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The Washington Report: November 13, 2020 … “Tin Foil Hat Stuff”
13 Nov 2020

The Washington Report: November 13, 2020 … “Tin Foil Hat Stuff”

The Most Secure Election In History … Reality … Biden’s Math Mandate … Tin Foil Hat Stuff … A Time To Remember The Long Game … Georgia On My Mind … 10 Million … Greatest Golf Shot Ever! … and other news of the week.
Joyce Rubenstein
Capstone National Partners

#1 … 2020 Was The Most Secure Election In History

“The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double checking the entire election process prior to finalizing the result. “When states have close elections, many will recount ballots. All of the states with close results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary. This is an added benefit for security and resilience. This process allows for the identification and correction of any mistakes or errors. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
… “While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too…”
– Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, (CISA) Part of the Department of Homeland Security
About CISA … CISA safeguard’s the Nation’s Cyber and critical Infrastructure

Update On Where Things Stand

theSkimm “[Tump] is still refusing to concede. And is doubling down on his claims that voter fraud is behind Biden’s win. To be clear: US election officials and a team of international election observers have said there’s no evidence of voter fraud.
What’s Biden saying about all of this? Well, he thinks Trump’s refusal to concede is “an embarrassment.” And his transition team is considering legal action against the General Services Administration (the federal agency that helps oversee the transfer of power) because it has yet to officially recognize him as the winner. It’s blocking him from getting $6.3 million in funds for his transition or from receiving any presidential briefings that the president-elect would usually get. But it’s not affecting his transition plans that much. Yesterday, Biden named his longtime aide Ron Klain as his chief of staff and he hopes to announce more members of his Cabinet before Thanksgiving.”

Biden’s Math Mandate

Despite the tight count in key states, Joe Biden matched the election results Trumpworld labeled a “mandate” in 2016 (see chart above).  The president-elect received 75.7 million votes as of yesterday, with counting still underway in vote-rich California. That’s roughly six million more than the record 69.5 million votes Barack Obama received in 2008, and marks the second consecutive time a Democrat has beaten Trump in the popular vote.

Trump’s Crazy And Confoundingly Successful Conspiracy Theory

“The shocking lack of specifics, which Trump’s critics mock as laughably unserious for something so consequential, is not a deficiency. It is the feature of his strategy. Trump is not making a narrow, surgical, legally feasible case to enhance his chances to still be living in the White House come January 21. (That’s … improbable.) He’s not doing this, either, to win the argument. (It’s mathematically impossible.) He’s doing it, say political strategists, longtime Trump watchers and experts on authoritarian tactics, to sow doubt, save face and strengthen even in defeat his lifeblood of a bond with his political base.
And it’s … working. Seven in 10 Republicans, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll earlier this week, believe the election was stolen from their candidate.
… Trump, after all, started preparing for what he was going to do if he lost this election before the last election. And he simply could not be doing what he’s doing at this stage if he hadn’t been doing it for this long. “He’s able to do this now,” said Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian of authoritarians, fascism and propaganda, “because of all that he’s already set up.”

… It goes way back. “Donald is a believer in the big-lie theory,” one of Trump’s lawyers told Marie Brenner for a story in Vanity Fair 30 years ago this fall. “If you say something again and again, people will believe you.”

Trump is an expert liar. The foundation of his existence is lies. He’s not self-made. He’s not a good businessman, manager or boss. He’s an insider instead of an outsider. He’s not been somehow singularly a victim but rather spectacularly privileged and lucky. “He is not who he says he is,” former Trump casino executive Jack O’Donnell told me this past August. “He is,” Trump biographer Michael D’Antontio said, “a walking lie.”
… The stakes are sky-high, and the collateral damage to America’s democracy could be lasting and profound, but Trump is doing what Trump has always done. He’s spinning a myth to serve his own interest. He’s doing what he believes he needs to do to put at least himself in the best possible position for the future after yet another failure. “This isn’t about winning the presidency,” former Trump publicist Alan Marcus told me this week. “It’s his exit strategy.”
To Read Politico Magazine Article: CLICK HERE.

#2 Reality

… CNN and NBC joined Fox and AP in calling Arizona for President-elect Biden. Biden projected to win Georgia (with a 14,000 vote lead) and PA (where he has a 63k lead) and Trump won North Carolina.
… On Saturday, the Business Roundtable — which represents CEOs of the most powerful companies in America — congratulated President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris.
… trade groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation congratulated Biden on his victory
… “This election result won’t be overturned. Recounts occasionally change margins in the hundreds, never in the tens of thousands.”- Karl Rove, in the WSJ, “
… “false vote-fraud claims “appear to be motivated in part because the president doesn’t like to lose, and never admits loss. … “I’m more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials, who clearly know better, are going along with this, are humoring him in this fashion. It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally. And that’s a dangerous path.”- President Obama, told Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes”
Former Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) tweeted a Mediaite story on Sunday evening detailing what the outlet described as “a bonkers conspiracy theory” that Matt Schlapp — who is also the chairman of the American Conservative Union — advanced at press conference in Las Vegas. “Tin foil hat stuff,” she wrote.

Map Du Jour

Axios … Most world leaders … congratulated Biden shortly after his victory was declared on Saturday.

#3 A Time To Remember The Long Game

… and the generations that built before us, and will after us.

Preparing For A Biden Presidency

Politico “With Saturday’s election of President-elect Joe Biden, K Street is staring down its second presidential changing of the guard in four years. In his victory speech Saturday night, the incoming commander in chief laid out an expansive agenda and hit the ground running Monday by immediately forming his own coronavirus task force. Lobbyists are preparing for more than just the reversal of key Trump-era policies …
Key TakeAways:
  • The biggest change is going be the decentralization in authority,” … We’ve been living in this environment where the White House is the center of power and the agencies don’t have independent authority to do anything of significance without the White House being engaged and obviously that’s going to change.” … notting that the switch from appealing to an “audience of one” to more Cabinet and agency involvement will be a “huge one.”
  • There are an array of issues on Biden’s plate, from urgent pandemic relief and economic stimulus to climate change and infrastructure.
  • “In all likelihood, President-elect Biden is set to inherit a status quo Congress and will need to navigate a delicate policy tightrope with Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell. … Accomplishing his more sweeping proposals could face stiff headwinds with control of the Senate still up in the air.”


Georgia On My Mind

theSkimm “Georgia is going to be recounting presidential votes in the state…by hand (to be completed by Nov 20th).  Right now, Biden’s leading in the state by over 14,000 votes. Officials have said it’s unlikely to change the results ( Biden’s lead). NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS Biden already has enough electoral votes to secure the presidency. But still, the recount puts even more attention on Georgia, where two Senate races are facing a runoff election (think of it as a rematch, since no candidate reached the criteria needed to win) in January. Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are trying to unseat Republican incumbent Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue respectively. And remember: whoever wins in Georgia could help solidify control of the Senate. Axios “Sen. David Perdue, whose upcoming Georgia runoff will help determine which party controls the Senate, has been President Trump’s top loyalist in the upper chamber,


… Republicans are two seats away from a majority after the AP called the Alaska Senate race for Republican Dan Sullivan.

House Priorities

BGOV “House Democrats, reckoning with a disappointing election showing this year, are still expected to hold their majority while losing a handful of seats to Republican challengers. The AP hasn’t yet called every House race, but projections at this time show Democrats are most likely to keep control. At least six incumbent Democrats have lost re-election bids, despite earlier projections that they could gain up to 15 seats. In the 2018 mid-term elections Democrats took the chamber after they netted 41 seats; the largest single-year pick-up since the post-Watergate midterms of 1974. But some of those new Democrats were among the party’s losers Tuesday.
In the coming weeks, Capstone will be looking at what to expect in both the House & Senate, here is a brief overview …
  • Administration: Elections and voting rights are likely to remain as top priorities in the next Congress, as Democrats are likely to once again push a bill to expand voting rights, protect whistleblowers, and crack down on potential conflicts of interest in the executive branch.
  • Agriculture: The Committee will hash out additional coronavirus pandemic aid for farmers and ranchers, and could take action on the long-awaited reauthorization of child nutrition programs and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  • Appropriations: Big changes are under discussion by Democrats in the three-way campaign to lead the Appropriations Committee, including a return to earmarks and an end to the decades-old ban on federal funds for abortions. … Before lawmakers can focus on proposals for the 117th Congress, they first must fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2021; Congress faces a Dec. 11 deadline to avoid a shutdown.
  • Armed Services: Strong national security, powered by innovation and competition, and paid for by a “reasonable” budget will be the overarching theme for Rep. Adam Smith’s (D-Wash.) leadership.
  • Budget: A recession, a federal debt nearly the size of the U.S. economy, and a Democratic caucus divided over fiscal policy will put the pressure on Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) as he preps a fiscal 2022 budget resolution in the 117th Congress.
  • Education and Labor: Democrats  … will renew efforts to make college more affordable and raise wages for workers in 2021, but the timing of those priorities will be determined by Congress’s pandemic response.
  • Energy and Commerce: … agenda similar to last session’s: advance environmental protection and clean energy, strengthen the Affordable Care Act, and safeguarding consumers’ data privacy.
  • Financial Services:  Addressing the continuing housing crisis and other economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic will stay the top priority next year. Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) can be expected to continue pushing legislation to extend rental and mortgage assistance to jobless tenants and homeowners facing eviction or foreclosure. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) will likely stay in place as the committee’s top Republican, though a House GOP leadership shuffle could propel him to a conference-elected post.
  • Foreign Affairs: Democrats will likely look to reshape U.S. diplomacy and presidential war authority. Three members are vying to succeed Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who lost his primary, and the outcome is uncertain.
  • Homeland Security: Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wants his Committee to have full oversight of the Homeland Security Department’s myriad of agencies, assuming jurisdiction from other powerful committees. Immigration also ranks high on his priorities list.
  • Judiciary: Reining in big tech, changing immigration policies, and addressing police conduct will top the House Judiciary Committee’s to-do list with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) likely to remain chairman.
  • Natural Resources: Climate change and environmental justice legislation will top the agenda for the House Committee on Natural Resources. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) intends to keep the panel’s gavel for the next term and there are no challengers.
  • Oversight and Reform: Scrutinizing the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, overseeing the U.S. Postal Service, and getting an accurate Census count will continue. This will be the first full term for committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who took over after Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) died in October 2019.
  • Rules: House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) wants Congress to take back its Constitutional powers in the year ahead.  His committee began holding hearings on reclaiming congressional authority in the 116th Congress, but Covid-19 put plans on hold.
  • Science, Space, and Technology: Most likely  Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) will continue to hold onto the gavel. Johnson has pushed for more federal research activities to prepare for extreme weather events.
  • Small Business: Committee members will likely have their hands full for the foreseeable future dealing with the pandemic’s unprecedented effects on local economies and businesses. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) will continue to oversee those efforts.
  • Transportation and Infrastructure: Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) will return to Congress with a clear goal: reauthorize surface transportation programs. DeFazio will likely use Democrats’ $500 billion highway, transit, and rail bill from this Congress as the starting point for talks next year.
  • Veterans’ Affairs: Reducing suicides and addressing the pandemic will likely be a top priority for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
  • Ways and Means: Pandemic relief will top the agenda for likely Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.). Neal and other House Democrats will also turn their attention to how they can tweak or change the 2017 Republican tax law, such as removing its $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions. Other changes that have been discussed by Democrats include increasing the corporate income tax to 28%, from 21%, and increasing the tax on those making more than $400,000 a year. But such changes will be unlikely if the Republicans hold on to the Senate.”


What’s Got People On High Alert

COVID-19 “Cases around the world are spiking again, including in the US. Earlier this week, the US surpassed 10 million cases – just ten days after hitting 9 million. Now, one health expert is warning that the US is on track to topping 200,000 new cases a day, after 150,000 reported in a single day, yesterday. And we’re learning that hospitalizations are breaking records too. One analysis found that nearly 62,000 patients in the US were hospitalized with the virus – an all-time high and a 40% rise from two weeks ago. The West and Midwest are being hit particularly hard, but the virus’s surge is widespread. Texas [and California) have more than 1 million coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, California and New York are issuing new restrictions to combat the virus (think: things like stopping or limiting indoor dining and capping get-togethers at 10 people).
“… Health officials warned that a fall coronavirus surge was likely as temperatures started to dive and people traded in their long walks for socializing indoors. Now, that surge appears to be in full swing. And officials are warning it may get worse in the next few months.

Guidelines For Thanksgiving

…This week, the CDC updated its guidelines on how to celebrate Thanksgiving so you can protect yourself and your family. Its recommendation: celebrate with the people in your home. If you’re going to a gathering, make it an outdoor one. And bring your own food, utensils, and drinks. It’s also important to set expectations about testing and limit exposure or quarantine in advance of a get-together. And as always, don’t forget the basics: mask up (it’s protecting you and others), wash your hands, and social distance. Winter is coming. And the US could be in for a dark one. While the holidays may be a time to celebrate with family and friends, remember that making sacrifices now to limit the spread can save lives and get us all back to ‘normal’ sooner.


The Trickiest Vaccine In U.S. History

Axios “The best coronavirus news so far … Pfizer [this week] took a huge step toward a COVID-19 vaccine, reporting that its candidate was effective in over 90% of uninfected clinical trial patients. Reality check: It’s a giant and welcome development, but the pandemic will be with us long after vaccine distribution begins.
  • By the numbers: Pfizer expects to have 50 million doses available by year-end and 1.2 billion doses available during 2021. Each regimen requires two shots, so halve those figures to determine the number of people who can be treated.
  • The U.S. government has already purchased 100 million doses, with an option to buy another 500 million. That could theoretically cover America’s 255 million adults, and most of those under 18 (although Pfizer just began testing on teens and no vaccine developer has yet enrolled kids).
  • And this is just for the Pfizer vaccine. Three others are in Phase 3 clinical trials in the U.S.


Treat Yourself To The Greatest Golf Shot Ever

Jon Rahms at the Masters. Click Here.

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