Voting Rights — CHAOS!

This is our only chance for the next four years to decide who will be the president of this nation, and the Republican Party and its representatives are attempting to curtail our constitutional right to cast our vote.  This year, because of a pandemic that is once again raging out of control, many of us cannot or will not spend an hour or more in line inside a building waiting to vote, nor should we need to.  A large number of us, myself included, requested mail-in ballots and will be voting by mail, or by dropping our ballots off in person at a designated drop box.

However, the United States Postal Service, now run by a man, Louis DeJoy, who has no experience, whose only qualification for the job was the large sums of money he has donated to Donald Trump, is so inefficient that it took ten days for me to receive a letter that was mailed from 15 miles away!  That could be a problem if someone mailed a ballot on, say, October 30th, or even today!  The girls and I took our ballots to the drop box at the Board of Elections, but some people, especially senior citizens, may not have that luxury.

There are numerous lawsuits in many states to expand voting rights, to allow ballots received after November 3rd as long as they were postmarked on or before that date.  Republicans are, naturally, opposed to anything that expands voting rights.  The good news is that people have been voting, despite the obstacles thrown in their way by the not-so-grand old party, and this morning I read that 51% of the number of people who voted in 2016 have already cast their votes this year!  That is truly inspiring … I think it quite possible that in spite of the GOP’s best efforts, we will have record turnout this year.

Here are some of the latest legal developments related to voting rights cases per the New York Times – some positive, others not so much:

Pennsylvania: The state’s highest court has ruled that election officials should count mailed ballots that arrive up to three days after Election Day. Pennsylvania Republicans are trying to get the Supreme Court to reverse the order, so that only ballots received by Election Day will count.

North Carolina: Republicans and the Trump campaign have asked the Supreme Court to block the state’s board of elections from extending the deadline to receive mail ballots. The board has said ballots can arrive until Nov. 12, as long as they were mailed by Election Day.

Wisconsin: The five Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court sided on Monday with Republican officials in Wisconsin, ruling that ballots must arrive by 8 p.m. on Election Day to count. (A lower-court ruling would have allowed state officials to count any mailed ballots postmarked by Election Day and received up to six days later.) In response, the state’s Democratic Party is urging voters to return mail ballots in person — to a drop box or clerk’s office — rather than mailing them.

Nevada: The Trump campaign has sued to stop the counting of absentee ballots in the Las Vegas area, evidently hoping to challenge the signatures on many ballots. Last night, the campaign and Nevada Republican Party filed a separate lawsuit, seeking detailed information on the vote-counting process.

Texas: The state’s top court yesterday upheld a policy announced by Greg Abbott, the Republican governor, which limits each county to a single drop-off box for mailed ballots. The state’s largest county — Harris, which includes Houston — is home to 4.7 million people.

Michigan: A conservative judge yesterday overturned an order by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, and ruled that people could carry unconcealed guns at polling places on Election Day.

In many of these cases, Republicans have argued that changing voting rules because of the pandemic could lead to fraud (a claim that’s largely baseless) and that allowing ballots to be counted after Election Day leads to confusion and chaos.

Democrats have argued that protecting people’s right to vote, during a national crisis, should be top priority. Democrats have also pointed out that some Republicans have changed their position on the counting of mailed ballots: When late-arriving ballots seemed likely to help George W. Bush in Florida in 2000, Republicans argued that the state should count them.

The Michigan decision is appalling.  Why the hell does anybody need to take a gun with them to vote???  This is possibly the most ridiculous judicial decision I have ever heard and can only lead to trouble.  In my book, anybody being allowed to take a gun into the polling place constitutes potential voter intimidation.  Now, given that the majority of gun-nuts in this country are republicans … does anybody else see a problem here?

If at all possible, my friends, take your ballots to an official drop box, or don your masks and hand sanitizer and vote in person, for I simply do not trust the USPS to get the ballots delivered on time.

Post-Debate Grumbles

You surely don’t expect a sweet, complacent post from me after I only just finished watching the final presidential debate, do you?  A couple of times, I had to take off my headphones and step away from the computer lest I throw it or punch it, but I’m pleased to say that I survived.  They should give us buttons or stickers saying, “I survived watching the debate!”, for it is no small task!debate-3

All in all, the debate really wasn’t a debate, but at least we were able to hear and understand most of Biden’s responses without Trump talking over him.  Trump did, however, keep on talking long after the moderator had told him “Okay, we’re moving on to the next topic” repeatedly.  In my book, the only truly relevant question was the final one, when each candidate was asked what, on inauguration day, they would say to the people who didn’t vote for them.  Their responses, in part …

Trump:  “We have to make our country totally successful as it was prior to the plague coming over from China.  We are on the road to success. But I’m cutting taxes and he wants to raise everybody’s taxes, and he wants to put new regulations on everything. He will kill it. If he gets in, you will have a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen. Your 401(k)s will go to hell, and it’ll be a very, very sad day for this country.”

Biden: “I will say, I’m an American president. I represent all of you. Whether you voted for me or against me. And I’m going to make sure that you’re represented. I’m going to give you hope. We’re going to choose science over fiction. We’re going to choose hope over fear. We’re going to choose to move forward because we have enormous opportunities to make things better.

And I’m going to say, as I said at the beginning, what is on the ballot here is the character of this country, decency, honor, respect, treating people with dignity, making sure that everyone has an even chance. And I’m going to make sure you get that, what you haven’t been getting in the last four years.”

Notice the difference?  Trump used his 60 seconds to criticize Biden some more, while Biden actually answered the question with what sounded very much like the best possible way to begin the healing process.  A negative answer vs a positive message.

And that’s all I have to say about the debate … another 90 minutes of my life that I can’t get back.


According to a story in yesterday’s New York Times

The Trump campaign has been videotaping Philadelphia voters while they deposit their ballots in drop boxes, leading Pennsylvania’s attorney general to warn this week that the campaign’s actions fall outside of permitted poll watching practices and could amount to illegal voter intimidation.

The campaign made a formal complaint to city officials on Oct. 16, saying a campaign representative had surveilled voters depositing two or three ballots at drop boxes, instead of only their own. The campaign called the conduct “blatant violations of the Pennsylvania election code,” according to a letter from a lawyer representing the Trump campaign that was reviewed by The New York Times. The campaign included photos of three voters who it claimed were dropping off multiple ballots.

Last week daughter Chris, granddaughter Natasha (aka Miss Goose), and I completed our mail-in ballots.  Not trusting the United States Postal Service to deliver them in a timely fashion, we had already decided to use the drop box at the county board of elections.  Since there is only one ballot drop box per county in our state, the nearest drop box is about 15 miles from here … not a long distance, but my van is not reliable outside of a 2-mile radius, and daughter Chris works from 6:00 a.m. ‘til 6:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday.  So, on Saturday she took all three of our ballots to the drop box.  She put all three into the drop box, and yesterday I received notification that all three had been received and accepted.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with her dropping off all three of our ballots!

I find it rather creepy to think that Trump cronies might be filming her, take down her license plate number, and harass us or attempt to negate our ballots.  And are these government employees doing the videotaping?  Are we paying these people to spy on us???

The Trump campaign’s aggressive strategy in Philadelphia suggests its aim is to crack down on people dropping off ballots for family members or anyone else who is not strictly authorized to do so. Ms. Kerns demanded that the names of all voters who had used a drop box in front of Philadelphia’s City Hall on Oct. 14 be turned over to the campaign, and insisted that the city station a staff member around every drop box “at all times.” She also asked for footage from municipal cameras around City Hall.

Bullshit!  “Ms. Kerns” needs to go choke on a turnip!  It is a blatant attempt at voter intimidation and there is no law prohibiting a family member from dropping off a ballot.  What would be the difference if a family member put someone’s ballot in the mailbox for them?  None whatsoever.  This is a step too far in Trump’s attempt to claim that there is voter fraud in voting by mail, where there is none!  First it was fake ballot boxes put up by the GOP in California, and now this!  If by some chance Trump wins this election, it will not have been an honest win, but will have been because he interfered with the right of the people to cast a ballot!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Former Republican Chair is committed to seeing Trump lose

Another influential Republican signs on for Joe Biden! Keith writes about Michael Steele, a long-time Republican and former Chair of the Republican Party, who is urging Republicans to wake up and see the damage Trump is doing/has done to racial relations in the U.S. Please be sure to check out the link to the article in The Guardian, as well. Thank you for this encouraging information, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

Michael Steele, a long-time Republican and former Chair of the Republican Party, has had enough. Steele is actively working to assure the current president loses in November. Wny? David Smith writes in The Guardian about his interview with Steele, an African-American, in the following piece entitled “‘They capitulated to Trump’: Michael Steele on the fight for the Republican party’s soul.”

Here a few paragraphs from the article, which can be linked to in full below.

“’I asked myself, what are the things that matter to you? It mattered that this president has openly said to us, I’m not going to accept the outcome of this election if I don’t win. It matters to me what he’s done with the Postal Service to prevent Americans from accessing the ballot box. I see this is the time for choosing, and the choice that unfortunately many in my party, particularly in the party…

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In the News: Voting Rights Updates From Around America

Today, our friend TokyoSand gives us some important updates on how various states are working to ensure our right to vote, to have our voice heard and counted, despite the republicans’ best efforts to disenfranchise half of the country! Thank you, TS … great work!

Political⚡Charge

Our ability to vote is under siege by Trump and the Republican party. It’s critical that we pay attention to what is happening so we can push back when warranted, and celebrate the voting rights wins when they happen.

With that, here’s some recent voting rights news:

In North Carolina, a panel of judges denied the Republicans attempt to reinstate the voter ID law. Although some lawsuits are still outstanding, there will be no voter ID required for the November election.

Arkansas voters will see a ballot measure this fall which is seeking to establish an independent redistricting commission to redraw congressional and legislative district lines (which happens in 2021, following the census.) There is ongoing litigation that might take this measure off the ballot, but for now, voters will have the opportunity to vote for it.

In Georgia, two nonprofit organizations have mailed absentee ballot applications to…

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Trump Taints Even Susan B. Anthony? GASP!!!

I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been a rough week for me, and I am feeling a need for a bit of humour in my life this evening. 

Donnie Trump has done some really stupid things in his 74 years on this earth, many in just the past 44 months.  But this one is truly without any purpose that I can see!  He said on Tuesday that he would announce yet another of his infamous ‘pardons’ … this one to the famous suffragette, Susan B. Anthony!  WHY??? 

“She was never pardoned! Did you know that she was never pardoned? What took so long?”

Because, Donnie, she did nothing for which she needs to be pardoned!  It is highly likely that she would  be offended by such a pardon that suggests wrongdoing on her part!  Even Deborah L. Hughes, executive director of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House in Rochester, New York, has taken umbrage at this insanity!

“Objection! Mr. President, Susan B. Anthony must decline your offer of a pardon. Anthony wrote in her diary in 1873 that her trial for voting was ‘The greatest outrage History ever witnessed.’ She was not allowed to speak as a witness in her own defense, because she was a woman. At the conclusion of arguments, Judge Hunt dismissed the jury and pronounced her guilty. She was outraged to be denied a trial by jury. She proclaimed, ‘I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.’ To pay would have been to validate the proceedings. To pardon Susan B. Anthony does the same.”

I certainly agree with all Ms. Hughes says here.  It is rather like pardoning Martin Luther King or John Lewis for their heroic roles in the Civil Rights movement!  But, while Ms. Hughes said it well, New Yorker humourist Andy Borowitz has yet another take on it …


Susan B. Anthony Begs Trump Not to Pardon Her: “I Don’t Want to Be on a Wikipedia Page with Roger Stone”

borowitz-andyBy Andy Borowitz

August 18, 2020

HEAVEN (The Borowitz Report)—In a rare utterance from beyond the grave, Susan B. Anthony on Tuesday begged Donald J. Trump not to pardon her, stating, “I don’t want to be on the same Wikipedia page as Roger Stone.”

Noting that an entire Wikipedia page had been created to record the people to whom Trump had granted executive clemency, Anthony said, “It wasn’t exactly my dream to wind up on the same list as a guy with a Nixon tattoo on his back.”

Susan-B-AnthonyIn a further expression of horror, Anthony told Trump, “Plus, pardoning me would mean that you would now be on my Wikipedia page. I am physically shuddering up here.”

Anthony noted that it was “super ironic” that Trump planned to pardon her on the same day that he blasted Michelle Obama. “It would be cool if you were as nice to historic women who are still alive as you are to dead ones,” she said.

Heading into a Major Election Year…Without a Functioning Election Commission

Just when you think things can’t get much worse … we now find out that the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the agency tasked with ensuring that election laws are properly enforced in order to guarantee a fair and honest {cough, cough} election, is not able to do its job. Blogging friend Brendan has written a rather chilling post on a topic we should all be aware of. Yet another strike against our democratic processes. Thank you, Brendan, for this enlightening post, for I was unaware of this, as I’m sure some others were!

Blind Injustice

I am not one for hyperbole, but the 2020 Presidential election is extremely important. In addition to many local- and state-level races, the election will determine who will control Congress for the next two years, and who will occupy the White House for the next four years.

Heading into such consequential elections, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) would be a helpful tool in making sure that candidates for the United States House of Representatives, United States Senate, Presidency, and Vice Presidency were not running afoul of federal campaign finance law.[1]

There’s one problem though—the FEC is not in a position to enforce federal campaign finance law heading into this. Why? Because the FEC needs at least four commissioners (out of six that could be in place) in order to enforce federal campaign finance law, and right now, the FEC is at…three commissioners. It was an issue noted the previous…

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The President Who Poisons All He Touches: Donald Trump, the First American Dictator

I write a lot about the perils of re-electing a madman, and sometimes I wonder if I repeat myself too often. But if we look back at history, see the parallels, and heed the warnings that were ignored the last time such a persona was taking over a nation, perhaps we can be wiser. Perhaps if we see clearly enough what we are getting, we can stop the runaway train. To this end, Padre Steve has written another of his thoughtful and thought-provoking posts that I do hope you’ll take the time to read and ponder. Thank you, Padre! Let’s hope that a year from now we can both write of happier things.

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

It has been a bit over three and a half years since President Trump took the oath of office as President of the United States. Over that time his actions have been similar to other leaders of history who have gravitated towards authoritarian rule, and his Party has only emboldened him. Former GOP House Majority Leader John Boehner noted on October 26th of last year: “There is no Republican Party, only the Party of Trump.”

Today I want to share the words of British military theorist and historian B.H. Liddell-Hart and some others of note as to what happens when authoritarian, or authoritarian leaders gain control of a government. His Liddell-Hart’s words, from his short, but profound book Why Don’t We Learn from History are worth the considered read for anyone with an open mind who can, despite the proliferation of propaganda can still…

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The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/15

Once again, our friend TokyoSand has found the best of the week’s political cartoons, and since I am without humour today, I shall share hers with you! Thank you, TS!

Political⚡Charge

By Daryl Cagle

This week, the two biggest news stories were the Trump administration’s tampering with the Post Office, and Joe Biden picking Kamala Harris to be his running mate. Here’s how the editorial cartoonists covered those stories, and more.

Trump Throttles the Post Office

ByMike Peters, Mother Goose and Grimm

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

ByKevin Necessary

ByClay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

ByMatt Davies, Newsday

ByClay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

ByNick Anderson

BySteve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune

By Zelley, for the Lincoln Project

Biden Picks Harris

ByDave Granlund

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ByMatt Davies, Newsday

ByMike Thompson, Detroit Free Press

By Walt Handelsman,The Advocate

BySteve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune

ByAdam Zyglis, The Buffalo News

ByMike Luckovich,

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No, He Cannot Do That …

This morning, Donald Trump tweeted …

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Put your mind at ease, folks … it ain’t gonna happen.

First, his claims about election fraud are unfounded and false.  The reality here is that he is dropping in the polls and isn’t likely to gain much ground in the remaining three months before the election, given the fact that the coronavirus continues to rage out of control, his federal troops are creating chaos in our cities, and he is his own worst enemy.

But more to the point, he does not have the power to postpone the election, the date of which was set by an 1845 federal law placing it the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.  The date could move theoretically with action by Congress — but that would require agreement both by the Democrats who control the House and the Republicans who control the Senate. Neither side supports the idea.  Even the ignoble Mitch McConnell rebuffed Trump’s idea, saying that the election date is “set in stone.”

Representative Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over elections, issued a statement saying …

“Americans have voted during the Civil War, in the midst of the Great Depression, in the shadow of World Wars, and in the wake of terrorist attacks. Americans will stand united to vote this November.”

Freedom House issued the following statement:

Washington  –  July 30, 2020 —  In response to President Donald Trump’s latest claims that mail-in voting will enable massive fraud in the November general elections, and suggestion that the elections be delayed, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The president does not have the power to delay the elections,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The danger here is that he is using groundless claims about the integrity of mail-in voting to try to delegitimize the electoral process. Those of us who hold democracy dear must reject this ploy.”

“The president’s baseless attacks on the integrity of mail-in voting are grossly irresponsible and must end before any further damage to public confidence is done. It is extremely unusual, in the United States or anywhere in the world, for an incumbent leader to predict fraud in his own bid for reelection. President Trump has a duty to safeguard the electoral system while in office, and if he is concerned that state officials and the postal service are unprepared, he should ask Congress to allocate more resources without further delay.”

“The fact is that large-scale postal voting has been used safely for many years in several states, and electoral officials of both parties have moved to increase access to vote-by-mail procedures in light of the threat posed by COVID-19,” Abramowitz added. “While authorities should also ensure that in-person voting is safe and accessible, for instance by allowing early voting and extending voting hours on election day, mail-in voting has become an essential component of democratic practice in 2020.”

So, put your minds at ease, folks … the election will be held on November 3rd!

From the mouth of Steve Schmidt, Republican presidential campaign manager

I find it encouraging to find some republicans are seeing Trump for the malignancy that he is, and hope they can convince more among their rank and file. Our friend Keith brings to our attention the comments of one lifelong republican … thank you, Keith!!!

musingsofanoldfart

This is courtesy of a CNN article called “This is the most succinct — and brutal — Republican rejection of Donald Trump that you will ever read,” which transcribes Steve Schmidt’s comments. Schmidt is a lifelong Republican, who was the campaign manager for John McCain in 2008 and Lamar Alexander in 2000. He is one of the founding members of The Lincoln Project, which is organized to help defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

“Donald Trump has been the worst president this country has ever had. And I don’t say that hyperbolically. He is. But he is a consequential president. And he has brought this country in three short years to a place of weakness that is simply unimaginable if you were pondering where we are today from the day where Barack Obama left office. And there were a lot of us on that day who were deeply skeptical…

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