Links 11/19/2020

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Done! If you are now reading this message, the evil gremlin who has seized control of our website this week has now relaxed his grip enough for me to upload your last links.

Australian ‘war crimes’: Elite troops killed Afghan civilians, report finds BBC

Australian special forces involved in murder of 39 Afghan civilians, war crimes report alleges Guardian

Best of enemies Times Literary Supplement

‘The Christmas miracle of 2020’: A tiny owl was saved after getting stuck in New York’s Rockefeller Center tree National Post

The mysterious appeal of a labyrinth BBC

Opinion: Nvidia is having a spectacular year; so where does it go from here? MarketWatch

Asia’s biggest climate migration MIT Technology Review

Steve McCurry’s previously unseen images – in pictures Guardian


Another Covid vaccine breakthrough as study confirms Oxford’s jab is ‘safe and provokes a robust immune response’ in over-60s Daily Mail

Oxford Covid vaccine trial confirms encouraging results for the elderly FT

Tyson Foods manager had betting pool for how many workers would get COVID-19: suit NY Post

How Iowa’s Governor Went From Dismissing Mask Mandates to Ordering One Herself I don’r understand this fixation on not ordering masks. It’s only a MASK. And it seems to work! So why not mandate them, with draconian penalties, and early (and exclusions for those with legitimate medical reasons for not wearing them, and “I don’t feel like it doesn’t count.”

Why the developing world needs a bigger pandemic response FT

NYC schools go all-remote; Cuomo warns of ‘astronomical’ positive test rates in state Fox 5

New York City to Close Public Schools Again as Virus Cases Rise NYT

One person every 17 seconds dies from Covid-19 in Europe, WHO warns The Telegraph

Pfizer Says Covid-19 Vaccine Is 95% Effective in Final Data, Will Seek Authorization WSJ

People are going to die’: Hospitals in half the states are facing a massive staffing shortage as Covid-19 surges Stat

Covid-19 Vaccine Progress Gives Tokyo Olympics a Tailwind WSJ. Strikes me there is entirely too much grasping at straws.

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions set to drop to lowest level in three decades WaPo

HR staff face painful switch from ‘good cops’ to enforcers FT. It was nice while it lasted.

The COVID Vaccine Must Be Universally Available. Anything Less Is Immoral. Jacobin.

Japan faces another coronavirus wave, but this one’s different The Japan Times


Giuliani’s court bid to overturn Biden victory turns to farce as he forgets judge’s name, calls other lawyer ‘that angry man,’ claims the 11 biggest cities are conspiring to steal election, then gets directions to the nearest martini bar Daily Mail. As my dear friend Jeff used to say when we were Oxford students togethers at some Reagan-era idiocy, in a broad Australian accent, “You have to laugh.” Ha, ha, ha!

As defeats pile up, Trump tries to delay vote count in last-ditch attempt to cast doubt on Biden victory WaPo

Trump Transition

President is wild card as shutdown fears grow  The Hill

US to label Israel boycott movement as ‘anti-Semitic’: Pompeo Al Jazeera

The Lost Cause of the Trumpocracy Project Syndicate

Biden Transition

Current and former Trump officials quietly reach out to Biden team CNN

Republicans seek to stymie Biden with final Trump nominees Politico

The Memo: Democrats see warning signs beyond 2020 The Hill

Biden mounts lobbying blitz to crack GOP resistance to his transition Politico

If Biden’s Serious About Bringing Back Diplomacy, He Should Make These Appointments Foreign Policy in Focus

Class Warfare

Inside the Lives of Immigrant Teens Working Dangerous Night Shifts in Suburban Factories ProPublica

Tucker Carlson And Media Elites Cozy Up To Private Equity Moguls The Daily Poster David Sirota

EU has been too slow to tame Big Tech, says bloc’s auditor FT

Google Pay relaunch transforms it into a full-fledged financial service Ars Technica

Judge in Google Antitrust Case Eager to Set Initial Schedule WSJ

Refugee Watch

Video Documents Illegal Refugee Pushbacks in Croatia Der Spiegel


UPDATE 1-Post-Brexit UK announces largest military investment since Cold War Reuters


Europe Must Stand Up to Hungary and Poland Project Syndicate George Soros


Jean Dreze: Last-mile hurdles in NREGA payments puncture India’s techno-utopian delusions Scroll

Army Sets Up Modern Habitats, Including Heated Tents, for Troops Deployed in Ladakh The Wire

China perceives rising India as ‘rival’; wants to constraint its partnership with US, allies: Report Economic Times


Hong Kong ranked second-worst city in Asia for expats to live due to soaring costs and declining stability SCMP In spite of their stunning pandemic response.

Health Care

Beyond COVID-19: the Power Struggle Over Alternatives for Health Care Reform Counterpunch

Antidote Du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Toshiro_Mifune

    Opinion: Nvidia is having a spectacular year; so where does it go from here

    You would think this is obvious; ARM on the desktop and more importantly ARM in the datacenter.

    1. Calypso Facto


      Also ARM architectures are part of China’s semiconductor self-sufficiency plans, see this article from last year:

      In little more than a year, Arm China has also developed infrastructure needed to make an artificial intelligence processor as well as a central processing unit — two other milestones in Beijing’s drive to build its own chip industry and buttress national security.

    2. Glen


      Couple this with Intel’s manufacturing failure in the states, and you can add it to the list of industries which successfully off shored technology, factories and jobs to China.

  2. Wukchumni

    Day 16 of the ‘I Ran Hostage Crisis’

    The President is lucky to have such competent counsel in Rudy, you can sense there’s a great deal of trust he places in him in to hold the country hostage for another 4 years, which is not to say he might get better results from a recent graduate of the University of Phoenix law school.

      1. kevin smith

        trump is setting rudy up so trump can use the last refuge of a scoundrel: the “My lawyer was incompetent/impaired” defense.

        The last 4 years with trump have been a master-class in chicanery.

        roy cohn must be looking up approvingly from hell…

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          I thought patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel. And the Donald is still commander-in-chief for two more potentially exciting months. Better keep those seatbelts fastened. Tightly.

          1. Buckeye

            Patriotism is the FIRST refuge of a scoundrel. Patriotism/nationalism is the vehicle of Capitalism’s dictatorship over society. Karl Polanyi pointed out how Capitalism and the Nation State were created hand-in-hand.

            1. Arby

              Just observing here that we have enjoyed far more mainstream media coverage of Rudy flailing in court by these giddy corporate reporters than any devoted to the plight of independent publisher Assange in the docket of the Deep State.

        2. D. Fuller

          There is always the excuse of “incomptent counsel” to refight a case.

          One Soviet committee member once made a comment, paraphrasing… when looking at the survivors who used to run the USSR in the past, living in their apartments at the end of their days… “These are the people who used to run the USSR?”

          Our geriatric leadership reminds me of the Soviets in the years before the collapse of The USSR. Rudy certainly qualifies.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I think quite a few people may be underthinking how this could play out, especially if election laws are followed. Trump needs to win a few of the major suits and Joe goes back to the basement (did he ever leave it? Where is he, anyway? Maybe he would hold, you know, a press conference?). If the information about Dominion/Smartmatic is allowed to pierce The Great Firewall and is pried open its pretty difficult to see how you would certify. Who logged in? Why did the data get sent to servers located in Germany for tabulation? If you want to be really inquisitive you might ask the question: why are so many Dem politicians and operatives involved with voting machine companies AT ALL? Hmm.

            1. D. Fuller

              Fact of the matter is, what appears to have happened with Dominion has its Republican counterpart in ES&S/Premiere Solutions. The most egregious example of many, being the Ohio election results of 2004.

              Both sides do it. Does not make it right. They only fight when their side loses the vote rigging.

              The real question is: Why have Democratic AND REPUBLICAN officials been so supportive of e-voting? 3rd party something… something… they’ll never win in our system. E-voting may be the last firewall both parties have in preventing the rise of 3rd parties. Something to think about. There are other reasons both parties support e-voting, in addition to that firewall.

              E-voting fraud has been occurring, committed by both sides since the very beginning. Both parties have created the conditions for fraud. Both parties have supported the conditions for massive fraud through e-voting. Anytime both parties agree on something? That something most likely stinks to high heavens.

              I have no sympathy for Republicans or Democrats, in that regards. Their politicians jointly created the e-voting system. Neither gets to complain. Either get rid of e-voting and return it to the Gold Standard of paper ballots that are easily comprehended and readable. Or not.

              Playing the blame game? Is now for children.

              I could detail for you how Republican officials, as early as 2002, used Georgia and ES&S as the template for widespread e-voting manipulation. The methods would be the same as alleged with Dominion/Smartmatic.

              Why were 2004 Ohio elections tabulated on a server not located in Ohio, run by a Republican Bush supporter? That’s just for starters.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Hacking The Election documentary on YT from 2006. How I Hacked An Election in the NYT:

                But we’re hearing now that this election could not possibly have been hacked, how it was the most secure ever, etc etc.

                Given all this it will be interesting to see if it can be certified. If not: Will Biden be Samuel J. Tilden? Popcorn time, with heads on CNN and Fox exploding. Of course your FB feed, Google searches, and Tweets will be all in for Team D Beautiful OneThink but we’re still at a stage where there are a few remaining channels where freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of religion are still allowed.

      2. Procopius

        “The Trump Campaign” (who is that?) says they are not paying Rudi. Rudi says, “I just asked for that.” I think he’s over the hill.

  3. zagonostra

    >Benedict XVI & The New Totalitarianism – The American Conservative, Rod Dreher

    Make what you will of the millenniumist tone of the article and references to the Antichrist, but religions of the world are recognizing they are now in terra incognita. Are churches able to adapt to a virtual world where they compete with porn of every type, sexual, violence, dramaturgical 3 minute Y-Tube clips honed to your taste and proclivities, immersive haptic suits, holograms, AI, sexbots, etc? What happens to the church, not just the Church, when Mattew 18:20 can be actualized only when you have the approval of the Vaccine Czar (“for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”)?

    The release of the McCarrick Report last week, in my view, does little to create an alternative to the digitized desacralized reality that is replacing you and I getting together in the flesh and blood. The “incarnation” cannot be digitized.

    R. H. Tawney’s Religion and the Rise of Capitalism more so than Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism demonstrates the varied dialectical interplay between religion, historical, cultural, economic, and political spheres of life. Where Rod Dreher seems to go amiss, in my view, is his “learned ignorance” of how economics captures the political and cultural and glossing over the historical.

    An individual cut off from transcendence becomes “completely dependent on society,” “a social atom.”

    Every aspect of reality is interpreted in terms of a political narrative, which becomes the interpretative key for all aspects of social life: law, education, medicine, the family. Society at all levels splits along political lines because “culture is entirely subordinate to politics” and “the idea of politics is subsumed within the idea of war.”

    …if the Chinese state so desires, you cannot buy or sell without their permission. This is coming to us too, in time. People will welcome it, as many do in China, because it replaces social trust — and people are accustomed to living their lives online anyway. A reader who lives in a former Communist country of Europe told me that it is impossible to overstate how powerful the Internet, specifically social media, is in socializing the young. Nothing — not church, not family, nothing — is more powerful.

    It’s all part of the quickening.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Thank you for these books and links.

      I am trying to formulate in my head what this new god is that is replacing all the old religions. iGod is the closest I can come. And it is all mixed in with capitalism and alienation. We have all turned into our own little gods fighting against each other.

      1. zagonostra

        Here is an excerpt from R.H. Tawney’s book I referenced above which shows in some ways that Medieval times were more humane than the unbridled greed that characterize our own. For at least the Church in those times acted as an arbiter in adjudicating when that greed was excessive within the prevailing norms.

        This is very good book that I am glad to see is available to download for free as a PDF (link below).

        The facts of class status and inequality were rationalized in the Middle Ages by a functional theory of society, as the facts of competition were rationalized in the eighteenth by the theory of economic harmonies ; and the former took the same delight in contemplating the moral purpose revealed in social organization, as the latter in proving that to the curious mechanism of human society a moral purpose was superfluous or disturbing. Society, like the human body, is an organism composed of different members. Each member has its own function, prayer, or defense, or merchandise, or tilling the soil. Each must receive the means suited to its station, and must claim no more. Within classes there must be equality ; if one takes into his hand the living of two, his neighbor will go short. Between classes there must be inequality ; for otherwise a class cannot perform its function, or— a strange thought to us— enjoy its rights. Peasants must not encroach on those above them. Lords must not despoil peasants. Craftsmen and merchants must receive what will maintain them in their calling, and no more. (pg22)

    2. jsn

      “At bottom, it is cultural and moral rather than political or economic. [Emphasis mine — RD]”

      Here is the church’s basic problem, having internalized the “Golden Calf”, it’s blind to the fundamental “humanist ideology” of economics which generates the real material conditions for both the dissolution of historical values and the very atomization he’s complaining about. This is to flesh out the blind spot you identified in your comment: it’s not just Dreher, it’s the conservative wing of the Church and most American evangelicals as well.

      So he keeps going on about the possibility of totalitarian politics ignoring the real, functioning totalitarianism of the private corporation, which in the last 20 years has functionally taken over nominally democratic politics. To make the issue “gay marriage” as Benedict does in the first quote of the article is the key to maintaining Church blindness to the etiological origin of all it’s own complaints about “humanism” in Capitalist culture specifically: generalizing to “culture” at large is just misdirection, but now misdirection dogmatized in “faith”.

      The Chinese continue to make strenuous efforts to ensure the entire population is drawn into their system while our is embarking on a massive accidental experiment in expelling big chunks of the population. Our petty corporate totalitarians combine with a government so weak it can “be drowned in the bathtub” to create a real opening for change if we can figure out how to seize the opportunity and the revived “Poor People’s Campaign” featured here the other day seems like a good direction!

      1. occasional anonymous

        An inability to properly understand political economy is characteristic of most conservatives.

        Dreher’s problem, specifically, however is just that he’s an idiot.

        1. JBird4049

          Now that assessment of him is unfair. The man has his infuriating (gigantic) blind spots, but in the near two decades of reading his various blogs, I have never known him to be stupid. He has caused me to want to slap or shake him for his obdurant narrowness. It has never reached the current Uniparty’s level of dumb. Instead, the problem is that of the well educated person who (sometimes unconsciously) assume that their knowledge and skills can be applied to a different field.

          The now instinctive conflation of the Stalinist totalitarian state under its guise of “communism” with a communist or socialist economy is the same as with many, perhaps most conservatives, which includes most of the Democratic Party, although that is also because even having the very mildly social democratic tendencies of the old New Deal would threaten their rice bowl.

          Dreher’s blindness as well as other conservatives to the various kinds of economic -isms and their possibilities, including the modern political economy as a deliberate creation of the ruling class, can be compared to the Democratic Party’s blindness to class.

          The insane everything is communism of the American right and IdPol over all are at least partly the creations of those protecting their power and wealth. If the only “good” economy is a neoliberal one with anything further left consorting with Satan’s snare of communism or if class, even Third World level poverty, matters less than Identity Politics, then even the ability of people like Dreher or anyone else to form a new ideology and identity that can fight this fascism or authoritarianism or whatever is lost.

          I bring all this up because it is too easy to equate stupidity with being mistaken. The same is true with those blind spots that we all have. Some of which were created for you by others using the same techniques use to get you to buy that can of soup or your next car.

          1. occasional anonymous

            No, I’m pretty sure Rod “demons are totally real guys I’ve seen possession myself” Dreher is an idiot. The man is genuinely, staggeringly stupid. His hilarious handwringing/obsession with gay feminization hypnoporn is another highlight.

          2. Anthony Noel

            So, when he was waxing on about his friend “Nathan” and his possessed house wife who needed to be exorcised because she no longer wanted to go to daily mass or that the remake of Sabrinia the Teenage Witch signals a mass acceptance of Satanism in mainstream culture these things didn’t strike you as “stupid”?

            1. JBird4049

              Having… let us say interesting religious beliefs does not make a person stupid. And yes, his obsessions often go into tinfoil territory, but often he is a thoughtful, insightful writer.

              His struggles with not only the rapist priests scandals including coverups up to the Vatican, but the racism and lynchings in his own community have all been repeatedly written about by him. Even if I thought him stupid, and I don’t, his courage in facing the evils done by organizations and individuals that he personally knew is something I respect.

              What I think is the problem is that he is not the normal PMC individual with the standard prepackaged neoliberal, IdPol, coastal social beliefs. No, he is a man with a heterodox beliefs and ideas. A very socially conservative, religious Southerner who also is college educated, former reporter, enjoyed living in places like NYC, and who loves France and French cooking with some of the coastal liberalism still in him.

              All while believing in the literal existence of the Devil and of Satanic possession. Is it his intelligence the problem or his religious beliefs?

              Having had friends who were seriously conservative evangelicals who also believed in the Devil and demonic possession who were very smart, but I believe mistaken in some of their beliefs maybe makes it easier to separate the various parts of a person. I mean one of the reasons for the Democratic hatred of the Deplorables is because they engage in bad thoughts and don’t dress, act, and talk like the Blue Coastal People.

              Just like how the bogeyman Libs was also created to be a target. The overeducated, Brie eating, Chardonnay drinking liberals. Let’s be honest, events like the Folsom Street Fair and the Gay Pride Parade are not family friendly. I mean seeing things like some overweight, shriveled man with assless chaps, piercings all over including (which I can see, unfortunately) his manly bits… New Age mysticism, healing stones, magic spells, I mean really… and Critical Mass, how do I hate you. And none of this would go over well in Missouri.

              I am going a bit overboard, but I keep seeing people look at the outward appearances, the differences, and going eewww, stupid people. It’s like I’m back at school and I’m being told that a person has cooties! From both sides.

              1. occasional anonymous

                The New Age stuff is stupid, and for basically the same reasons Dreher’s beliefs are stupid.

                Look, this site is all about mocking economists for their often fairy tale beliefs (which they usually try to justify with fancy but meaningless math). The literally supernatural beliefs of the religious aren’t worthy of any more respect. It may very well be possible for people to believe ludicrous religious things but be completely rational in other respects (though I’ve seen precious little evidence that Dreher is such a person), but in those cases the supernatural is where they give up their critical faculties (and often get upset when you subject those beliefs to critical review and inevitably find them wanting).

                In fact in Dreher’s case his belief in literal demon possession especially hobbles his ability to get at the heart of any problem. When you have ‘Satan literally exists and can make people do things’ as a crutch you never truly have to wrestle with humanity.

    3. DJG

      zagonostra: I note that poor Dreher, much like Benedict, is obsessed with same-sex marriage. I am reminded how little effect (and little respect) the clergy have had with their obsession with birth control, too.

      The idea that no one till the late twentieth century thought about abortions as a need or about same-sex relations as a need is dubious indeed. One only has to start looking at old herbals to see how many herbs were used to promote menstruation and miscarriage. Women knew all about such things, particularly midwives. There are enormous archives of photos of what seem to be same-sex couples from the 19th century on line. And it isn’t as if abortions and same-sex love turned up in 1801.

      Likewise, as John Boswell wrote years ago in his important work Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, the views among the laity, in monasteries, and even among the clergy have never been uniform. The classical world tolerated homosexuality, and so did the Church for many years. Boswell notes growing intolerance during the late middle ages.

      Dreher is simply part of the gloomy, exclusive, and hierarchical group of Catholic traditionalists. On the other hand, he claims to have converted to Orthodoxy. Which Orthodox church he graces isn’t something I know. A narrow one, I assume.

      Dreher reminds me of what happens when his gang of prelates and puritanical laypeople (think People of Praise and Amy Coney Barrett, too) get the upper hand. You end up with Franco shoring up the Spanish Church. The result? Collapse of the moral authority of the Spanish Church, which it has not succeeded in earning back.

      1. D. Fuller

        IIRC, in prior centuries, The Catholic Church actually had rules on abortion… when it could be performed and when it could not be… as well as sex toys… etc. Or that women actually went to see a doctor to relieve them of “hysteria” – back then, an actual medical diagnosis. A treatment that involved well… personal attention.

        It was with the advent of film and sexuality on film, that Conservatives became more Conservative. An example of technology changing society.

        As for homosexuality, NC – thanks Yves -had an article not too long ago describing how “homosexuality” was a recent addition to The Bible translations, courtesy of American fundamentalists. Something about translations and German Bibles. Don’t have the link.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Richard John Neuhaus would fit in that gloomy group, but his route went from Lutheran to Roman Catholic. Neuhaus went the same academic path as Martin Marty, but those two turned out very differently.

      3. rl

        From “Mr and Mr and Mrs and Mrs,” James Davidson’s 2005 review of Alan Bray’s The Friend (2003), at the London Review of Books:

        Montaigne recorded a famous incident: a group of Portuguese men gathered together at the church of San Giovanni a Porta Latina in Rome (where Jesus’ ‘beloved disciple’ had nearly been martyred), to get married. By this time, the late 16th century, the ceremony could be viewed as an oddity: ‘une étrange confrérie’, Montaigne says, ‘their’ version of ‘our’ heterosexual nuptials (‘mesmes serimonies que nous faisons’); or, according to the Venetian ambassador, an attack on marriage (‘bruttando il nome sacrosancto di matrimonio’). After the ceremony, according to Montaigne, the Portuguese men went to bed together. Roman experts told him that the men had thought that, since a conjunction between male and female was legitimate only in marriage, ‘this other activity would become equally righteous, once it had been authorised by church ceremonies and mysteries.’ The Roman authorities quickly rounded them up and burned them alive.

        Bray viewed his own work as something of a successor to and improvement on Boswell’s, and he did deliver.

        Naturally, those who, like Dreher, embrace a near-Gnostic worldview—and, in the thoughts, feelings, and self-justifications they cultivate within themselves towards “the despised things of this world,” have more in common with e.g. Tariq Ramadan than with St. Paul (whom they tend to read with the all the sloth, vanity, and simple selective memory of the modernity they most despise)—are meticulous researchers only when the effort can flatter them. Even the rare venture into “dissenting perspectives,” if our brave champion of Tradition is cunning enough to select only those that he already knows he will be able to outsmart, will be made to serve this kind of tunnel-vision.

        And today’s “queer theorists” are predominantly heterosexuals working out their own postmodern identity crisis, so the scholarship has been left by the wayside for some time.

        I am an Orthodox Christian (of the Greek archdiocese). Dreher, I believe, was received into the Orthodox Church of America. (The state of the ecclesial scaffolding in the United States does not speak well of us, and that’s setting aside the effects of the current break in communion between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Moscow.) The Orthodox Church—or really the idea, an idol, of it as a “bastion of tradition” or a “soothing balm against modernity” and other vapid, narcissistic substitutes for the empty tomb—receives many inquirers and more than a few converts from the RCC and from various liberal Protestantisms. I do not question Dreher’s sincerity, but—if I may—his writing testifies to the orientation and condition of his heart.

        It’s remarkable. Dreher certainly spends a lot of time talking about “homosexuals,” but will he ever condescend to … ask one of us a question?

        I’ve found myself saying to atheists: “Tell me more about what I believe.”

        I’ve found myself saying to “traditionalists”: “Tell me more about my heart’s desire.”

        “Who do you say that I am?”

        1. DJG

          rl: Thanks for this. I first read about the incident of the young men marrying in Roma in Boswell’s book.

          There is also a good study of Venetian attitudes toward homosexuality, The Boundaries of Eros, by Ruggiero. Some of it is distinctly unpleasant. Yet, eventually, Aretino, who wasn’t on the straight and narrow sexually, ended up there, becoming a great pal of Titian.

          I especially question Dreher’s fantasies about Orthodoxy after reading Roderick Beaton’s book / portrait of Greece since 1830, in which he describes the red priests who led antigovernment demonstrations and rumbles in the streets. I tend to think that Dreher and various disappointed Protestant refugees didn’t bargain on that. Or on Archbishop Makarios.

          1. rl

            You are right to question it.

            It is customary in the Orthodox Church to study the lives and writings of the saints. In this light, one might also remember St. Maria Skobtsova, martyred in 1945 (on Holy Saturday, in fact) at the Third Reich’s Ravensbrück camp, whose insistence that

            We must not allow Christ to be overshadowed by any regulations, any customs, any traditions, any aesthetic considerations, or even any piety.

            and that

            No amount of thought will ever result in any greater formulation than the three words, ‘Love one another,’ so long as it is love to the end and without exceptions.

            was more faithful to the phronema of the Church, to the Patristic corpus, and indeed to the Gospel itself, than the relentless and prideful drive to accuse, divide, conquer, humiliate, and generally rouse fear of and scorn for one’s fellow creatures of dust and spirit will ever be.

            Dreher, Vigano, and other individuals who write in this voice seem to see themselves as latter-day defenders of the faith (quoth Erasmus in the guise of Folly: “as if Christ were no longer there to protect and defend her [the Church]!”). In this, they are finally just the stone-hearted alter ego to the “modern(ist)” enemy/scapegoat that they dread and revile—not a true alternative. Just as Behemoth is no alternative to Leviathan.

            But one must pay some attention for that very reason.

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      Thanks for this link. I also took a look at Lancellotti’s article cited by Dreher because of the reference to “transcendences.” These trancendences refer to a god, a morality, a truth that transcend human power and intellect, in other words we’re talking about monotheism with an anthropomorphic god defining reality.

      Dreher and Lancellotti view a loss of these transcendences as fatal for human spirituality, liberty and perhaps even survival. It’s why Dreher wants to head for a 21st century version of a monastery. But Thomas Berry saw those transcendences themselves as the problem. Berry lists six of these transcendences, some of which are connected to Dreher’s religious ones and others that are products of the Renaissance and Enlightenment:

      1) “god” is not part of the cosmos, but transcends it;

      2) humans are the only spiritual creatures, transcending all other life on the planet;

      3) dependence on redemption (this shows up in Lancellotti) that declares we can transcend this world through a relationship with the transcendent god;

      4) the transcendence of “mind” over body in Western dualistic thinking;

      5) a physical/power transcendence over other animals and even the Earth itself by virtue of technology; and

      6) transcendence over the cosmos as a matter of historical destiny (essentially Christian eschatology here with a “new Heaven and a new Earth” or technophiles’ enthusiasm for Gattaca.

      Those with a worldview that incorporates these six transcendences will be blinded to how human activity must be limited to stay within Earth’s parameters even if they “accept the science” of global warming. Why should we be inconvenienced when our transcendent technology will come along and save the day? Or if they’re Evangelicals duped by Darby, they won’t see a reason for concern since this world is slated for destruction anyway.

      That’s the interesting thing because Dreher’s little Antichrists believe in most of those transcendences too, just not #1 and the accompanying sexual mores so precious to Dreher. The real radicals are those who deny human supremacy over the cosmos.

      1. DJG

        Henry Moon Pie: Thanks for this. Indeed. After one understands that the divinity has to be small and immanent–like the lares or like the Japanese kami–the other five transcendences topple, one after another.

        Putting the god back into creation wrecks dualism, which gives us a false sense of self and the body, and ideas of power over other creatures. No wonder Christianity spent so much time trying to destroy paganism in the Mediterranean–people were listening to trees (Dodona) and interacting with dancing gods (Lares) and pouring libations to the Earth.

        1. Wukchumni

          When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

          John Muir

    5. jr

      Thank you very much for this comment and those links. I’m trying to hammer together an essay? screed? rant? that speaks to some of the issues you bring up and this is extremely helpful.

    6. Socal Rhino

      I read Dreher’s (The American Conservative) TAC comments in the year leading up to him publishing The Benedict Option. Seemed like the germ of an idea but just that. On the chance he was saving the meat for the book I decided to give it a read, by coincidence in parallel with Frank’s The People, No. My conclusion is that while Dreher is fearful of the falling status of his religion he has no real insights about what’s causing it or how to try to mitigate it beyond a surface reference to monasteries preserving knowledge during societal breakdown. I think the novel A Canticle for Lebowitz offers far more developed exploration of that idea.

      After reading Frank’s book I made a note to get a copy of his earlier efforts.

        1. D. Fuller

          A Canticle for Leibowitz should be required reading. The sequel was not so good as the first.

          Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, the sequel, was only partially written by Miller. The book was completed using his notes after his death.

        2. Bazarov

          “A Canticle for Leibowitz” is very, very moving–it has a spectacular ending.

          The best science fiction novel I’ve ever read is “The Book of the New Sun” by Gene Wolfe. It has vaguely Catholic themes (though it’s not a “Catholic novel” in the direct sense of “Leibowitz”)–it’s a truly unique, monumental work. One of the best novels of the 20th Century.

          1. zagonostra

            Thanks DF and Bazarov for book recommendations. I’m ordering these two books, “Canticle for Leibowiz” and “The Book of the New Sun,” today…

    7. Bazarov

      Christianity is a religion of half-hearted devotees, going through the motions. It’s dying.

      I’m afraid it couldn’t and can’t compete with the people’s real religion, the one they’ll die and kill for: Nationalism.

      WWI was the 20th century’s 30 Years War but driven by nationalism instead of confession.

      Why can’t people get their transcendence from the State? I knew a man who would cry at the national anthem and become enraged when he saw footage of protestors burning the American flag–as if he was witnessing the desecration of the host!

      That man’s religion was American Nationalism. His church *was* the State.

      And boy, did he *ever* get transcendence from it.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Australian special forces involved in murder of 39 Afghan civilians, war crimes report alleges”

    This has been talked about the past few days here and this is the problem with going to war. It corrupts and perverts soldiers and we have had soldiers in Afghanistan for nearly twenty years now. It took four years for this military report to be put together so now Scotty from Marketing is chucking it to the Federal Police so that it can be spun out for a coupla more years of investigations before any charges are actually laid. We do have the Australian Army Legal Corps and holding a Court martial is a practice that is not unknown here but apparently we are not taking initial action here. Scotty has also made it clear that we will be taking care of this here so that The Hague does not gets their mitts on them.

    I think that the root case is something that I have railed about in Comments before and that is replacing the concept of Professional Soldiers with that of Warrior Heroes. This is a disastrous concept that leads to warrior leaders who make up and enforce their own bs ideas of a warrior code. With warriors, it becomes a closed culture like happened to those Special Air Services troopers in Afghanistan. What is interesting is all the creeps coming out of the woodwork to make excuses for these soldiers and worry about their mental health and other bs. Well I say f*** them as what about the mental health of the Afghani survivors (who we are paying off) and their lives. Ironically there is a TV program on right now about Celebrity SAS as there has been a bit or worship for these troopers the past few years. This is going to get awkward now. In the end there are going to be men going to prison for murder so the sooner the better.

    1. vlade

      If a warrior wants to call him/herself a warrior, they should first and foremost operate under some code. Which over the centuries, tended to involve (at least nominally) things like “you shall not hurt powerless” (which is, why until mid 19th century actuall battles tended to be spectator sport. Taking of cities that resiste, a different thing.. ).

      These were thugs, not warriors.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That “you shall not hurt powerless” code was more one for knights than for the rest of the armies that followed them. This whole bizzo about warriors is appealing to an older tradition of strongmen who would rule mobs of warriors by their arms and the force of their personalities – which appears to be the case in Afghanistan.

        1. Wukchumni

          I wonder if ‘Breaker Morrison’ will have the victims buried down under or in the graveyard of empires?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I’m actually quite proud that my adopted nation is willing to even open up this conversation at all. A similar conversation about the U.S. of course is an impossibility. And of course no mention of how Australian citizen J. Assange pierced the Great Firewall in the first place so the people even have this information at all.

        2. km

          If you look at the actual history of medieval warfare, any warrior code was mostly honored in the breach.

          Medieval hosts were not exactly known for their courteous and polite behavior to enemy non-combatants, nor even to their own.

          Do let us not kid ourselves that a less sociopathic war is possible, and let us avoid war in general, lest we give sociopaths a chance to get even more than they already have.

          1. vlade

            That actually depends. As mentiond in other responses, the code really applied to nobility combatants, and truly should apply to knights (miles Christi, soldier of Christ), which was even then a sub-class of nobility (not every noble was automatically a knight).

            There was not a huge amount of romantisation then, in fact, the whole miles Christ stuff was more closely based on Old Testament warriors than New Testament – so you get things like “ask city to surrender, and if they do, you’ll ‘only’ enslave them, if they don’t, kill all males”, and even more paradoxicaly on the Alexander the Great (which is where the romantisation come in).

            So you had examples like Hussite wars, the early christian religious wars, where hussites burned towns that resisted (including killng all male population, cf Prachatice), or, if they did not, they behaved much more reasonable (which, being religous wars, meant burning a few catholic priests and exiling prominent catholic supporting burgers).
            On the other side, you had Sigsimund’s Cuman light cavalry not only looting and pillaging, but also raping and killing children, which was a very major point for Bohemian nobility in negotiations with Sigsimund as they were claiming this was not a behaviour of a christian king (mind you, that was only becasue the villagers were christian, when they were Jews they were more than a fair game).

            As it got later, and armies got more and more mercenary, there was less nobility involved in direct fighting and it got nastier.

      2. TMoney

        I (armchair general that I am) agree.

        Once you ask men to kill, I think some thugs are almost inevitable. They don’t have to start out that way, but some probably do, over time, the dirty business of being a “warrior” corrodes the soul. Fighting in distant lands without relief or signs of resolution to the conflict increase the risk as the constant dehumanization of the enemy (to increase the practical side of killing people) takes it’s toll. Long wars are not new so a look back at history is in order…

        Perhaps the rigid code of Chivalry was a medieval recognition of this and tried to put a lid on it with a code of conduct enforced by social mores that effectively excommunicated violators. Notice that in “ye olden days” too, captured leaders were typically ransomed back to the enemy with a code of honor, this probably helped to rehumanize the enemy. Perhaps medieval propaganda was effective too.

        Current political thinking seems to want (and can) to ignore the messy “warrior” problem with predictable results. In the old days, the King was often “on the field” or had to worry about armies “Crossing the Rubicon”. Much easier to implement rules to limit atrocities when you have a vested interest in it.

        The men might be thugs, but we (well our body politic) created and allowed them to become what they are. It is another sad reminder of Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori… In this case, some men’s souls and humanity die while their bodies live.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “…Perhaps the rigid code of Chivalry was a medieval recognition of this …”
          that’s the hypothesis of joseph campbell.
          the more or less Cult of the Sacred Feminine, as a counter to the hypermasculine Warrior Ethos.
          vol. IV of Masks of God….Grail Mythos.

          1. mary jensen

            Thank you for that Amfortas. “Cult of the Sacred Feminine” is as absurd anything to do with “Noble Warriors”, the two concepts being as unreal as each other:

            “Woman’s virtue is man’s greatest invention” – Cornelia Otis Skinner.

        2. vlade

          Yes, and I absolutely agree with you on that it’s a society’s choice, and we have now decided to ignore that part (because wars are so yucky).

          I’d say not only here, but elsewhere, as we now look not at civilian casualties, but “collateral damage”, and as Rev Kev writes, worry about “mental distress” for those involved in the attrocities. Reminds me of how Nazis thought of using the gas for mass killings because of the mental disteress of the soldiers who were supposed to machine gun the victims before.

          1. JBird4049

            Actually it was very often done with the German soldier personally placing his rifle in the prescribed area in the back of the neck/head for however many allotted men, women, and children for that day. After a few days or weeks of this chronic alcoholism and/or mental illness was almost normal. Interestingly, the soldiers were rarely given a hard order; your career or reputation might suffer, but if you never did anything at the gravesite, nobody was going to force you. Most of them did their “duty,” many did a little and often stopping after the first few massacres, and a few never did.

            The fun part of all this is knowing that the original gas vans were developed to be used on the mentally ill or handicapped for the T-4 program. If soldiers were going literally insane, imagine what killing the ill in a hospital would do? I also think that the authorities wanted the cause of deaths not to be that obvious to hide the program. Not that it prevented the program to be partly curtailed as many, perhaps most, of the patients’ families, even their churches strongly protested.

            I sometimes wonder about the staff of the concentration and extermination camps were all about. Somehow volunteering for frontline combat or other necessary services didn’t seem to occur to them. Hell, some of them looked at it to advance their careers.

          2. Procopius

            I recall reading about a speech Heinrich Himmler gave to an SS audience, complaining about how hard their duty (to kill undesirables) was. Probably in Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I believe the decision to use gas was because it was so difficult to get ammunition to the Eastern Front that the Army (which otherwise was quite happy to help the SS kill civilians) didn’t want to wast a single round on “purifying” the population.

        3. km

          To the extent that there was any medieval code of honor, it applied solely to aristocrats, and only aristocrats could claim its benefits.

          Common soldiers, whom noone would ransom if captured, usually suffered death.

          1. LifelongLib

            In one medieval battle in England (and maybe others?) the orders were “Spare the commons, kill the gentles”. Not for reasons of honor, but for the pragmatic fact that peasants provided useful labor, while enemy nobles if left alive would just come after you later.

        4. JTMcPhee

          So glad, in this age of wokeness, that women can now participate in the Imperial military, and also have a chance to be thugs (or would that be thuggees or thugettes, maybe, from this on the etymology of “thug”, ?) Women like Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski and PFC Lynndie England, as described in the Wiki article on the Abu Ghraib atrocities,

          Of course one remembers Rudyard Kipliing’s advice in The Young British Soldier:

          When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
          And the women come out to cut up what remains,
          Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
          An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

          Of course the Brass may turn you into a heroine, a fake heroine for PR purposes, like former PFC Jessica Lynch, truck driver, who was captured by Iraqi “terrrists” early in the invasion (drove down the wrong street):

          Fog of war? More like a miasma, brewed up out of putrifying bullshit and carcasses and the ambitions of careerists within and without the “services.” And of course monsters like Kissinger and Chaney, playing the Game of RISK! ™ melded into Monopoly ™.

      3. D. Fuller

        Depends on the war and why the war is being prosecuted. The Just War… usually is not.

        Codes are nice and all. On paper. Then reality sets in. There is nothing in war that is just. War is a brutal, barbaric crucible of “kill or be killed”. At that point? Rules go out the window.

        People send kids to war and leave them at it for too long and they don’t come back from war. Even when they return too much changed. The civilians like to gripe about that.

        There is no defense for the actions of soldiers who commit crimes. No mitigating circumstances. Neither is there justification for civilians who proclaim they are against war, yet keep electing the politicians who promote perpetual war, the voters who pay their taxes that buy the bullets and bombs.

        Soldiers exist so others can have – however false – a clear conscious that their hands are not bloody. When in reality? Those who do not participate directly in war, yet enable the perpetual wars (despite their professed belief of not wanting war)… that those have the bloodiest hands of all.

        I keep voting for politicians who are against perpetual war. They keep losing. Other “anti-war” voters keep voting for the warmongering politicians. Insanity.

        I find it sadly amusing – and I do not know if this is true in your case – when civilians who have never been to war or have never been involved in combat, seem to have all the answers. When they are part of the problem.

        There is a problem in the military that justice is not served upon soldiers who commit crimes. The society that birthed them? The society that professes to be anti-war, yet somehow keeps perpetuating war? Is just as guilty.

        The rules of yesteryear do not apply today. They were fine back then under those specific circumstances. Modern warfare & methods has made those rules irrelevant. Those rules are for a different time and place and method of war. A time and place and methods that no longer exist.

        Rules made irrelevant by the sheer scale of destruction and perpetual wars. Even the 30 Years War or 100 Year War were a series of wars, grouped together.

    2. David

      If these were Special Forces soldiers, as seems to be the case, they would typically be deployed in very small groups, often as small as four, under the command of a senior NCO, away for long periods of time and completely isolated. They would typically be used for very sensitive missions such as reconnaissance, targeting, hostage rescue and suchlike. These missions were historically minimum force and very discreet: indeed, historically the SF haven’t wanted to draw attention to themselves. So I find all this a bit bizarre. You therefore need soldiers who are chosen for their experience and maturity and their ability to operate alone and use their initiative. It sounds like something went very wrong here with the selection and the training.
      It’s worth adding that if you do have personnel problems, Afghanistan is about the worst place to send your troops. The Taliban don’t have uniforms, don’t recognise the laws of war (they’ve attacked medical teams and hospitals, for instance) and merge seamlessly into the general population. The combatant/non-combatant distinction is meaningless in their case (“civilian” is not a legal category here) and anyone, even women and children, can be transporting weapons, for example. It’s a place where you easily become paranoid, because the old guy in a wheelchair coming into the hospital can be a suicide bomber (yes, this has happened). So proper training and leadership is absolutely fundamental, and it’s hard to know what went wrong here. But such examples (the Canadians in Somalia are a classic case) usually have root causes further up, even if the immediate perpetrators are quite junior.
      One possibility is that the Australian military (who’ve become more and more Americanised over the last generation) have started to be infected the American “warrior” mentality, which sees the only role of the soldier as fighting and destroying. This is why, for example, the US Army was so bitterly opposed to peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, and spent all its time trying to get out, and back to “real soldiering.”

      1. JTMcPhee

        The Aussies who joined the US imperial war on Vietnam had the reputation as a mean bunch of effective soldiers who also painted outside the lines. The rumors when I was there told of what can only be described as atrocities. Not that the entire war was not an atrocity-for-profit, making contractors very rich.

        A quick history of Australian involvement in Vietnam:

        From that link:

        The Australian government committed troops to the Vietnam War in 1965. Australia’s involvement in Vietnam was driven by a fear of communist expansion in Asia and the government’s desire to align itself with the United States.

        The Third ROK (Korean) Marines, who also joined in the fun, had even a worse reputation. Not that the US has even a shred of honor to hold up, given stuff like My Lai and the Phoenix Program,, in which the Aussies also participated.

    3. Fireship

      Warrior ethos: They slit the throats of two children and threw their bodies in the river like garbage. They used unarmed civilians for target practice. They tortured old men and women. They are like dogs that have got the taste for blood and mayhem. Why should they stop when they get home to Oz? Anyone making excuses for these vile creatures is a depraved degenerate and needs to be closely watched by the criminal and psychiatric services.

    4. skippy

      Head counts are image burnishing and a right of passage that gets ensconced as tribal mores … aka wetting that becomes self reinforcing. Not that the O class buffs its paperwork for getting the job done or anything.

      Other than that a good mate yonks ago had a melt down on stage during assembly and did a proper mic drop at low socioeconomic public school, and then drove to Toowong private for a few weeks.

      After a few days of staying to himself he noticed a few blokes outside at a table playing chess, though it might be a nice distraction, then ambled over. Anywho turns out it was a bunch of SAS guys that rotate in and out as circumstances warranted. I still find it hilarious that Davo the 80s Uni Marxist new wave Doc Martin wearing bass player was accepted at the exclusive chess table …

    5. Janie

      39 Afghans. Yeah, tip of just one iceberg. D Fuller has a relevant comment on his experience under the post below links about site tech difficulties. Worth reading.

    1. D. Fuller

      Sure. If a law were made that made it illegal to collect and retain and transmit the data (the last is for 3rd party retention, closing a loophole), a felony – with no national security or government exceptions. With 10 or 20 year prison sentences for those who knowingly collect data or are aware that such data was retained. With massive fine, $1,000,000 per person’s retained data. With monetary fines being distributed to those whose data was illegally retained.

      Would go along way to restoring trust in such tools.

      People say that government is the greatest threat to privacy. Yes and no. Yes, because our government is ruled by the very corporate powers who sell those tools to government. Create a market to meet demand. Even if it means paying the politicians.

  5. carl

    The Counterpunch piece is yet another mental masturbation on the healthcare system. All the facts and figures in the world pointing to M4A matter not one whit; the evil extractive system will continue to roll along and a lot more people will die because of it. Authors like this one apparently believe that using the correct logical arguments will persuade our rulers that finally, finally the time for change has come, in defiance of the reality that there’s too much money being made by the big players. Incremental change is the best we can expect.

    1. zagonostra

      Apropos, your statement that “the evil extractive system will continue to roll along,” it reminds me of a link I found here at NC.

      …to tolerate an increasingly predatory, dysfunctional, stagnant society. It means continuing deaths of despair, even as we hustle desperately to try to ensure that they are not our deaths, or our children’s. Even for its current beneficiaries, the present system is a game of musical chairs. As time goes on, with each round, yet more chairs are yanked from the game.

    2. Grant

      Your argument seems to rest on the assumption that the target audience for articles like that are the corrupt elites. The left tends to try to educate people on issues and to directly challenge the propaganda they receive from most TV and print outlets. Incremental change is the best we can expect because of the composition of those in power. The idea is to work to educate people about issues that impact them so we can change the composition of the politicians in power. People on the left that have been lucky enough to accumulate a lot of intellectual capital should work to share it the best they can.

      I remember reading about the story behind the book by Lancelot Hogben called “Mathematics for the Million”. Hogben was a socialist that was able to get a great education, but he thought that it was important (as a socialist) to try and socialize knowledge and to share the intellectual capital he had accumulated. So, he wrote that book to try to teach math to working people. A well known quote from him, that I like a lot, “I like Scandinavians, skiing, swimming and socialists who realize it is our business to promote social progress by peaceful methods. I dislike football, economists, eugenicists, Fascists, Stalinists, and Scottish conservatives. I think that sex is necessary and bankers are not”.

      That, to me, is what people on the left who are lucky enough to write for well known papers and have been lucky enough to receive advanced degrees should be doing. Helping to increase knowledge of issues that impact working people, so they can make sense of the world and to allow them to have some intellectual self defense against the propaganda thrown at them. Given how much the public now supports the positions of the left, I think it has done a decent job on that, and whatever I think of Bernie lately, I think he has had a large impact in that regard. What the left isn’t doing well is taking power and pushing through its program. There is a gap between what people want and what the state does.

      1. carl

        Thanks for the reasoned response. Forgive me if I’m too cynical on this, but it seems like I’ve read innumerable pieces like the one linked above since, oh, about 15 years ago, and if anything, the system has gotten more and more outrageously extortionate. I can’t discount the fact that more and more people have become aware, whether by personal experience with the system or learning about it, but if the grotesque dysfunction of the system isn’t apparent enough during the pandemic, one wonders what would actually produce change. In any event, I’m almost 60 and can’t wait around any more.

      2. Rod

        redefining Public Education for sure.
        All of the subjects covered in elementary school are broader and more interconnected than taught now.

      3. Oh

        You points are very correct. We on the left should be at the forefront of informng others to counteract and negate the propaganda that is so prevalent in the media. We need to explain why the propaganda is so false and self serving. If we perservere, we can change the views of at least some of the people.

  6. divadab

    Re: Pompeo calls BDS movement “anti-semitic”:

    My own approach to Pompeus Maximus’ utterings is that if he says something, believe the opposite. How terrible to have the country represented by such a filthy liar.

    1. Wukchumni

      You wonder if Pompeo was the reason for Koch’s sudden change of heart, as the brothers had invested heavily in him over the past couple decades, and as you say, this is a man who would lie if telling the truth was easier.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I think I remember reading that bit about Koch suddenly deciding ” society is too nasty and people look to politics too much for things.”

        Assuming I read it correctly, I remember thinking what a cynical clever little sneak that Koch is. He knows that growing numbers of people are becoming aware of where his decades of social engineering have put them, and he is afraid they might turn to politics to de-Kochify their lives and de-Kochify the country, and so he suddenly wants to caution people against “politics”.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Covid-19 Vaccine Progress Gives Tokyo Olympics a Tailwind”

    Yea, the Japanese should just go ahead and stage the Olympics in several months time. True, Japan is going into its third wave of this pandemic but if they are lucky, they can have the Olympics between the fourth and fifth waves. Still worried about about having millions of people gather into one place and then scattering to the four corners of the world? Nah, it’ll be fine.

    So maybe a large percentage of those athletes will be hit by the virus and many will have their careers end due to recurring bouts with this virus. Good god man, won’t anybody think about the sponsors? Ironically, internal holidaying in Japan is reckoned to be a major case of this latest wave so not sure how international tourists arriving on jets and gathering in crowds will go. Maybe we should just go ahead and find out? Be a good test to see which vaccines are working long term-

  8. Wukchumni

    I’m ecstatic to announce the launch of Bitchcoin for all of you that are bitching about missing out on something going from being worth bupkis to nearly 20 grand, despite there being no there, there. (apologies to Oakland)

    Expectations are that with enough caterwauling online, we too can become the preferred choice of alternative investment, even if only a few hundred businesses worldwide accept it as payment for goods or services.

      1. Wukchumni

        I watch SNL a couple times a year in order to be disappointed in what used to be a fabulous platform for funny, but isn’t anymore in an era where if you can’t make cogent jokes about current events and accidental comedians, maybe you ought to try another line of work.

        (unintentional humor is the best kind by the way, the Four Seasons Total Landscape fiasco was perhaps the funniest thing to come out of the Trump administration and that’s saying a lot)

        1. Martin Oline

          I am waiting to watch SNL until after the Biden presidency begins and the Donald makes an appearance as a drunken Baldwin calling his ex-wife and cursing his daughter. Maybe the Donald has too much class to do a Baldwin impersonation?

          1. Hank Linderman

            If only Trump’s bs were due to drinking.

            What’s the Churchill quote? “Tomorrow, I will be sober, but you will still be…?”

            Bigger question is whether Trump should be pardoned. I’m in favor, providing it means he can’t hold public office and is required to answer questions from a Congressional investigation. Failure to comply would cost the pardon.

            If the emoluments provisions aren’t to be followed, maybe the government should just buy the hotel and name it for whoever is President. I would imagine business will be slow at the Trump hotel in DC during a Biden administration, so the price should be right. “The Biden Arms Hotel, first stop on your visit to the White Hou$e.”

            1. Brian (another one they call)

              WC Fields said this in a movie in the 30’s but I suspect the origin is apocryphal. I think it is in “You’re Telling Me”, but don’t quote me.

              1. Hank Linderman

                “Mr. Churchill you’re drunk!”
                Mr. Churchill: “And you, Lady Astor, are ugly. As for my condition, it will pass by the morning. You, however, will still be ugly.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                LOL “an investigation of Trump” LOL. If memory serves we already spent $60M and had 200 lawyers and FBI agents “on the case” for 3 years. Funny how the “Russia collusion” indictments never made it to the courts after that. Maybe they just needed more lawyers? LOL

                1. ambrit

                  And what about investigations of Biden himself? If the Republican party wins one of the Georgia Senate seats, they will control the committee chairs. Then they can set the agendas of the committees.
                  If the MSM doesn’t start up an anti-Biden “Chinagate” ‘movement,’ the Senate can.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    And what about investigations of Biden himself?

                    Experts are in agreement that it is physically impossible to stick your own nose in your hair and give it a good smell…

                    1. ambrit

                      Au contraire. It all depends on how long your hair is!
                      An “expert” is only as good as his or her programming.
                      I hope that you are back living in the “defensible position.”

            2. tegnost

              I think the biggest question is what crime do you need to pardon trump for?
              I’m thinking “The Biden Foundation” will do just as well at getting “access” to the Intelligence [sic] Community and the US military. Plus major bonus of sinecures for the wastrel children (I didn’t say hunter, but I was thinking it). Seriously what is this mean spirited bs going to lead to? Honest question.
              I guess it should not surprise me that sore losers would be sore winners as well, but both are childish. I’m not seeing much in the form of solid evidence based thoughtful opinion, just floods of invective.
              Name the crime. Don’t forget the dems passed on emoluments for impeachment.
              Just for myself trump housing secret service fits pretty nicely into a grey area, because trump is the president after all, and they’re supposed to guard him, they should stay at the holiday inn by the freeway? Compare that to letting banks foreclose on people whose documents were signed by linda green? They get off scot free?
              “The banks defend this practice and coined a term “surrogate signing” to describe the massive forgeries. The Washington Post and the New York Times both ran long articles with examples of the many forged signatures.”

              Now that is crime
              Rocks and Glass Houses

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        Forget the show, just look for decent skits on YouTube: they exist.

        Black Jeopardy, especially the episode with Tom Hanks as a misplaced MAGA contestant, is really good.

        1. mary jensen

          re: SNL I’m old enough to still have very fond memories of what I consider to be the original ie 1975 starring The Not Ready For Prime Time Players. It was terrific.

          I must admit I miss Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Sigh…

        2. neo-realist

          I miss Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In even more: Way more direct jokes aimed at governmental policies and institutions, including the MIC.

  9. Halcyon (formerly AnonyMouse)

    The UK Government is today committing £12.6bn to “defence” spending. This is four times more than the new funding in their commitments announced yesterday for a “Green Industrial Revolution” (£3bn in new funding), and more than 126x more than the UN’s recently announced (utterly paltry) $100m fund to prevent millions from starving to death in COVID-19 related famines.

    The “defence” spending will be “”””paid for””” (with apologies to the MMT literate amongst us, but such is the bullshit rhetoric we must put up with) by cutting the UK’s foreign aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP, despite….

    it’s not even that they pledged not to reduce this amount of spending, but that they acted affronted and insulted when it was suggested that this would be cut under the DFID FCO merger; they referred to such tales as “tittle-tattle”.

    £4.5bn a year cut from foreign aid under this proposal.

    How I tire of these clowns continuing to piss down my back and tell me that it’s raining. The UK is easily on track for >50,000 COVID deaths this winter.

    Meanwhile, the media has decided that the most important issue to be discussing at the moment is the lyrics of Fairytale of New York, a discussion we have every year because the christmas song contains a slur.

    Some days it just hardly seems worth gnawing through the leather straps every morning.

    1. John A

      In England, the media have decided the most important thing is how the BBC persuaded the late Diana, divorced spouse of Charles Windsor and mother of the heir and the spare, to give them an interview in 1995. There are apparently allegations of porkies being used to induce her to tell all.

      In the meantime, Cummings is continuing backstage with Operation Moonshot, Johnson is proud of all the PPE no bid contracts given to buddies who overcharged by massive millions, the transend show is rattling on, and will a Christmas covid bubble thaw result in a stricter lockdown in January just when all the brexit ‘scaremongering’ comes home to roost. And Starmer is outborising Johnson in cheerleading a massive increase in defence spending.

    1. Louis Fyne

      preferably N95/KN95/KF94.

      if that is not an option, if possible, make a mask with 2-3 layers of the highest thread count of cotton. washed/sanitized after every use.

      If that is not an option, yes something is better than nothing.

    2. shtove

      Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers – A Randomized Controlled Trial

      The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.

      This also takes in the possibility of a 23% increase in infection.

      1. Louis Fyne

        surgical masks (the typical paper disposible ones) are awful and totally misused as virus protection.

        Thanks lazy, un-nuanced public health pronoucements!

      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        Looks like a very different conclusion to me.
        Direct quote from the article:

        Our results suggest that the recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in mask wearers in a setting where social distancing and other public health measures were in effect, mask recommendations were not among those measures, and community use of masks was uncommon. Yet, the findings were inconclusive and cannot definitively exclude a 46% reduction to a 23% increase in infection of mask wearers in such a setting. It is important to emphasize that this trial did not address the effects of masks as source control or as protection in settings where social distancing and other public health measures are not in effect.

        1. Yves Smith

          Study is garbage. Random citizens were asked to participate and then asked afterwards to report how much they had complied. It has been found again and again that self reports on habits like diet and exercise (unless the participants are highly compliant medical personnel who also keep daily logs, aka nurses) are extremely unreliable. Do you think anyone is going to tell the government that they didn’t mask up at all or much?

          1. Phillip Cross

            The study is looking at “mask wearers” where “use of masks was uncommon”. The mask protects others from an infectious wearer. Universal mask wearing is a courtesy to help protect our neighbors, and that’s why the right wing hates the idea. i.e. Why should they pay money for a mask that only helps other people?

    3. Louis Fyne

      and one standard multivitamin (that has zinc). unless one already eats a great diet and is outside enough to get adequate vitamim D

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I don’t follow this assertion. A multivitamin has a small amount of many. Doesn’t relate to the metabolic absorption of particular types, ie: water soluble, fat soluble.
        the vitamins we need are often more than one a day. And, multivitamins are not going to come to the rescue. Adequate D levels are not going to come from a multi. And people all over have very different acceptable levels, so one size can’t fit.
        Multivitamins are however a very profitable item based on belief that one needs them which has been built in to all advertising since they came about. It was always because you couldn’t be sure your food had enough in them, or some other trope. It is about every year some study comes out that they don’t provide a person protection as a substitute for getting the nutrients in food.
        B, C, D are used as fast as they come in and your mileage may vary.

        1. Louis Fyne

          hyper-dosing on vitamins is not for everyone (eg, vitamin A and lung cancer)

          one multi-vitamin gives a big bang for a little buck and with minimal downside for everyone.

          long-term hyperdosing on zinc, A, whatever, etc. needs to be put into perspective with one’s health, efficacy, diet, age, risk factors, etc.

          1. Oh

            The only thing multivitamins do is take away your buck. Per the “Vitamin Bible” (available in paperback) there are only two common vitamins that one can take in excess amount, Vitamin A and E, since these are oil soluble and are not so easily eliminated by one’s body. Multivitamins do NOT have adequate amounts to help. They’re a waste of money.

  10. lyman alpha blob

    Australian ‘war crimes’: Elite troops killed Afghan civilians, report finds BBC

    The article discusses a four year inquiry by Australian authorities that determined that Australian troops were going around murdering civilians who posed no threat to them whatsoever. So why the quotes around the words war crimes? Sounds like they were war crimes, no quotes needed.

    If a ‘jihadi’ had murdered a Western POW, would the BBC still be using quotes when describing those ‘war crimes’?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Europe Must Stand Up to Hungary and Poland’

    Yes, we should absolutely listen to Soros and his thoughts on democratic governments and how to over-rule them as he always has our best interests at heart. It was his people that organized a coup in a certain country a few years ago and had the new government purge competent leaders with their own incompetent loyalists. He had them turn away from their sole protector in the face of a dangerous threat but he and the new President got to pose close together for photos to show how it was going to be from now on. If you don’t believe me, just ask the good people of Armenia how that worked out for them-

    Don’t bother trying to ring the Soros HQ in Armenia as last I heard, the Armenians had set it on fire.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Carnegie Council has not yet scrubbed Soros Deputy Chairman Malloch Brown’s role at Smartmatic:

      Even Wikipedia still states that Brown is “the chairman of the board of directors of SGO Corporation Limited, a holding company whose primary asset is the election technology and voting machine manufacturer Smartmatic”.,_Baron_Malloch-Brown

      It’s a color revolution folks, and this time the colors are red, white, and blue.

  12. Louis Fyne

    DNC Dems to America: shut up and just be our serfs

    from that “The Hill” article, ***emphasis mine***

    “The fact that we do badly among people without a college degree is very bad — ***not for any moral reason***, but because people without a college degree live outside of cities, and rural areas are strongly overrepresented at every level of government,” Shor told The Hill.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      and this, at the end:
      ” Democrats, he argued, “have a real tendency to focus on controversial, almost sexy, things, and as a party we need to become more bland and less controversial if we want to get cultural conservatives to vote for us,” he said.

      “If you look at who wins the most elections — who outperforms the most — it is usually bland, moderate people who win.””
      these people are in a totally different universe from the one where i live.
      or they’re better than i will ever be at ignoring things in front of your face.

      1. Buckeye

        But, Leftists, including people on this site, are always condemning Democrats for being “too Centrist, too Moderate, not radical enough.” It is also said around here how the Overton Window has been dragged to the right.

        So the real problem is all the people who have had their brains washed by conservative “culture war” propaganda. Becoming “bland and moderate” just solidifies right-wing power over our culture and over our personal freedom.

        1. Louis Fyne

          only speaking for me, the problem of (many on) the Left…it that the Left now makes EVERY single issue a litmus test. (it used to be only the Right who did that).

          what is needed is a trans-identity, class-based movement…but that will never happen when the city slickers keep mocking rural America as ignorant yokels.

          It’s PC to respect all identites, except rural Americans and Wal-Martians—–those punching bags can get mocked til the cows come home

          1. Wukchumni

            I’m very fortunate to live in a little town that is divided equally politically. Obama won by a single vote in 2012, while Trump was triumphant by a margin of single digits in 2016.

            How rare it is to have such a balance in these not so United States.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            “..what is needed is a trans-identity, class-based movement…but that will never happen when the city slickers keep mocking rural America as ignorant yokels. …”

            i watched the openness to sandersism/new dealism wither before the righty idpol “masks= soshulizm” and “it ain’t real (gasp, gasp)”…at least a goodly portion of my local yokels were open to the sanders agenda(when separated from the herd, and with much socratic preparation, etc)…but i was the ONLY one talking to them about it…and NOT harping on their assumed failings and shortcomings…let alone their irredeemable evil.
            demparty, of course, is not interested in a new new deal(or they wouldn’t have gone all in against sanders)…but that doesn’t negate my experiences way out here.
            yet another road not taken.
            division and low intensity civil strife are what was preferred to actually trying to “bring this country together”, and “solve the problems” we share in common.

            on my naked joint walk at 4:30 this am(it was relatively warm,lol)….it occurred to me: how much would it take to purchase twitter, and shut it down?
            is it beyond the reach of crowdfunding?
            socmed was, apparently, a mistake….at least at this time….as much as it pains me to say.

            1. Brian (another one they call)

              I look at Twitter as the place where the self important give their reason for being self important. It is much like sending an email that you wish you hadn’t and can’t get it back.
              Tweet > Twitter > Twit

          3. Drake

            I think that’s partly because city-based elites in this country have more in common with, and more connections with, city-based elites in other countries than they do with rurals in their own country, whereas the opposite does not hold. I think the movement that’s needed is a trans-national class-based movement, but it’s difficult to see that coming about since workers are so often played against each other, both within and between countries, and quite successfully. And anything along those lines would opposed ruthlessly and likely violently.

            1. Phillip Cross

              In the early 20th century, there was a lot of talk on the right about the protocols of treacherous “city based elites” with more loyalty to “city based elites” in other countries than they had to “us” in the homeland.

              Let’s hope that history doesn’t repeat.

              1. Drake

                Vaguely threatening gibberish of no obvious historical parallel. The typical employee in a multinational corporation knows and regularly interacts with more people in, say, Dublin, Montreal, Vienna, and Mumbai than in all the flyover states combined.

                1. Phillip Cross

                  It’s a classic right wing, rhetorical technique. Pit the real people “us” vs. the treacherous other “them”. A bit of a pandora’s box, to say the least!

        2. Louis Fyne

          we have reached thus absurdity where many on the Left (see the Twitter Left) deems a white male trying to eek out a living on 80 acres of land as a problem and part of “The Patriarchy” but Michael Bloomberg or Michelle Flournoy? ….totally friends of the Left.

          ymmv. obviously an allegory and obviously not everyone one the Left thinks this way—–but a lot do, particularly under-35 urbanites.

          1. Buckeye

            Southern Strategy, white victimhood, self-righteous whining.

            I heard a lot of this growing up in Youngstown, Ohio 40+ years ago. When our steel mills were being closed (60,000 jobs lost!), those “white rural Christian men” spit in our faces and said we deserved it for being “commie pinko union members”, “city scum” and “n-word lovers” because there were Blacks working in the mills and auto factories.

            “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Declaration of Independence.

            Conservatives believe “all men are created equal except: Blacks, women, Latinos, city-dwellers, college students, smart people, gays, single mothers, labor unions, Jews (unless rabid Zionists), Catholics (unless extreme conservative), suburbanites, artistic people, foreigners (unless white, like Trumps Norwegians), and especially poor people.

            Rural whites may be poor too, but as long as they have 80% of the American People to dump on they can feel oh, so aggrieved!

            White conservatives want “class solidarity”? Then they should take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and show solidarity with all the other people who make up America.

            AND responsibility for believing the lies of the Right-wing media. The liar is responsible for telling the lie, YOU are responsible for believing it.

            Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

            1. Louis Fyne

              Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did more to kill and inflict misery on “brown people” than all the rural Americans combined.

              just saying. ymmv.

              and if the retort is….they were better than GW Bush, then this country truly is lost

              1. D. Fuller

                Joint effort. More class warfare in which racism is a tool of division used by our economic overlords, to keep us divided.

              2. flora

                Don’t forget B. Clinton. Thomas Frank, on a recent Useful Idiots show, suggested that in his opinion B.Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill and Ending Welfare as We Know It were bids for the “bigot vote”.

                How does the Dem estab square the circle of current idpol woke silos of voters with its own DLC history? Call out the blame cannons! Yeah, that’s the ticket.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  The 1994 Crime Bill, to be fair, was old Joe’s work and not Bill and he has stated that he “wrote the damn bill” and that he has no regrets. Of course this could just be another case of him doing plagiarism again. :)

            2. JBird4049

              Far as I can see, you can mention almost anything you want in both parties except (economic) classes. Furthermore, the poorer you are the more “responsible” for fixing things even if you were born in a tarpaper shack or a single wide for reasons that are never made clear.

      2. D. Fuller

        Voters were asked why the voted for Bush. The answer usually was, he seemed to be a guy just like me.

        For some reason, Trump struck that chord with some of his voters. How, remains a mystery.

        Many voters want someone just like them. A Joe or Jane Sixpack. Most likely because they want people who know them or share their experiences and problems.

        One of the secret sauce success ingredients for Republicans? Their politicians are generally seen as accessible. Have a problem at the local level? Republican politicians are known for being accessible. Democratic politicians? Have a reputation of a snob – does not translate well.

        1. Jack

          “All politics is local” is attributed to Dem, Tip O’Neill. We have one (of two) Republican US Representatives whos spends almost all his time outside the state but retains a magical hold over his constituents by advocating “local” things which benefit very few but create wonderful headlines. This doesn’t make him accessible. He’s not. I’ve tried. But it does make him “appear” to be accessible. It goes along with the ability to fake sincerity.

          1. D. Fuller

            Tip O’Neill. Who collaborated with Reagan too well.

            Yes, in recent years Republicans have grown more inaccessible. However, not as inaccessible as my Democratic reps have been in the past. The prior dealings I had with Republican reps were responsive. Phone calls where returned. Democratic reps? Not so much, other than generic form letters thanking me for contacting their office. That was how it was up until a few years ago.

            We saw how Republican politicians in the last few years abandoned town hall meetings. As have Democratic politicians.

            Money rules Congress. The voters are only their to provide an air of legitimacy to those who we vote for.

        2. neo-realist

          Trump stuck a cord with the ugly american id in the flyovers: He, like those americans, liked junk food, and even though he was a new yorker, he hated the same people they hated: progressives, urbanites, POC, critical thinking and intellectuals.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      It was a hideous article and I intend to share it with the Trump-supporting nurse practitioner who lives a block over in my very rural small town in the Midwest.

      An area where they closed all the local hospitals, btw, but that’s OK because we’re just an hour away from the world-famous Mayo Clinic (where close to 1000 employees now have COVID).

    1. flora

      adding: that’s the same problem the Dem estab has in seeing rural states: as population density instead of geography.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It sounds like they are saying that if they can recruit more black and Latino voters, then they can have a chance at swamping rural voters as Rural Voters Bad! I guess that they are giving up on the idea of chasing after suburban Republicans. Thing is, to do that, they would have to activity register black and Latino voters in a wide scale effort and their history seems to say that they try to do the opposite. The whole article sounds like they are in denial and I have heard nothing about the DNC holding an “autopsy” to see why they did not get that Blue Wave they were planning on. I suspect that come 2024, they will be blindsided with whatever happens then.

        1. tegnost

          either way, their focus is on republicans which makes it seem they feel they have more in common with them and the fact that they don’t assist the dem party in being more republican is confusing to them, maybe, as in AtH’s chosen quote above, they just need to be more boring so the stupids will be less afraid of them.

          1. flora

            Yes, they offered rural voters almost nothing this time. If they offer even less next time I’m sure that’ll work. /s

      2. D. Fuller

        Or perhaps – as an addition – there is some confusion about how economics differ between rural and urban areas. As an addition.

        Urban areas have money and population density to support a wide range of economic activities.

        Rural areas do not have that economic flexibility that comes with high population densities.

        For instance, hospital closings in rural areas due to the expense of maintaining a hospital in an area where not enough patients can justify that expense. To maintain such a hospital or clinic would require government support. Supposedly anathema to Rural Conservative voters as “Socialist”.

        Capitalism is extractive in rural areas. As it is in all settings. Support for basic services in rural areas? Not so much. Yet, those who support Capitalism in rural areas do not support the necessary “Socialism” for basic services.

        There was a certain dynamic in the rural county I used to live in where those who had the jobs at the mine – mostly filled by outsiders, also open thanks to government – or the dam – government – lorded their status over those who could not find jobs (that did not exist due to the limited economic base present). Very savage mini-society of “haves” and jobless. Not quite Lord of the Flies, close enough. Despite the fact that those who did have jobs, did so because? Government. Most of the surrounding area was surrounded by National Forest. Obama & Congressional Republicans killed the payments from the Federal Government to local people. The payments were made to support local businesses as the surrounding land was not used for economic activities.

  13. Lex

    It didn’t occur to me till this morning to wonder what’s keeping the churches afloat financially. Is each denomination financially interdependent, or are the churches loosely affiliated but independent operators? What happens when you can’t pass the plate?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      American church organizations are like every other in the country: the money flows UP. There are “mission congregations” that are subsidized by central church bodies, but they are expected to become self-supporting in short order. Instead, local churches are expected to fund the educational, charitable and administrative duties of the church body.

      In other words, if the local members aren’t giving because of Covid, the light bill for the parsonage doesn’t get paid.

  14. tegnost

    re technical problems, I have been occasionally getting a 404 indicating the website NC, but I hit the back button, my reply is shuffled down to the comment frame. I copy/paste it back to the intended reply location, erase the text in the comment box at the bottom of the thread, then resubmit reply and that has worked…it’s happened three time in the past couple of days, just fyi for the site admins…

    1. D. Fuller

      Cloudflare issues here. Using Chrome and HTTPS-over-DNS. Sometimes switching to MS Edge will bring the page up. Other times, Chrome works, MS Edge goes catatonic.

      Issues have been present for the last week or so.

      Also, comments not appearing when reloading the page. Yet, when opening another tab? Comments appear. Same page, different tabs, comments displaying not all there.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Much too much Dangerous ManyThink happening here, the lords of Beautiful OneThink are in absolute full DefCon5 infowar mode so it surprises me not one bit that NC may be getting the same treatment. Yes I’m getting intermittent 404 too. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Republican Party?

        1. D. Fuller

          What do server issues have to do with infowars, 404’s, and such?

          If you wanted to go all conspiracy theory as a reply, you simply could have mentioned that Google is part of the ProporNot effort to destroy unapproved information sources not authorized by our government i.e. our corporate overlords.

          Software complexity and incompatibilities between the backend & server software, along with using software such as HTTPS-over-DNS not being fully implemented, the use of Privacy Badger, Kaspersky Internet Protection, and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials, complemented by the issues of using Windows 10 on a processor that has so many security holes in it? And that is before I throw in a VPN not currently being used.

          Is more than sufficient to explain the outages. Than some conspiracy is capable of doing.

          1. Yves Smith

            This does not have to do with Google. That would affect users and users are only having sporadic difficulties (which we are not happy about). We are having far more serious problems with admins trying to access the backstage.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Show me one Team D-supporting website or Twitter account or FB account that is being censored or deplatformed. Twitter, YT, FB to this day have reams of RussiaGate lies far and wide. Blue Checks for those? Didn’t think so.

      1. furies

        A violent invasive proceedure.

        How come we can’t give injections like on Star Trek??

        I used to give great injections. My patients would wait until I came on shift for their pain med. It’s a skill that I have not had the good fortune to experience when a patient myself, as it seems a lot of nurses/practioners do just that; ‘jab’.

        There’s a delicate flick of the wrist involved.

  15. Gregorio

    What’s with “The Daily Mail?” I find it completely unreadable due to ads blocking the text of the articles.

    1. jr

      I tried to load some kind of “techie” website last night and was inundated with windows and ads with the really tiny “x’s” that open the ad more often than not. I steered away; don’t people realize this loses them hits?

  16. Wukchumni

    Meet Donald Trump’s low rent doppelganger, who despite losing to his challenger by a 107,000 to 74,000 vote margin, refuses to concede.

    A series of recently-resurfaced social media posts have landed Congressional candidate Ted Howze in hot water this month, resulting in the loss of his endorsement from the California Republican Party and earning the former Turlock Council member a rebuking from prominent party leaders.

    In now-deleted posts and retweets made public by Politico this month, Howze’s accounts taunted a Parkland school shooting survivor, said “#DeportThemAll” in reference to Dreamers and demeaned Muslims on social media prior to his first foray into high-level politics in 2018. Though Howze is now challenging Democrat Rep. Josh Harder in the general election after coming in second during the primary, he also ran in 2018 and came in third behind Harder and then-incumbent Rep. Jeff Denham.

    According to Politico, the first posts revealed by the publication are dated from January 2017 to March 2018 and when asked about their insensitive content, Howze stated unnamed individuals accessed his accounts and published the posts.

    This week when additional posts deleted by Howze were published by Politico, the candidate dismissed them as “fake news.” The additional posts, some dated as far back as 2016, compared Dreamers to pedophiles, pushed conspiracy theories accusing Democrats of murder and questioned the Black Lives Matter movement with racial stereotypes.

    “The maliciously false attacks on our campaign based on old social media posts being attributed to me are #FakeNews,” Howze tweeted. “They do not resemble anything close to my personal words or actions exhibited during my decades-long record of service in the Central Valley.”

    The controversy comes as Howze leads the community-outreach campaign “Operation Compassion,” which is delivering supplies to veterans and those at-risk throughout the Valley during the COVID-19 crisis. In his tweets from Thursday, Howze argued that the disparaging posts were never mentioned during the 2018 primary and that he is now “under attack by national Democrats and their left-wing media” because his campaign is a threat to Harder’s.

    “We will not be bullied into a negative campaign or arguing over Brett Kavanaugh style attacks. Instead, we will continue to focus on expanding our local partnerships, getting people back to work, and making life more affordable for Central Valley residents. #LetsGetItDone,” Howze tweeted.

  17. jr

    Re: Labyrinths

    Sometimes NC literally startles me, it’s as if someone has read my mind. I have recently quit smoking pot because a friend noted that it suppresses dreams. I stopped two weeks back and the dreams have been wonderful and weird. Ever see a Corgi with ibex horns and cheetah fur? I have.

    But last night was a hum-dinger, handily landing amongst the top five of dreams I’ve ever had. It involved a labyrinthine old house, all dark wood and checkerboard floors, gloomy gray lighting, through which I wandered. There were others characters but I don’t recall their features.

    I came to a large room with a number of doors and stopped. I had something in my hand, perhaps my phone? Whatever it was, I dashed it to the floor and it split into two large, beautiful butterflies which circled one another and flew off. At that moment, I became distinctly lucid. My “real” self and my “dream” self were one. I deliberately intoned to myself “I am a wizard.” (which technically I’m not but who’s quibbling) and then willed myself to fly.

    I rose straight up into the air, into the center of the space. A wild rush of emotion flowed through me like a velvet soft electric current. An exquisite golden green light filled the room, like the light you see on a beautiful day in a thick forest with a crystalline blue sky behind it but distilled, concentrated. A window suddenly appeared in one of the walls and I was looking out upon a strikingly blue body of water with white capped waves that came right up to the level of the window sill. I awoke to this blasted reality refreshed in mind and spirit.

    I had had a dream before this one of being chased up a tower by two “bad guys”. The landing they were standing on flipped up and they were tossed into a pool filled with enormous mutant croco-gators. I had a yet a third dream in which I was in some large facility surrounded by people who were looking for me because I was being awarded some kind of medal and I was late for the ceremony. The thing that stood out was the altar in which several kinds of animals and fish were resting or moving contentedly in open display boxes while a small group of worshipers knelt before it and prayed.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Great account, but you’ve seriously provided me with something to think about. Plus, I’m calculating how long things will take to finish and what I have left and…

    2. jr

      Thanks for the comments guys. Henry, forgive me if I’m wrong but if you are referring to pot, consider it. I myself have grown bored with it, it has become a mere habit. Gone are the days of the pleasant fog, both literal and figurative, swirling around my head. Opium on the other hand… but seriously, it does squash your dreaming. That dream last night was worth a thousand bowls of Purple Punch…

  18. chris

    Will NC be creating a water cooler or links heading for “Nothing Will Fundamentally Change”? It seems like the op-eds and other article in the Guardian lately are at least beginning to feign outrage over the current situation.

    Anyone who expected Joe “Sleepy McHairplugs” Biden to be anything but a restoration of what our elites considered the natural order of things pre-Trump was a fool. I did hope he wouldn’t be quite so obvious about all of this but his win and the crowing from the blue tick security hounds in the party must have convinced his handlers that nothing was needed in the way of change. The question I suppose is whether we’ll see any luminaries like Brocovich be censored now that all media and social media platforms support the official Democrat narrative? In which case we’ll get our restoration, we won’t have any of the details to complain about, we’ll be told to like it.

    Also in the Guardian today are articles describing the hopes of LGTBQ citizens that Biden will increase their protections and a host of other nominally leftist concerns that pulled things together for Biden and are starting to wonder whether they’ll get anything in return. I fear this is when we’ll see true fascism rear up in the US. Fascism was always a method for the ruling class to control the working class to support state aligned business interests. So now we’ve got a people who are economically ruined, with no faith in most civil institutions, during a pandemic they’re receiving no help with, and the people they thought that they had elected to change things for the better aren’t…that seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

    I think my earlier prediction will hold. It’s Thanksgiving. We have no new stimulus. We have no new help for renters or home owners or landlords. We’re getting our first real taste of winter on the east coast. Supply chain shortages are creeping in. Curfews and lockdowns are being employed to control the situation. These are all problems that will not go away on their own. These are all potential causes for mass outbreaks of violence.

    Go long guns and liquor :/

  19. Person

    Anyone else see this video? The guy is a corona conspiracy nut, so keep that in mind, but in the video he gets raided mid-stream by screaming German Polizei with guns (apparently for violating coronavirus laws). Bad vibes.

    Also, a random thought for anyone who wants to make a bunch of money while influencing the national subconscious. Make and sell a small “B: The President” sticker. You know, like those W stickers from back in the day. Brunch libs will eat it up but everyone else will get the joke.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Slope, slippery, the one we are on. The answer is Freedom of Speech, and anyone tolerating or even supporting limits to it has no real idea what fire they are playing with. “First they came for…” etc.

  20. noonespecial

    Re: BDS/Pompeo Al Jazeera-

    Having cashed that check for the cool $75MM from that casino operator, Secretary Maximus Pomp may just be showing off his follow-thru skills to demonize an otherwise non-violent movement.

    Sharing the link from the Electronic Intifada which includes a video of 3 soldiers surrounding (and possibly the moment) they shot a civilian (identified later as a teacher).

    I’ve yet to read about BDS-involved persons doing something similar, so why is it so much of a stretch to at least sanction investigations by neutral parties? And yes, I am aware that about 2 years ago the effort to have the UN look into Israeli soldiers killing civilians at the Gaza fence failed, but still am compelled to ask: How do they keep getting away with, in the terms used in EI’s article, “extrajudicial killings” carried out by agents of the Mid East’s only democracy?

    On the US home-front though, Evangelical apologists for state-sponsored terror/apartheid tactics seem to want to help pave Rapture Highway.

  21. zagonostra

    >Fahrenheit 412: New Rule Bans Allegheny County Jail Inmates From Receiving Books; Reading Limited To 214 Select E-Books

    So under the banner of COVID inmates who spend up to 23 hours will have new limits placed on what they are allowed to read. It starts with those who are least able to protest and non-citizens and soon under the cover of COVID the choke hold tightens ever so slightly until you’re screaming “I can’t breath.”

    On Monday, Nov. 16, the ACJ’s incarcerated population received a memo from warden Orlando Harper that read: “Effective Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, the Allegheny County Jail shall no longer accept books from and Inmates living in our facility now have the ability to read over 214 free books and 49 free religious books through our tablet program…”

    “ For now, safety dictates that this action be taken.”

    1. D. Fuller

      “Tablet Program”… sounds like some enterprising Capitalist with connections has a webpage listing 2 employees, has a government contract to deliver “reading material” to inmates.

  22. Jeff N

    re: HR Enforcers – I literally was ordered to give a “welcome to the team” call to my (foreign/younger/cheaper) replacement tomorrow morning. (I’ve already been told I’m being laid off sometime in 2021, after 23 years of service)

    1. jo6pac

      Yes, when we were outsourced to collect severance check we hand to answer our personnel cell phones when the newbe called to talk them through problems. I was hired with the promise of a job for life and in 15yrs and 5 months my life time was over. I was lucky because I collect UPI for 22 months then SS at 62.

      I hope you’re able to find work in your field.

      1. D. Fuller

        No one laid off should be answering questions from their newbie replacement. Legal liability. As in, the former employee is now subject to legal jeopardy. The best answer to a newbie replacement calling a former employee for answers, that they replaced is: “Contact HR and have them tender a contract for my services. I can not answer your questions due to legal liability issues.”

        If the issue is important enough, the payout can be great.

        Beware questions from the newbie about login and passwords. Simply state, “I can not answer that.” Such questions are a minefield.

        The other reason not to answer questions? You are not being paid to.

    2. Conrad

      Resources are there to be exploited. And HR departments are staffed by those too dim to get a marketing degree.

  23. jef

    Why are we not targeting those most at risk? Why terrify the entire population?

    “On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.

    Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.”

    1. Phillip Cross

      The threshold for being sent to the ice floes gets lower and lower! 55, 44 … The next thing you know, we will be living in Logan’s Run for real!

      I thought we were all entitled to equal protection under the law, regardless of age.

    2. D. Fuller

      Wish the CDC would do a better job, but here is something:

      At 30 years and older, when compared to 18-29 year old, one is 3x more likely to be hospitalized and 4x more likely to die. Reaching – at age 85 – 13x more likely to be hospitalized and 613x more likely to die.

      I am more interested in the shortened life expectancies of those who contract Covid, survive, yet suffer health effects – hidden or known. That won’t be known until well into the future. There will be premature deaths. To what extent, remains unknown.

    3. skippy

      HR was developed so the uplifted washed did not have to interact with the unwashed – face to face – and suffer the ignominy of that proximity.

      Always reminds me of Carnegie taking a overseas holiday whilst the deed was done, gasp, the thought of potential emotional distress alone is vulgar.

    1. skippy

      Another Flexian spotted in the wild …. naw … then again its not that long ago that the meme/trope about having to market oneself [commodity] in the market place [tm] so as to maximize ones utility [individual potential freedoms] was broadcast in a repetitive loop far and wide.

  24. BoyDownTheLane

    You know what I think you folks are really missing is the duet sung by Giuliani and Powell just after noon in their press conference. I posted the links in the comments at the Water Cooler but I guess they haven’t been approved, what with the server difficulties and all (akin to the software described by the songsters in the press conference, I’d guess). I’d guess Mr. Trump and Mr. Flynn and Ms. Powell are gonna run the table, legally speaking, and a lot of people will be changing their tunes, resigning, or negotiating for a A shorter time share in the Federal Penitentiary,

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” Its only a mask” . . . No, its a symbol. Its a symbol of what Democrat-voting liberals do. That makes it a symbol of what Trump-voting Coaly-Rollers must fight against to the death, and never ever do themselves.

    If a Storm Trumping Coaly-Roller were to wear a mask, that would show that the Bi-Coastal elitist liberals were able to own HIM. No Storm-Trumping Coaly-Roller will ever let hermself be humiliated in that manner.

    1. Phillip Cross

      Thanks. This is very important information. A perfect example of the problems facing anyone wanting to form a broad coalition.

      I just can’t imagine a “Big Tent” that is large enough for Coaly-Rollers and their Prius driving enemy to cohabit.

  26. Ook

    Google Pay relaunch:
    Does this mean I’ll be able to donate to Naked Capitalism from overseas via Google Pay now that Paypal is blocking all my attempts to do so?

    1. Yves Smith

      We very much appreciate your willingness to support our work and are sorry that you have spent time on trying to do so to no avail. But I hate to tell you, Clive explained that the restrictions are almost certainly coming from your bank, since some banks assume payments to foreign sites must be a fraud, and/or could be “priming” transactions to clear the path for bigger illegitimate charges. PayPal confirmed twice during the fundraiser that they had removed the limits on receiving funds from abroad. So you would have the same problems with Google Pay.

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