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HipKat last won the day on November 29

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About HipKat

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  • Birthday 10/15/1964


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  1. If the Range were family, Bowman is the family dog, probably like a Lhasa Apso, running around the table, panting, waiting for a crumb to fall on the floor
  2. Donations under $8K to Trump ‘election defense’ instead go to president, RNC As President Donald Trump seeks to discredit last week’s election with baseless claims of voter fraud, his team has bombarded his supporters with requests for money to help pay for legal challenges to the results: “The Left will try to STEAL this election!” reads one text. But any small-dollar donations from Trump’s grassroots donors won’t be going to legal expenses at all, according to a Reuters review of the legal language in the solicitations. A donor would have to give more than $8,000 before any money goes to the “recount account” established to finance election challenges, including recounts and lawsuits over alleged improprieties, the fundraising disclosures show. The emailed solicitations send supporters to an “Official Election Defense Fund” website that asks them to sign up for recurring donations to “protect the results and keep fighting even after Election Day.” The fine print makes clear most of the money will go to other priorities. A large portion of the money goes to “Save America,” a Trump leadership PAC, or political action committee, set up on Monday, and the Republican National Committee (RNC). Under Federal Election Commission rules, both groups have broad leeway in how they can use the funds. The Trump campaign, the RNC and Trump’s new Save America PAC did not respond to requests for comment. Leadership PACs such as Save America are often set up by prominent political figures to spend money on other candidates, while also paying for personal expenses, such as travel and hotel stays. The disclosures would allow Trump and the RNC to channel the donations into other political causes or campaigns, such as the two high-stakes January Senate runoff races in Georgia that could determine control of the Senate and are likely to rank among the most expensive races in U.S. history. Trump’s solicitation website carries a banner headline that says “OFFICIAL ELECTION DEFENSE FUND” and “CONTRIBUTE NOW.” Scrolling down the page would take a donor to the fine print, which shows that donations are split between “Save America,” which gets 60% of the money, and the RNC, which gets the other 40%. None of the money flows to Trump’s official “recount” committee fund until Trump’s Save America share reaches the legal contribution limit of $5,000, according to the disclosures. That means that, before a dollar goes into the recount fund, Save America would receive $5,000 and the RNC around $3,300. Donations to the recount committee are legally limited to $2,800. If a Trump donor gave $500, for instance, $300 would go to Trump’s Save America PAC, $200 would to the RNC - and nothing would go to his election defense fund. One Republican political strategist said Trump is misleading supporters who might give small donations to whatever cause he approves. “It’s important to be up front with people - especially those who are digging deep into their pockets to come up with $25,” said Michael DuHaime, a former political director at the RNC. “If you tell them it’s going for legal fees, well then it should go for legal fees.” Darrell Scott, an Ohio pastor who helped found the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and served on the president’s 2016 transition team, says he sees no problems with diverting the money to the leadership PAC or the RNC. “I see this as two pockets on the same pair of pants. It doesn’t matter if it goes into the left or the right pocket,” Scott said. “In the end, the money will be used for a legitimate purpose that his supporters will get behind.” FLURRY OF LAWSUITS The fundraising pitches have channeled Trump’s rage and his refusal to accept the results of an election that major media outlets called on Saturday for his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, the former Vice President. Most of the Republican Party has fallen in line with Trump’s rhetoric, either by staying silent or publicly supporting the election challenges. Trump’s campaign has filed a flurry of lawsuits to overturn the results in key states without producing evidence to back his charges of illegal voting. Trump’s lawsuits have instead generally alleged violations of process, such as a lack of access for Republican observers. Legal experts said none of the cases were broad enough to invalidate the number of votes required to overturn Biden’s presumed victory. Judges have quickly dismissed many of the lawsuits. State election officials, including Republicans, have said there was no widespread fraud. Just a handful of Republican senators have recognized Biden’s win. Many more have not but some Republicans have suggested their patience with Trump’s legal fight may run out soon. As the president fights what Democrats have called his inevitable ouster from the White House, his fundraising campaign seeks to replenish campaign coffers that were depleted during the presidential race, according to Federal Election Commission data. Trump’s re-election team kicked off 2020 with an impressive cash advantage, thanks to a massive fundraising operation, including joint efforts with the Republican Party. But the advantage evaporated as Trump’s campaign burned through $1.4 billion of the $1.6 billion raised over the past two years. By mid-October, the Trump campaign and the Republican Party reelection team were left with $223.5 million and had to scale back advertising. The Trump campaign itself only had $43 million entering the final three weeks of the presidential election, while Biden and the Democrats had $432 million in cash for the final stretch, including $177.3 million in Biden’s campaign. ‘LAVISH LIFESTYLES’ Trump’s post-election fundraising emails - sometimes issued hourly over the last several days - used names such as the Election Defense Task Force and the Official Election Defense Fund. Initially, the disclosures said that Trump would steer a large part of the contributions to pay down campaign debt. But the disclosure language changed after Trump’s campaign treasurer, Bradley Crate, incorporated the Save America political action committee on Monday. Crate did not reply to requests for comment. Unlike campaign funds, which have tight controls on how they can be spent, leadership PACs such as Save America carry few restrictions. Republicans and Democrats alike have drawn criticism for using them to pay family members and to fund luxury events in exotic locations. A 2018 report by the Campaign Legal Center and Issue One, two groups that advocate campaign finance reform, said some leadership PACs have been used as vehicles to “subsidize lavish lifestyles” of politicians “on their donors’ dimes.” Larry Noble, former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, said Trump could use the committee to finance a post-election political career. He said the pitch is misleading for donors who don’t read the fine print. “He’s really making a big deal about the challenge to the election, and that may very well be why a lot of people may give without paying attention to, or understanding, what the political language is,” Noble said. “It’s pretty dangerous to our democracy to use attacking our elections as a fundraising tool.” The North Carolina Republican Party has launched a similar strategy, using the election challenges as a way to raise money for other purposes. In several mass emails to potential donors this week, the party says - alongside images of Trump - that it is seeking money to help protect the integrity of the elections. The legal disclosures, however, show the money is going to an account to pay for the party’s overhead costs and not directly to any challenges of this presidential election. Trump is expected to win North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes. “They should be more transparent,” said one prominent North Carolina Republican, speaking on condition of anonymity. “If they are soliciting money to help with a legal challenge, and instead the money is going to pay the salary of the political director, that doesn’t seem right.” Tim Wigginton, a spokesman for the North Carolina Republican Party, said in a statement that the party wants to “ensure every legal ballot is counted” but did not address questions about whether the fundraising appeals are misleading or why the donations are not being directed to legal defense.
  3. What do you call it when someone lies to get people to donate money to them? Donations about profiting Trump, not the election Steve Daines is asking Montanas to send money to Donald Trump’s “Save the Election” site. This has been discussed in the news and seen on social media. Daines must believe the election can be “saved.” Or does he? Montanas should be aware that their monies sent to this site are being used for Trump’s personal benefit to pay off legal and campaign debt. As a fourth generation homesteading Montanan, I hope Daines understands that here in Montana “a man is only as good as his word.” Call it what it is. It’s a “Give Donald Trump More of your Money” campaign, not “Save the Election.”
  4. — in county that doesn’t exist President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Sidney Powell has made another humiliating error in her legal filing. After misspelling “District Court” twice in her Georgia filing, it turns out Powell cited a source about a non-existent county in Michigan. “For example, in PA, President Trump’s lead of more than 700,000 county advantage was reduced to less than 300,000 in a few short hours, which does not occur in the real world without an external influence,” the legal filing said. “I conclude that manually feeding more than 400,000 mostly absentee ballots cannot be accomplished in a short time frame (i.e., 2-3 hours) without illegal vote count alteration. In another case for Edison County, MI, Vice President Biden received more than 100% of the votes at 5:59 PM EST on November 4, 2020 and again he received 99.61% of the votes at 2:23 PM EST on November 5, 2020. These distributions are cause for concern and indicate fraud.” First, Biden couldn’t have received more than 100 percent of the vote anywhere. But he really couldn’t have received more than 100 percent of the vote in Edison County, MI because there is no Edison County, MI. Second, there is an Edison Township in Middlesex, New Jersey. There is also a city named Edison in Georgia and a “historic hamlet” exists in Doylestown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Maricopa County, Arizona has a large field called Edison Park. There are only 12 places in the world named Edison, and the closest one to Michigan is in Ohio. Given the rivalry between Michigan and Ohio, it would be a huge mistake to confuse the two. This isn’t the first time a Trump lawyer has confused Michigan with another state. “Celebrity” lawyer Lin Wood confused the state with Minnesota in a Georgia lawsuit. While Powell is filing these confused suits, she’s also begging for “millions of dollars” to defend “the republic” on her website.
  5. Funny how these Dominion machines only changed votes in the contested states. But, Dominion machines are used in 28 states so why aren't those states being scrutinized??? Also, each machine was checked by the paper ballot and none were found to have "changed" anything. That's what a fucking Hand Count is, FFS Also funny that these machines only changed votes for President. We're supposed to believe that someone changed votes to Biden in Georgia but left the Senate races alone?
  6. Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to Joe Biden on November 3. Behind in almost all the major polls, Trump stormed within a hair’s breadth in the key battlegrounds of winning reelection, and his unexpectedly robust performance helped put Republicans in a strong position for the post-Trump-presidency era. This is not nothing. But the president can’t stand to admit that he lost and so has insisted since the wee hours of Election Night that he really won — and won “by a lot.” There are legitimate issues to consider after the 2020 vote about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes (some jurisdictions, bizarrely, take weeks to complete their initial count), but make no mistake: The chief driver of the post-election contention of the past several weeks is the petulant refusal of one man to accept the verdict of the American people. The Trump team (and much of the GOP) is working backwards, desperately trying to find something, anything to support the president’s aggrieved feelings, rather than objectively considering the evidence and reacting as warranted. Almost nothing that the Trump team has alleged has withstood the slightest scrutiny. In particular, it’s hard to find much that is remotely true in the president’s Twitter feed these days. It is full of already-debunked claims and crackpot conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems. Over the weekend, he repeated the charge that 1.8 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania were mailed out, yet 2.6 million were ultimately tallied. In a rather elementary error, this compares the number of mail-ballots requested in the primary to the number of ballots counted in the general. A straight apples-to-apples comparison finds that 1.8 million mail-in ballots were requested in the primary and 1.5 million returned, while 3.1 million ballots were requested in the general and 2.6 million returned. Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the president of the United States. Elected Republicans have generally taken the attitude that the president should be able to have his day in court. It’s his legal right to file suits, of course, but he shouldn’t pursue meritless litigation in Hail Mary attempts to get millions of votes tossed out. This is exactly what he’s been doing, it’s why reputable GOP lawyers have increasingly steered clear, and it’s why Trump has suffered defeat after defeat in court. In its signature federal suit in Pennsylvania, the Trump team argued that it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution for some Pennsylvania counties to let absentee voters fix or “cure” their ballots if they contained an error while other counties didn’t. It maintained that it was another constitutional violation for Trump election observers not to be allowed in close proximity to the counting of ballots. On this basis, the Trump team sought to disqualify 1.5 million ballots and bar the certification of the Pennsylvania results or have the Pennsylvania General Assembly appoint presidential electors. By the time the suit reached the Third Circuit, it had been whittled down to a relatively minor procedural issue (whether the Trump complaint could be amended a second time in the district court). The Trump team lost on that question, and the unanimous panel of the Third Circuit (in an opinion written by a Trump appointee) made it clear that the other claims lacked merit as well. It noted that the suit contained no evidence that Trump and Biden ballots or observers were treated differently, let alone evidence of fraud. Within reason, it is permissible for counties to have different procedures for handling ballots, and nothing forced some counties to permit voters to cure flawed absentee ballots and others to decline to do so. Not that it mattered. The court pointed out that the suit challenged the procedures to fix absentee ballots in seven Democratic counties, which don’t even come close to having enough cured ballots to change the outcome in the state; the counties might have allowed, at most, 10,000 voters to fix their ballots, and even if every single one of them voted for Biden, that’s still far short of Biden’s 80,000-plus margin in the state. The idea, as the Trump team stalwartly maintains, that the Supreme Court is going to take up this case and issue a game-changing ruling is fantastical. Conservative judges have consistently rejected Trump’s flailing legal appeals, and the justices are unlikely to have a different reaction. Trump’s most reprehensible tactic has been to attempt, somewhat shamefacedly, to get local Republican officials to block the certification of votes and state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in clear violation of the public will. This has gone nowhere, thanks to the honesty and sense of duty of most of the Republicans involved, but it’s a profoundly undemocratic move that we hope no losing presidential candidate ever even thinks of again. Getting defeated in a national election is a blow to the ego of even the most thick-skinned politicians and inevitably engenders personal feelings of bitterness and anger. What America has long expected is that losing candidates swallow those feelings and at least pretend to be gracious. If Trump’s not capable of it, he should at least stop waging war on the outcome.
  7. The NFL's five BEST teams are ... all in the AFC! Seven teams have at least eight wins heading into Week 12's Monday Night Football matchup: the Steelers (10-0), the Chiefs (10-1), the Saints (9-2), the Titans (8-3), the Bills (8-3), the Browns (8-3) and the Packers (8-3). If we wanted to identify the five best teams in the NFL by focusing on that group, how would the ranking shake out? (The 7-3 Seahawks can get to eight wins Monday, but with the worst total defense in the NFL, they'd easily fall out of the top five.) Well, it's tough to argue that the undefeated Steelers and 10-win Chiefs are not among the five best teams, so that leaves the Saints, Packers, Titans, Bills and Browns to fill the final three spots. The Saints are not an elite team without injured QB Drew Brees -- Taysom Hill still has not thrown a TD pass in 57 career attempts, and his passer rating in Week 12 (43.2) was the second-lowest among any starting quarterback (Cam Newton was at the bottom with 23.6). The Packers looked good on Sunday, albeit against yet another mediocre team. Green Bay has faced just two teams who entered their matchup with a winning record (Buccaneers and Colts), and the Packers lost both games. Their defense is also allowing 25.7 points per game, which would be their fourth-most in a season in the Super Bowl era.
  8. You might want to research people who were not elderly or had underlying conditions that died from Covid.
  9. I know dude, I’m not coming down on you, I just know that no matter what I say either you’re not gonna get it or somebody else is not going to get it and it’s gonna make me look like I’m being combative. It’s just like I’ve always said, I’m much more of a conservative than a liberal. I just have some left-leaning beliefs, also
  10. ....is 4oo million dollars in debt, tied to foreign banks with their own ties to Russian Oligarchs, is angry with the US Government and has a history of revealing US Secrets? Revealed Classified Information to Isreal Tweeted an Iranian Missile launch Pubicly claimed that the US has a secret Nuclear Weapon According to the US National Security agencies, a security risk. As an ex-president, Trump could disclose the secrets he learned while in office, current and former officials fear As president, Donald Trump selectively revealed highly classified information to attack his adversaries, gain political advantage and impress or intimidate foreign governments, in some cases jeopardizing U.S. intelligence capabilities. As an ex-president, there’s every reason to worry he will do the same, thus posing a unique national security dilemma for the Biden administration, current and former officials and analysts said. All presidents exit the office with valuable national secrets in their heads, including the procedures for launching nuclear weapons, intelligence-gathering capabilities — including assets deep inside foreign governments — and the development of new and advanced weapon systems. But no new president has ever had to fear that his predecessor might expose the nation’s secrets as President-elect Joe Biden must with Trump, current and former officials said. Not only does Trump have a history of disclosures, he checks the boxes of a classic counterintelligence risk: He is deeply in debt and angry at the U.S. government, particularly what he describes as the “deep state” conspiracy that he says tried to stop him from winning the White House in 2016 and what he falsely claims is an illegal effort to rob him of reelection. White House was warned Giuliani was target of Russian intelligence operation to feed misinformation to Trump “Anyone who is disgruntled, dissatisfied or aggrieved is a risk of disclosing classified information, whether as a current or former officeholder. Trump certainly fits that profile,” said David Priess, a former CIA officer and author of “The President’s Book of Secrets,” a history of the top-secret intelligence briefings that presidents and their staff members receive while in office. The White House did not respond to a request for comment. As president, Trump has access to all classified information in the government and the authority to declassify and share any of it, for any reason. After he leaves office, he still will have access to the classified records of his administration. But the legal ability to disclose them disappears once Biden is sworn in January. Many concerned experts were quick to note that Trump reportedly paid scant attention during his presidential intelligence briefings and has never evinced a clear understanding of how the national security apparatus works. His ignorance may be the best counterweight to the risk he poses, they said. “A knowledgeable and informed president with Trump’s personality characteristics, including lack of self-discipline, would be a disaster. The only saving grace here is that he hasn’t been paying attention,” said Jack Goldsmith, who ran the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department in the George W. Bush administration and is the co-author of “After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency.” “He probably doesn’t know much about collection details. But he will have bits and pieces,” said retired Brig Gen. Peter B. Zwack, who served as a military intelligence officer and was the senior U.S. defense attache to Russia from 2012 to 2014. The chances are low that Trump knows the fine details of intelligence, such as the name of a spy or where an intelligence agency may have planted a surveillance device. But he almost certainly knows significant facts about the process of gathering intelligence that would be valuable to adversaries. “The president is going to run into and possibly absorb a lot of the capacity and capabilities that you have in intelligence,” said John Fitzpatrick, a former intelligence officer and expert on the security systems used to protect classified information, including after a president leaves office. The kinds of information Trump is likely to know, Fitzpatrick, said, include special military capabilities, details about cyberweapons and espionage, the kinds of satellites the United States uses and the parameters of any covert actions that, as president, only Trump had the power to authorize. He also knows the information that came from U.S. spies and collection platforms, which could expose sources even if he did not know precisely how the information was obtained. In a now infamous Oval Office meeting in 2017, Trump told Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to the United States about highly classified information the United States had received from an ally about Islamic State threats to aviation, which jeopardized the source, according to people familiar with the incident. By bragging about intelligence capabilities, Trump put them at risk. And he has been similarly careless when trying to intimidate adversaries. In August 2019, he tweeted a detailed aerial image of an Iranian launchpad. Such photos are among the most highly guarded pieces of intelligence because they can reveal precise details about technical spying capabilities. Using publicly available records, Internet sleuths were able to determine which satellite took the image and identify its orbit based on the image Trump disclosed. Experts worry that Trump’s braggadocio may lead him to spill secrets at a rally or in a tête-à-tête with a foreign adversary. One former official imagined Trump boasting about the technical features of Air Force One or where the United States had dispatched spy drones. Trump has also demonstrated a willingness to declassify information for political advantage, pushing his senior officials to reveal documents from the 2016 probe of Russian election interference and possible links to Trump’s campaign. Last month, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist, made public a set of handwritten notes and a referral to the FBI concerning intelligence that the United States had obtained on Russia and its belief that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign would try to tie the hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails to Russia to deflect from the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private email server. Those declassified documents were heavily redacted. But according to people familiar with their contents, they may have revealed enough information to point the Russian government to a valuable source of intelligence the United States has and is now at risk of losing. Experts agreed that the biggest risk Trump poses out of office is the clumsy release of information. But they didn’t rule out that he might trade secrets, perhaps in exchange for favors, to ingratiate himself with prospective clients in foreign countries or to get back at his perceived enemies. When he leaves office, Trump will be facing a crushing amount of debt, including hundreds of millions of dollars in loans that he has personally guaranteed. “People with significant debt are always of grave concern to security professionals,” said Larry Pfeiffer, a veteran intelligence officer and former chief of staff to CIA Director Michael V. Hayden. “The human condition is a frail one. And people in dire situations make dire decisions. Many of the individuals who’ve committed espionage against our country are people who are financially vulnerable.” As a practical matter, there’s little that the Biden administration can do to stop Trump from blurting out national secrets. Former presidents do not sign nondisclosure agreements when they leave office. They have a right to access information from their administration, including classified records, said Fitzpatrick, who served as the director of the Information Security Oversight Office at the National Archives and Records Administration, which houses former presidents’ records. They’re expected to safeguard information, as they did while in office. “But outside the confines of the Presidential Records Act, there is no boundary except the president’s behavior,” he said. As president, Biden could refuse to give Trump any intelligence briefings, which ex-presidents have received before meeting with foreign leaders or embarking on diplomatic missions at the current president’s request. “I think that tradition ends with Trump,” Priess said. “It’s based on courtesy and the idea that presidents may call on their predecessors for frank advice. I don’t see Joe Biden calling up Trump to talk about intricate national security and intelligence issues. And I don’t think Biden will send him anywhere as an emissary.” The last line of defense, like so many chapters in Trump’s presidency, would pose unprecedented considerations: criminal prosecution. The Espionage Act has been successfully used to convict current and former government officials who disclose information that damages U.S. national security. It has never been used against a former president. But as of Jan. 20, 2021, Trump becomes a private citizen, and the immunity he enjoys from criminal prosecution vanishes.
  11. A Trump Judicial Appointee's Blistering Opinion Is a Reality Check for Republicans Who Still Think Biden Stole the Election In a blistering opinion by a Donald Trump appointee, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit on Friday rejected the president's challenge to Pennsylvania's election results, saying his campaign had failed even to allege a cognizable constitutional claim. "Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy," writes Stephanos Bibas, whom Trump picked for the appeals court in 2017. "Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here." Appealing another scathing decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, the Trump campaign asked the 3rd Circuit to override Brann's refusal to allow a second amended complaint. The appeals court says Brann did not abuse his discretion when he dismissed the case with prejudice, given the looming certification of Pennsylvania's vote (which happened last Tuesday), the campaign's "delays and repetitive litigation," and the likelihood that the proposed complaint would be "futile." The Trump campaign argued that Pennsylvania's election procedures violated the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection in two ways. First, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar urged counties to let voters "cure" mistakes on their absentee ballots that otherwise would have been rejected. Some counties followed that suggestion, while others did not. Second, the campaign alleged that election officials in some counties kept poll watchers too far away from the vote counting to see what was happening. The 3rd Circuit notes that neither of those practices violated state or federal law. Nor does the variation between counties amount to unconstitutional discrimination under the 14th Amendment, it says. "The Campaign tries to repackage these state-law claims as unconstitutional discrimination," Bibas writes. "Yet its allegations are vague and conclusory. It never alleges that anyone treated the Trump campaign or Trump votes worse than it treated the Biden campaign or Biden votes….A violation of the Equal Protection Clause requires more than variation from county to county. It requires unequal treatment of similarly situated parties." The president and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have insisted for weeks that Joe Biden stole the election through systematic voting fraud. Giuliani began a November 17 hearing before Brann by claiming "widespread nationwide voter fraud." But he later conceded "this is not a fraud case," noting that the campaign's complaint "doesn't allege fraud." Despite the campaign's failure to even claim illegal voting, the appeals court notes, "the Second Amended Complaint seeks breathtaking relief: barring the Commonwealth from certifying its results or else declaring the election results defective and ordering the Pennsylvania General Assembly, not the voters, to choose Pennsylvania's presidential electors. It cites no authority for this drastic remedy." Bibas pulls no punches in describing the arguments that the campaign wanted to make. "The Campaign's claims have no merit," he writes. "The number of ballots it specifically challenges is far smaller than the roughly 81,000-vote margin of victory. And it never claims fraud or that any votes were cast by illegal voters. Plus, tossing out millions of mail-in ballots would be drastic and unprecedented, disenfranchising a huge swath of the electorate and upsetting all down-ballot races too. That remedy would be grossly disproportionate to the procedural challenges raised." Although the campaign "suspects that many of the 1.5 million mail-in ballots in the challenged counties were improperly counted," the 3rd Circuit says, "it challenges no specific ballots," and "it never alleges that anyone except a lawful voter cast a vote." Of the seven counties that were named as defendants because they allowed voters to cure their absentee ballots, "four (including the three most populous) represented that they gave notice to only about 6,500 voters who sent in defective ballot packages. The Campaign never disputed these numbers or alleged its own. Even if 10,000 voters got notice and cured their defective ballots, and every single one then voted for Biden, that is less than an eighth of the margin of victory." In short, the appeals court says, "The Campaign cannot win this lawsuit. It conceded that it is not alleging election fraud. It has already raised and lost most of these state-law issues, and it cannot relitigate them here. It cites no federal authority regulating poll watchers or notice and cure. It alleges no specific discrimination. And it does not contest that it lacks standing under the Elections and Electors Clauses. These claims cannot succeed." A Morning Consult poll conducted from November 6 through November 9 found that 70 percent of Republicans thought the 2020 presidential election was not "free and fair." The results were similar in a Ipsos survey conducted a week later, which also found that 52 percent of Republicans believed Trump "rightfully won" the election. To continue believing that, Trump supporters have to accept something like the following story. Democratic election officials in multiple battleground states conspired with the Biden campaign to deny Trump his rightful victory, assisted by Dominion Voting Systems, George Soros, the Clinton Foundation, and the Venezuelan, Cuban, and Chinese governments. That vast international conspiracy evidently also includes Bibas, appointed by Trump himself, plus the two other judges on the unanimous 3rd Circuit panel, D. Brooks Smith and Michael Chagares, both of whom were nominated by George W. Bush. For no obvious reason, that scheme has been aided and abetted by Brann, described by Sen. Pat Toomey (R–Pa.) as "a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist"; all of the other judges who have been unimpressed by the Trump campaign's legal claims; Republican election officials across the country; Republican members of Congress; and heretofore Trump-friendly news outlets such as the New York Post and Fox News. To believe this story, you would also have to accept that Giuliani, who says the conspiracy is "easily provable," has solid evidence to back up his wild claims but for some reason has not managed to produce it in court. The alternative to buying all of that is to conclude that Trump has refused to admit defeat, either for personal or political reasons, and has resorted to increasingly baroque explanations for Biden's soon-to-be-official victory. That hypothesis is consistent with everything we know about Trump from his decades in public life, including his disdain for the truth, his enormous yet fragile ego, and his allergy to accepting responsibility. It is also consistent with the yawning gap between Trump's public assertions and the claims his campaign has made in its lawsuits, which the 3rd Circuit's decision highlights once again.
  12. Column: The haunting memory of what happened two weeks ago in Arizona apparently wasn't enough to scare the Buffalo Bills into doing a better job of closing out games. They almost let another one get away from them Sunday. "We've definitely got to clean that up," running back Devin Singletary told reporters on a video call after the 27-17 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers at Bills Stadium. "We can't have that, especially on the back end of the season, trying to go where we're trying to go." For all of the reasons the Bills should feel good, if not great, about being 8-3 and in first place in the AFC East, there's at least one that should have them more than a little worried. Sunday marked the seventh time this season they have allowed second-half leads to shrink or disappear. Only once, against the Cardinals, did it result in a loss. That came when DeAndre Hopkins pulled down a 43-yard desperation heave from Kyler Murray with two seconds left after the Bills had taken a four-point lead 32 seconds earlier. The final seconds Sunday were eerily similar, with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert completing a 55-yard bomb on fourth-and-27 to Tyron Johnson that the receiver caught at the Buffalo 2 while surrounded by defenders. The Chargers (3-8) failed to score as time ran out, but that doesn't change a troubling pattern as the Bills enter the final five games of the regular season. "If I'm laying on the ground one of these days, you'll know why," coach Sean McDermott told reporters. "It would be nice (not to squander leads), it would be nice." McDermott then removed his cap to reveal his bald head. "Look at this," he said with a smile. "I came to Buffalo with a full head of hair." How does the team learn how to put games away sooner? "Well, I think number one, you can't turn the ball over," safety Micah Hyde told reporters. "Defensively, you can't give up big plays. They had fourth-and-long, you’ve got to be able to knock the ball down. They got a flag, went back and do it again. You've just got to be able to knock the ball down down. "It's as simple as that." So far, though, the Bills have made it look exceptionally difficult. For a variety of reasons – turnovers, penalties and defensive breakdowns primary among them – they consistently lose control of games through the final two quarters. All three played a role Sunday in the Bills allowing an 18-point lead – 24-6 – early in the third quarter to suddenly become seven points – 24-17 – early in the fourth. The Bills had three turnovers – fumbles by Devin Singletary and Josh Allen, and an Allen interception – on three consecutive possessions in the fourth. They also had nine accepted penalties for minus-85 yards. That included two 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. One was on Allen for intentionally spinning the ball to taunt a Chargers defender after the QB's TD run, and the other was on running back Zack Moss, though that seemed like a mistake by the officials. The Bills have celebrated enough victories to currently own the fourth seed in the playoffs. The Tennessee Titans, who lead the AFC South at 8-3, have the head-to-head tiebreaker. Hyde was right when he said, "The good teams are able to finish with wins. You know, we did that today. So you can say we didn't finish, but obviously we did, we got the W." Among the Bills' eight wins, Sunday's 10-point differential equaled their largest margin of victory of the season. They also beat the New York Jets by 10 in the season opener and the Seattle Seahawks by 10. However, the trend could prove costly as the Bills look to widen their one-game lead over the Miami Dolphins in the division and improve their postseason position. Of the Bills' remaining opponents, the 10-0 Pittsburgh Steelers present the most daunting challenge. Still, even against lesser teams, the Bills consistently find ways to make things tougher on themselves than necessary. Consider: Sept. 20 vs. the Dolphins. The Bills lead 24-20 with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter and increase their advantage to 31-20. The Dolphins close to within 31-28 with 49 seconds left, but the Bills hang on for the win. Sept. 27 vs. the L.A. Rams. The Bills lead 28-3 with eight minutes left in the third quarter. The Rams come roaring back to move in front 32-28 with four minutes remaining in the game. The Bills pull out a 35-32 victory on a Tyler Kroft touchdown catch with 15 seconds remaining. Oct. 4 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders. The Bills lead 17-6 with four minutes left in the second quarter. The Raiders cut the margin to 17-16 midway through the third before the Bills open a 30-16 advantage with two early fourth-quarter touchdowns on the way to a 30-23 win in which the Raiders scored on a touchdown pass with 1:29 remaining. Nov. 1 vs. the New England Patriots. The Bills lead 14-6 early in the third quarter and 21-14 with 13:12 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Patriots tie the score at 21-21 before the Bills escape with a 24-21 victory sealed when defensive tackle Justin Zimmer forces Cam Newton to fumble. Nov. 8 vs. the Seattle Seahawks. The Bills lead 27-10 with 11:55 left in the third. Seattle cuts the margin to 27-20 before the third quarter ends, but the Bills win 44-34. Nov. 15 vs. the Cardinals. The Bills lead 23-9 with 9:52 left in the third. The Cards take a 26-23 lead in the final seconds of the third quarter. The Bills eventually lose. "I think we're learning and growing through some of these," McDermott said. "We've got to do a better job of taking care of the football. And then the penalties hurt us. ... We definitely can clean some things up in the fourth quarter there. "Again, it comes back to the ball. The ball keeps people in games and we have to do a good enough job with the ball. I do think there were a lot of good things. It's hard to win in this league, man. It's good to be 8-3." Singletary was part of a "good thing" that happened Sunday. He had 82 of the Bills' 172 rushing yards, their second-highest total of the season. The commitment to the run provided some much-needed balance to an offense that otherwise lacked the explosive passing attack featured in most of the Bills' wins. Singletary's focus, though, was on what he believes will be the primary talking point before next Monday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers and all of the games thereafter. "I'm pretty sure that's going to be (among) some things that we work on going forward to clean up," he said. "We can't have that on the back end. We've got to be able to make it a little easier to close these games out."
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