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Links and Notes for November 13th, 2020

Published by marco on

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for this week, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Story by Matt Taibbi (SubStack)

“Obviously, Fox is not much better, in terms of its willingness to report negative information about Trump and Republicans, but Fox doesn’t have the reach that this emerging partnership between mass media, law enforcement, and tech platforms does. That group’s reaction to the New York Post story is formalizing a decision to abandon the media’s old true/untrue standard for a different test that involves other, more politicized questions, like provenance and editorial intent.”
“If the problem is “American citizens” being cultivated as “assets” trying to put “interference” in the mainstream media, the logical next step is to start asking Internet platforms to shut down accounts belonging to any American journalist with the temerity to report material leaked by foreigners (the wrong foreigners, of course – it will continue to be okay to report things like the “black ledger”). From Fox or the Daily Caller on the right, to left-leaning outlets like Consortium or the World Socialist Web Site, to writers like me even – we’re all now clearly in range of new speech restrictions, even if we stick to long-ago-established factual standards.

“As has been hinted at by several prominent journalists, controversies erupted within newsrooms across New York and Washington in the last week. Editors have been telling charges that any effort to determine whether or not the Biden laptop material is true, or to ask the Biden campaign to confirm or deny the story, will either not be allowed or put through heightened fact-checking procedures.

On the other hand, if you want to assert without any evidence at all that the New York Post story is Russian interference, you can essentially go straight into print.

So much for holding the Biden administration’s (should there be one) feet to the fire. It’s hard to imagine that this attitude will change or that scrutiny will intensify.

“What happens a month from now when an ambitious Republican like Tom Cotton leaks a document damaging to a President-Elect Biden? Or two years from now, if in the weeks before midterm elections, we get bad economic news, or a Biden/Harris administration foreign policy initiative takes a turn for the worse? Are we sure those stories will be run?”

Agreed. U.S. campaigning has gotten to the point where “you’re an idiot if you don’t vote for my guy” is considered the best you can do to “reach out” and convince voters. Just flaming bridges as far as the eye can see.

Old Men, Explained by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice)

On the myth of old age == useless:

“And we possess something younger people lack, experience. Kids offer a litany of excuses as to why experience either doesn’t matter or actually makes things worse, but they know, and we know, it’s bullshit. Sure, an old fool is worse than a young fool, but we’re not all fools. It’s curious why they believe their brilliance at 30 will somehow turn them into blithering idiots with 30 years experience on top of that brilliance.

Democracy as Mental Illness: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Cross 2020 by Nicky Reid (CounterPunch)

“The most important election of my life, I’m told. I’ve been sold that bill of goods every four years for the entirety of my short and painful life and it’s beginning to ring a bit hollow. […] Both sides have adopted the tactics of the Manson Family to get their chosen mentally depraved scion of scumfuckery in the White House.
“By the time you read this, one of those two rapidly disintegrating conmen will likely be our president-elect and I could honestly give five fucks and hardy shit which one it is. They’re two different flavors of the same goddamn hand grenade. Cram either one in your mouth and your skull won’t know the difference.
“That’s when the hopped up circus known as the Democratic National Primary began. A bottomless clown car of virtue signaling wokesters aping like Greta Thunberg on molly while downing five hundred dollar schnapps at Wall Street wine caves. They had one of everything, all vying to be first something. First woman. First Latino. First gay man. First albino epileptic to take it up the ass for the Great Satan and sell their tribe down the river with the manure of industrial grade tokenism. So many awful things to choose from. The only half descent [sic] choices were shoved to the back of the shelf like last years fruit cake. Mike Gravel was probably the only candidate running not guaranteed a seat in hell and this is probably the first time most have you have even heard about his campaign. The only sane candidate with half a chance was Tulsi Gabbard. She earned herself the honor of being slimed by every arsenic cupcake from Hillary to Joy Reid by committing treason and running a campaign McGovern might actually recognize. A Democrat who wants to get along with Russia? Well, if that ain’t fascism clearly everything else already is.”

On the coverage of Bernie’s campaign:

“Even when he was winning state after state after goddamn state, the talking heads would only mumble his name beneath their breaths like the adults on a Peanuts cartoon on Quaaludes, before becoming excitable yipping Shih Tzu’s once it was time to announce which token minority flavor of the month Wall Street chose to shove money in this week.
Bernie did what he does best and gleefully thanked his rapists for the dazzling evening of Last House on the Left-grade shenanigans before ordering his unruly groupies to shut the fuck up and take a seat.”
“So what was the point of all this insanity if we just end up with a slightly different flavor of war criminal?”

Which is the Real “Working Class Party” Now? by Matt Taibbi (SubStack)

“The paper cited the likes of David Axelrod and “Democrats who have spoken with [Hillary] Clinton” (!) in expressing “anxiety” about the field, which they believed lacked a “white knight” who could come in and beat Trump. They went on to propose a list of people who would calm such worries, including: billionaire Mike Bloomberg, Bain Capital private equity vampire and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and Eric Holder, the longtime bank lawyer who briefly pretended to be Attorney General during a period of record unpunished Wall Street lawlessness.

“The 2020 election showed that the Democrats’ imperious smart-set arrogance, open belief in the idea that minorities owe them their votes, and basically undisguised hostility toward the ordinary small-town person who hasn’t “learned to code,” finally began competing with Republican tone-deafness on race as a negative factor to be weighed by working class voters, of all races.

“Unless they stop lying to themselves about this, and embrace a politics that pays more than lip service to the working person, they will become what the Republicans used to be: an arm of the patrician rich, sneering at the unwashed majority and crossing fingers every election season. It’s not that Trump deserved those votes more. But he at least asked for them, and that was almost enough.

The Blue Wave that Never Came by Charles McKelvey (CounterPunch)

“Why was there no overwhelming moral rejection of leadership that divides? I believe that the answer is that both sides speak only to their base. Both sides use divisive rhetoric. Both sides are incapable of reasonable appeals beyond their base.

“I like the way New York Times columnist David Brooks has put it. He maintains that those of us who are anti-Trump ought to consider our own sins. “Over the past four years we’ve poured out an hourly flow of anti-Trump diatribes and in almost every case they rise to the top of the charts — most liked, most retweeted, most read. Even when justified, permanent indignation is not a healthy emotional state. We’ve become a little addicted to our own umbrage, addicted to that easy feeling of moral superiority, addicted to the easy affirmation bath we get when we repeat what we all believe. Trump-bashing has become a business model.””

Roaming Charges: After/Math by Jeffrey St. Clair (CounterPunch)

“the Democratic elites been trying to ritually purge the party of its leftist ranks since at least 1985, when in the aftermath of the Mondale defeat, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Joe Biden formed the Democratic Leadership Council. And the leftists they most wanted to purge at the time (with the possible exception of Ralph Nader) were Jesse Jackson and his multi-ethnic, working-class Rainbow Coalition. Instead of embracing the promise of Jackson’s remarkable movement, [Democrats] moved to crush it, so that they could transform the party into a hospitable receptacle for Wall Street money.
“The West versus the Rest: Biden leads Trump by about 4.5M votes nationwide (75.4M to 70.9M). Biden leads in California by 9.3M – 4.8M = (you guessed it!) 4.5M votes. So they’re even in the rest of the country. Take away Biden’s lead of 1.2M in Oregon and Washington, and Trump has a 1.2M vote lead east of the Pacific coast. […]”

The article Evo Morales Returns to Bolivia to Cheers — and Worries by María Silvia Trigo and Anatoly Kurmanaev (NY Times) is a near-perfect example of the criminal level of propaganda in the Gray Lady.

“Bolivia’s maverick former president, Evo Morales, made a triumphant return to his homeland Monday, a year after his failed attempt to keep power tore the nation apart and sent him into exile.”

He was ousted in a coup, forcing him to flee the country. The coup party ruled illegally over Bolivia for a year, constantly putting off elections. The recent election saw Morales’s party put back into power in a landslide. That is the situation that the NY Times described in its own words above.

There Is No Magical Plan To Stop COVID by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice)

“[…] there is no action plan to save us that Joe Biden’s been secretly hiding so Trump doesn’t steal it and become a national hero. Not a beautiful plan. Not an urgent plan. There is no plan.

“As for me, I plan to stay alive, to survive, to wait it out and try to find a way to help as many others as I can to do the same. It’s not Biden’s fault that he has no fix to an unsolvable problem, but it’s time we came to grips with the reality that there are no fixes, there will be deaths and economic catastrophe either way, and nobody has a magical plan to prevent it. Take care, for your own sake and for others. The objective now is to survive. It’s all we can do.”

I searched and searched and failed to find full election results on any mainstream media web site. Instead, I ended up at the 2020 Presidential General Election Results (US Election Atlas), which at least lists the Green Party and Libertarian Party candidates.

On the subject of hidden information, Facebook hid anything Trump-ish that my family posted for months before the election. Now that the election is over? All sorts of pro-Biden/anti-Trump stuff is swamping my newsfeed from people from whom I haven’t seen posts in a long time. The algorithms are churning away at popular opinion.

New York, Shamefully, on the Verge of Shuttering Public Schools by Matt Welch (Reason)

“Mayor Bill de Blasio is getting ready to pull the plug because the city’s test positivity rate, which had been hovering around or below 1.5 percent since June, shot up over 2 percent at the beginning of November, and will soon cross 3 percent, which is de Blasio’s threshold for shutting schools down. How did he arrive at that number? He pulled it out of his ass.

NYC is going to shut down schools at 3% positivity? Switzerland was at nearly 30% and didn’t shut down any schools. It’s now at about 20% and still dropping. The overall number is also dropping. But only higher-education moved online. Most kids are still going to school.

On the other hand, Epidemiology and transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in two Indian states by Multiple Authors (Science). From the introduction:

“By August 2020, India had reported several million cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with cases tending to show a younger age distribution than has been reported in higher-income countries. Laxminarayan et al. analyzed data from the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, which have developed rigorous contact tracing and testing systems (see the Perspective by John and Kang). Superspreading predominated, with 5% of infected individuals accounting for 80% of cases. Enhanced transmission risk was apparent among children and young adults, who accounted for one-third of cases.”

This would definitely indicate that children need to mask up just like everyone else—and that closing schools, as awful as it is for the kids and the parents and employers, may not be avoidable in places where COVID-19 is inexplicably spreading, despite other measures already being in place.

Just a note on election fraud: all indications are that there was vanishingly little to no fraud (see 2020 Was a Secure Election by Bruce Schneier) on election day or during counting. Commentators in both America and Europe are focusing laser-like on the lack of fraud on the day or after and, once again, ignoring the fact that most disenfranchised voters were disenfranchised long before the election.

Many people vote in districts that are so heavily gerrymandered that their vote doesn’t count at any level. Many vote in states with the same pattern—the electoral college takes care of those votes, as well. Without a parliamentary system—where people vote for parties or members of parties and those parties allocate representatives based on the percentage of votes they get—the U.S. automatically ignores more of the will of the people.

Many mail-in ballots aren’t counted or are lost—up to 22% according to veteran elections reporter Greg Palast. Many people are thrown off the rolls in purges. See my recent article Greg Palast on “The Purged” (Voters).