Friday, January 22, 2021

Trump Reveals Extent of Pandemic Damage to Business Empire


Trump’s Empire has been hit Hard by Coronavirus Closures, with Revenue from his Washington and Las Vegas Hotels down by more than half.

In his Last Financial Disclosure Form, Trump detailed the Damage the Pandemic has wrought, at a time when many Tourism Businesses are Suffering from a Lack of Travelers.

The Real-Estate Magnate resisted Policies to Slow the Pandemic through Mask-Wearing, and insisted it remained Safe for People to Travel Domestically.

The Financial Disclosure shows:

- Revenue from the Trump Hotel in Washington, which he had been trying to Sell, fell to $15.1 Million from $40.5 Mmillion a year earlier.

- In Vegas, Hotel-related Sales were down to $9.2 Million from $23.3 Million a year earlier.

- The Doral Golf Resort in Miami saw Revenues Drop to $44 million from $77 Million a year earlier.

From Foreign Properties:

- Sales at Trump Turnberry in Scotland, fell to $10 Million from $25.7 Million a year earlier.

- At Trump Doonbeg, in Ireland, revenue dropped to $5 Million from $13.5 Million a year earlier.

- A Property near Aberdeen, Scotland, it plummeted to $1.5 Million from $4.3 Million a year earlier.

Ever since Trump started investing in Europe, he has had remarkably Bad Returns. Before COVID-19 came, he had already spent more than $135 Million at Turnberry but still Managed to lose $61 Million between 2014 and 2019. He had shelled out more than $30 Million at Doonbeg and given up more than $10 Million. And he had Declared Losses of $15.5 Million at Aberdeen.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


Judge Refuses to Dismiss NY AG's Lawsuit Against NRA


New York State Attorney General, Tish James’ Lawsuit, seeking to Dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA) can move forward, a State judge ruled Thursday. Judge Joel Cohen Denied the NRA’s Motions to Dismiss the Case, Pause it, or Transfer it to a different Court.

The Attorney General filed the Suit in State Court in August 2020, seeking to put the NRA Out-of-Business, Charging that its Leaders misused Funds and Engaged in Self-Dealing.

The NRA argued that the Case should be Tossed because it belongs in Federal, not State Court, and that it should be heard in Albany instead of Manhattan.

The Judge Rejected All of those Requests. “The attorney general is the chief law enforcement of the state of New York. She is enforcing a New York state statute,” Cohen said at a Virtual Court Hearing. “It would be inappropriate in these circumstances to find that the attorney general cannot pursue her claims in state court just because one of the defendants prefers to proceed in federal court.”

The Lawsuit accuses Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s Longtime CEO, of taking Lavish Family Vacations on the NRA’s dime, Flying with his Family to the Bahamas on Private Jets Eight times in Five years, using NRA Money to Buy Christmas Gifts for an Associate, and using a Secret Contract to Guarantee himself Lifetime Income from the Gun Group.

State Law gives the Attorney General Oversight over Nonprofits Registered in New York, including the Ability to bring a Suit to Dissolve a Not-for-Profit Corporation. The Suit argues that the NRA should be Dissolved because it has shown a Pattern of Conducting its Business in a Persistently Fraudulent or Illegal Manner, Violating its Tax-Exempt Status. It says the NRA has Diverted Millions of Dollars away from its Charitable Mission, in Violation of Laws governing Nonprofits.

The Financially troubled Gun Rights Group announced last week it was “dumping New York” to Reincorporate in Texas and declaring Bankruptcy. “The NRA abandons a state where elected officials have weaponized the legal and regulatory powers they wield to penalize the Association and its members for purely political purposes,” the Organization said in its Announcement.

But the Attorney General said the Move should Mot Prevent her Case from going forward.

The NRA filed its own Countersuit in Federal Court in Albany, shortly after James filed her Suit, Charging that its Constitutional Rights are being Violated and calling James’ Actions Retaliation for Exercising its Rights under the First Amendment. The NRA argued it would be Inconvenient to have the Two Cases heard in Separate Courts in Different Locations.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind case,” NRA Attorney Sarah Rogers said in Court Thursday. “We have real constitutional claims here.” She also argued on Technical Grounds that Albany, not New York City, was the Proper Venue for the Case based on where the Organization’s Office was Incorporated. “The NRA is fighting for its very existence,” she said. “To the extent that there’s any ambiguity, why not let us fight for our existence in the place we chose?”

But Jonathan Conley, a Lawyer for the AG’s Office, said the Court should be allowed to Proceed in State Court in Manhattan, and the Judge agreed. “The state of New York and this court have a vital interest in retaining this state enforcement action,” Conley said. “The complaint is premised entirely on New York law. ... This action implicated public interests and questions of state law that are of critical importance to this state and this court.”

“Today’s order reaffirms what we’ve known all along: the NRA does not get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions,” James said in a statement. “We thank the court for allowing our case to move forward and look forward to holding the NRA accountable.”










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


Biden Ends Trump Census Policy


One of President Biden’s First Executive Actions has Reversed Trump’s Unprecedented Policy of Altering a Key Census Count by Excluding Unauthorized Immigrants.

The Change ensures that the U.S. continues to follow more than Two Centuries of Precedent in determining Representation in Congress and the Electoral College.

Hours after he was sworn in as President on Wednesday, Biden Signed an Executive Order that calls for all U.S. Residents, in the Country, to be Counted in State Population Numbers that, according to the 14th Amendment, must Include the “whole number of persons in each state.”

The State Counts are used once a Decade to Reallocate each State’s share of Electoral Votes and the 435 Seats in the House of Representatives and the Amount of Federal Funds are sent to each State.

Since the First National Head Count in 1790, those Numbers have Never Omitted any Residents because of Immigration Status.

Biden’s Order also Rescinds an Executive Order Trump issued in July 2019 as part of a Project at the Census Bureau to produce Citizenship Data using Government Records as an Alternative to Trump’s Failed Push to add a Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census Forms.

Trump’s Order directed Federal Agencies to Share their Records with the Bureau, which has been Compiling Information from Agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration, and some States’ Driver’s License Information.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


Cornale Tapped for DNC Executive Director


Sam Cornale will be named Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Cornale, currently the DNC’s Deputy CEO, will be tasked with working with expected incoming Chair. Jaime Harrison, to guide the National Party through the turbulent 2022 Midterms. The First Election Cycle after a President is Elected is frequently Brutal for the Party that Controls the White House.

Cornale previously helped Manage the DNC during the 2020 Presidential Campaign and 2018 Midterms. He also oversaw Tom Perez’s 2017 Campaign to Chair the DNC, and worked as a Deputy Chief of Staff for him while Perez served as Former President Barack Obama’s Labor Secretary.

Mary Beth Cahill will Step Down from her role as DNC CEO, but stay on as a Senior Adviser.

“These battle-tested leaders know how to win, build a political operation that is second to none, and I’m excited they will lead the critical work of the DNC,” said Harrison. “Their continued work will help fulfill the mission of the DNC: growing Democrats’ infrastructure in every part of every state, standing up for the principles we believe in, and marshalling the full resources of the Democratic Party in support of the Biden-Harris administration.”

Jen O’Malley Dillon, President Joe Biden's White House Deputy Chief of Staff, said the New Senior Aides "will ensure President Biden’s commitment to a strong DNC and Democratic Party infrastructure is fulfilled."

Elevating Cornale is a sign that Biden looked favorably on the Work of the DNC during the Presidential Election Season. Biden’s Campaign worked closely with the National Party, including Daily Calls between Press Shops. Biden is currently fusing his Political Operation with the DNC and has vowed to Invest in the Party’s main Political Apparatus, as well as in State Parties.

Biden Advisers have said they were satisfied with how the DNC Rebuilt itself in the years after 2016, when it was in a Weak Position after years of Neglect. “President Biden and my friend incoming Chair Harrison are committed to investing in state parties and our grassroots, building a top-notch political infrastructure in every zip code, and making sure our organization reflects the diverse voices of our great Democratic family,” said Cornale. "I look forward to working with Chairman Harrison to build a team reflective of the diversity of our party, and one that will work tirelessly to make these goals a reality and lead Democrats to future success.”

Cornale’s Supporters in the DNC said that he will bring Continuity to the position after serving alongside Cahill over the last year.

Democrats have kept a close watch on the Diversity of Biden’s picks for his Cabinet and other positions, and this job is no different. Some DNC Members said they would have preferred a more Diverse pick. Cornale is white.

The DNC said in a Statement that it "will announce additional senior staff in the weeks ahead — continuing the Committee's commitment to building a senior leadership team which reflects the Democratic Party and incorporates its top political talent."

Last week, Biden announced a Diverse Slate of DNC Officers, including Harrison, a former South Carolina Democratic Party Leader. The President has also thrown his weight behind a Group of high-profile Vice Chairs: Sen. Tammy Duckworth (IL), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Rep. Filemon Vela Jr (TX).

Biden’s slate is Uncontested. DNC Members have been Voting for the Positions by Electronic Ballot since Monday. The DNC held its Winter Meeting Thursday Afternoon, when the New Officers were Officially Elected.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Biden's Interior Department Temporarily Stops New Drilling on Public Lands


Biden's Interior Department Temporarily Blocks New Drilling on Public Lands.

The Interior Department took swift Action to deliver on President Biden's Campaign Pledge to Block Oil and Gas Drilling on Public Lands, Freezing such Leases for the next 60 days.

An Order Signed by Acting Secretary, Scott de la Vega, on Wednesday, Bars the Department from pushing ahead with any New Leasing or Drilling Permits and Blocks any New Major Mining Actions.

Biden's Climate Plan calls for "banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters," a Pledge made by each Democratic Candidate in the Primary after the Idea was first Proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The 60-day timeline pauses a number of other Actions at Interior, including any Promotions for Department Staff or Transfer of Public Lands back to the States.

Biden has Nominated Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM, 1st District) to Lead the Interior Department, and her Signature would be Required to establish a Permanent Moratorium on New Oil Drilling on Public Lands.

"For four years, the Trump administration cut legal corners and rushed through massive drilling and mining projects at the behest of corporations. Now the Biden administration is rightfully attempting to take stock of the damage and make sure the agency is following the law, instead of rubber-stamping destructive projects that were in the pipeline," Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Policy Director at the Center for Western Priorities, a Public Lands Watchdog Group, said in a Release.

"Once Deb Haaland is confirmed as Interior secretary, she'll be able to take long-term actions to make sure the Interior department prioritizes communities and conservation, not extractive industry lobbyists."

Biden's Climate Plan calls for putting the U.S. on a path to Carbon Neutrality by 2050, an effort that will require Reducing use of Fossil Fuels.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), which represents the Oil Industry, has said Blocking New Leases will further push the U.S. toward Foreign Oil while limiting Revenue for Conservation.

"Restricting development on federal lands and waters is nothing more than an 'import more oil' policy. Energy demand will continue to rise - especially as the economy recovers - and we can choose to produce that energy here in the United States or rely on foreign countries hostile to American interests," API President and CEO Mike Sommers said in a Release Thursday.

Some Western Republicans have launched a Longshot Bid to Block President Biden's Executive Orders to Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and Revoking the Permit for the Keystone Pipeline.

The Lawmakers, many from Big Energy-Producing States, plan to introduce Two Pieces of Legislation that would give Congress a say in the Decisions.

"I urge President Biden to do what the Obama administration refused to do and submit the Paris Agreement to the Senate for consideration as required under the Constitution," Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said in a Release, calling the Agreement "a poorly negotiated, fatally flawed treaty that represents a bad deal for American families everywhere."

The Executive Order signed by Biden, the Third of 17 that he signed on his First Day in Office, will formally Recommit the U.S. to the Global Agreement in 30 days, Ending the U.S. Status as the Only Country in the World Not participating in the Deal.

He also put forth an Order that Revoked a Permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline that Allowed it to cross the U.S.-Canada Border and also carried out other Environmental Actions. The Canadian Company that owns the Pipeline Cancelled the Project and will Sell its Iventory of Equipment and Piping, to recoop some of its Cost and let go of 1,000 Emplyees.

In Press Releases on Thursday, the Republican Lawmakers said they intended to introduce a Resolution calling on Biden to Submit the Paris Climate Agreement to Congress for Approval before Rejoining. The Lawmakers said they would introduce a Bill Authorizing the Continued Construction of the controversial Pipeline.

"President Biden's executive order will rob both American and Canadian workers of good-paying jobs," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), who is the Top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "President Biden's actions will not end our need for oil from our strongest ally, Canada. Instead, it will cost jobs, result in more shipments of oil by rail and make America even more vulnerable to OPEC and foreign adversaries, like Russia." Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Barrasso all Signed on to both pieces of Legislation.

Each piece of Legislation would face an Uphill Battle in the Democratically-controlled Chamber, where Vice President Harris will serve as the Key tie-breaker Vote.

Former President Obama angered Lawmakers in 2016 when he joined the Paris Climate Accord Deal without Securing Senate Approval, something Daines and others argue Violates Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution which calls for a Two-Thirds Vote from the Upper Chamber when entering into Treaties.

But the Paris Deal allowed Countries to set their own Commitments to the Deal, rather than enter into a more Formal Agreement, something the Obama Administration viewed as allowing the U.S. to join the Deal without Senate Approval.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


SC Attorney Will Represent Trump at Impeachment Trial


South Carolina-based Attorney, Butch Bowers, will represent Trump at his 2nd Impeachment Trial, which may start in February, as Senator Minority Leader, McConnell (R-KY), asked for time for Trump to prepare his Defence.

Bowers, who runs his Law Practice out of an Office across the street from the South Carolina Statehouse in the Capital City of Columbia, has a long history of representing Elected Officials and Political Candidates on Governmental and Election Law matters, according to the Bowers Law Office's website.

He's previously served as Counsel to Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, when he was threatened with Impeachment in 2009 for Concealing his Extramarital Affair with an Argentinian Journalist.

Bowers has also Represented Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Former Lt. Gov and Current Governor, Henry McMaster, on Ethics Matters, in addition to holding significant experience in Election Law.

He Represented former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and the South Carolina State Election Commission in Litigation over Voter ID Laws, and served as Special Counsel for Voting Matters at the Department of Justice under the Bush Administration in addition to previously Chairing the State Election Commission.

Many of the Attorneys who represented Trump or assisted in his Defense for his First Trial, including: Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone; Trump's Former Personal Attorney Jay Sekulow; Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi; and Former Senior Advisor Eric Herschmann, either Declined to Represent Trump this time around or Expressed No interest in doing so.

Law Firms such as Porter Wright and Snell & Wilmer, also Dropped their Representation of Trump's Campaign in various Post-Election Lawsuits after Public Backlash. Even the Big-Name Law Firm, Jones Day, publicly distanced itself from Trump.

It is unclear whether Trump would Return to Washington, DC, for the Trial.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


UT RCV Bill


Rep. Mike Winder (R-30th District, West Valley City), and Sen. Curt Bramble (R-16th District, Provo), are planning to introduce a Bil, SB54, during January’s Legislative Session to Require that All “government-funded” Primaries in Utah to use Ranked-Choice-Voting (RCV) beginning May of 2021.

This would be a shift in the way Utah handles their Primary Elections. Currently, the Candidate with the Most Votes in the Primary is the Winner, regardless of whether they get a Majority of the Vote or Not. In 2020, the Utah GOP saw Three Major Primary Races with Four Candidates. None of the Winners in those Races secured a Majority to grab the Party’s Nomination.

Under RCV, Voters can Rank the Candidates in Order of Preference, leading to Multiple Rounds of Counting. Each Round, the Candidate with the Lowest number of Votes is Eliminated, and those Voters’ are Reallocated to their Second Choice Candidate. That Process continues until One Candidate has Secured a Majority of Support.

“Ranked-choice voting continues to prove valuable as a way to encourage civil races, allowing voters’ second and third choices to matter,” said Winder. “It’s also a less expensive and clunky alternative to run-off elections.” “There has to be a mechanism to ensure the candidate with the most support wins,” said Bramble.

SB54, which allows Candidates to Compete in the Primary Election by gathering Signatures, led to this year’s Multiple-Candidate Primary Elections. Lawmakers have previously proposed a Run-Off Election for the Top-Two Candidates in those Primary Elections to Ensure the Eventual Winner Secures a Majority of Support. RCV eliminates the Need, and Cost, of those Runoff Elections.

The Utah GOP used RCV at their State Convention in April, and a Handful of Utah County Cities used the Process as part of a Pilot Program for their Municipal Eections in 2019.

While the Switch to RCV may seem like a Radical Change for Voters, Stan Lockhart, Chairman of Ranked Choice Voting Utah says it won’t be as Big of a Shift as one might think. “What we’re discovering is when people use it, they like it,” he said. “For those that have never used it, they don’t know what they don’t know.” “The purpose of RCV is to give voters a fuller expression of their will. It allows candidates to get elected who have the broadest and deepest support among the voting public,” he added.

RCV leads to what Lockhart calls “more civility” in Elections. If Candidates are vying to be the First, Second, or even Third Choice of Voters, they’re less likely to Engage in Negative Campaigning. Candidates are also more likely to Focus on Issues. “Instead of talking about your opponent, you have to talk about the issues. It also leads to more voter engagement. Under RCV, a voter has to do a little homework to decide how to allocate their second, third, or fourth choices. So there tends to be a more informed electorate,” he said.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker