Friday, November 27, 2020

2020 Senate Race Update

The Current Senate Breakdown is: Republican with 53 Seats and Democrats with 47th Seats.

The Current Results from the 2020 Election has the Senate Split: Republicans with 50 Seats and the Democrats with 48 Seats, including Two Independents.

Georgia's Races will go to a Run-Off on Jan. 5th. There are Two Races, the Cuurent Certified Totals:

General Election: David Perdue (R-Incumbent) with 2,460,617, and Jon Ossoff (D) with 2,373,519, a Difference of 88,098. The Other Total is 115,039, for a Total Vote of 4,952,775.

Special Election: Raphael Warnock (D) with 1,617,035, and Kelly Loeffler (R-Incombent) with 1,273,214 a Differeance of 344,421. The Total of Others is 2,024,112 for a Total Vote of 4,914,361.

Here are some Key Dates to Remember as the Second Round of the Georgia Races Kick Off, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's website:

December 7th: Voter Registration Deadline to Vote in the Runoff Election.

December 14: Advanced In-Person or Early Voting begins for the Runoff Election.

January 5th, 2021: Federal Runoff Election Day.

The question is: How will the Other Voters Split, their over 4 Million Votes, in the Run-Off?

So it could be Republicans with 51/49 Seats, which it would have been if No Run-Off, or 52/48, if Republicans win both Run-Offs.

Or if Democrats win both Run-Offs, the Results is a 50/50 Senate.

If a 50/50 Split, that is another Post.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Trump Administration Pushed Out Prominent Defense Advisors after Pentagon Leadership Purge

The Trump Administration has Gutted the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, Removing most of its 13 Members.

A U.S. Defense Official confirmed that some Members had been Removed, and Acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, said in a statement that he looks forward "to naming new board members in the coming days."

The Changes to the Defense Policy Board, which saw the Departure of Advisors like Former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, come on the heels of a Major Shake-Up of the Pentagon's Civilian Leadership earlier this month.

"We can confirm that several members of the Department's Defense Policy Board have been removed," a U.S. Defense Official said, by a Directive sent by the Pentagon's White House Liaison, Joshua Whitehouse.

The Official said they were part of "long-considered changes" to the Board of Outside Experts tasked with providing Senior Pentagon Officials with Independent, Informed Advice.

The Board Members who were Removed reportedly included: Former Secretaries of State, Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger; Former Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. (Ret.) Gary Roughead; and Former Chief Operating Officer at the Pentagon, Rudy De Leon.

Foreign Policy reported that the Others ousted from the Board include: Former Bush Deputy National Security Adviser, J.D. Crouch II; Former House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor; Former Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman; Former Bush Treasury Undersecretary, David McCormick; Former Clinton Deputy Attorney General, Jamie Gorelick; Former Nuclear Negotiator, Robert Joseph; and Former Top Defense Official, Franklin Miller.

It is unclear what the Status of the Remaining Two Members: Ambassador, Paula J. Dobriansky and Visiting Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Jim Talent.

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller said that he is "grateful to the departing board members, many of whom have served for decades," adding that "as we adapt the Department for great power competition, I look forward to naming new board members in the coming days."

Miller has only been on the job at the Pentagon about Two Weeks, as he arrived as part as a Major Shake-Up of the Department of Defense's Civilian Leadership earlier this month.

Starting on Nov. 9th, Trump abruptly Fired Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense, Replacing him with Miller, who was Previously the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

The next day, Several High Profile Pentagon Officials Resigned: the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, Jen Stewart; the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, James Anderson; and the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, Joseph Kernan.

Anthony Tata, a Retired General and Former Fox News Commentator who the Trump Administration sidestepped Congress to place in the Pentagon, Replaced Anderson, and Kash Patel and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, both Former Members of the National Security Council also considered Loyal to Trump, replaced Stewart and Kernan.

The Administration's moves to install Trump loyalists, some considered Unqualified, in Senior Pentagon Positions caused some alarm, largely because the purpose was Unclear given that Trump Lost the Election to President-Elect Joe Biden, who will take Office in January.

Officials told Foreign Policy that the Changes to the Defense Policy Board, which received pushback from People like Esper and Anderson, were aimed at Clearing the way for Individuals Disconnected from the Washington Establishment and Loyal to Trump.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Biophilia Thru Direct Democracy

Biophilia is a New but growing Movement based on the Insight of the Famed Biologist Edward O. Wilson that People have an Urge to Affiliate with other Forms of Life. There is No Common Blueprint for a Biophilic City, but the Common Denominator is Civic Engagement, where Residents practice Direct Democracy rather than relying on the Officals they have Elected to State and Federal Governments.

Today, 20 Cities in the U.S. and around the World participate in a Biophilic Cities Network. That number is likely to grow more Urban Residents work to improve the quality or their Neighborhoods and Lives, as Officials look for ways to save Money on Essential City Services, and as more places defend themselves against the Destructive and Deadly impacts of Global Cimate Change.

Although the allure of Nature is strong, Climate Change is the most Urgent driver of Ecosystem Restoration in Metropolita areas. In the U.S., 70% of adults are worried about Climate Change because they have Experienced or Witness its impacts. 65 Cities in the U.S. are among the 500 Worldwide with the Largest Emissions or Carbon Dioxide, the Gas produced by burning Fossil Fuels, the Principal cause of Global Warming.

The Biophilic solution is Urban Forestry and Green Spaces, combined with Lighter Colored Streets and Roofs. In addition to Enhancing Property Values, Cleaning the Air, Absorbing Carbon Dioxide, and providing Wildlife Habitats, Trees contribute to Evapotranspiration that Cools the Air and Reduces Electricity demands for Air Conditioning. That, in turn, Reduces the Threat of Blackouts and more Carbon Dioxide Emissionsfrom Power Plants.

Biophilia begins with the understading that Cities are Metabolisms supported by a variety of complex Ecological and Resource flows and Supply Chains. The Modifications of any part of the Metabolism affects the other parts in good ways and bad. Pollution from Fossil Fuels, for example, results in: Poor Air Quality; Respiratory Problems and other Illnesses; Higher Health Care costs; and Lost Productivity due to Missed Days at Work and Schools. But the most Destructive Impact of Fossil Fuels is that they Alter the Atmosphere in ways that Threaten Life as we know it.

To Reduce or Adapt to these Treats, Cities must make Fundamental Changes in how they are Designed, Built, Powered, and Grown. Biophila does this by Retrofitting Cities with Natural features that Urban Development Destroyed. Biophilia often involves Direct Democracy where Citizens mobilize to Solve their Problems. Some Cities allow Citizens to Vote in the Funding Options for their Communities.

Biophilia is one way that Citizens are filling Leadership Vacuums and Avoiding Bureaucratic barriers in Government. One indication is the more than 200 Urban Networks functioning today compared with 55 in 1985.

Our Future depends on Holistic Civic-Engagement Initiatives and on our having the Humility to Learn from Nature rather than trying to subdue it. With Civiization pushing against the Limits of a Living Planet, Theologian Thomas Berry counsels correctly that reconnecting the human species with the rest of the world is the great work of the 21st century.

The work of the Biophilia Foundation is premised on the Belief that Only Private Landowners’ Efforts to Restore and Protect Natural Resources, especially Wildlife Habitat, will recover the Living Resources of the Degraded Lands and Watersheds of our Country.

While Economically sound working Lands are essential to our Well Being, so is the Health and Proper Function of the Natural Systems upon which our Economy and our Existence is based. Government Agencies and Regulators can Improve Water Quality and manage Core Refuges, Parks, and Open Space.

Only Private Landowners’ Efforts will be able to Buffer and Connect these existing Core Areas to allow Long Term Recovery and Survival of our Living Resources and the Ecosystems that also Sustain Us.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Investors Seeking Action on Climate Change Turn to Courts

So far, most Lawsuits have Centered on Fiduciary Duty to Disclose Climate Risk. Shareholders have Sued the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for Failing to Disclose them, including Risk related to possible Investment in a Coal Mine. The Lawsuit was Dropped when the Bank Published an Annual Report Acknowledging the the Risk.

In America, ExxonMobil has been beset by Class-Action and Shareholder Lawsuits alleging that the Company has Misled Investors on Climate Risks, but None have been Successful.

O'Donnell's Case is still to be heard. If see wins, the Australian Government, which has done much to Support the Coal Industry and Little to Limit National Emissions, may have to Issue a Public Statement about the Financial Risks posed by Climate Change.

A Backlash against Dirty Bonds is Already Hurting some of Australia's Regional Governments.

Last year Sweden's Central Bank said that it would Not Invest in the Assets of Dirty Issuers, and promptly Sold Bonds issued by Queensland and Western Australia.

Occasionally Shareholder Litigation can Lower Emissions directly. In 2018 Client-Earth bought $36 of Shares in Enea, a Polish Power Company, and later Sued over the Firm's Plan to build the last Coal Unit ever to be built in Poland. The NGO argued that the Decarbonisation of the Energy Sector would make the Unit an Unprofitable Stranded Asset, creating an Indefensible Financial Risk. The Polish Courts ruled in Client-Earth's favor Last year, and the Project has been Abandoned, a Powerful Precedent.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

El Paso TX Trying to Collect $570,000 Owed the City for 2 Years Old Trump Rally

The El Paso, Texas, City Council Voted, on Monday, to hire Legal Counsel to help Collect the more than Half-a-Million Dollars owed to the City by the Trump Campaign from a Rally almost Two years ago.

The City reportedly spent about $470,000 on Security and other Expenses for the February 2019 Rally that took place that month at the El Paso County Coliseum. The Additional Debt is for a One-Time Late Payment Fee of about $99,000, or 21%.

The City Council Vote came Days after News that National Guard Personnel were Deployed to the Western Texas City to help with Overflowing Morgues as it Battles the latest Surge in COVID-19 Cases.

Earlier this month, El Paso Mayor, Dee Margo, told Business Insider's, Charles Davis, that the City is in need of Federal Funding to help Fight the spread of the Virus and Protect the Local Economy. "So this amount of money is not inconsequential and also the message that we send that nobody is above the law is also an important one for our community to understand as well," he added.

"Where on unprecedented territory by having to collect an outstanding invoice from a sitting president," the City Attorney, Karla Nieman, said.

The City said the Decision to hire Outside Counsel would Not fall on the Taxpayers, as the Law Office of Snapper L. Carr is only to be Paid if the Debt is Successfully Collected.

It is Not clear how much Debt the Trump Campaign holds. Donations Solicited this Month to supposedly Pay for Trump's Legal Challenges regarding the Election were actually Mostly going to be used to Pay Off Campaign 2020 Debt, according to the Fine Print on the Donations page.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Lawmakers Clinch Deal on Fight Against Shell Companies

The most Sweeping Overhaul of Financial Crime Safeguards is poised to be Attached to Must-Pass Defense Legislation in the coming weeks, a product of behind-the-scenes Negotiations between Lawmakers and Trump Administration officials who are usually at odds.

Advocates were bolstered by increasingly Vocal Law Enforcement Groups and National Security Experts seeking to Thwart the Companies. The push chipped away at Resistance from Business Groups who Complained that the New Requirement would be a Regulatory Burden.

The Legislation, hammered out by Progressive Democrats, Conservative Republicans, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, would require Millions of Business Entities to Reveal their Owners to the Federal Government in an attempt to Deter the use of Anonymous Shell Companies by Criminals evading Anti-Money Laundering Rules.

Congressional Aides confirmed that the Group has reached an Agreement, teeing up the Legislation for Inclusion in the Annual National Defense Authorization Act, one of the Last Major Bills Lawmakers are expected to pass this year.

"It is certainly the most significant anti-money laundering reform in 20 years," said Clark Gascoigne, Senior Policy Adviser for the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition, which led Lobbying efforts on the Bill. "And probably the most significant anti-corruption reform as well."

Success would cap a long Struggle, starting with a 2008 Bill co-sponsored by then Sen. Barack Obama, to rein in the use of Shell Companies in the U.S., some of which have allowed Drug Traffickers, Terrorists, and Foreign Adversaries to operate freely. Evidence of Abuse has mounted over the years, including the spectacular 2016 Leak of the Panama Papers that Documented how the Rich and Powerful: World Leaders, Celebrities, Business Titans, used the Anonymous Entities to Hide their Wealth.

The Deal, which was negotiated by a Group including House Financial Services Chairwoman, Maxine Waters (D-CA, 43rd District) and Senate Banking Chairman, Mike Crapo (R-ID), follows years of Lobbying by Transparency Advocates who were able to convince Big Banks and other Business Groups to join the Cause.

The effort is now facing one more big Hurdle. While Key Lawmakers have a Deal in place, the Broader Defense Bill is still being Finalized by Members of the House and Senate in a Conference Committee. That has left an Opening for the remaining Opponents of the Disclosure Requirements.

The Group is continuing to Fight the Legislation though Congressional Aides said it's expected to include Several Exemptions designed to Spare Legitimate Businesses from the Ownership Reporting Rules. "I'm disappointed in the transparency of this process," said Kevin Kuhlman, Director of Legislative Affairs at (NFIB). "Now we'll focus on the conferees and leadership and just say this has very little to do with traditional defense authorization and does not belong in a defense bill."

The First move to require Corporations to Disclose their True Owners came from a Bill sponsored a Dozen years ago by then Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Norm Coleman (R-MN), along with Obama, an Illinois Democrat. It followed a Series of Government Investigations that found States were inadvertently Helping give Cover to Criminals by allowing Individuals to Set-Up Corporate Entities with No Meaningful Oversight of who was behind them. The Findings were a Wake-Up Call.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for countries around the world to spend billions of dollars to combat trillions of dollars of illicit finance and on the other hand weaponize illicit actors by being serial incorporators of anonymous entities," said Chip Poncy, who focused on Financial Crime as a Treasury Department Official from 2002 to 2013. "It’s sort of masochistic.”

The Legislation stayed Alive thanks in large part to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY, 12th District) and my Congress Representative, a Member of the House Financial Services Committee who continued to introduce similar Bills for years.

The continuing Trickle of damning Leaks and Stories over the years "were enormously helpful because it managed to recruit a number of the constituency groups," said Gary Kalman, who Leads the U.S. Office of Transparency International and Advocated for the Legislation for several years.

Around 2016, the Effort got a Major Boost when Big Banks began to put their Lobbying Muscle behind the Ownership Disclosure Rules and a broader Revamp of Anti-Money Laundering Rules. Banks are obligated to Police their Customers' Accounts for Illegal Activity and have a huge stake in whether they're used by Criminals to Access the Financial System. At the time, Banks were also facing the Prospect of having to Comply with Separate Customer Due Diligence Rules from the Treasury Department.

"We put together a unique coalition of us, on behalf of the banks and particularly large banks that spend the most money on this and the most time," said Greg Baer, the President and CEO of the Bank Policy Institute, a Bank Lobbying Group that Kalman brought into the fold in 2016. "But then also reputable people who clearly didn't have banks' interests at heart."

The work accelerated in 2018 when Democrats won back the House and were able to Pass Maloney's Bill for the First time. In the Senate, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) took the Lead on a similar Proposal with Members of the Banking Committee. Once Warner's Bill was done and had Significant Bipartisan support, the Banking Committee's Leaders, Crapo and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), worked out their own deal.

Mnuchin supported the Legislation and had become Personally involved in the Talks.

While Lawmakers have mostly stayed mum on the outcome of the talks, Maloney in a Statement said it was a "hard-fought" Compromise.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

FL Republican Wins State Senate District 37 with Spoiler Candidate

A Florida Republican Wins by 32 Votes after last minute $550k Funds and a Dubious Spoiler Candidate.

Florida’s Senate District 37th Race between Incumbent Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) and Ileana Garcia (R), with Garcia announced as the Winner buy 32 Votes. But there was a Third Candidate, Independent Mystery Man, Alex Rodriguez, who pulled in 6,382 Votes.

But, as numerous News Outlets have reported, Alex Rodriguez, not Jose Rodriguez, seems to have done Virtually Nothing to Run, but seems to have gotten All kinds of Financial Support from a Mystery Political Action Committee that had Dark Money infusions of Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in the last couple of Weeks leading up to Election Day. Alex Rodriguez had all kinds of Flyers sent out where he espoused a ton of Democratic Platforms. Pretty Confusing.

Jose Javier Rodriguez has made sure to point this out to Media Outlets, saying this Mystery Alex Rodriguez, a 55-year-old Mechanic who suddenly threw his name into the Ring and then never Campaigned, clearly syphoned away Votes. Javier Rodriguez has Conceded his Miami-Dade County Seat, but called for an Investigation into these Shenanigans “In order to achieve that, I believe this election requires a full investigation so that those who may have violated the law are held to account and so that such tactics are not used in future elections.”

Considering that Alex Rodriguez who continues to Refuse appearing in Public, is a Supposed Candidate on a Platform of Climate Change and Fixing Health Care, it feels pretty clear who they were appealing to. CNN reports that a “mysterious company called Proclivity, Inc. contributed $550,000 to a pair of newly formed political action committees in the state.” Those Action Committees, set up One Month before Election Day, received this Money the Day after coming into existence.

One day later, one of the PACs. Our Florida PC, got $370,000 from Proclivity. The other, The Truth PC, got $180,000. These PACs sent Money to similar Spoiler-Style Candidates throughout Florida. The Two PACs were Chaired by young women that No one has heard of before, and appear to be connected to a Young Republican Political Strategist named Alex Alvarado. Alvarado’s Business was paid $267,000 for Political work.

When Miami WPLG Local 10 Reporter, Glenna Milberg attempted to find Alex Rodriguez at the address he wrote down “when he qualified to run,” she found that he didn’t live there and had never lived there, and no one seemed to know who he was. She then went to his place of business, where a man answered as Alex’s “business partner,” saying that Rodriguez would not be back until the following day. Turns out that guy was Alex Rodriguez. Milberg then tracked down a third-party candidate like Rodriguez and he too was super dubious. It turns out Rodriguez was charged with Two Counts of “felony grand theft,” to which he plead Guilty to in 2012.

In State Senate District 9, Democrat Patricia Sigman Lost to a Republican by just 2% of the Vote. But No one ever saw the supposedly Liberal, Third Candidate. “She had no website. She never participated in any of the debates or forums, never showed up anywhere. She wasn’t even registered to vote until she filed,” Sigman said.

WPLG’s Milberg then found a similar Candidate, Celso D. Alfonso, who also ran. The similarities between these magical candidates are “striking” says the Washington Post.

Both men were Registered as Republicans in 2018, and both Qualified for this year’s Election on the same day, with hand-delivered checks time-stamped within minutes of one another, according to the Herald. Their listed email addresses are nearly identical, too.

Proclivity, Inc.? It seems it was registered in Delaware in 2019 by a man no one can get in touch with named Richard Alexander. The only paper trail seems to lead to a mailbox in an Atlanta strip mall.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker