9 votes

Weekly US politics news and updates thread - week of May 31

This thread is posted weekly - please try to post all relevant US political content in here, such as news, updates, opinion articles, etc. Extremely significant events may warrant a separate topic, but almost all should be posted in here.

This is an inherently political thread; please try to avoid antagonistic arguments and bickering matches. Comment threads that devolve into unproductive arguments may be removed so that the overall topic is able to continue.

8 comments

  1. Kuromantis
    Link
    What’s happening in Arizona is not really an audit or a recount. It’s a partisan inquisition.

    What’s happening in Arizona is not really an audit or a recount. It’s a partisan inquisition.

    The day after the November 2020 election, the chairs of the Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian parties of Maricopa County, Arizona, initiated a routine but important process to safeguard our democracy: a post-election audit.

    Per state law, after almost every countywide election in Arizona,1 a multiparty audit board must conduct a hand count of ballots from a sample of randomly selected voting precincts and compare them with the results from voting machines. The hand counts in Arizona’s most populous county, home to Phoenix, started the Saturday after the election and wrapped up two days later. Not a single discrepancy was found.

    Six-plus months later, Maricopa County’s ballots are still being counted — but by another group entirely. For the past five weeks, workers from Cyber Ninjas, a small private cybersecurity company based in Sarasota, Florida, have gathered in an arena to re-recount all the ballots — nearly 2.1 million — at the behest of the state’s Republican senators. Auditors have reportedly scanned ballots with UV lights to look for secret watermarks that conspiracy theorists believe then-President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security placed on legitimate ballots to differentiate them from fraudulent ones; they’ve also inspected ballots for traces of bamboo to determine if they were imported from Asia. The process was supposed to be completed by May 14, but workers were unable to finish the count in time, so the state Senate has extended its lease at the arena through the end of June.

    Audits and recounts are an essential part of our voting system, but what’s happening in Arizona isn’t. The state Senate that ordered the process is calling it an audit, and all the ballots are being recounted, but it’s not really an audit or a recount — it’s a partisan inquisition. Conducted by a company founded by an election-fraud conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter, the process is funded mostly by Trump loyalists and fails to meet any of the standards required for official recounts or audits by state law.

    7 votes
  2. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    Watch what’s happening in Red States: As the Democrats assume a shaky majority that most Republicans have likely come to view as illegitimate, Republicans in the state-level have responded by...

    Watch what’s happening in Red States: As the Democrats assume a shaky majority that most Republicans have likely come to view as illegitimate, Republicans in the state-level have responded by passing the most conservative in both number and content legislation in years

    It’s not just voting rights.

    Though this year’s proliferation of bills restricting ballot access in red states has commanded national attention, it represents just one stream in a torrent of conservative legislation poised to remake the country. GOP-controlled states—including Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Iowa, and Montana—have advanced their most conservative agenda in years, and one that reflects Donald Trump’s present stamp on the Republican Party.

    Across these states and others, Republican legislators and governors have operated as if they were programming a prime-time lineup at Fox News. They have focused far less on the small-government, limited-spending, and anti-tax policies that once defined the GOP than on an array of hot-button social issues, such as abortion, guns, and limits on public protest, that reflect the cultural and racial priorities of Trump’s base.

    Half a dozen states, including Tennessee, Montana, Iowa, and Texas, have passed legislation allowing gun owners to carry their weapons without a permit.

    Texas, South Carolina, Idaho, and Oklahoma have passed legislation banning abortion when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, after about six weeks of pregnancy (before women typically even know they are pregnant); Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas also passed virtually complete bans on abortion. Arizona approved an extremely restrictive bill that includes barring abortions for certain genetic conditions.

    [...] "2021 has officially surpassed 2015 as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history,” the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ-advocacy group, recently concluded. “States have now enacted more anti-LGBTQ laws this year than in the last three years combined.”

    6 votes
  3. [3]
    nukeman
    Link
    U.S. Judge Overturns California's Ban On Assault Weapons

    U.S. Judge Overturns California's Ban On Assault Weapons

    A federal judge Friday overturned California's three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, ruling that it violates the constitutional right to bear arms.

    U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled that the state's definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states and by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    "Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law survive," Benitez said. He issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law but stayed it for 30 days to give state Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal.

    In his 94-page ruling, the judge spoke favorably of modern weapons, said they were overwhelmingly used for legal reasons.

    "Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle," the judge said in his ruling's introduction.

    That comparison "completely undermines the credibility of this decision and is a slap in the face to the families who've lost loved ones to this weapon," Newsom said in a statement. "We're not backing down from this fight, and we'll continue pushing for common sense gun laws that will save lives."

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Seriously?? This comparison is so off base it's absurd. I can picture the SNL skit for this right now, where a character keeps trying to use his AR-15 to open amazon boxes and jar lids while...

      "Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle,"

      Seriously?? This comparison is so off base it's absurd. I can picture the SNL skit for this right now, where a character keeps trying to use his AR-15 to open amazon boxes and jar lids while accidentally discharging it over and over.

      10 votes
  4. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    As his polling drops, the New York mayoral election may no longer be Andrew Yang’s to lose. (Among other things.)

    As his polling drops, the New York mayoral election may no longer be Andrew Yang’s to lose. (Among other things.)

    After spending much of the race as the first choice of at least 20 percent — sometimes even 30 percent — of voters, Yang has fallen back into the teens and is roughly tied with Adams … and with Garcia, who is now polling in the double digits even according to a Yang internal poll.

    Garcia’s dramatic improvement is most likely thanks to her May 10 endorsement by the New York Times editorial board. Pollster Change Research was in the field May 6-12 and found that 4 percent of respondents picked Garcia as their first choice before the Times endorsement, but 11 percent did so after it. Normally, newspaper endorsements don’t affect how people vote, but they can still be valuable under certain circumstances, such as in primaries, like New York City’s, where voters can’t fall back on their partisan preferences, local races where the candidates aren’t very well known or elections where lots of voters are undecided.

    [...] rank-and-file New Yorkers have not much changed their opinion of their governor. Registered voters give him a 42 percent approval rating and a 55 percent disapproval rating, virtually identical to the 42-56 percent approval-disapproval rating they gave him in April. And while a slight plurality of New Yorkers have always told Siena that Cuomo should not resign, voters are still just as divided on the question as they were a month or two ago. In fact, the 41 percent who currently believe he should resign is even a tad higher than it was in April (37 percent) and March (35 percent).

    4 votes
  5. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    Offbeat: US army troops accidentally storm Bulgarian olive oil factory

    Offbeat: US army troops accidentally storm Bulgarian olive oil factory

    (CNN)The US military has issued an apology after soldiers accidentally stormed a factory in Bulgaria that produces processing machinery for olive oil during a training exercise last month.

    US soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade had been practicing for days how to seize and secure the Cheshnegirovo decommissioned airfield in Bulgaria, training that included clearing bunkers across the airfield, according to a statement from the US Army Europe and Africa released Tuesday. During an exercise on May 11, the soldiers cleared a building next to the airfield that "they believed was part of the training area, but that was occupied by Bulgarian civilians operating a private business." No weapons were fired, the US military also said.

    Marin Dimitrov, 63, the owner of Kim Engineering, the factory stormed by US troops, and his son, Bozhidar Dimitrov, 33, told CNN Wednesday that military exercises have been conducted routinely in the nearby airfield, but for the 12 years the factory has been there, there haven't been any incidents. Bozhidar said no one contacted them and told them the military would be training on their property that day.

    Asked how he felt about what had happened, Bozhidar Dimitrov said, "It was kind of like in a movie, something that I had seen in the movies and didn't expect to happen in real life."

    3 votes