pindostan is over & done with, god-wise

Police tear-gas protest against brutal Memorial Day murder
Kevin Reed, WSWS, May 27 2020

Minneapolis police in riot gear fired tear gas, rubber bullets and sandbags at protesters on Tuesday after they marched from the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue South—near the location where police brutally murdered George Floyd in front of onlookers the prior evening, to the Third Precinct Headquarters several blocks away. Thousands of people gathered in the late afternoon and early evening and chanted, “I can’t breathe!” and demanded the prosecution of the four officers who murdered Floyd by choking him to death in broad daylight while he pleaded for his life. The demonstration began with some protesters blocking the intersection with parked cars and others setting up chairs in the cross walks with signs. A local TV aerial video of the street scene showed waves of people gathering with homemade signs and banners demanding justice for Floyd, an Black Pindo worker in his mid-40s. Floyd’s killing was captured on smartphone video by eyewitness Darnella Frazier and shared on Facebook. As of this writing, it has been viewed nearly a million times. The 10-minute video shows several cops holding Floyd face down on the street, handcuffed next to a police cruiser with one officer kneeling on his neck. The video shows the police officer pressing his knee harder and harder as Floyd cries out, “You are going to kill me,” and struggles to breathe and begs for water. Onlookers demanded the police stop their vicious treatment, pleading to one of the officers standing watch over the scene:

He is not even resisting! Get off of him! What is wrong with you? He is a human!

About four minutes into the video, as Floyd has clearly lost consciousness, the officer continued with his knee chokehold and threatened onlookers with mace as their anger erupted over a blatant public execution. The witnesses denounced the police as “bums” and demanded that they check the man’s pulse, yelling, “He is not responsive right now, bro.” When paramedics arrived, the video shows the officer finally removing his knee as they rolled Floyd’s lifeless body over in handcuffs and flopped him onto a stretcher with the witnesses yelling, “You just killed that man.” Floyd was officially pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the Hennepin County Medical Center emergency room. In its official statement on the incident, the Minneapolis Police Department wrote that officers were called to the scene “on a report of a forgery in progress.” The statement claimed the suspect “appeared to be under the influence” and that he “physically resisted officers.” The report also said the suspect “appeared to be suffering medical distress” and was transported by ambulance to the hospital, “where he died a short time later.” Initially, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Tuesday morning that the FBI would be investigating Floyd’s death with the full cooperation of his department and that the four officers involved had been placed on paid leave. Also, at a press conference in the morning, Minneapolis Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey said:

For the better part of the night, I’ve been trying to find the words to describe what happened. And all I keep coming back to is that he should not have died. What we saw was horrible, completely and utterly messed up.

However, following the worldwide circulation of the video by Frazier on social media, Mayor Frey announced at 3 pm via Twitter that the four officers who participated in the killing had been fired.

Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. This is the right call.

Details about Floyd’s life are limited at the time of this writing. CBS Minnesota reported that he was originally from Houston and came to Minneapolis “for a fresh start.” In an interview, Floyd’s close friend Courteney Ross said:

He stood up for people, he was there for people when they were down, he loved people that were thrown away.

ABC News confirmed with the owner of Conga Latin Bistro, Jovanni Thunstrom, that Floyd worked at the Minneapolis establishment as a security guard for more than five years. “I loved him like a brother,” Thunstrom said, describing Floyd as beloved by customers and employees alike, saying he often worked extra hours and never complained. He was not working there at the time of his death due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The police murder of Floyd recalls the choking to death of Eric Garner by the NYPD on Jul 14, 2017 in Staten Island. Police officer Daniel Pantaleo approached Garner on suspicion of selling single cigarettes on the street and, during a physical confrontation, choked him to death. With several officers restraining him on the ground, Garner repeated, “I can’t breathe” eleven times while he was face down on the sidewalk. Garner was pronounced dead at a local hospital one hour later. Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, told NBC News that she could barely stomach this latest viral cellphone recording of George Floyd’s death. Carr said:

It was déjà vu all over again. It’s like a reccurring nightmare. To put your knee on someone’s neck, you are obstructing their breathing. Why would you keep your knee there? After three minutes, you don’t realize that this man is saying that he can’t breathe? And he’s struggling, struggling for life?

Although the names of the four terminated police officers have not been officially released, the Star Tribune has published the name of the officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck as Derek Chauvin, 44, a 19-year veteran of the MPD. The Star Tribune report says:

Department records and news accounts show that he has been involved in several police-involved shootings over his career.

The other officer, according to the Star Tribune, is Tou Thao, who started with the department as a community service officer and became a full officer in 2009. Thao was involved in a case of excessive use of force in 2017 filed by Lamar Ferguson, who said he was handcuffed and then brutalized by Thao and another officer. With tensions heightened by the health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the brutal police killing of George Floyd along with other recent incidents, such as the gunning down of Ahmaud Arbery and subsequent law enforcement cover-up in Brunswick, Georgia and the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, threaten to trigger major social upheavals by the working class and youth across Pindostan. Police violence wherever it occurs is invariably directed against the working class and the poor, regardless of their race or ethnicity. As was clearly demonstrated in the protest in Minneapolis on Tuesday evening, workers and young people of all backgrounds are equally outraged and determined to stop the horrific police treatment that resulted in Floyd’s death. The fight against police brutality requires a political strategy aimed at unifying the entire working class in defense of democratic rights for all, on the basis of the struggle against the capitalist system and for socialism.

Now, another video showing Mr Floyd’s final moments appears to contradict a police statement that suggested he had resisted arrest. The video, obtained by Fox9, shows two policemen pulling Mr Floyd from his car without any apparent resistance.

The moment police in Minneapolis pulled George Floyd from his car can be seen in a newly-emerged video. Footage shows officers handcuffing Mr Floyd, who can be seen in CCTV video obtained by CBS News sitting on the ground in apparent compliance with MPD demands.

Dow Jones Hits 25k as Pandemic death toll reaches 100k
David North, WSWS, May 27 2020

The trading floor of the NYSE was reopened on Tuesday morning for the first time since Mar 23. Among those present to celebrate the ringing of the opening bell was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who abandoned the somber demeanor of his daily coronavirus updates and shared elbow bumps with Wall Street investors. For the next six and a half hours, the financial community continued its celebration of the pandemic’s bull market. When the trading floor was closed down in March, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down to 18k. It has since risen approximately 40 percent. Flush with trillions of dollars of bail-out money provided by the CARES Act, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose yet another 530 points, an increase of 2.2% over its close last Friday. Within 15 minutes of the opening bell, President Trump tweeted an enthusiastic message:

Stock market up BIG, DOW crosses 25k. S&P 500 over 3k. States should open up ASAP. The Transition to Greatness has started, ahead of schedule. There will be ups and downs, but next year will be one of the best ever!

In the world inhabited by the overwhelming majority of the population, the end of the Memorial Day weekend and the semi-official start of summer marks the beginning of the transition to a new season of death and extreme insecurity, uncertainty and real danger. In the number of fatalities, there will only be “ups.” By the time the summer of 2020 comes to an end, the number of COVID-19 victims will be above 200k. Trump is a vicious liar and political criminal. He is too stupid to be a full-blown Hitler, and lacks the mass base of a genuine fascist movement. There is nothing genuinely popular about his program. Trump’s real constituency is the socially parasitic corporate-financial elite. He expresses, without embarrassment or restraint, its deepest sentiments: The Dow at 25k is far more important than coronavirus deaths at 100k.

Among the main factors fueling Wall Street’s euphoria is the belief that all systematic and nationally-coordinated efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic at the expense of Wall Street’s interests have come to an end. Dr. Anthony Fauci is yesterday’s man. The attempt of the scientific and public health care community to educate the public and implement a national program of testing, contact tracing and social distancing have been drastically undermined by the persistent and insidious campaign conducted by the Trump administration and substantial sections of the media to discredit the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the scientific community as a whole.
Attempting to counteract the illusion that the worst of the pandemic has passed, Dr. Mike Ryan, an executive director of the World Health Organization, stated on Monday:

Right now, we’re not in the second wave. We’re right in the middle of the first wave globally.

Public opinion polls show that a substantial majority of the population does not agree with the rush to “reopen the economy.” It would be a mistake to extrapolate from the scenes of mass gatherings over the Memorial Day weekend the existence of broad popular support for the policy of “herd immunity,” that is, allowing the unrestricted spread of the virus throughout the population. Many such gatherings were motivated by an understandable desire, however misguided, to enjoy some measure of relief from a long and unprecedent period of social isolation. But there are also certain deep-rooted tendencies in the history and culture of Pindostan that are at work. There is a long tradition of distrust of and hostility to state authority that dates all the way back to the original revolutionary era’s popular slogan, “Don’t tread on me.” There is also the strong element of individualism, which recoils at efforts to dictate personal behavior. However, in the absence of well-developed class consciousness and socialist political orientation, these social and cultural characteristics have frequently been exploited and manipulated by the ruling elite for reactionary purposes, particularly by means of anti-communism. A number of valuable studies documenting media efforts to manipulate public opinion and undermine efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 have been released by the Becker Friedman Institute of the University of Chicago. A paper titled “Misinformation During a Pandemic,” by professors Leonardo Burszteyn (Chicago), Aakaash Rao (Harvard), Christopher Roth (Warwick) and David Yanagizawa-Drott (Zurich), states:

Efforts to contain a pandemic depend crucially on citizens holding accurate beliefs. Yet the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020 was accompanied by the spread of news downplaying the extent of the threat and dismissing the importance of measures designed to contain the epidemic. In particular, Fox News, the most-watched cable network, has faced wide-spread criticism for spreading misinformation about the pandemic.

The report singles out the statements of Fox commentator Sean Hannity and establishes an empirical link between his viewership and hostility to shelter-in-place policies. It also demonstrates that Hannity’s and related right-wing propaganda resonates with sections of the population that have been hard hit by the loss of jobs and income. However interesting the empirical findings of the Becker Friedman Institute research, it provides little insight into the deeper social, political, cultural and intellectual environment that facilitates the spread of reactionary and anti-scientific propaganda. It evades an examination of the socio-economic and class interests that are served by Fox News.

While the role of Fox and Hannity are appropriately documented, the report ignores the pernicious role played by the more respectable representatives of the establishment media in promoting the reckless back-to-work campaign. In fact, both the WaPo and NYT have provided political legitimacy to the efforts to weaken measures to contain the pandemic. As far back as March, the NYT most influential columnist, Thomas Friedman, began touting Sweden’s “herd immunity” policy as an example to be emulated. The same line has been advanced by the Post in editorial and opinion pieces. Small demonstrations that were organized in Lansing, Michigan, and other cities in opposition to social distancing and the suspension of business activity were widely publicized by the media. But such protests have not acquired the dimensions of a mass movement. To the extent that the working class lacks a program and perspective, which can be developed only on an explicitly anti-capitalist, socialist and internationalist foundation, the “back to work” campaign appeals to the growing frustration. But this frustration can be dispersed. The task of the revolutionary socialist movement is to advance a program and perspective within the working class that shows the way forward.

The outbreak of the pandemic has exposed the unbridgeable chasm that exists between the ruling capitalist oligarchy and the working class. For the ruling elite, the response to the pandemic must not be allowed to get in the way of its economic interests. It demands a return to work, regardless of the cost in human life, so that the process of exploitation and the extraction of profit from the labor power of the working class can get underway. The standpoint of the working class places primary and unchallengeable priority on the defense of human life. Within the working class, opposition is growing to opening of factories and workplaces where the spread of the virus places lives in danger. The reality of infected meatpacking facilities and auto plants are raising demands for collective action to shut down unsafe work locations. The SEP endorses such efforts and it will do all that it can to assist workers in the development of the fight against the subordination of lives to profits. We renew our call for the building of rank-and-file safety committees, which are necessary to take the defense of workers’ lives out of the hands of corporate management. The fight against the pandemic is, in the final analysis, a political struggle against the capitalist system. It requires a revival in the working class, in Pindostan and internationally, of a powerful socialist consciousness and political culture, as the foundation for a revolutionary movement to abolish the profit system.

Corporations, government cover up workplace infections and deaths
Jerry White, WSWS, May 27 2020

Major corporations and federal and state agencies that are responsible for workplace safety are deliberately concealing the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in factories, warehouses and other workplaces, according to several news reports. The effort to downplay the actual conditions in the meatpacking, logistics, auto and other industries is key to the Trump administration’s efforts to break the resistance of workers who are unwilling to risk their lives for the profit interests of the corporations. The NYT reported Tuesday that Smithfield, Tyson, JBS and other meatpacking companies have refused to reveal the number of infected workers since they reopened the slaughterhouses and meat processing plants under Trump’s Apr 28 executive order. Dozens of factories were shut after a series of job actions and protests by workers demanding protection and the truth about the spread of the contagion.

The CDC has grossly underestimated the number of infections in the industry, claiming that less than 5k workers were infected as of the end of last month. According to the NYT, however, the non-profit Food & Environment Reporting Network estimated last week that the number has shot up to more than 17k, with at least 66 fatalities. Another organization, the Environmental Working Group, cited in a WaPo report, said four of the plants that reopened (Tyson operations in Logansport Indiana, Perry Iowa, Waterloo Iowa, and a Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls South Dakota) had all seen outbreaks of at least 700 cases. In Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, coronavirus cases linked to meat workers represent 18%, 20% and 29% of the states’ total cases, respectively, according to the group. Governor Pete Ricketts of Nebraska announced earlier this month that his state would not disclose the number of coronavirus cases in specific plants without the consent of the companies.

The NYT report was based on internal emails from state and county health agencies obtained through public records requests by Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation. It detailed how local agencies have colluded with the corporations to conceal the truth from workers and the public. After an outbreak at the Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, one of the world’s largest pork processing facilities, county officials would not provide any data. Teresa Duncan, the director of the Health Dept in Bladen County, where the plant is located, said:

There has been a stigma associated with the virus, so we’re trying to protect privacy.

Melissa Packer, the assistant health director in neighboring Robeson County, where 59 residents who work at the Tar Heel facility became infected, reported that several county officials were opposed to making the numbers public. She said:

Some local health directors from the counties where there are processing plants expressed some concerns about how that may negatively impact the relationship they have built with the management of the companies.

A county health official in Colorado was even blunter regarding an outbreak at a Cargill plant in Fort Morgan, where at least one worker died, saying:

Bad news spreads way faster than the truth. At this point, we are not doing anything to cast them in a bad light. We will not throw them to the Press.

Amazon, headed by Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, has refused to disclose how many workers have gotten sick or died, saying such data is not “particularly useful.” Jana Jumpp, an Amazon worker in Indiana who has been compiling a list of confirmed cases, says at least 900 workers have been infected. The company confirmed the deaths of eight workers only after they were reported by several media outlets. An Amazon worker in the Detroit suburb of Romulus, Michigan told Fox 2 News that dozens of his coworkers have contracted COVID-19, and said:

It’s so stressful, the thought of knowing that you’ve got to go back to this place, and then if you cough, they tell you to stay home. And if you stay home, they’re penalizing you for it. It does clearly state in that handbook if you go on a medical leave, your spot is not guaranteed.

ProPublica reported an incident on Apr 16 when security guards at a Nike distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee turned away a county health inspector investigating the death of a worker from COVID-19. The report continued:

It didn’t matter that she was there to investigate health conditions at a Nike distribution center where, five days earlier, company officials learned a temporary worker had died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The security guard staffing the gate at the sprawling site said that without an appointment, no one could come in.

The day after, an administrator from the athletic shoemaker, which received a 15-year $58m tax break from the city, spoke with county health officials, who promptly accepted his claims that safety improvements had been made, and then dropped the case. In addition to Nike, which has 21 confirmed cases at its Memphis facilities, there have been several other cases in “Pindostan’s Distribution Center,” where 43k workers are employed in transportation and warehousing. At least three workers have tested positive at a Kroger warehouse; ten at a FedEx hub, and an employee has reported more than 20 infected coworkers at PFS, a distribution center that ships jewelry and makeup. The Tennessee OSHA does not require employers to determine whether an infected employee contracted the virus at work in areas where there has been community spread, according to the ProPublica report.

On May 21, tens of thousands of autoworkers returned to plants in Michigan and other states after an eight-week shutdown, which came about only because of wildcat strikes and other job actions carried out in defiance of threats by the company and the United Auto Workers union. The following day, Ford was forced to temporarily shut its Chicago Assembly Plant after a worker tested positive. The next day, just hours after company and union officials toured the Dearborn Truck Plant to tout their safety precautions, hundreds of workers downed their tools and refused to work after hearing that at least two coworkers had tested positive. On Tuesday, Ford was forced to close its Kansas City Assembly Plant after an active case was confirmed. UAW Local 249 officials immediately sent a message warning workers not to believe “rumors and misinformation taking place on social media,” in particular, a letter being circulated by workers that was co-signed by Ford and UAW officials saying that plants would be closed for 24 hours if a case was identified. The UAW Local 249 official said:

The letter that was sent out in early March prior to the shutdown outlining a required 24-hour deep clean is no longer the standard required by the CDC, Federal and State agencies.

Workers at Fiat Chrysler’s Toledo, Ohio Jeep assembly plant informed the WSWS that at least one line of workers was sent home Tuesday after a worker tested positive. Johnny, a veteran worker, told the WSWS:

A whole team has been quarantined and four more may be next. It was first shift workers on the trim, door line and final assembly lines. All the company did was wash down the area, put out some wipes, get volunteers to fill the jobs. The UAW and management are not saying a thing. This is all coming from the workers. From the UAW, you get the same old lies and BS like, “We’re working on it.” The masks they are handing out are garbage. I figured out I handled 39k parts that have been touched by other people during the space of 12 hours, and I move in and out of 150 vehicles that other people have been in during a shift. All they want is boots on the ground to reopen the plants. FCA just got a $6.8b loan from the Italian government after making record profits and paying off their shareholders and executives. Trump has turned the Treasury Dept into a piggy bank for the corporations, but there is nothing for the workers who work like dogs and are dying. We need a revolution, on the scale of the Civil War, because from every direction the workers are being raped.

There is no law to compel the corporations to reveal the extent of infections and deaths in workplaces. The OSHA, now led by Trump’s Labor Sec Eugene Scalia, son of the arch-reactionary Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia, has given the corporations even more leeway to conceal the deadly conditions in the factories. This underscores the need for workers to form rank-and-file safety committees, independent of the unions, in every factory and workplace. Among the tasks of these committees will be to control work hours and line speeds, guarantee protective equipment, ensure safe and comfortable working conditions, enforce regular testing, demand universal health-care and guaranteed income, and ensure the distribution of information so that appropriate measures can be taken, including halting production if necessary.

Pindostan exploits HK protests for anti-China campaign
Peter Symonds, WSWS, May 27 2020

The Trump administration has seized on protests that have erupted in HK against China’s proposed national security law to add another front to its escalating propaganda war to vilify the Beijing regime. Once again, Pindo imperialism is cynically using the banner of “human rights” to advance its economic and strategic interests and to undermine its rivals. Pompeo condemned the legislation, which will outlaw activities regarded by Beijing as “treason, secession, sedition or subversion” in HK, declaring it would be the “death knell” for the territory’s autonomy. He warned HK could lose its special status under Pindo law if Beijing did not respect the territory’s democratic institutions and civil liberties. Under legislation signed late last year, Pompeo must certify that HK retains a “high degree” of autonomy in order for it to retain special commercial and trade rights with Pindostan. NSA O’Brien threatened to use the Pindo legislation to impose sanctions on China if it passed the national security law. The Pindo legislation was adopted last year amid protracted mass protests in HK against attempts to introduce an extradition law that could have opened the door for critics of the Chinese regime to be arrested and tried in China.

Last Sunday, thousands of protesters took to the streets of HK after it was announced at the start of China’s current annual National People’s Congress that it would consider a new natsec law that would cover HK. Passage of the law would effectively sideline the HK legislature, which was compelled to withdraw similar legislation in 2003 after it provoked mass protests. Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng attempted to downplay the significance of the new law, saying it would only target “a small group of people.” However, its broad character could be applied to protesters who took part in the mass anti-extradition law demonstrations last year. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi declared that the legislation had to be passed “without the slightest delay” to create greater stability in HK. The chief fear in Beijing is that a protest movement in HK over democratic rights could trigger an eruption of opposition throughout China by workers and youth who are being hit hard by the country’s rapidly slowing economy. However, the right-wing parties and groupings that have come to dominate the protests in HK are not orientated to building a unified movement based on the Chinese working class to fight for fundamental democratic and social rights. Rather, the leaders of the latest protests are advancing a reactionary perspective grounded on HK parochialism and appeals to the imperialist powers to intervene. According to media reports, many of those taking part in Sunday’s protest chanted:

Liberate HK, revolution of our times!

This slogan was coined by Edward Leung, a leader of HK Indigenous, known for its xenophobic attitudes to Chinese mainlanders. Others chanted “HK independence, the only way out” and displayed pro-independence flags. Protest leaders turned last year’s movement in a pro-imperialist direction in response to significant strikes by workers in HK in support of basic democratic rights that threatened to raise broader social issues and similar action by workers across China. Demonstrators began waving the Pindo flag and singing “Stars and Stripes,” appealing for Washington to intervene. An ABC video showed a protest this week inside a mall with an appeal for Pindostan to send its military to aid HK. Pindo flags have been displayed in the protests. Such an orientation plays straight into the hands of Beijing, which exploits such displays to drive a wedge between working people in China and HK. Pindostan is no more concerned about “human rights” in HK than it has been anywhere else in the world. This false banner has been exploited as the pretext for regime-change operations and military interventions in the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere, even as Faschingstein turns a blind eye to flagrant abuse of democratic rights by vassals such as the Toads. The Trump administration has dramatically ramped up its condemnations of China in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a campaign of unsubstantiated allegations and bald-faced lies that Beijing is responsible for the global health crisis and massive death toll.

This propaganda is not only aimed at diverting attention from Trump’s criminal neglect and indifference in response to the coronavirus that is responsible for 100k deaths in Pindostan. It is also part of the intensification of Pindo preparations for economic war and military conflict against China, which Faschingstein regards as the chief obstacle to its ambitions for global dominance. The Trump administration’s intervention into HK politics is a further step toward the repudiation of the longstanding One China policy initiated by Nixon & Kissinger in 1972 which recognised Beijing, not Taipei, as the legitimate government of all China, including Taiwan. HK, while recognised to have a special autonomous status after its handover by Britain in 1997, is nevertheless part of China. Under Trump, Pindostan has increasingly abandoned the protocols established under the One China Policy and strengthened political and military ties with Taiwan. It has developed close relations with Taiwanese Pres Tsai Ing-wen, whose DPP advocates greater independence from Beijing. Significantly she has intervened to support the HK protests, vowing:

We shall proactively improve and forge ahead with relevant support work, and provide HK’s people with necessary assistance.

Faschingstein’s encouragement of separatist sentiment, including among ethnic minorities in China such as the Uyghurs, is not based on any concern for democratic rights. Rather, it is aimed at undermining and ultimately fracturing its rival. These transparent aims are generating increasingly open opposition in Beijing, which has responded to Faschingstein’s threats of sanctions over HK with warnings of economic retaliation. The deepening crisis of global capitalism exposed and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic is greatly exacerbating geo-political tensions and the danger of war between nuclear-armed powers as the Trump administration adopts a deliberately confrontational and provocative approach to China.

Trump denounces November election in advance as “rigged”
Patrick Martin, WSWS, May 27 2020

In a series of increasingly frenzied statements, mostly on Twitter, Trump has denounced efforts to encourage mail-in rather than in-person voting, a response by many state governments to the coronavirus crisis, as a Demagog Party conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election. In response to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to send every registered voter in the state a mail-in ballot, Trump tweeted Tuesday:

There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!

Newsom’s executive order is not a radical shift in the voting method of the most populous state, where mail-in ballots have become increasingly common over the past decade. Voters will still be able to cast ballots at physical locations on Election Day, but under conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, most voters in a recent congressional special election in California chose to mail in their ballots. A dozen states postponed primaries scheduled for late March, April and May, in many cases converting them into mail-in votes, because of concern over the health implications. A half dozen states are set to have largely mail-in votes on Jun 2, which will come as a major test of their ability to administer the voting and handle the expected flood of several million mail ballots. Trump has denounced all such efforts, clearly seeing that with his poll numbers sinking, he needs to limit the number of voters who turn out, particularly among minorities, the poor and the young, whose participation increases when they have more options like early and mail-in voting. He remarked in March:

If measures to expand mail-in voting and early voting were adopted, you’d never have a Thug elected in this country again.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted:

Pindostan cannot have all Mail In Ballots. It will be the greatest Rigged Election in history.

Earlier in the week, Trump denounced state election officials in Michigan and Nevada, claiming falsely that they were sending out ballots for the November election, and that this was for the purpose of vote fraud. He threatened to cut off all federal funds to the state of Michigan, although the president has no such power under the Constitution. The two states had announced plans to send out applications for mail ballots to all registered voters. The actual ballots would be sent only to those who sent in signed statements that they wished to vote by mail. There is no evidence to back claims that mail-in voting is particularly susceptible to fraud. These claims are themselves a grotesque fraud, like the broader claims of “voter fraud” that Trump and the Thugs have used to justify restrictions such as voter ID requirements. As established for many decades by state laws, mail ballots must be signed by the voter, and the signature is compared to the signature put on file with the state when the voter registered. In some states, mail ballots must even have the signatures witnessed to ensure their validity.

Until recently, mail-in voting, also called “absentee voting,” was limited to the elderly and those who were prevented by health problems from going to the polls, as well as those such as soldiers deployed overseas, whose occupations made it impossible to be physically present at the polls on Election Day. Given those restrictions, absentee ballots tended to be cast disproportionately for Thug candidates, and the Thug Party made special efforts to mobilize its supporters to vote absentee. But more recently, as mail-in voting was popularized, particularly in the western states like Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California and Arizona, and became available to anyone, not just those with a health or occupational issue, the partisan advantage has been reversed. In many 2018 congressional and statewide elections, Thug candidates led in the same-day voting at precincts, but were defeated once mail-in ballots were added to the counts. In 2020, as a result of the coronavirus crisis, so many states have encouraged mail-in voting as a safer alternative that an estimated 168m of the 198m eligible voters can do so by mail rather than by lining up at crowded precincts on Election Day. This is up sharply from 2016, when 21% of those who voted did so by mail ballot.

Trump’s intervention against mail-in voting is not based simply on a calculation of the likely partisan advantage to be gained or lost. He is seeking to discredit the entire conduct of the 2020 election, where polls show a shift against the Thugs, and even lay the basis for calling off the vote entirely if it appears he will suffer a decisive defeat. In that respect, the most significant statement came from Jared Kushner, who linked the timing of the election and the recovery from the coronavirus epidemic, in response to a direct question from Time magazine on May 11 about whether the administration was committed to holding the Nov 3 election as scheduled despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Kushner said:

I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan. Hopefully, by the time we get to September, October, November, we’ve done enough work with testing and with all the different things we’re trying to do to prevent a future outbreak of the magnitude that would make us shut down again.

This highly qualified statement aroused widespread comment, since the executive branch actually has no authority over the date of the federal election, which is set for the “First Tuesday after the First Monday in November” under an 1845 law that has been observed every two years for nearly two centuries, and under a Constitution that makes Congress the sole judge of elections and the final decision maker in the event the Electoral College is unable to choose a victor.
Kushner’s conditional language was remarkable and without historical precedent. Presidential elections were held in 1864, in the fourth year of the Civil War, and in 1944, the fourth year of Pindostan’s participation in WW2. After further media inquiries, Kushner claimed that he had not been involved in any “discussions” about changing the date of the presidential election. It is also notable that in calling the election into question, Kushner cited the need for improved coronavirus testing, under conditions where the White House is demanding business as usual and the full reopening of the Pindo economy within a matter of days. Why then raise doubts about an election nearly six months away? The remark was clearly a trial balloon to test the response to a suggestion that is undoubtedly being considered in the White House and Thug Party circles. It was also pointed out by legal observers that while the date of the election is statutory and not subject to presidential action, the manner of selection of presidential electors is up to each state. In theory, Thug-controlled state governments could not hold a presidential election at all, and simply select pro-Trump electors by vote of the state legislature. This is what the Thug-led state legislature of Florida threatened to do during the 2000 election crisis before the Supreme Court intervened with its decision in Bush v Gore, awarding the presidency to Bush. The Georgia state legislature has already taken an analogous anti-democratic action, calling off a statewide vote set for May 18 to elect a justice of the state Supreme Court whose term expires at the end of this year, and allowing Thug Governor Brian Kemp to appoint a justice to fill the vacancy for at least the next two years.

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