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Monday, November 12, 2018

Based on his affect during the press conference last Wednesday, I asked whether or not Trump was depressed. That seemed to be the conclusion that a lot of people reached for various reasons. These last five days have only heightened that concern. It is a very real possibility that Trump is decompensating. In medicine, decompensation is the functional deterioration of a structure or system that had been previously working with the help of allostatic compensation. Decompensation may occur due to fatigue, stress, illness, or old age.

In anticipation of the Honduran migrant caravan crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, President Donald Trump ordered 5,200 troops to the border. But now that the troops have been deployed, they may find themselves with very little to do, according to officials familiar with the plans. read more

A black security guard was shot dead by a police officer as he held down a gunman at the bar where he worked. Jemel Roberson, 26, was working early Sunday at Manny's Blue Room ― a bar in the predominantly black Chicago suburb of Robbins, Illinois ― when a patron who was part of a drunken group that had been kicked out returned with a gun at 4 a.m. and opened fire. read more

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The reality is that if a Republican has a small lead on election night, they often lose that lead when all the votes from the cities and the provisionals are counted. This should not be treated as drama. By calling these results "rollercoasters" or "surprises" the press plays into the hands of Republicans who make false accusations of voter fraud or ballot stuffing. When in truth it's simply just counting votes.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Winston Churchill's grandson tweeted his response to US President Donald Trump's decision to skip today's 100th anniversary ceremony honoring the sacrifice of WWI soldiers. read more



In 1936 Rainey Bethea was hanged after he was convicted of rape. Over 20,000 people came to Owensboro, Kentucky to witness Bethea's execution. Many scholars maintain that the unprecedented nationwide attention and coverage the execution received caused the United States to outlaw public executions. Therefore, Bethea was the last individual to be hanged publicly in the United States.

Mississippi had the highest lynchings from 1882-1968 with 654. Lynching is a horrific part of the history of racial terror in the United States. Lynching involved small groups or large mobs of white people who subverted the legal process for black people accused or suspected of actual crimes or of transgressions of the white supremacist social order, such as interracial relationships or economic or political power.

This is precisely what Hyde-Smith enthusiastically endorsed in her self-chosen comment. There are thousands of ways she could have expressed her admiration for the supporter that she was talking about, but she chose an analogy unmistakably steeped in Mississippi's open history of racism, hatred, and the extrajudicial practice of the public murdering of black citizens without any benefit of due process.

And no, she was not waxing nostalgic for a legal practice that hasn't been in use since 1936. Anyone believing that is both an ignoramus and a fool. This is what she was referring to and as yet refuses to even apologize for even stepping into such hateful imagery, instead accusing those setting her straight for being the problem. It didn't have to be, but it surely may be her own "Roy Moore incident" that costs her a Senate seat if the decent people of Mississippi decide to elect her opponent instead.

On a related note:

Sinema continues to expand lead in Arizona Senate race

Sinema leads McSally by 32,640 votes as of Sunday evening, and now has 49.6 percent of the vote compared to 48.1 percent for McSally. There are still more than 200,000 votes left in the state to count, a process that could continue into the middle of the coming week.

"The final results are not election night," Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley told The News Service of Florida on Friday. "The final results are due from Florida 12 days after the election." The supervisor spoke to reporters shortly before a 1 p.m. meeting of the county canvassing board, comprised of a judge, a county commissioner and Earley. Like other canvassing boards, the panel makes decisions about mail-in ballots and provisional ballots and plays a significant role in hand recounts.

Voters in Florida can cast ballots in a variety of ways. They can vote by mail, cast ballots in person during an early-voting period in the two weeks before the election, or they can vote on Election Day. Voters whose eligibility is in question or whose information cannot be verified on Election Day can cast "provisional" ballots, which have to be scrutinized by local officials and may also need to be validated by county canvassing boards.

Ballots can be damaged in the mail or at home by voters before being sent to the elections office. Elections workers have to replicate the damaged ballots, so they can be read by voting machines, which then have to be examined by county canvassing boards, according to Sancho.

That's a painstaking, time-consuming process, he said.

"Votes are not being manufactured out of nowhere. This is a process that a Republican legislature, a Republican governor and a Republican secretary of state have developed since 2002," Sancho, who served as Leon County elections supervisor for nearly three decades before retiring two years ago, told the News Service.

"Certainly, there are hiccups here and there. It's a very complicated process. When I start talking about how recounts work, or just tabulation in general, I always see people's eyes roll into the back of their heads. But it's those details that you've got to get right. Sometimes it takes time. I don't think that anything nefarious is happening down south, but it may have been organized better," Earley said.


Even though election supervisors are voted on by their constituents, all the vote counting and election board canvassing are undertaken by members of both parties, not just one. Ballot validity has to be agreed upon by both party's observers or the ultimate decision is passed on to the three member boards, a judge, a county commissioner and the county supervisor.

Interesting backstory from Arizona that may explain why Martha McSally hasn't joined the fraud chorus from Florida:

It is widely assumed that if McSally loses to Sinema she will be appointed to John McCain's seat. (Former and now again-current Senator Jon Kyl is just there as a placeholder.) In other words, McSally will almost certainly be in the Senate next year regardless of the outcome of this race.

The national GOP wants an additional seat. But McSally really just wants a seat herself. At least that's her highest priority. So she has little interest in or incentive to disgrace herself with voter fraud conspiracy theories.

Maricopa County in Arizona is the 4th most populous county in the US. Broward County in Florida is the 15th most populous in the US. These counties have more residents than 14 US states, so it's hardly earth-shattering when the election boards of these counties do not have the staffing or efficiencies that enable them to provide same day or next day full accounting of their vote totals. When state laws dictate that mail-in, absentee, and provisional ballots have to be handled individually to insure their validity, these processes will take extended time and manpower far beyond what is immediately available on election night to accurately account and verify these votes any faster than they do. This is not evidence of fraud or manipulation, it's simply common sense and reality.

And in these most populous counties you will always find more Democrats than Republicans. This too is no conspiracy theory, it's simple demographic fact. As reported Tuesday night, both Gillum and Nelson were receiving nearly 70% of all votes cast in Broward County from their respective races, so why would it be scandalous that the same percentages hold when further legal votes are counted? Trump, Scott, Rubio and anyone else making unfounded claims of fraud without any evidence are playing those listening to such talk as fools and they are intentionally trying to delegitimize the legal votes of citizens who have no control over the fair counting of their votes just because they live in huge counties with hundreds of thousands of votes to be tabulated. At present there is nothing unusual going on with the vote counting. Those vested in the outcome are simply trying to negate the legitimacy of voters they already know a majority of didn't vote for them.

Republicans have chosen to make make rural whites and gated community types in smaller precincts their base, while making political enemies of city dwellers and the economically marginalized. That means Democrats will dominate among urban precincts and provisional voters who frequently change jobs and housing. Those votes take longer to count. Usually days, sometimes weeks. But it's just basic math.

That phenomenon, so often glossed over, deserves to be explained in full during the days after an election. Races that are anywhere close to even on the night after the election should be presented with that information as context, rather than being treated as an unknown mystery when Democrats gain leads as the count continues. In all likelihood the members of the nonpartisan press believe they're being objective and unbiased by failing to point out the basic politics of vote counts. But they're only inadvertently fanning the flames of rightwing conspiracy theories.

In the age of Trump, these conspiracy theories now have increasingly negative consequences. Republicans from Arizona to Florida to the White House are loudly blaring that elections are being stolen from them by simply counting the votes of people they marginalize, and the press isn't doing the job they should be doing to inform news consumers otherwise.

A healthy and informed democracy requires a full airing of the truth, even if that truth is politically inconvenient for one of its political parties. Even if that truth means that determining the actual outcome of the election may be inconvenient for editors' deadlines and cable news drama.


Thank you et_al, but I know many will not take the time to read the critically important and germane information so here it is:

Thus, it is beyond unseemly – indeed, it is downright destructive of public trust in our elections, and fundamentally inconsistent with the health of our representative democracy – for candidates to assert or imply that the reason that Election Night results have been changing in the past few days is because election officials have engaged in some sort of irregular or unlawful conduct to manipulate the results. For anyone who cares about democratic institutions, the responsible position is to let the counting proceed according to state law, and then if necessary to take advantage of recount, audit, and contest processes to ascertain whether any defects occurred in these processes.

We can revisit for future elections whether our system has come to rely too heavily on counting ballots days after Election Night. But that is a policy question for a later date, and all ballots cast in this year's elections must be scrupulously counted according to the laws established for this year's elections. Leaders of both parties, with the support of all concerned citizens, ought to condemn any effort to undermine this essential stage of the electoral process.

Cogent words to live by until there is concrete evidence of actual malfeasance and/or corrupt intent within the already laborious vote counting processes in some of the largest counties in America. There is a perfectly sane reason that Broward, Maricopa, and other extremely large counties take days, if not weeks, to complete their ballot counting processes: Their huge amounts of absentee, provisional, mail-in, and military ballots that often 'by-law' have to be processed one at a time to insure each vote's validity, almost insures that a net of more Democratic votes will be tallied due to the demographic make-up of these counties.

A group numbering 13 or 14 protesters trailed by four protest observers, some in the bright green hats often worn by trained First Amendment legal observers when monitoring police-protester interactions, walked up Carlson's street just after dark on Wednesday.

One of the protesters knocked firmly on Carlson's front door three times then trotted back down the steps to join the rest of the group in the street. This person did not throw their body against the door, as Carlson has claimed to newspapers. A police report on the incident makes no mention of damage to the Carlsons' front door from the three stiff knocks, contradicting Carlson's claim that the demonstrators had cracked the door.

Another protester read a brief statement through an amplifying device, then led the group in a series of chants against Carlson's habitual promotion of white supremacist ideology and xenophobia on his Fox News program. Some of the chants included the refrain "we know where you sleep at night." At multiple points, a chant broke down despite the rhythm-track efforts of a protester with a tambourine.

Video posted on LiveLeak shows portions of the event, which lasted less than 10 minutes. It also illustrates Carlson's other embellishment -- that one person was caught on a security video saying they wanted to return to his home with a pipe bomb. In fact, the person filming is heard saying "Pipe bombs! Synagogue victims!" as the speaker with the amplifying device wraps up their initial statement and begins to lead chants.... There is no mention of the phrase "pipe bombs" in the police report later filed.

A few minutes later, one member of the group mounted the steps again and leaned a poster board sign on the Carlsons' front door before rejoining the group. The sign had Carlson's name and address on it.... A handful of cars passed in either direction, most without stopping. One woman stopped to sarcastically congratulate the group on their tactics, then drove along.

"We'll be back! We won't tell you when!" the group chanted as it moved away from the house. Those carrying signs left them in the front yard bushes and other benign locations on the front of the property as they went.

One straggler from the group then stopped, put a backpack on the ground, and retrieved a can of spray paint from it. As that straggler began to graffiti the anarchist A symbol on the Carlsons' driveway, at least two members of the group walking away expressed dismay with their fellow traveler. "I didn't sign up for this," said one. "Seriously, what the ----," said another. A Metropolitan Police Department squad car rolled up the street from the south as the tagger, clad in black and face not visible, finished up the symbol.

The first responding officers briefly interacted with the slowly departing protesters, then doubled back to the house to check on the occupants. The group proceeded back down the winding, hilly street alone, at the slow pace required by the two in their number who were leaning on canes as they walked. I followed in a car.

Media executive David ------ met with Trump multiple times to discuss using the National Enquirer tabloid to buy the silence of women he allegedly slept with, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The publication said it spoke to three dozen people with direct knowledge of the payments.

The U.S. Attorneys Office in Manhattan now has evidence of Trump's role in the hush payments, according to the WSJ. He previously denied having knowledge about the payments. www.huffingtonpost.com

I think it's going to be almost impossible for Matt Whitaker to do anything as it regards stopping the DOJ's multi-pronged investigations into Donald Trump, including his financial dealings, without exposing himself to felony obstruction charges by doing so. The people making these cases are law enforcement personnel, not Democratic Party operatives, and it appears that they are doing their jobs strictly driven by the evidence of criminality that they've uncovered and in many cases presented to grand juries.

Even if a clued-in Whitaker reports back to the White House, his message may be one saying "You are so screwed and there's not a damn thing I can do about it without getting thrown in jail too."

One can only hope if this indeed is supported by evidence and proven in court or plead to by those indicted for such crimes.

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