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Friday, 06 November 2020 07:19

Trumpism Lives On!

Donald Trump may end up losing the 2020 election in the Electoral College, but he won the campaign that ended on Nov. 3.

Democrats had been talking of a "sweep," a "blowout," a "blue wave" washing the Republicans out of power, capturing the Senate, and bringing in an enlarged Democratic majority in Nancy Pelosi's House.

They visualized the ouster of Trump in a defeat so massive and humiliating that it would serve as an eternal repudiation of the man. And, most intoxicating of all, they believed they would be seen by history as the angels of America's deliverance.

It was not to be.

The American electorate failed to perform its designated role in the establishment's morality play. Indeed, Democrats ended Tuesday night terrified that America had again turned its back on them and preferred Trump to the leaders and agenda they had put forth.

By the campaign's end, Democrats were freezing the ball and running out the clock.

Consider the immense burdens candidate Trump had to carry.

Early in his reelection year, the nation was struck by the worst pandemic in a hundred years that, by Election Day, would kill nearly a quarter of a million Americans and cause an economic collapse to rival the Great Depression.

Trump had to endure daily the near-universal hatred and hostility of the nation's academic, media and cultural elites. How hostile is this city to President Trump?

He lost D.C.'s three electoral votes by a margin of 20-1.

Yet, even so burdened, Trump won 3 million more votes in 2020 than he had in 2016, and, as of midnight on Election Day, he seemed headed for victory in the Electoral College.

Giving the energy and effort he put into his campaign -- a dozen rallies in the last three days -- and the enthusiastic response from the huge crowds, Trump has much to be proud of.

Trump may lose the presidency, but Trumpism was not rejected.

Nor was it repudiated by the people if, by Trumpism, one means "America First" nationalism, securing our borders, using tariffs to bring back our manufacturing base, bidding goodbye to globalism, staying out of unnecessary wars and swearing off ideological crusades.

And if Joe Biden becomes our 46th president, the tenure of office of this visibly frail and enfeebled leader is likely to be among the more abbreviated in American history, and bereft of high achievement.

For Democrats appear to have lost seats in Nancy Pelosi's House, and, instead of sweeping to power in the Senate to make Chuck Schumer the new majority leader, Senate Democrats appear to have gained only a single seat. As of now, Sen. Mitch McConnell is set to be the gatekeeper to any passage of the Biden-Harris and Sanders-AOC agendas.

Good luck getting something enacted that Mitch McConnell doesn't like.

As of today, the 2020 election has restored to Senate Republicans veto power over any and all administration legislation, be it liberal, progressive or socialist. This election may have made McConnell the most powerful congressional leader since Lyndon Johnson.

With McConnell leading a GOP majority, Democrats would be unable to end the filibuster or pack the Supreme Court, and the GOP majority would have the power to kill the Biden tax plan, "Medicare for All" and the "Green New Deal." There will be no statehood and two senators for Puerto Rico or D.C., and no reparations for slavery. Mayors and governors seeking blue state bailouts to avoid defaulting on overdue debts will need McConnell's blessing.

In times past, there was often comity between the parties, or at least an attempt at comity. In mid-August of 1974, after he took office, President Gerald Ford went before Congress to declare: "I do not want a honeymoon with you. I want a good marriage."

It was not to be. And in the ideological divide and poisoned politics of this city, there is little likelihood of compromise -- or even civility.

Biden faces other troubles, too.

The worst of the COVID-19 crisis, in terms of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, may be ahead of us. And Democrats will not be able to blame Trump indefinitely. And if their answer is, as Joe Biden has at times indicated, a national "shutdown," a Biden honeymoon is unlikely to last.

Bottom line: Joe Biden is not going to be the "transformational" president of his imagining. Nor is he going to be the "most progressive president since Roosevelt" as some Democrats have been promising.

And the reasons are obvious.

FDR had massive Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress throughout the 1930s. And he won the presidency in 1932 by capturing 57% of the vote and 42 of the 48 states of the Union. In 1936, he carried 46 of 48 states, losing only Maine and Vermont.

Biden has no such mandate and no such power base, and he lacks the natural gifts of FDR. Sorry, but there is no new "Era of Good Feelings" in store for America. To the contrary.

 

patrick buchanan small

Patrick J. Buchanan

President Donald Trump on Wednesday began taking legal steps to challenge election counts in certain states, filing a lawsuit against Michigan, intervening in an existing Pennsylvania case and seeking a recount in Wisconsin.

Former Vice President Joe Biden held a 248-214 electoral vote advantage over Trump as of Wednesday afternoon, according to The Associated Press, which called the race in Wisconsin on Wednesday afternoon.

While races in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina remain undetermined, Biden said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that he had a clear path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

"When the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners," Biden said.

Biden pulled ahead in Michigan on Wednesday morning after Trump led the state after midnight. Trump still led in Pennsylvania Wednesday afternoon, but that lead was shrinking.

At issue in both states was mail-in ballots.

"This is the most important election of our lifetime, and President Trump made clear our path forward last night: ensure the integrity of this election for the good of the nation," Justin Clark, Trump 2020 deputy campaign manager, said in a statement.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Wednesday morning that hundreds of thousands of votes still need to be counted but officials hoped to finish by the end of the day. With 99 percent of the vote counted in Michigan, Biden led by about 60,000 votes, or about 1 percent.

But Bill Stepien, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, said the campaign hasn't been given access to all counting sites in Michigan, so it filed suit to halt the count.

“President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law," Stepien said. "We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted. We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access. President Trump is committed to ensuring that all legal votes are counted in Michigan and everywhere else.”

In Pennsylvania, predictions that it might take the Keystone State several days to sort through an unprecedented number of absentee ballots appeared to be coming true.

Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, the state's top election official, said Wednesday that the state still needed to count 1.3 million mail-in ballots, out of 2.6 million that were sent in by voters.

Trump still had a sizable lead in Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon, with a margin of more than 315,000 votes, giving him a 52-47% advantage. But onlookers noted that the mail-in ballots that had been counted so far were favoring Biden by a margin that, if it held up, would allow the Pennsylvania native to catch up to and surpass the president and claim the state's 20 electoral votes, which would be devastating to Trump's chances at reelection.

Trump's campaign said Boockvar, in collusion with the state Supreme Court, illegally allowed for mail-in votes to arrive and be counted well after the election.

"The United States Constitution is clear on this issue: the legislature sets the time, place, and manner of elections in America, not state courts or executive officials," Clark said. "As the President has rightly said, the [U.S.] Supreme Court must resolve this crucial contested legal question, so President Trump’s campaign is moving to intervene in the existing Supreme Court litigation over the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s unlawful extension of the mail-in ballot receipt deadline."

The campaign said the law was on the president’s side: "as the Eighth Circuit just said, to change the ballot receipt deadline is in fact a change of the time, place, and manner of the election – and only a state legislature or the United States Congress can do that under the Constitution."

The Trump campaign also said it will sue the state of Pennsylvania to, similar to the case in Michigan, "stop Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing from our Republican poll observers – observers whose only job is to make sure every valid ballot is counted, and counted once."

In Wisconsin, with 99 percent of the vote counted, Biden led Trump by about 20,000 votes, enough for The Associated Press and other media outlets to call the race there.

Trump's campaign team said it would seek an immediate recount in the state after claiming irregularities with the vote count.

"Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been razor thin as we always knew it would be," Stepien said in a statement. "There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubt about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so."

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said about 200,000 absentee ballots remained to be counted and the state hoped to have those done this afternoon.

In North Carolina, between 100,000 to 200,000 absentee ballots still needed to be counted.

Votes in Nevada, an expected Biden win, and Alaska, an expected Trump win, were also still being counted Wednesday and no winner has been declared in either state.

If the contests in Nevada (6 electoral votes) and Alaska (3) finish as predicted and Trump wins in the states he's currently leading in, including Pennsylvania, the president likely still needs to win in Michigan to be reelected or win a recount in Wisconsin.

Trump so far has been declared the winner in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Biden won Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

​Dan McCaleb

The Center Square

Mr President, why would the Governor of Pennsylvania and AG say that when the “after 11/3 mail in ballots” are counted, Biden will definitely win? What do they know that we do not?

 

Don’t you know, that as the President it’s your responsibility to ensure that all the ballots counted are legit and legal and not counterfeit? Let me ask you this…would George Soros, who owns vote counting manufacturing businesses, counterfeit ballots and provide them to Democrat workers who are as honest as Donna Brazil to be filled in and delivered for counting?

 

It’s the FBI‘s responsibility to investigate voter fraud. Direct AG Barr to prepare a generic search warrants for all those polling centers, in all those States that are in play, that are counting mail in votes . The purpose to confiscate/take custody of all mailed in votes to protect the evidence and for forensic examination to determine authenticity, legality and whether or not there is voter fraud. Order FBI Wray to immediately send Agents to all those State vote counting locations to protect those ballot after they are counted!

 

Do you not believe that these people are capable of destroying ballots, accidentally, after counting?

 

If Hillary could order 33,000 emails,that were under subpoena, destroyed…don’t you think they would destroy ballots? Remember she told Biden never to throw in the towel after 11/3! Wait until all votes are counted…wait for all the Soros votes are counted, my words.

 

Look at it this way…what the hell do you have to lose… if they declare Biden the “mail in” elected President? If you don’t have those ballots…you have nothing!

Most of the of the 11/3, in person votes were for you but  75% of the millions of mail in were for Biden?

 

I do not believe that’s even, honestly, possible!

 

therightsidejgarydilaura.com

gary small

J.Gary DiLaura FBI RED

Retired, Extremely Dangerous

 

 

 

The candidates have campaigned for months, the last of a record number of voters will cast their ballots across the nation Tuesday and the 2020 election will be over but for the counting.

And, of course, the litigating.

Florida, again, is among the states most likely to have litigative-contested results after Tuesday’s election, according to University of California-Irvine political science professor Richard Hasen’s annual pre-election projections of post-election chaos.

 

Because of the state’s decade-long familiarity with mail-in ballot processing, expansive early voting opportunities and law that allows local elections supervisors to count ballots as they are received, any issues Florida encounters Tuesday likely will be because of razor-thin margins, not technical, legal or administrative failures.

Nearly 9 million of the state’s 14.44 million registered voters had cast ballots through Sunday, according to the Florida Division of Elections (FDOE). As many as 3 million Floridians are expected to cast ballots Tuesday.

The national Democratic and Republican parties are not investing heavily in efforts to avert or prepare for recounts, which state law automatically triggers if final margins between candidates are within a half-percent or less when certified Saturday.

Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s campaign has 4,000 lawyers on standby or already working in Florida, it assured the 13 Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation last month.

The Democratic National Committee’s leading election lawyer, Marc Elias, who is has litigated many cases in Florida, already is on attack in jurisdictions nationwide over alleged GOP voter suppression.

 

State Democrats, the Biden campaign and Common Cause Florida have trained volunteers to watch for evidence of voter suppression.

Of the 2,500 people Common Cause has trained to monitor polls nationwide, about 1,000 will be deployed to Florida.

“We are deploying our poll monitors in 25 major counties, but we are covering most of the state, probably 55 counties (of the 67), with smaller groups of folks who are those enthusiastic volunteers who want to do something this election cycle,” Common Cause Florida Chairperson Liza McClenaghan said.

Florida Republicans also have trained “hundreds” of attorneys and volunteers to serve as poll watchers who will observe Tuesday’s vote at poll sites and canvassing boards where votes are counted and will monitor legal developments, state party spokesperson Alia Faraj said.

“Our efforts include ensuring that supervisors of elections are following the law and observing and documenting any potential fraud or irregularities that could impact the election,” Faraj said. “Our top priority remains ensuring that every legal vote is counted, that no voter is disenfranchised, and that voters understand election laws and procedures.”

At least one potential lawsuit already has surfaced. State Voices Florida, a nonprofit group that promotes voting and civic engagement, said last at least 21,000 mail-in ballots had been rejected because of issues such as new addresses and mismatched signatures.

Voters can “cure” these problems but only if they are made aware of whatever mistake they need to remedy, State Voices Florida Executive Director Juanica Fernandes said.

“This leaves a voter without an opportunity to have their voice heard, and that’s not acceptable,” she said. “What’s happening is they are not counting the ballots at all.”

  • The Center Square
Tuesday, 03 November 2020 07:50

Can America Come Together?

On the last days of the 2020 campaign, President Donald Trump was holding four and five rallies a day in battleground states, drawing thousands upon thousands of loyalists to every one.

Waiting for hours, sometimes in the cold, to cheer their champion on, these rallygoers love Trump as few presidents have been loved. This writer cannot recall a president and campaign that brought out so many and such massive crowds of admirers in its closing days.

And who are these cheering, chanting loyalists who have brought their children out with them to see and remember "the great Trump" -- in the eyes of our dispossessed elites?

They are people who belong in a "basket of deplorables," sneered Hillary Clinton: "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic" bigots, and a sub-species of humanity that is "irredeemable."

Today's election is an us-versus-them choice unlike any other, for the issues in dispute are broader and deeper than ever before.

And those issues raise questions: No matter who wins, can this nation come together again? And if it cannot -- a real possibility -- what form will America take as it disintegrates?

Even as voters were mailing in ballots in the millions, stores in our great cities were being boarded up against rioters, looters and arsonists.

Suburban residents, fearful that the urban mobs may one day be coming for them, were stockpiling guns and ammunition.

How divided are we?

The New York Times "Sunday Review" devoted its entire section to Donald Trump, as seen from the eyes of its columnists. On the cover page of the Review ran the headline, "All 15 of our columnists explain what the past four years have cost America, and what's at stake in this election."

Each of the 15 trashed Trump from his or her perspective.

Since World War II, America has held elections where the country seemed at sword's point. Not all were like 1960, where scholar Arthur Schlesinger Jr., felt compelled to write the book, "Kennedy or Nixon: Does It Make Any Difference?"

Schlesinger felt he had to explain that despite the similarity of the candidates, both in their 40s, it made a difference who was elected.

Yet, even after the most divisive elections of the post-war era -- 1952 and 1968 -- the country pulled back together. President Dwight Eisenhower, from 1952 to 1956, and Richard Nixon, from 1968 to 1972, restored unity to the nation during their first terms by ending the Asian wars into which their predecessors had taken the nation.

New leadership ended the wars and brought the United States together.

The difference today?

Americans are not divided over war. One of Trump's successes has been to keep us out of new wars, even if he has not yet extracted us from the wars he inherited.

Today, we are divided over ideology, morality, culture, race and history. We are divided over whether America is the great nation we were raised to revere and love or a nation born in great sins and crimes -- such as the near annihilation of indigenous peoples and their cultures and the enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Black peoples from Africa.

Are we the nation of 1776 and 1789, or the nation of 1619, whose institutions are still infected with the "systemic racism" of our birth?

In this divided country, at times, Americans seem to detest each other.

Indeed, if the United States did not exist as one nation, would this diverse people ever agree to form a compact to come together, or would we seek to retain our separate identities?

In tearing down the statues of explorers such as Christopher Columbus or the Founding Fathers and their successor presidents, from Andrew Jackson to Abraham Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the contempt for the country these men helped to bring into being, and for what this country stands for today, is manifest.

A significant slice of America's young believes that the nation to which they belong was detestable from its birth, and that the Western civilization from which it sprang is not worth saving.

In his farewell address, President Ronald Reagan spoke of the America where he was raised and which he cherished:

The hope of human freedom -- the quest for it, the achievement of it -- is the American saga. And I've often recalled one group of early settlers making a treacherous crossing of the Atlantic on a small ship when their leader, a minister, noted that perhaps their venture would fail and they would become a byword, a footnote to history. But perhaps, too, with God's help, they might also found a new world, a city upon a hill, a light unto the nations."

(In this election we will see, just) How many Americans still believe what Reagan believed? 

Patrick J. Buchanan

Sunday, 01 November 2020 11:33

Time to Vote .... Bring a Friend

Last month, Americans had their final chance before the election to listen to the presidential candidates present their competing visions for the country. This debate was much better. And, the differences should now be clear.

Fighting COVID-19 provided President Donald Trump the opportunity to point out that former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden's administration left us with little capacity to deal with a pandemic. While Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were calling Trump racist, he closed down travel from China, which clearly saved American lives.

While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was sending nursing-home residents infected with SARS-CoV-2 back to infect other residents/family members, Trump was sending a ship to New York to reduce the burden on hospitals and rallying American companies to supply the needed surge in personal protective equipment and medical supplies. The sad reality is that people die in a pandemic. But Trump's early action clearly saved lives. The vaccine is on its way, and the economic damage done through good intentions must be negated by an active, robust economy going forward.

American families will be better off under a Trump administration.

A Stanford University study released this week revealed that the policy that would be implemented if Biden and Kamala Harris are elected would result in a $6,500 drop in
median household income, with 4.9 million fewer jobs. Their plan is so egregious that rapper-actor 50 Cent has endorsed Trump. He understands that a vote for Biden-Harris is a vote for a 62% tax rate in New York.

Trump's focus on law and order is also better for families. To build a prosperous family, you must be able to work, shop for groceries and get gas without being afraid that you will be a victim of violence. In contrast, rioters and looters who destroy businesses hurt entrepreneurs and the ability of workers to provide for their families.

His detractors label him as racist, but actions speak louder than words.... Trump has delivered real results for blacks, just as he has for all Americans. Trump signed the First Step Act, funded historically black colleges and universities, and created Opportunity Zones. The historic growth in jobs that occurred under Trump's administration fueled a sharp increase in minority employment. Meanwhile, Biden is focused on pitting racial groups against one another as Trump is focused on providing opportunity for all, regardless of race.

Under Trump's leadership this year, the Great Outdoors Act was signed into law, an accomplishment that none of the last five presidents had been able to achieve. It provides permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. A Biden-Harris administration would pass the Green New Deal, which is job-killing legislation. The Democrats base this on a false choice that we can have either a good economy or a better environment. Trump understands that American ingenuity -- through innovation and tax incentives -- will allow both to happen.
National security is a topic where Trump stands ahead of Biden. He puts America and Americans first, negotiating with other countries to get the best deal for the American people. This stands in stark contrast with the Obama-Biden administration, which started off with an apology tour and was consistent in blaming America first.

As for leadership, while others will focus on Trump's tweets, comments and personal abrasiveness, the contrast is unmistakable. While Biden-Harris might appear to have good motives, their policies are inadequate, ill-conceived and mistaken. Based on the Stanford report, their policies would result in a greatly reduced America. Biden has been in politics ...... leading for 47 years; he has had his chance -- and he has failed.

Trump's leadership has yielded real results in a short time. A Gallup poll last week noted that 56% of Americans said they were better off today than they were four years ago. While the news media
focuses on divisiveness, Americans understand that shared values hold us together as a nation; that freedom allows us as individuals to make our own choices; that we have the right to speak freely about our beliefs and the right to vote for the person we believe will be best for our country.

The choice is between Trump, who has confidence in the American people and the foundation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and Biden, who believes we will be better off if we cede more control to the government.

Trump understands that confidence is contagious. America is not perfect, but it's the safest, freest, most prosperous nation in the world. Immigrants rush to come into our country, not because we are an evil place with systemic problems but because we believe people have the right to chase their dreams as they see fit, in an environment based on the rule of law, freedom, liberty and a respect for individuals.

 

small smiley face with sunglasses1

Saturday, 31 October 2020 11:33

And Then There Were None

               

 

In the first months of President Donald Trump's presidency, the briefing room was standing room only. Around the room's 49 assigned seats for the press, with the front rows reserved for big media, reporters with smaller news outfits jostled for space and a chance to pose a question of then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

               

Playboy's Brian Karem named those of us standing in the sidelines "the aisle people."

               

Trump was a full employment act for political journalists. Networks and newspapers couldn't get enough of a story that sold itself to news consumers. Trump himself has been more accessible to the press corps than predecessors who had nicer things to say about the Fifth Estate.

               

Three press secretaries later, the briefings have come to a standstill. What used to be a must-see spectacle has evaporated. Blame it on the coronavirus and Trump's idiosyncratic mandates.

               

Trump and Kayleigh McEnany, his fourth press secretary, both tested positive in early October, which made briefings untenable. After McEnany was able to return to work, she was focused on the campaign trail. There hasn't been a press briefing in about a month.

               

Not a first. Trump's third press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, did not preside over a regular briefing where she took questions during the nine months she held the prestigious post.

               

Enter the White House Coronavirus Task Force that brought energy and new characters to the Trump Show -- with Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx informing the public about a pandemic that required Americans to do things -- socially distance, stop working and stay home -- that went against their instincts.

               

They had a different approach than Trump, which added dramatic tension.

               

Partisans fault Trump for not taking extreme shutdown measures in January or February. They forget how skeptical many Americans were, that many blue state governors hesitated to close nonessential businesses and that local officials generally had a better sense of what they needed to do and could accomplish.

               

After taking the job in April, McEnany brought back the back-and-forth, but also COVID-19 changed how the administration communicated with the people.

               

The briefings got smaller because the White House Correspondents' Association, more concerned about the health and safety of its members than the White House was about its staff, worked out a plan that strictly limited who should work in the press area and when. The WHCA set up a rotation schedule for 14 seats, banned reporters standing in the aisles and discouraged members from working at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. unless they were in the press pool or had their turn in one of the 14 seats.

               

The new order worked well for folks such as me. To her credit, McEnany tried to call on everyone in the room -- not just the front rows - and that provided chances to ask questions about Las Vegas and an administration decision to deny Paycheck Protection Program funds to small casinos, which the administration revoked.

               

At the same time, The Washington Post and The New York Times stopped sending reporters to briefings -- despite journalists' designation as essential workers. Not a coincidence: The left wing had begun to call for journalists to boycott White House events during an election.

               

Where does it go from here?

               

If Joe Biden wins this week, the briefing room will be back in business and big media likely will flock to the center of power to lob softballs at the new president and his new press secretary.

               

But given Biden's limited press availability during the campaign, the often fawning questions directed at the Democratic nominee and his team's quickness to shut down any reportage on Hunter Biden's cashing in on his father's connections, the result could be more civility but less information.

               

If Trump wins, he will be governing in a shrinking bubble.

               

The 45th president doesn't talk to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He berates former stars in his White House team. Then he retreats to the warm embrace of his rallies rather than find a way to bridge divides. Is the now empty briefing room a metaphor for the Trump presidency? Figure it wouldn't happen to any other president.

               

Debra J. Saunders

               

When it comes to achieving confirmation of conservative judges, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has good reason to be "tooting (his) own horn."

               

The Kentucky Republican admitted that's what he was doing when telling the New York Times on Tuesday that the judicial confirmations in a polarized Washington, especially those of three Supreme Court justices in less than four years, were more "consequential" than the accomplishments of any other majority leader. If he isn't right about that, he is close.

               

The raw numbers don't lie, and they tell much of the story. Indeed, the more numbers one peruses, the more impressive McConnell's record looks. Through Oct. 27 of a first term, no president has secured more judicial confirmations than the 220 confirmed for Donald Trump under McConnell's Senate leadership. (George W. Bush and Bill Clinton tie for second at 203.) More impressive still, 53 of those appointees were for the crucial federal courts of appeal. That's 11 and 18 more, or 20-30% more, than the next two highest, the elder and younger Bushes.

               

Then, there are the three Supreme Court justices, all of the highest professional qualifications, all pushed through with narrow majorities under difficult circumstances.

               

Those difficult circumstances are not only quantifiable but astonishing. Never in U.S. history has the minority party in the Senate gone to such extreme procedural lengths to block the confirmation of judicial nominees. Again and again, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's Democrats have forced lengthy debate and used procedural hurdles against even noncontroversial nominees, gumming up the works in the Senate in piques of sheer spite.

               

For 214 years, all but the most divisive nominees advanced to a final floor vote without even a threat of a filibuster, with no need for "cloture" votes to overcome minority opposition. Only one cloture vote was required for any of President Ronald Reagan's judicial nominees, one for the elder Bush, one for Clinton. Until the Trump term, the record for judicial cloture votes was 13. Schumer, though, has forced McConnell to take 174 cloture votes -- yes, 174, or more than 13 times as many as the prior record! -- in order even to allow final votes on Trump's nominees.

               

Still, McConnell persisted.

               

And McConnell won. He won for two years, with a mere 51-49 Republican majority, and for two more, with just 53-47. And he won for good reason: These nominees were outstanding. As the Congressional Research Service has shown, and as even liberal judicial analysts have admitted, the percentage of judges appointed by Trump and confirmed under McConnell earning "well qualified" ratings even from the hostile American Bar Association has been at the very top end of all presidencies.

               

Under the original constitutional design, courts and judges were not meant to be as consequential as they are today. Nonetheless, after 100 years of liberal judicial activism, judges effectively set the parameters for a large host of divisive social and economic issues. It is thus of tremendous importance for the courts to be seeded with judges who are willing to stay in their lanes, as it were -- judges willing to set aside their own policy preferences and instead be bound by the original public meaning of the actual text of the Constitution and laws they apply. In almost all cases, that's what the Trump-McConnell judges are doing.

               

The result will be an appropriate rebalancing of American government with elective branches or clear constitutional text, not hazy notions of some cosmic justice, predominating.

               

Against leftist Democratic obstructionism (and, oft-times, smears), it is quite an accomplishment for McConnell to have held his focus and his colleagues together to confirm 220 such judges, including Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. But McConnell needs not toot his own horn because constitutionalists will be tooting it for him.

               

The Washington Examiner

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Saturday, 31 October 2020 11:27

Plastics May Be Wreaking Havoc on Your Health

How often are we told something is bad for us, yet we continue to keep it in our lives? Sure, a little bit every now and then won’t kill you, but it’s tough to say what is a little and what is a lot. The trouble for most of us comes down to convenience. It’s just easier to live our normal lives, not overthinking consumption habits—until the consequences are impossible to ignore. Take plastic.

A statement published earlier this year by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks identified 14 emerging health and environmental issues. Right near the top of that list was plastic waste. What was the nature of that concern? This was precisely the question raised by the statement, which emphasized the “urgent” need “for a better assessment of hazard and risk” associated with exposure to plastics of different shapes and form.

Plastic is made up almost entirely of hydrocarbon chains, which are an incredibly stable type of molecular bond. In cases where hydrocarbon chains occur naturally, that stability is a necessary component of an organism’s function and generally forms part of a greater ecosystem. Plastics, however, are synthetic, which means they’re no good as a food source for microorganisms (with at least one rare exception), and as we’ve so tragically come to learn, that is a major problem.

On one hand, there’s the obvious issue of what happens to all that accumulated plastic trash. We all know the answer to that one: it turns into giant islands of floating trash, it goes up into poor turtles’ nostrils, and is found in the stomachs of beached whales. In fact, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature’s recent Living Earth 2018 report, 90 percent of the world’s seabirds have plastic in their stomachs, a figure that is expected to rise to 99 percent by 2050.

What is less well known are the implications this holds for human health.

Marauding Microplastics

Over the course of several decades, as plastic is exposed to the elements, it begins to decompose into smaller particles. While this process, known as photooxidation, does not affect plastic on a molecular level, it does eventually break it down to its nanoparticles. If you’re finding that hard to imagine, picture a grocery bag that’s been zapped by a shrink ray: It’s the exact same piece of plastic, only now it’s microscopic.

On the surface, this result may appear to be a good thing. Out of sight, out of mind, right? If only it were that simple. Plastic may actually be at its most threatening once it has broken down to the point it’s invisible to the naked eye because at that point, those little particles can travel a lot faster and further, and into the bodies of animals, including us.

Research conducted by the State University of New York at Fredonia found a significant amount of microplastics in bottled water. To be precise, 10.4 microplastic particles per one liter of water were recorded in a sample of 259 bottles representing 11 major brands across nine countries, including Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestlé Pure Life and San Pellegrino, reflecting twice the amount of plastic found in a previous study using tap water. Researchers suggested the plastic contamination could have partially come from the bottling process.

“That’s fine, I’ll just stick to municipal water,” you say? Think again.

“Substantial amounts of microplastics” were recently found in tap water and rivers throughout South Africa, according to a recent study conducted by scientists from North-West University.

Zoologist Henk Bouwman, a member of the research team, explained that the findings were conclusive, but the implications remain unclear. “There is no consensus yet on any health impacts as the science is still in its infancy,” he told Johannesburg’s Daily Maverick. “It might be benign, and it might not be. There are a whole lot of things we don’t understand at this stage.”

OK, so we may not have clear evidence on the direct health impacts of microplastics, but what about more immediate side effects?

Let’s start with the ocean. A recent study conducted by a team of Chinese scientists discovered a sizable portion of plastic was discovered in the Mariana Trench. Published in the journal Geochemical Perspectives, the findings reported a discovery of up to 2,000 microplastic pieces found in a quarter-gallon of water at the Challenger Deep, the world’s deepest point in the western Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, concluding it may be one of the world’s largest “microplastic sinks.”

For one, there’s the fact that microplastics are foreign particles entering our bodies. Inflammation, for instance, is a response triggered by the immune system to this sort of invasion, writes Rachel Adams, a senior lecturer in biomedical science at Cardiff Metropolitan University, in The Conversation. Another cause for concern is that these microparticles act as carriers for other toxins entering the body. Toxic metals like mercury and organic pollutants like pesticides are just two examples of hazardous materials that could enter the body attached to plastic particles. They can slowly accumulate over time in our fatty tissue.

“We do not currently have clear evidence that plastic microparticles in drinking water have a negative effect on health,” writes Adams. “But given the effects other particles can have, we urgently need to find out more about plastic microparticles in the body.”

Despite this lack of certainty, there’s enough cause for concern that governments have responded to this plastic plight. In recent years, legislation has been passed in Australia, Canada, the European Union and the United States restricting or prohibiting the use of phthalates in certain consumer products. According to a paper published by the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, these moves respond to the “variety of adverse outcomes” caused by the chemical, “including increased adiposity and insulin resistance” as well as “decreased levels of sex hormones, and other consequences for the human reproductive system.”

While it’s important to understand the health impact of plastic, perhaps a more pressing question is what happens when we tell ourselves that plastic is safe—and continue to produce it in ever greater quantities. According to Statista, a market research firm, global plastic production has grown from 50 to 335 million metric tons over the past four decades. Chances are likely that the ultimate consequence of our plastic consumption will be something far greater, and perhaps direr, than our current scientific understanding is able to predict.

truthdig.com

Saturday, 31 October 2020 10:48

Tommy Edward as Rod Stewart... Comes to Town

Tommy Edward was a young aspiring musician who sang lead, played the Saxophone, Mandolin and Keyboards in numerous bands... "Sparkplugs", "Lecompt" and "Summertime" to name a few, who like many other musicians was working his way around the touring circuit trying to "make it big"

His bands would cover a few popular Rod Stewart songs and after the shows people would tell him how much they enjoyed it, and how much he looked and even sounded much like Rod.

Everywhere they played it happened over and over.

If people had just quit nagging him about it, Tommy Edward would never have started impersonating Rod Stewart. "People would come up to me and say, 'Well, you sound like Rod Stewart, and you look like Rod Stewart,' But Edward was in his own band and said "I was trying to be my own star, like everybody else was trying to be," also, he personally didn't think he looked that much like Rod and tried to dodge the comparisons.

He grew a goatee. He let his hair grow long and even dyed it jet black at one point. It didn't help. He kept getting compared to Rod Stewart.

Finally, he gave in and focused his show on Rod Steward songs and started promoting himself as "Tommy Edward as Rod Stewart and the Young Turks". That was many years ago....now people have given him the nickname "Sir Rod"

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His band would tour the Jersey Shore in the summer: Wildwood, Sea Isle City, Long Beach Island and Atlantic City, since then, he has played Las Vegas: The Aladdin, The Sahara Casino,Merv Griffins Resort and many other show rooms there. 

" We all grew up listening to the Stones, Beatles, Cream, Hendrix. Then there was The Jeff Beck Group featuring Rod Stewart. In Sept 1971 Rod released 'Every Picture Tells a Story' with Maggie May. The album was number 1 & Maggie May was at the top of the charts. I'll never forget how different it sounded then the Three Dig Night or the Temptations. I've been singing that song every day since I was 10 years old!" He told me.

He added, "I discovered Fort Myers a few years ago and fell in love with the area, did shows at the Edison, Coconut Falls, Sunset Grill, all the Moose Lodges and The American Legion"

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From Maggie May to Forever Young, Tommy has been a favorite as a Rod Stewart Tribute artist. Still touring regularly from New York to Key West. His voice and deep song repertoire make him a hit every time. He has been entertaining for decades and performed at the Fort Myers Beach Moose Lodge#964 last year for the first time.

He will be appearing there again on Tuesday, November 3rd, the evening of election day in the main lodge from 6 pm to 9 pm for a
members only show which will be free to all Moose Lodge members. He will also be performing on Wednesday the 4th in the Moose Lodge Event Center which is just next door to the Main Lodge. This show is open to the public for only $10 per person!

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(Performing live at the Moose Lodge 964 last year!)

On Wednesday the 4th, the Main Moose Lodge will be open to the public all day, so if you've ever wondered what the Moose was all about and what this particular lodge is like and perhaps wanted to possibly join, this would be a great opportunity for you to check it out! Also, they will be serving dinner starting at 5 pm as they usually do, so you can come in early, have dinner in the main lodge and then mosey over to the Event Center for the show.

So..... What do you have going on after this crazy election is finally over? Come to the Moose and enjoy yourself with a great show!

The Moose Lodge #964 is located at 19090 San Carlos Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
Seating is limited for the "Open to the Public" show on the 4th so get your tickets early by calling 239-463-2221

 

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