…who can you trust? [DOT 18/10/20]

no, really...

…these are confusing times

From his first days in office, President Trump has waged a relentless and cynical campaign against the institutions most responsible for turning science into sound policy.


$421 Million in Debt: Trump Calls It ‘a Peanut,’ but Challenges Lie Ahead


There are the known battleground states that will decide the presidential race this fall, and then there’s Texas, which might just be the most politically intriguing state in the country right now. Whichever way it goes in November, there’s no question that President Trump is a problem for Republicans in the Lone Star State.



Slamming Trump, G.O.P. Senator Warns of a ‘Republican Blood Bath’


One of the key authors of the Western concept of freedom is John Stuart Mill. In “On Liberty,” he wrote that liberty (or freedom) means “doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow, without impediment from our fellow creatures, as long as what we do does not harm them even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse or wrong.”

…it’s not like you couldn’t make it up so much as it it’s exactly like they’re making it up


Trump Said to Be Warned That Giuliani Was Conveying Russian Disinformation


…or…if you prefer the twitter version

…it’s not a long thread…but it paints a pretty clear picture…which is more than Rudy can do



…or does anyone think that there really are anarchist jurisdictions out there…or that if there were they wouldn’t need help?


…but being able to trust the mail used to be a thing, right?


…whereas clearly some people you could never trust

For anyone attempting to understand Donald Trump’s presidency — to really grasp its essence — the place to look isn’t the White House or the federal agencies or even the Supreme Court, with its expanded conservative majority. The lurid heart of Trumpist Washington lies within the grand, Romanesque-revival building at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street, Northwest: the Trump International Hotel.





…& they are certainly doing a lot of last gasping


With the president’s re-election in doubt, cabinet departments are scrambling to finish dozens of new rules affecting millions of Americans.

…although it seems the courts haven’t entirely given up the ghost just yet


A federal appeals court in Washington stepped in to potentially save the subpoena power of the US House of Representatives, wiping away on Thursday a previous court ruling that made it essentially impossible for the House to force a witness’s testimony without passing a new law.


…it’s almost like whatever they say you can pretty much guarantee the reverse being true…for instance

A look at Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s notable opinions, votes

[…but then, she was one of the ones they stuck on the appeals circuit for a reason, right?]

…remember how Biden winning would be the favorite outcome of their favorite it’s-not-about-Russia bogeyman?

Even before the pandemic hit, there was a view in China that the United States was an inexorably waning power. “When they look at America, they see a rather stagnant economy and an opportunity to move fast,” Bruno Maçães, author of “Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order,” told Today’s WorldView when speaking of his conversations with people in Beijing. Now, party officials and influential academics see what’s unfolding in America as part of an acceleration of American decline.

President Trump is viewed as a key catalyst of that acceleration, according to a number of recent readings of Chinese scholarship and party speeches by U.S.-based China scholars. That belies the White House’s insistence that a victory for Trump’s rival, Joe Biden, would play into China’s hands after four years of tough-minded confrontation from the Trump administration. Instead, because of Trump’s wrecking-ball approach to diplomacy, “America is moving from ‘declining’ to ‘declining faster,’ ” observed state-backed newspaper Ta Kung Pao earlier this year.

“This belief has become a central premise of China’s evolving strategy toward the United States,” wrote Julian Gewirtz, a senior fellow for China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, in Foreign Affairs. “[Chinese Communist Party] leaders connect this rapid American decline to intensified U.S. efforts to contain China; the United States under Trump has gone from being a latent, long-term menace to the source of concerted efforts to, in the favored phrase of Chinese officialdom, ‘comprehensively suppress’ China.”

Hawkishness in Washington is seen as a mark of American weakness, not strength. “Alongside confidence in American decline has come some anxiety that a declining United States will lash out in dangerous ways,” wrote Rush Doshi of the Brookings Institution in Foreign Policy. “That view is reflected in [Chinese President Xi Jinping]’s speeches and in China’s official white papers, which warn of American ‘encirclement, constraint, confrontation, and threat.’ It is also mirrored in Beijing assessments of Trump, whom it sees as providing long-term benefits for China at the cost of high short-term risks.”


…& speaking of short-term risks as we approach the last few weeks before polling day



…it’s almost like he thinks now that he’s “immune” there’s no downside to the little people getting back to the grindstone


…you know…getting back in the traces before the train leaves the tracks



“Trump is a symptom of [misinformation] and an accelerant to it,” Obama said. “When you look at insane conspiracy theories like QAnon seeping into the mainstream of the Republican Party, what that tells you is that there are no more guardrails within that media ecosystem.”

The Problem of Free Speech in an Age of Disinformation



When Armed Vigilantes Are Summoned With a Few Keystrokes


‘White Supremacy’ Once Meant David Duke and the Klan. Now It Refers to Much More.


…because for some people it seems that some people can engage in behavior so risky you’d swear it was illegal & somehow face no serious consequences



…while others…had a different experience


…hell, maybe all it takes to get out from under is a few small tweaks

In Reversal, Twitter Is No Longer Blocking New York Post Article


Facebook and Twitter Dodge a 2016 Repeat, and Ignite a 2020 Firestorm


…well, not those tweaks, I guess


…so it’s maybe not that surprising that folks don’t appear to have all that much faith in things at the federal level these days


…not that they aren’t still trying to find pockets to pick



…although it almost seems tame when you compare it with the folks south of the border


Who Was ‘El Padrino,’ Godfather to Drug Cartel? Mexico’s Defense Chief, U.S. Says


[sidebar: if they were interested they could have just read Narcoland by Anabel Hernandez which came out back in 2014…although – spolier alert – it isn’t just Mexico that doesn’t look so great when you start to look at the detail…]

…but it’s sunday & I’m pretty sure we could all use some good news


With less than three weeks to go before Nov. 3, roughly 15 million Americans have already voted in the fall election, reflecting an extraordinary level of participation despite barriers erected by the coronavirus pandemic — and setting a trajectory that could result in the majority of voters casting ballots before Election Day for the first time in U.S. history.

In Georgia this week, voters waited as long as 11 hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting. In North Carolina, nearly 1 in 5 of roughly 500,000 who have returned mail ballots so far did not vote in the last presidential election. In Michigan, more than 1 million people — roughly one-fourth of total turnout in 2016 — have already voted.

The picture is so stark that election officials around the country are reporting record early turnout, much of it in person, meaning that more results could be available on election night than previously thought.

So far, much of the early voting appears to be driven by heightened enthusiasm among Democrats. Of the roughly 3.5 million voters who have cast ballots in six states that provide partisan breakdowns, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by roughly 2 to 1, according to a Washington Post analysis of data in Florida, Iowa, Maine, Kentucky, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Additionally, those who have voted include disproportionate numbers of Black voters and women, according to state data — groups that favor former vice president Joe Biden over President Trump in recent polls.




https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/viral/they-can-t-vote-they-can-meme-how-these-tiktokers-are trying-to-get-biden-elected

With 2020 turnout likely to set records, this energy and engagement need to be harnessed to flip a switch on our democracy — to convert our universe’s negative equilibrium to a positive one. We should aspire to a virtuous cycle in which responsive, empowering political institutions are worthy of engagement; where engaged Americans learn more about one another, partner with one another, and rebuild the norms and guardrails that sustain democracies. These include a willingness to forge compromises and to let the losing side play a substantive role in post-election deliberations — even as they don’t lead.


…& speaking of not following a bad lead



…hell, why not throw in some wishful thinking to round the thing out




  1. hmmm…interdasting… dutch news had a big front page piece about how pretty much all branches of industry are appealing the gubment to pretty please get a brexit deal in place so there wont be massive joblosses
    bbc…. not a peep
    wondering how trustworthy the beeb is now

    • …I suspect they’re in a bind…there’s been talk of giving them a director general (& a head of the trust through which they’re funded) straight out of the tory faithful…like george osbourne or some shit…which wouldn’t make me feel comfortable if I were them…& the interpretation of their “public service remit” to provide balanced coverage has been flaky for a while on some things since they seem inclined to give equal time to decidedly unequal merits & brexit is very much one of the things where they seem to have tripped over that more than I’d have liked

      …so…generally I think the BBC does pretty well…but when it comes to the current state of brexit they may not be the best source…unless you want to know the kinda-sorta-just-about stated position where boris et al are concerned?

      …truth be told I try not to get into it much in these threads because I’m liable to get pretty riled up about the whole thing & these posts are overlong as it is

      …myo would point out that sounds like offering to run up some seperate posts on the subject but sadly (or possibly luckily for the rest of you) I don’t seem to have had much luck finding the time?

      …I find the headlines you’re talking about all too plausible…& given that it’s liable to be worse on the UK side the fact that a fair bit of the damage brexit does will inevitably be passed of as due to the pandemic is another thing that’s prone to wind me up…but it’s sunday…so I’ll spare everyone that, too

      • lol..sorry i keep bringing it up
        as half my familys there its a pretty significant issue for me…tho…to be fair…i never really expected this to go any other way

        • …I have family in a few places in the UK as well as the US so in as much as one can follow it I’ve been pretty inclined to try & keep up

          …sadly I think you’re right that it was looking like it would always go this way…or at least no good way…they promised a deal that would leave the UK better off & that was always a logical impossibility outside a potentially long-term outcome that arguably would be impossible to prove or disprove as being down to exiting the EU

          …but ever since the pandemic knocked brexit down a few rungs in the headline rankings it’s  seemed like they figured they could just go back to blaming Europe for the shortcomings of the UK brexit project & I don’t doubt they’ll blame the consequences they don’t like on them, too

          …it’s kind of traditional…& tories do love a tradition when it suits them

          …my guess is they’ll take whatever meagre offering is on the table at the bitter end & claim it constitutes some sort of amazing deal just to avoid taking responsibility for an unequivocal no-deal exit…but it seems unlikely to really be different from that outcome in any substantial fashion

          …at which point I honestly wonder how much longer the union will remain united…between Scotland & N Ireland I’m not sure who’d be first out of the door but the case people in both places have been trying to make for longer than the EU’s been a thing surely looks stronger than it ever has?

            • …that would really be the final nail in the coffin, wouldn’t it?

              …but Scotland has a claim to some offshore resources they don’t so I think they’d have a hard time balancing the books on their own, comparatively speaking…doesn’t mean they wouldn’t try…but maybe it’s like boy bands & it’s only the first to leave that has a shot at a solo career?

  2. Sprots Karmic Stupidity CoVID style
    -Florida Gators Coach Mullen WANTS 90K fans in the stands cheering him on while dismissing CoVID19 and CoVID restrictions vs LSU
    -Florida vs LSU game cancelled because of CoVID outbreak on Florida team
    -Coach Mullen now has CoVID19

  3. This is so petty but I don’t care, I’m a petty person. One of the worst things about Trump on a very micro level is that his crime syndicate got their hands on the Old Post Office in DC. There’s a very charming statue of Ben Franklin, who kind of invented the US Postal Service, and as a very smart, worldly, charming man would have loathed Trump, right outside of it. I was wondering if it were still there. I went to Google Street View to look at it and somehow was transported into the lobby of the Trump Hotel, which is what the Old Post Office now is. Oh my God. It’s like a 5-star hotel in a country like Kazakhstan where too much is never enough. It’s too bad because the Old Post Office languished for decades but I always visited it when I was down there. Every so often it had a kind of sad food court in the lobby but at least you could eat something. But as I recall you could go up into the tower for free and because of DC’s rigid zoning laws you’d get this amazing view of most of the city. I wonder if that’s still publicly accessible, or has it been turned into some kind of ghastly “honeymoon suite” where foreign oligarchs can frolic with their concubines?

    • …the thing about being petty is that when the object of that pettiness is a tasteless orange asshole who is always going to be pettier-than-thou…there’s a lot of leeway

      …so I’m pretty sure you’re all right on that score?

  4. Thinking about this yesterday:  If the R’s suffer a bloodbath on Election Day, it might have been avoided had someone stepped up and primaried Trump.  But can you imagine if someone else had won the nomination, and Trump had free reign to wreak havoc as a lame duck starting all the way back in July or some shit?  Holy fuck.

    • …you know how they say thing could always be worse?

      …never thought I’d be grateful for the current state of affairs…but when you put it like that I feel like that’s as close as I’m likely to get

    • …true dat, as they say…& by over I mean through with whatever bullshit they haven’t got through pulling

      …the 3rd seems farther off than it should & inauguration is an all-too-distant horizon

      …surely does help to know it’s a somewhat shared burden, though…so thanks to all for helping me feel at least less-insane than I would be left to my own devices

  5. I voted Friday and it was blissfully easy. I printed out a PDF, filled in the dots, and dropped it off in a box by my local high school. A sleepy looking security guard was slumped in his car seat nearby. My poor parents are stressing because their absentee ballots haven’t shown up in the mail yet, because of course their swing state GOP legislature doesn’t let them have as easy a process as me.

  6. So earlier this morning, while in my office taking care of usual paperwork, and after watching a snippet of Trump at his own town hall, I realized:
    Trump IS Qanon. 
    Just like denying knowing John Barron, and the proud boys, he denied knowing Qanon, yet knew what they were all about. 

  7. We voted a week ago (absentee). Hand-delivered it to the county election office — no USPS involved. A few days later we checked the county elections website, which indicated that our ballots where “Valid – Accepted”. And this is in a red state…

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