Links 10/20/2020

A California shark lab tagged a record number of sharks off the Southern California coast this year KCTV

First tyrannosaur embryo fossils revealed National Geographic (The Rev Kev)

Neil deGrasse Tyson warns asteroid could hit Earth the day before the election The Hill. UserFriendly  “can I vote for the asteroid?”

NASA will (hopefully) snag samples from an asteroid for the first time ever on Oct. 20 Houston Chronicle

Want a bicycle by Christmas? ‘If you leave it till December there will be no stock’ Guardian

Turkey farmers fear that, this year, they’ve bred too many big birds WaPo. A confession. I don’t really care for turkey. Even when I start with a quality bird, brine it, and smoke/roast it on my Big Green Egg. Thanksgiving remains by favourite holiday, because – in spite of Black Friday craziness – our overlords have yet to figure out how to commercialize it.

A rope bridge restored a highway through the trees for endangered gibbons Science News

#COVID-19

Developing | Coronavirus: Hong Kong to relax social-distancing rules around local tours and weddings, as city expects about five new Covid-19 cases SCMP

Covid-19’s Global Divide: As West Reels, Asia Keeps Virus at Bay WSJ

Trump calls Fauci a ‘disaster’ and seeks to reassure his team he can win Reuters

One doctor’s campaign to stop a covid-19 vaccine being rushed through before Election Day MIT Technology Review

Official numbers reveal Manchester and other cities under Tier 3 threat could be BEATING coronavirus as Andy Burnham admits he can’t defy PM – but prepares one last cash demand before midday deadline to lock down his city Daily Mail

Ireland announces six-week coronavirus lockdown Politico

Science/Medicine

Prospects for a safe COVID-19 vaccine Science

Covid-19: Do many people have pre-existing immunity? British Medical Journal Note this Counterargument to footnote [2] on serology in Lambert’s Romer post of yesterday.

Efficacy of Povidone-Iodine Nasal and Oral Antiseptic Preparations Against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Sage Jounals

STAT-Harris Poll: The share of Americans interested in getting Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible is dropping Stat

Covid: firm secures £10m to infect young volunteers to hasten vaccine Guardian

Class Warfare

How The Fed Rescued Corporations And Let Everyone Else Suffer The Daily Poster

An American lynching: ‘I could hear their screams’ Al Jazeera. I post this as an example of how some others see shameful U.S. history.

Exclusive | Cathay Pacific ‘to axe 6,000 staff and Dragon brand’ in bid to stay afloat SCMP

China?

China Acceleration May Not Rescue World From Coronavirus Slowdown WSJ

Eyeing China, Australia joins ‘Quad’ drill with US, Japan, India Al Jazeera

India

Lawsuit challenges Donald Trump’s new H-1B visa rules, calls it ‘arbitrary, incorrect’ Scroll

Coronavirus Daily Updates: India Records Lowest Daily Caseload Since July 23 The Wire

Pakistan

Pakistan’s opposition is publicly naming all-powerful army as root of all evil. But what now? The Print

Bolivia

Bolivia Has Won. Will Trump Win Too? Moon of Alabama

Evo Morales’s Party’s Massive Victory Is a Rebuke to US Elites Who Hailed the Coup Jacobin

France

Social media groups under fire in France over Islamist killing FT

France teacher attack: Four pupils held over beheading BBC

The agitators are right next door Qantara

Belarus

Lukashenko’s Opponents Regroup in Lithuania Der Spiegel

Brexit

Brexit: Have EU-UK trade talks reached a dead end? BBC

Britannic Impunity: Torture and the UK Overseas Operations Bill Counterpunch

Nagorno-Karabakh

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Heavy fighting breaks out despite cease-fire Deutsche Welle

Vietnam

‘Catastrophic floods’: 105 killed, 5 million affected in Vietnam Al Jazeera

2020

I Was Reagan’s Solicitor General. Here’s What Biden Should Do With the Court. NYT. Charles Fried, one of my sparring partners at HLS – even though he was a professor and I only a lowly student. But he was also a thoroughly decent intellectual and he didn’t hide behind hierarchy.

People Need to Reclaim the Internet Craig Murray (RK)

How Would President Biden Approach Corporate Power? Big Matt Stoller

Farmers Stick With Trump, Despite Trade-War Pain WSJ

Why Do Nonwhite Georgia Voters Have to Wait in Line for Hours? Their Numbers Have Soared, and Their Polling Places Have Dwindled. ProPublica

Final Trump-Biden debate will feature ‘mute’ button after chaotic first clash Reuters

Deadlocked Supreme Court Allows Extra Time for Some Pennsylvania Ballots NYT

Press Worries About a Fracking Ban’s ‘Risk’ to Democrats—Not Fracking’s Threat to Planet FAIR

‘The Emails Are Russian’ Will Be The Narrative, Regardless Of Facts Or Evidence Caitlin Johnstone

An Argument with Nathan Robinson about Whether the Left Should Support Joe Biden in the General Election Benjamin Studebaker

Voter Intimidation Could Get Very Ugly Capital & Main. Yes, all pearl-clutching aside, we have a sad and sorry history of that.

Trump taps 2016 brain trust to stage another stunner in 2020 Politico

Trump Transition

Donald Trump Is No ‘Phony’ PopulistAmerican Conservative

PART FOUR: “YOU THINK OUR COUNTRY’S SO INNOCENT?” Intercept. This is part four, which is the only part I’ve had time to read before I must post Links today. I’ll catch up with the other three parts later.

Our Famously Free Press

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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218 comments

  1. fresno dan

    Glenn Greenwald
    @ggreenwald
    ·
    Oct 19, 2020
    Replying to @ggreenwald
    I don’t use mental illness as a metaphor. I mean it literally: the way so much of liberal America has been trained to believe RUSSIA is behind everything unpleasant in life, and to dismiss everything the minute liars like CIA & Schiff scream the world, is a collective pathology.
    Glenn Greenwald
    @ggreenwald
    Whatever your ideology: just stop and ponder what a powerful weapon it is to train a population to believe some mid-rate foreign power is behind all of the nation’s woes – so they never focus on real domestic power – and to instantly disregard all information by screaming RUSSIA.
    =============================================
    The deification of the CIA and FBI may be the very worst thing that has happened in the last 50 years. It provides the cover for neoliberalism.
    It was just a few years ago that CNN reported that Clapper had lied to the senate – now they employ the man. It was understood, due to Iraq, that the whole intelligence edifice was corrupt. Now with a bipartisan effort, that has totally been forgotten. Astounding.
    Yet Trump offers no true and substantive critique of either the FBI or CIA other than personal attacks because he is personally affronted.

    Reply
    1. AnonyMouse

      Fresno Dan – indeed.

      Widespread faith in the “intel community” has provided a weapon to aim at the left or indeed anyone who threatens the status quo.

      Even if they hadn’t shafted Bernie in the primaries, we were already seeing the “Bernie is a Russian agent!” line being developed at the start of this year when he was still perceived as a threat.

      The same canard would be aimed at any kind of lefty pressure on a hypothetical Biden administration.

      What’s more, it simply causes liberals to dismiss problems in society almost entirely out of hand. If there’s unrest, it can’t be because people don’t like our leaders or aren’t being served by them: instead, it’s Russian mind control.

      Last time I discussed the whole Qanon phenomenon with a liberal this was the response: “It’s Russian misinformation and manipulation!” Imagining the Russians have a mind control ray makes the whole question far less interesting than simply asking: why do people fall for this stuff in the first place? Same with Trump. It provides liberals with an easy way to avoid engaging with difficult questions.

      Reply
      1. Pookah Harvey

        The establishment dems use Russia to distract the population from the real problems while Trump uses China. “China is stealing your jobs”, “the Chinese Flu is responsible for the lock-downs”, etc.. Neo-liberal capitalism is the problem. Might be safer if the duopoly would scapegoat a non-nuclear armed country?

        Reply
      2. YPG

        I think those who cry “Russia” ultimately are materially comfortable people. They might live paycheck to paycheck as most of us do but they might also have a little inherited nest-egg that’ll patch up most emergencies. Either that or they know they’re family will come through in a pinch. In a real sense, for all their ‘I was poor once- during college,’ they have never known what true poverty is. I think this is the seedbed for their ideology: a sort of indolent comfort.

        My guess is that many of them are PMC but most of them are not part of that hallowed segment of the population: they’re part of a lesser caste in the administrative strata. They are PMC aspirant or were at some point in their early career. I think some of them gave up on their aspirations and channel their negative feelings about a lack of success through a type of political pantomime.

        Much of what they engage in as ‘political critique’ ends up being either a sort of aesthetic critique or a sort of Manichean moralism, usually a mixture of both. This “Russia!” wolf-crying is, I think, mostly an expression of the moralism but I’m not sure it would work if it didn’t also rest upon the aesthetic critique of Trump as the belligerent, norm-destroying boogeyman. The point is that none of what they engage in is fundamentally political thinking.

        They NEED there to be a good guy in politics because I think they truly cannot stomach what it would mean if there would no good guys. If there aren’t any good guys it would mean that they, themselves, would have to participate in politics beyond watching MSNBC & posting on Twitter. Thus, they’ll take any port in the storm up to and including odious orgs like the CIA/FBI. I think this is also why they always try to frame things with TV/movies as their model. Trump = voldermort or that baddie from Avengers; Dems ARE Hermine & Harry or the avengers; etc.

        I also think these people are the most blind to how class works and that, to me, is their biggest flaw. If anything makes me hopeful, it is that some of them are beginning to begrudgingly acknowledge that they need to pay lip-service to class, at very least. But, as someone who feels like I didn’t understand class very well for a long time, I think many of them are in an infantile state with regard to class. Until, they really understand it, I think they will defend their childish non-politics to the hilt and that’s because they don’t really know what politics is.

        Sorry for being a bit long-winded here.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          “I think those who cry “Russia” ultimately are materially comfortable people.”

          they’re setting their kids up for a lucrative medical career. None of them (that I know) are signing their kids up for the army that they plan to go to war with russia with….that’s a deplorable job.

          Reply
        2. rhodium

          They’re afraid the other liberals might start saying so and so is a “corporate agent” as a character assassination. No, keep the Russians as the proper enemy and you can feel comfortable knowing the banana republic issue is still on the back burner. Liberal elites are two-faced reptiles when it comes to this. I’ll usually take something over nothing if I think I can trust who’s offering it, but nobody should be illusioned about the power struggle in the Democratic party and what that means for what’s truly on offer. The smartest of the lords know that the serfs are restless, but they don’t want to change too much, just enough.

          Reply
        3. fwe'zy

          “My guess is that many of them are PMC but most of them are not part of that hallowed segment of the population: they’re part of a lesser caste in the administrative strata. They are PMC aspirant or were at some point in their early career. I think some of them gave up on their aspirations and channel their negative feelings about a lack of success through a type of political pantomime.”

          What is that coded for exactly? Those don’t sound Russia Russia at all; they sound more like a libertarian or premie commie like me. Russia Russia is much more brunchy.

          Reply
        4. hunkerdown

          I broadly agree with these traits of the PMC-aspirant. They still believe in the meritocracy they have not (“yet”) tasted, having witnessed its glow from closer than most; indeed, they respect and value its cold candid judgments of their own prowess, even though they don’t necessarily know it is predation yet and wouldn’t appreciate it if they knew. (Compare this mode of class production with the folk magical curse of causing someone to eat human flesh, to deliver them unto evil spirits.)

          Despite popular misconceptions, insistently reinforced throughout daily life, politics in fact describes both the specialty and any system of public discipline, not public administration; the respective relations of service run in nearly opposing directions and the instruments of effect necessarily differ. It is the eversion of that or any other moral principle to the third person, by such as “That’s gross” or “Democrats believe”, which imposes a discipline and potentially creates a politics. In the case of moral dualism, which is essentially indistinguishable from self-interest, arises a politics of its most rudimentary, degenerate, lightweight form: the market. Narrator: And that’s the road we traveled to serfdom.

          Reply
          1. fwe'zy

            PMC-aspirant here. I akshually turned down that life in the past, because it wasn’t good enough for me. I became an indie filmmaker aka gig desperado. Now, I’ve been sufficiently declassed to needa PMC type of job to survive. These mediocre people wrought a franklin covey hellhole in their image but sink or swim baby. Also I’m really not tryna be a petite bloodsucker by starting my own business, so a legit desk job it’ll have to be.

            Reply
    2. zagonostra

      “Collective pathology,” no I think not. I’ve been re-reading Freud’s Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego and it is a feature of the human condition.

      He writes, for the vast majority of people they are in a “state in which an individual’s private emotional impulses and intellectual acts are to weak to come to anything by themselves and are entirely dependent for this on being reinforced by being repeated in a similar way in the other members of the group…every individual is ruled by those attitudes of the group mind which exhibit themselves in such forms as racial characteristics, class prejudices, public, opinion, etc.” pg 49 on “herd instinct.”

      Although Freud may seem outdated, his analysis of what used to fall under the study of “collective behavior” makes a lot of sense to me and helps explain what otherwise would seem inexplicable.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        I would have to disagree. Having lived in several countries/cultures, and observing the world for many decades, the answer would have to be … it all depends. (And by the way, so much of Freud’s work has now been sufficiently questioned that I doubt he’s the appropriate authority here.)
        So much depends on the history of a society. Why has Syria not fallen under the western onslaught (starting, btw, 100 yrs ago and accelerating in the 1940s)? Seek answers in its history and composition – diverse, open to the world, tolerant, and a culture unified by its ancient history. Not easily deluded into believing some passing sweet talk.
        Why were Germans willing to be led astray by Hitler? Economic dislocation, hunger (I have this from survivors), relentless propaganda (radio in every home!) for most, and terror for those, who disobeyed.
        One can do a lot with propaganda – just look at the current Ukraine.
        One can also do a lot with education – and teaching people to think for themselves.
        No, Freud’s analysis seems limited by time and space.
        This is a very complex matter that deserves a complex analysis.

        Reply
        1. Geof

          As I recall, one of the basic findings of psychology is that personality is a very weak predictor of behaviour. Context is a much stronger predictor.

          Right now I am reading David Frenche’s Divided We Fall. He makes a similar argument, drawin on Cass Sunstein (which admitedly gives me pause):

          According to the logic of his theory, however, “group polarization suggests that if participants engage in repeated discussions—if, for example, they meet each month, express views, and take votes—there should be repeated shifts toward, and past, the defined pole.” This means that “deliberation over time should produce a situation in which individuals hold positions more extreme than those of any individual member before the series of deliberations began.”

          From reading about the Nazis, my impression is that the story of their rise has been warped. It makes us feel safer to imagine that their evil was obvious. In fact, for many Germans at the time, they appeared to be a youthful millennarian movement of of progress and hope. Their ranks and supporters drew disproportionately on social-climbing young men:

          On graduating from trade schools, polytechnic academies, and universities, students were left empty handed. They couldn’t even register as unemployed. Journalist Konrad Heiden, a critic of the Nazis who wrote in exile, summed up the logic of how this situation benefited Hitler. “If you see your professional path blocked and have to live the life of a proletarian even though you went to university, don’t hang your head,” Heiden wrote in his 1936 biography of Hitler. “Fight for the National Socialist state, in which everything will be better. The National Socialist state won’t make high-level positions available on the basis of birth, wealth, and social status but according to the worth of the individual.”

          the Nazis commanded majority support at universities, trade academies, and polytechnic colleges long before they were able to win over other segments of the populace. In the parliamentary elections of 1930, the Nazi Party got 18.3 percent of the vote. That same year the National Socialist German Students’ Association polled 34.4 percent in student representative elections.

          This is also an example of how education can go awry. Education today appears to me to be above all a means of class formation:

          the elite university has as its primary social function the sorting of the population. . . . It detects existing inequalities, exacerbates them, and certifies them. And whatever else it does, it serves as a finishing school where the select learn to recognize one another, forging a class consciousness that has lately hardened into a de facto caste system.

          I am seeing the markers of class are filtering down from the elites all the way to public schools. The rites and shibboleths of political correctness are impressed under peer pressure. Students repeat them, internalize them, and identify with them. Far from teaching students to think for themselves, they teach conformity to rules for rendering things unthinkable.

          According to Jonathan Haidt, critical thinking cannot be taught. It can only be learned. The one way he knows to learn it is to learn diverse perspectives by spending a lot of time with people who think differently. University actually does this somewhat; nonetheless, in many areas the results are remarkably conformist.

          Ultimately, I think one needs to take account of Marx:

          The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. . . . The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships

          Status is conditioned on acceptance of those ideas. People – especially ambitious and capable ones – will accept, whether they are students, politicians, or journalists.

          Reply
          1. Olga

            I am sure that’s what I would have said had I been a bit smarter…::)
            And yes, I agree, being exposed to many viewpoints over the course of one’s life or studies, is likely a major contributor to not becoming dogmatic about things. (Which is why I’ve thought for a long time that US’ geographic isolation is a great disadvantage (part. since many do not take their N and S neighbours too seriously)).
            To me, this is a fascinating topic

            Reply
            1. Geof

              I’ve thought for a long time that US’ geographic isolation is a great disadvantage

              That’s an interesting thought. As a Canadian, I don’t usually come at it from that perspective; the preoccupation here is how to manage the relationship with the giant next door.

              On the other hand, Europeans are exposed to a lot of diversity, but they have a bloody history and have never really come together.

              One of my concerns is that the information economy has resulted in intense geographic sorting in cities. Where in the past people of different backgrounds rubbed shoulders, now only members of white collar elites can afford to live there. Maybe if covid chases white collar work out to smaller centres, there could be more contacts. Though I imagine that’s more likely to reproduce resort-like pockets.

              Reply
              1. Olga

                Yes, wars – there is that. Europeans are terribly tribal – but then, probably most people are. That would not be a problem – if we just sis not like war so much.
                The sorting in the cities – I’ve seen that inn the US, maybe Canada (do hang out there, too). But EU – not so much.

                Reply
                1. apleb

                  This sorting is a function of actual or perceived security I think.
                  First it was Brazil, then US, but EU countries will follow, just a bit later.

                  If one creates slums or ghettos for poor people, it follows that there will be the same for middle class and upper class. If those poor ghettos have more crime and the police cannot suppress it well enough anymore, markets, then richer people will avoid those areas and keep in their own areas. They’re just not called ghettos when they are actually that as well, just much much nicer ones.
                  Eh voila: stratification by area, and therefore class, in a city.

                  Not as if we didn’t already have lots of high end and low end quarters inside a city like for centuries.

                  Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            My Dad was in his last year of high school in Den Haag when the Nazis took over, they called the students into an assembly and told them to join. He said it was very tempting, they were going from win to win, their economy was booming, tall handsome highly organized winners, and none of their dark side and atrocities were yet widely known. (He ended up going underground, writing an anti-Nazi play, and getting arrested on dress rehearsal night).

            Reply
        2. zagonostra

          One simple question Olga. Have you read the book? It’s only 75 pages long. His reliance on Gustave LeBon, Trotter, Sighele, and McDougal, as well as his own psychoanalytic perspective are invaluable for students of collective behavior. And to boot, his style of writing is clear, crisp and to the point, unlike modern day academic papers.

          You don’t have to eat the whole enchilada to enjoy it…

          Reply
          1. skippy

            The problem with Freud is a two’fer of reverse engineering psychology to fit a GT apologia for heinous deeds, by screwing others heads on backwards, and in a latter book outing himself as a bit of a mythologist.

            Today we have evolutionary psychology and AI evolutionary mathematicians for that shrinkwrapping … reminiscent of old beardos astrophysicist mate with CDs of chariots at the bottom of the red sea thingy ….

            Whom is Bernays again – ????

            Reply
    3. Procopius

      Dan: I was in high school during the McCarthy years and I can assure you that the deification of the FBI goes back to the 1930s, not the 1970s. One thing you have to give the Old Queen (J. Edgar Hoover) credit for, he was a master of public relations, as well as blackmail. I remember reading somewhere how the FBI offices would call the local police departments every day to ask for a list of stolen cars recovered, then the national headquarters would announce all those recoveries, all across the nation, as their success.

      Reply
        1. km

          Well, that proves it. Or that proves something, I guess.

          Whenever I bring up those pesky non-existent Iraqi WMD or that baffling “Syrian chemical weapons attack” I hear that that was old news and everything is better now, why dredge up some old war crime, even if the same crew are mostly still in charge.

          Reply
          1. Donald

            Most people don’t know how much reason there is to question some of the Syrian gas attacks. It never reaches the mainstream press, except maybe to be dismissed as “ Russian disinformation”. A phrase which I now take as evidence that anyone using it seriously is probably not worth taking seriously.

            Reply
          1. pjay

            I stopped reading after the title: “… dozens of former intel officials say.”

            But then, like a car accident, I couldn’t look away:

            “… the release of the material, which POLITICO has not independently verified, has drawn comparisons to 2016, when Russian hackers dumped troves of emails from Democrats onto the internet — producing few damaging revelations but fueling accusations of corruption by Trump. While there has been no immediate indication of Russian involvement in the release of emails the Post obtained, its general thrust mirrors a narrative that U.S. intelligence agencies have described as part of an active Russian disinformation effort aimed at denigrating Biden’s candidacy.”

            I was also interested in who the many patriotic defenders of the Constitution were who signed this letter. There’s Brennan, Hayden… etc. If it “mirrors a narrative” that these guys describe as “an active Russian disinformation effort,” that’s good enough for me!

            Reply
          2. wadge22

            If you stopped there, you missed the real nut:

            “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails… are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement…”

            (Emphasis mine)

            Its not just that they presented no evidence, its that they absolutely have none.
            And that they expect their mere hot take to have the weight of real evidence.

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I just fondly recall back in the day when we stopped a war and threw a crook president out of office, even the remotest suggestion that the CIA and FBI were anything but the utter embodiment of the permanent existential enemy would be met with the sternest possible rebuke reserved for class traitors and spies. No, the nice CIA man on CNN is not some unfortunate but necessary guardian of our way of life, he is the evilest part of our system of government personified, and seeing the Dem faithful fawning all over them puts them in the exact same category. No, the television will not be revolutionized, not with these traitorous men allowed to blanket the airwaves with their wholesale fabric of lies, aided and abetted by the completely purchased presstitute media. What is wrong with people.

              Reply
              1. Duke of Prunes

                Yes.. Longing for the good old days where “the CIA” was the punchline rather than all that’s good and honorable.

                The deranged paranoid CIA character on the TV show M*A*S*H comes to mind as just one example. Maybe I’m dreaming, but I almost remember this being a troupe. Good times…

                Reply
      1. Pelham

        There may have been a tacit assumption that once Hoover was gone, the FBI would be a stand-up organization. But why? The FBI accumulated tremendous power due to Hoover’s shenanigans. Why would the bureau give that up?

        Reply
    4. km

      Notice how goodthink liberals fall all over themselves to praise “our intelligence community” “our FBI” “our CIA”.

      Even the term “intelligence community” is loaded, as if Langley were some kind of happy village rather than a collection of sociopaths.

      Reply
      1. Val

        Free press/intelligence community: Every regime has propaganda organs and secret police. What is exceptional here is that the ministries of information and coordinating forces of reaction are so well and tightly integrated over so many generations.

        Reply
    5. MRLost

      Don’t forget the torture. Obama gave torture a wink and a wave, blew the CIA a kiss and promised it would never happen again until next time.

      Reply
    6. anon in so cal

      The late great Stephen F. Cohen discussed the CIA, FBI, DOJ under Obama:

      “We have also learned that the heads of America’s intelligence agencies under President Obama, especially John Brennan of the CIA and James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, felt themselves entitled to try to undermine an American presidential candidacy and subsequent presidency, that of Donald Trump. Early on, I termed this operation “Intelgate,” and it has since been well documented by other writers, including Lee Smith in his new book. Intel officials did so in tacit alliance with certain leading, and equally Russophobic, members of the Democratic Party, which had once opposed such transgressions. This may be the most alarming revelation of the Trump years: Trump will leave power, but these self-aggrandizing intelligence agencies will remain.”

      https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/inconvenient-truths-2/

      Reply
    7. christofay

      Deification that is based on failure as one thing 9/11 is is the failure of the security agencies to protect Americans. Brannon is a serial failure in protecting Americans from Saudi Arabian attack.

      Reply
  2. Krystyn Podjaski

    RE: People Need to Reclaim the Internet

    I am getting tired of stories like these. Retake it? It is already out there if you want it. Look at his blog and the share buttons he has! No Mastodon? No MeWe? Stop using Twitter and use Mastodon. Stop using Facebook and use MeWe.

    I miss the old “WebrIngs” that used to be linked on the bottom of people blogs in the past. It was a great way to find random blogs and bypass any censorship. That was back in the day when people were not so greedy about hits.

    There is no excuse, these things are out there.

    Reply
    1. Watt4Bob

      Actually, the internet has evolved into a surveillance tool with ‘accessories‘.

      We’re allowed use of the accessories, if we tolerate the surveillance.

      Most of the ‘improvements’ in computers and the internet over the last five years at least, benefit the surveillance more than than the users.

      So,while we still get things like this blog, ‘we the people’ are impacted in ways that we are not totally aware of, and absolutely haven’t given our permission to.

      And we’ve seen the impact that manipulation of search by big tech, and the MSM can have on the efficacy of this, and other valuable sites.

      So yes, it would be advisable to “take back the internet” and ‘we the people’ certainly deserve the right to demand it, but I have little hope that it can be accomplished any time soon.

      Reply
        1. Watt4Bob

          Well, we’re doing our best, yes, but for the whole time we’ve been doing our best, ‘ they have been doing their best to stymie our efforts’ and I’m sure you understand it’s not a fair fight.

          If and when ‘they’ decide they’ve had enough of us, their SCOTUS will allow them to do what ever it takes to silence us.

          The plight of Julian Assange is instructive on this point.

          …and we haven’t even touched on their ability to leverage the internet to manufacture consensus.

          Reply
          1. Rageon

            Frank Zappa explains the situation in his usual incisive style:
            “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

            Reply
            1. Watt4Bob

              Yup, then you can see where the bullets hit the wall.

              Zappa was way ahead of his time, lucky for those of us who listened.

              Reply
      1. lordkoos

        “the internet has evolved into a surveillance tool with ‘accessories‘”

        And so have the operating systems.

        Reply
      2. Mummichog

        “Most of the ‘improvements’ in computers and the internet over the last five years at least, benefit the surveillance more than than the users.”

        Moving up in the chain, “Most of the ‘improvements’ in computers and the internet” and science and technology, do not benefit humans but the organizational, institutional and human oligarchs who control them. Does anyone think that massed trillions of capital are operating for Humanity? None of them works in the best interest of Humanity but are in large part anti-human.

        Musk, Gates, Pfizer, MIT, NASA, you name yours are anti-human.

        As for humans themselves, toss ’em a bone, a bauble app, salacious video and they are happy.

        Reply
    2. CanCyn

      Krystyn Podjaski
      October 20, 2020 at 7:26 am
      RE: People Need to Reclaim the Internet

      I am getting tired of stories like these. Retake it? It is already out there if you want it. Look at his blog and the share buttons he has! No Mastodon? No MeWe? Stop using Twitter and use Mastodon. Stop using Facebook and use MeWe.
      ——————————————————————————-
      I have to agree Krystyn. Murray’s criticisms of FB and Twitter are legit, but it is possible to avoid them. Difficult to have crowds of followers for sure but an established writer like Murray could leave the big corporate platforms behind I think. That said, his worries about freedom of speech and openness and political bias on the web are worrisome to me. Youth I know just shrug their shoulders about their lack of privacy and corporate control over much of the web. The ‘liberal’ comfort bubble is strong and near impenetrable, I have been told more than once that I have outrageous political opinions – these include Obama’s broken promises, Hil and Bill’s money grubbing ways, and Trump’s supporters are not all redneck racists to mention a few. I truly don’t know how to push them out of their comfort zone. I think the pandemic and the anxiety it has caused has made people even more unwilling to wake up – i.e. get them to understand that they are far from woke. I used to get such grief about not being easily reachable or accused of being out of the loop because I would not join friends and family on FB. Now, some folks I know are tired of FB and toxicity of social media but most are still unwilling to do the critical thinking required to understand what is really at stake and move away from the big corporate platforms.

      Reply
      1. deplorado

        Murray said on the Chris Hedges show On Contact recently that after the Assange trial started, his own website traffic from FB and Twitter referrals dropped from 300K per day to 3k per day.

        Do you see the difference?

        So, yeah, take back the internet with your individual choices, but you will have an internet 1/100th of the size, at best. Im all for it but putting the burden on the consumer will not scale and is naive.

        Reply
    3. hunkerdown

      Unfortunately, embedded in the built infrastructure of the Internet, there is a zoning system. Users anywhere are softly limited to a great extent by the quasi-public management and development of user agents (browsers) and the quasi-public international authority of the canonical DNS system. Beyond that, there are also filters at most large consumer ISPs (and do any small ones remain) that block a residential user from providing any services on well-known ports (as people of a certain age know, 767-2676 was a bad dude), with network resource management and theft of service (offered by the customer) being the more defensible pretext and intellectual property rights being the plausibly naturalized proximate motivator*. To even build a service under the current paradigm requires one to agree to their providers’ terms of use governing both the economic and political content one may exchange, which largely recapitulates national “decency” statutes. No member of the ruling class wants to give up their class position, and “decency” has long been one of their favorite weapons.

      In the current architecture of the Internet, the capability of unmediated horizontal exchange between peers is something difficult to provide and easy to block. It is as if every front door connected to an opaque tube running directly to the nearest major intersection and even knowing where you are in relation to the neighborhood is discouraged. Consuming a different app might be “taking” of some space against the token resistance of the market, but there’s no “clearing” to do and it definitely isn’t “holding” control over that infrastructure. It is an interstice, a forward base where a vanguard are doing their work right now.

      * Is there a word for “payoff disguised as natural consequence”, like that gram of Moroccan hash that totally just appeared fully formed in a candy wrapper on the ground? “Earnings” seems about right.

      Reply
    4. Aumua

      As the great Fravia predicted, the commercialization of the Web has completely corrupted the original promise of freedom and power that it once offered, and his once favorite search engine that he was the master of has become the overlord of control and monetization of everything.

      Reply
  3. fresno dan

    (regarding Greenwald)
    Matt Taibbi
    @mtaibbi
    Is he getting invites from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or MSNBC? No. Like all of us, he basically got banned for the wrong opinion on the collusion story. Print media like the New Yorker bashes him as a pathological red. So you’d like him to voluntarily close off all other platforms?*
    =====================================================
    Modern media is most analogous to the old Soviet Union where high individuals who fell out of favor were “disappeared” from any public mention. Perhaps ironic, definitely terrifying.

    *And one point – just like there is a big contrived charade that the two parties are polar opposites, so is the big charade that Fox and MSNBC disagree about much. Fox will allow Greenwald to speak about Russiagate, but any critique of American capitalism would never be broadcast by any major media…

    Reply
    1. Off The Street

      Looking for any upside and bright notes in current environment leads me to the following:

      More people get to experience Controlled Opposition, although it may take some time for the perceptions and awareness of consequences to seep in through the media-enabled permafrost.

      Some subset, or overlap, of the above will also be more aware of that Upton Sinclair quote, even if it takes a while to sink in: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

      MKUltra gets a periodic dusting off, too, although once Conspiracy Theory is invoked, that is a slippery slope to Debunked and accompanying handwriting and shouting.

      Now, where is my daily castor oil?

      Reply
    2. Keith Howard

      It’s undeniable that Greenwald can be irritating. It’s one of the things I like about him. But even Thomas Frank — despite being the least abrasive person in the world — is exiled entirely for his unwelcome insights, discoveries, and views.

      Reply
      1. JCC

        de Tocqueville observed all this about this country, American Free Speech and Freedom Of The Press, over 170 years ago… plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

        At least no one can say this country is hard to pin down

        Reply
  4. Mr. Magoo

    Re: Lawsuit challenges Donald Trump’s new H-1B visa rules, calls it ‘arbitrary, incorrect’

    Stopped clock analogy. One really good (and fair) thing Trump has done. If these ‘innovators’, gifted to us from abroad to ‘create American jobs’ are so worthy, then we should worship them with remuneration fitting of their role and contributions.

    Else it would appear we are H-1Bs are primarily just a ruse to displace existing American jobs with cheap labor.

    Reply
    1. deplorado

      On the H-1Bs, it’s not just about cost. And at this point, it’s not even about American business interests. The great majority of H-1Bs go to Indian tech workers of all levels. That mass of professional worker now has interests all of its own, and Im sure a growing lobby behind the scenes. It’s a suction pump to move the more competitive and well placed Indians and their families into the US, a first world country which they strongly prefer despite all its problems. It has little to do with business sense – I see it daily as Ive written here before, and have been immersed in it for more than 10 years.
      Example: an Indian colleague, with whom Im close enough to learn these details, recently moved to a job for a big cloud provider, where he was waved through the interviews despite being rather average in all aspects, even if not a dummy. He received a 25% salary bump on one already well into the 6-figures. The key was his hiring manager, and the hiring manager director, were both Indian and had worked with him in another company. My friend freely admits that his relationship with the two managers was key. He freely admits he understands little of his new work duties. Mind you, this is a technical job where screwing up reverberates through customers and product practically immediately, and managers have every reason to select only highly technically competitive candidates. Yet they dont. And he is on H-1B. Has been for I think 12-13 years now. It works like that.

      If there is one thing that is more important than cost around H-1B, and is equally important as the interest of the H-1B community and its ecosystem, it is conformance and compliance with a brutal and exhausting work culture overseen by blatant cronyism. People compete on sending emails late and working voluntarily over the weekend to score points, etc etc etc

      It started as a mechanism for tech companies to keep work ours low and intra-company competition strong, and it now has taken a life of its own as an integral part of how tech increasingly operates. Not to mention that a decisive chunk of rental, condo and SFH real estate in Silicon Valley hangs on the 100s of thousands of Indian tech workers. Don’t think for a moment that the Nat Assoc. of Realtors are not following and leaning into the H-1B debate. Or the law firms getting regular work….

      Reply
      1. eg

        The clubby arrangement you describe in the hiring story strikes me as the sort of behaviour that has been going on in America forever, though admittedly among very different subcultures.

        Reply
      2. Duke of Prunes

        Those of us in the know, do our best to avoid companies that cultivate an “Indian Mafia”. I always look for diversity in the C-suite and higher management echelons.

        It really is a newer wrinkle to the “good old boy” networks of yore. Just as corrosive to the host company as well.

        Reply
    2. Glen

      I’ve worked with a couple. They are “sponsored” by the company, and can be sent packing back to where ever they are from with a word from the company. Let your best/worst imagination start from there.

      I am a humble wage slave. They are something a bit more… captive, and not in a good way.

      Reply
  5. bassmule

    Has anyone seen Bill Barr in public recently? Last sighting I can find was last Friday, speaking to police chiefs.

    Reply
  6. LeftyTexas

    From the NYT Opinion by Charles Fried

    Let’s see if the current Supreme Court majority overplays its hand. If it does, then Mr. Biden’s nuclear option might not only be necessary but it will be seen to be necessary.

    You misspelled “when” so let me fix it for you…

    Let’s see if the current Supreme Court majority overplays its hand. When it does, then Mr. Biden’s nuclear option might not only be necessary but it will be seen to be necessary.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      Oh please, have you learned nothing from the last 20 years? The Dems will whine and then fundraise and nothing will happen, except they might fundraise again.

      Reply
      1. MK

        And then the republicans will pack the court again when they control the government, or undo the Demorat pack and put it back to 9. It’s all so silly.

        Reply
        1. Biph

          That’s why the Dems 2nd order of business should PR. and DC statehood and then get the ball rolling on statehood for Guam and American Samoa.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            LOL why not just say what you really mean? That you want one party to gain permanent control by circumventing the checks and balances built into our form of government. I know, let’s just make voting Republican illegal instead, problem solved. Attorney General Cuomo is just the man for the job.

            Reply
            1. pasha

              are you saying the republicans’ refusal to vote on over 100 of obama’s district and circuit nominess, not to mention a supreme court nominee, wasn’t pure politics on their part? if democrats respond in kind, is that not merely rebalancing?

              Reply
      2. jsn

        Exactly, that’s why they will approve her.

        They have power now they don’t want to even discover because if they did, and used it, they’d be expected to keep using it and using it. And there’s no way to fund raise from the people they raise money from if they use that power.

        Reply
  7. Fireship

    Poor Nathan Robinson. For all his high-falutin’ talk and pretty words, he just doesn’t get how power works. If you want change, real change, then voting Dem is the same as throwing your vote away. Why will they change if people keep voting for them? duh. The only options are third-party, abstaining/spoiling/write-in or vote Republican. Or else Nathan actually is smart and is looking out for himself. Just another grifter in the land of the big grift? Gee, who woulda thought.

    Of course, the chance of a real left emerging in America is precisely zero.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Again, it is wishful thinking of the highest order to believe the Dems will change because anyone doesn’t vote for them. They don’t care. The PMC did just fine, thank you, under Trump. Now, Bernie they could not abide.

      p.s. gorgeous, gorgeous antidote! Is that a shrike?

      Reply
        1. Pookah Harvey

          Larry said that in 2006. He doesn’t mention how well it worked in 2000 when Nader “stole” the election from Gore. Did you notice how well it worked when progressives “stole ” the election from Hillary in 2016?
          There had been no challenge to the neo-lib dems, since Clinton took over in 1992, until Sanders. Who imagined how well Sanders would do back in 2015? There is a now a division in the Democratic party due to new blood joining and fighting the system.

          As Stephen Boni at the Ghion Journal said:

          Elect leaders. Then, scare the bejeesus out of them. At the same time, build a cooperative society that circumvents the power hierarchy altogether. That’s the ticket.

          Personally that equates to voting Biden in. Once establishment dems are in a position of power where they can be held responsible, then support the groups that will primary the hell out of them. Also support organizations like Richard Wolff’s Democracy at Work that is going around the neo-lib system by setting up worker coops.

          I love the idea of a 3rd party and have been voting 3rd party for 30 years, but how are the People’s Party or the Greens doing so far? The largest voting block has been non-voters, how far have they moved the dems to the left? Both parties love non-voters.

          Reply
          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Well said. Honestly it is disconcerting to see that NC has become a reinforcing bubble for those so disenchanted with the process that voting Trump out of office seems like selling out.

            Not everything is TDS, just as not believing the Russians are coming doesn’t make one a Trump supporter.

            I have said before, if I lived in a reliably blue state I would gladly vote NOTA (undervote). But not in a swing state, not now, no way, no how.

            That someone as well-informed with well-developed critical thinking skills as Katniss will vote for Trump in FLA is unfathomable to me.

            Reply
            1. pjay

              In what specific policy areas do you think things would be better under Biden?

              This is a legitimate question; I do not mean it to be snarky at all. I have a few responses to this question myself, but I find that those making the “lesser of two evils” case for Biden often don’t have one that makes sense to me.

              Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                It’s pretty clear, Team Biden has proudly demonstrated they are for more bribery, more censorship, more China outsourcing, and more war. What’s not to like on that list? Joe says c’mon, man, the rise of China “has been good for America”, maybe you just didn’t realize that? And NATO execs are absolutely giddy at the thought of a Biden presidency, Brezhnev’s aggression and the Soviet threat must be stopped! And I know that’s where I think our tax money should be spent, not on silly things like economic relief or stuff that helps, you know, this country.

                Reply
                1. Pookah Harvey

                  Trump has been very clear on what this trade war is about, “The Trump administration says tariffs on Chinese goods were justified because China was stealing intellectual property and forcing U.S. companies to transfer technology for access to China’s markets.” So tell me what happens if Trump wins this trade war and companies no longer have to share intellectual property rights with a possible future chinese competitor. Is that a disincentive or an incentive to move more jobs to China?
                  If Trump was interested in workers he would be fighting for enhanced environmental laws and labor rights in China, not protecting international corporations intellectual property rights.

                  Reply
                    1. Pookah Harvey

                      Thank you for seeing my point. Increased labor rights for Chinese workers means higher wages. Increased wages in China mean less profits for corporations thinking of moving to China. The same for enhanced environmental regs. Of course Trump believes we need to get our environmental and labor regs down to Chinese levels so we can compete with slave labor.

              2. Pookah Harvey

                Climate change is a “Chinese hoax” or:
                “We’ve seen a pretty huge transformation in Biden’s climate plan,” said Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director of the Sunrise Movement, which claims more than 10,000 members. While stopping short of a formal endorsement, Sunrise will now campaign for Biden, Prakash said. “What I’ve seen in the last six to eight weeks is a pretty big transition in upping his ambition and centering environmental justice,”.

                Reply
                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Cart firmly placed in front of horse.

                  “Once establishment dems are in a position of power where they can be held responsible”

                  Q: I assume you mean like in 2009, when Obama: took single payer off the table; “surged” tens of thousands of new troops to Afghanistan; threw 6 million people out of their homes by baiting and switching bailouts to favor banks; enshrined the worst Bush civil liberties abuses as law; failed to close Guantanamo; failed to prosecute torturers; expanded America’s foreign wars from 2 to 7; and fought against the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall?

                  So the plan is to “hold them responsible” by, um, let me see if I have this logic correct, rewarding them for not doing what they said they would do before they were elected? I must be missing something.

                  Pol: Vote for me.
                  Plebe: Why?
                  Pol: Because I will tell you what you want, then I won’t do any of it.
                  Plebe: Oh, OK then.

                  Reply
                    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                      True! Times have changed, and AOC is leading the charge. That’s why she and crew sent Biden a sternly worded letter this week saying that Biden needed to immediately remove all of the corporate toadies, grifters, and professional war profiteers from his team.

                      No response as yet from Team Biden but I’m sure that’s only because he needs a little time to tell Larry Summers and Susan Rice and Victoria Nuland that their services are no longer required. It’s not yet clear when Bernie Sanders or any of his team members will take their places, but *after the election* they will surey get the nod.

              3. ChiGal in Carolina

                I linked in water cooler Aaron Maté’s latest podcast on Trump abandoning SALT and escalating tensions with Iran, disastrous foreign policy.
                Trump is worse on deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy. He is worse on health care, not that Biden’s “no M4A” is an acceptable stance, but Trump absolutely would allow insurance companies to reinstate preexisting condition exceptions to coverage. Biden does not equate peaceful protests with armed militias.

                These are differences of degree, not of kind, I grant you. Biden is part of the establishment that brought us Trump. But I would much rather be pushing the center to the left than trying to drag the right to the center.

                This is just off the top of my head. What are yours?

                Reply
                1. Katniss Everdeen

                  I won’t reward joe biden for nearly 50 years of middle class destruction with a “vote.”

                  I. Just. Will. Not. Forgive. The. Betrayal.

                  Let the chips fall where they may.

                  Reply
                2. pjay

                  Thanks for the response. I appreciate your points. Here are mine.

                  Ignoring for the moment rhetoric, tweets, campaign promises, and other verbiage, and focusing on actual behaviors: I certainly agree with Mate’s critique of Trump’s foreign policy (as I did below with Jeremy Scahill’s). But based on Biden’s 40+ year record, I see him as much worse in that area. Iraq, Yugoslavia, Russia/Ukraine, Syria, Libya, etc. Frankly, the Russia stuff scares me greatly, as does the Democratic party’s current coziness with the National Security State and its media lackeys. Trump is certainly not my friend, but I consider his enemies my enemies here. I see almost no way to move our foreign policy Establishment beyond its narrow Neolib-Neocon consensus. Biden is part of this Establishment; Trump is an outsider. That’s why it’s been trying furiously to get rid of him for four years. I admit ambivalence here. Trump’s clueless impulsiveness could start a war. And if he were to win the election, I think all hell would break loose to get rid of him (I’m much more worried about domestic conflict if Trump *wins* than if he loses). But Trump is also a threat to this Establishment, though an inconsistent one (as Scahill and Mate point out).

                  On domestic issues, of course Biden *sounds* better. Trump is a mainstream Republican on most domestic issues. Naturally he passed a massive tax cut for the wealthy as soon as he took office. That’s what Republicans do. The Democrats played their role and went right along. Biden *says* he would increase taxes on upper income groups. Based on his long record, should I believe him? Trump plays to his right-wing base, but he is not ideological himself. He might do anything if he thought it was popular — say, go after Google. For that reason, I don’t really think he’d gut the popular provisions of Obamacare (the mandate was *not* popular, but the preexisting provisions are). Obama sabotaged the best chance for real health care reform since the Clintons wasted their chance. Biden was part of that and has made it clear where he stands. The Dems have done nothing on the environment; I don’t really care what Biden *says* he’s going to do.

                  I could go on, but I know trading complaints we both agree on is not very helpful. I wish I could be more positive. Though I have voted 3rd party recently, I’ve spent almost 40 years trying to push the center to the left in the Democratic party. The party continues to move further away. Trump’s populism is fake, but at least he’s pretending to appeal to a larger electorate. The Dems don’t even try. I’d never vote for Trump, but I can see why some good people might.

                  Reply
                3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  I’m not clear on your situational analysis.

                  The right will be the right. That we know. You can even argue that Capital should have a big seat at the table.

                  Which brings us to the left, traditionally the stewards of the interests of Labor. There isn’t one. Whose fault is that? Is it the fault of the right, and they should be punished for that? Should we reward the stewards of Labor for abandoning Labor? Or perhaps just perhaps the chess move is to express our disapproval with the party that abandoned Labor?

                  Or: express your approval of the party of Labor for abandoning Labor and then watch as they implement Capital’s program. How well has that worked so far? As they put forward people and programs to the right of Eisenhower, Nixon, and in many cases Trump himself. Hmm.

                  Reply
      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        It’s a little too early in the day for me to post the answer – although I can say it’s not a shrike. It’s a gorgeous picture. (If you want to know what it is, click on the via link.)

        Reply
      2. Acacia

        to believe the Dems will change because anyone doesn’t vote for them.

        I can’t speak for others, but personally my goal for them would be death, not change. This will take time, maybe decades, but I’d settle for a few Demheads exploding along the way.

        Reply
        1. chris

          I’m struggling with competing desires here. I do want to see the Dems suffer the soul crushing, face stomping, long dark depression causing, all consultants gigs lost forever, type of loss that they so richly deserve. I also don’t want my fellow citizens to suffer further damages.

          I don’t think we’ll ever see all the best and brightest ever admit they were wrong and shouldn’t be in charge. I don’t think we’ll ever see people admit that the Trump, Clinton, Biden, Pelosi, etc. family rackets are the logical results of our current system and this kind of corruption won’t go away until we create something different. But I do think we can help some people along the way to whatever comes next. My ideal right now is we shrink what the federal government does and get a lot of the money out of politics. Reduce it to the postal service, defense of the country, interstate commerce, and maybe a few administrations that benefit everyone in the country. Like NOAA. The IRS should stick around mainly to collect taxes and distribute funds. I’d be fine with M4A too. Everything else can go.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            A meritocracy is an aristocracy that primarily rules by managing the outcome of sham contests, instead of prevailing in contests against genuine resistance.

            The result of “Small government” is always private despotism without accountability, just at one fewer remove. You can research the history of the movement to see that it is exactly what its originators want. One has to destroy a lot of private economic power along with whatever portion of government in order to prevent that outcome.

            Reply
            1. chris

              I know it would be tricky. I want a healthy regulatory state but also small government. That’s maybe an impossible combination.

              Basically, I think we need the people we elect to not all be such family blogging a$$holes. I think we need neoliberal orthodoxy to die. I have no idea how we get there though. I can’t think of any real states people who are running for office these days.

              Reply
      3. DFTBS

        I don’t want the Dems to “change”. I want them to not exist. Even in our two-party charade, a party with no popular support, and no effective grasp (for good or ill) on any levers of governmental power would go the way of the dinosaurs.

        Reply
      4. Carolinian

        They only “don’t care” because they have this duopoly thing sewn up. If there were a genuine third party in this country they very much would care.

        Perhaps we are suffering from the previous ruling class obsession which was not Russia but bipartisanship–“high Broderism.” After decades of a kind of New Deal social contract (Eisenhower couldn’t see it ever being rolled back) there was a view that nothing very radical could happen in Congress and they could always work out their differences. Reagan and Gingrich came along and tore down that particular edifice while leaving the duopoly in place and no outlet available to threaten it. IMO if Sanders had been a true reformer he would have started such a third party. What happened in the end was all too predictable.

        Reply
        1. anon in so cal

          Speaking of the Dems…..

          Biden is looking at GOP for his Cabinet……

          “The Biden transition team is looking at possible GOP candidates for Cabinet slots. Among the names mentioned; Meg Whitman, John Kasich, Charlie Baker and Jeff Flake. A spokesperson said the team is looking for “diversity of ideology””

          https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/20/biden-transition-republican-cabinet-429972

          They will go well with Michelle Flournoy as Defense Secy……

          Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Maybe it’s a strong tendency to masochism and self-loathing…because the response I see recommended here to that huge raised straight-in-your-face middle finger by the Dems is: “please, Sir, may I have some more?”

              (I’m sure some more good ol’ homespun homilies about Corn Pop and growing up in Scranton in the late 1800’s will make it all better…)

              Reply
            1. hunkerdown

              KYM: “Part of a series on Neoliberalism.”

              Notwithstanding the existence of the unironic r/neoliberalism, I am as inspired by that statement as I was by the banner on Wikipedia’s list of socialist revolutions:

              “This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.”

              Reply
    2. stefan

      Yes,Fireship, it is 100% clear that America will be much better off re-electing President Trump who has done so much to end American aggression overseas, enact sound immigration policy, make taxes fairer, improve public education, make America a leader in trade, establish an industrial policy that finally returns jobs from overseas, put a lid on corruption, and elevate our cultural life in so many small but important ways. What the USA needs—nay, requires—is four more years of Donald Trump’s great leadership!

      Reply
      1. nippersmom

        Since I read the tone of your response as sarcasm.please clarify for me which of these policies you expect to improve under a Biden administration, with arguments to support your assertions.

        Reply
      2. foghorn longhorn

        Yeah,
        America will be so much better off by reinstalling the exact same people who fomented your list of grievances upon the american public.

        Our ONLY hope for ANY change is that big azz asteroid smoking d.c..

        Reply
      3. D. Fuller

        Who and what gave us Trump? Biden was part of that. All of it.

        The next populist Republican fascist will be competent. As opposed to the Koch Brothers dregs of The DLC that cling to power, worshiping Wall Street, billionaires, and corporations? Just a kinder, gentler fascist.

        Both use populism of sorts while serving their big money donors. Identity politics? The Moral Majority, founded by a crypto Nazi along with The Heritage Foundation. Meet the #Resistance, Woke, and Russia!Russia!Russia.

        The very sorts of politicians who have practically murdered the blue-collar, non-PMC class. With DiFi giving a reach-around to Mitch McConnell.

        Biden was part of the D.C. elite who let the banks commit fraudclosure against millions of former homeowners such as my father. Eric Holder preempted the lawsuits against the big banks, to protect them.

        My father received a $1,000 settlement check as part of Eric Holder’s sweetheart deal with the banks. The bank kept $114,000 and sold his home for $90,000 more.

        Then came The IRS. My father could not afford the lawyer. He will die in debt to the IRS. He is already in ill health, still working. Long haul truck driver after having gastric bypass surgery, among other ills.

        To my father’s credit? He did not vote for Trump. And neither will I. And I damn sure will not vote for that scumbag who was part of The Obama Administration that allowed all of that to happen.

        Unless you can have Biden issue a personal apology along with a huge check? It is not happening. There are millions of voters awaiting that apology. Eight million Obama voters who were scammed into believing Obama and Biden. Their – Obama and Biden – betrayal helped give us Trump.

        You want those who were betrayed by Democratic politicians, as in the above personal example, to vote Biden? For what… more of the same that gave us Trump. It was not just Biden… there were many others on both sides of the aisle. The Bush Administration. The Clinton Administration. And before them.

        I am tired of hearing people say, “They just want to burn the country down by electing Trump.” Trump will burn the country down? That fire started long ago and rages. There are no firefighters. The arsonists include the Democratic Party. Biden will be a second chance for a real danger, a real fascist with popular support who is competent; the very good chance of taking power next time.

        Politicians lie. Sometimes, forgivable. Betrayal? Is forever.

        I will vote. Just not for either P.O.S. Deal with it.

        Reply
        1. D. Fuller

          I should have made it clear that 8 million Obama voters who were scammed? Went for Trump in 2016. The votes Hillary needed. That? Is the fault of Democrats like Biden.

          Personally I detest Trump more than I detest Biden. Only by a little, though.

          None of my family will vote for Biden. That is 8 voters gone. Think about the millions of homeowners who were defrauded by HAMP. And their children who now vote. It is a minor miracle that Republicans do not win by millions of votes every election. A testament to their corruption. Along with Democrats.

          Reply
          1. chris

            I hear you. We’re having the same conversation in my family. Biden can’t get cardboard standees to attend his appearances and Trump still fills stadiums. Trump reportedly has a door to door canvassing network that has been active for a year. Biden is reportedly running tons of ads. I’m in a blue no matter who state so I haven’t seen any from either ccampaign. I really have no idea what’s going to happen.

            I keep thinking this disaster would be a fascinating TV show or interesting to hear about happening in a different country. It’s terrifying to live through. Sooner or later our two realities will collapse into one and I have no idea which is going to come out on top.

            Reply
            1. Katniss Everdeen

              A few central Florida anecdotes:

              A month or so ago an “older” couple–mid to late sixties like me–knocked on our door for Trump. Both wearing masks and sun hats. The man stood back, the woman stood back even further. Hot as hell outside. They noted that my SO was registered R and I was registered D. SO told them that I was only registered D so I could vote for Bernie in the primaries. They laughed and said they’d run across the same situation several times during their doorknocking. Assured them that two votes for Trump here.

              This past Saturday morning we got a call–on our landline. Caller ID said “FL Dems.” When I answered, the caller, an older woman, asked for Jimmy. No Jimmy here. Same call Saturday evening from same woman. When I told her that she had called earlier and still no Jimmy here, she argued with me that it must have been someone else.

              Same call Sunday morning, this time from a younger woman. Still no Jimmy. But I asked if this was really the dem party or some collection agency. She said it really was, and I responded that this was just what I’d expect from a political party who’d nominate a candidate with Alzheimer’s.

              They must have known that I was a registered dem, but never made any attempt to tell me what they wanted so badly to tell Jimmy.

              I don’t think the dems and their media enablers have any idea what they’re talking about in terms of biden / harris support. Just sayin’.

              Reply
              1. chris

                I agree. I wish I could trust the media about anything lately.

                But then I’m the same person saying the Covid vaccine we’re going to get will be good if it goes through the normal process and no one believes me so I guess this is just where we are as a society. We all have some area of expertise where we feel like we understand most of what’s happening and we all feel overwhelmed when presented with the deluge of information outside of that area.

                Reply
              2. The Rev Kev

                ‘this was just what I’d expect from a political party who’d nominate a candidate with Alzheimer’s.’

                Had to laugh out loud at the thought of you telling them that.

                Reply
            2. Mark Gisleson

              Who sees the ads? Those adept at social media dodge or ignore most ads and in a sports-less world who besides children and ideologically rigid seniors see ads on broadcast TV?

              Democrats fill my mailbox with junk which I actually do look at. To see if any of the junk ever “asks for my vote.” They never do. Weirdly, they like to tell me what I have to do. As if Trump being bad means Democrats are now the boss of me.

              I am slightly tempted to vote just to write in Evo Morales, but even in a “good” state like Minnesota, I don’t trust my write-in choice to be counted as such by a ballot scanner.

              No matter who wins in November, the USA loses. Again.

              Reply
      4. sluggotheorangelad

        Both options lead to inevitable doom. 40 years of pure utilitarian voting led to Trump. Institutional rot is so bad that reform is no longer possible. Is Biden “better” in the sense that your privileged comfort is extended for a few more years? Yes. Does the methane care? No. You Americans made this mess and refuse every off-ramp (Bernie) so you’re going to pay the price for that. Biden will fail because he will pursue the very policies that led to half the country wanting a demagogue, and that will likely lead to a real fascist without the performative flaws of Trump. Have fun with that.

        Reply
      5. anon in so cal

        Certainly won’t get any of those goals with Biden.

        Trump started zero new wars. Obama and Biden started 5 new wars and escalated 2. Biden is already running to the right of Trump, excoriating him for not taking out Venezuela’s Maduro. Biden’s comments to the Council on FR show he would escalate in Syria, expand NATO eastward, be more bellicose toward Russia, etc.

        Biden is on record saying he wants a bigger military budget.

        Biden’s tax plan suggests every income bracket would pay higher taxes.

        https://budgetmodel.wharton.upenn.edu/issues/2020/9/14/biden-2020-analysis

        This chronology of Biden’s corruption staggers. As one example: at the behest of MBNA, Biden enacted a cruel bankruptcy bill. At the same time, MBNA paid Hunter Biden $100,000 per year.

        https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2020/10/16/joe_bidens_boosters_wrote_his_prodigal_sons_entire_resume_125616.html

        Reply
    3. nippersdad

      That was a really good interview insofar as it explored both sides of the left divide very well. The one real critique I would have of both of their arguments is that they downplayed the ratchet effect.

      OWS, BLM and the Water Protectors, for example, were crushed by fusion centers created under the Patriot Act by Bush II. The private prison system initiated by Bush and Palin’s All Of The Above energy policies were adopted wholesale by the Obama Admin. Nothing was said about the Ukraine coup, much less the Plan Colombia of Bidens’ that created the mass exodus from Central America we are presently seeing. AFAIK, the only thing that prevented the Obama Admin. from doing the exact same thing with the refugees from south of the border was the Flores Decision, hence the denomination of Obama as deporter in chief.

      The abduction of protesters and their translocation to secret detention facilities would come as no surprise to Chicagoans, New Yorkers, or Ferguson protesters prior to the Trump Administration. Neither one of them wanted to admit that we have ALREADY experienced the criminalization of journailsts/activists under the Obama Administration. We don’t need to see what will happen to them when we are already witnessing the kangaroo court that Assange/Manning et al have been facing for years. To suddenly discover that Trump might be worse seemed naive.

      At best, most of the things that Robinson worries about were already realities on the ground prior to Trump. Contra Robinson, it is not the Republicans who normalize, legalize and expand upon Republican initiatives; it takes a village of Democrats to do that. I think Studebaker made that case very well.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        “…hence the denomination of Obama as deporter in chief.”

        at the time my thinking was that obama needed to deport in order to stanch the “jobless recovery” bleeding.

        Reply
        1. niippersdad

          It was very nice of you to think he gave a damn. The blow by blow of the creation of his stimulus package, though, undermines any idea that he was in it for anyone but his Wall Street handlers.

          https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/08/obamas-usd1-billion-giveaway-to-the-private-prison-industry.html

          No bandito in history ever made out so well as our very own Wall Street bandits, especially those who wanted new for profit prisons and cages to put new inventory into. Speaking of which, I read yesterday that Larry Summers is very worried about a revolution and thinks that, just maybe, the plebes could use some folding money. I wonder how quickly he will forget about that were Biden to be elected.

          Reply
      2. Jeff W

        …it is not the Republicans who normalize, legalize and expand upon Republican initiatives; it takes a village of Democrats to do that.

        That’s the argument Studebaker makes in the conversation, all of which is true, but that misses the longer-term systems argument that he himself makes in his own piece (and that he doesn’t really make in the conversation).

        It’s not just that Democrats are “the more effective evil” (as Glen Ford likes to say), it’s that (1) “The next Republican will be worse than Trump, and Joe Biden will make it happen if given the chance” and (2) “Biden will pack his administration full of a whole new generation of vulgar careerists. It will be these people–not the left–who inherit the Democratic Party when he leaves.”

        Those aren’t about a Biden term per se—which is what Nathan Robinson, either shrewdly or obtusely, wants to talk about—they’re about the long-term effects of voting in any neoliberal Democrat. Studebaker does a good job of demolishing some of Robinson’s arguments—the prospect of “the left” (whoever that is) “holding Biden’s feet to the fire” and all that—but I think he really missed the boat by accepting Robinson’s framing and not putting forth his own.

        Reply
    4. chuck roast

      I thought that this might be an interesting debate between two intelligent, informed people. Nah! I gave it up after 15 minutes. Yet another demonstration of the vacuousness, and total bankruptcy of the other social “science”, Political Science. Here at NC we love to flog the so-called social “science” of Economics. A presumptuous academic discipline completely worthy of our disdain and ridicule. Indeed, two bankrupt studies objectively revealed as snooze-inducers if they didn’t smell so bad. And this is the whole point.

      The works of Smith, Quesnay, Ricardo, Bentham, et. al. had a certain continuity wherein the levers of political power and economic power were the intimate subjects of discussion. An objective observer, despite whatever pre-conceived notions he might harbor, would never argue the one without the other. The niceties of this arrangement were severely disturbed by the coming of Karl Marx who, using the traditional framework, turned the entire apparatus on its head.

      Greatly disturbed by Marx’s revealing rational for worker revolution based on owner theft, it was determined that perhaps the best course of “intellectual” action would be to bifurcate further discussion. Thus, by virgin birth, were created the sterile twins…Political Science and Economics. Political Economy? Into the dustbin. And so it is…Studebaker and Robinson shooting blanks at one-another.

      I used to chuckle to think that Stanley Jevons once proposed that the economic business cycle may have had something to do with solar and lunar eclipses. Listening to people like this, who could deny it.

      Reply
      1. eg

        Endorsed insofar as I still call economics political economy, because that is what it remains despite the best efforts of the economics high priesthood to obscure reality. I am less conversant with political science, so I’ll just let that one go.

        Reply
  8. zagonostra

    >Wolf Street – “Weirdest economy ever”

    Top is down, down is up, vertigo is the order of the day.

    “The ships are 100% full. The containers are 100% full. You can’t get a container built. You can’t pick up a ship from the spot market. The whole container-shipping cycle is at absolutely full pulse…This comes as an enormous number of people are still losing their jobs every week, even while others are getting hired back, and while over 25 million people are still claiming unemployment insurance under state or federal programs, according to the Labor Department.”

    https://wolfstreet.com/2020/10/19/trucking-container-carriers-fedex-ups-other-freight-firms-warn-of-capacity-shortage-expect-americans-to-keep-splurging-despite-jobs-crisis/

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      I think the answer lies in the fed backstopping corporate bonds while stiffing states link above. The corps are IMO prepositioning goods for the coming third wave, which will be quite profitable to those same.

      Reply
    2. eg

      Eventually somebody’s going to notice that the immense productive capacity of “capitalism as currently practiced” requires far fewer of us than its priesthood proclaims — what is done about that fact once it is grasped widely enough will determine the nature of the sociopolitical arrangements struggling to be born …

      Reply
    3. Mikel

      That article goes on to point out that all of those orders selling through have hopes on another stimukus coming for people.

      Shipments of hope.

      Reply
    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I just read your Wolf Street link. I am at a loss for words — something that seldom happens to me. The comments at Wolf Street were also ‘interesting’. There appears to be quite a shit hurricane forming up for the Winter. We might get some idea of what-time-it-is by watching the private jets at the airports and noting when departures peak.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        I’m amazed that there is a vast flood of frivolous crap coming in on containers and spilling off of store shelves but closing in on a year of the pandemic I still can’t buy the N95 and P100 masks I want. Haven’t seen zinc supplements on the shelves since this began either so I’ve been making do with multi-vitamin/minerals.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          It’s a bunch of stuff that amazon plans to sell at twice retail. It takes a lot of money to become a trillionaire. If you’re a patriot you’ll buybuybuy!

          Reply
  9. Jeff W

    I’ll catch up with the other three parts later.

    There are, as of now, five parts in The Intercept’s “American Mythology” series. (It’s a bit difficult to tell, since the link to the page with all the parts is buried within Part Four—it would be better if The Intercept put that link up front at the top of each part.)

    Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Eyeing China, Australia joins ‘Quad’ drill with US, Japan, India”

    I suppose that you could call the Quad the core of what will become NATO East. Or would be except for the fact that nearly all of the nations in the Asia-pacific region are showing a distinct lack of enthusiasm in joining a military alliance aimed directly at China. To do so means that you would have to assign military units to a Quad command structure which would be effectively under American command. And with a Trump or a Biden Presidency, would nations be willing to do that?

    The US tried to organize a NATO in the Gulf not long ago and hardly any nations stepped forward to join that organization either as that would be the same as joining up with an organization that would be attacking Iran. The Chinese Navy already has more ships than the US Navy and they don’t have their ships sailing in every ocean in the world. So maybe the Quad should ask themselves what exactly their purpose is first? A far as I can see, it only encourages the Chinese to build up their military further.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      A good link on this:
      https://asiatimes.com/2020/10/pompeos-record-a-litany-of-failure/
      “On October 6, Pompeo lashed out against China and exhorted the Quad – the US-Japan-Australia-India military-strategic formation that the US is trying to consolidate against China – to stand against China and its evil, corrupt actions: “I also look forward to … renewing our resolve to protect our precious freedoms and the sovereignty of the diverse nations of the region. As partners … it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion.”
      The silence from the Quad members was deafening – no agreement or statement was issued after their ministerial meeting in Tokyo. The Japanese government, in particular, in a mind-bending act of diplomatic insouciance, insisted flat out, “This Quad meeting is not being held with any particular country in mind.”

      Reply
    2. Procopius

      Funny, that reminds me of SEATO, the organization which was supposed to stop the “dominoes” from falling to the “Monolithic Worldwide Communist Conspiracy™”. The only “domino” which joined was Thailand, which was then under a military dictatorship that was receiving tens of millions of dollars in “aid.” If the Establishment had anywhere near the knowledge and competence they believed they had, that should have made them rethink the Domino Theory in light of the dominoes themselves not believing in it. Of course, it didn’t.

      Reply
  11. zagonostra

    >Foxconn Wisconsin – Metaphor for American politics

    I don’t think I’ve seen a link to this article, a good tale with plenty of substance to draw inferences on the whole economic substructure of the U.S.’s role in high-tech manufacturing and the deception of politicians.

    In many ways, the Foxconn debacle in Wisconsin is the physical manifestation of the alternate reality that has defined the Trump administration. Trump promised to bring back manufacturing, found a billionaire eager to play along, and now for three years the people of Wisconsin have been told to expect an LCD factory that plainly is not there. Into the gap between appearance and reality fell people’s jobs, homes, and livelihoods.

    https://www.theverge.com/21509874/behind-foxconn

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      somebody linked it in WC yesterday and I hope Lambert gives it an airing today if he gets the chance to read it. It’s really excellent and, as I said yesterday, comically absurd

      Reply
  12. a different chris

    Trump is no Phony Populist

    >these years worth of county data clash loudly with the Trump-as-phony-populist charge,

    Um, yeah. The problem is when you take a pseudo-science like economics as your base, and then pretend correlation == causation.

    I searched vainly thoroughout the article to find an example of where Trump (or Obama to be fair, they both sucked) did something that actually clearly led to employment, and found they didn’t even try to offer an example.

    One thing is that everything Trump, well, Trumpeted certainly *did* fail, from coal jobs to the FoxConn disaster. If his administration did specific things that made specific differences you would be darn sure you would be hearing about them on your TV right now.

    This was as useful as the MoA prattling. I don’t know what will happen Nov 3 because the world has changed beyond reason over the last 4 years. I don’t know if Trump will win with an even smaller share of the actual vote or Biden will win including Texas or some result in between.

    And anybody who thinks they have even the slightest handle on this election is full of themselves.

    Reply
    1. pjay

      Also, if I read it correctly, the author’s primary claim was based on some elementary “fun with statistics”:

      “According to the updated 2018 data, of the 194 flip counties for which statistics are available, 131 (67.53 percent) saw *average annual pay* in the private sector rise faster during the first two years of the Trump administration than during the last two years of the Obama administration.” (my emphasis)

      Using *average* income data is a pretty old trick. Not very convincing as a measure of “populist” policy.

      Reply
    2. Laputan

      My favorite part was:

      Even so, 59.79 percent of the flip counties (116 of 194) experienced stronger private sector pay growth during the first three Trump years than during the last three Obama years.

      An easy tell for someone who isn’t all that good with numbers is if they throw around percentages with gratuitous decimal points that don’t give any added context. What does the 59.79 percent figure do that the 116 of 194 doesn’t do already? It’s clearly just signaling that he knows how to perform a basic calculation that most of us learned in middle school.

      But it’s in keeping with the rest of the article. Pure trash. Nobody in those counties is going to care about a marginal increase in their income from Trump’s first 3 years as compared to Obama’s last 3 if they’re on the brink of financial ruin now.

      Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          “We coup who we want. Deal with it!” -Elon Musk

          “OK” -Bolivia

          I mean, don’t hate on sad trombone boy for responding to incentives. Western media was responsible for setting his expectations so high. The same way the American PMC are the Underwoods, he was President Camacho from Idiocracy. He coulda been a contendah!

          Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “A California shark lab tagged a record number of sharks off the Southern California coast this year”

    It may be that sharks will act as the canary in the coalmine as far as the oceans are concerned. Big, grey, ferocious, man-eating canaries. There has been a major uptick of unwarranted shark attacks this year in Oz and several people have been killed by them. It does not sound much until you learn that there has not been so many people killed by sharks here since 1934. Something is going on with them-

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/14/high-number-of-fatal-australian-shark-attacks-prompts-concern-hunting-grounds-are-shifting

    Reply
      1. tegnost

        I live in orca land and have pondered what it would be like if they (sharks) cooperated. A phalanx of sharks could do some damage…

        Reply
  14. pjay

    Re: ‘PART FOUR: “YOU THINK OUR COUNTRY’S SO INNOCENT?”’ – Intercept.

    This is actually a very good summation of foreign policy under Trump. I’m pretty skeptical about the Intercept these days, but Scahill captures the most important elements: Trump’s clueless inconsistencies, his horrendous appointments (Bolton, Pompeo, Haspell), his belligerent rhetoric vs. his (occasional) moderating actions, and — most important — the utter and complete hypocrisy of the Democratic “opposition.”

    A lot of good observations here, but perhaps As’ad AbuKhalil (the Angry Arab) sums it up best:

    “When Trump was elected, many of my students in the international relations class were asking about what direction foreign policy will take under Trump. And I’ve always emphasized to them, which is that when you’re speaking about an empire, the ability of one man — be him Trump or Obama or anybody else — to make changes in the foreign policy direction of that empire is extremely small. They can only make stylistic changes here and there.”

    I have not read the other pieces in this series, but I will. I wonder what, if anything, is said about Russiagate?

    Reply
    1. Olga

      The Angry Arab is correct… which is yet another reason why Russiagate made no sense from day 1. Russia of all countries understands that no matter who is in the WH, it better watch its back. So why would it risk a scandal by “meddling,” when any change at the top results in ‘more of the same’ – expansionism and subversion of any budding nationalistic, progressive, or independent voices.

      Reply
    2. elissa3

      Scahill is a trusted source in my book. I once heard him speak and he comes across as brutally truthful. Also, he is a brave soul, having risked his life in multiple war zones. NOT an armchair critic.

      Reply
    3. Carolinian

      Trump has been terrible on foreign policy and most blame it on his funders and a Republican party that is rabidly anti Russian. The Middle East policies have to do with his funders but also those evangelicals that he sees as his “base.”

      For those of us who care about foreign policy the choice between Trump and Biden is a no hoper.

      Reply
      1. Alex Cox

        Former republican CIA chief (and Obama defence chief) Gates wrote a book years ago called From The Shadows. In it he wrote that – despite working for both Carter and Reagan – he never saw a change in US foreign policy.

        The sight of all the Democrats lined up with their hands on their hearts to salute Pompeo’s fake president of Venezuela gives a clue of what to expect from the next four years.

        Reply
  15. Big River Bandido

    All season, I have been looking at polling with a strong sense of deja vu, and an *almost* certain sense that we in for a repeat of 2016. Everything looks too familiar — the pathetic candidates, the platform which appeals to no voter at all — and especially the smug certainly on the part of the Democrats that they’ve got this in the bag. I remember the exact same “tone” in 2016, coming from people who couldn’t run a lawnmower, much less a campaign. Despite how bleak the polls look for Trump, I still expect him to win, and MoA is the first voice I’ve heard lately who has expressed my sense of why. The enthusiasm argument — the notion that Biden/Harris are unable to activate enough voters to oust an incumbent president — is only part of it. I would add a critical point about the mechanics of winning elections — a dynamic which places the Democrat Party at an extreme disadvantage, especially this year.

    I am not convinced that pollsters have solved their “bubble” and skewed sample problems from 2016. And even if they have, so what? A poll cannot measure the likelihood of said voter’s ability to vote or have their ballot counted. This entire election cycle has been a big logistical clusterblog, especially on the part of Democrats. Some of this, undoubtedly, was intentional (Iowa caucus app, cough cough). Some of it (Biden forcing people to vote in WI during a pandemic) was the kind of sociopathic behavior typical of Biden and the Democrat establishment. None of this will help the Democrats, even if they’ve magically “fixed” all the “problems” just in time for the general election. When it comes to electioneering, Democrats are pikers compared to Republicans, and they seem to forget that voters they disenfranchise during primaries have zero reason to show up for them in the fall.

    The wild cards no pollster is considering are the effects of pandemic upon turnout in general, and the effects of corruption on Democrat turnout specifically. A century ago, an influenza pandemic caused turnout in the 1920 election to take a steep dive — to around 40%, if my memory is still serving. The Democrats in that race — who were every bit as dirty and mendacious as the ones in this race — lost to Warren Harding in a landslide. Then there’s the rigging and fraud, which has pissed off legions of Sanders supporters, many of whom will either not show up next week, or they will show up specifically to spite the Democrats, as I intend to do.

    I certainly can’t imagine average voters “making a plan” and *risking their lives* to vote for candidates so uninspiring. Trump at least is campaigning, and makes appeals to his base.

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      Next week? Its two weeks out… and the final count at least four weeks, based on my negative world view…

      Digging unlimited election spending/finance… I have already voted and now ‘get to’ endure being assailed on every platform of visual and aural delivery. Some entitlement !

      Where’s MY mute button (not the one to mute me, I cancelled it)

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        I don’t even think it will be that close. All I see from the Biden camp are poll numbers, which are nothing but phantoms. There’s nothing real there, at all.

        To me, this election is so important that I scheduled a cross-country move for next week, and don’t really care whether or not I make it to the polls to vote early.

        So, my “next week” comment was probably just wishful thinking and me conflating the end of moving hell with the end of this election hell.

        Reply
    2. Mikel

      “I am not convinced that pollsters have solved their “bubble” and skewed sample problems from 2016.”

      This!!!

      And nothing like another “surprise” to create another “crisis” to generate confusion and distraction from all the unsolved problems.

      Reply
    3. Acacia

      Agree, Big River. 2016 should have been a lesson, but something tells me that no lessons have been learned. The madness of oversampling is likely still very much at play. As some have pointed out, the “benefit” of oversampling in the 2020 context is that if Trump wins the Dem establishment can shriek “fraud!” by pointing to a bunch of flawed polls that “predicted” a Biden landslide.

      Reply
    4. John k

      Biden got a pretty small percentage of the nom votes until SC, losing not just to sanders but also to an unknown small town mayor. And Kamala got 2% before dropping out. So very few like him much at all even among dems. OTOH, Hillary had a large enthusiastic following in the dem party. Both have money and msm, no change there.
      Trump is incumbent and stocks doing well, but Covid. And reports are that reps have the ground game… that figures, you need enthusiasm for that.
      Trafalgar called trump correctly in 2016, repeats now. IMO trump likely, but maybe don’t know for a while… unless Fl goes for Biden, if so he wins.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        “unless FL goes for Biden…”

        Republicans in FL not only control the government machinery, they have a strong political organization capable of effectively mobilizing and activating their voting base.

        FL Democrats?

        Reply
  16. Seth Miller

    Re: Charles Fried and Court Packing

    I cannot fathom why increasing the number of justices is the only reform on the table. Congress has nearly plenary power to regulate the jurisdiction of the court. The Constitution only reserves a tiny number of cases for the original jurisdiction of the court, which cannot be tinkered with: e.g., suits by one state against another.

    A congress genuinely interested in protecting abortion rights and preventing obstruction of their legislative agenda has options that would not provoke the kind of tit for tat and controversy that would haunt any court packing scheme.

    1. Require unanimity before the court takes any cases (a/k/a grants a certiorari petition). Any supermajority requirement de-fangs an institution and steers it to the middle. When the reactionary majority is 6-3 that would not be a bad thing. This would prevent a reversal of Roe at the Sup. Ct. level, but not in the Circuit courts.

    2. Require unanimity for any finding that a state or federal statute is unconstitutional. (Definitely would not protect Roe, but would protect against nearly every other species of extremism from the Roberts court. The background is that Roe and affirmative action are essentially the only areas where there is anything left of “liberal” precedent to protect).

    3. Generally regulations can be challenged by corporations (and less frequently by advocacy groups), but there is no mechanism for private enforcement. The regulatory state is now under a structural disadvantage. If the Congress creates a multitude of private rights of action to enforce regulation, that would create the kind of demand for the services of the federal courts that would lead inevitably to a need for more judges. The left and allies should be consciously thinking about legislation that would expand the number of federal cases brought on behalf of ordinary people.

    4. If we are successful with 3, then we will be increasing the number of judges in the District and Circuit courts. Once that happens, court packing at the Supreme Court level becomes far less necessary, since the protection of the legal doctrine developed at the Circuit level can be achieved by moderate-sounding restrictions, such as 1. and 2., on the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.

    These options do not pose the same danger of political retaliation as the “court packing” proposals now under discussion. 1. and 2. are, and can be sold as, moderating, centrist proposals that reinforce the perceived legitimacy of the Court. 3. and 4. are simply the inevitable result of the passage of progressive legislation. What can the Republicans do in retaliation? Their only move would be to try to get us to the place we are in now.

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      This is just some quick thoughts.

      The tit-for-tat is to regulate the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts, or otherwise adjust their procedures, to hinder your package. Three judge district courts for all the new private rights of action, more interlocutory appeals permitted, en banc courts of appeals mandatory in many situations, etc. Ideas like these can also be sold as moderating restrictions, but ones that will basically make the courts ineffective if done cleverly.

      Furthermore, as I can tell you know, state courts are generally competent to hear issues alleging federal private rights of action against private entities, so there is no guarantee that Point #3 leads to Point #4. The opposition could, for example, provide federal funding to the states to hire more judges, rather than expanding what is perceived as an elite, and perhaps disconnected, federal judiciary.

      Reply
      1. Seth Miller

        Good points all. But I still think if done right it could be made to work, without the political and practical drawbacks of Supreme court packing. If the Republicans’ only response to requiring, say, unanimity before the US Supreme court can take a case, is to make it harder for the federal courts to operate, then all of McConnell’s machinations for the last 20 years will have come to nothing. But big biz needs the federal courts, private rights of action are generally more populist than elitist, and the courts themselves will squeal at anything that keeps them from functioning. Which means that, unlike court-packing, there are some reforms that are a ratchet in a progressive direction that can only be undone, not used against us.

        Reply
        1. Fraibert

          That’s why I raised the counter of funneling the new private rights of action into state court. Elections for the state judiciary are well-established in the U.S., and private interests have, in recent years, shown growing interest in influencing those elections.

          Reply
  17. fresno dan

    Movie Review
    So I saw Showgirls last night. I had never seen it and I had read that it has attained cult status.
    Controversy over whether it is misogynist or anti misogynist, a satire or an expose of the sordid underbelly of American entertainment. Las Vegas as a microcosm of America. Simple or complex. Over the top or serious. Or All About Eve with lots of unclothed women. There are lots of diametrically opposed opinions…
    And I could see all of those things. But for me it’s incoherency is what is off putting to me.
    But the emotions that go into whether one loves or hates the movie is not the movie – it is the issues the movie raises.
    And I was reading in today’s posts the one from the Intercept about Trump. And if you really look at everything Trump says, you find a lot of incoherency. Is that a bug or a feature?

    Showgirls is just a movie, and Trump is just a show. Humans watching Showgirls or Trump can construct narratives to try and explain what they see. Barrett will be a supreme court justice because a republican majority of the senate will confirm a republican president’s nominee. In the past, Trump was pro-choice…

    Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “NASA will (hopefully) snag samples from an asteroid for the first time ever on Oct. 20”

    As a kid I had hoped that we lived at the dawn of space exploration and that we would see stories like this all the time. If not with starships, at least the beginnings of exploring our solar system. We could stop wasting so much on military gear that mostly never went used and form coalitions to build an earth and lunar orbital spaceports, an underground base on the moon with its own observatory, constant probes being sent out in the wake of the Voyager probes and all the rest of it.

    Well we all know what happened instead. In the 21st century we went back to forming empires like it was the 19th century all over again. Instead of a future like Star Trek, we are now headed for a future more like that from the Alien franchise with our own versions of the Weyland-Yutani corporation. We spend over $2 trillion each and every year on the militaries of the world when we could get by with a fraction of that. But I do sometime think about the future that we could have had-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZavDlrMtQQ8

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      The OSIRIS-REx headquarters is less than a mile away from the Arizona Slim Ranch. And I have NASA TV bookmarked in my browser.

      It’s a good day to be a space geek!

      Reply
    2. a different chris

      >the Weyland-Yutani corporation.

      Arrrgh, major props to you for remembering the corp name. I could not.

      I, and I suspect a huge number of corporate tech drones, was and is and always will be gobsmacked by Paul Reiser’s deadly accurate portrayal of those who climb the ladder in our particular cesspool. I mean I really think it’s one of the greatest acting feats of all time and nobody gets it because the people who everybody listens to about “the movies” aren’t engineers and are not part of that culture.

      I don’t know where the writers got the basic outline and how he (some comedian guy) understood how to flesh it out so perfectly but they did.

      Reply
    3. Maritimer

      I am constantly amazed at the Space Fascination. Even folks convinced of Climate Change seem to be enamored of it.

      We live on a planet that is being destroyed. Humanity is being destroyed by the machines we build. Yet, this is the model some yearn to export to the Stars.

      I am reminded of a human in a failed relationship who gazes longingly at a new partner just out of reach. Someone who longs to escape their failure with a new beginning.

      Best to leave the Stars to themselves; we can’t even manage an infinitesimal planet.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I will try to answer that. It is because we humans are by nature explorers. It is what we have been doing as a species for the past tens of thousands of years. Think of the first people to reach Europe, Asia, north and south America. Whole continents to be explored with new sights new animals never seen before. Think of the first native American that came across the sight of the Grand Canyon. What went through his mind.

        We still do it now. Scientists who seek to discover physics, biology and all the other sciences. Those who devote their lives to explore space or the arctic regions. Those who seek to learn about our past such as archaeologists and historians. Explorers all. And with each generation there is the ultimate challenge to explore – our own minds. The problem is that we have yet to deal with those who rule and see every relationship as a mercantile relationship. It is they that are destroying the planet for a percentage and are making it a matter of survival of the human species.

        Reply
        1. foghorn longhorn

          ” Think of the first native American that came across the sight of the Grand Canyon. What went through his mind.”

          Godammit, it’s going to take forever to get to get around this big azz hole in the ground…

          Reply
    4. RMO

      One thing that Arthur Clarke said that has stuck with me for years was that everything you see in 2001 could have been accomplished for real for less that what was spent on the Vietnam War (with the obvious exceptions of the Monoliths, the stargate and the aliens naturally). Looking at what various military projects and endeavors have cost compared to even something as big as the entire Apollo program (or for that matter summing up everything spent by everyone ever on space exploration) it’s striking how little has been spent on space and how much has been spent on killing each other, destroying things or building equipment for the purposes of killing each other and destroying things most of which goes from prototype to scrap pile without ever being used for anything.

      Reply
    1. a different chris

      I hope the mute buttons stick on and we can just sit there and marvel at the devolution of the human race.

      Reply
    2. Drake

      If you have automatic mutes, you don’t need moderators. Just give one candidate X minutes to speak on whatever they want, other guy muted, then give other guy X minutes, first guy muted. Rinse and repeat for as long as the event goes. Getting rid of the damn moderators would almost make these ‘debates’ watchable.

      Reply
  19. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit: Have EU-UK trade talks reached a dead end? BBC

    As so often, incoherent reporting by the BBC.

    There actually seems to have been quite a bit of progress made in the last few days on the various technical aspects – there is pretty much a deal there to be had, but the EU has had it with the UK’s behaviour and is essentially saying ‘take it or leave it’. They are going through the motions because they know that everything depends on arguments within No.10. Either Johnson really wants a deal and will come back and accept generally what is on offer or they never really wanted one, in which case there is no point (from the EU’s perspective) in wasting any more time.

    In all likelihood, there is an alrighty battle going on internally between the pragmatists (seemingly, Gove and Sunak), and the Brexit Ultras. Its anyones guess which one Johnson will go with. I suspect his only calculation is which way he can spin as a ‘victory’, before stepping away in the Spring to find some a job thats more fun and pays better.

    Reply
  20. rowlf

    The Georgia voting article by Propublica was very good and a fine piece of actual journalism. All news reporting should be to this standard. Well researched and detailed, and I couldn’t find a bias present. As I have been pointing out, several political groups have dirty hands. Why?

    I thought this was a good quote: “Nikema Williams, chair of Georgia’s Democratic Party, said that while state officials took little or no action to stop widespread voting problems in non-white communities, local elections officials are also responsible, since they ultimately decide whether to close or open more voting sites.”

    Reply
    1. KLG

      Close observer in Georgia. While current Gov. Brian Kemp was “masterful” at voter suppression two years ago, much of what is going on, still, is just fine with the bipartisan incumbent protection racket across the entire State of Georgia.

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        This is not a criticism of your comment KLG, but I get incensed when the one minute news stories by various media outlets leave out that many of the laws that Gov. Kemp enforced as Secretary of State were put in place by modern era Democrats, and to me it sounds like Kemp’s critics want him to only enforce some of the laws. Kemp is a snake, but like President Trump, someone else put all the tools in the toolbox for him.

        Reply
  21. zagonostra

    >Fratelli Tutti

    Developments in Catholicism that are not linked to scandals, like Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, have been ignored by most non-Catholics and pilloried by many popular Y-Tube channels that purport to hold up traditional Catholic teaching. I thought it was time to read the document myself. It contains a whole lot of wisdom and it also opens itself up to criticism. But then what doesn’t.

    The flood of information at our fingertips does not make for greater wisdom. Wisdom is not born of quick searches on the internet nor is it a mass of unverified data. That is not the way to mature in the encounter with truth. Conversations revolve only around the latest data; they become merely horizontal and cumulative. We fail to keep our attention focused, to penetrate to the heart of matters, and to recognize what is essential to give meaning to our lives. Freedom thus becomes an illusion that we are peddled, easily confused with the ability to navigate the internet. The process of building fraternity, be it local or universal, can only be undertaken by spirits that are free and open to authentic encounters

    http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.html

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      St. Malachy did prophesy, centuries ago, that the whole enchilada would collapse after Francis. The Church really does need to purge its Protestants. Unfortunately, they’re the ones who drop benjamins into the collection basket every week.

      Reply
  22. eg

    The “How the Fed Rescued Corporations and Let Everyone Else Suffer” link is instructive. What used to be called “credit guidance” (effectively state managed interest rate differentials) is back with a vengeance, the bleating of the economics priesthood about how wrong it is for government to “pick winners” notwithstanding.

    If this ever becomes widely enough known, control of it will rightly be wrested from the central bank usurpers and returned to your representatives as it always ought to have remained in a democracy.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Did the central bank ursurp the control over credit from the symbolic people’s representatives in Congress and the Senate or was control willingly and eagerly ceded? Who spoke out at Government house? The representatives want to keep clean hands like Pilate.

      Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      Don’t define democracy down. Graeber’s essay “There Never Was a West: Or, Democracy Emerges from the Spaces In Between” discusses the bait-and-switch of calling the Roman republican system an heir to “democratic” Athens just because people cast votes:

      The “democratic ideal” tends to emerge when, under certain histori­cal circumstances, intellectuals and politicians, usually in some sense navigating their way between states and popular movements and popu­lar practices, interrogate their own traditions—invariably, in dialogue with other ones— citing cases of past or present democratic practice to argue that their tradition has a fundamental kernel of democracy. I call these moments of “democratic refoundation.” From the perspective of the intellectual traditions, they are also moments of recuperation, in which ideals and institutions that are often the product of incredibly complicated forms of interaction between people of very different his­tories and traditions come to be represented as emerging from the logic of that intellectual tradition itself. Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries especially, such moments did not just occur in Europe, but almost everywhere.

      The fact that this ideal is always founded on (at least partly) invented traditions does not mean it is inauthentic or illegitimate or, at least, more inauthentic or illegitimate than any other. The contradiction, however, is that this ideal was always based on the impossible dream of marrying democratic procedures or practices with the coercive mecha­nisms of the state. The result are not “Democracies” in any meaning­ful sense of the world but Republics with a few, usually fairly limited, democratic elements.

      So, I reject the claim that democracies are “supposed to” have a class of aristocrats subsuming me under the false logic of representation based on a vote they can agree among themselves not to honor. In fact, the House originates spending bills, same as always, and Military Monetary Theory is an undeniable fact, insofar as policy is a fact.

      It’s time to give up on the liberal Christian narrative of corruption, fall, and deliverance. Aristocracy with pretensions was always the object of most Framers, even Jefferson.

      Reply
  23. Mikel

    RE: People Need to Reclaim the Internet…Craig Murray

    It has to be unclaimed before it can be reclaimed. The ONLY way. Get the drift?

    Reply
  24. David

    I’ve already written quite a bit about the “French decapitation”, and the Qantara story is a capable summary of where events have got to. If you want more, there’s a good article by John Lichfield, for a long time the Independent’s correspondent in Paris. Lichfield is often a bit PMC-facile, but here he is sober and serious, partly because he knows the college where the killing took place. I’ll just add, for those still interested, a quick note on the unfolding political consequences.

    Yesterday, the government took a number of practical measures aimed at Islamist movements, including preparing to expel preachers, searching houses, bringing in people for questioning, and closing various Islamist “cultural associations”, including one, BarakaCity, which has 700,000 Twitter followers (Marine Le Pen has 20,000). A number of prosecutions are on the cards. Darmanin the Interior Minister (himself the son of immigrants) has acted intelligently by taking advantage of the situation to do things that parts, at least, of the government have wanted to do for years, but never had the courage. The change in French politics since Friday is quite remarkable, and now politicians are competing with each other to defend secularism and republican values, and the dreaded word “Islamist” is being pronounced everywhere. It helps that a number of Rectors of mosques in big cities have come out firmly in favour of the government – unsurprisingly really, when the Islamists consider them traitors and apostates deserving of death. Le Monde, as good a weather vane as any, published a signed editorial yesterday saying all the right things. (Unfortunately, as a number of readers pointed out, until a week ago they were saying the complete opposite). The smell of burning rubber in the French political system is extraordinary. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who almost qualified for the second round of the 2017 Presidential elections, and who marched side by side with the Islamists a year ago, is a sudden convert to the Islamist threat – he was proposing the explosion of all Chechens from France, but now seems to have rowed back a bit. (The family of the killer was originally denied asylum by the government because of their terrorist links, but were overruled by a Court – another story to be continued).

    It’s hard to believe Mélenchon and his party will survive this. Elsewhere on the Left, the small parties have gone into hiding and said nothing. The Left as a whole is beginning to realise the catastrophic nature of its error, and one of the unlooked-for results of this ghastly event is the opening it now creates for the revival of a secular, republican Left with working-class support, replacing the current IdPol dating society. Until a few days ago, I wouldn’t have given much for the chances of the Left doing well in 2022, but now, if they have any sense, there is an open goal to kick into. Otherwise, of course, the Right will make off with the ball. By championing republicanism and secularism, as well as populist economic policies, Le Pen has already occupied much of this ground and, whilst she has said little, her relative silence is a way of saying I Told You So.

    The real loser in Macron. This brings to three the number of crises during his reign that he’s manifestly incapable of coping with. The Gilets jaunes and Covid were bad enough, but this is a full-blown security crises which starkly brings into question a man who is certainly full of himself, but empty of much else. A man only really at home in finance and banking, a lukewarm republican scornful of his own country (“there is no such thing as French culture”), an advocate of ever deeper Europeanism, a speaker of strangled Franglish, educated by Jesuits, he’s hardly a figure for the nation to rally round. Oh, and his wife used to be a teacher, just to drive the splinter further in under the fingernail. I’m not betting on him being re-elected now.

    Finally, now that the immediate horror has passed, there’s a much clearer idea of what’s going on here. As has been known for a long time, but never accepted by the elites, there is an organised attempt to radicalise the French Muslim community, organised by the same people who brought you Tunisia and Egypt after 2011. The goal is the same: political power. In France, for demographic reasons, that can’t really be at national level, but the Muslim community is very concentrated, and it’s perfectly possible to imagine a municipality or a town with a hard-line Islamist council , even if they have to share power with independents . This year, there was talk in the municipal elections of presenting an “islamic slate” in certain areas, although the virus, and popular opposition, stopped that. But there are local governments, generally headed by Socialists or Greens, which have had to rely on islamists for support. This is why schools are important, and have been the priority target for the last twenty years. Children who are educated in republican principles are less likely to vote for islamic parties: conversely, the more that schools can be bullied into dropping “contentious” ideas like Evolution from their syllabuses, the stronger the islamist position will be. Local councils control education up to the age of 11, and have an influence on schools thereafter, and what is not directly under their control could be achieved by threats and intimidation. These tactics are having some effect: a much quoted statistic over the last few days is that 72% of a sample of younger French Muslims questioned earlier this year were at least generally favourable to the idea that religious doctrine should take precedence over the laws of the country.

    For the moment, at least, that momentum has been halted. And people are realising (as they should always have known) that this problem is not, except incidentally, about violence, and certainly not about caricatures, but about political power. But the rot is very deep, and France now has, conservatively, hundreds of thousands of younger Muslims, failed by the educational system, and happy to contemplate what we would see as a religious state. It’s not clear what the answer is, but it is clear that Macron doesn’t have it.

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      thanks for your ongoing summaries and thoughts. do you have some worthy francophone news sources? I’ve been checking le monde for the lay of the land but most of their articles are paywalled.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth

        Thank you David for these updates and giving us a deeper understanding of what is going on in France. You said that Marine Le Pen has remained silent (“like I told you so”). Do you see her party gaining more influence?

        Reply
        1. David

          It’s certainly possible, and I think the twin assumptions until recently that (1) the second round in 2022 would be between Macron and Le Pen and (2) Macron would win easily, are both looking a bit shaky today. But there are, as Lambert would say, lots of moving parts, including how the mainstream political parties react, how public opinion as a whole moves, and, of course, whether there are other similar incidents. I think the consensus would still be that Le Pen is unlikely to win in 2022, and that even if she did there would be no chance of her having a parliamentary majority. But on the other hand, a strong candidate from the conventional Right, as things now are, would probably walk it.

          Reply
      2. David

        Yes, this is a real problem. I subscribe to Le Monde, sightly against my inclinations, and to Marianne, which is a weekly magazine with an editorial line which I think most NC readers would find congenial. Both are about 10€ per month. My usual tactic otherwise is to click around and see what I can find: Le Figaro and Ouest France are OK on basic news, and with a bit of luck stories that are paywalled on one site will be available on another. Otherwise, the state-run media (FR2 and France Info especially have snippets on most important stories, as does the commercial chain LCI (linked to TF1). But it’s unsatisfactory at best.

        Reply
    2. Olga

      Thanks, and I’ll say what I could not formulate previously. The murder is terrible. When something seemingly so incomprehensible happens, I try to figure out the context. The first thing that came to my mind was “why keep showing those d..n cartoons.” They first appeared in Denmark (remember, the anti-Muslim Danish cartoons). Then we had Charlie H., a terror attack, Koran burnings, more terror attacks, some random murders, more cartoons. Obviously, these acts of disrespect for others’ religion have led to plenty of blood shed. Why continue to poke the proverbial bear (or camel in this case) in the eye? Don’t get it.
      And here’s the problem – and the larger (not just French) context:
      1. It was the westerners, who first militarised/weaponised some Muslims – directly (e.g., Afghanistan, late 1970s, or the Brits with the Muslin Brotherhood, dating back decades) and some indirectly, via oppression and destruction;
      2. In the last 20 yrs, the collective west has destroyed, or is in the process of destroying many Muslin countries (Afg., Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iran (attempted), Palestinians, etc.);
      3. The west has had no trouble exploiting economically Muslim countries, while supporting oppressive regimes, such as KSA;
      4. Macron showing up in Lebanon, telling the locals that they must – I tell you, must! – restructure their govt according to his visions (though it was largely France that set up – and still shields – the current corrupt system (thus blatantly manifesting the colonial and paternalistic attitude toward the mostly Muslim state);
      5. The west’s spectacular betrayal of M Qaddafi, specifically, the French and Sarkozy who, after having received a huge and illegal campaign contribution, had no trouble bombing Libya into the stone age (though, he’s finally getting some justice – https://www.rt.com/news/503692-sarkozy-france-investigation-libya/);
      6. Certain IC services that gladly stirred up Chechens to cause major trouble for Russia in the 1990s, leading to war and destruction (and without that, maybe the Chechen assassin would not have had a reason even to come to France);
      7. After WWI, Brits and the French simply divided the Middle East according to their preferences;
      8. Before a war, there are sanctions (who can forget sanctions against Iraq and the “it was worth it” statement – or check the strangulation of Iran (after it threw out a despot, installed by the US)
      9. Sudan – one of the poor countries in Africa – was recently forced to pay $300 million to the US, ostensibly to get off a terrorist list (can hardly think of anything more shameless – a rich country extorting $$ from a poor and underdeveloped one).
      With more time, there could be more examples (it is not that long ago, when France ferociously fought to keep its stranglehold on Algeria, or the recent bombings of Syria under false pretenses).
      And for those who think this is about free speech – I beg to differ. It is pathetic that the west seems only able to figure out one way to assert free speech – by humiliating people, who are already humiliated.
      It is not free speech, but deliberate cruelty, if I’m making fun of someone, who is already oppressed.
      And there is plenty of hypocrisy here, too.
      Try saying something in France (and in EU) that may be construed as anti-semitic. Fines and jail sentences have been meted out… but hey, it is free speech, when it comes to offending Muslims.
      So I don’t completely agree with the expressed view that this is about some struggle for power that was somehow appeased, until it is too late.
      In my view, this is more of a “chickens coming home to roost,” as Malcolm X famously said after JFK’s assassination.
      The west radicalises Muslims, and then faints in horror, when some of the consequences are turned against it.
      All of us – we denounce the killer, but say nothing about the ‘as-we-speak’ destruction of Yemen.
      I would not want to underestimate the problem France (and the west) faces, but I doubt it can be addressed until they both stop their collective assault (in many forms) on the Muslim world.
      For many years – but particularly in the last 20 yrs – the destruction of the three MOST developed Muslim countries has been as bad – if not worse – than the crusades.
      P.S. From the dept. of neither here nor there, one parent, who spent the war in Kazakhstan, would tell me about being a child and fearing Chechens, who even as little kids were given knives (kinzhal) and trained to use them.

      Reply
  25. Mikel

    RE: Voter intimidation

    Starts with the party apparatchiks toward other party members.
    The Democratic Party primary triangualtion, just one example, was the epitome of voter intimidation and now the establiahment is worried about what happens at the polls?

    Reply
  26. Carolinian

    Re Stoller and whether Biden will go after social media–I’d say that after last week the odds of that are just about zero. Biden takes care of his friends.

    Meanwhile Trump administration has filed suit against Google. Too late?

    Reply
  27. Kurt Sperry

    The “Pakistan’s opposition is publicly naming all-powerful army as root of all evil. But what now? The Print” story links to the wrong news piece.

    Reply
  28. fresno dan

    So on my exercise walk, I saw 5 new Biden signs, and no Trump signs at all in the neighborhood I exercise in. This is a neighborhood with houses in the 330K to 430K price range. So the median Fresno home price is 272K to give some idea of the economic strata.
    I did however see a number of Nunes signs – if Trump gets any votes it will be on Nunes coattails?
    But what I am really excited about is that a guy was in his yard that had a plant that I didn’t know the name of that I am really wanting to get – so I asked him what it was. He didn’t know :(
    But he was kind enough to call his wife who knew what it was and where you can buy it :)
    Mexican Bird of Paradise
    AKA Peacock flower

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      If I were voting Trump (I’m not), I’d put a Biden sign in my yard, just to headfake other Dems, and then pull the trigger for Mr. T in the voting booth.

      Reply
    2. John k

      Pretty plants, wonder if I can grow them in my mediocre soil and partial sun.
      My Ca vote will be green, first time, though hardly matters here… this is where Biden will run up the pop vote count. Excitement mostly back East…
      Seeing a few pundits expecting trump to prevail… surprising… wonder if the latest email flap affects things… msm will find it hard to bury salacious…

      Reply
  29. ewmayer

    Neil deGrasse Tyson warns asteroid could hit Earth the day before the election | The Hill. UserFriendly “can I vote for the asteroid?” — So basically, the 100lb iron-nickel meteorite I have sitting on a display stand a few feet from my desk poses a greater risk to earth by way of a quake knocking it off its pedestal than the fridge-sized rock Neil used for his latest PR stunt. But, I realize the value of such gimmicks, get people excited about space exploration, because some of the kids retweeting articles like this will be on the forefront of the attendant threat detection programs in a few years … assuming the human race hasn’t found a more conventional earthbound way to off itself by then, like say, roasting itself alive in its own GG emissions, or a new “woke member of the liberal international order” US president buying in to the Atlantic Council’s warmongering strategery — make sure to have a barf bag handy should you decide to click through to that article — and starting a completely needless war with a fellow member of the nuclear club.

    Reply
  30. bruce

    The Neil Degrasse Tyson asteroid story is flaming clickbait BS, The asteroid was described as being the size of a refrigerator, which would not disrupt the election. NDT has lost credibility over the years, and also, why does he presume to use three names? James Clerk Maxwell gets to use three names, Josiah Willard Gibbs too, Nicolas Leonard Sadi Carnot gets to use FOUR names, but they were giants, and NDT is most assuredly not a giant. By way of comparison, the bolide in the 2013 Chelyabinsk Event was an estimated 20 meters in diameter, there was much injury and property damage but surprisingly (to me) few fatalities. That said, I can now address where I would like the asteroid to come down. It would certainly leave a mark on a Trump rally. It would certainly leave a mark on the clubhouse of the Boston Celtics during a team meeting (why yes, I am a charter Los Angeles Lakers fan since the team moved to my native city in 1960, and HOW ABOUT MY LAKERS? It would certainly leave a mark on a Javascript developers conference!

    This comment is likely too far down to be read by anyone, but hello Jerri-Lynn, my fellow Big Green Egg owner! I love my Egg, the most advanced BBQ/grill/smoker on the market, I have the Mini-Max because it’s just me and my cat here. Look into the accessories like pizza stones and the cast iron grill option. In terms of taste, nutrition and economy, turkey is a wonder product; up until recently, the local Ray’s Food Place sold fresh wings for 99 cents/pound. You can’t expect them to give them away. For ease of handling, I prefer to cut up chickens and anything bigger first and marinate or dry rub it.

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday too, because it’s about giving thanks, a concept I can get behind every day of the year. It’s been commercialized a bit by the football people and the beer people who advertise during the games, but nothing like my least favorite holiday, Christmas. I have a history of positive events around Thanksgiving, perhaps none more so than the time when I was ~10-11 y.o. and drew a strong expert from New York during the late Thursday, afterdinner round when I was full of turkey and fire and, as

    Reply
    1. bruce

      we found out the next morning, I had run him out of the American Open regional chess tournament in Santa Monica back to New York. As my fellow chess players will confirm, an endgame with bishops on opposite color squares is the hardest of all endgames to win, and the easiest to draw, and that’s what I had, and it was the longest game of the round, to the point where my Dad phoned in to the tournament director at the Miramar and asked “Where is our Bruce?” and I had a phalanx of local chess associates standing behind me watching and rooting for me.

      Events around Christmas tend to be negative, like the night I spent in the Ventura County jail for committing no crime at all. Long drive from the Bay Area to 90272 to visit my family, nice dinner in Santa Barbara, got tired south of there. It is not illegal to find a nice spot in a non-posted country area, pull off the road and take a nap until you’re feeling perky again; it’s what I’ve been taught to do, but it didn’t slow down the VCSO. I remember exactly what night it was, because I asked the deputy when I was being released “Who won the UCLA game?” and he replied “Miami did, 49-45” (they were playing in essentially a national semifinal, the right to play for a Natty) and I hollered back at him fortissimo “How do you score 45 points in a football game and lose?” and he replied “Because your defense sucks, that’s how.” I know the jail drill, I’ve been arrested about a dozen times in my 65 years, just a chronic troublemaker, but I have a good enough record in fighting charges that I’m still an inactive member (since 1995) in otherwise good standing with the California Bar, #95708 in case anyone was wondering. You never forget your Bar number.

      Then there’s what happened to my middle bro (I’m the oldest of 3). He was driving a Taurus down an LA freeway behind a station wagon with a Christmas tree on its roof which suddenly became dislodged and shot backward, punching out his front windshield, going right past his head and retaining just enough kinetic energy to punch out his rear windshield. Christmas isn’t his favorite holiday either.

      Reply
    2. Olga

      I’ll take your recommendation for the Green Egg – have long wondered what bbq grill to invest in, so thanks (to both).

      Reply
    3. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I adore my Big Green Egg and have many (most?) accessories – the pizza stone, the vertical roasters. Both the small one for chickens and the larger ones for turkeys. I use it much of the year when I am in Brooklyn, even with snow in the garden. So much better results than with the previous gas grill.

      I bought the large size when we were renovating our kitchen and were without a working stove for a while. Must be 2005? Certainly sometime before 2007, when we finished the job. I remember roasting a turkey on the BGE in I think Thanksgiving 2005 when my Mother and I returned from her first big European trip.

      Reply

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