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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

JERUSALEM (AP) — A rabbi and three children gunned down at a Jewish school in France were buried Wednesday in a Jerusalem cemetery, with a bereaved mother and wife begging her slain loved ones to “come back home.”

The four were killed Monday in the French city of Toulouse when a man on a motorcycle opened fire with two handguns outside the school. Hundreds of French police descended on the suspect’s hideout in Toulouse on Wednesday, but by midday still hadn’t drawn him out after hours of gunbattles and negotiations.

The bodies of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 3, and 8-year-old Myriam Monsenego were flown to Israel early Wednesday. The families had asked for burial in Israel; the children held dual Israeli-French citizenship and the rabbi had lived in Israel for years.

At the funeral ceremony, Myriam’s eldest brother, Avishai, in his 20s, wailed and called to God to give his parents the strength “to endure the worst trial that can be endured.”

In the name of the four remaining Monsenego children, he urged his father and mother to “keep going, keep going, keep going.”

Hundreds of mourners, many of them sobbing, thronged around the bodies laid out on stretchers as eulogies were delivered. The slain members of the Sandler family had been wrapped in white prayer shawls while Myriam had been draped in black velvet.

Mourners then walked to the burial grounds. Men carried the bodies on stretchers and buried them, while women watched from behind a nearby fence.

Later, Eva Sandler, the widow of the slain rabbi, walked to the freshly covered graves of her sons and husband and laid her hands on them. “Come back home,” she cried out in French.

Israeli media reported that Eva Sandler is pregnant and had arrived in Israel with her remaining child, a toddler.

Among the mourners were grieving relatives who arrived from France, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and leaders of the French Jewish community.

In his eulogy, Israeli parliament speaker Reuven Rivlin said the Jewish people “once again find themselves facing beasts … driven out their minds by hatred.”

Juppe said “an attack on a Jew in France is not only an issue for French Jews. … anti-Semitism is against all French values.”

The school attack was the bloodiest France has ever known and the bloodiest assault on Jewish targets there in decades.

Meanwhile, hundreds of French police on Wednesday surrounded the Toulouse hideout of a man suspected in the school shooting and two earlier attacks that killed three French paratroops. A gunbattle erupted and police were trying to negotiate the man’s surrender.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant described the suspect as a 24-year-old French national who claims connections to al-Qaida and “wants to take revenge for Palestinian children” killed in the Middle East.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the deadly shooting attack and condemned the link to Palestinian children.

“It’s time for criminals to stop using the Palestinian cause to justify their terrorist actions,” Fayyad said in a statement. “The children of Palestine want nothing but dignified lives for themselves and for all the children in the world.”

Many Democrats are getting nervous about the upcoming presidential election. Ominous, extensively reported articles by two of the best in the business—the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin and The Atlantic's Barton Gellman—outline Boss Trump's plot to keep control of the White House in 2021 no matter how the American people vote.
Trump is hardly making a secret of it. He's pointedly refused to commit to "a peaceful transfer of power."

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," is how he answered the question. He added that after we "get rid of the ballots"—presumably mail-in ballots he's been whining about for weeks--"there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation."

Of course, Trump himself has always voted by mail, but then brazen hypocrisy is his standard operating mode. If you haven't noticed, he also lies a lot. Without prevaricating, boasting, and bitching, he'd be mute. And even then, he'd still have Twitter. He recently tweeted that the winner "may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED" because mail-in ballots make it a "RIGGED ELECTION in waiting."
Gellman gets this part exactly right in The Atlantic: "Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
"Trump's invincible commitment to this stance will be the most important fact about the coming Interregnum. It will deform the proceedings from beginning to end. We have not experienced anything like it before."
No, we haven't. However, it's important to remember that Trump makes threats and promises almost daily that never happen. Remember that gigantic border wall Mexico was going to pay for? Trump has built exactly five miles of the fool thing, leaving roughly two thousand to go.
His brilliant cheaper, better health care plan? Non-existent.
On Labor Day, Boss Trump boasted of his unparalleled success in strong-arming Japan into building new auto-manufacturing plants. "They're being built in Ohio, they're being built in South Carolina, North Carolina, they're being built all over and expanded at a level that we've never seen before."
Not a word of that is true. Two new plants, one German, another Swedish have opened in South Carolina, but construction began before Trump took office. Auto industry investment during Barack Obama's second term far exceeded Trump's. His version is sheer make-believe.
But back to the GOP scheme to steal the election.
First, it's clear that even Trump understands that he has virtually no chance of winning the national popular vote. He's been polling in the low 40s, with no sign of change. To have any chance of prevailing in the Electoral College, he's got to do the electoral equivalent of drawing to an inside straight all over again—winning a half-dozen so-called battleground states where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by the narrowest of margins.
At this writing, that looks highly unlikely. The latest polling in must-win Pennsylvania, for example, shows Trump trailing Joe Biden by nine points. That's a landslide. Trump's down ten in Wisconsin, eight in Michigan. And so on.
So spare me the screeching emails in ALL CAPS, OK? Polls were actually quite accurate in 2016. Trump narrowly defeated the odds. It can happen. But he's in far worse shape this time. Furthermore, early voting turnout is very high, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one.
Hence, The Atlantic reports, "Trump's state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for post-election maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states."
The plan is clear. Because more Democrats than Republicans are choosing mail-in voting during the COVID pandemic, Trump hopes to prevent those ballots from being counted. Assuming he'll have a narrow "swing state" lead on election night, he'll declare victory and start filing lawsuits. "The red mirage," some Democrats call it.
"As a result," Toobin writes, "the aftermath of the 2020 election has the potential to make 2000 look like a mere skirmish." With Trump in the White House urging armed militias to take to the street.
Mail-in votes take a long time to count. Things could definitely get crazy.
True, but filing a lawsuit to halt a Florida recount was one thing. Filing suits against a half dozen states to prevent votes from being counted at all is quite another. Public reaction would be strong. Also, winning such lawsuits requires serious evidence of fraud. Trumpian bluster ain't evidence.
The Atlantic reports that GOP-controlled state legislatures are thinking about sending Trumpist delegations to the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote winner—theoretically constitutional but currently illegal.
Fat chance. If that's the best they've got, they've got nothing.
Anyway, here's the answer: Vote early, and in person*.

[Editor's note: In some states, receiving an absentee ballot means that a voter can no longer vote in person* or may have to surrender the absentee ballot, including the envelope in which it arrived, at their polling place. Please check with your local election authorities.]