Sunday, November 22, 2020

Simple Gesture Shames German COVID Denier

This is remarkable but remarkably simple. It's in German, but the caption makes it self-explanatory. Sophie Scholl was a famous Nazi resistance activist who was executed at the age of 21. You should read her story. (I had to reload the tweet a few times to get a translation to appear in the video itself. Here's the original link if that helps.)

Pennsylvania Court Decision: Dismissed With Prejudice

Here's an excerpt from last night's court decision in Pennsylvania, where the Trump campaign filed to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results, alleging "that Republicans had been illegally disadvantaged because some counties allowed voters to fix errors on their mail ballots" [WaPo]. The federal judge didn't hold back in ruling against them, citing no evidence:

"Dismissed 'with prejudice' means that the case is dismissed permanently, it cannot be brought back to court, and the charges cannot be refiled. A case that is 'dismissed with prejudice' is completely and permanently over."

Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said they would appeal and expect the case to reach the Supreme Court. There's no guarantee SCOTUS would agree to hear the case. Maybe Hugo Chávez will show up in support of the plaintiffs. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Arecibo Radio Telescope is Finished

 The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico will be decommissioned (that is, repairs will no longer be attempted), due to overwhelming damage from, among other issues, cable problems that meant the repairs could not be done safely.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Denying the Coronavirus to the Very End

This is both incredibly sad and disturbing at the same time -- this nurse from South Dakota says some of her COVID-19 patients, even as they are dying, refuse to believe the coronavirus is the reason. What/who has instilled in them such a distrust of institutions, governments and science that they actually believe the virus is not real even to the end? I don't understand it at all. She also has a Twitter thread on this topic here.

Excellent Interview with Yale MD Nicholas Christakis

I'm bringing this out of the comments -- thanks Layzej. It's an excellent interview with Yale MD Nicholas Christakis, who also directs their Human Nature Lab. He has a lot of smart and insightful things to say, especially about how what's happening now sociologically and psychologically are no different that what's happened in pandemics throughout history, and how the lies and deceit of Trump and his administration have made the situation much worse. As Layzej highlighted, Christakis says, “I don’t think willful denial will help us. If the plague is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, then lies and denial are its squires,” and that, “If people want to be lied to, they will vote for leaders who will lie to them.” He also has ideas about what lies ahead for the next two to three years....

Monday, November 16, 2020

Republicans Stopping At Nothing in Georgia

There is no end to Republican corruption, from the top down. It is a party deeply anathema to democracy, to proportional representation, to voting rights, to vote counting, and to the truth. It is -- there's no other way to put it -- currently seeking to destroy American democracy in order to stay in power. 

From the Washington Post
"Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that he has come under increasing pressure in recent days from fellow Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who he said questioned the validity of legally cast absentee ballots, in an effort to reverse President Trump’s narrow loss in the state.

"In a wide-ranging interview about the election, Raffensperger expressed exasperation over a string of baseless allegations coming from Trump and his allies about the integrity of the Georgia results, including claims that Dominion Voting Systems, the Colorado-based manufacturer of Georgia’s voting machines, is a “leftist” company with ties to Venezuela that engineered thousands of Trump votes to be left out of the count.

"The atmosphere has grown so contentious, Raffensperger said, that he and his wife, Tricia, have received death threats in recent days, including a text to him that read: “You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.”

“Other than getting you angry, it’s also very disillusioning,” Raffensperger said of the threats, “particularly when it comes from people on my side of the aisle. Everyone that is working on this needs to elevate their speech. We need to be thoughtful and careful about what we say.” He said he reported the threats to state authorities.

"The pressure on Raffensperger, who has bucked his party in defending the state’s voting process, comes as Georgia is in the midst of a laborious hand recount of about 5 million ballots. President-elect Joe Biden has a 14,000-vote lead in the initial count.

"The normally mild-mannered Raffensperger saved his harshest language for Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), who is leading the president’s efforts in Georgia and whom Raffensperger called a “liar” and a “charlatan.”

"Collins has questioned Raffensperger’s handling of the vote and accused him of capitulating to Democrats by not backing allegations of voter fraud more strongly.

"Raffensperger has said that every accusation of fraud will be thoroughly investigated, but that there is currently no credible evidence that fraud occurred on a broad enough scale to affect the outcome of the election...."

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Counties Biden Won Account for This Much GDP

Here's an interesting factoid, from the Daily Beast. The article's paywalled, but they offer this an an enticement:

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Friday, November 13, 2020

Vouching for the Election

At this point, those doubting the election are anti-democratic, at the least. It's pretty clear that they are interested in something other than the results of a free and fair election. What exactly they're after isn't clear. I'm not even sure they know.

Here, DHS=Department of Homeland Security

Next, CISA=Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

State Recounts in the Last 50 Years

Biden's leads are now Pennsylvania: 63,056 and Wisconsin: 20,540

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Video of Trump's Incessant Whining About Elections

Via WaPo.

Trump Also Cried Massive Fraud After 2016 Election

David A Graham of The Atlantic recalls the last time Trump cried massive fraud, after the 2016 election, when his infantile ego couldn't handle the fact that he'd lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.9 million votes. He convened a commission that found...nothing:

Despite having won the 2016 election, Trump insisted that he had been denied a victory in the popular vote by 3 million to 5 million unauthorized-immigrant voters. He did not provide any evidence for the claim, because there is none. As voting experts have noted for as long as the fraud claims have circulated, it is impossible to execute fraud on this scale....

Nonetheless, Trump announced in May 2017 that he’d convene a commission to study voter fraud. (This was the same week that the president fired FBI Director James Comey, welcomed Russia’s foreign minister and its ambassador, disclosed sensitive intelligence to them, and threatened Comey with the release of fictitious tapes. Also, Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel.)

The titular head of the commission was Vice President Mike Pence, a sign of the importance it held for Trump, but its effective leader was Kris Kobach, a Republican who was then the Kansas secretary of state. Kobach has been one of the most relentless voices claiming voter fraud, and was considered for positions in the Trump administration but not chosen. Several of the other members of the commission were similarly zealous boosters of the voter-fraud claim; there were a couple of token Democrats, too.

Almost immediately, the commission ran into trouble. With no credible evidence of fraud in hand to start proving the conclusion that both Trump and Kobach had clearly already reached, it had to turn something up, fast. In June, Kobach sent a letter to states asking for all publicly available voter data, including names, addresses, voting history, party affiliation, felony convictions, and the last four digits of Social Security numbers. (That is the information on which Kobach’s Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, a national database, runs.)

State officials and security experts, including many Republicans, reacted with horror. They said Kobach had offered no secure way to send the information, and in any case, there was no reason to believe that it would prove fraud. Besides, it would cost taxpayer money, could endanger privacy, and in some cases violated state law. “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great State to launch from,” Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said of the commission and its requests. Election officials also complained that the commission was intimidating voters into canceling their own valid registrations.

These responses reflected an uncomfortable reality for Kobach: Though many Republican election officials support stricter voting laws, including such things as photo-identification requirements, they also take seriously that their job is to run elections smoothly and prevent fraud, and weren’t pleased about the implication that they were failing.

Without most of the data it had requested, and without any other evidence of fraud, the commission was stalled. In September, it held a meeting in New Hampshire to investigate Trump’s claim of fraud there, but Bill Gardner, New Hampshire’s secretary of state and a commission member, rebutted the claim. By October, two of the group’s Democrats were complaining that they had been shut out of deliberations and meetings. One of them, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, sued to demand access to commission material, and won.

In January, the group was finally put out of its misery, without releasing any findings. The Trump administration said it would not hand materials over to Dunlap, because the commission no longer existed, but a judge disagreed, and in August 2018, Dunlap released the documents he’d obtained. They showed that in its months of work, the commission had uncovered no evidence of fraud.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Trump's Final Bid For Victory

Trump's Close Advisors Privately Giving In

WaPo, last night:
But even some of the president’s most publicly pugilistic aides, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and informal adviser Corey Lewandowski, have said privately that they are concerned about the lawsuits’ chances for success unless more evidence surfaces, according to people familiar with their views....

[a whole lot of nothing]

One Trump adviser said most of the legal actions did not amount to much, and he expected it to be over by Saturday or Sunday “unless something really changes and we find real evidence....”

Said one adviser of the president who speaks to him regularly: “He wants to sow discontent in the public that the election was illegitimate, so he can say he didn’t lose.”
In other words, Trump is purposely harming democracy, knowingly and seriously, because his childish ego can't admit he's a loser.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Trump's Done the Same Thing Before

When he lost the 2016 Iowa Republican caucus to Ted Cruz:

Trump has a serious mental disturbance.

David Frum Was Right

"If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy."

-- David Frum, The Atlantic, January 18, 2018

Frum was a speechwriter for George W. Bush.

No Evidence of Voter Fraud

 NY Times:

The Times talked to officials in 49 of 50 states -- Texas election officials wouldn't talk to them, but officials from the largest county in Texas, Harris County, did.
PHILADELPHIA — Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s portrait of a fraudulent election....

Some states described small problems common to all elections, which they said they were addressing: a few instances of illegal or double voting, some technical glitches and some minor errors in math. Officials in all states are conducting their own review of the voting — a standard component of the certification process....

The office of the state’s [Pennsylvania's] top law enforcement official said that there was no evidence to support Mr. Giuliani’s claims, and that the election in the state was “fair and secure.”

“Many of the claims against the commonwealth have already been dismissed, and repeating these false attacks is reckless,” said Jacklin Rhoads, a spokeswoman for Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who is Pennsylvania’s attorney general. “No active lawsuit even alleges, and no evidence presented so far has shown, widespread problems.”

The Coup Attempt

 And that's what it is -- an attempted coup d'etat. Biden won handily, and by tens of thousands of votes in PA, AZ, GA, NV, WI, and MI, and there is no evidence of fraud whatsoever. Trump and Republicans are trying to manufacture fraud out of thin air, lying all the way, losing court case after court case. The Republican party is spineless and should be abolished. Mitch McConnell indicates he is fully on board with this attempt to subvert the voter's will. Secretary of State Pompeo made a smart ass comment that the transition he's preparing for it Trump's second term. DOJ's Bill Barr said he's officially investigating fraud -- it's so disgusting his chief lawyer in the Election Fraud division quit. The White House Press Secretary has accused the other side of fomenting fraud. The Texas Lieutenant Governor is offering a reward for evidence of fraud. Georgia senators Perdue and Loeffler called for the resignation of the state's secretary of state and presented no reasons or evidence whatsoever. What is going on?? It is a coordinated attempt to steal the election and give Trump a second term. Because he is such a twisted psychopath he cannot accept losing and being a loser. And most of the Republican party has decided that's just fine, let's help him steal the election.

He's lost every case and the fraud just isn't out there. They look like the Keystone
Cops running around, but they're very serious. It's a national embarrassment, as Biden said today. Not one of them care that they are damaging American democracy. That's the second-to-last thing on Trump's mind -- last is COVID, which is rampaging. 

If SCOTUS somehow gets involved and somehow, someway calls Trump the winner, the protests and riots of this past summer will look like children playing in a sandbox. I will join in marches myself. We have a fascist in the White House and a lunatic. He hasn't called for the Proud Boys yet; let's see if it comes to that. I feel like a fool for being thankful for such a small favor.