Doomed Planet

Confirmed not by Law but by Media

How many Australians know a brace of cases is pending before the US Supreme Court, which has been asked to review a variety of lower-court decisions concerning the constitutionality of aspects of the counting of votes in the 2020 US Presidential election? In all likelihood, the answer to that question is a minuscule number.

Is this because our mainstream media organizations, including those with American bureaux and reporting directly from the US, are unaware of what can be ascertained by just about any Google-savvy Australian high school student? Or is it because widespread media censorship is evident in omitting any but the most fleeting passing mention of the uncertainties and legal challenges hanging over last week’s election? It seems open to infer that there are various reasons, with the foregoing two (severally, and in combination) at the top of the list.

Why is it that the overwhelming characteristic of the ongoing Australian mainstream media coverage of the 2020 presidential election, including the viscerally anti-Trump ABC, is the heaping of scorn on the mere suggestion that the result of the election has yet to be formally determined and that the rule of law should be allowed to take its normal and legal course? It is an odd world indeed in which there seems to be some Australian mainstream media awareness of events two decades back in Florida, as crystalised in the US Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v Gore (2000), plus the provisions of the US Constitution relating to the Electoral College system, but that the US Constitution and its provisions should not otherwise be mentioned in politically correct society.

Is it fanciful to suppose that the hypothetical ‘reasonable Australian’ – whether for Trump or against him, or simply a follower of US politics as a spectator sport — will agree that for many Americans the election so far, and prior to the imminent decision of the Electoral College, has been no less freighted with consequence  than was the 2016 presidential election. In the immediate aftermath of the latter contest the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency was immediately called into question by his political foes (Russia! Russia! Russia!) and the media echo chamber which found the ridiculous accusation that Vladimir Putin had rigged the voting so worthy of amplifying. Trump’s victory was never accepted by the losers. Perhaps opinions will differ markedly, but it is at least arguable that a segment of those hypothetical ordinary and reasonable Australian who detest Trump also consider the integrity of electoral systems worth defending. Would such Australians be comfortable hearing the mainstream media parrot the slogan, “Forget the Court of Disputed Returns, all that matters is getting the outcome we want!”? In the wake of our last federal election, that court was kept very busy

On October 28, 2020, the US Supreme Court denied a motion to expedite the hearing of an application by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania for a review of a decision of that state’s Supreme Court which, by a vote of four to three, decreed that mailed ballots need not be received by election day. Worth noting and barely mentioned by Australian media organisations’ US correspondents is that judges on the the state’s Supreme Court are elected, and that the four who voted in favour of the extension are all party machine Democrats. What that court endorsed were measures rightfully and solely the province of the legislature. The result was that ballots were to be treated as timely if postmarked on or before election day and received within three days thereafter. Indeed, the court went even further in ruling that mail-in ballots lacking any postmark at all could still be counted. In his short opinion denying the motion, Justice Alito, with whom Justices Thomas and Gorsuch agreed (Justice Barrett took no part in the consideration of the motion), made this observation:

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has issued a decree that squarely alters an important statutory provision enacted by the Pennsylvania Legislature pursuant to its authority under the Constitution of the United States to make rules governing the conduct of elections for federal office. . . In a law called Act 77, the legislature permitted all voters to cast their ballots by mail but unambiguously required that all mailed ballots be received by 8 pm on election day. . . It also specified that if this provision was declared invalid, much of the rest of Act 77, including its liberalization of mail-in voting, would be void. . . The legislature subsequently made it clear that, in its judgment, the COVID–19 pandemic did not call for any change in the election-day deadline. (emphasis added; formal citations omitted by author)

There is informative factual detail in that short opinion, but for present purposes it is enough to say that the proceedings remain very much afoot. There remains a possibility that the 20 Electoral College votes for Pennsylvania will not be cast for what the media insist on calling “the president-elect”, their narrative inspired either by gross ignorance of the law or deliberate misrepresentation. To be clear, Joe Biden will not be president-elect until the Electoral College confirms his victory on “on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.” For those interested in the Democratic National Committee’s shared concern that the US Supreme Court protect its candidates’ ‘constitutional rights’, here is some instructive bedtime reading

There is other factual material (and debate) readily available about the constitutional issues presented for the SCOTUS’s determination in the cases pending before it. All of this should be reported in Australia. All of which brings to mind Launcelot Gobbo’s assertion in The Merchant of Venice, “… but at the length truth will out.” Or so we must hope.

The author is a Melbourne barrister    

14 comments
  • Farnswort

    As noted in this piece, the Democrats and their allies in the media screamed for years that Trump had colluded with Moscow to ‘steal’ the 2016 election. No real evidence was ever presented. In contrast to the Russian collusion piffle, there is actual evidence that electoral irregularities occurred during this election. Trump has every right to demand these irregularities are properly investigated, especially when the margins in the key swing states are razor thin.

    Let’s remember that it took Al Gore 37 days to concede in 2000.

  • pgang

    This has certainly been a fascinating train wreck, not least for the shear belligerence and hubris of ‘their’ media. A growing question in my mind now is, how long has this been going on for and to what extent? My second question is, what is the genuine level of national support for the Democrats in the USA? I wonder if they have been capable of winning the presidency legally for many years past.
    Two data analyses that have come to light are fascinating. One is Dr Shiva Ayyadurai’s Michigan count manipulation, which clearly demonstrates the flipping of single candidate votes to Biden with an increasing linear trend as counties trended more towards the GOP. He claims that a minimum of 138,000 votes were exchanged by this ballot counting algorithm in the 4 main counties alone.
    The other is the analysis carried out by blogger pedeInspector, who has analysed the real time election data feed from Dominion and been able to identify and record the actual instances of vote shifting. Pede’s analysis is open source and can be checked by anybody, anywhere in the world who has a bit of scripting knowledge. I would expect that it will quickly become more sophisticated accordingly.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    From Bloomberg today: State and federal election officials have declared they had “utmost confidence in the security and integrity” of the election, directly contradicting Donald Trump’s claims of fraud.

    “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” the officials said in a statement on Thursday (Friday AEDT). “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

    The statement acknowledged the “many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections” and urged Americans to turn to election administrators and officials for accurate information.

    The statement was signed by officials from the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council, which shares information among state, local and federal officials, and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council, which includes election infrastructure owners and operators.

    Among the 10 signatories were Benjamin Hovland, who chairs the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and Bob Kolasky, the assistant director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security.

    Remember Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to be where Joe Biden is today?

  • Alice Thermopolis

    Perhaps the answer is here.
    Reading volume one of Bertrand Russell’s autobiography, I had to chuckle when I saw this comment in a letter he wrote on July 6, 1902, from Trinity College, Cambridge:
    “What a monstrous thing that a University should teach journalism! I thought that was only done at Oxford. This respect for the filthy multitude is ruining civilization. A certain man had the impudence to maintain in my presence that every student ought to be made to expound his views to a popular audience, so I lifted up my voice and testified for quarter of an hour, after which he treated me with the kind of respect accorded to wild beasts.”
    If he was writing today his “monstrous thing” probably would be the media’s obsession with salacious gotcha moments, DV, bullying in high and low places, endless navel-gazing and self-promotion ad nauseum.

  • Finn MacCool

    It’s refreshing to read a truthful article about ghe US situation. From what I have read, Trump will be using the law to confirm the results but possibly not how most people expect. His challenge appears to based on whether the count was conducted according to the electoral rules. This is much smarter than alleging fraud; this would be incredibly difficult to prove. Benford’s Law is just too esoteric, however correct it is. On the other hand, challenging unsigned ballots, cutoff times or producing scrutineers who were excluded from the tally room is much easier and simpler to explain. It
    avoids the accusations of sour grapes because if is something tangible that was not correct. It also makes it simple for the court to rule because electoral law is clear. If enough results cannot be certified to give 270 to either candidate then the vote goes to the House of Reps. Each State has one vote for it’s group of Reps. This means Trump should shoo it in.

  • ianl

    An aspect that had occurred to me as a possible sneaky bit of footwork concerned the apparent general rule that automatic recounts State by State are required only when the declared winning margin is less than 0.5%.
    A software programme recording scanned votes then needs to flip only enough votes for a winning margin of say, 1.2%. No big margin to excite suspicion but sufficiently large to avoid a scrutinised recount.
    And lo ! The relevant Georgian official has now stated exactly this – the winning margin is large enough that she won’t need to declare a recount. This is not to say that has happened, but it’s spooky.

  • Farnswort

    “… Trump supporters might be readily forgiven for not submitting to their prospective new rulers with alacrity. In fact, the pan-societal effort we are now watching unfold before our eyes is the culmination of four years of a sustained, systemic gaslighting of the American people.”
    https://amgreatness.com/2020/11/12/the-gaslighting-of-the-american-people/

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    If the MSM, such as Their ABC, were politically unbiased then critical thinkers would not have to resort to alternative and sometimes samizdat sources of information on news and current events.

  • Don Wilkie

    Don Wilkie – 16th November 2020

    Agree that most of the Australian commentary on the attempted stealing of the American election shows bias in favour of the Democrats. Anne-Lise Neilsen of Sky, Michael Kroger of Melbourne and even our own P.M. are prime examples. Seems only Miranda Devine is keeping an open mind, along with a few Fox News commentators. Very disappointing. Don’t give up – the Fat Lady hasn’t sung yet!

  • Geoffrey Luck

    This is jumping at shadows. The media has been disgraceful, failing to report factually that Trump has ALLEGED fraud and manipulation and crowing Biden on the strength of vote counts recorded by TV networks. But the most amazing claims and conspiracy theories are being given credence by the same people who criticise the media for its readiness to dismiss possibility of problems.

    The commentator above who swallowed uncritically the reported research by PedeInspector doesn’t seem to have taken the first step to question the claims. PedeInspector himself qualifies his conclusions and a team analysing his work explains that what may look like vote switching is explained by rounding. See:
    http://securitydebrief.com/2020/11/14/seeming-discrepancies-in-voter-data-fuel-for-disinformation/.

    Retain your scepticism about everything to do with this election. Cross-check all “facts.”

  • Pentim

    I appreciate the opening paragraphs of Mr Maher’s piece. I must be one of the miniscule. The smell of rat was clear from the outset. It doesn’t take great cellphone acuity to follow Mr Giuliani’s (and his cohort of ‘killers’) tenacious pursuits thereafter.

    But nothing to be seen in MSM. Barely even a whisper. It defies logic. It is truly a fascinating story. Are there no journalists left with the stomach for the hunt? Even if Trump doesn’t get there, books will be crafted to uncover, unravel and interpret this one in 200 year event – perhaps the greatest test to date of the US Constitution’s robustness.

    The spirit of Tammany Hall is alive and well in the “blue wall” big city Democrat machines. It would serve not only the Republicans, but the Democrats as well, if the winds of change were to blast through those crusty insidious legacies. The long term survival and relevance of any political party rests much sturdier on integrity than deception. Moreover, the people are the winners – when deep confidence resides in the electoral system, the political battle can return to the centre, rather than the current ideological polarisation fanned on by Big Tech.

    Agreed Lawrence Maher – hope does spring eternal.

  • lbloveday

    Quote: “…the media insist on calling “the president-elect”, their narrative inspired either by gross ignorance of the law or deliberate misrepresentation”.
    .
    Facebook has upped the ante and tags Trump as a “Political Candidate”, dropping his rightful title “President”.

  • talldad

    Alice Thermopolis on 14th:

    If the Bloomberg report is correct and the (hopefully) august body is working with integrity to say that this election is reliable, my question to them is “When did the opportunity for interference and manipulation of the 2016 election cease, so that the 2020 election could be treated as reliable?”

  • Pentim

    I appreciate the opening paragraphs of Mr Maher’s piece. I must be one of the miniscule.

    It was clear that some strange goings-on had occurred from the outset given the mathematical anomalies being reported. In some battleground counties, Biden’s vote was being reported at close to 100% with unprecedented turnouts.

    It didn’t take great cellphone acuity to follow Mr Giuliani’s (and his cohort of ‘killers’) tenacious pursuits thereafter.

    But nothing to be seen in MSM. Barely even a whisper. It defies logic. It is truly a fascinating story. It is as if there are no journalists left with the stomach for the hunt? Even if Trump doesn’t get there, books will be crafted to uncover, unravel and interpret this one in 200 year event – perhaps the greatest test to date of the US Constitution’s robustness.

    If Trump does get there, then the rule that dictates Courts’ reluctance to determine political outcomes will be broken in explosive style.

    The spirit of Tammany Hall is alive and well in the “blue wall” big city Democrat machines. It would serve not only the Republicans, but the Democrats as well, if the winds of change were to blast through those crusty insidious legacies. The long term survival and relevance of any political party rests sturdier on integrity than deception.

    Moreover, greater trust means the people are the winners – when deep confidence resides in the electoral system, the political battle can return to the centre, rather than the current ideological polarisation fanned on by Big Tech.

    Agreed Lawrence Maher – hope does spring eternal.

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