Sunday, November 29, 2020

Trump Supporter Who Gave to Fight Election Fraud Wants Money Back

A Trump Supporter who Donated $2.5 Million to help Expose and Prosecute Voter Fraud Claims in the Presidential Election wants his Money Back after what he says are “disappointing results”.

Fredric Eshelman, a Businessman from North Carolina, the Founder of Eshelman Ventures LLC, a Venture Capital Company, said he gave the Money to “True the Vote”, a Pro-Trump Election Ethics Group in Texas, that Promised to File Lawsuits in Seven Swing States as part of its Push to “investigate, litigate, and expose suspected illegal balloting and fraud in the 2020 general election”.

But according to a Lawsuit Eshelman filed this week in Houston, True the Vote Dropped its Legal Actions and Discontinued its “Validate the Vote 2020 Campaign”, then Refused to Return his Calls when he demanded an explanation.

Eshelman said he asked “regularly and repeatedly” for Updates, the Lawsuit asserts, but that his “requests were consistently met with vague responses, platitudes, and empty promises”.

The Lack of Success of True the Vote’s efforts to Challenge the Outcome appears to Mirror that of Trump, whose Team has Lost 38 Court Actions since the November 3rd Election, most recently in Pennsylvania where a Federal Appeals Court Panel blasted Trump’s Legal Team for filing a Case with No Merit.

True the Vote did post a Statement on its website, attributed to the Group’s Founder and President, Catherine Engelbrecht, seeking to Blame outside forces for the Failure of its efforts.

“While we stand by the voters’ testimony that was brought forth, barriers to advancing our arguments, coupled with constraints on time, made it necessary for us to pursue a different path,” the Group said, Announcing that it had Withdrawn Legal Filings in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. “Our mission is much bigger than just one election. It is about repairing the system for all future elections,” it continued.

All Four States Won by Democratic President-Elect, Joe Biden.

Like the Trump Campaign’s own Legal Filings, which have been based on Scant Evidence, however, the True the Vote Statement did Not Detail any of the Proof it claimed it had to Support the Allegations of Election Fraud.

Eshelman, the Former Chief Executive of a Pharmaceutical Company, claims in his Lawsuit that the Non-Profit offered to Refund him $1 Million, if he would Drop his Plan to Sue the Group.

He is seeking the Return of the Full $2.5 Million,that he says he Wired on Engelbrecht’s Instructions in Chunks of $2 Million on Nov. 5th and $500,000 on November 13th, and wants a Full Report on how his Money was spent.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Trump Makes Legal Moves to Fire Federal Employees in Attempt to Sabotage Biden Administration

As Trump’s tenure in the Oval Office winds down, his Administration is looking to leave a lasting Effect on Federal Civil Service Employment. The Administration is seeking to Remove Legal Protections for 88% of the Federal Workforce and ultimately make it much easier for Career Employees to be Fired. At least One Congressional Democrat said the move appears calculated to Undermine the incoming Biden Administration.

The effort to Destabilize the Federal Work Force stems from an Executive Order signed by the Trump late last month. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reportedly moving swiftly to ensure that it’s Implemented before Trump leaves Office on Jan. 20th.

Under the Order, Political Appointees in the White House sent every Federal Agency a List of Positions that should be Reclassified as “Schedule F” Roles, meaning the Employees could be Terminated for a Number of Reasons including: Poor Performance or Failing to Carry Out the Administration’s stated Priorities. The Deadline for the Reclassification is Jan. 19th, One day prior to Inauguration.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA, 8th District), on Friday Nov. 27th, said that Trump put the Rrder in Motion, believing he would win a Second Term, in order to Oust Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Nation’s Leading Virologist and the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), over his Refusal to tow the Administration’s Line regarding the Resurgent Coronavirus Pandemic.

However, as it’s become increasingly clear that President-Elect Joe Biden will take Office on January 20th, Beyer said Trump’s Plan is likely geared towards Sabotaging the New Administration by embedding Political Loyalists into previously Protected Positions.

“But once it became clear Trump lost the election, a new goal came into view: sabotaging President-elect Biden. Sometime in the last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) produced a memo which reclassified **88%** of its workers as Schedule F,” Beyer wrote. “Trump now believes he can fire nearly everyone at OMB at will. More agencies are likely to follow OMB in reclassifying portions of their workforces as Schedule F soon. Trump likely hopes to replace swathes of the career federal workforce with loyalists.”

Ronald Sanders, One of the Administration’s Top Civil Service Advisors, Resigned in Protest last month over the Directive, saying it was “nothing more than a smoke screen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the President, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process.”

“I simply cannot be part of an Administration that seeks . . . to replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance. Career Federal employees are legally and duty-bound to be nonpartisan; they take an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution and the rule of law . . . not to be loyal to a particular President or Administration,” Sanders wrote in his Letter of Resignation.

House Democrats are attempting to Block the Order from taking effect, with 24 Committee Chairs, on Wednesday, Signing onto a Letter demanding a “full accounting of political appointees who have already been hired into career positions or are being considered for such conversions.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Inequality of Student Loan Debt Creates Possible Biden Policy Shift

The potential Forgiveness of Student Loan Debt could be One of the Biggest Policy Shifts in the First Months of the incoming Biden Administration.

The Disproportionate Impact of the Debt on Students of Color, meanwhile, could be further Accentuated in the New Year, as the Freeze on Federal Student Loan Payments that was implemented by the Trump Administration amid the Coronavirus Pandemic ends at the end of December.

According to a Federal Reserve Survey released earlier this year, more than 40% of Americans who attended College, about 30% of All U.S. Adults, had at least some Student Debt last year. The Government currently holds $1.57 Trillion in Student Loan Debt.

It's not known what Percentage of that belongs to Students of Color, but a Study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2016 showed that 90% of Black Students and 72% of Latino Students take out Federal Loans when Paying for College, compared to 66% of White Students.

A 2019 New York Fed Analysis showed that the Default Rate on Student Loans in Zip Codes that were either Majority Black or Latino were 17.7% and 13%, respectively, both Higher than the 9% Default Rate found in Majority White Zip Codes.

A Study from Brandeis University's Institute on Assets and Social Policy found that "twenty years after starting college, the median debt of White borrowing students has been reduced by 94 percent - with almost half holding no student debt - whereas Black borrowers at the median still owe 95 percent of their cumulative borrowing total."

All of this, coupled with the Fact that amid the Pandemic, Unemployment Rates for Black and Latino Americans remain Higher than the National Average, could see the Student Loan Debt Crisis Snowball come January.

Approximately "22 million borrowers will have to resume their payments," Andrew Pentis, a Certified Student Loan Counselor who writes for Student Loan Hero, said. "The vast majority of the eligible federal loan borrowers did take advantage of this break in the sense that they did not make payments," he added. "If this suspension does end at the end of the year, it will absolutely disproportionately affect Black student loan borrowers."

Seth Frotman, Executive Director of the Student Borrower Protection Center, said that "there's a very dangerous convergence between the communities that has been hit hardest by the student debt crisis, and hit hardest by the fallout of the pandemic,"

Among Biden's wide-ranging Laundry List of Education Policy Reforms, the Former Vice President has signaled that he's in Favor of Canceling $10,000 of Student Debt for Every Individual Borrower, Doubling Pell Grants, Improving the existing Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and offering Free Public Education to Students who come from Households earning less than $125,000 a year, an idea that was originally pitched in Congress by Progressive Lawmakers Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA, 7th District).

"It's holding people up. They're in real trouble. They're having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying their rent," Biden said this month.

However, there is Friction between the Incoming Administration and Progressives on how the Reforms, specifically Automatic Student Loan Forgiveness, should be Implemented.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who considers the Cancellation of Student Debt a necessary aspect of the U.S.'s Economic Recovery, have pushed for Biden to Eliminate up to $50,000 from every Borrower, and for him to do it through an Executive Order on day One of his Presidency.

"The President of the United States has the power to broadly cancel student loan debt, help close the racial wealth gap, and give a big boost to families and our economy," Warren said in a Statement.

Biden has balked at the $50,000 figure and the idea of using Executive Action, although such an action would most likely be within his Presidential Powers.

Getting Student Loan Debt Forgiveness of even $10,000 per Borrower through Congress could be a Tough Task, with or without a Control of the Senate. Senate Republicans Agreed to an Initial Freeze of Student Loan Payments in the Multi-Trillion Dollar Coronavirus Relief CARES Act in March, but didn't Support an Extension of the Freeze in their Failed Proposal for another Stimulus Package in July.

While the Freeze was ultimately Extended by Trump in August, the Outgoing President and his Allies have previously stated their Opposition to Large-Scale Debt Forgiveness such as Biden has Proposed.

The Right-Leaning Center for a Responsible Federal Budget said in a Report that Widespread Student Loan Debt Forgiveness would act "poorly" as Economic Stimulus and that it's "unlikely that broad student debt cancellation would be well-targeted toward those experiencing income loss."

Frotman, however, said that Biden has an "unique opportunity." "The incoming administration, a new secretary of education has the ability to fundamentally reform the student loan system and dramatically limit the amount of student loan debt that tens of millions of Americans have," he said.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Status of Border Wall for 2020

The Verdict on the U.S.–Mexico Border Wall Trump Promised to Construct is decidedly Mixed as the year comes to a close.

The “big, beautiful wall,” as Trump referred to it, reached 400 miles in Length by the End of October, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a Ceremony hailing the Achievement. But almost All Construction was Designed to Replace existing Barriers: Just Nine miles of New Fencing have been put up at previously Empty Sections of the Border.

This is Not nothing, given that much of the Existing Border Fencing was in need of an Upgrade. Some stretches of the Barrier were Dilapidated, while New Barriers will consist of Steel Bollards up to 30 feet high, with Improved Access Roads, Cameras, Lighting, and other Features that make Breaching the Barrier more Difficult, but as shown Not Impossible. However, Trump’s efforts to Vastly Expand the Length of the Barrier Failed, and was Replaced by a more Modest Renovation.

The story of the Border Wall Renovation reads rather like Trump’s efforts in the 1990s to Develop a Real-Estate Tract on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. What Trump proposed as “Television City,” a gleaming Development by the Hudson River that would include Residential buildings as well as a Massive Skyscraper, foundered on Bureaucratic inertia, Fierce opposition by Residents, and Trump’s own Financial problems. Trump Sold the Real Estate Parcel to Investors from Hong Kong, and the Resulting Development, Riverside South, is an Unremarkable Residential complex with Trump's Name removed.

Similarly, the Visions of a Wall running along the Entire 1,933 mile Southern bBrder that Trump sold on the 2016 Campaign Trail have Not come to fruition. The Trump Administration faced a continuous stream of Lawsuits aiming to Halt or Slow Construction. Democratic Lawmakers Opposed any Funding for Construction at all. Property Owners on the Border also fought the Administration for attempting to Seize their Land through Declarations of Eminent Domain.

Trump’s attempts to Fund the Project have ended in a gambit to circumvent Congress. During Budget Negotiations in Fall 2018, Democrats in Congress pushed to Cap Funding for Border Operations at $1.6 Billion. However, Trump Refused to Approve the Budget if it didn’t include $5 Billion in Border Wall Funds, and the spat led to the Longest Federal Government Shutdown in U.S. History. By February 2019, Trump caved and Signed the Budget Bill without additional Funding, so Trump resorted to Declaring a National Emergency at the Southern Border in order to Divert Pentagon Funds for Wall Construction.

The Trump Administration was able to turn back “Caravans” of Illegal Immigrants arriving at the Southern Border that year. However, the National Emergency Declaration drew Opposition from Republican Senators including Ben Sasse (R-NE), concerned about a possible Overreach of Executive Power. Sasse ultimately Voted against formally condemning Trump’s Emergency Declaration, arguing that the Declaration did not Exceed the Bounds of what he considers to be an overly Broad National Emergency Statute.

The Supreme Court in November 2020 agreed to hear a Case Challenging the Constitutionality of the Emergency Declaration; it is possible that the Court will Rule that the Diversion of Pentagon Funds to Finance Border-Wall Construction was Unconstitutional. The Cash Trump recognized included $2.5 Billion in Protection Division Cash, $3.6 Billion from Navy Building Funds, and $600 Million from the Treasury Division’s Asset Forfeiture Fund.

The First Case on the Supreme Court Docket concerned simply the $2.5 Billion in Protection Division Dunds. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Trump Administration on behalf of the Sierra Membership and Southern Border Communities Coalition. California led the same Lawsuit on behalf of a Number of States. Trump Lost that Case.

By the End of April 2020, the Trump Administration had Siphoned at least $10 Billion in Pentagon Funds for Wall Construction. According to Planning Documents, the Administration estimated that Construction of 500 miles of New Barrier would average out to roughly $36 Million per Mile. This will be a 2021 Supreme Court Case.

After the Budgetary Maneuvers, Court Challenges, and other Obstacles, the Current Barriers are Scheduled to reach 450 Miles by the End of the year if Construction continues apace. The Result is nowhere near Trump’s Grand Ambitions.

The Projects may sit Idle during the Biden Administration. Biden has already Promised to Overhaul Immigration Policies, including Halting Construction of the Barrier, and a Full Review of the Border Needs, once he takes Office.

Federal Contractors are at work on New Sections of Barrier, so the New Administration would need to follow Current Regulatory Law if it decided to Terminate Contracts.

“Generally, the [contract] clauses treat the government more favorably, much more favorably, than if it was in the commercial world. There is an established regulatory process to stop these contracts, if the president should so decide, in an efficient and orderly manner that will also fairly compensate the contractors for the work that has been performed.” John Horan, a Georgetown University Law Professor specializing in Government Contracts said.

Meanwhile, even before the Election, Progressive Groups began urging Biden not only to Stop Construction but to Tear Down Sections of Barrier that have already been built. “The construction of this unlawful border wall has desecrated tribal lands, leveled wildlife preservations, and destroyed border communities,” ACLU Staff Attorney, Dror Ladin said. “Every unlawful mile of wall should be taken down, and the government must work with border communities to undo the damage that wall construction has already inflicted.”

Just how much of the Border Wall is “unlawful” could be the Subject of Future Legal Battles. For example, should the Supreme Court Rule that the Trump Administration’s Diversion of Pentagon Funds toward Barrier Construction was Unconstitutional, that could indicate that some Sections of Barrier were Built Illegally and thus give more Leverage to Democrats’ calling for their Destruction.

Of course, Tearing Down Walls, like Building them, is Expensive. And Rolling Back Trump’s Immigration Policies may take time,. Biden will take Office amid an Ongoing Pandemic, and presumably Vaccine-Distribution efforts will be a Priority.

If History is any indication, Government action on a Border Wall will remain somewhat detached from Reality. Congress Passed the Secure Fence Act in 2006, Mandating the Construction of Double-Layered Fencing across 670 miles of the U.S.-Mexico Border, but the “second layer” never Materialized. Just as Trump’s promised Wall, running from the Gulf of Mexico to California, turned out to be mostly an Expensive Renovation of Existing Barriers.

Now, in a Biden Administration, Progressives will call to Tear Down the Refurbished Barriers. But their Dream of Toppling Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” was made Impossible by Trump’s Failure to Build it in the First Place.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

House Dems Subpoena ICE Detention Facility Over Allegations of Medical Abuse

House Democrats Subpoenaed a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Private Prison Firm, Wednesday Nov. 25th, after it Refused to hand over Documents related to Allegations of Medical Abuse and Covid Safety Hazards among Undocumented Immigrants.

Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS, 2nd District), Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY, 12 District), Chair of the Oversight Committee, issued the Subpoena after having launched Investigations into LaSalle Corrections, which Runs the Irwin County Detention Center, back in September.

Dawn Wooten, a Nurse at the Georgia Facility, alleged at the time that Women held at the Detention Center underwent Sterilizations without their Consent. Wooten also alleged the Facility Routinely Violated Guidelines for Mitigating the Spread of Coronavirus.

LaSalle Corrections has a Contract with ICE, which the Firm said Prohibited it from Sharing Documents without ICE's Consent. But Thompson and Maloney Dismissed the Argument, leading to their Wednesday Subpoena. Thompson and Maloney also said the Firm Refused to provide a Copy of its Contract with ICE.

“Despite the seriousness of the allegations taking place at their facility, LaSalle has stonewalled our Committees since we began our investigation in September,” Thompson and Maloney said in a Statement. “By refusing to provide even the most basic information about the treatment and care provided — at taxpayer expense — to women detained at ICDC, LaSalle is actively obstructing the Committees’ efforts to examine the troubling allegations and get answers to the American people.”

The Allegations of Nonconsensual Gynecological Operations caused Furor among Congressional Democrats earlier this Fall, and the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General launched its Own Investigation into the Allegations.

“If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees,” ICE Acting Director, Tony Pham, said in a September Statement.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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