Monday, October 24, 2022

Last Call For Defending Democracy, Con't

Top Biden national security officials are tracking multiple threats to the nation’s election security infrastructure ahead of the midterms and are set to issue warnings, including in an internal intelligence bulletin this week, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The bulletin will lay out details of cyber threats posed by China and Russia, as well as other non-state actors, and potential physical threats to election officials in jurisdictions across the country, the people said. The warnings come as the midterm elections near and amid increasing reports of intimidation at ballot drop boxes. The people requested anonymity to talk freely about sensitive national security and election matters.

Elsewhere on Monday, the Department of Justice addressed several malign influence schemes and alleged criminal activity by non-state actors. While those charges were unrelated to the intelligence bulletin warning, FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged during a press conference that foreign governments continue to pose a major threat to U.S. elections.

“Malign foreign influence — whether it’s from the Chinese government, the Russian government or other governments — is not just an election-cycle issue, but a 365-day-a-year problem,” Wray said.

The internal administration concerns about election threats come days after a call was held between federal officials and local law enforcement personnel about the midterms, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. Those on the call discussed the potential for violence in response to the spread of false narratives regarding the election process. Officials said election workers, including those working at polling stations, are likely to face threats and harassment from extrements both online and offline, the person familiar with the matter said.

“We are now hearing reports of people surrounding ballot drop boxes, some even wearing tactical gear, and questioning people,” said John Cohen, the former counterterrorism chief at DHS. “Are the police prepared for that? They need to be. All of this is being driven by the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen.”

The FBI, DHS and DOJ did not respond to requests for comment. 
Spoilers: "Non-state actors" here means white supremacist domestic terrorism groups, driven by the Big Lie, to stake out early voting drop boxes in overt, heavily armed voter intimidation efforts in Arizona.

Arizona officials on Saturday sounded alarms about voter safety after two armed individuals deemed “vigilantes” dressed in tactical gear were found outside a Maricopa County ballot drop box Friday evening.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety of individuals who are exercising their constitutional right to vote and who are lawfully taking their early ballot to a drop box. Uninformed vigilantes outside Maricopa County’s drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead they are leading to voter intimidation complaints,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer in a joint statement.

“Although monitoring and transparency in our elections is critical, voter intimidation is unlawful. For those who want to be involved in election integrity, become a poll worker or an official observer with your political party. Don’t dress in body armor to intimidate voters as they are legally returning their ballots,” the statement continued.

The two armed individuals left the Mesa ballot drop box after Maricopa County law enforcement responded, according to the elections officials.

The incident comes after the Arizona secretary of state last week referred a case of possible voter intimidation to the Justice Department and the state’s attorney general after a voter attempting to cast their ballot in Maricopa County was reportedly “approached and followed by a group of individuals.”
Expect a lot more of this in the days to come, with two weeks to go.

Be careful out there when you vote.

The Clarence And Huckleberry Show

The most corrupt six conservatives in Supreme Court in US history continue apace, this time starring Clarence Thomas.
Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday agreed to temporarily freeze a lower court order requiring the testimony of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in front of an Atlanta-area special grand jury that is investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state.

Thomas acted alone because he has jurisdiction of the lower court that issued the original order.

Thomas’ move is an administrative stay that was most likely issued Monday to give the Supreme Court justices more time to consider the dispute.

The court has asked for a response from the Georgia investigators by Thursday.
At this point, I fully expect five votes to rule that sitting members of Congress cannot be subpoenaed for any reason as they are above the law. Understand that this will not apply to Democrats when they are dragged into state investigations over 2020 voter fraud, I'm sure those are coming soon, especially if any of the GOP election denier crackpots running for governor, secretary of state, or AG win.

And Clarence Thomas is blocking this to stop Lindsey Graham from being questioned under oath about Thomas's right-wing seditionist leader wife Ginni, and in turn, himself.

That's some quality corruption right there.

Angry Angry Voters

Voters are angry, motivated, and wary of the 2022 midterms, and both Republicans and Democrats say that they are ready to vote in order to prevent the other party from being in charge.

Less than three weeks before Election Day, voter interest has now reached an all-time high for a midterm election, with a majority of registered voters saying that this election is “more important” to them than past midterms.

What’s more, some 80% of Democrats and Republicans believe the political opposition poses a threat that, if not stopped, will destroy America as we know it.

And two-thirds of reliable Democratic and Republican voters say they’d still support their party’s political candidate, even if that person had a moral failing that wasn’t consistent with their own values.

These are some of the major findings of a brand-new national NBC News poll, which also shows a competitive contest for November and offers positive signs for both major political parties.

For Democrats, President Joe Biden’s approval rating remains steady at 45%; congressional preference continues to be relatively even (with 47% of registered voters preferring Democrats to control Congress, versus 46% who want Republicans in charge); and “threats to democracy” is voters’ No. 1 issue for the third-straight NBC News poll.

For Republicans, the positive signs are that Biden’s approval with independents and swing-state voters is in the 30s and low 40s; that the GOP once again holds the enthusiasm advantage; and that Republicans lead in congressional preference among the smaller set of likely voters, 48% to 47%, though that’s well within the survey’s margin of error.

Yet beyond the horserace numbers and the high interest in the upcoming election, what stands out in the NBC News poll is the bipartisan anger from Democratic and Republican voters when they were asked which one message they’d like to send with their vote.

“Tell Biden to resign,” said a Republican male respondent from Missouri.

“Save this country,” answered a Republican female from New York state.

“Democracy is in jeopardy,” replied a Democratic male from Massachusetts.

“Don’t mess with reproductive rights,” said a Democratic female from California

“We know that many voters will be casting ballots with anger on their minds,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted this survey with Republican Bill McInturff and his team at Public Opinion Strategies.

“We just don’t know who which side will be angrier,” Horwitt added
Record early voting numbers from states like Georgia and Michigan confirm this scenario. We're looking at turnout that may even surpass 2018's record numbers. That means it will take longer to count the votes, and that's where Republicans are already planning to attack the 2022 vote as fraudulent, starring Donald Trump.

IN EARLY SEPTEMBER, Donald Trump welcomed a handful of Republican allies to Manhattan’s Trump Tower with an urgent message: He saw a “scam” happening with midterm election voting in Philadelphia and elsewhere in Pennsylvania, and he wanted conservatives to do something about it.

“During our briefing, he was concerned that 2020 is going to happen again in 2022,” says former senior Trump administration official Michael Caputo, referencing Trump’s debunked assertion that voter fraud in Philadelphia helped win Pennsylvania for Joe Biden. Caputo — who attended the meeting alongside Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko and retired CIA officer Sam Faddis — says they had a message back to the former president: “Our team encouraged him to be concerned … [Furthermore], I’m advising Republicans to recruit and train election observers and a team of attorneys to oversee historically problematic precincts.”

But it’s not just one meeting, and it’s not just Philly.

In recent months, Trump has convened a series of in-person meetings and conference calls to discuss laying the groundwork to challenge the 2022 midterm election results, four people familiar with the conversations tell Rolling Stone. In these conversations, pro-Trump groups, attorneys, Republican Party activists, and MAGA diehards often discuss the type of scorched-earth legal tactics they could deploy.

And they’ve gamed out scenarios for how to aggressively challenge elections, particularly ones in which a winner is not declared on Election Night. If there’s any hint of doubt about the winners, the teams plan to wage aggressive court campaigns and launch a media blitz. Trump himself set the blueprint for this on Election Night 2020, when — with the race far from decided — he went on national television to declare: “Frankly, we did win this election.”

Trump has been briefed on plans in multiple states and critical races — including in Georgia. But Pennsylvania has grabbed his interest most keenly, including in the Senate contest between Democrat John Fetterman and the Trump-endorsed GOP contender Mehmet Oz. If the Republican does not win by a wide enough margin to trigger a speedy concession from Fetterman — or if the vote tally is close on or after Election Night in November — Trump and other Republicans are already preparing to wage a legal and activist crusade against the “election integrity” of Democratic strongholds such as the Philly area.

Trump’s focus on Pennsylvania, however, seems to be more about his own political future than about party allegiance or fealty to his celebrity endorsee. As he hosts meetings on possible 2022 election challenges, he’s also been laying the groundwork for a run in 2024 — where Pennsylvania again promises to be critical and competitive. As one source who has spoken to Trump several times about a potential post-election-day legal battle over the Oz-Fetterman race puts it, Trump views a potential midterm challenge as a “dress rehearsal for Trump 2024.”
As I've said before on several occasions, the country is just not ready for the GOP lying blitz that's going to take place around the country. Like Steve M., I'm not worried about Trump declaring Dr. Oz to be the winner in November, for example. I *am* worried about Pennsylvania's GOP state legislature doing so, and what may follow as a result.

In an interview on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake would not explicitly commit to accepting the outcome of her upcoming election if she loses to her Democratic opponent.

"Let me ask you why it is that you have not said -- or maybe you'll do it now -- you have not said that you will accept the certified results of this election, even if you lose this election?" ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Lake in the interview.

"I will accept the results of this election if we have a fair, honest and transparent election. Absolutely, 100%," said Lake, a former TV anchor who has become one of the Republican Party's most prominent election deniers this cycle. "As long as it's fair, honest and transparent."

In a previous interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Lake only said she would accept the results if she won, after being asked three times whether she would accept the election's outcome.

"If you lose, will you accept that?" Bash ultimately asked, to which Lake replied again: "I'm going to win the election, and I will accept that result."
And as Republicans all over the country have made very clear, any election that doesn't result in a Republican win cannot be fair, honest, or transparent.  They've been telling us they will steal as many elections as possible in 2022 as a test run for doing the same with the electoral college in 2024.

Vote in numbers too big to manipulate.

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