Links 9/30/2020

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Crows Are Self-Aware and ‘Know What They Know,’ Just Like Humans Popular Mechanics (resilc)

The angry Australian animal Australians are actually scared of Mashable (David L)

Indonesia Plans ‘Jurassic Park’-Style Attraction for Komodo Dragon Tourism Vice. Resilc: “I used to go to Kupang Indonesia to meet with the provincial government in the 80s. The governor kept some in a cage outside his office and would feed live chickens to amuse the visitors.”

Could ‘mussel-bola’ explain the mass die-offs of freshwater mussels? Independent

The passport of Ramesses II Heritage Daily (vlade)

The evidence is compelling on human activity as the principal cause of global warming Yale Climate Connections

‘Zeugma of Black Sea’ 3,500 years older than previously thought  Daily Sabah (Chuck L)

A judge just dismissed efforts to stop pesticides and GMO crops from being used in wildlife refuges Salon (David L)

Sharing language with the world Indian Country (Chuck L)

Ann Arbor decriminalizes magic mushrooms, psychedelic plants Associated Press (David L)


Covid deaths cross ‘agonising’ 1m milestone BBC

A Modest Proposal: We Should Hibernate Through the Rest of the Pandemic Vice (resilc)

Dreading a dark winter lockdown? Think like a Norwegian Guardian


‘Super Healthy’ College Student Dies of Rare Covid-19 Complications New York Times

Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection PLOS

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans won’t take Trump’s word on vaccine Axios (resilc)


N.Y.C. Reports Large Uptick in Virus Cases New York Times (J-LS)

Two NFL teams close facilities after league’s first COVID-19 outbreak ESPN (resilc)


Britain Will Seek Coronavirus ‘herd immunity’ Covertly or by Default, Thanks to an Inability to Get anything Done CounterPunch (resilc)

Sweden Lifts Audience Cap for Restaurant Events 10-Fold to 500 Bloomberg


Austerity is coming for New York City. It doesn’t have to. Slate

Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as coronavirus slams theme park business CNBC

Inside the airline industry’s meltdown Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

“Why are we pretending it’s all over?” Miami restaurants wrestle with new COVID rules Miami Herald (resilc)


Does this US military uniform suggest it is preparing for war with China? South China Morning Post


Road safety pays: If India cuts accidents by half, it could add 14% to GDP per capita by 2038 The Scroll (J-LS)


Internal market bill passed by Commons despite Tory concerns Guardian (Kevin W). Hoo boy.

Brexit: slow progress Richard North. Note the bullish story comes from The Times, which has the worst record of overhyping Brexit “progress” of any major UK pub.


New Cold War

Caucasus conflict heralds clash of the titans Asia Times (Kevin W)

Armenia Says Warplane Downed; Azerbaijan and Turkey Deny It


No wonder Pompey and his friend Jeffries won’t give up on Syria! No wonder. Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Brussels drafts rules to force Big Tech to share data Financial Times

Hacking a Coffee Maker Bruce Schneier

Imperial Collapse Watch

Elite Quality Report 2020: 32 Country Scores and Global Rank SSRN (resilc)

For ‘Ike,’ A Monument Unlike Any Other: Eisenhower Memorial Is Dedicated In D.C. NPR (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

These are the countries with the biggest immigration gains and losses under Trump Quartz (resilc)

Trump’s FCC Is Using Junk Data to Downplay Broadband Woes Wired (resilc)

Trump Authorizes $22 Billion Alaska-Alberta Railway Construction Sputnik (Kevin W)

Supreme Court nominee gives no clues in GOP meeting The Hill


Tensions and insults in the battle for Florida lay bare America’s divisions Guardian

Meet a Secret Trump Voter New York Times (resilc)

Our Tax Code Is Designed To Create Donald Trump HuffPost (UserFriendly)

Judge Scrutinizes Justice Dept. Request to Drop Michael Flynn Case New York Times (Kevin W)

Debate Post Mortems. More from Lambert in Water Cooler, but some starter grist…

From TBellT with the caveat: “I try to view anything Luntz with a skeptical eye but this is the most rational reaction to me.”

Borat Congratulates ‘Premier Trump’ on Great Debate Victory Daily Beast (David L)

The worst presidential debate of all time The Week


In Brooklyn, Many Absentee Ballots Have Errors, Voters Say New York Times (resilc)

Voters Across Brooklyn Get Absentee Ballot Return Envelopes With Wrong Name and Address Brownstoner (J-LS)

How democracies can claim back power in the digital world MIT Technology Review

Should the United States Stay United? Nation

Swarm of small earthquakes rattles Bay Area SF Chronicle (David L). So when do the locusts arrive?

ProPublica: Ohio Just Ordered GM to Repay $28 Million in Tax Breaks for Closing the Lordstown Auto Plant

Uber driver accused of killing passenger returns to jail; bond payment not lawful, judge rules Tulsa World (Chuck C)

911 System Down? After Widespread Outage, Authorities Plead For People to Avoid Test Calls Newsweek (BC)

The July Trade Release Menzie Chinn

Powered by Stimulus & Rent/Mortgage Payments “Not Made,” US Trade Deficit Hits Record Worst Terrible Level Ever Wolf Richter

From Kevin S:

Did you know that Nassim Taleb has something in common with Spider-Man? The Black Swan Man comic stars Nassim as a protagonist thatdeadlifts with Arnold Schwarzenegger, saves Erik Schatzker on Christmas morning and protects a grandmother from investing too heavily in stocks.

They also take aim at Alan Greenspan, Ray Dalio and ousted CalPERS CIO Ben Meng. This is certainly a unique approach for providing insights and criticism.

The comic also features Black Swan Man’s colleague Mark Spitznagel of Universa Investments, and I thought it was out of the box approach to highlight relevant investing news and current events.

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus. From Randy W:

After reading the link about the cat imitating her human the other day I decided to send this link of our cat Millie imitating her humans, excepting the part where she crawls into the drawer.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. LawnDart

    “This debate has actually convinced some undecided voters not to vote at all.”

    I am sadly reminded by these debates that millions of USAins will dutifully make their way to the polls in November, affirming their consent to the system in place that ensures that the average citizen is not represented, thereby enabling said system.

    How could these clowns claim “consent of the governed” if none of us were to give that consent?

    The empire is naked at this point.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      Since when has a US election choice been anything but the lesser of two evils?

      Before the debate I posted on PBSNewsHour:

      Biden’s ego is not much different from Trump’s. He should have refused the debate which will surely be a schoolyard brawl of lies and frustrating attempts to refute them over Trump interruptions followed by escalating anger on Biden’s part. I intend to go read a book instead of watch this circus.

      Apparently, I was correct. The only difference reports have indicated is that Trump is a shameless racist and Biden gets ad hominem when frustrated. We already knew that.

      1. fresno dan

        September 30, 2020 at 7:44 am

        RESPONSE fresno dan September 29, 2020 at 5:19 pm in response to KevinD September 29, 2020 at 3:11 pm
        If you can walk at all before the debate – you are not ready for the debate.
        Actually, if your conscious at all, you are not ready for the debate.
        For the first time in my life that I have an opportunity to see a presidential debate, I am going to skip it. Its pointless and I am no longer amused.
        I think I’ll try and find the worst show on free cable to watch – maybe 90 Day Finance or Blotched… as to do penance for not consuming the emanations of our upcoming leader.
        Actually, I forgot that I had bought a BUNCH of snapdragons for my front yard (I stopped having a lawn) and so I planted a good portion of them. I’m actually going to have to get some more…
        Better for my blood pressure, and better for my mental serenity…. I’ve decided to stop playing the game

        1. Judith

          In addition to gardening, you might consider getting a bird feeder. I find bird watching very focused and meditative.

          (And to help you identify what birds come to your feeder, you can find out what others in your area are seeing by using

          1. fresno dan

            September 30, 2020 at 9:58 am

            I got hummingbird feeders – although the little buggers seem to get along less well than even humans – I keep telling them there is plenty of sugar water for everybody.

            I would feed the birds but the squirrels so remind me of greedy capitalists stuffing their cheek pouches with as much as they can poach…

        2. KevinD

          For those who also wish to “stop playing” – try this

          Check out Youtube – many great Rocksteady and Reggae mixes available. Easy rhythms and positive messages – good combo. Many are hours long, so you can put them on and chillax.

          If Reggae is not your “thing”, there are also long mixes of After Hours piano jazz.

        3. Clem

          If you no longer vote because there is no choice, if the government does not provide you with much of anything, certainly not health care, which is fundamental to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then why are you still paying income taxes?

      2. anon

        If you just look at their political records, it is hard to argue that Trump is more racist that Biden. Biden’s record includes opposing school integration and busing (didn’t want his children growing up in a racial jungle), the crime bill which did everything but hang those super predators from lamp posts for jaywalking, the bankruptcy laws which lock young adults in a cycle of school debt.

        Trump – he has his rhetoric but he also had record low minority unemployment, increased funding of HBCUs, opportunity zones, undoing some of the damage of the Biden crime bill.

        1. Tomonthebeach

          Just to clarify, I did not assert that Trump was more racist than Biden. I said that Trump demonstrated he was a”shameless racist.”

        2. neo-realist

          Trump DOJ via Jeff Sessions did away with the Federal Consent Decree for police departments with a pattern of brutality – can’t tie the hands of police while they’re shooting and choking unarmed POC, can we?

          Opportunity Zones – that’s so 1981 – When is Amazon or Microsoft going to set up shop other than a warehouse in low income communities?

          Trump branding racial sensitivity training as anti-american and racist???

          Telling the proud boys to stand by??

      3. Gilbert Reid

        I didn’t watch, and I am not American, and I rarely watch these things in any case. But, perhaps in Trump’s case, ad hominem is justified since Trump does make it all about himself, and he is what it is all about, and perhaps, in his case, controlled anger, as a reaction to his antics, is justified, since reason and argument, in dealing with him, are impossible and irrelevant.

        1. Chris Hargens

          Yes, I wouldn’t consider Biden calling Trump a liar an ad hominem attack — if the shoe fits… Perhaps calling him a clown (as Biden did) gets closer, but even then.

          1. km

            There is no need to insult circus workers by likening either of these two [expletive deleted] to clowns. Clowns are sometimes funny, and can serve a useful social purpose.

            These two are pathetic, and they lead me to question God’s wisdom for having created either of them. Then again, perhaps Trump and Biden are two of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, sent to chastise us, or maybe a semi-sentient species of toenail fungus.

            OK, Lord, I have heard Thy message, and yea, I am chastised most sorely. Please, O Lord, I beseech of Thee, please make them both go away.

            1. jr

              I look forward with an eager heart to that grim evening when the Prince of the Pit comes to claim Harris. Shadowy wings framed by the moon…a righteous roar of rage and triumph….gibbering sobs and shrieks of despair…

            2. Cuibono

              These two are decidedly NOT pathetic. Anyone whose pity is aroused watching either of these despicable humans needs to put down the glue bong

            3. LawnDart

              Yes, I am really profoundly sorry for referring to the (family-blog, family-blog…) presidential candidates as “clowns.” Yes, real clowns do have merit, as you so wisely pointed-out. Yes, Clown Lives Matter (as I honk my nose in solidarity), and they do often serve a useful social purpose, unlike the two candidates of the oligarchy that are competing for highest-office.

    2. farragut

      My 5 key takeaways from the debate last night:

      1) A total [family blog]-show

      That’s it; that’s the list.

    3. zagonostra

      I totally agree with you, LawnDart and reading through the live NC comments, This one summarizes my own sentiments:

      September 29, 2020 at 10:12 pm
      I think my head just exploded. Are we supposed to vote for one of these guys?

      1. Sailor Bud

        There should be a national movement to strike out the names of both men on the ballot and simply write in the word “NO.”

          1. Sailor Bud

            Eh, at this point I see all four options as defensible, and thus equally not my problem anymore.

            1. Vote third party, and watch for the inevitable pronouncement, no matter the actual truth, that they received 1% of the popular vote.

            2. Vote Biden. Um, no, but maybe will hasten the collapse.

            3. Vote Trump. Same reasoning and no-ness.

            4. Don’t vote. Get added to the risible list of “apathetic” voters, a term meant to imply indifference and thus bury the incredible amounts of disgust behind the choice.

            Option 5, getting out of this hellhole, is becoming most attractive. In true US fashion, we have the highest cost of citizenship renunciation in the world at a whopping $2350.

            1. vlade

              Moreover, option 5 is not really that different from option 4, since if the US collapses (with its nukes and nuts), the rest of the world will feel it too.

            2. Pelham

              Four reasons to vote for Trump:

              1) His re-election would emphatically signal to the elites that the house is on fire (they didn’t get the message the first time);

              2) It would discredit the MSM-intelligence community’s rotten and increasingly frightening alliance;

              3) If there’s another electoral college/popular vote split, a larger popular vote for Trump would add legitimacy and may serve to keep the country from fragmenting into non-viable, warring pieces (this applies only if you really want to keep the US whole and only if you vote in a non-swing state);

              4) It would be fun to watch all the pundits’ heads explode simultaneously.

                1. Sailor Bud

                  The return of the cruel ACA mandate under a Biden administration is a legitimate reason, not that I’m voting for Trump or anything.

                2. Aumua

                  There is one that has been bandied about here: as a hail mary pass to have a chance to get an actual progressive in the white house in 2024. Because otherwise we could be looking at 12-16 more years of neoliberal half-assedery.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    This has a chance if A: the party that pretends to oppose neo-liberalism is rewarded for that ongoing deception; or B. the party that pretends to oppose neo-liberalism loses and the deception at very long last is exposed. Pick the more likely answer.

                    We need an actual opposition, not a fake opposition that occupies the space that a real opposition would otherwise own.

              1. CanCyn

                In response to Pelham
                September 30, 2020 at 1:32 pm
                Four reasons to vote for Trump:

                “1) His re-election would emphatically signal to the elites that the house is on fire (they didn’t get the message the first time);”
                Seems to me that the elite have done just fine under Trump. They may not like his behaviour but they can’t complain otherwise.

            3. Procopius

              Why bother renouncing your citizenship? If you later change your mind it’s handy to still have a U.S. passport, and it’s not that easy to get citizenship in most other countries. Well, I know for sure it’s not easy in Thailand — in fact not even possible for me. There’s a thing called “dual citizenship” where people have citizenship in more than one country. I’ve even heard of some jamoke who holds four valid passports to different countries.

              1. Sailor Bud

                To get out of US taxes is the main reason. You can search “renounce US citizenship” for more detailed or other reasoning if you like. As for getting citizenship to another country, obviously that would have to be achieved first. As you say, not easy, but not impossible either, and fortunately I have no intention of going to Thailand or any other such hot climate. Bicycling through that place was enough for me.

        1. montanamaven

          Isn’t there somewhere that they experimented with “None of the Above”. If “None of the Above” won; the election had to be held over with new candidates? Of course, this is never going to happened. Is it akin to a “No Confidence” vote? Anyway, We are “family blogged”.

          1. Cas

            The Green Party in California had No of the Above on our primary ballot (i.e., for Green candidates) but the CA Secretary of State said we couldn’t have that. This was when we first achieved ballot status. We protested that we were entitled to our internal rules but the Sec. of State said nope. We had it anyway on our first races, just to establish precedent, but lost the right. Someday I’ll write about the state’s attack on the Green Party for all those people who keep saying “we need a 3rd party”. We have lots of 3rd parties, but no matter what you do, the power structure can and will destroy any threat to their duopoly. It’s what made me realize the “third party” path is a dead end.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            Augusto Pinochet lost to ‘No’ in Chile in the 1988 Chilean national plebiscite. There is a movie about the event: “No is a 2012 internationally co-produced historical drama film directed by Pablo Larraín.”

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        If God/Buddha/vishnu/Flying Spaghetti Monster/whomever wanted us to vote, they would have given us candidates.

        1. MichaelSF

          The title of a book by Jim Hightower published in 2000 is “If the Gods had meant us to vote they would have given us candidates”

      3. jr

        Oh yes we do and more than that I am starting to think it’s immoral to vote in this carnival of degenerates. You are, after all, perpetrating a horrid lie. And for those that “hold their nose”, your sin is the greater as you understand the Faustian bargain you are signing on to. The low info type who truly believes in these trousered apes and the system that produces them is innocent in their heart.

        But this theory is a work in progress. More to come. Stay lurked or drop the Skynet dodge and jump in…

    4. Wukchumni

      What do you think the rest of the world saw in yesterday’s debacle other than a country on the verge of falling apart, that still retains reserve currency status?

      $lit your risks asap!

      1. KevinD

        Countries: Probably looking for a trade partner that is a little more stable.
        Potential Immigrants: Probably looking for a home that is a little more stable and less hostile to immigrants.

        1. Wukchumni

          Here we are at a turning point in time, 41 years after the broaching of the Berlin Wall started in small numbers and by November down it came, along with Communism in the bloc party, having lasted about 41 years.

          1. John A

            31 years. The reason I know so well is my eldest daughter was born that year and I panicked at the thought she was now in her 40s.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Yes, and conflicts among a country’s ruling classes are always a part of that. A 30-second look at the 2016 electoral map supports that view, with urban, coastal Finance, Tech and Communications voting D, versus interior Energy, Agriculture and other extractive industries going R.

          Trump: It’s What Empires In Decline Look Like.

    5. farragut

      Recalling a comment from last week by David, where he described the slow Balkanization of the US, it really has become apparent to many (myself included—and, yes, I’ll admit being late with that little epiphany), we’re unraveling as a country, and seemingly quicker by the day. And, like the matter-of-fact, out-in-the-open dismantling of the Gauteng rail system (from yesterday’s Links), we have been witnessing the gradual and now obviously overt dismantling of our own system of democracy by the plundering uniparty oligarchy.

      This year’s election has been particularly difficult in our household. My wife and mother-in-law are still invested in the belief there’s more than a cosmetic difference between the Ds and the Rs. We start out calmly discussing issues, but inevitably reach a tense impasse—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. For every (deserved) criticism they shoot at Trump, I point out Obama, Bush, Clinton, et al, often did the very same thing and it goes down hill from there.

      So, to preserve our marriage, we’ve agreed to stop discussing politics. Forever. :-)

      1. montanamaven

        My latest tact with my Democratic intuitive feeling friends is to talk about what I’ve discovered about conservatives by being married to a rancher. He just wants to be left alone to fix fence, bale hay and birth cows. He knows he can’t control cattle prices and is not necessarily the free agent that a cowboy should be. He knows the meat packers are in cahoots with some of the rich ranchers, but “what can I do?” So he keeps his head down and tries not to feel like a plow horse. Imagine, I say to my friends, the frustration of working hard and never really being represented. But also wanting to be left alone and not be bothered or even helped much by government. Occasionally, as Thomas Frank chronicles, the workers both rural and city rise up. But the elites know how to put them down. So please try to make some kind of bond with the people that grow your food, fix your plumbing, keep the sewers running and, by and large, fight your wars. Embrace smorgasbord and try not to order a la carte (as someone here said). Embrace purple and not the blue or red tribe. Sigh. Isabel Myers cautioned that “judgement is only for yourself. Perception is what you should use for other people.”

        1. marcyincny

          Thank you. I just don’t understand so many people allowing themselves to be manipulated by the media hate machines, by the power brokers’ divide and conquer tactics.

        2. Mark Gisleson

          Excellent take. I moved back to the country a few years back and have yet to see anyone with three eyes or demon horns. I have, however, met a lot of folks who think city people despise them. I tried to argue otherwise, but they always pointed me to quotes from Democratic leaders that made me ashamed to have ever been a Democrat.

          1. furies

            I’ve had the exact opposite experience.

            I moved to this very red northern Cali county in 2017; I found the inhabitants community minded and very religious. There is the customary wave to others travelling the roads, down to earth farmers/ranchers, various groups/clubs are welcoming but

            Since Covid things have become increasingly divided. Lots of rabid gun nuts–lots of displays of weaponry.

            These people are being manipulated and it scares the crap out of me. I thought I could find commonality with them but I’m feeling increasingly alienated; the only ‘left’ here that I can see so far are Biden voters or the woo-woo crowd. NC is one of the only places I feel comfortable anymore with my particular set of political views.

            1. Clem

              Suggest you take up shooting sports to assuage your gunphobia.
              Go stay in a motel in west Oakland for a weekend to reinforce what might actually be right with your new community.

              “Cali?” What part of Arkansas are you from originally?

                1. Wukchumni

                  I believe you, but there have only been 17 verified cases of Californians self-identifying with that label, sorry we had to pull you over and have a nice day.

              1. mpalomar

                “Kali’s earliest appearance is that of a destroyer of evil forces.
                She destroys the evil in order to protect the innocent.”
                – She’s currently on quite a burn and hard to discern her intentions vis a vis us humans and the good v evil thing.

            2. diptherio

              I’m in a similar spot. In the tiny rural town I’m in, the majority opinion seems to be that 1) COVID is a hoax or at least not so bad, 2) All the wildfires on the coast are started by Antifa, 3) Trump is trying to save the world from the evil Cabal of satanic pedo Democrats who secretly run everything, 4) and anything armed militia members do is justifiable by definition. I used to talk politics with some of the neighbors, and have respectful disagreements, but I’ve been keeping my opinions to myself of late. Something has shifted in the tenor of the political rhetoric, and I don’t like it at all.

            3. Geof

              NC is one of the only places I feel comfortable anymore with my particular set of political views.

              Maybe it’s a shot in the dark, but a few other places to try:

              Stupidpol (reddit)
              Rising (YouTube, Krystal Ball and Saagar Entji)
              Keeping It Civil (podcast, sparse episodes but some fantastic interviews, e.g. Patrick Deneen, Musa al Gharbi, Joshua Mitchell)
              What’s Left? (podcast) (maybe – it’s become quite strident, but I sometimes find the bitterness refreshing)

              These all focus on working-class politics without writing off the right or the left. All, I think, would be open to Thomas Frank populism.

              There seems to be a diaspora of people dissatisfied with the current state of affairs. Many have gone to right-wing right-wing places like Quillette, UnHerd, and the Intellectual Dark Webreddit. I would almost recommend these, as they don’t seem to be as censorious as some places, but I find that although they won’t exile you, the communities they foster still tend towards dogmatic group-think (or maybe it’s just my politics). It’s so frustrating to see people recognize the same problems, then fall back into old ideological ruts designed to divide us.

              For me, the bigger problem is not whether I can find a place that’s politically amenable to me, as I’ve never quite fit anywhere (nor do I want to, as that would mean giving up the freedom to change my thinking as I learn more): it’s the disappearance of places where people with different perspectives can debate one another vigorously without descending into ad-hominem attacks or group-think and exclusion.

              Which raises a small critique of your comment: should you feel comfortable with your political views? I suggest that you should not: but you shoud definitely feel comfortable with the people you are discussing them with. I’ve read suggestions that that’s what a “safe space” was originally supposed to be: but like so many things, it has been transformed into its opposite.

              I had thought the pattern was supposed to be that It Gets Better, but over the past decade the world seems to have turned into high school.

              1. furies

                Thx–already a Rising fan. And a Trillbillies fan (thx Lambert).

                My ‘political views’ change with the information I ingest, and adopt or discard according to my own weird moral code.

                People’s descriptions of what ‘human nature’ is or isn’t seem to be a basis for much opinion. IMNSHO.

                I view this place as a ‘salon’ of the Mabel Dodge Luhan/Lady Ottoline Morrel type but with a worker’s perspective.

        3. jonboinAR

          Where I live, the chicken farmers, as they call them, are essentially employees of the chicken processing plants. The plant sends a “serviceman” to each farm who “works with” the farmer, but basically tells him what he has to do to keep his contract. A farm is a row of “chicken houses”, long, low barns in which somewhere on the order of 15,000 chickens are grown from chick to slaughter every 8 weeks, something like that. The plant does provide the birds and the feed. The farmers get their cut when the birds are “sold”, that is, picked up and weighed by the plant. Meanwhile, the farmer has taken out the loan(s) to build the houses, and also to make any upgrades (fairly regularly) that the plant requires. All that infrastructure investment at the farm is on the back of the farmer.

          There are several upsides, I guess, for the farmer. The “crop” is nearly guaranteed. Between the farmers and the plant’s care, they lose “crops” of birds but very rarely to disease, bad feed, unknown causes, or otherwise. If one is lost I believe the investment in the birds is the plant’s. The farmer just has to somehow make do without pay that quarter while being responsible for the loan on houses, equipment, etc. Meanwhile, the chicken processing company is, historically so far, a reliable partner. I don’t know of farmers complaining about its tyranny, either. Contracts with farms are rarely voided by the plant, a drastic eventuality that essential leaves the farmer with no chicken farm but all of debt. The plant management, the “servicemen”, the farmers, they all come from the same community and seem to understand each other. So, as long as they have no problem with the arrangement, I guess I shouldn’t either. I suppose I just don’t much like the idea of making a quite large infrastucture investment in order to be essentially an employee, for whatever all that is worth!

          1. jonboinAR

            I forgot my last paragraph. This here is all the white community I speak of. There may be a couple of black chicken house operators, but that’s about it. There’s a couple of Hispanic chicken house owners that I know about. The local black folk all work inside the plant, mostly on the line, although a few rise into kind of lower management, as far as I can tell. Anyway, when I speak of the farmers and the plant management, I’m talking about the white community, much of which is outside of town on “farms”. The black community is mostly in town. The white community is nearly 100% in support of Trump, fairly demonstratively, with signs and everything. I don’t know about the black community. I believe the white’s issues are mainly cultural. They’re completely loyal to a rural, Christian, traditional American way of life. They feel that Trump and the Republican party support them, if less so than they’d like. They feel the Democrats and the left actively attack their values. Their bete noire, of course, is Hillary Clinton, and, to a lesser extent, Barack Obama. They despise “socialism”, but I can’t get a clear idea what they consider that to be. At this time they support Trump and all he does and says, vigorously.

      2. km

        I have long said that the COVID is to the United States what Chernobyl was to the USSR.

        Before Chernobyl, nobody in the Soviet Union, at least nobody of influence and authority, really believed in the system or the ideals of socialism. The system still had fearsome powers of repression, but by that point, people mostly paid lip service, and at the same time, they got what they could get while the getting was still good. Vid the Gauteng Railway System.

        Chernobyl was the icing on that cake. The powers of repression were there on full display, but not even the KGB and a tightly controlled press could hide the obvious fact that that the Soviet government was corrupt, unmotivated, cynical, and worst of all – manifestly incompetent.

        1. Carla

          “corrupt, unmotivated, cynical, and worst of all – manifestly incompetent”

          Thank you for this succinct description of our “democracy.”

          1. JTMcPhee

            Let’s remember how the Imperial military is the poster child for that précis on what constitutes “democracy, the shibboleth.” Picks stupid wars, can’t “win” the ones they pick, a bunch of carrion-eating general officers far in excess of numbers needed to run even the broke-dick hyperbureaucracy, cynically looting on their own behalf, feeding into the MIC cornucopia of death.

            But the manipulated media dutifully self=report that the military is the “most respected” chunk of the political economy…

            There sure is not too much except simple geography, territorial connection, that ties this empire together any more. And in large part that Connection depends on roads headed back to dirt-path status, and about 600,000 bridges, a large number of which are “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete,”

            I used to believe that these defects were fixable, with the right commitment of intent and resources. It’s pretty clear to me, at least, that neither of those conditions can possibly exist. And Europe and the Balkans and Africa and a lot of other places, even China, give the lie to the notion that geographical propinquity can lead to benevolent human presence on any part of this planet, at any kind of scale above maybe a village or armed hamlet.

        2. workingclasshero

          Km is back,yeah!the anti commie ace!this is a repeated post about ussr,in case you thought everyone would forget.

    6. The Rev Kev

      Made a comment the other day how the media is sending people frantic over Trump and the elections all in the name of profit with no regard to what it was doing to the social fabric of America. Thinking about this further, I began to look for a metaphor on this relationship between the media and the public and I think that I have found one. After watching the following video clips, see if you can identify who the media is and who the public is-

      1. CanCyn

        +1 a billion times Rev Kev! This is the perfect analogy because there is absolutely nothing for the cats to catch. Just like the distractions and histrionics in the news. Also makes me think of the so called American Dream – chase it all you want, it ain’t really there. I actually stopped using the laser toy for cat play, decided the ‘nothing there’ aspect was too cruel

    7. cocomaan

      I really think that Trump’s chittering, blabbering monkey performance was specifically to depress turnout, not increase it.

      Once again, he manages to break rules we didn’t know existed.

      1. mike

        like every politician, he was trying to increase his votes while simultaneously decrease his opponent’s votes. In this case, he tried to appeal to his voters on law and order and opening the economy thus increasing his voters. He also tried to make Biden draw contrast with Bernie supporters trying to dissuade them from voting for Biden. The fact that Trump (and Biden to a lesser extent) constantly interrupted and generally sounded like a blathering idiot is just a sad reflection that we have two old people arguing who can’t retain many facts in their heads. At least that is how is see it.

      1. Chris Hargens

        First, allow each candidate to say whatever they want during his/her allotted time, including swear words, name-calling etc. Second, equip the moderator with a button to cut the mic of whoever is interrupting or going past their allotted time.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’d go even further and each candidate must wear an electro shock collar around their short & curlies, and put Andrea Mitchell (the pancake makeup industry expects a 23% loss in total yearly sales once she departs this mortal coil) in ‘charge’ of deciding when to administer justice.

          1. Duck1

            I suggest 2 of those Eichmann style glass booths, with the mod controlling the mic so that only one at a time speaks. As an additional control they could be strapped into the chair and electric shock administered if they don’t answer the question. I’m sure Elon Musk could whip them up in no time with a big Tesla emblem on the front.

            1. Wukchumni

              As an additional control they could be strapped into the chair and electric shock administered if they don’t answer the question. I’m sure Elon Musk could whip them up in no time with a big Tesla emblem on the front.

              As long as it’s ‘green torture’ I think we can utilize it.

    8. km

      Caity Johnstone on the debate:

      “So in case you missed it, the first US presidential debate was everything the US empire deserves and a fair reflection of everything the US empire is.

      If Vladimir Putin were every bit the election-meddling demon the Democrats say he is, and if he had unlimited time and unlimited resources to create the perfect ninety-minute propaganda video to discredit the US-led unipolar world order, he could not have designed one more effective than the performance that was just delivered by President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden with the help of moderator Chris Wallace….

      The uglier a face that appears on this murderous empire, the better it will be for everybody. In a government that is intrinsically evil and destructive from root to flower, an attractive face with competent management is the last thing anyone should want.

      It doesn’t matter who won this accidental Kremlin propaganda performance of a debate. It doesn’t even matter who wins the election; the most evil aspects of the US government will continue unhindered regardless of which oligarchic puppet wins in November. What does matter is that the dark, ugly aspects of global power that people had previously not noticed are being drawn into the spotlight and seen by everybody. 2020 seems to be a good year for that.

      If the imperialists who run things have any sense they will find a way to cancel future debates in the name of national security, because they’re the ones who will be worst affected by them. Here’s hoping they don’t, though.”

      1. montanamaven

        I want to hear a foreign policy debate. And I agree with Johnstone that it’s good to see the mold in the basement that is these two guys. Now can we address what causes the mold to grow in big brown clumps?

        1. Clem

          Trump summarized what our foreign policy is about either brilliantly or foot in the mouth clodishly:

          “We are in the Middle East to protect Israel, not for the oil.”

          1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

            And you’re surprised that 100% of the media, the intelligence community, and the Bush war criminals want him gone? Meantime, a third Nobel nomination and zero new wars.

        2. Tom Doak

          They don’t want to debate foreign policy because they’d have nothing to argue over. Both sides are just following orders.

      2. jonboinAR

        The trouble with the “global power” that everyone seems to have been made aware of, mainly from the Web, I guess, is that all that is actually visible are vague but persistent hints. As they’ve been brought to the general public’s attention these hints have been woven into elaborate “conspiracy theories”. The main part of these imaginative narratives are fairly easily debunked if not simply obviously fanciful and ridiculous, unless you are persuadable(?) that the planes that destroyed the Twin Towers were actually holograms and stuff like that. So, in the end we know little more than we did at the beginning.

      1. LawnDart

        I vote for a voters-strike: in my humble opinion, it’s the quickest and most peaceful way to effect the dramatic and immediate changes that we need.

        Though truthfully, I wouldn’t mind seeing the bastards swing from lamp-posts or watch their heads roll down the streets after a brief meeting with Madam Guillotine.

    9. Phillip Cross

      “Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks’.”


      1. fresno dan

        Phillip Cross
        September 30, 2020 at 1:38 pm

        It’s what our system produces
        I think JTMcphee (I hope I got the moniker right – memory isn’t the best anymore) said it best:
        don’t call it campaign contributions, call it what it is, Bribery

        Maybe it has to get worse before it can get better….or maybe, it will get worse and never get better.

      2. CanCyn

        Funny as that is, Carlin doesn’t have it exactly right does he? Yes politicians are Americans but it ain’t the public who give them their power. The billionaires and their corporations are ruling the roost, the politicians are just doing their bidding – at least at the federal level. Even in Canada, I am barely interested in federal politics anymore. I vote and shop locally. F*ck the global world order.

    10. Eric Patton

      The empire is naked at this point.

      Jeff Bezos is worth two hundred billion dollars. The empire is working fine.

  2. Stephen V.

    As another crappified day dawns, there’s no better start to the morning than this:

    On Tuesday night the American people, or at least those unlucky millions who were not watching the Yankees-Indians game on ESPN instead, were subjected to an hour and a half of mindless shouting from two hapless sad-looking old men who looked as if they would rather be anywhere else but that auditorium in Ohio. President Trump also spoke.
    AND that’s just the first paragraph of THE WORST Prez Debate of all Time

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Would you settle for a giant meteor? (So glad I never took that bumpersticker off my car — it’s still fresh!)

          1. Wukchumni

            I’d prefer an awesome meteor showing such as the 1833 and 1966 efforts…

            Read some amazing eyewitness accounts of the ’66 Leonids, which @ it’s zenith had an 80,000 per hour rate.

            When we watch the Persieds we’re delighted to get 100 an hour on rare occasion.


      1. Tvc15

        Meteor for the win. Sadly and not metaphoricaly that is what my wife and I now see as the best ending for this dystopian nightmare unfolding. Unfortunately we had 4 children before realizing everything we believed and were taught was a lie…meritocracy, capitalism, USA is the good guy etc.

        1. jr

          My girlfriend is a practical, mainstream PMC. We were talking about the world the other day and she said something that floored me. She said she hoped the UFO Navy videos were real and that the Others could help us.

          When she starts sounding like me, that means there are problems.

          1. newcatty

            Jr, that is just wonderful. It is a perfect anecdote to the realization by “practical” and reasoning people that we are at some kind of cosmic crossroads. I am with her. There are some remaining Mayans have told persons , whom they trust with their knowledge, that this world must go through the tribulations that we are experiencing now. Then a new world will become into existence. UFOs and those Others may be a part of that outcome for humanity. I prefer it to a total wipe out by meteors or fire and brimstone. Speaking of UFOs…one of the most convincing accounts I have read, again concerning the military, were reports by soldiers standing guard at nuclear weapons installations. They said that a UFO, or more than one, appeared and just completely shut down the facilities. A person who related these accounts said something like: That helps explains why we are not in nuclear winter.

            Sounds logical to me. Be ready, though, for PTB. to pull it isn’t evil China or Russia to be more up in arms about. Aliens!! But, if they decide it’s in their prime directive to heed calls for their help, it would all be a moot play. I understand if anyone thinks I am just a dreamer.

            1. jr

              We need dreamers more than ever. The muffled hood is tightening around our imaginations and our dreams as well as our bodies. We are, my dear friends, literally surrounded by madness. I’m perfectly willing to seriously consider the reality of non terrestrial intelligences at work. Think of the far stranger things we see everyday.

              I’m being forced to accept the reality that my world is dying so that people can live in 9 million dollar apartments. That food plants are labeled weeds and genetic monstrosities are designed to replace what those plants provided. That the homeless 16 year old boy I saw the other days sleeping on his exhausted mother’s shoulder will spend his life in a confusion of rage and sorrow because the pimps and prostitutes in power cannot spare a dime of the trillions of dollars being funneled to the top. For more 9 million dollar apartments. And super yachts. What could be more bizarre than that?

              Some have said we are at the end of an Æon and a new one is beginning. Or maybe it’s the last one. I just want to see the Others in the flesh before I die.

        2. Tom Bradford

          Once again the US forgets that apart from its oversized ego it’s actually quite a small part of the world. Your nightmare is your nightmare. Don’t look to take the rest of us down with you.

  3. zagonostra

    >Crows Are Self-Aware and ‘Know What They Know,’ Just Like Humans

    No, not just like humans. This a poorly argued paper. Animals do not have a sense of “self” because that would require a language that uses symbols.

    The mechanism/process by which “selfs” are created was outlined in George Herbert Mead’s lecture notes that became the book “Mind, Self and Society.” Crows do not have “self’s”, they may have a form of consciousness but they do not have the capacity to “role play” or to step outside of themselves and take the view of the “other.” There is no interaction between the “I” and the “me.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Um, not sure why “language with symbols” is necessary to understand self v. other, although I know you are giving a short recap of a presumably well worked-out theory.

      Crows play pranks on each other:

      They even play pranks on people, see the Tower of London example:

      And even my cats, who are less smart than crows, were pretty deliberate about manipulating me. One cat trained me to turn the water on in the bathtub for him by licking at the faucet. Once he had gotten me to do it there, he then transferred that behavior to the other faucets in the apartment. Another cat would resist cat toys, he was more interested in figuring out how the trick worked. One example was a friend who was visiting wanted to play with him and asked if I had a stiff tape measure, the retractable metal type. She crouched on the floor, tossed her heavy winter coat on the floor, extended the tape about 2 feet, and shoved it under the coat towards him and moved it about in a cat-enticing manner. He walked around the coat to see how she did that. She gasped out loud and said she’d never seen a cat do that.

      1. zagonostra

        Every philosopher that has studied the soul/self from Aristotle’s “De Anima,” to Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” distinguishes what separates us from other animals rests on the use of language and symbols. Charles Horton Cooley in his theory of the “looking glass self” is a good place to see the reflexive/linguistic nature of how we develop a “self.”

        I see how emotional my daughter’s dog is when she leaves, and he has feelings and emotions. Aristotle also believed that plants have a type of intelligence as I’m sure dogs and cats do. It is the unique province of being humans to have a “self” and that is only possible through language. The apocryphal boy who was raised as a wolf, is not a human being in this sense.

        There is such a rich and forgotten academic tradition on this subject – Hegel and Georg Simmel jump into my memory, which reminds me of the function of memory as St. Augustine covers it in his “Confessions” – but lest I ramble on, let me quote one of my favorite authors on the subject who gives an interesting definition of what it means to be human, Kenneth Burke.

        His definition of humanity states that “man” is “the symbol using, making, and mis-using animal, inventor of the negative, separated from his natural condition by instruments of his own making, goaded by the spirit of hierarchy, and rotten with perfection.”[13][14] .

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          There is evidence crows use language:

          Some African Greys have also been able to construct new formulations. One great story is no longer on the net but an artist had an African Grey that was with her all the time, and he developed a very large vocabulary. He showed very sophisticated language use. One example I recall was that, uninstructed, he called her aromatherapy oils “pretty smelling medicine.”

          1. Watt4Bob

            I once spent some time in the woods of northern Minnesota.

            One day, I heard some conversation going on right outside my door, and when I stepped out to investigate, I found two crows sitting in a tree right next to the door.

            Their ‘conversation‘ which sounded incredibly similar to human baby-talk, ended abruptly when they noticed my presence. They first scolded me furiously, then flew off in an obvious huff.

            Their voices were more convincingly ‘human’ sounding than anything I’ve heard from parrots.

            I’ve never forgotten that experience. I’m thoroughly convinced what I heard was actual, intimate conversation.

          2. zagonostra

            The critical point in human language is that it is “symbolic” in contradistinction to other forms of communication. Fungi have a language as a recent NC link wonderfully covered. Ants have a language that E.O. Wilson describes in great detail in his book “Consilience.”

            With human language it is the encoding within a symbolic structure that is unique in the animal kingdom. A word/stimuli can be filled with an infinite variety of contents. Metaphors, metonymy, etc…allow various “meanings” to be communicated, no other animal can assign meaning to objects. This is not the same as Pavlovian operant conditioning. Humans truly participate in the creation of their world through language.

            If you can point to a study that indicates animals have the ability to assign meaning via some form of symbols, I would then have to rethink my views, until then, I’m not convinced that animals have “selfs” in the way that that is defined by social psychologist…which does not lessen how much I am fond of my dog and cat.

            1. Jeotsu

              Humans also have a long, long history of “because we’re special” in their assessment of the animal world. Great apes were ‘allowed’ to self recognise, because they were our close relatives. Now we see self recognition in more and more creatures.

              There is a long (and growing list) of “because humans are special” traits that are getting knocked over.
              -self recognition
              -simple tool use
              -tool fabrication
              -transmissible culture
              (not to mention ‘souls’)

              I am wary of “unless it works just likes ours works, it is not real” as a counter argument.

              I would note lots of “lower” animals have learned elements of human language, but we’ve gotten nowhere with animal language. Who are the smart ones? To quote from Aliens “You know, Burke, I don’t don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them d***ing each other over for a doG-damned percentage”

              1. zagonostra

                There is a school of social psychology known as “symbolic interactionism” which was coined by a student of the American philosopher George Herbert Mead, Herbert Blumer (my teacher in grad school was Stanford M. Lyman, who was a student of Blumer). The perspective of what a “self” is, as given by this school of thought is as follows:

                “…to have a self, requires that the individual have within his own experience a response which is functionally identical with that response which his gesture evokes in the other. That is, the meaning of his gesture is shared by both himself and the other participant in the act. When this is the case, the gesture is language gesture, social and universal, and by its use communication takes place at a different level than it does in the process of adjustment for lower animals and in much of our own behavior. The individual can look at himself only from the standpoint of another, and the means for doing this is role-taking. Taking the role of the other is equivalent to being aware of the response one’s gesture will evoke in the other, which means that one’s implicit response is functionally identical with the response that the gesture evokes in the other.” pg 47 David L. Miller George Herbert Mead, Self, Language and the World

                I know there are other perspectives, religious views of the soul/self as given by St. Thomas Aquinas and others, and even views like Richard Rorty who claim the whole notion is bootless, that we really don’t even have a unified self. Nevertheless, the symbolic interactionist’s perspective seem to provide a cogent analysis of the process/mechanism of how the self emerges and how it is distinct from all other animals. Of course it doesn’t explain the “why,” that is where I seek answers in a whole different domain of being.

                1. Jeff W

                  The individual can look at himself only from the standpoint of another, and the means for doing this is role-taking.

                  That’s simply not true. Whatever you think of the article that’s given to rise these comments. the underlying experimental design shows a far more fundamental way: having the organism make discriminations on the basis of its own behavior—in effect, it becomes an observer of its own behavior. (That’s, perhaps, “role-taking” of a solitary sort—the behaving self and the observing self reside in the same organism.)

                  There might be something to the “symbolic language” angle in that organisms that exhibit verbal behavior might be “more conscious” of their “selves” but that doesn’t mean that an organism who can discriminate on the basis of its own behavior does not have some sense of self.

            2. JTMcPhee

              Love the homocentric notion that our means of communicating by words and symbols (think American flag, Christian cross, swastika) is somehow “better” than what fungi, invertebrates and crows (and bonobos, do by way of communication. “Unique” scarcely equates to “good” or “healthy,” to my mind.

              As to social psychologists and definitions of “selfhood,” that is one soft “science” that has repeatedly been shown to not even do a very good job of talking its book. At least that notion is somewhat comforting when it comes to the very human act of mass slaughter of animals for food consumption and array of furry pelts on clothing and such.

              As the Church Lady says, “Now isn’t that special.”

          3. CanCyn

            There were also the pigeons trained to know the difference between Monet and Picasso paintings. Once trained they could identify the right artist even when they had never seen the work before.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              No, this was not Alex, it was one raised by an artist and hung around with her. If anything this other parrot seemed to have an even bigger vocabulary than Alex, perhaps due to more intense interaction with his human.

        2. Bruno

          So “It is the unique province of being humans to have a ‘self’ and that is only possible through language.”!!! What is being said, then, is that a profoundly deaf person, not yet literate in any language including sign but with all other mental and neural functions working perfectly for its age, has no self at all and thus can scarcely be considered human. Diderot had something to say on this topic.

        3. ShamanicFallout

          I couldn’t really say too much what “separates us from the animals” as to my knowledge I have never been one, but can say that Consciousness is beyond “language and symbols”; truly beyond thought. One could even say that thought as we usually consider it is a form of capture.

          “If you receive space, the ideas of center and boundary dissolve.
          Likewise, if mind perceives mind,
          All mental activities will cease, you will remain is a state of non-thought,
          And you will realize the supreme bodhi-citta.
          Vapors arising from the earth become clouds and then vanish in the sky.
          It is not known where the clouds go when they have dissolved.
          Likewise, the waves of thought derived from mind
          Dissolve when mind perceives mind.”

          Mahamudra Upadesa
          Trans. Choygam Trungpa

        1. km

          My middle cat can open doors and drawers of various sorts. Supposedly, she learned the basics from watching another cat at the shelter where I got her.

          She has lost some of her interest (there never seems to be a mouse waiting on the other side of the door), but she would spend hours trying to figure out how to get a new type of fastener open, batting at it, meowing at it, trying different things until it would open.

          1. Wukchumni

            That’s nothing, the caterfamilias would lounge on my shoulder when I was pecking away on my laptop, and when I wasn’t looking ordered a bunch of Temptation cat treats, assorted toys and scratching posts online.

            When I cornered him with the evidence, he shrugged and said ‘meow’.

              1. jr

                My dog gets chilled easily and she loves to burrow into blankets. Usually we cover her up but a few times we have come home to find she had somehow covered herself. Not burrowed under, covered. We were nonplussed.

                Then one evening I watched her walk over to the blanket on the couch, grab it, whirl it up into the air, and instantly curl up underneath. (She is extremely fast and nimble.) We had not trained or even encouraged anything related to this feat. She had figured this out on her own.

                She is also quite capable of plotting ahead. A few years back we were with friends in Miami having dinner. Being Manhattanites we brought our dogs.

                As a chef, I reflectively give my dog human food all the time. (She has been, is, and will be in perfect health, so no finger wagging.) So she begs, which I find adorable but it can get a little much. After almost eating my steak off my plate, I tied her off on the leg of the table to eat in peace.

                The table bread were these enormous pop-overs and she had her eyes on one. My friend noticed that as our attention turned from the bread on the side of the table, my pup would edge closer. When we looked back she sat back obediently. My friend urged us to all look away for a minute and as soon as we did, she had the thing in her jaws.

                I suspect self-hood is a spectrum, myself, perhaps with differences in focus or coherence.

                Related story: On the flight down, my pup gnawed a hole in her travel bag and escaped down the main aisle of the plane. A stewardess was explaining the mask and nearly jumped out of her shoes. I snagged her and turned to walk back our seats, receiving comments like “JetBlue for you!” and a few cheers. The only good thing about a crucifixion of a flight…

      2. oliverks

        I think there is a long standing bias in science that somehow humans are unique and different (better should we say) than every other animal. We are sort of a super animal.

        Because that is the accepted view, which is not based on anything other than we thought we are brilliant and different. Scientists studying animals now need to dismantle that ancient notion piece by piece because that is how science works, even if we know the “standard view” is complete bunk.

        I joke cats are not the first things to domesticate us. Grasses accomplished that before cats!

      3. newcatty

        Yves, great stories. Our two cats are very intelligent and I have come to think that they are intuitive, if not down right physic. They have us trained for their feeding and treat schedule. They know when we are awake before we do. They like to cuddle or sit on a lap…almost always their idea. Also, their routines of napping , birdwatching through windows and glass doors, are pretty much in synch. As older cats, not much interested in playing with toys, anymore. Also, very selective with which humans they chose to Interrelate. Older cat only accepts affection from our older daughter, who she sees when daughter visits from out of state. Younger cat only accepts us…she will not let anyone else pet her. Meaning, if they insist, the claws come out or a bite on the hand.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t see how there can be any link between knowledge of ‘self’ and a language that uses symbols – by that definition, humans lacked self knowledge for most of human prehistory.

      So far as I’m aware, most researchers consider that there is a lot of evidence that a wide range of animals, and not just the most obviously intelligent ones, show clear signs of some form of self-awareness.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘I don’t see how there can be any link between knowledge of ‘self’ and a language that uses symbols’

        Just to add to this, I have read that the human mind only thinks in symbols. That the whole world is so complicated that the human brain abstracts traits of object & modes of operation from the outside world and assigns them symbols in order to have a workable system of thought. if you doubt this, consider how we go through our days mostly on autopilot as our brains deal with the regular stuff. Imagine having to think about every single thing we did from opening a door or making a coffee.

        1. Bruno

          We don’t use symbols to have “a workable system of thought.” We use symbols as tools to use in carrying out our *practical activity*. see Marx, Thesis on Feurbach #2.

        2. vlade

          Everything operates in symbols only. The reality is unknowable, because we do not get reality, we get an image of reality as provided by our senses (which can, and are, fooled). And that’s true for any system.

          And you’re all just projection of my god (not godlike, it’s just me, god) imaginations anyways, and none of you can prove otherwise.

          1. jr

            Sorry, can you point to this hidden reality you speak of? Sounds a little metaphysical to me and I love me some metaphysical musings…

      2. Mel

        Sort of an R.D.Laing thing. Your knowledge may not depend on language, but my knowledge of your knowledge will depend on language, if I insist on that.

      3. Alternate Delegate

        … by that definition, humans lacked self knowledge for most of human prehistory.

        Of course, depending how far back you are willing to go.

        How far back did evolutionary adaptation give humans enough abstract thinking power to do what they do? We can see things like fire and stone tools in the archeological record, and the multiple diasporas out of Africa. At a minimum, the most recent expansion that brought humans to Australia 50,000 years ago carried language capable of the invention of writing 5,000 years ago.

        If you don’t like “language that uses symbols”, you can think of it as “minds with moving parts”, instead. And there have to be sufficient moving parts. Cats and crows and apes don’t have quite enough of these. Humans do.

        (Admittedly I’ve gone past the narrow “self knowledge” argument here, for which the “recognizes self in mirror” test is probably the nearest answer – but what are you going to do with it, what are you going to do with an awareness of the self, until you can do what humans can do?)

    3. Lee

      Given the givens, just how self aware are we humans? Having spent a fair amount of time observing wild animal behavior, and being an adherent of evolutionary theory, I see much of us in the critters, and much of them in us. How could it be otherwise? This drive to see ourselves as special and apart suggests to me of a lack of self awareness.

      1. Judith

        Frans de Waal, a primatologist, sees human traits and characteristics as part of a evolutionary continuum. In his book “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?” he discusses his research and also addresses some of the theoretical and philosophical questions that are involved. It is a warm and thoughtful book, with lots of good examples from a variety of species.

  4. anon

    I am still trying to figure out if Biden is elected (which I expect he will), who actually will be running the country. I’m pretty sure it won’t be Joe,

      1. Oh

        Obama was just a mouthpiece and made fancy speeches written by the banksters and the techies. He fooled a lot of people. My “good friend” Joe can’t even make a one line speech.
        So sad that we have the duoploy blocking us from electing a decent set of senators, reps and President. We are truly family blogged).

    1. bwilli123

      As good a review of the debate as I’ve seen thus far. And from the UK.

      … ” It was pure Biden: scripted, saccharine, playing by the rules of a game that has long since ended. In case you think I’m too cynical, that surely this couldn’t have been orchestrated, Joe Biden’s official Twitter account posted a photo of Joe and Beau with the caption, “Beau was not a loser” just as the debate ended.
      And just so, Trump. He looked at his podium and quietly, respectfully, asked, which son Biden was talking about. Of course, he knew, but he played the game forcing Biden to respond, Beau. “Oh, I don’t know him. I know Hunter.”…

    2. Phillip Allen

      A vote for The Biden™ is a vote for a Harris regency. Once Biden has served his purpose he will be sidelined in one way or another, even up to an official transfer of power to Harris based on death or an Article 25 action. The degree to which Harris would be a mere spokesmodel for empire or actually has the chops to take charge is a judgement I’m not qualified to make. I will say that the imposition of outright fascism is just as likely under Cop Kamala and her DNC claque as it is under Trump and his Proud Boys. The optics will be different, of course, sufficient to get the bulk of the PMC to get on the bandwagon.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Let’s be real, before they allowed a one-term African-American state Senator to enter the White House they sat him down and had a chat with him that went something like this: “Listen, son, here’s how this thing is going to go”. The “policies” that emerged should have surprised no one: Big Wall St., Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big War, Big Spy, and Big Prison (to name just a few).

          Those wondering what the Harris Administration will be like should try to figure out what the people having the exact same conversation with her want. We know a few things: they want more globalism, more tech monopoly, more foreign war, and more economic shutdowns to try to eliminate a virus that cannot be eliminated. With a nice feelgood brown coating over it all. If that’s what you believe in, she’s your man.

      1. jr


        We have already seen the brain rot of Crit-dentitarionism colonize academics and the moron-a-thon of the MSM. With the ascension of Wokes-fuhrer Harris and the Rainbow Fascists we will see it achieve a new level of reach and power. If they can get the military on their side their victory will be complete; I assume the intel types don’t particularly care what ideology is being spewed from the White House as long as they get to play spy.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      Someone posted here the other day that Kamala was at some shindig talking about the “Harris Administration” before she caught herself and corrected to Biden. Ultimately, we all know it’ll be the same money actually running the show, but I did think the “gaffe” was telling (as they always are.)

      1. newcatty

        Yes, a perfect revelation of Harris mind set and understanding of her role in the drama ( farce) of the election. She was set up for it, of course, from the decision of holding place for Joe to go off into the dark night. Her Freudian slip fell beneath her former cop mask. Notice how she dresses in more severe pants suits then Hill? Nothing wrong with wearing pants…I prefer them…comfy. Her’s look like a very structured uniform. If she added a cap that looked like a military style, I don’t think anyone would notice, or least be surprised. It denotates strength, authority, command, and “competance”. Symbolism, used everywhere.

    4. pasha

      (i increasingly expect biden will as well)

      at least it will not be racist, misogynist, jingoist, narcissistic bullying trump. last night he showed how odious he really is

  5. .Tom

    > Britain Will Seek Coronavirus ‘herd immunity’ Covertly or by Default, Thanks to an Inability to Get anything Done

    That describes more than only the UK.

  6. Richard H Caldwell

    I’m just glad I didn’t try Matt Taibbi’s debate drinking game. The hangover is bad enough stone-cold sober..

    1. fresno dan

      Richard H Caldwell
      September 30, 2020 at 8:04 am

      The hangover is bad enough stone-cold sober..

      I’d say its worse – if your sober you were aware for the whole debate – if you were drinking by the rules, you were passed out one half, two thirds, or maybe if your extremely lucky, nine tenths of the way through….

  7. Sailor Bud

    Notes from a Taibbi-Halper viewer:

    1. For anyone saying they wouldn’t have survived the drinking game, you’re probably right. OTOH, Taibbi & Halper didn’t follow their own game rules. They missed nearly every instance of “here’s the deal,” among many others. TBF, they were constantly struggling with audio and other issues. I would have been truly plastered if I followed their rules to the letter, so I didn’t.

    2. There were times when Taibbi, Halper, Trump, Biden, and maybe even Wallace, were all talking at once, and it was like an Altman film, or like Glenn Gould’s radio experiments. I had no idea what the hell was being said by anyone.

    3. Anyone notice Biden’s bizarre peepers? “Black eyes, like a doll’s eyes, and then they’d roll over white…” etc..

    4. Already made the point in the debate thread, but I’ve noticed that as long as Trump separates the two notions by several minutes, he can paint Biden as both a radical leftist and a corporate crony. Between this and the RNC, you can tell the strategy is to hit with the socialism jabs early, then later paint Biden as a billionaire’s plaything. 2 + 2 = 5.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Biden’s peepers–

      He was very photo-sensitive. Maybe you should have foregone a bong-full just before you went out on the debate stage, Joe.

      1. Sailor Bud

        As it turns out, your assessment is quite correct! The quote is from the chilling USS Indianapolis speech given by Robert Shaw in the movie Jaws.

        1. ewmayer

          I always thought Shaw deserved a best supporting actor Oscar for his performance in Jaws. IMDB:

          …it was his portrayal as a grizzled Irish shark hunter named Quint, in Jaws (1975), that everyone remembers–even to this day. Hard to believe that Shaw wasn’t that impressed with the script and even confided to a friend, Hector Elizondo: “They want me to do a movie about this big fish. I don’t know if I should do it or not.” When Elizondo asked why Shaw had reservations, Shaw said he’d never heard of the director and didn’t like the title, “JAWS.” It’s also incredible that as the biggest box office film at the time, which was the first to gross more than $100 million worldwide and that he had ever been part of, he didn’t make a cent from it because of the taxes he had to pay from working in the United States, Canada and Ireland. It was also during that time that he became a depressed recluse following the death of his wife, who had taken an accidental overdose of barbiturates and alcohol.

          Shaw’s chronic alcoholism, aggravated by the aforementioned death of his second wife, Mary, likely played a significant role in his untimely death just 3 years post-Jaws, at age 51. He had 4 children by each of his first 2 wives, though, and having remarried in 1976 had 2 more with his third wife, so there are no fewer than 10 “little Shaws” running around, which I’m sure would please him in the afterlife, were he enjoying such.

          1. Sailor Bud

            Incredible actor. It’s funny to see him in Dr. No, where he’s just a strongman, then to watch him as Quint, or Lonnigan, or whatsisface in Swashbuckler and see this character come out, harder than nails and been round the block, etc. There may never be a more classic sailor archetype on screen.

            1. ewmayer

              Not Dr. NoFrom Russia With Love, but agree with your point. I thought his ‘Spectre muscle’ character in FRWL was still quite memorable, even if typecast: “I want you to lick my boot”. The ensuing fight scene in the train compartment is a classic … really intense even by jaded-by-onscreen-hyperviolence modern standards.

              Two fun related bits of trivia (yes, I love IMDB link-surfing :):

              1. Lotte Lenya, who plays the evil Spectre handler Rosa Klebb, was quite famous in real life for rather different talents than she displayed in FRWL; again, IMDB:

              She was born Karoline Wilhelmine Charlotte Blaumauer on October 18, 1898, in Vienna, Austria (at that time Austro-Hungarian Empire), into a working class family. Young Lenya was fond of dancing. In 1914 she moved to Zurich, Switzerland. There she began using her stage name, Lotte Lenya. In Swizerland she studied classical dance, singing and acting and made her stage debut at the Schauspielhaus. In 1921 she moved to Berlin and blended in the city’s cosmopolitan cultural milieu. In 1924 she met composer Kurt Weill, and they married in 1926. Lotte Lenya was the inspiration behind Weill’s most popular hit ‘Mack the Knife’. She performed in several productions of ‘The Threepenny Opera’, which became an important step in her acting career.

              She was married no fewer than five times(!), the first two(!!) to Weill, and they are buried together in the same mausoleum in NY.

              2. Shaw and Connery would meet as onscreen enemies once more, the second time with Shaw as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin and Marian (1976) and Connery as an aging Robin Hood. (Later Connery would do a cameo as king Richard Lionheart in the silly Kevin Costner vehicle Robin and Marian (1991)).

              1. Sailor Bud

                Er, ya…FRwL. Brain fart there; my bad. One of my few fave trivia bits about that one is the origin of the chess position at the beginning of the movie. It’s from a famous game of Boris Spassky and David Bronstein, and a beaut too.

  8. Kasia

    Not willing to risk my mental health or burn precious brain cells; I decided to skip the debate. Reading about it afterwards, it seems if was the Battle of the Ids with the moderator playing super ego to Trump while trying to fortify a weakened Biden’s id. The real shame is that the id of 2012 Biden was unable to show up. In his debate with the utterly incompetent Paul Ryan, 2012 Biden let his id run wild, while the always civil Paul Ryan’s super ego kept him tongue tied. The debate itself was meaningless but Biden’s performance back then was proto-Trumpian.

    It seems the main US reaction is that both candidates are angry old white men and that many people were convinced to not vote at all. Others say that Hispanics were very impressed with Trump’s performance! Biden had been finessing the Green New Deal but was forced to disavow it during the debate. Trump’s obvious strategy is to break off what passes in the US for the left away from the center-right Biden. Will people of the left not notice that a Fox News anchor was shilling for Biden? I suppose Biden is trying for the center right which is why he dumped the Green New Deal. He’s counting on “Orange Man Bad” being enough to get the left to pull the Biden lever in November.

    1. ptb

      Not willing to risk my mental health or burn precious brain cells; I decided to skip the debate.

      You sure made the right choice. I tuned in about halfway thru and lasted 20 minutes, jaw agape, and believe me, my expectations were low.

  9. fresno dan

    Davis, who first found fame writing hits “A Little Less Conversation” and “In The Ghetto” for Elvis Presley, died following heart surgery, his manager, Jim Morey, said in a statement on Tuesday.
    RIP Mac Davis.
    It is probably just my age, but when I look at the song, In the Ghetto it makes me think I lived in a different country. I’m sure, though I am not aware of them, that there have been, and are many songs now about poverty. But this was Elvis Pressley singing. No one would ever propose that Elvis didn’t love America. And undoubtedly, the atomization of mass entertainment plays a big part, but it strikes me that the zeitgeist of the times have changed to much I feel like I’m in a different country…

      1. dougie

        “She was an office girl,’My name is Betty’. Her favorite group was Helen Reddy. They discussed the weather.” This is a great morning to CRANK SOME FRANK(Zappa). He would have been having a field day with our current events. Apologies for the thread jack, but that is what came to mind with the Helen Reddy reference.

        1. jonboinAR

          Speaking of ’70’s hit makers and current events, it appears that Gil Scott Heron was wrong. The revolution is being televised. It’s just that on smartphones and UTube, etc., as well, which is about the same as extended, all day, everywhere TV.

      2. Still Above Water

        Mac Davis wrote “I Believe In Music”, which Reddy recorded for the b-side of her first US hit, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”.

        Also, they were both 78.

    1. bwilli123

      Mac Davis also wrote, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way” (1980)
      Hard to imagine anything like that as being so different from the current zeitgeist.
      Although Trump probably still croons the 2nd line, “I can’t wait to look in the mirror ‘cos I get better looking each day”

    2. Tom Doak

      Aw, that’s too bad. I met him 3-4 years ago while working on a project at a golf course he belonged to in L.A. Very nice fellow, very soft-spoken, no airs of celebrity.

  10. Winston Smith

    The one line from Trump in the “debate” that gave me pause though it was unsurprising:
    “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by” (my emphasis)

    1. Wukchumni

      Will the Trump Jugund rose to the bait in sufficient numbers?

      And why did he single out one hate group of many (put that in your e pluribus unum) while we’re at it…

      Proud Boys had a poor showing in their last foray in Portland, intimidation needs quantity to be effective. Might we see action on a militia merger with the newly formed Proud Boogaloo Boys doing a 1 for 2 split on gun stock options…

      Power brokers want to see more yearnings before going all in on PBB, but can see potential for a rise soon.

    2. anon

      And despite billions in damage, Antifa is just an idea. I suppose Trump could have said that Proud Boys also is just an idea.

      1. anonymouse

        Yes. And the idea is antifascism. It’s pretty remarkable to see that antifascism has become an unpopular concept in the US.

        1. mike

          That is because Americans are smart enough to see that calling yourself “antifascist” and actually being antifascist are different things.

          1. Grant

            Yes, it is. Being anti-fascist requires you to actually fight fascism. Saying you are anti-fascist is empty words if nothing else is done. It requires doing something and maybe changing the type of people you vote for. American voters (about half the country) like to virtue signal but vote time and time again to change nothing about the context that is helping fascism to grow, and it is. I also think that our foreign policy and economic reliance on war, to say nothing of the brutal systemic violence that is every day life in this country, always meant we were not far from fascism. Michal Kalecki was writing about the fascism he saw in Goldwater in the 1960s. Read his article about the emerging fascism, he called it out perfectly.

        2. jonboinAR

          It’s not really anti-fascism, though. It’s revolutionary, and shows to be just as likely to be “fascist”, that is, authoritarian/totalitarian violent, as it’s street opponents.

    3. Ghost in the Machine

      Has anyone seen any good reporting on the demographics of the proud boys? The pictures I see generally depict beer-gutted middle-aged men with assault rifles and an air of pathetic ness. If this is accurate they will be fine as long as they are hippy punching, tormenting immigrants and yucking it up with police, but I imagine if they run up against real institutional power they will fold and skulk away with their tail between their legs.
      I do not see how they could be involved in any coup for either Biden or Trump, as both seem fine for most established power. It is therefore more theater and intentional division to distract from real issues.

      1. Wukchumni

        Lets get past the demographics and think about what will transpire in the aftermath of something as innocent as a red balloon being pricked by a pin, which sets off 99 loonies who all start shooting in response to the gun shot?

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        Ghost; well put. I like Mike Tyson speaking about “having a plan” He said that every opponent has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. The proud boys, antifa and any other group from boogaloing boyscouts to clowns….. One bullet whizzes by your head and you have a serious question that takes over your future actions. All the world’s a stage and you best get off the stage and find cover.
        When you are offensive, everyone will notice.

        1. rowlf

          That Mike Tyson quote always seems silly in the context of people who carry small trauma kits with them in case they get a few holes in themselves.

      3. Mark Gisleson

        Sounds like you’re getting your news from MSNBC.

        Almost all the Boogaloos and Prouds who showed up to the George Floyd riots were young, fit and armed. They are not their dads, and (like most political movements) there is more than a little truth in their manifestos. They see the same problems we do (as well as some outright BS), and are willing to take violent action in support of their beliefs. Like antifa.

        Generically, if you tolerate one movement, you should have grudging respect for the other. Not two sides of the same coin, but like antifa, the young right is motivated by much more than just money and social standing. They too want/need to see more justice.

        If elections can’t fix our problems, they will die trying. And our leaders in both parties will have no trouble swapping out armor-piercing rounds for rubber bullets. No matter who wins. The issues young people face today are at least as dire as the Vietnam draft, women’s rights and desegregation were.

        1. Wukchumni

          Could we just be overestimating the President, I mean he’s in cahoots with OAN, Fox having shunned him, and by pandering to white supremacist hate groups, he’s merely scraping the bottom of the barrel.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            I sincerely think it’s a head fake. Someone advises him on these folks. If this was from his own online research he would have cluelessly dropped Hitler references by now. It’s also classic business thinking: flirting with the angry right gets him a short term win and he’s not thinking past that which is a mistake that could haunt him. You can’t dolchstoss the Right like the Dems do to the Left.

        2. Aumua

          Almost all the Boogaloos and Prouds who showed up to the George Floyd riots were young, fit and armed. They are not their dads, and (like most political movements) there is more than a little truth in their manifestos. They see the same problems we do (as well as some outright BS), and are willing to take violent action in support of their beliefs. Like antifa.

          They are the emerging fascist movement in America, growing closer to the mainstream right before our eyes. Antifa simply provides the foil for them to play off of. It’s a bit like a finger trap.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            They are hyped way out of proportion:

            Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have banned the Proud Boys. They likely have several hundred members, according to Mr. Perliger, the expert on far-right extremists. “The group has multiple chapters/gangs in various locations, but it is not clear if it has an actual organizational infrastructure that can mobilize members,” he said.


            “Several hundred.” A division is at least 10,000 men. We are where I indicated we are, “Where are the Pope’s divisions?”

            They were active in the Charlottesville protests, where all they did was march around with Tiki torches (terrible imagery by design but no actual physical threat) and ran over that poor girl, and that guy is in prison. Charlottesville was a negative for the far right, not a stepping stone to more effective action.

            And a video from Vice showed one of the neo-Nazi leaders to be a complete poseur. He fell into tears at the threat of being arrested:


            1. Aumua

              I hear your point, and it’s also made by Lambert in the Water Cooler, but when I say “them” I mean more than just the Proud Boys. I mean the entire network of more or less affiliated militia type groups, both seen and operating in the substrate. They are very active in their recruitment and more people are listening than have been in some decades. Especially young people. If fascism were to happen here and now, it certainly wouldn’t manifest like Nazi Germany. It would be updated for the 21st century, and uniquely American. It’s hard to predict exactly what shape such a thing would take. But I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility just for whatever reasons.

      4. hunkerdown

        > if they run up against real institutional power

        But they won’t, because they are shock troops of those for whom institutional power is intended to work, exactly like the doctors, landlords, businessmen, and other social parasites that populated the KKK and the many would-be and in-deed assassins of Huey Long. The biggest fear of the “successor ideology” PMC is that we stop arguing over which PMC faction’s shibboleths are proper canon to mask their universal extraction of life from the commons and its commoners, and start disputing the canonicality of the PMC itself.

    4. .Tom

      That was notable.

      He also also instructed his fans to watch the voting. I took that to mean that he wants the armed militia types to be present at voting places.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “For ‘Ike,’ A Monument Unlike Any Other: Eisenhower Memorial Is Dedicated In D.C.”

    For whatever faults this man had, he did understand responsibility. Just before the D-Day invasion, he wrote a letter to all the troops which said this-

    “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

    “Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is will trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

    “But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

    “I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

    “Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

    But he also wrote another letter. One that would be ready in case the invasion was a disaster and the Allies forced to retreat like at Dieppe and this letter said the following-

    “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

    No saying it was not his fault. No saying that he was betrayed by his commanders. Just said straight up any blame lies on me. It was a different time.

    1. pjay

      The NPR story apparently left out the tableaux of Ike’s Farewell Address with the MIC quote emblazoned behind him. That’s the one I want to see next time I’m in DC.

      1. rowlf

        I always liked this Eisenhower quote, made during the time that Krushchev was trying to warm relations between the US and the USSR:
        “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense….Is there no other way the world may live?”

        —Eisenhower, “Give Peace a Chance” speech 1953

        Ike should have shipped Allen Dulles to a Greenland to man a weather station.

        1. pjay

          Yes. Unfortunately Ike unleashed the Dulles brothers on the world instead. His regrets were expressed a little too late, as were Truman’s regrets about creating the CIA long after that horse had left the barn.

    2. c weed

      Eisenhower wrote in a letter to his brother Edgar (1954):

      “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

  12. Carolinian

    That’s a really good Guardian article on airlines. For those who wish to see a boneyard there’s one west of Tuscon that the public can visit if you don’t mind looking through the chain link fence. It’s not every day you get to see a giant turbofan engine sitting out in the middle of a dirt lot. They don’t seem to be much concerned about rain in southern Arizona.

    1. Aumua

      For us Arizonans, this summer was the all-time hottest, and the 2nd driest monsoon on record. Our fall transition period has been bone dry, and remains hot. There is no influence from eastern pacific tropical systems, no pacific mid-latitude storms. There has been zero rain in September and no rain in the foreseeable future. Last year was also very dry. It’s looking pretty grim at the moment.

      1. Wukchumni

        This is the second year of failed monsoons in Az, that’s quite the indicator of something wicked that way comes.

      2. pasha

        wasn’t it arizona slim who said that arizona had four seasons: early summer, mid summer, late summer, and next summer

  13. Paradan

    “It’s a demonstration of our capability to rapidly move the MQ-9 anywhere in the world, to unfamiliar locations, and then get out and show the operational reach capabilities of the MQ-9,” US 29th Attack Squadron Commander Lieutenant Colonel Brian Davis told the magazine.

    ok so if San Clemente island is an unfamiliar location for the US military, then this war is already lost.

  14. Pat

    I’ve made a joke for years about my desire for a required “None of the Above” ballot line.
    This is the first election I have no doubt it would be the winner. Well it would if it immediately triggered a new election In six weeks where everyone on the ballot was barred from running.

    Not sure who would end up on the ballot, other than I would not like any of them. What I am sure of is that most of Trump and Biden’s voters seem to be voting against their opponent not for their “choice”.

    1. biph

      Most Biden voters are voting against Trump for sure, but Trump has a rock solid base of support. Trump’s base isn’t enough to win him re-election if turnout is high and probably not if turnout is middling, but it will win him re-election if it is low.

    2. judy2shoes

      Just came back from a dog walk around my neighborhood, and while I’ve been seeing Biden/Harris signs springing up like weeds in my neighbors’ yards the last few weeks, today I saw my first sign that clearly demonstrates that the person who planted it knows exactly whom they are voting for in terms of president on a Biden/Harris ticket. The sign was a big, bold “Harris 2020,” with the i in Harris being replaced with Biden written vertically. The sign was such a shock that I had to look closely to see the Biden.

  15. Livius Drusus

    Re: Meet a Secret Trump Voter.

    I suspect that there are a good number of these people around, although maybe not enough or in the right states to win Trump the election. We will see in November. I do think that even if Trump loses (which seems likely) it won’t be the blowout that some are predicting. It will be fairly close.

    1. Winston Smith

      Whatever it ends up being, it will make last night’s “shitshow” micro potatoes in comparison and will not end after 90 minutes

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I don’t see an argument against anything “Chris” says. She makes perfect, simple, uncomplicated sense as far as I’m concerned.

      If I had one quibble, it would be with this–“I don’t care about Afghanistan and the Middle East…..”

      I DO care. I want out. And the only person who’s made any kind of noise in that direction is Trump. And they’ve tried to overthrow him for four years as a result.

      And only a moronic douche bag like bret stephens could conclude such an “opinion” piece in this way–

      If the Democratic Party and its allies can’t hold on to a voter like Chris, who else might they be losing?

      A voter like what? A citizen who only wants a good job with good “healthcare” and doesn’t walk around being as obsessed and aggrieved 24/7 about her own sexual orientation as national democrats have determined that she “should” be?

  16. Wukchumni

    Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as coronavirus slams theme park business CNBC

    Growing up in SoCal, Disneyland was a once or twice a year gig for our family, and to understand the grip Disney had on the country, I remember anxiously awaiting the Wide World of Disney on Sunday nights (in living color) with every other kid on the block, and here we were living in close range of the holy grail!

    It got to be old hat and its been 40 years since I went, and as we were clearing out my childhood home when mom was moving to an assisted living place, found about a dozen partially used Disneyland ticket books from the 70’s, and admission & A through D tickets cost $5.75 for an adult in 1975. Isn’t it around $100 now?

    By the way, not that you can anymore, but never go through the Monsanto’s Adventure Thru Inner Space the first time you’re on a certain controlled substance.

    A friend was an RN in Visalia and told me a few years ago that fellow RN’s were into fake boobs and Disney, they all had nearly a fetish for the latter, the way she explained it.

    1. Lost in OR

      As I recall…

      “After all, without chemicals, life itself would be impossible.”

      And fortunately, as I recall, illicit substances were shared beforehand. What a trip.

  17. LaRuse

    I didn’t watch the debate, but caught 2-3 minutes as I was setting up the coffee pot in the kitchen before bed as Husband watched in the living room. It was early in the debate I think (just after 2100) and already I couldn’t understand what they were debating because they were talking over one another and Biden called Trump a clown while Trump declared that Biden had lost the Left after Biden rejected some Bernie-style policy (this is actually a brilliant line of attack I thought). That was enough for me and I went straight to bed.
    My mother watched some of it. She is a life-long conservative and deeply sincere Evangelical who voted for Trump in 2016 only in the hopes that he would destroy the path the Republican Party was heading down and force the Rs to moderate a bit. She has been deeply disappointed and she HATES Trump. She was going to grudgingly vote for Biden – she had already marked her ballot received in the mail this week. Her first ever D vote in a presidential election.
    But she said she watched just for a few minutes last night and now she unsure she is going to bother turning in her absentee ballot at all.
    It sounds like it was a full on Bread and Circuses style event that alienated a lot of people. My guess at this point Trump wins next month pretty handily.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The angry Australian animal Australians are actually scared of”

    Here in Oz, it is not unknown for kids to have empty ice cream containers on their heads with big black eyes drawn on the back to discourage magpies from swooping them from behind. They can be a pain and we have at least one near here.

  19. Wukchumni

    Ann Arbor decriminalizes magic mushrooms, psychedelic plants Associated Press (David L)

    If only Cleveland had beat them to the punch, and both candidates had funghi forty five minutes prior to hitting the stage on an empty stomach?

    I’m guessing it goes a little like this:

    Trump: (for once no words come out of his mouth) as he looks menacingly @ his lapel pin that could be construed as some sort of rectangular bug, get it OFF of me, he groans inwardly.

    Joe: So here it is, Beau is still dead.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Armenia Says Warplane Downed; Azerbaijan and Turkey Deny It”

    I have no difficulty believing that it was a Turkish F-16 that shot down that Armenian jet. Not after they ambushed and shot down a Russian jet a coupla years ago. I have heard that there are Turkish officers in the Azerbaijan command-and-control centers and I would bet that there are Turkish drones in action hitting Armenian vehicles and positions as well. Why would Turkey do that to a country it borders? Well, there is the fact that they share a common religion ra, ra, ra but more to the point, Turkey is rapidly going broke and Azerbaijan has oil wealth now. Ka-ching!

    1. Jessica

      That Turkey can aid an attack on Armenia without encountering universal condemnation is itself worthy of condemnation.

    2. Paradan

      Usually there is more than one reason to commit to this level of risk. Turkey has a problem in that it has become the caretaker of all the jihadis we trained and deployed in Syria. They’ve been sitting around in limbo in Idlib, and trying to get into Turkey. Turkey does not want them, but can’t be seen to betray them. So instead they use them as cannon fodder in various regional scuffles, fighting the good fight and what not.

    3. Brian (another one they call)

      Turkey is a problem for the neighbors, the enemies, the allies and what remains of friends. Armenia is in the middle again but with a world watching so I hope Turkey seems less likely to unleash the genocide on Armenia again. But at the same time Erdo is clearly under great stress. He has made his enemies his friends by ignoring that they are enemies. Now that economic and regional conflict are expanding, he finds Turkey in the middle of enemies and he is losing support of former allies. Or he appears to be. France crapped all over him, or appears to have done.
      Erdo appears unstable and likely to cause a much larger regional unwind to spin out of his control, and maybe by design. The amount of Shia peoples in these nations is in hundreds of millions. They are watching the Sunni/Israeli tourism bureau working on a final solution to divvy up the remaining oil, and likely the shia people living in dissenting muslim nations.
      Is there any party large enough to stop this rush toward the religio-petro war that appears to be starting?

  21. DorothyT

    Covid-19 Re: Super-healthy college student dies of rare complication

    Some years ago I was prescribed a drug that is often given for rosacea (a skin condition). The drug was Metronidazole (Flagyl). I soon developed a “rare” side effect: peripheral neuropathy (PN), which became permanent. I mention this here because the rare disease that this young man might have had is a type of PN, Guillain-Barré syndrome.

    I’m gun shy about taking any medication or vaccine until doing some simple research. I looked up “who shouldn’t take the (annual) flu shot” and cross-referenced that search to peripheral neuropathy. I found that anyone with Guillain-Barre syndrome should not have the annual (regular) flu shot. Now I’ve never been tested as to what my specific type of PN is (testing not covered in my insurance), but I have never had the flu shot and, thus, won’t have it this year either.

    The link included in this comment mentions the many drugs that have neurological side effects. From my painful experience, I encourage all to check for potential side effects to any OTC or prescription drug that you might take. And the potential to contract Covid-19 requires upmost diligence.

    1. Laura So Cal

      My doctor is amazed when I actually look up the meds, read all the side affects, etc. I’ve had several allergic reactions to medications. I took one med for a week that turned all my skin bright red, not pink, RED. I was originally scheduled to have blood work to make sure my liver wasn’t being impacted, but apparently the RED skin was a sign that my liver didn’t like that med. Urgent care told me to stop the medication and my skin slowly went back to normal over the next month. Luckily, no long term impacts that I’m aware of, but I’m now super cautious.

      1. Maritimer

        My doctor gripes when I ask for copies of blood tests or anything else. You would think a medical professional would encourage patient participation rather than discourage it. The auto mechanic I go to is more cooperative, curious and forthcoming.

        The medical system in my jurisdiction pushes flu vaccine indiscriminately basically saying everyone should get it. Just amazing. No consideration for one’s personal health condition or situation. One size fits all: just take one for the Herd!

        Anything these docs tell me, I take with two grains of salt and an investigative journey around the Internet.

        1. flora

          Let him gripe. Get those outputs. The “push print button” isn’t overly taxing on his practice. Imagine a car dealership not printing out maintenance instructions for your car after you’ve brought it in for a standard maintenance service wherein they advise certain upgrades. right.

    1. Keith

      I for one think the 50 state model has outserved its purpose. Some state lines could also be redrawn, as well. I think becomes more and more evident as the population sorts itself out.

      As for the nukes, we have plenty so that each state can get their share. Best insurance against invasion, too, so you could even downsize some troops.

    2. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      September 30, 2020 at 11:15 am

      I need a reasonable number for home defense. And a few of the smaller ones to prevent car jacking…
      and remember, I asked first.

    3. Whistling in the Dark

      There are lots of details like this to sort out—but I think it’s worth trying. How many nukes are there? Maybe we can just assign them proportional to population. Here is something entertaining: Number of nukes: 6,185. Number of counties in US: 3,141. So, every county can have at least 1! The rest can be assigned proportional to population.

      While we’re at it: Break up the states, too!

      Can “we all just get along”? The answer is… no. Time to face the facts (like adults) and work toward… amicable divorce.

      (But 2 Americas is almost certainly too few, too.)

  22. Wukchumni

    The passport of Ramesses II Heritage Daily
    I’ll admit to thinking, oh just more condom come on clickbait sheathed in double talk, but what fun, with the idea that an Egyptian can go to more places in the world now than we can.

  23. JacobiteInTraining

    In the grand scheme of things this is small potatoes, but was still bummed to see it: longtime PNW’ers who have tires often have had a real soft spot for Les Schwab (regional tire/brake/suspension/etc service chain) because it started locally in Oregon and had always had a *true* spirit of customer service…tended to uphold all that was admirable about a business:

    Sold to a hedge fund. :(

    I’ll grant that its standards declined a little bit after the old man died in 2007, but…well….one can pretty much guess where it is headed now.

    Oh, crapification….how I loathe thee… :/

    1. Keith

      Well, there is always tire service at Costco, who can undersell service as a loss leader to bring you into the store. Works for me, often at the expense of mom and pop enterprises, such as the local dealership.

      1. RMO

        I live near Vancouver BC. Once when I was down near Olympia I picked up a screw in one of my tires and it went flat. Put the spare on and looked for a tire place. Les Schwab was the first I saw, and I recognized the name from ads on the Bellingham and Seattle TV stations we get here. They had me pull in to a bay immediately, fixed the flat, changed it out for the spare – and used a torque wrench to final tighten the nuts which is the way it’s supposed to be done but rarely is – and when I asked them how much they told me it was on the house. Ever since then I’ve wished that I could have given them more business.

    2. Lost in OR

      Yes, their service is/was excellent. Automotive insiders, however, would recommend against their branded products. On a blistering hot day once I stopped at a truck scale for radiator water. Without asking, the attendants assumed it was another Schwab tire delamination.

    3. Still Above Water

      Oh no. I’ve been a loyal customer for almost 30 years. I even met Les once – he was every bit as down-home and self-deprecating as you’d imagine (it was a business meeting at corporate hq, and I could tell from his employees that he was being genuine).

      This will not end well. I hate 2020!

  24. JuneZ

    “Supreme Court nominee gives no clues in GOP meeting” There is a brilliant suggestion going the rounds on how Dems should interview Barrett: ask her about Trump and specific illegal acts. reprinted in Daily Kos: “Democrats should focus on the past four years of the Trump administration. This has been the most corrupt administration in American history. No need for hypotheticals. The questions are all right there.

    Judge Barrett, would you please explain the emoluments clause in the Constitution. [She does.] Judge Barrett, if a president were to refuse to divest himself of his properties and, in fact, continue to steer millions of dollars of tax payer money to his properties, would this violate the emoluments clause?

    Then simply go down the list of specific cases in which Trump and his family of grifters have used the presidency to enrich themselves. Ask her repeatedly if this violates the emoluments clause. Include of course using the American ambassador to Britain to try to get the British Open golf tournament at a Trump property. Judge Barrett, does this violate the emoluments clause?

    Then turn to the Hatch Act…..”

    1. MK

      Ah, too clever by half. She would respond with the age old “that may come before me while on the bench, therefore I can not answer.”

    2. orlbucfan

      Give me a break. This Barrett woman is the perfect compliment to that dumb yahoo Clarence Thomas. Only difference is she is a white female. She will sail through her confirmation hearings.

  25. Grant

    The debate last night was horrible, of course, and many are talking about the emotional child that Trump acted like, and he did say things that were fascistic. But, again, there is little conversation about the societal context that produced him. Biden’s policies helped to produce this context, his corruption too. And the media, they wanted this person to be the one to take on Trump. They said he was most electable, and was the person to unite the country. He is, instead, a weak opposition to Trump, and he refuses to change much of anything. So, how does that do anything about fascism? Yeah, you may beat one fascist in one election, but the societal context will be even more ripe for a fascist to grow. Think about how we have dealt with COVID-19, then think about the environmental crisis fast approaching.

    I have heard people mention Germany in the 20’s, but what context existed in Germany? It was weighed down with unpayable foreign debts, was cut off from international financial markets, it was not allowed to export to countries like the US that may have allowed it to at least pay back some of its foreign debts, it had a nearly successful socialist revolution, it lost resources and factories because of the war, and dealt with hyperinflation. Its society was breaking down. I don’t think of Trump as I do Hitler, although I see similarities to someone like Franco. But, I see a societal context that is similar, and how does that change with someone promising, paid in fact, to not change anything.

    That debate was perfect for this year, and a microcosm of our society, political system and media. It reflected exactly what we are, and I think that reality is hitting people. Maybe next time the Democrats have a primary, ignore the rich people on TV and ignore the media the oligarchs own. They gave us Biden, but more to the point, they created the context that produced Trump.

    1. Wukchumni

      Adolf offered ‘Work and Bread’ for a campaign slogan as the German people had been so beaten down by hyperinflation and then the Great Depression came along and it seemed like the cat’s meow.

      Donald offers ‘Pan ’em et Circuits’ and the promise that manufacturing jobs will come back home like so many Cargo Cults, but doesn’t even go to the point of making faux factories to lure them back, some Melanesians we turned out to be.

      1. Grant


        I think that is also partly a reflection that Americans don’t really expect people in power to do much of anything outside of just enriching themselves. It seems to me that so many now so utterly hate this system, the media, the elites that look down on them and harm them in many ways, and they are to the point of just burning the thing down. Looking at the options on stage last night, they understandably think that nothing can be found in the political system. So, instead of holding onto illusions, just burn it down. A large chunk too, seeing the same thing, doesn’t even bother to actively burn it down. They have just given up on politics and are trying to get by, realizing that if nothing radically changes, they are on their own. This is the end result of decades of neoliberalism, and the left did call this out years ago. I was loosely involved in the “alter-globalization” movement. It was obvious when people were still really angry about things like the WTO where this was headed. But, we weren’t serious, and didn’t we know what a failure socialism was anyways?

        Well, if anyone can show me how markets and capitalism can effectively deal with something like the environmental crisis, or how anything short of single payer will do, the floor is yours.

        1. BlakeFelix

          I do support single payer, although I think that it is possible for other systems to work, maybe. As far as markets saving the environment, replace the income and payroll taxes with pollution taxes. Easier to track, more progressive, and the energy for tax evasion cleans the environment. A UBI to lower income inequality and prevent deflation, and call it a good job. Now, can we do it? I don’t know.

      2. Jessica

        Wukchumni, the hyperinflation was in 1923. It was austerity that beat the German people down and made the Nazis popular enough that a barely constitutional coup* could put them in power.
        *One thing the Germans did after the war was close the loophole that made that coup possible.

        1. Wukchumni

          Lets say you were that German in the middle to upper middle class who was money rich after the war, well you were worth bupkis after hyperinflation, and things didn’t magically improve once the episode passed, leading into the GD as a double whammy that no other country experienced, a 1-2 punch.

      3. Michael Fiorillo

        The dishes can probably be kept spinning until the dollar loses it’s reserve currency status. At that point, trade and fiscal deficits will start to really matter.

        1. Grant

          Nope, if the government “owes” money in its own currency. And the issue in that situation then would really be that we don’t produce enough stuff domestically anymore that others want to buy. We can create a currency now and buy stuff made elsewhere. If we produced stuff here others want, we could still export goods for things we want that are produced overseas. All academic anyway, since the defining issue until our species is done on this planet will be the environment crisis, reaching limits to growth and the inability of markets to deal with the environmental crisis.

          Beyond that, who is it going to lose its reserve currency status to? Maybe an SDR type thing or something, but it isn’t impossible to adjust to that reality, not that our system will.

  26. Wukchumni

    Demand for there not to be a second or (gasp) a third debate, angry tv viewers are opting for pay to not play.

    $59.95 (HD)

  27. fresno dan

    More businesses are allowed to reopen their indoor operations – with modifications – after the state health department moved Fresno County from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier.

    Businesses allowed to resume indoor operations include gyms and fitness centers, which can operate at 10% capacity or 100 people (whichever is fewer).
    Restaurants are also allowed to have indoor dining – but at 25% capacity.
    My gym days, like my Fabio hair, are long gone. My experience with the low occupancy restaurant was so disarming and disconcerting that there is no way I want to repeat that. And for somebody with my medical history, there is precious little upside and as much downside as is possible….

  28. antidlc

    Billionaire GOP Donor’s Firm Reports Sub-Zero Tax Rate

    Donald Trump is not the only one who has managed to whittle down his tax bill during his presidency — the world’s largest private equity firm, the Blackstone Group, reported that its effective income tax rate went below zero last year even as it raked in billions in profits, according to corporate documents reviewed by The Daily Poster.

    Now, Blackstone billionaire CEO Steven Schwarzman has become one of the GOP’s largest donors, as one study shows his net worth has increased by 27 percent during the coronavirus pandemic. In all, Schwarzman has funneled nearly $25 million into campaigns to help Republicans retain control of the Senate and to help Trump win reelection.

    1. mike

      Billionaire donors on the DEM side avoid taxes every bit as much. Think Jeff Bezos has paid his fair share of his 250B (counting his wife’s) fortune? And what about all of the off shore tax shenanigans at Google?
      C’mon, the oligarchs avoiding taxes is one of the few non-partisan things left.

  29. Noone from Nowheresville

    The debate: I’m stuck on Oy vey! But I’ve also started wondering how scripted the whole thing was. Someone pointed out last night that they thought Trump had an earpiece. Me: No way of knowing but I remember thinking a couple of times when he went after Biden where the heck did that tidbit come from? How did he retain that information without a lot of practice and slide it in so smoothly?

    So I know I should go back and re-watch the entire show to find the scripted narrative threads and look for tells from the three participants. Do an old-school (ha ha 2002 is so very long ago in Internet years) TV Without Pity styled recap for myself. The problem is that I’m not ready to watch the show again. But maybe it would be better the 2nd time around?

  30. Wukchumni

    Does this US military uniform suggest it is preparing for war with China? South China Morning Post
    The SQF wildfire here also resembles a map of China, coincidence, I think not.,-118.63191&z=9&b=mbt&a=modis_mp

    It is now 60% contained, and the controlled burn part is headed for the trailhead of the Ladybug & Garfield Grove trails, and i’d driven there about a fortnight ago to check out the advance of the fire, and by chance a friend who was the park botanist also happened to be doing the same thing-and at this point we were 10 miles from the closest flames, and he was waxing poetic about how marvelous all of the things that emerged the following spring after having been covered up by many feet worth of duff & burnables in the aftermath of the 2015 Rough Fire (151k acres burnt), rattling off names too many to mention as I nodded my head in agreement. There was somewhat of a understory cocoon of sorts on the dirt parking lot just beyond the 6 or 7 places you can leave your ride, so much ready to burn stuff that won’t be missed by anybody, and i’ll have the rest of my life to watch it grow back, semper floridelis

  31. Clem

    “Ramses II was a ginger-haired ‘cymnotriche leucoderma’” (meaning he was a fair-skinned person with wavy ginger hair).”

    Hey! I was taught in school that Cleopatra and the Egyptians were black.
    Was that lesson cultural appropriation?

    1. Jessica

      Cleopatra wasn’t Egyptian. She was Greek, the descendant of one of the successor states to Alexander the Great’s empire.

  32. Wukchumni

    On the first wave of Covid my country gave to me, no need for masks…

    (please feel free to continue, but not through all 12 verses)

  33. Stan

    I enjoyed the show last night.

    I would vote for detailed solutions to prioritized meat-n-potato problems Americans refuse to think about, so… I don’t vote, and haven’t for a long time. The Party is just two silly factions owned by the same silly billionaires and their privatized, welfare sucking military/stasi complex. F that. F the people who vote for that every chance they get.

    But US voters get a slightly more interesting choice this time, between the costumed totalitarian police state Americans are so comfortable with, or a scantily clad version of the same old totalitarian police state. It boils down to recovering some of those self-delusions (for the perception is reality fans), or having some perceptions better aligned with reality.

    Given the size of the US Violence Export business — and all that blood — I don’t mind watching Americans getting coerced into seeing themselves as they really are. Maybe sounds a bit harsh to some… but I was in the US’ covert torture system for quite some time, and the (liberal? freedom-loving?) perception-is-reality crowd did not and still do not want to know anything about it, nor acknowledge it even exists — yet they pay and vote for it. So, a pox on all their houses. I intend to enjoy the rest of the show.

  34. Wukchumni

    In my hope of hopes in yesterday’s WWE debate, I was really hoping when Joe tired, Kamala would be waiting in the wings to come on stage-elbow bump the presumptive candidate and take over.

  35. ptb

    Debate impression (watching only 20 minutes roughly in the middle):

    Biden won on points, since Trump couldn’t refrain from interrupting the whole time, defeating his own scripted lines, which may well have been effective (despite being false on their face).

    But Biden should’ve KO’d Trump. Instead it seemed to me he was struggling to remember his own lines, and the smart things he did say are enough of a contrast to his record as a deep ‘moderate’ Dem, that they did not come off as credible. But I am coming at it from the left — the crucial question is whether they similarly lack credibility to the so-called swing voter or low-turnout-voter.

    I want to put this in the context of what I think actually worked for Trump in 2016. If you peel away the ad-hom’s and freakshow factor, Trump’s 2016 campaign was a reprise of Reagan, plus what H Ross Perot was trying to do in 1992. The Reagan part is the standard Republican cocktail, the Perot part added a focus on Nafta and loss of industrial jobs within the US. This is the one issue of substance that I think put Trump over the top in 2016.

    There were 2-3 responses to the Perot anti-NAFTA line: (1) deny that domestic blue collar industrial jobs would be lost (2) argue that the rising tide lifting all boats would create other better jobs (3) say that, at least compared to Republicans, the Democratic party would make it up to workers by protecting social programs, union benefits and so forth.

    If none of the 3 responses above are viable, then the xenophobic-nationalist campaign can claim they win by default. Now the first and second arguments above were falsified by history. The third should be an open question. Hence Biden’s weakness, as a standard ‘centrist’ democrat, that his promise to make it up to blue collar Americans in the audience lacks credibility.

    Trump’s handlers tried the seemingly impossible task of channeling this message through his incoherent mannerisms. To anyone reading this here, Trump is inarticulate and repulsive. But he somehow managed in ’16 to channel precisely this message, despite getting killed by Clinton in the debates then. I don’t know if it still the case now. I don’t really think Biden did anything to change it. He is fundamentally the wrong person to do so. Hopefully winning on style points is enough.

  36. Wukchumni

    Two NFL teams close facilities after league’s first COVID-19 outbreak ESPN
    It’s a weird gig, the coaches and staff all masked up (at risk of $100k fine if not!) and the players are all ‘Covid-what Covid?’ with the usual amount of glad handing and physical touching that comes with the territory.

  37. juno mas

    RE: Zeugma of Black Sea

    This is an interesting article. Click on the ceramic image to enlarge it. Look at the way the people are drawn. This is ‘perspective’ drawing. The images of the people have depth. 5500 years ago there was no perspective drawing. (Egyptian figures in 1200 B.C–3200 years ago– are typically anatomical profile drawings.)

    If in fact these new discoveries are authentic, then there’s some ‘splaining to do!

    1. Aumua

      I think the moderator’s head would explode because they wouldn’t know who to lob the easy questions to, and who to drill.

  38. John Beech

    Inside the airline industry’s meltdown Guardian

    I just had the Bonanza topped off. Not sure why since I don’t have anywhere I want to go. While 100 hrs/year is usual, she’s accumulated just 2-hours since January . . . sigh.

    1. RMO

      Where I am it seems like everyone is flying the wings off their aircraft because the time and money normally spent on vacation travel and other activities which dropped dramatically due to the Pandemic have been replaced with a whole lot of hundred-dollar-hamburger flights – minus the hamburger of course. I haven’t flown once this year but in my case it’s because my medical expired and it wasn’t until recently that the doctor I get the exam from was taking on appointments for non health-critical issues. My gliding club as a whole is down to about half of the typical year’s flying this season. Better than I feared the year would be as I was concerned we would be shut down the whole year. On the positive side if I had to pick a year for a frustrating an convoluted airworthiness directive to affect one of our most used club gliders this would be the year – and we did indeed have such an issue with our Grob G-103 which is a training workhorse. My own glider still hasn’t had an annual and has been on ground-only insurance this year. Hoping for next year to be better.

  39. JohnB

    In the Brexit article from CfER, it’s stated that if a United Ireland happens, a United Ireland will automatically be an EU member.

    I’ve commented recently, that I believe a United Ireland provides a back door for allowing Ireland to reintroduce a national currency alongside the Euro – and this may strengthen that.

    If a border poll passes and Northern Ireland refuses to adapt the Euro, what happens?

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