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Lasher

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Charleston, WV
Home country: USA
Member since: Tue Apr 19, 2005, 08:32 AM
Number of posts: 24,344

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Bonus episode: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency

Four conspiracy theorists marched into the Oval Office. It was early evening on Friday, Dec. 18 — more than a month after the election had been declared for Joe Biden, and four days after the Electoral College met in every state to make it official.

"How the hell did Sidney get in the building?" White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann grumbled from the outer Oval Office as Sidney Powell and her entourage strutted by to visit the president.

President Trump's private schedule hadn't included appointments for Powell or the others: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, and a little-known former Trump administration official, Emily Newman. But they'd come to convince Trump that he had the power to take extreme measures to keep fighting.

As Powell and the others entered the Oval Office that evening, Herschmann - a wealthy business executive and former partner at Kasowitz Benson & Torres who'd been pulled out of quasi-retirement to advise Trump - quietly slipped in behind them.

https://www.axios.com/trump-oval-office-meeting-sidney-powell-a8e1e466-2e42-42d0-9cf1-26eb267f8723.html

Long read but well worth the time. If you want to know just how nutty Trump and his followers are, then here ya go.

Op-Ed: Why so many people want to believe the election was stolen

A month after the presidential election, President Trump’s claim that the election was rigged to benefit Joe Biden has been debunked by numerous Republican state elections officials. Dozens of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and its proxies have been rejected by judges in both state and federal courts. There is no evidence to support any of the campaign’s baseless charges of election fraud, though its power to undermine faith in American democracy is real.

Yet millions of Americans — including about 70% to 80% of Republicans — believe the election was stolen. Why?

One standard answer is that Trump’s backers will believe anything he says. Another perspective, popular among some psychologists, is that people filter ambiguous information through an ideological lens, preferring interpretations that favor their political affiliations.

But in this case, these explanations seem insufficient. People follow charismatic leaders and selectively process political information, but they do not typically cling to a belief that contradicts all available evidence.

Understanding the fallout from the intense polarization of this election will take time. But research into social and political psychology can offer some insight into this response from Trump supporters.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-12-06/donald-trump-election-fraud-lies-psychology

A good analysis but it simply describes the well known cravings of reptilian brains: They need to have the world explained to them in 3 word chants. Anything more nuanced is just too much work.

The Supreme Court Wants to Revive a Doctrine That Would Paralyze Biden's Administration

It could cripple even the most basic government functions.

Joe Biden promised us an FDR-sized presidency—starting with bold action to halt the spread of COVID-19, end the worst economic downturn in decades, and stop the climate crisis. Biden could use regulation and executive action to move quickly to decarbonize the economy, cancel student loan debt, and raise wages. But a Biden administration has an even bigger problem than two long-shot special elections in Georgia: the new 6–3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court may soon burn down the federal government’s regulatory powers.

At least five conservative justices have signaled that they are eager to revive the “non-delegation doctrine,” the constitutional principle that Congress can’t give (“delegate”) too much lawmaking power to the executive branch. On paper, the rule requires Congress, when delegating power to an agency, to articulate an “intelligible principle” (like air pollution regulation needed “to protect public health”) to guide the agency’s exercise of that power. But in practice, the nondelegation doctrine is effectively dead. The court has only struck down two statutes on nondelegation grounds—and none since 1935.

Today, most of the government’s work is done through the “administrative state,” the administrative agencies and offices, like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Education, which issue regulations and enforce laws. Congress doesn’t have the capacity to pass laws that nimbly address complex, technical, and ever-changing problems like air pollution, COVID-19 exposure in workplaces, drug testing, and the disposal of nuclear waste. So Congress tasks agencies staffed with scientists and other specialists to craft regulations that directly address those problems. This division of responsibility—Congress legislates policy goals and agencies implement them effectively—is the foundation of functional government.

(snip)

Government doesn’t work without the administrative state. But that’s sort of the point. The conservative justices have long been hostile to regulation and executive action. And now they may finally have the votes to bring virtually any regulation to a halt. At least five justices are ready to drop a 1,000-pound anvil on any Biden administration rule that displeases them.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/12/supreme-court-gundy-doctrine-administrative-state.html

If he doesn't want to return to the Gilded Age, Biden will have to pack the SCOTUS - and not just with moderates. McConnell would block every nominee in the Senate unless they are rightwing extremists. There is so much riding on the GA Senate runoffs.

Latest House and Senate ratings show Democrats increasingly competitive in Republican areas

With a little more than two weeks to go before Election Day, the national environment continues to look bright for Democrats, who are trying to flip the Senate and grow their House majority -- not to mention kick President Donald Trump out of the White House.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's lead over Trump -- he had an 11-point edge in the CNN poll of Polls as of Friday -- combined with impressive down-ballot Democratic fundraising has helped the party expand their playing field into red states and districts.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, a CNN contributor, has shifted the Kansas and Colorado Senate races and 20 House races in Democrats' favor. Even the district once held by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows could now be in play. Just three House races moved toward Republicans.

Inside Elections has also revised upward its projections for how many seats Democrats are likely to pick up in each chamber. In the Senate, it's now a net gain of four to six seats, which puts Democrats well on the path to the majority. They need a net gain of four seats to flip the Senate, or three if they win the White House since the vice president breaks ties in the Senate.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/18/politics/election-2020-house-and-senate-ratings-two-weeks/index.html

The blue wave is coming!

'Everyone's got leverage': Dreading a 50-50 Senate split

It’s an outcome that practically no one wants, but it’s starting to look like a real possibility: a 50-50 Senate.

An evenly split Senate would make life grueling for whoever is president next year. Any one senator could determine the fate of critical nominations or key pieces of the party’s legislative agenda. And in an era of already deep polarization, it could lead to even worse gridlock, as inconceivable as that sounds.

“A 50-50 Senate makes it really difficult for the party of the president to do everything that they may want to do because party discipline, conference discipline, is very challenging,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).

But if Democrats pick up a net three seats, that’s what happens. Should Joe Biden win the presidency, they’ll hold the majority; if President Donald Trump is reelected, Democrats need four seats to do so. That’s because under an evenly divided chamber, the party that holds the White House runs the Senate, with the vice president casting the deciding 51st vote to break any tie.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/17/50-50-senate-control-416424

I would be overjoyed with a 50-50 Senate and a Biden win. We've been swimming upstream in the Senate all year, and a Democratic takeover there has seemed unlikely. But now it looks like we have a chance.

2020 Senate Election Forecasts

Voters in North Carolina have received absentee ballot request forms in the mail with Trump's face

Source: CNN

Given the crisis facing the United States Postal Service before a presidential election, the last thing John Herter expected to receive in the mail Saturday was an absentee ballot request form with President Donald Trump's face on it.

"Is this a joke?" Herter said his wife told him as she opened up the mailer to reveal a photo of Trump grinning underneath the words, "Are you going to let the Democrats silence you? Act now to stand with President Trump."

(snip)

While it is common for candidates and political parties to send mail to voters, especially those who don't have access to TV or the internet, Real Facts NC, a non-profit dedicated to researching and telling the stories about issues facing North Carolinians, has never seen a mailer like this before, messaging director Jazmynne Williams told CNN.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/16/politics/postal-service-trump-absentee-ballot-request-mail-usps/index.html

How Jared Kushner's Secret Testing Plan "Went Poof Into Thin Air"

This is a significant piece of journalism and a long read. Here is my summary:

A national testing program was assembled by the Trump administration. It was torpedoed by Trump because its implementation would be inconsistent with his idiotic rhetoric that the COVID outbreak is a Democrat hoax, will go away, is under control, etc.

Even more sinister, he also rescinded the plan because he thought the national testing and contact tracing program would mostly help blue states - his political enemies.

In the absence of the needed national plan, the Rockefeller Foundation has stepped in to coordinate. But Trump is actively opposing their efforts. He will not lead and he won’t get out of the way.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/07/how-jared-kushners-secret-testing-plan-went-poof-into-thin-air/amp

Minneapolis Police Reportedly Identify Viral 'Umbrella Man' As White Supremacist

An Auto Zone store was among the Minneapolis buildings looted and damaged on May 27 during the protests against police violence. Police investigators reportedly have a suspect in the vandalism that preceded the burning of the store. Image: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Police say the masked, umbrella-wielding man who smashed windows at a Minneapolis auto parts store two days after George Floyd's death has ties to a white supremacist group and specifically sought to inflame racial tensions.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis police arson investigator Erika Christensen wrote in a search warrant affidavit filed this week that the man's actions created a hostile atmosphere and sparked a series of events that turned previously peaceful protests chaotic. She said she believed his "sole aim was to incite violence."

Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder told NPR he is unable to comment on the investigation, which is "open and active." NPR has
not seen the affidavit and is not naming the man because he has not been charged with a crime.

Video of the individual breaking the windows of an AutoZone with a sledgehammer went viral this spring, prompting speculation about the identity of the so-called "Umbrella Man."not seen the affidavit and is not naming the man because he has not been charged with a crime.

https://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/npr/896515022/minneapolis-police-reportedly-identify-viral-umbrella-man-as-white-supremacist

I saw this guy on TV when he did it. An actual protester tried to stop him but could not.

The Lead Federal Agency Responding to Protesters in Portland Employs Thousands of Private Contractor

The Trump administration’s deployment of federal law enforcers in Portland, Oregon, as part of a supposed effort to protect government property has prompted at least two lawsuits alleging that their show of force has resulted in abuses of authority and the unnecessary use of violence against peaceful protesters, journalists and observers.

What has not been reported widely in the media, however, is the fact that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unit that is coordinating the “crowd control” effort — an agency called the Federal Protective Service (FPS) — is composed largely of contract security personnel. Those contractors are being furnished to FPS by major private-sector security companies like Blackwater corporate descendant Triple Canopy as well as dozens of other private security firms.

https://medium.com/wkc6428/the-lead-federal-agency-responding-to-protesters-in-portland-employs-thousands-of-private-db137349f8b0

Looks like those 'federal agents' are actually mercenaries.

ETA: I can't get the link to work right, but if you copy and past it you will get there.

ETA: Link fixed thanks to blogslut

What Could Happen if Donald Trump Rejects Electoral Defeat?

On Sunday, in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News, Donald Trump refused to commit to recognizing the outcome of the 2020 election. “I’m not going to just say yes,” the President said. “And I didn’t last time, either.” (Back in October, 2016, Trump was proclaiming that the election he went on to win was “rigged” against him.) He wasn’t telling us anything new, and yet we still have not learned to think of ourselves as a country where the President can lose an election and refuse to leave office.

Lawrence Douglas, a legal scholar and a professor at Amherst College, gave himself the task of methodically thinking through the unthinkable. The result is a slim book, “Will He Go? Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 2020.” Douglas begins by taking the President at his word. “While his defeat is far from certain,” he writes, “what is not uncertain is how Donald Trump would react to electoral defeat, especially a narrow one. He will reject the result.”

Douglas argues that Trump’s evident intent to hold on to his office, regardless of the will of the voters, is not the best measure of the damage he has wrought or the power he has accumulated. He writes, “A more powerful authoritarian would never let himself get into this situation in the first place; he would have already so corrupted the process that his chance of losing would have been effectively eliminated.” By the standards of entrenched autocracies, Trump’s grip on power is as weak as his grip on reality. Still, the system of government that he has hijacked is not designed to protect itself against his kind of attack. “Our Constitution does not secure the peaceful transition of power, but rather presupposes it,” Douglas writes. Worse, the peculiar institution of the Electoral College, which separates the outcome of the election from the popular vote, practically invites abuse.

When electoral crises have arisen, past political leaders have stepped up, or stepped aside, to insure the peaceful transfer of power. Al Gore, to take a painful example, did not have to accept the Supreme Court’s order stopping a recount in Florida, in December, 2000, as the last word on that year’s election; Douglas details Constitutional avenues Gore could have pursued to claim victory. Though he had won the popular vote, Gore saw it as his duty to avoid escalating the electoral crisis. The Presidential elections of 1800 and 1876 ended in compromises, too, in the spirit of the Constitution, common cause, and good faith—all things alien to Donald Trump. It’s not the compromise that functions as precedent here but the conflict: election results have been unclear in the past, and they can be unclear again.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-could-happen-if-donald-trump-rejects-electoral-defeat
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