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Stealing an Election

Here are parts of last night’s post from Heather Cox Richardson. You should read the whole thing. This is important news that is being overshadowed by the fight over nominating and confirming a replacement for RBG.

Today Americans were roiled by an article in The Atlantic, detailing the method by which the Trump campaign is planning to steal the 2020 election. The article was slated for The Atlantic’s November issue, but the editor decided to release it early because of its importance.

The article’s author, Barton Gellman, explains that Trump will not accept losing the 2020 election. If he cannot win it, he plans to steal it. We already know he is trying to suppress voting and his hand-picked Postmaster General is working to hinder the delivery of mail-in ballots. Now Trump’s teams are recruiting 50,000 volunteers in 15 states to challenge voters at polling places; this will, of course, intimidate Democrats and likely keep them from showing up.

But if those plans don’t manage to depress the Democratic vote enough to let him declare victory, he intends to insist on calling a winner in the election on November 3. His legal teams will challenge later mail-in ballots, which tend to swing Democratic, on the grounds that they are fraudulent, and they will try to silence local election officials by attacking them as agents of antifa or George Soros. The president and his team will continue to insist that the Democrats are refusing to honor the results of the election.

Gellman warns that the Trump team is already exploring a way to work around the vote counts in battleground states. Rather than appointing Democratic electors chosen by voters, a state legislature could conclude that the vote was tainted and appoint a Republican slate instead. A Trump legal advisor who spoke to Trump explained they would insist they were protecting the will of the people from those who were trying to rig an election. “The state legislatures will say, ‘All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power. We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state,’ ” the adviser explained. The election would then go to Congress, where there would be two sets of electoral votes to fight over… and things would devolve from there.

They would likely end up at the Supreme Court, to which Trump this morning said he was in a hurry to confirm a new justice so there would be a solid majority to rule in his favor on the election results. “I think this will end up in the Supreme Court and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices, and I think the system’s going to go very quickly,” he said. “Having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation.”

Amidst the flurry of concern over The Atlantic piece, a reporter this afternoon asked Trump if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election. “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster.” He went on to say: “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”

Trump is proposing that we should “get rid of the ballots”. This is the end of democracy.

Veteran journalist Dan Rather wrote […] “This is a moment of reckoning unlike any I have seen in my lifetime…. What Donald Trump said today are the words of a dictator. To telegraph that he would consider becoming the first president in American history not to accept the peaceful transfer of power is not a throw-away line. It’s not a joke. He doesn’t joke. And it is not prospective. The words are already seeding a threat of violence and illegitimacy into our electoral process.”

Two polls were just released from top-tier firms showing Joe Biden with a 10-point lead over Donald Trump. Destroying democracy is Trump’s only chance to stay in power after this election. It is imperative that this not happen. It is up to us to make sure this does not happen.

The widespread, peaceful protests against racism give me hope that people will not tolerate an election being stolen.

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Don’t Mess with Mother Nature

This video is an oldie but goodie, and bears repeating.

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Hypocrisy Incarnate

Not a single spine among the lot of them.

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Lincoln Project on RBG

A remarkably sweet ad from the Lincoln Project celebrating the life of RBG.

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Dumb Down

This is hilarious:

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Gross

Ok, this is pretty gross, but fascinating and oh so apropos. It is a portrait of Donald Trump, made entirely from pig entrails. And apparently they used a pig’s anus for the mouth.

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RIP RBG

Thing that I expect will happen:

  • Evangelicals will claim that God killed Ruth Bader Ginsburg so that Republicans can appoint another arch conservative to the court.
  • Mitch McConnell will ram someone through, despite the hypocrisy of sitting on Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for most of a year. In fact, McConnell has already said he will do that.
  • The GOP actions will enable the Democrats to pack the court, assuming that Democrats prevail in both the presidency and the Senate in this election. The only question is whether they will stop at 11 or go to 13.
  • Partisanship will get even worse.

UPDATE: Good articles about Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Electoral-Vote and by Heather Cox Richardson.

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REPAIR

Last week, former DHS officials Miles Taylor and Elizabeth Neumann formed the REpublican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform (REPAIR), consisting of current and former Trump officials who oppose his reelection. We already knew that Biden leads Trump in the key demographic of people who used to work for Trump, but it is interesting that some current members of the Trump administration are also members of REPAIR.

The new newest members of REPAIR are Josh Venable, the former chief of staff to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Olivia Troye. You might not have heard of Troye, but she was Mike Pence’s top advisor for homeland security and counter terrorism, and significantly was also the lead staffer for the coronavirus task force.

On Thursday, Troye released a video that tears into Donald Trump and condemns his handling of the pandemic. You really should watch it. It is only two minutes long:

Of course, Trump dismissed Troye, but he did this by calling her a disgruntled employee, and ironically observed that 99% of people who depart his administration are disgruntled and seem to have a personal beef with him. So I’m curious — what percentage of former members of the Trump administration have gone on to condemn Donald Trump. Or, as Troye just did, announce they will vote for Joe Biden?

We already know that the number of people who did the same thing during the Obama administration is pretty much zero.

UPDATE: The Washington Post says that there are 19 aides, allies, and even family members who have turned against Trump.

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Three Tweets

“Biden leads Trump among women, people of color, and former members of the Trump administration.” @WindsorMann

“Trump campaign strategy now clear: he’s running against the election itself.” @sbg1

“Is it just me, or did Nixon do a hell of a lot less than Trump at this point?” @chipfranklin

© Jen Sorensen
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The Trump IQ Test

[I can’t resist reprinting today’s entire post from Helen Philpot, she of the wonderful blog “Margaret and Helen“. It is epic. Enjoy! –iron]

This old lady took the Trump IQ Test and she is smarter than the President. You can take the test here.

Margaret, there is a new test out to determine if you are smarter than Donald Trump. I took it and, shockingly, he is a moron. You should take it too. It’s pretty simple but let me explain how it was developed.

President Trump [sic] told reporters that the US is doing very well with COVID. Despite our leading the world in deaths, Trump explained, “If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level.”

If you take the Blue States out, America would be doing better than every other country. Key to this premise is that Blue States have to be taken out. Big Blue States like California which has the same number of deaths as Big Red Texas. Or Blue States like Illinois which has fewer deaths than Crazy Red Florida. Or Super Blue Colorado which has done better than Super Red Tennessee.

By the way, related but unrelated. There are reports that some White House staffers have tested positive. I offer thoughts and prayers. I’m not sure they are the right thoughts and prayers, but prayer is a deeply personal thing for me.

Anyway, back to the point of my story…

I know what you are all probably thinking. I am sure that Blue States would like nothing more than to get the hell out of Trump’s America. And you can be just as sure that Red States would love to see the Blue States go. Without the Blue States, there is even a slight chance Trump might win the popular vote this fall. From where I stand, for Trump the departure of the Blue States might be a win win. But sadly, the Red States simply can’t afford it. 

Any moron with half a brain knows that California, New York, and Illinois make up almost a third of the nation’s economy. Or another way to put it, 30% of the nation’s economy is driven by 3% of its states. To put a finer point on it, Texas PLUS Florida don’t add up to California. And without New York the Red Southern States would be broke in a month.

But I am kind of getting off track here. We are talking about COVID deaths in Blue States making Trump look bad. Don’t you understand? All you people dying are making him look bad. Just wear a damn mask and stop dying.  No. Wait.  Masks make him look bad.  Plus, waiters hate masks. Forget the masks. Just stop dying. Be more like Red States.

Let’s make this simple just in case any of Trump’s supporters are actually reading this.

Take Canada. Those idiots to our North with national healthcare, low gun violence, Anne Murray, a Prime Minister who looks stunning in a mask and a flag that is less offensive than a dress made from a pattern purchased at Hobby Lobby must be doing worse than the Red States. I mean that flag is the opposite of offensive. It’s a damn leaf. How tough can you be if your flag is a wussy maple leaf? So, let’s see how those idiots in Canada have been doing.

Canada has a population of roughly 37 million. They have seen 9,200 deaths from COVID.  That’s 24 deaths per 100,000 Canadians.  And don’t forget, Trump said this virus goes away with warm weather. Canada is a lot of things, but it is not warm. It’s a God damn sheet of ice. The average temperature is like 30 degrees below zero. Well, actually, I am not really sure what the average temperature is, but the lowest temperature ever recorded there was −63 °C. Google it and see it you can find the average temperature for Canada. It’s so bad they won’t publish it. And they report their temperature in C. What the hell is Celsius? Those bastards. Anyway, it’s cold and yet they have a COVID death rate of 24 per 100,000 or less than 10,000 total deaths for the entire country.

Let me pause here.

My sincere condolences to every single family who has lost a loved one… in Canada… in America… in the entire world. Truly. My heart goes out to you and I wish you peace. Why our President is unable to show anything resembling sympathy is beyond me. So, on behalf of 68% of the American people, we are terribly sorry. And we are thankful that your rate isn’t worse. And your Prime Minister really is stunning in a mask. You are lucky to have someone who leads by example.

But speaking of death rates that are worse…

Trump said, “…we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at.”  If you take out the Blue States.

OK.  Simple civics.  Simple math.

Simple civics:  One nation under God, indivisible.

Simple math: Canada wins.

  • Mississippi rate per 100,000 is 92
  • Georgia rate per 100,000 is 60
  • Florida rate per 100,000 is 60
  • South Carolina rate per 100,000 is 60
  • Alabama rate per 100,000 is 51
  • Texas rate per 100,000 is 50

In fact, if Canada was a state it would rank 35th out of 51. Alaska does better which is really odd because Alaska is just a bunch of frozen water. And some trees. It has trees. But not the exploding kind. And mountains. Alaska is lovely, really. Those Red States are lucky to have Alaska. Birthplace to Sarah Palin. But the Blue States have Hawaii. Thank God for Hawaii. Birthplace to President Barack Obama… we think.

Other countries that are doing better than Red States:

  • Argentina – 24
  • Honduras – 21
  • Iraq – 20
  • Kuwait – 13
  • Germany – 12
  • Finland – 6
  • Australia – 3
  • Kenya – 1

In fact, 43 countries are doing better than Trump’s Red States. It could be more. There were so many, I just stopped counting.

But hey, here is some good news. The United States under President Trump is doing better than Peru.  #MAGA.

So, about that new test. The one that can determine if you are smarter than Donald Trump… It’s an amazingly simple test.  You add up all those numbers and you get one question. Oddly enough it’s a Math Word Problem.

TRUMP IQ TEST

If two trains pull away from a station at the same time and one is going south at a rate of 15 miles per hour and the other is going north at a rate of 20 miles per hour and Donald Trump is the Engineer on one of the trains, do you get on the train without Donald Trump or do you just kill yourself at the station?

Answer: Donald Trump lies. Absolutely don’t get on the Trump train because it will fucking kill you. I mean it. Really.

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Signs of the Times

We have a new commandment:

I guess the clothing company Patagonia has had enough. They have started putting a new hidden tag into their lines of active clothing:

Many people are buying Patagonia products just to get one (or more!) with the special tag. The best part of this is that it isn’t even overtly partisan. Of course, everyone knows who the assholes are (including the assholes themselves!). But according to the company, they are specifically targeting climate deniers.

Of course, Donald Trump just a couple of days ago told Californians (who are getting burned by a record number of out-of-control fires) not to worry about climate change, saying “It”ll start getting cooler. You just—you just watch.” The head of California’s Natural Resources Agency responded “I wish science agreed with you.” Trump shot back “I don’t think science knows, actually.” Of course, this is a guy who thinks you can fight Covid-19 by injecting bleach into your veins.

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“A Fire Hose of Lying”

Daniel Dale fact-checks claims made by Donald Trump during the ABC town hall. It has gotten to the point that the majority of what Trump says is a baldfaced lie.

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Anti-Social Media

I believe that social media has become the most powerful and potent purveyor of propaganda in existence.

A memo written by a now-former data scientist at Facebook is full of multiple concrete examples of the company being aware of it being used to spread propaganda, but doing nothing about it. In fact, Facebook and other social media build their algorithms to maximize sensational content (at the expense of truth) in order to attract eyeballs and make more money. They don’t really care about checking facts or shutting down bots that amplify misinformation. And they are only too happy to take money from foreign governments to influence our elections.

© Michael Ramirez

Note: I don’t normally post comics by Michael Ramirez because he mostly just repeats Republican talking points, but I couldn’t resist on this one. Here’s a comic by another artist for “balance”:

© Steve Sack

UPDATE: Article from the Washington Post headlined “Pro-Trump youth group enlists teens in secretive campaign likened to a ‘troll farm,’ prompting rebuke by Facebook and Twitter”. Here’s a quote:

The messages have been emanating in recent months from the accounts of young people in Arizona seemingly expressing their own views — standing up for President Trump in a battleground state and echoing talking points from his reelection campaign.

Far from representing a genuine social media groundswell, however, the posts are the product of a sprawling yet secretive campaign that experts say evades the guardrails put in place by social media companies to limit online disinformation of the sort used by Russia during the 2016 campaign.

Teenagers, some of them minors, are being paid to pump out the messages at the direction of Turning Point Action… The campaign draws on the spam-like behavior of bots and trolls, with the same or similar language posted repeatedly across social media. But it is carried out, at least in part, by humans paid to use their own accounts.

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Panic

Donald Trump claiming that he totally downplayed the seriousness of Covid-19 and the pandemic to “prevent panic” is one of the most hilarious things I have ever heard come out of his mouth. If it weren’t for Trump’s incompetence, far, far fewer people would have spread the disease. Did he not think that hundreds of thousands of people dying — parents, family, friends, loved ones — wouldn’t cause a little panic? Or a helluva lot?

Even more hypocritical, here is just a top-of-my-mind list of things, people, and groups that Trump has used to scare people and create panic:

  • Mexican “drug dealers, criminals, rapists”.
  • MS-13.
  • Immigrants in general, from virtually anywhere other than Europe, especially Trump’s “shithole countries“.
  • Peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters, even encouraging his followers to shoot them.
  • Kneeling football players.
  • Blacks in general.
  • Democrats in general.
  • Scientists, especially climate scientists, and those who take Covid-19 seriously.
  • Mainstream media sources (“fake news”).
  • Military leaders (“war lovers“)
  • Foreign leaders who aren’t far-right, despots, or dictators.
  • People who vote by mail.
© Rick McKee

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Weather or Not

Heatwaves, out of control fires, strong hurricanes, shrinking ice sheets, sea level rise — these are all dangerous effects of global climate change. So how does the Trump administration respond? By appointing climate science denier David Legates to a top post at NOAA, which runs the National Weather Service.

The head of NOAA under Barack Obama says about Legates, “He’s not just in left field — he’s not even near the ballpark.” According to a prominent climate scientist:

At a time when those impacts are playing out before our very eyes in the form of unprecedented wildfires out West and super-storms back East, I cannot imagine a more misguided decision than to appoint someone like Legates to a position of leadership at an agency that is tasked with assessing the risks we face from extreme weather events.

© Brian McFadden
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