Sunday, August 14, 2022

AK Special Election Update

Alaska's 48 Candidate Special Election Primary, is the First one held under Alaska's new Top-Four Primary system, which Voters Approved in 2020. They are vying for the Seat left Vacant by the death in March, of U.S. Rep. Don Young (R). Young held the Seat for 49 years, and his term ends in 2022.

Under the New system, Candidates from All Parties run on the same Open Primary Ballots. The Top Four will advance to a Special General Election on August 16th, that will be held using Ranked-Choice-Voting (RCV).

The Winner of the Special Election will serve out the remainder of Young's Term until January 2023.

Young, a fierce Advocate for Alaska, spent his nearly Five decades representing the State in Congress directing Federal Money back home and becoming a Master of the Congressional Earmarks process, allowing him to allocate millions for Infrastructure and other Key Projects in Alaska.

The Primary Results:

- S. Palin (R) with 27% of the Vote
- N. Begich (R)
- A. Gross (I)
- M. Peltola (D)
- Write-IN

The August Special General Election will be held on Aug. 16th, 2022, using Ranked-Choice-Voting (RCV).

The Winner of the August 16th Special General Election will be sworn-in on September 2022, and will serve in Alaska's only Seat in the House of Representatives until January, 2023.

Some of the Candidates in the Special Primary also intend to run for this Seat for the Regular Term that starts in January, 2023. The Deadline to Declare as a Candidate for that Race was June 1st. The Regular Primary is Tuesday, August 16th. So there will be Candidates on the Regular Primary Ballot on the same day, and possibly on the same Ballot, as the Special Election to fill out Don Young’s Term.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

More U.S. Lawmakers Visit Taiwan

A Delegation of American Lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, just 12 days after a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, 12th District), that prompted China to launch days of threatening Military Drills around the self-governing Island that Beijing says must come under its control.

The Five-Member Delegation, led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), will meet President Tsai Ing-wen and other Officials, as well as Members of the Private sector, to discuss shared interests including reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and Investments in Semiconductors.

China responded to Pelosi’s Aug. 2nd Visit by sending Missiles, Warships and Warplanes into the Seas and Skies around Taiwan for several days afterward. The Chinese Government objects to Taiwan having any Official contact with Foreign Governments, particularly with a High-Ranking Congressional Leader like Pelosi.

The U.S. Government Plane landing about 7 p.m. Sunday at Songshan Airport in Taipei, the Taiwanese Capital. Four Members of the Delegation were on the Plane.

Markey met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol earlier Sunday in South Korea, before arriving in Taiwan on a separate Flight at Taoyuan International Airport, which also serves Taipei. Markey, who Chairs the Senate Foreign Relations East Asia, Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Subcommittee, and Members of the Delegation will reaffirm the U.S. Support for Taiwan.

The other Members of the Delegation are: Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa); House Members John Garamendi (D-CA, 3rd District), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA, 47th District), and Don Beyer (D-VA, 8th District).

A senior White House Official on Asia Policy said late last week, that China had used Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to Launch an intensified Pressure campaign against Taiwan, jeopardizing Peace and Stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader Region. “China has overreacted, and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing, and unprecedented,” Kurt Campbell, a Deputy Assistant to President Biden, said on a Call with Reporters.

“It has sought to disregard the centerline between the P.R.C. and Taiwan, which has been respected by both sides for more than 60 years as a stabilizing feature,” he said, using the acronym for the Country’s full name, the People’s Republic of China.

China accuses the U.S. of encouraging Independence forces in Taiwan through its Sale of Military Equipment to the island, and engaging with its Officials. The U.S. says it does Not support Independence for Taiwan but that its differences with China should be resolved by Peaceful means.

China’s Ruling Communist Party, has long said that it favors Taiwan joining China Peacefully, but that it will Not rule out Force if necessary. The Two split in 1949 during a Civil War, in which the Communists took Control of China and the losing Nationalists retreated to the island of Taiwan.

Campbell, speaking on Friday, said the U.S. would send Warships and Planes through the Taiwan Strait, in the next few weeks, and is developing a Roadmap for Trade Talks with Taiwan, that he said the U.S. intends to announce in the coming days.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Favorites Win HI's Open Primaries

Lt. Gov. Josh Green won the Democratic Primary for Governor, while former State Sen. Jill Tokuda is poised to win the Open 2nd Congressional District.

The favorites in both of Hawaii’s Major Open Primaries won easily in Saturday’s contests, setting them up to be Favorites in the General Elections.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green won a Majority of the Votes in the crowded Democratic Primary to succeed Gov. David Ige (D), who could Not run again due to Term Limits.

Green defeated a field that included: Vicky Cayetano, a former First Lady of the State, and Rep. Kai Kahele, who ran for Governor, instead of running for Re-Election in the State’s 2nd Congressional District.

Green will face Duke Aiona (R), a former Lieutenant Governor, who has previously run for Governor several times, in the General Election.

The Democratic Primary to succeed Kahele in Congress, went to former State Legislator Jill Tokuda, who took a Majority of the Vote over Patrick Branco in a contentious Race.

Outside groups including VoteVets, the Democratic Veterans’ group, poured Money into the Primary opposing Tokuda and backing Branco, a State Representative. But Tokuda ran away with the Democratic Nomination anyway.

She will face Republican Joe Akana in the General Election for the House Seat.

Senator Brian Schatz (D), running for his Second Full Term, had One Primary challenger, Steve Tataii, a First-time Candidate. Four Republicans ran in their Party’s Primary, including Asia LaVonne, a televangelist, and the longtime State Representative Bob McDermott, who won.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Saturday, August 13, 2022

NYC Mayor Signs Laws To Strengthen Abortion Rights

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) joined City Officials, including City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-28th District), at Kings County Hospital Friday, to announce the signing of New Bills, that they say will strengthen Abortion Rights in the City.

“The six bills I signed today ensure that reproductive rights and freedoms are protected under New York City law,” Mayor Adams said.

After the Supreme Court Overturned Roe v Wade in June, Speaker Adams said the Majority-Women City Council wanted to make the Legislation a Priority.

”The Supreme Court’s dangerous decision has already impacted millions of people across the country, especially brown, Black and low income Americans who cannot afford to travel out of states to access the care that they need the most,” Speaker Adams said. “As a Council, we were prepared to act.”

The New Laws require the City:

- To Report the Number of Births and Abortions.

- Prohibit City Agencies from using Resources to detain Abortion Providers.

- Implement more Public Education Programs.

- Create Outreach and Education Campaigns.

- Free Access to FDA-Approved Medications to End Pregnancies at City Department of Health facilities.

For Mayor Adams and his Administration, these Bills continue to Cement New York as a Leader in the Nation.

“If your state doesn’t respect your rights, New Yorkers will. This is our moment and we are going to meet it head on,” the Mayor said.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

House Democratic Chairs Request Federal Intelligence Documents Damage Assessment

The Democratic Chairs of the House Intelligence and Oversight Committees, have asked Federal Intelligence Leadership for a Congressional Briefing, and for a Damage Assessment, after the FBI seized 11 Sets of Classified Documents at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Home earlier this week.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA, 28th District) and House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY, 12th District), requested Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence (DNI), to Conduct an immediate Review following the Search of Trump's home, according to a Letter Saturday. The DNI oversees the Intelligence Community in the Executive Branch.

"Documents show the FBI's search was an evidence-gathering step in a national security investigation about presidential records at Trump's Florida home," Maloney Schiff wrote. "The facts that are now public make clear that a damage assessment is appropriate."

The FBI on Monday with a Search Warrant at Mar-a-Lago, with Agents removing 11 Sets of Classified Documents, some of which were marked as "top secret/SCI", One of the Highest levels of Classification.

Court Documents Unsealed and Released on Friday, identify Three Federal Crimes that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking at as part of its Investigation:

- violations of the Espionage Act

- Obstruction of Justice

- Criminal Handling of Government Records

The Inclusion of the Crimes indicated the DOJ had Probable Cause to Investigate those Offenses as it was gathering Evidence in the Search.

The Letter outlined the House Chairs' specific Requests, including to "instruct the National Counterintelligence Executive, in consultation with the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community and other Inspectors General as appropriate, to conduct a damage assessment." The Letter continued: "In addition, we ask that you commit to providing an appropriate classified briefing on the conduct of the damage assessment as soon as possible. Even as the Justice Department's investigation proceeds, ensuring that we take all necessary steps to protect classified information and mitigate the damage to national security done by its compromise is critically important."

One of Trump's Attorneys signed a Letter in June, asserting that there was No more Classified Information stored at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Residence. The Letter signed by the Attorney raises Fresh Questions about the number of People who may have Legal Exposure in the Ongoing Investigation into the Handling of Classified materials from Trump's time in the White House.

Before the FBI Search Warrant used at Mar-a-Lago was revealed Friday, Schiff lauded Attorney General Merrick Garland's Request to Unseal it, and Trump's Legal Team ultimately agreed to its Release. Schiff also said the House Intelligence Committee would decide whether it would Investigate the FBI's Search of Mar-a-Lago. "Hopefully (the unsealing) will give the public a sense of why the Justice Department made the decision they did. I have great confidence that Garland considered all of the factors in making the decision," he said.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Trump Says He Declassified Mar-a-Lago Documents

Trump said any Sensitive White House Documents found at Mar-a-Lago had been Declassified, but Legal and Presidential Record Experts are skeptical of that Claim, and say that Trump could be in Criminal Jeopardy.

"As the facts stand now, his defense would be, ‘I declassified those documents. I am not therefore in possession of classified documents now,'” said Charles Stimson, a Senior Fellow with the Conservative Heritage Foundation and a former Federal Prosecutor.

The FBI, which executed a Search Warrant at Trump's Florida Resort on Monday, tied to Classified Information Trump allegedly took with him from the White House in January 2021. The Warrant left by Agents indicated they were Investigating possible Violations of Laws dealing with the handling of Classified Material and the Presidential Records Act.

The 1978 Presidential Records Act, which requires Presidents to turn over Documents to the National Archives at the End of their Administration, lacks an Enforcement Mechanism, but there are multiple Federal Laws regarding the handling of Classified Documents. Trump signed One such Law in 2018, increasing the Penalty for "unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material" from One year to Five years in Prison.

But those in Trump’s orbit say that No President is personally bound by the Removal and Retention Rules governing Classified Documents, which can be Declassified if the President simply says they are, according to Ric Grenell, who was Trump’s Acting Director of National Intelligence and who handled highly Classified Information. “There is no approval process for the president of the United States to declassify intelligence. There is this phony idea that he must provide notification for declassification but that’s just silly. Who is he supposed to notify? I think it’s the height of swampism to think the president should seek bureaucrats’ approval,” Grenell said, emphasizing that he wasn’t personally speaking for Trump, but again another Incorrect Statement.

Richard Immerman, a Historian and an Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence in the Obama Administration, said that, while the President has the Authority to Declassify Documents, there’s a Formal Process for doing so, and there's No indication Trump used it. “He can’t just wave a wand and say it’s declassified,” Immerman said. “There has to be a formal process. That’s the only way the system can work,” because otherwise there would be No way of knowing who could handle or see the Documents. “I’ve seen thousands of declassified documents. They’re all marked ‘declassified’ with the date they were declassified,” Immerman said.

That does Not appear to have been the case with some of the Documents that were returned to the National Archives from Mar-a-Lago this year. Archivist David S. Ferriero, an Obama Appointee, said in a Letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in February, that his Agency had "identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes” from Mar-a-Lago.

Kash Patel, a Pentagon Chief of Staff during the Trump Administration, said in May, that the Documents previously Recovered from Mar-a-Lago had been Declassified by Trump, but their Markings were Not updated. “Trump declassified whole sets of materials in anticipation of leaving government that he thought the American public should have the right to read themselves,” Patel said then. “It’s information that Trump felt spoke to matters regarding everything from Russiagate to the Ukraine impeachment fiasco to major national security matters of great public importance — anything the president felt the American people had a right to know is in there and more,” Patel said then, adding that he was with Trump when the then-President said, “We are declassifying this information.” Patel said that the “White House counsel failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings, but that doesn’t mean the information wasn’t declassified.”

"We’ve told him there’s a process and not following it could be a problem but he didn’t care because he thinks this stuff is dumb,” a source said. “His attitude is that he is the president. He is in charge of the country and therefore national security. So he decides.”

Bradley Moss, a Lawyer who Specializes in National Security issues, said, "That's not how it works. Trump could say we're declassifying this until he's blue in the face, but no one is allowed to touch those records until the markings are addressed," He noted that Trump and White House Officials should have been aware that more would be needed to Declassify Documents given their own experience on the Issue. In October 2020, Trump tweeted, “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”

When News Organizations sought to obtain the supposedly Declassified Documents, they were told they were still under wraps. Trump Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, said in a Sworn Court Filing in the Case, “The president indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents.”

In the current Dispute, the apparent Lack of a Paper Trail showing that Trump Declassified the Documents before he left Office could be a Problem for Trump, said Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas School of Law professor who specializes in National Security. “President Trump had the power to declassify whichever documents he wanted to while he was president, but not any longer. So I’m not sure it’s at all obvious that he could now claim that he declassified documents while he was still in office if there’s no evidence to support it,” Vladeck said.

Vladeck said Trump could still face Legal Ramifications regardless, because "some of the criminal statutes that are being discussed apply whether or not the underlying information is classified. The Presidential Records Act and other similar statutes constrain President Trump’s ability to do what he wishes with at least some of the official documents from his tenure, regardless of whether those documents include sensitive national security information," Vladeck said.

Moss said One of the Laws that Prosecutors could theoretically bring to bear against Trump is 18 U.S. Code § 793, "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information." The Law Penalizes "Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book ... or note relating to the national defense" who "through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed." It also Penalizes someone who "willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it."

In this instance, the National Archives said it had been Negotiating with Trump's Team for the Return of Documents since last year, and Moss noted that Trump's Lawyer acknowledged they met with Justice Department as recently as early June about Records that were still Missing. On Thursday, Trump also received a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena demanding the Return of Sensitive Documents the Government believed he'd held onto.

it’s likely any Classified Information that went to Mar-a-Lago was Mishandled en route. When they’re moved you can’t just put them in a briefcase, they’re put in pouches that are double locked and be accompanied by someone.

Noah Bookbinder, President of Government Watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and a former Federal Corruption Prosecutor, said, “If there were people who knew they were removing records they were not supposed to remove, they could have some legal exposure as well.” CREW filed Lawsuits against the Trump Administration for flouting Record Retention Policies, said Trump and his Aides also should have been well aware that the Records they took didn’t belong to them. “These were all presidential records that should have been turned over to the National Archives,” Bookbinder said. “The White House counsel informed Donald Trump and others about their requirements under the Presidential Records Act. It would be hard for them to say they didn’t understand what their obligations are under the law here,” Bookbinder added.

Immerman said he was Distressed at the possibility of Missing Records, especially given Reports of Trump Destroying Government Documents during his time in Office. "We don't know what was destroyed. Speaking as a historian, it is extremely disconcerting and upsetting. At this point, I find it highly doubtful that we will be able to write a thorough and accurate history of the Trump administration. There will be holes in it."

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Judge Hits Project Veritas With Bill After It Tries To Kill Free Speech

Judge hits Project Veritas with a Large Bill after it tries to kill Free Speech.

Project Veritas, run by GOP charlatan James O’Keefe, has been reeling lately. There have been questions surrounding the Legality of their Unethical reporting practices. They have claimed to have been preyed upon by “fraudsters”, and the Climate Change Project Veritas are in denial of trying to have tried to drag its Headquarters back into the sea.

In recent months, Project Veritas has tried to do Two things:

- Pretend that they are Journalists whose First Amendment Rights are being trampled on by a politicized Federal Government.

- Sued The New York Times and a Stanford University Blog to trample on First Amendment Rights.

So far, Project Veritas has Failed to Squash real jurnalists’ Rights to Free Speech and Press.

In May, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly ruled that Project Veritas’ Claims that Stanford University’s School Blog, reporting on how debunked every aspect of Veritas’ Election Fraud Claims were, did Not amount to Defamation. In fact, they were easily provable Facts and Valid Opinions concerning Project Veritas’ attempts to Misinform the Public about Election Fraud claims.

On August 4th, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly finalized the Ruling in the only way Groups like Project Veritas would understand. Judge Zilly ruled that Project Veritas is on the hook for $149,596.90, to be exact.

This is the money that Project Veritas owes to Pay-Off Stanford University’s Legal Fees. It is an important part of this process because the Frivolous nature of the Lawsuit is very specifically how shadowy-backed groups like Project Veritas try and stop Free Speech.

In his Ruling, Judge Zilly pointed out that Stanford’s Accounting of what this ridiculous Lawsuit cost them was clearly very fair.

Zilly also pointed out once again that Project Veritas’ Legal arguments here were as vacuous as every other argument they’ve made in Court. One such argument was Veritas’ disputing $20,000 worth of Stanford’s Legal Fees as they were accrued during Research the University’s Lawyers did for Motions that did Not ultimately find their way into the Decision.

“Although the Court did not ultimately rule on the issue, it would be error for the Court to treat alternative arguments that the Court did not reach as a basis for reducing an attorney fees award.”

One of the Arguments Veritas’ Lawyers made to try and get out of Paying the Legal Fees, was to say they didn’t believe Anti-SLAPP laws (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) could be applied Federally. Opposing Anti-SLAPP Laws, saying that they should Not apply Federally, is arguably the single most Anti-Free Speech position one can take in Court.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker