Wednesday News: Every vote should count


DEM GROUPS FILE LAWSUIT OVER ABSENTEE BALLOT "CURES": Several Democratic groups sued on Tuesday demanding that North Carolina block a provision requiring residents to cast their vote over from scratch if a witness fails to sign or provide an address on the envelope containing their absentee ballot. State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said in a memo last month that envelopes lacking a witness name, signature or address are declared “spoiled," and a new ballot must be mailed to the voter. The requirement violates the state constitution, in part because it places an undue burden on the right to vote for those without the required witness information, the lawsuit filed in Wake County court says. It argues that the registered voter could miss out on voting due to delays in receiving a new ballot.

TRUMP IN NC BLAMES BIDEN FOR PROTESTS, SAYS HARRIS SHOULDN'T BE FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT: He sharply criticized what he called the “violent extremists, agitators (and) anarchists” who threaten American cities and suburbs. As he’s done before, he sought to link Biden to violent protesters. Biden has denounced street violence and drawn a distinction between looting and peaceful protests. “Biden’s plan is to appease the domestic terrorists, my plan is to arrest them,” Trump said. “These are Biden supporters, and if he wins they’ll be in charge of your government.” In Trump’s speech, he also took aim at Kamala Harris, who is running on Biden’s ticket for vice president, mispronouncing her name and criticizing her standing when she ran for president. “She could never be the first woman president,” Trump said. “That would be an insult to our country.” Trump gave shout-outs to Tillis, who is seeking re-election against Cal Cunningham, as well as Forest, who is running against Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Trump blamed Cooper for not opening the state and for keeping most of the Republican convention out of Charlotte.

BIDEN IS FOCUSING ON MICHIGAN, PENNSYLVANIA, AND WISCONSIN, TO FLIP THEM BACK TO BLUE: In 2016, Donald Trump tore down Democrats’ “blue wall,” winning the White House with surprise victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. This year, Joe Biden is trying to rebuild. The Democratic presidential nominee's first pandemic-era campaign trips beyond his home in Delaware are taking him to all three states, an indication of how closely Biden's electoral prospects are tied to his ability to flip those political battlegrounds. Last week, Biden traveled to Wisconsin and was followed quickly by running mate Kamala Harris, who held her own events there on Labor Day. On Wednesday, Biden heads to Michigan to tout a plan for boosting U.S. manufacturing. He also has two stops scheduled this week in Pennsylvania. Though the Biden campaign often emphasizes that it sees multiple ways to secure the 270 Electoral College votes it needs to win in November, the quickest path runs through Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

BARR HAS DOJ TAKE OVER DEFENSE OF TRUMP IN RAPE/DEFAMATION LAWSUIT: The Justice Department on Tuesday intervened in the defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says President Trump raped her years ago, moving the matter to federal court and signaling it wants to make the U.S. government — rather than Trump himself — the defendant in the case. In filings in federal court in Manhattan, the Justice Department asserted that Trump was “acting within the scope of his office as President of the United States” when he denied during interviews in 2019 that he had raped journalist E. Jean Carroll more than two decades ago in a New York City department store. Carroll sued Trump over that denial in November. The maneuver removes the case — at least for now — from state court in New York, where a judge last month had rejected Trump’s bid for a delay and put Carroll’s team back on course to seek a DNA sample and an under-oath interview from the president. It also means that Justice Department lawyers will be essentially aiding Trump’s defense, and taxpayers could be on the hook for any potential damages, if the U.S. government is allowed to stand in for Trump. Winning damages against the government, though, would be more unlikely than in a suit against Trump, as the notion of “sovereign immunity” gives the government and its employees broad protection from lawsuits.

ASTRAZENECA HALTS TRIALS OF CORONAVIRUS VACCINE AS TEST SUBJECT BECOMES SERIOUSLY ILL: The company said it was “working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline” and that it was “committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.” A person familiar with the situation, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the participant had been enrolled in a Phase 2/3 trial based in the United Kingdom. The individual also said that a volunteer in the U.K. trial had been found to have transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the spinal cord and is often sparked by viral infections. However, the timing of this diagnosis, and whether it was directly linked to AstraZeneca’s vaccine, is unclear. AstraZeneca declined to comment on the location of the participant and did not confirm the diagnosis of transverse myelitis. “The event is being investigated by an independent committee, and it is too early to conclude the specific diagnosis,” the company said. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is currently in Phase 2/3 trials in England and India, and in Phase 3 trials in Brazil, South Africa and more than 60 sites in the United States. The company intended for its U.S. enrollment to reach 30,000.



Breaking out the Ban Hammer

If you got up early enough you may have noticed some comments which have since been deleted. While we are willing to entertain a diversity of viewpoints, describing BLM and/or Antifa as "Marxist" or "Communist" is neither accurate nor constructive. In fact, it's bullshit like that which inspired a 17 year-old sociopath to shoot up protesters in Kenosha, killing one of them.

There are countless places on the Internet where someone can "air" their right-wing propaganda-inspired nonsense, but BlueNC is not one of them.

I'm noticing ....

... on some student newspapers sites around NC, some non-student commenters that are spreading COVID misinformation, racist crap, etc and leaving email addresses that correspond to a highly secure email service in the Netherlands used by right-wing militia types.

Some of the comments invite you to email them for more information. I tested a couple with "throwaway" emails I have and, indeed, they direct you to websites connected to violent right-wing militia movements here in the US or Europe.

So, yeah, watch those comments carefully...

The real question about Barr's maneuver...

is will the federal court actually take up this case based on the DoJ filing. It seems unlikely to me, since the whole theory is that he was acting as president when he denied Carroll's accusation. There was nothing about that action that was being done in the public interest, but only in Trump's private interest, which does not come within the scope of sovereign immunity at all. Hopefully, the federal court will quickly rule against this end-run around the state courts and Trump will be back where he very hot water.

That was my take, too

The DOJ really does not have standing in this case. And Congress needs to take this nonsense up in one of the Committees (Judiciary?), because this is a blatant misuse of government resources for personal gain.

The other real question ...

... is whether Barr is doing this to establish a legal precedent for an imperial Presidency, allowing Trump to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not be prosecuted for it. Or if Trump is getting Barr to "handle this" because his lawyers told him that he couldn't win and to just settle the damn case. Or if Trump's personal lawyers are grumbling about not getting paid.

Or is it all of the above?