By Robert A. Vella

Right now in Belarus, the country is erupting in protest over its authoritarian president’s (i.e. Alexander Lukashenko) rigging of the election in his favor (see our international news coverage near the end of this post).  As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow detailed recently, this is how dictators destroy democracy and hold onto political power.  Donald Trump is trying to do the same thing in the United States.  Faced with looming defeat in November, he is desperately attempting to suppress voter turnout and subvert the will of the people in any way possible.  If he succeeds, the violence ripping Belarus apart will pale in comparison to the chaos which will strike the streets of America.  It is the duty of every public official serving in federal and state government, regardless of political party or ideological belief, to ensure that the 2020 election is conducted fairly and constitutionally.  It is also the duty of every American citizen to vote and to take every precaution to ensure that their vote is counted.

Today’s news

From:  Biden expands lead over Trump to double digits: poll

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has expanded his national lead over President Trump to double digits, according to an NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll released Friday.

The former vice president received 53 percent of the vote in the poll, ahead of Trump’s 42 percent. In June, Biden held an 8-point lead over Trump.

The poll was mostly conducted prior to Biden announcing Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his vice presidential pick on Tuesday.


Biden also did significantly better than Trump among voters who said they disliked both candidates, with 52 percent saying they would vote for the former vice president, compared to 33 percent who said they would vote for Trump.

In 2016, exit polls found Trump did well among voters who said they disliked then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Half of all respondents said they will cast their votes in person, up from 38 percent who said the same in May, while 43 percent said they will mail in their ballots, down from 50 percent in May. Biden supporters were significantly more likely to plan to vote by mail than Trump supporters.

Related stories:

As he attacks mail-in votes, Trump and the first lady requested absentee ballots in Florida

Obama: Trump trying to ‘actively kneecap’ Postal Service to affect 2020 election

Pelosi calls Trump attacks on mail-in voting a ‘domestic assault on our Constitution’

US postal service warning renews fears millions of votes could be uncounted

Postal Service removes some mail-sorting machines, sparking concerns ahead of election

USPS mailboxes removed in Oregon cities as officials cite ‘declining mail volume’

New Jersey will send mail-in ballots to ‘everybody’ for 2020 election, despite Trump’s attacks, Murphy says

Postmaster general acknowledges ‘unintended consequences’ of restructuring

Donald Trump met with Postmaster General amid mail-in voting attacks

Postmaster general’s stock holdings come under renewed scrutiny

Trump’s Net Worth Has Declined $300 Million in the Past Year

From:  Top DHS officials Wolf and Cuccinelli are not legally eligible to serve in their current roles, congressional watchdog agency finds

The appointments of the top two officials at the Department of Homeland Security violated federal law, the Government Accountability Office said on Friday.

GAO, which is an independent watchdog agency that reports to Congress, said that Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and his deputy Kenneth Cuccinelli are serving under an invalid order of succession under the Vacancies Reform Act.

The Vacancies Reform Act governs how temporary appointments can be made to positions that require Senate confirmation. President Trump has repeatedly circumvented the Senate confirmation process by placing people in acting positions — including Wolf and Cuccinnelli, whose official title is Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

Those two appointments violated the act, GAO said, because of the sequence of events following the resignation of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April of last year. The official who assumed the title of acting secretary at that time, Kevin McAleenan, had not been designated in the order of succession, GAO said.

Subsequent personnel moves also were invalid, and Wolf and Cuccinnelli “are serving under an invalid order of succession,” the agency said.

GAO said it was referring the matter to the DHS inspector general for reviews, and that any further actions would be up to Congress and the IG.

Coronavirus pandemic

Surge in Covid cases among children fuels fears over US school reopenings

US attempt to reopen schools sends thousands of students, staff home as COVID spreads

Late to shut down, first to reopen, Georgia reports its highest daily death toll

Brian Kemp: Georgia governor withdraws lawsuit challenging Atlanta mayor’s mask mandate

Coronavirus updates: CDC predicts death toll could reach 200,000 by Labor Day

US government health advisers say hospitals are ‘scrambling’ after Trump administration’s ‘abrupt’ change to Covid-19 data reporting requirements

America is following disastrous Trump advice to slow down testing (opinion)

US, Canada, Mexico COVID-19 travel ban extended

One in three Americans say they won’t get coronavirus vaccine: poll

International news

Workers at major Belarus plants strike amid growing protests over election

Belarus protests: Authorities accused of torture and humiliation during mass detentions

At least 50 Belarus riot police drop shields and are embraced by anti-government protesters – CNN team in Minsk

EU Takes First Step Toward Imposing Fresh Sanctions on Belarus

EU holding urgent talks on Greece-Turkey energy dispute

EU Members Protest U.S. Sanctions After Nord Stream Threats

Netanyahu thanks Egypt, Oman, Bahrain for their ‘support’ of UAE deal [while Palestinians condemn it]

As UAE hails Israel accord, silence from Saudi Arabia

U.S. Seizes Four Iranian Tankers Carrying Fuel to Venezuela

Other headlines

Former FBI lawyer to plead guilty in Trump-Russia probe review

Appeals court nixes Hillary Clinton deposition on emails

Oregon state police ending protest duty, leaving Portland

Prosecutors say Ghislaine Maxwell has been isolated for her safety

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