Tourism and businesses have taken a beating because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Palm Beach County business leaders spent Thursday discussing the impacts with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
Tourism and businesses have taken a beating because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Palm Beach County business leaders spent Thursday discussing the impacts with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
President-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, "was known for his unimpeachable ethics," according to The American Prospect's prior report. That may be true, but how he's spent his time since the end of the Obama administration has left some critics bristling at his selection.In a July report, TAP put a spotlight on the strategic consultancy firm WestExec Advisers, of which Blinken and Michele Fourney, the favorite to lead the Pentagon in the Biden administration, were founding partners. The firm has ties to an array of industries, including: tech, financial services, aerospace, defense, and pharmaceuticals. But it's not exactly clear who the individual clients are since the firm, which is not registered to lobby, doesn't have to disclose them. The lack of transparency is a cause for concern among some observers, who are worried about people in the Biden, or any, administration getting too wrapped up in the interests of global corporations, TAP reported.Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group, told The New York Times that "those kinds of consulting shops," like WestExec, "take advantage of current laws, so there is no transparency in their clients and how they are trying to influence public policy for them. That's exactly the kind of people who should not be in an administration."There likely will be some clarity, however, since Blinken, as a political appointee, will have to disclose clients who paid $5,000 or more for his services in the past year. Read more about WestExec Advisers at The American Prospect. > Federal political appointees are required to disclose clients who paid $5k or more for their services in the past year. So Blinken's financial disclosure will be a rare glimpse into this sort of consultancy's clientele https://t.co/QqfICsYpx4> > -- Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) November 23, 2020More stories from theweek.com Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life'
Mexico’s Roman Catholic Church on Sunday criticized a vote in the Senate to legalize the possession, cultivation and use of small amounts of marijuana. The bill adopted this past week must still go to the lower house of Congress for a vote. It would legalize the possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana by adults as long as they did not consume it in front of children.
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.
Decorating mansion will be her final official act as first lady
China criticized Pope Francis on Tuesday over a passage in his new book in which he mentions suffering by China’s Uighur Muslim minority group. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Francis’ remarks had “no factual basis at all.” “People of all ethnic groups enjoy the full rights of survival, development, and freedom of religious belief," Zhao said at a daily briefing.
President Trump has yet to concede the election, and New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman thinks his Monday evening tweet about what is in "the best interest of our country" is "the closest to a concession Trump is going to get."Trump wrote that he spoke to Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, and recommended that she "do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols," adding that he has "told my team to do the same." Murphy needed to ascertain the election in order to formally start the transition process, and after weeks of delays, she sent President-elect Joe Biden a letter on Monday telling him the transition can officially start.Haberman tweeted that she's been told some of Trump's advisers "had been urging him" to let the transition begin before Thanksgiving, "even if he never said the word 'concede.'" Between the Trump campaign and other Republicans, more than 30 lawsuits have been filed in six swing states, in an attempt to contest the election results, NBC News reports. Despite Trump and members of his legal team claiming there has been widespread voter fraud, no court has found a single piece of evidence.Trump's election legal team is being led by his longtime friend and personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City. Giuliani has been "key in stoking Trump's conspiracy theories," Haberman said, but people with knowledge of the matter told her that a recent court loss in Pennsylvania made Trump realize "Giuliani was not painting an honest picture" of his chances of actually changing the election results. Giuliani, she added, took control of Trump's legal team after the campaign dropped a lawsuit in Maricopa County, Arizona, and he warned Trump that "other advisers were lying to him."More stories from theweek.com Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life'
Joe Biden will nominate former secretary of state John Kerry for climate czar in his presidential cabinet, the Biden-Harris transition team announced on Monday.Kerry will serve on the White House national security council as the "Special Presidential Envoy for Climate." The position, which does not require Senate approval, would be the first national security council post to deal with specifically climate change.> America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is. I'm proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President's Climate Envoy.> > -- John Kerry (@JohnKerry) November 23, 2020"America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is," Kerry wrote in a Twitter post. "I'm proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President's Climate Envoy."The Biden-Harris team noted that Kerry "was a key architect of the Paris Climate Accord" of 2015. President Trump later pulled out of the treaty, saying its criterion for reducing emissions harmed American manufacturing and energy jobs."The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries," Trump said on June 1, 2017. "The agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries."Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State is Antony Blinken, a longtime Biden adviser who served as deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to 2017 during the Obama administration. Prior to that post, Blinken served as national security adviser to Biden during his tenure as Vice President.The Biden-Harris team announced Jake Sullivan as nominee for national security adviser. Sullivan served as deputy chief of staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and has held various other posts in the Obama-Biden administration.Additionally, former U.S. Customs and Immigration head Alejandro Mayorkas received Biden's nomination for secretary of homeland security. During his tenure at UCIS from 2009 to 2013, Mayorkas oversaw the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.Mayorkas was the subject of a 2015 inspector general probe that found he intervened in visa applications for companies owned by Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic governor of Virginia, and Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton's brother.Editor's Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Kerry's post requires Senate confirmation. Since the post is housed within the White House, it does not require confirmation.
Outgoing Republican Steve King has long history of offensive remarks
Senator Rob Portman said Monday that he sees no evidence of voter fraud sufficient to overturn Joe Biden's presidential victory and called on the Trump administration to begin cooperating with the former vice president's transition team."I have supported the Trump campaign’s right to count every lawful vote, request state recounts and pursue lawsuits regarding election fraud or other irregularities," Portman wrote in an op-ed published Monday in the Cincinnati Enquirer.The Ohio Republican said there were "instances of fraud and irregularities in this election, as there have been in every election," and while it is good that such wrongdoing has been exposed, "there is no evidence as of now of any widespread fraud or irregularities that would change the result in any state."Portman, who served as a co-chair of the Trump campaign in Ohio, said he voted for the incumbent and believes Trump's policies would be better for Ohio and the country."But I also believe that there is no more sacred constitutional process in our great democracy than the orderly transfer of power after a presidential election. It is now time to expeditiously resolve any outstanding questions and move forward," the senator wrote.Portman also called on the administration to begin cooperating with Biden's transition team, which the General Services Administration, the agency responsible for overseeing a presidential transition, has been stonewalling since the election. The transition preparations involve the administration releasing millions of dollars to the Biden team and providing access to federal agencies and office space in Washington.Biden should also be granted intelligence briefings and briefings on the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan, Portman recommended. Biden has said he is currently not receiving the daily classified briefing on security threats that a president-elect is typically given."In the likely event that Joe Biden becomes our next president, it is in the national interest that the transition is seamless," Portman said.Portman is the latest of a growing group of Republican senators who have called on the administration to accept the election results as Trump's legal team suffers defeats in battleground states that were called for Biden and the December 8 "safe harbor" deadline for states to certify their electors approaches.Senator Mitt Romney last week criticized one of Trump’s recent strategies to overturn the election results that relies on appealing to Republican legislators in swing states to appoint loyal electors in defiance of the election results. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, another Republican critical of Trump’s approach, urged the public to tune out the noise and look at the actual claims the president’s lawyers have made, which do not include widespread fraud.
Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for a cruise missile attack against an oil facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.The missile hit a fuel tank at a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. facility on Monday morning, and an Energy Ministry official said the strike caused a fire. The facility is near the King Abdulaziz International Airport.In 2015, the Iranian-backed Houthis seized Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Since then, a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the rebels, resulting in a humanitarian catastrophe. The Houthis have used cruise missiles against Saudi targets before, The Associated Press reports, with United Nations and Western officials accusing Iran of supplying the weapons, allegations Tehran has denied.A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Col. Turki al-Maliki, called the missile attack "cowardly," adding that it "not only targets the kingdom, but also targets the nerve center of the world's energy supply and the security of the global economy."More stories from theweek.com Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life'
The federal prison system will be among the first government agencies to receive the coronavirus vaccine, though initial allotments of the vaccine will be given to staff and not to inmates, even though sickened prisoners vastly outnumber sickened staff, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Officials at the federal Bureau of Prisons have been instructing wardens and other staff members to prepare to receive the vaccine within weeks, according to people familiar with the matter. The internal Bureau of Prisons documents, obtained by the AP, say initial allotments of the vaccine “will be reserved for staff.”
Raymond Deskins was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly breathing heavily on protesters who were outside Trump National Golf Club.