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Trump attacks expansion of vote-by-mail

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(UPDATED) #TrumpMeltdown trended on Twitter most of May 27, in part because the president of the United States whined about a wide range of topics, including how the “Radical Left Lamestream Media” and the “Do Nothing Democrats” are spreading misinformation about how fast he reacted to COVID-19. He countered by crowing that “We pass 15,000,000 Tests Today, by far the most in the World.” But Donald Trump tweeted not one word of compassion about the victims of the virus on the day the coronavirus death toll in America surpassed 100,000 souls.

But what really sparked Trump’s ire was the audacity of Twitter, his darling social media platform, to attach a fact check alert to two of his unsubstantiated tweets – one saying that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would be fraudulent.

“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!,” Trump tweeted on May 26, receiving 77.9 thousand “likes.”

Seeing absolutely no contradiction, Trump also threatened to “strongly regulate” social media platforms “or close them down” since Republicans allege the platforms “silence conservative voices,” denying them freedom of speech. Trump has 80.3 million Twitter followers.

“Get the facts about mail-in ballots” Twitter posted as an alert link leading to a fact check page saying “Trump makes unsubstantial claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.”

For that, Trump is expected to sign an executive order Thursday that would turn the Federal Communications Commission into “the President’s speech police,” former FCC commissioner Jennifer Rosenworcel said in a statement. While legal challenges are sure to follow since Congress regulates the FCC, Trump has been packing the federal court system so a once logical legal outcome about government censorship of the First Amendment is not necessarily a given result. Meanwhile, Trump and troll-driven Black Lists akin to the Red Scare days of McCarthyism may flood social media zones before the November elections.

(UPDATE: Trump signed the executive order. “We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers,” Trump said before signing the document, the Washington Post reported.)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sec. of State Alex Padilla defended Newsom’s executive order issued in the face of the COVID-19 crisis that requires mail ballots be sent to California voters as an option to in-person voting in November.

“The foundation of democracy is built on freedom and the right to vote,“ a right for which many Americans have died, Newsom said. “In a pandemic, I don’t want to deny you that right. … It’s a noble cause. I think it’s an appropriate cause.”

Padilla tweeted  that fact-checking “is a small step in the right direction. But we can all do our part to call out the lies. The president is intentionally spreading false information about vote by mail and blatantly trying to suppress the vote.”

Though Trump sent his vote-by-mail ballot to Florida for the 2018 elections, three Republican groups have sued Newsom over his executive order. They apparently choose to ignore the fact that at least 52 people who worked the polls or stood in long lines to vote in the April 7 Wisconsin primary contracted COVID-19.

“The Republican playbook has been the same for years, and frankly voters are finally starting to see it for what it is – voter suppression,” says out Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Mark J. Gonzalez. “The RNC and the CAGOP’s latest attempt to use the courts to gaslight supporters is another charade to confuse and deflect from their inaction on putting forth policies designed to help working class voters. California joins South Carolina, Utah, and 26 other states who allow vote-by-mail – are they suing Republican-led states, too? If you don’t want voters to vote, then don’t run to represent them. No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote.”

“Since 1962, California has offered its citizens the opportunity to vote by mail.  Over the years, the ability to vote by mail has been expanded and more Californians vote by mail today than go to their polling places on Election Day,” Lester F. Aponte, President of the Stonewall Democratic Club and Co-Chair of LGBT Caucus of the California Democratic Party, tells the Los Angeles Blade.

“California is one of 29 states who allow vote-by-mail. Five states currently conduct all elections entirely by mail. It is an option that makes it easier for people who have difficulty traveling, be it for economic or physical reasons or just because they have to be out of state on the day of the election, to exercise their right to vote. It is vitally important now that we are facing a pandemic of unprecedented proportions,” Aponte says.

“Recognizing the value of making it easier for more people to vote,” he says, “Stonewall pioneered campaigns to encourage vote by mail. For many years, our ‘Vote Naked’ campaign educated voters on the availability of vote by mail and encouraged voters to exercise their right to vote no matter where they are on Election Day.

“There is no evidence that vote by mail is more susceptible to fraud than in person voting,” he continues. “There is ample evidence that the more people vote the more Republicans lose. Trump’s cynical attack on vote by mail in California and other states is part of the Republican strategy to suppress the vote, especially among communities of color and other traditionally Democratic voters, including the LGBTQ community. And if they have to force voters into a choice between risking their lives or voting Republicans out of office, that is what they will do.  We do not intend to let them get away with it.”

“We continue to call voters to encourage them to change to Vote-by-Mail status,” adds ally Jane Wishon, Stonewall Democratic Club Political Vice President, who also runs their live phonebank campaign in Arizona, in collaboration with Westside Democratic Headquarters.

Trump, the one-time consummate marketer, probably couldn’t help himself as his Twitter whines against Vote-by-Mail prompted a trend of awareness about the very method that may well unseat him in November.

(Photo by Sean Freese via Flickr)

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Los Angeles

BNT: Buck case highlights intersection of race & sexual orientation

Journalist Jasmyne Cannick, said that the case “intersected race.” She joins “Black News Tonight” to discuss the case and its impact.

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Screen shot via Black News Tonight

PHILADELPHIA – Appearing on BNC’s Black News Tonight anchored by journalist Marc Lamont Hill Wednesday, Los Angeles based political strategist and journalist Jasmyne Cannick, who has covered the Ed Buck case, told Hill that the case intersected race and sexual orientation.

“As much as this case is about Ed Buck, it’s also about our housing crisis, and what it makes people feel they have to do — play Russian roulette with their lives just to have a roof over their heads,” Cannick stressed.

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Los Angeles

LA City Council votes to prevent sidewalk camping, Garcetti says he’ll sign

The homeless crisis in California and in the greater Los Angeles region in particular has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic

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Former Echo Park homeless encampment prior to clearing (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – In a 13-2 vote Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to stop people from camping in public spaces including the areas around parks, schools, homeless shelters, bridges and overpasses, and other similar structures, as well as any encampment that would block sidewalks in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A spokesperson for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that he will sign the ordinance.  Once signed, the measure will go into effect 30 days later. The ordinance bans encampments on sidewalks and driveways, freeway overpasses and on-ramps, and near libraries, parks, schools and homeless shelters.

It specifically bans homeless encampments from within 500 feet of schools, day care facilities, parks and libraries. Under the ordinance people who don’t move would be fined, not arrested, and only after they are given two-weeks notice and offered shelter.

The homeless crisis in California and in the greater Los Angeles region in particular has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic which saw thousands losing their jobs and some being evicted although moratoriums implemented by state and local officials have greatly reduced the evictions numbers.

Opponents of this ordinance are decrying it as another effort to criminalise the homeless population. Councilman Paul Krekorian who represents Council District 2, North Hollywood, Studio City, Sun Valley, Valley Glen, Valley Village, and Van Nuys, takes issue with that characterization saying;

“This ordinance, first of all, does not make homelessness illegal. It does not criminalize homelessness. It does not make any conduct that is fundamental to being human illegal. What it does do is it guarantees that we will reestablish passable sidewalks. It protects the users of our public infrastructure and the unhoused residents of our city from being put into positions of interaction with automobiles, around loading docks, driveways and so forth. It guarantees access to our fire hydrants, entrances to buildings.”

Homeless and civil rights activist Eddie Cruz told KTLA, “this ordinance is targeting a specific group of people in the unhoused community. We believe that this is an irresponsible attack from the City Council and an irresponsible way to deal with the homelessness crisis that is occurring in Los Angeles,” Cruz said.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, whose Council District encompasses Echo Park, scene of a series of confrontations over the homeless encampment that ultimately was cleared in part with the Los Angeles Police Department assisting, said in a statement that the ordinance “helps regulate shared public spaces while acting with compassion and purpose to help put people experiencing homelessness on a path to wellness.”

“This ordinance establishes fair and clearly defined rules for how sidewalks in Los Angeles are regulated — while linking those rules to a comprehensive, compassionate strategy for street engagement that will establish reasonable pathways to positive outcomes and, ultimately, permanent homes,” O’Farrell said.

L.A. City Council approves measure to bar homeless encampments:

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Los Angeles

Battle lines drawn over proof of vax as Delta variant explodes

“A community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members”

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Graphic created by Max Huskins as adapted from Facebook Cover art by Akbar LA

SILVER LAKE- For the owners of the Akbar on the edge of Hollywood self-described as a neighborhood oasis cocktail bar and nightclub, the reality of the affect of the highly contagious and rapidly transmitted Delta variant of coronavirus forced them to require proof of vaccination against COVID.

Last week the bar notified its customers on social media and at the door that proof of vaccination and a mask are now required to gain entry into Akbar. The notification helpfully added the message that “CA.gov has launched a way of downloading your vaccination record so you have a digital copy of it on your phone – https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/ -“

The bar also noted; “We will also accept your vaccination card (photo of it is acceptable) and valid ID together. We value our community health and feel we all must accept the responsibility to keep each other safe while socializing. Thank you for understanding.”

Thirty-nine miles and 43 odd minutes away in Huntington Beach in Orange County, the owner of Basilico’s Pasta e Vino posted flyers outside his business and on social media requiring proof that customers are not vaccinated.

The flyers read: “Notice: Proof of being unvaccinated required. We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity. Thank you for pondering.”

KABC 7 reported, “Many people are bothered, according to reviews on Yelp. Dozens left low ratings for Basilico’s with comments like one that read: “What a slap in the face to all those who died from COVID-19.” The increased public attention led to Yelp temporarily disabling posting on the page.”

After the Los Angeles Times ran a piece on the restaurant, the owners responded on their Facebook page:

‘LOS ANGELES TIMES’ PRINTS AN ARTICLE ABOUT US, AND AGAIN HERE COME THE HATERS, AND WITH IT, THE HARASSING NON-STOP PHONE CALLS, THREATS AND HUNDREDS OF ONE STAR REVIEWS. AND GUESS WHAT? WE AT ‘BASILICO’S PASTA E VINO’ WEAR IT ALL AS A BADGE OF HONOR!ATTENTION: TINY TYRANTS, WANNABE LITTLE DICTATORS, PRO-LOCKDOWN / PRO-MASK / PRO-MANDATORY VACCINE MINI GESTAPO AMERICAN TRAITORS AND SNITCHES, AND YES ESPECIALLY ‘GAVIN PELOSI’ AND ‘STRONZO FAUCI’ … WE FEEL BLESSED TO GO INTO BATTLE AGAINST ALL OF YOU IN DEFENSE OF AMERICAN LIBERTY AND FREEDOM, SO BRING IT ON! SEE THE ARTICLE HERE:https://www.latimes.com/…/huntington-beach-restaurant…

In the past two weeks as the number of cases exploded, Los Angeles County issued a first in the nation indoor mask order for residents in an attempt to contain what one health official described as drinking from a fire house as the numbers of cases rose by nearly 2,000 per day at one point crossing over to nearly 3,000.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing increasing concern around the fast-spreading and highly contagious delta variant on Tuesday, reversed its earlier mask guidance to specifically target areas of the country with the highest levels of the coronavirus and recommended that everyone in those areas, vaccinated or not, wear a mask as the delta variant continues to spread rapidly across the U.S.

However, city and state officials realized that the co-mingling of vaccinated and non-vaccinated Californians was the primary driving factor especially the 20% of the state’s residents who have yet to take the vaccination or have refused.

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced California is implementing a first-in-the-nation standard to require all state workers and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.

“We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant,” said Newsom. “As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly, and we are encouraging local governments and businesses to do the same.”

The new policy for state workers will take effect August 2 and testing will be phased in over the next few weeks. The new policy for health care workers and congregate facilities will take effect on August 9, and health care facilities will have until August 23 to come into full compliance.

Appearing on MSNBC and CNN, Newsom claimed that individuals who refused to take the vaccine posed a risk to the public similar to drunk driving.

“It’s like drunk drivers, you don’t have the right to go out and drink and drive and put everybody else at risk including your own life,” the governor said.

Newsom also denounced high-profile conservatives, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson. In a harsh exchange on Twitter, Newsom aggressively put down an attack by Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) a noted QAnon and conspiracy afficando:

One day after state officials announced that state and healthcare employees will soon be required to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated or must undergo regular testing for COVID-19, the City of Los Angeles will require city employees to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing for the virus.

As more bars, nightclubs, and restaurants are poised to require proof of vaccination for entry, the question has been posed as to whether that is in fact legal. According to Michele Goodwin, a professor of law at UC Irvine and director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, in a May 25 2021 interview with CapRadio’s Sasha Hupka, also a contributor to PolitiFact California, a business has the right to refuse entry.

“If a person refuses to disclose their vaccination status, a business cannot search their pockets or vehicle for proof they are vaccinated. However, it can ask for the information to be voluntarily disclosed. If it isn’t, a business has the right to refuse entry,” Goodwin said adding; “Businesses can establish standards for entry that do not violate statutory or constitutional provisions in a state or federal law.”

“In fact, even government entities like schools and the Army have historically been able to require vaccinations based on legal precedent set by Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905. The case upheld the power of states and other government entities to enforce compulsory vaccinations in the interest of public health,” Hupka reported noting;

“A community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members,” Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote in the majority opinion in the case.

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