Biden His Time
November 6, 2020
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Editor’s Note: Today’s Daily Pnut contains accurate information as of 10 pm EST on Thursday evening. For more up-to-date election news, click here.
“It is the rule of law alone which hinders the rulers from turning themselves into the worst gangsters.” — Ludwig von Mises
“I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.” — Sophocles
Biden His Time
(Jim Watson via Getty Images)
Voting results continue to trickle in from Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona. President Trump maintains a narrow lead over Joe Biden in North Carolina. He has 214 electoral votes. The battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin have been put in the Biden column, along with Arizona, giving the former vice president 264 electoral votes. He needs just 6 more to win the presidency — Nevada would give him exactly 270 electoral votes, the total he needs. A Fox News polling expert was alone in calling Arizona for Biden Thursday afternoon, causing the Trump campaign to immediately attack.
Trump’s campaign lawyers continue filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona. On October 28, the US Supreme Court left in place Pennsylvania’s decision to count ballots arriving up to three days after Election Day. But those ballots arriving after polls closed Tuesday will be segregated from those that arrived on time. If the state turns out to be pivotal, the Court could consider the state GOP’s challenge after the election. The campaign filed yet another suit in Pennsylvania Thursday having to do with poll watchers and voter ID laws. Meanwhile, dozens of Trump-supporting protesters have been detained and/or arrested in Michigan, Oregon, and Arizona.
CNN and other news outlets called Michigan for Biden on Wednesday, but Trump’s campaign sued seeking to stop the vote count in Michigan, asserting it had not been allowed “meaningful access” to observe the opening of ballots. Trump’s lawsuit in Nevada seeks to stop the counting based on an argument having to do with signature matching software used to verify voters’ signatures on ballots. This same argument was dismissed in two previous lawsuits.
Wednesday evening, as Trump’s lead continued to narrow, campaign lawyers filed a suit against Georgia’s Chatham County Board of Elections, asking a judge to order that late-arriving ballots be separated and secured to ensure they are not counted.
If Arizona and Nevada remain in Biden’s column, the presidential race is over. Of course, most of the attention has been on the presidential race, but what happens in the Senate race is also crucial. As of Wednesday night, the Senate map is tied: 48 Republicans and 48 Democrats have won seats, and four races are yet to be called. Of those races, Republican senators are ahead in North Carolina and Alaska, and the races for both Republican-held seats in Georgia are neck and neck. In Georgia, if Republican David Purdue’s lead over Democrat Jon Ossoff falls below 50 percent, the two will head into a runoff, where they will join Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, and sitting Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, who are also slated for a runoff election.
Norway Drills Into The Oil Industry
- The economy of Norway is built around an oil and gas industry that accounts for more than 50 percent of national exports. At the same time, Norway’s constitution declares that all citizens have the right to a healthy environment. In a case of first impression, environmental groups are now asking the country’s Supreme Court to determine if the issuing of exploratory drilling licenses is unconstitutional.
- The case began Wednesday and is being heard by 15 justices. It’s the first climate change litigation to be brought under the Constitution’s environmental provisions which were passed in 2014. The plaintiffs, including Greenpeace and Nature and Youth Norway, say they are also suing on behalf of future generations. They are arguing that approving oil exploration violates human rights conventions because it contributes to increased carbon emissions.
- The leader of Greenpeace said: “The government knows that oil and gas contributes to creating a climate crisis. Still, it is giving license to explore for oil.” The government argues that an expansive interpretation of the Constitution’s environmental provisions would “change the relationship between state powers in a fundamental manner” and potentially erode democracy. Two lower courts declined to invalidate the government-issued licenses. A victory for the environmental groups could force Norway to phase out activities like oil exploration, a cornerstone of its economy. (NYT)
Denmark Does The Un-mink-able
- Denmark is the world’s largest producer of mink furs. Now, in a decision that Denmark’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen said was made with a “heavy heart,” all mink in the country will be destroyed in order to contain a mutated form of COVID-19. “The virus has mutated in mink. The mutated virus has spread to humans,” Frederiksen said Wednesday.
- The country’s authority that deals with infectious diseases had found five cases of the virus in mink farms and 12 examples in humans that showed reduced sensitivity to antibodies. Allowing the virus to spread could potentially limit the effectiveness of future vaccines. Outbreaks of coronavirus at the country’s mink farms have persisted despite repeated efforts to cull infected animals since June.
- In October one million mink within a five-mile radius of suspected or confirmed farm infection were destroyed. Authorities estimate there could be up to 17,000 mink in the country that will be culled. Denmark’s police, army and home guard will be deployed to speed up the process. Mink have also been culled in the Netherlands and Spain after infections were discovered there. (CNN)
Additional World News
- UN summit in December to push action on COVID-19 pandemic (AP)
- UN and EU slam Israel after West Bank demolition leaves 73 Palestinians homeless (CNN). Using the US election as cover, Israel razes a Palestinian town without raising suspicion.
- Global food production emissions ‘would put Paris agreement out of reach’ (Guardian)
- U.S. Election Is a High-Stakes Political Struggle. In Russia. (NYT, $)
- A sight to Xi: US election turmoil leaves China awash with schadenfreude (WaPo, $)
- Hong Kong: People invited to snitch on their neighbours (BBC)
- New bill set to expand Russian ex-presidents’ immunity from prosecution (Reuters)
- Is #EndSARS Nigeria’s Arab Spring? (Foreign Policy). Police protests become something much bigger.
- How the North of England Could Gain Independence (Vice)
- Eta’s rains and flooding wreak ‘shocking’ devastation in Central America, 21 dead (Reuters)
- Will a small, long-shot U.S. company end up producing the best coronavirus vaccine? (Science Mag)
- Coronavirus: how to live in a pandemic world (The Verge)
- Clots, Strokes And Rashes. Is COVID-19 A Disease Of The Blood Vessels? (NPR)
- China Is Winning the Vaccine Race (Foreign Affairs)
QAnon Takes Congress
(Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images)
- Devotees of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory support its baseless belief that President Trump is fighting a cabal of Satanist child-molesting Democrats and deep-state bureaucrats who seek global domination. The movement is a phenomenon that began on the troll-infested fringes of the internet; it has inspired real-world violence and has been branded by the FBI as a potential domestic terrorism threat.
- Now, it’s moved offline and into American political life with the election of Marjorie Taylor Greene to a US House seat in Georgia’s 14th congressional district. Republican officials had initially denounced Greene after videos emerged last June of her making anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, and racist statements. The videos showed her arguing that Muslims should be barred from serving in the US government, comparing Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan, and promoting anti-Semitic falsehoods about the billionaire financier George Soros.
- After the primary Greene’s campaign received support from groups connected to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, the board chairman of the Heritage Foundation (the prominent conservative think tank), and numerous GOP mega-donors. After her victory Tuesday, leaders and elected officials across the Republican party embraced her. Trump — a believer of conspiracy theories who continually rails against the political establishment — has repeatedly praised Greene, and consistently refused to denounce QAnon. (NYT)
Puerto Rico Makes A Run At #51
- Puerto Ricans have voted once again in favor of their island home becoming the 51st US state. The island has been a US territory for 122 years and is the world’s oldest colony. 2020’s non-binding referendum was the sixth one held on the issue. But regardless of how many Puerto Ricans want to become part of the union, it’s up to Congress to take the necessary action to admit them, and Congress is under no legal obligation to do so.
- Puerto Ricans are American citizens and pay into federal programs like Social Security and Medicare, but they don’t hold seats in Congress and can’t cast votes for president. They do vote for a resident commissioner who can introduce legislation and vote on committees in the House of Representatives, but that’s a far cry from full voting privileges.
- If Puerto Rico were a state, its people would not only have a say in presidential elections, but they’d have two seats in the Senate and five representatives in the House. They’d also gain federal funding, and it would be a lot harder for the federal government to withhold aid, as President Trump did after Hurricane Maria. Those opposed to statehood point out that it would also mean increased taxes. Right now, Puerto Ricans and corporations headquartered on the island only pay federal taxes in limited circumstances. (Vox)
Additional USA News
- Trump, in White House address, continues to level unfounded charges of election fraud (Politico)
- ‘Count Every Vote!’: Large Post-Election Protests Seen In Several U.S. Cities (NPR)
- What follows suit? If Trump Tries to Sue His Way to Election Victory, Here’s What Happens (ProPublica)
- USPS disregards judge’s order to conduct ballot sweep in 12 districts covering 15 states (WaPo, $)
- Why the Post Office’s Last-Minute Ballot Crisis Isn’t as Dire as It Seems (Vice)
- The results are in… Polarization Is Only Clear Winner of the 2020 Election (Time)
- The Polls Underestimated Trump — Again. Nobody Agrees on Why. (NYT, $)
- ‘Dumpster fire’: House Democrats trade blame after Tuesday’s damage (Politico). The
- McConnell’s resilience could prevent Pelosi from enacting Democrats’ broad agenda (WaPo, $)
- Madison Cawthorn Wins in North Carolina, Becoming Youngest Republican Elected to House (NYT, $)
- Couldn’t crack the Graham: What Jaime Harrison’s Race Meant for the South (Atlantic, $)
North Korea Doesn’t Want The Smoke
- North Korea has urged its people to quit smoking for years, posting no smoking signs on public buildings and starting a national anti-smoking website. On Wednesday, a tough new “tobacco-prohibition law” was unanimously adopted by the Supreme People’s Assembly. The law bans cigarette smoking in public spaces such as theaters, schools, and hospitals, and has penalties for violators.
- On Thursday, the official Korean Central News Agency said the law “stipulates the rules which all the institutions, organizations and citizens must follow in protecting the lives and health of the people and providing more cultured and hygienic living environments.” Does that really mean everybody? Who’s going to tell Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un? What happens if he breaks the law?
- Clearly Kim pays no heed to his family history of smoking related-illnesses. The Kim rulers have all had cardiovascular diseases attributable to heavy smoking, drinking, and obesity. Kim’s father and grandfather both died of heart failure. Kim himself is rarely without a cigarette in his hand. He’s often seen on state media puffing away while inspecting factories, talking with missile engineers, riding the subway, even visiting schools, and children’s hospitals.
- As far as breaking the law goes, North Koreans are taught that their leader is a faultless deity, incapable of error, and above the law. So it really boils down to what George Orwell said in Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” (NYT)
- Take a viral vacay: Forget Long Weekends: During the Pandemic It’s All About Short Weeks (NYT, $)
- Anti-Maskers Have Accidentally Organised a Mask-Wearing Rally (Vice)
- This crate of oranges sold for nearly $9,600 at an auction in Japan (CNN). At that price? This sounds like pulp fiction.
- Scientists discover bizarre hell planet where it rains rocks and oceans are made of lava (CBS)
- Doing good with doo doo: Scatological science: how poo analysis could help save endangered species (Guardian)
- We finally know what has been making fast radio bursts (Ars Technica)
- 8 new uses for your old smartphone (The Verge)
- In our fight against frauds… How to know who’s trustworthy (Psyche)
- Weight Training May Help Ease Anxiety (NYT, $)
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