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    • Happy Thanksgiving
      Be happy and be well. Please be careful about Covid. Viral load matters for infection, spending hours in a house with people is a great way to get infected. Feel free to use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. I’m doing my annual fundraiser. If you like my writing and can afford to, […]
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The US Supreme Court says that PA can count our mail in ballots. 🙄

This ruling shows you just how important that next justice is going to be.

Here’s the situation: Pennsylvania just started the mail-in ballot option this year. But there are some sticky problems. First, in PA, there might be some precanvassing, that is removing the ballots from the envelopes and getting them ready for scanning. But the actual ballots won’t be scanned until Election Day starting at 7am. Second, ballots will be counted if they are postmarked ON Election Day but not received until three days later. That seems pretty reasonable to me considering how flaky the mail has been lately.

Anyway, there was the possibility of a significant blue shift with those two conditions. Maybe you can’t do anything about when the counting begins but when it ends is easier to determine. There will definitely be an answer to who won Pennsylvania. It will happen up to three days after Election Day. Before anyone freaks out about that, I haven’t heard that anyone is sitting on their ballots. The turn around time has been pretty good.

Of course, if there is a way to make voting more difficult for people, Republicans will find a way to do it. For example, there’s no particular reason why we can’t start counting ballots in advance and keeping the rally secret. Other states do that. But in PA, we have a hard ass Republican legislature and they aren’t going to allow it. So whoever is going to scan the ballots is going to be overwhelmed when it starts happening.

Then the National Republican Party decided to jump into the fray. They took us all the way to the Supreme Court to make sure that all of the ballots are counted on 11/3 and not a day later. Screw all those people who mailed in their ballots that got stuck in some kind of limbo between the post office and the board of elections.

Tonight, the US Supreme Court tied on that question, therefore, the lower court ruling stands. Three days it is.

Gorsuch, kavanaugh, alito and Thomas all voted to rush everything on the last day and exclude all the appropriately postmarked ballots. Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor and Roberts voted to let the three day rule stand.

How do we think Amy Coney Barrett would vote? Personally, if she gets confirmed, I think she should sit out any election related rulings. In fact, I wouldn’t swear her in until after the election dust settles. But I am not a Republican so expect to see John Roberts ready to swear her in the nanosecond after she’s confirmed because that’s just the way they roll.

What really bothers me is the absurd and persistent lengths the Republicans are willing to go to make absolutely sure that mail in ballots don’t count. It’s starting to feel very personal and I’ve never experienced anything like it. Either my ballot is meaningless and can be excluded or it’s worth my weight in gold and so heavy that it will tip the scales of democracy dangerously into “we rely on scientists, believe that people with pre-existing conditions should be protected, defend the rights of all Americans to get equal justice under the law regardless of skin color and really like Mr. Rogers” territory.

For some reason, that’s subversive this year instead of just an informed choice.

Well, there’s nothing I can do about it now since the board of elections say they received it already. I cast my mail in ballot just like voters in Washington, Oregon and a couple other states. And if THOSE mail in ballots count, ours in PA should too. And I’m never ever going to forget the extreme actions that Republicans took to make sure My vote was disqualified on made up technicalities.

That is only making us more determined to vote harder.

I feel for him

Rush Limbaugh’s cancer is ramping it up after a brief interlude of regression. (Different from remission or no evidence of disease)

When he was diagnosed, he was already at stage 4 and Rush was a smoker. So, already not so good. I can imagine how that hit him. He might be a f{#%ing @$$hole, a blight on public discourse, and probably a sociopath but he’s still a sentient being and that kind of anxiety is devastating.

I’m sure that Rush is able to get every breakthrough treatment available and there really are some amazing therapeutics that could extend his life indefinitely.

But it sounds like that which shall not be named is getting the upper hand and Rush needs something new to pull him through. He’ll probably make it to the election but it looks like he’s going to go out with the Republican Party after the blue tsunami hits.

I don’t believe in the power of prayer. I didn’t turn to god or prayer or spirituality when I got my diagnosis. I can honestly say it never even crossed my mind. I’m comfortable knowing what I can sense in my universe and that the unknowable beyond space and time is also present. But I don’t look for intervention. I was saved by science and loving support.

Fortunately for me, my thing was caught much earlier and was still local. But I was still terrified for a couple of days. It must be harder for Rush. From an empathy point of view, I feel for him and hope he doesn’t suffer. That’s probably more that he will ever feel for the rest of us in the same situation.

From an intellectual point of view, Boll and Branch is one of his sponsors, so, you know, caveat emptor.

Deux process

Upfront: If you can vote early or drop off your ballot at an election services site, please do it as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate. I have a feeling that you do not want to be at the polls on Election Day, especially if there are a bunch of unmasked poll watchers invading your personal space. Think of every possible scenario. Yep, voting early is your best bet. This is the time to use one of your leftover vacation days if you must.

**************

Before I start, let’s get it out there that violence during a protest is never acceptable. Only self defense is acceptable and most protests I’ve been to never come to that.

But there is something seriously wrong with the way two shooters were treated recently. I’m talking about the incident in Portland where a Patriot Prayer attendee was gunned down by a person who identified as Antifa vs the incident in Milwaukee where a right wing militia teenager killed two people and seriously wounded one.

I don’t know what triggered the incident in Portland. But let’s be clear. Both parties were armed. I’ve seen the video where it appears that the killer, and let’s not shy away from that word, is seen emerging from behind a wall near a parking garage. The intent is unclear to me.

And I’ve seen the copious videos of the teenager, flaunting his ammosexuality before he was tackled by a protestor, who he then killed. Then Kyle Rittenhouse fled the scene even after he clearly indicated he needed help. The police ignored him. I think they let him down. On his way out, he killed another person and seriously wounded a “medic”.

Both incidents are tragic.

But in Rittenhouse’s case, he was not pursued by police and he left the state with his mother and then was allowed to turn himself in. Trump even has a “that’ll learn’em” attitude towards the persons who were shot.

In Portland, Michael Reinoehl, 48, was gunned down without any warning or commands to surrender. The witnesses who actually saw the shooting said he wasn’t armed, he had a cellphone in one hand and candy in the other, and his eight year old kid was with him.

So, two Americans. Two completely different forms of justice.

Reinoehl was a troubled man. His life was spinning out of control and he saw that happening in the country as well. He wrote before he died that he identified as anti-fascist (as are most Americans) but that Antifa was not an organization that recruited him. His victim, Aaron Danielson, was a recent convert to Patriot Prayer but had been a staunch Republican all his life. His friends and family describe him as veering towards a harder line of activism. I’m not justifying any act of violence but the reports of him just casually being there to observe are not accurate. And since the actual video of the killing isn’t available that I can find, we don’t know what actually happened.

Neither shooter had any good reason to be carrying firearms to a protest. That includes the militia members. patriot prayer guys and anarchists. By the way, the occupy people in zuccotti park were anarchists and I never saw a gun. They were militantly pacifist. A good rule to follow is if you’re going to a protest, the only thing you should carry is your cell phone, a battery back up, your mask, your sign and the number of the lawyer who is supposed to show up at your hearing if you get arrested. Ok, maybe some milk or a tube of yogurt in case you get gassed. That’s it. You don’t need anything else.

If you ride around on trucks pepper spraying people and paint balling them. Don’t be surprised if your targets take it personally. Likewise, don’t throw cans of soup at people. Try milkshakes but not still in the cups if you really must.

This has really got to stop. Not the protests, which are completely justified. The killings must stop. And that includes the government truncating the due process rights that every American deserves whether they are 48 or 17, anti-fascist or fascist in training.

It goes without saying that the fish rots from the head down so Trump has got to be defeated. We can’t have this chaos and illegal killing of people he just doesn’t like.

It should be unacceptable to all of us.