Bloomberg wrote yesterday: ‘A federal judge in Pennsylvania threw out a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign that aimed to block certification of the state’s election results unless it tossed out tens of thousands of mail-in ballots, rejecting the “startling” request due to a lack of evidence.’ It cited the judge’s ruling (my emphasis):
“This court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence…In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state.”
Bloomberg also wrote ‘It’s the latest and perhaps highest-profile courtroom defeat for Trump since the U.S. election Biden won by 6 million ballots. Suits filed by the campaign and its GOP allies have failed in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona as judges declined to toss out millions of votes based on vague assertions by lawyers and sworn affidavits from voters who interpreted perceived irregularities as evidence of a Democratic conspiracy.’
In response, the Trump campaign said in a statement that it would seek an “expedited appeal” to the Third Circuit as a means to ultimately have the Supreme Court, and its 6-3 conservative majority, consider the case.
The court cases are now losing at a rate of 2 for 34.
Meanwhile, the president has checked out of governing, if he was ever checked in. As many noted, yesterday, instead of focusing on COVID with other G-20 leaders, he went golfing.
President Trump missed the virtual G20 summit’s “Pandemic Preparedness” event to visit one of his golf clubs on the same day that a record 195,500 new Covid-19 infections were reported in a 24-hour period in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins.
Much as I like being on a course, this is the metaphor that should stand as his legacy. His biggest care was about his golf score and handicap. The Guardian wrote: ‘According to a tally kept by CNN, Trump has visited one of his golf clubs on 303 occasions during his four years as president. During his 2016 campaign for the White House Trump regularly attacked his predecessor Barack Obama for hitting the links too often and insisted that he would have little time to play golf himself as president as he would be working too hard.’
Not surprisingly, this highlights yet another simple untruth uttered that has marked almost every day in office.
His biggest handicap was that he really doesn’t care for the people he is supposed to lead.
Right now, political double-think is on display in the state of Georgia, following the 2020 US general elections. President Trump is trying to contest the outcome of the presidential vote, where he trails by about 14,000 votes (0.3%).
At the same time the senatorial races were deadlocked with the Republican incumbent leading in one senate race, but no clear winner in the special senatorial vote, though the incumbent Republican is trailing; both seats will need run-off races. These races will determine the balance of power in the Senate.
The president is not trying to contest the senatorial votes. But, calling into question the outcome of the presidential vote must mean issues across the board, given that it’s a single ballot paper.
However, the votes are being hand counted in an audit to verify the voting machines, under new state law:
The hand recount of nearly 5 million votes stems from an audit required by a new state law and wasn’t in response to any suspected problems with the state’s results or an official recount request. https://t.co/zLtQMUmCi2
The hand recount is being monitored by the Carter Center:
Carter Center will monitor hand recount of GA 2020 pres election to "help bolster transparency & confidence in election results"…the first time the nonprofit which has observed elections around the world will monitor any part of an election process in UShttps://t.co/uMBCFmKIli
So far, it has resulted in the a lead for Biden of 12,781 votes, a margin that had shrunk by 1,375 votes over the past week as uncounted ballots were found in Floyd, Fayette, Douglas and Walton counties through the recount. But, few other issues have emerged:
Voter registration concerns exist, despite the recent general elections:
Ga. Gov Kemp wrongly purged 200k Georgians from the voter registration records… If you live in Ga. CONFIRM YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION BEFORE DECEMBER to vote in Jan. 5 runoffs is Dec. 7 – https://t.co/A6EBEfq7FU
The state secretary of state had refused to endorse Trump from January and feels he’s now feeling retaliation.
Months before the 2020 election, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger rejected repeated demands by the Trump campaign to endorse the president—and he now believes the attacks on his job performance this November are “clear retaliation”https://t.co/tquWRcw4TX
He’s also indicated pressure from senior GOJ figures, including Senator Lindsay Graham, to toss out valid votes.
.@Eugene_Robinson on Sen. Graham allegedly pushing GA Sec. of State Raffensperger to toss out legal votes in the state's recount: “He has no reason to meddle in the election return counting affairs of the state of Georgia.” https://t.co/5LpDD76gEl
To his immense credit, Brad Raffensperger has been firm in his view that is role is to be neutral though added that Trump lost in Georgia by casting doubts on mail-in voting, which cost him over 20,000 votes based on Republican voting in the August primaries.
The reality TV man who’s been living his own reality in a big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue has never ceased to amaze. He’s aggressive, plain and simple, as when he lambasts certain nations as “sh*thole countries” or Mexicans as “rapists”. He’s also often passive aggressive. His favourite form of displaying that is how he dismisses people from his administration. For that, he has no place for face-to-face, which may lead to some physical interactions that would make him seem lesser for the weakness of his arguments or poor judgement.
Yesterday, President Trump fired Chris Krebs (who served as the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the United States Department of Homeland Security from November 2018 to November 2020) on Twitter:
The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud – including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, “glitches” in the voting machines which changed…
This action comes after Krebs had certified that the recent elections were free from fraud. Krebs’s firing came after his agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, last week released a statement calling the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.” It added, in boldface, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
Christopher Krebs, the federal government's top election security official, has been fired by President Trump.
Krebs had led a campaign to refute baseless, false claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election. https://t.co/sKxnJaw7EQ
Texas is way out in front, and President Trump refuses any such national measures, emphasizing last week that “this administration” wont do that, citing the financial/economic costs and lost jobs. (This was also his near ‘acceptance’ moment that he had lost the election.)
President Trump said his administration would not go to a national COVID-19 lockdown while speaking from the Rose Garden. https://t.co/ZdDMdY8phI
In fact, yesterday saw El Paso’s lockdown deemed illegal by courts. Newsweek reported:
‘Texas state appeals court rejected a stay-at-home order in El Paso County on Friday despite the community seeing a surge in new cases and rapidly decreasing space in morgue trucks and tent hospitals.
The Eighth District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the state and local restaurant owners, who sued El Paso District Judge Ricardo Samaniego for issuing a city-wide shutdown after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a reopening order on October 7.’
The Hong Kong government will tighten social-distancing restrictions and introduce mandatory testing for some groups after locally transmitted Covid-19 cases rose in the past week https://t.co/gmrrhkYoc4
What is also clear, is where life has moved back towards ‘normalcy’ has seen recent difficulties, with sporting and educational activities having to be curtailed as cases spike among playing and coaching personnel as well as with students and teachers.
Plans to adjust to COVID-affected schedules are coming into play in an otherwise full US fall/winter sports calendar:
Reduced schedules and COVID-19 cancellations have made determining the four College Football Playoff spots more subjective than ever.@PWSullivan's solution: Expand the playoff to a 16-team "Winter Madness."https://t.co/tY79HYRT83
So, while most eyes were on the US presidential elections, Jamaican eyes were also on the People’s National Party (PNP) presidential race. Mark Golding won with 1740 delegates votes, over Lisa Hanna with 1444 votes, with a 96% turnout. Voting took place yesterday, at various constituency locations nationwide, and results were declared by late-afternoon :). Golding will become the formal Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives.
Comrades, Delegates, Friends thank you for your vote and your confidence in me. Tomorrow we start the rebuilding of a unified, stronger and purposeful Peoples National Party! I couldn’t have done this without you and I don’t plan to move forward without you either! #GoWithGoldingpic.twitter.com/37k3iSzuFX
Steve Kornacki has been standing for a week analyzing charts and numbers for MSNBC and needs to sit down. He says the total may be 306 Electoral College votes, which would be the same as President Trump in 2016.
The president was playing golf at the time that media called it, so I hope he’s having a good round. Rain washed out my golf this morning, as torrential rain hit early.
Crowds are now gathering in celebration all over the US and elsewhere, including outside the White House. It’s occupant may object, but, let’s see what he does when he’s back from golfing. We know acceptance will not come immediately:
BREAKING: After NBC News, along with every other major network and the Associated Press, project Biden has been elected 46th President, Trump refuses to accept election results, saying it is ‘far from over’ https://t.co/4d072uM4IT
I’m taking nothing for granted, after four years of division being sown and lies become the currency of a president that is traded so readily by many supporters.
In a normal year or administration, I would say, let’s go, but now is when it gets interesting because with a maniac still in office, I do not take anything for granted. #ElectionResults2020
— Dennis G Jones Father of a radicalised feminist 🙂 (@dennisgjones) November 7, 2020
The fundamentals of the USA as a democratic place were deeply shaken and need to be re-established.
The Caribbean has the music for this moment: ‘Hold him. Joe’:
Analysts will pore over many details to see what went right and what did not, but a key point made earlier today was that Biden was more a man of the people than the incumbent could ever claim to be (coming from the elitist background that he does) and had the real ability to be empathetic, rather than confrontational.
Joe Biden has not yet gotten the 270 Electoral College (EC) votes needed to be officially ‘president elect’, but he signalled that he’s about to assume the duty of care for all Americans.
He spoke to the nation at about 10:45pm, with 253 EC votes according to some media house or 264 according to others (adding Arizona). He has over 74 million votes, some 4 million votes over his opponent. He’s leading in enough states to get about 300 EC votes, though some are close.
#BREAKING: Joe Biden declares that he'll be the next President of the United States: "The numbers tell us a clear and convincing story — we're going to win the race." pic.twitter.com/s8QyaFsJ5g
Ballots remain to be counted, some of which were legally unavailable for counting earlier. The patient waiting continues and the final numbers must await the weekend, after final voting took place on Tuesday.
As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.
Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!
Clear and present danger existed weeks before and many occasions occurred when the president exposed himself and others to viral spread, eg when the Secret Service was affected:
The Secret Service sustained a coronavirus outbreak in August at its training facility in Maryland, evidence of just how close the pandemic has been to President Trump in the weeks before he was infected.https://t.co/AJCsFOcr5D
I expect little from politicians, personally. I also don’t hold them in great reverence; most don’t show me reasoning capacity of the highest order; their emotional outburst make me question the balance of their views; and in Jamaica, I’m concerned about their constant attempts to appear be the source of all good things people want, but sadly too often, primarily, for their own supporters.
What I expect is a good ear and a real appreciation of national and local issues. So in that vein, I wonder what they really understand about mask-wearing resistance.
Do Jamaicans respect noise abatement rules? Most do; many don’t. Do Jamaicans respect road traffic rules? Most do, many don’t and a particular subgroup—-taxi and minibus drivers—don’t to a degree far greater than the rest of us. Do Jamaicans expect to be given concessions, let off and given second chances for egregious behaviour? Yes, and with good reason, based on actual experience with government.
So, with a background of patchy compliance with most things, what should we expect over something as seemingly trivial as wearing masks?
I’m just going to take a look at what COVID19LIFE is getting us to accept and understand in that regard.
I went to play golf at dawn, yesterday, as I often do on Saturdays. After weeks of heavy rain, the club had warned about mosquitoes in abundance and urged long-sleeved shirt and long pants. I’d forgotten that last week and found I was the special on the menu 🤔😳😩🏌🏾♂️Fool me once…
I had the picture taken because I dress like this only at this time of year; the mosquitoes at Caymanas are savage.😩😳
Golf allows lots of human interactions but with lots of social distancing. Those working at the course adhere to COVID protocols; caddies and course maintenance staff wear masks most of the time as they move around the course. Naturally, when far from anyone one can see their masks in place other than covering their faces. Players are usually good at compliance; on the course, they are the same as those who work there, and many have added not using caddies as a form of added protection—not having additional personal interaction (bad for the caddies’ pockets, though). Many players do not mingle in the bar areas but sit on the balcony, well-spaced and ventilated and use the hand sanitizters before heading on into the main building. I tackled someone entering the bar last week without a mask (not a man I recognized, so I assume a visitor)—the sign stated clearly no mask no service—but he had to be an exception: “I’m just paying my tab.” I gave him the choice of 7 iron or 3 wood up his a**e. 🤔😡Sorry, I’m not tolerant!
After golf, I headed home with two errands in mind, get cash and buy bananas. Well, the two Scotia ABMs by the gas station at Washington Boulevard/Molynes Rd had a dozen people waiting outside them so I didn’t stop there. (I noticed though that they were mostly masked and about 2m apart; some couldn’t help being up under armpits, though.) That meant I had no money for bananas. Aargh! I could use Qwisk or my credit card? What’re you smoking, bro? 🤔😂😩So I drove though the small street market at Grants Pen Rd/Shortwood Rd and just observed. Masks were more evident than last week, though this was a spot check not a structured survey.
My observations last week (scenes in the video) had triggered a response from the MP:
My ABM errand had to wait till closer to home. The line at the Texaco gas station was short but the mask issue loomed large:
It’s obvious some people don’t get what ‘personal responsibility’ means, so despite efforts by others, we’re worse off than we need be:
Mask wearing is proving to be a bigger test than many expected; it’s also pushing at boundaries of personal liberties for some—the USA seems to be the main battleground. It could also indicate some mental problems:
It’s also about messaging. It’s also about if incentives are needed, either sticks or carrots. When pushed, governments have gone for sticks. It’s hard to think what carrots would work. In using sticks, some governments have also pushed closer to dictatorial measures. That’s not been tried in Jamaica, and I’d not think it’d be well received.
When Jamaicans have been asked by health officials about their understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, they answer overwhelmingly that they understand what it is and how it spreads, but…many believe they wont get it. That belief is bolstered, I imagine, because deaths have been low in relative terms and even the number of cases is low, relatively speaking. So, it’s a mild form of denial, I guess. However, that’s why many feel they have nothing to spread as well as nothing to catch. The important feature that most people will be infected by not show symptoms either hasn’t factored in, or people really believe that unless you see or hear the symptoms, nothing is being passed around. That said, we’ve heard stories of near panic when someone sneezed in a confined space.
Government officials in many countries have dug their own graves on messages by being as mixed up as fruit salad in how they’ve followed rules or been the arch buffoon in how not to wear masks.
What know is those who understood the need apply it. Mark Wignall wrote about this behaviour in today’s Sunday Gleaner. He noted the denials: ‘One said to me, “Missa Wignall, big respect. None a wi right here so know anybody whey sick wid di virus, so right now, wi feel safe. Respect.”’ He also pointed to what I have noted, that ‘personal responsibility’ if for others to practice: ‘So we are stuck with what we know. Jamaicans know, to a large extent, that we all need to protect ourselves, but from my talks with many at street level, they somehow believe that if ‘others’ do what is right, all will, in time, be okay. That is plainly dangerous.’ (my stress).
That final point, is for me, too true and points to a grave and obvious danger, because the fight in Jamaica against the pandemic is not even and is for everyone but ourselves to fight, in the mind of too many.