Links 11/4/2020

Yves here. I was intending to post tonight but the election has me more fried than I anticipated.

Parrot saves owner from Brisbane house fire by raising alarm before smoke detectors (Kevin W)

Washington Couple Shocked When Missing Cat Turns Up 2,500 Miles Away In Alaska Animal Rescue (David L)

How the F@!# Did This Giant Whale Tail Save a Derailed Train? Popular Mechanics

How many alien civilizations are out there? A new galactic survey holds a clue. Nationnal Geographic (Chuck L)

The International Space Station’s end will mix up space geopolitics Axios (Kevin W)

NASA reestablishes contact with 43-year-old Voyager 2 which is 11.6 BILLION miles from Earth after repairs to antenna in Australia left spacecraft flying solo for seven months Daily Mail (Kevin W)

Rotten river: life on one of the world’s most polluted waterways – photo essay Guardian (resilc)

Oregon Becomes First State To Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms OregonLive

Earwax test could reveal stress levels BBC


Pope Criticizes People Who Complain About Pandemic Restrictions Bloomberg

German Study Finds Indoor Concerts Can Be Safe During COVID EDMTunes

Seniors Form COVID Pods to Ward Off Isolation This Winter KHN. Aiee. I wear a mask at home except when eating and drinking (which is a lot of the time, I nurse coffees and consume more dietary supplements than food) or alone. But I am at my computer > 8 feet away from anyone else and faced away too. And we air the house out a ton.


Rich states’ Covid deals ‘may deprive poor of vaccine for years’ Guardian

MAPPING COVID-19 VACCINES PRE-PURCHASES ACROSS THE GLOBE Launch and Scale Speedometer. Furzy: “The big boys are scarfing up all the vaccines.”

Coronavirus was circulating in New York by February, research shows Financial Times. Not surprising given timing of emergence in China + international flights. But still a change in the official timeline.

Lung damage found in COVID dead may shed light on ‘long COVID’ – study Reuters. n=41.

Phase II Clinical trial for Evaluation of BCG as potential therapy for COVID-19 MedRxiv

Widely Used Rapid Tests Detected Only 32 Percent of Asymptomatic COVID Cases: Study Daily Beast

Researchers track the flight trajectory of airborne cough droplets News Medical Net

New Cause of COVID-19 Blood Clots Identified Michigan Health News


India’s low hygiene gives it more immunity against virus, helps in Covid fight — CSIR study The Print


UK Contact Tracing App Failed To Flag People Exposed To COVID-19 The Verge


OK, You’ve Just Won the Election. Now Fix Covid Wired

With Winter Coming and Trump Still in Charge, Virus Experts Fear the Worst New York Times

More than 61,000 children got Covid-19 last week, a record NBC (resilc)


China Rise to Global Superpower Is a Restoration, Not an Ascent Bloomberg

China Halts Ant Group’s IPO, Throwing Ma Empire Into Turmoil Bloomberg (furzy). So far, no evidence that this is China’s Wirecard but rather authorities cutting down a tall poppy.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Police Will Pilot a Program To Live-Stream Amazon Ring Cameras Electronic Frontier Foundation

A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack Wired (Chuck L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Bidding farewell to America’s failed democracy Pepe Escobar, Asia Times. Quibble with the title. What is failing in America is its adoption of neoliberal/late stage capitalism, which the overwhelming majority of voters don’t support, but it’s money that makes the decisions here, not voters.

America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall. Will It Turn Around Before It’s Too Late? Politico (resilc). How many years behind the NC comments section is this?

Trump Transition

Trump H-1B visa crackdown hit with legal double whammy: Tech giants, Chamber of Commerce challenge rules The Register

Exclusive: Tired of Trump, Deutsche Bank games ways to sever ties with the president – sources Reuters (resilc)

DeVos’ security detail cost taxpayers $24M over 4 years Politco. ssc: “The title says it all. I am so tired of my taxes paying for rich people’s sh*t. Her tax returns, including her 10 foreigned registered yachts, are probably just as stinky as Trump’s. “

2020. Even without going to the news sites proper, or Lambert’s open thread, I could see things weren’t going according to plan for Team Dem due to dearth of e-mail updates from The Hill and the Wall Street Journal over the evening. Normally, they send a barrage of calls on key states in the subject line, with those articles then having detail on smaller states and expected-to-be-close Congressional races in the article detail. Tonight, radio silence save for the McConnell, Turberville and Hickenlooper Senate wins until midnight EST.

Some initial theories of how the Dems blew their blowout:

1.Trying to beat something with nothing, and per albrt, “Joe Biden is the stumbling, bumbling epitome of nothing.” What was Biden except “not Trump”? Look at the mixed messages on Black Lives Matter, the environment (the fracking flip flop), health care (the bizarre expanded Medicaid plan presented in the debates) and even the supposed defining issue of Covid (is “doubling testing” and a hedged national masking plan persuasive?)

2. Assuming they had the Hispanic vote as a matter of right. They did close to nothing to court it.

3. Choosing Kamala Harris. She appealed in the Hamptons. It turns out all that money she helped raise didn’t translate into votes. Julian Castro would have been a better pick or if they felt compelled to have a black woman, Susan Rice. Or if they really wanted those suburban Republicans, my favorite “heads would have exploded” dark horse nominee, Condi Rice. Both of the Rices are terrible people but have less obvious baggage (how many Americans follow foreign policy?) and present better than Harris.

4. Assuming that they would win if they won the air war, as in TV spending. A lot was pissed away: why were they spending a dime in Alabama, where I saw lots of Biden ads? Hopefully there will be a lot of post mortems on where the funds went, but where was the GOTV effort? Or Lambert’s pet issue, why isn’t voter registration an all-seasons Dem priority?

And no, Virginia, Trump getting the Supreme Court to stop the vote count is na ga happen, not in a million years (see, for instance: Trump says he’ll go to Supreme Court to stop votes from being counted The Hill). Anyone in America can file a case, no matter how ridiculous. Voting procedures and election certification are ever and always state law matters. The Supremes either won’t deign to hear this argument at all or will hear and reject it. More likely the former. This does not mean we might not later have a Bush v. Gore, where the Supreme Court winds up adjudicating a particular state’s contested election after all the counting is done. This might include what happens to vote by mail ballots that arrive after Nov. 3, but here the Supreme Court has signaled it is deferring to existing state law.

For panicking Democrats, 2020 is déjà vu all over again The Hill. First MSM headline acknowledging trouble, at just before midnight EST. At 1:00 AM EST, the Journal called Florida, Ohio, and Iowa for Trump. At 1:15 EST, the Hill called Texas for Trump. At 3:00 AM EST, The Hill and the Journal call Arizona for Biden.

‘Is this a free country if you’re too scared to express your views?’ Tucker Carlson says polls have underestimated Trump AGAIN because people don’t feel free to admit they support him Daily Mail

Waymo moved its self-driving cars in San Francisco to a ‘secured location’ in case of election chaos The Verge (Kevin W)

Federal authorities expected to erect ‘non-scalable’ fence around White House CNN

‘You are no longer my mother’: A divided America will struggle to heal after Trump era Reuters

Parties trade flips in too-close-to-call battle for the Senate Politico. Dems so far underperforming v. spending and expectations too.

Someone is spray painting blue dots in front of houses of Biden supporters in California city Boing Boing

America’s Gettysburg Moment: Even If Defeated Trumpism Will Not Vanish CounterPunch

Europe and the US are drifting apart on tech. Joe Biden wouldn’t fix that. Politico

California Voters Exempt Uber, Lyft, DoorDash From Having to Reclassify Drivers Wall Street Journal.

Our Famously Free Press

Fox Corp. Chief Lachlan Murdoch On Donald Trump Possibly Starting Fox News Rival: “We Love Competition” Deadline (resilc). Trump becoming Berlusconi, just out of order?

Censorship’s slope is always slippery & the Internet Archive’s embrace of biased ‘fact-checking’ proves it RT (Kevin W)

The Tech Antitrust Problem No One Is Talking About: US Broadband Providers ars technica

Norwegians Got Paid To Use Electricity As Prices Fall Below Zero OilPrice

Class Warfare

Job polarisation and the Great Recession Bruege

Only the richest ancient Athenians paid taxes – and they bragged about it The Conversation

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a from furzy, how many of you likely feel right now, a Godzilla version of a snapping turtle that showed up in a DC suburb:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. OIFVet

    The election will not be called for some time. What is safe to say though, is that in the race between platitudes and original observations in Chris Cuomo’s repertoire, centrist platitudes won by a landslide. Also too, there was a big-time return to the national stage of “Keep the powder dry”, used by some guest commentator at least 8 times by my count. So regardless of the final outcome, Dem establishment tropes had a great night!

          1. mary jensen

            This is a bit late of me:

            I really want to thank certain NC members: chuck roast; Noone from Nowheresville; JMM; WhoaMolly for directing me to the Taibbi/Halper and guests on youtube livestream.
            It was just what I needed after far too much MSM blah blah and since I’m in Europe the time difference began taking its toll so I shut the television off and tuned in to the Halper/Taibbi on my big old desk top computer w/Logitech speakers and reclined in bed in the adjacent room and listened for some hours before falling asleep…
            What a great time I had! Loved it. Halper’s voice drives me up the wall (and her unfortunate habitual use of the word “like” before-during-after practically anything she says) but with all of the guests going at it she could be ignored easily enough. And the word “fuck” in all of its conjugaisons was in full glory all night: I was in heaven. Not since “The Wire” have I been so ‘at home’ with decent, amusing dialogue. It was so refreshing and amusing to listen to that group of people and they had a lot to say. I’m dead serious.

            Thank you so much to the NC commentariat for saving my sanity on 3-4/11/2020.

  2. ptb

    re: election
    If Biden can hold WI and MI, he gets 270 electoral votes even if losing PA GA NC!

    Could set up a 270-268 scenario where the token experiment in proportional voting via per-district electors proves decisive!

    1. fresno dan

      November 4, 2020 at 7:19 am

      being cynical, law and custom requires me to say: Florida 2! the sequel, this time its personal!!
      Constitutional Crisis!

      1. Aumu

        Nah AZ is good, looking at the counties. It’s NV I’m not as sure about. That could flip Red imo.

      2. ptb

        I think AZ simply stopped giving hourly updates as a favor to the Trump campaign for the sake of the ‘narrative’. (helps keep eyeballs on the TV’s too). I don’t see Trump coming back from a 100k deficit with 500k-700k to count. Will know more in a couple hours.

        Looks like the door is open to a Wisconsin recount, instead. (waste of time IMO, but will make for weeks of drama)

  3. The Rev Kev

    Re the increased number of black and Latino voters who went for Trump. So I have already seen some pretty ugly fallout from this, namely the following-

    ‘Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times editor who created the controversial Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project, tweeted after Trump won Florida’

    Ida Bae Wells
    ‘One day after this election is over I am going to write a piece about how Latino is a contrived ethnic category that artificially lumps white Cubans with Black Puerto Ricans and Indigenous Guatemalans and helps explains why Latinos support Trump at the second highest rate.’

    This was from an RT story at but her tweets are, ahem, remarkable for a ‘woke’ person who covers race-

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, and @nhannahjones curiously forgets that Mexicans are a bigger group….and at least in NYC, non-black Puerto Ricans and Dominicans way outnumber black Puerto Ricans… lordie….

      1. a different chris

        Yes this voting block crap seems to be finally breaking, at least.

        I do find it amusing that Cubans are so hard-right. People think it’s because they’ve “seen the horrors of Castro*” .

        No, it’s because Castro took their money and gave it to other people, but in the US they could take others money and give it to themselves. There is no interest in democracy here, Trump is an authoritarian and they are fine with that, as long as the previous sentence stays true.

        *they will of course actually say “socialism” instead of Castro but they don’t even know what socialism is so I fixed it for them.

        1. Wukchumni

          Cuban-Americans seem to be by far the most entrepreneurial of all Latin American immigrants, if one was looking for a financial pecking order.

        2. rusti

          No, it’s because Castro took their money and gave it to other people, but in the US they could take others money and give it to themselves.

          I’m not sure if I share such a cynical take. A lot of recent immigrants increasingly divorced from the immediate consequences of brutal sanctions on the homeland become hardliners. Iranians, Venezuelans, Cubans, people who left and (for legitimate reasons) have gripes with the leadership in the old country are ripe to be courted by the bravado of a moron like Trump. I was talking to a Venezuelan woman in Germany recently and she said all the Venezuelan-Americans she knew were voting for Trump, but that she was worried for her mom who was still in Venezuela.

          I hear similar sentiments from my Iranian friends here in Scandinavia. They despise the Iranian leadership so thoroughly that they can be a bit blinded by the lack of a viable opposition and just want to see them take a punch. Trump seems to be a magnet for the angry, even after 4 years of utter incompetence and further enriching elites, he at least makes many of them indignant.

      2. Oso_in_Oakland

        Yves Smith, thank you for pointing this out. Yes Mexicans/Chicanos are about 85% of the so-called Latino vote. Frustrating because it’s like conflating black and white americans as an Anglo voting bloc.
        Moderator what the Family blog is so triggering to you that you blocked this the first time? Voices of color should have a place here too.

        1. Big Tap

          According to Wikipedia the Mexican portion of the Hispanic American population is just 62%.

          “As of 2018, approximately 62% of the nation’s Hispanic population were of Mexican origin (see table). Another 9.6% were of Puerto Rican origin, with about 4% each of Cuban and Salvadoran and 3.4% Dominican origins.”

          Population by national origin (2018)
          (self-identified ethnicity, not by birthplace)
          ancestry Population %
          Mexico Mexican 36,986,661 61.9
          Puerto Rico Puerto Rican 5,791,453 9.6
          Cuba Cuban 2,363,532 3.9
          El Salvador Salvadoran 2,306,774 3.8
          Dominican Republic Dominican 2,082,857 3.4
          Colombia Colombian 2,023,341 3.3
          Guatemala Guatemalan 1,524,743 2.0
          Honduras Honduran 963,930 1.6
          Spain Spaniard 819,527 1.3
          Ecuador Ecuadorian 717,995 1.2
          Peru Peruvian 684,345 1.1
          Venezuela Venezuelan 484,445 0.8
          Spain Spanish 435,322 0.8
          Nicaragua Nicaraguan 434,000 0.7
          Brazil Brazilian 371,529 0.6
          Argentina Argentine 286,346 0.4
          Panama Panamanian 206,219 0.3
          Chile Chilean 172,062 0.2
          Costa Rica Costa Rican 154,784 0.2
          Bolivia Bolivian 116,646 0.1
          Uruguay Uruguayan 60,013 0.1
          Paraguay Paraguayan 25,022 0.0
          All other 1,428,770 2.4
          Total 59,763,631 100.0

    2. Count Zero

      She’s right. But they are ALL “contrived ethnic categories” that artificially lump together various groups of people. Latino at least has a vague geographical rationale. But “black” is a contrived category based on… what? The colour of somebody’s skin? Don’t get me started on “white”?

      These are fuzzy political categories that serve particular purposes in different situations and at different periods of history. Whenever somebody is using the term “race” check out the power play. “Cui Bono”? There are no races other than those posited by particular kinds of racism — including that mindless racism that designates a hugely diverse population of people in the USA as “white.”

    1. Redlife2017

      That is very true. Wisconsin looks like it is going to go to Biden with 97% of the vote counted (49.5% to 48.8%). And if Michigan does, then Biden hits 270. But the big question remains – why is it so close? I mean, I suspect it will be 270 to 268, which will not be a ringing endorsement when you combine the just barely OK popular vote totals (Biden at +1.9% – which won’t be altered that hugely by the remaining votes). People were expecting if not a blow-out then at least a comfortable win.

      And if you look downticket, Biden has the anti-coattails with the House Dems projected to lose 3 seats (net)! And the Senate, they may get lucky going net +1. I mean talk about lighting a huge bonfire of cash! Didn’t the Dems spend something like $5-6 Billion on 2020 races? More than quarter of a billion alone on 4 senate races that they targeted and have been crushed by up to 10% on? The Dems targeted Republicans and yet, Republican voting for Trump was UP 3% from 2016 (from 90% to 93%).

      David Sirota has a decent hot take at his website. I don’t endorse his last takeaway, but that’s because Americans have always been, well, overly optimistic about how awesome they are. I’ll always go with the Brits – they hate themselves…

      1. a different chris

        Actually I wouldn’t consider it “lighting money on fire” *if* they actually told you

        1) What the Republicans do wrong
        2) What a Dem will do right

        And you will likely lose, but: Then you spend the next 2/4/6 yrs, depending on the race, get your candidate on TV pounding 1 and 2 until the next election.

        But they don’t do that, I can’t even tell what they do except play swelling music with lots of flags in the background. Which is, as you said, lighting money on fire.

      2. Carolinian

        Thanks for link. And I didn’t vote for him (or at all) but if Trump does prevail I think it can justly be said that the Dems got what they deserved. When will the left finally abandon these losers who don’t even pretend to support their issues? If Biden had run on Sanders’ platform–even if he didn’t mean it–he’d probably be measuring the drapes right now. The Dem party aspires to be the polite Republicans and they are never going to change. After all there’s always Putin to take the imaginary blame when they lose.

        Heartland voters get the lack of authenticity and heartland voters are right. Trump is already running his Twitter mouth and being the jerk but at least they know who he is. Biden is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      3. Phillip Cross

        “why is it so close?”

        Because The American People are mostly extremely gullible and easily frightened, whilst being driven mostly by personal greed?

        1. Count Zero

          Or maybe because American people are not gullible enough to think that either candidate has their real interests at heart? The devil or the deep blue sea.

          1. Phillip Cross

            I don’t see this reluctance you imply in the Trump voters I know. It’s not a protest vote. On the whole, they have drunk the kool aid and share his world view.

        2. dcrane

          Because the mainstream media and Silicon Valley put a massive thumb on the scale by covering up Biden’s influence peddling scandal for more than half a month. As part of an overall process of giving Biden almost zero scrutiny while pummeling Trump at every turn.

          If Biden wins this by 1 electoral vote, I will consider this election interference to have been decisive.

          (Btw I’m not alleging anti-GOP bias, but pro-establishment bias. If this had been Bernie vs. Cotton or Cruz, Bernie would have been the victim in the main.)

          1. etherpuppet

            but trump has governed like the most basic republican ever, in terms of policies passed in the house & senate. besides the racism, which turns off typical R’s less than others, what about him is so anti-establishment?

        3. flora

          Or maybe electronic voting machines. I’ve seen some pretty hinky counts in my own state in past elections with electronic voting: one candidate (unfavored) is ahead and increasing the lead when, oops, the computer “crashed and had to be rebooted”, after which the lead tilts towards the favored candidate, who wins. Can’t prove anything of course — dominant state party refused to release the paper ballots that were machine counted.

        4. Darius

          People have to be motivated to vote. Biden didn’t get them out. His whole campaign was based on the unicorn of the moderate suburban upscale Republican. He ignored or insulted base voters. Kamala got him the Hamptons money but did nothing for him among African American voters. His Hispanic outreach was directed at reactionary Cubans he had no chance with. Bernie courted Hispanics with Medicare for All. Biden said nothing will change.

        5. tegnost

          You’re describing PMC dems perfectly there
          one must be gullible to believe RRR to infinity
          easily frightened i.e. ring/nest doorbell cam owners
          driven by greed=meritocracy that is anything but…
          after vociferously denouncing in colorfully demeaning language all “bernie bro’s” and “deplorables” how come biden didn’t win in a landslide is because all those people are obviously gullible and frightened, not because they dislike you you just as much as you dislike them

          1. Phillip Cross

            Yes, I agree. I think the exact same selfish lemming energy was at work in the Dem primary. M4A enthusiasts might have more luck if the rebrand “Medicare for All” to “Medicare for Me”, or “My Medicare”, so people dont have to think of it in terms of that icky collective benefit. What do you think?

        6. Grant

          Sorry, where is it obvious that there is a qualitative difference in policy between the two where this should be so readily apparent? You look at Biden’s record, his in your face corruption, what he has told donors, and his vacuous campaign. The difference between him and Trump is basically in their personal conduct. Policy wise, the differences on many issues are not as big as Biden supporters pretended. COVID-19, the economic fallout, and Trump still could win. Look in the mirror.

          Lets think about this on two issues. Biden still opposed decriminalizing marijuana. States, some not so progressive, are doing so and some are decriminalizing all drugs. How utterly out of step is that?

          He said that he would veto single payer, during a pandemic. Think about that. Think about all the work, all the phone calls, door knocking, organizing that goes into something like that. People do that, they want a humane and more efficient system in place, during a pandemic, and he said he would just nullify it all. And yet we owe him our vote.

          The average American wasn’t happy with either choice and most people voted while holding their noses. Are people gullible and frightened? Yes, look at the frightening present reality. Pandemic, economic crisis, environmental crisis, and what has the state done? Yawn, give tons of money to the rich, watch workers, the poor, small businesses and local governments die. But, people are also desperate for someone to propose and to fight for policies that match the scale of the crises we face, and that simply wasn’t on the menu. Do they see this on Fox, MSNBC or CNN? Does either party offer that? So, what are people to do?

          This isn’t on the voters. It is a systemic failure, and if the rank and file Democrats don’t finally clean house, just wipe out those running their party, their party should die and go away. I don’t mean new faces and the same corruption and the same failed ideas. If mama bear Pelosi is again named their leader in the House, Schumer in the Senate, Perez at the DNC, the same hacks running the DCCC or the DSCC, then again, their party should just go away. It is worthless and little more than a money extortion racket.

          I also have to ask you; when the suburbanites vote in the Democratic primaries, which are almost always rigged sham primaries (especially for president), do they have the poor and working class in mind? Do they support politicians that have policies that match the scale of the crises we are facing? Or, do they get wowed by Pete’s piano playing, his Fox New appearances and identity and do they not with who they support tell working people to eat dirt? They are instrumental in the country’s drift to the right. If they want to go back to lunch, do so, and stay there next primary. Let people with souls have a say for once.

      4. Kurtismayfield

        Why is it so close?

        I mean it’s pretty simple.. the US was offered the status quo from 2016, and the status quo from 2020, and could make up their minds where to send the time machine back to the future.

        Zero policy changes were offered, just tone.

        Zero solutions were offered for economic equality, health care reform, etc.

        1. Cuibono

          in the race between a Zombie and a Carny who you going to chose?
          It is actually amazing that the Zombie might win…for mericans surely love a Carny

      5. Howard

        Don’t forget voter suppression — 16M mostly D votes nationwide by some accounts. See Greg Palast (search him on youtube or Google).

          1. John

            I am inclined to agree and propose:
            1) Weekend elections Friday, Saturday, and Sunday those finessing any objection to being required to vote on the Sabbath.
            2) A model law submitted to all the states and the District to standardize laws for early, mail, and absentee voting and counting for Congressional and Presidential elections.

            1. Biph

              I like this idea so I’ll keep repeating it, have the election over 3 days Tue, Wed, Thu require all employers to give all employees one paid day off to vote. The employer can shut down for one day, run with 2/3’s of their employees for three days or anything in between.

    2. fresno dan

      November 4, 2020 at 7:26 am

      Preemptive Point There may be a big hullabaloo about vote counting ending at some point SOON.
      WHY? Because the electoral college doesn’t meet until mid December. If alacrity is so important, why not have the electoral college meet the day after? It isn’t like this is 1804 and people travel by oxen…
      Better yet, we could just count the votes and who gets the most wins….nah. Because, after all, as recounted in post, after post, after post here at NC, we live in the best of all possible worlds under the present system…

      1. a different chris

        What’s funny, in the horrible way the US is funny, is that vote counting is undoubtedly still going on in places like California and Kansas even though the EC means LOL they don’t matter at all.

        1. Milton

          Well there are a myriad of other issues on the CA ballot. For a number of Californians, the top of the ticket is the least important set of boxes.

        2. Dirk77

          With Prop. 22, it does matter in California, even though it appears to be winning. And from much personal experience, this is why I hate the whole idea of propositions: people not really understanding what they are voting for, yet still checking a box.

          1. Milton

            I believe there were two, or three, propositions that on the surface seemed “progressive” but were actually stealth laws that weakened existing legislation.

          2. Grant

            The DSA has a voter guide statewide and in cities in California. If people don’t have time, they could rely on that, which is very good. But, people have to know that stuff like that exists.

          3. YPG

            We have state & local ballot measures in Oregon as well. I had thought well of them because they usually go the way I want them too (e.g. the drug decriminalizing bill on the most recent ballot) BUT I’m coming to think they aren’t a good thing.

            To me the biggest problem in American politics is that legislators don’t want to be held responsible for laws they pass so, increasingly, they don’t pass any. They defer to the courts, executive orders, and, if able, ballot measures. It’s an abdication of the duties of elected representatives.

            AC Grayling’s newest book talks about this a bit.

        3. rd

          In NYS, the absentee ballots can’t start to be counted until Nov 6. As long as postmarked on Election Day or earleir, domestic absentee ballots are accepted until Nov 10 and foreign ones until Nov 16.

          The delay between Nov 3 and Nov 6 is so they can check all of the votes cast in person against the absentee ballot requests. If you voted in person, your absentee ballot (if you sent one in) gets discarded.Starting Nov 6, they can start counting absentee ballots. Results need ot be certified to the state by Nov 28.

          In our county, about 17% of the total vote so far has been by absentee ballot, so any race moderately close can’t be called until the absentee ballots are counted, whch could be in the second half of November.

      2. John

        There is, in fact, no need to rush as you point out. All the need for rushing and huffing and puffing has everything to do with one’s perceived political advantage and nothing at all to do with need. The media might like to get it over with so they can get back to whatever it is they consider important; the pollsters surely would like to has us forget it lest their public pratfall be more widely admired; I, for one, wish it were definitive and done with, but this quadrennial, as it were, groundhog day is what we have. As Lambert would say, “pass the popcorn.”
        If it were at all likely that a Constitutional Amendment could be passed to change the present system, I am sure it would be under discussion, but clunky and, dangerous as we have seen and are seeing since 2000, too many see it as to their advantage; thus no movement to change it.

    3. km

      Bernie is no oracle, but Biden probably will win in the end.

      How comforting to know that all Team D has to do to ensure a win is to outspend their opponent by almost 2:1, and plan on Team R bungling the response to a pandemic. Oh, they’ll also need the MSM to continue to act as their unpaid Ministry of Propaganda, and also Big Tech to suppress unflattering stories and they’ve got the problem licked!

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Or they could actually work for people and try to help advance an agenda that will improve the lives of their citizens.

        But that might upset their masters.

      2. Pelham

        Yes. Is it plausible to imagine that if covid hadn’t struck and the spending had been more even that Trump would have won in a blowout? I think it is.

        Actually, forget the spending. Minus the pandemic, Trump might have been a shoo-in, at least in the Electoral College (an institution that, for my own reasons, I rather like).

        As for other possibilities, I’m not so sure that Bernie Sanders would have done much better. Even the 2016 edition. He has effectively cast his lot with the Democrats, and it appears at this stage that the Dem brand — not just Hillary — inspire a good deal of knee-jerk revulsion.

  4. Wukchumni

    A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack Wired
    Wow, interesting story…

    The dead hiker was new to the game (anybody wearing blue jeans in the Sierra is a dead give away they don’t know what they’re doing, and back east on the AT where it rains all the time, walking in wet jeans you would be hating life) and who carries $3500 in cash when out on a walkabout?

    It’s kind of a Wild tale in similarity, somebody who has never backpacked before decides to walk a great distance on their first foray into the forest, and it mostly goes ok until the end, and the only reason people are interested is that the corpse can’t be id’d, a John Doe.

    My guess is he was diagnosed with something of a terminal nature, and decided to die anonymously surrounded by nature, mission accomplished.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I bet that it was only because of the wilderness angle that this achieved a note of notoriety at all. If he had died in some city, nobody would have given him a second thought. And what Wuk said about jeans is right. Only amateurs wear jean into the bush and you don’t make that mistake a second time.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        “Only amateurs wear jean into the bush and you don’t make that mistake a second time.”


          1. Wukchumni

            Denim tends to chafe the inside of your thighs, and once it gets wet takes forever to dry out-also exacerbating chafing issues, as opposed to lightweight hiking pants which take no time at all to go from wet to dry, and weigh 1/3rd as much.

      2. hunkerdown

        Amateurs is a good description of Levi Strauss’ original customer base. Can we just call cocksure stupidity the Puritan condition?

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      “…diagnosed with something of a terminal nature, and decided to die anonymously surrounded by nature, mission accomplished…”

      I’ve always toyed with the idea (well, since they found that iceman Otzi in the Alps anyway) of, if ever diagnosed terminal and me still being ambulatory, of suiting myself up in the weirdest costume possible, and pitching myself into the biggest glacier crevasse i can find, in some isolated Alaskan glacier in the middle of the night.

      i would carry the strangest possible items in my hello kitty backpack – porn & AOL DVDs, a cute stuffed fuzzy duck, a crack pipe, some tokens to a whorehouse in NV, some campaign literature for an obscure libertarian candidate in New Hampshire, maybe a waffle machine, I dunno.

      Then, if my frozen corpse was ever found in a few hundred or thousand years future archaeologists would have a field day trying to explain me. :)

      Assuming the glaciers dont all melt too soon, anyways…

      1. Wukchumni

        I saw Otzi in the museum in Bolzano 4 days after 9/11, and he wasn’t all that impressive, looked like your basic jack-knifed mummy sans bandages-ho hum, but his gear was amazing.

        He singlehandedly pushed back the copper age in Europe about a thousand years, and his hat looked like headgear you might purchase today in an out of the way Bolivian town that still made everything by hand. He had a leather loincloth with a pouch that could hold embers, among other items.

      2. fresno dan

        November 4, 2020 at 10:45 am

        i would carry the strangest possible items in my hello kitty backpack – porn & AOL DVDs, a cute stuffed fuzzy duck, a crack pipe, some tokens to a whorehouse in NV, some campaign literature for an obscure libertarian candidate in New Hampshire, maybe a waffle machine, I dunno.
        Stange ?!??! I can’t think of a survival guide or survival training that I have seen that doesn’t count ALL those items as absolute survival necessities – NECESSITIES – to wander off into the wilderness without them is suicide! Porn without waffles is like a day without sunshine, and a fuzzy duck without a crack pipe is like MSNBC without Rachel Maddow…

    3. flora

      If not jeans, what sort of long pants does one wear for hiking in the Sierras? /asking for a friend. ;)

      1. Stephanie

        Something lightweight that dries quickly, so basically not heavy cotton. Tropic-weight wool, I guess, if you want to stick with natural fibers, otherwise there are a lot of synthetic options.

      2. Wukchumni

        With anything you take with you into the back of beyond, you want items that do double duty, and a lightweight pair of convertible pants/shorts is the cats meow. Typically they aren’t waterproof as it doesn’t rain much here in the Sierra in the summer and I have a pair of lightweight rain pants as well with me-although I seldom ever walk in them, as they aren’t comfortable in the Sun, which is 99% of the days here.

        1. a different chris

          Always once I unzipped the lower parts of my hiking pants that was it, I would wade thru the Arctic Ocean in a blinding blizzard before digging back into my pack to zip them back on.

            1. Jeff W

              Thanks for asking, flora! I was wondering, too.*

              *Obligatory disclaimer: I’m not the friend flora was asking for. Um, really.

      3. Janie

        Check REI for middle of the road gear and there are also specialty shop in mountain towns, like Mammoth CA and Stowe VT, as well as on line

  5. zagonostra

    >How many alien civilizations are out there? A new galactic survey holds a clue. – Nationnal Geographic

    But Kepler’s primary goal was always to determine how common planets like Earth are.

    It’s interesting that Johannes Kepler chided Galileo for failing to acknowledge the work of the latter’s countryman, Giordano Bruno. Bruno was ahead of everyone in seeing the implication of a Copernican view of the stars. Also Bruno proposed that there are an infinite number of worlds and universes.

    Having done a deep dive of Bruno’s philosophy after having discovered him through Francis Yates books, I am now reading another female author who also writes on Bruno, Hilary Gatti. It seems that the best expositors of Bruno are women. Both Francis Yates and Gatti, as well as Dorthy Singer, have shed light on this much neglected scholar. He was burned at the stake after languishing in prison for many years, tortured by the inquisition, and he never recanted, going to the pyre holding on to his beliefs.

    Giordrno Bruno who in 1600 was burnt at the stake in the Campo de Fiori in Rome and where now stands a statue of him, is not very well known. He has seen various renaissances in the past, especially during the “Romantic Movement” and there is even some scholarship that he influenced Shakespeare, especially Hamlet, and he was a friend to Queen Elizabeth. From his birth place in Nola Italy in 1548, escaping the monastery in Naples, where he was living in for being caught reading Erasmus, to the court of the King of France, to London, Frankfurt and then eventually being tricked into returning to Italy, his life and works are now seen as more congenial in a post-Einstein quantum based view of the reality.

    How many worlds are out there National Geographics? I don’t know what the “Drake Equation” is since the article never defines it, at least not that I could find, but I like Kepler, would chide the authors for not mentioning Bruno. At the very least they could have mentioned his book De innumerabilibus, immenso et infigurabili, seu De Universo et Mundis libri octo (On the Infinite Universe and Worlds).

    1. a different chris

      > It seems that the best expositors of Bruno are women.

      Hmmm. Wonder if this holds with other semi-obscurities-that-should-be-known, and if so: Is it maybe because women have gotten so shafted so often for credit in the sciences that they naturally have their interest piqued in others, even if male, who also were?

    2. lyman alpha blob

      The Drake equation sounds very scientific, but it’s really just a back of the envelope calculation with a lot of unknown variables multiplied together. It’s more for fun than anything really scientific, but a lot of science goes into estimating the variables like rate of star formation, number of stars, number of habitable planets, etc. Interesting that the article was written by the original Drake’s daughter though.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        So you’re saying the Drake equation is not all it’s quacked up to be?

        [ducks for cover]

        1. hunkerdown

          The Drake Equation takes a web of complexity and puts it all in a row in a bid to dim sum of the phantasy and boil that complexity down. (As a predictive tool, so far it’s batten 1.000)

        2. John Anthony La Pietra

          Gee, and nobody yet has bothered to teal us whether eider of these posts qualifies as a fowl remark?

      2. fresno dan

        lyman alpha blob
        November 4, 2020 at 8:17 am

        Just because I am such a contrarian (euphemism for a$$hole), and because the idea that there HAS to be life strikes me as so analogous to the idea that Biden has to win, I submit this link:

        I actually think life (microbial) is abundant in the universe. And if there is sentient life, the speed of life and the vast, vast, VAST distances make knowledge of such being essentially impossible.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Or maybe the reason we don’t see extraterrestrials is because they monitor our presidential elections and shrink back in horror.

          And after reading Liu Cixin’s scifi trilogy a few years back, it might be wiser that we stop looking!

        2. lyman alpha blob

          And that’s an interesting article – I don’t agree with the author’s entire line of argument, but there is one little surprise in there that I think will put a smile an NC readers’ faces. I encourage everyone to scroll down about 2/3 of the way and check out the ‘tree of life’ chart that traces back to the last universal common ancestor.

          1. fresno dan

            lyman alpha blob
            November 4, 2020 at 9:17 am

            I can’t think of another exemplar “naked ape” better than that one to make his point!

        3. apleb

          While the distances are vast, so is time. If there were sentient life that colonizes the stars, we would have encountered them, or rather: they would have encountered us. Even with sublight, due to billions of years or at least millions, they would have been at any place in our milky way.

          Only reason this hasn’t happened yet is either those sentients died out before they could colonize enough stars and reach us, or all that abducting and probing is real.

          First reason, them dying out, is called “the great filter”, a filter that no one has passed apparently, which bodes ill for us on planet Earth as well.

    3. shtove

      John Bossy has a tricky little book that makes the case Bruno was a spy during his stay in London, providing Elizabeth’s counsellors with intelligence out of the French embassy on Catholic conspiracies just before the execution of Mary Stuart. Not entirely convincing, but the book does give a taste of unrelieved treachery in a fog of animosities.

      Now – about Anglo democracy …

    4. jr

      There is a historian of Western Esotericism on YuBloob by the name of Dan Atrell who has put out a series of videos under the title “The Modern Hermeticist”. I don’t think there is a specific show about Bruno but Atrell does discuss him on numerous occasions. I find Atrell fascinating but his talks are >dense<. I wish he would publish a book so I could digest it more throughly. Here is his discussion of Yates on Hermeticism:

    5. Stephen Cavaliere

      Zaganostra, great post. There are so many Italian geniuses hiding in plain sight on the shelves of any good university library, just sitting there, waiting to be discovered by a curious soul with time on his hands. It’s almost as if the British and American culture-elites had selected only few to give us and ignored the rest, so as not to confuse us.

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe projects looking for signs of intelligent civilizations run into trouble by assuming other planets have the same tremendous stores of energy we found on our planet. And even assuming some alien civilizations do have tremendous stores of energy — how many other intelligent civilizations would so wantonly use up such an inheritance in a couple of centuries? “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long — and you[we] have burned so very, very brightly …” If some other ‘intelligent’ civilization did have a tremendous store of energy and did burn it up as prodigiously as we have burned ours — lighting a bright candle for SETI to detect — how many similarly ‘intelligent’ civilizations would flash their bright light in the brief moment of time and distance so as to arrive as we burn our bright candle to the pan?

    7. Emanuela Maria Agostino

      Actually in Italy Giordano Bruno is studied in the “classical” high school system. Most people in their 50-70s have studied him here in Italy for sure. I am not sure of this generation but am curious to find out if he’s part of the obligatory studies.
      I also remember the statue in Campo dei Fiori very well and have been told of being burnt at the stake many times.
      Besides, it’s a beautiful romantic square…..come visit!

  6. Krystyn Podgajski

    I do not care who wins, the fact that the race was so close reveals the truth that Biden was not selected by the people of the Democrat Party, he was chosen by those who are running it.

    I feel stupid for voting at all, and even worse for voting for Biden and deciding at the last minute not to vote the Green Party. It turns out I REALLY wasted my vote here in NC. NC lost to the republicans hard in the house, and the courts. Time for me to leave. Maybe I will go to Oregon and start a mushroom farm….

    1. tongorad

      Maybe I will go to Oregon and start a mushroom farm….

      Not sure about getting money out of that game, as certain varieties (ahem) are astonishingly easy to grow:

      1. JWP

        Already know a few people looking to get in on the game. I think they are overhyping it because they will be selling to clinics, not dispensaries and have wicked strict guidelines.

    2. fresno dan

      Krystyn Podgajski
      November 4, 2020 at 7:41 am

      I voted green because I am in CA. If I lived in PA I would have voted Biden.
      (and of course, Electoral College….greatest democracy on earth…rah-rah. Could we have two elections where a non popular vote winner prevails? If I were to suggest that the votes of native Americans should be weighed heavier due to past wrongs, there would be outrage. But if your vote counts for more because of where you live, that is some wise mumbo jumbo about geographical representation…)
      I feel stupid for all the money I gave to the Biden campaign though….

      1. Wukchumni

        I can only hope that my write-in pick for President, thanks to my canvassing on here-received another vote, achieving plurality if nothing else.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      Don’t beat yourself up over it. If you cast what you felt was the correct vote, what more could you have done? I don’t remember ever seeing the kind of pressure to “vote Blue no matter who” as I have this year. My closest friends who I do talk politics with don’t even know how I voted (Green) because I was afraid how they’d react, even though I live in a solid red state.

      But I agree 100% with your first statement. Even more than 2016 when Trump was a hypothetical, this should have been a slamdunk for the Dems. As little as I cared for any of the others running in the DNC primary, it feels to me that they managed to put the two worst candidates they had on the bill, almost daring the voters to vote for them and, shocker!, it looks like they didn’t.

      I’m only confident they will learn nothing, forget nothing and somehow this will be the fault of voters/Russians/media/tea party/racism/sexism/etc. yet again.

    4. Icecube12

      Maybe don’t stress about how you voted too much. It’s done. In 2016 I didn’t vote. This time I voted for Biden because Georgia looked close, and it was. Up until maybe March or April I stressed about whether I would vote for the anointed Dem or third party, sort of wanted to see Trump win out of spite. And then in April I just said screw it, I will vote for Biden if it seems close and won’t think any more about it. I don’t like Biden but had no more patience with Trump after he didn’t see the big honking opportunity handed to him by coronavirus. People beat each other up over votes, and they beat themselves up, and in my opinion it’s not worth the energy at all. At least people in China know that the leadership is not their fault.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Yes, amazing how we mopes punch each other rather than the people who are picking our pockets and poisoning us.

      1. John

        After all, you wouldn’t want the other guy’s voters voting would you? Real democracy is so messy and uncertain and you can never tell when the wrong people or ‘those people’ will presume to be elected. It would make being a kingmaker meaningless. And most horrifying, someone might get the idea the votes and not money win elections. Where would the party coffers be were that to happen?

        The democrats seem to have concluded that collecting the most funds is all that is necessary. No need to scuff the shoes and soil the hands when pontificating and polling by outmoded methods prove your case.

        But then that messy reality jumps up.

  7. Fireship

    > Bidding farewell to America’s failed democracy Pepe Escobar, Asia Times. Quibble with the title. What is failing in America is its adoption of neoliberal/late stage capitalism, which the overwhelming majority of voters don’t support, but it’s money that makes the decisions here, not voters.

    After having read Morris Berman’s Why America Failed trilogy, I have to disagree. Neoliberalism is only the latest iteration of a hustling society that has been 400 years in the making. Berman convincingly argues that the roots of America’s demise can be traced right back to the Pilgrims. Take away the neoliberalism, you’ve still got all the ingredients of failure. As Berman says, there will be no rabbit pulled out of the hat at the eleventh hour. An extract from a good review of Berman’s work:

    As a nation we are so obsessed with hustling that we have lost our ability to be human beings. Our happiness depends mostly on our superiority over others, our power, and our ability to manipulate others. Capitalist America may be the most efficient and productive nation in the world, but it extracts a high human cost. Conspicuous consumption is no longer a sign of our success, but rather of our spiritual vacuum. America has lost its soul.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      As I have said, and data confirms, this is NOT a failure of democracy because our policies are not democratically determined. Social democrat/New Deal policies have polled significant majorities, or at worst clearly pluralities (usually with some bias in the poll, like sample, ordering/phrasing of questions) for over 40 years. Please bone up on Thomas Ferguson’s “Golden Rule,” that big money voting blocks are what determine policy in the US.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Agree. And this is revealed in Florida where a state that voted for Trump also increased the minimum wage to $15/hour. The Biden machine stole this election.

      2. a different chris

        That “a Republic, if you can keep it” is now looking in hindsight as not at all what we innocent high schoolers thought it meant.

        It meant “keep that nasty democracy thing at arms length if you can”

        1. JTMcPhee

          I think the other interpretation, that part about “eternal vigilance,” is equally part of Franklin’s epigram. But the whole thing is a sham. The rich have always run things for their pleasure, and have the means to control the plebs, by Bernays Sauce ™ and information control and outright physical repression. It ain’t ever going to be the kind of political economy our hopeful teachers in Civics and American History taught us was the case.

          And props to the Dem machine for the whole set of “crush the progs” cram-downs— Biden/Harris at the top, of course, but e.g., killing off Booker in KY, leaving “The Executioner” McConnell in the Senate, and doing the looting game of sucking and spewing money to consultants and media by putting up sh!t like Amy McGrath. The real game ought to be visible, but too many of us mopes are blinded by the Maddow Memes. Looking to Do what, Democratic Party, LLC? Eke out a slim win (in an “election” that international observers would have lots of fun pointing out the ‘undemocratic’ features of) while enriching the professional class and being able to Obama-ize the next four years (“the nasty Republicans wouldn’t let us do all the things we so dearly wanted to do”)?

          “Vote Blue No Matter Who“ sure is a winning slogan.

          Obvious why more and more people are planning to emigrate to other countries, and why those other countries are telling them to stay home. “You f@@ked up your place, we don’t want you f@#king up ours Any worse than your neoliberal-neocon looting and violence is already doing — unless you are a squillionaire, of course, in which case, do you want the platinum or iridium citizenship papers and passport cover, as you meld into the looting class in your adopted new country?”

          1. a different chris

            Eke out a slim win (in an “election” that international observers would have lots of fun pointing out the ‘undemocratic’ features of) while enriching the professional class and being able to Obama-ize the next four years

            Um, yeah, that was pretty much it. You expected something different? — kidding, I know better than that.

            All we can do is get it off our chest and move on with our lives.

      3. CuriosityConcern

        The book “Who Will Tell the People” convinced me of that overall argument in the 90s. It wasn’t until I finally found NC in late 2018 and Ian Welsh that I was able to see the anti-democratic actions everywhere, all around me in real time.

        1. pjay

          A great book by William Greider. And like Thomas Frank, very much influenced by a sympathetic understanding of authentic American populism vs. concentrated elite power.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Arguably hurt should wear a back brace if it’s going to do that kind of heavy lifting.

  8. .Tom

    > Some initial theories of how the Dems blew their blowout

    They blew it by choosing the wrong candidate for president, a dud that spent the rest of the year insulting progressives and Trump voters, campaigning weakly only on nostalgia for the pre-Trump political status quo, and angrily refusing to offer people any relief from COVID (e.g. healthcare, income support or debt relief) or to say what he’d do if elected. I think we can blame Obama.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      One of the guests on the Taibbi/Halper live show last night made the point that in response to nationwide left wing protests against police violence against black people, the Democrat party pushes on its voters the guy who endorsed the 90s crime bill and Kamala the Kop. Just one more instance of the party’s complete tone deafness. After the Night of the Long Knives, I think we can blame Obama for that too.

      1. The Historian

        Looking at the early demographics of who voted, I don’t think any of those things mattered very much. What Trump offered was hope: ‘Covid is almost beaten, the economy is getting better, blah, blah, blah’. Biden and his elites offered nothing. When things are bad, people hang on to hope and hope can get people to forgive a lot of sins. It only remains to be seen if disgust with Trump wins out over hope in the few states left.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter


          It seemed obvious to me if Biden lost, it would be for the same reasons Hillary did. He literally offered nothing. In fact, he guaranteed “nothing will fundamentally change.” I heard a lot of compelling arguments about Trump being the incumbent and re-elections being a referendum on the incumbent, etc. But just thinking back to the times in my life when there was a one term President, the other candidate offered something. Like Hillary, I can’t make an elevator pitch for Biden that isn’t essentially “well, he’s not Trump.”

          And yes, yes, we all know anything Trump says, he doesn’t mean. That is true, but I think as we’ve seen this twice now, it’s irrelevant if he means it or not. It was stunning to me the number of times sympathetic media/debate moderators/etc. set Biden up for an easy shot to make some commitment to a popular policy or clarify his stance on something unpopular he said and he would double down on the “wrong” answer. I think people a lot of people were desperate for Biden to support any kind of popular policy and he seemed almost giddy to shot these opportunities down (fracking, M4A, etc.)

          1. Wukchumni

            Biden saying he’d allow fracking in Pa. on election eve, struck me as desperate as John Kerry wearing hunting clothes in a photo op a few days before losing.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I disagree. Its who he is, but it does reek of the appeal and activate “moderate suburban republicans” instead of working towards energizing the base. It was especially appalling given the support in favor of a ban without Team Blue elite support for a ban.

              It’s also weak. Like the “I won’t raise taxes for anyone making less than $400k, and just a bit, a fair share.” It says I’m not going to bother fighting for anything.

              1. a different chris

                Its who he is, but it does reek of the appeal and activate “moderate suburban republicans”

                I will keep saying, moderate suburban republicans, probably most accurately Reagan Republicans, is who they are.

        2. .Tom

          Tbh, @The Historian, the main point is that Obama chose a dud. How we slice and dice demos to understand voter motivation is secondary to the main point: beating Trump should have been easy, and would have been for the right candidate with the right story.

          I remember getting quite agitated in a conversation while walking dogs with friends at the beginning of March and declaring something like: the democrats would rather lose than give an inch on neoliberalism.

          1. The Historian

            “I remember getting quite agitated in a conversation while walking dogs with friends at the beginning of March and declaring something like: the democrats would rather lose than give an inch on neoliberalism.”

            You are so right about that!

        3. flora

          T ran an upbeat, culturally appreciative, Latino get out the vote ad that ran right before the election. I didn’t see anything like that from the Dems. Maybe I missed it.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Last fall I went to the county fair, which is generally a pretty lily white gathering, especially in the state of Maine. There was a Democrat table with some papers strewed around and nobody manning it, and a Trump booth handing out tons of Trump schwag and offering pics with a Trump cutout. People seemed to be having fun at the Trump booth. Later I saw one middle aged Latino guy, possibly the only Latino in attendance at the time, walking through the fairgrounds with his newly acquired bright red Trump MAGA tote bag.

            As many here have noted over the last few years, what we see on the ground doesn’t match at all what the PMC ‘expert’ pundits are saying. Who are you going to believe – the ‘experts’ or your own lying eyes?

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        The most fascinating thing this election season for me has been how many white “allies” presumed to speak for what was in the best interest of people of color with regards to voting*. Without even looking too hard, I’ve seen plenty of nuance to the acceptance of Biden/Harris from people of color, with many rejecting the ticket outright. (POC aren’t a monolithic hive mind?!? Imagine!) At the least, in my own little social media corner anyway, black people knew what they were voting for and the “allies” didn’t know, didn’t want to know.

        Also, it seems like Kamala’s appeal is solely limited to college educated white women. I’d love to see real numbers on this, but again, just based on my social media, the only enthusiasm I saw for this ticket at all was among that group for Harris. This seems to track with Harris’s popularity among the PMC of the DMC vs the fact she couldn’t even make it to Iowa.

        *of course, one can also apply this to the Beverly DiAngelos of the world without much of a stretch.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I forgot to mention above that the guest who made the comment was a black woman – it was Briahna Joy Gray I think (although I don’t really know what she looks like).

          But the PMC class tends to just issue proclamations from on high about what the people really want without ever bothering to ask them.

          1. hunkerdown

            The Westphalian class of sovereigns subsumes “their” people as property and trades their resources (and, in a limited way, individual persons) among themselves. It is a category error to assume Westphalian states are interested in providence for their subjects, rather than preserving (through a monopolistic franchise) the technology of human domination by violence. At best, the first is a tool to the second.

        2. The Historian

          If the early demographic polls are right, the majority of minorities including Blacks and Latinos voted for Biden, whereas the majority of Whites, including white women, voted for Trump.

          1. The Historian

            I get the feeling that the Democrats are going to try to blame Black and Latinos for their failures – I heard some of that last night – but the numbers we have right now just don’t support that.

          2. Dr. John Carpenter

            I’d believe it. My point, if it got lost, was even the minorities I saw pledging support for Biden/Harris did so with some serious reservations along the crime bill/top cop issues whereas the white people made it racist to even bring up. Again, just my observation from social media.

      3. .Tom

        What’s the original version of that quote? I like to use “Obama’s Night of the Long Knives”.

        And we credit Lambert for it, right?

          1. ambrit

            Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! You went so far afield for that one Wukchumni that I’m going to have to impose a Rohming charge.

      4. John Anthony La Pietra

        My “favorite” example of tone-deafness (perhaps a bit after-the fact, but foreseeable IMO) was when the Supreme Court suddenly became a big issue — and who’s front and center for the Ds? None other than Joe Clarence Thomas hearing chair Biden. . . .

    2. km

      We should blame Obama.

      Biden had every institutional advantage that a political party in a democratic republic can ask for, short of outright vote rigging. Biden had a massive fundraising advantage, a MSM that was volunteering as the Ministry of Team D Propaganda, a president that had grossly mishandled the COVID, and social media companies that blatantly had their thumbs on the scales and were so arrogant as to not even bother to hide it. Not to mention a string of celebrity endorsements, ranging from Hollywood to John Kasich.

      With all these advantages, the most Team D can hope for now is to stagger across the finish line, gasping and wheezing. This should be a huge wakeup call to Team D. But it won’t be.

      1. JTMcPhee

        As I see it, the executives of the corporation known as the Democratic Party are getting exactly what they want. An excuse not to have to do anything “progressive,” the fund-raising pitch for the next/ongoing perpetual election cycle, blame the progressives for not VBNMH (“Vote Blue No Matter Who”) ardently enough.

        Most folks here know it’s a Monoparty of Great Wealth, so no surprise about the outcome. And still, the pundits and pollsters will be on the payroll and looked to for “wisdom.”

        What kind of political economy do ordinary people want, again? And what can they do to achieve it? Is there enough pressure to form an effective People’s Party that won’t get coopted and sold out like the Labor movement and the FDR progressive coalition did? Is it possible to draft the Decency equivalent of the Powell Memorandum? Of course that was addressed to the already powerful, on how to nail down their dominion “for good and all.” Starting from a very different place, we mopes are…

      2. Roger Smith

        Why should it be a wake up call? They get what they want and people will not let them go. They have coffers now for big dollars so they can run their terrible, selfish ideas over and over, focusing more on demonizing their opponents than creating better legislation and a better society. Only the people waking up an refusing to cast lesser evil votes can stop them.

        1. RMO

          “Some initial theories of how the Dems blew their blowout”

          Oh come on, we all know it was The Russians. And Bernie, in some unspecified way. Russians and Bernie, Bernie and Russians… the Democrat Party NEVER fails! /s

  9. fresno dan

    4. Assuming that they would win if they won the air war, as in TV spending. A lot was pissed away: why were they spending a dime in Alabama, where I saw lots of Biden ads? Hopefully there will be a lot of post mortems on where the funds went, but where was the GOTV effort? Or Lambert’s pet issue, why isn’t voter registration an all-seasons Dem priority?
    I suspect voter registration, which theoretically should help democrats, isn’t done, because it would mean that democrats would then be representing POOR people, and democrats do not want to represent poor people.
    some might say why waste time and money on people who don’t vote, but you can inverse the question and ask why should poor people waste time and effort on voting when such voters won’t really be represented?
    The “system” isn’t designed to represent the poor, and doesn’t want to represent the poor. Or more accurately, the system is designed to represent the rich, and the richer ever more…

    1. Larry

      Bingo. Democrats fear losing the party to the Bernie wing if they drive get out the vote efforts too far. Using SC as a firewall in the presidential primary is one sign of that as it’s a state they can’t hold.

      1. Carolinian

        Right. Why were they spending a dime much less 57 million last quarter in SC to defeat Graham? The improbable Lindsey keeps getting re-elected because he has no effective opposition and sorry but the political newcomer Harrison wasn’t it either. To win here Dems need to go with populism, not IDPol.

        1. Wukchumni

          Ever consider that the donkey show is more interested in money laundering donations, than winning?

          1. trhys


            Harris? Really? Oh yea, wasn’t she a big money-raiser in the Hamptons?

            The business plan worked like a dream. Tremendous amount of big-money donations to the DNC. And they can work the Trump Bad con for another 4 years of donations.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Laying the ground work is important. If state wide SC is obtainable,,they needed to focus on a process of expanding their electorate, not glamour candidates like McGrath who largely exist to appeal Republicans personally spurned by Trump. Occasionally candidates get lucky and win early. Last night I caught an Alabama organizer bring up how in the special election they knocked on every black door, but this time Doug Jones ran a bunch of TV ads ads didn’t fund direct voter outreach.

          I don’t know much about Harrison, but did he gobble up cash that didn’t go to better places? At the point he became something I don’t think so, but winning requires multi year efforts.

          1. Carolinian

            108 million total for a guy who had been local Dem party poobah and protege of Clyburn. If Trump does prevail it’s safe to say that the Biden supporting Clyburn will have lost out big time.

        3. Aumua

          God, the amount of emails I got from Harrison over the past few weeks… and I live in Arizona. The most obnoxious emails possible, too. 4, 5, 6 emails a day. Constantly circumventing my spam filters any way they could, reading like some kind sleazy sales pitch. “If we don’t get $34 million in the next 24 hours, Lindsay Graham is going to win! 3X Multiplier!”

          1. polar donkey

            I got 1 text message from Bernie on election day. Zero mail, call, door knock, anything (except a million ads on youtube begging me for money) from democratic party or candidate. If you don’t even ask me, you definitely aren’t getting my vote.
            I completely agree that the function of democratic party is to launder campaign money through media buys.

          2. Rod

            I think about ALL that money that came in. Getting around the Great State for the past month as I have, I have just failed to physically see that spending.
            I expected multiple BillBoards on 77/85/26 and 20. Nada.
            Meanwhile, Clyburn is bullet proof in his district–65% v 34%
            Richland One School Board At-Large: Newcomers Angela Clyburn, the daughter of U.S. Rep Jim Clyburn, and Tamika Myers have the edge for the two at-large seats over over incumbent Jonathan Milling, John Adams, Shea Harley and Raquel Thomas.

  10. Wukchumni

    Rotten river: life on one of the world’s most polluted waterways – photo essay Guardian
    The river mentioned is about the same width as the main fork of the Kaweah here and that’s where the similarity ends.

    There’s no chance of our rivers (there are 4 forks of the Kaweah, being modest we only claim 3) being compromised by industry, as there is none, save Sequoia NP from whence the water came.

    There also is only 2,000 of us here spread out over 44 square miles, and if the number was more like 200,000 as per Asian rates of population density, things would look a whole lot different.

    1. wilroncanada

      Oh Wuk
      Tut tut. ‘From whence’ is a double dribble. ‘Whence’ means ‘from what source’.
      How are you going too be able to walk on water if it’s that clean?

      1. Jeff W

        Or “from where.” “From whence” makes me wince (especially coming from Wukchumni whose writing I find, otherwise, invariably splendid).

        But you can (somewhat surprisingly) have “to whence”: He returned to whence he came. (i.e., he returned to [the place] from where he came.”)

        From Wiktionary here:

        Here/hence/hither, there/thence/thither, and where/whence/whither are the only English words with separate forms for the ablative (motion away from) and lative (motion towards) cases.

        1. Janie

          The light dawns! Four years of Latin and I never tumbled to the meaning of “ablative” case. For those who didn’t take it, Latin is much more inflected than English: that is, nouns and verbs have various endings, depending on their function. Some prepositions take the objective case and others the ablative. It seemed random.

      2. ewmayer

        Another common DD: “the hoi polloi”.

        My personal favorite is “the La Brea tar pits”, which is a DDD since La Brea is Spanish for “the tar”, thus we end up with “the the tar tar pits”.

  11. Tom67

    Hi Yves and everybody on Naked Capitalism: As a reader from Germany I tried to make sense of the state of the race in the US. The other day you, Yves, quoted a lady called Zelda and her arguments. There was a long thread of emails below. Everything put together gave me a completely different view of what the result would be than what the mass media here in Germany and in the US were prognosticating. All of you put together gave an outcome that I would summarize like that: no way there would be a Biden landslide. And even a strong possibility of a Trump win. So thanks. Yours is the best news source by far.

  12. dcblogger

    I have to disagree with Yves, Harris has won elections, something neither Rice has ever done. Furthermore, choosing an actual Republican Condi Rice, would have been an extreme provocation. People really would have walked.

    1. The Rev Kev

      True that Harris won elections but really only in California which is sort of a Democratic ‘safe space’ and only with patronage like Willie Brown. When she went on the national stage Tulsi Gabbard lit her up like a Christmas tree on her record – which was indefensible – and her numbers plunged after that. If the DNC had not rescued her from the sidelines she would only be a memory of another wannabe. Having her as a Vice-Presidential candidate may have made the donors happy but I suspect that it did nothing for old Joe’s numbers.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        There was only one person not enslaved by their handlers in the election and she was discharged by the party as soon as she began speaking. Every other candidate was so compromised that I couldn’t listen to their AI created screeds. People don’t make up bizarre slogans and jargon. We have been fortunate to learn that no one asking for the job they sought have any plans because it was only ever about getting the job in the first place. What is spoken is never of any value because it is BS from the beginning and meant to distract. We heard enough BS to know no one in the race was real after her departure.
        Imagine what people in this country would do if they had a chance to vote for someone with an actual plan beyond getting elected?

      2. barefoot charley

        Blacks (and ‘Latinx’) just weren’t falling for it hard enough, men especially, since Kamala’s record is as clear as Biden’s in locking ’em up for white ratings. The first great lesson the Dems won’t learn is that they need a base deeper than pink pussy hats and racist assumptions. But they’ve lost the ability to even pretend to care for two thirds of the population, and idpol has replaced reason, so lose on, dudes.

      3. Dr. John Carpenter

        Harris won elections like Hillary won elections. For all the hype on Harris (there was a Kamala action figure way before the primary season, fer cripes sake!) her flameout in the primary only emphasized there’s no there there.

        Also, I disagree Condi Rice would have been any kind of problem at all. If all the open Republican support for Biden, Republicans at the DNC, likely Republicans in the cabinet, etc. didn’t turn people away, I don’t see how a Republican VP changes things much, especially one like Condi that the Dems have flirted with for such a long time anyway. I’d agree that oh, say, Ted Cruze wouldn’t work, but I think Condi could have picked up Republican votes without losing a significant number of Dems.

        1. a different chris

          Agreed. In fact: how exactly is Condi Rice different from Joe Biden on, well any policy position you can come up with?

          She would actually have made the most sense as a replacement if Joe topples over, Harris is yeah close but Condi is basically Joe. Younger, different color and sex but so what.

  13. ahimsa

    Is it ironic that the increased postal vote offer a much better paper trail than voting machines?

    However, expect lots of recounts of the reportedly Dem-leaning postal votes with GOP observers throwing votes out because of non-matching signatures, or signature in the wrong place, or wrong envelope, or…

    1. edmondo

      Pennsylvania will be interesting. The state had a VBM law that said that all ballots had to be received by Election Day in order to be valid. The Dems went to the courts -instead of the legislature – and had the deadline changed to the end of the week because of the pandemic. The law remains on the books as “…by election day”. I assume the letter of the law is Trump’s last defense against these ballots being counted.

      Interestingly, Pennsylvania also has a state legislature controlled by the Republicans. The Second Battle of Valley Forge?

  14. Wukchumni

    Loved the picture of Trump through the looking glass with an eye on Biden smelling the flowers of uncertainty. I feel there was a cadre of lawyers just beyond our purview assisting said Cheshire cat.

    1. fresno dan

      Howard Lippitt
      November 4, 2020 at 8:12 am

      I’ll see your Diane Feinstein and raise you one Nancy Pelosi…
      with Biden for VP – obviously, the inexperienced VP of the ticket dragger him down. And PLEASE, don’t give me that antiquated thinking that the VP nominee has to be alive to run…

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Hillary 2024!
        Battle for the sale of the nation!
        She’s tanned, rested and ready!
        And it’s still her turn!

        1. fresno dan

          Dr. John Carpenter
          November 4, 2020 at 10:26 am

          As tanned, rested and ready was originally the slogan for Nixon, and Hillary was originally a Goldwater girl, and now that I have established that living candidates are passe, I think a Clinton/Nixon ticket is the next logical pairing in our politics..
          Of course, Nixon may be way too liberal nowadays, what with establishing the EPA and OSHA.

          1. Procopius

            I kind of like that, since Nixon was our last progressive President. He was vastly misunderstood at the time, as successive presidents have shown. Compared to them, he really wasn’t a crook.

        2. a different chris

          >She’s tanned, rested and ready!

          Oh gawd now I have an unshakable vision of Jabba The Hutt with Ms. Clinton’s face on it. She’s nearly as big at this point, and Jabba was pretty much the perfect shade all us white people are going for at the beach.

          I will never forgive you.

          1. wilroncanada

            As long as you’re exhuming people, why nor Ronnie Reagan.
            Yyup. It’s been lonesome in the saddle since ma horse died!

      2. Daryl

        > And PLEASE, don’t give me that antiquated thinking that the VP nominee has to be alive to run…

        That’s just discriminating against the heartbeat-challenged. Typical Bernie Bro thinking, can’t believe there are so many necrophobes out there.

      3. Lex

        Well as long as we’re suspending ‘the rules’, I’d like to exhume Elaine Stritch and run her on the Independent ticket. I don’t think anyone will be able to argue she’s disqualified for not having held high office.

        1. mary jensen

          Elaine Stritch was glorious: that voice!!

          Someone of the comentariat referred to Kamala Harris as “Kamigula”. Who was it? Can someone explain that moniker to me?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            It wasn’t me, but I will make a pure guess at it. Since “Kamigula” kind-of rhymes with Caligula , one of Rome’s Emperors, I will guess it is a play on Caligula.

            Now, if I were to give Obama the new first name of Barakula, who would I be inspired by?

            1. John Anthony La Pietra

              That depends on whether you’re thinking of the original or the blaxploitation variation. . . .

    2. Samuel Conner

      Corporations are “persons” for many purposes. Perhaps the right to run for public office could be extended to them.

      Then the DNC could run for President. It already meets the age and nation of origin requirements.

      It would be clarifying.

  15. cupcake

    Federal authorities expected to erect ‘non-scalable’ fence around White House CNN

    How, by electrifying it?

  16. OIFVet

    Well, Biden should win Wisconsin and Michigan, in which case flipping Arizona was the difference. But the question is, to what extent would the courts allow Trump to drag this out. This will be protracted no matter the results.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Just listened to Krystal and Saager and they both seemed to think Biden would eke it out after the mail in votes were counted, and the Republicans would keep the Senate, but with a chance that either of those could be reversed because the count is so close.

      I really don’t see how this doesn’t go to the Supremes. And I think the Democrat party is going to be really sorry they didn’t put up more of a fight in 2020, and caved in instead and gave us the HAVA and all of its unreliable, corporate owned, machine counted votes as a ‘fix’ instead.

      If Trump comes out behind after the first official count that includes all the mail ins, I think he will demand recounts, and quite rightfully so. It’s about time some light is shed on how this sausage is made.

  17. David J.

    America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall. Will It Turn Around Before It’s Too Late?

    Conversations from the Afterlife:

    Sulla: “But what about meeeeeeee… .”
    Marius: “Shut up, punk.”
    The Gracchi Brothers: “We told you this might happen.”

  18. a different chris

    Biden probably won’t lose because Michigan, Pa, and NC have Dem governors and it would be weird for any, let alone all of them to vote Blue for the top statewide office but Red for President.

    But I said probably… if they do go to Trump, I have absolutely no idea how to parse that. Anyway like I said below, we are screwed because we will, again probably, get Biden as President. Far from ideal. Yet I had consoled myself with that as an improvement over Trump. Kindof like a slow low-pain death where you get to say goodbye to the people and things you love, versus getting beheaded in a car crash.

    But now I know that what feeble attempts he will make to right the ship will be die in the Senate, giving the SC plenty of free time to ruin everything else. So telephone pole here we come.

    Emerging Democratic Majority, all you can do is laugh.

    1. Procopius

      I’d kind of like four years with nothing happening. I’m convinced it’s too late to do anything about climate change except start digging the tunnels to live in (see Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel). The trouble is the [family blog] media have to keep manufacturing crises and horse races to generate clicks, and that’s just exhausting.

  19. Wukchumni

    Took a traipse up to the Ladybug campground in Sequoia NP and walked about a mile on the Ladybug trail doing the Aussie salute the whole way with squadrons of face flies in V-pack formation hovering over my position. I wanted to get into the burn zone of the SQF fire, but it wasn’t in the cards, although I got to see a scintilla of the action from afar, where smoke plumes were still ascending near the Dennison ridge.

    The 3 mile walk was my longest in a few months, and its so easy to get out of shape, I was knackered.

    It was potentially a good source of protein if i’d only kept my mouth ajar, and why oh why didn’t I bring a headnet?

    Supposed to be snow down to 3,000 feet this weekend, which ought to put paid to any lingering hot spots on high, almost 3 months after the conflagration started.

    1. cocomaan

      I have started to pack a mosquito net in my hiking bag. The little buggers pop up at all kinds of years and the net weighs next to nothing.

      Heck, here in PA, I found a tick crawling on me the other day. A tick! We had a pretty mild winter last winter so they have survived pretty well.

  20. Bemildred

    Regarding the Walking Dude, I offer a quote from Bruce Chatwin:

    “I haven’t got any special religion this morning. My God is the God of Walkers. If you walk hard enough, you probably don’t need any other God.” – Bruce Chatwin “In Patagonia”

    I can totally relate to that. But I wonder what sent him on that last walk.

    1. Wukchumni

      There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life.

      Edward Abbey

    2. Wyoming

      I have about 30,000 miles of hiking along Americas big trails and wilderness areas. The AT especially is chock full of people who are mentally ill, but you find them everywhere. Many of them are very well known in the hiking community and, again especially along the AT, they are sort of looked out for and taken care of. I do not know what finally happened to them but I still wonder about Stumpknocker and Seiko who were famous for basically never ending their hikes as both would sort of walk from one end of the AT to the other and turn around and go back the other way. Seiko was rumored to have walked the AT around 20 times. One reads in the magazines about the ‘super’ hikes who do repeats of the Triple Crown and all that but none of them can compare to the quiet and lonely hikers who just spend their lives wandering.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall. Will It Turn Around Before It’s Too Late?”

    This is a really forced – and crap – version of Roman history but America confronts the same problem that Rome did after the end of the Punic Wars. Namely, you can have an Empire or you can have a Republic. it is not possible to have both as an Empire will always corrupt a Republic. Consider the fact that the militarization of the police in the US is blowback from America’s wars overseas. But there is another factor to consider with the elections that just happened.

    It has been said that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. It is also true that that ‘friend’ is still an enemy. So when you go to vote, even if you do not want to vote for someone, you may go to vote for someone. So my point is this. Who are Trump’s enemies? Let’s see – the main stream media, the security establishment, the democratic elite who never listens to democratic voters, the professional managerial class, the educational elite, etc. So from this slant, Trump’s enemies are many American’s enemies so perhaps they went with Trump for that reason.

    1. pjay

      Here’s the opening paragraph of this morality tale:

      “Today, Americans will choose between two radically different paths: a populist ideology transforming the values of the country itself, and an attempt to reject it.”

      In case there is any confusion, “populism” is the evil here that leads to the fall of Rome – and America. Not an overextended empire. Not a bloated and decadent aristocracy dependent on an increasingly exploited labor force. Not growing inequality. Not a corrupt political class. No, it’s Julius “Donald Trump” Caesar using his brown-shirt deplorables to cower the noble but naive elites into ceding power.

      I have to admit I was feeling a little down today for some reason. This article made me laugh – a bitter laugh, perhaps, but better than nothing. I expect to see a lot more of these “history” lessons, especially if Trump ends up winning! I’m afraid it’s “The People… No!” from here on out. We don’t want to end up like Rome, do we?

    2. jhallc

      My thoughts exactly and since when is Trump a populist. He’s just another part of the “swamp” he claimed to drain. The only populist in the race was run off by the DNC in the primaries.

      1. pjay

        Apparently you didn’t consult your official Liberal Establishment dictionary, where “populist” = Nazi brownshirt = pro-Trump militia member.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      this kind of history interpretation always assumes that we are still a republic.
      i don’t think that has been the case for some time….the actual date of the death of the republic is very much still in question: i can make the case for several dates, spanning from Wilson to JFK’s death to Reagan.
      regardless, and still, instead of Caesar or Caligula or Nero, my historical analogising rests comfortably on trump as Honorius.
      we’re not a republic….we’re a failing empire.
      it’s too late for principiis obsta…it’s time for et respice finem(or even caveat ruinam).
      ie: what can i do to prepare for what comes next?
      since the warlords to come are unlikely to appreciate eudaimonia or arete, that leaves us with phronesis.
      how to feed and clothe and house ourselves after it all falls apart.
      sucks that Team Blue have so impoverished the words “pragmatism” and “practical”,lol.

      1. farmboy

        Latest version of failing empire started with Volcker breaking labor beginning in 1979. Democrats abandoned labor in favor of trade

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah, i thought about the Volker Shock as a watershed moment, but it’s really the whole 70’s…and even late 60’s if you consider the first rumblings of the corporate/righty counterrevolution (New Deal being the revolution they were challenging)
          Nixon(incubator of reptiles, from cheney to barr to the fox news people), Powell memo, the invention of the religious right as footsoldiers…on and on…and in the context of actual decadence….as in exhaustion of the former creative minority(in toynbee’s taxonomy).

      2. The Historian


        When those with money determines public policy over the needs and desires of the populace, any semblance of a Republic is dead.

        1. Duck1

          But there is a certain truth to Smith’s formulation that government forms to protect private property, which was contemporary with the founding:

          “The first and chief design of every system of government is to maintain justice; to prevent the members of a society from encroaching on one another’s property, or seizing what is not their own.”

          1. hunkerdown

            I see the maximalist form of “private” property being retconned into a construct that includes intangible common pool resources like class privileges, social taboos, and the overall narrative of polities. I mean, puppeting Adam Smith as a hostile endorsement has been one of the neolibs’ explicit strategies for years. Milton Friedman quoth as much in not so many words.

      3. zagonostra

        “..that leaves us with phronesis…Team Blue have so impoverished the words “pragmatism” and “practical”

        Not to mention they have no clue on a term related to phronesis, prudentia.

        Someone whose conscience is sound has in place the basic elements of sound judgment and practical reasonableness, that is of the intellectual and moral virtue which Aquinas calls prudentia.

      4. Procopius

        Amfortas, my preferred date is 1896 when William Randolph Hearst persuaded Congress to declare war on Spain. The fault is really not “American Exceptionalism,” it’s “Manifest Destiny.”

    4. The Rev Kev

      Gaach! When I wrote ‘even if you do not want to vote for someone, you may go to vote for someone.’ I meant to say ‘even if you do not want to vote for someone, you may go to vote against someone.’

      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        November 4, 2020 at 9:24 am

        I knew that is what you meant and I think most people did too. And its a very good point. Its the only logical thing any voter can do now a days.
        (well, if we could only break Americans of their idiotic notion that NOT voting dem or repub is wasting their vote, instead of reality: voting dem or repub is wasting your vote)

    5. km

      You can have a republic or an empire, but not both, because an empire cannot allow itself to be constrained by any law other than force and fraud, or it will soon fall apart.

    6. The Historian

      I agree with you. Trump is not Caesar and doesn’t have the drive to do the things Caesar did.

      As for your analysis of Empire v. Republic, I think you are right on!

    7. Wukchumni

      From a financial standpoint, the Roman empire doesn’t begin to fall apart until Nero debases the silver Denarius initially in 64 AD, and then it keeps getting debased until eventually it has no silver content at all.

      Legionaries were paid in Denarii, and their salary bought increasingly less. It’d be like a G.I. Joe or Jane receiving $30k a year, with the buying power of $300.

    8. Stephen C.

      Agreed, Rev Kev about the forced and crap version of Roman History. The byline says the author of the article is “an ancient historian.” Well, I’m not sure how old the guy is but I tried looking him up so I could see if he was associated with any decent university department or working independently. I couldn’t find anything. I suspect Politico is trying to lead us to believe they would publish an article by a serious historian. (And yes, I believe there are independents who make the grade, so I hope this doesn’t come off as snobbery.)

      If anyone has any intel on the author of the article, Tim Elliott, please share.

    9. lyman alpha blob

      That was some pretty thin gruel and simply comparing Trump to Julius Caesar is very facile.

      As we’ve noted many times in the last four years at NC, Trump isn’t the one to worry about, it’s the competent demagogue who comes later if nothing gets changed.

      Julius Caesar was far more competent than Trump could ever pretend to be.

    10. Jessica

      The analogy runs a bit deeper. In both cases, the empire was achieved in a way that chewed up the mass base for democracy and wildly enriched the elites.
      In Rome, the long years of fighting against Carthage ruined many small farmers. They were the ones who did the fighting. Victory brought in many slaves and spoils, mostly going to the elite. This drastically concentrated power in few hands.
      In the US now, the collapse of the communist bloc and the addition of China’s vast low-wage workforce, with the Chinese Communist Party serving as the Pinkertons to keep them in line, both destroyed the mass base for democracy and enriched the elites.

  22. Pelham

    It occurs to me that if Biden wins with the blob, the media, the tech world and practically every other mega-institution behind him, Americans will have succeeded in voting out a fake fascist and voting in a real one.

    1. apleb

      Biden is no fascist. A fascist ruler must be a strong ruler. Biden cannot do that obviously.
      Biden will be a very weak president because he cannot rule and a cabal behind him, different people at different times probably, will rule. It’s like Yeltsin who was drunk and his people robbed the country blind with corruption, like some chinese emperors where a group of eunuchs ruled. Etc.

      The monarch is insane, so the court will do what it wants and generally chaos and accelerated downfall ensues. At least as fast as Trump did that or maybe even faster if you can imagine that.

      1. Carolinian

        Biden isn’t much of anything but I’d say many of those supporting him fit the mold of an authoritarian corporatist movement with imperial ambitions. Their weakness may be the lack of a common touch which can’t be said of those 20th century fascists.

      2. km

        I see Biden, not as B.N. Yeltsin, but as K.U. Chernenko.

        An incompetent and senile throwback who is from time to time propped up to mouth the old slogans that nobody believes in anymore. Meanwhile, the vultures circle.

        That said, what the establishment should fear is a V.V. Putin, that is, a competent populist.

      3. hunkerdown

        Counting coup, here are the Congressional incumbents who are now free to seek higher-paying work in a lobbying shop. Especially interesting that Doug Jones couldn’t win without Russian disinformation in play. Interesting to see all those replacement Blue Dogs moving on to bigger and more lubrative pastures.

        “Why are they counting? I thought this was a raffle!”

        (This was supposed to be a top-level comment. Occasional reminder to site administrators that “Cancel reply” has failed for some time now to reliably cancel the nesting of a subsequently posted comment.)

      4. Mark Gisleson

        We associate fascism with strong men but that’s not at all a determining factor. The strong man can be just a figurehead. Dr. Laurence Britt’s criteria do not require the figurehead to do all that much if these other criteria are met:

        1. Nationalism (USA! USA! USA!)
        2. Disdain for human rights (Dems v is to urinate on rural folks)
        3. Scapegoating (it’s BERNIE’S FAULT!!!)
        4. Militarism
        5. Sexism (Identitarians do reverse sexism which, unlike reverse racism, is actually a thing)
        6. Controlled Mass Media
        7. National Security state
        8. Church and State sitting in a tree….
        9. Corporations über alles
        10. Unions are suppressed (or hijacked)
        11. Intellectuals and the Arts are reviled
        12. Obsession with punishing others
        13. Cronyism/corruption

        I see no strong leader on this list. Fascism is about more than just Nazis.

        1. Stephen C.

          American don’t know enough about fascism because at school Americans are given only drips of Italian history. I will never forget one historian at UC Berkeley stating that fascism was “an excess of the Left.” I had a hard time with that one, but then we spent the rest of the semester reading Mussolini’s early writings for socialist newspapers.

          If one is on the lookout for our next dictator, he/she/it might do better to cast a net beyond Right wing media outlets.

        2. Oh

          It’s like Yeltsin who was drunk and his people robbed the country blind with corruption… Biden fits this mold. The looting will begin once he’s announced the winner. FIrst dibs for Wall St. and Tech. Cos.

    2. Carolinian

      As Taibbi said: worst choice ever. And the institutions you mention made it that way. They, unfortunately, are in no danger of being voted out although it’s a nice daydream that a re-elected Trump might take his revenge on them. The country deserves better.

      1. foghorn longhorn


        The trend line seems to be accelerating downward at a dizzying pace.

  23. Another Scott

    I think it’s impossible to underestimate the proportion of the American electorate who thinks that the only way to respond to four decades of abuse, contempt, and naming calling by the political, financial, media, and cultural elites was to vote for Donald Trump, who at least pretended to listen and care.

    It looks like Biden will still be able to pull out a narrow victory, but if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, he likely would have lost.

    1. km

      It’s not just the COVID. Biden had every institutional advantage that one can imagine in a republic with democratic trappings, short of outright vote-rigging.

      And this is the best the senile old warmonger can accomplish…..

      1. SalonBee

        Perhaps even vote-rigging…

        There is a long history of vote-rigging in the US, even in presidential elections. No one can say with certainty that there was or was not vote-rigging. I will personally believe there was.

  24. Wukchumni

    ‘Give me Liberty Cap, and give me depth!’ (with apologies to Paine)

    Hard to believe fun funghi is fully legal in the Beaver state, but there you have it. Note to newbies: always partake in nature’s realm, not the city.
    Oregon Becomes First State To Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms OregonLive

    1. The Rev Kev

      And for those considering going after mushrooms, take care that you are not actually picking toadstools instead. I can recommend a good book that will help out here. It is called “How to tell the Difference between a Toadstool and a Mushroom” by the late Dr. I.B. Fuddled.

      1. Wukchumni

        Humordor also decriminalized magic mushrooms & other psychedelics yesterday, but how would you know if the house or the senate was ripped out of the gourds on funghi, it wouldn’t look any different than the tableau seen now, just more giggles.

      2. MT_Bill

        I’d say skip going out and looking for shrooms amongst all the other LBMs (little brown mushrooms), and instead opt to grow your own.

        Indoor mushroom culture is relatively easy and far safer. Plenty of spore sources and tutorials online.

        Word to the wise, the captive strains have gone through the same increase in potency as weed. Might want to start out with baby steps.

  25. timbers

    Well, if Biden ends up winning, this time Republicans will be able to truthfully claim he doesn’t have a mandate. And this time Dems probably won’t even be bothered by that claim.

    1. flora

      And, I predict, Biden will scurry toward Mitch to set up a new catfood commission. Because markets and bi-partisanship.

  26. jr

    Some more photos from around the West Village:

    1. homeless person shoe store (Not kidding, the homeless sometimes set up little “shops” like this trying to sell things they find.)

    2. mail box art

    3. Sammy! (Not my baby, this is a pure bred ‘uaua.)

    4. Ever see a “wizards garden”? Now you have.

    5. door art

    6. silene capensis: West African dream herb, promotes lucid dreaming

    7. pretty

    8. salvia divinorum: easily as powerful as psylocibin or ayahuasca

    9. ginko leaves

  27. marym

    I posted this link on last night’s election thread. It’s the livestream of vote counting in Philadelphia. Live, in front of the cameras, for all to see, ordinary people doing the ordinary work of ordinary civic life, on behalf of ordinary people who tried to vote responsibly within a flawed system of flawed candidates.

    Whether or not Trump tries or succeeds as far as taking it to the SC I can’t say. However, riling up his followers about non-existent fraud in pursuit of his own ego and power, which he’s been doing since the 2016 election, is at least as despicable and destructive of the common good, as much a failure of leadership, and as disdainful of the people as anything the Dems do or neglect to do about the electoral process.

    1. ewmayer

      Interesting to apply a slight change of wording to your 2nd para:

      “However, the DNC riling up their followers about non-existent Russian interference in pursuit of their own egos and power, which they’ve been doing since the 2016 election, is at least as despicable and destructive of the common good, as much a failure of leadership, and as disdainful of the people as anything the Rs do or neglect to do about the electoral process.”

      Yep, still fits!

  28. AnonyMouse

    In some ways I can’t help but feel that this is really the worst possible outcome for most of the things I (as a lefty watching this from Britain) care about.

    Assuming Biden does eke out a narrow EC victory, as it now appears that he will do, and that the constitutional crisis aspect of this winds up being overblown, and there is no Civil War, and even the Roberts court agrees to put Trump back in his box if he refuses to concede…

    With no Senate and a stacked Supreme Court, as well as the overwhelming narrative of an incredibly narrow victory (which many on the right will view as stolen), the Biden presidency is hobbled from the beginning. The Ds have the excuse they need not to pursue anything like progressive policies; and they won’t be able to

    We were already expecting him to be weak and ineffective; this is getting into truly abysmal territory now. We needed a landslide, unified government, and then Biden to suddenly turn his back on his entire political career and enact the kind of radical reform that will be necessary to combat the US’s problems. But none of that is happening. There was no repudiation of Trumpism; nor will there be an arrest in the decline of the GOP or Dems.

    And that weak Presidency will lay the ground work for a renewed Trumpist victory in 2024.

    1. Jen

      I’ve been gaming out my best and worst case scenarios. Since the D’s look like the will hold on the house, and Trump still could eke out a victory (in theory at least), we could end up with:

      Biden, Senate R, House D. Not much gets done, or worse, Biden appeals to republicans to gut SS, Medicare to be “reasonable.” Dems don’t even have to appear to try – they are hamstrung.

      Biden, Senate D, House D. Pretty much the same outcome as above because of the blue dogs who vote with the Rs more often than not, except Team D might have to make some effort to do something.

      Trump, Senate R, House D. House makes a show of resisting while capitulating. Pretty much what we have now.

      Trump, Senate D, House D. I think this one is the wild card. My wager is that there will be no more talk of impeachment. Beyond that, who knows.

      Sadly, option 1 or 3 are probably what we end up with.

    2. Carolinian

      Don’t forget per laptopgate that Biden is a proven liar and quite possibly a not yet proven crook. In that respect he’s probably no different from Hillary but Chelsea didn’t leave any laptops lying around. Looks like if the Republican Senate wants to go after Biden and the pro dem media they will have plenty of material.

      1. Oh

        Hilly left her e-mail behind on the server but it was taken care of by the FBI.

        {tells me that both Hilly and Buyden are so arrogent}

  29. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Inexorable Rise to Superpower Is History Repeating Itself”

    There is a famous quote by Napoleon Bonaparte who once said ‘Let China sleep; when she wakes she will shake the world’ and it has appeared many times in articles. But I think about another quote when I see Washington pushing nuclear-armed warships near China’s coastline, arming Taiwan to the hilt, attacking China’s economy while attacking Chinese companies for the sin of being more advanced. It was said by Admiral Yamamoto about America after Japan had just attacked it. He said ‘I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.’

    1. Wukchumni

      I remember going to Athens in the early 80’s and thinking to myself, these people were once the flower of intellectualism, art & culture, really?

      You could say the same in regards to modern day Egypt and a host of other places that never came close to their former glory, but China is different having so many ups and downs throughout their storied history.

      We just happen to be in one of the bigger ups now.

  30. William Hunter Duncan

    That Biden is not well ahead at this point, and the election seems to hinge on Pa and Mi, also has a lot to do with “law and order” I suspect. Dem and elite media attempts to characterize all people in the streets as peaceful, including looters and arsonists, spooks a lot of Americans in “greater” America. It is like the Dem refusal to differentiate between legal and illegal immigration, seeming at times to defend illegal immigrants and even one’s who have broken other laws, with more concern than they show for law abiding, working class Americans. Embracing violent mob behavior with virtue signaling political correctness is not an attractive strategy, and not a very winning one.

    Good news is, if Trump wins and retains the Senate, that will consign to pasture (lucrative consulting and lobbying grift) the neoliberal elite of the Clinton and Obama “alumni association,” and hopefully restores the Democratic Party from the party of Global Imperialism to a party actually dedicated to working class and disenfranchised Americans.

    1. lordkoos

      93% of BLM protests have been peaceful, but you wouldn’t know that from the US media depiction of events.

      Regarding the vaccine going to wealthy countries, countries who cannot afford the vaccine will become pariah states until they have it… which could take years unless there is some kind of global effort to get it to everyone.

      1. Procopius

        November 4, 2020 at 11:48 am

        … unless there is some kind of global effort to get it to everyone.

        China might do just that, and their vaccine might be superior as well as being available first.

    2. Procopius

      Good news is, if Trump wins and retains the Senate, that will consign to pasture (lucrative consulting and lobbying grift) the neoliberal elite of the Clinton and Obama “alumni association,” and hopefully restores the Democratic Party from the party of Global Imperialism to a party actually dedicated to working class and disenfranchised Americans.

      This is certainly my hope, but it should have happened last time and did not. Are you really trying to say, “…But this time is different!”?

      1. CuriosityConcern

        I had to Google half of each of your equations, need to do more reading on the second but they seem like thoughtful combos to me.

      1. farmboy

        Humphrey v Nixon 1968. Biden is Nixon, Democrats are Republicans. Just look at the spying and lying of the last 4 years. Country was explosively divided, Vietnam peace rolled around like mercury on a table-top, hardhat riots followed, inflation, stagflation, Iran Contra. Last chance McGovern yesterday’s Bernie Sanders. Future is bleak today for the US electorate.

        1. lordkoos

          Having lived through the 60s, the comparison is not accurate in some respects. Things were very polarized, it’s true, but nothing like today. The average American worker was doing far better in 1968, and people were not marching around armed to the teeth.

        2. km

          The fundamental difference between now and 1968 was that in 1968, the average frustrated American could realistically expect to enjoy an increasing standard of living throughout his working life, and could expect that his children would have a still better standard of living than he had had.

          That makes it easy to co-opt dissenting voices, for easy money is one hell of a drug.

          1. Wukchumni

            A neighbor 3 doors away from us with 3 kids and a wife who was a stay @ home mom, was the custodian @ my elementary school in 1968.

            Now, try and imagine that happening today?

      2. flora

        If they bring back the draft and start sending the middle and uppermiddle class kids to Iraq and Afghanistan, then it will be like 1968. Until then, not so much, imo. The “West Wing” crowd is always looking for the energy without the risk.

  31. John Beech

    People don’t feel free to admit support for Trump? I did. Right here on NC, too. Will he win? Dunno, above my pay grade. Did my part. But what part of me changing my voter registration to Democrat in FL expressly to support Senator Sanders did everybody miss? Yet against Biden, a plagiarizing, racist supporting (if not racist) has-been, is anyone really surprised I voted for DJT? Common man, run a real candidate, Democrats. And Mitt, why didn’t you run again? Sheesh!

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      And, apparently, Mississippi. Blew me away. My oldest said that it is because it’s filled with poor people and that even the rich are (relatively) poor there. White, black, brown, red, blue, racist, whatever. The common element is poverty.

    2. Oh

      We need to get it off the controlled substances list, something that Obomber did not do even though he smoked it a lot when he was younger. What a hypocrite!

  32. zagonostra

    >The Catholic Vote

    It’s too early to measure the impact of Archbishop Vigano’s letters in support of Trump on the Catholic voters. I know Catholics who took Vigano’s views very seriously. Popular Y-Tube podcast like those of Marshall Taylor have very large followings. Also the the nomination of ACB energized many on the Right.

    Friend and I were trying to figure if there is a nexus between Steve Bannon and Vigano, both having delivered an address at the CIC conference in PIT recently. The conjecture was that Bannon was providing protection to Vigano, who alleged there were attempts on his life after he came out so strongly against Pope Francis in exchange for protection.

    In my mind it’s all a whirlwind of speculation. What I am watching is shadows dancing on the wall; deep state, deep church, Q, fraud, misdirection, disinformation, feckless media without backbones, bought and paid for corrupt officials, voter disenfranchisement, long voter lines, flurry of propaganda, doddering Candidates, and a population set a drift as the elites fight their fight on an Olympian field removed from the sufferings of the plebs.

    Below is a good summary of alluded to developments in the Catholic World of religion and politics.

        1. lordkoos

          It’s difficult for me to believe that Dems are that clueless and out of touch and that they have learned nothing after four years of Trump. Being a phony opposition party is lucrative I guess.

  33. Tom Stone

    I was expecting a Republican landslide based on the popular support Kamala Harris brought to the party.
    EVERYBODY loves her.
    MIC, Big Pharma, Big Finance, the security agencies, EVERYBODY.
    Was it the Russians again?

    1. fresno dan

      Tom Stone
      November 4, 2020 at 10:45 am

      Of course it was the Russians.
      So the last transmission I received on my pink rabbit eared antennae bunny slippers, Putin’s orders are similar to what Woody Allen said in the movie Bananas

      Any word on where we’re heading?
      – l hear it’s San Marcos.
      – For or against the government?
      – ClA’s not taking any chances.
      Some of us are for it and some of us are gonna be against it.

      Some of us third columnists, clad in our jammies, ensconced in our basement redoubts, twittering, facebooking, instagraming, etcetera, etcetera, were fiendishly working for BOTH Biden AND Trump.
      Of course Putin is a genius – think about it – what better way could you conquer the US than assuring the election of either Biden or Trump??? But be afraid, very afraid. Our real plan, of nefarious evil so evil it is scarcely imaginable, – indeed, inconceivably evil, is a tie election that results in a compromise dual presidency of Trump/Biden!!!

  34. Wukchumni

    Meanwhile in the CVBB, Devin y Kevin both cruise to easy victories, winning by close to 10 points in the state’s red political bastion.

  35. jr

    Greg Palast on the Jimmy Dore show breaking down voter purging. Palast has a grim view of the next few days or weeks, apparently Roger Stone is a consultant to the Proud Boys (horrifying in it’s own right!) and Palast fears Brooks Bros. Riot style actions to disrupt the tallies.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The gop disrupters in Florida in 2000 were relatively fit frat boys. The Proud Boys type are too lazy.

    2. Carolinian

      Aren’t the Proud Boys, like, a hundred people? That’s what Michael Tracey says.

      If Biden has a genuine national popular vote lead then I don’t think Trump has much running room even if EC cheating is going on. Call it revenge for Bush versus Gore. However the media thumb on the scale during the entire cycle is an undeniable scandal.

  36. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Fox Corp. Chief Lachlan Murdoch On Donald Trump Possibly Starting Fox News Rival: “We Love Competition” Deadline (resilc).

    Gotta say, Trump’s starting a media empire to persecute biden/harris, hunter, pelosi, schumer et al. 24/7/365 in the same way that msdnc, cnn, wapo and nyt have done to him for the last four years is pretty appealing.

    Revenge is a dish best served cold, and

    A Pyrrhic victory is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Winning a Pyrrhic victory takes a heavy toll that negates any true sense of achievement or damages long-term progress.Wikipedia

  37. fresno dan

    So at 8:07 CA time, the S&P is at 3462, very near an all time high. Apparently, Mr. market has determined that the election will in no way, shape, or form hinder the rich from scr*wing the poor.
    Whew! what if we had elected someone not dedicated to dismantling the American middle class? CAN YOU IMAGINE???

  38. tegnost

    2020. Even without going to the news sites proper,

    When I didn’t get a flood of texts at 4pm I started getting that sinking feeling
    Woke up this am thinking I couldn’t believe it when reagan got elected, then reelected, then repeat with the bushes and on and on throughout my life. When I look at the wages/productivity chart I am looking at my adult life and my situation doesn’t need any more explanations…

  39. Milton

    well the proud boys better make ther way to Nevada because that state will determine the winner. Wisc ans Mich are Biden wins-not enough votes for Trump to close the gap. I can picture the hectoring going on with the Clark county officials and each of the party reps.

    1. Wukchumni

      3 Boogaloo Bois were arrested in early June by LVPD on domestic terrorism charges totaling 15 pages of criminal complaints. I get the feeling that Pavlovegas isn’t going to put on the kid gloves if the Proud Boys show up.

  40. Eclair

    Is it possible that we voters know, at the back of our brains, brains that require us to impose some structure and logic on our world, some coherent narrative that allows us to function without being shattered by anxiety and sheer terror, is it possible that we realize that there is no going back to ‘normal?’ Ever. At least not our lifetimes and the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren and their children?

    The reality of climate change, of our home Planet heating up to a point where life …. except for cockroaches, bedbugs and certain varieties of hardy bacteria …. is not possible, this reality is seeping in to our consciousness. At least to inhabitants of Louisiana (battered and squelched by 4 hurricanes this season), California, Colorado and Washington (fleeing massive, town-destroying wildfires and breathing the smoke for weeks on end), the entire East Coast (sinking into rising seas that are creating ‘ghost forests’ along the shores), the Mid-West (inundated almost yearly by massive flooding.)

    Stress and anxiety don’t result in optimal decision-making. And our rigid two-party system results in classic approach-avoidance behavior. Ok, Biden. Oh wait, he’s senile and beholden to the predatory corporate class, who got us into this mess and doesn’t give a FF for the working class. Let’s go with Trump. Oh, sh*t, he’s a racist, a bully, and just wants to enrich himself and his family. OK, then, it’s back to Biden …. mammamia, he’s corrupt too ….. back to Trump ….. nooooooooooo! Gotta pick one! Thank god my state has just legalized marijuana! Where’s my stash?

  41. lyman alpha blob

    Very sad to see prop 22 passing in CA.

    Judging by what I’ve seen for 3,000 miles away, maybe people were confused by all the money spent by Uber to lie to them, or didn’t read the fine print. Or maybe they did understand what they were voting for, and simply liked the idea of a permanent, cheap labor underclass – a $3 car ride provided by essentially slave labor is so much better than getting on the bus and having to mingle with, you know, other people. Either way, it’s not a good sign.

    I suspect this vote will have far more repercussions for the working class in this country than whichever moron comes out ahead as president.

    1. KnotRP

      California stopped printing the proposed law change in the voting guide, but they kept the PR for and against. One has to scrounge around online to find the law text now….(pretty much nobody cares, apparently)

      I’d say we are well into 3rd world status, but since we have nukes, let’s call it 4th world status.

    2. Arizona Slim

      When I was in that coworking space in Downtown Tucson, I was surrounded by people who loudly proclaimed their progressivism. They supported Bernie Sanders, and then, in the general election of 2016, Hillary Clinton over that evil Orange Man.

      But there was another side to them. Call it the behavioral side.

      When it came to getting rides to hither and yon, they’d just tap that Uber app on their phones, and off they’d go. Taking the bus? Perish the thought!

      Shopping? Well, there were all sorts of places to go Downtown and on 4th Avenue. And what would my fellow coworkers do? Order from Amazon.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I really think those types of people are being deliberately obtuse about the effects of their own behavior and it really makes me angry.

        My buddy drove for Lyft for a short time before realizing it was a scam, as he’d give door to door service to up and coming PMCers for $3-4 and no tip. If these people are intelligent enough to work for a big city tech company, you’d think they’d also be able to figure out that they just gave $3 to a man for 15 minutes of his time, which equates to $12/hr if he stays constantly busy, which equates to living out of your car if that’s all you make in one of the most expensive cities to live in like Seattle.

        The divide between the PMC types and the working class is only going to get worse now. IIRC, there was a poison pill in prop 22 which requires some ungodly majority to ever overturn it, similar to prop 13 which has hamstrung CA for over a generation or two now.

        I would expect much civil unrest over the next four years no matter who wins the presidency. If I were a rioter in CA, I know which corporate headquarters I’d be taking my torch to…

    3. Oh

      Most voters only care about themselves. They see that that can take Uber/Lyft rides and use some services to deliver their meals. Just like Amazon, they look for what cheaper for them, never thinking of the long term. Besides, they probably do not want to take public transit (if they have one) because it takes too long or drive to pickup something. They don’t know that they’re creating monopolies that will end up biting them in the a$$. Especially in CA, people are so enthralled with “hi tech” and “Apps” to even think through their decision. Hence their use of Twitter, Google, FB and other privacy intrusive media. It’s abhoerrent that FB, Twitter etc. are touted in every news, county and state websites.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I think I just heard Kyle Kulinski say that legal MJ was the most voted-for thing on the Arizona ballot. Which means that, if I’m understanding him correctly, more Arizonans voted for legal MJ than POTUS.

  42. edmondo

    “Never underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to fuck things up.”

    Barack Obama, 2019

    Oh, if Donald pulls this out, does that make Ivanka the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024?

  43. Kouros

    America (USofA) a failed democracy? Not in the least. Structurally, from the beginning it was not designed to be a “democracy”. For all that matter and mattered, through time, democracy was a dirty word (after the failed experiment in Athens, which suffered from excess militarization) and the “victors” that ended up writing the history equated democracy with mob rule and tyranny of majority and whatever slurs they could come. And 1500 years later, when revolutions got going, the main thing on the agenda was who will be allowed to vote and how the votes will be counted, such that the owners of property will not be deprived of their good or ill gotten land in the first place and second, they would be allowed to acquire more.

    As such, the trimmings of democracy were heavily censored by the framers, with the executive power being taken out of the voters hand. as enfranchising increased, laws were put in place such that a voting system with max two parties will be allowed.

    One cannot talk about democracy in the US when only The House is subjected with some rudimentary democratic “shackles”. And then you have 2 years election for the house and 6 years for the senate.

    But when one is indoctrinated that the US Constitution and system is the best that can be, people forget to look at the limits and see where such a system can lead. Inexorably towards a full fledged Oligarchical System.

  44. Wukchumni

    Say Biden squeaks out a win and it becomes a battle of the lawyers by the lame duck, who shows no sign of giving up.

    There would be no more opportune time for another country to challenge the almighty buck being the worlds’ reserve currency, no?

  45. cocomaan

    Biden looks screwed even if he wins

    At a minimum, the lackluster performance of Democratic Senate candidates would hamstring a President Biden from Day One.

    Democrats starting to realize that they are looking at a tough reality in taking power.

    Even out of power, Trump will be a huge force over the next four years. They may spend their time fighting trump instead of McConnell and drive themselves into the ground.

    1. Biph

      If you’re a Republican up for re-election in 2022 you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief this morning after the scare last night and if you’re a Republican State legislator you’re giddy with the thought of putting redistricting off till after 2022 with dreams of gerrymandering filling you’re head.

      1. cocomaan

        Good points. In a lot of ways, this let the Republican Party shed its association with Trump. Insiders are probably gleeful.

        1. Biph

          Better than shedding their association with Trump it lets them embrace him without having to actually deal with him, they can use him as a campaign prop and wave the bloody shirt about a stolen election for 2 years then ride a red tsunami to increasing their senate seats, taking the house and a slew of governorships in 2022 then rinse repeat and add the WH for 2024.

          1. cocomaan

            They have a whole slew of rising stars, too. Pence will try to run, of course. Cruz, Rubio, Nikki Haley, Dan Crenshaw.

            Assuming it’s Harris in 2024, she will lose because she is fundamentally unlikable.

            1. Phillip Cross

              “rising stars” is a very polite way of putting it, or did you spell “repellent scum” wrong?

  46. Mason

    Dem’s won such a pyrrhic victory, likely Biden winning but burning so many bridges with progressives and demoralizing their base. Trump improving with all minorities? Good lawd.

    This actually might be a best case scenario for the progressives with the Democrats further exposed as feckless and ineffective. Hope to see the DSA strengthened dramatically. I can’t wait to fight Biden.

    Don’t regret voting for Greens at all. Sorry for the folks in North Carolina. Our state republicans are an embarrassment.

  47. Bazarov

    “America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall. Will It Turn Around Before It’s Too Late?”

    No, America is not like Rome.

    We’re much more similar to the old Soviet Union, which collapsed without a Caesar. It seems to me that we’re well into a phase akin to the USSR’s “gerontocracy and stagnation” period. I could see the US “falling” in the Soviet way–COVID being our Chernobyl–with outside powers (China? Russia for a little payback?) then swooping in to pick the carcass clean.

  48. CatmanPNW

    Love that disclaimer on the broadband antitrust story: “Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which owns 13 percent of Charter, is part of Advance Publications. Advance Publications owns Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica.”

    I also disagree completely with the headline – I don’t think I go a day without talking about how much I hate my two choices of internet providers – CenturyLink or Comcast. Both are terrible, especially for 4 of us at home on video calls all day.

  49. ewmayer

    Interesting juxtaposition of these 2 links:

    “How many alien civilizations are out there? A new galactic survey holds a clue | National Geographic (Chuck L)” — Ahem, they’re not “alien” civilizations, they’re “undocumented” civilizations, OK?

    “NASA reestablishes contact with 43-year-old Voyager 2 which is 11.6 BILLION miles from Earth after repairs to antenna in Australia left spacecraft flying solo for seven months | Daily Mail (Kevin W)”

    Note that 11.6 billion miles is almost exactly 1/500th of a light-year, thus had Voyager 2 been launched on a trajectory that took it in the direction of the nearest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri, it would need around 100,000 years to get there. We’re gonna need a bigger rocket, or a Farscape or Interstellar-style wormhole to open up nearby.

  50. Wyatt Powell

    America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall. Will It Turn Around Before It’s Too Late?

    I hate this so much. I can not explain to another human being how much this makes my blood boil.

    1. Do NOT compare Trump to Caesar, you give Trump faaaaaarrrrr too much credit, meanwhile Gaius’s is turning in his grave

    2. (The big Point) The author is soooo ignorant of history (even popular history) it makes me cringe and his condensing tone is sickening. Julius Caesar = Bad, Orange Man = Bad. NO. JUST NO. Caesar saw an opening to glory and prestige and took it, this is not only common in Rome, it was REQUIRED by the upper classes. You were a disgrace if you did not have “fiery” ambition. To ignore what lead Caesar to see this “opening” is to piss and sh*t all over history. The late republic i not some democratic paradise like the author wants to project, it was horrible, violent and rotting beneath the surface.
    In the Article… Mentions of Tiberius? 0
    Mentions of Gaius Gracchus? 0
    Mentions of Drusus? 0
    Mentions of Marius? 0!?!!?
    Mentions of SULLA!?!?!?!?!? 0!?!!?!? WTF is wrong with you?!?!?!

    Roman Senators and Oligarchs destoryed the Republic… not Caesar… Sulla crossed the Rubicon and set Rome on the path to poverty,humiliation and despair… NOT CAESAR!

    F*ck you Tim Elliot F*ck you.

    1. Adam Eran

      Actually, Peter Heather’s The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians cites food shortages rather than the “great men” of history as the cause of Rome’s fall. When imperial Romans stopped sustainable agriculture on the Italian peninsula, slaves did the farming. Slaves don’t care about the health of the soil.

      After this, Rome could no longer feed itself with local crops, and relied on farms in North Africa for their food. The Visigoths conquered the Iberian peninsula, then hopped over to North Africa and cut Rome off. That’s when the population decided they’d rather have barbarians than empire.

      This is analogous to the Confederate South’s experience. Farming with slaves meant they depleted the soil, and were *required* to have slave-based farming in the new, western states where they could move and continue, or their way of living would be extinct.

  51. VietnamVet

    I went to bed late thinking that Donald Trump was a shoo-in and woke to read that Joe Biden will keep the troops in Syria because of Russia. This occupation of an oil field hundreds of miles away from any coast is what the Romans did too. Syria is where Rome went to die. Except the Western Empire is already dead.

    The Elite were crazy to think that decapitating government to end taxes and regulations to promote a global trade and exploit cheap labor would last forever. In 2020 free trade collapsed. The former democracies in the West couldn’t protect their citizens from coronavirus. In simple terms it means that an urban professional manager, is now unprotected with a failed government and not enough money to buy mercenaries for security. Anything can happen and some a lot worse than plywooding windows.

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