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TBR News May 15, 2020

May 15 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. May 15, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it. “
Comment for May 15, 2020:”There is a growing ground-swell of information that there are improbable flaws in the coronavirus business. And Trump’s total inablilty to lead anyone but himself is becoming more and more evident. America was once the world’s leader but no longer. Trump’s bizarre words and action, caused by his mental problems, has alienated the United States from the rest of the world. But unless Trump and his strange gang of wierdos manage to cancel the Presidential elections in November, the public will have the final say over the self-anointed ‘King of America.”

The Table of Contents
• World agog as Trump flails over pandemic despite claims US leads way
• Evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is genetically engineered
• Blaylock: Face Masks Pose Serious Risks To The Healthy
• Federal Whistleblower Rick Bright Tells Congress How Trump Officials Bungled Coronavirus Preparations
• Death is in the Air!
• Postponement and Rescheduling of Elections to Federal Office to Include the Presidency and Congress
• In Pennsylvania, signs that Trump’s attacks on mail voting could backfire

World agog as Trump flails over pandemic despite claims US leads way
The president’s outlandish behavior as Americans suffer has inspired horror and confusion while alienating allies
May 15, 2020
by Julian Borger in Washington, Helen Davidson in Sydney, Leyland Cecco in Toronto, Daniel Boffey in Brussels Philip Oltermann in Berlin, Angela Giuffrida in Rome, Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro and Emmanuel Akinwotu in London
The Guardian
The Trump administration has repeatedly claimed that the US is “leading the world” with its response to the pandemic, but it does not seem to be going in any direction the world wants to follow.
Across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, views of the US handling of the coronavirus crisis are uniformly negative and range from horror through derision to sympathy. Donald Trump’s musings from the White House briefing room, particularly his thoughts on injecting disinfectant, have drawn the attention of the planet.
“Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger,” the columnist Fintan O’Toole wrote in the Irish Times. “But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.”
The US has emerged as a global hotspot for the pandemic, a giant petri dish for the Sars-CoV-2 virus. As the death toll rises, Trump’s claims to global leadership have became more far-fetched. He told Republicans last week that he had had a round of phone calls with Angela Merkel, Shinzo Abe and other unnamed world leaders and insisted “so many of them, almost all of them, I would say all of them” believe the US is leading the way.
None of the leaders he mentioned has said anything to suggest that was true. At each milestone of the crisis, European leaders have been taken aback by Trump’s lack of consultation with them – when he suspended travel to the US from Europe on 12 March without warning Brussels, for example. A week later, politicians in Berlin accused Trump of an “unfriendly act” for offering “large sums of money” to get a German company developing a vaccine to move its research wing to the US.
The president’s abrupt decision to cut funding to the World Health Organization last month also came as a shock. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, a former Spanish foreign minister, wrote on Twitter: “There is no reason justifying this move at a moment when their efforts are needed more than ever to help contain & mitigate the coronavirus pandemic.”
A poll in France last week found Merkel to be far and away the most trusted world leader. Just 2% had confidence Trump was leading the world in the right direction. Only Boris Johnson and Xi Jinping inspired less faith.
A survey this week by the British Foreign Policy Group found 28% of Britons trusted the US to act responsibly on the world stage, a drop of 13 percentage points since January, with the biggest drop in confidence coming among Conservative voters.
Dacian Cioloș, a former prime minister of Romania who now leads the Renew Europe group in the European parliament, captured a general European view this week as the latest statistics on deaths in the US were reported.
“Post-truth communication techniques used by rightwing populism movements simply do not work to beat Covid-19,” he told the Guardian. “And we see that populism cost lives.”
Around the globe, the “America first” response pursued by the Trump administration has alienated close allies. In Canada, it was the White House order in April to halt shipments of critical N95 protective masks to Canadian hospitals that was the breaking point.
The Ontario premier, Doug Ford, who had previously spoken out in support of Trump on several occasions, said the decision was like letting a family member “starve” during a crisis.
“When the cards are down, you see who your friends are,” said Ford. “And I think it’s been very clear over the last couple of days who our friends are.”
In countries known for chronic problems of governance, there has been a sense of wonder that the US appears to have joined their ranks.
Esmir Milavić, an editor at Bosnia’s N1 TV channel, told viewers this week: “The White House is in utter dysfunction and doesn’t speak with one voice.”
Milavić said: “The vice-president is wearing a mask, while the president doesn’t; some staffers wear them, some don’t. Everybody acts as they please. As time passes, White House begins to look more and more like the Balkans”
After Trump’s disinfectant comments, Beppe Severgnini, a columnist for Italy’s Corriere della Sera, said in a TV interview: “Trying to get into Donald Trump’s head is more difficult than finding a vaccine for coronavirus. First he decided on a lockdown and then he encouraged protests against the lockdown that he promoted. It’s like a Mel Brooks film.”
In several countries, the local health authorities have felt obliged to put out statements to counter “health advice” coming from the White House, concerning the ingestion of disinfectant and taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug found to be ineffective against Covid-19 and potentially lethal.
The Nigerian government put out a warning that there is no “hard evidence that chloroquine is effective in prevention or management of coronavirus infection” after three people were hospitalised from overdosing on the drug in Lagos. It was not enough to prevent a fivefold increase in the price of the drug, which is also used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Trump’s decision not to take part in a global effort to find a vaccine, and his abrupt severance of financial support to the WHO at the height of the pandemic, added outrage and prompted complaints that the US was surrendering its role of global leadership.
“If there is any world leader who can be accused of handling the current crisis badly, it is Donald Trump, whose initial disdain for Covid-19 may have cost thousands of Americans their lives,” an editorial in the conservative Estado de São Paulo newspaper said last month.
The newspaper said Trump had only decided to take Covid seriously after finding himself “cornered by the facts” – and expressed shock at his decision to halt WHO funding.
“Even by the standards of his behaviour, the level of impudence is astonishing for the holder of an office that, until just a few years ago, was a considered reference in leadership for the democratic world,” it said.
Nowhere in the world is the US response to the pandemic more routinely castigated than in China. It is hardly surprising. Trump has consistently pointed to Chinese culpability in failing to contain the outbreak in its early stages, and the pandemic has become the central battleground for global leadership between the established superpower and the emerging challenger.
There is a palpable sense of relief among Chinese state commentators that the US president’s antics have diverted some of the anger that would otherwise have been aimed at Beijing.
“Only by making Americans hate China can they make sure that the public might overlook the fact that Trump’s team is stained with the blood of Americans,” said an English-language Global Times editorial late last month.
Its editor, Hu Xijin, tweeted: “US system used to be appealing to many Chinese people. But through the pandemic, Chinese saw US government’s incompetence in outbreak control, disregard for life and its overt lies. Washington’s political halo has little left.”
China’s failure to cooperate fully with the WHO and its heavy-handed diplomacy has won Beijing few friends, despite its dispatch of medical assistance around the world. But the German news weekly Der Spiegel argued that Trump had single-handedly managed to spare Beijing the worst of the global consequences for its failings.
“For a while, it looked like the outbreak of the coronavirus would throw China back by light years,” the magazine argued in an editorial. “But now it is US president Donald Trump who has to spend day after day in a stuffy White House press room explaining to the world why his country can’t get a grip on the pandemic.”

Evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is genetically engineered
A scientist argues that the evidence for a “natural” origin for the virus is fabricated. Report:
May 12, 2020
by Claire Robinson
GM Watch
An anonymous scientist[1] has published a detailed article arguing that SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic, is a genetically engineered lab creation. What’s more, the author argues that the particular bat coronavirus from which SARS-CoV-2 is claimed to have naturally emerged – dubbed RaTG13 – is a fabrication. In other words, the author says the “natural origin” for the virus was made up in a desperate attempt to let those responsible for the lab escape off the hook.
According to the author, the fabrication was perpetrated by Shi Zhengli, director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China. The WIV is only a few kilometres from the Wuhan seafood and wildlife market that was initially blamed for the outbreak. Zhengli has been dubbed by the media “the bat woman” for her role in collecting bat viruses from the wild for her “gain-of-function” research.
“Gain-of-function” research seeks to make viruses more virulent or more transmissible – for instance, making a virus airborne or better adapted to different host species. Such research is not necessarily intended for bioweapons development – it’s supposedly intended to help develop vaccines and therapeutics for virus epidemics and for basic research on the behaviour of viruses. But it’s been fiercely criticized for decades by some scientists for posing huge risks to public health in return for little or no benefit.
In fact, the author of the new article does suggest that SARS-CoV-2 was developed as a bioweapon, though he doesn’t suggest that it was deliberately released as one.
The new article, titled, “RaTG13 – the undeniable evidence that the Wuhan coronavirus is man-made”, appears on the “Nerd has Power” blog. The blog site doesn’t identify the author, so we’ll call him or her “Nerd”, and assume he’s male, for the purposes of this article. The article is technical in parts but Nerd does his best to make it accessible to the layperson by explaining every step of his logic, at the same time as giving definitions of scientific terms. In our experience, he succeeds, though non-scientists may need to read the technical parts with close attention, possibly more than once!
The new article brings solid scientific evidence to the row that is raging over the origin of SARS-CoV-2. Some scientists have said that the virus is the result of natural evolution in animal or human hosts. But others have said that while natural emergence is possible, it’s also not possible to rule out a lab escape, either of a natural virus obtained from the wild for research, or even of a genetically engineered virus.
As Nerd points out, all publications arguing for a natural origin for SARS-CoV-2 rely on a single piece of evidence – the sequence of a purported natural bat coronavirus named RaTG13.
RaTG13 looks like a “close cousin” of SARS-CoV-2 – the two are 96% identical throughout the whole sequence of the viral genome. If RaTG13 is a natural virus, SARS-CoV-2 very likely also comes from nature and must share a recent common ancestor with RaTG13. Indeed, it has been argued by those in support of the natural origin of SARS-CoV-2 that the virus arose by the mutation of RaTG13 in animal and/or human hosts.
But there’s one major problem with the natural origin theory, according to Nerd: The RaTG13 virus isn’t real. It doesn’t exist as a “live” sample, only as a sequence of letters in a computer, which only in January this year, after the COVID-19 outbreak hit, was uploaded into a public database. Nerd believes that this sole evidence of its existence, its genetic sequence, was fabricated. And, he says, the major suspect in the fabrication is Shi Zhengli.
We summarise below Nerd’s technical argument that SARS-CoV-2, as originally found in Wuhan, China, was genetically engineered. However, we strongly encourage readers to go to his full article, to look at the graphs that illustrate his argument, and to check out his linked sources.
Nerd’s argument is being taken seriously by many well qualified commentators, both on Twitter and in the Comments section of his original posting here. His updated post, which takes account of comments and corrections he’s received from readers, is here.

Summary of Nerd’s argument that SARS-CoV-2 is genetically engineered

1) Many mutations in natural evolution are single DNA or RNA nucleotide substitutions; that is, a change of a single base unit (nucleotide) in the order of the base units that constitutes the genetic material of the organism. (Note: The genetic material of coronaviruses is RNA, not DNA.) These random single nucleotide mutations within a protein-coding region of the genetic material of an organism can have one of two outcomes. Either it can have no effect on the genetic code and thus no effect on the order of amino acids in the corresponding protein – this is known as a “synonymous mutation”; or the single nucleotide change can alter the genetic code, leading to a change in the amino acid sequence of the protein for which it encodes, conferring in turn new properties to the protein – this is known as a “non-synonymous mutation”.
2) There are strict rules that govern natural evolution through random single nucleotide mutation. In particular, typically the ratio between the number of synonymous mutations and that of non-synonymous mutations should be around 5:1; that is, 5 times more synonymous mutations than non-synonymous arise through this process. In other words there should be an amino acid change with every 6th single nucleotide mutation.
3) If we consider the natural rates and patterns of mutational changes between two bona fide native bat coronaviruses identified by a lab in China that has a military background, ZC45 and ZXC21, everything is as predicted, in line with what we know about how viruses evolve in nature. The changes are consistent with what is expected when two lineages closely relate to each other evolutionarily and the differences in their sequences are the results of random mutations. The ratio between the number of synonymous mutations and that of non-synonymous mutations is around 5:1.
4) But a comparison between SARS-CoV-2 and its purported close relative RaTG13 shows a pattern that’s completely inconsistent with natural evolution through single nucleotide substitution. The synonymous/non-synonymous mutation ratio is 44:1 – wildly divergent from the 5:1 ratio expected from a natural evolution.
5) Comparing SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13, the whole spectrum of RNA sequence and amino acids have a very high similarity in every genomic region except in the S2 (Spike 2) half of the spike protein – which is very different. The S2 spike protein region doesn’t follow the evolutionarily predicted and observed frequency of synonymous and non-synonymous mutation rates for coronaviruses. Although there are 90 nucleotide differences there are only two amino acid substitutions rather than the 15 that would be expected. Thus there are far fewer amino acid substitutions compared with what should happen naturally.
6) A safe conclusion to the above points is that, between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13, at least one is non-natural. If one is natural, then the other one must not be. It’s also possible that neither of them came from nature.
7) The part of a virus that determines how good it is at infecting humans is the receptor binding domain (RBD) located in the S1 region of the spike protein located on the surface of the virus. The RBD dictates whether or not the virus can bind to the ACE2 receptor on the surface of human cells and thereby infect humans. This is the “business part” of the virus. If it’s not right, it won’t infect humans. If it is right, it will.
8) If indeed RaTG13 is a fabrication, what are the bona fide bat viruses that are most closely related to the Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 virus and thus could be its “parents”? By comparing amino acid and nucleotide sequences, Nerd identifies the two bat coronaviruses reported in the scientific literature, ZC45 and ZXC21, as the closest fits. ZC45 and ZXC21 are also remarkably similar to each other, with a 97% sequence identity.
9) A comparison between the amino acid sequences of the Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 virus as originally described and the ZC45 and ZXC21 viruses shows a remarkable identity in all but one crucial region. In the majority of the virus there is 95% amino acid sequence identity, but there is one crucial region where they are strikingly dissimilar, with only 69% identity. That is the S1 region of the spike protein that harbours the RBD. Given the very high identity in all other regions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus when compared with ZC45 and ZXC21, it is highly improbable that such a huge difference in just the S1 part of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 could have arisen naturally over the timespan in which they are supposed to have co-existed in nature.
10) The other striking result of a comparison between SARS-CoV-2 and ZC45/ZXC21 relates to another component, the E protein. The E protein is a structural protein of coronaviruses that can tolerate a large number of mutations without any negative impact on function. This is highlighted by the fact that even after just two months after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, mutations in the E protein of SARS-CoV-2 were identified. However, when comparing the original SARS-CoV-2 virus with the ZC45/ZXC21 bat viruses, they have a 100% identical E protein amino acid sequence. Given the high mutation rate observed in SARS-CoV-2 (and in coronaviruses in general), and given the fact that mutations can occur anywhere in the virus genome, including in the E protein region, it makes no biological sense that the original SARS-CoV-2 virus would have a 100% identical E protein amino acid sequence to the ZC45/ZXC21 bat viruses.
11) Both the above basic biological observations strongly indicate that the only way that SAS-CoV-2 can be so dissimilar in the S1 region of the spike protein (crucial to human infectivity), yet identical in a far less crucial component such as the E protein, is through intentional design (genetic manipulation in the lab) and not by natural mutation and selection in animal and human hosts.
12) The above information strongly points to SARS-CoV-2 being constructed based on one or both of the two bat viruses, ZC45 and ZXC21, rather than the purported RaTG13.

Intention
Based on the above information, in GMWatch’s interpretation, the intention of these genetic manipulations would be to determine which amino acid changes are required in the RBD of bat viruses for them to gain infectivity in human cells.
We do not share Nerd’s conclusion that the original SARS-CoV-2 was necessarily developed as a bioweapon, though there’s no proof that it wasn’t. It is equally likely to have been developed for study purposes and/or in order to help develop therapies or vaccines for current or future coronavirus pandemics.
Shi Zhengli’s role
There is also the question of Shi Zhengli’s involvement. Nerd poses a series of questions that must awaken suspicion in anyone familiar with the naked ambition that characterizes the virus gain-of-function area of scientific research.
Nerd asks: If RaTG13 were a bona fide natural bat coronavirus discovered in the wild in 2013, as Shi Zhengli claims, given its “star quality” regarding the high potential to infect humans, why didn’t Shi rush to publish its sequence at the time in a prestigious journal? After all, this is what she had done previously with the ZC45 and ZXC21 bat coronaviruses. Why did she wait until January 2020, when the public row began about the possible lab origin of SARS-CoV-2, before publishing the sequence?[2]
Nerd’s implication is that, with speculation mounting about the possible lab origin of SARS-CoV-2, and the WIV being a chief suspect, Shi scrambled to come up with some sort of “evidence” to show that the virus had a natural origin and thus was nothing to do with her lab. That “evidence” consisted of the fabricated sequence of RaTG13.
Why 2013?
If we accept Nerd’s conclusion that RaTG13 is a fabrication, why would Shi and her collaborators claim it was discovered way back in 2013,[3] as opposed to more recently? Nerd doesn’t go into this, but GMWatch believes that two possible reasons are:
1) To avoid awkward questions about why no live sample of RaTG13 is available, enabling us to confirm its real existence – after all, 2013 is a long time ago.
2) To give sufficient time for RaTG13 to plausibly naturally mutate and emerge as SARS-CoV-2, thus supporting the “natural origin” hypothesis for the COVID-19 epidemic.
Why the delay?
GMWatch follows Nerd in finding Shi Zhengli’s delay in publishing the sequence of RaTG13 very curious to say the least and we understand why he regards it as highly suspicious.
In our view, such work, once published, would be universally acclaimed as of immense public health import and potentially worthy of the Nobel Prize. If RaTG13 is real, it’s not the kind of thing that a scientist of Shi’s standing would normally keep under wraps for years. As any scientist can tell you, they are driven by the desire to be the first to announce a new discovery and to bask in the peer recognition and glory that this brings – unless, of course, secrecy was mandated because the plan was to use RaTG13 in some way that could not be disclosed, for example, as the basis for developing a bioweapon.
Personal ambition apart, Shi Zhengli is at fault either way, if RaTG13 is real or if it’s fake.
If RaTG13 is real, Shi’s failure to immediately report this discovery appears to be an act of extreme negligence that has recklessly endangered public health. In accord with proper scientific conduct in the public interest, Shi was morally obliged to promptly announce her discovery of RaTG13 and thus put world health authorities on alert as to the possibility of this bat virus acquiring the relatively few mutations needed to convert it to a human pathogen, thus leading to a new SARS pandemic.
If RaTG13 is fabricated, she would be guilty of scientific fraud, apparently committed to cover up an act of negligence in the form of her lab’s construction and accidental release of SARS-CoV-2.
In our view, the evidence presented above shows that there is an urgent need for a credible and independent international investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and the roles played by Shi Zhengli, the Chinese government, and the US bodies that helped fund the virus research at the WIV, including the National Institutes of Health and the EcoHealth Alliance.

Notes
1. Some of our readers have voiced concerns at the fact that we are taking seriously certain evidence (e.g. this) about SARS-CoV-2’s origins despite the fact that it is anonymously authored. While we support full transparency and accountability in science, we understand that powerful interests and strong emotions are involved in the current situation. Therefore we are not surprised that some commentators are afraid to put their names to their views. This may be particularly the case with Nerd, who, judging by his use of Chinese on his blog site, may be a Chinese citizen. In his article, he strongly accuses the “Chinese Communist Party” for responsibility for SARS-CoV-2’s emergence.
Because we want to get the evidence on SARS-CoV-2 out into the open and because we believe that scientists have as much of a right to “stay safe” as the rest of us, we will continue to publish scientific articles on the topic even when the authors feel that they have to remain anonymous.
2. The sequence of BtCoV/4991 RdRp – a fragment of a bat virus genome (370 nucleotides) – was published by Shi Zhengli and colleagues in 2016, four years before RaTG13. As far as the fragment goes, it is identical to the RaTG13 sequence published in Jan 2020. However, this does not affect Nerd’s argument that RaTG13 is a fake.
As the commentator “Simen” says on Nerd’s blog site, “The existence of RaBtCoV/4991 actually does not prove anything. The sequence is only 370bp in length and everything else [was] still not published until 27-JAN-2020.… Notably, if what they claim was true on the S protein, we should [have] already seen the RBD of RaTG13 being published before. We didn’t. Therefore, we cannot rule out fabrication/manipulation for the rest of RaTG13/RaBtCoV/4991. Without being able to rule out such fabrication/manipulation, the argument that RaTG13 is invalid as ‘evidence’ for a ‘natural’ origin of SARS-CoV-2 is still… valid….”
It is a mystery as to why Shi and colleagues only published a tiny fragment of this virus genome. The procedure used to obtain the sequence of this RdRp gene fragment would have provided them with the entire sequence of the virus. Thus the rest of the sequence information appears to have been withheld.
3. In a 2016 paper, Shi describes the collection of samples from a mineshaft that led to the isolation of the bat virus BtCoV/4991. Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance has stated on Twitter that BtCoV/4991 is the same virus from the same sample as RaTG13.

Blaylock: Face Masks Pose Serious Risks To The Healthy
May 11, 2020
technocracy.news

This is somewhat of an unusual virus in that for the vast majority of people infected by the virus, one experiences either no illness (asymptomatic) or very little sickness. Only a very small number of people are at risk of a potentially serious outcome from the infection—mainly those with underlying serious medical conditions in conjunction with advanced age and frailty, those with immune compromising conditions and nursing home patients near the end of their lives. There is growing evidence that the treatment protocol issued to treating doctors by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mainly intubation and use of a ventilator (respirator), may have contributed significantly to the high death rate in these seect individuals.

The Mask Does Not Protect
By wearing a mask, the exhaled viruses will not be able to escape and will concentrate in the nasal passages, enter the olfactory nerves and travel into the brain.
by Russell Blaylock, MD
As for the scientific support for the use of face mask, a recent careful examination of the literature, in which 17 of the best studies were analyzed, concluded that, “ None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.”1 Keep in mind, no studies have been done to demonstrate that either a cloth mask or the N95 mask has any effect on transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Any recommendations, therefore, have to be based on studies of influenza virus transmission. And, as you have seen, there is no conclusive evidence of their efficiency in controlling flu virus transmission.
It is also instructive to know that until recently, the CDC did not recommend wearing a face mask or covering of any kind, unless a person was known to be infected, that is, until recently. Non-infected people need not wear a mask. When a person has TB we have them wear a mask, not the entire community of non-infected. The recommendations by the CDC and the WHO are not based on any studies of this virus and have never been used to contain any other virus pandemic or epidemic in history.
Now that we have established that there is no scientific evidence necessitating the wearing of a face mask for prevention, are there dangers to wearing a face mask, especially for long periods? Several studies have indeed found significant problems with wearing such a mask. This can vary from headaches, to increased airway resistance, carbon dioxide accumulation, to hypoxia, all the way to serious life-threatening complications.
There is a difference between the N95 respirator mask and the surgical mask (cloth or paper mask) in terms of side effects. The N95 mask, which filters out 95% of particles with a median diameter >0.3 µm2 , because it impairs respiratory exchange (breathing) to a greater degree than a soft mask, and is more often associated with headaches. In one such study, researchers surveyed 212 healthcare workers (47 males and 165 females) asking about presence of headaches with N95 mask use, duration of the headaches, type of headaches and if the person had preexisting headaches.2
They found that about a third of the workers developed headaches with use of the mask, most had preexisting headaches that were worsened by the mask wearing, and 60% required pain medications for relief. As to the cause of the headaches, while straps and pressure from the mask could be causative, the bulk of the evidence points toward hypoxia and/or hypercapnia as the cause. That is, a reduction in blood oxygenation (hypoxia) or an elevation in blood C02 (hypercapnia). It is known that the N95 mask, if worn for hours, can reduce blood oxygenation as much as 20%, which can lead to a loss of consciousness, as happened to the hapless fellow driving around alone in his car wearing an N95 mask, causing him to pass out, and to crash his car and sustain injuries. I am sure that we have several cases of elderly individuals or any person with poor lung function passing out, hitting their head. This, of course, can lead to death.
A more recent study involving 159 healthcare workers aged 21 to 35 years of age found that 81% developed headaches from wearing a face mask.3 Some had pre-existing headaches that were precipitated by the masks. All felt like the headaches affected their work performance.
Unfortunately, no one is telling the frail elderly and those with lung diseases, such as COPD, emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis, of these dangers when wearing a facial mask of any kind—which can cause a severe worsening of lung function. This also includes lung cancer patients and people having had lung surgery, especially with partial resection or even the removal of a whole lung.
While most agree that the N95 mask can cause significant hypoxia and hypercapnia, another study of surgical masks found significant reductions in blood oxygen as well. In this study, researchers examined the blood oxygen levels in 53 surgeons using an oximeter. They measured blood oxygenation before surgery as well as at the end of surgeries.4 The researchers found that the mask reduced the blood oxygen levels (pa02) significantly. The longer the duration of wearing the mask, the greater the fall in blood oxygen levels.
The importance of these findings is that a drop in oxygen levels (hypoxia) is associated with an impairment in immunity. Studies have shown that hypoxia can inhibit the type of main immune cells used to fight viral infections called the CD4+ T-lymphocyte. This occurs because the hypoxia increases the level of a compound called hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), which inhibits T-lymphocytes and stimulates a powerful immune inhibitor cell called the Tregs. . This sets the stage for contracting any infection, including COVID-19 and making the consequences of that infection much graver. In essence, your mask may very well put you at an increased risk of infections and if so, having a much worse outcome.5,6,7
People with cancer, especially if the cancer has spread, will be at a further risk from prolonged hypoxia as the cancer grows best in a microenvironment that is low in oxygen. Low oxygen also promotes inflammation which can promote the growth, invasion and spread of cancers.8,9 Repeated episodes of hypoxia has been proposed as a significant factor in atherosclerosis and hence increases all cardiovascular (heart attacks) and cerebrovascular (strokes) diseases.10
There is another danger to wearing these masks on a daily basis, especially if worn for several hours. When a person is infected with a respiratory virus, they will expel some of the virus with each breath. If they are wearing a mask, especially an N95 mask or other tightly fitting mask, they will be constantly rebreathing the viruses, raising the concentration of the virus in the lungs and the nasal passages. We know that people who have the worst reactions to the coronavirus have the highest concentrations of the virus early on. And this leads to the deadly cytokine storm in a selected number.
It gets even more frightening. Newer evidence suggests that in some cases the virus can enter the brain.11,12 In most instances it enters the brain by way of the olfactory nerves (smell nerves), which connect directly with the area of the brain dealing with recent memory and memory consolidation. By wearing a mask, the exhaled viruses will not be able to escape and will concentrate in the nasal passages, enter the olfactory nerves and travel into the brain.13
It is evident from this review that there is insufficient evidence that wearing a mask of any kind can have a significant impact in preventing the spread of this virus. The fact that this virus is a relatively benign infection for the vast majority of the population and that most of the at-risk group also survive, from an infectious disease and epidemiological standpoint, by letting the virus spread through the healthier population we will reach a herd immunity level rather quickly that will end this pandemic quickly and prevent a return next winter. During this time, we need to protect the at-risk population by avoiding close contact, boosting their immunity with compounds that boost cellular immunity and in general, care for them.
One should not attack and insult those who have chosen not to wear a mask, as these studies suggest that is the wise choice to make.
References
bin-Reza F et al. The use of mask and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: A systematic review of the scientific evidence. Resp Viruses 2012;6(4):257-67.
Zhu JH et al. Effects of long-duration wearing of N95 respirator and surgical facemask: a pilot study. J Lung Pulm Resp Res 2014:4:97-100.
Ong JJY et al. Headaches associated with personal protective equipment- A cross-sectional study among frontline healthcare workers during COVID-19. Headache 2020;60(5):864-877.
Bader A et al. Preliminary report on surgical mask induced deoxygenation during major surgery. Neurocirugia 2008;19:12-126.
Shehade H et al. Cutting edge: Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1 negatively regulates Th1 function. J Immunol 2015;195:1372-1376.
Westendorf AM et al. Hypoxia enhances immunosuppression by inhibiting CD4+ effector T cell function and promoting Treg activity. Cell Physiol Biochem 2017;41:1271-84.
Sceneay J et al. Hypoxia-driven immunosuppression contributes to the pre-metastatic niche. Oncoimmunology 2013;2:1 e22355.
Blaylock RL. Immunoexcitatory mechanisms in glioma proliferation, invasion and occasional metastasis. Surg Neurol Inter 2013;4:15. Aggarwal BB. Nucler factor-kappaB: The enemy within. Cancer Cell 2004;6:203-208.
Savransky V et al. Chronic intermittent hypoxia induces atherosclerosis. Am J Resp Crit Care Med 2007;175:1290-1297.
Baig AM et al. Evidence of the COVID-19 virus targeting the CNS: Tissue distribution, host-virus interaction, and proposed neurotropic mechanisms. ACS Chem Neurosci 2020;11:7:995-998. Wu Y et al. Nervous system involvement after infection with COVID-19 and other coronaviruses. Brain Behavior, and Immunity, In press.
Perlman S et al. Spread of a neurotropic murine coronavirus into the CNS via the trigeminal and olfactory nerves. Virology 1989;170:556-560

Federal Whistleblower Rick Bright Tells Congress How Trump Officials Bungled Coronavirus Preparations
May 14 2020,
by Sharon Lerner
The Intercept
Federal whistleblower Rick Bright testified before a House subcommittee on Thursday about the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis. Speaking for almost four hours, Bright, who was ousted as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in April, provided a stinging, detailed account of President Donald Trump and Department of Health and Human Services officials’ failures to respond to the looming pandemic in January and February
Just hours after the president smeared him on Twitter as a disgruntled employee who “should no longer be working for our government,” Bright told the members of the health subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce about numerous occasions in which higher-ups had failed to heed his urgent calls for personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and samples of the virus necessary for beginning work on vaccines and therapeutics.
Those delays cost lives, said Bright, who offered the grim warning that, without better planning, “2020 will be darkest winter in modern history.”
In a heated hearing, Bright, who filed a whistleblower complaint earlier this month, also provided new details about a planned Trump administration program that would have made an unproven coronavirus treatment available without medical supervision. On March 23, he said, he received a directive from the office of the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to create an expanded access program that would have provided broad access to the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
The program would have used an app to give people access to the potentially dangerous drugs — even those without confirmed coronavirus infections, Bright testified. He said his insistence that the regimen to be scientifically evaluated before it was made widely available angered his superiors and led him to be “involuntarily transferred” to a job at the National Institutes of Health.
Bright said, “That, I believe, was the straw that broke the camel’s back and escalated my removal.”
The testimony underscored Bright’s claim that his direct boss, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec and others at Health and Human Services resisted his attempts to address the imminent shortage of N95 masks in January and February, as coronavirus infections were spreading throughout the U.S.
During that period, Bright received a series of increasingly desperate emails from Mike Bowen, co-owner of Prestige Ameritech, the country’s biggest manufacturer of the masks that are used to protect health care workers from infectious diseases.
“I’ll never forget the emails I received from Mike Bowen indicating that our N95 supply was completely decimated,” Bright testified. “He said, ‘We’re in deep shit. The world is. And we need to act.’ And I pushed that forward to the highest levels I could at HHS and got no response. From that moment, I knew that we were going to have a crisis.”
“We should have been doing everything possible, placing orders early, ramping up supply. It should have been a high priority,” Bright went on. Instead, “I was met with indifference, people saying they were either too busy, or they didn’t have a plan, or they didn’t know who was responsible.” Bright added, “There were a number of excuses but never any action.”
Bright testified that, rather than responding, his superiors told him that his urgent pleas “were causing a commotion and I was removed from those meetings.”
Azar, as well as Kadlec and Peter Navarro, a White House official who Bright said helped him call attention to the coronavirus crisis, were invited to testify at the hearing but declined.
While Bright said the inadequate supply of surgical masks has already cost lives, he warned that many more health care workers still face an increased risk of Covid-19 infection because of ongoing shortages and the resulting reliance on lower quality masks. “Our doctors and nurses in the hospital today are wearing N95 masks from other countries that are not providing the sufficient protection,” Bright said.
After Bright described the flawed supply chain that led to the N95 fiasco, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., expressed fear that similar problems might befall other critical products.
“I’m afraid the same thing is going to happen with vaccines,” said Pallone. “Should I be concerned?”
“Absolutely, sir,” Bright responded.
Bright, who has a Ph.D. in virology and has served in disaster preparedness for decades, also alerted the lawmakers to other shortages of supplies critical for dealing with the ongoing emergency, including swabs, testing reagents, and syringes. Although Bright began raising the alarm about the lack of syringes back in January, he told lawmakers that they weren’t ordered until May 1 and that another order “was placed today.”
In his whistleblower report, Bright made the case that Kadlec had been pressuring him to award contracts to politically connected companies, including one with ties to Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. Among the drugs that Bright said Kadlec and a pharmaceutical industry consultant were pushing BARDA to purchase was one that had not undergone safety testing in humans. Bright argued that his removal from the agency was retaliation for his resistance both to the widespread cronyism and the pressures around chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
Democrats on the committee lavishly praised Bright for speaking out about the government ineptitude and corruption, thanking him for his courage and calling him the “finest ambassador in our country for scientists,” as subcommittee chair Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., put it.
For his part, Bright embraced the role. He said, “Americans need to be told the truth.”
Yet several Republicans dismissed Bright as politically motivated and questioned the timing of the hearing, which was held before the Office of Special Counsel completed its investigation of Bright’s complaint. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., accused him of “undermining the administration during a national and global crisis.”
In his own testimony, Prestige Ameritech’s Bowen raised questions about why Bright and others at BARDA didn’t act years earlier to address the preventable crisis, which Bowen said his company had identified in 2006.
While Bowen confirmed that he sent the emails to Bright about the diversion of foreign-made masks from the U.S. and the immediate need to ramp up domestic production during January and February, he described the missives as “merely the latest of 13 years of emails I sent to BARDA in my effort to get HHS to understand that the U.S. mask supply was destined for failure.”
Bowen testified that he had been alerting staff at BARDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to problems with the nation’s mask supply since at least 2007. Bright, who took medical leave because of hypertension following his whistleblower complaint, has worked at BARDA since 2010 and served as its director since 2016.
According to Bowen, the production of surgical masks largely shifted abroad in 2004, leaving the domestic mask supply “subject to diversion by foreign governments.” Prestige Ameritech alerted BARDA to the problem in 2007 and, in response to the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, bought an abandoned factory and tripled its workforce so it could increase its production of N95 masks. But, after the crisis subsided, hospitals returned to buying cheaper, foreign-made masks, and the company was forced to reduce its production and lay off 150 workers, Bowen said.
In January, Bowen offered to once again use that factory to produce masks. “Reactivating these machines would be very difficult and very expensive but could be achieved in a dire situation and with government help,” he wrote to Bright on January 22, just after the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the U.S. was announced.
In 2014, his company joined with other mask manufacturers to form the Secure Mask Supply Association, which attempted to warn about the dangers of not producing enough surgical masks in the U.S. The group worked with Bright and two of his agency colleagues at the time, who, according to Bowen, offered to help get the word out about the lack of domestic N95 production capacity — with certain limitations.
“They said that they would express their concerns about the mask supply to anyone that I could get to call them — anyone except reporters,” Bowen wrote.
Bright’s future is unclear. While the Office of Special Counsel, which is investigating his complaint, recommended that he remain at BARDA, Bright said that he was in discussion with NIH about starting work there.
In a statement to The Intercept, Bright’s lawyers said, “Rather than investigating Dr. Bright’s serious allegations of wrongdoing, which the Office of Special Counsel has determined as a preliminary matter have merit, HHS leadership has decided to lodge baseless allegations against him in an effort to distract attention from the important issues that should be addressed to save American lives

Death is in the Air!
March 2. 2020
by Pat McCann
A new disease is treading softly on the tail of the dread coronovisus that has killed over twenty people world-wide and is, thanks to a stellar global media, terrifying legions of the feeble-minded into pant-wetting terror.
The new disease recently appeared for the first time in New Orleans when 15 year old Armando Ruiz was using a public lavatory to sneak a smoke. He lit a match and the entire wall of the building behind him smashed down into the main hall of the church behind the lavatory, killing thirty people attending a mixed-race same-sex wedding
A team of New Orleans police and scientists from the Weasel Hole Science Institute were able to identify not only the roasted remains of Ruiz but also to discover that he suffered from TF Disease. When word of this got out, there was mass panic in New Orleans that soon was reported, world-wide, in the media.
Armando Ruiz suffered from TF Disease and it is now feared that this is going to spread throughout the entire globe.
Scientists have explained that TF Disease, in its fully developed form, is also known as Terminal Flatulence and those who suffer from it cannot be around any open flame or fly on commercial aircraft
This disease is believed to have originated in the Halls of the United States Congress during the second Bush Administration and expanded outwards to every part of the planet
Human flatulence, not carbon emissions, is probably the major factor in major weather change and is certainly responsible for killing trees in national forests, chickens, bees, small animals, asthma victims and occasional slow cripples.

Postponement and Rescheduling of Elections to Federal Office to Include the Presidency and Congress
Prepared by: Jason Meldemann , U. S, Department of Justice
January 3, 2020
In-House Classification
Xxxxxxxxxxxx (redacted)
.Postponement and Rescheduling of Elections to Federal Office
Summary
Because of the fear that President Trump and Republican Senators might be defeated in the general election of 2020, , attention has been directed at the possibility/authority to postpone, cancel or reschedule an election for federal office. The United States Constitution does not provide in express language any current authority for a federal official or institution to “postpone” an election for federal office. While the Constitution does expressly devolve upon the States the primary authority to administer within their respective jurisdictions elections for federal office, there remains within the Constitution a residual and superceding authority in the Congress over most aspects of congressional elections (Article I, Section 5, clause 1), and an express authority in Congress over at least the timing of the selections of presidential electors in the States (Article II, Section 1, clause 4). Under this authority Congress has legislated a uniform date for presidential electors to be chosen in the States, and a uniform date for congressional elections across the country, which are to be on the Tuesday immediately following the first Monday in November in the particular, applicable even-numbered election years.
In addition to the absence of an express constitutional direction, there is also no federal law which currently provides express authority to “postpone” an election, although the potential operation of federal statutes regarding vacancies and the consequences of a State’s failure to select on the prescribed election day (see 2 U.S.C. § 8, and 3 U.S.C. § 2) might allow the States to hold subsequent elections in “exigent” circumstances. It would appear that under Congress’ express constitutional authority over the timing of federal elections it could enact a federal law setting conditions, times and dates for rescheduling of elections to federal offices in the States in emergency or other exigent circumstances, and with the proper standards and guidelines could delegate the execution and application of those provisions to executive branch or State officials.
In addition to general contest, protest and challenge statutes whereby the results of elections to federal office are initially adjudicated in the States, a handful of States have provided in State law express authority to postpone or reschedule elections within their jurisdictions based on certain emergency contingencies. The States’ authority within the United States Constitution appears to be sufficient to enact legislation to deal with emergency and exigent circumstances concerning federal elections, as long as such laws do not conflict with federal law enacted under Congress’ superceding constitutional authority. Federal courts have thus generally interpreted federal law to permit the States to reschedule elections to congressional office when “exigent” circumstances have necessitated a postponement. There may, however, be different issues raised in the case of the election of presidential electors, as the federal statute regarding the “failure to make a choice” on the prescribed election day for presidential electors is different than that regarding congressional elections. This report will be updated as events warrant..
Contents
Background 1
Timing of Federal Elections 2
Current Federal Authority to Postpone 3
State Authority Over Election Procedures and Administration 5
State Authority Under United States Constitution 5
Authority Under State Law to Postpone or Reschedule 8
Conformance With Federal Law 8
Appendix: Constitutional and Federal Statutory Provisions 14
Congressional Elections 14
Presidential Elections 14
Dates of Federal Office Terms 15
Current Federal Statutory Provisions 15.
Postponement and Rescheduling of Elections to Federal Office
Because of the fear of “possible terrorist attacks which could be directed at election facilities or voters in the States just prior to or during the elections in a presidential election year”, attention has been directed at the possibility/authority to postpone, cancel or reschedule an election for federal office.
Background
There is no provision in the United States Constitution which currently authorizes in express language any federal official or institution to “postpone” an election for federal office. The Constitution expressly devolves upon the States the primary authority to administer within their respective jurisdictions elections for federal office, with a residual and superceding authority within the United States Congress over most aspects of congressional elections (other than the place of choosing Senators),1 and with express authority in Congress over at least the timing of the selections of presidential electors in the States.2 As to the time set for holding elections under this express constitutional authority, Congress has legislated, originally in 1845, a uniform date for presidential electors to be chosen in the States,3 and in 1872, a uniform date for congressional elections across the country,4 which are to be on the Tuesday immediately following the first Monday in November in the particular, applicable even-numbered election years.
In addition to the absence of specific constitutional direction, there is also no federal law which currently provides express authority to “postpone” an election, although the potential operation of federal statutes regarding vacancies and the consequences of a State’s failure to select on the prescribed election day may allow the States to hold subsequent elections in “exigent” circumstances. A handful of States have provided in State law express authority to postpone or reschedule elections within their jurisdictions based on certain emergency contingencies, and others have provided general emergency provisions which might be applicable to election situations.
As to potential disruptions on election day, particularly in regard to the presidential election, some of the confused scenarios and proposed solutions appear to stem from a common misconception of the presidential election as being in the. nature of a national referendum. The presidential election, however, is in reality a series of State (and District of Columbia) elections for presidential electors from that State (or jurisdiction) that the Congress has mandated, since 1845, to be held on the same day throughout the country. Consonant with the States’ authority over the administration and procedural aspects of elections to federal office within their jurisdictions, is the initial responsibility for resolving issues of challenges and recounts in those elections. This authority and these procedures may be relevant in the case of disruptions, insurrection or violence at the polling places on election day which could conceivably cast into question the efficacy and legitimacy of a particular election result in that jurisdiction.
It should be emphasized that while the States have the initial authority, or the “first cut” at resolving disputes and recounts in their respective jurisdictions regarding elections to federal office, the Constitution expressly provides that the final authority over the elections and returns of its own Members lies exclusively in each House of Congress.5 As to the elections for presidential electors, the Constitution expressly gives to the Congress the task of counting the electoral votes for President.6 Implicit within this explicit authority to count the electoral votes has been the practical necessity to determine which electoral votes to count. While Congress has established procedures and rules for counting the electoral votes and resolving disputed lists of electors,7 Congress has, by statute, specifically given the States a “safe harbor” time within which to formally resolve presidential electoral disputes, prior to the meeting of the Electoral College in December, which then would be considered “conclusive” upon the Congress in counting those electoral votes for President.8
Timing of Federal Elections
The United States Constitution does not require a uniform election date in the States for elections to the House or Senate, or for the selection of presidential electors.9 Rather, this has been done by Congress by the enactment of federal law. The Constitution, while declaring in the “Times, Places and Manner” clause (Article I, Section 4, clause 1) that the States have the general authority over the administration of even federal elections within their respective jurisdictions, expressly provides that the Congress may supercede any State provision regarding, among other things, the timing of congressional elections, and further provides that Congress may establish the time for the election of presidential electors in the States. (Article II, Section 1, clause 4). Under these authorities, Congress has established uniform dates for the general elections to federal office within the States, which now are mandated to be held on the first Tuesday next following the first Monday in November in the appropriate even-numbered years.
It was not until 1845 that a uniform date for electing presidential electors in the States was mandated by Congress.10 Before then, the timing for selecting presidential electors could and did vary from State to State. Congress in 1844 and 1845 was, however, concerned about the allegations of fraud and corruption in the previous election (1840) for electors for President and Vice President in several States. It was asserted that some of the particular misconduct in that election appeared to have been encouraged, in part, because the States had differing dates for the presidential election, which allowed the alleged movement of populations and voters to key States having later elections (described as “pipelaying”).11 Congress sought to eliminate such opportunities for fraud and corruption by establishing a uniform day throughout the country for selecting the electors for President and Vice President, while assuring that those States that required an absolute majority to elect could continue to hold a run-off for presidential electors if needed in an election on a subsequent date.12 The uniform date for congressional elections in the States was not established by the Congress until 1872. 13 In first enacting this legislation, the Congress appeared to be concerned primarily with two factors, that is, the potential undue and unfair influence on elections in some States that earlier results and elections in other States may routinely have; and the burden on voters who in some States would have to go to the polls twice for two different general elections to choose federal officers in presidential election years.14
Current Federal Authority to Postpone
As noted, the United States Constitution does not provide any express authority to any federal official or institution to postpone an election for federal office in a particular State, or in all of the States. Specifically, there is no current constitutional authority residing in the President of the United States, nor the executive branch of. Government, to postpone, cancel, or reschedule elections for federal office in the various States.15 There might certainly be some potential emergency powers inherent in the President of the United States, as well as those delegated by statute, but there is no precedent for such powers being applied with respect to elections held in the various States for presidential electors,16 authority over which, as to the procedures and methods, has been expressly delegated in the Constitution to the States.17 It is possible that some scenarios could be imagined, however, where attacks, disruptions and destruction are so severe and so dangerous in certain localities, particularly in crowded urban areas, that the President under a rule of necessity may look to protect the public safety by federalizing State national guard and restricting movement and activities in such areas which would obviously affect the ability to conduct an election at those sites.18 Unlike the President, Congress does have explicit constitutional authority over elections to federal office which is of an express, residual nature concerning congressional elections,19 and a broad implicit authority recognized by the Supreme Court to legislate to protect the integrity and proceedings of presidential elections,20 as well as express authority over the date of the selection of presidential electors.21 Congress could, therefore, pass legislation regarding dates, and emergency postponements and/or rescheduling times for elections to federal offices. The courts have recognized an expansive authority in the Congress to “provide a complete code” for federal elections within the States, including presidential elections, and, within the parameters of the specific dates for the length and terms of federal offices established within the Constitution, could exercise its legislative discretion with regard to emergency scheduling and rescheduling.22 As noted by the Supreme Court. earlier in our history with regard to Congress’ authority over the conduct of elections for federal office in the States:
That a government whose essential character is republican, whose executive head and legislative body are both elective … , has no power by appropriate laws to secure this election from the influence of violence … is a proposition so startling as to arrest attention and demand the gravest consideration.
If this government is anything more than a mere aggregation of delegated agents of other States and governments, each of which is superior to the general government, it must have the power to protect the elections on which its existence depends from violence and corruption.23
Furthermore, in theory, Congress could also enact a law delegating to the executive certain authority in this area regarding emergency rescheduling.24 However, as a policy matter, and under Article I, Section 4, clause 1, and Article II, Section 1, clause 2, Congress has traditionally allowed the States, within the framework of the federal constitutional and statutory mandates, to exercise the substantive control over the procedures and administrative details of elections within their own respective jurisdictions, and the States have then generally further devolved immediate administrative and supervisory control over many election procedures to local and county authorities within their jurisdictions. This policy has generally recognized the principle that because of the varying political cultures, practices and traditions across the nation, and from State-to-State, that operational authority over most of the election mechanics is more efficiently left to the States and localities.
It should be noted, and as discussed in more detail in following sections, that there are existing provisions under current federal law regarding a failure of a State to make a selection on the prescribed election day with regard to both congressional elections (2 U.S.C. § 8) and presidential elections (3 U.S.C. § 2), which have traditionally left the details of such decisions up to the States.
State Authority Over Election Procedures and Administration
State Authority Under United States Constitution.
There is under our federal system of shared sovereignty a division of jurisdiction and authority which occurs in the case of elections to federal office under the. provisions of the United States Constitution. In the first instance, the terms of federal offices and the qualifications of candidates eligible for federal offices are established and fixed by the agreement of the States within the instrument which created those offices, that is, the United States Constitution, and are thus unalterable by the Congress alone or by any State unilaterally.25 The Constitution expressly provides, however, that the individual States have the authority to administer elections for federal congressional office, while providing that Congress may generally supercede any such regulations.26 The Supreme Court has described this “Times, Places and Manner” clause of Article I, Section 4, as a “default provision; it invests the States with responsibility for the mechanics of congressional elections … but only so far as Congress declines to pre-empt state legislative choices.”27 The State legislatures have express authority over the “manner” in which presidential electors in their State are to be chosen.28 Within certain constitutionally prescribed parameters, the States are also responsible to establish the qualifications for voting in their States in federal elections.29 Finally, as to its own Members, the Constitution provides that each House of Congress expressly retains the authority to be the final judge of the results of their elections and constitutionally prescribed qualifications,30 and the Congress, in joint session, is assigned in the Constitution the duty to count the electoral votes for President and to declare the winner.31
Under the States’ “Times, Places and Manner” authority in the Constitution, the States may promulgate a broad range of regulatory and administrative provisions over the mechanics and procedures even for federal elections within their States regarding such things as forms of the ballots, “ballot access” by candidates (including new party or independent candidates), voting procedures, and the nominating and electoral process generally, to prevent election fraud, voter confusion, ballot overcrowding, the proliferation of frivolous candidates, and to facilitate proper election administration.32.
The States’ procedural and administrative authority over elections within their jurisdictions, including elections to federal office, includes the initial authority over election contests, protests and recounts. As noted by the Supreme Court in Roudebush v. Hartke, even though the Constitution expressly gives each House of Congress the final authority over the elections and returns of it own members (Article I, Section 5), a State may adopt contest and recount provisions as one of the “safeguards which experience shows are necessary in order to enforce the fundamental right involved.”33 The Court noted there:
Indiana has found, along with many other States, that one procedure necessary to guard against irregularity and error in the tabulation of votes is the availability of a recount. … A recount is an integral part of the Indiana electoral process and is in the ambit of the broad powers delegated to the States by Art. I, § 4.
It is true that a State’s verification of the accuracy of election results pursuant to its Art. I, § 4, powers is not totally separable from the Senate’s power to judge elections and returns. But a recount can be said to “usurp” the Senate’s function only if it frustrates the Senate’s ability to make an independent final judgment. A recount does not prevent the Senate from independently evaluating the election any more than the initial count does. The Senate is free to accept or reject the apparent winner in either count, and, if it chooses, to conduct its own recount.34
As to the presidential election, the State legislatures are granted express authority over the manner in which presidential electors are to be chosen. Article II, Section 1, clause 2. Although there remains continued controversy over the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bush v. Gore,35 where a federal court intervened to stop a State ordered recount of the vote for presidential electors in Florida in 2000, the Court’s per curium opinion left intact and affirmed, at least in theory, a State legislature’s authority under the United States Constitution to enact protest or contest statutes and provisions regarding elections for presidential electors, although the implementation of that procedure as directed by the Florida courts was found by a majority of the Supreme Court to be violative of the equal protections and due process requirements. of the United States Constitution.36 The primacy under the United States Constitution of the States’ legislatures in establishing the mechanisms for appointment of presidential electors and in fashioning recount and protest statutes was also emphasized by the Supreme Court in the decision preceding Bush v. Gore, that is, Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board,37 which had remanded back to the State courts the issue of the recount proceedings in the Florida presidential election of 2000.
Authority Under State Law to Postpone or Reschedule.
There are several State provisions which currently purport to give to certain specified State officials the authority to “postpone” or to reschedule an election within the State, prior to the holding of an election, for a number of emergency and exigent circumstances.38 Furthermore, other States may have general emergency powers which might be used, and might be broad enough, to allow the Governor or other State executive official to take action which may effect a postponement of an election. Because of the increased awareness of the threat from terrorists and terrorist organizations, State legislatures may in the future consider the adoption of additional provisions which set out the considerations and circumstances for the declaration of a postponement and/or rescheduling of an election within their jurisdiction, including elections to federal offices.
Conformance With Federal Law.
Does a State law or order instituting a rescheduling of an election to federal office within that State impermissibly affect the date of such election in contravention of the federal laws that have established election day for federal offices to be the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November?
Congressional Elections. The federally established date for elections for federal office, while it is clearly mandatory and not merely advisory, may not necessarily be an “absolute,” such that no election subsequent to that date could be or should be recognized. In fact, as noted, the federal statutory scheme in the case of congressional elections specifically provides for the contingency of a “vacancy” in the State delegation, whether that vacancy is caused by death, resignation or incapacity, or by a “failure to elect at the time prescribed by law,” by authorizing another time for the election to be prescribed by State law:
2 U.S.C. § 8. Vacancies The time for holding elections in any State, District, or Territory for a Representative or Delegate to fill a vacancy, whether. such vacancy is caused by a failure to elect at the time prescribed by law, or by the death, resignation, or incapacity of a person elected, may be prescribed by the laws of the several States and Territories respectively.
The Supreme Court of the United States has found that the day established in 2 U.S.C. § 7 for electing Senators and Representatives in the States is a mandatory date, and that a State’s statutory scheme may not permissibly allow the “election” of such a federal official at an election held prior to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November date. Thus, the Louisiana election provisions which designated as “elected” to Congress an open primary winner who received at least a majority of the votes cast in that primary election held prior to the general election, was found to be a violation of the federal law setting the general election date.39 States that allow “early voting” in federal elections, however, have not been found by federal courts to be holding a prior election in violation of the federal statute since it was found that the election would not be “consummated” before election day, or that such ballots would not be officially counted or tallied before election day.40
Federal courts interpreting the federal statutes regarding the timing of elections to Congress have noted that the States’ scheme for elections must be in general conformance with the date prescribed by federal law, at 2 U.S.C. § 7, and may not routinely allow the election on an earlier date, but that certain “exigent” circumstances may permit the holding of an election for federal office at a subsequent time under 2 U.S.C. § 8. 41 The Federal court in the District of Columbia in Busbee v. Smith, in a case affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, found that an exigent circumstance, such as the State of Georgia’s reapportionment plan being refused preclearance by the Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because of “discriminatory effects,” allowed for an election to federal office in two congressional districts to be held on a subsequent date:
…[W]here exigent circumstances arising prior to or on the date established by [2 U.S.C.] section 7 preclude holding an election on that date, a state may postpone the election until the earliest practicable date. In this case, for example, Georgia will “fail[ ] to elect at the time prescribed by law” because its purposefully discriminatory conduct prevented it from securing Section 5 approval for constitutionally required changes in its voting procedures. As a result, we believe, that [2 U.S.C.] section 8 permits a reasonable postponement of the elections in the Fourth and Fifth Congressional Districts.42
This reasoning, as noted later by another federal court, would allow for the postponement of an election, and the holding of the election for federal office in the State at a later date, for a number of possible “exigent” circumstances, including. “natural disasters” such as hurricanes, tied votes, or fraud. This federal court in Georgia found that the State’s statutory requirement that a candidate to be elected receive a majority, and not merely a plurality, of votes in the general election, was such an exigent circumstance that could require the holding of a subsequent run-off election for Senator to be held on November 24, after the earlier November general election mandated by 2 U.S.C. § 7 resulted in no candidate receiving a majority of the votes:
The court in Busbee acknowledged that 2 U.S.C. § 8 allows States, under certain circumstances, to hold elections at times other than those prescribed by section 7. Id. at 524-25. In addition to the circumstances it specifically enumerates — death, resignation, personal incapacity — section 8 allows states to reschedule elections “where exigent circumstances arising prior to or on the date established by section 7 preclude holding an election on that date.” Id. at 525. The court offered natural disasters, and the parties to the instant suit offer fraud and a tie vote as examples of ‘exigent’ circumstances warranting state rescheduling.43
Elections for Presidential Electors.
The election for presidential electors presents somewhat different issues than those elections for congressional office, as the language of the federal statutes for presidential electors varies from the language governing congressional elections. The statute concerning the timing and scheduling for congressional elections provides expressly that when there is a vacancy caused by death, resignation or incapacity, or when “such vacancy is caused by a failure to elect at the time prescribed by law,” then a subsequent election may be scheduled. This language appears to be broad enough and, as noted above, has been interpreted by federal courts to actually permit a temporary postponement and rescheduling of a congressional election. The federal statute for presidential elections, however, expressly states that “[w]henever any State has held an election for the purpose of choosing electors,” but fails to “make a choice on the day prescribed by law,” then the electors may be selected on a subsequent day in the manner established by the legislature of the State:
3 U.S.C. § 2. Failure to make choice on prescribed day Whenever any State has held an election for the purpose of choosing electors, and has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.
Does the wording of 3 U.S.C. § 2 mean that the authority of the States to reschedule an election for presidential electors is contingent upon the State actually having “held an election for the purpose of choosing electors”? If so, then under this theory no prior postponement and rescheduling would be permitted State-wide, even a postponement for natural disasters such as an impending hurricane, or the destruction shortly prior to the elections of a number of polling places, since it would conflict with the federally scheduled time in 3 U.S.C. § 2..
Certainly, if a scheduled election is being held when terrorist or other types of attacks are conducted on voting places, destroying certain polling places in various precincts and disrupting the election generally in a State, then the power of the State to find under its general election contest and challenge procedures that the results of the election, because of such disruptions, are not viable or valid, and that, either a new election, or a continuation of the election (whereby those people who were not certified by election officials as having already voted could come to vote at a subsequent time), would appear to be in conformance with federal law, both at 2 U.S.C. § 8 (for congressional elections), as well as 3 U.S.C. § 2, in the case of the election of presidential electors. In such cases, the State had clearly “held an election,” but a choice was not necessarily made because the State has determined that the results could not fairly be ascertained.
However, if there is a disruption just prior to an election, could an election for presidential electors not be held, that is, be postponed and rescheduled in a particular State and still be in conformance with 3 U.S.C. § 2? There is no clear and definitive authority on this question, nor do there appear to be specific legal precedents bearing upon this issue. Even though the purpose in 1845 of this particular provision at 3 U.S.C. § 2, regarding the subsequent choosing of electors, was clearly to allow those States that required an absolute “majority” in a general election to be “elected” to hold a subsequent run-off election if no candidate’s electors received such a majority,44 the language itself may be open to broader interpretation.
It may be contended on the one hand, that the express constitutional authority of the State legislatures over the selection of presidential electors at Article II, Section 1, clause 2, which language allows the State legislatures to enact statutory schemes to protect the validity of their elections for presidential electors in the State, including fashioning protest or contest procedures, may be consonant with such an authority in the legislature itself to temporarily postpone or to authorize by State law the postponement and rescheduling of State-wide elections by the State executive in certain emergency circumstances. One of the major points made by the Supreme Court in both the earlier Palm Beach County case, and the latter Bush v. Gore decision, was the primacy of the state legislatures’ role in the manner of the selection of presidential electors.45 Although clearly the concepts of “time” and “manner” of election are not necessarily synonymous,46 this constitutional provision and the Supreme Court’s deference to the State legislatures may arguably give some credibility to the States’ attempts to statutorily prescribe a system whereby emergency procedures may be implemented with respect to all State-wide elections, including the general elections for federal office, which provide that such elections, while certainly scheduled for the federally prescribed date, because of such. emergency and exigent circumstances need to be rescheduled, postponed or continued at a subsequent time.
Furthermore, it may be noted that in addition to Article II, Section 1, clause 2 of the Constitution, the federal law at 3 U.S.C. § 5, which was part of the original Electoral Vote Count Act of 1887, provides the State legislatures with further statutory authority to finally and conclusively resolve within the State protests, challenges and contests of the election of presidential electors. One of the purposes of the original 1887 statute regarding counting of the electoral votes was to substantially devolve upon the States the burden for resolving conflicts over the election, selection and appointment of those states’ own electors for President and Vice President.47 As noted by the Supreme Court, this statute at 3 U.S.C. § 5:
… creates a “safe harbor” for a State insofar as congressional consideration of its electoral votes are concerned. If the state legislature has provided for final determination of contests or controversies by a law made prior to election day, that determination shall be conclusive if made at least six days prior to said time of meeting of the electors.48
Clearly, there is an understanding that the States were intended to have the principal and initial responsibility for resolving the conflicts, arguments, controversies and difficulties involved in the processes of electing presidential electors. Thus, it is possible to argue that to harmonize the provisions for elections to federal office, that is specifically the provisions for subsequent congressional elections at 2 U.S.C. § 8 and the presidential provisions at 3 U.S.C. § 2, along with the authority devolved upon the States in 3 U.S.C. § 5, that it would be logical to read the federal statutes as permitting a postponement and an election on a subsequent date for both Congress and presidential electors under the State’s current laws when necessitated by emergency and exigent circumstances in the particular State and, as long as the matter is resolved in time, such resolution would be conclusive on Congress in counting the presidential electoral votes. Such a supposition might be bolstered somewhat by the alternative, that is, that the federal law could work to disenfranchise the voters of a particular State when that State believes it is necessary to temporarily postpone the regularly scheduled State-wide elections because of some extraordinary and disastrous event in the State.
While providing possible support for the State legislature’s authority to develop a scheme which could include postponement of elections for presidential electors in times of emergency, this argument of expanded State authority might not necessarily give any additional weight to an implied or inherent authority of the State Executive. or the State courts to do so, absent an express delegation in law from the legislature.49
Finally, as a policy matter there has been some consternation over allowing any State to postpone or otherwise reschedule an election for federal office. The grounds for any such postponement or rescheduling, as well as any express, implied or inherent authority, would have to be examined initially under State law and procedure, and no blanket statement could be made with respect to the interpretation in all of the States. Furthermore, there appears to be little legal or factual precedent to apply to such circumstances. Remembering that the presidential election is not necessarily in the nature of a national referendum, but is rather 51 simultaneous State/District elections for presidential electors, however, it may be asked as a matter of policy whether or not an event that occurred earlier in the State, or an event that occurs in a different State, would or should be enough to trigger a postponement of an election in any particular State as a matter of good public policy. It has been argued that a violent disruption of an election in Manhattan, New York City, should not necessarily affect, or at least could not predictably affect, an election in Manhattan, Kansas. Various commentators have noted that on the fateful day of September 11, 2001, despite the events unfolding in Manhattan in New York City, Pennsylvania, and in Arlington, Virginia, a primary election for federal congressional office, a contested congressional primary, on the South Shore of Massachusetts reportedly drew a larger than normal number of the voting age population.50 Problems and disruptions in one State may not necessarily or predictably affect the viability of the results in another..
Appendix: Constitutional and Federal Statutory Provisions
Congressional Elections.
Article I, Section 2, clause 1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by the people of the several States ….
Article I, Section 2, clause 4. When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
Amendment Seventeen. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years ….
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
Article I, Section 4, clause 1. The times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
Article I, Section 5, clause 1. Each house shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members ….
Presidential Elections.
Article II, Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress ….51
Article II, Section 1, clause 4. The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
Amendment XII. The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, … and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States,. directed to the President of the Senate; — The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted ….
Dates of Federal Office Terms.
Amendment XX, Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20 th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3 rd day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Current Federal Statutory Provisions.
2 U.S.C. § 1. Time for election of Senators At the regular election held in any State next preceding the expiration of the term for which any Senator was elected to represent such State in Congress, at which election a Representative to Congress is regularly by law to be chosen, a United States Senator from said State shall be elected by the people thereof for the term commencing on the 3d day of January next thereafter.
2 U.S.C. § 7. Time of election The Tuesday next after the 1st Monday in November, in every even numbered year, is established as the day for the election, in each of the States and Territories of the United States, of Representatives and Delegates to the Congress commencing on the 3d day of January next thereafter.
2 U.S.C. § 8. Vacancies The time for holding elections in any State, District, or Territory for a Representative or Delegate to fill a vacancy, whether such vacancy is caused by a failure to elect at the time prescribed by law, or by the death, resignation, or incapacity of a person elected, may be prescribed by the laws of the several States and Territories respectively.
3 U.S.C. § 1. Time of appointing electors The electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President.
3 U.S.C. § 2. Failure to make choice on prescribed day Whenever any State has held an election for the purpose of choosing electors, and has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.
3 U.S.C. § 5. Determination of controversy as to appointment of electors If any State shall have provided, by laws enacted prior to the day fixed for the appointment of the electors, for its final determination of any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of all or any of the electors of such State, by judicial or other methods or procedures, and such determination shall have been made at least six days before the time fixed for the meeting of the electors, such determination made pursuant to such law so existing on said day, and made at least six days prior to said time of meeting of the electors, shall be conclusive, and shall govern in the counting of the electoral votes as provided in the. Constitution, and as hereinafter regulated, so far as the ascertainment of the electors appointed by such State is concerned.

In Pennsylvania, signs that Trump’s attacks on mail voting could backfire
May 15, 2020
by Jarrett Renshaw
Reuters
LOWER MAKEFIELD, Penn. (Reuters) – With Pennsylvania’s June 2 presidential primary fast approaching, local Republican leader Mark Hrutkay took to Facebook to remind supporters they have the option to vote by mail as coronavirus sweeps the state.
Instead of thanks, Hrutkay said he got an earful from angry devotees of Republican President Donald Trump.
“I had one woman, using a lot of four-letter words, tell me ‘didn’t you know Trump hates mail-in balloting,’” said Hrutkay, the Republican chairman of Washington County, a Trump-friendly region just outside Pittsburgh.
Trump has made no secret of his disdain for mail-in voting, proclaiming frequently – without evidence – that such balloting is riddled with fraud. Hrutkay and other Republican leaders say they don’t like it either and share Trump’s skepticism about the integrity of the process.
But they said the president’s messaging may be hurting the party’s chances to win in Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state, where Democrats are dominating a surge in requests to vote by mail in the midst of the pandemic.
With less than three weeks to go before the primary, 1,178,475 Pennsylvania voters have applied for absentee ballots, a 14-fold increase from 2016. Nearly 70% of those requests have come from registered Democrats, state data as of May 13 show. That margin is far wider than the 55% to 45% registration advantage held by Democrats in the state.
Pennsylvania’s June election includes the presidential nominating contest for the major political parties. That decision has effectively been made already because Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden are running unopposed for their respective nominations. But the balloting also features competitive statewide and local races whose outcomes could be determined by the large contingent of absentee voters.
That’s a worrisome harbinger for Republicans looking ahead to the general election, if coronavirus remains a health threat and Democrats continue their mail-in advantage, according to Lee Snover, head of the Republican Party in Northampton County, about 70 miles northeast Philadelphia. Northampton is one of three Pennsylvania counties whose voters flipped to Trump after supporting Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by the slimmest of margins – just 45,000 votes, or less than a percentage point. At stake are 20 Electoral College votes, out of 270 a candidate needs to win the presidency. Pennsylvania is one of a handful of former industrial “Rust Belt” states that could decide this year’s election.
“It’s a real problem and could be really troubling come November,” Snover said. Trump supporters “simply don’t trust the process, and the president’s comments have not helped things, for sure.”
It’s not just Pennsylvania. Republicans nationwide appear less eager to embrace voting by mail. Just one-third of Republicans said they are at least somewhat likely to vote by mail in November, compared to two-thirds of Democrats and half of independents who said so, according to an April 30-May 4 Monmouth University poll.
The Republican National Committee said it has had a team on the ground in Pennsylvania since 2016 and is aggressively educating volunteers and supporters about the process to vote by mail.
“Republican voters are much more traditional, they generally like to vote in person,” said Rick Gorka, a senior member of the Republican National Committee and part of the Trump Victory re-election campaign. “Some level of discomfort is expected, but that’s why we are diligently working to retrain voters.”
IN TRUMP THEY TRUST
But Pennsylvania Republicans such as Frank Miller, a 51-year old business owner, could prove tough to persuade. He lives in Luzerne County, a politically divided region in the northeastern part of the state. Miller says there is no way he would vote by mail in November, pandemic or no pandemic.
“Most Trump supporters are like me – we trust Trump but no one else,” Miller said. “When I see Democrats pushing it, I know there must be a sinister reason for it.”
Mail-in balloting has emerged as another highly charged issue in America’s polarized politics. Republicans in states across the country are engaged in legal battles to stop Democratic attempts to expand mail-in voting in response to the biggest U.S. health crisis in a century.
In Texas, the Democratic Party and a coalition of voters and civil rights groups have filed several lawsuits to expand mail balloting in light of the coronavirus. The Republican-led state government opposes those efforts, arguing mail ballots are prone to fraud and there’s not enough time or money to implement such a sweeping change.
In Nevada, several conservative groups have sued to block Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak’s plan to hold congressional and local primaries in June entirely by mail, arguing that, among other things, it violates the U.S. Constitution.
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania, which has a Democratic governor and a divided legislature, have gone the other way. Last year the state passed legislation making it easier for citizens to vote by mail.
November will mark the first general election in which any registered voter in Pennsylvania can request an absentee ballot without having to provide an excuse such as illness or travel, and evidence to back it up. Those restrictions severely limited the number of people who could vote absentee in the past; mail ballots accounted for just 4.6% of all ballots cast there in the 2016 general election.
Both parties recognize the need for a massive education campaign to let Pennsylvanians know about the changes.
Joe Foster, the Democratic Party head of Montgomery County, the largest suburban county in Pennsylvania, said his party’s central focus is getting voters familiarized with the new voting process in a crucial election year. Pennsylvania ranks among the states hardest-hit by coronavirus; more than 63,000 of its residents have been infected and more than 4,200 have died.
“There is not a phone call or email that I am on where the issue of signing up voters for mail-in ballots is not emphasized,” Foster said.

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