Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Trump-Backed Congressional Candidate Loses in Texas Runoff

CNN reports:
Texas state Rep. Jake Ellzey will win the special election runoff in Texas' 6th Congressional District, CNN projects -- without the endorsement of Donald Trump.

The Republican overcame the former President's backing of his opponent, Republican Susan Wright, to claim victory. Wright is the widow of the late Rep. Ron Wright, who had cancer and died in February after contracting Covid-19.

Trump endorsed Susan Wright shortly before the first round of voting, which ended with none of the 23 candidates securing a winning majority, then doubled down ahead of her one-
Rep.-Elect Jake Ellzey

on-one race with Ellzey. He recorded a robocall for Wright in the final days of the campaign and his super PAC, Make America Great Again Action, made a late $100,000 ad buy.

Despite his inability to boost Wright into Congress, the results were not a full rebuke of Trump, who remains popular in the state. But the result showed the limits of his influence -- at least at the ballot box. On the trail, both candidates embraced his political agenda and there was little daylight between them on the policy front. The dividing lines, ultimately, formed around endorsements and alliances.

Trump narrowly won the district in 2020, an increasingly competive one in North Texas that includes Ellis, Navarro and parts of Tarrant counties. His margin of victory diminished from 2016 and was down from former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's four years earlier.
It looks like the final count will show Ellzey winning with 53% of the vote.

While Ellzey didn't shy away from saying he supported Trump, he clearly preferred the "Reagan Republican" label.

The result is being touted as evidence of the limits of Trump's control over GOP voters. That's being overblown.  The election was a run-off election between two Republicans.  Ellzey had narrowly edged out a Democrat for second place which qualified him to participate in the run-off.   No doubt with Trump campaigning for Wright, a number of Democratic voters decided to cast their run-off votes for Ellzey. 

If the matchup were simply a primary with GOP voters, Wright no doubt would have won the head-to-head contest.  Ellzey's strategy though earned him a significant share of the GOP vote in the run-off and his reaching out to Democratic voters in the district during the final weeks of the campaign is no doubt what allowed him to edge out Wright.


OOP's short takes:

  • No doubt House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempted appointment of  Rep. Jim Jordan to the January 6th Select Committee was done to placate former President Trump.  Now we find out today that Jordan had talked to Trump on the day of the attempted insurrection and may be called as a witness.  Thus, it would have been inappropriate for him to sit on the committee.
  • I heard an analyst say yesterday that Trump was also behind Rep. Jim Banks' appointment, but was against the other three members McCarthy offered to Speaker Pelosi as Republican representatives.  I'm not buying that.  While Trump might have seen Banks on cable news spinning BS in an effort to ingratiate himself with the former President, I doubt he could pick the other three, Reps. Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong and Troy Nehls, out of a lineup.
  • It is increasingly looking like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has made a serious mistake in withdrawing his appointments to the January 6th Select Committee studying the attempted insurrection.   The testimony of the police officers yesterday was compelling and provocative.  Reportedly, Trump is upset that nobody was defending him on the Committee.
  • Even though it likely was Trump's idea that McCarthy withdraw the appointments, the former President won't hesitate in putting the blame squarely on McCarthy's shoulders should things continue to go south. 
  • "Conservative" activist and radio host Charlie Kirk called American gymnast Simone Biles a "selfish sociopath" and a "shame to the country." Kirk said "[w]e are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles."
  • In less than a decade of competing on the world stage, Biles has earned thirty Olympic and World Championship medals. She is considered of the greatest gymnasts of all time.  Biles withdrew from competition during to stress affecting her mental health.
  • Kirk, on the other hand, heads a racist anti-immigration organization, Turning Point USA, and only landed in that position because of his friendship with a wealthy older man, Bill Montgomery.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

It is Time to Mandate Covid-19 Vaccines

This past week, a number of Republican elected officials have urged their constituents to get vaccinated for Covid-19.  It was a startling reversal.  Usually those Republican politicians can be found dutifully following MAGA public opinion, including the Trumpers' anti-vax vitriol.

What changed?  Well, Covid-19 numbers are spiking again, but this time it is the more deadly Delta variant of the virus.  The Delta variant is more contagious and more lethal, and, unlike the previous version, Delta Covid-19 also hits younger folks.  But if you are vaccinated, the odds of getting Covid-19 drop dramatically and, if you do get Covid, it's unlikely to require hospitalization.  About 97% of the Covid-19 hospitalizations are of people who have not been vaccinated.

If the unvaccinated were just hurting themselves, my libertarian impulses would say that's their choice.  The problem is that unless we reach herd immunity, Covid-19 will continue to find hosts and continue to mutate. Eventually it will mutate to a more dangerous strain for which the vaccine no longer provides protection. 

The largest group that has held out being vaccinated are Trump Republicans.  They have grown skeptical of the vaccines, a sentiment that has been driven by bogus anti-vax claims from Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.  Those views have been magnified and multiplied among the right wing on social media.  Interestingly, although Fox News has portrayed vaccination "passports" as dangerous to personal freedom and anti-American, Fox employs its own vaccination passport system named "Fox Clear Pass" which encourages employees to reveal their vaccination status in order to avoid daily screening.   Meanwhile, Fox's chief anti-vaxxer Carlson won't reveal whether he has been vaccinated.  Which, of course, means that he has been vaccinated.

The only way to get Covid-19 under control is to stop the failed approach of voluntary vaccinations.  Employers are fully within their rights to mandate vaccinations for their employees.  Such a requirement makes sense as failure to get vaccinated could end up increasing premiums for the group health insurance policies these employers utilize for their employees.  You could also have restaurants, bars and other business that cater directly to the public demand that you be vaccinated if you're going to patronize their establishments.  

Government doesn't have to mandate vaccines for everyone. Governments can, however, require that their employees be vaccinated and that people be vaccinated if they're going to go into government buildings, availing themselves of services that require interaction with the public.  People don't have a "right" to infect other members of the public because they refuse to get vaccinated.


OOP's short takes:

  • A few days ago, Fox News Host Tucker Carlson, while accompanied by his children, was confronted in a Montana fishing store by a resident who called Carlson the "worst human being" and blaming him for Covid-19 deaths with vaccine misinformation.   I concur with the sentiment.  Carlson is truly one of the worst human beings on the planet.  His promotion of anti-vax sentiment is literally killing people.   But I strongly disagree with the tactic of verbally confronting public figures who arguably have reprehensible views.  The tactic accomplishes nothing and makes the  public figure sympathetic.
  • On the other hand, earlier this year Carlson encouraged his viewers to confront strangers who choose to wear masks in public and to call 911 if they see kids wearing masks.  Fox News, which denounced the fishing store confrontation of its host, said nothing when Carlson urged confrontations with mask wearers this spring.
  • Watched some of the January 6th Select Committee proceedings  The testimony of the police officers is a powerful rebuke to those disingenuous fools claiming that the armed insurrection which tried to stop the counting of electoral vote was just a normal tourist visit.  Over 100 police officers were injured that day while trying to protect members of Congress from violence.
  • I don't think there is any question that Speaker Pelosi did the right thing by refusing to appoint the two Jims, Jordan and Banks, to the select committee.  They have proven themselves to not be serious players, elected officials who have no respect for the Constitution or American democracy.  Banks, who at one time seemed a principled conservative, seems to be polishing his Trump credentials for a possible gubernatorial run in 2024.
  • Former President Trump has endorsed indicted felon Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for re-election.  In doing so, he passed over Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who is the son of Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush and the grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush.  This is despite the fact George P. showed he was more than willing to throw his family under the bus while groveling for the endorsement of Trump.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Pelosi Rejects Jordan and Banks Appointment to House Select Committee on Capitol Insurrection; McCarthy Retaliates By Withdrawing Remainder of GOP Appointees

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN)
Earlier today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would not appoint Congressmen Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN) to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.  Jordan and Banks are two of the five GOP House members that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy proposed to be added to the committee.  

Speaker Pelosi was absolutely correct in rejecting the appointment of Jordan and Banks.   They both voted to not accept the Electoral College results despite no evidence that there was voter fraud or irregularities that affected the count.   Post January 6th, Jordan and Banks have both demonstrated they have no interest in finding out the truth as to what happened at the Capitol on that day.  Their only interest is in protecting former President Trump from what could well be an investigation that further damage his reputation.

Not surprisingly, Minority Leader McCarthy responded a couple hours by removing all five of his proposed appointments to the select committee.  McCarthy, like Jordan and Banks, has no interest in an actual investigation of the events surrounding January 6th.  As a Trump supplicant, McCarthy is not about to do anything that might anger Dear Leader.  Additionally, McCarthy would be a major witness in any January 6th investigation as he was in contact with President Trump while the attempted insurrection was taking place.

Where are the Republicans with integrity and courage?  

OOP's short takes:

  • My guess is Rep. Banks is angling to run for Governor in Indiana in 2024 and wants to solidify his Trump credentials in a likely GOP primary contest against Secretary of State Todd Rokita.  Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb sailed to re-election in 2020 because he avoided closely associating himself to Trump and Hoosier voters appreciated his independence.  Of course, having a very weak Democratic opponent didn't hurt either.
  • One of the things that gets overlooked is that Indiana has lost several points off its built-in Republican advantage during the Trump era.  While rural Indiana has become more Republican, that's been more than offset by the Indianapolis' suburbs becoming more Democratic.  If Trump's rural base doesn't show up in 2024, a Democrat could be elected Governor, assuming (a big assumption) the Hoosier Democrats can get their act together and nominate a strong, moderate candidate.  Indiana is traditionally less Republican during presidential election years.
  •  I actually have the most contempt for people like Banks, Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, as well Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance.  All are smart, well-educated and know what they're doing and saying in defense of Trumpian politics is wrong.  They all have made the informed choice to sell out their honor and integrity (not to mention the conservative movement) because they believe doing so will bring them political success.   I make a distinction between that group of sell-outs and True Believers like Representatives Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Louie Gohmert and Paul Gosar, politicians whose stupidity can, somewhat, excuse their behavior.
  • I keep getting emailed stories about how Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) confronted Dr. Anthony Fauci at a hearing and Senator Paul got the better Dr. Fauci during their exchange.  But when I actually watch a clip of the confrontation, it is always the Dr. Fauci making Sen. Paul look bad.  Their most recent confrontation again holds true to form. Fauci showed up Paul so badly that the Senator is now asking that Dr. Fauci be criminally investigated.  Yeah, good luck with that.  Is there a bigger asshole in the U.S. Senate than Rand Paul?  Okay, possibly Ted Cruz, but I'm not so sure about that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

"Patriot" Organization Distributes Plan to Reinstate Trump at CPAC

Donald Trump is going to be President again!

Well, at least that's the plan of an organization called "Patriots Soar," who handed out cards with a 7 point plan at the "Conservative" Political Action Conference meeting earlier this month.

Andrew Solender, a reporter for Forbes, obtained a picture of the the card from a CPAC attendee.

The plan from some group calling itself "Patriots Soar" is confusing.  Is the plan for a "trusted conservative to be elected Speaker of the House before or after the 2022 election?  Apparently before because the organization promises that Trump will be re-installed in a matter of "days."  If so, it means that since Democrats currently have a majority in the House, this "trusted conservative" Republican needs Democratic votes to be elected Speaker.  And if that person is getting evil Democrats to vote for him/her, can that "conservative" really be trusted?

Then the plan gets even more confusing. 

The "trusted conservative" Speaker of the House is next tasked with drafting "Articles of Impeachment" to remove President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.  Then apparently this "trusted conservative" Speaker steps aside so that former President Trump can then be Speaker (I would point out that just like the "trusted conservative," Trump would also have to have Democratic votes to be elected Speaker).  Trump then calls for a vote "to impeach, charge, and remove imposters, Biden and Harris."  Once that vote is completed, Trump "resumes his rightful place as U.S. President."

Brilliant plan!

Except, of course, the plan completely leaves out the Senate's role in trying impeachments and removing federal officials, including the President and Vice President, from office.  It is not clear how Patriots Soar plans to get the 2/3 vote necessary to remove Biden/Harris from office.  Of course, even before that some Democrats in the House will have to vote for impeachment.

On the Patriots Soar website the organization seeks to expose the connection between the Democratic Party and Satan. (Cue Church Lady's Voice when saying "Satan.")

Secret Satanic Sacrifices (condensed) 

The entire Democrat Party of today is wildly exposed in our video, Secret Satanic Sacrifices, as being connected to three pivotal Occult sacrifices in the 20th Century. They are: 

1) The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis, TN, on April 4, 1968. 

2) The (intended?) crash of JFK, Jr’s small plane on July 16, 1999. 

3) A White Catholic Heterosexual Virgin named Mary - the Virgin Mary - sacrificed at the Dawn of the Space Age, two days AFTER the Moon Launch and two days BEFORE the Moon Landing. Watch the video and learn how the late Senator Ted Kennedy may now be thought of as the “Original Zodiac Killer”. 

Watch this condensed version of Secret Satanic Sacrifices, even if you see the Full Version. This version is newer and contains STUNNING NEW EVIDENCE of a Satanic connection between Joe Biden, MaryJo Kopechne and what appears to be his life committed to sacrilege against the Virgin Mary and Jesus of Nazareth. 

(click above to watch the 15-minute MUST SEE video

Questions for Nancy (from the video): •

 Nancy, will you please order investigations into these three related Occult sacrifices? 

• No?! Nancy, are you Anti-Catholic? A racist? Anti-Kennedy? Or, all of the above?!

• Nancy, do you have any information about the numerous coincidences which connect Joe Biden, MaryJo Kopechne, Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania?

• Nancy, is Joe Biden scripted as the anti-Christ?

This is not the only craziness on the "Patriots Soar" website. 

OOP's short takes:

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy finally got around to naming five House Republicans to the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection.  They are Jim Jordan of Ohio, Jim Banks of Indiana, Troy Nehls of Texas, Rodney Davis of Illinois and Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota.  
  • Speaker Pelosi needs to reject the appointment of Jordan, Banks and Nehls out of hand.  None of the three are serious players when it comes to finding out exactly what happened on January 6th and all three voted to object to the Electoral College results despite no evidence that there was voter fraud or irregularities that affected the count.  By their vote to object, these three - Jordan, Banks and Nehls - showed utter contempt for our Constitution and American democracy.  Speaker Pelosi needs to replace them with three former Republican members of Congress who actually support the Constitution.
  • Okay these billionaires are not flying into space. They are flying to the edge of space.  Comparable to traveling across the country to the ocean and sticking one's toes in the water.  Flying into space is actually very complicated and dangerous.
  • This whole program of voluntary Covid-19 vaccination is not working and putting everyone at risk.  We need companies to require their workers to get vaccinated.  We need universities requiring students to get vaccinated.  You should need to get vaccinated to get on a plane.
  • Required vaccinations are not about infringing on your freedom. They are about protecting other people.  We are trying to get out of a pandemic and because some idiots out there won't get vaccinated, we're likely to face a much more dangerous variant of Covid-19.  

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

New Justice Department Lawsuit Takes Aim at Political Fundraising "Matching" Scam

I was so glad to read that the Justice Department has taken aim at the political fundraising "matching" scam.  Unfortunately the story has been underreported.  Mother Jones (not my favorite publication) has one of the best summaries of the lawsuit:

In recent years, political campaigns have increasingly begun using a dubious fundraising tactic: promising donors their contributions will be matched by two, three, or even five times. Donald Trump’s campaign—the most prolific user of this ploy—went so far as to pledge to multiply contributions by a factor of 10. These type of fundraising appeals are almost never true, because strict contribution limits make donor-matching nearly impossible.

Nevertheless, political candidates and committees have so far gotten away with these false claims, though that may not be the case for much longer. In a court filing Monday, federal prosecutors highlighted the donor-matching gambit as deceptive and called out the language that the Trump campaign often employed.

Prosecutors weren’t taking aim at the Trump campaign but rather a Nevada man who ran a scam PAC that bilked small donors with false promises to support various political causes—mostly Trump-related—and who fraudulently obtained PPP relief funds. But, as the feds note, the fraudster lifted almost all of his fundraising material (including the source code for the PAC’s website) from the Trump campaign. 

As any nonprofit fundraiser can tell you, the promise of “matching funds” is a highly effective way to boost donations. And, coming from your favorite public radio station or charity, it’s usually a legitimate promise—the nonprofit has a matching donor at the ready. In the political world, there is almost never a matching donor—that’s because campaign finance limits prevent benefactors from giving anywhere near the kind of money needed to match. A nonprofit, which is not confined by contribution limits, only needs one big-spending donor to cover its matches. But in politics, the most a single donor can give to a candidate during a given election cycle is $5,800. Effectively matching all the donations that might pour in from a small-donor fundraising campaign like those mounted by the Trump campaign would require having numerous max donors standing by. The logistics are just too impractical. 

It should be noted that it is not just Republican candidates doing the matching scam.  For example, Amy McGrath, who ran against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, promised a 500% match in her fundraising appeals.

The article points out that nonprofits cannot lie and deceive to raise money, but political fundraisers have considerably more leeway in what they can say due to protections the First Amendment provides to political speech. True, but the "matching" claim is just downright fraud and the First Amendment does not protect fraudulent tactics to solicit money, even for political campaigns.

OOP's short takes:

  • Major League Baseball's All-Star game is tonight.  Although billed as the "Midsummer Classic," I am not aware of any baseball fan who is a fan of the All-Star game.  With expanded rosters and players constantly shuttled into and out of the game, it has become even less of an actual baseball game than it was when I was growing up.  Although I am a big baseball fan, I probably won't watch a single inning of the game.
  • I have mixed feelings on Afghanistan. The United States should not go into these foreign conflicts without an exit strategy.  I also agree with President Biden that we shouldn't be in the nation-building business.  Then again, if a small American force kept in Afghanistan can keep the Taliban and their terrorist activities at bay, then that seems to be worth it.  This is particularly true given Afghanistan hasn't been a hot war for a long time and casualties have been minimal.  
  • Prices for goods and services, excluding food and services, was up .9% in June.  Economists were only projecting a .4% increase.  One of the factors driving price increases is the increased cost of labor.  Employees working unskilled or moderately skilled jobs have suddenly found their services in strong demand.  Virtually every store has a "Help Wanted" sign displayed and companies have substantially raised compensation for such workers.  The downside is higher prices.
  • Yeah, what the hell did happen to the Claremont Institute?
  • Texas Democrats have walked out rather than vote on an election reform bill.  "They don't want you to vote" will be a potent political issue for the Democrats in 2022.  Republicans are making a mistake thinking these changes will reduce Democratic turnout (they won't).  But Democrats are also making a mistake by focusing on the casting of votes, rather than the counting of those votes.  It is changes to the latter which is putting our democracy at risk.
  • On Monday, a Michigan judge ripped the Trump lawyers on their phony assertions of election fraud during a six hour hearing.  The judge asked the nine lawyers who took part in bringing the lawsuit if they had ever followed up to learn if any of their so-called witnesses actually saw a vote being changed.  Not a single attorney answered "yes."  
  • Speaking of Trump's "Kraken" legal team, Attorney Jenna Ellis announced yesterday that she's leaving the Republican Party.   She said she didn't want to be in a party led by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.  Finally, something I agree with. McDaniel is truly horrible.
  • Later, a fight on Twitter broke out between Ellis and frequent Fox News contributor, Tomi Lahren.  Both are horrible human beings whose 15 minutes of fame are up. Can they please go away now?

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Within Hours, Trump Uses Social Media Lawsuit to Solicit Contributions

As I predicted yesterday, former President Donald Trump is using his lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets to make money.  The lawsuit filed on Wednesday wasn't more than a few hours old when the fundraising started.

At 6:41 pm, an email from Trump landed in my in box titled "I'm SUING Facebook, Twitter, and Google"

Save America President Donald J. Trump


Did you watch my HISTORIC press conference?

I announced that I am SUING Facebook, Twitter, and Google for unconstitutionally censoring ME and other conservatives around the Nation.

My team is demanding an end to the shadow banning, a stop to the silencing, a stop to the blacklisting, vanishing, and canceling. We will not rest until we’ve achieved a MAJOR VICTORY for the American People.

This will be an uphill battle, Friend, and I cannot do it alone. I need YOU to stand with me and FIGHT BACK.

For a short time, you can INCREASE your impact by 500%.

Please contribute IMMEDIATELY to stand with me and to INCREASE your impact by 500%. >>

In America, we recongnize that the freedom to speak our minds & express the not granted to us by the government, it is given to us by god and no one should have the power to take that right away. 

CONTRIBUTE $250 = $1500 >>

CONTRIBUTE $100 = $600 >>

CONTRIBUTE $50 = $300 >>

CONTRIBUTE $25 = $150 >>


In the end, I’m confident we will achieve a victory for the American People, but only if I have your support, Friend.

I’ll look over the donor list soon and I’ll be looking for your name. Don’t let me down. .

Please contribute ANY AMOUNT RIGHT NOW to get on the donor list and your gift will be INCREASED by 500%.

Thank you,

President Donald J. Trump Signature Headshot
Donald J. Trump
45th President of the United States



Paid for by Save America JFC, a joint fundraising committee of Save America and Make America Great Again PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Save America, PO Box 13570, Arlington, VA 22219




As a side note, If someone is matching the contribution, that person should be identified and the Federal Election Commission should follow up to make sure it's actually done.  Of course, we all know that no one is matching the contribution.  It is just a fraudulent fundraising tactic and the FEC should put a stop to it.

At 10:09 pm, I received another email from The Donald, this one titled "I'm taking on Big Tech":

Save America President Donald J. Trump


Today, my team and I announced our plan to Take On Big Tech. We are SUING the big tech tyrants: Facebook, Twitter & Google.

This lawsuit is just the beginning and just one part of a bigger fight. This suit isn’t the whole battle: it’s an opening shot.

We’ll fight in the courts, we’ll fight in the legislatures, and we’ll fight at the ballot boxes until the American people have their rights and sovereignty restored.


I am calling on fellow Patriots, LIKE YOU, Friend, to join our effort and SAVE OUR COUNTRY.

Follow this personalized link to learn more about YOUR PRESIDENT’S lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter, and Google or for information about becoming a member of the class >>

Every person’s voice will help us fight big tech. Can I count on you, Friend?

Follow this personalized link to learn more or for information about becoming a member of the class.

Thank you! And God Bless America!

President Donald J. Trump Signature Headshot
Donald J. Trump
45th President of the United States

P.S. You can sign up for updates on these historic efforts to protect your First Amendment freedoms at



Paid for by Save America JFC, a joint fundraising committee of Save America and Make America Great Again PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Save America, PO Box 13570, Arlington, VA 22219


The emails make it sound like the money Trump raises will be used to take on Big Tech in the lawsuit.  But Trump is not asking that the money be donated to a legal fund to defray costs associated with the lawsuit.  He wants the contributions funneled to Super PACs under his control so he has wide latitude as to how he spends the money.

With Trump, a lifelong con man, it is always about the grift.  Trump is using the litigation to con his gullible followers, i.e. "marks," to give him more money.   No doubt he will be successful.  The Trump cult lives on.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

In Challenge to Long-Standing First Amendment Precedent, Trump Sues Social Media Companies to Force Them to Publish His Views

The Washington Post reports:

Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday filed class-action lawsuits targeting Facebook, Google and Twitter and their CEOs, escalating his long-running battle with the companies following their suspensions of his accounts.

The suits were filed in the Southern District of Florida, and Trump said at a news conference in Bedminster, N.J., that they would call for the court to issue an order blocking the companies’ alleged censorship of the American people.

“We’re demanding an end to the shadowbanning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing and canceling that you know so well,” Trump said.

The suits allege that the companies violated Trump’s First Amendment rights in suspending his accounts and argues that Facebook, in particular, no longer should be considered a private company but “a state actor” whose actions are constrained by First Amendment restrictions on government limitations on free speech. Traditionally, the First Amendment is thought to constrain only government actions, not those of private companies.

It also called for the court to strike down Section 230, a decades-old Internet law that protects tech companies from lawsuits over content moderation decisions.

As any first year law student knows, the First Amendment only applies to government action.  It doesn't, apply to non-government, such as businesses.  If I go into a Chicago Cubs bar and I talk about how great the Cincinnati Reds team is, the owner can kick me out.  The First Amendment does not protect me.

From news reports, it appears the lawsuit is claiming that Section 230 somehow converts private companies into government actors for which the First Amendment would apply.  Trump's position urging repeal of Section 230 never made any sense.  If Section 230 is done away with, social media companies would no longer be shielded from libel lawsuits and would be inclined to engage in even more of the legal censorship Trump complains of.

While Trump is quite litigious, his lawsuits are usually about something other than seeking redress in court.  I doubt Trump thinks he can win the social media lawsuit.  Most likely Trump is using it as a way to raise money, i.e. yet another way to fleece his flock of extremely gullible supporters.

OOP's short takes:

  • Over 99% of the people who are now getting Covid-19 are unvaccinated.  If these folks were just hurting themselves, I would not have a problem with that. The problem is if not enough people are vaccinated, the virus lives on, mutates, and becomes a more deadly variant that can get around the vaccines.  That's already happening with the Delta variant of Covid.
  • The time is long past for government agencies and private employers to require their employees to get vaccinated.   Likewise, universities and colleges should require students get vaccinated.   There is no "right" to endanger the public health by not getting vaccinated.  It's not a "conservative" position to oppose vaccinations.  
  • Marjorie Taylor Green yesterday compared the Biden vaccine push to Nazi brown shirts, a paramilitary group that aided Hitler's rise to power.  Trump in 2018 praised Hitler for having done "a lot of good things."  Hmmm, there seems to be a theme here.
  • Meanwhile, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) faces an election truther primary opponent who is attacking him for not supporting Trump's Big Lie and instead doing his constitutional duty to vote to certify the electoral college results.  That wouldn't be such a big deal except that the new Oklahoma State Republican Chairman is supporting Lankford's opponent.  Ironically, Lankford is one of the most conservative Senators and has also been one of the biggest supporters of Trump's agenda.  In Trump World, no good deed goes unpunished.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Election Law Changes Have Had Little Impact on Hoosier Turnout

A study of Indiana's last eleven presidential elections show that changes to voting procedures have had little impact on turnout.

The traditional measure of turnout looks at the number of voters divided by the total number of registered voters.  This calculation often suggests wild swings in turnout.  But in reality, the wild swings are not about voters going to the polls, but the current state of the voter registration lists.

Let me explain. Voters die. Voters move.  After a few years, the voter registration lists fill up with such non-voters.  Before the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (the "Motor Voter Law") local officials would purge voters from the lists if they didn't vote in a single election in a four year cycle.  The NVRA made it much more difficult to purge voters for not voting.  As a result, counties have to send out two sets of postcards that, if returned as undeliverable, allows them to purge said voters  The process is expensive, labor-intensive and controversial.  Elected officials who approve the legally required purges inevitably end up getting accused of "voter suppression."  So many just ignore the legal mandate, at least until they receive a court order.  

Because the voter registration lists are filled with people who have died or have moved, using total registered voters as the denominator in a calculation of voter turnout leads to wildly inaccurate results.  

There is another problem with using the total number of registered voters in a turnout calculation.  Doing so does not take into consideration how easy or hard it is to register to vote.  Let's say a jurisdiction imposed such restrictions on registration that only a small percent of highly-committed residents could get registered to vote.  Using the traditional way of calculating turnout, that jurisdiction would likely have very high turnout, but that would be a very misleading picture of what isgoing on.

There is a solution and that is to compare the number of voters to the population that is 18 years or older, since those are the individuals eligible to vote.  In doing that, I have listed below the "real turnout" in Indiana during the last eleven presidential elections:

Two significant events happened during this forty year period. In 1992, the Democrats won control of both houses of Congress and the White House.  That paved the way for the 1993 National Voter Registration Act which forced states to expand registration opportunities.  Democrats believed that "obstacles" to registration had discouraged people which the NVRA addressed.  But the next two elections actually produced the lowest real turnout rates during the forty year period studied, 49.6% in 1996 and 48.8% in 2000, the only two sub-50% turnout elections among the last eleven presidential elections.  

In 2005, the Republican-dominated Indiana General Assembly passed a law requiring that voters present a government-issued photo ID in order to vote.  Critics said it was most restrictive voter ID law in the country.  Several stories were published of voters being turned away at the polls for not having an ID.  But Indiana's first presidential election featuring photo ID, in 2008, produced the then highest real turnout with 58.1% of adult voters going to the polls.  In 2020, that record was topped with 58.7% real turnout.  The two highest turnout elections in Indiana during the 40 year period happened after the photo ID requirement was passed.

I picked 1980 as the starting point because that's the first election I voted in.  I later became politically active in Indianapolis GOP politics around 1986.  It was so much harder to get registered and to vote in the 1980s.  There was no mail-in registration, no early voting.  You had to show up to vote on election day between 6 am and 6 pm, and show up in your correct precinct.  Despite Democrats complaining about Republicans erecting "obstacles" to voting, it is easier to register and vote than it has ever been.

OOP's short takes:

  • Politico has an article today on redistricting that suggests the Indiana General Assembly might redraw congressional districts from 7-2 Republican to 8-1, eliminating Democratic domination of Congressman Frank Mrvan's district in northwest Indiana by including more Republican territory.  Since the heavily Democratic city of Gary, the anchor of the district, has lost so much population, I think it is not only possible it is turned into a Republican-leaning district, I think its likely. 

Friday, July 2, 2021

House Minority Leader McCarthy Threatens House Republicans Who Want to Investigate the Insurrection

On Wednesday, the United States House voted to establish a select committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection. Remarkably every Republican house member, with the exception of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, voted against the establishment of the committee.   

That development was followed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announcing that any Republicans who dared to serve on that select committee could be stripped of their committee assignments.  That did not deter Cheney who agreed to accept an assignment to the committee.  

The only reason for McCarthy to take such a position is that he's trying to suppress the truth of what happened.  Most likely though the person who is behind the suppression effort is Donald Trump.  The former President is adamant about wanting to stop any investigation of the attempted insurrection and his role in it.  Why?  No doubt Trump's is concerned his own role in fomenting the insurrection will be exposed. 
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

McCarthy no doubt believes that, by doing Trump's bidding, Trump will support his bid to be Speaker in the likely event the Republicans gain a majority in the 2022 midterm election.  Yet, Trump has demonstrated over and over again that for him, loyalty is a one way street. While he demands loyalty from those around him, no amount of slavish devotion and unquestioned fealty is ever sufficient for Trump.  If it is in Trump's interest to throw McCarthy under the bus and elevate another toady - say Rep. Elise Stefanik - to the speakership, that is what Trump will do.

While McCarthy threatens to crack down on Republicans such as Kinzinger and Cheney, he is looking the other way when it comes to another House Republican, Paul Gosar of Arizona.  Gosar recently announced he will host a joint fundraiser with Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist, anti-Semite who is a Holocaust denier.  It was just two years ago that the House Republican conference, led by McCarthy, took a firm position against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), stripping him of committee assignments for continued racist comments.  McCarthy and other establishment Republicans then supported an opponent to King who defeated him in the 2020 primary.  

Ironically, King's remarks pale when compared to Gosar and others Republican House members, most prominent among them, Marjorie Taylor "Jewish Space Lasers" Greene (R-GA).   If King had lasted just a little longer he would have had plenty of like-minded racist colleagues to shield him from sanction.

OOP's short takes:
  • On Thursday, the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, said that provisions in Arizona's election law requiring in-person voters to show up at their correct precinct to vote and limiting ballot collection efforts (sometimes called "ballot harvesting") do not have a sufficient discriminatory effect so as to violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
  • This decision highlights what is the likely result as the Biden administration, via the Justice Department, attempts to mount legal changes to Republican state legislatures' post-2020 election efforts to change voting procedures.  While these bills have as their motivation Trump's Big Lie of voter fraud in the 2020 election, most of the changes are actually innocuous and will have a very limited, if any, impact on voter turnout. Yet, the media and the Democrats continue to label these changes as "voter restrictions" or "voter suppression."  
  • I've said this a hundred times, the Democrats need to be less focused on the casting of votes and a lot more concerned on the counting of those votes.  If the next election is stolen, it will be because of the latter, not the former.
  • I can't say I'm surprised that the conviction of comedian Bill Cosby was overturned. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court focused on the fact Cosby was led to believe he had immunity from criminal prosecution when he admitted the facts used to incriminate him.  That was a violation of the 5th Amendment.  Our criminal justice system operates within a system of rules which protects those accused of a crime.  One of those rules is that if a person is granted immunity from prosecution, that immunity bars a subsequent prosecution.  Do I regret that Cosby's victims are left without recourse? Absolutely.  But we can't apply rules selectively, i.e. just against the really bad people who do bad things.  Those rules protect all of us and have be enforced for everyone if they are going to have any validity.
  • The Court did not consider the length of time between the acts and the decision to prosecute him. I'm very concerned with states enacting extremely lengthy statutes of limitation when it comes to filing a civil lawsuit or prosecuting someone for a sexual assault or  similar crimes.  Recently, a civil lawsuit was dismissed against Kevin Spacey for something he supposedly did decades earlier.   The case had to be dropped when the alleged victim insisted on being cloaked in anonymity.  
  • Statutes of limitation exist for a reason.  As the years pass, memories fade, potential evidence gets lost, witnesses die.  While one has to feel extreme compassion for the victims of sexual assault, that doesn't mean we should allow limitless criminal and civil litigation against those accused.  The accused are still entitled to due process and in a case in which the events happened decades earlier, that just doesn't seem possible.