Links 10/28/2020

Yves here. We are already getting rain and thunder from Zeta (see below) and Birmingham is prone to power outages. So if we come up short on posts, you’ll know why.

For vampire bats, social distancing while sick comes naturally ScienceDaily (Kevin W)

Sharks Wash Up on Beaches, Stabbed by Swordfish New York Times (resilc)

Secrets of Math From the Bee Whisperer Quanta (David L)

Giant Asteroid Survivor of Failed Planet Discovered to Be Slowly Rusting in Space ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

‘Sleeping giant’ Arctic methane deposits starting to release, scientists find Guardian (David L)

Zeta expected to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast Wednesday Yale Climate Connections (UserFriendly). Big winds expected here. We may lose power if trees go down.

Ottawa argues youth-led climate change lawsuit too broad to be tried in court CBC. HJR:

This article from Sept. 30, 2020 explains the case brought in Canada’s Federal Court by a youth group.

At the end of the article, there is a link to a CBC radio program which gives an overview of this and other cases.

Mr. Justice Manson of the Federal Court (of Canada) ruled today (Oct. 27, 2020) against the plaintiffs, and in favour of the Canadian government.

I’ll provide a link to an article about today’s decision when one becomes available in English.


How Indigenous Communities in Canada Organized an Exemplary Public Health Response to COVID Scientific American (Dr. Kevin)

Russia Orders National Mask Mandate As COVID-19 Cases Spike CBS


A Flu Shot Might Reduce Coronavirus Infections, Early Research Suggests Scientific American (Dr. Kevin)

Regional and global contributions of air pollution to risk of death from COVID-19 Cardiovascular Research

Thromboembolism, CV Complications Common in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients American College of Cardiology

New research identifies those most at risk from ‘long COVID’ Kings College London


France Emerges as Covid-19 Epicenter as Cases Surge Across Europe Wall Street Journal

EU warns not enough COVID vaccines for all in Europe until 2022 Reuters



The Untold Technological Revolution Sweeping Through Rural China New York Times (resilc)

American troops could be sent to ‘defend the Senkaku Islands’, US commander says South China Morning Post (resilc)

The futility of being ‘tough’ on China Asia Times (Kevin W)

Don’t even try paying cash in China New York Times. Another reason not to go.

Personal Bankruptcy Arrives in China in March 2021 Credit Slips


WATCH: Haulage boss films video diary of VBS nightmare at Port of Felixstowe Ipswich Star (guurst)

Brexit: they still don’t get it Richard North

Anti-French sentiment grows in Muslim countries DW

Poland Is in Revolt Against Its New Abortion Ban Jacobin

Trump Transition

Records Show Trump’s Border Wall Is Costing Taxpayers Billions More Than Initial Contracts ProPublica

FCC Votes To Maintain 2017 Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules Reuters

U.S. Treatment of Cameroonian Asylum-Seekers Is ‘Tantamount to Torture,’ Advocates Say Foreign Policy (Kevin C)


Biden pushes into Trump territory The Hill

Elasticity in Swing States – Sabato’s Crystal Ball (UserFriendly)

How blue and red Ohio suburbanites are rallying voters Christian Science Monitor

On Monday Night, the Supreme Court Stole at Least 80,000 Votes From Joe Biden in Wisconsin, and There Is More SCOTUS Voter Theft in the Offing BuzzFlash

How We Got Trump Voters to Change Their Mind Atlantic (Dr. Kevin)

The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is using her Facebook page to spread misinformation about Joe Biden Associated Press. The mighty Wurlitzer at work:

The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is using her Facebook page to amplify unsubstantiated claims of corruption by Joe Biden.

Ginni Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, asked her more than 10,000 followers Monday to consider sharing a link focused on alleged corruption by the Democratic nominee for president and his son, Hunter, as well as claims that social media companies are censoring reports about the Bidens.

If Biden Wins, Russiagate Will Magically Morph Into Chinagate Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Sanders and Warren Accuse N.Y. Democrats of False Advertising New York Times (BK)

Texas county to rescan more than 20K ballots after barcode issue The Hill (UserFriendly)

Federal Agents Are on Standby for Possible Election Day Unrest Vice (resilc)

Agency cooperation needed to curb any Election Day violence, Wheeler says KATU. Pat P flagged this part:

The city is anticipating protests in the streets following the Nov. 3 election.

But since Wheeler banned the use of CS gas, other law enforcement agencies have declined to help Portland during mass demonstrations.

US business groups call for patience over election result Financial Times

Republicans: The New Confederacy New York Review of Books

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Mother of black man who died on a Revel scooter while being chased by cops is MACED during Washington DC BLM protest – as looters ransack stores in Philadelphia for a second night over fatal shooting of ‘mentally ill’ African American man Daily Mail. Yes, the Mail, but a lot of images and videos, including of the Philly shooting.

Our Famously Free Press

10 Ways to Call Something Russian Disinformation Without Evidence Matt Taibbi (BC, UserFriendly)

Facebook Tells Academics To Stop Monitoring Its Political Ads The Register

Facebook political advertisers say their ads are being blocked even though they follow the rules CNBC

Fears of crackdown on US journalism as Trump ally removes editorial ‘firewall’ Guardian (furzy). Help me. We are to believe VoA isn’t a propaganda operation?

Facebook, Google, Twitter CEOs to tell senators changing liability law will destroy how we communicate online CNBC (Kevin W)

Microsoft’s Earnings Continue to Ride Pandemic-Fueled Demand for Cloud, Videogaming Wall Street Journal

Orange County wildfires ‘may have been started by electrical equipment’ BBC (David L).

An ‘enormous’ stock-market bubble has already popped, says David Einhorn MarketWatch

Americans Are Super-Gloomy About Holiday Spending, But Industry Ramps Up for Blockbuster Christmas Wolf Richter

Yet Another Diatribe on Patent Monopolies and How They Are Not Talked About in Polite Company Dean Baker

Guillotine Watch

Via e-mail, “13 castles fit for a high-net-worth Halloween property purchase“:

Managing Director of Enness Global Mortgages, Hugh Wade-Jones commented:

“A three million pound price tag won’t secure you a huge deal in the global high-end market and in many major cities you’re looking at a fairly decent flat, perhaps an average-sized house. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t secure a great deal more by looking outside of the traditionally popular locations of London, Monaco and the rest.

In fact, you could secure a whole castle for a similar price tag in countries all over the world and whether you’re looking for a Halloween appropriate home or a COVID-safe bolthole, you will get a lot more space for your money. As well as some additional fortification.”

Class Warfare

Debunking the specious claims underlying Missouri’s anti-collective bargaining law Economic Policy Institute

Antidote du jour. Furzy: “Corn’s cat in Berlin”:

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. PlutoniumKun

        I have to confess to a weakness for castles. The Irish countryside is littered with min-castles (tower houses), which can be beautifully restored without necessarily needing a fortune, although still well beyond my budget. That said, the heating bill probably won’t be pleasant and they are certainly not old age appropriate. A few years ago I was looking around one in Co.Tipperary that had been restored by a Texan of Irish heritage. He did an outstanding job for the first stage, a really nice restoration, and then something went to his head and he added all sorts of a-historical additions (all without the required permissions).

        One thing not always appreciated is that all western European castles were in fact rendered and painted, they’d never have had that bare stone look that movie directors love. A well known actor restored one in Cork and used what was though to be the original render mix, which came out as a lovely pink colour. Its faded a little over time, but its still quite striking.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Caernarfon Castle in Wales is truly amazing. They were really built to withstand almost anything, although it is surprising the number of times they fell to determined opposition. I suspect that in most times it was just too expensive to keep them fully garrisoned.

            The best of all is Krak de Chevaliers in Syria. It really is mind-blowing – I was lucky enough to get to explore it before the civil war (I believe its been quite badly damaged). It only needed a relative handful of knights to withstand huge armies. And unusually for a castle, the living spaces seemed to have been quite comfortable and generous. Even the privys were still intact when I visited.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Mentioned before how I was re-reading the book “World War Z” which is quite good. Would you believe that there is a chapter where they are talking about the various castles used during the Zombie wars? Which one were good and survived and which one were too modified with open windows which let the zombies in. You forget how many castles there are in Europe and I believe that Wales has more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world – about 600 in number in fact.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                I think a functioning moat that you could use for burning oil would be the best option for the zombie apocalypse.

                Incidentally, I once asked a sword specialist what the best sword would be for a newbie in the event of the aforesaid calamity. He thought for a while and said that a full katana (samurai sword) would be most efficient for a non-trained person, they are apparently surprisingly easy to use compared to European broadswords or rapiers. News you can use, as our host would say.

                1. jsn

                  The blazing trench worked pretty well in Game of Thrones, until the icy fella snapped his fingers anyway.

                  The Japanese swords are balanced in their long handles so you get more control with less hand and arm strength, letting the weight of the tool do its work.

                2. Jeotsu

                  I would recommend the works of George Silver (ca 1600). This is a training manual that is both dismissive of Itallian rapier styles, and is focused on quick and efficient training of capable soldiers.

                  Silver’s Weapon combo: basket-hilted broadsword + small center-grip shield. Good for holding a zombie at bay, while generating powerful descending blows which as the manual say are quite capable of dismemberment — what you want when facing the undead.

                  The problem with a Katana vs a zombie (especially a fast zombie) is that while you can deliver an effective cut easily it is not guaranteed
                  to be incapacitating (see above:zombie). If your opponent is still rushing you it takes some very particular foot work to not be knocked down and devoured. There are also particular katana stances and blows for when in shoulder-to-shoulder mass formations which you don’t see in the flashy fight movies, which again if you don’t know you’ll be slicing up your mates while trying deal with the zombies.

        1. Wukchumni

          When my parents went to Czechoslovakia for a month every year from the early 70’s* until my dad passed away in 2002, my mom figured that she had been to more castles in Slovakia than any other woman in the world, as there were tons of them and for some reason they’d made a habit of visiting them.

          * he split in 1947 and was tried for high treason and sentenced to death in absentia, his crime?

          Leaving the country…

        2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Thoor Ballylee once the home of Yeats & George is as they say, well worth a visit & we very fortunately had the place & it’s wonderful atmosphere to ourselves.

          I did read somewhere that castles could be pretty snug if the large fireplaces were fed constantly, resulting in the 12ft or thereabouts thick walls becoming like storage radiators.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, Thoor Ballylee is a very magical place.

            Castles generally have a lot of thermal mass, so they will stay warm, the problem is getting them up to that temperature in the first place…

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              The Normans I believe would set up a motte in a defensible position & felled the trees surrounding it in order to build & to have a clear view of the surrounding countryside so they wouldn’t be surprised by the likes of John Cleese or Birnham wood sneaking up on them.
              They were extremely efficient psychopaths so I imagine that they probably used the timber wisely – seasoning & so on.

              Very many moons ago I was running a small horticultural nursery for a posh South African woman married to an English industrialist in a relatively small stately home. Their boiler was the size of a medium locomotive into which they chucked tyres & anything else that burned, but in the dead of Winter the house was freezing. One icy morning she asked me if I had central heating in my little house, after my nod she replied wistfully ” Oh, that must be absolutely delightful “.

              Trivia – A Viking raider named Rollo was given Normandy in order to stop him looting the rest of France & apparently every European Royal family is descended from him.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Dark Age and early Medieval Europe certainly was a Darwinian experiment in selecting for psychopaths. It’s no wonder Game of Thrones was based on that period. The Normans surpassed even the general run of the mill local psycho.

                Those big manor houses were incredibly hard to heat, even for the super rich. In reality, they only kept one or two rooms warm for living in. Even the bedrooms would be cold, they just heated the beds, which would have been quite cosy. The upper floors, the coldest ones, were for the servants – I once spent a summer living in the upper floors of a fine Palladian mansion beside the Boyne River and it was lovely, but chilly even in August. The family who owned it pretty much lived in winter clothes, even indoors.

                In reality, even the wealthy confined themselves to a more modest and cosy wing, the rest of the house was for show. In many grand houses the ‘real’ house where the family lived wouldn’t have been much bigger than a typical suburban house.

                In many ways, this has always been a distinction between ‘real’ gentry and the try hards. The latter spend a fortune living in the whole house while the aristocrats know its only used for show.

                1. vlade

                  15 years ago, or so, we were spending a week in Cottswolds B&B.

                  The B&B was a former mansion, owned by a guy whose father was a fighter Wing Commander during WW2 and then later in Rhodesia. He apparently selected the place by taking his Spitfire for flights over Cottswolds and looking at the houses from above, selecting what he liked for visits.

                  The house was a typical English manor house – massive. On the second day, we got friendly with the guy, and he invited us to where he basically spent most of his time inside – the kitchen, which was very large, with a large Aga, and looked very lived in (in the good, cosy way).

                  The rest of the house was much more formal (a peculiar feature of the house was that it was full of his father hunting trophies from Rhodesia, which the guy clearly kept more “because they were always there” than anything else, so you had those lion skins used as a door mats and suchlike).

                  1. Harold

                    I think before the 20th c. everyone must have spent all their time in the kitchen in European winters — or outside. As a child I traveled to Sardinia with my mother, I remember spending my time in the kitchen of the hotel we stayed at (it was Christmas) and watching them make sausages. It was very interesting. A lamb carcass hung from the ceiling in the dining room. Rather smelly.

              2. PlutoniumKun

                Incidentally, on the subject of mottes, its often forgotten that the great majority of medieval European castles were built of wood, not stone. Its just that none survived. Many typical European castles may well have resembled Japanese castles more than the ones we see today. As they would have been rendered, it wouldn’t always have been apparent to someone passing by as to wether they were timber or stone.

                People are very resistant to this idea – I regularly visit a friend in a small village in Ireland, where there is the remains of a semi-natural motte (they used an existing knoll as the base). There would have been a substantial timber castle on the site, but when I tell people this they are surprisingly resistant to the notion that anything made of wood would be a ‘castle’. Or maybe they just don’t believe anything I say…

                1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                  I once got to know an elderly working class Glaswegian fella who rose to the top of the Co-op group who had a large house, that he commissioned me to create a model of. He was always very busy & I would end up visiting him in the evening with work in progress. We would head down a long hall past stately rooms to a small room with a basic sofa, coffee table, a TV & but for the very good quality Scotch, it could have been a room from a small council house.

                  I would end up being kinda stuck there for a couple of hours as the pair of them knocked it back, with me being spared due to driving. As the evening wore on their accents became increasingly broader to the extent that I eventually hardly understood a word they were saying which didn’t matter as their increasingly loud laughter was very infectious & I hardly had to speak at all, or would not have been able to get a word in anyway.

                  I often wondered how they would manage the distance to the bedroom.

        3. Basil Pesto

          My parents schlepped around various castles in England, and I think one in Ireland as well, when I was 13 and a miserable shit, so the castles wore thin on me after a while.

          Mind you, we went to the Alhambra ln the same trip and I found it mesmerising.

          I think the last castle I visited was the one in Salzburg

        4. shtove

          I recall a study showing that, by the early Tudor period, the lowlands of the southern province of Munster were covered by a network of tower houses, each with a “might is right” radius of about 10km, with the boundaries marked by plaished woodland to deter cattle raiding. This was before Walter Raleigh and the English plantation.

          I once climbed the spiral staircase of a recently ruined tower house in east Galway – probably fallen out of use in the land wars of the 19thC – and emerged on the first floor, eye to eye with two goats munching on the mossy floorboards.

          All that remains of our local castle in Dorset are the spectacular ruins of Corfe – a Norman strongbox-cum-dungeon-cum-armoury. It was slighted by the New Model Army to release the pent up malevolence, and you can still see the crack running vertically from the foundations, right next to a ten ton cube of fallen masonry, embedded in the soil on its point.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, one reason Ireland has lots of small little castles (as opposed to the mighty ones of Wales and Scotland) was largely a decision to give grants to every new wannabe Lord to built a small one. They reckoned it was cheaper to give out land and settle than keep permanent garrisons.

            Corfe is quite famous. There was a Corfe Close in suburban Birmingham that famously didn’t have a number ‘4’ for some reason, the sequence of houses went 1, 2, 3, 3a, 5….

        5. vlade

          The bare-stone was common for castles that were true military objects.

          A hunting castle, on the other hand was often rendered as you say, at least partially.

          A lot of the castles were re-done post late 16th/early 17th century when it was clear that most of them were irrelevant militarily (as opposed to the new born military fotresses), but not everyone had the money, like say Archduke Ferdinand Habsburg or his grandfather (the castle looks gothic, but that look is from mid 19th century).

          My favourite is though Spis Castle, which is really a ruin, but the location and the sheer size of the whole thing is something (it’s one of the largest castle complexes in the world).

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Maybe not in nicer climates, but certainly on the western fringes of Europe rendering was necessary for weatherproofing of even the thickest stone or wood walls, the cold damp winds would always find their way in otherwise.

            1. vlade

              I believe it sort of depends, as many of the castles here had a live-in part (“palace”), which was quite different from the defence-part. Garisson (military and civilian) often lived in wooden houses even outside the castle, as it was assumed that few (longer running) sieges would take place in winter.

              As a curiosity, the live-in part often had floor central heating (yep, the Roman style one).

              Funnily enough, those were often destroyed when the castles were rebuilt from military to civilian purposes, as a result making them less habitable, as the massive tiled stoves that replaced it (fashionable then) heated the rooms less evenly.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            That Spis Castle looks glorious.

            As you say, most castles were heavily altered over the years, often to make them look more ‘castle-ey’. Some of those listed in the original article above are actually just 19th Century gothic.

            I grew up down the road from a ‘castle’ where in 1820 they actually demolished an existing castle to build one that looked a little more like they wanted a castle to look like.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I’d settle for a turret. It would be really great for the astronomy habit I’ve started. My dream shed is a 3 story or so stone tower to use as a library with an observatory at the top. Just getting the hang of using the telescope I recently purchased which has been a wish of mine for decades. Once I get a camera and figure out how to do some basic astro-photography, I will submit some planet-idotes for Water Cooler consideration.

        1. jr

          “I’d settle for a turret.”

          I’m in the market for a tower, preferably in a dark, twisted forest where glowing eyes stare at you from the shadows. Must have bats and unexplainable bursts of manic laughter issuing from empty rooms. At least two bathrooms.

          A desert hermitage would work as well.

        2. LifelongLib

          For a telescope you’ll want absolute stability, any vibration will be exaggerated by the magnification. I used to observe from my parents wooden deck and if you moved around things would start shaking….

        1. a different chris

          Wow that thing is beyond… somebody needs to notify Kate Wagner.

          At least the color matches the nearby surroundings, too bad it doesn’t render it invisible. WTF are the two things that look like garages, one on each side, but
          1) have no driveways
          2) have this thing that looks like a stone garage door inside the arches?

          I suppose they are just more random rooms but even by McMansion, um, standards they are weird.

        2. Wukchumni

          Castle Rocks in Sequoia NP is a climb the equal of many tough routes in Yosemite NP, the little problem being that the 5 mile approach to the base is lousy with poison oak, ticks, manzanita and other rattling lowlying stuff that you’d have to pick a path through just to get there…

          John Salathe’, who was on the second ascent, called this the best spire in California outside of Yosemite Valley.

          Arguably the hardest peak in the High Sierra, Castle Rock Spire goes free at IV 5.11 by its EASIEST route. All other routes on the Spire require some amounts of direct aid.

          In spite of this, many say that the approach is the crux of the climb. Several parties have wandered around in the brush for days without ever reaching the base of the spire. Many others have required visits to the hospital for systemic poison oak reactions. Ticks are abundant and hungry, especially in the lower canyons. Twice we have encountered rattlesnakes when stumbling around in the poison oak.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        When I first saw that I thought I’d seen that one before – its very similar to an amazing ranch-house I passed once in Montana, but it wasn’t in Billings – somewhere south of Butte as for as I remember. I could only see it from a distance, it was in a wide, shallow valley. One of the local cowhands told me the owner was a rancher.

      2. BobW

        That’s probably why it’s on the market, there’s a definite shortage of serfs in Montana. Maybe get some Serfians on H-1B.

  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Another interesting piece this morning by writer Jeremy Lent. Lent’s The Patterning Instinct is an attempt to track human development from the time of hunter-gatherers to where Western civilization went off-track and led us to our current catastrophic situation. A teaser:

    It’s impossible to face these realities [climate change, etc.] head on without feeling your heart break. Speaking for myself, when I’ve contemplated this humanmade enormity, I’ve sometimes felt swallowed up into an infinite abyss of darkness. Is it any wonder that people turn away from facing these facts, that they see one of those frightening headlines warning about climate breakdown and they click anywhere but there, read their Facebook feed, check out the latest tweet, watch the report on this week’s political scandal? We live in a world designed to keep us numb—a culture spiked with incessant doses of spiritual anesthesia conditioning us to deaden our feelings, and adapt to the daily grind.

    But it’s that very heartbreak that can free us from the consensus trance that our society imposes on us. The realization of our true nature, and the agony of life’s destruction at the hands of this civilization, are two sides of the same coin. That’s because, when we awaken to our true nature as humans on this beautiful but fragile Earth, when we feel the life within ourselves that we share with all other beings, then we recognize our common identity with all of life. We live into what Thích Nhât Hanh calls our interbeing.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Thanks for this. From the comments in a blog post from yesterday.

      The ” we can’t go back so just forget about it” argument is frustrating to me.

      Spirituality is not meant to deaden us, but help us face life head on. Granted, it has been turned into an opiate, but that is no the original intent. My spiritual journey has only brought me more heartbreak and more suffering. But with it, a greater understanding and a greater compassion.

      If I am one with my partner, their suffering becomes mine. If I am one with nature, so it is the same.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for linking me to that thread. It was not to be missed. It’s hard for people to hear, isn’t it? A serious loss, an event that shakes one’s foundation, a future different from what had hoped are all things that can open the ears.

        I loved your strong statement about science. Your point that “science” is often running around trying to solve problems it created is very obviously the case when we talk about what we’ve done to the Earth. Yes, even hunter-gatherers were clever enough–and cooperative enough–to bring some big mammals to the point of extinction and even beyond. But the damage they could do was limited. It wasn’t necessary for them to create an entire culture that could tame their destructive aspects and reform their thoughtlessness in order to prevent “science” from making the planet uninhabitable.

        I think it evokes such a strong reaction because our human hubris is fundamentally challenged. We can make arguments that human technology has been a good thing only by referencing humans exclusively. There is absolutely no possible argument that human technology has been a good thing for the Earth, and in the last 80 years, it’s been apparent that science’s primary capability was the capacity to destroy the planet that produced us.

        And I second your points about religion. Humans respond to suffering like all animals, and we have developed culturally so many wonderful tools we can use to understand that suffering and express our reaction to it. Though I’m no longer a Lutheran, Luther had a keen sense of the role of suffering in what he considered real Christianity, and he contrasted that with what he called a “theology of glory” that sold the idea that the Christian life could be expected to be comfortable, even successful in societal terms. Jesus’s call was to pick up a cross and follow him, not exactly in invitation to fun and games. It was a way of saying that real commitment requires personal sacrifice.

        That said, it’s dangerous to fetishize suffering. One element I see in fascism is that idea that suffering, brought on by things like war, make human beings and human society better. In contrast is the vision of Lao-Tzu of the desirable society where things are so quiet and people are so comfortable that crocks crowing in the morning is a big event. We don’t appreciate peace until we’ve lost it. Then it becomes the most important thing on Earth.

        1. vidimi

          who knows what is good or bad, as the old chinese proverb goes. maybe agriculture was the proverbial forbidden fruit, maybe not. hunter gatherer societies were and are still (the few that are left) very brutal and often massacre one another. is it good that we evolved into civilisations? is it bad we got pandemics? is it good we have technology? is it bad we are destroying the natural world? we will know whether things are good or bad by their fruits, but these fruits often take a long time to ripen, and even then we do not know whether they are good or bad.

          yes, i am mixing different religious metaphors but that’s because they’re all essentially the same. if god is a mountain, then the different religions are just the villages on different sides in the valleys: people from those villages are all looking up at the same thing, but each sees a different face.

      2. jr

        Well said, KP. The garbage passed off as “spirituality” today: megachurches with video arcades to keep the children from getting bored, “self-help” Christianity promoting the notion of Christ the Therapist-Militant, pseudo-Eastern Mysticism tattoos pregnant with non-meaning, and Yang-Yin stickers on your bumper have nothing to do with real spiritual inquiry. Anyone who points to this as spirituality and says “Aha!” must think Micky D’s offers food for sale. That goes for skeptics and believers alike.

        Spirituality is not easy. Anyone who says otherwise is full of bunk, deluded. These beliefs, intuitions, subjective mental supernovas do not provide warm fuzzies to comfort one. They can be downright terrifying, in fact. Did you ever feel as if you were going to fall into the Abyss whilst looking at the stars? As if the Universe suddenly upended and you were looking down instead of up? Like a fly clinging to the bottom of an orange staring into the diamond flecked Nothingness below? To the point where your heart races, hair stands on end, you get vertigo and you cling to your seat? Nothing has changed but every single thing is different. A dynamic brew of instinctual terror and elation, elation…

        In fact, spiritual explorations tend to dissolve the need for such comforts. They demand that one look at life in the face, stripping away the buffers of one’s status symbols, self-image, perspectives on the world, and yes superstitions until it’s just you and You looking at each other. They burn away the gossamer illusions of mundane certainty but instill a wild, fierce sense of freedom, of knowing one’s place in the Spheres, of knowing the real value of life.

        Here’s another angle: The Idealist philosopher Bernardo Kastrup has written about how when people hear of the notion of reincarnation they laugh, thinking it’s wishful thinking. “Death is not the end!” He then points out that returning means >returning to all of this< that we are suffering through right now. Does that sound like wishful thinking? Does that sound like an escape? Not at all, it’s yet another rough and tumble journey through Space-Time and the Ultimate Destination lies off over those far hills, traveller:

        The Divine Comedy

        Last night I caught

        God giggling at me

        Bubbles of laughter

        Sweet succulency

        Butterflies looping

        ‘Round butterfly trees

        Sapphire fishes

        Irridescing the seas

        Armadas of cloud

        Proudly wafting on breeze.

        I caught my breath,

        Then quite suddenly,

        A new thought occurred

        And I saw quite clearly

        That only though this


        This multitudinous


        Could I ever hope,

        Even dream,

        To soar free

        From the mundane chains

        Wrapped tightly ‘round me.

        The only way out

        Is in, seems to be.

        And so I resolved

        Most resolvedly

        To dig in deeper

        And to not try to flee

        And to listen to God

        When God giggles



          1. jr

            Thanks BC, it’s actually a true story. I was working in my kitchen one afternoon about a year back and was suddenly seized with a burst of giggles that blew all my negative thoughts (which are legion. And Legion.) out of my skull with such vigor that I suspect they are Doppler-ing somewhere around Cygnus about now….a gorgeous moment of mental clarity and peace. Quickly subsumed of course, but there nevertheless…

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Thanks for the poem! You may like this book in a similar vein – Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine

          As a physicist, Alan Lightman has always held a scientific view of the world. But one summer evening, while looking at the stars from a small boat at sea, Lightman was overcome by the overwhelming sensation that he was merging with something larger than himself—an eternal unity, something absolute and immaterial.

          I think I need to take an afternoon and re-read it as a welcome respite from the cray cray everywhere.

        2. kareninca

          “The garbage passed off as “spirituality” today . . .”

          I’ve found that it is much easier to criticize the spirituality of others than it is to seek the spiritual oneself.

          I’ve met attenders of megachurches who were far more “spiritual” than members of social status safe churches. I’ve known people who had stupid (to me) tattoos or car stickers and guess what – they were way closer to God than I was! It is best to really get to know a person before you judge how “spiritual” s/he is. You need to know them well. Really, really, well. It’s almost like becoming their brother or sister.

          Or, you can just skip the judging; that works too.

          1. jr

            Sorry, but that doesn’t fly. I’ve known plenty of folks who fit the descriptions above. They, in my experience, are the vast minority. The majority spend almost zero time considering these things. They have extremely superficial notions and quite often even those are never put into play in their daily lives. How do I know? Because I asked a lot of them. When I was an atheist I was always very curious what people actually believed.

            How many thugs have I known with “spiritual” tattoos or a cross around their neck who are happy to dent someones head? Lots. How many McChristians have I known who would rob a child of it’s candy? More than one. How many people have I known with Buddha incense holders and flower pots and T shirts who know absolutely nothing about him? There aren’t enough pixels. Like so much else in American culture, by and large what passes for spirituality is artificial, shallow, cheap, and disposable.

            And no, you don’t have to know someone very very well to get a gauge of their spirituality. You can watch their actions and listen to their words. Now, I agree to get a fuller picture of someone’s beliefs you must get to know them well but I feel confident saying someone lacks spiritual depth when they wear a T shirt with a peace sign and go out on a Friday night looking for brawls.

            1. kareninca

              What you wrote makes me very sad. When I was an atheist I would have written something like that. Now I feel differently about flawed people (and I am one). But, this is not the place for a theological argument. All the best.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I do not understand why or how “heartbreak, hope, and spiritual practice” could have much play in dealing with overpopulation, peak resources, ongoing Climate Chaos, and ongoing breakdown of Society, Government, and the world economies. I believe “heartbreak, hope, and spiritual practice” would be about as effective at understanding and dealing with the manifold problems Humankind faces as sackcloth, ashes, and self-flagellation were in dealing with the Black Plague. I do not claim to have an answer but I believe the kinds of reaching Lent describes in your link will at best serve as a convenient target for ridicule.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I think Lent’s prescriptions are based on his belief that the horrific list of problems you presented cannot even be addressed without a very fundamental change in the worldview of most Westerners. Such a change cannot take place without removing some of the cultural layers that have been deposited on us from Cartesian dualism to consumerism, and some of those techniques he mentions might prove useful in that effort–along with appropriate set-and-setting psychedelics.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          “…the horrific list of problems you presented cannot even be addressed without a very fundamental change in the worldview of most Westerners.” I well appreciate the need for a change in worldview and not just among Westerners but in the worldview of Humankind. But I believe a change in the worldview of a certain 0.01% of Humankind is most crucial to accomplish any substantive change in the progress toward Collapse.

      2. Rod

        yea JG, I could have been with you on this a few days ago, but–

        I think it evokes such a strong reaction because our human hubris is fundamentally challenged. We can make arguments that human technology has been a good thing only by referencing humans exclusively. There is absolutely no possible argument that human technology has been a good thing for the Earth,
        –emphasis mine–

        thanks HMP, for a variety of reasons(the thread started by KP yesterday that I caught up with today being only one) this caused me to tingle.
        My head is topped off by so much good thinking, and i appreciate everyone thoughts expressed.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I once had a professor from Adelaide by way of Cambridge, UK who taught systematic theology using the Socratic method. When a student would respond with what he considered a strong argument, he’d say, “There’s the clinch-ah.”

          Now that’s not an argument that science and technology should have no place in our world from this point on, but instead it’s an assertion that we proceed with completely re-oriented priorities and always with a greatly enhanced humility.

          1. Rod

            Interesting and I agree wholly that we proceed with completely re-oriented priorities and always with a greatly enhanced humility.

            Sometimes it is the right words in the right sequence at the right time that cranks my amplifier.

            After the Army I learned the Craft of Carpentry through Apprenticeship where they(Journeymen Instructors) asked a bunch of Questions that made you think. I liked it a lot better than my fellows who just wanted to know what to do so they could get busy.

            During the recession of 79/80 Construction died and I had the opportunity to go to University and study, with much thought, Technology Education(Shop/Manual Skills/Vocational Ed). I wanted to carry what I learned by Apprenticeship into an Educational setting.

            In one of my first Educational Methods classes the Socratic Method was introduced and I discovered that both my Mother and those Journeymen Instructors relied heavily on that system of Educating–as well as most of my Technology Instructors.

            Of course I was no different when I finally got into the classroom–except very early on, with each class, I explained how, with the help of an ancient Greek(Socrates) and themselves, I would accomplish advancing their knowledge.

    3. chuck roast

      Wow! There is a Resilience dot org. I should have guessed it. I suppose there would have been a Sustainability dot org. 25 years ago if the www was a bit more mature. No matter. Sustainability and its many adherents (including roast) is now in the dust bin of history, and our great host of PMC armies have retreated to the higher ground of Resilience.

      Recently my State Rep. (D) (aren’t they all) sent me a message for a Zoom meeting with our local Resilience PMCs. They were going to explain to the great unwashed their strategies for dealing with rising sea level (9″ from 1913 to 2015) in our little harbor town. Having been a member of the PMC and an utter and abject failure at implementing Sustainability, I gave our flummoxed State Rep. a history lesson on the dynamics of our current paradigm.

      I opined that as long as we continue to listen to the same geniuses we have always listened to, then we could rest assured that they would climb further up the slope and morph into experts on “Surrender” some time in the near future. I’m not sure that she got it. But there you have it, the PMC road to ruin…Sustainability, Resilience, Surrender. IBG/YBG.

      1. fwe'zy

        Reminds me of how they used to tell underserved children to have “grit.” I’ll have some Gelato, and you have some grit to deal with it!

  2. DanP66

    Nothing on Bobulinski?

    Nothing on that interview with Tucker Carlson?

    That was a very compelling interview.

    Biden is a crook and probably a traitor.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      The battle lines were drawn long ago, as long as neither gets caught with a dead girl or a live boy, nobody’s mind will be changed.
      Sit back and enjoy the fireworks, it’s gonna be a really big show.

      1. John Beech

        I snorted hot coffee reading this! A warning next time, please.

        Me? I’m not surprised in the least Mr. Biden is dirty. Only surprised he’s been so clumsy. Nevertheless, this will be ‘decided’ by voters who depend on MSM to tell them what to think versus those who think for themselves. What else is new? I’ve already voted so I’m a mere spectator now. And for the record, I’m in the camp of those who don’t really think it matters who wins.

    2. voteforno6

      What does that have to do with COVID19? Nothing? I don’t think it’s going to change any minds, then.

      1. The Historian

        Amen to that! This campaign was Trump’s to lose and he did it spectacularly in March. Just when we needed him to show us that there was something behind his bombast and tough talk, he showed himself to be weak. If he had used his bully pulpit to force through another stimulus, if he had just taken Covid seriously and at the least, just asked everyone to wear masks, he would have won in a landslide, but instead he did next to nothing. And don’t tell me he was up against his own Republicans, he could have easily threatened them with a primary challenge.

        This Hunter Biden thing, which we all knew about over a year ago, was just a Hail Mary pass that failed – and all but the Trump loyalists can see that.

        I don’t know who is going to win – I have no crystal ball, but if Trump loses, it is all on him!

        Nobody wants Biden as President – that is a given – but Trump, because of his own actions, was probably the ONLY candidate Biden stood a chance against!

        1. foghorn longhorn

          So do you have a link to back up the hunter/laptop claim?
          A year ago?
          That’s some fuzzy history.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Who’s changing goalposts? The ‘thing’ may have been known over a year ago, but it’s the laptop contents that seem to show Biden was lying about not being involved with the ‘thing’.

              1. edmondo

                Get ready for 4 years of this. The excuses for senile Joe are starting already. It’s gonna be Obama’s third term. No dissent permitted.

                  1. foghorn longhorn

                    More like rayguns, starts counting, pulls off shoe, 11th term.
                    OMG, where are my valium?

              2. Darthbobber

                Neither from the fraction of laptop stuff released nor from Bobulinski have I seen any direct documentation of Joe Biden saying or doing anything. I’m being asked to infer a vest from a button.

                1. Darthbobber

                  And even by Bobulinski’s own characterization of his alleged meeting with Joe Biden he has Biden expressing no interest in OR curiosity about any business or financial aspects of this venture. Just commonplaces.

        2. Carolinian

          I have a hunch that the Joe thing is a lot worse than you think. Trump’s character flaws have been on full display since he first ran. Many people are just now finding out about Biden’s and that includes many things we did not know a year ago. The Dems probably view him as a placeholder and hope to shuffle him off the stage as soon as possible.

          Trump is not the country’s problem. The Blob is. You are likely right that we will soon be even more living in Blobistan. Instead of Pompeo we’ll have Pompeo on steroids.

          1. Winston Smith

            No point worrying about Biden since Trump has already suggested he might get shot, “are you ready Kamala”? Masterful three pronged incitement to violence, racist and misogynistic dogwhistle

              1. Winston Smith

                “Three weeks in, Joe is shot, let’s go Kamala, are you ready?” Anyone trying to convey the message that something might happen to Biden that might allow Harris to become president would not specifically use assassination as the means to that end unless they were inciting violence. That’s Trump’s way,

                    1. Carolinian

                      As best I can make out it’s a tweet of somebody saying Trump said that. Have an actual link?

                      Experienced Trumpologists know that people often say Trump said something that he really didn’t say or, in the context, he was making one of his stupid jokes.

                1. Dr. John Carpenter

                  Trump says some ridiculous, inflammatory stuff, but did he say Joe is shot or Joe gets shot? Saying something “is shot” is a common expression meaning something is worn out. A link would be nice as context would help.

                2. BobW

                  When I first heard that I thought it could be like “my car is shot” – unusable. It could be either meaning.

                  1. Carolinian

                    I’d say, in reply to Philip Cross video above, that is what he meant. Trump has been going on at length about Biden’s possible mental problems.

                    Of course you could still say that raising the spectre of Kamala at a rally is a racist appeal. I doubt he was encouraging anyone to shoot Biden as that is very prospect he is scaring them with.

          2. Dr. John Carpenter


            The media has done a great job diverting attention from Biden’s flaws, controversies, and even discussion of his record. The obviousness of the suppression of this information especially on Twitter and Facebook make me extremely curious as to what it is they don’t want us to see. They certainly didn’t kick into this much cover up over the Podesta/Hillary emails.

            And even if one thinks this “Hunter stuff” doesn’t matter, the suppression of it should be alarming, especially if you have any hope of holding a President Biden’s “feet to the fire.” It’s going to be awfully hard to hold anyone in office accountable when linking to articles can get you deplatformed.

              1. Brunches with Cats

                Krystal and Sagaar had Matt Taibbi on the show a couple of days before he wrote that article. It was a good interview. I have to say, though, that as much as I love K&S, I think they’re misguided in their (mostly Krystal’s) contention that the real story here is media suppression and not the contents of the laptop. Krystal’s reasoning is that the emails didn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know and provided no proof that Joe actually met with Burisma, and that the rest just catered to prurient interests with no news value. (To be clear, as a journalism major who did some investigative reporting, I’m horrified by the media/social media censorship. )

                I haven’t watched the show for the past two days, so don’t know if they’ve changed their tune.

                P.S. Thanks for posting the link to Matt’s latest on yesterday’s 2PMWC for us late-night readers.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  1. There is child pornography on the laptop and Hunter should be immediately arrested. It’s also why there has not been a dump of all of the material (48,000 emails and 26,000 images): because by possessing it you would be breaking the law.
                  2. There is also corroborated evidence that Joe, Jill, and Jim were informed that a child was in danger of sexual exploitation and did nothing about it. Instead they discussed ways to blame the victim.
                  3. The material also includes Hunter’s dealing with Patrick Ho, the “spy chief of China” (now disappeared). It details Hunter’s orgies with actual Russian prostitutes. Based on this, Joe’s national security clearance should immediately be revoked. It’s called “kompromat”.
                  4. Chris Heinz seems to come off OK, he always tried to do the right thing, and so did Uncle Lurch. Lurch Kerry can be faulted for lax oversight of his family members but probably nothing more.
                  5. Others listed in the documents include Harry Reid and Mark Zuckerberg. Once they tease apart the many Delaware shell corps and SPVs both Reid and Zuckerberg will have some serious explaining to do.
                  6. Joe’s continued utterings that he never ever ever ever discussed Hunter’s business dealings should be treated as what they are: bald-faced lies designed to cover up his and his family’s treasonous betrayal of the country and criminal coverup of child sexual exploitation.

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    > 1. There is child pornography on the laptop and Hunter should be immediately arrested. It’s also why there has not been a dump of all of the material (48,000 emails and 26,000 images): because by possessing it you would be breaking the law.

                    I’ve seen the rumors, but I’ve seen no evidence. Got any?

                    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                      While my reply is in moderation maybe I can make a suggestion: that an equal amount of prima facie evidence on RussiaGate be delivered in parallel. After 4 years of stonewalling we now have the handwritten notes of CIA head Brennan detailing how Hilary fabricated the entire thing, maybe Biden apologists want to link to the pee tapes to counter that? See this is the problem when investigative journalism standards only operate in one direction.

                2. Procopius

                  While I agree with Krystal & Saagar’s opinion about the censorship, the more recent story about the Voice of America reveals just how corrupt American journalism is in light of the silence about Julian Assange.

          3. Clem

            President pro-tem Biden’ his time,
            until the Kamaleon takes over and gracefully allows him to spend his remaining days with his loving and supporting famly after his surprising diagnosis.

            Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their country, to boycott and ignore Twits and Twats, and to refuse to upchase tweets to comment on what’s said. Who elected Jack Dorsey to be Big Brother?

          4. Pelham

            Agreed. And I found the Carlson interview compelling.

            As for Caitlin Johnstone’s take on this, I find it curious. On the one hand I can sympathize with her desire to see the US dethroned as world policeman. But I can’t quite fathom her sympathies with China.

            Materially, though, she dismisses any distinction between the false Russiagate narrative and what appears to be the Bidens’ real connections to China fostered solely on the foundation of Joe Biden’s government service. This goes well beyond anything that Trump has done.

            Also, she appears to be dismissive as well of the great damage inflicted on US workers by the opening to China. Maybe she doesn’t give a flip about working Americans, and that’s fine from her perspective. But the damage is enormous here and should be a paramount issue. Twenty years of simply handing over US technology and jobs to a country under totalitarian rule with clear ambitions to expand amounts to the worst kind of betrayal by our ruling classes. And from all appearances the Bidens are deep in that mix of malefactors.

            1. vidimi

              just because China is ascendant and the US is no longer global hegemon does not mean that China becomes the new, global hegemon. Chinese hegemony would not be a good thing, but the choice may not be US vs Chinese hegemony but US hegemony vs multi-polar world.

        3. voteforno6

          There’s more to it than that, I think. I’ve been somewhat amused to see conservatives pretend to care about corrupt politicians and their grifter family members. They only have themselves to blame, if they really do care about the corruption. By uncritically accepting the actions of the Trump family, they’ve normalized this behavior. It’s kind of hard to get too worked up over what the Bidens have been accused of, when the Trumps have done worse, and much more crassly.

          Besides, the only thing I need to know about this is that I haven’t been able to see any family members in person since February, and I won’t be able to visit any for the holidays this year, and that’s all thanks to Trump and his snowflake supporters. Do you think that I give a flying f–k what Joe Biden’s son may or may not have done a few years ago?

          I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who feels this way.

          1. Carolinian

            Key word is “feel.” Trump was never going to stop the pandemic although that is the media/Dem narrative.

            We don’t need to feel sorry for Trump though because taking the blame is what presidents are for. The media/Dems will be lost without him.

            1. The Rev Kev

              It’s worse than that. Joe Biden will deal with the pandemic? Because if he wins next week, he will own it all. So what does he have to say at the moment?

              “My name is Joe Biden, I’m Jill Biden’s husband and I am Kamala’s running mate. Y’all think I’m kidding don’t you?”

              I don’t think that he is. And I thought that is was only Trump that was saying the quiet bit out loud.


            2. neo-realist

              A half-way logical President would have started pushing mask use on the public right off the bat, mandating mask use in public places, pushing the closure of public places (or limited hours of public places, businesses, etc.) and ordered the private sector to start producing PPE for medical personnel instead of complaining about “we’re not socialist like Venezuela”. If not totally stamping out the pandemic, we would have saved many more lives and would have stamped it out enough not be banned from traveling to foreign countries. The suburban middle class that had a hand in electing him the first time around should think about Trump’s lack of inaction when thinking of traveling to places like Paris and Rome like they used to but are now banned from doing so.

              1. Carolinian

                A halfway logical president would have quarantined New York whose airports brought much of it in from Europe.

                Oh wait he did talk about doing that but was shot down by Cuomo. And at about the same time the CDC was saying that surgical masks won’t help and if he had made such an order it would have been resisted. Eventually the attitude became we should at least try masks as a way of cutting down on infections. Somehow that “maybe” turned into a hard and fast doctrine that mask wearing is good, not mask wearing is evil (tell that to MLB). People now fight about it in subways and on the street.

                1. Darthbobber

                  If Trump had wanted to close the NY (and other) airports to arrivals, he could have done so regardless of Cuomo’s opinion on the matter.

                  But what he apparently wanted to do was talk about it.

              2. lyman alpha blob

                Sure Trump could have done things differently. Other countries did, and still had bad results, other countries did not much at all and haven’t had major outbreaks.

                And of course the Democrats didn’t start pushing mask use right off the bat either – in fact the Democrat mayor of NYC pretty much said ‘go on about your day’ and then warehoused a bunch of covid patients in nursing homes causing all kinds of unnecessary deaths. The governor played along. Is that Trump’s fault too? And yet Cuomo was regaled as some kind of hero for giving speeches while presiding over the worst outbreak in the world. And a cynical person might suggest that if Trump had required mask use, the Democrat party would have come out in opposition, just like they did when he wanted to ban travel from China which was actually not a bad idea.

                Expecting politicians of any party to save you from the danger of a pandemic is looking in the wrong direction if you ask me. Since it hasn’t come up in a while, I will remind people again that there was a worldwide flu pandemic in 1968-9 that killed far more people worldwide than this pandemic has, and it’s barely a blip in the historical record. At the time, nobody seemed to think it was any politician’s duty to stop it.

                What’s different now? We have Orange Man Bad to blame and make us all feel superior. And sorry, I just can’t feel too bad about those who may have to miss their annual European vacation when a large portion of US citizens will never be able to afford such a trip due to the inequalities promoted by both political parties for decades now.

              3. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

                The “middle class” travel to Paris and Rome?

                Wow – I guess I’m actually not middle class, like I thought everyone in America was.

                1. neo-realist

                  Yes, a lot of them do, I know them. Yes and I’m aware of people of lesser means go to those countries as well, and I know a few of those.

              4. Duck1

                Yeah, but the geniuses that run everything didn’t have the masks and PPE on hand and very limited domestic production capability, Hence, Fauci’s noble lie. Much of the failure lies at the hands of the so-called medical system. Trump’s PR look was lousy, I agree, but the absence of the material goods was caused by mis-guided JITism in my opinion, which wasn’t caused by Trumpism whether you think it is good or bad.

          2. Brindle

            You aren’t —“Do you think that I give a flying f–k what Joe Biden’s son may or may not have done a few years ago?

            I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who feels this way.”

            1. tegnost

              That’s a nice taliking point but the corruption includes joe biden himself and your handwave absolves him completely even though he is running for president. Add in censorship by the tech platforms and 4 years of RRR bs and it’s “houston, we have a problem.”
              As philip cross said in comments a few weeks ago, he could catch biden with sackfuls of cash and it wouldn’t change his opinion of the election landscape at all. Clarifying, that… Ditto for you?

              1. KevinD

                You’d think trump voters would at least hold him accountable for a health care plan before deciding to vote for him. All we have is a two-ton-tome bereft of anything even resembling one.. Made for a great picture though. Optics baby, it’s all optics.

          3. Clem

            In my home state of California, it’s Gov’ Noisome who decreed, along with county health departments, which he controls, that we were shut down.

            Do you live in D.C., or on a military base, which Trump directly controls?

        4. JohnBeech

          I totally dislike Donald Trump, but I voted for him anyway. Why would I do that? It’s because of the alternative which which I was presented, just like 2016. Boy, how I wish Senator Sanders had made the cut but honestly, I’m not surprised he as torpedoed by the DNC. I’d bet money was involved one way or the other. E.g. either they got to him on his wife’s dealings, or something else, but nevertheless, I believe a thoroughly decent guy went down. Our loss.

        5. vlade

          You know, it’s similar to the last elections. Hilary was probably one of the few candidates that Trump could win against..

    3. dcrane

      Seriously. First the OPCW Syria whistlebower story was disappeared for a year, then Assange’s persecution, now Biden’s scandals. Big Tech and the mainstream media are putting a heavy hand on the scales in this election.

      1. voteforno6

        It’s a mistake for them to suppress this story, I think, if it’s legitimate. They could’ve just left it fly, like everything else that gets blasted from the right wing BS sphere, and it would’ve had the same impact – none. Nobody is getting converted by this who wasn’t already there.

        1. tegnost

          I don’t know re converted. I have yet to vote and this story of the biden corruption has moved me from might as well vote biden so I don’t suffer the social backlash from family, friends and people I work for to how can I vote for biden and be able to sleep at night. A major source of this shift is the hostility, opprobrium, and bile emanating from the mostly drive by commentors, but some regulars such as yourself as well. Hmmm…sounds like you may be a russian agent trying to send votes trumps way. (undervoting is a vote for trump, the mighty wurlitzer told me as it played a horror movie soundtrack)

        2. marym

          The only tweet I read about the Tucker Carlson interview said the guest said he met twice with JB at a time JB wasn’t in office, and that they didn’t discuss the guy’s deal with HB and China.

          In this election it would seem that voters who believe that there’s more to the story about JB involvement, and also that a president/VP/former VP/family member using the power and prestige of office for personal/family financial gain is a red line they will not cross, would have to vote third party or write-in Jimmy Carter.

    4. Kevin DeNardo

      I trust Tucker Carlson about as far as I can throw Chris Cuomo. The only thing viler than our politicians is our media. A pox on ’em all.

      1. anon in so cal

        He’s the only MSM voice who has consistently spoken out against Syria regime change, the Obama Biden Russiagate psy ops, and Democrats’ unhinged anti-Russia propaganda. He also articulates positions that overlap with Bernie Sanders’– at least positions held by Sanders during Sanders’ 2016 campaign.

        1. dcrane

          Yeah Tucker has his agenda, but he puts it up front. I guess it’s fair to ask whether he or anyone else has reported this stuff out well enough to be sure about it. But then again what does get reported well these days?

          Bottom line is we need more reporting – and that goes for the Dem-affiliated media too, the people who were so interested in corrupting foreign financial enganglements when they hoped Trump would be implicated. This story is so detailed it should collapse immediately if it’s not based on reality. There is no excuse for suppressing it.

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      This is an assignment. See our Policies. Or see Barry Ritholtz:

      Assignments: There are few things that I find more annoying than disingenuous rhetoric. “Why are you ignoring X? You must post on this NOW.”

      No, no I mustn’t. I do not, and will not, under any circumstances, accept your homework assignments. They will be deleted, and your troll potential score will skyrocket. Instead, you fat lazy bastard, do some homework yourself. Then, post a clever observation and URL. Perhaps you will stimulate a conversation. (Of course, you could always write your own blog, ‘cepting your constant masturbation makes typing exceedingly slow).

      1. dcrane

        I took it as a criticism of the editorial decision on which topics merit coverage, which seems like it should be fair game (although I wouldn’t have put it the way that commenter did). If that falls into the assignment category here it’s about time I found out.

        1. hunkerdown

          Quoth a confabulated Native American legend, “The bird moves within the flock and the flock moves within the bird.” Or, quoth Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra, “Don’t hate the media, become the media!”

          IOW, NC’s not an encyclopedically full bar but BYO link and they may pour it for you tomorrow.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Links is not a wire service and we’ve made clear it does not aspire to be one either. You are accumulating troll points. I suggest you drop this.

  3. zagonostra

    >Republicans: The New Confederacy New York Review of Books

    We are essentially two political tribes fighting a cold civil war that may determine whether or not our institutions can survive the strife fomented by a pandemic, a racial reckoning, an economic collapse, the death of a transcendent Supreme Court justice, and the reelection campaign of our homegrown authoritarian president.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. I quote from Antonio Gramsci’s chapter on the “Modern Prince” in “Selections from the Prison Notebooks:

    The great industrialists utilize all the existing parties turn by turn, but they do not have their own party. This does not mean that they are in any way “agnostic” or “apolitical. Their interest is in a determinate balance of forces, which they obtain precisely by using their resources to reinforce one party or another in turn from the varied political political checkerboard…It is certain, however, that if this is what happens in “normal” times, in extreme chases -which are those which count (like war in the life of a nation) – the party of the great industrialists is that of the landowner, who for their part do have their own permanent party. pg 155

    Anyone viewing contemporary politics can see that if you update Gramsci’s terms such as “great industrialists” to “big tech” or “big pharma”, MIC, etc, it makes more sense. We are in a state of permanent war and every day I’m told by Chomsky and others that we are faced with an existential threat to the planet. But it’s not “two political tribes fighting a cold civil war” as the NYTB article suggest, but the complete take over of both political parties by corporations and monied interest. It’s not the people watching Maddow and Hannity being whipsawed from one piece of information to another but the manipulation of information, images, and sounds to keep everyone confused and (n)dumb.

    People sense this intuitively. When Alex Jones goes on Joe Rogan, as he did yesterday, and garners, as of this morning more than 4 million views on a 3 hour podcast in less than 12 hours, you know what is being told to us by the official sanctioned organs of the state is not going down well. So don’t tell me that the “The Republican Party has become a new kind of Confederacy,” it’s a false historical analogy and doesn’t address what is really going on.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It took a Yale professor to write this rubbish. I suspect that he was writing this screed for his social group more than anything else but as a rigorous analysis on what is happening, it is useless. This is the same sort of thinking here that led the Democrats to be completely blindsided back in 2016. So here is the thing for me. If this is what a professor is coming up with that teaches American history in an elite university, what would he be teaching his students who will likely take up leadership roles after graduation? Russiagate is real? If you don’t live on a coast, you must be a racist? Our present economy is what history shows is the only workable one? Gawd!

    2. DJG

      zagonostra: Thanks for quoting the always clear-eyed Gramsci.

      Given that Biden is promising that nothing will change, if these peeps are looking for metaphor, they should also look at The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. In which Prince Fabrizio asserts that everything must change so that it can remain the same. “Cambiare tutto perché niente cambi.”

      and then:
      “Noi fummo i Gattopardi, i Leoni; quelli che ci sostituiranno saranno gli sciacalletti, le iene; e tutti quanti gattopardi, sciacalli e pecore, continueremo a crederci il sale della terra.”

      (“We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who’ll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas; and the whole lot of us, Leopards, jackals, and sheep, we’ll all go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth.”)”

      Not a Confederate among them.

      1. zagonostra

        Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa? Not familiar with his work, but I certainly will send a dispatch to my family in Italy to get me caught up, thank you!. And thanks for quoting the Italian, I don’t get a chance to read it enough…

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Would Gramsci grant that it’s possible the “great industrialists” can themselves be divided over cultural issues?

      1. zagonostra

        Of course. But the key for Gramsci, if I may quote him again is that “Politics becomes permanent action and gives birth to permanent organisations precisely in so far as it identifies itself with economics.” pg 140. Would you not agree that identity politics and whether someone prefers Schubert to the Flying Lizards ( I like both) does not directly relate to the political sphere, and at best tangential to the society’s allocation of goods?

        I remember during the Dakota Pipeline, the guy who owned the pipeline and was pushing for it played guitar and was a huge Jackson Brown fan, it didn’t stop his efforts to push the pipeline through even though JB was holding concerts to support stopping the project.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          “tangential to the society’s allocation of goods”

          I would agree with that in the sense that cultural issues aren’t valid criteria for the allocations of goods. Where cultural issues, as embodied in worldviews, do become important is in the process a society goes through when it decides what criteria are valid. Even more important now, those issues are central when a society decides how to address the trade-offs between production of goods and the environment. Finally, if a society is to radically change the way it allocates goods, and if that is to be a more or less peaceful process, worldviews must change to support and sustain that change in the way that Odonianism supported the social structure on Le Guin’s Annares. In the real world, the CNT in Spain spent decades building a culture of communismo libertario before there was the Catalonia that Orwell loved.

          That pipeliner was undergoing some definite cognitive dissonance, huh? My son is a music therapist, and we’ve talked about what people identify as “my music,” and it usually comes from their early 20s. This guy was a different person back then. His holding onto Jackson might signal an opening to point out the conflict within him in the right circumstances. Change that .01 % with therapy!

          I gotta read me some Gramsci.

  4. John A

    Re CBS Russia orders national mask mandate.

    More fake news from CBS,
    Putin has not ordered anything, Russia’s state health watchdog has advised mask wearing, but has left implementation up to regional officials.

  5. vidimi

    i don’t think russiagate is going away if biden wins. the republicans will be just as happy to wield it against biden at the slightest hint of rapprochement. the US is always looking for more monsters abroad. so we will have russia-, china-, and maybe even irangate, although i don’t think biden will ressurect obama’s one good policy.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Don’t even try paying cash in China” article at-

    Re ‘We are already getting rain and thunder from Zeta.’ We have been getting slammed with storms all day on the eastern coastline of Oz too. Spent the whole day playing tag with storms having to shutdown and boot up the computer as each wave of the storms blast through.

  7. a different chris

    Ok for all of us worried about the current, let alone the increasing, population of the Earth I have two pieces of good news:

    Of course this isn’t quite as nice as just not having so many kids, it’s more like a lottery (get shot, pretty likely by a family member, or get run over by some automated monster) but hey it’s something, right? :D

    1. Phacops

      With growth the logic of a cancer cell and forgoeing children as unaffordable (unless I desire a life of poverty), it is very hard for me to act to improve the future for the children of people refusing to sacrifice deeply.

      1. Phacops

        Also, Re: auto safety features.

        I guess my focused attention to driving and looking at the behavior of drivers around me, an artifact of my motorcycling, has led me to defeat the systems on my current car. Especially hated by me is traction control which causes unpredictable performance in deep snow (common where I live).

        I wonder if the driving systems will, like some computerized flight systems, lead to drivers unable to cope with interesting situations. As it is, I think that Americans only know how to steer a car, not drive one (and only in a straight line). Can’t remember the last time I saw somebody properly driving through a tight curve (with eyes looking into the exit) instead of seeing them afraid of falling off the edge of the earth.

        1. tegnost

          4 or 5 years ago I helped someone move from seattle to reno. I rented a sprinter van from a common truck rental company. In reno I emptied the van, and headed back to seattle, but snowstorm. I-80 to sf was a mess, and of course there are always a few kookballs who drive like it’s normal conditions, and surprise surprise! they spin out, and cause massive traffic jam. The empty sprinter had a traction control system that would not go…, push on the gas and theres just a vibration as the machine is confused. Lucky for me traffic was at a standstill, so I jumped out and started throwing ice chunks from the snowplows into the back until I had a fair amount of weight in there, and voila! sprinter goes again. Not sure what the robot car will do in the same situation…

          1. Janie

            There’s a motorcycle museum in Leeds AL you’d like, Barber’s Motorsports. Great architecture, training course and of course lots of two-wheelers..

            1. foghorn longhorn

              Yes, am familiar with them.

              Was in Birmingham one time and regret not making time for a tour.
              Their virtual stuff is pretty good tho.

  8. Amfortas the hippie

    re: NYRB on “new confederacy”

    “But a preservation of our Union will not come from merely calling out moral hypocrisy, or wringing our hands over cynicism, or even from the power of numbers. ”

    usual caveats: small, isolated, close-knit population, etc

    like i said yesterday, after being (rightly) called to account for referring to the righty base as meth addled swine…the numerous folks i know who vote right, or even just lean right…and who may or may not vote…aren’t universally the scary monsters we encounter on-line….not really, save in still rather special circumstances.
    in normal life…going into the feedstore, etc…politics is studiously avoided, and they’re just the salt of the earth, flawed humans they have always been.
    aside from a tiny minority who wear their various pathologies on their sleeves, full time, most must be triggered in some way to become the Mr Hyde we are so often warned about so breathlessly.
    given past encounters and surveillance(eavesdropping, FB duckblinds) and even candid conversations with their favorite radical redneck hippie guy, there’s still an undercurrent of embarrassment among the rank and file.(ie: did barret’s confirmation give them what they wanted, so they no longer feel obligated?)
    the handful of local grievance merchants are still not all that well liked(ive been told that i’m more respected than they are,lol….me, an out lefty radical moral philosopher. i was surprised as anyone to hear of this)
    i doubt all these observations and peering into souls is scalable, given the unique history and composition of the people in this place….
    still, it bears keeping in mind the relative opacity of the “hearts and Minds”, even with the perceived transparency of our mediated(and social mediated) environment.
    for all the huffing and puffing, we must still hurry up and wait.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      all that said, i see things like this:

      or the intercept thing about the Bosnian conflicts…and it reinforces how strange my little corner of the world might be.
      or maybe not,lol…i was, after all, strangled in an alley after a political argument where voices were never raised(2004–american legion guy asked me how i felt about bush2, didn’t like that i considered him a war criminal).
      it’ll come down to which persona is more powerful…the pavlovian mr hyde engineered by the machine, or the inner core of folks who may not like a neighbor’s political views, but couldn’t conceive of doing them harm because of them.
      knowing these people out here(and being related, via wife, to as much as half of them), i just can’t see them resorting to violence.
      i hope that this does scale up.

      1. flora

        Somebody or some agency seems to want a new civil war, but it’s not us mopes on Main St. What would be the payoff for us? More austerity?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the sort of consensus, growing since circa 2013 or so(and only when pressed in a relaxed setting, separated from the herd, and sans triggers/terrorwords) has been “a pox on both”….DC/Fedgov seen as irrelevant and/or counterproductive.
          “just go away”, etc.
          of course, since roughly april, they’ve been sucked up into the whirlwind and assimilated by the trump collective madness.
          i’m no longer lingering enough in places(like my feedstore) to know if this is mostly performative and the result of herd reinforcement…or heartfelt love of the dear leader.
          i suppose the election returns for the county will eventually shed some light on that aspect.
          my local FB duckblind is pretty unhelpful as well…..the only regular posters with anything to say beyond some version of “yes” or “right on”, are that same handful of actual would be monsters/keyboard warriors…and their current insane utterances are pretty normal, for them.
          (ie: what they’re yelling on facebook about this morning wouldn’t be out of place on their facebook feed(or analog version of same) even 20 years ago)
          however…again, knowing these people in real life…i consider them a minor actual threat, beyond a possible enraged but isolated ejaculation of violence….mostly just terrified people who can’t understand what’s happened to their world and have latched on to an explanation/narrative that suits their Ids.
          now, if presented with something like a 9-11 or some other dire emergency that cuts to the quick, all bets are off, and they will gain supporters.
          locally, that’s what i worry about.
          like when after hurricane rita hit houston, and the trucks stopped running out here for a week.
          it would be bad if that happened right about now.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            This sure feels like gorebush all over again.
            Will need a ‘unifying’ event shortly after the election.
            Stay out of tall buildings for a while.

        2. Procopius

          Reminds me of Goering’s comment when he was talking about how to get the people to back a war:
          Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
          Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
          Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

  9. Susan

    England relaunches the War on Christmas. I thought that ended with Cromwell? They should have some George Floyd protests instead, those are never reported as spreading Covid.

  10. MT_Bill

    I think it is a little too late, but whoever is running Trump’s get out the vote campaign for the Philly suburbs is brilliant.

    I know this sorta thing happens all the time in the USA, but the timing makes me want to get out my tin foil hat.

    1. Arizona Slim

      You’ve piqued the curiosity of this PA native. What exactly is going on in the Philly suburbs?

      1. Skip Intro

        Philly suburbs are watching riots in their city, and presumably searching for a candidate to crush BLM. Fortunately, they have 2 choices.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Ah, yes. The Scary City of Philadelphia.

          A well-remembered trope from my growing up years near West Chester. That’s the seat of Chester County, which is now one of the most affluent counties in the US of A.

          People who ventured into the city for work, shopping, or entertainment, well, that was risky! Something could happen!

          And, if you followed the local news, guess what got a lot of coverage. Crime and mayhem, that’s what.

          Any-hoo, I made a fall 2019 trip to PA to settle the sale of the family home. After the sale, I decided to treat myself to a weekend in …

          … Ph-ph-ph, oh, I’ll just say it — Philadelphia!

          During my glorious time in the City of Brotherly Love, I visited a couple of friends from childhood. They’d decided to downsize out of their West Chester home and move into a condo near Broad Street in Philadelphia. (Nice place, BTW.)

          Well, their decision to leave the burbs didn’t go down well with one of their friends. Said friend was horrified, saying, “Don’t you read the PAPER?”

          Indeed my friends do, but they’re loving life in Philadelphia, and, just for a weekend, so did I.

          1. MK

            You do actually know what is happening there the last 2 nights? There likely won’t be a walmart or CVS left in that part of town, just like parts of Chicago. So yes, it is real and not some white scare talk.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is using her Facebook page to spread misinformation about Joe Biden”

    Ginni Thomas to the white courtesy phone, please. Caesar’s wife would like a quick word with you.

    Re “Corn’s cat in Berlin” in the today’s antidote du jour. Is this a case of life imitating art?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      While I’m no fan of any of these people, it does seem a little ungrateful on the part of Thomas’ wife, considering that Joe Biden played such a large part in her husband being confirmed to the Supremes back in the day.

      Some of us do remember the whole Anita Hill thing – not very metoo-ish of old Joe back then. I’m sure he’s completely changed though…

      For this who missed it – from back in the day before SNL developed TDS.

    2. edmondo

      Can we be sure it’s “misinformation”?

      I have no idea what she wrote because I’ve never had a FB account, but if she’s implying that Joe Biden sucks that’s hardly incorrect data, that’s called reality.

    3. Procopius

      Back in 2001 there was a meeting of energy company people in Vice President Cheney’s office. Some people wanted to know who attended. Cheney said, “Go pound sand.” They sued. After a while the case worked its way up to the Supremes, who accepted it. People complained that Scalia should recuse himself because he was known to be a good friend of Cheney’s, and had actually recently gone duck hunting with him without getting shot. Scalia pointed out there is no statute or regulation requiring Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves under any circumstances, he was the only one who could decide if there was a conflict of interest, and they should go pound sand.

      IANAL, but I gather there is no statute, regulation, or provision in the constitution that says Supreme Court justices cannot engage in partisan politics and [family blog] as many rats as they like. Their wives, too.

      1. Carolinian

        Never even heard of that one but sounds great. /s

        I don’t live in suburbia although it once was of a much smaller town. Everyone around here is disgustingly nice. They will soon be opening the gates (we don’t have any actually) to the yearly invasion of Trick of Treaters. People come from all around.

        1. The Rev Kev

          If you do not mind me asking, what are you going to do about that? Will you open your home to all these kids or will you simply turn the lights off and pretend nobody is home. I have read that some people are shaming those who do not take part in trick or treat this year.

          1. Carolinian

            Those who wish to participate do. Those who don’t turn off their porch lights. I gave up on it years ago when it turned into hundreds of kids, not just the locals.

            It’s still happening this year but likely will be somewhat dialed back. Reportedly the CDC has given a thumbs up to Halloween (takes place outside, kids in masks), thumbs down to elaborate Thanksgivings.

            1. carl

              “Masks: they aren’t just for Halloween anymore.”
              Surprised nobody’s put it on a t-shirt yet.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            I am going to turn off the porch light, lower the curtains, and sit out Halloween this year. Last year with porch light on and plenty of excellent candy — Lindt truffles — not one kid came to trick-or-treat.

    1. shtove

      I watched the first in this grim series – over earnest wish fulfillment that combines the thrill of survivalism with hysteria over criminality. It does merit the the sort of socio-political analysis that often gets heaped onto horror movies, ie. it’s not much good.

      In similar vein, earlier this year there was the more humorous The Hunt with Hilary Swank, which pitches Liberals against Deplorables in a guns & ammo bloodbath – the politics are a complete muddle, and it comes across as the embodiment of social media showdowns, where everyone hides behind identities.

    2. CallMeTeach

      I’ve seen “The First Purge,” and I really enjoyed it. It was a not at all subtle attack on how TPTB and press manipulate people and how the rich want to prey on the poor. There was far more depth than I expected from the 4th (I think) installment in the series.

    3. JWP

      The films are poorly done in a cinefile sense. But they do have some interesting messages. Particularly the rich defending themselves against the poor and wanting to kill them, as well as the poor/middle class going out and killing each other. There are more lower class people “purging.” The most recent film is the most relevant, where the government starts the purge as a social experiment where they pay people 5,000 on Staten Island to participate.

      1. Calypso Facto

        There was also a tv show based on the theme that I caught a few episodes of, but it was too boring to continue. I thought it would have made a great anthology show around the theme of class within a Purge-type society, like The Twilight Zone, but like the movies it was a few great ideas wrapped in a lot of boring slick junk.

        1. JWP

          It is a great concept to have done by a non-american crew to have it end with a show of upper class facism against the have-nots. I think the concept as a whole is not something Americans could accept if it were done as a really good movie because it would actually be a good political starter for some class solidarity of the middle->lower classes against the top.

  12. marieann

    Re: paying with cash in China

    Yesterday my sewing machine finally arrived, I ordered it in June from a local small business
    I don’t like to use visa with local businesses, my debit limit is $1000/day so I asked if they would take a cheque he said no but would take cash. So I paid $3500 in cash and I was thanked for using it.

    1. Judith

      I am still sewing with my almost 50 year old Bernina 830 ( a heavy pre-plastic monster to lift). I guess the Swiss know how to build a sewing machine.

      What did you buy?

      1. marieann

        I do have a couple of old Kenmore’s (made by Janome) that work great; also a Juki that just does straight stitch…a great machine for quilting
        The one I bought is a Brother computerized sewing/embroidery machine.

        I had a Husqvarna one for 20 years that needed a new motherboard which is no longer manufactured, I was very disappointed when it died, this machine replaces that one.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          A friend of mine got into sewing not long before he died, and he got a Husqvarna. It was kinda sweet to see this great big bear of a man…who more typically used their chainsaws…bent over the sewing machine putting together bits and pieces of fabric in order to make little (and big) quilts and such for his kids. They treasure those quilts too, btw. Dad, keepin’ em warm even after passing… ;)

          Apropos of nothing else other then its a sewing thread….I wish I still had grammas old classic Singer pedal-driven sewing machine. In my minds eye I can see that machine in the corner of her room, covered in bits and pieces of projects she was working on. I think one of the cousins inherited it years and years ago, thankfully….one of the cousins who is known for keeping stuff, sewing, and likely still uses it. Or, at least, has almost certainly kept it in cherry shape. I should get in touch with her and see eh?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            my mom’s always been the sewer, after her mom went.
            …and her mom before her, and so on.
            via this chain of custody, mom has one of those singer treadle machines up in the attic.
            still works, of course(things are like kalishnakovs)///but she likes her newer one(2000’s singer electric, with a few bells and whistles.)
            arthritis and all.

            1. marieann

              ” with a few bells and whistles.)
              arthritis and all.”

              Yes, the bells and whistles are what convinced me to get this new one. My old ones are great but I missed all the fancy stuff

        2. Leftist Mole

          I am still using my 40 year old lead weighted Viking Husqvarna. Turning out a lot of masks. It wheezes a bit.

      2. ewmayer

        My mom has a Bernina that was given to her as a wedding present by her Austrian relatives 60 years ago – beautifully designed and built, and still works great!

  13. zagonostra

    >Build your own US election result: plot a win for Biden or Trump – Guardian

    That’s the actual headline and they encourage readers to play some twisted game: In the interactive graphic below, you decide which way these closer states will vote, and try to pave Joe Biden or Donald Trump’s path to victory

    WTF is this? We’ve entered a Baudrillardian (un)reality.

  14. Lex

    ‘Americans Are Super-Gloomy About Holiday Spending, But Industry Ramps Up For Blockbuster Christmas’

    We squirreled away “nuts” all summer long and into the fall, in anticipation of a brutal winter and possible lockdown (again), like hobbits in our hobbit-holes. This activity made for a lot of extra spending followed by a sharp drop off, and what for retail watchers would be misleading numbers.

    I talked to some of my neighbors over the summer. The shire was busy with similar concerns. A lot of them are grandparents. Their families will be skipping the holidays this year.

    Amazon will be hosting our Christmas in the form of spent Points racked up from all that summer spending. That’s not exactly “income”… is it?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It will be interesting to see if reduced family get-togethers will reduce or increase spending over Christmas by people who still have a reasonable income (I’m assuming that many people won’t do their usual trip to spend Christmas with parents or other family). Some might see it as an excuse to avoid spending too much money – others may spend their travel money on bigger and better gifts – I guess we’ll soon find out.

      There is a local campaign in my area to buy gifts only from local shops and craftspeople. Some, like my near neighbour, are very dependent on a good Christmas trade to keep their shops and workshops open. I hope people are careful and selective when they do spend.

  15. Another Scott

    I have a big problem with Ginni Thomas’ work and her husband’s refusal to recuse himself in certain cases that she’s involved with. Should she be tweeting about politics? No. However, the AP just makes assertions that what she shared are conspiracy theories without any proof. Like the one about the Biden’s corruption or George Soros’ influence on the Democrats. Those are certainly less of conspiracy theories than the one that the MSM has been spreading that Russia was the source of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

    1. chuck roast

      If you were standing before the Supreme Court in preparation to begin your argument, would you respectfully request that certain justices with perceived conflicts of interest recuse themselves from the case? Not if you ever wanted to argue there again. However, it is way past time that somebody stood up and said it.

      1. Procopius

        When Antonin Scalia was urged to recuse himself from his good friend* Dick Cheney’s case, he pointed out there is no requirement anywhere for Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves. It is entirely up to their judgement whether they can return an unbiased opinion. He examined his conscience and determined he would be able to return an unbiased opinion in Cheney’s favor and refused to recuse himself.

        *We can infer Cheney was Scalia’s friend, because Scalia went duck hunting with him and did not get shot.

    1. Wukchumni

      Fast forward a blessed week from now…

      …does Donald lame duck still hold rallies in the interim?

      1. foghorn longhorn

        So, looks like we’ve got the drapes measured.
        What color is the only mystery left.
        Might I suggest a nice chameleon shader, which can change between red and blue, depending on who is visiting on bended knee.

    2. edmondo

      He wasn’t trying to kill them off, just trying to “preserve” them until Election Day, like day-old bread. Voters are expendable. Joe Biden had to kill off a few to win some early primaries but it’s all good now.

    1. Nakatomi Plaza

      The idea of “flipping” an election simply by tallying all the votes is especially treacherous. Talking points directly from the WH, it seems.

    2. JWP

      Something’s gotta give with Judicial review. I feel like most lawyers (lawyers please correct me if i’m wrong) would be disbarred for using such fallacies to make a claim or decision. mazingly, there’s a lot of “why don’t they turn the votes in sooner’ argument, as if the postal service and ballot counting hasn’t been gutted and fried.

  16. Winston Smith

    “How Indigenous Communities in Canada Organized an Exemplary Public Health Response to COVID”
    This reminds me of the SD Governor Noem vs the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Oglala Sioux tribes. I wonder how they are doing compared to the rest of the state

  17. The Historian

    I just checked NWS. YIKES! Stay safe in Alabama!! It looks like it is going to get hit hard this time!

    1. John Beech

      As a pilot I’m a weather junkie. If you don’t have it already, MyRadar app on my phone is nice because one click brings radar returns without any further clicking. Yes, there are more features (winds, temps, etc.) but just single-click radar is sweeeeeet!

      1. BobW

        We get about 3 inches of rain in a normal October, but up until 2 days ago it had rained less than a tenth of an inch. Going to get 4 inches by the end of the month. When it rains, it pours.

    2. jr

      I’ve been doing a little urban prepping here in NYC in case we get another Sandy. Allow me to share a few ideas I’ve had for dealing with plumbing/water/sanitation issues:


      With a lid that seals, some trash bags, and a sack of kitty litter. When you ascend this throne, you want to kind of pull the bag up around your lower back as you sit to keep everything in it’s place.


      Potable water:

      In addition to a Water Straw purification straw, some purification tablets, and the eventual flat or two of bottled water this gives you weeks and weeks of water storage capability:


      I cannot say enough about this product. This thing has fractionalized my laundry costs. You can soak clothes in it as well. Hot tip: ammonia. Cleans and softens. Watch it around the bleach though. Also, as a pressure washer, it works wonders on stains. I got blood out of a linen T shirt of my GF’s with some peroxide and this baby. Another laundry tip: bleach expires! Check the sell by date, a lot of places sell ancient bleach because no one knows it goes bad. Also, grabs some packs of rags to stand in when paper towels go extinct again.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I’m going to give that Scrubba a look. I do a fair amount of handwashing, so this could really be useful.

  18. Wukchumni

    Took a drive to the other side where the Castle Fire came calling a month earlier along Hwy 190 above Springville (where the survivors in Lucifer’s Hammer hang out, incidentally) and it must’ve come roaring up from below as nothing was left alive on the ground as far as the eye could see in the forest up slope of me. And then you’d come across raspberry looking live trees which had retardant dropped on them, to add to the oddity of the trip. As usual the capricious wildfire left a few hundred foot swaths of trees untouched while everything on either side was torched en route. A good many newly sawed stumps were evident along the way, with teams of loggers chainsawing all dead trees that could hit the road, with every formerly upright citizen in high standing afforded a spray paint mark for it’s last rites before going horizontal.

    This fire will be close to 175k acres when rain & snow eventually puts paid to persisting pockets of the thunderbolt’s doing.

  19. flora

    re: Facebook, Google, Twitter CEOs to tell senators changing liability law will destroy how we communicate online – CNBC

    So break then up or nationalize them. /heh

      1. JWP

        +1 and make the executives pay a separate but equally massive fine to show other wannabe CEOs that jacking up a stock price will only land you broke and hated.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “American troops could be sent to ‘defend the Senkaku Islands’, US commander says”

    Had to wince when I saw that news title. A bit of history. The Senkaku Islands have been Chinese since the 14th century but Japan seized them in a war with China back in 1895 when Japan was powerful and China debilitated. So after WW2, the US occupied these islands and over twenty years later when it was realized that there were potential oil and gas reserves offshore, the US gave them back to Japan. Neither Taiwan or the PRC were impressed with this injustice so potentially putting in US troops is adding insult to injury. The US marine Corps is dumping a lot of gear like tanks, artillery, people, etc. and getting instead into anti-ship missiles business by deploying small packets of troops to islands around China. If US troops are sent there eventually, I am willing to bet that it will be some of these “missile marines”.

  21. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the bee whisperer

    Pretty fascinating and another confirmation we aren’t as different as we suppose from other members of the animal kingdom. I would question one thing the researcher said –

    My hypothesis is that bees and other animals can process numerical information without culture and without language because they have a need that has persisted through time.

    How do you know that bees don’t have culture and language? Isn’t dividing up the work a sign of culture? And how do they perform all those coordinated tasks without a language of some kind? Does language need to be verbal? Sounds like more experiments are in order.

  22. polecat

    To flora above,
    When they say ‘we’ .. subliminally speaking, they mean the Neo Royal ‘we’… the ONLY thing that count$!

    Nationalies them .. sure, that’ll work. /s

    Just Shut Them Down! Throw those rings back down Mount SiliCon’s throat. Let’em choke!

    Investing Orcs be damned.

  23. Clem

    Records Show Trump’s Border Wall Is Costing Taxpayers Billions More Than Initial Contracts

    Gee, what percentage of government contracts come in at the initial cost?

    Subtract the avoided costs of illegal immigrants on public budgets, and the wall, which is just a metaphor, is a huge money saver for the public purse.

    1. edmondo

      It’s not just a border wall, it’s also a patronage project.

      And an ecological disaster….

      And one we will be punished for by Dog or Gaia

      On the other hand, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be there long. They constructed it right in the middle of the river than only runs when it rains. It will get washed half-way to Honduras during Monsoon Season

    2. marym

      017 Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy – 2017

      “Like other people living and working in the United States, undocumented immigrants pay state and local taxes. They pay sales and excise taxes when they purchase goods and services (for example, on utilities, clothing and gasoline). They pay property taxes directly on their homes or indirectly as renters. Many undocumented immigrants also pay state income taxes…

      Collectively, undocumented immigrants in the United States pay an estimated total of $11.74 billion in state and local taxes a year (see Table 1 for state-by-state estimates). This includes more than $7 billion in sales and excise taxes, $3.6 billion in property taxes, and $1.1 billion in personal income taxes.”
      (Also has links to posts on illegal immigrants paying federal taxes and SS/Medicare payeroll taxes

      1. Clem

        The Americans living in their cars, or on the street, who used to earn union wages and live in homes until displaced or replaced by cheap illegal’s labor would have paid those taxes, with more taken out for higher wages, but now they are on welfare.

        In addition, they would have spent their sales taxed money in our local economies, versus sending most of it home to their village, while living in dormitory like situations and using cast offs as do many illegals, who consume nothing but gasoline, diapers and paying zero sales taxes on food, at least in California and some other states.

        Got any numbers for that, or, do you not care about the economic plight of white or black American citizens, as well as legal immigrants?

        1. marym

          An assessment of the impact of illegal immigrants on the economy isn’t a measurement of how much one does or doesn’t “care about the economic plight of white or black American citizens, as well as legal immigrants;” nor does it provide a roadmap to identifying and addressing the many issues that contribute to that plight.

  24. jef

    I have been talking about this for months. Air pollution kills around 7 million …per year… year after year but no politicians are having us do anything to mitigate those preventable deaths. Everyone tells me it would be too harmful to the economy. But CoV19 response isn’t? I believe that it is disgusting and vile that somehow some deaths are unacceptable and some are not.

    Addressing air pollution would reduce the potential for getting CoV19 and reduce the 7 million deaths not to mention reduce CO2 emissions and save the planet

    1. Mummichog

      You are singing my song. But there is more.

      My (Hormone and chemical laced—courtesy FDA ) Beef with these Epidemiologists and Public Health Experts is that they cherry pick their epidemic or pandemic ignoring other, long standing issues which have, in some cases, needlessly killed and injured thousands of Americans.

      For starters, what about the massive Wall Street Crime Wave and then the Bailout of the Criminals in 2008? People lose jobs, healthcare, educations, spouses, etc.

      What about Opioid Epidemic with the docs and BigPharma in full facilitation of that disaster?

      What about the mining of Nutrition by Agribiz and Consumer “food” companies? Destruction of the health of the country.

      What about now and the loss of healthcare? Delayed and postponed diagnoses and treatments, loss of employment to pay health premiums, etc. Nary a mention by these experts.

      On and on it goes, with these Public Health Experts ignoring all the other health problems and deleterious consequences visible even to pandemic amateurs.

      And, to boot, three of the main vaccine developers have criminal records and significant civil judicial settlements against them. Hey, Epidemiologists lets jump into the gurney with the crooks.

      Despite all the above and more, they whine and moan,”Why don’t you trust us?”

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    About that NHS worker who was assaulted and thrown off the train, the people who did that should be named and put on a list of those who will be denied any further medical treatment in Britain or coverage anywhere else.

    We cannot afford to humor this kind of acting out by that kind of violent sub-human scum. And no, I am not being satirical. Those who assault a doctor deserve to die. And they do NOT deserve any medical treatment Ever ever EVER again.

  26. occasional anonymous

    >Anti-French sentiment grows in Muslim countries DW

    I’m surprised no one in the comments is talking about this. Al Jazeera has had it as their biggest front page story for most of the last two days (events in Nagorno-Karabakh have finally kicked it out of the top slot), with rolling coverage and frequent updates as if this were some rapidly developing disaster.

    Muslim governments all over the world are using Macron’s quite bland statements to get their populations all riled up, with Iran and the Sunni states in lockstep for once in their condemnation. They’re far, far more outraged over Macron saying freedom of speech is a good thing and that maybe, just maybe, Islam is having a crisis, than they were about a Muslim teenager decapitating a French teacher.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Every EUropean country, including France, treasures its economic relationships with the Muslim countries.
      If the Muslim country publics ramp up to a succesful boycott of French goods, will their comradely fellow Eurpoean countries take up what slack they can by buying more French goods? Will America? Will France’s self-defense be our self-defense?

      In the longest run, this will only be answered by Europe and America joining into one linked Autarkizone while consigning the Muslim countries to membership in the growing One Ball One Chain Great Han Co-Prosperity Sphere.

      And that can only work if there is precisely zero economic or financial contact of any kind permitted between the One Ball One Chain countries and the EuroAmerica Autarkizone countries.

  27. bruce

    The Y-block in “Secrets of Math from the Bee Whisperer” reminded me of the Y-block I used as a kid in a science fair project involving planaria (flatworms, or more formally, Platyhelminthes) and ordinary earthworms, and exploring 1) whether they could be taught to make right turns at the junction (a small bump, I thought it was significant, but I’m not a statistician) and 2) whether new worms could be taught this by placing them on a substrate and possible food source of ground-up educated worms (no meaningful results). If they turn right, they get potting soil with organic matter. If they turn left, I turn a switch to apply nine volts across the moist tissue they’re on. Fair night, festive atmosphere, parents there too, I’m running around with beakers full of ground-up worms and trays of live ones, and every time a worm turned left, the students at my exhibit would chant “Give it the juice, Bruce” and I took second prize.

    Further rumination on animals making high-stakes choices: A college friend went to work for Ralston Purina, and I’ve always imagined new pet food judging day to go something like this. Fluffy, a substantial tabby girlcat, is a judge at RP, and…

    “C’mon Fluffy, don’t let us down, we’re counting on you. You choose the wrong bowl and I lose my job and my whole team gets cancelled. Remember your training, it’s the one on the right, it’s the one on the right, it’s the one on the right…”


    “What did she say?”

    “She said ‘It isn’t too early for you to update your resume.'”

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