2:00PM Water Cooler 10/15/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Well, it looks like I positioned myself properly with respect to the WiFi signal! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

I had to poke around a little bit to find anything that sounded like a “gobble.” Turkeys have numerous calls?

#COVID19

At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

Here are the United States regions:

Unmistakable rise in all regions now, including the Northeast. Ugh. Super-ugh. Gonna be interesting to see what happens if the virus is really cranking in November or December, and the FDA says a vaccine is ready…

Here are the Swing States as I conceive them (see below):

Unmistakable rise everywhere. Including Texas, in the past few days.

–>

College: “Off-campus “super-spreader” event linked to 125 virus cases at Monmouth University” [CBS]. “Through extensive contact tracing, the rise in cases was linked to a single event held about two weeks ago, Monmouth president Patrick Leahy wrote Friday. This event was held off-campus, although school officials did not specify what kind of event it was, only calling it a ‘social gathering.'” • Which is ridiculous, since now we cannot add to our store of types of locations or social settings to avoid! College administrators are just the worst.

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270. August 18: Still no changes. August 31: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. September 9: No changes. September 14: No changes. September 21: No changes. September 22: Ohio moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. September 25: Ohio moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. September 30: Iowa moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. October 3: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican; Iowa moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. October 6: Arizona moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic; Iowa from Leans Republican to Toss-up; Indiana from Likely to Safe Republican; New Mexico from Likely to Safe Democratic. October 8: NE-2 moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic. October 13: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. I would say the election is no longer static.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

The election countdown:

Here is an early voting calendar. Maybe we’ll have a whole series of October surprises, since election day is gradually being devalued as an event.

And here are mail-in voting ruies, which naturally differ state by state.

“2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Elections Project (SlayTheSmaugs)].

“How to Vote in 2020: Everything You Need to Know” [Bloomberg]. “Casting a ballot in the U.S. isn’t always easy, with a complex web of varying state rules governing how and when you can vote. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced even more complexity in 2020, as many states have made significant changes to allow for more early voting or voting by mail. More changes could come as lawsuits in several states wind their way through the courts. That’s why Bloomberg News is answering these critical questions so you’ll know what you need to do to make sure your vote is counted in the 2020 election.”

Here are is an enormous spreadsheet on voting equipment, so you can check your own jurisdiction (hat tip, UserFriendly. I should really aggregate these onto a map…).

“2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Election Project].

“California Ballots Mailed and Returned Tracker” [Political Data]. • California only, sadly.

“State Fact Sheets” [Georgetown Universitty]. “[F]act sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive.”

NEW “All the deadlines, rules, and voting hours to know when casting your ballot in the 2020 presidential election” [Business Insider]. “Here are 12 interactive graphics, charts, and maps Insider created to answer your most common questions about voting in 2020.”

2020

Swing States

Here is my list of Swing States, with votes in the Electoral College and selected ballot initiatives in parentheticals):

  • Arizona (11) (marijuana; taxes(=)
  • Colorado (9) (taxes, lottery, abortion, paid medical leave)
  • Florida (29) (minimum wage)
  • Georgia (16) (declaratory relief)
  • Iowa (6) (Constitional convention)
  • Maine-02 (1) (vax)
  • Michigan (16) (oil and gas royalties; privacy)
  • Minnesota (10)
  • Nebraska-02 (1) (payday lending; gambling)
  • Nevada (6) (marriage)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • Texas (38)
  • Wisconsin (10)

Inspired by the thread starting with Arizona Slim’s comment here, I went to Ballotpedia and added selected, hopefully hot button, ballot initiatives, because sometimes they affect turnout. If you live in a swing state, please comment if I got the hot buttons wrong!

This is really important on the question of whether the election will be decided on Election Night (or shortly thereafter);

Note that both FL and TX (which the Times does not count as swing, but I do) count absentee ballots before Election Day, and if Biden wins those two states on the night, it’s most likely he wins, on the the night. Further to this–

“Election week? Maybe not: Arizona, Florida and others could give early indication of who is winning” [USA Today]. “Several battleground states – some accustomed to high-volume mail-voting and others that start processing absentee ballots weeks before Nov. 3 – are expected to have substantial shares of their votes counted and reported on election night and into the next morning. Those states include Florida, which begins processing mail ballots 22 days before the election; Arizona, which starts that process two weeks before the election; North Carolina, which started processing ballots on Sept. 29; and Texas. Although Texas is not among states that expanded mail-voting to all voters during the pandemic, its largest counties can begin processing absentee ballots 12 days before the election. Georgia, which did make mail-voting available to all voters, allows the processing of ballots to begin two weeks in advance. Ohio started processing mail ballots last week. In Iowa, counties can start opening the outer envelopes on absentee ballots the Saturday before Election Day.”

“Here’s What Could Go Right—or Very Wrong—on Election Night” [Bloomberg]. “Benjamin Ginsberg, a longtime Republican election lawyer, puts the odds of the 2020 presidential election ending up in an all-out legal brawl that lasts into January at less than 1%…. A strong victory by either candidate would leave little room for legal challenges.”

FL: “Florida Could Seal Trump’s Fate on Election Night” [Bloomberg]. “In 2016, Trump carried Florida by crushing Hillary Clinton among voters ages 65 and older, who, exit polls showed, supported him by a 17-point margin. But seniors are a group that’s moved away from Trump during his presidency, and even more so with the onset of Covid-19. Early returns in senior-heavy Florida suggest they may vote in historic numbers. That would seem to be bad news for Trump, whose support among seniors in a recent Quinnipiac University poll has cratered. The Oct. 7 poll shows Biden winning seniors by 15 points (55% to 40%), up from a 3-point lead in early September. A senior surge in Florida that mirrors Quinnipiac’s support level for Biden would probably mean that the nightmare scenario of a drawn-out, contested election won’t happen and Trump’s fate could be apparent on election night. Unlike some other states that don’t start counting mail-in ballots until polls close, Florida counts them as they come in. ”

GA: Georgia electronic voting machine debacle continues:

Of course, you if want to discourage voting, the system is working great!

TX: “Texas Republicans’ last-minute challenge to drive-thru voting in Harris County dismissed by appeals court” [Texas Tribune]. “The Republicans argued that fear of contracting the coronavirus isn’t enough under state election law to qualify for curbside voting. Their point was bolstered by a May ruling from the all-Republican state Supreme Court which said a lack of immunity to the coronavirus is not a disability that qualifies Texans to vote by mail. But Texas law differentiates between mail-in ballots — which must be requested ahead of time through an application under strict qualifications, like a disability — and curbside voting, which is requested onsite.” • The tangle of state laws is a little ridiculous. Why isn’t drive-thru voting legal everywhere, if there’s a good process for it? Or illegal, for that matter.

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Keeps Everyone Guessing on Wall Street Regulation” [Wall Street Journal]. “With polls showing Mr. Biden ahead nationally and in many swing states, progressives and Wall Street Democrats are jockeying to influence his potential administration, advising the campaign on policies and suggesting Cabinet and top regulatory officials…. Both Democratic factions say they expect that a Biden administration would approach financial regulation much as President Obama did.” • Oh.

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “Biden campaign puts up huge fundraising numbers in September” [CBS News]. “The Biden campaign revealed it brought in $383 million last month, up from the $364.5 million raised in August by the Biden campaign, Democratic National Committee and their joint fundraising committee. The Democratic presidential nominee has $432 million cash on hand, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a tweet. That’s a massive war chest with less than three weeks until Election Day.” • For Joe Biden, this must be the first time in his life that he’s had real, actual power. Or thinks he does. I wonder what he’ll do with it?

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “‘Hamilton’ cast to host virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden’s campaign” [NBC News]. • Well, I’m sold!

Trump (R)(1): “These 3 White Women Voted for Trump in 2016—Here’s Why They’ve Flipped” [Vogue]. “Vogue spoke with three white female voters—a young professional, an executive approaching retirement, and a wife and mother in a conservative military community, all of whom requested anonymity—about why they voted for Trump in 2016…. Over the past four years, this is going to sound weird, because it goes against what I said previously, he really embarrassed me to be an American on a national and international stage. I traveled a lot for work. America used to be the biggest world power. Now we’re a laughingstock….. I already voted for Joe Biden. My husband is high-risk, so we did absentee ballots. It felt really good. It wasn’t a party issue. It was, “I got to vote for somebody who’s not a bad guy.” It’s starting to feel like a dictatorship, where the guy living in the big house on the hill is just going to do what he wants to do. No matter what, this is a democracy…. Yes, I do like the economy piece, but I also care about professionalism. I care about the bedside manner. I care that when my president speaks, he’s not offending masses of marginalized people. I couldn’t even listen to Trump. He just was so ugly and not what I think of when I think of a leader, someone like Barack Obama or even George Bush. • Worth reading in full; there’s a lot to unpack. (The women are social media manager, an HR executive, and an engineer.)

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “For Trump’s ‘rigged’ election claims, an online megaphone awaits” [NBC News]. “Over the last four years President Donald Trump has seeded the narrative that the 2020 election would be rigged. Those efforts look set to pay off. A sizable online network built around the president is poised to amplify any claims from Trump about a rigged election, adding reach and enthusiasm that could lend a veneer of legitimacy to otherwise evidence-free allegations.” • And on the ground?

* * *

Grifters gotta grift:

CA: “California GOP won’t comply with order on unofficial ballot drop boxes” [The Hill]. “The California Republican Party said it will not comply with an order from Sacramento to remove unofficial ballot drop boxes it has distributed around the state. ‘We are going to continue this program. If he wants to take us to court, then we’ll see him in court,’ Hector Barajas, spokesman for the party, told ABC7, referring to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D). In a follow-up letter to Padilla, the California GOP noted that it had distributed similar boxes during the primaries earlier this year ‘without incident or objection from your office.'” • So far as I can tell, Padilla is right as a matter of law. I admit that privatized, insecure ballot boxes probably have a crazed appeal to some, but really now….

UPDATE “Trump in trouble? Rank-and-file Republicans are as confident as ever of victory” [McClatchy]. “Far outside the political media centers of Washington, D.C. and New York, the Trump voters who propelled the reality TV star to a shock victory in 2016 once again see him on a glide path to victory that will stupefy only a hostile media and out-of-touch elites. The frenzied crowds he’s attracting as he returns to the trail and the Trump banners flying in their neighborhoods measure enthusiasm that can’t be accurately tracked by surveys, they argue. The cascade of negative stories from his downplaying of the pandemic to his private insults of military service members are shrugged off or disbelieved. And remember how wrong many of the state-based polls were last time? They certainly do… An alarmingly visceral and hardened distrust of the media among Republicans has created a parallel political universe around the country: One where a Trump defeat is almost unfathomable, especially when that possibility is perpetuated by sources they have viewed as hostile for the last four years.”

The Debates

“Dueling town halls represent high stakes for Trump” [The Hill]. “President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will compete for the attention of millions of Americans on Thursday night in dueling televised town halls, with Trump’s representing one of his few remaining opportunities to make his case to voters ahead of Election Day. The competing town halls will be held in lieu of the second presidential debate, which was scrapped last week after Trump objected to plans — put in place over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and the president’s personal battle with COVID-19 — to hold the event virtually. Biden will appear at an ABC News town hall, while Trump is set to participate in a town hall hosted by NBC News. Both events are scheduled to start at 8 p.m. EDT, meaning that both candidates will be competing for the same audience.” • Split screen, sound down?

Our Famously Free Press

Lambert here: If social media can allow story after story sourced to anonymous officials from the intelligence community to appear on its platforms — most damp squibs with a short life cycle, as Taibbi points out — then they can allow a story from the New York Post on material said to be derived from Hunter Biden’s laptop. Silicon Valley oligarchs are putting their thumb on the scales in this election in the most naked and obvious way — perhaps hoping Democrat will deep-six those pesky anti-trust proceedings? — and having done it once, they’ll intensify. Oh, and this is the message I got on the Twitter when I tried to tweet the initial Post story from their Hunter Biden trove:

Potentially harmful. Potentially harmful? Does @jack think American voters are little children? Wait, don’t answer that. In any case, for your reference, here is the latest from the Post’s trove–

“Emails reveal how Hunter Biden tried to cash in big on behalf of family with Chinese firm” [New York Post]. “Hunter Biden pursued lucrative deals involving China’s largest private energy company — including one that he said would be ‘interesting for me and my family,’ emails obtained by The Post show.” • The difficulty here for the Trump campaign is that, at best, this means that the Biden clan is no different from the Trump clan (or the Clinton clan) at least in the level of virtue (if not quantitatively). “That makes me smart” is surely something Hunter could say about his business dealings. So I don’t see win for Trump here — and this matters because I think he has no more runway — in the laptop material (subject to caveat about what the Post drops at 5:00PM Friday in time for the Sunday talkshows). However, the reaction of the social media platforms might well inflame his base — as it should! — and through the Streisand effect, mildly increase turnout. I must admit, however, that it’s entertaining! But if Giuliani and Bannon and the rest of the crew involved in this think it’s gonna tip the scale, I’ve got to disagree.

NC has already experienced liberal Democrat McCarthyism with WaPo’s PropOrNot smear. That was no isolated incident, but a sign of a deeper tendency:

“Opinion: The New York Post puts Twitter and Facebook in a no-win position” [Jon Healey, Los Angeles Times]. “Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google have accumulated such enormous audiences, many users (and policymakers) consider them to be the digital equivalent of the public square of yore — indispensible places to speak and be heard. Yet they are not public forums, they are privately operated networks with rules set by the owners to serve their business interests…. The episode makes it more likely that lawmakers will alter Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the federal law that says websites and services aren’t liable for the content their users upload. It’s a hugely important provision, one that was instrumental in the development of open platforms where content creators and publishers can find an audience for their work.” • I’m sure that will go well. (Note there were none of these issues with the blogosphere, because although blogosphere readership did follow a power curve there were no giant monopolies and entrace was easy. It’s the platforms that are the problem. Why not break them up?

UPDATE “Allegation on Biden Prompts Pushback From Social Media Companies” [New York Times]. “The Biden campaign on Wednesday rejected a New York Post report about Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter that the nation’s leading social media companies deemed so dubious that they limited access to the article on their platforms.” • So the lead makes an argument from authority, where the authority is social media content moderation under terms of service? To be fair, the Times asks a number of pointed questions about the provenance of the laptop said to be source of the trove. Well and good, but Times reporters acted like stenographers for national security goons in the “intelligence community” on RussiaGate, so why the double standard?

UPDATE “I’m going to go through a few issues with the NY Post article on Biden, which I won’t link to, but you will probably see on Twitter today” [Judd Legum, Threadreader]. “I should clarify that, assuming the email is legit, it doesn’t establish that a meeting took place. Just that Hunter offered an ‘opportunity’ to meet his father.” • Oh.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Government Of, By, and For the Elite” (interview) [Chris Arnade and J.D. Vance, American Compass]. Interviewer: Oren Cass. This one nugget from Arnade is interesting: “I think of Michael Lind’s book [The New Class War] talking about how populism basically fails because it doesn’t have people to staff it. The machine—I don’t want to use the term “deep state” because I don’t think that’s fair, but—our ruling bureaucracy embraces free markets and austerity and all those things that drove people toward Trump. The irony is, Trump is a politician who defines himself by what he’s against, and he was very fortunate to have Jeb Bush as his opposition in 2016, so that he could run against that consensus. Then the reality is, four years later, he ends up being basically a Jeb Bush conservative in how he legislates. So if he loses, I think that’s why: He didn’t deliver; he didn’t fight the consensus, certainly not economically. I think that really matters. I want to keep emphasizing this because it’s just something that it’s really hard for me to communicate, how disinterested a lot of people are in this whole process because they don’t really see a difference. The only difference they see is cultural, and that’s why it’s very frustrating.” • Re: The underlined portion: I think Sanders would have faced what Trump faced: A professional services strike by the PMC. I suppose one way to look at 2020 is that the PMC achieved class consciousness — in and through the Democrat Party — in reaction to Clinton’s defeat in 2016 (I use the word reaction quite deliberately). The interview as a whole is interesting, but both Arnade and Vance treat politics as bipolar — and it is, it is! — by confusing the Left and liberals.

UPDATE “Behind Trump’s lies is a hard truth about the US” [OpenDemocracy]. Worth a read. This nugget: “Trump’s opponents – from centre to radical Left – believe in political process, that society’s decisions should be made through democratic institutions, one person, one vote. His supporters are an axis of those who prefer other institutions: the market, or father-led families, or the church, or racial hierarchies. For many, the presidency is less ‘appropriate decision-making process’, more ‘patriarch of the nation’. It’s not any kind of surprise that those who do well from these structures tend to believe in them more.” • I disagree. If liberal Democrats really believed in democratic institutions, they’d be making every effort to reach non-voters. Voter registration would be a core party function.

On “militias”:

McNab has been reporting on militias for years. Of course, a measured attitude like this doesn’t lead to clicks.

UPDATE The worst case scenario. The whole thread is worth a read:

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Employment Situation: “10 October 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Worsen” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 800 K to 845 K (consensus 833 K), and the Department of Labor reported 898,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 858,250 (reported last week as 857,000) to 866,250.”

Manufacturing: “October 2020 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Index Significantly Improved” [Econintersect]. “Overall, this report was better than last month’s report as key elements improved…. This is a very noisy index which readers should be reminded of is sentiment-based. The Philly Fed historically is one of the more negative of all the Fed manufacturing surveys but has been more positive than the others recently.”

Manufacturing: “October 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Index Declined” [Econintersect]. “The Empire State Manufacturing Survey index declined but remained in expansion…. Key elements improved. This is a better report than last month.”

Inflation: “September 2020 Producer Price Final Demand Year-over-Year Growth Now Slightly In Expansion” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year inflation pressures remain soft as this index is barely in expansion… The PPI represents inflation pressure (or lack thereof) that migrates into consumer price.”

* * *

Bankrupticies: “Bankruptcies Show a Surprising Decline” [Bloomberg]. “When the Covid-19 recession hit it seemed certain that a wave of bankruptcy filings would follow, swamping the court system and possibly even leading to a systemic collapse. Oddly, though, there hasn’t been any wave. By one key measure, bankruptcy filings have actually declined from last year. While Chapter 11 filings overall are up 21% from last year, that number has been swelled by a sharp increase in filings by companies that have multiple affiliates, each of which files separately, says Ed Flynn, a consultant to the American Bankruptcy Institute. Counting just parent companies and those with no affiliates, Chapter 11 filings are 28% lower for March 1 through Sept. 30 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to Flynn’s calculations. ‘It’s kind of amazing,’ he says….. [C}ompanies and households aren’t as stressed at this stage as many economists and bankers expected them to be….. On other hand, bankruptcy filings aren’t a perfect measure of hardship. Many companies are barely hanging on and could be forced to file soon if a new round of coronavirus relief isn’t forthcoming. Also, many small businesses and low- to middle-income households go bust without ever showing up in federal bankruptcy court.” • The last sentence is the key one, I think. If you only look at the top of the ladder, everything is great!

Commodities: “The reasons behind some food shortages during the pandemic can be found in a can of corn. Corn is a staple in the U.S. with a seemingly limitless supply, but… canned corn is among many consumer items that have thinned out drastically as stockpiling and supply chain disruptions have hit the market” [Wall Street Journal]. “Sweet corn has only a single planting season and those had already been set by the time the production shortfall became clear. Transportation problems then hit the market as harvesting began. Fleets that had shrunk last year couldn’t handle the early surge in new demand and trucking companies began rejecting loads on existing contracts to take higher rates in the spot market, driving up shipping costs. Canned-corn brands plan to increase production, but retailers expect high demand this winter will cut deeper into their depleted inventories.”

Shipping: “Port of LA files best September despite lagging exports” [Freight Waves]. “The Port of Los Angeles recorded its best September in the gateway’s 114-year history last month. The 888,625 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) processed, a 13.3% year-over-year increase, contributed to the third quarter becoming the single-best quarter on record, with more than 2.7 million TEUs moved… As volumes have returned after the height of the coronavirus pandemic, canceled — or blanked — sailings have ebbed… Imports in September totaled 471,795 TEUs, a 17% increase over the same month last year…. September exports totaled 130,297, about flat compared to 2019…. ‘Empty containers are also a function of the widening trade gap,’ Seroka said, noting that 281,434 empty container units were shipped back to China in September. ‘This is more than double the amount of loaded exports that were shipped from the Port of Los Angeles in the month.'”

Supply Chain: “Cargo Cold Chain Born for Tuna Gears Up for Epic Vaccine Airlift” [Bloomberg]. “Before the pandemic swamped the world’s supply chains, the typical cargo in a super-cold container might’ve been a load of freshly caught tuna bound for a sushi bar in Asia, or boxes of unripe bananas or pineapples headed for a supermarket. Even some medicinal cannabis travels in a deep chill. Enter Covid-19 and the global network of refrigerated transportation equipment — aka the cold chain — is undergoing an industry self-evaluation to prepare for unprecedented waves of vaccines. Billions of vials shipped at temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius will require mobile freezers, battery-powered coolers and insulated boxes packed with dry ice on an enormous scale. With vaccines, the key will be ensuring the extreme cold chain doesn’t break on the journey. No easy feat as long as weather diverts planes, trucks break down, electrical power goes down, essential workers get sick and ice melts.” • If I understand this correctly, the cold chain requirement is for the first vacchines to come out of the box only.

* * *
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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 56 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 15 at 11:55am

The Biosphere

“How Soils Can Help Solve the Climate Crisis” (Zoom webinar) [Pecan Street]. “Join us on Wednesday, October 21st for a conversation with experts from the soil sciences and regenerative agriculture about the potential of soil carbon sequestration. We’ll discuss how soil carbon sequestration through regenerative farming practices can increase food production, raise farmer profitability, and drawdown atmospheric carbon. We’ll also discuss the barriers to widespread adoption of regenerative farming and what Pecan Street and others are doing to overcome these barriers.” • Could be of interest to the soil nerds among us.

“Airborne radioactivity increases downwind of fracking, study finds” [Guardian]. “The radioactivity of airborne particles increases significantly downwind of fracking sites in the US, a study has found. The Harvard scientists said this could damage the health of people living in nearby communities and that further research was needed to understand how to stop the release of the radioactive elements from under the ground. The radioactivity rose by 40% compared with the background level in the most affected sites. The increase will be higher for people living closer than 20km to the fracking sites, which was the closest distance that could be assessed with the available data. The scientists used data collected from 157 radiation-monitoring stations across the US between 2001 and 2017. The stations were built during the cold war when nuclear war was a threat. They compared data with the position and production records of 120,000 fracking wells…. Petros Koutrakis at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, who led the study, said: ‘If you asked me to go and live downwind [of fracking sites], I would not go. People should not go crazy, but I think it’s a significant risk that needs to be addressed.'”

* * *
Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (CM):

CM writes: “My evening primrose just appeared. Bird droppings and a sloping driveway combined to deposit seeds along the edges when it rained. When I skipped mowing due to a few weeks of drought they were able to bloom so I could realize what they were. While the plants are scraggly looking in broad daylight, I get a smile every time I look out in the evening or early morning and see the flowers. Even cloudy days get them open. Moonlit they are a special treat.” The file was named “Early AM.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

138 comments

  1. L

    The Lincoln Project numbers are why I keep having to remind people, Dollars do not equal votes. And fundraising hauls show that someone is making out. But we cannot assume that it means someone will win. If anything the nationalization of even local races is starting to make it hard for anyone to win but the advertisers.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      I have a very old, small book on freshwater aquarium plants. It basically describes how everything in the world works in a couple of sentences, although I’m sure that wasn’t the author’s intent. I don’t which shelf it is on so I can’t give you it verbatim, but there is a simple paragraph saying:

      First plants need light. But once light is sufficient, more light does not help. You then need to consider how to provide adequate CO2. Once you have enough of that… and it goes on with nutrients and maybe one other thing.

      So I think Trump actually proved in 2016 that anything above roughly 500 million/candidate is just wasted.

      But this is America, and waste is what we do I guess.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Koch brothers didn’t wield power over the GOP because of how much they gave but when they gave. Challenges and so forth could be planned. Money pours in late, but its usually too late to do anything other than run tv ads. Everyone knows about the Presidential election.

        Reply
        1. D. Fuller

          Much like the Democratic Leadership Council was initially co-funded with Koch Brothers money before corporations provided the majority of funding to The DLC from 1987, on.

          Democratic Party cooperation began with? Nixon and HMO’s. The first Progressive President – arguably – sabotaged from within by his own Party for being an outsider. That would be President Carter.

          Tip O’Neill? How did Reagan get all those budget busting deficit spending bills through? Reagan had Democratic help.

          The groundwork was laid in the very late 1960’s and – especially – the very early 1970’s. Which bore fruit with the election of Reagan. Was the Democratic Party subverted? You can’t subvert the willing(D).

          Ah, and campaign finance spending law? Written in 1971.

          Reply
  2. Adam1

    Bankruptcies… Lambert, I can’t find the article but I did think I saw it in the links here sometime in the past week, but anyhow… while bankruptcies are down what is massively up is the number of small businesses permanently closing their doors. The article indicated that many businesses used their PPP money to wind down and avoid filing for bankruptcy.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > what is massively up is the number of small businesses permanently closing

      Yes, the last part of the snippet says:

      On other hand, bankruptcy filings aren’t a perfect measure of hardship. Many companies are barely hanging on and could be forced to file soon if a new round of coronavirus relief isn’t forthcoming. Also, many small businesses and low- to middle-income households go bust without ever showing up in federal bankruptcy court

      Reply
  3. diptherio

    We’ve got around 100 wild turkeys that spend the winter on our property and yes, they make numerous different vocalizations, most of which sound nothing like a gobble.

    Reply
    1. Pavel

      I was amused to see Lambert’s bird song of the day as I had just earlier heard wild turkeys in the wild (as it were :). I am temporarily living in Cape Cod and a pair of turkeys wander through the yards around me each day. A few days ago they discovered my bird feeding (a simple feeder and also seed strewn on the ground) and now they are daily visitors. They are amusing to watch but very greedy and quite bold so I have to shoo them away so they don’t eat everything.

      There is a skunk that lives under the house and it has been showing up around 7PM or so to eat what’s left on the deck (the chickadees especially thrown seed on the ground). Quite something to be literally 2 or 3 meters away from a skunk :) They certainly are odd-looking creatures.

      From the sublime to the ridiculous — those who are avidly following the Hunter Biden affair should visit the excellent Automatic Earth post today, with some great links and comments: Debt Rattle October 15 2020

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        We have skunks in the yard now and then including a mother and offspring a few years ago. They are actually great animals to have around. The ones we get also forage amidst the bird seed remains….

        Reply
        1. Randy

          If you step out your door at night and blunder into a skunk at point blank range you will not think they are such great animals to have around.

          I had a dog once that got sprayed and after that every skunk she saw was dead. She knew which end was which and only got hit by airborne droplets in the process of killing them but that was enough to get her banished to the garage for a couple of nights. She didn’t care, her enemy was dead. Best dog I EVER had.

          Reply
          1. Pavel

            I for one am now VERY cautious about stepping outside at night!

            Anecdotally I hear bathing dogs in ketchup after they have been sprayed by a skunk removes the smell. With the cost of groceries these days that might be quite expensive (depending on the breed of dog!).

            Thankfully it is fairly easy to tell which end is which — though based on my local skunk the tail seems to be as long as the body.

            Reply
            1. rowlf

              Maybe tomato soup. Same neighborhood.

              My mom had a descented skunk for a pet and thought it was a wonderful pet. She also liked her 1968 Pontiac GTO and shooting pistols in my grandfather’s basement range so go figure.

              Reply
            2. anonymoars

              ? ketchup ? . . . I suspect they thought you meant hotdog.
              an honest mistake. these things happen when you mix folk wisdom and alcahol.

              Reply
            3. Tangled up in Texas

              I have had good luck with tomato paste. Rub it into the fur…you can thin with a small amount of water. Leave on for 15 minutes. This has worked best out of all of the remedies I have tried.

              Reply
          2. anon in so cal

            Late seeing this….but, yes, dogs and skunks….our dog has had numerous encounters.
            On several occasions, he’s really gotten sprayed, whereupon he reenters the house, jumps in our bed, rolls around, then again on the wood floors. Nowadays, if there’s a skunk or raccoon in the yard, we keep him locked in at night.

            Reply
  4. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the new dirt on Hunter Biden

    Just poking around and there is clearly an very large attempt to squash this story, not just by the spooks allied with FalseBook and Twitter, but by all of the other usual suspects trying to claim there is nothing to see here and it’s all been debunked because Uncle Joe said no quid pro quo.

    Leaving aside the veracity of the claims for a moment, what we have is a clearly corrupt Democrat with the majority of the DC establishment shilling for him, to the point where a doddering old fool is likely to become president over a series of more qualified and less demented candidates, all because we can’t have the old socialist who wanted to share.

    I don’t want to ever EVER hear another Democrat say they just couldn’t do nice things for people because of the mean nasty Republicans because it’s quite clear they can use the power they have when it really suits them.

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      +1000

      The Democratic establishment has proven themselves to be such a collection of hypocrites and liars they no longer have credibility on any subject whatsoever.

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        In view of the ongoing and never-ending bombshells, I’d expect that there will be more of a call for term limits. When pols have decades of so-called public service, like Feinstein, Biden and so many others, with the only tangible results being that the public serviced them, then that is just wrong. Hey, we didn’t even get brunch, let alone a dinner.

        Career Political Class delenda est

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          I was once a big term-limit guy, but then I changed my mind

          1) If most people can’t be expected to do proper research and then actually vote to begin with then how is this anything other than lipstick on a pig? So we get rid of one useless knob but put another right in his place. So maybe it’s a her, who cares.
          2) The response to #1 is “but this at least flushes out the bad” but
          2a) it flushes along with the good and
          2b) it would likely have the opposite effect.. a nameless faceless team will quietly direct the naive new pols to unknowingly deliver the same s-sandwich just in fresh wrappers.

          We almost have #2 already, I admit but term-limits don’t address that.

          I would sorely appreciate an age-limit, however. And also a day off for voting, you can do enough research in a couple of hours in the morning to get a good enough handle on the usual 4-6 races you are presented with.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I would argue the “good” politicos would be interested in a dynamic political scene and promote a class of people more than capable of taking over. Can you imagine the horror Pelosi would try to put in her place if she doesn’t die in the seat?

            Look at the state wide office holders in Delaware since Biden. Just atrocious but in keeping with Biden.

            Reply
            1. dcblogger

              The disastrous California energy deregulation occured right after term limits pushed out everyone with institutional memory. Term limits means that selling out for a future career in lobbying is your only career path.

              Reply
          2. Carolinian

            it flushes along with the good

            The good?

            I say Newt had one good idea and that was term limits. He quickly abandoned the idea and here we are with incumbents more entrenched than ever and ancient retreads the best the “liberal” party can come up with. If the people who founded this country were at least notionally committed to one thing it would be that power corrupts and is something to fear–no doddering King George for us. Cut to now and the nepotism and corruption of the Dems and Repubs suggests that our political class needs to step down and possibly take all those media incumbents with them. People with real jobs like doctors and engineers can stick around.

            Reply
        2. hunkerdown

          You’d only be promoting them into post-politics (lobbying) that much quicker. They hate that 3-5x raise, I’m sure!

          You would also be changing the structure of the feeder system that creates candidates for Congress and the Senate, the increasing flow imposing a certain up-or-out pressure on holders of lower, more administrative offices, which are fine places to park those of little ambition or wit, better than inspiring them too much and elevating them ill-prepared to Olympus.

          Reply
        3. Carla

          I’ve said it many times. We HAVE term limits. They’re called elections.

          When the electoral system is broken–as ours certainly is–reform, repair, or completely redesign the electoral system.

          Don’t artificially prevent citizens from voting back in someone they think is representing them well.

          We have term limits in the Ohio state legislature, and it hasn’t done a damned thing except create a continuous revolving door between the state assembly and the state senate. If anything, the system is more corrupt than ever.

          When our democracy is hanging by a thread, we need to rescue our democracy — not try to game it with artificial and ineffective half-measures like legislative term limits.

          What do I suggest? House Joint Resolution HJR-48 proposing a constitutional amendment stating that only human beings, not corporate entities, are entitled to constitutional rights, and money does not equal speech. Sponsored by Pramila Jayapal, it now has 73 co-sponsors.

          Here’s a link to the entire (short) text of the resolution:
          https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48/text

          Reply
          1. barefoot charley

            Same in California. It just speeds up the Democratic career escalator, and laterals players when they’ve finally learned their jobs. It crushes institutional memory.

            Reply
        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          Term Limits would have meant no Sanders, either.

          Term Limits just raises the pressure on term limited officeholders to audition for lucrative work after leaving office. Under Term Limits, an officeholder cannot even by definition hope to be even permitted to be honest.

          Reply
          1. Count Zero

            Trump aged 74, Biden 78 in a few weeks, Mitch McConnell 78, Nancy Pelosi 80.

            First question: why on earth do rich people of this age want to be involved in governing? Why aren’t they enjoying their twilight years? That’s a red warning light right there!

            Second when did the USA become a gerontocracy — and why? It used to be a standing joke about the Soviet and Chinese governing class. See where you could go with this?

            Third, if age limits on holding office just increases the conveyor belt from political office to lucrative consultancies then legislation is required to block this. Introduce a time limit: no employment in consultancy for a minimum of 5 years, say, after holding public office. It’s already problem anyway WITHOUT age limits on holding office. I don’t underestimate the difficulty of legislating for this but it surely warrants public debate.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              We could give our country the ironic folk-name of CSSA. That stands for Corporate Soviet States of America.

              If that entered the common everyday language, that would be a conceptual breakthrough right there.

              Reply
    2. .Tom

      Biden campaign said the meeting wasn’t on the official schedule. So they didn’t deny it. If it really didn’t happen, they would have denied it.

      Now it seems their angle is that the social media censorship proves the story is fake.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        LOL Hunter Biden. LOL Joe Biden.

        I think these newest revelations are disqualifying.

        We saw wire transfers of $3.5M, recorded on the books on the central bank of the United States, from a Russian oligarch to the son of the Vice President. Sender, recipient, and amount. No matter how many times addled Grandpa who yesterday said he was running for the Senate Biden says these did not take place, the Fed’s recordkeeping books just don’t seem to change.

        Now we have the quid pro quo the Dems always fantasized about for Trump.

        But but but Trump is corrupt too!!

        Show me where he attempted to profit by representing the interests of a foreign power.

        Reply
        1. notabanker

          No, no, no. It only seems that way. Take the money out of the equation and everyone would have done the exact same thing anyway.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            So we would have withdrawn $1B in U.S. foreign aid to the Ukraine for the explicit and bragged about quid pro quo of firing a prosecutor looking into the utterly shady company paying the Vice President’s son millions of dollars, anyway? LOL.

            Reply
            1. Phillip Cross

              Hunter Biden could be caught smoking crack on a bed of unmarked Yuan banknotes, whilst getting a golden shower from Putin’s wife, and it wont change the result at this point.

              For many tens of millions of voters, a useless, doddering and deeply corrupt Joe Biden is infinitely preferable to giving a mandate for four more years to this administration.

              We will just have to wait and see who has the required numbers on election day.

              Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                LOL so that’s your best argument for the man you want to lead the nation: he’s completely compromised and hopelessly and shamelessly and utterly corrupt but nobody’s changing their vote. Noted. Nice.

                Just now in the Town Hall Gramps is holding: the little factoid that he is teaching a course at university entitled “Decency and Ethics in Government”. Honestly you just cannot make this stuff up LOLOLOL

                Reply
                1. none

                  Sounds like the time David Duke ran against Ed Edwards, who had already spent 8 years in prison for corruption. Bumper stickers of the era said “Vote for the crook, it’s important”.

                  Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Because the digital monopoly “platforms” are going to start strangling free speech in order to dodge the issue of their own toxic eyeball-harvesting algorithms, people who want to be able to find things out in a reliable way may need to go back to massive email, massive list-serves, massive blogs and especially blogs with massive comment-functions. If those blogs have the time and money, they might want to be able to engage in constant and steady troll-bleaching and troll-purging of comments. (Hopefully “trolls” would be identified by behavior first, rather than controversiality of content.)

        People who think it is important to be able to reach eachother around and against the digital monopoly platforms will have to figure out how to do that. It might even involve vast and massive resort to telephones, CB Radio, Ham Radio, land mail, etc.

        Reply
    3. L

      With regret I must agree with much of this article but I feel there must be one other point. But I think Lambert’s point about the relative impact on the election still stands. At this point, I think that most voters have already taken their measure of the candidates and decided which they prefer.

      Most of the people who will be inflamed by this are more likely to change their platform than change their vote.

      The longer term issue with be for Twitter and Facebook. Up until this election they maintained the pretense of universality even as they relentlessly fractured their own viewers into separate mirrored halls. Now they cannot maintain that. This will likely drive people off onto more overtly partisan platforms where they can be protected in their views. It will also raise legal questions about just how much “editorial” control the sites have. In doing this Twitter et al. have given new Juice to the ongoing (and up until now strictly partisan) calls for them to be regulated like TV stations, and not like open platforms with no control over their content. Trump’s call for this may well be what needled them into taking this pointless wiff. But it will bite them over time, and may even kill their business model entirely.

      Reply
      1. marku52

        “But it will bite them over time, and may even kill their business model entirely.”

        Let me get out my World’s Tiniest Violin…..

        Reply
      2. John

        I neither Facebook nor Twitter and reading about what happens shows up on Facebook and Twitter affirms my decision. I’m told I will not be able to keep in touch. I reply in touch with what? I receive unconvincing answers as to the delights I am missing.

        The world stumbled alone with newspapers, news magazines and radio until I was in my teens then added broadcast television until the advent of cable and I do not recall when that was. Only now, the last fifteen, twenty years has being in instant touch has been deemed necessary. The change has been revolutionary and I think there is less useful information than was the case for most of my life. The internet was a platform for diverse and intelligent news sources, but it is vanishing behind pay walls and subscriptions.

        But I have my books.

        Reply
      3. hunkerdown

        The notion of an impartial private press was largely a conceit to double the size of the advertising market. It also had to have helped both Parties’ machines work together more smoothly and deniably.

        I’m not nearly as worried about people being driven away from the bipartisan (and mostly very wrong) consensus. That’s a good thing! I am worried that, as is usual, establishment alignment will continue to predict which partisans are allowed to speak where and when, and what movements are fed or crushed, much as it predicted whether cancel culture is terrible or wonderful.

        I get the sense big social isn’t allowed to die completely until its replacements (Discord?) are established, and in any case LiveJournal is still out there and answering requests.

        Reply
    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      I don’t want to ever EVER hear another Democrat say they just couldn’t do nice things for people because of the mean nasty Republicans because it’s quite clear they can use the power they have when it really suits them.

      As if Pelosi refusing to sign a stimulus before the election because she doesn’t want to give any impression of a win to Trump wasn’t proof enough that they can use that dry powder when it works for them. (And they’re all dottering old fools, at least the ones with any power are.)

      I hope that the censorship with this one backfires and creates a Striesand effect. I have a hunch they could have just let it die on it’s own and it would be the usual partisan split. But turning this into forbidden fruit isn’t going to bury it.

      Reply
      1. John

        I have never read a science fiction story featuring a gerontocracy that had much good to sy about the gerontocrats. I think there is a reason for that.

        Reply
    5. D. Fuller

      Pelosi put up some initial opposition to the CARES Act – more appropriately named The CORPORATE AID, Relief, and Economic Security Act – and then caved. She was expecting some quid pro quo from McConnell later on when she would come out with her plan. Why? Stupidity.

      Once again, buried in The CARES Act is section 2206/2207 of that benefits real estate developers with a $97 billion tax break over 10 years. Trump can benefit from that. Congress Members who are invested in REITs & other real estate developments benefit. And?

      PAUL PELOSI who made the bulk of the Pelosi fortune as a real estate investor & developer.

      When it came time for Pelosi to collect the imagined favor of her fevered imagination from Mitch? Mitch predictably told her to shove off in no uncertain terms.

      What is it with Democratic leadership who fantasize about the good old days when Reagan Democrats & Republicans got along? Those days have been dead since 1994 when Newt Gingrich & Republicans have all but declared a war of political “extermination” against the Democratic Party.

      Pelosi, Schumer, Steve Israel, The Clintons – Bill being a Republican wet dream in office – and many other Democratic Politicians have presided, since 1992, over the most disastrous defeats in Democratic history barring The Civil War. When Democrats split to form the Republican Party with other 3rd parties.

      The Democratic Party is so bad that it takes a complete incompetent like Trump, for them to even have a chance of winning.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        The Democratic Party is so bad that it takes a complete incompetent like Trump, for them to even have a chance of winning.

        This. And of course when they get a Trump, they know every voter is looking at two levers, one Trump and one Not Trump.

        So they take advantage of that and put “nothing is gonna change” Biden in there. And if we punish them for it, well we get Trump.

        Lordy.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        The Democratic Party is so bad that it takes a complete incompetent like Trump, for them to even have a chance of winning.

        It’s worse than that. The Democratic Party is so bad that they actually lost to a clown game-show host back in 2016. How bad do you have to be to most people that Trump is in any way a viable Presidential candidate?

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          Vote for the political party that couldn’t even run their own primaries that represented their voters? I think we moved past dog food to something nobody thinks is chocolate.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Somebody still thinks its chocolate.

            The Pink KKK ( Pink Kitty Kap Klintonites) still think its chocolate.

            “Eat something nobody ELSE thinks is chocolate anymore! Ten million Pink Kitty Kap Klintonites can’t be wrong!”

            Reply
      3. Daryl

        > She was expecting some quid pro quo from McConnell later on when she would come out with her plan.

        It is shaping up to be a rough couple of months for regular people, that’s for sure.

        Reply
    6. km

      At risk of beating the issue to death – funny how the MSM and social media oligarchs were not so scrupulous in checking facts and vetting sources when they were breathlessly hyping the russiagate conspiracy theory.

      Every night there for a while we kept hearing about the latest bombshell revelation, the missing evidence was finally here, this was finally going to do it, only for those bombshells to be quietly walked back a few days later, or for the latest bombshell to turn out to be a dud.

      Reply
      1. John

        Media, social or otherwise, privately owned and operated for a profit will inevitably reflect the interests of its owners. Quelle surprise

        Reply
  5. DJG

    The Vogue article.

    I was reminded of how much HR has become a bailiwick of women who say things like this: “It started me going, “This is one of those guys who will [get] things to happen.” I’ve been in many, many rooms with many, many high-level people who have a vision and it’s almost like they can hypnotize people, and it becomes reality.”

    She is talking about her initial perceptions of Trump and his behavior on inauguration day.

    And people like her, who live in the land of delusion, are in charge of salary administration. Hmmm.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      One of those women was supposed to have said ‘I traveled a lot for work. America used to be the biggest world power. Now we’re a laughingstock….. I already voted for Joe Biden.’ Good thing that international travel is out for the moment for that women. How does she think America will be regarded when she goes overseas next electing a guy who is spending more and more time out in left field?

      I think that it was a previous SecState that joked once that if you wanted to talk to Europe, who do you telephone? There way be a similar problem developing here. Assuming that Biden wins and the EU wants to ring to the person in charge of the US, who exactly do they ring?

      Reply
      1. apleb

        Easy: they ring Biden and whoever answers the phone, that is not actually Biden, is the one to talk to.

        It’s only important to have a throne, which person sit on the throne, even as a secret, doesn’t matter. Not as if they don’t have already experience in that: see Reagan 2nd term or Yeltsin or any of the Kreml gerontocracy.

        Reply
  6. Jim Hannan

    Rush Limbaugh is on 3 hours per day, on 650 radio stations nationally. Sean Hannity is on 3 hours per day, on 530 stations nationally.

    Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and the NY Post.

    America is strictly dominated by a right wing messaging machine. They don’t need Facebook or Twitter. That’s just icing on the cake.

    Reply
      1. Aumua

        Well maybe not America but the right is dominated by a right wing messaging machine, and they’re all in lock step. The media personalities, their listeners and Trump himself.

        Reply
    1. L

      When I last checked, the average age of Fox News viewers and AM radio listeners has steadily increased and their share of actual involvement has decreased. This is more about the shape of the next hall of Mirrors, not the old one.

      Reply
    2. Lost in OR

      a right wing messaging machine

      I agree, but only if you go one step further. The neolib and neocon insanity displayed by ALL MSM is anything but left wing (or even centrist). From the invasion of Iraq through the ’08 collapse and bail-out right up to TDS Russiagate pandemic Fed corporate grifting, our national media outlets have shown themselves to be fully allied and embedded in Wall Street, the MIC, and the security state. The mainstream is right wing. There is not a single national left wing MSM outlet.

      And somehow, seemingly intelligent people eat that sh!t up. It’s enough to smother any hope still struggling to survive.

      Reply
    3. GramSci

      I appreciate the sentiment, but they need Facebook and Twitter to propagandize the professional managerial class and their “associates”.

      Reply
    4. Darthbobber

      Centrist democrats have MSNBC, CNN, the NYT, the WaPo, among others.

      So TWO right wing messaging machines, supporting differing right wing factions.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ah…who else remembers when the NYT sat on the wireless warrant tapping story on the eve of the 2004 election? You are right. The MSM is just two right wing factions battling.

        Reply
    5. neo-realist

      Not just Limbaugh and Hannity on the radio, but lots of right wing talk radio bots all over the country, not famous but preaching the same right wing fascism as Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage do. Just turn on your car radio while driving in any big or small town and if you hit a talk radio station, you will get a conservative talker, or some end time preacher talking similar hate against radical commie leftists, but add godless abortionists to the menu.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        I do listen to them on a regular basis, because I like to keep my finger on the pulse of the thought currents they are broadcasting.

        Reply
  7. a different chris

    > I think Sanders would have faced what Trump faced

    I’m sure of it — the difference is Sanders wanted to make a change and Trump only wanted to make a sale. Once you drove off the lot that POS was your problem. Trump said the right things in 2016 not because he believes in or even understands them, but because what a good salesman does is figure out what you want and parrot it back to you.

    It really never truly registered with him that he had to sell the same car to the same consumer 4 years later.

    Reply
    1. km

      I suspect that Trump, in his heart of hearts, thought that any sucker dumb enough to buy that car in 2016 should be easy to con again in 2020. (Note that I am conspicuously silent as to Trump’s 2016 Team D opponent).

      Sanders may have wanted to make a change, but if he ever were somehow to be elected president, you can bet your bottom dollar that Team D would offer him as little public support as it could do so and still maintain a facade of respectability. At the same time, Team D would be working busy as beavers behind the scenes to make sure that a President Sanders was unable to govern.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Yeah it was/is hopeless. Now I will mention she-who-we-would-rather-not-name: I found myself happy to see the back of Clinton, and still am, even though I voted third party.

        Reply
      2. edmondo

        The difference is that if Bernie had won in 2016, the Dems would have still impeached him and – this time – the senate would have gotten their 2/3s vote.

        Reply
  8. Louis Fyne

    I never seen Biden internet adverts…lots of Trump and Drm. Senate/ActBlue adverts.

    Why is Team Biden sitting on so much cash? In October?

    Get-out-the-vote efforts ain’t cheap. It’s as if Biden thinks a win is in the bag. (never be smug in politics)

    Reply
    1. D. Fuller

      Everytime I peruse Youtube for a video, one Biden ad after the other. Very few Trump ads.

      Youtube, owned by Google. The same Google that “personalizes” ads to target you and your browser. Google, who is proclaimed as geniuses of the search engine algorithms yet can’t seem to ever deliver since they turned into an ad service & cloud service company.

      As an experiment, someone left their phone in the bathroom for a few hours. After picking up the phone, I was served with ads relating to defecation & bidets. When conducting the same search using Google on an Android phone & Windows computer? Vastly differing search results.

      Google is so good at delivering ads that I am constantly bombarded by ads trying to sell me items, I have already bought. Or dating services for Chinese women because I happened to link to a news site with the word, China in it.

      The Information economy, the 4th Wave as some futurists back in the 1980’s & 1990’s called it? A manufactured economy built on marketing & advertising. Evidence? Artificial Intelligence. Such is artificial alright, yet does not exist. A.I. is a marketing term. What passes for A.I. are simplly brute force algorithms consuming megawatts of power to give the appearance of A.I. through clever programming.

      Silicon Valley’s contribution to human advancement? Faster, more efficient communications. Word processors are still word processors. Spreadsheets are still spreadsheets. Databases are still databases. Established programs & methods that are improved. No major technological breakthroughs. Storage is storage. Processors are processors. Adding functionality is not, “technological progress”.

      The Information economy is built on self-deception, marketing & advertising, hype; all to manufacture a market in which technology companies can bilk each other, corporations, and the public out of vast sums of money. Create the market – even the illusion – and they – the suckers – will come.

      The problems go way beyond Twitter & Facebook & others.

      Like Fox News, they identify the audience and then serve what they – the companies – identify as what their audience wants to hear. Lies, rumors, even the truth occasionally.

      Silicon Valley is a sham. They have speeded up old ways of doing things and presented it as something new. Making a fortune off of it. We can do everything faster.

      As for technological progress – a revolution? We might as well as still be living in the 1960’s.

      The last true revolutions in industry? The laser & the transistor.

      Reply
      1. Clem

        Mr. or Mrs. Fuller,

        Download the free Firefox browser and install it.
        Block popup ads. Then install additional free extensions to block ads.

        Watch a youtube video. There will be no ads.
        Freeloading here? We mailed several checks to Lambert and Yves and we have a clean conscience but like cigarette smoke blown in our face, we refuse to watch or permit ads into our life.

        Reply
      2. Tim

        Many of your details are true, but the information availability resulting from technology developed in the 90s has made profound differences on our society. Our decisions are based on what we know, and we now know way more than we ever used to.

        We are in a new age. And with it comes new wars, fought over the information content provided to the user. Access to the user is everything.

        Reply
        1. Janie

          Decisions based on what we know – now we know more and more things that aren’t so. Wasn’t there a survey that said Fox news watchers were more poorly informed than non news watchers?

          Reply
  9. Nick

    From Hawaii. Considered one of the saddest bird calls ever recorded. O’o birds mated for life. They had call and responses to find each other. This is the last male of the species. Unaware he was the last o’o. It’s pronounced like oh-oh. An easier of the Hawaiian names.

    https://youtu.be/nDRY0CmcYNU

    Also, to add some, on the ground news, because national media pretty much ignores Hawaii and this site likes birds AND news. The unemployed, including PUA beneficiaries are soon receiving $500 debit cards to use only at restaurants. The goal should be obvious and I thinks it’s pretty good. If a couple both filed for UI they each get a card, so $1,000. Still lots of local farming in Hawaii who the restaurants purchase from so they are helped as well. Families eat, restaurants rehire, farms make money. It’s about $75 million of our CARES money which expires by December 15. So, 2 month $75 million injection into the local economy.

    Reply
    1. farragut

      Thanks for this, Nick. A profoundly sad feeling descended upon me while listening to him calling out, with no response. Very disturbing.

      Reply
    2. Glen

      Thanks Nick, for the haunting calls, and the news.

      My wife is still buying coffee from the local farmers she met on Maui. The coffee always comes with a picture drawn in crayon by their kids. And the coffee is THE BEST.

      Reply
  10. Daryl

    Voted in deep red Texas today.

    Most everyone was masked up today, compared to yesterday (I left without getting in line due to the long line of people not wearing masks). Social distancing was not super strict inside (there was tape on the floor but groups of people were standing together and fairly lax about distance). The poll volunteers were wearing face shields. Overall it was a relatively pleasant and painless experience, which is not too surprising (it is easy and frictionless to vote in places that are highly gerrymandered). Lines were much longer than I have seen for early voting before.

    One pattern I found interesting was lots of husbands not wearing masks and wives wearing masks…

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      That is a pattern I’ve noticed quite often; where only one member of a couple is masked (not an uncommon occurrence) it is usually the man who is not masked. I wondered if that was just a local phenomenon, or more widespread (I realize my observations are strictly anecdotal).

      Reply
  11. D. Fuller

    Regarding militia’s. While in WA State, the local Patriot movement in the very rural (and impoverished) community were rather pleasant. They cooperated closely with law enforcement by keeping an eye on the local meth distributors. For some reason, they made every effort to distinguish themselves from the locals next door in Idaho. This in a town hosting the Border Patrol station. We had a few preppers appear to build their bunkers until one casually pointed out that the location was 5 miles from a nuclear target and that 20 targets were within 50 miles of the area – if one used Cold War targeting methods to pick the targets. Those preppers always did end up finding a reason to leave shortly thereafter.

    Idaho had the usual assortment of crazies stockpiling weapons and digging bunkers. While anti-government in the extreme, they almost always voted Republican (or Libertarian) and then complained about the government. Only to back the government when the government cracked down on protesters (BLM, OWS, etc). Completely schizophrenic.

    The Patriot group in WA was more of the, “If the SHTF, we bunker down until it passes.” Idaho Patriots? They prayed for Civil War 2.0, civil disturbance, etc… so they could join in on the bloodletting. However, the Idaho Patriot members were (and are) riddled with FBI informants. Not necessary in WA since the Patriot group were law-abiding citizens closely cooperating with local law enforcement. There was one son of a local leader who did listen to Alex Jones a little too much. Though, when a technician from The NSA showed up to update the computers at the Border Patrol station in town? Did cause some stir by wearing his badge outside the Border Patrol station while grabbing coffee at local gas station. Some scrub technician showing off to the locals. Like going into a bar in D.C. and seeing all the CIA intern scrubs flashing their little CAC card to impress the ladies. They are still scrubs.

    The local Patriot movement members in WA? Backed Sanders. Went for Trump in the G.E. Because? Hillary. They won’t tolerate election interference by anyone of any political persuasion. Idaho? Trump supporters through & through. So, it does depend on where one is.

    One interesting character in that small, tiny WA village left behind and betrayed by both parties. Bob. Hard core Trump enthusiast. Loves those on The Left who don’t like Hillary Clinton while also not liking Trump. Bob turned out to be a secret Sanders supporter.

    The U.S. does have a small – but significant – minority of disaffected militia members who rightly deserve the status of terrorists & terrorist organizations. Even those terrorist organizations realize – by their own estimates – that 1-in-3 members are FBI informants. These are the consumers of Right Wing fiction “porn” pumped out by authors, depicting a Conservative rebellion in America that rises up one day to seize control from Liberals. Featuring violence, assassinations, mass arrests, camps, etc. To restore “God, Guns, & Freedom” to America. Just by using mailing lists of publishing houses who print the Right Wing violence “porn” fiction, authorities can readily identify the vast majority of the minority who subscribe to sedition and rebellion.

    Government authorities do not ignore – on the ground – the potential for Right Wing terrorist organizations to commit violence. The leadership – political as they are – is what makes the difference. What happens at the top is not indicative of what is happening in the rank-and-file of the organization such as The FBI. No, I am not defending the FBI.

    The lone wolf attackers are who we should all be concerned about. Even then, it is unlikely that such attacks at polling places will occur since both Republicans & Democrats use the same polling stations. However, as in 2016, as rightly pointed out? Some might show up at polling stations. Texas had an issue with that last election cycle.

    Reply
    1. MK

      It’s always been and shall forever be the true ‘lone wolf(s)’ out there. The ones that get caught get caught because they reach out for ‘help/assistance’ to someone who happens to either be leo, or goes to leo to rat the wolf out OR they start posting stuff online and draw the attention of leo.

      In conclusion, the lone wolf(s) that truly stay lone are the ones that have, and shall always cause the most unforeseeable horrors.

      Reply
    2. km

      I have known some militia members and militia adjacent types.

      The actual militia members, truth be told, were the nicest anti-government extremists I ever have met. It was kinda unnerving.

      Reply
      1. D. Fuller

        They are strange. The anti-government Patriot members in WA state were the one’s that closely cooperated with gov’t. At least Local & County & even State. Federal Gov’t? Not so much though they did not refuse the assistance – assistance that was cut by Republicans & Obama (hmmm…) in 2016.

        Incredibly nice people in WA State. Idaho? The most important factor in how nice they were? How much money you could spend. Always nice to get a new windshield at a cheaper price with no sales reporting involved. Pocketing money.

        In Oregon, while campaigning? The anti-marijuana Trumpist who sold drug paraphernalia. All about the $$$.

        The greatest factor when talking to over 1,000 voters that year, in Trump’s win? Voters who hated Trump yet hated Hillary more. That and Tina Kotek preferred Republicans running on the Democratic ticket as opposed to actual Democrats.

        Reply
          1. D. Fuller

            Since I hate both and since Obama/Biden/Holder helped the banks defraud my father out of his house, $114,000… and the bank sold the house for an additionial $90,000?

            I’m voting. Just not for either sh**-stain.

            Hell, after Holder settled with the banks? My dad recv’d a $1000 “settlement” check. Allowing the bank to keep the $114k & an additional $90k.

            Somehow, die-hard Democrats expect me to vote for one of the politicians who helped the banks defraud my father. That’s like asking for a vote for the robber who just stole $114,000 out of my wallet.

            It is not happening.

            My father is still pursued by the IRS to this day because he couldn’t afford the lawyer. He’s now in debt to the IRS. He’s health is not good. And he will work until he dies so the IRS can take what little he has left. He’s going to die, with broken health, penniless – because of DEMOCRATS.

            Politicians lie. Betrayal(D)? Is unforgiveable.

            My family can thank Obama & Biden & Holder for why they lost my vote. And the votes of up to 8 MILLION other former Democratic & Obama voters. Which is why Democrats are so desperate for Republican moderates to fill out their ranks.

            So, I’m voting for a 3rd party and maybe for some Democrats as long as they are not to religiously conservative like what we get out here in PA. They are R’s with D’s after their names.

            If I wanted to vote for a Republican? They wouldn’t have a (D) after their name. I’d vote for an actual (R).

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Very curious why you would effectively be casting a vote that helps send Obama/Clinton/Biden back to the White House rather than for the only party with a chance for that not to happen. Time to think more strategically IMO.

              Reply
              1. Aumua

                Wait, you’re vote shaming him for not voting for Trump explicitly? Well hehe that’s something you don’t see every day.

                Reply
        1. km

          I don’t know how much these individuals were dependent upon government, but they weren’t anarchists. Just they have a very different conception of what government should be and is than do People LikeUs.

          My comment was more to their demeanor. Friendly, polite, self-aware even. If they were racists, they sure hid it well.

          Reply
  12. Drake

    “Trump’s opponents – from centre to radical Left – believe in political process, that society’s decisions should be made through democratic institutions, one person, one vote. His supporters are an axis of those who prefer other institutions: the market, or father-led families, or the church, or racial hierarchies. For many, the presidency is less ‘appropriate decision-making process’, more ‘patriarch of the nation’. It’s not any kind of surprise that those who do well from these structures tend to believe in them more.” • I disagree. If liberal Democrats really believed in democratic institutions, they’d be making every effort to reach non-voters. Voter registration would be a core party function.

    I disagree also. For the last four years Democrats have shown me again and again exactly what they think of democratic institutions, roughly the same thing that the State Dept and Pentagon think of self-determination for other countries. Trump should condition his acceptance of the 2020 election results on Democrats accepting the results of the 2016 election.

    Reply
  13. marym

    “The Associated Press @AP
    U.S. Postal Service agrees to reverse changes that slowed mail service nationwide, settling a lawsuit filed by Montana. The changes were made in an election year when many more Americans are expected to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.” 10/14/2020
    https://twitter.com/AP/status/1316534206646939650
    https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-lawsuits-montana-steve-bullock-4bdadb8d76f97eccaed706fcaf79f50e

    OK, if it actually happens. We owe a lot to the postal workers who pushed back on these changes.

    Reply
  14. anon in so cal

    >Covid

    This was interesting, posted by a Johns Hopkins physician, about all the blame to go around for the 216,000 deaths. Doubtful Biden would have handled anything more competently….

    “We’ve also learned how unprepared our research infrastructure is for a health emergency. It was and continues to be far too inflexible and far too slow to address basic research questions quickly in a pandemic. Very real barriers that resulted in preventable COVID deaths include: rigid IRBs that meet too infrequently to approve COVID research quickly, burdensome HIPAA-based policies that some institutions required for voluntary research that posed no risk to people, data use agreements that serve business interests, electronic health records that did not communicate for proprietary reasons, and inadequate funding for basic research that could have elucidated the basics of asymptomatic spread.

    We should have learned about the benefit of masking in March, not July. We should have learned about the dose-dependent survival benefit of convalescent plasma in April, not September. Medical journals are still reviewing the Mayo clinic study of 35,000 patients now 5 weeks after it was submitted. How about a 24-hour review when more than a thousand people are dying per day? We should also remember that IRBs were created to ensure that research studies do not harm patients, not serve as slow-motion peer review that treats simple surveys and database analyses as if they were chemotherapy drug trials.

    Our slow and clunky research system was most evident with the September release of the CDC’s small survey study of 314 people concluding that dining out raised COVID-19 risk. Why are we getting these results in September and not April? We should have learned about the massive benefit of steroids during the New York outbreak, rather than in June by the U.K. Recovery trial — in which U.S. researchers declined to participate because it did not meet their elaborate standards. Similarly, the NIH began a seroprevalence study in early April but refuses to post their raw data in real time. The findings may make for a good article but won’t help us much if it comes out after the pandemic is over….”

    https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/marty-makary/88730

    Reply
    1. John

      I suspect that despite the certainty that a pandemic would occur sometime and despite some degree of preparation for an untoward event that it is difficult to really believe in the idea of an infectious disease that is unknown and has no effective treatment and no cure.

      Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Some speculation – establishment Republicans don’t like Trump any more than the Democrats do so they aren’t going to help Trump out pre-election either. Could be for the same reason that the Durham/Barr report isn’t being released before the election. Once Trump is gone and Biden takes office, then they hammer the Democrats with all the evidence of anti-Trump malfeasance over the last four years plus some Biden skullduggery in Ukraine thrown in for good measure. Maybe they don’t look too hard into the latter, as it’s likely to uncover Republican wrongdoing too as both parties were enthusiastic Ukrainian coup supporters. Then the Dems are hamstrung at the very least, and with Trump gone the Republicans can put their establishment politicos back in charge and the neocons who had been sidling up to Biden scuttle back into the fold. Maybe they hire a few younger Bushes who still have that new politician smell. The Democrat party, where competence goes to die, will never know what hit it.

      Reply
      1. urblintz

        Bingo. You can bet that during comb-over’s covid episode more Republicans hoped for the worse than Democrats. The gop old guard wants its party back.

        Reply
        1. urblintz

          … and the moment it isn’t Trump anymore, all those republicans supporting Biden will revert to being and voting republican… and they will once again walk all over (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) the Biden Whitehouse’s inevitably feckless attempt to repeat the Obama optics while eagerly repeating the feature-not-a-bug failures which they will insist are successful and progressive.

          plus ça change

          Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      McConnell is chaotic evil. He also knows his opponents are Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer. Maybe this is him over playing his hand, but realistically, what did being the Party of No in 2009 get him? He certainly didn’t consign the GOP to Whig status as centrists predicted.

      Reply
  15. remmer

    “‘Hamilton’ cast to host virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden’s campaign”

    Hamilton bashing seems to be popular here at NC, which isn’t surprising. Historians have placed a heroes-and-villains framing around the politics of the early American republic, with Hamilton as the eternal villain and Jefferson as the eternal hero. (Although Massa Tom’s star may have dimmed a bit.) Much of historical writing about early American politics is done within this frame. But I suspect that lots of NCers would like the different assessment that Christian Parenti wrote for Jacobin in 2014: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/08/reading-hamilton-from-the-left/ And he just turned his research into a book, Radical Hamilton (Verson 2020).

    Reply
    1. RMO

      There’s a bit of difference between bashing “Hamilton” the (horrible) musical and criticizing Hamilton the historical figure.

      Reply
      1. remmer

        So there is. But Lambert linked to Matt Stoller’s Baffler article on Hamilton the historical figure. Maybe I should have included his “Well, I’m sold” link.

        Reply
    2. jr

      Thank you for this, the eye opener of the week for me. I knew Jefferson was a dirtbag but I wasn’t aware how forward thinking Hamilton was in some ways. I’m not so sure about his true position on slavery. These articles argue it’s a complicated picture and involves a bit of posturing and moral leveraging on the part of Hamilton, not to mention directly benefiting from the labor of slavery and supporting anti-emancipation politicians:

      “ So even in his most full-throated denunciation of slavery, the racism it’s founded on, and the hypocrisy of slave owners, Hamilton was still posturing it for political gain… among slave plantation owners.”

      https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/alexander-hamilton-real-history-slavery/

      and

      “ According to Harvard Law School Professor of History Annette Gordon-Reed, Hamilton bought and sold slaves for his in-laws.”

      “ Michael Newton, a historian and author of several books on Hamilton and the founding era, says that while Hamilton was a founder of the New York Manumission Society, which was an anti-slavery group, he did not seriously propose the total abolition of slavery. He also propped up several Federalist slaveholders as presidential candidates.”

      https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a33220568/did-alexander-hamilton-own-trade-slaves/

      Now this part from the first article I find really enjoyable:

      “For this reason, some historians, and even more activists, hold a wary cynicism toward Hamilton. Author and playwright Ishmael Reed even wrote a full-length lecture of a play called The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, in which he depicts Miranda as a hapless dupe manipulated by Chernow into spreading manipulative lies about America’s founders, whom Reed compares to Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.“ my emphasis.

      I have to look into Ismael Reed more, if he is puncturing boils like “Hamilton”.

      Reply
      1. remmer

        Glad you liked Parenti’s article, jr. Of course you’re not sure about his “true position on slavery.” His jobs in the army during the Revolution, his service in the Continental Congress, his role as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and as a member of Washington’s cabinet, all required him to deal with slave owners. He was opposed to slavery, and owned no slaves himself, but the chief opponents of his financial plan were Southern planters led by Jefferson and Madison, so he had to deal with them to get his bills passed. Slavery was still a fact of life in New York, including in the Schuyler family he married into, and plantation slavery in the South was untouchable. So, yes, Hamilton was conflicted, as both Chernow and Miranda have said.

        That should be enough for anyone today. But it isn’t. Even as respected a scholar as Annette Gordon-Reed says that Hamilton “bought and sold slaves for his in laws.” His sister in law asked him to buy one or two slaves for her and her husband when they returned to NYC, and he did. Once. To call this “buying and trading slaves” is a deliberate distortion. And as for Ishmael Reed, if he says Chernow’s biography is just “manipulative lies” and that the founders were like Hitler and the Third Reich, then he is turning himself into the Alex Jones and Glenn Beck of the left and should be ignored.

        Reply
        1. Late Introvert

          Thanks for telling us who “should be ignored” with the word and doing a lot of work there.

          Hamilton was a power player during the slave era, and benefited from it. Get used to that fact.

          Reply
        2. jr

          What’s this “of course” you keep swinging around? Of course Hamilton doesn’t get a free pass around here. No one does. You assert he was against slavery and list a bunch of things that Hamilton did plus the political realities of the day but fail to address any of the claims made in the articles I listed. None of the things in your laundry list are “enough” because they do not address the question of Hamilton’s relationship to slavery.

          Hamilton was beyond conflicted: he directly benefited from the labor of slaves and he supported pro-slavery political candidates. He was most certainly reflective enough to understand the notion of hypocrisy. Is it possible Hamilton used his anti-slavery position as a moral facade for political ends? Is it possible that Hamilton was a man of opportunity, this consummate social climber? We know he did all these things. Can you show us what was in his heart? The diary entries where he laments his Devil’s bargain, where his burning desires to liberate the slave shines through the political realities of the day? If not, then we are free to speculate upon his real motives. Actually, we are in either case.

          As for Reed, I’m interested in anyone taking a swing at “Spam-ilton”. It’s dreck, masturbatory literature for a crumbling nation, cheap Easter candy for the American political mind. If you can overlook Hamilton cavorting with slave owners, dealers, and the politicians who represented them I can overlook a few over the top comments about Hitler and the Founding Fathers…

          Reply
  16. RMO

    “adding reach and enthusiasm that could lend a veneer of legitimacy to otherwise evidence-free allegations”

    That reminds me of something… something to do with Russia perhaps that we’ve been subjected to for the last four years plus in an attempt to discredit the results of a US election?

    Reply
  17. Brunches with Cats

    Evening primrose (Oenothera) is indeed scraggly looking, but it’s a mainstay for pollinator gardens! I got several plants two years ago from a neighbor who inherited an overgrown pollinator slope from the previous owners of her house. She thought they were weeds — an easy mistake to make (and what’s a “weed,” anyway?), as they quickly take over bare spots, will grow in almost any kind of soil, and are near-impossible to kill. I’ve observed that they proliferate not only by seed, but also by runners. Also, mine bloomed all day, but the flowers were very short-lived — day and half at most. A fascinating bit of trivia about a particular Oenothera species:

    Based on observations of evening primroses (Oenothera drummondii), a study discovered that within minutes of sensing the sound waves of nearby bee wings through flower petals, the concentration of the sugar in the plant’s nectar was increased by an average of 20 percent. Experiments were also conducted on flowers with the petals removed. No change in nectar production was noted, indicating that it is indeed the flowers that have the job of the ears. (Wikipedia)

    Co-evolution!

    Reply
  18. edmondo

    “….I couldn’t even listen to Trump. He just was so ugly and not what I think of when I think of a leader, someone like Barack Obama or even George Bush.”

    So it’s OK to murder people as long as you “have a beer with the guy” afterwards? It’s not what Trump does that bothers them, it’s how he does it. Can you be right for the wrong reasons?

    Reply
  19. MichaelSF

    “Just that Hunter offered an ‘opportunity’ to meet his father.”

    I get the impression that “opportunity” could work as a euphemism for that favorite Democrat term “access”. It would have been interesting if they’d phrased it as “Hunter offered access to his father.” It seems like a match between the two versions.

    Reply
        1. antifamilyigotallmysistersandme

          Whichever you prefer. Yer falling for a Giuliani (!!) smear campaign…the one that got Trump impeached in fact.

          Reply
    1. Annus Horribilis

      Fantasy is interesting. And one can learn a lot about what the Roskomnadzor promotes and what it censors. Authoritarian regimes must rely on manufacturing abroad “quinta columna”, in the original Spanish, for consensus because the State spends all its energy misinforming its own population. Trying to promote accurate stories that support your own regime in a second language for audiences abroad is impossible when the State as censored the hell out of its own press. Creative thinking goes right out the window at Strategic-Culture, and life becomes just a series of threats and conspiracies you repeat in exchange for donations from this or that Popular Committee.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        You seem to be promoting the canard that Strategic Culture is a Russian propaganda outfit even though their writers (Escobar column probably originally from Asia Times) are well known western journalists for the most part. I am dazzled by your vocabulary however.

        Reply
  20. Mikel

    Re: Twitter/Election scandal story

    I don’t have Twitter (most people DO NOT) and don’t really read that particular NY paper often. I only heard about this very interesting and par for the corruption of the Senator from Delaware and family due to the banning.

    So their banning of the story is getting it more attention than it already had. And when the establishment acts so frightened, it must be hitting a nerve close to the truth. The truth scares them the most.

    Used to be an old marketing trick in the entertainment (movies, music) – staged protest or banning for free publicity.

    Reply

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