The Republicans are turning a massive failure of infrastructure and privatization in Texas into a condemnation of renewable energy. Even the Governor of the State is on national television spewing lies and disinformation.
Gov. Greg Abbott, on Fox News, said that the problem was caused by renewable energy systems.
Officials were told in 2011 that they needed to winterize the Texas system. But, the State of Texas didn’t make that winterization and other changes obligatory. Because the grid is operated by private companies, allowed to make as much profit as they can, the State failed to winterize and now we are watching people lose their lives.
Message #1: Don’t elect people to run government that don’t believe in government.
Message #2: Capitalism is going to kill us.
Message #3: We are living in a failed state.
On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough is complaining about networks allowing Donald Trump to phone in and spout lies. Morning Joe gave Donald Trump millions in free air time in 2015 and 2016.
Every morning, Trump was phoning in to Morning Joe and lying.
Georgia: Glynn County Police Department
Ahmaud Arbery was killed in Glynn County, Georgia on the street, murdered by a former police investigator and his son.
Police made no arrests and allowed Arbery to lay on the ground while they released the man and his son.
The only reason the two men are in jail now is because a video of the killing was released to the press.
In 2020, the County Commission prevented the citizens of Glynn County from voting to abolish this police agency.
The agency has been fraught with controversy and illegal behavior.
The former chief of police was indicted, the Narcotics Unit was disbanded, officers killed a woman in her car and failed to remove an officer who had a history of assaultive behavior. This officer went to the house of his ex-girlfriend and shot her, her new male friend and himself.
Now, the County is paying a consulting firm to tell them who to hire as Police Chief. In addition, they are hiring a former “mentor” of one of the council members to also tell them who to hire.
The County gave the consulting contract to a company that didn’t even have the words “community policing” in their proposal. The proposal was the shortest of all those submitting, two pages.
Georgia: Voting Systems
The Republicans in the state legislature are on their way to pass some of the most restrictive voting rules in the country.
The new laws would prohibit the use of mail-in ballots for almost everybody.
Republicans depend on people not being able to vote.
147 Republican members of Congress voted against seating Joe Biden’s electors. They moved against accepting the votes of the people in this country based on no evidence that there was a significant problem with the voting system.
These 147 Republican members of Congress did not win, but they tried to. There are not 147 Trumps. These people are Republicans. They are Republicans who do not support democracy. But, as of today, they are all still in Congress.
Just like all the other outrages of the Trump administration, the fact that 147 members of Congress tried to throw out the results of an election, is being normalized. Corporate news anchors are repeatedly asking representatives of the Biden administration how they can claim to seek “unity” when they are proposing legislation that differs from (what purports to be) the Republican agenda.
The past four years has been difficult, nerve wracking, infuriating, but since the nomination of Biden, it has been even more infuriating. It is perhaps a bit less stressful since I don’t wake up every morning dreading to find out what the president has done while I was asleep, but the Democrats and the corporate media seen to have learned nothing, NOTHING from the last four years.
The Democrats have not learned how to run against the Republicans, and the corporate media (in the face of an insurrection) is still indulging in mindless bothsidesism.
When Trump was in office, it seemed like a frontal assault, every day. Now, I have the feeling that the corporate media is playing music while people are relentlessly creeping up behind me.
Unlike many of the people I know, I feel no relief with the election of Biden. The Democrats are still talking about “unity” and “bipartisanship” with people who have demonstrated that they want to destroy democracy to maintain their power. It’s like watching a government negotiate, trying to win over the Naxi party. It is enraging and it is terrifying.
While the Democrats waltz around congratulating each other for representational appointments, the Republicans are seizing 2022.
In Georgia, Warnock is up for reelection in 2022. We don’t have six years with Warnock, we have less than two. We have to do this again. We have to drag out a win in what is essentially a red state, and we have to do it in a circumstance where the state government is already actively working to eliminate as many potential voters as possible.
In Georgia, Republicans have proposed steps to make it harder to vote by mail and easier to throw out legally cast ballots. The same Republicans who the corporate media celebrated – Kemp, Raffensperger, Sterling – are beavering away to purge voters from the rolls and make it more difficult for people to vote.
What people need to remember is that Kemp, Raffensperger and Sterling went along with every Trump inspired move to suppress voting except put themselves in criminal jeopardy by changing votes. They are like the gang members who were perfectly willing to drive the get away car, but not willing to go into the liquor store with the gun.
They will be even more willing to drive the car now because they are trying to get back into the good graces, and the donations, of right-wing supporters.
Across the Country
Emily Singer (1/22/21) is reporting in the Independent that efforts to make it harder to vote are going on in most of the GOP-controlled state legislatures. They are introducing legislation to make voter registration and voting by mail more difficult.
These voter suppression moves have been practiced by the Republicans for decades, but picked up steam especially after Biden’s win in 2020. Republicans are daily pointing out the dangers of what they see as “voter fraud” and legitimating moves to keep people from voting in the name of eliminating “voter fraud.”
In Montana, the state House began hearings on a bill which would eliminate same-day voter registration. This is what the SOS refers to as “election integrity.” These measures are expected and intended to affect the voting of Native Americans and students. Both groups vote Democratic by a wide margin.
In New Hampshire, the GOP-controlled House started hearings on a bill that would repeal same-day registration and putt barriers to students who want to vote. Students must, if the bill is passed, prove that they qualify for in-state tuition before registering to vote. Republicans passed a similar law ahead of the 2020 election which required students to become permanent residents to vote. This law was struck down by a judge.
In Arizona, a GOP-run legislature is weighing getting rid of the state’s Permanent Early Vote List, which allows residents to register to receive mail-in ballots automatically. They are also working to impose restrictions on recounts and add other burdens to discourage people from voting.
In Pennsylvania, a Republican state senator introduced a bill that would eliminate no-excuse absentee voting.
In Mississippi, a Republican state senator proposed a bill which would lock Mississippi from releasing vote totals in presidential elections until after all states had cast their votes in the Electoral College.
Democrats in the House are working to pass H.R.1, which would require states to implement automatic voter registration and limit their ability to purge voters from the rolls. An identical bill passed the House in 2019, but McConnell blocked it from getting a vote.
So, Democrats are trying to make it easier for people to vote. Republicans, who realize they cannot win if there is a popular vote, are working furiously to purge voting lists and make it more difficult for people to vote.
One Party is advocating and working for democracy. The other party is fighting against it. You choose.
Joe Scarborough, both-sideser in chief and head MSNBC misogynist is at it again this morning joined by his usual kiss ass crew. He got in a little trouble yesterday by repeatedly asking guests whether it was necessary to impeach Trump. The dreadful Mika told him to stop and he responded like the petulant bully he is, by berating her and trying to embarrass her on national television.
This morning, he and Peter Baker are trying to figure out how “we” can work with the Republicans like James Langford, who have suddenly had an attack of conscience over trying to overthrow an election.
But, for Scarborough and Baker, that’s just a minor blip. Sedition? Just apologize and Scarborough will find a way to launder your reputation (if you are a Repubican).
Baker’s contribution to this was to lament the fact that, in his words, both sides have decided to go back into their partisan corners. Equal corners, right? One side is providing the rationale for sedition and the other is trying to restore democracy, but they are both equally to blame.
On to other matters.
On Ari Melber’s MSNBC show last night, Eugene Robinson (Mr. Mild Manners himself) said that the Republicans created this division and now they are buying body armor.
AOC was evidently so afraid when the attack was going on, she was fearful of going into a safe room with Republicans. She thought they might lead the attackers to her. It was not an unreasonable suspicion since one of the members of the House was texting out the location of Nancy Pelosi.
Lindsey Graham characterized the impeachment proceedings as “sheer hatred.” I can’t wait to find out why Graham did a 180 turn to support Trump. Maybe if Trump gets more and more frustrated, he will start to spill the dirt.
Rep Madeleine Dean, who will be one of the impeachment managers said “Lindsay Graham knows better.” “You too” she said referring to Graham, “are complicit…”
Trump evidently brought Bannon back into the sedition circle. Roger Stone was the one who came up with the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry.
Tony Schwartz is saying that Trump is now moving “between rage and delusion.” And that Trump has unleashed forces that we may well see become more powerful in the future.
Peter Strzok, former FBI, expressed “frustration and anger” at the lack of preparedness at the Capitol. If you look at other events, Strzok argued: “The government can secure the capitol when it wants to and that didn’t happen here.” Strzok said that the tour groups that evidently went through the Capitol the day before the assault needed to be “looked into.”
Elizabeth Newmann, former Assistant Secretary for Threat Presentation and Security Policy at DHS, explained that the Terrorist Watch List is a separate list from the No Fly List and is broader, larger. She says it includes “suspected white supremacists.” But, she also said, this list functions more as an alert system than a surveillance system. If, for example, someone got arrested, law enforcement could run the name and the person would show up as on this Terrorist Watch List. But, there is no ongoing surveillance on these people. So, they could all decide to go to Washington at the same time and go and there would be no automatic alert because of this list.
Last night, Rachael Maddow was commenting on the absurdity of having people on this list, but not knowing that they were all converging on the same problematic location. The only way law enforcement could know this is if these people were under constant surveillance and I’m not sure that’s what we want.
A number of people are already pointing out on Twitter and in articles that this siege of the Capitol may well end up working to the disadvantage of legitimate protest. As always, it’s easy to argue for more surveillance of individuals when they are opposed to you politically. But, these same surveillance measures can be turned quickly against legitimate protest.
I heard no discussion yesterday of the way in which a person might be put on this Terrorist Watch List. Once on this list, are you ever taken off? What surveillance measures can the government take after you are put on this list? These are questions we need to answer.
Newman, after explaining the list, went on to say that there was “no excuse for the lack of preparation” at the capitol. She pointed out that that the Executive Branch, while reluctant to tell another branch of government what to do, has a “duty to warn” of dangerous situations. They, for example, should have issued a “Joint Intelligence Bulletin.” They did not. “They knew that violence was planned” Newman continued. “You always assume the worst, prepare for the worst…”
Petef Strzok expressed disappointment that we had not heard from Director Wray. He wondered whether the FBI attempted to warn other agencies but was prevented from doing so. Strzok didn’t say by whom.
Anna Palmer noted that since the COVID outbreak, the Capitol had been like a “ghosttown.” She noted the extensive security measures for even going into the Capitol as a reporter. “It’s been months since people were even around” she noted. These tours were highly unusual.
Biden has named Jamaal Bowman head of the DNC. It has not escaped notice that Bowman is against Medicare For All.
And, lastly, in Georgia…
I had an interesting exchange with a friend on Facebook. He commented that when the FBI asked all these low-level attackers who are being arrested if they had any coordination or contact with Congressmen or Trump, they would flip and implicate them.
I responded: True, if the FBI agents ask them.
Now, as usual, he took exception to this. Most people, especially those who have worked around law enforcement accept a law enforcement ethos. They resist any aspersions on the integrity of the force, even confronted with daily evidence to the contrary.
He responded in a curious way. First he said that I shouldn’t paint all agents with a “broad brush.” Seemed to me that he was painting them with a broad brush, just assuming that the FBI would be trying to turn offenders on higher ups. Why this assumption is made, I don’t know.
We have just witnessed years of the most curious behavior on the part of the FBI and the Justice Department in recent memory. Why did James Comey make public the absurd reopening of the investigation of Hillary Clinton right before the 2016 election? Why did he within the past few days argue publicly that Biden should pardon Trump? What was going on in the New York City office of the FBI in 2016 that almost lead to a work stoppage? These are just a few threads that need to be followed up here. In addition, why was the Justice Department so easily compromised by Jeff Sessions and then Bill Barr? Why was the Mueller investigation so limited as to make it meaningless?
I’m sorry, but I just don’t think we can assume that all those FBI agents out there are crusaders for justice especially when it comes to investigating people at the top of the food chain. (See Jesse Eisinger’s “The Chickenshit Club.)
Then, my friend said that the last time he talked to me I was (overly) concerned “dismayed” with voter suppression in Georgia, and Georgia had become the beacon of election security. Georgia, he said had become the “honest election state that is saving democracy. What truly happened?”
Now, I have no idea what this last paragraph has to do with FBI agents working overtime to get dirt on powerful Congressmen, but there you are.
I find the statement amazing. I fully realize that the media, prone as they are to simplistic narratives, is trying to make heroes out of Raffensperger, Sterling and Kemp, but anybody who reads should know that Georgia is far from a beacon of hope.
Brian Kemp’s government spent a fortune on a fancy new voting machine system. And they conducted a propaganda operation by replacing all the “I voted” material with “I secured my Vote.” It was all a propaganda operation. I did poll worker training in Georgia before the general and I left at lunch and didn’t go back. It was obvious to me then that the new system was unwieldy and full of holes. The measures taken to “secure the vote” were geared toward security threats in the 19th century. Nobody could answer questions about hacking into the system.
Even though the media has touted “paper ballots” as an indication of transparency, in Georgia, they are not really “paper ballots.”
The ballots are marked by a machine. Then, the voter gets a sheet of paper which has his choices printed on it. The voter is supposed to check these choices to make sure they are right. But, the scanners that count the votes do not even register the words printed on the ballot. They count a bar code at the bottom of the ballot. The voter cannot read the bar code. The poll workers cannot read the bar code. I don’t think anybody outside of the Voting Machine company can read the bar codes. It’s protected by law. What kind of state of affairs is that?
Before the general election, Brian Kemp’s government made a decision that any recount in Georgia would be done by simply feeding the same ballots (with the same bar codes) through the scanners again.
In short, Georgia spent a fortune on a voting system that is impenetrable. They regularly send out “experts” who claim that the system cannot be hacked. But, Jennifer Cohn, Jonathan Simon and the Coalition for Good Governance have repeatedly offered evidence that at best, we don’t know this.
In addition, Kemp is the king of voter suppression. That’s how he won a race against Stacey Abrams for governor. Raffensperger and Sterling were in the voter suppression game up to their eye balls. Kemp, Raffensperger and Sterling are like the guys who are willing to drive the getaway car, but not willing to go into the liquor store with the gun.
Just in case you hadn’t heard…Kyle Rittenhouse is out on bail and sitting in a bar drinking and yucking it up with the Proud Boys. Reality Winner has COVID and in still in jail. I know she’s not receiving her mail because I have a box of returned letters.
The federal government has executed the first woman in almost 70 years. The woman had a history of mental illness and sexual abuse and sex trafficking in her childhood. The ACLU had appealed to the federal government to halt scheduled executions.
Liz Cheney has said yes to impeachment.
Trump, yesterday called for unity and calm while also threatening the nation and the President-Elect.
Kevin McCarthy is saying that Trump shouldn’t be impeached.
Geraldo has joined the group of people trying to save what is left of their reputations repudiating Trump. He also advanced a line used by Toomy used, saying that losing the election made Trump crazy. “After the election, he (Trump) took this to an entirely different place, orders of magnitude different,” Toomey said to NBC.
On the “trying to salvage what little is left of his reputation,” subject, Brian Kemp of Georgia is reviving an image he used in a former campaign saying he will drive around Georgia in his pick up truck to distribute vaccine. For some reason, Kemp feels this casts him in a positive light. Since he finds himself incapable of managing the state’s distribution network even though he is governor, he hopes to salvage his image by making people believe that delivering vaccine personally in a pick up truck is better.
Also in Georgia, a man charged in the capitol siege, Christopher Stanton, has committed suicide. This is the second suicide reported among those involved in the insurrection. A capitol hill police officer was also reported as having committed suicide.
Right-wing activist Ali Alexander (who has gone into hiding and raised $20,000 on a Christian crowdfunding site) says that Reps. Gosar and Biggs worked with him in planning the rally that led to the attack on the Capitol.
Rep Lauren Boebert has been arrested four times, including for resisting arrest. She cheered the Capitol rioters and live-tweeted her colleagues’ locations. Last night, she refused to go through a metal detector to get to the House floor. Why she is adamant about taking a weapon into the House chamber nobody knows.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill has said that members of Congress gave tours to people through the Capitol on a “reconnaissance” mission one day before the riot. She says that she is going to see that they are “held accountable, and if necessary ensure they don’t serve in Congress.”
The Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), funded robocalls directing people to the rally in Washington, told them they would be marching to the Capitol and used the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry invented by Roger Stone.
The RLDF is closely associated with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA).
Florida’s AG, Ashley Moody, was on the board of directors for the RLDF, the group that on the day of the Capitol attack sent out robocalls urging attendance. After the attack, Moody’s office scrubbed references to the group (Tampa Bay Times).
RAGA donated more than $1million to Moody’s political committee in 2018.
Moody has been prominent in the legal fight to overturn the 2020 election in favor of Trump. She also after taking office, joined 14 other Republican state attorneys general in urging the federal government to drop its case against Michael Flynn.
Alabama AG, Steve Marshall, blamed “staff” for the robocall that urged people to go to the Trump rally in Washington.
The executive director of the RAGA resigned on Monday.
The website for March to Save America, the Trump rally, listed the RLDF as one of the participating organizations. The graphic which listed the participating organizations has since been deleted (Atlanta Journal Constitution).
Diane Feinstein had filed the paperwork to run for reelection.
Trump most likely lost because of mail in ballots. So…
The Georgia state senators pledged on Tuesday to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting, require a photo ID to obtain a ballot, outlaw drop boxes and scrap a court agreement to quickly tell voters about signature problems on ballots so that they could be fixed…new york times.
Jennifer Cohn, an election security advocate, writer, and attorney is essential reading if you are at all interested in fair elections. One of the downsides to Biden winning the 2020 election is that everybody wants to go home, drink and relax. As women keep saying to me, they want to get back to “normal.” But, “normal” brought us here and as in the quote from Thomas Wolfe: “You can’t go home again.” Normal, or what people are referring to as normal, is over. It will never return, at least not in our lifetimes. In fact, normal on the political scene has been over for a long time, at least since 2000. Most people just never noticed.
I don’t claim to understand what happened in the election of 2020. I was certain that the Republicans would cheat electronically just like they cheated when wiping hundreds of thousands of people off the voter rolls, enacting laws that acted as voter suppression, closed down polling places, decreased hours for voting, sabotaged the post office in an attempt to slow if not stall the movement of votes and tried the best they could to restrict mail-in voting.
They lost at least at the presidential level. They didn’t lose outright at the state level. The Democrats actually lost seats in the House and they are fighting for their lives in the Senate. Once again, the polls predicted a landslide for Biden. He barely squeaked through. They predicted losses in the Senate, but Collins and McConnell and others won. The two Republicans running for Senate in Georgia will most probably win.
But, since we cannot see into the vote count, because machines count our votes and partisans in the race control the voting process, how would we know what happened, really?
As Jennifer Cohn tweeted today:
• “Polls predicted Trump would lost in a landslide, Rs blocked robust election audits (#SAFEAct), GOP senate wins are red shifted, voters lack means to investigate, DEM leaders won’t do it, and Rs are the ones screaming fraud. I see no progress toward evidence-based elections.”
• “Evidence-based elections are the only way to know if electronic election outcomes are legitimate. They require hand Marked Paper Ballots plus robust manual audits plus a secure and transparent (perhaps videotaped) chain of custody through conclusion of the audit.”
• “I worry we win a battle only to soon lose a war.”
• “The next four years will be hell if the GOP maintains control of the Senate. The next election could be hell too. And I see no Democrats discussing the possibility that the GOP cheated. I hope they are just waiting until Ds Hopefully win the senate.”
• “…Those of us not in Congress must…continue to sound the alarm re some of these unexpected red shifts and other anomalies favoring Rs.”
• “…Rs and right-wing media will spend the next 4 years claiming falsely that Biden is illegitimate when it was Republicans that blocked progress toward evidence-based elections and, if anything, it is suspicious that Trump and the GOP did as well as they did.”
• “We cannot let Rs spin this faulty narrative…the GOP steadfastly blocked efforts to move to evidence-based elections and that DeJoy engaged in highly suspect conduct with vote by mail. WE MUST STAND FOR EVIDENCE BASED ELECTIONS.
Republicans are furious with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and SOS Brad Raffensperger because even with a new $150 million voting machine system, they couldn’t reliably deliver a win for Trump and two Republican Senators. The two senate candidates, Perdue and Loeffler, called for Raffensperger’s resignation. Kemp, it will be remembered, is widely thought in Georgia to have stolen the governorship from Stacey Abrams in 2018.
Given the amount of voter suppression, the millions spent in overt propaganda to convince Georgians that their voting machine system was “secure,” and the black-box nature of machines which cannot be meaningfully audited, the only reason Kemp and Raffensperger couldn’t deliver is the large number of mail in ballots that were cast.
Geogia’s highly touted “secured” voting system, includes paper ballots with the voter’s printed choice of candidate on them. One big problem is that the scanner that counts the votes, doesn’t count the words printed on the page. The scanners count a barcode at the bottom of the page that neither the voter nor the voting officials can read. Many people, like me, voted by mail because this allowed circumventing the Ballot-marking devices and the barcode scanners.
So now, Kemp and Raffensperger are scrambling to save their political careers. Even though there is a large margin for Biden in the state, they have announced that there will be a recount. Yesterday (November 11) Raffensperger announced that the recount would be a hand recount of every ballot. He even made jokes about the amount of overtime that would cost counties to do such a recount. I’m not sure they shared his humor.
Jennifer Cohn and others have been on twitter, however, pointing out that the SOS has no authority to mandate a hand recount, so the legality of this proposal is dubious. Several other Georgia watchers have also pointed out that lawyers representing Trump in litigation about the election are also representing the State of Georgia. This conflict of interest has not been explained.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Georgia state law requires an audit but leaves up to elections officials the choice of race. This leaves the people in charge of the election in charge of determining what race to audit. Officials in Georgia have chosen the presidential race to recount rather than the senate races. The certification deadline in Georgia is November 20. It is unclear how counties in Georgia (where they are already pleading for volunteers to help monitor the recount) are going to do a total hand recount by the deadline for certification. This may in fact be the game.
The state of Georgia sent a memo today to all County Registrars. In this memo, headed “Be wary of false and misleading information re: ICX update” the State of Georgia accused attorneys involved in litigation of “false and misleading allegations.”
The memo, which is in tone and content, completely unprofessional, Chris Harvey, Elections Division warns county election officials about correspondence they “may have received” from “activists.”
The “activists” in question are attorneys who are fighting in court to try to ensure that the state of Georgia does not install a last-minute update to the software in Dominion voting machines used across the state.
Warning county officials, the state writes:
“These activists have been suing the state and Georgia counties for years because they disagree with the decision of the Georgia General Assembly to use electronic ballot-marking devices instead of hand-marked paper ballots. Because their preferred policy was not enacted, they have tried to force their preferred policy on the state through litigation. The latest correspondence makes false and misleading allegations regarding the recent update to the ICX (touchscreen) component of Georgia’s voting system.”
The updates to the software were said to be necessary because of problems that arose with the Dominion voting system at the beginning of recent testing for the upcoming election.
Attorneys trying to bring some transparency to this update process have been dismissed as has their case. The SOS’s office is arguing that updates do not have to be verified or certified. The citizens of Georgia should just trust them to reprogram voting machines less than two weeks before early voting begins.
• The Supreme Court has sided with South Carolina Republicans attempting to suppress the vote by reinstating a law requiring witness signature for mail-in ballots. This decreases the vote by making it more difficult for people to vote, requiring them to risk COVID by having someone else witness the ballot, and provides yet another point top invalidate votes (the verifying and matching of the witness signature).
• In Florida, the voter registration website crashed and stayed down for several hours on Monday, the deadline to register. Again, every obstacle decreases the vote which is what the Republicans are counting on.
• In Iowa, Republicans blocked sending out ballots that had pre-filled voter information on them. Tens of thousands of ballots were invalidated. This means confusion, the likelihood that people will send in the wrong ballot, and the necessity of the state to send out replacement ballots a month before the election.
These are three incidents in three states, being replicated all over the country.
In Georgia, software on all the states voting machines is being replaced A MONTH BEFORE THE ELECTION. This software change is being done by the voting machine company, unverified, unexamined, and uncertified.
The Republicans are pulling out all the stops. They have too much at stake to lose this election. They are going to lie, cheat and finally steal this election and the Democrats and the media are going to be caught off guard. VOTING IS NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH.
And: Pennsylvania’s online system for registering to vote and applying for and tracking mail ballots crashed over the weekend, triggering an outage that stretched for more than 24 hours and prompted frustration from voters weeks before critical election deadlines.
A discussion of politics, law, justice, and crime.