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“STOP THE COUNT!”: Trump Faces Big Legal Setbacks From States While Escalating Threats to Sue

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As the fallout from an unprecedented Election Day continues to settle, President Donald Trump’s campaign has threatened to sue in battlegrounds won by his Democratic Party challenger, Joe Biden, revealing that the incumbent president’s team has low confidence in the outcome of a complete vote count.

The news comes as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said they could have a result as soon as Thursday night.

The threats to resort to a legal strategy have been paired with increasingly heated messages from the president’s official Twitter account, where the president has unleashed a salvo of tweets demanding that local officialsSTOP THE COUNTand STOP THE FRAUD!”  

However, the strategy is already running into clear legal hurdles after a judge in Michigan said she would deny the Trump campaign’s demands to halt the counting of mail-in ballots in the state on the basis of a lack of evidence. Axios reports that Judge Cynthia Stephens announced her decision in a Thursday oral briefing but hasn’t yet issued a written order, handing a major loss to the Trump campaign’s efforts to slow or stop the count.

A judge in Georgia also dismissed a lawsuit by the state Republican Party and Trump campaign demanding that he ensure a coastal county was following state laws on processing absentee ballots.

In Pennsylvania, the president’s campaign enjoyed a small legal victory on Thursday when a judge ruled that ballot observers can watch officials count ballots from a six-foot distance. Representatives from the Trump and Biden campaigns had previously been allowed to view the count from a further distance due to the coronavirus, but are now allowed to sit closer provided they take proper precautions.

The legal victory proved to be short-lived, as after a brief pause in vote-counting in Philadelphia, the vote-tallying resumed following an appeal by Democratic Party attorneys. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has halted the count of an additional 30,000 ballots after a vendor was found to have sent the wrong ballots to voters and had to reissue new ballots.

Trump currently leads Biden by only 115,000 votes in Philadelphia, but most of the votes that still must be counted are in those counties where Biden polled ahead, including in the most populous county of Philadelphia, where Biden leads by roughly 60 percentage points. Biden must win about two-thirds of remaining votes to win the state, whose 20 electoral votes would give him a clear path to victory.

The Biden campaign has accused the president’s team of using litigation to delay an inevitable defeat at the polls.

“What we’re seeing on these legal suits are that they are meritless and nothing more than an attempt to distract and delay what is now inevitable – Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States,” said campaign manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon on Thursday.

The president himself hasn’t made any public appearances since election night, largely holing himself up in the White House and in a distraught mood over his shrinking chances at winning the hotly-contested presidential race.

If officials were to “STOP THE COUNT” now, as he has demanded, Biden would handily win based on the current tallies. The president still must rely on a count making up a gap in voting in Arizona and Nevada to win the election.

However, the president seems to be sticking to a strategy of shifting the goal-posts in different states where different rules for vote counts apply. In another tweet Thursday, Trump wrote: “ANY VOTE THAT CAME IN AFTER ELECTION DAY WILL NOT BE COUNTED!”

According to the Associated Press and Fox News, Biden currently has 264 electoral votes – including in Arizona, which has not been called by media outlets that endorsed Biden such as NBC or New York Times.

Trump, who has 214 electoral votes, must win Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Nevada to win. As the count has proceeded, the likelihood of a Trump victory has shrunken drastically.

However, the Trump campaign has expressed confidence that it will win a second term.

“By end of tomorrow – Friday – it will be clear that President Trump and Vice President Pence will serve another term in the White House,” campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said in a Thursday morning press call.

The Trump campaign has also been hurling unsubstantiated charges of widespread voter fraud, causing pro-Trump demonstrators – including some armed militants – to appear at vote counting centers in Nevada, Arizona, and Detroit.

In Arizona, armed groups of pro-Trump protesters surrounding a vote counting center overnight in Maricopa County and faced off with police and security. The center eventually closed after someone broke into the facility.

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Corruption

Man Who Spent Decades in Prison Gets $6 Million After Cop Found to Have Faked Evidence

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A North Carolina man who spent decades in prison was awarded $6 million in damages by a federal jury after it was found that he was wrongfully convicted thanks to evidence fabricated by a detective.

Darryl Howard languished in prison for over 20 years on double murder and arson charges in 1995 for killing a woman and her teen daughter in 1991. Last Wednesday, a jury in Winston-Salem found that former Durham police detective Darryl Dowdy simply faked the evidence that resulted in his conviction.

In 2016, Howard’s 80-year sentence was stricken down by a Durham County judge who cited the misconduct of police and prosecutors. The $6 million award was the result of a 2017 federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Howard, reports the News & Observer.

Dowdy, 65, denied the accusations in the lawsuit. The former detective was a 36-year veteran of the Durham Police Department before he retired in 2007.

Howard and his legal team have expressed satisfaction that the jury recognized the grave injustice he faced, but are disappointed that the $6 million is a mere fraction of the $48 million in damages they requested.

Attorney Nick Brustin, who represented Howard, said that Dowdy’s defense attacked Howard for his past gunshot wounds and history of selling and using drugs.

“I think to some extent the racist defense that they have been implementing since the beginning of the ligation has in some ways succeeded,” Brustin said. “I think the verdict doesn’t value the suffering that Darryl went through.”

Howard himself noted that the heavy damage dealt by his long incarceration have completely altered his life.

“I am happy about the verdict, but I am kind of upset about the damages,” Howard told the News & Reporter.

“Just imagine, 23 years I stayed in prison,” he added.

Brustin also highlighted the systemic nature of the injustice his client suffered as a result of Dowdy’s police work.

“The kinds of misconduct are pattern misconduct,” he noted, adding that Durham police need to review other cases handled by the crooked cop.

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Happy Holidays? Billionaire CEO Fires 900 Workers in Zoom Call

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The boss of an online mortgage lending company has come under fire as callous and heartless after he unceremoniously fired about 900 staff members in the run-up to the holidays – all on one single Zoom call.

Vishal Garg, the chief executive of New York-based mortgage firm Better.com, didn’t mince words in the call, telling employees:

“This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear … If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”

Adding that he did “not want to do this,” he explained that “this is the second time in my career I’m doing this … The last time I did it, I cried.” 

While the 43-year-old CEO claimed that the mass sacking was a painful ordeal, he also noted that the “market has changed” and the company required streamlining to deal with the cool-off in the recent housing boom.

However, Garg neglected to mention that the company recently received $750 million from investors just last week.

According to Fortune, the chief executive also was the anonymous author of a blistering blog post to professional network Build that put his own employees on blast.

“You guys know that at least 250 of the people terminated were working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system?” Garg wrote, adding that “they were stealing from you and stealing from our customers who pay the bills that pay our bills. Get educated.”

Garg also has come under fire for his poor management approach and history of abusing workers after an email he sent to employees was published by Forbes last year.

“You are TOO DAMN SLOW,” the CEO wrote. “You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS… SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”

Regardless of his personal frustrations with employees, social media users were stunned by news of the mass firing, calling the move “cold,” “a horrible move,” and “harsh” – especially with Christmas around the corner.

Employment law and business experts have also lambasted Garg’s actions, noting that such mass firings run counter to the law in most countries, and are not only abusive but destructive toward morale, despite being perfectly legal in the United States.

“Existing employees will look to how the company treats people as a signal to how it will treat them in the future,” Gemma Dale of the Liverpool John Moores University in the UK told the BBC.

“There are ways to do these things which, even in difficult conditions, are empathetic and decent,” she added. “There is a right way to do these things both morally and legally.”

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Environment

China Was Just Caught Literally Changing The Weather For Communist Party Celebration: Study

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In recent years, China has made a number of head-turning and downright dazzling technological advances. Now, according to a new study, the East Asian giant has successfully managed to literally change the weather.

According to a recent report from the South China Morning Post, scientists at Tsinghua University say that during the 100-year anniversary of the Communist Party of China, authorities succeeded in modifying the weather in Beijing to clear the sky and improve air quality for the masses gathered to celebrate the party’s centenary in Tiananmen Square.

The large-scale operation involved lacing the clouds above the capital with chemicals to usher in rainfall over suburban parts of Beijing before the July 1 centennial event. According to the Tsinghua researchers, eyewitnesses report rockets being launched from mountains outside the city in the run-up to the event.

The Beijing researchers claim that the artificial rain managed to reduce the level of PM2.5 air pollutants by over two-thirds, bringing air quality to “good” conditions from “moderate” levels per World Health Organization Standards.

The use of chemicals to modify weather conditions is a practice that dates back to at least the 18th century, when European states used gunfire to shoot at storms in hopes to prevent hail from harming crops.

By the turn of the 20th century, dozens of hail cannons were deployed for commercial purposes despite the unproven nature of such primitive geo-engineering methods.

Fast forward to the 2020s, and the People’s Republic of China has reportedly invested vast resources into weather modification programs that will be tested in a region spanning 5.5 million square miles by the year 2025. The impact of such geo-engineering efforts could lead to regional tensions with China’s increasingly nervous neighbors.

Meanwhile, as the potential for a new cold war with the people’s republic continues to grow, professional China skeptics have stoked fears that the ruling Communist Party could use its newfound ability to manipulate the weather for military purposes. However, it’s worth noting that the United States military has been hoping to weaponize the rain since at least 1967.

However, with arid conditions and extreme drought threatening the food security of populations across the globe, the ability to literally make rain fall may not be as frightening as some make it out to be.

Additionally, some researchers have claimed that geoengineering could play a role in mitigating the impact of rampant climate change. However, it remains far too early to know the long-term impact of lacing skies with chemicals on a widespread, regular basis.

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