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Sunday, November 29, 2020

I'm Not Supposed To Be Here...but...

Borrego in the old days....


 

 

I'm supposed to be resting my eye and staying off the computer, so I'll make this short.  Tomorrow I go up for another post-op check up and a mad dash for supplies.  Hope y'all had a nice Thanksgiving or as nice as could be expected under the current circumstances.  Damn, Trump isn't going away, he's just getting weirder. It's all weird, including down here. Although we haven't hit the 180 executed this month in Tijuana, it's close and AMLO certainly did not receive the warmest of welcomes to Baja California - all reports in the Noticias del Dia.

  I've been sneaking down here still looking for that elusive little cottage in Santa Cruz and then somehow I chanced on houses out in Borrego Springs.  I remember way back in the mid to late 70's when the "Ram's Hill" project was underway and even then, the experts warned about the water tables not being able to sustain golf courses and housing developments. But no one listened. It was only the very most wealthy who could afford a mansion out in Borrego. I remember the sweet grapefruit from Borrego, don't even know if those exist anymore.  Still, mother nature strikes back and even the greedy are still trying to sell...knowing that within a radius other than the water problem (there ain't any) the Salton Sea environmental catastrophe along with the New River cesspool and the all of the folks living in perfect squalor in Coachella under blackened soot air are just a stones throw away.  

Watching the news, Mike mentioned that he was wondering in the near future if people around the world are going to start rioting and fighting over who gets the virus vaccine. Great. Let's change the subject.

Meanwhile....

In case you might have missed it, a terrific synopsis of post-election misinformation, because most of these subjects are simply not being covered down here locally:

 

 ~ From CNN:

"Misinformation Watch is your guide to false and misleading content online — how it spreads, who it impacts, and what the Big Tech platforms are doing (or not) about it.

Watch this space for regular updates leading up to the election, and through any turmoil after."

 

  Misinformation Watch 

 

By Donie O'Sullivan, Kaya Yurieff, Kelly Bourdet, the CNN Business team and contributors from across CNN

Updated 11:44 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020
 
~~~~~~
 
 
Updated 3:27 PM ET, Sun November 29, 2020 
 
~~~~~ 
 
Here you go for everything....
 
 
 
~~~~~ 
 
Stay safe everyone. 
 
 
 
Maybe one of these days....  
 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Raise the Woof !!!

Okay I'm sort of back. Paris took my eye patch and I cannot find it. All went well (except for the motel in San Ysidro), have to put eye drops in 4X a day and a follow up appointment next week.  So my eye is resting, I'll try to get back here in a few days. We arranged the motel due to the fact that they allowed pets and the pictures looked like it was really nice.  By the time we arrived, it was too late to try to find another motel so we wore gloves the whole time, it was scary & we were glad to check out. Not recommended. At least I had a veggie burger at Carls. Kitties coming home tomorrow, Saul says they are being really good.

 

So I saw this and thought you might like to share it with your pup, Paris loves it.

 

"Raise the Woof" is billed as the first Christmas single written specifically for our four-legged friends. It was made using scientific research into how dogs interact with sound. And early footage of dogs listening -- shows they love it! (Video: CNN) "

 

 

 

 

 

Thrilled over Georgia and of course the over 30 (thirty) Trump Lawsuits thrown out of court due to lack of evidence.  Aghast that last night on PBS it was reported from a Yale study that 70% of Trump followers believe and are convinced there was voter fraud.  Are these morons brainwashed or what ? Not picking up the sordid details of the pest Trump's recent actions at least locally, wow.

 

Stay Safe Ya'll. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Woo-Hoooo Outrageous Trump Lawsuits Dumped! - Waiting On the Georgia Re-Count - Note From FirstDogOnTheMoon Institute !


 

 We shouldn't still be here however Rubio decided this morning to do cat things outside, so we had to wait for him to come in and get a snack and go in his carrier.  Mike just took both Rubio and Totsie to Dr. Silva's, and they are sharing a bunk with their ruggies, toys and I'll talk about the canned albacore later. 

 As you know, Trump's BS election lawsuits have been dropped. The last picture I saw of him yesterday with that Ajax clown, he looked sedated. Other than the fact that there was no evidence in any of these cases, we were kind of wondering if the attorneys who have been dropping like flies and withdrawing from representing him might have been pissed off because it is possible they were not being paid (which Trump is famous for).. I don't think any deals were cut, Trump has to face the consequences of his illegal activities unless he pardons himself, right? There are scads of places he could go to and not face extradition, but I don't think he would like any of them, except maybe Russia.

He still refuses to open up the COVID talks between the Biden Transition Team and the White House, he still doesn't get it.

So, here's the latest:

 ~ From CNN: 

November 16, 2020

Biden Begins Transition Plans As Trump Refuses to Concede

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 5:22 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020
 
~~~~~
 
 ~ From AP:
 
 
~~~~~
 
Here is the latest from FirstDogOntheMoon of theFirstdogOnTheMoon Institute...incase you happen to be missing the raccoons and the gang - also with great ideas for Christmas gifts:
 
 
Pictures on the link:
 
 
 
"Hello to you From me First Dog on the Moon. Hello indeed!

Welcome to First Dog on the Moon's traditional Christma-adjacent missive. What a year! Wasn't it! It sure was. I could go into the messy details but we all know what it was like and I just want you know that after all we have been through, all the terrifying weirdness and sadness and all of it, please know that I love you. Thanks for being part of the First Dog on the Moon Institute. My wish is for safety and peace for all my readers and all those other people who DON'T read my cartoons as well. That is how gracious I am. I hope the end of the year is kind to you and you get at least a few quiet moments. And an emu!


We are incredibly fortunate here at the First Dog on the Moon Institute. We have been spared the worst of the pandemic and the bushfires haven't returned (yet). Tasmania always looks nice BUT it is awful and full of poisonous animals who hate you do not come here. Roy is still with us - he is a very old dog now and what he lacks in hearing he makes up for with his quiet inexorable enthusiasm for snacks and sleeping. He is a very good boy. Don't forget Roy has his own instagram and a hashtag #dailyroy. For all the Roy content you could ever want. 
 
 
 The good news for 2020 includes MY NEW BOOK! I am extremely EXTREMELY excited about it. It is called the Carbon Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable EnviroTeens and it is for readers who are 10 to 14 or thereabouts but also anyone who wants to read an hilarious and informative take on CLIMATE CHANGE from the perspective of THREE TEEN SUPERHEROES AND A CHICKEN. It has wobbegongs and wicked villains and I drew all the pictures and I reckon it is one of the best things I have ever done. You can buy it here from our shop and I will sign your copy/ies OR you can buy it here where it is cheaper but not signed. The launch for this marvellous book is on November 28 if you're in Tassie. All welcome.
 
 
Our chickens are well. As are the sheep. I saw a tiger snake the other day - it's that time of year. I was standing in the veggie patch the other day and over in the blue gums I saw a fight between a wedge tailed eagle and a bunch of currawongs and forest ravens. Very exciting. Then this morning outside the post office there was a currawong and a lapwing chasing a goshawk up and down the main street. It's quite nice here at times. My major project for the year though was this book. If it goes well I shall write a sequel and if it doesn't go well so be it.

As always it is now time for Chrismerch! All our First Dog on the Merchandise is sourced as locally, greenly and wokely as possible. We try to only stock things which are practical - everyone needs tea towels! Socks! Books! First up remember to buy The Carbon Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable EnviroTeens!
 
 
2020 also sees us with Brenda aprons, tea towels, other books, and of course the 2021 calendar.  THE CALENDAR. Why not buy a calendar or seventy. This year we have gone with an underwater but still on a distant planet theme. "City of the Wobbegongs" in honour of Stuart who may or may not save the day in the EnviroTeens! You can get it at the First Shop on the Moon buy 1 OR buy 4 and get one free (5)!

We have our marvellous Plush Toys which are only $15. And this year we have SOCKS AGAIN! Fresh from the sock factory, in various sizes - extremely limited numbers! Be warned last year they sold out in about 12 seconds. There are Brenda socks and Raccoons of the Resistance socks order now in time for SOCKMAS! Speaking of Christmas and its friends - please get any ordering done asap Auspost is normally a bin fire and with covid it is even more challenging, slow and unreliable. Last orders for Australia are December 10 (we will take orders after that but absolutely no guarantees about delivery times) closing date for International is probably NOW or thereabouts also please be patient with completely magical Bronte the First Dog on the Moon Institute Christmas Elf there is just one of her.
 
 
It has been SUCH a long year. Perhaps the change in the USA will bring us some relief? Who knows. With any luck real life will go back to being funnier/weirder than the President. Either way thanks for reading all the cartoons this year, please be safe and have a lovely time when you can. Also thanks for buying the new book even if you didn't. Looking forward to seeing you in 2021!

Your friend,

Firstdog Onthemoon"
 
 
Have fun shopping !
 
 
~~~~~ 


Okay, we are waiting on Georgia...see ya'll in a few days and stay safe, it's bad out there.

 
 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Latest On Trump's Frivolous Outrageous Lawsuit Claims of Fraudulent Election - Roger Stone - The Trump Cult - We Love You Agnes Blalock !

Pro-Trump Rallies Today...Partially Brought To You By Assorted Racists, and...


 

...Roger Stone, former adviser and confidante to President Donald Trump, was sentenced on February 20 to 40 months in prison. Trump later commuted Stone's sentence. Report here.


 

 

 My pre-surgery Covid test was changed from Friday to today, so once again we were up in the states all day trying to accomplish a million things including taking Paris to the" beauty parlor." That's what she calls it - not the "groomers" or even Pet-Co. This is turning out to be a hassle, and it starts all over again in about 10 to 12 weeks for the other eye. Meanwhile, we didn't even hear about the pro-Trump rallies and anti-Trump demonstrations until after we came home.

Which brings me to what seems to be the defining word of both the GOP party and the Trumpistas: they are a cult. 

One of my goals is to read the authors on that last link so I can better understand the concept and know what to expect. Many people are terrified and almost frozen in fear of the possibilities of a never ending and expanding Trump Cult.  Many others dismiss the idea totally, believing that he will just fade away.  But its existence added with the fact that Trump is playing chess board with the Pentagon, DHS and our National Security, certainly gives reason if not for panic for at least a long pause. 

So here's what I came up with on his BS lawsuits:


 ~ From Politico:

'Purely Outlandish Stuff': Trump's Legal Machine Grinds To a Halt

 
"So many lawsuits have been filed in so many state and federal courts that no one has an exact number. The campaign has lost nearly all of the cases that have been decided so far."

 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Oh For Crap Sake Trump Concede And Get The Hell Out Already - Trump the Madman Fires Mike Esper - Outrageous Slash & Burn By Trump: Kuperberg Removed & Barr Growls, Pilger Resigns - AMLO Is Waiting For The Whistle To Blow - - Breaking News From Bloomberg via Juan Cole

This is going to be really quick with mostly links - we have been running back and forth to the states, need to go up again tomorrow for knee & blood work, then Friday for my pre-surgury Covid Test, then back for eye surgery, staying overnight in a motel and arrangements for the kitties to stay at Dr. Silva's....wait, I need to scream !

 Naturally, Trump is causing chaos; but we knew all along he was going to pull his shit.  As you probably already know, today he fired Mark Esper who made it to Trump's shitlist when Esper did not agree to pull out the Military to contain Black Lives Matter protestors in Washington D.C. and around the nation, not to mention Esper agreed to the replacement of Confederate Military statues across the country:


 ~ From Foreign Policy:


Trump Fires His Embattled Pentagon Chief by Tweet

 

"U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he fired long-embattled Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a tweet on Monday, just two days after news networks called the U.S. election against the incumbent commander in chief, another move that current and former officials worry could upset an already tumultuous transition to a new administration.

The move comes amid lingering tensions between Esper and Trump. The Department of Defense chief’s decision to publicly oppose using active-duty U.S. troops to quell protests against racial injustice in June and his endorsement of renaming military bases that honor Confederate generals angered Trump and nearly led him to push Esper out earlier. Top aides and senior Republican lawmakers helped convince him to keep Esper in place so the administration did not look to be in chaos ahead of the elections, current and former officials said.

Trump tweeted that Christopher Miller, a former Defense Department official recently confirmed as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, would take over as acting secretary of defense. Under federal vacancies law, the president can appoint another Senate-confirmed official in place of Esper, who some officials in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill had hoped would remain in place after Trump leaves office to ensure a smooth transfer of power.

“Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service,” Trump tweeted. The move marks another Trump firing by tweet, after he removed his embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by surprise two years ago while the top diplomat was traveling in Africa.

Veteran Pentagon officials reacted to the sudden news with a mixture of shock and anger.

“It’s unprecedented, it’s absolutely crazy,” said Jim Townsend, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense who spent decades working in the Pentagon. “There’s no practical reason to do this, except for personal vengeance.” A defense official said that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows informed Esper of his termination before Trump tweeted the news.

Townsend said Esper’s firing adds a new layer of uncertainty to what the final months of Trump’s presidency will look like, even as the president refuses to concede his electoral loss: “What it shows us is we don’t know what’s going to happen over the next two months when he begins his transition out of office.”

A Pentagon spokesman referred questions about Esper’s termination to the White House. A White House official said that Miller is eligible to serve in the acting role because he is Senate-confirmed.

The plan comes as officials inside the Pentagon and other agencies have anticipated a spate of potential high-profile firings in the wake of a possible Trump defeat in the November election—some of which have already come to pass. The president is also considering sacking his CIA chief, Gina Haspel, who reportedly fell afoul of the president after she opposed declassifying unverified Russian intelligence alleging Democrats tried to create a scandal about Trump’s ties to Russia ahead of the 2016 elections.

On Friday evening, the White House also forced the resignation of the deputy head of the top U.S. foreign aid agency, U.S. Agency for International Development Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick. Officials familiar with the matter said that she was fired so that the acting head of USAID, John Barsa, could take her deputy job and remain de facto head of the agency to get around time limits for officials serving in interim, acting capacities set by federal vacancy laws.

It was not immediately clear if Capitol Hill got a heads-up before the decision, and top Democrats in Congress were quick to slam Trump’s move. “Dismissing politically appointed national security leaders during a transition is a destabilizing move that will only embolden our adversaries and put our country at greater risk,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat. “President Trump’s decision to fire Secretary Esper out of spite is not just childish, it’s also reckless. It has long been clear that President Trump cares about loyalty above all else, often at the expense of competence, and during a period of presidential transition competence in government is of the utmost importance.”

Some experts said firing officials out of spite, even at the tail end of an administration, could cause blowback.

“You’re trying to have as seamless a transition as possible. Don’t do things that make the system more chaotic,” said Mark Jacobson, the assistant dean for Washington programs at Syracuse University who was a Defense Department official during the transition between Presidents Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s administrations. “Our enemies are going to take note of that, they know that now is a particularly vulnerable time.”

All of that could have a compounding effect on a possible Biden administration’s flexibility to set its own course on Pentagon policy after Inauguration Day. “You don’t want to box them into a corner,” Jacobson added.

Townsend said that Trump officials may also be reluctant to aid in a smooth transition to the next administration, for fear of incurring the White House’s wrath.

“At a time like this, to have [Esper’s] firing happen, it makes the atmosphere even more uneasy. If you are a Trump political appointee and you want to do a good transition, you’re going to pull in your reins and become very conservative because you’re afraid he could do that to you,” he said. “It just makes everyone walk on eggshells.”

As Esper has fallen out of Trump’s good graces, loyalists to the president sitting in high-ranking Defense Department roles have attempted to assert themselves over Pentagon policy.

“They can just do whatever they want,” the former senior Trump official said.

In an exit interview with Military Times, Esper—whom Trump himself had mockingly called “Yesper” for his reputation for upholding the White House line—fatefully mused that he could be replaced by someone much more amenable to the president’s whims, or worse.

“I could have a fight over anything, and I could make it a big fight, and I could live with that —why?” Esper said. “Who’s going to come in behind me? It’s going to be a real ‘yes man.’ And then God help us.”

 

~~~~~

 

More Slash & Burn by Trump:

 

He is on a rampage...now fired top scientist Michael Kuperberg, to be replaced by David Legates:


"Kuperberg's departure comes in the wake of the Trump administration hiring of David Legates, an academic at the University of Delaware who has written that "carbon dioxide is plant food and is not a pollutant," to a newly created political position at NOAA."

 

More firings, video included on the link: 


 ~ From Politico via MSNNEWS:


Trump Removes Head of Climate Science Report

 By Zack Colman and Alex Guillén

Updated 10:34 PM ET, Mon November 9, 2020

~~~~~~

 So here's the latest, I'm going to miss what happens tomorrow. through next week What we know for a fact at this point however is that there was no voter fraud, and history will remember Trump as a black stain, full of vitriol and puss.  He already is a laughing stock  around the free world, although it seems the populists are in his corner.  Ah well, birds of a feather flock together.


 ~ From CNN: 

 

Live Updates November 9,2020


By Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 5:34 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020
 
~~~~
 
 

By Fernando Alfonso III and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:27 PM ET, Sun November 8, 2020
 
 
~~~~~
 
C'mon AMLO, surely you remember the Pentagon Papers?
 
Video:
 
 
~~~~~ 
 
Everything: don't miss anything: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
~~~~~~~ 

Here's a good one with video on the link:
 
"Breaking News - Trump N.Y. Probe Not Limited To Stormy Daniels Payment DA Says - BNN Bloomberg"
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 "Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The New York County (or Manhattan) District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr., has been scrutinizing Donald Trump’s illegalities for some years now, but appears to have been reluctant to lodge charges while Trump was president. The Barr Department of Justice maintains that a sitting president cannot be indicted, though such a policy runs counter to the whole notion that in a republic, the leader is just a first among equals and not a king who rules by divine right. Vance, since he works for New York State, is not bound by DOJ federal rules, but appears not to have wished to get tied up in court over this procedural issue.

Vance no longer has to worry about that problem. Donald Trump will be a private citizen on January 20. Moreover, Trump cannot seek preemptively to pardon himself from a crime brought in a state court, nor could President Biden pardon The Donald for crimes against the state of New York. Only Governor Andrew Cuomo could pardon Trump if he were convicted in state court. What do you think? Would he do it?

The Manhattan District has empaneled a grand jury to consider the proceedings designated Trump v. Vance, 19-cv-08694. The grand jury proceedings are secret, but Manhattan DA Vance has indicated that it is looking into a number of matters, including Trump’s payoff to porn star Stephanie “Stormy Daniels” Clifford, but also “bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.”

DA Vance has sought 8 years worth of Trump, Inc. tax returns, and while Trump has fought the subpoena, his challenge has been consistently turned back by several courts. It seems likely that he will now get these records. There is evidence that Trump undervalued his New York properties in order to avoid taxes.

Me, I think the state prosecution of Trump for the Stormy Daniels payoff is the most potentially explosive case, precisely because no pardon could be proffered by President Biden in the genteel tradition of keeping presidents out of jail. Moreover, it would be great legal theater, in a way that dry business or tax fraud would not. I hope the judge allows cameras. Imagine Ms. Clifford’s testimony on national television.

Trump paid Ms. Clifford for sex in 2006 while he was married to Melania. On the eve of the 2016 election he directed his attorney, Michael Cohen, to conclude a non-disclosure agreement with Ms. Clifford for $130,000. Cohen was reimbursed by Trump, Inc. via a dummy corporation Cohen set up for the purpose. It is not clear whether campaign funds were used, but that would be a further illegality. Trump was afraid that Ms. Clifford might reveal the tawdry incident of prostitution by a married man to the press, which might sink his presidential bid if it offended the party’s evangelicals and little old ladies (“blue hairs” in campaign parlance).

If things unfolded in this way, Trump was guilty of election fraud, since he knowingly spent money on a “good” for his campaign and did not report it. Nor were donation limits observed. He could be fined $260,000 and sent to prison for 5 years.

The case would be relatively easy to prove, since the government raided Cohen’s office for records, and Cohen himself is willing to testify.

If Trump were convicted of election law violations for trying to cover up paid-for sex, I think that would do more to hurt Trumpism than anything else. His fanatical followers would be put in the position of trying to deny that Trump had sex with a porn star, or to deny that he illegally paid hush money to cover it up, and that is a hard defense to make among evangelicals, just because it would be hard to talk about these matters. Somewhere along in Trump’s third year in Rikers, my guess is that the sheen would be permanently off him."

 

Yep.

 

~~~~~

So  now neither Jair Bolsonaro or AMLO have congratulated our new President-elect, Joe Biden or Vice-President -elect Kamala Harris on their win. What's up with that...yea, yea, yea, I know I've read that AMLO says he is waiting for authoritative affirmation.  Do I have a comment on this behavior?  Nope, I cannot comment because I live here. But I think you can guess what I am thinking, no matter what excuses are being made.

 

 

Stay Safe Y'all, should be back in a few days....

  

Saturday, November 7, 2020

A Prayer For Joe and Kamala: The Lorica


 

 


 

 "The "Lorica" ( or in Latin,"Breastplate") is an ancient Celtic prayer attributed to Saint Patrick. Part of the Benedictus or song of Zachary from Luke 1:68-79 it is a morning prayer for the day when God's compassion like the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those  who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Primarily, the Lorica is a protection prayer, "...in which the petioner invokes all the power of God as a safeguard against evil in its many forms."

This version comes from the Benedictine Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside:



 

I arise today

through the strength of heaven,

light of the sun,

radiance of the moon,

splendor of fire,

speed of lightning,

swiftness of the wind,

depth of the sea,

stability of the earth,

firmness of the rock.

 

I arise today

through God's strength to pilot me,

God's might to uphold me,

God's wisdom to guide me,

God's eye to look before me,

God's ear to hear me,

God's word to speak for me,

God's hand to guard me,

God's way to lie before me,

God's shield to protect me,

God's hosts to save me

from the snares of the devil,

from everyone who desires me ill,

afar and near,

alone or in a multitude.

 

Christ in the heart 

of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth 

of every man who speaks to me,

Christ in the eye

of every man that sees me,

Christ in the ear

of every man that hears me.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me. 

amen.


~~~~


I'm in tears...Congratulations Joe and Kamala !!!


Thursday, November 5, 2020

"Stop The Count !!! " Memes and More...Elvis !!!!

 

~~~~

 Ain't she sweet....

 


 

So ridiculous. Donald must work on his Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Donald, Chill! https://t.co/4RNVBqRYBA

 

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

 






~~~~~

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

From the Atlantic: What Trump Could Do Next - Will Melania Get A Backdoor Man ?! - Wow ! - From Foreign Policy: Reaction From Overseas To Trump's Call To Stop The Vote Count - The State Of America: What The Election Results Say About That From Jonathan Tepperman and William Rivers Pitt !!

Hmmmm...other than beat his fists on the desk; watch out Melania, even though you lied your ass off for your sweetie on the campaign trail, he could even possibly throw you through the window out onto your bungled Rose Garden project...you can always get a backdoor man honey...


~~~~~


 ~ From The Atlantic:

 

November 4, 2020


November 4, 2020 

Caroline Mimbs Nyce Senior associate editor

 

" The margins are razor thin, and the president has falsely claimed victory. If the result doesn’t go his way, will Donald Trump concede the election? A Q&A With Barton Gellman (Elias Klingén) This election is close. Paths to victory remain for both Donald Trump and Joe Biden. And yet the president is already casting doubt on the results.

 

 We caught up with Barton Gellman, who warned earlier this year that this election could break down into chaos, to discuss how messy things could get in the coming days. The conversation that follows has been edited and condensed.

 

 Caroline Mimbs Nyce: You predicted that Donald Trump would not concede this election, no matter the outcome. His speech and tweets early this morning suggest that you could be right. What will it mean if he doesn't? 

 

 Barton Gellman: It’s not quite time for a concession speech, because the first vote count is still under way. What Trump is doing now is making spurious claims of victory and fabricating claims of fraud. There is nothing abnormal about counting votes until the count is done, and I expect the extended count to favor Biden. If Trump refuses to concede when the count is complete, he can throw sand in the gears with litigation and rouse his supporters into the streets. I expect things to get much worse before they get better. 

 

Caroline: In the worst-case scenario, could Trump use force to retain his power if he loses the Electoral College?

 

 Bart: Trump is talking like a dictator, but he doesn’t have the muscle to act like one—not completely. He did not send troops or law-enforcement agents to take control of the ballots, and if he had tried they probably would have balked. But if Attorney General Bill Barr throws the weight of the Justice Department behind Trump’s false claims, he can write a legal document that orders the federal government to treat Trump as president-elect. Trump could try to issue an executive order to the same effect. Whether government agencies would go along with orders like that, which are ordinarily binding but would be transparently unlawful now, remains to be seen. 

 

 Caroline: Should this contest devolve into a court battle, can you give us a quick preview of what to expect? 

 

 Bart: There is no precedent for litigation that tries to prevent an ordinary, orderly account of ballots cast. But good lawyers are paid to find ambiguity where none has been detected before. The Trump campaign will look for any technical flaw in the procedures or in the mail ballots yet to be counted. The Supreme Court conservatives have signaled that they may give primacy to the exact words of state statutes, and Trump will look for interpretations of those that conflict with the current practices of election authorities. 

 

 Caroline: How might team Biden respond?

 

 Bart: The Biden team has the easier task in court: to defend a normal vote count that is proceeding normally. Biden’s lawyers have gamed out every argument they can imagine Trump making, and have pre-drafted legal responses. 

Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel who is helping lead Biden’s legal team, said that Trump is heading for one of the most embarrassing defeats ever suffered by an American president if this election reaches the Supreme Court.

 

 Caroline: What's your best advice to Americans right now? 

 

 Bart: Take a deep breath, be very cautious about believing sensational reports on social media, and insist that our democracy follow normal procedures. We count every vote, always have, and the election is not over until that happens.

 

 More reading from our reporters: The nightmare is here, David A. Graham wrote early this morning. If public-opinion data are unreliable, American democracy is flying blind, he argues. The president confirmed the world's fears, our staff writer Tom McTague writes from London. "

 

 ~~~~~

 

 ~  From Foreign Policy: Check out the sidebar on the link !

 

How The World Is Covering Trump's Premature Victory Lap 

 

The election has been called an “attack on the nerves”—and Trump’s statements have been dubbed an “attempted coup.”

 

 "U.S. President Donald Trump, in his campaign event at the White House in the early hours of Wednesday morning, sought to freeze the U.S. election in its tracks, declaring the counting of ballots to be “fraud.” As the ongoing vote count enters its second day, many Americans have their bleary eyes glued to Electoral College maps, where the race is neck and neck, with key battleground states like Pennsylvania not likely to have full returns until Friday. But as it turns out, international readers are also glued to the refresh button. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the morning’s leading headlines from newspapers and magazines around the world.

United Kingdom: Although the Times of London didn’t evaluate Trump’s claims in a headline on Wednesday morning—“Trump claims victory and demands end to vote count”—the paper clarified in the article that the race is “still wide open” in key states. The claims, the Times’ U.S. editor and Washington correspondent reported, amounted to a “baseless allegation.” Meanwhile, the front page of the tabloid Daily Mail, Britain’s highest-circulation paper, juxtaposed Biden’s growing lead in Michigan and Wisconsin with Trump’s unfounded allegations of “surprise ballot dumps.”

Ireland: “Fintan O’Toole: At 2.23am today, the US president launched an attempted coup,” reads the front page of the Irish Times. O’Toole, a columnist at the paper, wrote that “Close to half of Americans voted for him in the full knowledge that he was going to do it.” The irony of this, given incoming election results, is that Trump “behaved like an autocrat even when it was quite possible that he could still win by being a democrat,” O’Toole wrote. Elsewhere in the paper, the Washington correspondent reported that despite Trump’s claims of victory and fraud, the election is “too close to call.”

Germany: The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel prefaced its coverage of Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election—which it called “an attack on the nerves” —with two caveats. First, the contest’s results won’t be clear for a while. Second, and perhaps more jarring for a readership that gives Trump low marks, Spiegel reported that more U.S. voters have already cast their ballots for the Republican nominee than four years ago. The magazine added that this trend follows an overall uptick in voter turnout, conceding that “at least that is good news.” 

By contrast, the Bild tabloid—Germany’s most widely read publication—went the clickbait route, quoting Trump’s unfounded claim that his lead “magically disappeared” and describing the election as a “thriller.” It also pasted a photo of the controversial new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to its homepage, with an all-caps title asking, “WILL SHE DECIDE THE ELECTION FOR TRUMP?”

France: “Donald Trump and Joe Biden neck and neck, the United States is tearing itself apart,” read the front page of Le Monde on Wednesday morning. The paper’s correspondent in Washington, favoring straightforward analysis, wrote that the race saw “echoes” of 2016, with the country’s fate resting on a handful of states. The main difference from four years ago, Le Monde reported, is the delay in the vote count. 

Spain: El País, read widely throughout the Spanish-speaking world, declared that the United States is facing an “institutional crisis” on its front page. The paper’s lead election story focuses primarily on Trump’s accusations of fraud and assertions that he won, even though key swing states are still counting votes. “Election night has entered the most-feared scenario,” the early morning Wednesday story begins, quoting Trump at length throughout.

Lebanon: On the morning after the U.S. presidential election, Lebanon’s Daily Star said, “the rest of the world was none the wiser.” The paper referenced Trump’s “pre-emptive declaration of victory” overnight, citing civil rights groups that view the move as “trampling of long-standing democratic norms.” After reviewing international leaders’ mixed reactions to the too-close-to-call election, the Star rehashed Bush v. Gore, referencing Trump’s promises to bring the 2020 election before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Japan: As the presidential contest narrows, the English-language Japan Times notes that the U.S.-Japan relationship hangs in the balance—with the Japanese government yet to comment on the election. In Japan, concerns are rising that the “political crisis” in the United States sends a message of uncertainty to its allies. The results of the election are likely to shape new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s first visit to the United States as Japan’s leader, the paper reports. 

Singapore: “Too close to call, Biden bats away Trump victory claim,” reads the front page of the Straits Times, Singapore’s major English-language daily, which also points to the president’s lack of evidence of any fraud despite his late-night press conference. The paper’s U.S. correspondent notes the potential for online misinformation in the days ahead as Biden calls for patience with counting mail ballots. 

Australia: The Sydney Morning Herald’s North America correspondent called Trump’s premature declaration of victory a “dark, disturbing moment in American history” in a dispatch from Washington, raising concerns about potential unrest and the integrity of U.S. democratic institutions over the next few days. “A nation with widespread gun ownership, a polarised population, tribal media outlets and a reckless president has to muddle its way through as all the votes are counted,” he reports.

Chloe Hadavas is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @Hadavas

Audrey Wilson is an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @audreybwilson

Allison Meakem is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @allisonmeakem

 

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Well, there's more, and these issues are what face us now.  

 ~ From Foreign Policy - with many more outstanding reports on the sidebar. Click the link !

Even If Biden Wins, It's Trump's America Now

Many thought 2016 was a fluke. That’s impossible to argue now.

"Whoever ends up winning the U.S. election—an answer we may get tonight, or not for weeks if some state results get bogged down in litigation—one of the most important takeaways from the race is that it was so close. Far from the landslide that polls seemed to predict, it’s come down to a nail-biter.

The big question now is what these results mean for the country. Pundits have tried to explain away President Donald Trump’s show of strength by pointing to lockdown fatigue or voters’ appreciation for his perceived success on the economy—at least until the pandemic came along and cratered it.

But these rationalizations don’t tell the whole story. Most important, they don’t account for the fact that, whoever ultimately wins the White House, nearly half of all U.S. voters endorsed a white-nationalist serial liar who has spectacularly botched the most serious health crisis in a century. They also knowingly ignored, or willingly embraced, Trump’s flagrant cruelty and sexism, his lack of curiosity or knowledge about the government and the world, his disdain for traditional U.S. values such as fair play and the rule of law, and his eagerness to tear down the institutions of governance at home and abroad—institutions that, while flawed, have provided much peace and prosperity over the years. Back in 2016, some Republicans voted for Trump because they didn’t know much about him, or because they hoped that the responsibilities of the office would transform him into a statesman. No one can make that argument today. We all now know exactly who Trump is.

When you factor in the facts that Trump has won more votes this time than in 2016, that he improved his standing among Latino and Black voters, and that the Republican Party may well hold the Senate, you’re left with one conclusion: 2016 was no fluke. Whoever wins this one, we’re all living in Trump’s America now.

Why do I say that? For starters, Trump and his party’s show of strength means that win or lose, Trump isn’t going away and the GOP won’t abandon him after all. Before the election, the end of Trumpism seemed like a sure thing. More and more Republicans were arguing, quietly, that the party needed reform and that four more years of Trump would doom them all. Even stalwart supporters such as Sen. John Cornyn were starting to edge away from the president. Now that Trump, and those supporters, have done so well, it’s hard to imagine many Republicans giving up on Trump or Trumpism anytime soon.

With his party and close to half the public behind him, an empowered Trump—whether as president, opposition leader, or freelance tweeter and media star—will continue to draw huge levels of attention and support, which he’ll use to hector and undermine Democrats and to push the same peevish, counterfactual, us-versus-the-experts-and-everybody-else message that he has for the past four years. Republican “Never Trumpers”—former GOP officials dedicated to process, competent governance, the importance of institutions, and at least some basic form of national unity—will remain marginalized or will leave the party altogether.

The results will be dire. Should the GOP win the White House, or lose it but hold the Senate, the policy paralysis of the past four years will continue—or even worsen. And things may not be much better under former Vice President Joe Biden. Even presidents who control Congress rarely get more than one or two big things done before their first midterm election, when they often lose legislative support. It’s hard to imagine that a President Biden, should he earn that title, will get even that far unless he manages to eke out a Senate victory (which, as of this writing, seems unlikely).

That’s a recipe for big trouble ahead. While Biden may seek to change the tone in Washington, the years of Barack Obama’s presidency showed that despite Biden’s lifelong dedication to bipartisanship, so long as Republicans remain the party of no, the chances of achieving it are close to zero. Under a divided government, we’re likely to see more inaction on huge problems such as the pandemic (though Biden could make some improvements using his executive authority) and the economy (where he can’t do much without Congress). Should Biden fail to pass major pandemic relief and other government spending, markets will flounder and financial instability will increase. Without coordinated action by all branches of the U.S. government, the pandemic will get much worse.

Thus no matter who wins the White House, Trump’s America—a country that has now spurned its best chance to resoundingly repudiate him—will mean more self-perpetuating dysfunction. Rage at the failure of government to help, or Republicans’ rage at the government’s attempts to help (through restrictions meant to limit the spread of the virus) will only intensify the country’s already vicious polarization, further reducing the chances for bipartisan cooperation and possibly leading to violence.

Biden’s goal of healing the nation’s divisions and governing in a way that brings everyone together seems like a very tall order now. Obama’s attempts to do the same only fueled Republicans’ obstreperousness and drove a large share of the public into the dangerous fantasy land of birtherism and other conspiracy theories (some of which ultimately morphed into QAnon). Now that Trump’s approach, for all its ugliness, has received a dramatic embrace from nearly half the country, it’s hard to imagine a President Biden making things better enough to make a difference. And it’s impossible to imagine a President Trump even trying.

Jonathan Tepperman is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy.

  Twitter: @j_tepperman

 

~~~~~

 
 ~ From Truthout:


Trumpism Is Alive and Well - And It Won't Go Away Even If Trump Does

 

 

"The final results of the 2020 presidential and congressional elections remain unresolved this morning. Even absent an outcome, there are many in the U.S. and around the world who will call Tuesday’s closer-than-expected election a disaster, an abject national humiliation, and a punch in the throat to every medical professional who waded into Donald Trump’s pandemic wearing trash bags and masks dipped in Lysol so they could help save lives.

How very quickly we forget.

No, this is not 2016, when half the country voted “couch” instead of heading out to their polling places. In fact, one of the bright spots of the night is that turnout was the highest it has been in 120 years. Just under 67 percent, the country outperformed its turnout mark for the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon election. You can’t, and won’t, do much better than that these days.

And right there comes the nasty little turn. Many devoutly believed Trump needed to be thoroughly and unquestionably routed last night, and not just to avoid a protracted and messy legal battle that could wind up before a badly compromised Supreme Court. More than that, the hope for a full Trump routing last night was also a hope that the entire grotesquerie that is Trumpism itself might be torn down, burned and buried under salted earth before the watching eyes of the whole wide world.

Well, after a huge turnout, that did not happen. Instead, an election that many expected to be a Democratic “Blue Wave” has become a nip and tuck affair that has seen Democrats actually lose seats in the House of Representatives. Democrats still hold the majority in that chamber, but it is a slimmer one today, and the GOP minority will surely be emboldened after outstripping expectations. Dreams of a Democratic Senate majority are slowly but surely falling to dust.

Ah, yes. Expectations, otherwise known as “polls,” form an entire industry that has once again proven itself unequal to the task it claims expertise in. I’m not one to casually quote neoconservative fiends like John Podhoretz, but in this specific instance, he cuts it right down to the bone.

“Political polling is a fraud,” Podhoretz correctly declares. “It claims to measure something that, it is now unmistakably clear, cannot be accurately measured. Polling’s seductive promise is that it will take the guesswork out of understanding a complex and changing set of circumstances and replace that uncertainly with something that looks like science. But it’s less like the physics that helps us shoot rockets into space and more like the set of the spaceship on ‘Star Trek.’ It’s shiny. It has a lot of dials and lights. Things beep. But if you put it on the Cape Canaveral launchpad and lit it on fire, you would just burn to death.”

I pledge to you upon this day, November 4, 2020, that I will never again stain this page with numbers from a poll, and I apologize abjectly for having done so in the past. Polls are the Wonder Bread of political journalism; they help fatten articles and hit deadlines, but as far as valuable information goes, they have the caloric equivalent of gravel. Never again, you have my word.

The race at present is down to a white-knuckle clutch of seven states: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona. The last of those, Arizona, was called late last night by Fox News in favor of Joe Biden, which motivated Trump to erupt in a frenzy of fraud accusations and authoritarian victory declarations that, impossibly but surely, stained this elaborate debacle even more deeply. “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he railed. “We want all voting to stop.”

The outstanding districts in those states are almost all urban centers that contain millions of uncounted votes. Tallying those ballots is what Trump wants stopped, and what will likely motivate him to bring this election to court if Biden eventually prevails. At the end of that path lies the Supreme Court, clearly what Trump is hoping for.

To be sure, there were a great many joyful victories recorded last night. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez obliterated their opponents to secure a second term for themselves, and Jamaal Bowman won the seat for New York’s 16th district. Sarah McBride won her race for Delaware state senate, making her the highest-ranking transgender official in government.

All small-time drug possession in Oregon has been decriminalized. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota legalized marijuana. Mississippi approved the removal of the Confederate banner from its state flag. Florida passed a $15 minimum wage. Nebraska and Utah passed measures closing the loophole that allowed slavery to continue for those convicted of a crime.

But Lindsey Graham still has a job, as does Mitch McConnell, and probably as majority leader to boot. The “Blue Wave” was transmogrified into lost ground in both the House and Senate, and if Biden wins this thing, it will be by a whisper-thin margin that can fully expect to spend the next couple of months in court. In any event, the counting goes on and it will probably be days before a final result is reached.

We will be spending a long time picking apart the details that led to last night, the missed clues and overstated chances. Was Joe Biden the best choice as a nominee, or just another in a seemingly endless line of doomed DNC Dembots straight out of central casting? Certainly, Biden has not lost yet, and may well prevail… but the moment begs a question: Would we be here if Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren were standing in Biden’s place? We will never know, and now we wait.

Two facts stand out: First, the urban/rural voter split is more pronounced than ever, and the urban voters are surprisingly evenly matched in numbers with their rural brethren. There is no blaming turnout this time, not after matching a 120-year-old high mark. We appear to be as evenly divided a nation as we’ve been hearing we are, and this newest nose count underscores the grim truth of it.

Second, and more importantly: Despite the horrors of the COVID-19 pandemic and his ridiculous handling of the crisis, despite the shattered economy, the ceaseless bombast, the overt racism, all of it, Donald Trump remains popular enough to make a razor-thin contest out of what many (hand raised) expected would be a blowout. More people voted in this election than ever before in all our history, and at least half of them think Trump is worthy of a second term. Maybe more, if the deal goes down his way.

As election officials steadily process the ballots before them, I am processing the meaning of last night’s results. I gravely misunderstood the nature of my country coming into this contest, something I felt I’ve had a handle on for years. Nearly 66 million people surveyed the roiling, hateful, plague-raddled disaster zone the nation has become under Trump’s administration and decided he should have another four years to do more of the same.

It’s not over yet, but no matter the final outcome, this feels very much like a resounding setback, if not a defeat in its own right. Even if Biden wins, he would need a Democratic majority in the Senate in order to effectively govern. The ground was ripe for the Democrats to do much better last night, with the surrounding circumstances altogether vehement in their pressing relevance… and then, this.

It is going to be a very long week, again. Stout hearts."

 

~~~~~ 

 

It's scary.


 

Stay Tuned...and stay safe y'all...

 

  ~ From AP:


2020 Balance Of Power

 

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