and a few curious moments. Here’s a closer look:

Giuliani and his associates repeated a series of baseless claims about the election

Giuliani repeated a number of claims about the election, including some that have been already debunked. Incidents of deceased individuals voting have repeatedly found to be incorrect. Trump’s lawyers claimed that vote counting machines are suspicious, but Georgia Thursday night completed a hand recount of paper ballots that confirmed the results of the election, though it discovered errors that have reduced Biden’s lead to about 12,000 votes.

Many of the allegations of fraud stem from poll watchers who filed affidavits included with lawsuits in battleground states aimed at delaying vote certification. Those affidavits lean into innuendo and unsupported suggestions of fraud.

For example, they refer to suitcases in a polling place, but make no suggestion that ballots were being secretly counted. There are allegations of ballots being duplicated — something routinely done when a ballot is physically damaged. There are claims that partisan poll watchers were too far away to observe the process and therefore something fishy may have been going on. But they don’t have proof. Poll watchers have no auditing role in elections; they are volunteer observers.

Giuliani, holding up one of the affidavits during his press conference, said he had “a hundred more” of them, but could not show them publicly because some of those who made them said they did not want to be “harassed.”

One of President Trump’s legal advisers chastised journalists when pressed for evidence of the claims

A reporter in attendance asked whether President-elect Joe Biden was part of Trump’s voter fraud claims, and what evidence Giuliani had if so. Giuliani dodged the question before Jenna Ellis, a Trump campaign legal adviser, called the question “fundamentally flawed.”

“Your question is fundamentally flawed when you’re asking ‘where’s the evidence?’” said Ellis. “You clearly don’t understand the legal process. What we have asked for in the court is to not have the certification of false results and to say hold on a minute we have evidence that we will present to the court. We haven’t had the opportunity to present that to the court. We’re giving you an overview, and a preview of what we’ve discovered. But no court yet have we had that opportunity.”

It was one of many attacks on the press the Trump campaign’s lawyers made during the event.

“For those of you who are here in this room or have maybe tuned out in other networks, clearly you’ve never been court reporters. Trials take time, putting on evidence takes time. This is basically an opening statement so the American people can understand what the networks have been hiding,” Ellis said.

Giuliani had streaks running down the side of his face ...

There was a hot mic moment on YouTube

On the Trump campaign’s official YouTube livestream, two unidentified voices appeared in the middle of the press conference questioning whether they could be heard by those tuning in.

“Can they hear us on the stream? I guess not,” one person said.

“I don’t think so,” the other replied.

There was a pause, and then the first person began mocking Giuliani’s appearance. The sound was eventually cut.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Hoyer on Trump election challenges: 'I think this borders on treason'

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Thursday said President Trump's efforts to persuade Republican officials to reverse election results in key battleground states "borders on treason."

"He is undermining the very essence of democracy, which is: You go to the poll, you vote and the people decide," Hoyer told The Washington Post. "There's no doubt that the people decided."

"I think this borders on treason," the Maryland Democrat added.

His comments came after a Thursday press conference by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who repeated previous claims without providing evidence that Trump, rather than President-elect Joe Biden, won the election.

"Joe Biden is in the lead because of the fraudulent ballots, the illegal ballots that were produced and that were allowed to be used after the election was over," Giuliani told reporters. "Give us an opportunity to prove it in court and we will."

Multiple post-election GOP lawsuits alleging voter fraud or voting irregularities have been dropped or thrown out in battleground states like Arizona, Georgia and Nevada where Biden received more votes than Trump.

Giuliani's remarks on Thursday prompted criticism from Republican lawmakers as well.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) warned that the "wild press conferences erode public trust," adding that "we are a nation of laws, not tweets."

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) condemned claims from Sidney Powell, a lawyer associated with the Trump campaign, who said that down-ballot candidates could have "paid to have the system rigged to work for them," with the GOP senator calling Powell's statement "offensive" and "absolutely outrageous."

The Trump team's repeated disputes of the election outcome, which all major news outlets called for Biden almost two weeks ago, also drew a rebuke from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the 2012 Republican nominee for president.

"Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election," Romney said in a statement shared on Twitter.

"It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president," Romney added. ...

Anonymous said...

Yes, I find this personally unnerving:

November 19, 2020



Cases   ( 198,550)
Deaths   ( 10,435)

Deaths per million   ( 1,514)

Anonymous said...

November 19, 2020


New York

Cases   ( 617,741)
Deaths   ( 34,136)

Deaths per million   ( 1,755)

Anonymous said...

A couple of days ago, Paul Krugman wrote to tell me "there is no free lunch."  So even though I have a home subscription to the New York Times, I would have to buy more Krugman analysis along with music selections from now on.  I prefer lunching with friends, prefer my music and really resent what to me is not amusing but a creepy solicitation.

I was going to dismiss the Krugman appeal, then came "here's the deal":

Joe Biden @JoeBiden

Here's the deal: Because President Trump refuses to concede and is delaying the transition, we have to fund it ourselves and need your help.

If you're able, chip in to help fund the Biden-Harris transition.

Donate to the Biden-Harris Transition
Join us! Contribute today.

3:07 PM · Nov 20, 2020

Fred C. Dobbs said...

After Trump meeting, Michigan GOP lawmakers say they’re not aware of any info that would change Biden’s victory in state

Boston Globe - AP - November 20

President Donald Trump sought to leverage the power of the Oval Office on Friday in an extraordinary attempt to block President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as criticism mounted that his futile efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election could do long-lasting damage to democratic traditions.

Trump summoned a delegation of Republican lawmakers from Michigan, including the state’s Senate majority leader and House speaker, in an apparent extension of his efforts to persuade judges and election officials in the state to set aside Biden’s 154,000-vote margin of victory and grant him the state’s electors.

In a joint statement after the White House meeting, the Michigan lawmakers said allegations of fraud should be investigated, but indicated they were unmoved by Trump’s claims thus far. “We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election.” ...

Anonymous said...

Latin American countries have recorded 4 of the 11 and 6 of the 19 highest number of coronavirus cases among all countries.  Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile.  Mexico, with more than 1 million cases recorded, has the 4th highest number of cases among Latin American countries and the 11th highest number of cases among all countries.

November 19, 2020

Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

US   ( 779) *

Brazil   ( 789)
Argentina   ( 805)
Colombia   ( 680)

Mexico   ( 769)
Peru   ( 1,069)
Chile   ( 780)

Ecuador   ( 737)
Bolivia   ( 756)

* Descending number of cases

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Georgia Secretary of State certifies Biden’s win after audit

via @BostonGlobe - November 20

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s governor and top elections official on Friday certified results showing Joe Biden won the presidential race over Republican President Donald Trump.

The certification brings the state one step closer to wrapping up an election that has been fraught with unfounded accusations of fraud by Trump and his supporters.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified results reported by the state’s 159 counties following a meticulous hand count of the 5 million ballots cast in the race. The results show Biden with 2.47 million votes, President Donald Trump with 2.46 million votes and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen with 62,138. That leaves Biden leading by a margin of 12,670 votes or 0.25%.

Later Friday, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors, his spokesman Cody Hall said.

The hand tally stemmed from an audit required by a new state law and wasn’t in response to any suspected problems with the state’s results or an official recount request. The audit was meant to confirm that the voting machines correctly tabulated the votes. ...

Anonymous said...

Two hundred thousand new coronavirus cases today, 1 million these last 5 days; yes, I find this frightening and saddening and I am unsure how but this experience will change many, many people.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, this is creepy:

Kamala Harris @KamalaHarris

Trump’s refusal to concede means that we need to fund the transition ourselves. Will you chip in now to ensure that our country is fully prepared for the transition of power?

I just donated to the Biden-Harris Transition
Join us! Contribute today.

3:10 PM · Nov 20, 2020