Links 10/23/2020

Starlings in the Scottish skies Reuters (Re Silc). A murmuration.

Rescued endangered Loa water frogs have 200 offspring BBC

How The Bankruptcy Code Protects Lenders And Harms Student Debtors — And What One Lawyer Is Doing About It Above the Law

Digital Money Across Borders: Macro-Financial Implications International Monetary Fund

Got any signal up here? Nokia to build mobile network on the moon Reuters

#COVID19

Convalescent plasma in the management of moderate covid-19 in adults in India: open label phase II multicentre randomised controlled trial (PLACID Trial) British Medical Journal. Conclusion: “Convalescent plasma was not associated with a reduction in progression to severe covid-19 or all cause mortality. This trial has high generalisability and approximates convalescent plasma use in real life settings with limited laboratory capacity.”

What We Know So Far about How COVID Affects the Nervous System Scientific American

FDA OKs Remdesivir, First Drug for COVID-19 MedPage. The deck: “Approval comes a week after WHO trial showed no survival benefit.”

Players are terrified of COVID, but don’t want to speak up for fear of angering the NFL Deadspin

* * *

Ventilation and air filtration play a key role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 indoors USA Today. Note the importance of outside air. Also, leave the party early, before the “smoke” builds up.

Coronavirus pandemic is causing ‘unacceptable’ shortages in US drug supplies, report says CNN

The Missing Piece — SARS-CoV-2 Testing and School Reopening New England Journal of Medicine. Idea: Make testing free at the point of delivery.

Supply Chain Issues Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. A good aggregation.

* * *

Trump’s Vaccine Rush vs. the FDA: Inside Stephen Hahn’s “Existential Crisis” Vanity Fair

The COVID-19 response illustrates that traditional academic reward structures and metrics do not reflect crucial contributions to modern science (uncorrected proof) PLOS Biology

Chicago tightens restrictions as Covid cases spread across Midwest FT. Pretty slow reaction.

China?

Xi Jinping says China ‘determined to defeat invaders’ in Korean war anniversary speech South China Morning Post

OpenStack at 10 years old: A failure on its own terms, a success in its own niche The Register. Read all the way to the end.

Electric-Car Mania Turns Asian Battery Makers Into Power Brokers Bloomberg

India

India buzzes with fake news of ‘civil war’ in Pakistan BBC

Doctors in Delhi see jump in breathing issues amid COVID-19, pollution Reuters

Why Telangana’s move to formalise land records could leave small farmers vulnerable The Scroll

Nigeria Sars protest: Prison break and gunshots heard as unrest continues BBC (Re Silc).

UK/EU

Grenfell boss binned crucial inquiry notes Morning Star

UK COVID-19 salary scheme fraud may hit $5 billion, watchdog says Reuters

Coronavirus: Why Spain is seeing second wave BBC

Chance for Chile to forge new path in vote to scrap Pinochet-era constitution Guardian

Argentina: A Second Falklands Brewing? Global Risk Insights

New Cold War

US to host Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict talks FT

Kyrgyzstan Sets New Polls as New PM Reassures Russia Agence France Presss

Battle for borshch: Ukraine lays claim to soup dish amid identity war with Russia The Atlantic Council. Now they’re just trolling us.

U.S. Broadens Sanctions to Thwart Completion of Russian Gas Pipeline WSJ

The ‘Caspian Sea Monster’ rises from the grave CNN

The Debate

The BidenCare mess:

“Fall through the cracks, according to Joe Biden. See the transcript:

What I’m going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option, and become Bidencare. The public option is an option that says that if you in fact do not have the wherewithal, if you qualify for Medicaid and you do not have the wherewithal in your state to get Medicaid, you automatically are enrolled, providing competition for insurance companies. That’s what’s going to happen.

“Available to all who want it,” according to the Biden campaign:

I assume the Democrats will go with what Biden actually said (and not “Joe’s Plan”) because that’s mean-tested, and doubles down on the “because markets” paradigm that would already have driven down costs under ObamaCare, were it true. In fact, costs increased, while gaps in coverage remained. Fortunately, it will only take another two or three Presidential cycles before the political class admits that the public option was a scam all along. You can do the math on the deaths; over time, they’re social murder on a pandemic scale.

* * *

“Who loses and who wins; who’s in, who’s out…” —King Lear

Trumpian “Hope and Change,” oh well:

The heel didn’t turn into a face:

Oh? Name them:

Trump Transition

Forget Antitrust Laws. To Limit Tech, Some Say a New Regulator Is Needed. NYT. Zephyr Teachout comments:

Mitch McConnell, 78, DENIES he has any health problems amid speculation over why his hands are badly bruised and covered in band-aids Daily Mail. VIvid photos, as is usual with the Mail.

The WTO Couldn’t Change China, so Robert Lighthizer Found Another Way WSJ

Barrett Confirmation

‘It’s a Very Determined Power Play to Pack Our Court’ FAIR. To which the Democrat answer was a boycott? Were they wearing Kente cloth, too?

Court Packing? It’s Already Happening at the State Level Governing

2020

A BFD: Biden Finally Rejects The GOP’s Austerity Talking Points David Sirota, The Daily Poster vs. Fact check: Biden suggests Trump could deplete Social Security by 2023. Needs context NBC. So did he really?

Man arrested in Kannapolis with van full of guns and explosives, researched killing Joe Biden WBTV. The dude’s Mom suggested he jump bail.

Health Care

President Trump is benefiting from single-payer, single-provider health care. We all should STAT

Assange

House resolutions clearing leakers Snowden and Assange gain third co-sponsor in sole Libertarian Washington Times

‘The Guardian’s silence has let the UK trample on Assange’s rights in effective darkness’ Jonathan Cook

Our Famously Free Press

People Need to Reclaim the Internet Craig Murray. But:

What I Learned in Twitter Purgatory The Atlantic. From September, still german:

Former Google CEO Calls Social Networks ‘Amplifiers for Idiots’ Bloomberg

Boeing

Airbus set to boost production of world’s most popular passenger jet FT. Well, I guess Boeing can always go into the repair business.

Class Warfare

Permanently remote workers seen doubling in 2021 due to pandemic productivity: survey Reuters

Appeals Court Says Uber and Lyft Must Treat California Drivers as Employees NYT

Imagining the End of Capitalism With Kim Stanley Robinson Jacobin. I quite liked New York 2140; hat tip to the reader who suggested it.

The Obligation of Self-Discovery Boston Review. Simone de Beauvoir.

No Matter Who Wins, The War Machine Wins Caitlin Johnstone

Antidote du Jour (via AM):

AM writes: “I think the fact that I took this picture makes me a bad cat parent but I couldn’t resist.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

169 comments

  1. Krystyn Podjaski

    RE: What We Know So Far about How COVID Affects the Nervous System

    Researchers are still investigating how loss of smell might result from an interaction between the virus and another receptor on the olfactory neurons or from its contact with nonnerve cells that line the nose.

    I’ll just leave this here (From 1975).

    A Syndrome of Acute Zinc Loss – Cerebellar Dysfunction, Mental Changes, Anorexia, and Taste and Smell Dysfunction

    Oral administration of the amino acid histidine to six patients with progressive systemic sclerosis produced anorexia, taste and smell dysfunction, changes in mentation, and cerebellar dysfunction in each patient; these changes were associated with significant decreases in serum zinc concentration and significant increases in urinary zinc excretion. Administration of zinc ion, even with continued histidine administration, returned each of the signs and symptoms to or toward normal within 8 to 24 hours in each patient at the same time that correction of the serum zinc concentration occurred. The signs and symptoms noted constitute a syndrome related to acute zinc loss.

    What is it so hard for them to understand that catching SARS-CoV-2 might deplete zinc?

    Reply
    1. Eduardo

      “What is it so hard for them to understand that catching SARS-CoV-2 might deplete zinc?”
      How can they make billions from zinc?

      Reply
    2. Diego M

      There are thousands of different causes that can result in loss of smell and lack of hunger (anorexia).

      Do you have any other studies to back up your claim? Please understand that your claim is extraordinary.

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Do you have any other studies to back up your claim? Please understand that your claim is extraordinary.

        Of course I have read other studies or I would not have posted it. And a lot of stuff is extraordinary before it is ordinary.

        Reply
    3. Lex

      Patients complain of headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and “brain fog,” or loss of taste and smell—all of which can last from weeks to months after infection.’

      Also some of the fallout symptoms of chemo, and not just for weeks or months, but years.

      Why is it so hard for them to understand that catching SARS-CoV-2 might deplete zinc?

      That would involve a lot of finger pointing, after a logical flow of questions that resulted in awkward answers, that puts a hard shoulder into the bulwark of willed ignorance, and like the sight of a plumber’s crack… no one wants to see that. So shut up, you.

      Also, see Eduardo.

      Reply
      1. Juneau

        There are lots of theories on brain fog; it may have multiple causes sadly (fluid/debris accumulation, damage to the cells, systemic inflammation, etc….). According to Dr Campbell, the problem with the convalescent plasma study is that the plasma was administered too late; early treatment is hard to do without early rapid testing (like Lambert is mentioning should be done on site and for free). But getting rid of the virus in the first week or two appears to have helped the President. Lucky man.

        Reply
      2. Lex

        I’ve read your comments on zinc and knowing what little I know about the mineral deficiencies of our soils (Colorado is really awful), I picked up some zinc, but…

        …I’m also on a daily dose of magnesium citrate. The combination lead to the #2 worst case of constipation I’ve ever experience.

        #1 was during chemo.

        Reply
        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          That is interesting. But I urge everyone not to take supplements if you are not deficient. You can get tests for both of those.

          Reply
        2. mpalomar

          Magnesium citrate should act as a laxative, the zinc is likely the culprit and of course during chemo you may have been taking morphine.

          Reply
  2. John A

    Re battle for borscht, I see ever reliable wikipedia is already calling it Ukrainian. I imagine the Poles would want to say it was from Poland. If you took a straw poll as to where it came from, I suspect you would get equal numbers of votes for Russia and Ukraine, with a few for Poland and other east European countries.
    But if you asked where e.g. Bulgakov, Gogol and Brezhnev came from, I suspect the vast majority would say Russia rather than the correct answer, Ukraine.
    US meddling among neighbouring east European countries has an awful lot to answer for.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Oh, come on now. All we ‘moderne’ educated Americans know that ‘borscht’ comes from the “borscht belt,” the Catskill Mountains of Upper New York State, United States.
      The Ukraine? Worldly people everywhere know that The Ukraine is a vilayat of Neolibistan.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          I was flailing about searching for a ‘canned’ response but tripped over my opener.
          New Age business idea; a line of ancient Lovecraftian can openers, “The Openers of the Way.” I would supply more but am suffering from a psychological bloch.

          Reply
    2. jef

      Most countries have their version of beet soup just like most countries have their version of dumplings.

      Which country did chicken soup originate in? Answer; all of them.

      Reply
  3. zagonostra

    >Post final debate

    Enjoyed reading NC live debate coverage comments this morning. I watched the whole debate and listened and viewed carefully. Behind the digitized cave’s dancing images and sounds coming from my smartphone’s screen the reality is captured in the Bret Weinstein quote – with the provisio that it applies not only to big tech’s control over access to fb and twit, but political life writ large.

    If the notion that either of these men will change the course of politics or marginally improve your life, is an illusion. The corporate/private interest will continue to rule whoever is elected. The only thing that is at stake is the “legitimacy” given to the rulers.

    “We are governed now in private, by entities that make their own rules and are answerable to no process. Disaster is inevitable. We are living it.”

    Reply
    1. Rod

      “America’s Great Divide: Frank Luntz Interview | FRONTLINE” [YouTube (Geof)]. • Grab a cup of coffee. Luntz is on the right, but he’s very sharp (and, amazingly, he actually does listen to people).

      Put up by Lambert in WC yesterday–changed my entire debate listening experience–talks about social media and elections starting min.44

      the whole thing is well worth the listen.

      Reply
        1. Objectivefunction

          Thanks for posting – I don’t do video either – but I didn’t read anything here but the usual PBS mainstream party line (Obama uniter, but mean Republicans, Orange man bad etc.).

          The Luntz quotes were only a small part of it and no new insights, to my mind. What am I missing?

          Reply
          1. Rhondda

            Agree. I kept thinking that if I kept reading there would be … some insight of value. But no. And so terribly obviously a flavor of Orange Man Bad kool-aid, too. At least to me. I sip from those waters so seldom these days.

            Reply
          2. Adam Eran

            If you listen to the entire (continuous) Luntz interview on YouTube, you’ll get a clear picture of how awful was the Obama presidency. Luntz says it was the only time he had focus groups with people weeping…because they lost their house or their retirement or both while the banks got bailouts. Luntz himself weeps toward the end when he laments the division and deep distrust within the American electorate (thanks Obama!) … Just a little ironic since he was one of the guys sowing that distrust … but still, a very sympathetic look at a Republican point of view.

            Reply
    2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

      The problem with the way they have caricatured Trump as an insane monster breathing Satan’s fire is that many people tuning in last night would have seen a pretty measured guy with no visible horns

      Reply
  4. Winston Smith

    Nothing on “Vilaine” Maxwell’s completely redacted deposition where the names of men alleged to have had sex with minors are redacted but those of the minors? Pity

    Reply
    1. neo-realist

      The redactions will keep her from getting the “Epstein treatment” to do whatever prison sentence she gets, which I suspect after a lot of legal wrangling will be on the light side.

      Reply
  5. The Historian

    The Supply Chain Issues is a must read for those who think that a Covid vaccine will be available once it is approved by the FDA.

    If this vaccine needs to be kept at -70 C, then it can’t be transported in refrigerated trucks – it will require transport in cryogenic freezers – and that will not be easy – even in the US and Europe! In addition, how many pharmacies and doctors offices have you seen lately with cryogenic freezers? So where are they going to get them?

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      likely the nearest Vet’s Office…especially large animal vets.
      and even out here where cattle have become a rich man’s pastime, i know of 3 private individuals who regularly handle coolers filled with liquid nitrogen for the purpose of the Other AI(artificial insemination)

      probably not enough capacity, but still…what capacity there is should be pressed into service.(lays back and sighs, remembering when important public institutions still functioned more or less reliably…)

      Reply
      1. Brian (another one they call)

        but, but wait a second. We are going to start going long cryo features, transport, storage…… for something that doesn’t work? Of course. That way all the money can be spent on flash and the end recipients feast on trash. Sounds like America.

        Reply
        1. The Historian

          I am not concerned about Johnson & Johnson or Astra Zeneca’s vaccines – they seem to be going through the proper steps and if they get FDA approval, I probably would take one of their vaccines. I have serious concerns about Moderna’s vaccine because that company doesn’t have a stellar track record and I would probably not be willing to take their vaccine.

          In any event, by the time the vaccine actually gets to us, there will be plenty of data about how effective they are.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moderna

          Reply
    2. chuck roast

      “Where are they going to get them?”

      Well, the Quartermaster. All Quartermasters have many beautiful, beautiful cryogenic freezers. Weren’t you listening last night? President Trump said that our great military was going to deliver the vaccine to all. He has a tremendous…tremendous General of Logistics on the case and the entire operation is going to be bigly.

      Reply
  6. bob

    Bret Weinstein

    I listened to him on Rogan once. He took over an hour to describe the intricacies and awesomeness of his politics. He could have done it with one word- Neoliberal.

    And now facebook is bad? Whocouldaknowd

    “Disaster is inevitable”

    Reply
    1. Howard Beale IV

      Apparently, regarding the Bret Weinstein Facebook debacle, it seems that he was algorithmically identified as purveying in that always hot-button issue ‘Holocaust Denial’ (the old code as law dynamic.) A Facebook droid stated that his account was reviewed and restored. Since I have no Facebook account I have no way of validating whether Weinstein’s account has been restored.

      Reply
    2. Michael Fiorillo

      What happened to him at Evergreen State was a shandah (shameful thing), and I thought he handled himself well when ganged up on while teaching, but he and his wife come off as kind of creepy/weird on their YouTube channel.

      Reply
      1. diptherio

        While the actions of the students at Evergreen weren’t exactly respectable, Weinstein himself has greatly misrepresented his beef with the University and all but slandered them in his depictions of their “Day of Absence/Day of Presence”.

        Reply
    3. flora

      an aside: Neoliberalism seems to me now, after consideration, like the new nihilism: all traditional values and beliefs are unfounded (except the value of money); belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake (and for making more money).

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye.
        Roszak’s Single Vision forced into first place in the boot-loader of civlisation.
        like taupe, once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

        Reply
        1. bob

          Imma blow your mind here…are you ready for it…

          We need markets, but we also need some sort of incentive structure….

          We can make markets better!

          YES! WE! CAN!

          Rotary Club Anarchist, to borrow my favorite diminutive again

          Reply
        2. flora

          Well, I guess I agree with him that “markets produce a huge amount of value” and “are amazingly innovative” , and also, “we don’t want markets ruling the planet and decide anything that spits out a profit is therefore good”.

          The New Deal was capitalist, the New Deal had markets. But the tail (markets) did not wag the dog in the New Deal (the US political system in it’s entire considerations of what was necessary). He’s not an elegant speaker about capitalism and markets, it’s not his field. But his instinct isn’t wrong, imo. The neoliberalistas would have me believe that 1.) markets are good, 2.) markets being good should guild US policy over markets, 3.) any attempt by US policy to fit markets in to the larger US concerns about US social capital violates #2 is is therefore unacceptable. I believe item 1, but don’t think that agreeing with item 1 means items 2 and 3 must follow. (I’m also not an elegant writer on capitalism. ;) )

          Reply
          1. flora

            shorter: the neoliberals think the US polity should fit itself into the “market” in a subordinate role, instead of the “market” being fitted into the US polity in a subordinate role. Which shall be subordinate, and why? “Markets” claim primacy in competing interests. I disagree with that claim. They’re important. Other claims are also important, equally important in many cases. Govt should not be the handmaiden of markets to the exclusion of other equally important competing interests: civil rights, health and welfare, etc.

            Reply
          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            The New Deal was about Ordered Capitalism under Law. With markets on a leash and a choke-chain.

            As long as the markets were a good little doggie, the public’s government leash-holder would not have to jerk the choke-chain.

            Reply
  7. drexciya

    The WHO trial which was referred to in the links, when talking about remdesivir, was bad. I’m guessing you’re referring to the WHO Solidarity trial, which used anti-virals to patients, who were already in the hospital. On the MedCram YouTube channel this trial was covered (Coronavirus Update 113: Remdesivir May Not Work for COVID 19), and in the comments this trial was torn apart because of that.

    Reply
  8. Carolinian

    Re Craig Murray, Twitter and Facebook–Isn’t the problem that we the sheeple have allowed ourselves to become “platformed” and that the social media serve no real purpose other than an appeal to vanity? Personally I’ve never used Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus etc and regard them as a menace. There’s email to communicate with friends and services (displaying other people’s ads….just like Facebook?) that allow you to create your own webpage. By this view the web circa 2002 was the good internet and the web circa 2020 has turned into something different.

    Perhaps that process was inevitable but it doesn’t have to be because we the web denizens still have control–at least for now. I’ve always believed that the early web’s libertarian approach to speech was what attracted users and that a Google switch from “don’t do evil” to “evil” (censorship) would do them great harm. Perhaps it will in the end but only if the public use alternatives. Yes computers are complicated and intimidating and Facebook is easy. But here’s suggesting that saving the web is something we can do.

    Reply
    1. Calypso Facto

      Hard to opt out when schools, social clubs (the few that remain), all the friends and family are on Fb or another platform.

      Reply
      1. flora

        “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

        Charles Mackay

        (h/t Jessie)

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i keep a duckblind on FB, so’s i can surveill my neighbors.
        in the interest of science, of course.
        used to have a lot more duckblinds, all over the place(including the swinger sites…which was even more fascinating,lol)
        the biggest takeaway of about 16 years of observation in a virtual space that is easily layered on the local meat space(ie: I know them in both spaces, but they don’t know it), is just how different people are online.
        meaner, crueller, more vain and vapid and toddlerish…extending to downright disturbing, in some cases.
        i should have kept better notes during all that, because i’ve never seen any other anthropological treatment of this.
        so i guess in some ways, socmed could be thought of as an extraordinary pressure relief valve. the problem is that everyone ends up taking it all seriously, and what used to be screaming into a pillow or discreet minor perversions bleeds out into real life.
        we are strange and marvelous creatures, capable of sublime beauty and the darkest horrors.

        Reply
        1. Calypso Facto

          Yeah. This is a very profound recognition (that people online are meaner, more vapid, more cruel) than in meatspace; I wish more people who joined The Online as fully-formed adults were aware. I am just young/old enough that I was a teenager when the mid-90s bbs/irc (Web 1.0) was being implemented across the non-academic/non-corporate north american internet, but by the time Social/Mobile Internet (Web 3.0, or 2.5, however you wish to describe it) I was already a professional tech worker and utterly jaded and cynical. I’ve never had a Fb account, or ‘posted’ regularly anywhere following my disenchantment at the beginning of Web 2.0. This level of resistance over more than a decade was probably the most difficult (social) personality quirk I’ve held the line on the entire time. Its not like you get anything out of doing this (most people don’t actually enjoy writing emails or keeping up with friendships by them) other than the peace of mind that comes from not sinking your time/energy into a crappy mirage of the real world.

          Reply
        2. Carolinian

          Sorkin wrote that movie about the origins of Facebook (The Social Network) and how it started as a page where Harvard students could rate each dorm’s women on a one to ten basis (and not rate as in intellectually). Needless to say those who got a one were mortified.

          I’ve never used it, but a friend loves it as a kind of “about me” page. Which maybe is a useful thing for professionals–a resume on the web.

          But I do believe it’s time to question this notion of a platform intervening between users and the web and why it is even necessary. Controlling what we see has always been the dream of TPTP.

          Reply
  9. timbers

    Debate:

    Took a look at the fun comments regarding the debate from yesterday’s NC.

    Several NC comments noted when Trump was a on warmonger subject, Biden replied by saying he’d be an even bigger warmonger than Trump and tried to out Republican Republicans in that area.

    After my final exit from Team Blue, I kept pointing out to my Blue friends at the time that especially obvious & troubling was how Obama & Hillary (and Rachel too) turned Dems into bigger warmongers than GWB & Republicans.

    Some Team Blue friends were so upset by that opinion they unfriended me on FB (when I was still on it) and one even said I was making racial statements (presumably because his Awesomeness Nobel Laureate Obama).

    Reply
    1. John A

      Not being American, I did not watch the debate, but the headline in the ever neutral Guardian this morning about the debate was ‘Biden thrashes Trump…’

      Reply
        1. WobblyTelomeres

          I watched it. Could only think it a bunch of mal-arky. Decided to write in Nick Saban, who actually led his players in a BLM march. In Alabama. While wearing a mask. He can afford some very comfortable shoes.

          Reply
          1. John Beech

            Thing is Saban would have a process to get things done and Congress wouldn’t cooperate because dictator. Roll Tide!

            Reply
            1. dougie

              Err’body needs a WWNSD bracelet , or hat. Roll Tide! OTOH, the NCAA should be declared an illegal cartel, and disbanded.

              Reply
      1. The Historian

        The spin machine is up and running this morning. Who won depends on who you read. Biggest takeaway for the GOP spinsters was that Trump actually controlled himself for an hour and a half. Who knew he could do that!

        In any event, you can be sure that the American public didn’t win.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          My take on the 1st debate was that Trump was trying to get Biden to lose his cool as a deliberate tactic. He should have quit after it became clear a few minutes in that Biden wasn’t taking the bait – Biden’s people must have juiced him with the good tranquilizers that night – but he had no crowd to read to see how his shtick was playing and he doesn’t possess the smarts to just switch course.

          Not that it really matters, because as you noted, we all still lose either way.

          Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I am an american, I did watch the debate, and I can assure you that biden did not “thrash” Trump.

        Thrashing was very much on the biden menu, however. Among the promised thrashings should biden become president were covid, racism, mask and social distancing refuseniks, the oil industry, wealthy corporations, North Korea, Russia, China and covid again.

        Apparently good governance that brings people together involves one cage match after another waged by a washed-up, geriatric former Corn Pop tamer.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          Now that you mention it, I’m actually kind of surprised that Trump never started using the whole Corn Pop thing as a cudgel.

          But this is really the first election I remember where neither side seems to really want to win. In the middle of a pandemic, you’d think one of them would at least lie about being in favor of M4A.

          Reply
          1. John Beech

            I’d pay good money to see a boxing ring-size platform (or octagon, pick) erected on the Mall complete with two mic equipped lecterns, and Trump standing at one of them issuing a challenge. Loads of cameras (roll up the truck from Monday night Football productions), and no moderator or mute button.

            Wait for Biden to show (he will) and then let ’em have at it, no holds barred verbal conflict, until one wins.

            Reply
              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                Would THAT at least, and at long last, leave an opening for the tag team of Double-H and Jo-Jo to swoop in and clear both those clowns out of the ring?

                Reply
          2. timbers

            Speaking of M4A, if Barrett is to be the new Supreme presumably Obamacare insurance mandate could be ruled unconstitutional. That will affect states like Massachusetts that still mandate insurance. But we can rest assured no doubt Biden has a backup plan for that possibility shld Obamacare be struck down and thus block Bidencare.

            Reply
        2. Darthbobber

          I learned from this “debate” that each candidate has passably competent, though unimaginative and uninspired, journeyman scriptwriter and handlers, and that each is capable of holding their own as long as they stick to the scripts and avoid improvisation.
          Of course, I knew this before the debate happened, and debates in such formats are pretty much designed to foreclose the possibility of learning anything more.

          This is what Leonard-Duran 10 might have looked like had it been allowed to drag on so long.

          Reply
          1. chuck roast

            If by “passably competent” you mean they could each speak english, then yes, they were passably competent. If by “holding their own [and] stick to the script” you mean they spoke english in complete, rational, coherent sentences then I would have to disagree with you. I rather preferred the two of them interrupting one another, yelling at one another and talking over one another to each having the time and space to demonstrate their utter, absolute and complete incompetence. These guys couldn’t pass and interview to sweep the floor in my old apartment building.

            Reply
        3. flora

          Biden didn’t thrash T? But…but… all the TV talking heads who took over the airtime after the debate assured me that the Norwegian Blue parrot was sleeping Biden did thrash T. Both NBC and ABC bobble heads assured me. You mean they were…. wrong? *gasp* ;)

          Reply
        4. Rod

          “America’s Great Divide: Frank Luntz Interview | FRONTLINE” [YouTube (Geof)]. • Grab a cup of coffee. Luntz is on the right, but he’s very sharp (and, amazingly, he actually does listen to people).

          From LS in Water Cooler yesterday: the whole interview is very clarifying about why we are here, now.

          Reply
    2. Code Name D

      I have come to call them the Biden-brownshirts. A guaranteed cancel right there. My family are deep-deep residences of Biden-land. Right now, they keep going on and on about Biden’s dogs. Any notion that Biden is less-than-perfect is treated with extreme hostility.

      Reply
      1. Dirk77

        Your relatives seem to belong to the black-and-white people: Biden is all good and Trump is all bad, or vice versa, etc. For me as time has gone on, I see more and more only in gray. So the b&w people puzzle me. One might think it’s a question of intelligence. Yet ancient Greece had a culture based on the principle of the Golden Mean. I would like to think it is a question of training, a learned way of viewing the world, but? Anyways, if you have any insight as to your relatives’s behavior, please enlighten me.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          To your point, I was in NYC to see my MDs. Not to go all Tom Friedman, but the commentary every cabbie I spoke with was tantamount to giving Trump an F and Biden at best a D. None was keen about Biden and every one had specifics on his shortcomings.

          Reply
          1. Dirk77

            After you mentioned this, I called a relative who drives for Lyft in a city that is very Blue. The relative said naturally that everyone there pretty much hates Trump, but few are wild about Biden and the opinion of Biden has dropped recently. And people do give their reasons about the latter. (To hate Trump doesn’t need to be explained apparently.) So that anecdotal data backs up yours. Less b&w people than one might expect, which is a good thing in my view. Though my relative did say I was going to get an ___ whooping if I didn’t vote for Biden.

            Reply
        2. Code Name D

          My family largely reflects the opinions fed to them by MSBC. My dad watches Rachel Maddow every day and refuses to entertain any notions that she might be biased or less-than accurate. He actually calls ME the “good German” for refusing to believe her constant Russa-Russa-Russa narrative and has become quite paranoid that all of my sources are in-fact Russian disinformation sources. Remember the children-in-cages photo that circulated exposing Trump’s immigrant-children program. When I told him that the photo was taken in 2014, he FLATLY told me that it was a Russian deep fake.

          My mother is an armature historian. Somehow, her history has been re-written to the degree that the racial turmoil of the 1960s was a Russian product. The Black Panthers, the KKK, were really Russian ops. Even MLK Jr was likely under Russian influence in some form. There was even a slip-of-the-tongue moment when she blamed these operations on Puten. When I challenged her on this, she corrected herself to say it as Nikita Khrushchev. She was completely gob-smacked when I returned that it was the Democratic Party that first funded and enabled the first KKK waves in the south. A fact that she taught me when I was younger. So, there is a lot of rewriting history going on as well.

          I often argue that the real power of propaganda is not the lies they feed you, but with keeping you isolated from any information that might challenge the official narrative. So, for the residence of Biden land, its really just as simple as watching cable news. When a story is retracted, it is NEVER retracted on cable news, but only in the on-line text version, thus cable news stories ALWAYS retain their validity. Of Maddow says it, it must be true.

          Meanwhile, contrary evidence is always the result of the poisoned-well. And all internet sources are, by definition, Russian propaganda sources. Making me a danger to Democracy.

          I have no idea how to even challenge this intellectual death-grip the media has on them. Let alone hot to break it.

          It reminds me of a story when American soldiers liberated a Jewish death camp. Normally, US troops are reasonably well disciplined and leave German civilians alone when-ever possible. But the horrors they encountered were so extreme that they collectively lost it. In an organized fashion, they stormed the nearby town and dragged the citizens back at gun-point to show them what they saw, even executing some in front of the survivors in the name of some missed placed sense of justice. The Germans had no idea what went on in the camp. I can only imagine what they were thinking on that day. Maybe I don’t want to know.

          But I fear it make take something like that to break the Democrats hold on a lot of people. I am convinced that the true fascist threat is coming from the Democrats.

          Reply
          1. Dirk77

            Thank you for your comments. Needless to say I have many relatives and friends who have gone b&w on some issues, TDS being the main one. Perhaps I suffer from it to. Better self-accuse myself in the mirror every morning as the race reductionists recommend.

            Reply
          2. chuck roast

            This is a sad tale indeed. I recommend that you put a positive spin on it by going to Toys R Us (do they still exist) and buying the biggest “death ray” that you can find. Tart it up so that it looks really weaponish and bring it to your next family gathering. Inform your family that it is a “Putin Mind Bender” that your neighbor had been using on you and all of your other neighbors. He was discovered and exposed by CIA/FBI/NSA operatives who arrested him and are currently exposing him to water torture…uh, I mean enhanced interrogation so that he will rat-out all of the other Fancy Bear operatives in the area. Anyway, the important thing is that you are going to be alright.

            Reply
          3. LifelongLib

            The belief that the Soviet Union was behind student protests, civil rights groups etc. was pretty common among conservatives in the 60s and 70s. And I don’t doubt the Soviets sent a few bucks to anybody they thought was making the U.S. look bad. They weren’t a serious influence though, any more than “Russians” were in 2016.

            Reply
    1. pjay

      “Russophrenia – a condition where the sufferer believes Russia is both about to collapse, and take over the world.”

      Thanks for the link. Patrick Armstrong is always a useful antidote to the latest anti-Russian hysteria. His last paragraph expresses the same sentiment as I just did below:

      “All this would be funny if it were Ruritania ranting at the Duchy of Strackenz. But it isn’t: it’s the country with the most destructive military in the world and a proven record of using it ad libitum that is sinking into this insanity. And that’s not good for any of us.”

      Reply
      1. John Beech

        Good thing I’m not in charge because I’d find a way to make real peace with the Russians. We blew the opportunity of a lifetime in 1989 when the wall fell. Europe is the less for it. Sigh. Ditto the Chinese. We have problems aplenty and I believe we can work together to sort these all out. Bet it takes less than one day plus maybe a few bottles of vodka, beer, or whisky, pick.

        Reply
        1. Kilgore Trout

          +1 I think Trump’s efforts at talking with N.Korea suggest you’re right. IIRC, Bolton, Pompeo, and others in Trump’s adm worked hard behind the scenes to assure failure of Korea talks. Our record since the Wall fell is illustrative: among many examples–expansion of NATO eastward from 16 to 29, and Ukraine adventures point to US as real threat to world. No one has killed more brown people this century than Old Gory, and no other nation has promised/threatened to kill still more. “Cuz freedom.”

          Reply
        2. km

          1. A scary enemy is needed to justify empire, not to mention sky high military and spy budgets. Why are we constantly invading and attacking and sanctioning countries we don’t like? Is it really because scary enemy, or is it because we are glorified robbers?

          2. A scary enemy is necessary to head off calls for domestic reform. (“We don’t have time for education/healthcare/infrastructure/etc. now! What are you, some kind of commie? Don’t you know we gotta fight Saddam/Milosevic/Bin Laden/Saddam again/Putin/Assad/Maduro/Kim/Xi?“)

          Reply
        3. Amfortas the hippie

          I agree completely.
          bushies and clintonists and the reaganites among them really screwed all that up, but good.
          that’s the first time i really paid attention to foreign policy in any meaningful way, after the wall fell.(aside from minor awareness of iran contra, and such)
          what a different world this would be if another path had been taken then.
          “not one inch eastward”.

          Reply
  10. Lex

    ‘No Matter Who Wins, The War Machine Wins’

    A loose alliance of nationless oligarchs who use governments as weapons have secured control over a large empire-like cluster of nations with economic and military might loosely centralized around the United States. In order to gain more power and ensure its ongoing hegemony, this oligarchic empire must keep expanding by absorbing more nations and brutalizing them if they resist.

    AKA ‘The Borg’. With the resisting Federation being represented by Russia, China, and Iran? Putin will be playing Picard?

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      And don’t forget the Fracking Machine!

      Funny how the two biggest money-losers *and* planet-destroyers of all time are Not To Be Questioned. At least fracking might eventually (but probably too late) be disciplined by what’s left of The Market.

      Reply
    2. pjay

      Using this super-secret classified “voter registration information” that they stole, the next phase in the dastardly plan by the Russians and Iranians will be to send out fake summons to jury duty, throwing potential voters into a mass panic and thereby “sowing discord.”

      The ever-increasing absurdity of this BS would be hilarious if the result wasn’t so devastating. Caitlin is always worth reading, but this one is a particularly good overview of our current situation, nicely illustrated in last night’s “debate.” As she points out, its heads we lose, tails the Borg wins.

      Reply
  11. Stanley Dundee

    From Chance for Chile to forge new path in vote to scrap Pinochet-era constitution:

    Chiefly authored by the Pinochet adviser Jaime Guzmán, the 1980 constitution enshrined the neoliberal philosophies of the Chicago Boys, a group of Chilean conservatives mentored by the US economist Milton Friedman.

    Historian Nancy MacLean has much to say about the role of neoliberal eminence James Buchanan in the crafting that constitution in her 2017 book Democracy in Chains:

    [It] was Buchanan who guided Pinochet’s team in how to arrange things so that even when the country finally returned to representative institutions, its capitalist class would be all but permanently entrenched in power. The first stage was the imposition of radical structural transformation influenced by Buchanan’s ideas; the second stage, to lock the transformation in place, was the kind of constitutional revolution Buchanan had come to advocate. Whereas the U.S. Constitution famously enshrined checks and balances to prevent majorities from abusing their power over minorities, this one, a Chilean critic later complained, bound democracy with locks and bolts (p. 155)

    Reply
  12. Drake

    “What I Learned in Twitter Purgatory The Atlantic. From September, still german:”

    Sometimes typos make me laugh. Or was it? ;)

    Reply
  13. a different chris

    > amid speculation over why his hands are badly bruised and covered in band-aids

    Underground Fight Club, c’mon that’s not hard! :D

    (since the Dems don’t put up any fight at all, ole Mitch needed to find another outlet for his pugnacious nature)

    Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        That’s why he was fighting an inflatable Nancy Pelosi punching bag doll. I think it was the extra layer of neoprene on the heavy duty model that caused the hand bruising.

        Reply
      2. a different chris

        I dunno. For instance, you can’t accuse him of having a “glass jaw” as he seems to have no visible jaw at all.

        Reply
    1. Lex

      In the range of blood thinners available, those pictures suggest one of the more hideous but effective — warfarin or Coumadin — …

      ‘Warfarin was first developed in 1948 through research and development of rodent (rat) poisons. Since warfarin is tasteless and odorless, it was effective when mixed with food to bait rodents. Rodents would return to the bait and continue to feed until lethal doses of the drug was consumed.’

      …and in McConnell’s case, ironic.

      Reply
      1. edmondo

        Maybe he hasn’t returned yet. Give him time.

        The best part is that Amy McGrath thinks the only way to win is to do everything Mitch does. It’s a too-fer!

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          “Yes I’ll be everything Mitch is but will be a Democrat and have no power as a freshman even if we do take the Senate! Why wouldn’t you vote for me? Oh and militarymilitarymilitary!”

          Heck if I was in Kentucky I’d vote for Mitch rather than her.

          Reply
  14. GramSci

    Pro forma, The Guardian garbles the story on the Chilean constitutional vote. The Conversation frames the issues more clearly (unless, pro forma, the referendum actually *is* garbled) :

    On Oct. 25, Chile will hold a referendum that asks voters two questions: Should Chile convene a constitutional convention to write a brand-new constitution? If so, who should write that constitution – an assembly comprising half congressional representatives and half citizens, or an assembly comprising just citizens?

    Experts predict voters will vote for a new constitution written by their fellow Chileans.

    https://theconversation.com/chile-puts-its-constitution-on-the-ballot-after-year-of-civil-unrest-147832

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Although if Biden is secretly working for the Chinese that might almost be a relief compared to Pompeo who seems to want to start a war with them (or something–I don’t understand Trump’s China policy at all).

      Downside would be a war with Russia setting off the Doomsday Device (they actually have one) and the finale of Dr. Strangelove, original pie fight removed.

      Reply
    2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

      I’ll make a prediction: once we know for certain via wire transfer records that The Big Guy received money in return for advancing the interests of foreign powers while he was the VP, it will either over for Biden or else it will be over for America.

      Reply
      1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

        LOL and now an email where Hunter was arranging a jaunty trip to Mexico for his Burisma pals, but the U.S. embassy tells him “um you probably shouldn’t do that because they’ll be arrested at the airport” (LOL Mexico) so Hunter says “No problem I’ll have the Big Guy call his man on the Pemex board” et voila.

        (Cue the people saying like the Bidet campaign is that it’s Russian propaganda LOL while simultaneously refusing to say it’s wrong or inaccurate in any way).

        Reply
  15. Henry Moon Pie

    An excerpt from an article on Resilience.org arguing for a return to animism:

    The two elements destroyed during at least the last 4,000 years of history were the spirituality of human beings and their consequent recognition of that natural force. A process that today reaches its extreme expression in modern, industrial, capitalist, technocratic and patriarchal civilization, for which spirit and nature are a hindrance. The first assault was the conversion of spirituality into religiosity, into institutions of power that used the spirit as a pretext. The longstanding deities were transformed into gods, then went from polytheism to monotheism, until arriving at male gods, arrogant and intolerant. Polytheism in love with life gave way to monotheism fascinated with death (Michel Onfray, Cosmos: Una ontología materialista, 2016: 55). The great massacres and tremendous genocides suffered by the human species were validated or sponsored by the greatest monotheisms during colonialism, fascism, communism and imperialism, and with the recent holy wars.

    Reply
    1. Maritimer

      “A process that today reaches its extreme expression in modern, industrial, capitalist, technocratic and patriarchal civilization….”

      There are a number of existential scholars who believe we are building the machines which will destroy us. Ironic that the machines we build and love and build some more are actually anti-human. Hard to convince anyone of that when the next app just came out and the latest iphone arrives.

      Machines have destroyed our financial system right before our very eyes yet that obvious destruction is not observed or reported on.

      On to the next geegaw that will improve our existence; damn the unintended (or maybe intended) consequences.

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      This is perhaps an older form of “official narrative imposition” – currently anyone who dares question the prerorgatives of the Imperial Hegemon or the evil-Rooskies-hacked-our-great-democracy-and-stole-our-precious-bodily-fluids narrative is labeled a Putin stooge and conspiracy theorist; whereas the rise of the leading-brand monotheistic “great religions” was accompanied by a relegation of all the earlier ones to a lumping-under the derogatory term “pagan”, which my PC’s dictionary defines simply as “a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.”

      The accompanying word-origin section reveals an interesting parallel re-rendering from the original Latin into a word with derogatory implications:

      ORIGIN late Middle English : from Latin paganus ‘villager, rustic,’ from pagus ‘country district.’ Latin paganus also meant ‘civilian,’ becoming, in Christian Latin, ‘heathen’ (i.e., one not enrolled in the army of Christ).

      Reply
    1. edmondo

      The more likely explanation is that some lobbyist dropped a $1000 in the Senate cloakroom and there was a mad scramble to get the cash. Stormy Daniels would have made a good senator.

      Reply
      1. Brian (another one they call)

        Q. Who could beat Mitch to a bruising finish and get away with it?
        A. His wife.
        really, who else could do that to someone taking blood thinners. He looks like he suffered an hypoxic interlude with a thrashing thrown in. Veinous collapse?
        Just wondering as it covers most of the area he exposes to sunlight.

        Reply
        1. Calypso Facto

          the thought of Mitch McConnell getting the sh!t kicked out of him by his CCP mandarin wife gave me a genuine grin this bleak morning, thank you

          Reply
    2. Yves Smith

      Hah, but seriously, could be blood thinners gone wild, as some have suggested, or an auto-immune disease, like scleroderma or dermatomyositis. But both of them are pretty rare.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Why did McConnell not have something ready for the press? Actually doing a true bald-faced lie is stupid when anyone with eyes can see something happened.

        Say something like I fell down or I ran into something. Even, I got into a fight or my medication was screwed up are all plausible, if embarrassing, explanations for someone at any age. Instead he lied to a reporter and got his purpled face in the newspaper.

        Reply
  16. LawnDart

    How Bankruptcy Code Protects Lenders and Harms Student Debtors

    Attorney Austin Smith should be commended for his work, and as an oddity in his chosen profession: a lawyer who does the right thing. Normally the only place you might find a good attorney is either at the morgue or at the bottom of a lake wearing cinderblock loafers.

    Lawyers as a species tend to be more blood-thirsty than female mosquitoes, or leeches, minus the social benefits, as their personalities are such as to be as an effective a birth control as is castration.

    For now, we shall sing Smith’s praises: after the revolution, we should hang him last.

    Reply
    1. Clem

      Not even one mention of this lawyer, who barely got through law school and then went on to serve the corporate masters headquartered in the state which he represented in the senate for 40 plus years.

      How Biden Helped Strip Bankruptcy Protection From Millions Just Before a Recession

      Biden championed the notorious (and ill named) 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA). A more appropriate name could have been the Act to Protect Credit Card Companies and Shaft Students and Workers. It also is solely responsible for the fact that student loan debt is totally impossible to dismiss — even after one has declared bankruptcy

      https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/06/biden_backed_brutal_bankruptcy_bill_in_2005.html

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        If you like your nondischargeable, overwhelming, soul-crushing student loan debt, you can keep it. In perpetuity.

        They love him in Scranton.

        Reply
      2. anon in so cal

        Shortly after implementing that cruel bankruptcy legislation at MBNA’s behest, Hunter Biden got a $100,000 retainer from MBNA:

        “During the years that Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. was helping the credit card industry win passage of a law making it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection, his son had a consulting agreement that lasted five years with one of the largest companies pushing for the changes, aides to Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign acknowledged Sunday.

        Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, received consulting fees from the MBNA Corporation from 2001 to 2005 for work on online banking issues. Aides to Mr. Obama, who chose Mr. Biden as his vice-presidential running mate on Saturday, would not say how much the younger Mr. Biden, who works as both a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington,…”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/25/us/politics/25biden.html

        Reply
    2. bruce

      There’s at least one retired lawyer looking at your comment right now. I am not a mosquito or a leech. I’m the guy who helped hundreds of people get a fair shake in their divorces and occasionally saved a marriage. I’m the guy who made sure other people’s real estate deals went through on advantageous terms or not at all. The American courthouse is the palace of your civil rights as an American citizen, it’s where they go home, and we’re the people who escort you inside and stand up for you. You can hold capital to account there in ways you can’t do anywhere else in the world. We stand in between you and things like financial ruination and jail time.

      How easily are the ignorant swayed by corporate propaganda, and it is sad but true that their votes count just as much as mine in an election.

      I have been commended by the California Bar for “outstanding contributions to the delivery of pro bono legal services”. In 1995 I burned out, so I went inactive and closed my firm. From one of the marriages I saved, the guy (who is now my closest living male friend), his wife (native Taiwanese, long since naturalized American) and I co-founded several IT startups. We didn’t make a LOT of money, but it was fun, and for me, hella educational. 2001 I moved to Oregon, and in 2007, to the great surprise of everyone who knows me, the Port Orford City Council appointed me Municipal Court Judge and I served for ten years, one afternoon a month, before retiring from that. Speeding drivers, loose dogs, drunken teenagers and worst of all, the passionate tree cases. Do people in PO care about their trees, whaddaya think? It’s the kind of place where people will come right up to you on the sidewalk and say “You’re usually a pretty good judge, but you were dead wrong on the tree thing” to which I would reply “City Hall is over there [points] and you know that the day after Court Day is City Council Day, when Snow White gets together with his six dwarves, and if you can turn any four of those people against me, you get to stand by the door and sing ‘na-na-na na, na-na-na na, hey hey, goodbye’ at me as I make my final departure. Pending that, GOOD DAY SIR/MA’AM!”

      Now I’m just a cranky old fart, but I still do occasional public advocacy and am known to the Public Utilities Commission staff in both of my states. I AM PROUD TO BE A LAWYER!

      Reply
      1. LawnDart

        Minus your sandpaper skin and rising to the chum as would a bull charging a flag, you sound like a pretty good guy.

        After the revolution, perhaps we should hang you second to last..?

        Reply
  17. .Tom

    Aaron Maté said that Biden could hammer Trump for the con of having done the opposite of swamp drainage. True I don’t think it would help him because a) just more “anything but Trump” and b) sounds ridiculous and revolting when swamp monsters like Biden say it.

    Reply
    1. The Historian

      Trump just replaced the alligators in the swamp with crocodiles. And if Biden wins, he will replace the crocodiles with the alligators. The swamp won’t know the difference.

      Reply
      1. bruce

        But the people will. Alligators rarely kill people, they’re confined to their habitat and you can avoid them by avoiding the Southeast. Crocodiles kill people in Africa all the time.

        Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      I once got on a CTO’s shitlist for quoting Bill Joy about Windows NT in my email signature. (Microsoft was one of our customers.) Remember which party the IC piled into over the past few years.

      Reply
  18. .Tom

    Zephyr Teachout is right. Giant incumbents benefit from regulation since only they have the resources to comfortably manage the complexities. GDPR. HIPPA. ETC.

    Reply
    1. BillC

      Teachout mentions “PK,” presumably Public Knowledge, which long ago took on the key legal strategist of the old Media Access Project (MAP), Harold Feld, as senior vice president. Back in 2002-2011, MAP and Feld were allies in the fight to keep the FCC from rubber-stamping “FM move-ins” to major urban markets from the communities little rural FM stations had long served, “earning” the owners huge windfalls when they sold out to media conglomerates. Harold was always a strong advocate for community service, diverse ownership, and small-d democratic media, so I have always assumed PK is equally committed to those values.

      Now Teachout tweets that PK is “funded by big tech.” Does anyone here know whether this is substantially correct and, if so, has it has turned PK into a real ally of big tech at the expense of the old MAP traditions that I have long assumed it carried forward?

      Reply
  19. marym

    Re: Bidencare mess

    According to his campaign website when I last checked there were 4 ways to get whatever the public option is – which itself may be more than one thing, if the “anyone” in the first example has “lower” premiums and deductibles as referenced in the Biden tweet, and someone qualifying under the second example has “premium free” coverage.

    anyone if “your insurance company isn’t doing right by you”

    premium-free access to the public option for those 4.9 million individuals who would be eligible for Medicaid but for their state’s inaction, and making sure their public option covers the full scope of Medicaid benefits.

    states that have already expanded Medicaid will have the choice of moving the expansion population to the premium-free public option as long as the states continue to pay their current share of the cost of covering those individuals.

    automatically enrolling people making below 138% of the federal poverty when they interact with certain institutions (such as public schools) or other programs (such as SNAP

    Does Medicare-like mean Medicare Advantage-like private-insurance? Does it cover dependents? (Not serious questions, because this is not a serious proposal).

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I could be wrong, but I don’t think the “healthcare” insurance industry has written the “bidencare” bill yet.

      In order to avoid another faux pas like pelosi’s unfortunate “you’ve got to pass the bill to find out what’s in it” wrt obamacare, I understand they’ve decided to just write it after the dem house passes it, and avoid the whole messy scrutiny of “what’s in it” altogether.

      They’re not too concerned about anything biden might blab about because he’s running for president and he’s got to say something and, what with the Alzheimer’s, nobody expects it to make much sense anywayzzzzzzz.

      Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “No Matter Who Wins, The War Machine Wins”

    I think that Caitlin nails it with her description of present times as a slow-motion third world war. When you hear all these press conferences talking about China, Russia, Iran doing this, that and the other they really do lay it on thick. It is just so brown and smelly and steamy all at the same time. How can they keep a straight face while doing this? Until yesterday I use to think of the FBI as a law enforcement organization but now I believe them when they describe themselves as an intelligence organization.

    A few days ago they were describing the hacking of computers of all these organization which actually included the Olympics. That one struck me as odd but then I thought about it. The Olympics got cancelled this year and I doubt that they will be taking place next year. You know how Lambert sometimes says that he is doing a clear-out of collected links in Water Cooler? I think that it was the same here. Based on what happened in the past, suppose that if the Olympics had gone ahead, that the west would spread this bs story of Russia “hacking’ the Olympics and to use it to get the Russian athletes kicked out of the games. The west has form here. But with the Olympics cancelled, they had no use for this story and so this week, decided to use it rather than let it go to waste.

    Reply
  21. ss

    On that meeting yesterday mentioned in the VF piece about EUA:
    https://www.statnews.com/2020/10/23/fda-shows-signs-of-cold-feet-over-emergency-authorization-of-covid-19-vaccines/

    “Whereas a few weeks ago the agency’s concern was to protect against the possibility that unproven vaccines would be pushed out prematurely due to pressure from President Trump, now the fear is that early authorization of vaccine could squander a one-time chance to determine how well the various vaccines work and which work best in whom.

    Marion Gruber, director of the FDA’s office of vaccines research and review, put the issue on the table when members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee began to discuss a series of questions FDA staff posed at the end of a grueling day-long virtual meeting Thursday.

    “We are concerned about the risk that use of a vaccine under an EUA would interfere with long-term assessment of safety and efficacy in ongoing trials and potentially even jeopardize product approval,” Gruber said. “And not only the first vaccine, but maybe even follow-on vaccines.”

    Reply
  22. pjay

    I just logged on and had this interesting Guardian article posted in my Firefox “Recommended” feed:

    ‘Why New Zealand rejected populist ideas other nations have embraced’

    It seems the victory of Ardern and Labour in NZ was a tremendous victory for *Centrism* and against “Populism,” according to the article. Also according to the article, “populism” = “conspiracy theory” = right-wing authoritarianism a la Trump or Bolsonaro.

    I’ll have to check with Thomas Frank on that definition of “populism.” But it sounds like if only we could get Biden elected, we could be just like New Zealand! Yea!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/19/why-new-zealand-rejected-populist-ideas-other-nations-have-embraced?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    Reply
  23. Mikel

    “We are governed now in private, by entities that make their own rules and are answerable to no process. Disaster is inevitable. We are living it. pic.twitter.com/JBTFH2devl

    — Bret Weinstein (@BretWeinstein) October 22, 2020

    Call it “Automated Rentierism”

    The illusion of progress is one of the main ways the establishment attempts to maintain legitimacy. Indoctrinated in the education system to worship faux “technological progress”, people accept the crapification of everything in their lives.
    And as long as some profit from it (it could be thru stock), they really do not care about the future…omly their own comfort while they are here.

    I don’t know what to tell people to do except to be ready. Any thing you can do to undermine the system, no more matter how miniscule, should be done at any opportunity you get. Be safe and be Ninja like…just be prepared for your opportunity whenever it strikes.

    Reply
  24. anon in so cal

    >Horrifying Biden statements about North Korea. How many millions would be killed if war breaks out?

    Biden and Obama allowed North Korea to progress toward nuclear capability. Now, calling North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un a “thug”? How does that help diplomacy? The last nation to renounce its nuclear capability and turn to the West was Libya. How did that work out for them?

    “Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday he agreed with a former top military official’s view that the United States and North Korea are closer than ever to nuclear war.

    Biden said in an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff that he agreed with former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen’s comment Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that the U.S. is “closer… to a nuclear war with North Korea” than at any previous point in history….”

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/joe-biden-believes-u-s-is-closer-than-ever-to-nuclear-war

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Yes and when I walk from my home office to the living room I am closer to South America than I was before…still a bit of a hike to get there, in truth.

      But if we don’t have monsters abroad they might have to deal with real issues. Also, if NK was really dangerous they wouldn’t actually be talking about it, would they? That’s Strategy 101 for chrissakes.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        If anyone with power in Washington was serious about trying to prevent a nuclear war with North Korea they would have kept to the 1994 Agreed Framework. Instead Bush stopped adhering to it, seemingly in the belief that North Korea was close to falling apart. Then he declared war on Iraq, lying about their nonexistent WMD’s as a pretext and included North Korea in the “Axis Of Evil” as well. Not surprisingly it seems like the North Koreans figured that the agreement being dead their best chance to avoid being next on the list for bombing and invasion was to produce their own nuclear weapons.

        As things sit now, how are they (or any other country) going to believe anything the US government says when it comes to future arms control treaties?

        Reply
  25. a different chris

    All these medications are being claimed to Really Work as long as you take them soon enough, which unfortunately seems to be basically before you have any symptoms.

    If you could see the future like that, you could simply avoid the dude/dudette that gave it to you and skip the whole thing.

    Reply
  26. bruce

    +1 for spelling ‘borshch” correctly, rarely seen in America. Many different countries have their own versions. I used to have an alternate Cyrillic keyboard but lost it when I did something stupid and had to reset my box to factory status, and I haven’t gotten around to reinstalling it. A good borshch has many ingredients and takes a long time to make. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish borshch from its cousin great soup, shchi, which has more cabbages in it. Shchi i kasha pischeh nasha (Cabbage soup and grits is our dish). I have surrendered in the pirozhki pronunciation war and stopped explaining to people why just one of them is a pirozhok.

    A murmuration of starlings, huh? Did you know that owls come in parliaments and skylarks come in exaltations?

    Quite a plump lump in the antidote, I’m guessing that’s an all-indoor cat from the body style. My plump lump is solid black.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      My dad’s side of the family is both Russian and Ukranian so either way I have that dish as part of my heritage. Funny thing though, I don’t want it! Neither myself, my father, his parents and relatives liked it either and I never saw a single bowl of it on any family table.

      Same thing with haggis on the maternal Scottish side of the family!

      Reply
  27. lordkoos

    With no supporting evidence, twitter claimed I was a bot and locked me out of my account (not suspended) until I provided my cell phone number to them… held me hostage basically. I was really torn about giving it to them but relented in the end as it had been over a week and although I sent them a lot of emails to try to clear it up, they were all answered by… bots. I never had a human respond to review my case.

    Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      In the tech world, there are essentially no humans with which to communicate, only bots and automated, canned replies. It is another mechanism for avoiding any sort of accountability—which is the ultimate goal of capitalism and greed and self-centered ideologies. I’d reckon that the desire to be unaccountable is even stronger than the lust for money or power—without exemption from accountability, all the money and power in the world will be inadequate to satisfy the base, primal lusts driving capitalism.

      Reply
  28. chuck roast

    Does this adequately describe your experience?

    ex-tor-tion: the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.

    Reply
  29. Kurt Sperry

    Late commenting, but the piece Imagining the End of Capitalism With Kim Stanley Robinson Jacobin was a nice antidote to self-pitying doomerism, and nihilistic “burn it all down” rebirth millenialism. I recommend it.

    Reply

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