Take a breath now and then, OK?
We hear there's an election in Georgia today, so we thought we should probably get you up to date on where things stand right now. The state's early voting, both in-person and by mail, has set a big whopping record for a runoff election, with more than three million ballots cast before the polls opened this morning. That's roughly 38.8 percent of all registered voters in the state.
Oh! And here's a little-known fact that you may not have heard: If Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democrats in the runoff for US Senate, win today, that would mean Democrats would take over control of the Senate. Gosh, we sure hope someone has let Georgia voters know that, because it sounds important.
Donald Trump marked the occasion with some baldfaced lying, because he wanted to help. After a minor issue with voting machines in Columbia County required voters to use paper ballots for a short time, Trump took to Twitter to claim that "Dominion Machines are not working in certain Republican Strongholds for over an hour," adding he sure hoped the Republican votes would be counted. Local TV reported that the issue had actually been resolved for hours by the time Trump sent out his tweet, not that that would be any reason not to stoke fears of a rigged election. You know, another rigged election.
Gabriel Sterling, the "voter system implementation manager" for the Georgia Secretary of State's office, tweeted that Trump was far behind reality, which would be very on-brand.
And this issue in Columbia Co. was resolved hours ago and our office informed the public about it in real time. The… https://t.co/haofoSwtjY— Gabriel Sterling (@Gabriel Sterling)1609872023.0
And compared to both the 2020 primary and general elections, there were very few lines to vote; Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in the early afternoon that average wait times to vote were about a minute statewide, with the longest waits reported only about 30 minutes. All that early voting helped!
The New York Times notes,
Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the most common complaint reported to a hotline run by her organization was that some voters failed to receive mail ballots before the Election Day deadline.
"Many voters across the state availed themselves of the opportunity to participate in early voting," said Ms. Clarke. "We are not surprised that we are not seeing poll sites flooded with large overwhelming numbers of voters today."
So that's good! Just remember: Raffensperger wants to be seen as running a tight electoral ship for the sake of saying he does his job well. He's not especially committed to democracy.
Also probably good, the Times reports that, with just two Senate races (and the all-important runoff for the state Public Service Commission, the board that regulates utilities), the vote is likely to be tabulated more quickly than in November, though it might be a stretch to expect final results tonight. Also too, in a change from the fall, the state Elections Board ordered counties after the November general election to start processing absentee and early ballots a week before election day, so a lot of the most time-intensive work like verifying signatures and such will be already done once the polls close.
If the Democrats win, of course, that will be cited as a horrifying irregularity that throws the results into doubt.
Our advice for this evening: Don't stay glued to the TV all night, because even if there is a call tonight, it's not going to come in prime time.
We will, of course, be completely unable to follow our own advice. Good luck, Georgia! OPEN THREAD!
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It's your first Sunday show rundown of 2021!
2020 sucked in all the worst possible ways, and it seems 2021 will begin with 2020's death throes. So with that said, let's take a look at the first Sunday shows of 2021!
We begin with GOP Senator Ron Johnson, Wonkette's 2020 Legislative Shitheel and Senate's Dumbest Republican. Appearing on NBC's "Meet The Press," Johnson defended his titles while making (gasp!) Chuck Todd do his first journalism of 2021:
Last week, GOP Senator Josh Hawley was first to announce he'd try to do a coup on January 6 when Congress meets to certify the Electoral College votes. Shortly after, he was followed by 11 other senators and senators-elect, including Ron Johnson and Ted Cruz. The Coup D'etat Twelve plan on trying to heist democracy Wednesday as lazily as possible. Chuck Todd asked about their plot and, after trying a brief non sequitur about Covid testing, Johnson spouted the same bullshit talking point they all have.
JOHNSON: The fact of the matter is that we have an unsustainable state of affairs in this country where we have tens of millions of people that do not view this election result as legitimate.
Todd noted the inherent flaw in this premise Republicans have been setting up ever since Trump lost:
TODD: [W]hat you're alleging is, essentially you and your colleagues have created this controversy. So right now, we are locked into a destructive, vicious circle, in some ways as you kind of outlined, except -- which is, you made an allegation that there was widespread fraud. You have failed to offer specific evidence of that widespread fraud. But you're demanding an investigation on the grounds that there are allegations of widespread fraud. So essentially, you're the arsonist here. President Trump is the arsonist here. [...] You've started this fire. And now you're saying, "Whoa, look at this. Oh my God. All these people believe what we told them," because you didn't have the guts to tell the truth that this election was fair.
Todd was right! (Ouch, that hurts to say!) Republicans assert baseless, unproven allegations over and over, then when their rubes believe the MAGA Cinematic Universe reality they created in which the election results are illegitimate, they act incredulous that their supporters believe this and want investigations to prove a negative.
Johnson tried to filibuster, but Todd, to his credit, asked Johnson the right questions:
TODD: Let me ask you this. Then why didn't you hold hearings about the 9/11 truthers? There's plenty of people who thought 9/11 was an inside job. So you're basically saying is --
JOHNSON: I mean, Chuck --
TODD: -- if there's enough people who believe a conspiracy theory --
JOHNSON: -- I could have held hearings on all kinds of things. I held hearings on -- [HE HELD HEARINGS ON LITERAL RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA ABOUT THE BIDENS, TO TRY TO MAKE PEOPLE BELIEVE IT -- Ed.]
TODD: If there's enough people who hold --
JOHNSON: -- what I figured was the most relevant issues --
TODD: Are you going to do a -- how about the Moon landing --
JOHNSON: And obviously this election --
TODD: Are you going to hold hearings on that?
Johnson's face showed he was not prepared for THIS version of Chuck Todd but the usual "both sides" sentient goatee one.
Todd tossed Johnson back into the scum-filled pond from whence he came.
TODD: You've got to ask yourself when you tell people a million times that something was stolen or something was fraud and then they believe it, I think you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself why so many people believe this.
Even if they'd "look themselves in the mirror," Chuck, I doubt they'd cast a reflection.
Over on CNN's "State of The Union," Jake Tapper interviewed Ohio GOP Governor Mike DeWine, who proved that just because he is not as much of a weasel as Johnson, Cruz or Hawley doesn't mean he's not still a weasel.
DeWine: "We have a lot of people in this country who are very concerned–" @JakeTapper: "Because they have been lie… https://t.co/OczKxvjmYL— Brian Stelter (@Brian Stelter)1609684039.0
TAPPER: Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska says the president and his allies, by fomenting this effort to vote against Joe Biden's legitimate win, he says they're -- quote -- "pointing a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government." Do you agree?
DEWINE: [...] Are there some problems in the system as far as potential fraud or fraud that occurred? Yes, but there's not -- we have not seen anything that rises to the level that would have changed the outcome of the election. I think Senator Portman -- you mentioned Senator Portman. I think Senator Portman has a good proposal. And that proposal is to get two very distinguished people in this country, Democrat and Republican, have a commission, and to take a hard look at voter security. [...] We have a lot of people in this country who -- who are very concerned about it.
TAPPER: Because they have been lied to, Governor.
DEWINE: And with the change in ...
TAPPER: Governor, because they have been lied to by President Trump for -- for weeks.
DeWine seemed shocked to not get the usual overblown praise from the media he's gotten for doing the bare minimum on Covid, which is a lot by Republican standards. The exchange continued.
TAPPER: But this isn't about actual allegations of legitimate fraud. This is about fomenting lies in order to undermine the democracy. It's very different.
DEWINE: Jake, you -- you can make that point, but I will go back to my point. I think it's valid as well. And what's valid about it is that we have a lot of people in this country who are questioning this election. That's a problem for us.
TAPPER: But why? Why? Why do you think they are?
DEWINE: Why? Look, you can go through why. The question for us is, what do we do about it?
Conservatives always create the problem then obsess over fixing the problem they themselves created. It's one of their things.
Screw it, just watch Jake Tapper's monologue about it. He was mad.
By the by, all this happened BEFORE Trump got caught on tape in committing ANOTHER impeachable act in his call with the Republican Georgia secretary of state.
Happy New Year?
Have a week!
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The GOP is very humanitarian and good. Obviously.
With just a few days to go before Christmas, the GOP has decided that putting the most minimal effort they can should earn them awards for their "courage." Like rotten children trying to do last-minute chores to stave off their well deserved lumps of coal, the GOP is trying to pretend it always does good.
An excellent example of this would be Wyoming GOP senator and third ranking member of Republican Senate leadership, John Barrasso, on "Fox News Sunday":
Barasso: COVID-19 stimulus could've been done 'if Pelosi didn't play politics' youtu.be
A week ago, after the Electoral College confirmed that Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States, a reporter asked Barrasso whether or not Biden was now officially the "President-elect." Barrasso called that a "gotcha" question.
Asked why it’s a gotcha question he replied: “It’s what every senator is being asked. 3 weeks ago the transition oc… https://t.co/P8yX5GQTJo— Burgess Everett (@Burgess Everett)1607989424.0
Of course, Barrasso wasn't the only Republican having trouble answering that "tough" question, but it was notable due to his position in Senate leadership, even after Mitch McConnell conceded that Biden IS the President-Elect. A week later, Chris Wallace asked Barrasso the same "gotcha" question:
WALLACE: How, senator, is it a gotcha to ask who is going to be the president one month from today?
BARRASSO: Well, first, you know how the press is sometimes in the halls of Congress if you don't give a one-word answer, they're not satisfied. [...] I accept what has happened in the election and with the Electoral College. I was one of over 70 percent of the people of Wyoming proud to help and vote for President Trump. Over 70 million Americans have done that. He's done remarkable things. I don't believe we'd have a vaccine today if it weren't for President Trump's determination ...
BARRASO: ... and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, but the Electoral College has now certified the election. We have that Constitution and I accept the outcome of the election.
WALLACE: Well, let me ask you directly: Will Joe Biden be the next president of the United States?
BARRASSO: Uhh ...Yes he will.
WALLACE: You accept that?
BARRASSO: I do.
WALLACE: Okay. [laughs] That wasn't so hard.
What a "profile in courage" Barrasso is for accepting reality! Of course, he had to couch it by giving praise to Trump for the development of the Covid vaccines despite both vaccine manufacturers clearly stating Trump had zero effect on their ability to make vaccines.
Barrasso went on to pretend like it's Republicans, not Democrats, who have been trying to get Covid relief to people.
BARRASSO: This is no fault of the American people. Chris, we should have done this months ago had not Nancy Pelosi played politics through the fall because of the presidential election. She's admitted as much. We've had a bill pretty comparable to what we are gonna pass today. We've offered it time and time again. The Democrats beat it down 40 different times. This has been wrong, the delay has been too long. We need to get it done now for Christmas.
This motherfucker. First, Nancy Pelosi passed the Heroes Act in May. It included $1,200 per individual for relief, money for testing/tracing of Covid-19, provided expanded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, and money for local/state assistance to ensure essential services were maintained. This was early enough after the original relief package that it would have helped Americans financially and reduced the spread of Covid up to now It also included oversight of these programs to prevent "small business owners" like the Catholic Church, Kanye West and Joel Osteen from being able to take PPP funds meant for real small businesses. Because nothing says "let's help everyday Americans" like giving money to tax-exempt prosperity gospel and ugly shoe-making douches.
Cynically, if GOP assclowns had actually cared about not being scumbags, it would have also been early enough that Trump and other Republicans could have been helped politically by it. But Mitch McConnell not only sat on that bill, but the only reason he's doing THIS bill is to try to retain the Senate majority.
TWO THINGS from the Senate GOP call today. — @senatemajldr overtly linked the need for direct payments to the Sena… https://t.co/hjs2Vjplxs— Jake Sherman (@Jake Sherman)1608144542.0
So in Republican alternate reality, Nancy Pelosi played politics by passing a bill in May but McConnell and Trump are "helping" by passing a bill that's much weaker in December. Neat.
Just in case you think we are gonna praise Chris Wallace for journalism this week, let's pump those brakes. With Trump's coup, massive a Russian cyber-attack (again) and the ongoing health and economic impact of this pandemic, what was Chris Wallace's prime concern?
Biden senior adviser @jrpsaki defends incoming Chief of Staff @jomalleydillon’s Glamour interview, in which she cal… https://t.co/OPGlgc2XJ2— The Recount (@The Recount)1608476755.0
Oh yes, FuckerGate. Because both sides do it, obviously! Republicans sit on their thumbs during a pandemic that's killed over 300,000 Americans, but a woman who works for Joe Biden called Republicans "fuckers." Oh, the humanity!
That'll be enough Sunday rundown this week, see you next time!
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Knock yourselves out, fellas.
Republicans are tryin' it in Georgia, with a whole spate of lawsuits aiming to make it harder to cast a ballot in the Peach State. But as with most GOP election litigation, their claims are shit, so they're not having much luck.
Yesterday, Georgia Gippers got tossed out of federal court twice on cases so stupid the judge didn't even need time after oral argument to deliberate. So much winning, y'all!
In the morning, the 12th Congressional District Republican Committee made their case to US District Judge J. Randal Hall that ballot drop boxes are UNLEGAL, and opening absentee ballot envelopes before the election is UNLEGAL and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is mean and bad for telling election workers that they're not handwriting experts, so don't get cute.
But Judge Hall was not impressed with the plaintiffs' claim to standing, and was even less down with their belated realization, less than a week before the runoff, that election procedures in use throughout the primary and the general were suddenly illegal. The suit was filed on Dec. 9, and, as of today, one million Georgians have already voted early. It is far too late to be trying to change the rules of this game.
"We are not on the eve of an election," Judge Hall, a Bush appointee said. "We are, as it relates to this particular election, closing in on halftime."
In the afternoon, the Georgia Republican Party and campaigns of Republican Senate candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue had their day in court to argue that SOS Raffensperger is burdening their civil rights by failing to adequately police signatures on absentee ballots to root out the rampant fraud, which no one has been able to prove in the dozen cases already filed, although its existence must be assumed from Donald Trump's failure to win the state. Obviously!
The case began with the plaintiffs' attorney George Terwilliger attempting to distance himself from Messrs. Wackass, Jackass, Windsock, and Hairballs. "I'm not Sidney Powell. I'm not Lin Wood. I'm not Rudy Giuliani," he announced. Which is true, as far as it goes. Terwilliger is a thoroughly inside-the-beltway lawyer who's been pals with Bill Barr for decades. And, oh, hey, look, here's Terwilliger popping up this week in BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold's FOIA requests, telling his pal Bill not to cry too hard about mean Barb McQuade saying he's a hack and a disgrace who should resign and go live in a yurt.
DOJ follow up to that George Terwilliger email https://t.co/1ZYCV1ZXaZ— Jason Leopold (@Jason Leopold)1607882494.0
Anyway, if Terwilliger wants to differentiate himself from the rest of the Trumpland hacks, he probably shouldn't put his name on shit like this.
In addition, the election data from the November 3, 2020 general election demonstrates that rejection rates based on signature mismatch dropped substantially compared to the 2018 and 2016 elections, suggesting that new review procedures implemented on November 3, which require three-person review only of ballots that are being considered for rejection, may have caused reviewers to disregard the General Assembly's mandate to conduct a meaningful signature matching process.
That never happened. As Reuters reports, the signature rejection rate in 2018 and 2020 was exactly the same.
But speaking of Lin Wood et al., Adam Klasfeld at Law & Crime notes that Terwilliger and his clients probably have those loons to thank for their unceremonious ejection by US District Judge Eleanor L. Ross based on lack of standing.
Both lawsuits failed in part because of the legal antics of right-wing lawyer Lin Wood, whose conspiratorial ravings have made it harder for the conservative mainstream to get their lawsuits out the gate.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is binding upon Georgia, tightened the rules for jurisdiction in rejecting an appeal a ruling by a Trump-appointed judge who found Wood's last-ditch bid to block certification of the Peach State's vote failed as a matter of law and fact.
But the day wasn't over — with these assholes, there's always another bad faith lawsuit just waiting to befoul the federal docket. And this one's a doozy!
According to the Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and PACs supporting the Loeffler and Perdue campaigns, it's illegal under the Voting Rights Act for people who have voted in another state's Senate primary to move to Georgia and vote in the run-off. The chutzpah of these people trying to use the Voting Rights Act to disenfranchise their own constituents!
Leave aside the fact that the 14th Amendment guarantees the right to move all over God's Green Country and participate in democracy as an equal citizen. And while we're at it, let's just forget that federal courts take an extremely dim view of "vote dilution" as a basis for standing — that is, they're not willing to redress a generalized injury to a voter or candidate simply because some indefinite number of ballots cast in a given race may be defective.
The GOP's position here is that the runoff is actually a continuation of the general election, and thus it is voting twice to cast a ballot in, say, North Carolina's Senate race in November, move to Georgia in December, and vote in the runoff in January.
"Giving some individuals two votes, while giving others only one vote, is repugnant to equal protection and due process of the law," they moan in their complaint.
The problem with this theory, as law professor Anthony Michael Kreis points out, is that, if the runoff and the general are the same contest, then every primary voter is now barred from participating in the runoff lest they violate the federal prohibition on casting two ballots in the same race — a result which cannot possibly be correct, because DUH these are two separate federal elections.
And in case there's any confusion about that, the FEC treats the primary, general, and runoff as three separate races for the purpose of campaign donation limits. Because they are three separate races!
But the GOP is not so much with the facts and law stuff, so they're demanding that SOS Raffensperger segregate every ballot from a voter who registered after Nov. 3, a number that has already topped 76,000, and if that number exceeds the margin of victory, he must "investigate whether such voters already voted for U.S. Senator in another state in the 2020 general election" and discard those votes as invalid.
Yes, for real! Honestly, I saw Sen. Perdue make this argument three days ago, and decided it was just too ridiculous to write up because, LOL, THEY'LL NEVER TRY THAT SHIT WITH A JUDGE. But see: 2020.
It's not gonna happen, but ... the balls on these people!
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