Friday, November 20, 2020

The New Coup Attempt

 OK, I thought that the collapse of Trump's lawsuits and the flight of his top lawyers was going to do in his coup attempt.  But we now see a far more desperate effort going on, although with Trump still trying to stay at least marginally within legal boundaries, although not by much, and clearly trying every single thing he can do to block Biden's victory.  It is getting down to blocking certification of results in enough states so that even if he cannot get legislatures to approve pro-Trump electors, highly unlikely as illegal in all the swing states actually, but to have the situation undecided so that nobody goes from enough states so that when Electoral College votes on Dec. 14, Biden falls short of the necessary 270, which would then throw it to the House of Representatives, where Trump would win because a majority of the states have majority GOP representation, and the voting is by state. The last time the House determined the outcome was in 1824, when second place John Quincy Adams defeated first place in both popular and electoral votes Andrew Jackson, as Henry Clay threw his support to Adams in return for being appointed Secretary of State.

The sign of how desperate Trump has become is that even though GOP Sec of State in Georgia Raffensperger has certified that Biden won Georgia, in the face of calls for his resignation and death threats, that needs to be signed by the GOP Governor Kemp, whom apparently Trump is calling and pressuring not to sign off, again, the effort to simply have things unresolved as of Dec. 14.

Needless to say, the conspiracy theory pushed by Guiliani and Sidney Powell in yesterday's insane press conference is completely off the wall, that there has been a nationwide conspiracy to use Dominion machines to add votes for Biden in certain major cities, with the program coming from Venezuela via some antifa people where it was written originally to help keep Hugo Chavez in power. Wow. But only two GOP senators have stepped forward to denounce this nonsense: Romney and Sasse, with supposedly 70% of GOP voters still buying the story that the election was "stolen" from Trump, with this wild Venezuela theory the latest to support that, even as nearly all the legal cases have collapsed due to a total lack of any evidence.

The immediate focus of this new coup effort has been on Michigan, where Trump is encouraging the militias who have threatened to take over the state house and start executing "tyrants" on TV, most certainly including Gov. Whitmer.  For the first time in US history ever we nearly had a Board of Canvassers not certify a clear electoral outcome, this in Wayne County, which includes Detroit.  The two Republicans initially blocking the certification then backed off after pressure arrived, but with Trump calling them on the phone, they apparently want to go back to non-certifying.  But too late, all counties have now certified.  Which puts it up to the state board, which must act on Monday, Nov. 23, but one of the two GOP members there is talking about non-certifying, and Trump is meeting right now with the GOP leaders of the legislature, presumably about trying to get them to appoint pro-Trump electors in any case, in clear violation of existing law.  The only good thing there, aside from Biden having a 157,000 vote lead, is that apparently Gov. Whitmer has the legal authority to replace a member of the State Board of Canvassers, so hopefully if they do try to refuse to certify, she will act to make sure there is a certification. But the hard fact is that Trump is throwing everything he has to block Biden getting the 16 electoral votes from Michigan.

He has called for a recount in the two most Dem counties in Wisconsin, which is going on now and will probably not change Biden's 20,000 plus lead much.  But also he is playing to the state legislature and the Board of Canvassers to block Biden.  Apparently the legislature has no authority to do anything other than support the certified winner. The positive there is that ultimately it is the Chair of that board who certifies, and she is a Dem.  It is astounding that we are getting down to this.

He is making efforts in AZ and NV, but they do not look like they are going anywhere, although in AZ GOP is in control of the state machinery, so cannot yet be ruled out.

Which brings us to the big prize of PA, where Trump has been throwing more efforts, both legal and political, than anywhere else, well, with the possible exception of MI. Biden has a more than 50,000 vote lead, but the effort has been to block certification in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (Allegany County).  He did get one of his few legal victories there, leading to over 2,000 absentee ballots in Allegany Cty not getting counted. But that will not overturn things there.  The gov and AG are Dem, but I am not sure who is in charge of certification at the state level, and Trump has been playing to legislators. There are more suits there still ongoing, with apparently 18 still nationwide, including at least one in NV, also trying to block certification.

It may be that MI and PA are Trump's best shots, unless he can get Gov. Kemp in GA not to sign off on the certification that has already happened there. If he can keep MI and PA from sending electors, Biden would still win with just barely 270, PA having 20 and MI having 16, with Biden currently leading with 306.  So if it is just those two, Biden will squeak in, although at this point I am now worrying that indeed Trump is so desperate he may yet try something else.  But he needs a third state, and I do not think it will be Wisconsin, with its good government traditions, despite some bad GOP actors there.  We may still be back to the He who wins Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, wins the White House, but maybe only by a hair against a wildly extra-constitutional coup-like effort.

Barkley Rosser


Sandwichman said...

To paraphrase H. Bruce Franklin, it is easier to imagine the end of democracy in America than to imagine the end of capitalism.

2slugbaits said...

Apparently the Michigan GOP leaders that were invited to the WH issued a statement to the effect that they would not overturn the election results. So that's good news. said...

I agree with both of you, Sandwichman and 2slugbaits, at this exisential moment for American democracy.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Apparently, the intricate process of approving
election results in Michigan (if not elsewhere)
is not quite done. The step wherein 4 bureaucrats
(2 Dem, 2 GOP) certify results in each county is
followed by yet another review by another four at
the state level, which is where Trump's attention
now turns.

Attention will soon turn to Pennsylvania, where
presumably something similarly excruciating
will transpire.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump’s election legal strategy is all but doomed, but still could damage American democracy, experts say

via @BostonGlobe - November 20

WASHINGTON — First, President Trump lost the Nov. 3 election.

Then, his lawyers lost in court as they tried to allege fraud and irregularities — over and over and over again.

Now, Trump’s throw-it-all-at-the-wall strategy has apparently morphed into a brazen attempt to use his power as president to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. The effort seems to be aimed as much at fueling unwarranted doubts about election integrity among Trump’s supporters and soothing his ego as it does at actually preserving his presidency.

The audacious endeavor, which yielded a Friday White House meeting with Republican lawmakers from Michigan, appears all but doomed. Still, it is an unprecedented attempt to undermine the will of voters that could leave lasting scars on democracy, according to constitutional experts and former elected officials.

“Trump is like the kid who’s been told he can’t join the basketball game, who grabs the basketball and sticks a knife in it to deflate it,” said Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey. “It would be funny if it weren’t so serious.”

Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 6 million votes and his 232 projected electoral votes are well behind Biden’s 306. But Trump and his allies have claimed that he would have won the election if not for massive voter fraud — although they have been unable to offer a shred of evidence proving that claim.

He has dispatched lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani, to fight losing battles in court. On Tuesday, he fired Christopher Krebs, an official with the Department of Homeland Security who oversaw election security and who publicly disputed Trump’s claims that the election was compromised.

In Michigan, which Trump lost by 155,000 votes, he personally called a Republican member of the board of canvassers in Wayne County, which contains Detroit, who on Tuesday initially refused to certify the results there, according to the Detroit Free Press.

And on Thursday, Giuliani and other members of Trump’s legal team gave a surreal press conference about their claims. As dark liquid leaked from his hair, Giuliani presented normal parts of the election process — like fixing mail ballots’ missing signatures — as fraudulent and made odd references to the film “My Cousin Vinny.”

Another member of the team, Sidney Powell, claimed inaccurately that Trump had won by a “landslide.”

And that was before it became clear that legal filings in one of the Trump team’s cases had confused the states of Minnesota and Michigan.

“It’s beyond regrettable, it’s not presidential — it’s un-American,” said Tom Ridge, a Republican and the former governor of Pennsylvania. “He’s questioning and undermining the most basic and valued institution in our country, and that’s the legitimacy of our vote.”

If Trump’s only goal is to sow doubt, he is succeeding: A Monmouth University poll found 77 percent of Trump’s supporters believe Biden won because of fraud.

If he is trying to throw a wrench in the election machinery, success is less assured. States are working to certify their results, a process that each state has to complete by Dec. 8. Then, on Dec. 14, each state’s electors will meet to award their votes to the candidate who won their state.

It is possible that Trump and his allies see some hope for their efforts if they can persuade battleground state Republicans to send the results from competing slates of electors to Washington — something that happened in the chaos of the contested election of 1876. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Here’s a timeline of the presidential certification process that Trump is trying to disrupt

NY Times via @BostonGlobe - November 19

... A key part of the GOP strategy has been to delay certification processes in battleground states that Biden won, in the hopes that, if state officials miss their deadlines, legislators will subvert the popular vote and appoint pro-Trump slates to the Electoral College. But that’s extremely unlikely to happen.

Here’s a breakdown of the certification deadlines and other key dates in battleground states, and what will happen between now and Inauguration Day.


Friday: Georgia (Done, Biden victory certified.) ...

Monday: Michigan, Pennsylvania

Biden won these two states.

Monday is the deadline for counties in Pennsylvania to certify their totals and send them to Kathy Boockvar, the secretary of the commonwealth, who will certify the state results. Pennsylvania doesn’t have a hard deadline for when Boockvar must sign off, but there is no reason to expect a delay.

In Michigan, the Board of State Canvassers has scheduled a meeting Monday to review and certify the results previously certified by canvassing boards in each county. Despite Republican protests over the certification of results in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, the state is expected to certify on time.

Trump has invited Michigan Republican lawmakers to the White House on Friday, and his campaign is openly trying to block the certification process in the hopes of getting Republican state legislators to overrule millions of Michigan voters and appoint a pro-Trump slate to the Electoral College.

Legislators aren’t likely to do that. But even if they did, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, could certify a separate, pro-Biden slate of electors. It would then be up to Congress to choose between the two slates, and election lawyers say federal law would favor the governor’s, including if Congress deadlocked. Congress could also, in theory, toss out Michigan’s electoral votes altogether — in which case Biden would still win the Electoral College.

Tuesday: Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio

This is the certification deadline for Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio, none of which are expected to be contentious. Biden won Minnesota; Trump won North Carolina and Ohio.

Monday, Nov. 30: Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska ...

Tuesday, Dec. 1: Nevada, Wisconsin ...

Tuesday, Dec. 8

This is a key date in the democratic process: If states resolve all disputes and certify their results by Dec. 8, the results should be insulated from further legal challenges, ensuring that states won by Biden will send Biden delegates to the Electoral College.

The certification processes leading up to this date vary from state to state, but the final step is the same everywhere under federal law: The governor of each state must compile the certified results and send them to Congress, along with the names of the state’s Electoral College delegates.

Monday, Dec. 14

Electors will meet on Dec. 14 in their respective states and cast their votes. This vote is, constitutionally, what determines the next president.

Biden has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. Many states formally require their electors to vote for the candidate they pledged to vote for, generally the winner of the state’s popular vote. Historically, rogue electors have been few and far between, and have never altered the outcome.

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Congress is ultimately responsible for counting and certifying the votes cast by the Electoral College, and it is scheduled to do so on Jan. 6. ...

Wednesday, Jan. 20

Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

Anonymous said...

The Trump administration will soon be gone, however the administration is very active in ways that are meant to insure policy implementation will be difficult to undo by the Biden administration. This to me is a significant danger.

Anonymous said...


Has the Boston Globe properly noticed the sickening and dying in Massachusetts?

November 20, 2020



Cases   ( 200,949)
Deaths   ( 10,469)

Deaths per million   ( 1,519)

Anonymous said...

"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...

Note that the 1876 presidential election
(Rutherford Hayes vs Samuel Tilden) was
settled by Congress. Southern Dems of the
'Reconstruction Era' agreed to vote for
Hayes in turn for Congress ending the
military occupation of the South, and all
efforts toward post-Civil War reconstruction,
ushering in the 'Jim Crow Era' which lasted
another century. (Is that even over?)

Fred C. Dobbs said...

... More Republican lawmakers on Friday also publicly acknowledged Mr. Trump’s loss. Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, referred to Mr. Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris as “president-elect” and “vice-president elect” in an interview on ABC News. Representative Kay Granger, Republican from Texas, said on CNN that she had “great concerns” about Mr. Trump’s efforts to the upend the election, saying, “It’s time to move on.”

And Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee became the most prominent Republican lawmaker to press Mr. Trump to start the transition process, saying on Friday that it looks like Mr. Biden had a “very good chance” of winning. ...

(So have Romney, Murkowski & others, some half-heartedly at best.)

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Coronavirus - Boston Globe said...


Actually the 1876 election was settled by a special extra-constitutional commission that was set up. It may have been set up by Congress, but it was that commission that carried out the negotiations that led to the final outcome where two states that looked like they went to Tilden, the Dem, who was definitely the popular vote leader, were assigned to Hayes, the Republican, who then won the electoral college by one vote, but with the promise of removing Union troops from the South, thus effectively ending Reconstruction and paving the way for the later emergence of the Jim Crow laws and era.

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

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(According to Wikipedia, the 1876
presidential election was settled by)

The Compromise of 1877 was an unwritten deal, informally arranged among U.S. Congressmen, that settled the intensely disputed 1876 presidential election. It resulted in the United States federal government pulling the last troops out of the South, and ending the Reconstruction Era. Through the Compromise, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was awarded the White House over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden on the understanding that Hayes would remove the federal troops whose support was essential for the survival of Republican state governments in South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. Under the compromise, Democrats who controlled the House of Representatives allowed the decision of the Electoral Commission to take effect. The outgoing president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, removed the soldiers from Florida. As president, Hayes removed the remaining troops from South Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops left, many white Republicans also left, and the "Redeemer" Democrats, who already dominated other state governments in the South, took control. The exact terms of the agreement are somewhat contested as the documentation is insufficient.

Black Republicans felt betrayed as they lost power and were subject to discrimination and harassment to suppress their voting. By 1905, nearly all black men were effectively disenfranchised by state legislatures in every Southern state. ...

Sandwichman said...

So, if I understand right, in the 1877 election the Republicans were the "good guys" and the Democrats were the "bad guys." The "bad guys" won the election but then the "good guys" made a deal with the "bad guys" to do their dirty work as long as they could have the trophy prize. So the good guys were really bad guys and the bad guys were really bad guys. And there were no good guys.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

This was ostensibly to avoid a third
term for US Grant, hero of the Civil
War, as far as the 'good guys' were

Fred C. Dobbs said...

It may also be worth noting that
the only Dem presidents between the
Civil War and the Great Depression
were Andrew Johnson (who was elected
VP alongside Abe Lincoln even the
the former was a Dem & Lincoln was
GOP), Grover Cleveland, and Woodrow
Wilson. Go figure. But the South was
able to end Reconstruction prematurely.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Judge throws out Trump bid to stop Pennsylvania vote certification

AP via @BostonGlobe - November 21

Pennsylvania officials can certify election results that currently show Democrat Joe Biden winning the state by more than 80,000 votes, a federal judge ruled Saturday, dealing President Donald Trump’s campaign another blow in its effort to invalidate the election.

U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew Brann in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, turned down the request for an injunction by President Donald Trump’s campaign, spoiling the incumbent’s hopes of somehow overturning the results of the presidential contest.

Trump had argued that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law was violated when Pennsylvania counties took different approaches to notifying voters before the election about technical problems with their submitted mail-in ballots.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the seven Biden-majority counties that the campaign sued had argued Trump had previously raised similar claims and lost.

They told Brann the remedy the Trump campaign sought, to throw out millions of votes over alleged isolated issues, was far too extreme, particularly after most of them have been tallied.

“There is no justification on any level for the radical disenfranchisement they seek,” Boockvar’s lawyers wrote in a brief filed Thursday.

The state’s 20 electoral votes would not have been enough on their own to hand Trump a second term. Counties must certify their results to Boockvar by Monday, after which she will make her own certification.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will notify the winning candidate’s electors they should appear to vote in the Capitol on Dec. 14. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Judge Dismisses Trump Lawsuit Seeking to Delay Certification in Pennsylvania

NY Times - November 21

A federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed on Saturday night a lawsuit by the Trump campaign that had claimed there were widespread improprieties with mail-in ballots in the state, ending the last major effort to delay the certification of Pennsylvania’s vote results, which is scheduled to take place Monday.

In a scathing order, Judge Matthew W. Brann wrote that Mr. Trump’s campaign, which had asked him to effectively disenfranchise nearly seven million voters, should have come to court “armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption” in its efforts to essentially nullify the results of Pennsylvania’s election.

But instead, Judge Brann complained, the Trump campaign provided only “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” that were “unsupported by evidence.” ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Duty or Party? For Republicans, a Test of Whether to Enable Trump

NY Times - November 21

... “What Trump is doing is creating a road map to destabilization and chaos in future years,” said Trevor Potter, a Republican who served as chairman of the Federal Election Commission in the 1990s. “What he’s saying, explicitly, is if a party doesn’t like the election result they have the right to change it by gaming the system.”

Indeed, on Saturday night, Mr. Trump made his most explicit call yet for state legislatures to intervene with the aim of reversing the result, once again relying on false claims of fraud. “Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Trump’s gambit, never realistic to begin with, appears to be growing more futile by the day: Georgia became the first contested state on Friday to certify its vote for Mr. Biden, and the president continues to draw losing rulings from judges who bluntly note his failure to present any evidence of significant fraud or irregularities. On Saturday, in perhaps the most stinging blow, a federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed a lawsuit by the Trump campaign seeking to invalidate ballots, ending Mr. Trump’s last major effort to delay certification of the state’s results.

Some fellow Republicans have started breaking with him, including Senator Mitt Romney, a Trump critic, who said the president was seeking to “subvert the will of the people,” and Senator Marco Rubio, who has acknowledged Mr. Biden is the president-elect.

On Friday, Republican lawmakers in Michigan also made clear, after meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House, that they would allow the normal certification process to play out without interfering, a potentially important signal ahead of the certification decision by the state elections board on Monday.

But on Saturday, the national and Michigan state party chairs issued a statement calling on the canvassing board to delay certification beyond its Monday deadline, to conduct an audit. ...

Anonymous said...

Wisonsin, Wisconsin, Wisconsin!

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Wisconsin officials: Trump observers obstructing recount

AP - November 21

MILWAUKEE — Election officials in Wisconsin’s largest county accused observers for President Donald Trump on Saturday of seeking to obstruct a recount of the presidential results, in some instances by objecting to every ballot tabulators pulled to count.

Trump requested the recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties, both heavily liberal, in hopes of undoing Democrat Joe Biden’s victory by about 20,600 votes. With no precedent for a recount reversing such a large margin, Trump’s strategy is widely seen as aimed at an eventual court challenge, part of a push in key states to undo his election loss.

A steady stream of Republican complaints in Milwaukee was putting the recount far behind schedule, county clerk George Christenson said. He said many Trump observers were breaking rules by constantly interrupting vote counters with questions and comments.

“That’s unacceptable,” he said. He said some of the Trump observers “clearly don’t know what they are doing.”

Tim Posnanski, a county election commissioner, told his fellow commissioners there appeared to be two Trump representatives at some tables where tabulators were counting ballots, violating rules that call for one observer from each campaign per table. Posnanski said some Trump representatives seemed to be posing as independents.

At one recount table, a Trump observer objected to every ballot that tabulators pulled from a bag simply because they were folded, election officials told the panel.

Posnanski called it “prima facie evidence of bad faith by the Trump campaign.” He added later: “I want to know what is going on and why there continues to be obstruction.”

Joe Voiland, a lawyer speaking to commission members on behalf of the Trump campaign, denied his side was acting in bad faith.

“I want to get to the point of dialing everything down … and not yelling at each other,” Voiland said.

At least one Trump observer was escorted out of the building by sheriff’s deputies Saturday after pushing an election official who had lifted her coat from an observer chair. Another Trump observer was removed Friday for not wearing a face mask properly as required.

Trump paid $3 million, as required by state law, for the partial recount that began Friday and must conclude by Dec. 1.

His team is seeking to disqualify ballots where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted, even though the practice has long been accepted in Wisconsin.

The campaign also alleges thousands of absentee ballots don’t have proper written paperwork, and that some absentee voters improperly declared themselves “indefinitely confined,” a status that allows them to receive a ballot without photo ID. Those challenges were being rejected. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trumpian Internet data detectives outsmart themselves

via @BostonGlobe - November 18

As the Trump campaign offered up dubious anecdotes of election-rigging, Trump-friendly Internet data detectives raised an alarm of their own: allegations of voter fraud based purely on mathematics. One such analysis relied on Benford’s Law, a tool of forensic accounting ordinarily used to identify when records have been fabricated. By scrutinizing precinct-level vote totals in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the amateur data sleuths cited Benford’s Law to report that Biden’s votes seemed fishy whereas Trump’s looked genuine.

Alas, while the idea of employing a method for exposing white-collar financial crimes to catch the Biden campaign supposedly cooking the books has obvious appeal to Trump supporters, the argument is nonsense.

Benford’s Law concerns the first digits of a group of numbers; with the numbers 329, 490, and 1,232, we would focus only on the 3, 4, and 1. Counterintuitively, the law predicts that in many circumstances — business expenses, population sizes, lengths of rivers, incidences of disease — the leading digits 1 through 9 will not occur equally often. Instead, 1 will be the leading digit most frequently, around 30 percent of the time, with 2 the next most frequent (18 percent), and so on. That this distribution is so unexpected is what makes Benford’s Law so valuable. If you were trying to fake some financial figures to look “random” without knowing this fact, a mismatch with Benford’s Law could be a dead giveaway.

Why, exactly, the first digits show up with these same frequencies in different settings is a bit mysterious, but a common feature heralding the arrival of the Benford distribution is exponential growth. Imagine tracking a population of bacteria that doubles every day, so on the first day there was one cell, then two, four, eight, 16, and so on. Any of these numbers starting with a 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 would be followed immediately by a number starting with 1 as a result of the doubling; for example, 512 doubles to 1,024 and 8,192 doubles to 16,384. So it must be that in the overall list there are about as many leading-digit 1s as there are 5s through 9s combined.

Trump supporters claimed to have found that Biden’s vote totals in various places had a suspiciously low number of 1s and 2s as the leading digits. But precinct-level vote totals don’t have the properties that would trigger Benford’s Law. Instead, the numbers are constrained between certain bounds. As mathematicians and political scientists have pointed out, most of the precincts in Chicago, for example, reported between 300 and 700 total votes, of which the Biden-Harris ticket won approximately 82 percent. Their vote counts across precincts therefore contained a perfectly reasonable abundance of leading-digit 3s, 4s, and 5s, and not many 1s. Meanwhile, the 17 percent vote share won by Trump and Pence in Chicago generated more 1s, simply because their numbers were typically less than 200 votes won per precinct. In other words, Benford’s Law doesn’t apply at all here.

By tabulating the distribution of leading digits in order to lob allegations of fraud, Trump supporters succeeded only at finding creative new ways to remind us how badly he lost.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(It appears that the GA 'recount' was
insufficient. Trump has demanded another.)

Why Georgia’s Unscientific Recount ‘Horrified’ Experts

via @thenation - November 20

This week, thousands of Georgians sat at tables in rooms large and small across the state’s 159 counties and counted nearly 5 million paper ballots by hand, in what officials called a statewide audit of the general election outcome. Though the process ended by confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s lead, certified by the state on Friday, expert observers across the nation familiar with the state and its history with election technology looked on, feeling what one described as “horrified.”

These observers included computer scientists, cybersecurity analysts, an adviser to Congress on election integrity, and the statistician who invented the method of auditing elections that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the state was carrying out.

Their reactions to the noble efforts of exhausted election workers were not, they underlined, due to evidence of wrongdoing, or fraud, or challenges to the election’s legitimacy. Their concerns owed to the process being used, what state officials were calling it, and what this could mean for future attempts to build public trust in election results—including on January 5, when voters in Georgia will once again be in the national spotlight, as a special election decides the balance of power in the US Senate.

The series of events leading to the “audit” began with a flurry of attacks leveled at Raffensperger from within the GOP, launched not even a week after Election Day, urging everything from his resignation to a complete hand recount of all ballots from the November 3 election. ...

Georgia came to the idea of conducting risk-limiting audits last year, after US District Judge Amy Totenberg ordered the state to overhaul its entire election system because of outdated technology plagued by computing vulnerabilities. The state is one of only a handful that uses the same system statewide, whereas most states use a patchwork of voting methods; in addition, the voting machines then in use did not print out paper ballots. ...


AP - November 21

President Donald Trump’s campaign requested a recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race on Saturday, a day after state officials certified results showing Democrat Joe Biden won the state, as his legal team presses forward with attacks alleging widespread fraud without proof.

Georgia’s results showed Biden beating Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast, or 0.25%. State law allows a candidate to request a recount if the margin is less than 0.5%. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp formalized the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.

The Trump campaign sent a hand-delivered letter to the secretary of state’s office requesting the recount in an election that has been fraught with unfounded accusations of fraud by Trump and his supporters.

A Trump legal team statement said: “Today, the Trump campaign filed a petition for recount in Georgia. We are focused on ensuring that every aspect of Georgia State Law and the U.S. Constitution are followed so that every legal vote is counted. President Trump and his campaign continue to insist on an honest recount in Georgia, which has to include signature matching and other vital safeguards.” ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

The NY Times has the results as
306 electoral votes for Biden,
232 for Trump. Since that's
538 votes, all are accounted for.

There are five states where there are close margins:
WI, 10 ev; MI 16 ev; PA, 20 ev; GA, 16; AZ, 11.

Any three of these switched to Trump will get
him at least 38 electoral votes, which
is what he needs to win.

Must be three. Unlikely?

Except WI-GA/MI-AZ, which would make for
a tie, send the final vote to Congress,
where Trump will almost undoubtedly win,
because of the way in which ties are handled.

Anonymous said...

Trump will be gone soon, but we may be missing what is happening now:

November 22, 2020

Trump Exits Open Skies Treaty, Moves to Discard Observation Planes
Without specialized aircraft and equipment, Biden administration would have difficult time re-entering post-Cold War pact
By Michael R. Gordon - Wall Street Journal

The Trump administration formally shut the door on the Open Skies treaty Sunday, exiting the agreement while moving to get rid of the U.S. Air Force planes that have been used to carry out the nearly three-decade-old accord.

President Trump had served notice in May that the U.S. would withdraw in six months from the accord, which was intended to reduce the risk of war by allowing Russia and the West to carry out unarmed reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories.

Anonymous said...

The Trump administration is trying to lock into place every perverse policy they can. This is truly a perverse presidency, but I fear this may not be as readily countered by the Biden administration as I had hoped.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump announced plans to pull out of the Opwn
Skies agreement with Russia about 6 months ago.

(It involved having Russian planes prowling in
US airspace, which presumably annoys the Trump

AP - May 26

President Donald Trump last week announced Washington’s intention to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty, arguing that Russian violations made it untenable for the United States to remain a party. Russia denied breaching the pact, which came into force in 2002, and the European Union has urged the U.S. to reconsider.

The accord was intended to build trust between Russia and the West by allowing its more than three dozen signatories to conduct reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories to collect information about military forces and activities. ... said...

Yes, pulling out of the Open Skies Agreement is a big deal, and barely noticed amidst all the other wreckage going on.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

One might get the impression that
pulling out is something the Russians
could have requested.

However, it would be likely that spy
satellite technology is quite sufficient
to make up for direct over flights, on both sides.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Business Leaders, Citing Damage to Country, Urge Trump to Begin Transition

NY Times - November 23

Concerned that President Trump’s refusal to accept the election results is hurting the country, more than 100 chief executives plan to ask the administration on Monday to immediately acknowledge Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the winner and begin the transition to a new administration.

As a way of gaining leverage over the G.O.P., some of the executives have also discussed withholding campaign donations from the two Republican Senate candidates in Georgia unless party leaders agree to push for a presidential transition, according to four people who participated in a conference call Friday in which the notion was discussed. The two runoff elections in Georgia, which will take place in early January, will determine the balance of power in the United States Senate.

In a letter they plan to send Monday, business leaders will demand that Emily W. Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, issue a letter of ascertainment affirming that Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have won the election. Ms. Murphy has so far resisted calls to begin the normal transition planning, which includes providing resources and money to an incoming administration as it prepares to take control.

“Every day that an orderly presidential transition process is delayed, our democracy grows weaker in the eyes of our own citizens and the nation’s stature on the global stage is diminished,” the executives write in the letter, a draft of which was reviewed by The New York Times. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk.”

Among the business leaders who plan to sign the letter are George H. Walker, the chief executive of the money manager Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to President George W. Bush, and Jon Gray, president of the private-equity firm Blackstone.

The initiative comes as Mr. Trump has refused to acknowledge Mr. Biden as the winner, subverted the nation’s electoral process with unfounded claims of fraud, and put pressure on state Republicans to try to impede certification of the results. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...


NYT: At the urging of New York’s attorney general, business leaders in
New York push for the Trump administration to begin a transfer of power. ...

... New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, was asked to approach business leaders
in her jurisdiction about the possibility of pushing the stalled transition into motion.

“She said they asked her to reach out to the New York business community,” Kathryn
Wylde, the chief executive of the Partnership for New York City...

There are about 300 members.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

'Open Skies' related:

China lashes out at US withdrawal from open skies treaty

via @ABC - November 23

BEIJING -- China on Monday lashed out at Washington over its withdrawal from the “Open Skies Treaty” with Russia, saying the move undermined military trust and transparency and imperiled future attempts at arms control.

The treaty, to which China is not a signatory, had allowed each country overflight rights to inspect military facilities. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers is now under a microscope

NY Times - November 23

The work of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers ..., with two Republicans and two Democrats, will meet at 1 p.m.

While the winner is clear — Joseph R. Biden Jr. beat President Trump in the state by over 150,000 votes, according to the Michigan Bureau of Elections — Mr. Trump and his Republican allies are trying to upend that reality with baseless claims about discrepancies in the vote tallies, and they are urging the board to refuse to certify the election results.

Election law experts say the certification vote is a strictly ministerial duty that the board members are obligated to fulfill, but political operatives in Michigan are preparing for a possible chain of events in which the two Republicans on the board follow the Trump campaign’s wishes.

A 2-to-2 deadlock, which would prolong Republicans’ unprecedented attempts to overturn this year’s presidential race, would most likely prompt Democrats to ask the state Court of Appeals to order the board to do its constitutional duty and certify the election results. ...

Also, Pennsylvania and Michigan will consider certifying election results today

Despite moves by Republicans to subvert the results of the presidential election, Pennsylvania is scheduled to certify its vote results on Monday, and a board in Michigan is set to consider doing the same. ...

A federal judge dismissed a Trump campaign challenge to Pennsylvania’s results on Saturday, eliminating the last major effort to delay certification there. The campaign and the case’s other plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal on Sunday.

Other key states, including Michigan and Nevada, also have to certify their results. The Board of State Canvassers in Michigan is scheduled to meet on Monday to consider the certification of results that have already been certified by county canvassing boards. The state board is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats. ... said...


Did you notice that what you posted mentioned the Michigan certification three separate times as new stories?

Regarding 100 CEOs calling for Trump to concede, well, these are just coastal elites under the control of George Soros resisting the Will of the Real American People. Hey! Get with the program!

Fred C. Dobbs said...

It seems that the Michigan certification
is still an on-going story, alas.

The '100 CEOs' story appears to be
intentionally ambiguous.


What if Trump won’t leave the White House?

via @BostonGlobe - November 23

A hostage negotiator, an animal-control officer, and a toddler whisperer have advice. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump Is Running Out Of Time As Key States Set To Certify That Biden Won

NPR - November 23

... Here's the latest in each state:


After a judge said the Trump legal team did not show "factual proof of rampant corruption" and dismissed the Trump campaign's attempts to block certification, the campaign is appealing.

In his opinion dismissing Trump's case — argued by Rudy Giuliani, who struggled in his first appearance in court in decades — Judge Matthew Brann, a Republican, wrote:

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

Individual counties must certify their results to the secretary of state by Monday, and then she makes her own certification.


WKAR's Abigail Censky reports: At the Michigan Board of State Canvassers meeting on Monday, two Democrats and two Republicans will meet to certify the results of Michigan's election. Unofficial results from all 83 counties have already been certified at the county level.

Despite Republicans' continued alarm bells about election irregularities, lawsuits have been thrown out or withdrawn, and state and local election officials, including a Friday report from the state's Bureau of Elections, prove Michigan's election was secure.

The president has also been applying pressure to state lawmakers to either try and not certify the results or to install electors loyal to Trump. On Thursday, the president summoned senior Republicans in Michigan's state Legislature to the White House.

But those lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, said after the meeting that they see no reason for the outcome not to match the vote — with Biden winning.

"We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan," they said in a joint statement, "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."


An attempt to stop Nevada's certification, brought by failed Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle, was thrown out Friday.

Angle's group, the Election Integrity Project, claimed that some 1,400 votes cast were done for people who had actually moved to California and registered to vote there, and that about 8,000 ballots were mailed to people who had not voted in a decade, which is against Nevada law.

Biden won the state by more than 33,000 votes.

"The civil remedy of throwing out an election is just a shocking ask," District Court Judge Gloria Sturman told the group's attorney. "You are asking me to throw out 1.4 million votes on the chance that somewhere between 250 and 8,000 people should not have voted."

Fred C. Dobbs said...

What's next?

The following week sees two more key states certify their results: Arizona on Nov. 30 and Wisconsin on Dec. 1. Biden won both states narrowly.

The Trump campaign requested a recount in two heavily Democratic-leaning counties that put Biden over the top in Wisconsin. But election officials in the state are complaining that Trump campaign observers are obstructing and slowing down the recount from actually happening, "in some instances by objecting to every ballot tabulators pulled to count," The Associated Press reports.

States are set to finalize their electors on Dec. 8, then electors will cast votes in state capitols Dec. 14. Those votes will be received by Vice President Pence on Dec. 23, and then Congress tallies them Jan. 6 before Biden is inaugurated Jan. 20.

The Trump campaign may try to drag this out as long as possible, filing in many cases frivolous challenges and appeals. But pressure this week will likely only build on those around him to abandon Trump or convince him to give up what appears to be an even more futile fight as the days go on.


(Not done with GA yet either...)

Trump Requests Georgia Recount, Meaning 5 Million Votes Will Be Tabulated A 3rd Time

NPR - November 22

Georgia's nearly 5 million votes in the presidential race will be counted for a third time, as President Trump's campaign has formally asked for a recount because his loss is within the legal margin for that request.

Of the 4,998,482 ballots cast in the race between Trump and President-elect Joe Biden, the president lost by 12,670 votes, or about 0.26 percentage points. State law allows a losing candidate within 0.5 percentage points to ask for a recount within two business days of certification.

While thousands of workers spent most of the last week hand-counting every vote as part of a newly required statewide risk-limiting audit, this recount will be different.

The law calls for a recount to be conducted by retabulating every ballot through a scanner, the same way they were originally counted in the days following the Nov. 3 election. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(But of course...)

Trump campaign appeals Pennsylvania mail-in ballots case as state on verge of certifying election results

Newsweek - November 22

Trump's presidential election campaign is appealing a Pennsylvania judge's decision to dismiss its lawsuit challenging the state's ballot counting procedures, with intent to halt its upcoming certification of results.

The appeal, filed Sunday, came about 24 hours after District Court Judge Matthew Brann issued a ruling that tossed out allegations included in the Trump campaign's legal complaint. In his decision, Brann noted that attorneys failed to provide sufficient evidence supporting their insistent claims that misconduct on the part of elections officials gave Joe Biden his projected presidential win. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(That letter - updated.)

Business Leaders, Citing Damage to Country, Urge Trump to Begin Transition

Concerned that President Trump’s refusal to accept the election results is hurting the country, more than 160 top American executives asked the administration on Monday to immediately acknowledge Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the president-elect and begin the transition to a new administration.

Even one of Mr. Trump’s stalwart supporters, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of Blackstone, the private equity firm, said in a statement that “the outcome is very certain today and the country should move on.” While he did not sign a letter sent to the administration by the other executives, he said he was “now ready to help President-elect Biden and his team.”

Signatories to the letter included the chief executives of Mastercard, Visa, MetLife, Accenture, the Carlyle Group, Condé Nast, McGraw-Hill, WeWork and American International Group, among others. They included some of the most important players in the financial industry: David M. Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; Laurence D. Fink, chief executive of the asset management giant BlackRock; Jon Gray, Blackstone’s president; and Henry R. Kravis, a prominent Republican donor who is the co-chief executive of KKR, a private equity firm. ...

164 New York business leaders urge the Trump
Administration to Move Forward with Transition

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Board of Canvassers certifies Michigan’s election results

The Board of State Canvassers certified Michigan’s November general election results in a 3-0-1 vote Monday.

The board, made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, met Nov. 23 to make the vote count official after all 83 Michigan counties certified their election results, which include Joe Biden’s 2.8% statewide victory over President Donald Trump. The state certification of the more than 5.5 million ballots cast comes after Trump and his attorneys and supporters persistently called for delaying certification. Board of State Canvasser Norman Shinkle abstained from the vote.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump concedes in all but name as he lets transition to Biden begin

via @MailOnline - November 23

BREAKING NEWS: Donald Trump concedes in all but name as he caves and lets
transition to Joe Biden FINALLY begin after Michigan certifies Democrat's
victory in state - but STILL claims he can prevail in doomed legal fight
to overturn election results

Donald Trump took a massive step towards admitting defeat in the election Monday night by saying he was allowing the transition to Joe Biden to begin - but immediately claimed he can still overturn his defeat at the hands of voters.

General Services Administration Chief Emily Murphy told President-elect Biden in a letter that he can start accessing federal resources to begin the presidential transition process early Monday evening.

Murphy released a letter to Biden announcing the move - that dedicated a considerable portion to defending her own reputation and claiming she had been threatened. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump says he’s directing his team to cooperate with Biden officials as GSA allows formal transition to begin

via @BostonGlobe - November 23

WASHINGTON (AP) — The General Services Administration ascertained Monday that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from President Donald Trump’s administration and allowing Biden to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20.

Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said in a tweet that he is directing his team to cooperate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.

Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, citing, “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.” Michigan certified Biden’s victory Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.

Donald J. Trump ✓ @realDonaldTrump

I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good...

...fight, and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.

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Fred C. Dobbs said...

Partisan gerrymandering has made Trump’s last ditch, constitution-busting stress test for American democracy possible

via @BostonGlobe - November 24

Alarm bells rang nationwide when President Trump summoned Michigan’s Republican House speaker and Senate majority leader to Washington on Nov. 20 to make his case for the Legislature to overturn the state’s popular vote and award Michigan’s 16 Electoral College votes to Trump instead.

Almost two weeks after every network called the race for Joe Biden, the president, in a brazen effort to usurp the people’s will, wanted to arm-twist GOP-controlled legislatures in swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to declare, without any evidence, that voter fraud and other irregularities made it impossible to certify Biden as the winner. The electors, he believed, belonged to him. Bigly!

There’s a reason why Trump focused on those states. Partisan gerrymandering has made Trump’s last-ditch, Constitution-busting stress test for American democracy possible. Republicans in each of these states owe their majorities to gerrymandered maps that stifle public opinion and entrench minority rule.

Republicans in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are the national experts at maintaining a hammer-lock on power despite winning fewer votes. Republicans drew themselves such extreme advantages that they have not lost control of a single chamber in those three states for a decade, even when they lose by hundreds of thousands of votes statewide.

Those Michigan leaders, courted at the White House, who then celebrated at the Trump Hotel bar with $795 bottles of Dom Perignon? Among them was Lee Chatfield, the Michigan House speaker willing to indulge Trump’s scheme. He also chairs the Republican State Leadership Committee, the organization that took the lead on the GOP’s 2010 gerrymandering strategy.

In Wisconsin, days after a recount affirmed Biden’s victory, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos ordered the elections subcommittee to immediately investigate “mail-in ballot dumps and voter fraud” and to assure that “any and all irregularities” were found. Vos and the GOP control the Wisconsin assembly with an unmerited 63-36 majority even though Democratic candidates won more than 200,000 more votes in 2018.

House Republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, meanwhile, tasked a committee with compiling a report on election “inconsistencies” and developing an audit to guarantee “the accuracy of the votes.” The GOP controls that chamber even though its candidates won 381,000 fewer votes statewide in 2018. You could hardly describe it as a democracy: Democrats won 54 percent of the vote but just 44 percent of the seats.

Leaders of these rigged Republican majorities weren’t called on just to help with Trump’s efforts to subvert the results after the election. They were also crucial to enabling Trump’s narrative that he led on election night, then had his lead erased when “fraudulent” mail-in votes from Philadelphia, Detroit, and Milwaukee were added to the totals.

Trump had telegraphed the plan for months. Republican lawmakers in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were begged by their secretaries of state and nonpartisan election officials to prevent this delegitimizing story line from taking hold. In part by getting a jump-start on vote-counting. Forty other states allow election workers a head start; nevertheless, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin refused. Michigan Republicans dragged their feet, then finally relented and allowed clerks to begin 10 hours early. Aided by these lawmakers and conservative media bubbles, Trump’s fantasy became fact among many Republicans. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Pennsylvania certifies Biden as winner of presidential vote

via @BostonGlobe - November 24

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Democrat Joe Biden has been certified as the winner of the presidential election in Pennsylvania, culminating three weeks of vote counting and a string of failed legal challenges by President Donald Trump, state officials said Tuesday.

The Pennsylvania State Department “certified the results of the November 3 election in Pennsylvania for president and vice president of the United States,” Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, tweeted.

“As required by federal law, I’ve signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris," Wolf wrote.

The State Department said Wolf's “certificate of ascertainment” has been sent to the national archivist in Washington. Pennsylvania's electors, a mix of elected Democrats, party activists and other staunch Biden backers, will meet in the state Capitol on Dec. 14. ...


Biden win over Trump in in Nevada made official by court

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Nevada Supreme Court made Joe Biden’s win in the state official on Tuesday, approving the state’s final canvass of the Nov. 3 election.

The unanimous action by the seven nonpartisan justices sends to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak results that will deliver six electoral votes from the western U.S. battleground state to Biden. ... said...

I am not going to do a new post on this topic, but in today;s (Nov. 25) WaPo, David Ignatius warns we are not totally out of danger of a possible coup attempt, arguing we need to get to the electoral college vote on Dec. 14 to be really fully past it. He sees both a domestic danger and a foreign one, with indeed the play for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act and directly command the military to do it, with now flunky SecDef Miller following, with Joint Chiefs Chair, Milley out of the line of command, and with the key person being the Atlantic command chief, an Air Force general.

The most serious domestic threat is another MAGA rally in DC on Dec. 12, two days before the EC votes. If that gets too out of hand with fighting between the pro and anti Trump people, that might give him his excuse.

Foreign would be an outbreak of war, possibly even started by Trump as apparently he has been wanting to do with Iran. But some other nation could kick it off with some unpleasant action giving Trump the excuse.

All this looks pretty unlikely now, not worth a whole post. But Ignatius is a smart and well-informed guy, and he is reporting what some serious people in DC are worrying about, and he warns the Biden team should be prepared for some possible shenanigans along these lines. The continuing worrying thing about all this is the large number of both pro-Trump voters and even GOP officeholders who continue not to recognize that Biden has won, which would provide a possible support base for something like this.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(Here's what happens in Congress on January 6, 2021,
to finalize the the vote of the Electoral College
that happens on December 14:)

The Electoral College: A 2020 Presidential Election Timeline

Congressional Research Service - updated October 22

January 6, 2021: Joint Session of Congress to Count
Electoral Votes and Declare Election Results Meets
On January 6, or another date set by law, the Senate and
House of Representatives assemble at 1:00 p.m. in a joint
session at the Capitol, in the House chamber, to count the
electoral votes and declare the results(3 U.S.C. §15). The
Vice President presides as President of the Senate. The Vice
President opens the certificates and presents them to four
tellers, two from each chamber. The tellers read and make a
list of the returns. When the votes have been ascertained
and counted, the tellers transmit them to the Vice President.

If one of the tickets has received a majority of 270 or more
electoral votes, the Vice President announces the results,
which “shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the
persons, if any, elected President and Vice President.”

Joint Session Challenges to Electoral Vote Returns

While the tellers announce the results, Members may object
to the returns from any individual state as they are
Objections to individual state returns must be
made in writing by at least one Member each of the Senate
and House of Representatives. If an objection meets these
requirements, the joint session recesses and the two houses
separate and debate the question in their respective
chambers for a maximum of two hours. The two houses
then vote separately to accept or reject the objection. They
then reassemble in joint session, and announce the results of
their respective votes. An objection to a state’s electoral
vote must be approved by both houses in order for any
contested votes to be excluded.

For additional information,
see CRS Report RL32717, Counting Electoral Votes: An
Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including
Objections by Members of Congress, coordinated by
Elizabeth Rybicki and L. Paige Whitaker.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump utters one falsehood after another as he calls into Giuliani event in Pennsylvania

via @BostonGlobe - November 25

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday baselessly claimed anew that he had won the election and uttered repeated falsehoods as he called into an event held by Pennsylvania Republicans to investigate unproven allegations of voter fraud.

“This was an election that we won easily. We won it by a lot,” Trump declared to the group gathered at a hotel in Gettysburg. Trump, in fact, lost to President-elect Joe Biden by about 150,000 votes in the state, and Pennsylvania certified Biden as the winner on Tuesday.

The Pennsylvania event was the latest attempt by Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, to try to cast doubt on the results of the democratic election, even as the formal transition process has begun and a growing number of Republicans are recognizing Biden as president-elect. Similar events have been scheduled in Arizona and Michigan.

State election officials across the county and international observers have said there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and Trump’s legal team has lost repeatedly in court, in addition to making numerous elementary errors.

Wednesday’s event, hastily organized by Republican state lawmakers, including Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, an outspoken Trump supporter, came with trappings of an official hearing — flags, a gavel, and unsworn “witnesses” who “testified” in person and by phone.

Among them was a special guest — the president — who at one point had been expected to attend in person, but did not after another member of his legal team announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday morning.

Trump spoke for about 11 minutes via a phone held up to a microphone by his lawyer Jenna Ellis and insisted again that the election had been “rigged” for Biden.

“This election has to be turned around,” he stated.

It was yet another stunning declaration from an American president advocating overturning a democratic election and the voters’ will because he wants to stay in power.

The hotel where the Senate Majority Policy Committee met is about a mile from the scene of Pickett’s Charge, where Union troops repelled a desperate Confederate attack in July 1863. It helped turn the tide of the American Civil War against the slave-owning South.

The Trump campaign on Wednesday asked the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals for the chance for Giuliani to give oral arguments in its appeal over the vote count in Pennsylvania. The court has not yet said if it will hear arguments.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Over 30 Trump Campaign Lawsuits Have Failed. Some Rulings Are Scathing

NY Times - November 25

Judges, a generally sober lot, are not as a rule given to snark, sarcasm or outbursts of emotion in their orders.

But in the nearly three dozen lawsuits challenging the 2020 election that the Trump campaign and its proxies have either lost or withdrawn in recent weeks, a number of judges have lost patience.

Here are some scathing excerpts from their rulings:


Oct. 10

“Perhaps Plaintiffs are right that guards should be placed near drop boxes, signature-analysis experts should examine every mail-in ballot, poll watchers should be able to man any poll regardless of location, and other security improvements should be made. But the job of an unelected federal judge isn’t to suggest election improvements, especially when those improvements contradict the reasoned judgment of democratically elected officials.”

“Put differently, federal judges can have a lot of power — especially when issuing injunctions. And sometimes we may even have a good idea or two. But the Constitution sets out our sphere of decision-making, and that sphere does not extend to second-guessing and interfering with a state’s reasonable, nondiscriminatory election rules.”

Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, dismissing the Trump campaign’s attempt to stop Pennsylvania counties from using ballot drop boxes and from tallying absentee ballots that were not in a “secrecy” envelope.

Nov. 21

“This claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together… This Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more.”

Judge Matthew W. Brann of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, dismissing the Trump campaign’s attempt to block certification of Pennsylvania’s election result. (The state certified its results on Tuesday.) ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...


Nov. 2

“Here, the court finds the plaintiffs did not act with alacrity. There has been an increasing amount of conversation and action around the subject of implementing drive-through voting since earlier this summer…”

“At virtually any point, but certainly by October 12, 2020, plaintiffs could have filed this action. Instead, they waited until October 28, 2020 at 9:08 p.m. to file their complaint and did not file their actual motion for temporary relief until midday on October 30, 2020 — the last day of early voting.”

Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, dismissing a Republican-led lawsuit seeking to end drive-through voting in heavily Democratic Harris County, Texas.


Nov. 6

“This ‘supplemental evidence’ is inadmissible as hearsay. The assertion that Connarn was informed by an unknown individual what ‘other hired poll workers at her table’ had been told is inadmissible hearsay within hearsay, and plaintiffs have provided no hearsay exception for either level of hearsay that would warrant consideration of the evidence."

Judge Cynthia Stephens of the Michigan Court of Claims, dismissing a Republican-led lawsuit attempting to stop the count of absentee ballots in the state.

Nov. 13

“Perhaps if plaintiffs’ election challenger affiants had attended the Oct. 29, 2020, walk-through of the TCF Center ballot-counting location, questions and concerns could have been answered in advance of Election Day. Regrettably, they did not and, therefore, plaintiffs’ affiants did not have a full understanding” of the absentee ballot tabulation process.”

Judge Timothy M. Kenny of the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan, dismissing a Republican-led suit seeking to stop the certification of the vote in Wayne County. (Michigan certified its results on Monday.)


Nov. 19

“To halt the certification at literally the 11th hour would breed confusion and disenfranchisement that I find have no basis in fact and law.”

Judge Steven D. Grimberg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, in a ruling from the bench, turning down an emergency request from a Trump supporter, L. Lin Wood, to halt certification of the vote in Georgia. (Georgia certified its results on Friday.)

Nov. 20

“Although Wood generally claims fundamental unfairness, and the declarations and testimony submitted in support of his motion speculate as to widespread impropriety, the actual harm alleged by Wood concerns merely a “garden variety” election dispute. Wood does not allege unfairness in counting the ballots; instead, he alleges that select non-party, partisan monitors were not permitted to observe the Audit in an ideal manner. Wood presents no authority, and the Court finds none, providing for a right to unrestrained observation or monitoring of vote counting, recounting, or auditing.

Judge Grimberg, once again turning down Mr. Wood’s emergency request to halt certification of the vote in Georgia.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump says he will leave if electoral college votes for Biden

NY Times via @BostonGlobe - November 26

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would leave the White House if the Electoral College formalized Joe Biden’s election as president, even as he reiterated baseless claims of fraud that he said would make it “very hard” to concede.

Taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day, Trump also threw himself into the battle for Senate control, saying he would soon travel to Georgia to support Republican candidates in two runoff elections scheduled there on Jan. 5.

When asked whether he would leave office in January after the Electoral College cast its votes for Biden on Dec. 14 as expected, Trump replied: “Certainly I will. Certainly I will.”

Speaking in the Diplomatic Room of the White House after a Thanksgiving video conference with members of the U.S. military, the president insisted that “shocking” new evidence about voting problems would surface before Inauguration Day. “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede,” he said, “because we know that there was massive fraud.”

But even as he continued to deny the reality of his defeat, Trump also seemed to acknowledge that his days as president were numbered.

“Time is not on our side,” he said, in a rare admission of weakness. He also complained that what he referred to, prematurely, as “the Biden administration” had declared its intention to scrap his “America First” foreign policy vision. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

... The election results left Democrats holding 48 seats in the U.S. Senate. If Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic challengers in Georgia, can both pull off victories over Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, their party will gain de facto control of a Senate divided 50-50 because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would wield a tiebreaking vote.

In his remarks on Thursday, Mr. Trump said he would visit Georgia on Saturday. Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, later clarified that the president meant Saturday, Dec. 5.

The president added that he could return to the state to back the Republicans a second time, “depending on how they’re doing.”

It is unclear how helpful Mr. Trump’s appearances would be for the two embattled Republican incumbents. After a hand recount of a close vote, Georgia declared Mr. Biden the winner there on Nov. 19 by a margin of 12,284 votes. Mr. Biden is the first Democrat to carry the state in a presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1992.

Mr. Trump insisted on Thursday that he had won the vote by a significant margin. “We were robbed. We were robbed,” he said. “I won that by hundreds of thousands of votes. Everybody knows it.”

Asked whether he would attend Mr. Biden’s inauguration, as is customary for a departing president, Mr. Trump was coy.

“I don’t want to say that yet,” the president said, adding, “I know the answer, but I just don’t want to say.”

At times, Mr. Trump shifted his explanation of his defeat from claims of fraud to complaints that the political battlefield had been slanted against him, casting the news media and technology companies as his enemies.

“If the media were honest and big tech was fair, it wouldn’t even be a contest,” he said. “And I would have won by a tremendous amount.”

After seeming to concede reality, Mr. Trump quickly caught himself and revised his conditional statement.

“And I did win by a tremendous amount,” he added.

Trump, Still Claiming Victory, Says He Will Leave if Electors Choose Biden

NY Times - November 26

Fred C. Dobbs said...

So, this is not the second GA recount, because the first one was a 're-tally'.

Trump recount in Georgia

ATLANTA — President Donald Trump’s campaign has requested a recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race, a day after state officials certified results showing Democrat Joe Biden won the state.

But the Peach State just had a recount, right? Why are we doing another one? Here's everything you need to know.

WHO WON? Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the state’s election results on Friday. Those results showed former Vice President Joe Biden beat President Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp then certified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.

ANOTHER ONE? Before certifying, Georgia conducted an audit (state law required) which amounted to hand recount of all five million ballots. This was the largest hand count in US history and was considered a retally.

BUT WHY? Under Georgia state law (O.C.G.A. § 21-2-495), a losing candidate may request a recount if the margin is less than or equal to 0.5%. If this threshold is not met, there are no grounds for a candidate to request a recount in Georgia.

BY HAND OR MACHINE? Unlike the audit, this will be done by machine, under the rules of the Georgia Election Code (Rule 183-1-1-15-.03). That also means it will not take as long as the hand audit did.

WHEN WILL IT START? The Secretary of State’s office said counties can't start any earlier than 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? The state bought several high-speed/large-volume scanners as part of its new system, so it won't take as long as the audit did. Georgia's Secretary of State says it will take four days to complete the machine recount of five million presidential ballots. Some counties can get it done in two days, while it may take larger counties four days. The deadline for the counties to complete the recount is midnight on Dec. 2.

SIGNATURE MATCHING? The trump campaign specifically mentioned the signature matching in its request for a recount. They said: "Without signature matching, this recount would be a sham and again allow for illegal votes to be counted." However, signature matching is not possible at this point. Under the Georgia constitution, ballots are secret and cannot be traced to the voter. Signatures of one million absentee ballots were already matched. Four million ballots cast in person were matched with the voter's ID.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

US appeals court rejects Trump appeal over Pennsylvania race

via @BostonGlobe - November 27

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — President Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected the campaign’s latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.

Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court despite the judges’ assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit.”

“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote for the three-judge panel.

The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann had said the campaign’s error-filled complaint, “like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together” and denied Giuliani the right to amend it for a second time.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called that decision justified. The three judges on the panel were all appointed by Republican presidents. including Bibas, a former University of Pennsylvania law professor appointed by Trump. Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, sat on the court for 20 years, retiring in 2019.

“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” Bibas said in the opinion, which also denied the campaign’s request to stop the state from certifying its results, a demand he called “breathtaking.” ...

Trump perhaps hopes a Supreme Court he helped steer toward a conservative 6-3 majority would be more open to his pleas, especially since the high court upheld Pennsylvania’s decision to accept mail-in ballots through Nov. 6 by only a 4-4 vote last month. Since then, Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett has joined the court.

“The activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud,” Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis tweeted after Friday’s ruling. “On to SCOTUS!” ...

On Thursday, Trump said the Nov. 3 election was still far from over. Yet he offered the clearest signal to date that he would leave the White House peaceably on Jan. 20 if the Electoral College formalizes Biden’s win.

“Certainly I will. But you know that,” Trump said at the White House, taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day.

On Friday, however, he continued to baselessly attack Detroit, Atlanta and other Democratic cities with large Black populations as the source of “massive voter fraud.” And he claimed, without evidence, that a Pennsylvania poll watcher had uncovered computer memory drives that “gave Biden 50,000 votes” apiece.

All 50 states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. Biden won both the Electoral College and popular vote by wide margins.

Calgacus said...

Well, Joe Lauria of Consortium News speculated shortly after the election that:

"After the Democrats played the fabulist Russiagate card to undermine Trump’s legitimacy, they should not be surprised by Republican efforts to undermine Biden’s. This is U.S. politics in a downward spiral."

ELECTION 2020: Payback For Russiagate

CNN basically confirmed this later:

"President Donald Trump told an ally that he knows he lost, but that he is delaying the transition process and is aggressively trying to sow doubt about the election results in order to get back at Democrats for questioning the legitimacy of his own election in 2016, especially with the Russia investigation, a source familiar with the President’s thinking told CNN on Thursday."

Trump told ally he's trying to get back at Democrats for questioning legitimacy of his own election

CNN Follows CN by 8 Days on Russiagate Payback Story

So it seems that is what all this is about. Hard to say which side's behavior is more infantile and reckless.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

The Rotting of the Republican Mind

NY Times - David Brooks - November 26

In a recent Monmouth University survey, 77 percent of Trump backers said Joe Biden had won the presidential election because of fraud. Many of these same people think climate change is not real. Many of these same people believe they don’t need to listen to scientific experts on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

We live in a country in epistemological crisis, in which much of the Republican Party has become detached from reality. Moreover, this is not just an American problem. All around the world, rising right-wing populist parties are floating on oceans of misinformation and falsehood. What is going on?

Many people point to the internet — the way it funnels people into information silos, the way it abets the spread of misinformation. I mostly reject this view. Why would the internet have corrupted Republicans so much more than Democrats, the global right more than the global left?

My analysis begins with a remarkable essay that Jonathan Rauch wrote for National Affairs in 2018 called “The Constitution of Knowledge.” Rauch pointed out that every society has an epistemic regime, a marketplace of ideas where people collectively hammer out what’s real. In democratic, nontheocratic societies, this regime is a decentralized ecosystem of academics, clergy members, teachers, journalists and others who disagree about a lot but agree on a shared system of rules for weighing evidence and building knowledge. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

One pandemic, two different worlds in Georgia runoff races

AP via @BostonGlobe - November 28

BUENA VISTA, Ga. — Across the grounds of a south Georgia courthouse, scores of masked and socially distanced voters bowed their heads in prayer for the 260,000-plus Americans who have died from the coronavirus.

Then Democratic Senate hopeful Raphael Warnock took the microphone, promising to push for more economic aid for businesses and people affected by the pandemic and touting Democratic plans to combat long-standing racial and wealth disparities highlighted by the crisis. ...

It's two starkly different worlds on display in Georgia, where the national political spotlight is shining on twin Senate runoffs that will determine which party controls the chamber at the outset of President-elect Joe Biden’s Democratic administration. Republicans need one more seat for a majority; Democrats need a sweep on Jan. 5.

For Republicans, the pandemic is secondary in a runoff blitz defined by dire warnings about what it would mean if Warnock defeats Loeffler and Perdue falls to Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. Democrats, meanwhile, are more than eager to discuss COVID-19 and its economic fallout. The messaging differences bleed over to the two sides’ public health protocols, as well. The approaches largely track the fall presidential campaign, when Trump wanted to talk about anything but the virus, while Biden centered his pitch around Trump’s handling of it. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

For Trump, 20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election

Washington Post via @BostonGlobe - November 28

WASHINGTON - The facts were indisputable: President Donald Trump had lost.

But Trump refused to see it that way. Sequestered in the White House and brooding out of public view after his election defeat, rageful and at times delirious in a torrent of private conversations, Trump was, in the telling of one close adviser, like "Mad King George, muttering, 'I won. I won. I won.' "

However cleareyed that Trump's aides may have been about his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, many of them nonetheless indulged their boss and encouraged him to keep fighting with legal appeals. They were "happy to scratch his itch," this adviser said. "If he thinks he won, it's like, 'Shh . . . we won't tell him.' "

Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin, for instance, discussed with Trump a poll he had conducted after the election that showed Trump with a positive approval rating, a plurality of the country who thought the media had been "unfair and biased against him" and a majority of voters who believed their lives were better than four years earlier, according to two people familiar with the conversation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. As expected, Trump lapped it up.

The result was an election aftermath without precedent in U.S. history. With his denial of the outcome, despite a string of courtroom defeats, Trump endangered America's democracy, threatened to undermine national security and public health, and duped millions of his supporters into believing, perhaps permanently, that Biden was elected illegitimately.

Trump's allegations and the hostility of his rhetoric - and his singular power to persuade and galvanize his followers - generated extraordinary pressure on state and local election officials to embrace his fraud allegations and take steps to block certification of the results. When some of them refused, they accepted security details for protection from the threats they were receiving.

"It was like a rumor Whac-A-Mole," said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Despite being a Republican who voted for Trump, Raffensperger said he refused repeated attempts by Trump allies to get him to cross ethical lines. "I don't think I had a choice. My job is to follow the law. We're not going to get pushed off the needle on doing that. Integrity still matters."

All the while, Trump largely abdicated the responsibilities of the job he was fighting so hard to keep, chief among them managing the coronavirus pandemic as the numbers of infections and deaths soared across the country. In an ironic twist, the Trump adviser tapped to coordinate the post-election legal and communications campaign, David Bossie, tested positive for the virus a few days into his assignment and was sidelined.

Only on Nov. 23 did Trump reluctantly agree to initiate a peaceful transfer of power by permitting the federal government to officially begin Biden's transition - yet still he protested that he was the true victor.

The 20 days between the election on Nov. 3 and the greenlighting of Biden's transition exemplified some of the hallmarks of life in Trump's White House: a government paralyzed by the president's fragile emotional state; advisers nourishing his fables; expletive-laden feuds between factions of aides and advisers; and a pernicious blurring of truth and fantasy. ...

(Continues, at the link.)

Fred C. Dobbs said...

In his first one-on-one interview since losing to Biden, Trump baselessly cast more conspiracy theories

NY Times via @BostonGlobe - November 29

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that the FBI and the Justice Department might be “involved” in what he again groundlessly called a fraudulent presidential election, hinting that the nation’s law enforcement agencies were biased against his fading efforts to remain in office.

“This is total fraud. And how the FBI and Department of Justice — I don’t know, maybe they’re involved — but how people are allowed to get away with this stuff is unbelievable. This election was a total fraud,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.

“Missing in action. Can’t tell you where they are,” Trump said, a note of resignation in his voice. “I ask, ‘Are they looking at it?’ Everyone says, ‘Yes, they’re looking at it.’

“These people have been there a long time,” he added. “Some of them have served a lot of different presidents.”

Trump’s roughly 45-minute conversation with Bartiromo, who has been sympathetic to his charges, was his first one-on-one interview since his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump sounded at once angry but also resigned to the growing reality that Biden will be sworn in as president Jan. 20.

In often rambling remarks, Trump offered vague charges of “thousands of dead people voting,” discarded ballots and blocked poll watchers. He also claimed that Biden won with implausibly large margins in African American areas.

“There’s no way Joe Biden got 80 million votes,” he said. “There’s no way it happened.”

No significant evidence has been found to support the president’s claims, and several judges in multiple states have quickly dismissed lawsuits by his legal team alleging fraud.

Skipping over that reality, Trump complained that the media had not taken his fraud claims more seriously and alleged that foreign leaders had expressed sympathy for his plight.

“You have leaders of countries that call me, say, ‘That’s the most messed-up election we’ve ever seen,’” Trump claimed. But no foreign leader has endorsed Trump’s claims about the election, and dozens have offered both public and private congratulations to Biden.

With several important federal deadlines coming up for the election process, including a Dec. 8 deadline for states to resolve all election disputes, Trump declined to say when his time fighting the results would be up. “I’m not going to say a date,” Trump said.

Asked whether he would appoint a special counsel to investigate the election, Trump said that he “would consider” doing so but quickly changed the subject.

And asked whether the Supreme Court, now governed by a conservative majority, was likely to rule on the election outcome, Trump sounded pessimistic.

“It’s hard to get into the Supreme Court,” he said, adding that his lawyers had told him, “It’s very hard to get a case up there.” ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Christopher Krebs, the former government official who had overseen cybersecurity efforts for the 2020 election, reaffirmed his confidence in the integrity of the vote and called Trump’s unfounded allegations of voter fraud “farcical.”

“The American people should have 100% confidence in their vote,” Krebs said in an excerpt from a “60 Minutes” interview that is to air Sunday night. “The proof is in the ballots. The recounts are consistent with the initial count, and to me, that’s further evidence. That’s further confirmation.”

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership, also said he did not think the election was rigged.

“I don’t think it was rigged,” Blunt said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think there was some element of voter fraud as there is in any election. I don’t have any reason to believe the numbers are there that would have made that difference.”

Blunt’s comments came as an increasing number of Republican lawmakers have begun to acknowledge Biden’s victory. But many, including the party’s leaders, still refuse to do so. ...