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A group of Pennsylvania Republicans filed a lawsuit over the weekend to block certification of the state's election results in an eleventh-hour attempt to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the key battleground state.The emergency petition, filed in state court, takes issue with a voting reform bill that passed Pennsylvania's Republican-held legislature in October last year. The lawsuit claims that the law's allowance of no excuse mail-in voting is "unconstitutional" and seeks to block Pennsylvania counties from certifying their vote results ahead of the deadline on Monday to do so and invalidate millions of mail-in ballots cast in the 2020 election.The group is led by Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly and GOP congressional candidate Sean Parnell, who has not conceded since his defeat this month by his Democratic rival, Representative Conor Lamb. Their suit names Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, the GOP-led legislature, and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar as defendants.Meanwhile, a federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit from the Trump campaign that sought to invalidate millions of votes in Pennsylvania and block the certification of the state’s election results. Trump wrote in a tweet Saturday night that he plans to appeal the decision.About 2.6 million voters in Pennsylvania cast mail ballots in the general election this month. Biden won three out of every four mail ballots cast in the state, according to an analysis of data from Pennsylvania's state department.Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes over President Trump and is expected to be awarded the Keystone State's coveted 20 electoral votes. States have until December 8 to resolve election disputes, and electors will meet on December 14 to formally vote for the next president.Over the past several weeks, Trump has made allegations that voter fraud occurred on a massive scale through mail-in ballots. The president has claimed he won the election and has refused to concede even though his lawyers have not produced evidence of fraud widespread enough to alter the election outcome.
Lawyer has propagated bizarre conspiracy theories about election fraud as Trump campaign lawsuits are thrown out in various states
A key federal agency that must sign off on the presidential transition following the U.S. election on Monday said it had still not approved hand-off activities to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden but would brief Congress next week. A U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) spokeswoman said Deputy Administrator Allison Brigati would speak with the Democratic chairmen and ranking Republican lawmakers on four U.S. House of Representative committees on Nov. 30, following a House Democrats' request. The agency will also hold an briefing for congressional staff on three U.S. Senate panels that U.S. House staff members can also attend, the spokeswoman said.
A two-star Navy admiral overseeing U.S. military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday (November 22). Neither Taiwan nor the United States has officially confirmed the trip. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China "resolutely opposes" any form of exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese officials or the two having military relations. China urges the United States to fully recognise the extreme sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, Zhao told a news briefing. "The Chinese side will, according to how the situation develops, make a legitimate and necessary response," he said, without elaborating.
State employee spotted mysterious metal structure amid red rocks while counting bighorn sheep A mysterious monolith has been discovered in a remote part of Utah, after being spotted by state employees counting sheep from a helicopter.The structure, estimated at between 10ft and 12ft high (about 3 metres), appeared to be planted in the ground. It was made from some sort of metal, its shine in sharp contrast to the enormous red rocks which surrounded it.Utah’s highway patrol shared images of both the sheep and the monolith.The helicopter pilot, Bret Hutchings, told local news channel KSLTV: “That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying.”Hutchings was flying for the Utah department of public safety, which was helping wildlife resource officers count bighorn sheep in the south of the state.“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” Hutchings said. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘What?’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’”Hutchings said the object looked manmade and appeared to have been firmly planted in the ground, not dropped from the sky.“I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big 2001: A Space Odyssey fan,” Hutchings said.The monolith and its setting resembled a famous scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, in which a group of apes encounter a giant slab.> The @UtahDPS helicopter was assisting the @UtahDWR in counting bighorn sheep in remote southern Utah Wednesday when the crew encountered something entirely 'out of this world'...@KSL5TV KSLTV Utah > > Photojournalist: @Photog_Steve5 pic.twitter.com/f8P0fayDIS> > — Andrew Adams (@AndrewAdamsKSL) November 21, 2020After spotting the monolith, the helicopter crew landed to take a closer look. Video from the ground, obtained by KLTV, showed crew members climbing on each other’s shoulders to reach the top of the monolith.Hutchings said. “We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it.”Bighorn sheep live in some of Utah’s most rugged and remote areas and survive in hostile climate conditions. Fearing amateur explorers might get stuck in the wilderness while seeking out the monolith, the flight crew have not revealed its exact location.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown is encouraging residents to call the police on any neighbors who flout state COVID-19 restrictions, which include limiting in-home gatherings to a maximum of six people.“This is no different than what happens if there's a party down the street and it's keeping everyone awake,” Brown said in an interview Friday. “What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it's too noisy. This is just like that. It's like a violation of a noise ordinance.”Last week the Democratic governor instituted a new round of restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of coronavirus in the state via executive order, including a two-week “freeze” limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than six people from no more than two households just ahead of Thanksgiving. Residents are also prohibited from eating out at restaurants and going to the gym, though faith-based gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors are allowed.Violators can face up to 30 days in jail, $1,250 fines or both. The Marion County Sheriff’s office said in a statement on Friday that it believes “we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic.”“We believe both are counterproductive to public health goals.”Brown pushed back, calling criticisms of the new restrictions "irresponsible."“This is about saving lives and it's about protecting our fellow Oregonians,” she said. “We have too many sporadic cases in Oregon. We can't trace these cases to a particular source. We have to limit gatherings and social interactions.”On Sunday, new COVID-19 cases reached a record high in the state for the third straight day, with 1,517 new infections recorded, bringing the state total to 65,170.
A firearms-toting congresswoman-elect who owns a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, has already asked Capitol Police about carrying her weapon on Capitol grounds, her office has acknowledged. The practice is allowed for lawmakers, with some limitations, under decades-old congressional regulations. The public is barred from carrying weapons in the Capitol, its grounds and office buildings.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to announce Linda Thomas-Greenfield as his nominee for ambassador to the United Nations and Jake Sullivan as his national security adviser, several people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. Thomas-Greenfield spent 35 years in the Foreign Service, retiring in 2017. She served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs and was ambassador to Liberia during the Obama administration. She is now a senior counselor with the Albright Stonebridge advisory firm.Sullivan was one of Biden's national security advisers during his time as vice president and was also a deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. Antony Blinken, Biden's reported pick to be his secretary of state nominee, also served as one of Biden's national security advisers while vice president.More stories from theweek.com There's a very simple, extremely plausible reason Trump won't admit Biden won Reporter Carl Bernstein names 21 GOP senators who 'repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it.
Outgoing Republican Steve King has long history of offensive remarks
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday denied that Mexico had agreed to capture a cartel leader for the United States in order to secure the return of ex-defense minister Salvador Cienfuegos from U.S. custody. Reuters reported last week that Mexico agreed with U.S. Attorney General William Barr to seek the arrest of a high-level Mexican drug cartel leader as part of a deal to get U.S. drug trafficking charges against Cienfuegos dropped. "There is no deal in the shadows," Lopez Obrador said at his regular news conference, referring to the Reuters story as well as other media reports that Mexico had threatened to expel U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents over Cienfuegos' arrest.
Loeffler is currently campaigning in a high-stakes race that could determine control of the Senate at the start of President-elect Joe Biden's term.
A federal court has thrown out the Trump campaign’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania, which challenged presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the commonwealth. In so doing, district judge Matthew Brann refused the campaign’s eleventh-hour attempt to file a new complaint that would have reinstated election fraud claims the Trump campaign had abandoned a few days earlier. (I outlined the lawsuit here, and explained the Trump campaign’s last-ditch effort to amend it here.)Judge Brann’s 37-page opinion sets forth a variety of reasons for dismissing the case. Most of them are directed toward the complaints of two individual plaintiffs — voters who claimed that their ballots had been improperly discounted. By contrast, the court found that the Trump campaign had no standing to sue, having posited no evidence that President Trump was harmed in any cognizable way by the manner in which the election was conducted in Pennsylvania.At bottom, though, the court found that the fatal flaw in the case is the one that we have repeatedly stressed: The mismatch between the harm alleged and the remedy sought.As the judge explained, even if one accepted the dubious premise that the two voters in question were improperly denied the right to vote while others similarly situated were not, the commensurate relief would be for their votes to be counted.That, however, was not the remedy they sought. Instead, supported by the Trump campaign, the two voters petitioned the court to stop Pennsylvania from certifying — on Monday as state law requires — the commonwealth’s election result, which had Biden winning by 83,000 votes. Brann countered:> Prohibiting certification of the election results would not reinstate the Individual Plaintiffs’ right to vote. It would simply deny more than 6.8 million [Pennsylvanians] their right to vote. “Standing is measured based on the theory of harm and the specific relief requested.” It is not “dispensed in gross: A plaintiff's remedy must be tailored to redress the plaintiff's particular injury.” Here, the answer to invalidated ballots is not to invalidate millions more. [Footnotes omitted.]As we detailed on Friday, the case was in a strange posture.In filing its original complaint on November 9, the Trump campaign claimed extensive vote fraud, relying mainly on the allegation that Republican poll-watchers had been denied a meaningful opportunity to observe the canvassing of ballots. But, as Brann notes (and we discussed here), on November 13, the federal appeals court for the Third Circuit (which has binding effect on Brann’s district court) issued its opinion in Bognet v. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Though not directly connected to the campaign’s case, Bognet’s reasoning substantially undercut its claims.The campaign reacted by amending its complaint, reducing the case to the narrow claim that Trump voters’ equal-protection rights (and, derivatively, the campaign’s rights) had been violated by an allegedly skewed procedure: Mail-in voters in Biden-friendly counties had been permitted to cure defects in the ballots they’d submitted, while voters in Trump-friendly counties were not. Brann rejected this claim, accepting Pennsylvania’s argument that Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar had encouraged ballot curing all over the state. Thus the state government was not at fault if not all counties availed themselves of this opportunity.That is largely beside the point, though. Even if there had been a violation of the voters’ rights, the remedy would be to count their votes. Instead, as the court observed,> Plaintiffs seek to remedy the denial of their votes by invalidating the votes of millions of others. Rather than requesting that their votes be counted, they seek to discredit scores of other votes, but only for one race [i.e., the presidential race, not the other contests down-ballot]. This is simply not how the Constitution works. [Emphasis added.]Moreover:> Granting Paintiffs’ requested relief would necessarily require invalidating the ballots of every person who voted in Pennsylvania. Because this Court has no authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person, let along millions of citizens, it cannot grant Plaintiffs’ requested relief.Brann concluded that the Trump campaign had no standing to sue based, derivatively, on the harm alleged by the two voters, particularly after the Bognet ruling. He specifically rejected both of the campaign’s main equal-protection complaints: (1) that its poll-watchers were discriminatorily excluded from observing the canvass, and (2) that the opportunity for voters to cure defective ballots was deliberately done in counties the state knew to favor Biden.On the former, Brann held that this was not, as the Trump campaign maintained, an equal-protection issue. The campaign was not claiming that Trump observers were treated differently from Biden observers. On the latter, Brann concluded that the campaign was misinterpreting Bush v. Gore, and, in any event, was not claiming that Boockvar’s guidance on curing ballots differed from county to county.Most significantly, Brann denied the Trump campaign’s dilatory attempt to amend its complaint yet again late this past week, in order to reinstate claims from their original complaint, which they’d withdrawn last weekend. The court reasoned that this would “unduly delay resolution of the issues” in light of the fact that Monday, November 23, is the deadline for Pennsylvania counties to certify their election results to the state government — a necessary prelude to appointing the slate of electors who will cast the commonwealth’s Electoral College votes.In reaction to the ruling, the Trump campaign lawyers issued a statement asserting that, though they disagreed with the decision by “the Obama-appointed judge,” it was actually a boon to “our strategy to get expeditiously to the U.S. Supreme Court.”It is true that Brann was appointed by former President Barack Obama, but he is a Republican and Federalist Society member who was sponsored by the state’s Republican senator Pat Toomey — a common situation when a state’s two senators are from different parties, and an administration has to horse-trade on appointments.Trump lawyers added that the ruling denied them “the opportunity to present our evidence at a hearing.” They described that as “censorship” of “50 witnesses” who would have testified that state election officials denied the “independent review” required by Pennsylvania law. This is an apparent reference to the campaign’s claim that its poll-watchers were not given a meaningful opportunity to observe the canvass, which the lawyers say, “resulted in 682,777 ballots being cast illegally.” The campaign did not mention that it had dropped this charge from its original complaint. Nor did it allude to Brann’s conclusion that the allegation was not a cognizable equal-protection claim under federal law.The campaign says it will seek an expedited appeal to the Third Circuit — the tribunal that just decided the Bognet case, the precedent that appears to have induced the campaign to withdraw the claims it is now seeking to revive. In any event, it is anything but clear that the Supreme Court, which has thus far declined to act on Pennsylvania election-law claims relevant to the 2020 election, would agree to hear the campaign’s case — even assuming that the Third Circuit grants expedited appeal and, as even the campaign plainly expects, rules against the campaign.
The early reactions to President-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is that it's a purposefully "boring" choice, which analysts don't necessarily consider a bad thing.> Antony Blinken (State) > Michèle Flournoy (Defense) > Jake Sullivan (NSC)> > All boring picks who, if you shook them awake and appointed them in the middle of the night at any time in the last decade, could have reported to their new jobs and started work competently by dawn> > — Graeme Wood (@gcaw) November 23, 2020> You can competently execute a bad policy, of course (or incompetently execute a good one). But these Biden appointees are—as predicted—not going to be making things up as they go along, and that’s a big difference from most of the Trump people.> > — Graeme Wood (@gcaw) November 23, 2020Writes Axios, the predictable choice is representative of Biden's emphasis on "stability" and his "penchant for sticking with comfort foods when it comes to people, policies, and political techniques." Blinken, after all, is a longtime Biden aide dating back to his Senate days who served as his national security adviser during his vice presidential days.While one source told Axios that Biden is approaching his Cabinet selection "like an experienced mechanic intent on repairing something that's badly broken," Foreign Policy suggests Blinken is not only a departure from Trump's choices for the role, but also former President Barack Obama's. Blinken is well-respected in Washington, but keeps a low profile, in contrast to the globally-recognized figures who served under Obama — Hillary Clinton and John Kerry — "who may have had their own power bases."More stories from theweek.com There's a very simple, extremely plausible reason Trump won't admit Biden won Reporter Carl Bernstein names 21 GOP senators who 'repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it.
Hamza "Travis" Nagdy, a young protest leader during Louisville's movement for racial justice in 2020, was killed in a shooting, his family says.
Tension between Australia and China has been driven by incorrect assumptions shaped by rivalry between China and the United States but Australia has its own interest and independent views, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. Australia's relationship with China soured in 2018 when it became the first country to publicly ban China’s Huawei from its 5G network, and worsened this year when Australia called for an enquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.
We rounded up a mix of gifts that help others, keep folks healthy, and add a little something-something to the home Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
An Egyptian court placed nearly 30 people, including a leading pro-democracy activist and an Islamist politician, on a terrorism watch list over accusations they joined the banned Muslim Brotherhood, the official gazette reported Monday. Activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, politician Abdel-Monaem Abul Fetouh and 26 others were added to a “terrorism list” for the next five years, the report said. The ruling by Judge Hassan Farid last week includes a travel ban and freeze on assets for three years.
President Trump lost his bid for re-election by 6 million votes and counting, and 74 electoral votes, and his legal team is consistently losing its court battles to disqualify President-elect Joe Biden's voters. And yet he persists, even as a growing number of Republicans are urging him to concede — or at least allow the Biden team to start its transition. So why does Trump keep slogging on? One theory being pushed by some of his supporters and allies is revenge."Trump told an ally that he knows he lost, but that he is delaying the transition process and is aggressively trying to sow doubt about the election results in order to get back at Democrats for questioning the legitimacy of his own election in 2016, especially with the Russia investigation," CNN reports, citing a source familiar with Trump's thinking. Pointing to "those who he claims undercut his election by pointing to Russian interference efforts," Trump "has suggested it is fair game to not recognize Joe Biden as the president-elect.""Will anyone be honest enough to acknowledge that most of what is happening right now has more to do with payback for how the Democrats behaved after 2016 then [sic] about legitimate claims of fraud in the election?" asked Erick Erickson, a sometime Trump critic on the right. Washington Post columnist Daniel Drezner responded by efficiently dismantling this "false equivalence between 2016 and 2020."The simpler explanation is that Trump always alleges fraud when he loses — and even when he wins — and that's just who he is: a sore loser.> Not just the 2016 Iowa caucuses, but popular vote in 2016, Arizona Senate race in 2018, and the results in 2012, when Trump was tweeting from the sidelines. It's not "revenge for the Russia investigation," Trump just says everything he loses was stolen. https://t.co/ZpViWOCpKh> > — Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) November 21, 2020The Washington Post complied a highlight reel of Trump's fraud claims.One piece of evidence bolstering this theory comes from Trump himself, who told CNN's Chris Cuomo in August 2015 that National Review's Rich Lowry is "probably right. I am the most fabulous whiner. I do whine because I want to win. And I'm not happy if I'm not winning. And I am a whiner. And I'm a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win."More stories from theweek.com Reporter Carl Bernstein names 21 GOP senators who 'repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney
"Does anyone believe Rittenhouse would be released if he were Muslim," AOC wrote on Twitter.
I live in a democracy. But as Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself longing for the type of freedom I am seeing in China. People in China are able to move around freely right now. Many Americans may believe that the Chinese are able to enjoy this freedom because of China’s authoritarian regime. As a scholar of public health in China, I think the answers go beyond that.My research suggests that the control of the virus in China is not the result of authoritarian policy, but of a national prioritization of health. China learned a tough lesson with SARS, the first coronavirus pandemic of the 21st century. How China flattened its curveBarely less than a year ago, a novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, with 80,000 cases identified within three months, killing 3,000 people. In late January 2020, the Chinese government decided to lock down this city of 11 million people. All transportation to and from the city was stopped. Officials further locked down several other cities in Hubei Province, eventually quarantining over 50 million people.By the beginning of April, the Chinese government limited the spread of the virus to the point where they felt comfortable opening up Wuhan once again. Seven months later, China has confirmed 9,100 additional cases and recorded 1,407 more deaths due to the coronavirus. People in China travel, eat in restaurants and go into theaters, and kids go to school without much concern for their health. Juxtapose that to what we are experiencing in the U.S. To date, we have confirmed over 11 million cases, with the last 1 million recorded in just the last one week alone. In September and October, friends from China sent me pictures of food from all over the country as they traveled around to visit friends and family for the mid-autumn festival and then the seven-day National Day vacation week. I envied them then and envy them even more now as Americans prepare and wonder how we will celebrate Thanksgiving this year. What China learned from SARSWe Americans are told that the freedoms Chinese now enjoy come at the expense of being subject to a set of draconian public health policies that can be instituted only by an authoritarian government. But they also have the experience of living through a similar epidemic.SARS broke out in November of 2002 and ended in May of 2003, and China was anything but prepared for its emergence. It didn’t have the public health infrastructure in place to detect or control such a disease, and initially decided to prioritize politics and economy over health by covering up the epidemic. This didn’t work with such a virulent disease that started spreading around the world. After being forced to come to terms with SARS, China’s leaders eventually did enforce quarantine in Beijing and canceled the week-long May Day holiday of 2003. This helped to end the pandemic within a few short months, with minimal impact. SARS infected approximately 8,000 worldwide and killed about 800, 65% of which occurred in China and Hong Kong. The Chinese government learned from SARS the important role public health plays in protecting the nation. Following SARS, the government improved training of public health professionals and developed one of the most sophisticated disease surveillance systems in the world. While caught off guard for this next big coronavirus outbreak in December 2019, the country quickly mobilized its resources to bring the epidemic almost to a halt inside its borders within three months. What can the US learn from China?Knowing that there were no safe or proven treatments or an effective vaccine, China relied on proven nonpharmaceutical interventions to conquer the epidemic. First and foremost was containing the virus through controlling the sources of infection and blocking transmission. This was accomplished through early detection (testing), isolation, treatment and tracing the close contacts of any infected individual. This strategy was aided by the three field hospitals (fancang) the government built to isolate patients with mild to moderate symptoms from their families. Strict quarantine measures were also central to preventing the spread of this epidemic, as it was with the SARS epidemic in 2003. This was paired with compulsory mask-wearing, promotion of personal hygiene (hand-washing, home disinfection, ventilation), self-monitoring of body temperature, universal compulsory stay-at-home orders for all residents, and universal symptom surveys conducted by community workers and volunteers. What else could the US have done to be prepared?SARS exposed serious weaknesses in China’s public health system and prompted its government to reinvent its public health system. COVID-19 has exposed similar shortcomings in the U.S. public health system. To date, however, the current administration has taken the exact opposite approach, devastating our public health system. The Trump administration made major cuts to the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The last budget submitted by the Trump administration in February 2020, as the pandemic was beginning, called for an additional reduction of US$693 million to the CDC budget. This affected our ability to prepare for a pandemic outbreak. In the past, this preparation included international partnerships to help detect disease before it reached our shores. For example, the CDC built up partnerships with China following the SARS epidemic, to help contain the emergence of infectious disease coming from the region. At one point the CDC had 10 American experts working on the ground in China and 40 local Chinese staff, who mostly concentrated on infectious disease. Trump started slashing these positions shortly after taking office, and by the time COVID-19 broke out, those programs were whittled down to a skeleton staff of one or two. [Research into coronavirus and other news from science Subscribe to The Conversation’s new science newsletter.]The Declaration of Alma Ata guaranteed health for all, and not just health for people governed under a specific type of bureaucratic system. The U.S. has been, and can be, just as dedicated to protecting the health of its people as China under its authoritarian government. We demonstrated this during the Ebola epidemic, with the launch of a whole government effort coordinated by Ron Klain, who has been appointed White House chief of staff under President-elect Biden.This effort, which included a coordinated response with both African nations and China, improved preparedness within the U.S. and ultimately helped to save hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. A reduction in funding for our public health infrastructure, under the Trump administration, was a divestment in the health of the American people and should not have happened. A new administration that places public health at the helm, once again, will I hope prove to us that health is not just something that can be protected under an authoritarian government, but is in fact a right for all.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Elanah Uretsky, Brandeis University.Read more: * Poor US pandemic response will reverberate in health care politics for years, health scholars warn * Experts agree that Trump’s coronavirus response was poor, but the US was ill-prepared in the first placeElanah Uretsky does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.