Friday, May 7, 2021

NASA's New Chief Big on Climate But Hedges on 2024 Moon Landing

NASA’s 14th New Administrator, former U.S. Sen. and former Shuttle Astronaut, Bill Nelson, is Big on tackling Climate and Diversifying the Agency's Workforce, but Hedging on whether the U.S. can put Astronauts on the Moon by 2024.

In his First Interview since becoming NASA’s Top Official this week, He said, on Friday, that Tracking Climate Change is a Top Issue. He also wants to Diversify the Space Agency's Workforce so it Reflects America.

As for Landing Astronauts on the Moon, Nelson said the Goal remains 2024, a Deadline set by the Trump Administration. But he said he needs more time to Review the matter, especially with a Contract Court Protest over 0ver who gets the Contract for the Lunar Lander for Astronauts. “We all know that space is hard,” he said, noting there are often Delays Developing New Technologies. “But the goal is 2024.”

His underlying Vision for NASA: “to explore the heavens with humans and machines."

Nelson said he did Not seek the NASA Administrator Job and had Recommended Three Women to Lead the Space Agency. He said he told the Biden Administration he would Accept the Nomination only if One of the Women could serve as his Deputy. Selected for the Job is former Space Shuttle Commander, Pam Melroy.

Nelson grew up near Cape Canaveral, Graduating from High School a year Before Mercury Astronaut, Alan Shepard, became the First American in Space 60 years ago this week. He went on to Law School and Served in the U.S. Army Reserve during the Vietnam War. After a few Terms in the Florida Legislature, Nelson, a Democrat, won Election to Congress, First in the House and then the Senate, before a 2018 Defeat Ended his Political Career.

It was while Nelson was a Congressman that he Rocketed into Orbit aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in January 1986, just Two weeks before Challenger’s Astronauts Perished during Liftoff.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

LA Close Primary Election Defeated

Open Primaries has played a Leadership Role in Mobilizing Opposition to efforts by Legislators across the Country to enact Closed Primary Elections.

In Louisiana, on General Election Day in November, All Candidates Run on the same Ballot. If No Candidate receives over 50% of the Vote, then the Top-Two Vote-Getters face a Runoff Six weeks later. There is No Primary Date.

Open Primaries is proud to have played a Role in the Defeat of an effort to Close Louisiana’s Primary, the Only Statewide Nonpartisan Primary in the South.

Legislation to Close the Primaries was introduced by State Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R-1st District), following a Recommendation to Close the Primaries by a Bipartisan Task Force of Party Insiders.

Attorney General, Jeff Landry (R) and U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-1st District) were among those Supporting the Effort, along with a Number of Leading Democrats.

Over 800,000 Louisianans, including 200,000 Black Voters, would have been Disenfranchised, had the Bill passed.

Open Primaries worked with Local Leaders, including U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R) and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R), to Oppose the effort.

Nungesser recently gave an impassioned Speech to State GOP Supporters arguing to Keep Louisiana's Primaries Nonpartisan and Open to All Voters.

The Effort to Close Louisiana’s Primaries gained steam when Senator Cassidy Voted to Convict Trump on Charges of Incitement of Insurrection. The LA GOP Executive Committee Censured Cassidy over the Vote, and some Activists pointed to Closed Primaries as a way to Handicap Elected Officials like Senator Cassidy, who has Demonstrated a Willingness to Work across the Aisle on Key Issues.

Bowing to Pressure, Senator Hewitt Withdrew her Legislation.

Open Primaries President, John Opdycke stated: This was a bad bill - closed partisan primaries are designed to help the few at the expense of the many. The real momentum is in the other direction - towards more open and nonpartisan voting systems like Alaskans enacted last November. But it is critical that we play defense as well as offense. That’s how we grow the movement and the conversation.

Open Primaries will continue to Work with their Partners in Louisiana and across the Country to Monitor and Oppose New Attempts to Close Primary Elections and Shut-Out Voters.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Voter Fraud Cases Since 2020 Presidential Election

Despite GOP Rhetoric, there have been fewer than Two dozen Charged Cases of Voter Fraud since the 2020 Presidential Election; One Person has faced Charges for every 10 Million Votes Cast.

Those Charged are:

- A Man in Carol Stream, Illinois, who allegedly filled out an Online Ballot Application for someone who shared his Last Name. It’s Not clear whether the Ballot was provided.

- A Man in Lisle, Illinois, who allegedly Signed a Ballot Certification with someone else’s Name.

- A Woman in Naperville, Illinois, who allegedly Signed a Ballot Certification with someone else’s Name.

- A Woman from Bowdoinham, Maine, who allegedly Voted with an Absentee Ballot for a former Roommate.

- A Woman from Milford, Maine, who reported Herself for Voting Twice, once by Absentee at Home, and Once In-Person at College.

- A Man from Canton, Michigan, who Admitted to Filling Out his Daughter’s ballot when she was at College.

- A Man in Carteret, New Jersey, who allegedly Voted Twice with Different Names.

- A Man in Stockton, New Jersey, who allegedly Submitted a Ballot for a Dead Person.

- A Man in Woodbridge, New Jersey, who allegedly Registered at his Business instead of his Home.

- A Woman in Buckingham, Pennsylvania, who allegedly Signed a Ballot Declaration for her Dead Mother.

- A Man from Media, Pennsylvania, who Admitted to Casting a Ballot for his Dead Mother.

- A Woman in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, who Claims to have Accidentally Mailed a Ballot for her Mother after she Died.

- A Man and Woman from Austin, Texas, who allegedly tried to Vote in Illinois by Claiming Residence. It’s Not clear whether they obtained Ballots.

- A Woman in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, who allegedly Submitted a Ballot for a Dead Person.

That’s it. That’s the total.

You’ll Notice that None of these Incidents hints at some Deeper Conspiracy.

There’s No Allegation that any of these People cast Hundreds of Ballots.

In most Cases, the Allegation centers on casting a Ballot for Someone known to the Person facing Charges.

It’s not even the Case that All of these Ballots were necessarily Cast for Biden. The Man from Media, Pa., Voted for Trump. In most Cases, it’s Not Clear for whom the Vote was intended.

The inevitable Response to this from Die-Hard Advocates of the Idea that Rampant Fraud exists will be some sort of Insistence that these are only the Cases we know about, or that this is the Visible part of the iceberg.

It’s the Sort of Claim that Sustains the Loch Ness Tourist Industry or that prompted Politicians in Russia to Stage Fake Yeti sightings.

The Lure of the Undetectable is part of the Exercise.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

U.S. DOJ Worried About AZ Senate Recount

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) expressed Concern, Wednesday, about Ballot Security and Potential Voter Intimidation arising from the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate’s Unprecedented Private Recount of the 2020 Presidential Election Results in Maricopa County.

In a Letter to GOP Senate President, Karen Fann, the Head of, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said the Senate’s Farming-Out of 2.1 Million Ballots from the State’s Most Populous County, to a Contractor, may Run Afoul of Federal Law requiring Ballots to Remain in the Control of Elections Officials for 22 Months.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Pamela S. Karlan, said that the Senate Contractor’s Plans to Directly Contact Voters could Amount to Illegal Voter Intimidation.

“Past experience with similar investigative efforts around the country has raised concerns that they can be directed at minority voters, which potentially can implicate the anti-intimidation prohibitions of the Voting Rights Act,” Karlan wrote. “Such investigative efforts can have a significant intimidating effect on qualified voters that can deter them from seeking to vote in the future.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

FEC Asks Congress to Ban Prechecked Recurring Donation Boxes

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) Voted Unanimously, on Thursday, to Recommend that Congress Ban Political Campaigns from Guiding Donors, by Default, into Recurring Contributions through Prechecked Boxes.

This is a Month after, a New York Times Investigation, showed that Trump’s Political Operation had steered Huge Numbers of Unwitting Supporters into Repeated Donations through that Tactic.

The Bipartisan Commission, which Serves as the Nation’s Top Election Watchdog Agency, is Divided evenly between Three Democratic Ccommissioners and Three Republicans.

But this Composition often Leads to Stalemate.

Commissioners of Both Parties, including Three Republicans Appointed by Trump, came together to ask Congress to Strengthen Campaign Finance Law to Protect Online Donors.

As someone who is, the U.S. Representative and CIO of a Charity in Kenya, I would rather see the Recurring Box be an Opt-In instead of a Opt-Out.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Republicans Lost 187 State Legislative Seats During Trump Administration

Over the course of Trump's (R) Presidency, Republicans Lost 187 State Legislative Seats.

During All Presidencies since 1921, the President's Party has Lost an Average of 552 State Legislative Seats.

The Net Loss of 187 Republican State Legislative Seats during the Trump Administration was the Smallest Loss of Seats for the President's Party since Harry Truman's (D) Presidency, which saw a Loss of 138 Democratic Seats.

In 61 of the 99 State Legislative Chambers, the Democratic Party held more Seats following the 2020 General Election than it did after the General Election in 2016.

Six State Legislative Chambers in Five States Flipped from Republican to Democratic Control compared to the Start of Trump's Presidency.

In Four States: Colorado, Maine, New York, and Virginia, this resulted in the Creation of Democratic Trifectas, where Democrats Controlled both Chambers as well as the Governorship.

Republicans did Not Gain Control of any Chambers by the End of Trump's Presidency that they did Not already Control at its Start.

The Alaska House of Representatives was Controlled by a Bipartisan Coalition throughout Trump's Presidency.

The Number of State Legislative Seats that Democrats held Increased in 34 States during Trump's Presidency, either by Increasing an already-existing Majority or Narrowing Flipping a Republican Majority.

The Largest Shifts in Democrats' Favor came in: Connecticut, Georgia, and Virginia.

The Number of Seats that Republicans held Increased in 13 States.

The Largest Shifts in Republicans' Favor came in: Kentucky, Louisiana, and West Virginia.

There were No Net Shifts in either Legislative Chamber in: Alaska, Nebraska, or Nevada.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Thursday, May 6, 2021

U.S. Adds Fighter Jets to Protect Afghanistan Withdrawal

The U.S. Military has added a Dozen F-18 Fighter Jets to the Military Assets it is Sending to Protect Troops as they Withdraw from Afghanistan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley told Reporters Thursday.

The F-18s are on Top of the previously announced Six B-52 Bombers sent to Qatar and the Extension of the Deployment of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Region, as well as Elements of an Army Ranger Team sent to Afghanistan.

U.S. Officials are beefing up Force Protection Measures amid Taliban Threats to Attack U.S. Troops as they Withdraw because the U.S. did Not leave by a May 1st Withdrawal Deadline from a Deal the Insurgent Group signed with the Trump Administration in 2020.

On Monday, the Pentagon said there had been some "small harassing attacks" over the Weekend that had No effect on the Withdrawal.

U.S. Forces Afghanistan also reported "ineffective indirect fire" at Kandahar Airfield, on Saturday, which U.S. Forces responded to with an Airstrike that "destroy[ed] additional rockets aimed at the airfield."

On Thursday, Milley said "there have been no attacks against U.S. and coalition forces" since the Withdrawal began.

In general, he said so-called Enemy-initiated Attacks in Afghanistan, have kept about the same pace, of about 80 to 120 per day, since the Withdrawal started, as they have for the past year.

Speaking alongside Milley, Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, added that "the drawdown is going according to plan."

U.S. Central Command, reported Monday, that the Withdrawal was about 2% to 6% complete, including moving about 60 Planeloads of Material out of Afghanistan, identifying about 1,300 Pieces of Equipment to Destroy and Transferring One Base in Helmand to Afghan Army Control.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker