By Robert A. Vella

There is perception, and there is reality.  For some people, perception is reality and objective truths either don’t matter or don’t exist.  Here at The Secular Jurist, we focus on facts, evidence, and the verifiable metrics knowledgeable people use to understand reality while acknowledging that perception is an important consideration too in certain cases.

President Donald Trump, like most dictators and all megalomaniacs, believes the manipulation of public perception can alter realities which are inconvenient to him.  But, there’s a big problem.  For that manipulation to work, tight control must be exercised over the information available to the public.  If important truths leak out, it threatens to collapse the flimsy house of cards built on disinformation.  Why?  Because people may be gullible, they may be distracted, and they may be apathetic, but they are generally smart enough to recognize a lie.

As the 2020 election grows near and his reelection chances continue to be stuck in the proverbial mud, Trump is trying to erect not a house but a towering skyscraper of cards.  With every gust of wind, of which there are many these days, the whole structure blows apart.  Still, Trump keeps trying to rebuild… again, and again, and again.  But, there isn’t much time left anymore.

Today, we’re covering the state of the presidential race from a few different angles.  First, the latest public opinion polls out this week all show Americans’ desire for necessary change in the nation’s leadership and direction.  Readers should concentrate not on individual poll results, but on the totality and consistency of the polling as well as on the insights revealed about what voters are thinking.  Second, readers should examine the negative public reactions detailed in the following stories to Trump’s maniacal behavior and also to the sycophantic Republican candidates who are supporting him.  Third, readers should note the increasing resistance of career officials within the Trump administration who are obviously trying to salvage their reputations before the Trumptanic slips under the waves.  Finally, readers should pay careful attention to a dreadfully disturbing story about a gynecologist working for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) who has allegedly been performing forced sterilizations on female detainees in Georgia.

Addendum:  Based on my Electoral College snapshot maps, I’m forecasting that Joe Biden has a floor of 279 electoral votes (270 is needed to win) and a ceiling of 358 electoral votes.  The low estimate assumes that Trump would win all of the swing-states currently within the polling margin of error, and at least one state currently outside the margin of error, which are:  Arizona, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio.

From:  Monmouth poll: Biden up 5 points on Trump in Florida

Biden leads Trump 50-45 among 428 registered voters surveyed between September 10-13. Voters over the age of 65 are essentially split between the two, with Trump’s 49-47 sitting within the poll’s 4.7 percentage point margin of error.

Monmouth’s poll shows Biden leading among Florida Latinos 58-32, roughly in line with Hillary Clinton’s 27-point margin in 2016, though she lost the state to Trump overall. A recent poll by a Democratic Latino research firm reported Biden’s advantage among Hispanics was smaller, 53-37 percent, a finding that alarmed Florida Democrats who have been concerned about the amount of outreach the campaign is doing to attract these voters.

Trump holds a substantial lead over Biden among white voters, 56-39 percent. However Trump won the same group by more than 30 points in 2016, and Biden’s support in central Florida and areas outside of Democrats’ traditional strongholds in the southern part of the state is stronger than Clinton’s was in 2016.


One major warning sign for the president is the level of support among military voters, where Trump has a 4-point lead over Biden among veterans and those in military households. However among all survey respondents, a larger percentage — 70 percent — said that Biden respects the military and veterans, compared to just 56 percent for Trump.

The poll was conducted shortly after an explosive report in The Atlantic, parts of which were subsequently backed up by other outlets, that detailed accusations of Trump belittling top military officers and denigrating soldiers’ sacrifice — accusations the White House has steadfastly denied — as well as similar comments recorded by veteran journalist Bob Woodward that were made public.

From:  CNN Polls: North Carolina a tight race, while Biden leads in Wisconsin

Among likely voters in North Carolina, 49% support Biden, 46% Trump. In Wisconsin, likely voters break 52% for Biden to 42% for Trump.

The results suggest North Carolina voters see some strength in each candidate. Likely voters there divide over which candidate would better handle the top issues in the campaign, with Trump holding an advantage on handling the economy (52% to 45% among likely voters) and Biden ahead on handling the coronavirus pandemic (52% to 46%) and racial inequality in the US (53% to 41%). They see Biden as more apt to unite the country (54% to 40%), and are more likely to say Trump has the stamina and sharpness to be president (50% to 44%). They split evenly (47% to 47%) over who has a clear plan to solve the country’s problems and who would keep Americans safe from harm (49% Trump to 48% Biden).

In Wisconsin, on the other hand, Biden has an edge over Trump on all but two of those tested matchups, and on those where Biden does not have an edge, neither does Trump. Biden is widely viewed as more apt to unite the country (55% to 36%) and handle racial inequality in the US (55% to 38%). He is more trusted by a 13-point margin on the coronavirus outbreak (54% to 41%). He is more often seen as having a clear plan to solve the country’s problems (49% to 43%) and has the edge on keeping Americans safe from harm (50% to 45%). Wisconsin likely voters split evenly on who would better handle the economy (49% Trump to 48% Biden) and who has the stamina and sharpness to be president (47% Trump to 44% Biden).

See also:

Biden holds 6-point lead over Trump in Wisconsin: poll

Biden up by 16 points in Minnesota: poll

[Democrat Mark] Kelly’s lead widens to 10 points in Arizona Senate race [over Republican Martha McSally]: poll

Biden leads Trump nationally by 9 points, with suburbs focused on coronavirus, not crime: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Trump job approval locked at 42 percent: Gallup

Trump is less trusted than Putin and Xi and the US is hitting historic lows of approval from its closest allies

Trump fumbles during tough encounter with undecided voters in Philadelphia

Trump shares manipulated video of Biden, replacing ‘Despacito’ with N.W.A’s anti-police anthem

Trump Promotes Tweet Falsely Labeling Biden a Pedophile

Ohio Judge Slams Republican Aim to Limit Ballot Drop Boxes

Ohio judge blows up GOP plan to allow only 1 ballot box in each county

‘A Big Deal for Voting’: Pennsylvania Relaxes Mail-in Ballot Rules, Will No Longer Match Voters’ Signatures [by local election officials]

Return to sender: Postal Service sends wrong info to Utahns about mail voting

From:  Bob Woodward Denounces Trump’s ‘Leadership Failure’ Amid Coronavirus (Video)

Bob Woodward said Wednesday that President Donald Trump has displayed a failure of leadership amid the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s absolutely tragic. It’s tragic for Donald Trump, for the country, for the 190,000-plus people who have died. If he’d been honest and shared the truth in some form, we would be in a completely different position now,” Woodward told “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Back in March, Trump told Woodward during an on-the-record interview that he chose to downplay the virus.

Woodward went on, “It is a monumental, catastrophic leadership failure.”

From:  CDC director says Covid-19 vaccine for general public likely to be available in 2021

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday that he thinks it will be the late second quarter or third quarter of 2021 before a Covid-19 vaccine is generally available to the American public.

When asked when he thought there would be a vaccine ready to administer to the American public, Redfield said he thought that there would be vaccine initially available sometime between November and December, but “very limited supply and will have to be prioritized.”

“If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public, so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at third, late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”

Related stories:

AstraZeneca’s U.S. Trial Remains on Hold Pending Review by FDA

Trump Admin Doubles Down On A Politicized Pre-Election COVID Vaccine

Poll: Number of Americans willing to get COVID-19 vaccine sharply declines amid fears Trump is putting politics before safety

[House,] Senate, Supreme Court Opt Out of Trump Payroll Tax Deferral [a controversial and absurd executive order]

Retail sales rose 0.6 percent in August as pace of recovery slows [for third straight month]

From:  HHS chief overrode FDA officials to ease testing rules

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar led an escalating pressure campaign against his own Food and Drug Administration this spring and summer, urging the agency to abandon its responsibility for ensuring the safety and accuracy of a range of coronavirus tests as the pandemic raged.

Then in late August, Azar took matters into his own hands. Overriding objections from FDA chief Stephen Hahn, Azar revoked the agency’s ability to check the quality of tests developed by individual labs for their own use, according to seven current and former administration officials with knowledge of the decision.

Related stories:

Trump’s HHS spokesman [Michael Caputo] is considering taking medical leave after spreading wild conspiracies about armed left-wing ‘hit squads’ attacking Trump’s inauguration

EPA postpones speaker series on racism after White House order

EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee

DHS IG won’t investigate after watchdog said Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments violated law

From:  Whistleblower alleges high rate of hysterectomies and medical neglect at ICE facility

A whistleblower who previously worked at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Georgia detailed a high rate of hysterectomies and alleged medical neglect in a complaint filed to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general Monday.

Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse employed by the center who’s represented by the Government Accountability Project and Project South, stated in a complaint that while some women may have required a hysterectomy, “everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad.”

The Government Accountability Project provides representation for whistleblowers and Project South is a social justice organization. The complaint is also signed by several immigrant advocacy organizations: Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network.


“The allegations put forth in this whistleblower complaint point to an alarming pattern of unsafe conditions and a lack of oversight at privately-run ICE facilities,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, in a statement, adding that allegations of hysterectomies being performed on women without consent is “incredibly disturbing.”

See also:

Democratic lawmakers call for an investigation into allegations of medical neglect at Georgia ICE facility [which echoes forced sterilization campaigns of the past]

The House immigration subcommittee is investigating a whistleblower complaint accusing doctors at an ICE detention center of surgically removing detainees’ wombs

U.S. watchdog to investigate whistleblower’s detention allegations

ICE deported a key witness in an ongoing sexual assault investigation at a Texas detention center, report says

From:  Lawyers allege abuse of migrant women by gynecologist for Georgia ICE detention center

The doctor, who three lawyers identified as Dr. Mahendra Amin, practicing in Douglas, Georgia, has continued to see women from the Irwin County Detention Center for the past several years despite complaints from his patients.

Amin was the subject of a Justice Department investigation in 2015 for making false claims to Medicaid and Medicare. As a result, he and other doctors involved paid $525,000 in a civil settlement, according to the Justice Department.


Emails show Rochester officials’ attempts to conceal information about Daniel Prude’s death

Belarus charges protest leader [Maria] Kolesnikova with undermining national security

Belarusian leader [Alexander Lukashenko] says he asked [Russia’s Vladimir] Putin for weapons

EU Chief Slams Nord Stream [gas pipeline] Project, Adds Pressure on [Germany’s Angela] Merkel [to take action against Russian assassination attempt against Putin rival Alexei Navalny]

EU chief executive decries ‘LGBT-free zones’ in swipe at Poland

[Venezuela’s Nicolas] Maduro security forces committed crimes against humanity: U.N.

Barbados to remove [U.K.’s] Queen Elizabeth II as head of state [and become a republic next year]

After Brexit bombshell [that angered the E.U.], Britain is seeking to reassure U.S. lawmakers on Irish border issue

David Cornstein: US ambassador to Hungary to step down

Trump walks back aluminum tariffs on Canada [after Justin Trudeau threatened retaliatory tariffs]

Trade: Trump’s tariffs broke global trade rules, WTO says

New Break in Greenland’s Largest Ice Shelf Signals Rapid Melting

Western wildfire smoke nearing Europe, may be on around-the-world journey