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October 23, 2020

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And what Pro Bono said, particularly in his last paragraph.

I agree that Corbyn isn’t very bright, or anyway that has been my impression. In fact, in an earlier post that I didn’t send I said that he struck me as a typical far lefty who romanticizes freedom fighters and isn’t very bright, but I see no evidence that he is vicious. If anything, he seems like a marshmallow. I almost sent a picture of him in the late 80’s protesting the Iranian government for its mass executions.

But speaking of romanticizing freedom fighters, would someone regard an American politician who honored Rabin as an anti- Palestinian racist? The analogy is exact. Salad Khalaf was a terrorist who later advocated peace talks. Rabin was an ethic cleanser who later as Prime Minister ordered the Israeli security forces to break protestor’s bones. I have a friend who wishes AOC had gone to the Rabin event and then ripped into him, but I think that would have been inappropriate.

https://www.972mag.com/yitzhak-rabin-oslo-accords-aoc/

https://www.972mag.com/yitzhak-rabin-oslo-accords-aoc/

I had mixed feelings about AOC’s decision to pull out of the event to honor Rabin and frankly I would not be crazy about Corbyn honoring a former terrorist, but it is the same issue. I suspect that precisely none of the people who criticized Corbyn for visiting Khalaf’s grave would condemn an American politician for honoring Rabin.

Correction— Rabin was Defense minister when he ordered the beatings.

If the Israel of 1948 had a valid claim to Palestinian lands, then Argentina had a valid claim the the Falklands Islands.

Here is the Wikipedia article on the wreath ceremony.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corbyn_wreath-laying_controversy

The Israeli operation to get all the people involved in Munich probably hit some people who had nothing to do with it, including that waiter in Norway. Asad AbuKhalil wrote a long angry rant about that 15 years ago after the Spielberg movie.

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2005/12/spielberg-on-munich-humanization-of.html

THE MAIN THING FOR "THE LEFT" RIGHT NOW IS TO DEFEAT TRUMP AND CRUSH THE FASCIST GOP.

Then the knives can come out...LOL.....vote early, vote often.

Good luck to all of us.

That's the main thing for "the left". And also for moderates. And even for serious conservatives.

We'll doubtless have big fights on numerous topics afterwards. But first we need to get rid of the disaster we've got.

I see that Greenwald is busy trying to up his profile again in October Surprise land (no links for him).

I really don't know about him anymore. He and Taibbi are both playing the martyr journalists and I'm not buying.

No argument about the need to get rid of Trump. Four years of a cruel fascist buffoon is enough.

Some writer at Jacobin mentioned that Tony Blair and David Cameron went to Sharon’s funeral. Apparently so did Biden. Wtf was Biden there? Sharon was a butcher. But sure, Corbyn is a monstrous insensitive creep who visited a cemetery where there were victims of an Israeli air strike, along with ( depending on who you read), a terrorist.

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

Yes, I want Biden to win, but Westerners have no standing to lecture anyone about honoring murderers. Perhaps there will be a commission to investigate the underlying attitudes at work.

We can have our own views on the merits of laying a wreath on the grave of Salad Khalaf (aka Abu Iyad). My point was that, in this instance where the narrative can be tested with photographic evidence, Corbyn and his defenders are simply lying.

And Donald, "depending on who you read" is in the Trumpian realm of "alternative facts". The rant you linked to is in no doubt about Abu Iyad.

I see that Greenwald is busy trying to up his profile again in October Surprise land (no links for him).

he's a deep fraud.

There can be multiple motives for attending a funeral...The most obvious is to "honor" the deceased. Another is "duty", as in "it's part of my job to show up". Yet another is to make sure that the deceased is "really, most sincerely, dead". And yet another is like the FBI showing up at a mob funeral to make note of the other attendees.

“ Deprnding in who you read” was me not sure about who was buried there, so an expression of my ignorance given that I only encountered this debate about where this person was buried yesterday. If the issue is whether Corbyn is lying, I don’t know if he knew the history of the people at the site. Politicians habitually lie when criticized and it would not surprise me to find out that Corbyn is among that number As for his defenders, I suspect that one tells the lie and others pass it on thinking it is true.

As for merits, actually, that is the important issue. Corbyn is accused of antisemitism because he placed a wreath on the grave site of a terrorist. It’s the usual hypocrisy about which murders count as crimes.

Donald has gone from:

But sure, Corbyn is a monstrous insensitive creep who visited a cemetery where there were victims of an Israeli air strike, along with ( depending on who you read), a terrorist.

to

Corbyn is accused of antisemitism because he placed a wreath on the grave site of a terrorist.

which seems pretty different to me. However, when Donald says

It’s the usual hypocrisy about which murders count as crimes.

I agree with him wholeheartedly, despite seeing that sometimes heads of state (or their surrogates) have to attend funerals of people they despise. In the cause of realpolitik, as well as the overwhelming need to get Trump out, we have here on ObWi an unlikely coalition of far lefties, liberals and conservatives. Let's hope it's reflected in the rest of the US.

By the way, I don't think I ever thanked Janie for her link to the election early voting statistics. That, along with FiveThirtyEight, is currently my obsession.

You know how they always say the birthrate goes up nine months after a power cut? If they had a way of counting diseases caused by acute stress (elevated cortisol) and knew how long they took to manifest, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that this election is similarly responsible for such a spike (notwithstanding that the last three and a half years have been amazingly stressful as well).

Shifting gears a bit, this is from the NYT via Yahoo. (I always appreciate getting NYT content for free.)

https://news.yahoo.com/celebrity-vetting-helping-president-defeat-190700504.html

Some excerpts:

Michael R. Caputo, the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, and others involved envisioned a star-studded campaign to lift American spirits, but the lawmakers said they sought to exclude celebrities who had supported gay rights or same-sex marriage or who had publicly disparaged President Donald Trump.

(...)

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis released the records, declaring that “these documents include extremely troubling revelations.” They accused Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, of “a cover-up to conceal the Trump administration’s misuse of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for partisan political purposes ahead of the upcoming election.”

(...)

Democratic lawmakers have questioned the campaign’s funding after Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified in September that $300 million had been steered from his agency’s budget to Caputo’s office, and that the CDC was given no role in the campaign, which aimed to “defeat despair.”

WIODT? (What if Obama did this?)

IOKIYAR

(I always appreciate getting NYT content for free.)

I thought everyone got NYT content for free. Silly me.

Seriously, the NYT downloads the content to your computer. They just include stuff that makes reading it inconvenient sometimes.

but the lawmakers said they sought to exclude celebrities who had supported gay rights or same-sex marriage or who had publicly disparaged President Donald Trump.

So they had Ted Nugent and Jack Nicklaus. Quite a line-up.

Oh wait, Bob Kraft and maybe Brady.

Free of more effort than clicking on a headline.

I am bemused by patterns (or lack thereof) in my state. GftNC referring to the early voting stats reminded me of this.

Maine has two Congressional districts. ME-2 is heavily rural and tends R. ME-1 is more "urban" (such as it is), and coastal. Also wealthier. And tends heavily D.

Currently ME-2 is represented by Jared Golden-D, who in 2018 beat the 2-term incumbent, Bruce Poliquin-R, in a ranked-choice runoff (i.e. Jared didn't get >50% on the first round). (N.b. Mainers have voted twice to keep ranked choice. Rs don't want to accept that result but are at a roadblock via the courts at the moment.)

Per Ballotpedia, Prior to Poliquin's defeat, no incumbent had lost an election for Maine's 2nd District seat since 1916.

Jared Golden is a youngish vet, very likeable (genuinely, I think; I know some folks who went to college with him, which he did, btw, after his military service). He says some things I roll my eyes over, and my kids remind me that he's trying to get elected and stay elected in ME-2. I would vote for him happily -- certainly against any R. In a primary we'd have to see who was running. But -- I'm not in ME-2, so it doesn't matter.

Clickbait won ME-2 by 10% in 2016, though Obama won it by 3% and 5% in 2012 and 2008 (again per Ballotpedia; and I believe the district boundaries were redrawn in 2013, but I don't know any details about that).

Clinton won ME-1 54% to 39% and the state by a few %, but she didn't get 50% overall, interestingly.

ME-1 has been represented by Chellie Pingree-D since 2008. For the record, she lost badly to Susan Collins in the 2002 Senate race. But no opponent has come close in Chellie's Congressional races.

So now -- Biden is way ahead (mid-teens) in the polls statewide and in ME-1 (upper teens). He's even a little bit ahead in the polls in ME-2. Both D Congressional candidates are ahead: Golden +27 and Pingree +25 in the latest Colby College poll (see 538, I'm not going to link in detail). So Jared Golden has blasted through ME-2's traditional R-ness for the moment; I don't think the Rs are bringing their best. Ha ha, I don't think they have much resembling "best" anymore.

Except: Susan Collins is in a statistical tie with Sarah Gideon. Despite the fact that the state is leaning heavily D in all the other races, even ME-2 which went for Clickbait by 10% last time -- old Susan is still holding her own.

I live here, and I honestly don't get it.

We'll see if or by how much the polls are wrong....I know it's just polls, but still, the discrepancy between the Senate race and the others is just weird.

P.S. to add to all her other execrable deeds, Collins's campaign is pissing on Gideon for not having lived in Maine all her life. A third of the damned state didn't live here all our lives, I just don't see how she thinks that's a net vote-getter. But then.......there's a lot I don't see these days, especially about Collins.

Last post on this, probably—

Gftnc—

Here is the Wikipedia link—

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corbyn_wreath-laying_controversy

According to that, Corbyn was participating in a commemorative ceremony for the victims of the Israeli air strike in a part of the cemetery which also contains the grave of Khalaf. Corbyn stood in the area where people traditionally stand in that ceremony, according to the article. He laid a wreath. My impression from the article is that he was honoring the victims as well as high ranking PLO officials, one of whom was Khalaf. Incidentally, the air strike was aimed at a PLO headquarters site and for all I know killed some people guilty of terrorism, along with innocent civilians.

Because of this he is accused of honoring a terrorist and is therefore displaying his antisemitism.

I think this is a typical example of double standards, sometimes unconscious and sometimes explicitly racist. People like Rabin and Sharon are portrayed as “ warriors” who became peacemakers ( with less plausibility in the case of Sharon). Westerners are “warriors”, Palestinians are terrorists even if both are murderers. It’s been that way in the US, though the politics of the I- P issue have changed on the left wing of the Democratic Party, beginning with Sanders in 2016. AOC was actually pressured into not attending a conference honoring Rabin. Liberal Zionists think this was a mistake, seeing Rabin as a hero. I am not sure what I think about her decision, but I am sure that most Westerners still use an unconscious double standard. It’s the privilege of living in a more powerful country.

If Rabin were buried near a cemetery containing the Israeli victims of a Palestinian terrorist attack and some politician laid a wreath in a ceremony commemorating all of them, it would not have been even slightly controversial in most Western circles except that some lefties would complain. In the US the pro- Palestinian side is starting to have an impact, but mostly just on people like Sanders and AOC. A genuinely decent NYT columnist (Roger Cohen)was upset that AOC backed out of the Rabin event, because he doesn’t think of Rabin primarily as the ethnic cleanser or bone breaker.

Even in a Trump administration (albeit probably only because he's not paying attention), genuine progress is getting made in some areas.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/air-force-women-pilots/2020/10/30/a9b665bc-ec54-11ea-a21a-0fbbe90cfd8c_story.html

I have no difficulty at all in believing that Corbyn didn't know whose grave he was honouring. That's what he's like, and that lack of attention to what's going on was a big part of Labour's problem with anti-semitism.

I do have a problem with the wildly dishonest defence of Corbyn (the one Donald linked to several comments back).

If Corbyn had made a carefully considered and explained decision that it was appropriate to lay a wreath at the grave of Salah Khalaf, or even to attend Ariel Sharon's funeral, I wouldn't attack him for it.

Meanwhile, Donald has had another go at the facts of the wreath-laying, relying on Wikipedia. Here's an examination of what happened by a reputable UK source.

For those following early voting data, here's a whole bunch about Texas, ht Betty Cracker at BJ.

And actually, if you scroll down that twitter stream, he's looking at a bunch of other states as well.

Janie, what's striking about all those reports is how very, very many of the mail in ballots already returned are from people who didn't vote at all in 2016.

Texas is most striking because they've already exceeded their total 2016 votes. But even places like Arizona and North Carolina are on track to arrive at dawn of Election Day with their 2016 numbers already exceeded. We're close to that here in California, too. I'm thinking that working the polls Tuesday (which I am) may be exceptionally quiet compared to previous elections. Guess I'll take a book....

what's striking about all those reports is how very, very many of the mail in ballots already returned are from people who didn't vote at all in 2016.

Yes, that's absolutely amazing. The early voting numbers per se could be explained away as having to do with the virus. But the fact that so many people are voting who didn't before, well, fingers crossed that they are coming out of the woodwork because they have just about had enough.

fingers crossed that they are coming out of the woodwork because they have just about had enough

Oh God, I alternate between thinking (hoping) this, and thinking it's rabid loonies coming to the defence of their man. The anxiety is too much.

speaking of Texas (and Israel) ...

is it true that, in Norway, "Texas" is used a way to something is out of control or crazy: "that part was totally Texas!" ?

and is "Chicago" a word used in Israel to mean "unruly" ? “Ma po ze, Chicago?”

and in Finland, is "Nevada" a place you tell people to go when you want them to go the fnck away? “se on huitsin nevadassa” ?

That link is great, cleek. ;-)

Who knew?

It's kind of like when we say "Where did you think he went, Timbuktu?"

And I bet there are lots of others that are not occurring to me right now.

"Clean your plate, there are children starving in ______" -- changes from one generation to the next, although I don't know if parents use that one anymore. I think it was China when I was a kid.

I just read your link. A really damning highly detailed examination of wreath laying. Yeah, I can see where this matters. Truthfully, no, I can’t.

But I am glad that the real issue here turns out to be Wreathgate— the coverup. It’s not really about antisemitism or who kills whom or whose deaths matter and whose do not—it’s because someone at some point said that Khalaf was buried elsewhere and now some of us pass the misinformation on. This is what has really driven the Corbyn issue.

One of my sources had one fact wrong. I don’t know where that misinformation came from, but I see it passed on in a couple of places, so it is probably an interesting example of how convenient falsehoods get spread. It would b convenient for Corbyn defenders if Khalaf had been buried elsewhere. One person writes it and others repeat it.

My criticism of Corbyn overlaps with some here, but not entirely. My impression of him is that he is well - intentioned, but bumbling. If I were a far left Brit I would find him exasperating. He needs better staff work. Frankly, he needs to be both smarter and meaner.

Toughness wouldn't work given that he is a bit dim, so it is just as well Corbyn is a pushover. But what was needed was a tougher, meaner Corbyn who would know exactly what he was doing and would defend his far left positions without trying to make everyone happy, because fundamentally I do not for one second believe the more conservative Labourites and press people who portrayed him as Satan actually believed it. They didn’t want a socialist on economics and they didn’t want his Chomsky style view of the Western nations as imperialist powers and so they portrayed him and his supporters as a writhing mass of antisemites.

I followed some of “ what was going on”. More links later. But one part of it was pushing the party into adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism with all of its examples and when Labour hesitated, this was supposed to indicate more antisemitism. But nobody sympathetic to the Palestinian cause would support the IHRA definition and all of its examples.

A lot of people on the left, from what I could tell 3000 miles away, defended Corbyn’s character, but found him exasperating. I didn’t folllow Brexit, but I gather he was a mess on that issue. If people want to call him incompetent, I would find it impossible to dispute it.

I need to read the British press. It appears to be so terrible it almost makes me feel proud of ours. Loved the competition in the first few lines of this Twitter thread.

https://twitter.com/adamjohnsonNYC/status/1322247526171529216

"Clean your plate, there are children starving in ______" -- changes from one generation to the next,

in my house it's "finish your wine, there are sober kids in Africa"

Cleek's post reminds me of an expression from my youth when I lived in Phoenix - "BFE," which stands for bum f**k Egypt, referring to the middle of nowhere. I guess it was a matter of being in a hot desert.

"Clean your plate, there are children starving in ______"

My always witty eldest sister, when about six, replied to this with "Name three."

Just throwing this out there.

Happy election, all.

C'mon, you've got to be able to laugh:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/30/trump-election-nigel-farage-campaign-us-president-britain

How poignant to see Kent garagiste Nigel Farage interfering in the US election, much in the way a drop interferes in the ocean. Farage is appearing at the odd rally for his emotional support president, Donald Trump, which tells its own story about where the US leader is at, psychologically speaking, for the final days of his campaign. On Wednesday, Trump gibbered to a crowd: “I’m glad I called him up.” So is Nigel’s agent.

Nigel was brought on stage in Arizona by Donald, where the latter introduced him as “the king of Europe”. In fairness, he could just as easily have got away with passing Farage off as the duke of Ruritania or the sultan of Jupiter. Still, in for a penny, in for a pound, and Trump went on to hazard that Farage was “one of the most powerful men in Europe”, even though Nigel’s an unemployed radio DJ and has spent a good part of the past four years hanging round the old US-of-A hoping to get a 40-minute 6pm “dinner” invitation to eat a well-done steak with a self-confessed sex offender.

Ah, not absolutely her best work, but we have to take what succour and comfort we can in times such as these.

Then again, engaging with Farage on his own terms is like trying to debate a fart or conduct a symposium with cystitis. Though operationally pointless and redundant now, he somewhat horrifyingly endures – a vestigial tail on our body politic.

FWIW Chomsky believes Trump is the worst criminal in human history - top that centrists :) but seriously, it's a fun interview and he makes some good points:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/noam-chomsky-believes-trump-is-the-worst-criminal-in-human-history

Thanks GftNC, Marina Hyde sure is a relief in these times.

FWIW Chomsky believes Trump is the worst criminal in human history - top that centrists :)

But Hillary was a hawk! Not to be rude this close to the election, but you're not voting, so the dig is all good, and all in good fun, right?

And in return, novakant, I enjoyed that Chomsky interview - you were right, it was fun.

I need to read the British press.

I don't mean to jump on this point, but I read the Guardian (a lot) for a number of reasons, and that leads me to follow up on other things. I often think that some (not all) of our (as in everyone, not just me and Donald) are because of how we get to these debates. The right wing press in the UK is the same group of people who tapped the phone of the parents of a murdered young women in order to further the storylines they wanted to push. It seems like a no-brainer that they would want to do anything they can to promote problems within the Labour party, so anything that is reported, you have to make sure who is saying it and why. Which is exhausting. I'm still not sure what is the 'real' story, but I tend to treat this story like an argument in someone else's family, there is no way you are going to figure it all out so you go on your instincts. I have to admit, it doesn't seem like a huge surprise that all of this comes up as the Conservatives are getting hammered for their policies. The timing as well is so suspicious, with Corbyn making his statement just before Starmer is set to deliver a speech, which he has no time to revise, and has people jumping on it to find discrepancies. Perhaps this puts me in the conspiracy theory end of the spectrum, but a more cautious wait and see attitude would allow some investigation. And certainly, the UK has bigger fish to fry with a no-deal brexit looking like a distinct possibility. my 2 cents

In the military, bum f**k Egypt was where we were told we would be station if we didn't get our act together.

I didn't have that much fun with the Chomsky interview, so would definitely appreciate being enlightened. I do know, though, that Michael Klarman (cited therein) lives">http://madifonbyfashion.blogspot.com/2010/08/">lives in the house of the late Julia Child! Also I met him once, and members of his family more than once. They are lovely people. (Much deserving of their (now) house.)

Yikes. Messed up the the link.

So, novakant, as I recall, you just didn't want to think about Hillary.

Chomsky supported Hillary. He did so in a holding nose way. I just wonder: if you know you're doing the right thing, as opposed to doing the other thing, it seems to me that doing it with all your heart would be the thing to do (caveats assumed, and for later, after the crucible).

Anyway, Chomsky!

Not sure about other takes on the Chomsky interview, but Chotnier (as he has done with others) pokes a bit at the discrepancies in Chomsky's positions over time. Chomsky is famous for never admitting that he was wrong (you can see that with him claiming that the Harper's statement that he lent his signature to was so totally anodyne, it just proves that he is right) Chotnier gets in a few jabs, but Chomsky either ignores them or doesn't notice them ("You’re famous for signing any petition sent to you." "Quite a lot of them.")

If you didn't catch the Harper's letter debate, here are a couple of links
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/10/harpers-and-the-great-cancel-culture-panic/

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/07/harpers-letter-free-speech/614080/

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2020-07-09/cancel-culture-harpers-letter

A slightly unusual request from my side. Coming Monday I have to attend the first session of a course in chemistry didactics and we got an advance task to ask people in our social environment what assumptions/prejudices people have about chemistry at school and chemistry teachers.
Unfortunately, I essentially lack such a social environment even absent Corona (I could as well be a hermit). Could anyone of you here maybe give a short feedback on the topic? Thank you.

I tend to assume that chemistry teachers aren’t very social. ;^)

I tend to assume that chemistry teachers aren’t very social.

For three summers in the 1970s I worked as one of the low-level staff at an ag field lab in Nebraska (peons, we called ourselves; by my third summer I was Head Peon). (One of the better-funded projects was part of a global study to answer the question, "Where is all the CO2 that we're dumping into the atmosphere going, the measured levels should be much higher?") I got the gig the summer after I finished high school. The head guy for keeping the equipment running lived in the same town and he went to the chemistry teacher for a recommendation, because the chemistry teacher knew everyone in town.

A Frazzled World Holds Its Breath While the U.S. Chooses Its Leader

One of the headlines in today's NYT. Speaking to friends, and monitoring myself, the anxiety levels are off the chart. I don't dare think how bad it must be for you all. Forget levitating the Pentagon, if that sort of thing stood a chance of working, the the combined will of the whole world (probably with the exception of Israel and Saudi Arabia) is with you.

Looking on the bright side, Biden's chances on 538 have reached 90%.

This doesn't include the possibility of a Supreme Court coup if it's close, but it is pretty conservative about uncertainty in the polls, eg it gives Trump a 2% chance of getting above 50% of the vote: I'd put that at maybe 0.1%.

Forget levitating the Pentagon, if that sort of thing stood a chance of working, the the combined will of the whole world (probably with the exception of Israel and Saudi Arabia) is with you.

Thank you. I refuse to be optimistic because of the jinx.

what assumptions/prejudices people have about chemistry at school and chemistry teachers.

I'd expect that chemists, whether teachers or otherwise, would be strong on precision and measurement.

the the combined will of the whole world (probably with the exception of Israel and Saudi Arabia) is with you.

And Turkey. Or at least Erdoğan personally.

Pro Bono, I know, I have been obsessively checking 538. But on the other hand, I watched Andrew Neil's new show at the urging of someone very worried, and although a) he is an open rightwinger and b) the guy he was interviewing was the editor of the US Spectator, and a Brit to boot, nonetheless Neil is a respectable journalist and I would guess neither of them is pro-Trump. The other guy was in Pennsylvania, and he said that most people agreed that there was something very funny about the polls, that despite what they showed Trump signs outnumbered Biden signs by huge margins (and some ObWi people have been saying the same). Now granted, Dems might not be putting signs out, and this is casting the runes rather than anything approaching science, but after last time I am terrified given what is at stake.

“ So, novakant, as I recall, you just didn't want to think about Hillary.

Chomsky supported Hillary. He did so in a holding nose way. I just wonder: if you know you're doing the right thing, as opposed to doing the other thing, it seems to me that doing it with all your heart would be the thing to do (caveats assumed, and for later, after the crucible).”

Not really. First, people should be honest about what they think and if you are voting lesser evil, say so while stressing how evil the greater evil is, which Chomsky did in slightly hyperbolic terms.

But on the pragmatic level, if you are trying to persuade far lefties to vote for Clinton or Biden, you make the case in their terms. Yes, mainstream Democrats are terrible, but there is space to work and push them left. Don’t fake enthusiasm. People on the far left will just roll their eyes and ignore you.

I actually am feeling a bit of enthusiasm personally, not for Biden, but just to get the gargantuan sociopathic toddler out of our freaking lives. Clickbait is an apt term, but it needs to be harsher. I don’t have any alternative to suggest, but that asshole is not only bad for what he has done, but for making 95 percent of all political discussion revolve around him.

but for making 95 percent of all political discussion revolve around him

I thought of calling Clickbait a black hole which sucks all light and attention into its event horizon, but black holes are awe- inspiring and it is just too flattering a comparison. Trump is more of a cosmological trash fire. That joke doesn’t quite work either. I got nothing.

Malevolent Maelstrom?

I decided on Clickbait early on, before I knew the full horror. Would welcome a more accurate replacement, but would rather he would just disappear beyond an event horizon. Then again, the media will never stop talking about him, so ugh.

Trump signs outnumbered Biden signs by huge margins

where i live, there are almost no Biden signs, only Trump signs. but as you approach cities, you can see the clear, sharp border where Biden signs start appearing, and then as you get closer to the city, Trump signs disappear. and then there are only Biden (and BLM) signs.

i know most of the houses on my road are Dems; but none of us have any signs out.

i think the hardcore Trump supporters are FAR more enthusiastic than any of the Biden fans - huge Trump signs, and big clusters of them. some houses look like they're decorated for a holiday. not so many big Biden signs (and those that are out have all been spray painted over with racist graffitti).

so the question is : are there enough hardcore Trump supporters out there to give him the state? (probably)

Trump signs outnumbered Biden signs by huge margins

In my area, I've seen neither Trump nor Biden signs. Perhaps both sides think it would be a wasted effort.

Perhaps both sides think it would be a wasted effort.

Here in California, signs for the presidential election would definitely be a waste of time. So what we have are floods of signs for more local races.

for me, chemistry class was a mix of things. the chemistry teacher was perhaps the most uncharismatic person I've ever known, and I think he was kind of phoning it in by the time I had him as a teacher. on one occasion, he gave the same exact lecture two days in a row. so boredom was a factor.

but, there was the frisson of danger when we lit the bunsen burners, and the labs were mostly successful and did interesting stuff involving colors and smells, so that was pretty cool. even the bookwork was ok, making the atomic weights balance out was a fun puzzle.

it was a class about understanding how certain things work, which is always interesting.

Clickbait is an apt term, but it needs to be harsher.

Britons chime in.

Also the Scots.

there's a bit of overlap, I think, but still lots of choose from.

"uncooked pastry" is perhaps my favorite.

when i was applying to college, i applied for chemistry. but i changed to computer science the summer before i went off.

probably should have seen it coming - my senior chemistry project was a BASIC program that would give you the name of the chemical, given the formula (and vice versa, maybe).

I cannot think of a name which conveys the horror, and is short enough. A black hole of orange malevolence, corruption and mediocrity? Not snappy enough...

"I cannot think of a name which conveys the horror, and is short enough."

In years to come, calling someone a "TRUMP" will be considered an unforgivable insult, methinks.

he's ruined card games for years to come

he's ruined card games for years to come

There are just too many good people to use "Donald" instead as an insult.

And in the UK, "trump" is an onomatopaeic word for fart (as verb or noun), among that portion of the population who prefer using euphemisms for such things. I am not among them, but it is apparently very common.

There are just too many good people to use "Donald" instead as an insult.

Apparently that consideration doesn't matter when it's a "Karen."

Hmm, I don't remember seeing this before (although of course it's not surprising, but forewarned is forearmed):

huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/alec-challenge-trump-loss-corporations_n_5f99cf20c5b61d63241ee6dd?ri18n=true

A powerful corporate-funded right-wing organization that includes state legislators and lobbyists was already mobilizing early this year to overturn a possible election loss by President Donald Trump, according to a videotape of an official discussing the plan.

GftNC, I don't know who you're forewarning and forearming. Do you think Biden's campaign doesn't know about this crap? Or are you just forewarning yourself, emotionally?

Maybe a bit of an antidote to the proliferating panic-mongering.

Maybe Bob Bauer doesn't know what he's doing, or he does know what he's doing but even an army of lawyers won't be enough. Because sometimes the good guys do lose, no matter how well-prepared they are.

But I'd say: Chill. There's not a damned thing you can do to change what's going to happen next week. Neither is there a crystal ball to tell us what's going to happen next week. Every bloviator on earth thinks they know what's going to happen next week. But actually, they don't.

The one thing we know for sure is that there's going to be trouble. But there's already trouble.

From "Zorba the Greek":

Life is trouble.

“ There are just too many good people to use "Donald" instead as an insult.”

Yeah, I can’t get behind that one. The “ Karen” insult is unfair too. I have a cousin named that— totally undeserved.

GftNC, I don't know who you're forewarning and forearming. Do you think Biden's campaign doesn't know about this crap? Or are you just forewarning yourself, emotionally?

I didn't think it was me doing the forewarning and forearming; I hadn't seen it before and it alarmed me alright (particularly because it related to attempts before even the elevation of Amy Coney Barrett), but I guess (now you ask and I have to think about it) I hoped and supposed that the people who did need to see it had already done so, and were therefore forewarned and forearmed.

As for chilling, the memory of the day after the Brexit referendum and then the day after Trump's victory are branded on my mind. It feels almost unbearable to contemplate a possible Trump victory, despite the indubitable sense you talk about it. And you have to live there, of course. But to think about the speeding up of the destruction of American democracy that would ensue, seems earth-shattering to me, and the latest in a long line of disasters for the world, and its human population.

I'm sorry to be such a gloom merchant, and I certainly don't want to make anybody feel worse, but being told to chill can do that to you!

I admit to a certain fondness for an approact the The Economist apparently toyed with (while designing their cover this week):
DonaldTrump

Don't indeed.

Well, as I recall before the last election the Economist published a list of the 20 worst disasters that could befall the world, and I think Trump winning was 2 or 3. They got that right.

Here are the things I assume about the election this year.

1. Trump is going to lose the popular vote, probably by a larger margin than he did in 2016
2. Trump is probably, but not definitely, going to lose the electoral college, but that will be closer than the popular vote
3. Trump is going to do his utmost to fuck with the election to extract a "win" out of (1) and (2).

(3) will probably involve legal challenges to votes sent by mail, especially if they are not received by the end of day on November 3, and even if they are received but not counted by end of day on November 3.

His SCOTUS appointees are already laying the groundwork for all of that.

All of this is in spite of the fact that our process for electing the POTUS allows for a period of time after Election Day to resolve any outstanding discrepancies or challenges, and assumes that those will exist.

Basically I've long since prepared myself for the likelihood that this will be the ugliest election of my lifetime. Violence and loss of life are distinct possibilities. I expect that some people will have to literally risk their lives to vote, and I'm not talking about COVID, which of course is also a thing.

That's my take on it. I'll be pleased to be wrong.

Trump has brought all the freaks out of the woodwork. They've enjoyed their moment in the light of day, and they won't go back willingly.

I'll go along with those 3. Although I suspect that Biden's Electoral College margin will actually be larger than his popular vote margin.

I also expect that
4. The Democrats will take control of the Senate.
5. The partisans on the Supreme Court will decide that they'd prefer not to have the Court enlarged and otherwise tweeked.

To avoid that, in recognition of 4, they will refrain from doing exceptionally crazy things to screw up the presidential results in Trump's favor. (Being aware that, with both houses of Congress in their control, the Democrats can impeach and remove Trump and Pence if necessary. Or even remove Justices, if it comes to that.)

I expect Kavanaugh to write nutty minority positions. I just don't expect him to find 4 other Justices who are self-destructive enough to join him in playing that ultimately losing hand.

i think i'm ready to use the label fascist.

President Donald Trump on Saturday night appeared to embrace the actions of supporters in Texas who surrounded a Joe Biden campaign bus in what a Biden campaign official described as an attempt to slow down the bus and run it off the road.

Trump tweeted a video of the caravan surrounding the Biden bus with the caption, "I LOVE TEXAS!"

...

The Biden campaign bus was traveling Friday from San Antonio to Austin as part of a push to urge Biden supporters to cast their ballots on the state's last day of early voting.
According to a source familiar with the incident, the vehicles were a "Trump Train group." These groups are known in parts of the state and organize events that involve their cars with flags and Trump paraphernalia and drive around to show support for President Donald Trump. The group began yelling profanities and obscenities and then blockaded the entire Biden entourage.

At one point they slowed the tour bus to roughly 20 mph on Interstate 35, the campaign official said. The vehicles slowed down to try to stop the bus in the middle of the highway. The source said there were nearly 100 vehicles around the campaign bus. Biden staffers were rattled by the event, the source said, though no one was hurt.

I must say however, that that Bob Bauer piece is somewhat reassuring. Fingers and toes majorly crossed.

The group began yelling profanities and obscenities and then blockaded the entire Biden entourage.

or maybe not fascist. maybe they're more Marxist, trying to cancel Biden, literally.

but no, that's not possible because that's only something the left does.

Whatever you call them, what they are is empowered thugs and arseholes.

The main reason I avoid to apply 'fascist' to Jabbabonk himself is that for me it implies an actual political belief system, which He clearly lacks. Jabbabonk behaves like Mussolini but there is no 'idea', no 'vision' behind it. Corrupt as they were the Italian fascists left quite something of use behind (and be it the draining of the Pontine marshes, a huge and lasting strike against malaria even outside Italy). I could not name one thing spontaneously that Jabbabonk will leave behind that will be of practical use for the general public in half a century.
The GOP uses fascist tactics because they work but at heart the leadership are parsaites and cleptocrats.
For the likes of Miller the term 'fascist' is fully appropriate though.

Whatever you call them, what they are is empowered thugs and arseholes.

No objection from my side there.

which He clearly lacks

seems to me he has a very strong belief system: it's the American "conservative" mythology (which is a million stories based on the same theme: "Libz R bad") combined with his own howling narcissism and greed.

and his followers worship him and all his works with a militant and violent furor. and they want him to rain terror and pain on liberals. he's happy to oblige and to thank them when they take the initiative to terrorize the bad people themselves.

fascism, or close enough.

And for a moment of light (possibly minion-related) relief, the Ram's Horn Squid!

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/31/science/rams-head-squid-cephalopod.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Science

What GftNC said at 9:08 AM.

What really saddens me is that there's nobody really visible any more except the thugs. And yes, I'm counting folks like McConnell as thugs -- it's just about power with them, whether physical or political.

seems to me he has a very strong belief system: it's the American "conservative" mythology

I don't think so. He's using the "conservative" (/reactionary) mythology. His personal history suggests that he's definitely onboard with the racism part. But in general, he's just as comfortable with limousine liberal views. To the point of donating money to liberal politicians until very recently.

he has a very strong belief system

From his public statements and behavior, I take Trump's strongly held beliefs to be:

He is a special person with special genes and remarkable talents and abilities.

What counts in life is winning. Losers are chumps.

People, but especially people named Trump, are entitled to whatever they can grab and get away with.

The most important quality in other people is their support for and loyalty to Trump.

He, Trump is the pustule. MAGAts are the plague. Whether He or they are "conservative" by some dictionary definition is irrelevant.

If He and they "win", sane people will face a choice: meekly submit or violently resist. Non-violent resistance might be preferable, but it requires greater moral courage. It requires telling MAGAt friends, neighbors, even family members, to fuck off. It requires boycotting businesses, small and large, whose owners refuse to take a stand against the MAGAts -- even at great personal inconvenience. It requires making "good trouble" when we'd rather be watching a ball game. It requires taking "politics" personally. And Americans are not so devoted to democracy as all that.

--TP

man, "conservatives" are really upset at how a bunch of Trump fans blocked a NJ highway with their trucks - a stunt Don Jr prompted and Sr applauded.

they're really going to turn on Trump now!

oh well!

Let the lawsuits begin...

"More than 100,000 votes already cast in Houston could be invalidated on the eve of the election if a federal court looks favorably on a last-minute lawsuit filed by Texas Republicans."
Republicans Are Trying To Cancel More Than 100,000 Votes in a Deep Blue Part of Texas: A lawsuit filed just days before the election asks federal courts to toss out all the votes already cast at drive-through polling stations in Harris County.

As the article notes:

if the outcome in Texas is determined by 100,000 or so mostly Democratic votes in a single county, that probably means the election has been a disaster for Republicans whether or not those ballots are counted.
Still, considering how prevalent straight party line voting has become, those ballots could also have an impact on details like the makeup of the Texas legislature. The one which will do redistricting after the census. Which may actually be the motivation behind the lawsuit -- although of course they can't say so in a Federal lawsuit.

The Texas supreme court today ruled for the second time that the Harris County drive-through voting could continue. The federal judge has scheduled an emergency hearing for tomorrow morning. I'll be surprised if that judge is willing to effectively overrule the state supreme court's interpretation of state law.

I'll be surprised if that judge is willing to effectively overrule the state supreme court's interpretation of state law.


But maybe not as surprised as you would have been a couple of weeks ago:

What is surprising, however, is two concurring opinions by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, each of which takes aim at one of the most foundational principles of American constitutional law: the rule that the Supreme Court of the United States has the final word on questions of federal law but the highest court in each state has the final word on questions of state law.

This division of power is implicit in our very system of government. As the Supreme Court has explained, the states and the federal government coexist in a system of “dual sovereignty.” Both the federal government and the states have an independent power to make their own law, to enforce it, and to decide how their own law shall apply to individual cases.

IOW, the ground is being laid.

Whether it turns out to be granite or quicksand remains to be seen.

...the rule that the Supreme Court of the United States has the final word on questions of federal law but the highest court in each state has the final word on questions of state law.

The federal courts hear cases involving state law when federal statute or the Constitution are also involved. In the case in federal court, the Republicans claim that only the state legislature can make election laws -- and that they can't delegate that authority. IANAL, but at least one of the problems with that theory is that in the Arizona v. Arizona case a few years ago, the SCOTUS ruled that "legislature" in that context means "the legislative process as defined in the state".

Granted, of the majority in that 5-4 decision, RBG and Anthony Kennedy are gone, replaced by justices with a considerably different viewpoint. Reversing Arizona recreates the same problem that that decision was trying to avoid: for 100+ years, states have written election laws that would now be tossed.

IAAL, and I agree with JanieM on this. The Supreme Court 5 will figure out some way to rule to swing the election for Rs if it's only a matter of a couple of states where their ruling will make a difference in either the Presidential or Senate race.

I am done with assuming that the Supreme Court will rule in any manner consistent with law and principle, especially with regard to elections, so there's no point even trying to figure out what the law or precedent is if they can make the difference. Hope I'm wrong, or that the election is such an obvious blowout that this isn't tested.

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