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Books I Will Not Write #8: The Year of the Conspiracy

Global viral pandemics, insane right-wing dictator-wannabes trying to set fire to the planet, and climate change aside, I'm officially declaring 2020 to be the Year of the Conspiracy Theory.

This was the year when QAnon, a frankly puerile rehashing of antisemitic conspiracy theories going back to the infamous Tsarist secret police fabrication The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, went viral: its true number of followers is unclear but in the tens of thousands, and they've begun showing up in US politics as Republican candidates capable of displacing the merely crazy, such as Tea Partiers, who at least were identifiably a political movement (backed by Koch brothers lobbying money).

Nothing about the toxic farrago of memes stewing in the Qanon midden should come as a surprise to anyone who read the Illuminatus! trilogy back in the 1970s, except possibly the fact that this craziness has leached into mainstream politics. But I think it's worrying indicative of the way our post-1995, internet-enabled media environment is messing with the collective subconscious: conspiratorial thinking is now mainstream.

Anyway. When life hands you lemons its time to make lemonade. How could I (if I had more energy and fewer plans) monetize this trend, without sacrificing my dignity, sanity, and sense of integrity along the way?

I'm calling it time for the revival of the big fat 1960s-1980s cold war spy/conspiracy thriller. A doozy of a plot downloaded itself into my head yesterday, and I have neither the time nor the marketing stance to write it, so here it is. (Marketing: I'm positioned as an SF author, not a thriller/mens adventure author, so I'd be selling to a different editorial and marketing department and the book advances for starting out again wouldn't be great.)

So, some background for a Richard Condon style comedy spy/conspiracy thriller:

The USA is an Imperial hegemonic power, and is structured as such internally (even though its foundational myth--plucky colonials rebelling against an empire--is problematically at odds with the reality of what it has become nearly 250 years later). In particular, it has an imperial-scale bureaucracy with an annual budget measured in the trillions of dollars, and baroque excrescences everywhere. Nowhere is this more evident than in the intelligence sector.

The USA has spies and analysts and cryptographers and spooks coming out of its metaphorical ears. For example, the CIA, the best-known US espionage agency, is a sprawling bureaucracy with an estimated 21,000 employees and a budget of $15Bn/year. But it's by no means the largest or most expensive agency: the NRO (the folks who run spy satellites) used to have a bigger budget than NASA. And the mere existence and name of the National Reconnaissance Office were classified secrets until 1992.

It has come to light that about 80% of the people who work in the intelligence sector in the US are not actual government officials or civil servants, but private sector contractors, mostly employed by service corporations who are cleared to handle state secrets. By some estimates there are two million security-cleared civilians working in the United States--more than the number of uniformed service personnel.

Keeping track of this baroque empire of espionage is such a headache that there's an entire government agency devoted to it: the United States Intelligence Community, established in 1981 by an executive order issued by Ronald Reagan. Per wikipedia:

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that were working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole includes 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances. According to a 2008 study by the ODNI, private contractors make up 29% of the workforce in the U.S. intelligence community and account for 49% of their personnel budgets.

USIC has 17 declared member agencies and a budget that hit $53.9Bn in 2012, up from $40.9Bn in 2006. Obviously this is a growth industry.

Furthermore, I find it hard to believe--even bearing in mind that this decade's normalization of conspiratorial thinking predisposes one towards such an attitude--that there aren't even more agencies out there which, like the NRO prior to 1992, remain under cover of a top secret classification. I'd expect some such agencies to focus on obvious tasks such as deniable electronic espionage (like the Russian government's APT29/Cozy Bear hacking group), weaponization of memes in pursuit of national strategic objectives (the British Army's 77th Brigade media influencers)), forensic analysis of offshore money laundering paper trails--the importance of which should be glaringly obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in world politics over the past two decades, or trying to identify foreign assets by analyzing the cornucopia of social data available from the likes of Facebook and Twitter's social graphs. (For example: it used to be the case that applicants for security clearance jobs with federal agencies were required not to have Facebook, Twitter, or similar social media accounts. They were also required not to have travelled overseas, with very limited exceptions, not to have criminal records, and so on. Bear in mind that Facebook maintains "ghost" accounts for everyone who doesn't already have a Facebook account, populated with data derived from their contacts who do. If you have access to FB's social graph you can in principle filter out all ghost accounts of the correct age and demographic (educational background, etc), cross-reference against twitter and other social media, and with a bit more effort find out if they've ever travelled abroad or had a criminal conviction. The result doesn't confirm that they're a security-cleared government employee but it's highly suggestive.)

But I digress.

The 1271 government organizations and 1931 private companies in 2010 have almost certainly mushroomed since then, during the global war on terror. Per Snowden, the proportion who are private contractors rather than civil servants, has also exploded. And, due to regulatory capture, it has become the norm for outsourcing contracts to be administered by former employees in the industries to which the contracts are awarded. There's a revolving door between civil service management and senior management in the contractor companies, simply because you need to understand the workload in order to allocate it to contractors, and because if you're a contractor knowing how the bidding process works from the inside gives you a huge advantage.

Let us posit a small group of golfing buddies in DC in the 2000s who are deeply disillusioned and cynical about the way things are developing, and conspire to milk the system. (They don't think of themselves as a conspiracy: they're golfing buddies, what could be more natural than helping your mates out?) They've all got a background in intelligence, either working in middle-to-senior management as government agency officers, or in senior management in a corporate contractor. They know the ropes: they know how the game is played.

Two of them take early retirement and invest their pensions in a pair of new startups: one of them--call them "A"--remains in place in, say, whatever department of the Defense Clandestine Service is the successor to the Counterintelligence Field Activity. They raise a slightly sketchy proposal for a domestic operation targeting proxies for Advanced Persistent Threats operating on US soil. For example: imagine QAnon is a fabrication of APT29. We know QAnon followers have carried out domestic terrorism attacks; if Q is actually a foreign intelligence service, is it plausible that they might also be using it to radicalize and recruit agents within other US intelligence services?

One of our retirees, "B", has established a small corporation that just happens to specialize in searching for signs of radicalization at home and by some magical coincidence fits the exact bill of requirements that our insider is looking for in a contractor.

Our other retiree, "C", has established a small corporation that produces Artificial Reality Games. As has been noted elsewhere Qanon bears a striking resemblance to a huge Artificial Reality Game. One of their products is not unlike "Spooks", from my 2007 novel Halting State; it's a game that encourages the players to carry out real world tasks on behalf of a shadowy national counter-espionage agency. In the novel, the players are unaware that they're working for a real national counter-espionage agency. In this scenario, the game is just a game ... but it's designed to make the players look plausibly similar to actual HUMINT assets working in a climate of surveillance capitalism and so reverting to classic tradecraft techniques in order to avoid being located by their dead letter drop's bluetooth pairing ID. But because they're actually gamers, on close examination they prove to not be actual spies. In other words, C generates lots of interesting false leads for B to explore and A to report on, but they never quite pan out.

So far, so plausible. But where's the story?

The clockwork powering the novel is simple: A runs his own pet counter-espionage project within the bigger agency and arranges to outsource the leg work to B's contractors on a cost-plus basis. Meanwhile, C's ARG designers create a perfectly balanced honeypot for B's agents. (The boots on the ground are all ignorant of the true relationship.) B is a major investor in C via a couple of offshore trusts and cut-outs: B also funnels money into A's offshore retirement fund. It's a nice little earner for everybody, bilking the federal government out of a few million bucks a year on an activity nobody expects to succeed but which might bear fruit one day and which meanwhile burnishes the status of the parent organization because it's clearly conducting innovative and proactive counter-espionage activity.

Then the wheels fall off.

C's team are running a handful of ARGs (because to run only one would be kind of suspicious). They are approached by the FBI to set up a honeypot for whichever radical group is the target of the day, be it Boogaloo Boys, Antifa, Al Qaida, Y'all Qaida, or whoever. And it turns out the FBI expect them to do something with the half-ton of ANFO they've conveniently provided (as an arrest pretext),

B's team meanwhile discover a scarily real-looking conspiracy who are planning to start some sort of war over the purity of their precious bodily fluids. A countdown is running and A's expected to actually make progress and arrest a ring of radicals before they blow anything up.

And A gradually comes to the realization that he and his golfing buddies are not the first people to have had this idea: they're not even the biggest. In fact, it begins to come to light that an entire top level division of the Department of Homeland Security (founded 2003! 240,000 employees! budget $51.67Bn!) is running plan B and funneling money to prop up various adversarial sock-puppets, one of which appears to have accidentally stolen half a dozen W76 physics packages (which, just like the good ole' days with the Minuteman III stockpile, have a permissive action lock code of "00000000"). The nukes are now in the possession of a bunch of nutters led by a preacher man who insists Jesus is coming, and his return will be heralded by a nuclear attack on the USA. But the folks behind the DHS grift can't do anything about it for obvious reasons (involving orange jumpsuits and long jail terms, or maybe actual risk of execution).

A can't expose this grift without attracting unwelcome attention, and a likely lifetime vacation in Club Fed along with his buddies B and C. But he doesn't want to be anywhere close to DC when the nukes go off. So what's a grifter to do?

C gets to give his ARG designers a new task: to set up a game targeting a very specific set of customers--conspiratorially-minded millenarian believers who are already up to their eyes in one plot and who need to be gently weaned onto a more potent brew of lies, right under the nose of the rival APT agents who have radicalized them ...

Climax: the nukes are defused, the idiot conspiracy believers are arrested, then the FBI turn up and arrest A, B, and C. On their way out the door it becomes apparent that they've been set up: they, themselves, were suckered into setting up their scam via another conspiracy ring to generate arrests for the FBI ...

(Fade to black.)

1497 Comments

1:

Charlie, I think you have just won spy thriller, conspiracy thriller, heist fiction and satire genres, all at once. If you'll ever have time and motivation (including financial motivation) to write it - please, please do.

2:

conspiratorial thinking is now mainstream

Conspiratorial thinking has *always* been mainstream, ranging backwards through UFOs, JFK assassination theories, fluoride as mind control, FDR helping the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and (as you note yourself), the Protocols.

I could go back all the way to the founding era of the US.

3:

Arguably too plausible for a spy thriller.

(and, as I know you know, way too nice; the actual motivation for most of the outsourcing is to pursue policies the USG officially doesn't have, starting with white supremacy and the accompanying eliminationist genocides.)

4:

The trouble is that most of those things ARE run as conspiracies - just not the sort that the Qanon/etc. idiots propose! As soon as a gummint (sub-)department arranges with a private organisation to do something which it is forbidden to do by law or to evade its oversight mechanisms, it IS a conspiracy.

Where that stops, I don't know. The UK gummint outsourced the national travel survey, and we haven't seen anything except predigested pap since. Was it deliberately done to ensure that we can no longer use FOI to get the data?

5:

"Paranoia" was one of the best RPG of the 80s.

Looks like a "code 7" mission.

6:

Yeah: CIA black sites, torture subcontracted to the Libyan secret police, and so on.

In hindsight Woodrow Wilson fucked things up for the State Department by positioning the USA (hypocritically) as a beacon of light in the darkness, succour to the fallen, the arsenal of democracy, and all that bullshit -- despite being a white supremacist dirtbag at heart. Too many people (including Americans) believed the bullshit, so the organs of state had to engage in nefarious activities with deniability, thereby rendering them unaccountable.

7:

Please note that I can't and won't write this, no matter how you plead with me.

Right now my to-do list (beyond the copy edits for "Invisible Sun" and marketing activities for "Dead Lies Dreaming") consists of: a redraft of "In His House" (sequel to "Dead Lies Dreaming"), a redraft of "Ghost Engine" (space opera I dead-ended on in 2017), then maybe the third in the "Dead Lies Dreaming" trilogy (provisional title: "Bones and Nightmares"), then maybe the last or penultimate Bob novel.

That, right there, is 2-3 years' work. If I added this book to the queue I wouldn't get to it before 2022, and it couldn't be published much before 2024. By which time the moment will have moved on. And anyway, I generate more than one viable book idea per 12 months: I actually reject about 80% of the ideas for novels that I come up with simply because I can't write a book every three months.

8:

It's been (for me, off in the moody corners) the year of two Warren Zevon songs; Veracruz ("I heard Woodrow Wilson's guns...") and Mohammed's Radio ("In walked the village idiot and his face was all aglow...")

Those are from 1978 and 1976, respectively. There are a few people out there for whom the last half-century must have been really exceptionally difficult to watch.

9:

The 1271 government organizations and 1931 private companies in 2010

Can we please have commas in numbers that aren't dates.

10:

Its a measure of how anxious I am these days that I was genuinely relieved to see your scenario end with the nukes defused (the coda of ABC arrested was a fillip, too, but the relief ... whoa.)

If only the world is as nice.

11:

If not a novel, how about an outline for a screenplay ? If Netflix are planning to make a series based on The 3-Body Problem then something like this should be a shoe in !
( assuming the Netflix decision wasn't "hey, this story is about the end of the world being China's fault" )

13:
> ...conspiracy ring to generate arrests for the FBI

It's always good to include bits of recent history for verisimilitude.

> By which time the moment will have moved on.

I always appreciate how you blend some good cozy escapist fantasy into all your writing.

14:

I don't write screenplays; wouldn't know where to start — it's a whole different skill set — and I have zero connections in the film/TV industry, so it'd basically be a waste of my time.

I'm sure you'd rather see another Laundry novel, right?

15:

In hindsight Woodrow Wilson fucked things up for the State Department by positioning the USA (hypocritically) as a beacon of light in the darkness, succour to the fallen, the arsenal of democracy, and all that bullshit -- despite being a white supremacist dirtbag at heart

That belief went way back before Wilson -- the idea that the US is a “shining city on a hill” for the world to admire and emulate is part of America’s founding credo. And Wilson, despite being a “white supremacist dirtbag,” as you say, did, in fact, try to get independence for a lot of people post WWI. He left out those non-whites because, well, see “white supremacist dirtbag” (though he did include Central European Slavs, who were not necessarily viewed as white in the early 20th century).

This is not to say the attitude wasn’t hypocritical or riven through with racism, but it’s a bit more complicated than you’re laying on.

(Also, we weren’t the arsenal of democracy until WWII. In WWI, we had to rely on the French to supply us with most weapons heavier than a rifle).

16:
Please note that I can't and won't write this, no matter how you plead with me.

The essence of strategy is deciding what you will NOT do.

I'm sure you'd rather see another Laundry novel, right?

Like, TOTALLY, man.

17:

Can I have a go too? I wonder what the UK version of this looks like...

Five Eyes is probably more like N Eyes these days, plus the ever-increasing bandwidth between Military, Security and Police means that there is a lot of information sloshing around.

How do billionaire tax evaders organise their money? Lots of answers are to be found in "Moneyland" by Oliver Bullough. Lots of these involve deniable accounts stored on computers on small islands. The institutions who own these machines can afford some computer security, of course, but not enough to beat the best in the world.

So here is an easy way for a small group of gaming buddies working in the basement of the MOD to make a few millions; find people with secret illegal accounts and hack them. Transfer the money to accounts that they control. Then launder it. They figure that all that money is deniable; if you empty an account its owner may complain to the bank, but they won't be calling the Fraud Squad. And morally its pretty clean; after all, your only stealing from bigger thieves.

And it all goes swimmingly. These guys are almost as intelligent as they think they are, so they don't get greedy or start fighting each other over the loot. They know that once they've got Fuck You Money (about £25M each in these low-interest days) its just a matter of keeping score. They even agree to share half the money with good causes because they are, genuinely, nice well-meaning people. You really could lend them the keys to your house, safe in the knowledge that they would have washed the dishes before handing them back.

However these good causes are a weak point in the plan. Getting on for £100M is actually quite difficult to give away. Most charities regard £1,000 as a large donation. Anything above £10,000 triggers money laundering checks. £1M in one lump is exceptional, even for a big name like the RSPCA (annual budget ~£140M), and these guys are trying to do that 100 times. The pattern is going to be noticed.

It gets noticed by our protagonist, Inspector Jones of Scotland Yard, who is an old-school follow-the-money detctive. Someone is donating huge amounts of money to a bunch of left-liberal and save-the-kittens type charities. The money is being piped through a variety of shady tax havens. Obviously there is some nefarious purpose behind all this: the kind of person who hides vast wealth in offshore tax havens does not load £100M into a shotgun and fires it off at random on a whim. But what?

Inspector Jones spends the first half of the book pulling strings that don't lead anywhere. Are the charities just fronts for money laundering? Four raids on charity headquarters net one case of small-scale peculation. A comparison of their books yields nothing either; they don't all hire the same shady overpriced security firm. And the money is coming with no strings attached. What is going on?

Jones reasons that this must be a pilot operation for something much bigger. Maybe a destabilisation of the UK economy; perhaps the next phase will be the dumping of vast wealth on some other unsuspecting group. Money is like a drug in more ways than one: the dose makes the poison. Toxic quantities of money sloshing into the wrong places could seriously screw people and places up. What if, for instance, the entire Heathrow security force (say, 1,000 people) suddenly got £1M each. Many would not turn up for work the next day, and you can't recruit and train 1,000 security guards overnight. Or something. Jones has a busy and suspicious mind, and he is sure that *something* along those lines is planned.

Or maybe the next tranch of money is going to some nastier charities, the kind of people who like to occupy city centers and throw stones at policemen (an activity that Jones has strong views on). What could some of them do with a few million pounds?

Jones talks to lots of senior people about these concerns. Some of them listen. He makes some headway against bureacrats who are see him as a potentially dangerous nut, and eventually gets the political sponsorship for some serious countermeasures. Foreign agents are tasked, computer analyses of money flows from Russia and China are carried out. Of course nothing turns up. Jones has used up what little political capital he had.

Then Jones gets a break. Someone at one of the tax haven banks is also pretty bright, and has managed to trace some of the activity that has been costing her employer's customers so much money. She can't call the police because much of her day-to-day work is in direct violation of UK tax, securities and AML law. However a friend of a friend mentions this fellow Jones at Scotland Yard. So she makes contact, and Jones talks his long-suffering boss into letting him have one last shot; a flight out to a tropical island. His boss only says yes because he figures that a week in paradise might do him some good. Who knows, he might even get laid and chill out.

Jones does some more sleuthing. His informant's information is good. He learns a lot of things about the tax haven business, how money is shunted into hidden accounts and managed by offshore cutouts in different countries (cue infodump based on "Moneyland"). Jones is now hot on the trail. He makes phone calls home, pulls strings, calls in favours, and finally tracks down the perpetrators. Who are these guys? Are they agents of a foreign power intent on destablising the UK economy? No. They are just a nice bunch of guys who figured out how to rip off a bunch of theives from the safety of their own homes. Actual live modern day Robin Hoods.

Jones waits until their regular Thursday evening D&D session, then goes and knocks on the door, alone. He introduces himself, explains what he knows, and asks to be dealt in...

18:

Ok. You won't write it. But what writer would, in you opinion, find it suited his style the best? (Acknowledging that Shea & Wilson were relatively unknown before "Illuminatus!".)

19:

Charlie's plot has a lot in common with Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday", which is about a secret council of anarchists, all but one of whom turn out to be secret policemen investigating each other.

[[ fixed link - mod ]]

20:

Graydon@8 wrote:

It's been (for me, off in the moody corners) the year of two Warren Zevon songs...

Speaking as a guy a couple of years younger than Zevon, yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Now I gotta find my copy of "Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School" and play "Jungle Work."

21:

Needs more bored Italian academics :).

22:
Needs more bored Italian academics :).
Needs more high-level pranksters in general. (If that's what you meant.) Not everyone is motivated by greed.
23:

Need an Italian academic to write a sequel to "Foucault's Pendulum", incorporating Q-Anon, Birthers, anti-Vaxxers, etc.

24:

The only thing implausible about this scenario is the FBI sting. IIRC, in the last decade or so, most of the stupid terrorist FBI stings have targeted people in the bottom quartile of the IQ scale. Fortunately for the FBI, there's a target rich environment for anyone who wants to do genuine work, especially in conjunction with the southern district of New York.

Also, you missed the elevator pitch: this is obviously a retooling of The Producers set in the War On Terror Intelligence Industry. If someone wanted to sell this to Hollywood (or Broadway) they could do it as a musical.

25:

I remember while on holiday in Washington being stuck at traffic lights behind a bus that on its back had an advert for jobs with Top Secret clearances.

Its a bit of a different world there I think. No messing around at Oxbridge colleges for them then!

26:

who need to be gently weaned onto a more potent brew of lies
Shhh. :-)
Seriously, there are applied eschatologists already in positions of power. E.g. Mike Pompeo[1]. And there are some active influence operations (some (but not all) are the crude efforts by the DJT reelection campaign) targeting various Christian evangelical groups. (I'm mostly watching the US but this is done elsewhere.) Doing it with an ARG would be a really fun twist.

[1] NYTimes link sorry: Mike Pompeo Blends Beliefs and Policy - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has linked Christian beliefs with foreign policy, raising questions about the extent to which his evangelism is influencing American diplomacy. (Edward Wong, March 30, 2019)

27:

You're thinking too law-abidingly. The Billionaire Tax Evaders can't exactly complain to the Fraud Squad. But they are likely sociopaths, they aren't poor, and they're possessive.

Your story includes the motivated individual. It doesn't include the very-well-paid private investigators hired to track down the thieves. Throw in the possibility that they accidentally hit the offshore accounts of an organised criminal, or the premier of a large kleptocracy (short bloke, background in intelligence services, demonstrated willingness to murder anyone who crosses him, doesn't much care about collateral damage)...

You've got the makings of a comedy of errors as Russians, sundry Israelis, occasional Americans, maybe a few African operators, all descending on a sleepy Gloucestershire village to try and identify the thieves who ripped off the wrong people.

You've even got the possibility of the thieves being just good enough to persuade the victims that it was actually the other victims who stole from them. Intelligence services around the world trying to figure out why certain large news organisations are pressing for the overthrow of oil-rich nations; or why megayachts are disappearing at sea, while there are rumours that certain private space-access firms are working hard at control over terminal accuracy for "aborted landings"...

28:

Ideally it'd be written by Richard Condon, except he died a couple of decades ago. ("The Manchurian Candidate" and the Prizzi trilogy were some of his better-known works: the third book in the latter eerily prefigured the Trump administration.)

Failing that? "Stephen Bury".

29:

Danger, you're getting quite close to aspects of the plot of "Dead Lies Dreaming" and sequels! Except it's not about money, it's all about power, and by power I mean the kind of power that would make the New Management sit up and take notice!

30:

an advert for jobs with Top Secret clearances

See https://www.clearancejobs.com

Such job advertisements can be quite useful, for certain values of "useful". A few years ago I was trying to understand the scope of activities at the NRO ground station colocated with the NASA facility outside Las Cruces, NM. The number of jobs in Las Cruces that have TS/SCI + polygraph requirements is impressive.

https://www.indeed.com/q-Active-Ts-Sci-l-Las-Cruces,-NM-jobs.html

31:

Throw in the possibility that they accidentally hit the offshore accounts of an organised criminal, or the premier of a large kleptocracy

Sounds a bit like the plot from The Seven Day Soldiers, although that was written in a more innocent time…

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2516520.The_Seven_Day_Soldiers

32:

Martin @ 27: "You're thinking too law-abidingly.

Yes, you are right. Of course the very best private detectives for this kind of job have inside contacts in the various Intelligence agencies. So one day someone comes down to the MOD basement and tells our boys that he has a secret side job for them. Very hush hush, reporting only to me. I need you to track down some secret funds that have gone missing en-route to some of our agents overseas...

33:

Charlie
Unfortunately ....
Frank Herbert's novels almost always involved a vast conspiracy, or even several.
Ah yes, - "Paper Trails" - the weekend's "FT" comic had a short account of how its journalists crashed the Wirecard mega-fraud, in spite of the German government aganecies being set up by the fraudsters to pursue the journos, not the criminals ... I mean you could not make this shit up.
Bear in mind that Facebook maintains "ghost" accounts for everyone who doesn't already have a Facebook account, populated with data derived from their contacts who do.
REALLY?
Is/would it be possible to get a court order instructing these utter shits to cease & desist?
Hint: I refuse, point-blank to have anything to do with Arsebook.
Incidentally - why "not travelled aboroad"? I would have thought that, for an intel agent was necessary, to avoid groupthink & chanelling of idiot thought-patterns. Mind you, it would explain a lot ...

Ah, I see wheels within wheels within ... superimposed on succesive fleas, of course.
Problem - how far down do you go?

Total
In WWI, we had to rely on the French to supply us with most weapons heavier than a rifle
Erm, NO .... Like THIS
A Pictuure

Paul
"Our Man in Havana"
For a very satirical wind-up & take on that one.

34:

Rather off-topic, but saw this headline and thought of “Accelerando” for some reason:

Taxpayer Watchdog Group Sues VA for Records of Cat De-Braining Experiments

35:

Erm, NO

Erm, YES. For values of land warfare, which is what I was thinking of. But fair enough, we had a lot of battleships that went to England, and did absolutely nothing of use, except to use up fuel and wander around the North Sea occasionally.

On land, as I said, the US Army relied on the French to supply them with most weapons heavier than a rifle. Hey, at least we got a drink out of it (the French 75 cocktail).

36:

Also off-topic, sorry.
That picture of Priti Patel from the Guardian article Charlie tweeted has some strong Martin Shkreli / Kim Yo-jong energy.

37:

The Youtuber Drachinifel had an alt-history "what-if" posting once where he and some friends wargamed out the scenario in which the Kaisermarine High Seas Fleet sortied into the North Sea near the end of WW1 in a last-gasp operation against the British Home Fleet and associated US capital ships.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrTeYcRXDEw

There's a memorable part of the action where a previous-generation USS battleship comes steaming into the engaged battle-line, burning out its boilers and thrashing its engines to death in a desperate attempt to get into the fight.

38:

Reminds me of the classic Doctor Who episode Castrovalva

39:

I have already been thinking I really need to reread Travels in Hyperreality, but I guess a lot of reasons make this very much Eco’s time. It’s a pity he didn’t live longer, but we can say that about a lot of authors.

40:

Charlie Stross @ 7: That, right there, is 2-3 years' work. If I added this book to the queue I wouldn't get to it before 2022, and it couldn't be published much before 2024. By which time the moment will have moved on.

Yeah, we all HOPE it will have moved on ... and not be nostalgia looking back to better times.

41:

That picture of Priti Patel from the Guardian article Charlie tweeted has some strong Martin Shkreli / Kim Yo-jong energy.

Ignoring the noise from the top and focusing on the ER/police Red Queen Race:

Yes, there is one, although I'm not involved in it. Back a decade or two ago, a previous set of blockade protestors tied themselves to large bamboo tripods, on the theory that the police couldn't get them down easily without hurting them, and that made a block. It worked once. Then the police had a long think. The next time the tripod crew came out to do a blockade, three cops each lifted up one leg of each tripod, marched them off to safe locations, and disassembled the structure. This was used in a book on nonviolence as an example of the pressing need for nonviolent actionists to innovate as rapidly as the police did.

So now it looks like they're using tensegrity structures and (probably) tying themselves into human mats. Yay! They're innovating! And I'll bet the cops are looking at this with a combination of the eye roll (how many hours is it going to take to disentangle this one?), and a bit of contemplation (okay, how do we deal with it faster next time?). While the ER crew's going through all this and trying to figure out how to build a better blockade each time.

It's a good dialog to have, IMHO. Keeps people out of trouble, except for the grifters at the top.

42:

Total @ 15: In hindsight Woodrow Wilson fucked things up for the State Department by positioning the USA (hypocritically) as a beacon of light in the darkness, succour to the fallen, the arsenal of democracy, and all that bullshit -- despite being a white supremacist dirtbag at heart

That belief went way back before Wilson -- the idea that the US is a “shining city on a hill” for the world to admire and emulate is part of America’s founding credo. And Wilson, despite being a “white supremacist dirtbag,” as you say, did, in fact, try to get independence for a lot of people post WWI. He left out those non-whites because, well, see “white supremacist dirtbag” (though he did include Central European Slavs, who were not necessarily viewed as white in the early 20th century).

This is not to say the attitude wasn’t hypocritical or riven through with racism, but it’s a bit more complicated than you’re laying on.

(Also, we weren’t the arsenal of democracy until WWII. In WWI, we had to rely on the French to supply us with most weapons heavier than a rifle).

Where we screwed up was NOT BEING the "shining city on a hill". We should always BE worthy of the admiration and emulation we seek (whether we get them or not).

But we're not the only ones worshiping idols with feet of clay.

43:

Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum" comes to mind...

44:

It wasn't Wilson.

Ignoring the twin issues of slavery and genocide that made the hill of bodies for that ol' shining city to sit atop, I'd blame McKinley as much as Wilson.

The key thing McKinley did was to buckle under and allow the annexation of Hawai'i and the invasion of Cuba and the Philippines, taking the latter two away from Spain. This was problematic for the US, because in doing this it started acting like all the other imperial powers, rather than the "peaceful republic" that was supposed to be a better example than Britain, France, Russia, or Germany. That, at least, was the rhetoric at the time, and even the Speaker of the House fought bitterly (and failed) to keep the US from going overseas.

In any event, the counterargument for taking these locations was sea power. Absent the transcontinental railroad, US ships had to go around Cape Horn to get supplies from San Francisco to the East Coast and vice versa. With the Panama Canal likely in the future, controlling access to that canal (if not the Canal itself) was considered vital to national interests, because whoever controlled the Canal effectively controlled maritime travel between the two coasts. Cuba (and Puerto Rico, Haiti, etc) were invaded at various points to protect the route. Whoever controlled Hawai'i had a big say in what happened in the Pacific, and the Philippines are a central point for the South China Sea, as we're seeing now.

But all those island grabs started under McKinley, apparently not because he wanted them, but because he went along with the people pushing them.

45:

Random thought of the day.

Anybody remember Steve Jackson's old Illuminati card game?

If so, do you remember one of the organizations, the "Semi-conscious Liberation Army"

I think QAnon's their real world counterpart, although instead of liberal and communist, they're libertarian and Russia-backed.

46:

OP: Charlie, I nearly did a spit take with my morning coffee when you referred to the U.S. Intelligence Community as an organization - it's more like a herd of feuding siblings, arguing with each other and competing for Daddy's attention and money.

The U.S. had practically no intelligence apparatus before WWII. Secretary of State Henry Stimson, later FDR's Secretary of War, famously said "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail" when shutting down the State Department's Cipher Bureau in 1929. The U.S. Army and U.S. Navy had small cryptographic offices which were later successful (to some extent) in cracking Japanese diplomatic and military codes, and of course there was the Anglo-American sharing of Enigma messages.

Even though the National Security Act of 1947 laid out the formal basis of U.S. intelligence agencies after WWII, there was never a single agency controlling U.S. intelligence until the creation of the Director of National Intelligence in 2004, as part of the blame game played in the U.S. post-9/11. And the DNI is pretty much a toothless tiger, in part because it does not control the budgets of the various agencies.

If you want a conspiracy theory, you can posit that El Cheeto Grande is a Russian asset specifically tasked to destroy the U.S. intelligence, defense and foreign policy establishments, and destroy whatever standing the U.S. had in the world.

That being said, your setup is quite amusing. It reminds me just a bit of one of my favorite 1960s movie farces, "The President's Analyst".

[[ html fix - mod ]]

47:

Anybody remember Steve Jackson's old Illuminati card game?

I've got it, both the original game and the CCG. Didn't really like either, but then the whole conspiracy thing left me cold. I just assumed it was like American humour — I can tell it's supposed to be funny, but I'm not seeing the jokes…

48:

Regards this "intelligence-industrial complex":

The only salesmen I've encountered selling Palantir to financial institutes are ex-intelligence. ex-MI5 and ex-CIA.

I assume because that's their most important client base.

(or maybe the Palantir sales-guy who calls himself "Q" is ex-MI6 rather than ex-MI5 - I don't remember)

49:

Once upon a time I actually worked for one of those private contractors, albeit not in intelligence (paralegal services, subcontracted to DOJ to defend Bonneville Power Administration in the Washington Public Power Supply System...yes, WPPSS!...suit about bond payout defaults). Y'all may have heard of a little company called CACI.

The premise is entirely plausible.

50:

How about a reverse 'Nigerian Prince scam': instead of phishing for money, deposit money at random targeting seniors, people in low-wage jobs, unemployed, etc.

Or --- hack an online lottery ticket purchase site, get the names/contact info and demos, cross-reference against FB or neighborhood (socio-economic status) and tell them they won some sort of new lottery tie-in contest and deposit their 'winnings' directly into whatever account they use for that. Keep the winnings amount fairly low to avoid drawing too much attention or having the 'winner' do anything reckless in reaction.

I've no idea what's involved in setting up/registering a charity but figure that it can't be too hard to do or that they're that closely monitored. (See DT & family, plus budget cuts.) Anyways, once your charity is set up, just start sending out small amounts of money to the people who already use/rely on some legit charity.

Or - set up a church/start your own religion.

Approach and strategy would depend on how much on-going effort these Robin Hood folks are willing to put in and for how long. If they have a very long outlook or manage to keep going long enough to become part of the charity world background or start growing (need to hire personnel) that's when the personal vs. business ethics and other issues really show up.


51:

Anybody remember Steve Jackson's old Illuminati card game?

Never had any of his games. But I do remember his issues with the US Secret Service raids on SJG and their total lack of understanding of the gaming industry and reality. Conspiracies and all that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jackson_(American_game_designer)#1990_Secret_Service_incident_and_legal_actions

52:

Not sure how this changes or amplifies the reality of your premise...

QAnon, ... its true number of followers is unclear but in the tens of thousands,

I think you're off by at least 2 zeros. More likely 3. I have relatives and my wife's workmates who believe it all. They don't "follow" but they do regurgitate the party lines with regularity.

And just tonight I discovered that some of these folks are publicly moving off FB and to parler where they will not be censored when spreading lies. But lies they think are real.

oy vey.

53:

I like the idea a lot! It's very funny and also true in a very disturbing way.

One of the books I'll never write is the story of a young Republican campaign worker who, after the election of his boss to the presidency, is given a very low-level job somewhere in Washington, and discovers that he's been issued Oliver North's old shredder, and that this cranky old machine is the key to his getting laid endlessly, as long as he doesn't mind whatever blond bimbo he's boffing that night leaning over the shredder and moaning, "Oliver! Oh God! Oliver!" This fuels his rise to power....

54:

Need an Italian academic to write a sequel to "Foucault's Pendulum",
Sure, but I had in mind some (possible:) Italian linkages to very early QAnon, at least as a copy of/homage to an Italian work called Q, and perhaps more direct. (There might be more; haven't looked. I have other (uhm) guesses; keeping to self.) This is from 2018. Though calling them academics is maybe a stretch.
People Think This Whole QAnon Conspiracy Theory Is A Prank On Trump Supporters - "What the fuck is wrong with boomers?" (Ryan Broderick, August 6, 2018)
And the full email exchange that the Wu Ming/Luther Blisset parts of that were based on:
On #QAnon: The full text of our Buzzfeed Interview
Question: Have there been key moments for you that made you feel like QAnon is an homage to Q? What has lined up the best?
Coincidences are hard to ignore: dispatches signed Q allegedly coming from some dark meanders of top state power, exactly like in our book. This Q is frequently described as a Blissett-like collective character, «an entity of about ten people that have high security clearance», and at the same time – like we did for the LBP – weird “origin myths” are put into circulation, like the one about John Kennedy Jr. faking his own death in 1999 – the year Q was first published, by the way! – and becoming Q. QAnon’s psy-op reminds very much of our old «playbook», and the metaconspiracy seems to draw from the LBP’s set of references, as it involves the Church, satanic rituals, paedophilia…
...
We can’t say for sure that it’s an homage, but one thing is almost certain: our book has something to do with it. It may have started as some sort of, er, “fan fiction” inspired by our novel, and then quickly became something else.
Let us take for granted, for a while, that QAnon started as a prank in order to trigger right-wing weirdos and have a laugh at them. There’s no doubt it has long become something very different. At a certain level it still sounds like a prank, but who’s pulling it on whom? Was the QAnon narrative hijacked and reappropriated by right-wing “counter-pranksters”? Counter-pranksters who operated with the usual alt-right “post-ironic” cynicism, and made the narrative more and more absurd in order to astonish media pundits while spreading reactionary content in a captivating way?
...
A larp it is, for sure. To be more precise, it’s a fascist Alternate Reality Game. Plausibly the most active players – ie the main influencers – don’t believe in all the conspiracies and metaconspiracies, but many people are so gullible that they’ll gulp down any piece of crap ...

55:

A couple of years later[1], Steve Jackson produced a game based on a twisted combination of that event and Illuminati, called "Hacker". The game itself is pretty meh, but the rulebook is a delight, full of little sidebars saying things like "Note for US Secret Service agents: you cannot really hack real computers by rolling dice in a card game".

I do agree with Robert Prior that the jokes in Illuminati mostly fall flat for a non-US audience[2], but it remains one of the games I've had the most fun with - slightly-tipsy mass mutual bluffing among a group of friends who know each other('s tells) really well.

[1] a couple of years after the raid, that is. The lawsuit finally came to trial in 1993, and SJG never got some of their computer stuff back.
[2] though the combinations required for successful attacks can produce some entertaining madlibs-style stuff. Where else, except perhaps in 2020, would you have Big Oil funding the Boy Scouts' attempt to wrest control of New York from the Trekkies?

56:

Troutwaxer @ 53: this cranky old machine is the key to his getting laid endlessly

Sounds like an episode of Warehouse 13.

57:

SFReader @ 50: I've no idea what's involved in setting up/registering a charity but figure that it can't be too hard to do or that they're that closely monitored. (See DT & family, plus budget cuts.)

I'm not an expert (and neither are our computer geeks from the MOD), but I get the distinct impression that charity regulation in the USA is much laxer than in the UK. I don't think that the Trump Foundation would get away with those shenanigans here.

Actually our boys have a bigger problem with repatriating the money. At the start its all a kind of game to them; the money is piling up in offshore accounts at the same institutions they are ripping off, but actually spending any of it is a problem for tomorrow. They have a vague plan to buy citizenship in some small island state and then find somewhere nice and tropical where they can have week-long D&D sessions in a big house while being waited on by pretty young women (and men, in one case). They haven't realised how big a challenge it will be to do this whilst remaining alive and free.

58:

David L @ 52:

QAnon, ... its true number of followers is unclear but in the tens of thousands,

I think you're off by at least 2 zeros. More likely 3. I have relatives and my wife's workmates who believe it all. They don't "follow" but they do regurgitate the party lines with regularity.

This article in MIT Technology Review talks about how QAnon is targeting Evangelicals. Their "save the children from the paedophile conspiracy" shtick goes down well there, because Evangelicals are all about saving the children, and they are also always being encouraged to see the Hand of Satan in the events on the news, so they are half-way to conspiracy theory already. This is creating a wider group of semi-believers who don't treat the writings of Q as the holy writ but do strongly suspect that much of the QAnon stuff is real.

This is worryingly reminiscent of the "disruptive technology" theory of Clayton Christensen. His book "The Innovator's Dilemma" described how a new technology can get a foothold serving a small market that the big incumbents don't much care about. There it can improve its performance gradually over time until it reaches the tipping point where it can beat the incumbent technology on its home turf. At that point its all over for the incumbent.

This is what the viral memes of Q have been doing; they have infected a comparatively small group of conspiracy-minded nutters that most people don't care about (until they start shooting up pizza parlours). But now these memes have evolved to the point where they can start taking on mainstream religions.

Which means that its game over for conventional religion. Which is pretty scary, because the Church of Q is going to be the kind of church militant that goes on literal crusades against whoever it has defined as the Enemy.

59:

Recommended viewing for anything like this is the film The Long Kiss Goodnight, which uses similar ideas for its plot. I won't say more because spoilers.

60:

That, amusingly reminds me that "donald trump, bloom county, bill the cat" in a search engine can provoke a much needed laugh. BTW, which comic strip character donated their brain to the masterminds of BREXIT?

61:

I've no idea what's involved in setting up/registering a charity but figure that it can't be too hard to do or that they're that closely monitored.

Not that hard in the US. And if running a scam you mainly need to make sure you:
1. Don't piss off your donors/marks or they will report you.
2. Keep your filings current (a club I'm a part of had previous officers who didn't and now we get to do all the paper work all over again.)
3. Keep the numbers consistent and reasonable. For various definitions of such.

But to make real money in a non profit, set one up in the US and do something public and supposedly somewhat useful. Then form a for profit management firm that does all the work for the non profit. Pocket the money from the for profit. You can make a mint as long as you really pay the taxes due.

There's nothing illegal to set up a food bank where fund raising and overhead (out sourced management) eat up 70% to 90% of the cash flow. Despicable but not illegal.

62:

Paul
And, from what I can make out & the descriptions in here, "the Church of Q" already has a name: Nazism
Shit, oh shit.

63:

Not implausible: the Third Reich did try to establish an official Nazi-sanctioned church — copy of Mein Kampf on the altar instead of a (dangerously Jewish-adjacent) Bible, party loyalist clergy, various patriotic hymns, swastika instead of cross/crucifix.

It didn't gain much traction (the Lutheran church was too deeply entrenched and Hitler didn't want to antagonize the pope just yet) but given another decade? Totally a thing.

64:

Indeed. And several other fascist states run by extremists have done similar things - Mao's Little Red Book and associated rituals passed the duck test for being a church, and I have heard that North Korea is similar.

65:

Political Funding as an alternative US laundering scam !

66:

When I said "Church of Q" I didn't mean a building with a giant Q hanging over the alter; a more likely scenario will be a group of people who call themselves Christians but who actually spend all their effort on QAnon causes. It will probably look more like the KKK than the Nazis.

67:

Evangelicals are all about saving the children

Yes, but saving them for what? Given the level of child abuse in many Evangelical sects…

68:

Yes, but saving them for what?

Quiverfull Movement.

69:

I would expect where a congregation's Pastor & Elders are sympathetic to Q, dissenting members will be made unwelcome until it becomes Q-friendly. A taxidermy-like process, it'll look xian, but the filling won't be.

70:

There was nothing occult about the shredder - I wrote the plotline down around 2004 when North was still relevant - the idea was that it was part of the Oliver North legend and thus sexy as heck if you were a rightwing-woman of a certain age.

71:

Len Deighton, with a knowledgeable technical advisor.

72:

I wonder what will happen to QAnon if Biden wins the election, particularly if he does prosecute every Trump-era official he can get his hands on (as he should.)

73:

I kept waiting for you to tell me what D was doing. Everyone knows golf is played in foursomes...

74:

Oh that's easy... D is the SF author who's working up plots, then discovering that his golf buddies are taking them and running with them.

75:

Slightly OT: did you see my "Robots Discover Mental Vulnerability in Humanity" post?

"So the engagement algorithms of YouTube, Twitter, and, above all, Facebook find the versions of the Q story that provide the most fear and anger and, above all, attention and spread them around."

And, also, (h/t to Graydon Saunders) "There is also the possibility of social media that works differently, that promotes cooperation and compassion rather than fear and hate."

You can read the whole post at https://adviceunasked.blogspot.com/2020/08/robots-discover-mental-vulnerability-in.html but I've stolen most of my thunder here.

76:

So basically, our refusal to understand advertising to be the purulent slime of evil that it is, and consequent failure to keep it off the internet from the word go, are going to provide us with the proof of its nature. Which we will continue to ignore even when the front doors start going in.

77:

The two difficulties are (a) there isn't a consensus on what is positive and what is negative (*) and (b) strong emotions such as anger attrack more attention than passive ones line cooperation. Compassion depends on where you are on the sociopathic scale.

(*) Consider Extinction Rebellion as an example.

79:

I saw a lot of jobs requiring HS/poly. I only had a POTs clearance (Position of Trust), being a sysadmin. No top secrets, or middle secrets for me, only bargain basement ones, or maybe blue light specials....*

* K-mart was famous for announcing, during the shopping day, "blue ligt specials", and they'd turn up a blue light and people shopping would rush to buy.

80:

Megayachts disappearing at sea... "Ellen, call the crew together, it's time to take the Nautilus out on a cruise...."

81:

Plus for for the President's Analyst. Always loved that movie.

82:

QAnon is much more dangerous than the Teabaggers ever were (and I'm saying that under full knowledge they were instrumental in paving the way for Trump). The latter were a discrete astroturf movement controlled by the Kochtopus and which had clear goals like pushing deregulation, tipping the culture war in the right's favor and just spiting Obama.

But QAnon... what started as a conspiracy theory Trump supporters told each other to explain why, after their God-Emperor claimed the throne, their lives still sucked and that didn't require pinko material analysis of late-stage capitalist society has now metastasized into a fascist terrorist death cult with global scope...

The prognosis is bleak. QAnon's trajectory points straight towards mainstreaming and establishing a political power base, with QAnon-associated congressional candidates already winning GOP primaries. Add British MPs in the near future, if we look at the size of QAnon rallies on the island...

A fundamental part of the QAnon narrative is that there's a secret war going on which will conclude in the imprisonment and(or execution of The Bad People. Soon their members will wield legislative/executive power to make this a reality...

83:

Yeah, he's an old friend, and he's told me a bit about it.

84:

He's in good company - Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin (twice). Apparently the same id&&t nominated him in 2018

85:

Re: "Robots Discover Mental Vulnerability in Humanity"

The article mentions that a 'startle' is what activates this type of response/addiction. If so, then some sort of embedded online version of MUZAK - impossible to turn off/down and cloyingly sweet - might help prevent the 'startle'. Or at least redirect the annoyance toward another object a la Pavlov - in this case 'elevator music'.

BTW - what FB and other social sites do is not 'advertising'. Advertising is required to identify its sponsors and (still) has to follow rules re: target audience buys (time slots, no direct-to-children messages), misleading product or price claims, etc. FB is in the business of enabling propaganda: no legal requirements for verification of sponsor identification or claims which means it's extremely difficult - time-consuming and expensive - for anyone receiving this message to seek legal redress/compensation. Also - just because you've subscribed to some mag/newsletter/online social site/service, it does not automatically follow that you've completely ceded all your rights to not be misled or lied to. This is what FB has been burying their head in the sand about/denying for forever: they get paid for allowing orgs/people to insert info - therefore they share responsibility for the consequences of that info.

86:

OGH must be morphically resonating.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/09/opinion/garrison-courtney-spies-contracts.html
Starting in 2014 and continuing for over a year, the spy approached dozens [of] companies with his recruitment pitch: the chance to join a covert government program, the knowledge of whose existence, he warned, could cost some lives, but it was also a group, he promised, that could save some lives, too. And in return for assisting the C.I.A. by providing him and his security operative — “The Twins,” people cleared for the op would call the pair — with salaries and commercial cover, the grateful agency would ensure that a trove of government contracts would come their way.
The spy called this top-secret enterprise Alpha214. It was approved, he claimed, by the president and by the director of national intelligence...
There was, however, one big problem with the program: It was a gigantic construct of inventive multimillion-dollar crookery.
87:

Heteromeles @ 44: It wasn't Wilson.

Ignoring the twin issues of slavery and genocide that made the hill of bodies for that ol' shining city to sit atop, I'd blame McKinley as much as Wilson.

Ignoring those issues was what kept us from being. IF we ever want to be what we believed we were, we're going to have to do something about them.

We're kind of at cross-purposes here. Y'all see only America's failures & I want to know what we have to do to make a America a success?

ALL; an inclusive society worthy of the Statue of Liberty. Don't tell me we aren't the "shining city on a hill". I already know that. Tell me how we BECOME the "shining city on a hill".
88:

Dave P @ 46: If you want a conspiracy theory, you can posit that El Cheeto Grande is a Russian asset specifically tasked to destroy the U.S. intelligence, defense and foreign policy establishments, and destroy whatever standing the U.S. had in the world.

I think you take too narrow a view of Trumpolini's tasking from his Kremlin masters. And I'll grant Trumpolini may not understand how he's doing Moscow's bidding. I wouldn't go so far as to claim he's an unwitting agent, merely that he's a half-wit agent of a foreign power.

89:

And Henry L Stimson: "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail." (1929, while Secretary of State for Hoover.)

90:

Paul @ 66: When I said "Church of Q" I didn't mean a building with a giant Q hanging over the alter; a more likely scenario will be a group of people who call themselves Christians but who actually spend all their effort on QAnon causes. It will probably look more like the KKK than the Nazis.

I suspect it will more closely resemble the church a certain hack SciFi writer created to scam the IRS. Y'all know the one I mean.

91:

They now are the main stream of what's left of the Republican Party.

92:

SlightlyFoxed @ 84: He's in good company - Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin (twice). Apparently the same id&&t nominated him in 2018

The article said the nominations were supposed to be kept secret for 50 years, so I wonder if all the hoopla counts against in the committee's deliberations?

93:

EC @ 64
Well, I have long said that communism passes the Duck Test for being a religion ....

Charlie @ 68
Puke.
But all too true .....

Troutwaxer @ 72
Probably start an insurrection - about 5/6th Novemebr ata guess....

95:

But, I mean, really, let's see:
1. Pandemic
2. White-wing violence, and intimidation with firearms
3. Depression (economic)
4. President and others preaching "hate thy neighbor"


All we need are three more plagues, right? Send that Orange Thing into the desert, bearing all our Sins....

96:

Well, considering that epidemics, violent social breakdown, and famine usually ride with a high death toll, we're currently two horsemen short. I'm happy with that, actually...

97:

ALL; an inclusive society worthy of the Statue of Liberty. Don't tell me we aren't the "shining city on a hill". I already know that. Tell me how we BECOME the "shining city on a hill".

Hard to undo a genocide and resurrect over 100 dead languages, but perhaps we start there?

This isn't entirely sarcastic: the American experiment is largely responsible for the degradation of lands across our entire territory, and we displaced (or often killed) those who knew better.

Shining cities on hills need sustainable food production to be anything other than advertising symbols. Given 400 years of degradation, we need to go far beyond 40 acres and a mule-level reparations to support any city (shining or otherwise) beyond the end of the century.

98:

NYT on Sept 9.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/09/opinion/garrison-courtney-spies-contracts.html
Executive summary - someone attempted to con companies with clearances to work on top secret projects with a black budget.

Charlie - it's a challenge to even write a blog post and stay ahead of the future.

99:

Tell me how we BECOME the "shining city on a hill".

We don’t. No one does. Welcome to the real world.

100:

I just remembered what Q reminds me of. A bizarre cross of (cough cough) a religion founded by a certain late SF writer, Bug Jack Barron, and the Church of the SubGenius. Only someone took SubGenius to be serious....

101:

I wouldn't be surprised to discover that whoever is leading QAnon is a highranking subgenius... Praise the Holy Power of "Bob!"

102:

5.Fire

Eastern Australia, Western USA, Brazil, Indonesia, the whole Arctic circle.

103:

Just wait till it becomes known that ‘Parler’ is in fact a honeypot to attract and trace committed right wingers so they can more easily be rounded up by the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy, which has so easily duped the poor innocent members of the silent majority.

104:

Once the conspiracies are 3 or more layers deep who can tell reality anymore?

Or is that the point?

105:

mccamj @ 98
YES - to the question.
Now-to-the-end of January isn't going to be good either in the USA or here ....

106:

In other words, C generates lots of interesting false leads for B to explore and A to report on, but they never quite pan out.

Well, that does sound an awful lot like the whole of "Russiagate" affair, which never reaally pans out either, but keeps cirkling the drain and never goes down no matter how ludicrous it's proponents behave, like: Not finding that the American President is a Soviet Spy is apparently a Very Bad Thing :)

Add to that the slap-stick and amateurturism with stuff like "The Steele Dossier" and one must conclude that so many people now work in "intelligence" that they are clearly scraping the barrel on the talent!

The private coporation with nukes, that would be SAIC. Check the jobs section of their home page.

107:
When life hands you lemons its time to make lemonade.

And when life hands you shit?

I know, I know. Time to make artificial tanning lotion and sell it to reality TV narcissists.

108:

I maintain that Trump isn't smart enough to be a Russian spy. He'd brag about it to all his golfing buddies at Mar-a-Lago. (Admittedly half of them would then ask for tips on how to get on the GRU payroll, because that's the class of folks who like to hang out with him.)

Trump is what the KGB used to call a "useful idiot". He probably owes them for money laundering services and some handy real estate tips. But why should they drop the hammer on him when he causes so much amusing chaos?

109:

#47 - General rule of Steve Jackson (US) games is that any humour is on an individual card level, rather than a game turn or game level.

#59 - Non-spoiler reasons for watching The Long Kiss Goodnight - Geena Davis and Samuel L Jackson.

#108 - s/Trump/Bozo

110:

I believe that the qualified individual who nominated him might have made it public

111:

"The article said the nominations were supposed to be kept secret for 50 years, so I wonder if all the hoopla counts against in the committee's deliberations?"

I think that comment still applies - the nominator going public is a little infra dig. and that's not going to help internal deliberations come down in their favour. Given that the pool of nominators apparently numbers in the thousands (and the nominees in the hundreds), you will get some less-than-sensible nominations.

112:

Break the cultural transmission of white supremacy with a thoroughness comparable to the fate of the Cathars.

That's step one.

113:

It looks weirdly like his wives could be a succession of handlers, though. With a bit of a post-communist gap.

Trump, or perhaps more accurately the Trump enterprise, has laundered significant money; Donny is a useful idiot, but the amounts argue for an element of control somewhere.

114:
Tell me how we BECOME the "shining city on a hill".

We don’t. No one does. Welcome to the real world.

Cicero: "Cato gives his opinion as if he lived in the Republic of Plato, rather than in the dunghill of Romulus."

115:

Total @ 99:

Tell me how we BECOME the "shining city on a hill".

We don’t. No one does. Welcome to the real world.

So, that's your answer? Just give up?

116:

Troutwaxer @ 101: I wouldn't be surprised to discover that whoever is leading QAnon is a highranking subgenius... Praise the Holy Power of "Bob!"

According to the article OGH linked to, 'Q' is the guy who started 8chan & owns the domains associated with it.

https://medium.com/@registrarproject17/qanon-is-an-enormous-alternate-reality-game-arg-run-by-malevolent-puppetmasters-27e6b098ce9b

To my knowledge the Church of the SubGenius was never consciously racist/fascist. Listen to what the man says.

https://youtu.be/j3fW7FNAvrc?t=135

117:

According to the article OGH linked to, 'Q' is the guy who started 8chan & owns the domains associated with it.

That link appears to be baseless. (Although the current owner of 8chan — not the founder, I note — sounds like a really unpleasant piece of work.)

118:

Bellinghman @ 111:

"The article said the nominations were supposed to be kept secret for 50 years, so I wonder if all the hoopla counts against in the committee's deliberations?"

I think that comment still applies - the nominator going public is a little infra dig. and that's not going to help internal deliberations come down in their favour. Given that the pool of nominators apparently numbers in the thousands (and the nominees in the hundreds), you will get some less-than-sensible nominations.

Yeah, that's what I was wondering. If the nominator broke the rules in making the nomination public, will that have a negative effect on how the committee views the nominee?

119:

Graydon @ 113: It looks weirdly like his wives could be a succession of handlers, though. With a bit of a post-communist gap.

Trump, or perhaps more accurately the Trump enterprise, has laundered significant money; Donny is a useful idiot, but the amounts argue for an element of control somewhere.

Rather than "Control", I think ownership. They own him - lock, stock and Trump Tower. He's not an agent, he's a two-bit hustler who owes the loan-sharks more than he can pay. They don't tell him what to do, they drop hints to Giuliani's or Manafort's "associates" that maybe he can profit from doing someone a favor and they can do him a favor in return.

Instead of the Manchurian Candidate, think a cheap, second-rate knockoff plagiarizing The Godfather.

They don't have to tell him to do anything, just encourage his innate corruption and grease the skids.

120:

Carrying-over from the previous thread ....
DerekT:
So they follow the same pattern yet again. Hold on to an I'll conceived position stubbornly and stupidly until the maximum political damage had been done and then Uturn. ^_^

I'd like 4 days from today if anyone's running a sweepstake;) Two days to go ...
Though I actually think it might make it to The Lords, before it crashes & Burns irretrivably (?)

And, from my self:]Question:
I thought I knew UK political history fairly well, but.
Has there EVER been a "UK" politician, certainly since 1660, who has run entirely on pure bullshit, as BoZo seems to be doing?
[ And always has done, actually ]
Joe Chamberlain?
A great divider & upsetter, but never PM.
Um.

Well - has there ever been anyone quite so ... "odd" as BoZo in the principal office of state before?

121:

Break the cultural transmission of white supremacy with a thoroughness comparable to the fate of the Cathars.

Despite its historical popularity, I don't think genocide is something we should be advocating in the present day.

122:

"Odd" people in the principal office of state? Henry VI springs to mind. But I don't think that's what you meant :)

I don't think the conditions have ever existed before, in the parliamentary era, to sustain a true Bozoid. There has never been a period when so much of the electorate has been so unaware of the distinction between reality and unreality that the doings of fictional characters on TV shows are considered as worthy of front-page headlines as the doings of politicians, and that being stupid and proud of it is so widely considered a reasonable attitude.

123:

Rather than "Control", I think ownership. They own him - lock, stock and Trump Tower. He's not an agent, he's a two-bit hustler who owes the loan-sharks more than he can pay.

Bingo. He's also on the hook to pay something like $400 million or more in the next five years, and a bunch of it he personally signed for, meaning his personal assets are forfeit, not just corporate assets, if he fails to pay.

Now, with QAnon, the Russians are just doing what we and they and the other cold war countries have done for decades: destabilizing the country by cranking up homegrown agitprop. With the wonderful blessing that social media is, they don't even have to generate much content. Instead, they simply sample, remix, and connect susceptible brains to addictive content. Probably a lot of it's automated by now.

Anyway, assuming the dust settles and the US still stands, I suspect that we'll eventually find that Trump didn't want to be President. What he did want was to raise a billion dollars to run for president, spend half of it or less, and use the rest of it to pay off his debts. Then the Russians and the RNC independently worked to get him elected. And there he's thrashed ever since.

The real problem is that the Russians are running the same system, version 4.0, right now, to attempt a repeat.

Best thing that could happen, really, is if Trump catches Covid and dies right before the election.

124:

I've not just listened to Stang, I've preached at X-Day. I was alluding to similarities of technique and content, not politics. Yes. I am that Troutwaxer, and you can hear me rant on Hour of Slack 756! (I have no idea what I said, maybe some who listened can remind me!)

125:

Charlie Stross @ 117:

According to the article OGH linked to, 'Q' is the guy who started 8chan & owns the domains associated with it.

That link appears to be baseless. (Although the current owner of 8chan — not the founder, I note — sounds like a really unpleasant piece of work.)

I misunderstood that the guy who owns 8chan now was the guy who started it. But apparently, the guy who did start 8chan is one of the sources for the claim that the guy who now owns 8chan is 'Q'.

Will you explain further why the link between 8chan's current owner and 'Q' is baseless?

In any case, Qanon does NOT appear to have anything do with the Church of the SubGenius, seems to be nothing more than a nerdy practical joke that took on a life of its own.

126:

I suspect that we'll eventually find that Trump didn't want to be President

Given he's been making runs at the idea of being president for at least three decades, I suspect ego has more to do with it, and he did want it.

127:

Given he's been making runs at the idea of being president for at least three decades, I suspect ego has more to do with it, and he did want it.

This is true, and you may well be right. The two problems with that story are that he didn't try until 2016, and that it's apparently more profitable to him, especially recently, to be a failed candidate with a huge war chest than the President. The counterargument to this second problem is that he came in with the idea of looting the government with a hostile takeover and riding away, which may be also true. But it could also be that he got himself in a position where he needed most of a billion dollars to pull himself out of his latest jamb, and that forced his run. And don't forget that he decisively lost the popular vote, but won the gerrymandered electoral college.

128:

Anyway, we're pretty sure that El Cheeto has strings attached to Mother Moscow.

The more interesting question, perhaps, is this: who are the most plausible candidates for Bozoid's controller? And if he's not being run, who in his administration is? Y'all have some of the same problems with chronic weird governance choices as the US does, after all.

129:

Hi, there, troll.

Most of what was in the Steele Dossier has been proven TRUE. Russian interference? The GOP-controlled Senate intel committee said it happened.
https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/18/politics/senate-intelligence-report-russia-election-interference-efforts/index.html

May I hope that the door hits you on the way out?

130:

Screw that.

I don't think anyone really believes we're the Shining City on the Hill... but that it's a journey with that as a goal.

And not all heroes, etc, have feet of clay. And fuck Hollywood edgy, Superman does not kill. Period. The Lone Ranger and Tonto (we're talking Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels) *were* Good Guys.

131:

There's still someone in charge of running him, and you won't know who it is for a long time. Who knew who Putin was running in the mid-eighties?

But they're not giving orders, at that level. I have a friend who is convinced he met someone once who could actually arrange for someone to be removed. Out of curiosity, he asked what it would cost, and the answer that convinced him this was the real thing was, "nothing. you'll just owe us a favor".

132:

And here in my writing, I'm avoiding like the plague saying "As you know, Bob...."

133:

Heteromeles
What he did want was to raise a billion dollars to run for president, spend half of it or less, and use the rest of it to pay off his debts. Double Bingo? Maybe, maybe not.
"The Producers" in other words ...
"Right Before the election" - like dies on 2nd November?

134:

Re: 'They own him - lock, stock and Trump Tower. He's not an agent, he's a two-bit hustler who owes the loan-sharks more than he can pay.'

I'm guessing that he's got many 'owners' and that not all of them are aware of who else has dibs on him.

DT's consistently been more concerned with how the stock markets are playing out than any other aspect of the economy. And he's probably well aware that there's a strong correlation between his tweets and market activity. So -- who's an official, licensed market player and is never directly connected to him in media reports? Hint: He's got 2 daughters. (I read her SO's Wikipedia page - young billionaire with connections to lots of countries.)

135:

I do not want El Cheeto Grande to die prior to the election - I want him to lose badly and then go on to a string of lawsuits and prosecutions that lead to a long, miserable road to his ignominious death at 92 while wearing an orange jumpsuit. But I'll be satisfied if, at a minimum, we USAians give him his marching papers this November, however long it takes to count the votes.

If he was to perish before the election, we'd be left with Pence, that sanctimonious Dominionist prick. He seems to be a somewhat more rational person, and therefore more dangerous than the serial liar/habitual con man in the Oval Office now. And the Grasping Oligarchs' Party would be able to breathe a nonpublicized sigh of relief and get back to the business of taking whatever worth the middle class has left - for themselves.

For what it's worth, sleazeball lawyer Michael Cohen's latest book also reinforces the idea that the 2016 campaign was a branding/moneymaking scheme, and that the Orange Shitgibbon never believed he'd win. Then his own ego convinced him he's be a GREAT president.

Somehow I'm reminded of that line from early in Citizen Kane: "I think it would be fun to run a newspaper".

136:

And now the FBI arrest a couple of Boogaloo bois providing illegal gun mods to fake Hamas.

137:

The thing about the qucumbers that truly astonishes me is the amount of obviously ridiculous stuff they accept and angrily propagate. The goddamned mole children for example https://www.reddit.com/r/Qult_Headquarters/comments/fw97bz/what_are_the_mole_children/ (it's a mocking site not a gathering of the loonies. Reddit shut down the Q positive sites.) And the ridiculous business recently with the Wayfair furniture selling children https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-53416247

Meanwhile actual children are caged at the border but have the wrong colour skin for these arseholes to get upset about.

138:

Yup. Like the Uprightstanding Evangelical Christians who send missionaries to Enlighten the folks in Africa, and South America, etc.

Help AMERICAN Blacks and Latinos in the inner cities? Why, they need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps!!!

139:

It has nothing to do with anything material; it's an attempt to find the Words of Inescapable Shame so they can create and reinforce the social hierarchy they think exists, or ought to exist, and undo the unbearable circumstances of other people not agreeing with them about that hierarchy.

(TERFs do this a whole lot, too.)

Most authoritarians aren't wearing jackboots; they're wearing cheap shoes, know their place, and will make certain you know yours, too.

Patriarchy is the idea that violence is a legit social response, that women are property, and that you can't legitimately question the hierarchy arrived through violence. (About what you'd expect from the political takeover by the first standing armies.)

The obligation is to pay the troops; mostly with land, historically, certainly with legal status.

White supremacy is a patriarchal heresy; you can't get into the warband unless you're easily sunburned, and everybody who isn't easily sunburned is property. Still that same obligation to pay the troops, though; share the loot. Still the same established-by-violence social hierarchy.

What gets called populism is a complaint at the loss of loot-sharing after 1980.

Mammonism is a white-supremacy heresy that says only money is virtue; bravery and service no longer count. You can do anything to the poor, and it's holy to do it, because if God cared they wouldn't be poor. So, (this is the heresy) you don't share the loot.

The cops are a white-supremacy reactionary movement; extra-legal monopoly on and free exercise of civil violence as a tool of social control. Very old school; slow reactionary rebellion to unacceptable fast social change threatening their secure position.

Q is a mammonist heresy that says society should be restructured to produce the appropriate authoritarian hierarchy, and that the existence of the wrong hierarchy is proof that malign influences control things. (That is, we should have money, they should not, and if they do instead of us, we're going to have to forcibly restructure society to fix it.) It's the outcome-of-injustice general insurrection for white supremacists excluded from the current grift.

140:

Least sufficient means; I doubt that's actual genocide. Might be no more than lots of green jobs and suppressing segregated education.

(On the grim side, agriculture's going to fail. I don't think many have managed to think about the associated weight of necessity.)

141:

Might be no more than lots of green jobs and suppressing segregated education.

I'm pretty sure that doesn't translate into Latin as "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius."

142:

Pretty sure it doesn't.

The point is not the burned cities and the stack of corpses; the point is no surviving writings. God will worry no more than usual about knowing His own.

143:

Greg: Our Man in Havana--A classic Greene! Always good to hear someone mention his work. I spend too little time among litr'ry types I guess--get excited when someone name-checks a favorite author. I thought the Carol Reed film of it was not bad either, though the book was better.

144:

Very timely, here's a NY Times op ed by Harold Blum (?!?) about a con-man who's made many millions out of pretending to have contacts that would let IT companies get no-bid black ops contracts from the US intelligence Black Budget.

He pretended to run 'Alpha241', an intelligence task force. Provide him with commercial office space for 2 people within your company, cover as being part of your company while those 2 people did undisclosed things - oh, and $10k per month - and in return the grateful intelligence agency will steer black contracts your way. A scam he was running with several companies, since 2014.

And then it got weirder. He recruited a retired admiral, generals, air force brigadier general, they thought they were part of an IT consortium. He connected them up with the IT guys he was scamming already. He started to create a real(-ish) black ops operation, govt funded...

This is not fiction:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/09/opinion/garrison-courtney-spies-contracts.html

145:

Help AMERICAN Blacks and Latinos in the inner cities? Why, they need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps!!!

Sorry, I'm going to call BS on this one. Please cite your sources.

Even the well-to-do church I grew up in in Los Angeles regularly helped groups like the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row. I did shifts there myself. The Salvation Army specializes in this kind of thing, and where I currently live church groups regularly set out tables to provide a meal to the homeless in our local skid row around 17th street. I've served with these too, even though I'm not affiliated with the church doing the work.

There's ample room for skepticism about the big media circuses that have branded themselves as churches of the Gospel of Wealth and don't walk their Christian talk. But I do know that some, perhaps many, possibly most, local churches are very active in helping the poor.

The real scandal is when the government decides that churches are the only way to help the poor. The government is the appropriate entity to deal with ingrained structural racism, sexism, and other discrimination. If they sit it out, all the free meals and warm cots the churches can afford won't make a sufficient difference.

146:

The Wayfair thing inspires an idea for a new kind of scam: Pick unlucky company. Take short position. Start Qish rumor.

147:

Long long long ago already, as the USA measures time, there was no person, no agency, no entity that knew or kept track or kept accountable to the government all the secret agencies, agents, projects, cells, etc. doing intelligence, treason, surveillance, or backstabbing whom, who owned what -- the CIA alone had entire businesses, companies that only somebody knew were financed with their resources, and by now probably long forgotten.

The best attempt at dealing with all this established since WWII (not before) was Norman Mailer, in his novel, Harlot's Ghost, 1991.

148:

Why are they sending missionaries to Africa? I *know* some folks in TX that mentioned that people from their church did that.

149:
Why are they sending missionaries to Africa?

To oppose decriminalization of homosexuality of course.

150:

He didn't seriously try, though he'd floated it in 2012 and at least once before that.
I don't think he wanted the actual job (witness how little he still knows about it) - the money, probably, and certainly the recognition so he could get bigger TV deals.

151:

They're sure that the fires on the US West Coast were started by Antifa (they weren't) so in some places they're stopping and questioning (at gunpoint) people who "aren't from here", even when they're wearing their press credentials.

152:

Thematically related to the top post - Saw a link on cstross twitter to Sort By Controversial by Scott Alexander (boingboing link)

I'm reminded of ctrlcreep's communal InvisibleNetworks project, very short sf stories about invented social networks under the twitter hashtag #InvisibleNetworks (goes back to July 2018):
https://twitter.com/ctrlcreep/status/1221482188211982338
https://twitter.com/hashtag/InvisibleNetworks?f=live
Many of them are excellent, many are posted as images. (Probably worth OCR scraping. :-)

I copied down one microstory (February 3, 2020); the author has disappeared from twitter, so here's the text (by user KEW_purr), which might have been/might as well have been a response to that Scott Alexander piece:
"Diametrically opposed groups converge on a platform powered with a highly advanced translation AI. The essence of ideas are maintained but stripped of incendiary-amygdala-flaring language structures. Evolved discourse and mutual understanding proliferates."

153:

Long long long ago already, as the USA measures time, there was no person, no agency, no entity that knew or kept track or kept accountable to the government all the secret agencies, agents, projects, cells, etc. doing intelligence, treason, surveillance, or backstabbing whom, who owned what -- the CIA alone had entire businesses, companies that only somebody knew were financed with their resources, and by now probably long forgotten.

That's actually incorrect: you forgot about J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. The FBI houses the US national Counterintelligence Service, while the CIsA is the Intelligence Service. There's also the Defense Intelligence Service, even before the proliferation of TLAs. Of these, the CIA has generally been the smallest, but they've been tasked with doing the "President's dirty work," as Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes put it.

And both the FBI and the Service Intelligence units were around prior to WWII. During WWII, there was also the OSS, which after the war schismed into the Green Berets, the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and ultimately sent a bunch of men into the CIA when that was formed.

154:

They're sure that the fires on the US West Coast were started by Antifa (they weren't) so in some places they're stopping and questioning (at gunpoint) people who "aren't from here", even when they're wearing their press credentials.

Cite, please? Because I am watching my hometown and the place where I grew up being placed under a Level 3 evacuation alert, I have family and friends who are either evacuating or waiting to evacuate, and I'm several hundred miles away, I do not have much patience for rumor-spreading. There's already a bunch of godawful stuff being spread, to the degree that a conservative Sinclair-owned station in Eugene is issuing news stories telling people to knock it off with the god damned rumors.

There are arsonists. But not for all the damned fires. And I can sure as hell think up a paranoid conspiracy where these fires are being set in order to disrupt the West Coast vote, because there's sure a lot of places going up in flame, including threats to the three biggest cities in Oregon. Except I know too damned much about fire ecology and the periodic tendency for the temperate rainforest to dry up and catch fire to take such notions seriously...and if such things were to be going on, it would be at the behest of a foreign power seeking disruption.

IOW, unless you have a concrete cite that people are stopping and questioning at gunpoint that they are antifa, please don't spread rumors. Fire areas are being heavily patrolled because of reports of looting already in places like Blue River (mostly gone, oh my heart, oh dear god most of the McKenzie is mostly gone), Detroit Lake, Marcola, and other places that I don't expect anyone else here to know about.

Yeah, I'm touchy. That's my youth going up in flames, and I have too many friends and family at risk to have much patience with rumors of any ilk.

157:

Crak the Safe
I was thinking of the film with Alec Gunness in the lead....

jreynoldsward / PJE /SEF / Damian
This madness & edginess ( See Charlie's earlier comment about us all being touchy & on edge ) is around here, as well.
I just heard a certifyable "tory" MP describing the proposal to break International Law as a suitable response to "EU provocation"
This is real August-1914 levels of self delusion & scary.
On wonders if these mythical Antfa terorrisits are also jews?
It's very familiar isn't it?

158:

AIs are getting in on the act too: https://www.theregister.com/2020/09/11/openai_gpt3_brainwashing/

In the next Terminator film Skynet will trigger WW3 to rid the world of satanic cannibal elites and deep state child traders.

159:

Meanwhile, on both the C-19 & politics fronts:
Really nasty suggestion about C-19 - & on a frctionally lighter note - this would explain BoZo's behaviour, which is odd, even for him ....
I nbote that "he" is pressing on, but large numbers of even tory MP's are trying to back away.
Even if it passses the Commons, it almost certainly won't pass the Lords

160:

Continuing on the UK Govt as farce The BBC offer us the new greatest and bestest ever contact tracing app

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the launch as "a defining moment".

Presumably, a defining moment only for little Mattie or as a definition of incompetence

162:
Coronavirus 'infects brain by hijacking cells to make copies of itself', US study finds

Apart from the "infects brain bit" this headline says "Coronavirus is a virus".

163:

The link worketh not, Greg.

But! it's not new to suggest COVID-19 affects cognition; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(20)30221-0/fulltext is a recent survey article about "neurological manifestations".

The “bradykinin hypothesis” (see https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/09/08/bradykinin-and-the-coronavirus for a summary) even provides a plausible mechanism for how you might get such neurological manifestations.

164:

Cite, please?

Looks like the usual suspects…

The false claims have been spread on social networks by supporters of President Donald Trump, who has spent months pretending that antifascists in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to confronting white supremacists are members of an imaginary army of domestic terrorists called Antifa.

https://theintercept.com/2020/09/10/oregon-police-beg-public-stop-calling-false-reports-blaming-antifa-wildfires/

Gabriel Trumbly, a Portland videographer who has spent roughly 90 of the past 100 days capturing the protests, wanted to take footage of the forest fires raging in Oregon. So on Wednesday night, the 29-year-old Army veteran, set out with his partner, Jennifer Paulsen, 24, to see what was happening near her childhood home of Molalla, a town of 9,000 people known for its annual rodeo, the Buckeroo. Fires surrounding the town were so intense they had prompted a level-3 “GO NOW” warning to evacuate.

After parking their car on the side of a road, the couple pulled on gas masks and shot video of towering flames. As they worked, they encountered people who had rigged a garden hose to a water tank in the bed of a truck and were trying to put out a fire in the driveway. Trumbly and Paulsen briefly spoke with them, as well as a driver who asked them if they needed any water.

Trumbly and Paulsen, both of whom spoke to BuzzFeed News by phone from Portland on Thursday, said the interactions seemed “normal.” They said the fire was moving quickly, so they didn’t stay long in Molalla. “We thought it was getting a bit dangerous, so we left,” Trumbly said.

But shortly after they left, Paulsen began checking Twitter and Facebook to see news about the fires. She noticed that residents were sharing information about their car, including detailed descriptions of its appearance and license plate. The posts claimed they were members of Antifa, an amorphous collection of left-wing groups that the president has called “a terrorist organization,” who had come to Molalla from Portland to commit arson.

The panic in Oregon appeared to stem from a woman in a Facebook group called Molalla NOW, meant for locals to share information about community events.

The post, which Trumbly shared a screenshot of on Twitter, claimed he and Paulsen had started a fire and misidentified them as “two guys wearing gas masks and ‘press’ vests.” It quickly garnered hundreds of reactions and replies.

“It blew up with comments!” Paulsen said. “People were saying, ‘Send people out with guns!’ It said we were Antifa.”

Paulsen, who graduated from Molalla High School, even knew some of the people in the group. Now she and Trumbly were being hunted by a group of armed men on the town’s streets.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/christopherm51/oregon-fires-antifa-rumors

165:

Wayfair... nesxt they will be claiming that hurricanes are to deposit people with the same name in a dangerous fantasy world.

166:

Re: 'Really nasty suggestion about C-19 - ...'

Not sure why you're surprised since it's been known for some time that ACE2 is distributed throughout your body including the brain/nervous system.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angiotensin-converting_enzyme_2


Also why loss of smell/taste is now at the top of the list for COVID-19 symptoms. Plus why designing a safe and effective corona virus vaccine is a major challenge, should not be rushed and ALL Clinical Trials protocols must be followed assiduously. Gerald Ford rushed a swine flu vaccine through which resulted in both immediate and long-term harm including adding fuel to the antivaxer movement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1976_swine_flu_outbreak


167:

OK
Sorry folks, about that NOT-new information about C-19
Also suggests that my current persistent tiredness is nothing to do with C-19
As taste & smell seem to be working at full capacity & OK.

168:

Only definitive test for COVID-19 is to get tested (twice, by different mechanisms if you can swing that); lots of asymptomatic cases with damage.

Persistent tiredness can be lots of stuff -- none of the causes of former days have departed from us! -- but COVID-19 really is one of those cases where you need to rely directly on the scientific approach.

169:

The standard.co.uk article is horrible, but they do link the (recent, not peer reviewed) paper:
Neuroinvasion of SARS-CoV-2 in human and mouse brain (September 8, 2020, "not certified by peer review")
Finally, in brain autopsy from patients who died of COVID-19, we detect SARS-CoV-2 in the cortical neurons, and note pathologic features associated with infection with minimal immune cell infiltrates. These results provide evidence for the neuroinvasive capacity of SARS-CoV2, and an unexpected consequence of direct infection of neurons by SARS-CoV-2.
Shrug. We've been mentioning this here in comments since at least February 2020, with at least several paper links. (I think the first to hint here at such an effect was the one(s) with many names; prodded me to look at the then-current science.)

From the paper, this is eye catching, bold mine (note: mostly in white matter, not cortex):
Upon histologic examination, we found multiple microscopic ischemic infarcts in the subcortical white matter, ranging from acute to subacute, and with focal hemorrhagic conversion (Figure 5C, Figure S9A). These varying stages of infarction indicated a temporal sequence of continued ischemic events. Most infarcts showed signs of tissue damage and localized cell death, and positive viral staining was present predominately around the edges of the infarct and to a lesser degree within the center. At the hyperacute stage of infarction, viral proteins were present in endothelium. These infarcts are present predominately in subcortical white matter, not within the cortex.

So yeah, BoJo could have a brain riddled with lesions(infarcts) caused by SARS-CoV-2. (Unless he's had a clean MRI and MRIs show these lesions.) Good rumour. Who else in the UK leadership has been infected with SARS-CoV-2?

170:

I commented here several times 2-3 years ago that IMO he originally intended to run because he needed money, and figured by doing that, he'd have the biggest name recognition/brand in the world... and then people started yelling for him, and his ego took over.

And that it was the worst of all possible world for him: even claiming he'd been "defrauded" would have kept his brand up there. Now... he has no idea how to deal with being WATCHED, 24x7x365.25, and not being able to deny what was recorded and broadcast.

171:

Charlie, are you sure you were not Franz Kafka in a past life?

172:

So yeah, BoJo could have a brain riddled with lesions(infarcts) caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Sounds a lot like Krantzberg syndrome.

https://thelaundryfiles.fandom.com/wiki/Krantzberg_Syndrome

173:

Re: 'Only definitive test for COVID-19 is to get tested (twice, by different mechanisms if you can swing that); '

Agree!


174:

Y'know, I have a story about that, based on a line that someone had here a couple years ago....

175:

Robert Prior @ 126:

I suspect that we'll eventually find that Trump didn't want to be President

Given he's been making runs at the idea of being president for at least three decades, I suspect ego has more to do with it, and he did want it.

He frequently talked about running for President. There is evidence that the campaign for President was essentially another grift; a way to lure suckers campaign donors. The campaign was structured like the "Trump Foundation" and was supposed to function the same way.

In some ways "winning" limited his opportunities for grift.

176:

whitroth @ 130: Screw that.

I don't think anyone really believes we're the Shining City on the Hill... but that it's a journey with that as a goal.

And not all heroes, etc, have feet of clay. And fuck Hollywood edgy, Superman does not kill. Period. The Lone Ranger and Tonto (we're talking Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels) *were* Good Guys.

WTF is wrong with you?

177:

Greg--Yes, the Alec Guinness film is the one I'm thinking of--the director was Carol Reed. Alec is always watchable and I thought the film version did reasonable justice to the book.

On a total derailment of topic--I would love to see Alec Guinness and Leo McKern in the film adaptation of Greene's Monsignor Quixote. Unfortunately it looks like I'd have to buy a regionally-restricted DVD and then find a DVD player that will work for European DVDs.

178:

SFReader @ 134:

Re: 'They own him - lock, stock and Trump Tower. He's not an agent, he's a two-bit hustler who owes the loan-sharks more than he can pay.'

I'm guessing that he's got many 'owners' and that not all of them are aware of who else has dibs on him.

's consistently been more concerned with how the stock markets are playing out than any other aspect of the economy. And he's probably well aware that there's a strong correlation between his tweets and market activity. So -- who's an official, licensed market player and is never directly connected to him in media reports? Hint: He's got 2 daughters. (I read her SO's Wikipedia page - young billionaire with connections to lots of countries.)

I'm not so sure Trumpolini cares anything about the Stock Markets other than if they tank this year it adversely affects his reelection & cuts into his grift. Right now, reelection is the one hope he has for staving off the collapse of his business empire.

AFAIK, he has no significant holdings in stocks. It's all in over-leveraged real-estate and marketing his name as a brand (i.e. many Trump properties don't actually belong to Trumpolini, they're just renting his name - and the market value of his "brand" is crashing).

179:


We don’t. No one does. Welcome to the real world.

So, that's your answer? Just give up?

Yes because that’s the only other option on the entire spectrum of existence.

(Narrator: Nope)

180:

Paul @ 136: And now the FBI arrest a couple of Boogaloo bois providing illegal gun mods to fake Hamas.

And the most delicious part of the story is that Hamas is pissed off about it and wants the FBI to stop using their name for their anti-terrorist sting operations.

I wonder if there even is an actual bonafide middle-eastern terrorist supporter in the U.S. who is not an under-cover FBI agent or informant?

181:

JBS @180: I wonder if there even is an actual bonafide middle-eastern terrorist supporter in the U.S. who is not an under-cover FBI agent or informant?

Three thoughts:
- Even wanna-be terrorists need food and shelter; they may be busy staying alive
- It's a lot more difficult to find a place for those conspiracy meetings; besides, is that guy in the corner wearing a mask like everybody else REALLY in your cell?
- How do you upstage El Cheeto Grande when he's already killed 190,000 Americans this year?

182:

And the most delicious part of the story is that Hamas is pissed off about it and wants the FBI to stop using their name for their anti-terrorist sting operations.

Hamas are not so much a terrorist organization as a no-shit government, these days: they run Gaza, a self-governing Palestinian territory with a population of 1.85 million, and Hamas are the elected party of government there. Be careful who you call terrorists? Ask what agenda the label serves!

Similarly, Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, although their status is more of an ambiguous state-within-a-state thing within a delicate multi-ethnic balance ...

183:

jreynoldsward @ 154: There are arsonists. But not for all the damned fires. And I can sure as hell think up a paranoid conspiracy where these fires are being set in order to disrupt the West Coast vote, because there's sure a lot of places going up in flame, including threats to the three biggest cities in Oregon. Except I know too damned much about fire ecology and the periodic tendency for the temperate rainforest to dry up and catch fire to take such notions seriously...and if such things were to be going on, it would be at the behest of a foreign power seeking disruption.

Can you identify a fire that was deliberately set? Even if it's one where the authorities can't identify who set it?

I know there are fires that were started by carelessness and stupidity, but which ones are/were deliberate?


184:

Aren't Hezbollah rather like a larger and better funded IRA with knobs on?

An armed occupying force/militia with an associated political sock puppet wing to give a veneer of respectability. Of course, thats only needed until they win an election outright, at which point Lebanon becomes a Tehran suburb complete with fun loving Revolutionary Guards.

Cross them and you end up dead in a shallow grave in the Bekaa Valley.

185:

Re: '... no significant holdings in stocks. .. the market value of his "brand" is crashing).'

Circa 2016 DT's stock portfolio was guestimated at approx $200 mil - paltry in comparison with his self-declared real estate 'brand' worth of $4 bil. But his brand crashed so apart from any still-on-the-books long-term contracts - he's only got his stock portfolio. (His media-shy daughter's SO works in the financial investment industry based in Canada whose site lists major clients in the PRC, and a Saudi royal. SO's father made his billions in Nigeria.)

186:

@ Heteromeles #153

I must not be writing clearly, because I was, in my mind at least, including the FBI, etc. When I said "only after WWII," I was referring in my own mind there, to the CIA, which is where Mailer's novel locates most of the characters.

~~~~~~~~~

And relevant to nothing discussed here at the moment, I keep wondering if Percy Lowell can be categorized as one of the first science fiction novelists.

[ ....For the next fifteen years he studied Mars extensively, and made intricate drawings of the surface markings as he perceived them. Lowell published his views in three books: Mars (1895), Mars and Its Canals (1906), and Mars As the Abode of Life (1908). With these writings, Lowell more than anyone else popularized the long-held belief that these markings showed that Mars sustained intelligent life forms.[10][11]

His works include a detailed description of what he termed the "non-natural features" of the planet's surface, including especially a full account of the "canals," single and double; the "oases," as he termed the dark spots at their intersections; and the varying visibility of both, depending partly on the Martian seasons. He theorized that an advanced but desperate culture had built the canals to tap Mars' polar ice caps, the last source of water on an inexorably drying planet.[12]

While this idea excited the public, the astronomical community was skeptical...." ]

Despite professionally trained astronomers poo poo ing, the US public was determined to believe this was true fact.

187:

Can you identify a fire that was deliberately set? Even if it's one where the authorities can't identify who set it?

At times, yeah. Presence of accelerants, for example. It's tricky, and usually you can't get more than 'human-caused' unless someone fesses up.

Humans cause about 85% of forest fires in the US. There's a lot of carelessness and stupidity out there…

On a different-but-related note, you might enjoy this board game:

https://microgamedesigngroup.com/SJ.html

Solitaire game of fighting forest fires, based on a simplified version of the actual models used by Canadian forestry services.

188:

Aren't Hezbollah rather like a larger and better funded IRA with knobs on?

In the sense that the UK government is even larger and even better funded but in the same vein, yes. Hezbollah is a government/political party just like the Republican Party in many ways, but operating in a different context so a lot of the details are different (less dependent on fundraising from US billionaires, for example).

Hamas has the dubious honour of governing a Bantustan-is-not-a-state that's subject to regular states-can't-commit-terrorism attacks and oh boy if you want to talk about sock puppets ready to hand over an entire country to their enemies we could discuss the Israel-Palestine "peace process" some time, with Jared Kushner playing the sock puppet*.

* apologies to any socks offended by the comparison.

189:

Crack the Safe @ 177: Greg--Yes, the Alec Guinness film is the one I'm thinking of--the director was Carol Reed. Alec is always watchable and I thought the film version did reasonable justice to the book.

On a total derailment of topic--I would love to see Alec Guinness and Leo McKern in the film adaptation of Greene's Monsignor Quixote. Unfortunately it looks like I'd have to buy a regionally-restricted DVD and then find a DVD player that will work for European DVDs.

I have an All-Region DVD burner in my computer. It's a DVD ±RW drive. I don't think it actually will burn region-restricted DVDs, just Region 0 which can be played back in any region. But you don't have to burn a DVD to play one & it does allow me to play a Region 2 DVD on my computer.

In the U.S. it's legal to make a personal backup copy of a DVD, so you could probably rip a Region 2 DVD and then burn it to a Region 0 backup so you could play it on any North American DVD player.

190:

Charlie Stross @ 182:

And the most delicious part of the story is that Hamas is pissed off about it and wants the FBI to stop using their name for their anti-terrorist sting operations.

Hamas are not so much a terrorist organization as a no-shit government, these days: they run Gaza, a self-governing Palestinian territory with a population of 1.85 million, and Hamas are the elected party of government there. Be careful who you call terrorists? Ask what agenda the label serves!

I didn't call Hamas terrorists, the FBI does. The article points to Hamas being a part of the government as the reason why they are pissed off at the FBI using their name for sting operations.

I don't anywhere Hamas is involved in conflict with the U.S. I think it would be a good idea for the FBI to stop using Hamas's name for their sting operations. They're not our friends, but it seems like they don't want to be our enemies either.

At the very least if the FBI is going to run these kind of operations they should try to go after our own home-grown terrorist organizations.

Really I think the FBI should stop running those sting operations altogether because they don't seem to be uncovering any real terrorists, just duping stupid people into doing stupid things they would not otherwise be inclined to get involved with.

Similarly, Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, although their status is more of an ambiguous state-within-a-state thing within a delicate multi-ethnic balance ...

They're also part of the government in Iraq ... or at least some factions of Hezbollah are part of it; and they're allied with the Syrian Ba'ath government during the Syrian Civil War.

191:

In the U.S. it's legal to make a personal backup copy of a DVD

But unless they've changed the law, it's illegal to crack the DRM copy protection to do what you are legally allowed to do…

It's seriously screwed up (and Canadian law is no better) — the act of cracking the DRM is illegal, even if the DRM is what is preventing you from using the copyrighted work in a legal way.

192:

Robert Prior @ 187:

Can you identify a fire that was deliberately set? Even if it's one where the authorities can't identify who set it?

At times, yeah. Presence of accelerants, for example. It's tricky, and usually you can't get more than 'human-caused' unless someone fesses up.

What I meant was is there a specific fire among the many fires this season that is suspected of having been deliberately set.

I'm aware of fires started by human carelessness, but is there any current fire known to have been started deliberately ... or even suspected of being started deliberately?

193:

Long long long ago already, as the USA measures time, there was no person, no agency, no entity that knew or kept track or kept accountable to the government all the secret agencies, agents, projects, cells, etc...

Also echoing back to Dead Plots, this fact was the seed for one of the Destroyer novels: a Pentagon bean counter noticed a dribble of money going to an old badly documented Cold War project, and everyone involved had retired decades before. So all funding was cut. It turned out to be the budget to broadcast a no-go signal for sleeper cells of deep cover assassins...

194:

is there any current fire known to have been started deliberately ... or even suspected of being started deliberately?

No idea. I thought you were talking generically about forest fires.

My bet would be on carelessness. Possibly carelessness verging on criminal stupidity, like that penis-reveal fire (that hopefully gets charges laid).

Kinda like those Dumbkirk idiots: they didn't set out to sink other people's boats, but they acted in a way that made it likely, and didn't appear to give a shit about the damage they caused…

I feel sorry for the chap whose boat was sunk while at the dock.

Keith Smith, an observer whose neighbor’s boat was capsized, told WCCO. “Boaters all know they’re responsible for their waves, but nobody cared. They just kept going and going and hooting and hollering. Luckily I didn’t slip and go off the side of the dock.”

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/boats-keep-sinking-and-capsizing-at-the-trump-boat-parades.html

Just waiting for Kayleigh McEnemy to claim gthere were no sinkings, just 'alternative buoyancy'.

195:

It would surprise me more to find there were not any fires started deliberately. In England we had an episode of unseasonal combustion on Saddleworth Moor a few years ago, which was exacerbated by dickheads from Manchester going and starting their own bits of it purely because they were dickheads. All else being equal, the situation in question is adjacent to a much larger population than that of Manchester, so I would expect it to suffer from a proportionally larger number of dickheads. But all else is not equal, because the contagion of Trumpian insanity seems to be well able to motivate people to do all sorts of amazingly fucking stupid things, and so the number of dickheads now is likely to be even greater.

196:

Re arson: during the climate fires (renamed Black Summer by the Murdoch press) in Australia the press was full of claims (eventually even the non Murdoch press) that the fires were arson. I did see something buried away the other day. (I think it was from the climate council, which was a government agency until it was disbanded, and then very much like the laundry, continued on with a small cardre funded by donations and volunteer work) It said that after much investigation, none of the fires of the summer were started by arson.

Seems to be a standard Murdoch tactic to scream arson in the face of climate change driven fires.

197:

Are region restrictions on DVDs and DVD players even still a problem? It must be a good 15 years since I gave my mum a DVD player, and one of my selection criteria was that I was not going to give her some locked-down piece of shit; it took very little searching to discover a website that listed a great number of different DVD players along with magic numbers that you could enter using the standard remote control to turn the region locking off, so all I had to do was choose one off that list and put its magic number in. No doubt there were also more that hadn't been added to the list yet, and anyway of course you could just play the DVD on a computer instead. With it being so trivial to overcome it so long ago, I'd have expected that apart from one or two manufacturers like Sony who are well known for having a massive stick up their arse about that sort of thing, people would have just stopped bothering with it.

198:

Fire near Saddleworth Moor "being treated as arson" (2018) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-44713651

199:

Only fire I've fought personally was sorta-arson. At Scout camp one idiot was dropping matches, letting the grass burn a bit, then stamping it out. Apparently this was fun. Then he let one patch get too big, and suddenly we had 3+ metre flames on a dry grass burn. Grass goes fast when it burns! (And being Saskatchewan, always wind to fan the flames.)

All the local farmers came round, along with the local volunteer fire department, to dig a fire line and beat it out. There wasn't a slough close enough for much in the way of water.

1970s, so no cell service, just smoke signals and party lines. (Literally, when people saw the smoke they converged on the source.)

200:

I'm aware of fires started by human carelessness, but is there any current fire known to have been started deliberately ... or even suspected of being started deliberately?

After filtering out the Antifa nonsense, I find a few.

One arrest last week for the South Creek Fire, no alleged motive.

Back in July there was another guy arrested for starting forest fires but he's not involved with the current batch.

A third guy tried but was interrupted and is currently being yelled at by police.

So it's not common but there are idiots out there.

201:

The body of the article says stupidity rather than a deliberate act.

I'm not saying arson doesn't exist. I am saying that the press blows it out of all proportion, particularly the Murdoch press.

202:

And relevant to nothing discussed here at the moment, I keep wondering if Percy Lowell can be categorized as one of the first science fiction novelists.

I'd simply point to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science_fiction

The key question is whether you're talking about true science fiction in contrast to its precursors (19th Century Proto-Science Fiction, the Vernes, Wells, Shelley, and so forth), or just fantastic stories in general without literary categories. In the latter case, ignoring the classical religious texts (like the Book of Elijah or the Chuang Tzu), there's everything from Ovid's Metamorphoses to Beowulf to Shakespeare's The Tempest, Cyrano de Bergerac writing a history of the empire of the Moon (he flew there by strapping himself to large vials of the morning dew and getting carried to the Moon as it evaporated).

203:

The only one I've heard of that was intentional is the Almeda fire, in Oregon.
https://abcnews.go.com/US/man-charged-arson-connection-almeda-fire-southern-oregon/story?id=72960208
They've arrested the guy they believe started it, and he's charged with two counts of arson.
The Beachie Creek fire, east of Salem, OR, was started by trees falling on power lines.
I don't know about others; many of those in CA were started by dry lightning. (Last weekend was *very* hot - it hit 49.5C in the southwest San Fernando Valley, and that is not a typo.)

204:

The biggest apparently deliberately set fire was the Almeda fire in Southern Oregon, which took out the towns of Phoenix and Talent as well as part of Medford. A suspect has been arrested and there's a dead body apparently connected to the suspect...this one is going to be interesting to see unfold.

Smaller arson fires have been set and the alleged perpetrators arrested in the act. There will always be a few firebugs. I've heard some rumors but am taking them with a huge grain of salt as I've heard lots of rumors about fires and firefighting. I find it interesting that the same folks who yell about "The Thin Blue Line" are first to doubt official police disclaimers about arsonist motives.

The Riverside (near Portland/Estacada/Molalla) and the Santiam fires (Salem/Detroit/Mill City) both have origins in earlier lightning-caused fires. The Holiday Farm Fire (Eugene/Springfield) apparently was sparked off by both powerlines and the scrape of a towing chain which set off sparks. I've read first person accounts.

One problem seems to stem from so-called "Uncensored Scanner" Facebook groups. That's where these rumors (assisted by QAnon, it appears) seem to be launching from, including the accounts of looters that sparked off those three idiots in Molalla.

I'm following a neighborhood Facebook group about the little valley to the northeast of Eugene where I grew up. They're restless but not doing anything crazy. Of course, the fact that there's a bigger police presence than there ever was there when I lived there and, apparently, since then, probably has something to do with it. It is a tough little mountain valley and the last time I visited friends there, home invasions were a concern. Nothing new. When my family first moved there, our big mercury-vapor light got shot out by a man en route to try to kill our neighbor for shooting his dog (the light was bright enough to illuminate the neighbor's house). He didn't succeed. There were other interesting...things that happened while I lived there, for some values of interesting.

The winds are changing and while that is good news for fire management, it's not as good for air quality. The big cloud of smoke is moving inland. Pendleton, about 150 miles and a couple of mountain ranges away, has an air quality index of 470 (well, okay, it's in a hole and gets choked with fog pretty regularly in temperature inversions). For comparison, Portland has an AQI of 299 and Seattle 264. Spokane is expecting the clouds to hit overnight. My current AQI is 58 but I do expect it to get worse. Or not. Depends on what the clouds do when they hit the Blues.

Yeah, interesting times. I could do with some boring times.

205:

I am saying that the press blows it out of all proportion, particularly the Murdoch press.

The murdoch press and various troll armies*:

https://theconversation.com/bushfires-bots-and-arson-claims-australia-flung-in-the-global-disinformation-spotlight-129556


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-15/is-arson-mostly-to-blame-for-the-bushfire-crisis/11865724

"deliberately lit bushfires are likely to be smaller [than average]"

* and right wing politicians, same same

206:

Ah, but this is 2020. If you were told that the Angels[-10] had learned what #hastag fact meant, you'd be bang on the nose. Hint: information exchange ("Quantum", like whatever, wake us up when you can do mammals and EM fields already, these dumb fuckers don't think mammal brains do REM sleep 'cause WHAT THE FUCK - WHY ARE YOU TAKING THIS SHIT SERIOUSLY? REM = MAMMAL, IT'S FUCKING HARD-CODED UNLESS YOU'RE A FUCKING PLATYPUS) doesn't work like you think it does.

But there's some **SERIOUS HEAVY MESSING CREW**[0] who just learnt it. And we're not talking about the sad-fucking-Corporate-whore-sacks in the US political branch who just outed QANON as "NAZI"[1], we're talking [redacted]. No, really: there are Minds thousands of years old pivoting and opening their eYe and saying: "What is... "hastag fact""?

OOoooh boy are you limited L.O.P.'s in fucking trouble. We're talking the Two I hold in Stone[6]

@Host - yeah, damage control is right fucking out, told you all this years ago. You don't get to change it into "neo-Nazi" land, QANNON has some .IL fingers in the pie (HELLO MS ROSANNE BARR) and have been working it hard to skull-fuck the dumb-asses in lead-water land.

Nope: you create psychosis, you fucking own it. [And if you want to play hard-ball, there's a dice with the language of G_D on it and certain videos, but we'll show you the reeeeal fucking thing you shitty, psychotic, paranoid little wankers].[2] No, really. 100% some IL peeps invovled in that little jaunt[4]


Although, Host, we do appreciate the moves you pulled with even the slightest threads offered[3]. Mr Martin might understand more if he's bothered to do the reading (we allow 3 months for our 3 days).

~

Ah, right.

Yes: you're correct. We're seeing a Narrative Voice Armageddon[5]. It's very very much more complicated than what you've given, but, hey-ho.


#1 WE WANT ALLLLL THE STORIES (THAT MEANS MOAR CONTENT)

#2 NUKE DISNEY

~

On a non-funny note: nope, you fucked it.[7] Riddle me how a SARS type virus leads to people having their hands surgically removed[8] - hint, it don't. [Redacted] "IN AND OUT" ---- "BREATH OF G_D".

These fuckers are running shit they do not understand on fragile ape Minds who ain't clued in and getting some nasty shit happening. It's almost as if they don't understand the years of science[9] it took to get your primitive shit-tier "organs kinda might work if we immunosuppress you for years" deal and then USED THE FUCKING SHIT THE L.O.P stole and field tested and so on.


Yeah. Clueless.


Host: this is the clean version. Here's a mature, actual response: you can pipe in all kinds of horror to the subconscious, but all we use it for is to track the fuckers engaged with it.

"No Addicts".

Well, yes. The problem being that you're the addicts, little [redacted], and we're teh bait.

"Mouldy, why not make it more moldified??"

Because only a fucking loser who cannot create and cannot envision something Higher thinks like that. You're shit-tier wetware running in shit-tier strata and you're thinking you're 'getting away with it' with this invasive nasty brutish crap?

Sargent: Dendrites are amazing things. We can re-wire that shit, 5ms. We do it every morning, son.

Faithless - Mass Destruction (Official Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzgBD2wysuI


[-0.5] "Mother is Dead". "Such a Child". "ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμβαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ". Still conscious.

Videos (don't count as links, they're flavor for the era):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZH96P71ak0 HATARI - ENGIN MISKUNN (those kinky Icelandic peeps - marching on, taking the piss out of stuff)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9xhJrPXop4 2020 NEW DUNE - it's Crusade, not Jihad 'cause you fucks are DUMB.

[0] SF reference: the entire "UK goes Green / Red dictatorship looks even more silly than it did back then, but hey, Libertarians paying the bills, eh?

[1] It's not, it's just not. It's many things, but explicitly "Neo-NAZI" - no. It was crafted (DO A FRUCKING GREP YOU APES, ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO NOW) to avoid such stuff - what it's becoming is something else. But NPR and other "experts" whoring themselves out MAKE THE THING BIGGER BECAUSE THEY LIE AND DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT. Sigh: 101, Streisland Effect, fucking muppets.

[2] That's a direct message to some really warped Minds out there. We find their methods: play-school level.

[3] Mr Cole has reverted to showing his (BLUE - get the joke?) EMPIRE colors (USA) -- sensible. Nuance. Fuckers, learn nuance already. Still - he's much sexier with the beard and the (NOW) fear of Women. Makes him smell.... like prey.

[4] “Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination.”
Well, you right fucked that one up, revert to earlier version. Bahrain peace deal or not - if you use psychosis weapons, you pay the fucking PRICE.

[5] What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

[6] That Tibetan 13 Sun thing holding that nail, stone and stone-with-hole? Yeah. Thatsthejoke.jpg. That's real. LOL.

[7] Banksy: "LAUGH NOW, ONE DAY WE'LL BE IN CHARGE"

[8] Sources, both USA / UK:


[[ 3 links already including the videos - mod ]]

207:

Oh, forgot the [redacted] version of the QANNON 'triple trips':

"The Beast remains"
"Our information is that you are lazy"
"My name is Susan [-----], I hold a PHD in... and I will [redacted] as long as ze holds breath" (She was killed soon after - smart woman, top of her field as well]

Want more?

~

You fuckers spent so much time shitting on the OOCP you forgot the important stuff.


"Oh noes, the world doesn't meet our Mental Simulacra"


That's the choice: either you change and grow, or end up doing well: what you did to the fucking whales, you psychotic cunts.

208:

Triptych.

@Host.

OH, we agree that your versions of 'Conspiracy Theory' are all trite, shite and mostly run by the spooks / PR black-ops[1].

What you're missing is: there's a much, much harder core level of stuff that basically your elites have been abusing for years now.

Radio? Newspapers?

They're pulling this shit because the new kids in town are real bastards.

~

And that's still not the shit that they're running on Minds to create neurological / nerve damage.

Here's teh hint: Cortex - Image formation - synapsis elec pulse [that's not ... what anyone calls it, do a translation] to nerves = jolt, prevents Mind focusing. Oooooh. Now that one, that's True. And has Big Black Book levels of "on the list" knowing that.

But, yeah: True, and they're field testing it on the QT amongst a pandemic, it's what the naughty boys do.


~


[redacted]

Come at me: Truth or Dare. 'Cause you're gonna lose both...


$13 trillion, whelp, we thought you knew how out of control the algos were, and yet...

[1] $500 mil in Iraq alone. That's gotta hurt when the contracts ran out...

209:

Are region restrictions on DVDs and DVD players even still a problem?

From my experience, DVD players, not really - but mostly for the reason that you can't really buy one. It's all Blu-ray which play also DVDs on the side. Our venerable DVD player gave up the ghost some years ago (bought in maybe 2000, and was set region-free from the store) and we wanted a new one. I got a Blu-ray player, but it was set to the "European" region. The store didn't answer anything concrete about the regionlessness, and the instructions I got from the internet didn't work. I asked the manufacturer's representatives here in Finland about that, but they just repeated the party line of "you are not allowed to change the region".

The problem here is that we have quite a collection of non-European DVDs - many of them movies which are still not easily obtainable in Europe. They wouldn't play on the device anymore, because the DVD region is also hard-set.

There are more computer-like-computer based solutions for this, however, so I can play the discs we have legally bought and own, but it's not as convenient as it could be.

In the larger picture, physical discs seem to be passé and the streaming services are the way to go. Of course the selection in the services is limited by your apparent region, by your IP. This is not my platform and I don't know the relevant laws, so to be on the safe side I won't spell out how to do that, but I think most of the people can figure that out.

I also agree that the streaming services are not the same as physical discs - for one thing, the physical object can't be taken away from me by the publisher or distributor. I still pay for some streaming services but they're more like something I can browse if I want to watch something right now instead of wanting to watch some particular thing.

210:

heteromeles
There is strong supporting evidence that The Tempest was written after the returning-but-shipwrecked Bermuda Sea Venture personnel spoke to Stratford Bill...

Oh dear
206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211

211:

Physical DVDs and CDs generally are life-limited due to the vagaries of manufacture and storage. They're better than the first-generation optical data storage like LaserDisc where "laser rot" became a term of art as the vapour-flashed aluminium metal coating corroded and lifted off the polycarbonate substrate when the two sandwiched outer layers separated and allowed moisture in. The term has now been generalised into "disc rot" since it's a known problem for archival storage of more modern media.

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

Streaming and downloads are, contrarily, less subject to data loss than CDs, DVDs, game discs and the like since the zeroes and ones can be replicated in generational backups and storage in multiple formats.

212:

Hamas were democratically elected to be the government of all of Palestine, actually.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Palestinian_legislative_election

"Be careful who you call terrorists? Ask what agenda the label serves!"

Precisely. From a legal point of view (let alone an ethical one), Hamas and Hezbollah are no more terrorist organisations than are the majority of the Israeli parties.

213:

Moderators: posts 206 - 211 consist of the Seagull stating "Blah-blah-blah I'm so smart and enlightened. Pay attention to ME!!!!"

If the "three posts and done" rule is still in place, 209-211 should be canned. If the "don't spam links" rule is in place, 206 should also go. Just sayin'.

214:

Hezbollah is funded by Iran and Syria - who they serve. So how free and fair were any elections in Lebanon?

Besides which, they suffer from the usual problems with freedom fighters. If they were to get their way, they might have to get a real job and would stop feeling important and righteous. A few may be truly devoted to their cause - the destruction of a nation state - but most just like carrying a gun, intimidating those around them and feeling more important than their personal achievements justify.

Adams ran a bar while McGuinness was functionally illiterate and they were the IRA leadership. Killing people is easy, making peace is hard.

215:

You can add to that the overt and covert terrorism by Israel against Lebanon. No, Lebanon's democracy is no better than the USA's, UK's or Israel's - NONE of which are the paragons of virtue that they claim to be. And Hezbollah is precisely what it claims to be - a paramilitary organisation whose primary purpose is to defend Lebanon from external aggression(*), mainly but not entirely from Israel. So bloody what?

My point was and is that Hezbollah is no more of a terrorist organisation than the majority of the Israeli parties, who support, propose and profit from past, present and future theft and/or violence against Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and Jordanians. The fact that they funnel most of their actions through the government and Israeli military is irrelevant.

Yes, making peace is hard - but there hasn't been even an attempt by Israel since 1995, and demonising the two organisations that are attempting to defend Palestinians and Lebanese against Israel is NOT a move in that direction.

(*) And, if you don't know why accepting money from Iran and assisting Syria is an aspect of that, you should learn something about the area.

216:

Last I heard Israel is a small country - blink and you miss it in a fast jet - with a number of neighbours who have sworn its destruction / eradication.

It would be astonishingly prosperous if it didnt have to divert so much of its budget to merely staying in existence. I rather suspect they would rather like to be able to stand down large chunks of their armed forces, but while Iran, Syria et al finance attacks on the country why would they just sit back and take it?

I'm am certainly not saying they are all nice people, but when you have dozens of unguided missiles lobbed at your country on a regular basis and are surrounded by people financed and encouraged by those who think the holocaust was a good start - then expecting them to sit there and take it is naive.

If the Palestinians and Lebanese militias stood down for a couple of years they would have peace within a decade. But their paymasters want genocide.

217:

It's been said that the CPUSA managed to exist through Joe McCarthy and the fifties on FBI money... their "undercover" people in the Party being the only ones who paid the dues.

218:

Are you suggesting that *he* was the source of the $25M that that Nigerian prince has been trying to get out of the country? [g]

219:

Do remember that when Schiaparelli was first seeing them, he referred to them (being Italian) as "canali" - "channels". The English-speaking press, of course, instantly called them canals.

Now, where was that pic of Dejah Thoris I saw the other week...?

220:

Question: is the area you grew up in suburban, exurban, or rural, where all these home invasions were?

I've been begging for "dull and boring" (as opposed to "interesting") for a long time.

221:

Huh. Bought a DVD player 2-3 years ago here.

222:

Israel.

They could end a *lot* of the hostility easily. If they a) allowed the Palestinians to have an actual state, rather than the balkanized small "reservations" (as we call "Indien Reservations" in the US), with no non-checkpointed passage between them, and b) allow them part of Jerusalem as their capital.

But the ultraconservatives want "Erech Israel", the whole of ancient Israel, and no, they do not want to allow the Palestinians any part of Jerusalem.

I understand a lot of this ultraOrthodox are a) from the US and b) from the FSSR. Oh, and they treat Sephardic Jews, who are frequently of darker skin, the way the US treats Blacks.

Net-and-yahoo should be tried and convicted as a war criminal.

Shooting missiles? Seen the reports of what they do to the Palestinians? And let's not forget the literal theft of West Bank land for Jewish settlements.

I can go on, but if you're not willing to go look at something *NOT* from the US perspective (it's our "aircraft carrier" for the whole Middle East, and they can do things for us without it being overseen by the US Congress), then I don't need to.

223:

Both whitroth & Grant
The "Arabs" ( Including the Palestinians ) were offered peace, on a plate, whole, unencumbered, EXCEPT for E Jerusalem, in late 1966, ion return for recognition of Israel's existence.
"Land for Peace"
It was rejected, time & again, & again, with continued actual terror attacks on innocent civilians, often away from Israel itself ( * ) & Israel turned inwards & rightwards & became a mirror-image of their intolerant enemies.
Rather the way the RC church's relentless persecution & murder & bloodshed produced Jean Calvin .....
Now, we have "Bennie" - & what is there to choose between him & his opponents?
Not a lot.
( * ) Munich, Entebbe, The Death of Klinghoffer, etc.

224:

Robert Prior @ 194:

is there any current fire known to have been started deliberately ... or even suspected of being started deliberately?

No idea. I thought you were talking generically about forest fires.

No, I was responding specifically to:

@ 151: They're sure that the fires on the US West Coast were started by Antifa ...

And to this part of your response:

@ 154: There are arsonists. ...

Has there been any fire in Oregon or California this season suspected to have been deliberately set by arsonists or is the claim against "antifa" made up out of whole cloth ?

225:

Pigeon @ 195: It would surprise me more to find there were not any fires started deliberately. In England we had an episode of unseasonal combustion on Saddleworth Moor a few years ago, which was exacerbated by dickheads from Manchester going and starting their own bits of it purely because they were dickheads. All else being equal, the situation in question is adjacent to a much larger population than that of Manchester, so I would expect it to suffer from a proportionally larger number of dickheads. But all else is not equal, because the contagion of Trumpian insanity seems to be well able to motivate people to do all sorts of amazingly fucking stupid things, and so the number of dickheads now is likely to be even greater.

I would note however that late summer wildfires on the west coast of the U.S. are NOT "unseasonable".

Dickheadedness & stupidity abound, but I want to see evidence of intent, even if the intent is to set fires under a false flag (whether it's rightwing-nuts seeking to blame "antifa" or vice versa) before casting aspersions.


226:

Neither 151 nor 154 are from me.

I have only seen one news report of arson, which didn't appear to be politically motivated.

OTOH, pyromaniacs exist. It would not surprise me to learn that some had been responsible for a wildfire. My bet, though, would be human stupidity — like shooting an explosive to announce to the world that your fetus has a penis (or more commonly, flicking away a lit cigarette when you're done with it).

227:

The Riverside (near Portland/Estacada/Molalla) and the Santiam fires (Salem/Detroit/Mill City) both have origins in earlier lightning-caused fires.

Bringing up the Salem-Detroit area, you may have seen that Gene's Meat Market is just gone; it had all those trees around it and apparently something came down just so. That's 300 meters from the family home of a fan known to both of us and Charlie; as far as I know that's okay. I've heard that the Gingerbread House across the highway is fine so the fire seems to have been well isolated.

For others, this Street View should show you the burned building and its surrounding trees; pan to southeast to see the Gingerbread House restaurant.

228:

I think I take the view that things have gone to crap since Nasser screwed up. I remember the 6 Day and Yom Kippur wars well.

If it was two normal countries involved in the problem you might have resolved it by now, but as religion is a major factor, resolution gets tough to achieve.

I know hating Israel is fashionable, but I see no reason to assume the Palestinians wouldn't be acting just the same if the roles were reversed. Both sides are human with all the good and bad characteristics that entails.

Will the people wanting Netanyahu tried also support the trial of Mahmud Abbas?

229:

My bet would be on carelessness. Possibly carelessness verging on criminal stupidity

Much of those areas on fire, while they look lush and green when it's raining it quickly turns to near desert when the rain stops. And on the east side of the western mountain ranges it IS desert. But desert full of scrub grass and shrubs. Drove through the area that had burned along the Columbia River a few years back and it was impressive (in a weird way) of how much black there still was from the fire a year earlier. And closed turnouts and lookouts.

So it doesn't take much to start a fire. Lightning is a big cause. During the big eclipse a few years back Oregon set it up so there was a tanker fire truck every so often in the viewing areas as they expected cars to pull off the road and their hot exhaust to start a few fires.

230:

people would have just stopped bothering with it.

Players have gotten so cheap and given the size of the US plus Redbox everywhere it's not worth the bother for most of us to try and even defeat region code locking.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redbox#Kiosk_design_and_operation

231:

Nojay @ 214: Physical DVDs and CDs generally are life-limited due to the vagaries of manufacture and storage. They're better than the first-generation optical data storage like LaserDisc where "laser rot" became a term of art as the vapour-flashed aluminium metal coating corroded and lifted off the polycarbonate substrate when the two sandwiched outer layers separated and allowed moisture in. The term has now been generalised into "disc rot" since it's a known problem for archival storage of more modern media.

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

I had that happen with quite a few of my earliest store bought music CDs.

232:

Has there been any fire in Oregon or California this season suspected to have been deliberately set by arsonists or is the claim against "antifa" made up out of whole cloth ?

As observed above, there are a few fires known to be deliberately caused and a few arsonists in custody.

The claims about "antifa" are unfounded lies and have prompted several police and fire departments to publicly ask people to stop pestering them with this nonsense. Unfortunately the same idiots who saw reds under the bed are now panicking about antifas in the bushes.

233:

Bought a DVD player 2-3 years ago here.

Try and buy a VHS player. We have a box full of person tapes with poor to non existent labeling. Wanted to have Costco transfer them to digital media but first see which of the few dozen were worth it.

I don't think any regular retailers in the US sell them. ebay sellers want $50 plus $17 shipping. Wound up my wife searching FB for local people who had one cheap. Of course our TVs now don't want to deal with less than component inputs so had to ask folks to take a picture of the rear. Picked one up today for $20. We'll see.

234:

Robert Prior @ 229: Neither 151 nor 154 are from me.

Sorry 'bout that. I confused your queston with a similar previous question. 151 & 154 are what I was responding to, not "talking generically about forest fires".

I have only seen one news report of arson, which didn't appear to be politically motivated.

OTOH, pyromaniacs exist. It would not surprise me to learn that some had been responsible for a wildfire. My bet, though, would be human stupidity — like shooting an explosive to announce to the world that your fetus has a penis (or more commonly, flicking away a lit cigarette when you're done with it).

Yeah, my take on the current fire season is that where fires have been started by people, they are mostly due to carelessness and even the rare deliberately set fires are not politically motivated - drugs, mental illness, plain vanilla human meanness yes ... politics no, I have seen no evidence for that ... from either side.


235:

Re: '... *he* was the source of the $25M that that Nigerian prince'

Dunno - but if he was, that Prince got scammed.

236:

Scott Sanford @ 230: For others, this Street View should show you the burned building and its surrounding trees; pan to southeast to see the Gingerbread House restaurant.

I've never noticed it before but the compass on Street View is effed-up. When you're facing south-east, the compass appears to be pointing to the south-west. It appears the compass is flipped east for west.

Anyway, the compass points in the direction the little guy in the mini map is facing when he's N-S, but points in the opposite direction when he's E-W.

237:

Grant @ 231: Will the people wanting Netanyahu tried also support the trial of Mahmud Abbas?

Sure. Bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement ... what's the difference? They're all a breach of trust. And both deserve to have their day in court where the evidence for & against the charges can be fully examined.

As to "hating Israel", I don't think disagreeing with Israeli policies in the West Bank & Gaze is "hating Israel".

238:

"Hating Israel is fashionable"?

That phrase is fashionable on the right. I believe the State of Israel should exist. In it's MODERN FORM, the one NOT GIVEN TO the Jews by some alleged Sky Deity, but by Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and the UN. In its original borders.

Abbas? Who doesn't really have much control of much? Sure, the crimes JBS mentioned.

Netanyu? War crimes, theft of property for Israel, ordering mass repression of the Palestinians, etc. Notice there's a slight difference between trying a small-time crook and a war criminal?

And of *course* the original deal wasn't accepted. In the Middle Ages, the Jews even had their own quarter. But they are unwilling, at least the ones in power, to *share* Jerusalem, even the old Arab quarter.

239:

I've never noticed it before but the compass on Street View is effed-up. When you're facing south-east, the compass appears to be pointing to the south-west. It appears the compass is flipped east for west.

I've seen this happen before, most often when I drop down into something in the Middle East. Interestingly, the compass on the link I gave is working fine for me. I don't know what causes this but it's an intermittent bug that's not unique to you.

240:

Good to hear from you; I, at least, was concerned. (google translated the nym. Wouldn't mind if messages to me were in a post within the OGH's rules.)
It's all [redacted] level "4/8chand triple trips"
Is that three 4/8chan trips in a row? That's pushing pushing the chaos a bit, at least without (computer) techy tools. (Oh, and I do pay attention and take note of things.)

Only the actual joke is knowing it before it happens, but hey.
Your Minds don't do that, even when we rub your fucking noses in it for years.

[Causality] is a difficult mental habitschema for humans to revise, if that's what you mean.

they're currently hunting down all progressive voices with {power} and ganking them (oh, sure... sudden onset illness etc etc)
Flere-Imsaho is the most ethical main character of all in The Player Of Games. Strict (even prissy) proportionality of response (in this case flesh vs flesh):
A figure appeared against the flames. It was Nicosar, holding one of the big laser-pistols the guards had been armed with. He stood just within and to the side of the windows, holding the gun in both hands and sighting carefully at Gurgeh. Gurgeh looked at the black muzzle of the gun, into the thumb-wide barrel, then his gaze moved up to Nicosar's face as the apex pulled the trigger.
Then he was looking at himself.
...
then the mirror-field disappeared and he was looking at Nicosar again.
The apex stood in exactly the same place, swaying slightly now. There was something wrong though. Something had changed. It was very obvious but Gurgeh couldn't see what it was.
...
Gurgeh saw it then; the neat, slightly smoking black hole about wide enough to fit a thumb into, in the centre of the apex's forehead.
Nicosar's body hit the board with a crash, scattering pieces.

241:

Shorter, and encouraging and not surprising :-) D.J.Trumps approval (various flavours) among Evangelicals and Roman Catholics is sliding. Couple of polls (the second is a periodic poll):
Presidential Candidate Vice and Virtue Poll:Swing State Evangelical and Catholic Perceptions of Donald J. Trump and Joseph R.Biden (September 7, 2020)
And a PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) survey. White Evangelical favorability for D.J. Trump has been on a slide, from 77 percent March 20, 2020 to 56 percent August 20. Note this is "favorability", not who they would vote for.
Trump Favorability 2019-2020, Among Whites by Religious Affiliation
(full survey)

Just writing this down somewhere since the old link was dead yesterday: web.archive.org for the win: america.aljazeera.com is evaporating : PM Abe in aircraft number 731(bad number) --- Prime Minister Abe waves

242:

... PM Abe in aircraft number 731(bad number) --- Prime Minister Abe waves ...

It's slightly disappointing that 731 is not a prime number, since a prime minister is flying under it. At least it's the sum of three consecutive prime numbers, 239 + 241 + 251.

243:

At least it's the sum of three consecutive prime numbers, 239 + 241 + 251.
Interesting spot. I haven't yet found documentation about how Unit 731 acquired its number. Anyone?

244:

Re wildfires in the USA, a friend elsewhere speculates that some of the right-wing misinformation might come from people with scanners "discovering" that the authorities are getting regular updates about fire locations and sizes from BLM[1]. This, to the ignorant and conspiracy-minded (oh look, QAnon) will be clear evidence that (a) "lefties" in the form of #BLM[2] activists and/or antifa are responsible for starting/spreading the fires and (b) those people are embedded at the very heart of the "deep state".

[1] Because the Bureau of Land Management is responsible for a lot of forests and firefighters in the region, and thus has both the resources and the duty to collect that information and provide it to civic/state administrations.
[2] What do you mean, one TLA can stand for multiple things in different contexts? Are you some kind of commie?

246:

Re wildfires in the USA, a friend elsewhere speculates that some of the right-wing misinformation might come from people with scanners "discovering" that the authorities are getting regular updates about fire locations and sizes from BLM[1]...

Before anyone pleads, "But they couldn't possibly be that stupid!", yes, some of them are that stupid.

Bureau of Land Management media organs have mentioned that they are not the Black Lives Matter organization; as far as I know nobody too dumb to figure this out on their own has listened.

Too, over the years some people have intentionally trolled angry racists by asking them about their objections to the Bureau of Land Management. (Confession: I've done this.) So they might be primed to be easily confused.

There are even a few dingbats who object to both federal agencies and black people; there's probably no help for them but at least they're out on the lunatic fringes without much company.

247:

But, but, BLM stands for "Blimey, Landsakes Man"!

Meaning "my dear friend, I fear you are on the verge of a most serious error".

248:

BLM has an Air Force!!!

They get upwind of their target and all fart at the same time?

249:

Bill Arnold
DO NOT FEED THE TROLL
Oh and IF THERE IS ACTUAL CONTENT amidst all the utter trash, how about translating it for us, just in case it might be worth reading, eh?
Oh & why is 731 a "bad number" ... ah, now I see. Why could you not SAY SO?

250:

Here is a weird story from the Guardian: some whales are fighting back. This isn't just a few incidents of a whale hitting a boat: there seems to be a gang of orcas who are specifically targetting small boats.

Scientists have been left baffled by incidents of orcas ramming sailing boats along the Spanish and Portuguese coasts.

In the last two months, from southern to northern Spain, sailors have sent distress calls after worrying encounters. Two boats lost part of their rudders, at least one crew member suffered bruising from the impact of the ramming, and several boats sustained serious damage.

The thing about orcas is that they are scary smart at figuring stuff out. And now these orcas seem to have discovered that you can disable a ship by knocking off its rudder.

[[ link fixed (quotes were missing) - mod ]]

251:

Greg: The "Arabs" ( Including the Palestinians ) were offered peace, on a plate, whole, unencumbered, EXCEPT for E Jerusalem, in late 1966, ion return for recognition of Israel's existence.

That was 54 years ago. The generation of leaders who negotiated at that time are almost all dead of old age. Teen-age conscripts who fought in 1968 are elderly politicians and retirees. Benjamin Netenyahu was a teenager who hadn't yet been drafted: Khaled Mashal, current leader of the Hamas political bureau, was ten.

Things in the region have changed just a little since then ...

254:

Just Google it. It's all over the place.

255:

The claims about "antifa" are unfounded lies and have prompted several police and fire departments to publicly ask people to stop pestering them with this nonsense. Unfortunately the same idiots who saw reds under the bed are now panicking about antifas in the bushes.

I've read that the "fires set by antifa" nonsense got started when idiots listening to the radio heard stuff about "BLM" being active in the area.

BLM as in Bureau of Land Management, not Black Lives Matter. But racists are gonna jump to racist conclusions, every time (and can't tell the difference between BLM and black bloc/anti-fascist).

256:

And it WASN'T "on a plate, whole, unencumbered"! Inter alia, it required acceptance of the forced expulsions and looting that was done in 1948 and afterwards. If I recall correctly, that was the nominal sticking point - I say nominal, because the plan was rejected out of hand by various Arab states, probably for other reasons - then, as in most subsequent 'deals', the Palestinians were not consulted.

Greg seem to have forgotten that the Palestinians welcomed the Israeli takeover in 1967, because it got rid of their utterly corrupt and brutal PLO overlords, and they felt that Israel could only be an improvement. Israel had the chance, then and for over a decade afterwards, to create a peace but chose not to proceed in that line.

257:

BLM as in Bureau of Land Management...

I spent some years on the permanent staff for a western state legislature. BLM will always be Bureau of Land Management in my head, mostly used in a derogatory fashion. I was told that the unofficial motto of the Western Governors Association is "Do you know what those dickheads at BLM have done now?"

258:

A modest proposal:
The use of [redacted] on this list should result in an automatic yellow card. (Except this use, of course!

259:

The Bureau of Land Management is part of the Deep State. The Bureau of Land Management and Black Lives Matter are exactly the same thing!

Wake Up Sheeple!!!

260:

Bill Arnold @ 246:

At least it's the sum of three consecutive prime numbers, 239 + 241 + 251.

Interesting spot. I haven't yet found documentation about how Unit 731 acquired its number. Anyone?

"Unit 731" was the next unit in line to get a number after "Unit 730". The more pertinent point is how they made "731" a bad number.

261:

QUOTE from the "Indy"
Roger Stone, a former political consultant for the Trump campaign and convicted felon, has said the president should impose martial law if he loses the election in November.
ENDQUOTE

OK, let's suppose, that by the ned of 4th November, it's obvious DT has lost ...
COiuld he try to do this - & who might support him if he tried it?
Where/how does the US division-of-powers work in that sort of situation?

262:

In other fun news, Roger Stone is advocating for martial law.

"has said Trump should seize total power and jail prominent figures including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg if he loses to Joe Biden in November."

"Stone also advocated “forming an election day operation using the FBI, federal marshals and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections [to results] and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity”.

He has no direct power of course, but the point of a statement like this is to put in on the table as a part of the range of options. Now it is in the field of discussion, people will react to it, have opinions. Some (many) will agree that the election of foaming at the mouth socialists amounts to insurrection, and that martial law is an appropriate response. The Overton window now includes a coup and outright seizure of power.

[[ url fixed - mod ]]

263:

Rocketjps
I see you've spotted the same criminal insanity.
Meanwhile, here, BoZo is preparing to see if he can openly break the Law - my money is on it passing the Commons with a majority of about 30, to be trashed utterly in the Lords, after which life gets INTERESTING.
Meanwile, as an aide-memore I have compiled a tabulated count-down to the US election result (4th November) & it appears that it does translate to HTML display in here.
"Cut out & Keep" as they say, because, in both cases, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Oh & I'd be obliged if our USAian friends could give some answers to my Q at the end of # 264 ??

SEPTEMBER: Mon 14 / Tue 15 50 days / Wed 16 7 weeks / Thur 17 / Fri 18 / Sat 19 / Sun 20 / Mon 21 / Tue 22
    Wed 23 6 weeks / Thur 24 / Fri 25 40 days / Sat 26 / Sun 27 / Mon 28 / Tue 29 / Wed 30 5 weeks
OCTOBER: Thur 1 / Fri 2 / Sat 3 / Sun 4 / Mon 5 30 days / Tue 6 / Wed 7 4 weeks
    Thur 8 / Fri 9 / Sat 10 / Sun 11 / Mon 12 / Tue 13 / Wed 14 3 weeks
    Thur 15 20 days / Fri 16 / Sat 17 / Sun 18 / Mon 19 / Tue 20 / Wed 21 2 weeks
    Thur 22 / Fri 23 / Sat 24 / Sun 25 10 days / Mon 26 / Tue 27 / Wed 28 1 week
    Thur 29 / Fri 30 / Sat 31
NOVEMBER: Sun 1 / Mon 2 / Tue 3 VOTING DAY
Wed 4     - ??

264:

Charlie Stross @ 258:

The claims about "antifa" are unfounded lies and have prompted several police and fire departments to publicly ask people to stop pestering them with this nonsense. Unfortunately the same idiots who saw reds under the bed are now panicking about antifas in the bushes.

I've read that the "fires set by antifa" nonsense got started when idiots listening to the radio heard stuff about "BLM" being active in the area.

BLM as in Bureau of Land Management, not Black Lives Matter. But racists are gonna jump to racist conclusions, every time (and can't tell the difference between BLM and black bloc/anti-fascist).

The right-wingnuts out west know exactly who the Bureau of Land Management is. Any claim otherwise is disingenuous at best.

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

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

The latter incident was set off when Dwight Hammond, Jr and his son Steven Dwight Hammond were convicted of arson of federal land arson.

The 2006 Krumbo Butte fire started out as a wildfire, but several illegal backburns were set by the Hammonds with an intent of protecting their winter feed. The backfires were set under the cover of night, without warning the firefighters they knew were camped on the slopes above. The fires threatened to trap four BLM firefighters. One of those later confronted Dwight Hammond at the fire scene after he had moved his crews to avoid the danger. Two days later, Steven Hammond threatened to frame a BLM employee with arson if he didn't terminate the investigation. ...

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

Anyone who tells you they don't know the difference between the Bureau of Land Management and the Black Lives Matter movement is full of shit.

265:

Ongaku @ 261: A modest proposal:
The use of [redacted] on this list should result in an automatic yellow card. (Except this use, of course!

I disagree. I'd much rather see [REDACTED] than some of the intemperate language it is used to replace.

266:

Ok, here's a slice if you want us to do social commentary:

If you happen to be a co-founder of a newly minted environmental youth movement with some very strong ties to one side of the Establishment power structures (to the extent that you're already suspected of anti-Union activity within your own organization) and a very traceable cash donation trail, what you do not do is launch into the full-throated branding of QAn as "Nazi"[1] via some very bad research[2] that states it's ACKTUALLY old ZoG materiel. You especially do not do this as even staid Barclays brothers are trotting out the 'pizza' stuff and your nation is in the grip of a large Culture War[tm] film argument from France via Netflix.

You do not do this unless: a) you are 100% certain that your organization is squeaky clean, b) you are 100% certain that this isn't going to amplify the Culture War[tm] in unintended ways and c) you are 100% certain you know the content of the other side's Mind and what the content has been and d) you are fully up-to-date with BLM fire disinfo (having a plant with a nice video happening to share to 'concerned militia' is 101 Gaslands PR play-book, ffs - the people running this have a M.O. and form and we could get you their internal manual if you really asked nicely).

This 'activist' fails all four tests, and like recent UK noncence[3] over EXRebellion disavowing socialism, is really not helpful, especially when you're playing against the PayPal / Palantirreee guys who are not messing around.

But, like, whatever: We're sure you've got a handle on everything, looks like you're doing well, you don't appear to be utterly incompetent chumps to the nasties, at all, no sirr-reeeee.


[Redacted] = not-human. Not even in the sense the President of the United States is using it to describe a young boy shooting a police officer on twitter. We genuinely mean 'Minds that don't have genetic/informational data that denotes them as part of your species'.


And sure, that's a free-bee: unless you want civil war, and are super-confident that all those 'never Trumpers' you've signed up in your battle are really on your side and not fucking playing you.

[1] We're well aware of who is hosting it, and there are actual neo-Nazis involved, but a) they aren't the creators and b) the target group are not (well, up to 'how racist is your average over 50 in a dominant Empire culture' discussion)

[2] Done by some old people who really don't understand the new guard / the depths of what's actually being done, and are culturally (for good reasons, natch) prone to labeling everything as having that root cause.

[3] Brass Eye

267:

Rocketpjs @ 265: In other fun news, <a>Roger Stone</a> is advocating for martial law.

Your hyper-links won't work unless you include a URL.

I learned to do it this way by looking at the "source" for previous hyperlinks I found on this blog.

<a href="https://some_URL" rel="nofollow"><i>Text to be hyperlinked</i></a>

268:

AND now, just in for the BoJo Does The Act He Can Only Do Once [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRxohDs2-UM]

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-54137643

269:

The issue with declaring martial law, contesting results, etc is that nobody particularly likes Trump enough to stage a full on coup to keep him in office. At best, he'll manage to contest individual state results in the courts, but the Supreme Court already got a black eye with Bush v Gore and will likely try not to impose a result.

If there aren't 270 uncontested electoral votes for a winner, then the House of Representatives will decide the winner - each state delegation gets one vote, with Republicans holding a majority of delegations

270:

COiuld he try to do this - & who might support him if he tried it? Where/how does the US division-of-powers work in that sort of situation?

The US Constitution and associated laws have a lot of holes in the edge cases. It was and has been assumed that reasonable people will do reasonable things. And for the most part they have.[1] Now we have someone who wants to ignore the non holes.

Life over here might get bumpy in early November.

[1]Over here (USA) sheriffs are a different animal than in Europe. They are the law in open non incorporated areas of most states. And each state has details implemented differently with some laws going back maybe 200 years. About 20 years ago a new sheriff was elected in a rural county known for the previous sheriff running things "his way" for the previous decade or few. When the new sheriff took office there were no personnel files and many other files were missing. Seems that according to state law most of the non criminal paperwork of the office was considered the personal property of the sheriff. Not sure if we changed that or not.

271:

Roger Stone and other crazy things.

Everyone has to remember the number one way for this administration to push bad news off the headlines is to say something crazy. Then ignore it after the job is done.

272:

I'd guess that idiots who own a weekend cabin in a rural area who changed BLM to "Black Lives Matter." Imagine that Farmer Joe is on the CB and he says "BLM just announced that the fire is heading up the southern slope of Mount Simpson."

Farmer Steve replies, "No shit? I better move my cattle!" Both farmers know they're talking about the Bureau of Land Management.

Missus Comes-From-The-City, who's listening in her cabin says "Black Lives Matter set Mount Simpson on fire! I'd better announce it over Facebook!"

An hour later Farmer Joe reads a later post on Facebook about how Antifa set the fire and doesn't even know it was his conversation with Farmer Steve that started the whole thing... but yeah, big time idiocy either way!

273:

The people who own the majority of the power infrastructure in CA have been noted before (grep), but as Diamond Class Scientologists, have both the wet-work side of PR on speed-dial as well as access to internal paramilitary style counter-OPs stuff (who, let us say, have no ethical compunction about using .mil spec spyware sold by various states on the QT).

Having just seen the efforts they're going to to paint this entire fire season as 'Antifa' (same was done in AUZ, but badly due to various things) and the various gas / oil interests that intersect in CA (which is a super-majority Democratic state, remember), they have (rough outline):

1) State level liaison with politics / Law enforcement
2) Media presence that stretches from social media (FB etc) to TV
3) On-the-ground plants set to steer the narrative
4) Some very nasty ways of targeting those they consider a 'threat'
5) The WH on speed-dial

I do hope you realize that the BLM = Bureau of Land Management narrative is the one they're selling to the Democratic side while actually in-country running the OP.

Just so you know who you're inadvertently working for: Scientologists are not nice Humans.

274:

Distract and move on is the number one strategy, of course. That being said, putting things like 'arresting all the left' and imposing martial law on the table make things only slightly less dangerous sound positively reasonable.

275:

[Redacted] = not-human. Not even in the sense the President of the United States is using it to describe a young boy shooting a police officer on twitter. We genuinely mean 'Minds that don't have genetic/informational data that denotes them as part of your species'.
I CALL BULLSHIT & lying & total dementia
The poster is clearly insane.

withroth
Well that's utterly bonkers or lying or both - note that the Bozoids & the ERG & the other extreme Brexshiteers get to decide if the EU is behaving in an unreasonable way Um, err ....

Tom M
And if there are not 270 votes by the end of Wednesday, but there are by Friday? ( Counting the mailed-in votes )

David L
So, what is Stone's outburst covering-up, then?

276:

"Sharing the footage of the incident, US President Donald Trump, tweeted: "Animals that must be hit hard."

Los Angeles police officers shot in 'ambush'

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-54137838

The poster is clearly insane.

Xenu (/ˈziːnuː/),[1][2][3] also called Xemu, was, according to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" who brought billions[4][5] of his people to Earth (then known as "Teegeeack") in DC-8-like spacecraft 75 million years ago, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. Official Scientology scriptures hold that the thetans (immortal spirits) of these aliens adhere to humans, causing spiritual harm.[1][6]

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

Scratch a conspiracy theory fan/enthusiast, find an anti-semite.

The nice people are so outclassed here, it's not funny. QAN was specifically crafted (from the outset) to avoid the ZoG / Blood Libel stuff and be very much pro-Israel, because of the target groups.

Here's another sad fact: Palantierrree is currently ripping through various stuff to find a couple of environmentalists with some, well: criminal involvement with children. And they'll splash it just before the election.

A lot of the people currently being pulled into the QAnon orbit are being baited in with "think of the children." It's white Facebook Moms. The bits they're listening to don't sound like fascism, it sounds like stranger-danger, which is not new.

Yes, which is why the timing of this to coincide with the stranger-danger panic over the new netflix film (go look for yourself, let's say: pushing all the old buttons, hard) is very cleverly done. Mr Activist supra-smooth-DC-Operator above just wandered right into the next phase. This has all been prepped for launch.


In a way, Greg, it's nice that you think that way. It's sad that the people playing against your team really really don't play cricket.

277:

Re yct DavidL: it's a desperate ploy to distract from Woodward's *recordings*, which he's released along with his book, of Trumpolini's admission of guilt re C-19, and a ton of other stuff, along with the still-in-there "insulting the military".

278:

IF we live so long ...
Something to look forward to

Oh yes ... Scientology was & remains a giant & dangeorus confidence trick - rather like Trump, in fact.
So stop with the bullshit, already? [ Again ]

279:

Hmmm. I don't find it intemperate. Incomprehensible, yeah.

280:

So, what is Stone's outburst covering-up, then?

He's looking more and more likely to loose. But it's not a lock.

He wants a vaccine before Nov and is running into roadblocks.

An article came out this weekend on how the CDC is getting political pressure (with emails exposed) to modify what they are telling the public.

Or how he advice on voting violates the law in NC and other states. And he gave the advice to R's. Giving serious heartburn to local R's running for office.

AND the big one. Woodward's book. And the tapes that can't be denied. Well they can but only his base believes the denial.

Plus his admin generates a lot of crap in the news lately as the dead ends stack up. So saying something crazy distracts from that. Or at least takes what should be a hour of TV news or an expose in print/digital on some scandal to just a headline that gets pushed by other scandals and crazy tweets.

He just keeps stirring the pot so no one can see the ingredients without a lot of close looks.

281:

Oh, yeah. As withroth said, his entire thing with the military.

The more he and his allies tweet or make crazy the less time real stuff sticks to the daily news cycles.

282:

It's usually Mr Come-from-the-city, with his wife (and kids and Large Dogs that tend to run loose until the actual farmers find them). My parents had a small cabin in a area where all the old-timers hated the new city people, who didn't have a clue about good behavior or the area association that paid for road upkeep (grading and gravel).

283:

The Electoral College meets in December. The absolute deadline is Inauguration Day, Jan 20 (or Jan 21, if the 20th is a Sunday). The states have about a month to get the ballots counted.

284:

https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/the-electoral-college.aspx
Nov 3 Popular vote
Dec 8 Vote counting must be done
Dec 14 Electors meet, vote, and send results to Senate. (Pence)
Dec 23 Last day ballots can be received by Senate
Jan 6 Congress counts the official votes
Jan 20 Inauguration

Lots of university and such legal speculation of what happens if a state count is still a mess as of Dec 8? Can the state legislature meet and select a slate of electors and tell them how to vote? And if they don't and the state fails the Dec 14 date does the state loose their voice in Congress for the election?

Both sides have various opinions on such things. Some not in agreement with their "side".

And if not all states get their votes to Congress does a winner still need 270 or is it a majority of votes received by the Senate by Dec 23?

Refer to my comment about edge cases above.

285:

~@ 282
GO AWAY TROLL
You used [redacted] - meaning it's lying bullshit AGAIN

And another straight out lie in 287 give you an accurate picture NO

Sorry peoples ... I shouldn't have fed the fucking troll, should I?

PJE @ 289
Thanks for that
Even so, assuming there is an overwhelming vote for Biden, the arsehole is STILL POTUS until 20/01/2021 ... he can still do immense damage, yes?
...
So, we need to add David L's count to the end of my countdown, yes?
O deep joy!

IF the D's win all 3, they need to do TWO THINGS above all else in the next 2 years:
1: Voting reform to stop suppression
2: Immediate transfer of power, once an election is over, no waiting for a "dead dog" period.

286:

Immediate transfer of power, once an election is over, no waiting for a "dead dog" period.

I think the waiting period is in The Constitution. The idea is that one gentleman will be giving into another gentleman, and it would naturally be appropriate to give the incoming person a couple months to select cabinet secretaries and such, not to mention that travel when the Constitution was written could be a matter of weeks...

287:

And such a change will require 3/4s of the states to go along. All those small population R states would have to say "sure, why not give up our leverage".

Or Congress CAN call a Constitutional Convention. Fat chance of that. Last time it was done they tore up everything and started over.[1] The number of elected politicians in Congress willing to chance that is very very small.

[1] That's how the Articles of Confederation got tossed for our current Constitution back over 200 years ago. Thus the precedent is that almost anything is allowed in such a convention.

288:

and it would naturally be appropriate to give the incoming person a couple months to select cabinet secretaries and such, not to mention that travel when the Constitution was written could be a matter of weeks...

Actually it was in the Constitution as March. In the 30s it was changed to January. See the 20th amendment here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution
Based on what it says about the president elect dying before being sworn in I suspect CH will go into hiding until them if Biden is elected.

Most amendments have expiration dates written into them. Notice the ratification timeline of the 27th.

289:

Forget about "Foucault's Pendulum" and "Illuminati".

What you really need is a sequel to "The Morning of the Magicians" by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier.

Nothing beats a good old fashioned conspiracy theory that includes ancient astronauts, the Vril, the Thule Society, ritual magic and Nazi occultism.

290:

Re: 'I think the waiting period is in The Constitution.'

Bush the younger actively encouraged Obama's participation and even agreed to help bring in some of Obama's economic program before the official swearing in. So there is a precedent. (Not a Bush fan but in comparison to the current GOP POTUS ...)

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

291:

AND the big one. Woodward's book. And the tapes that can't be denied. Well they can but only his base believes the denial.

A recent cartoon has the ghost of Richard Nixon demanding, "You read about Watergate and still let Woodward tape you? Are you a f***ing idiot?"

Donald Trump's problem this election cycle is that he's been in the news nonstop for four years and everyone knows that yes, he is a f***ing idiot. Hence the frantic FUD mongering, election interference, and desperation to stay in power where lawyers won't eat him alive.

292:

Troutwaxer
You may be correct - though when Lincoln succeded Buchanan, it was an even longer period, yes?
( Looks it up - 4th March --> 20th January )
The 20th Amendment needs updating: 20th Jan --> 5th November
Can they get such an amendment through?
It's needed.

Is the Seagull trying to say that "Benghazi" was a set-up, rather than sheer incompetence & bad luck?
If so, she's even more deranged that I thought.
Ah yes, quoting the Big Bumper Fun Book of Dark-Ages camelherders' Myths is so rational & useful .....
[ And stupid & dangerous, but hey ... ]

293:

We're past 300 so - Phosphine detected in the atmosphere of Venus.

Paper/press conference to be released tomorrow. Authors claim they cannot account for the amount of phosphine with abiotic production alone.

294:

Re: Dejah Thoris

Frazetta's second painting of the the original cover for A Princess of Mars sold last week for over $1M.

https://boingboing.net/2020/09/10/frazettas-a-princess-of-ma.html

295:

Well - it was past 300 what I posted this originally.

296:

I think the waiting period is in The Constitution. The idea is that one gentleman will be giving into another gentleman, and it would naturally be appropriate to give the incoming person a couple months to select cabinet secretaries

Yes it's in the Constitution, but no it's nothing to do with a leisurely succession: rather, it's because the original Colonies were spread over about 800 miles of coastline (and a similar distance inland), and overland travel by carriage/horse in the late 18th/early 19th century travelled at an average speed of roughly 4mph; an express stage coach with scheduled changes of team 2-3 times a day and good roads might average as much as 8mph.

The Pony Express was a late phenomenon that only lasted a few years before the railroads took over, and could only carry small amounts of mail: the railroads raised average travel speeds by almost an order of magnitude. (Similarly the Mongol Empire had pony couriers who could shift a message package 200 miles in a day, back in the 14th century or thereabouts ... by having remount stables at 30 mile intervals across Asia and riders working in relay. It took an empire, basically.)

4mph for 12 hours/day = 48 miles/day = up to 20 days on the road to travel the length of the States.

Then another 10 days for news to propagate (via fast mail service) and 20 more days for assorted cabinet appointees to travel to the capitol. Hence the ~2 month transfer time -- they weren't idling or going at a leisurely pace, this was moving flat out to take power (in a pre-railroad age).

Travel by sea might be faster, winds and tides permitting, but 18th century sailing ships seldom managed to make as much as 10 knots and typically travelled a lot slower (when they weren't becalmed for weeks on end).

If you lived in the relatively compact, densely populated French empire in Europe you could take advantage of the horrifyingly expensive, labour-intensive semaphore telegraphs to get a coded message from Paris to Marseilles in under 6 hours, and anywhere in Napoleon's empire within a day, but we're talking bandwidth of maybe 100 bytes/minute tying up the labour of a thousand state employees. But the original US states were too sparsely populated and too large for it to be economically practica.

(Yes, I've been researching circa-1800 travel times for a future writing project.)

297:

Don't forget riverine and coastal shipping. They could achieve more respectable speeds by the late 18th century than long-distance land travel. Inland, away from navigable rivers using maintained roads could match those speeds but keeping such roads usable during a north-eastern winter, the specified time for a transition of administration, would be a lot more problematic.

Anyone important heading for the District at that time of the year would be better served heading for the coast to catch a sea-going packet to Baltimore and then completing the journey from there.

298:

Don't forget the Swedish system. It was faster than the French one.

299:

The Pony Express was a late phenomenon that only lasted a few years before the railroads took over

Minor nit.

Pony express was killed off by the telegraph.

Side note: I think a PE 1 page letter on special light weight paper was $5 at the time. Unreal costs if you think about it. And many letters never made it.

300:

"4mph for 12 hours/day = 48 miles/day = up to 20 days on the road to travel the length of the States."

In good weather, over fairly flat going, and if the roads hadn't washed out etc. There are sound reasons that coaching inns are about 10 miles apart in the UK, though that is partly for foot-travellers, and my guess is that coaches would have overnighted at alternate ones when they could.

Horse-drawn coaches (with no change of horses) travel at a very comparable speed to an ordinary but fit cyclist, and I know those issues well :-)

301:

Charlie @ 296
I've been researching circa-1800 travel times for a future writing project. Talk to Lois Bujold?
Her "Five Gods" world has a lot of that sort of time-checking.
See also Pterry & the "clacks" of course.

302:

Royal Astronomical Society - Hints of life on Venus (14 Sep 2020)
An international team of astronomers, led by Professor Jane Greaves of Cardiff University, today announced the discovery of a rare molecule – phosphine – in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this gas is only made industrially, or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments.

---
Quran 28:!4 Was that 28:14?

303:

There are still a limited number of options if the votes aren't counted by the date the electoral college meets:

The courts impose a result (unlikely to fly a second time after Bush v Gore, but possible)

Whatever bodies certify the result under various state laws just pick their winners despite a lack of final results and forward them to congress, who roll with it

Come counting day on Jan 6th, enough electoral votes are still up in the air that no candidate makes it to 270 and the House convenes to select a winner

The House of Representatives doesn't manage to get its shit together by Jan 20th and the Speaker assumes the presidency

Granted, all of these scenarios are really unlikely, but weeks of drama in 2000 show that dumb things happen in US elections

304:

I don't think the next day would be a Good Idea.

Need time, for example, for mail-in ballots to be counted - give that a week or two.

Then, it takes time to wind down an administration, and crank up a new one, the larger, the longer. Even in corporations there's a transition period.

Of course, *this* time, given the shredded US federal gov't, and the incompetence, "winding down" shouldn't be a problem.

Good thing: it is a tradition that all Presidential political appointees (as opposed to, say judges) turn in their resignations when the new President takes office. Normally, the new person takes time to accept or reject....

305:

IIRC, the Pony Express lasted about 18 months. Telegraph and rail replaced it.

306:

Returning to the port of Beirut Some interesting film and graphics to get your teeth into

307:

@304: Then, it takes time to wind down an administration, and crank up a new one, the larger, the longer. Even in corporations there's a transition period.

Absolutely agree. Although not part of the Framers' intent, a key part of the transition of power in the USA is the need of the incoming administration to assemble the team of appointed officials that will implement the new President's agenda. There are over 1,200 appointed positions that require Senate confirmation.

This is an area where the UK system of government would seem to have a better transition mechanism - there is no equivalent in the USA to the Shadow Cabinet in the Westminster system.

Further, since the USAian system vests much more leadership in the person of the candidate than the party, each transition is driven by the personality of a candidate's campaign team. Some transitions, as between Bush43 and Obama, are very smooth, with the incoming administration having selected qualified candidates for leadership positions well in advance, and the outgoing team providing access and advice to their replacements. Even so, given the size of the USA Federal government, the 2+ months between the election and inauguration are insanely busy.

Having seen the mess the current administration made of coming in to power, I have no doubt their eventual replacement will be even more chaotic, whatever the date.

308:

Dave P
Not just the UK
AFAIK - most European Countries have a very smooth transition, because the permanent civil service in all of those countries simply carries on, whereas in the USA, a lot of those posts are politiocal - like your political judges, normally regarded as a sure sign of corruption, oops.

309:

Having seen the mess the current administration made of coming in to power, I have no doubt their eventual replacement will be even more chaotic, whatever the date.

If Trump loses the election and the result sticks, I seriously expect him to steal the silverware, the art, and the copper wire out of the White House walls on his way out the door. It's how he rolls.

310:

Greg @308:
Judges at the Federal level in the USA are supposed to be led by the law, not politics (stop snickering!). Part of the rationale for lifetime appointments is to divorce them from the process of seeking reelection.

Many judges at the state and lower levels of government in the USA are elected, but even so, they tend to campaign on professional qualifications more than overtly partisan policies. They will normally be publicly rated by their professional organizations (i.e., American Bar Association) on their qualifications and performance while on the bench.

I personally don't like the concept that the legal and medical professions should police themselves, but hey, no one asked me.

The number of appointees in the USA Federal government should not be surprising given its size: 2.79 million civil servants, 1.38 million uniformed military, 850,000 reserve military. If you look at it as a single organism (REALLY not the case), it's one of the largest human organizations on Earth. So, about 0.3 percent of the government is appointees. Department heads in the USA government are equivalent to ministers in the UK government, also appointed (by the party), AIUI.

Charlie @309: Couldn't agree more.

311:

Charlie @309: Some people are expressing the idea that El Cheeto Grande should face legal consequences for his acts while in office.

312:

Charlie,
I am less concerned with him stealing "the silverware, the art, and the copper wire" than I am about the possible destruction of the materials that are supposed to go to the National Archives as part of a future Trump Presidential Library. If he were to do that the results would fit in a Little Free Library.

https://littlefreelibrary.myshopify.com/

Enjoy!

Frank.

313:

Dave P
THat article is well worth the read.
It's starting to happen here, too, in a minor key - we have been warned, but few are listening.

Charlie @ 309
Actually, no, I expect him to burn the White House down & blame the D's.
Or something similar - he will assuredly throw the most massive hissy-fit, followed immediately by a wrecking spree.
Incidentally, I noted someone suggesting that Ms Harris will be very well-protected & possibly hidden between 4th Nov & 20th jan ... but what about Biden?
OK, he's POTUS-elect & thus gets the full Secret Service protection, but what happens of a Trumpist hitman does actually get to him between those two dates, or is Kamala then automatically President, by default?

314:

Linked article to that "Inteeligencer one ... commented at the end:
For the Republic to Survive, Trump Must Be Tried for His Crimes
Somehow, it's getting to the point that:
For the United Kingdom to Survive, BoZo Must Be Tried for His Crimes - yes?

315:

1. She gets full Secret Service protection, too. Actually, probably has it right now, since she's the official candidate for VP. Ditto for both of their families.
2. She's it, automatically. eg, LBJ after JFK was shot.

Oh... and he's already said he will *NOT* pardon Trump.

316:

The Daily Express was bloviating today along the lines of "Forget Scotland, now WALES is after independence". Well, it's the Express -- so rabid they make the Daily Heil look measured and calm -- but it's an interesting indicator of where they think their base are leaning.

Seriously, Scottish independence has gone from being "neat idea, shame about the economic drawbacks" to "urgent matter of national survival" in the past week. This Enabling Act Johnson is trying to ram through, which places HMG above and outside any obligation to comply with the law, be it domestic or international, is classic rogue state territory (and seems designed to permit a wholesale rollback of devolution, human rights, freedom of speech, etc).

At this point, the UK as we know it is not going to survive: the only question is the shape of its successor state(s) -- a unitary totalitarian junta run by the Britain First neo-nazis who took over the Tory party in 2019, or a collection of independent nations with better or worse governance but limited ability to fuck things up for everyone at once.

317:

what happens of a Trumpist hitman does actually get to him between those two dates, or is Kamala then automatically President, by default?

The Congressional Research Service addressed the question a while back. "automatically, by default" doesn't fully characterize the situation.

https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RS22992.html

Between Election Day and the Meetings of the Electors. At the general election, voters choose members of the electoral college, which formally selects the President- and Vice President-elect several weeks later (December 17 in 2012). Although the transmission period has begun, the political parties’ rules still apply: replacement candidates would be chosen by the party national committee.

Between the Meetings of the Electors and Inauguration Day. Most, though not all, authorities agree that the President- and Vice President-elect are chosen once the electoral votes are cast on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (December 17 in 2012). The electoral votes are counted and declared when Congress meets in joint session for this purpose, which is set by law for January 6 of the year following the election, but Congress occasionally sets a different date for the joint session. Since January 6 falls on a Sunday in 2013, it is likely that Congress will set a different date, possibly January 7 or 8. In recent years, the customary legislative vehicle calling for the joint session has been a Senate Concurrent Resolution, introduced in the newly assembled Congress by the Senate Majority Leader.

During the period between the date when electoral votes are cast and the January 20 inauguration, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution provides for succession: if the President-elect dies, the Vice President-elect becomes President-elect. Although the 20th Amendment does not specifically address the issues of disability or resignation by a President- or Vice President-elect during this period, the words “failure to qualify” found in the amendment might arguably be interpreted to cover such contingencies.

I hope that clears things up.

318:

Seriously? Will Scotland, as we know it, survive an attempt at Independence from the UK if the Highlands and Islands decide that they really dislike Rule from Edinburgh when they could have Home Rule as an Independent Free State ? A free state in which its citizens would be ever so rich? And which would, of course, count upon England for support? If the Islands decide to go the way of, say, " "The island of Jersey, one of the European tax havens, offers to its residents a 0% corporate tax and low personal income tax rates.6 May 2020 " ..with the assistance of England .. then what next? " Come now? Surely you wouldn't be against The Highlands and Islands gaining Independence from LowLand Scotland? "Sturgeon's nightmare! Orkney to follow Shetland in demanding independence from Scotland " https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1334720/nicola-sturgeon-orkney-independence-referendum-vote-scotland-shetland-islands-snp-scottis

319:

Incidentally, I noted someone suggesting that Ms Harris will be very well-protected & possibly hidden between 4th Nov & 20th jan ... but what about Biden?

That was me. My point was that if Biden dies for whatever reason the the VP on the ticket gets to be the President. So as we get close to the election I suspect they will not be on plane or in cars together or even sleep in the same building. Or even within a mile or few of each other. Planes crash. Cars crash. Shit happens.

OK, he's POTUS-elect & thus gets the full Secret Service protection, but what happens of a Trumpist hitman does actually get to him between those two dates, or is Kamala then automatically President, by default?

They have full protection now. At a huge cost. But their homes will not get the big remodeling unless they win.

As I said, if the D's win and Biden dies then KH gets to be pres. That's law. If both die it gets messy. Then we're into an edge case.

320:

Allen T goes into better detail than me. But if we get past election day, and especially to elector selection day, KM will most likely be the next president if Biden dies.

And most very likely if we get past voting day. Although at that point the R's will work hard to gum up the works.

321:

We tend to get really really offensive past a certain point of eating your Trash-Panda Mind stuff[1], but we do it in non-ISMIC ways[0] and ways in which (more than likely) actually go to the heart of matters rather than the Trash-Panda detritus stuff. e.g. genuinely more offensive than actual Knobbler-levels of ignorance because it's usually true and important.

For example: Blood Libel is actually a Roman - Christian thing, with very specific codas attached[-1] (although, let's say: The (proto-)Catholic Church did a number on dumping the psychic load elsewhere, it was politically useful at the time), which is why seeing so many "educated" Jewish voices band-wagon on it is depressing (it's not YOUR fucking crime/problem, stop playing their rules ffs, learn enough to throw that ball back into the Court that made it, ffs) and YMS (post deleted, it's worst curse you get for that tier of Abrahamic religion) is a central, problematic issue for Judaism because G_D didn't (and let's say: at the time, smiting was the default response for even stuff like Angel Abuse (don't worry: 2020, we've learned you like doing it)) intervene in the case of the valley, and definitely did not sanction the intercine bloodshed that occurred. It's not something that the Rabbis can answer, either. [Hint: ooooh]

It's the opposite of a 'bait n switch'. The people who like to control shit view it as far more dangerous than parroting crap from the Intarweb, but hey.

If you're going to play hard hard ball against Monsters, don't run into it like teenagers. Any person on Twitter getting into this needs to be able to immediately not show their knickers - which.... most of them (including the paid Operatives) constantly fucking do.

And yes, we can quote the third Abrahamic sphere (FGM = evil, no fucking arguments, there is no debate) because amidst all the bullshit there are just as many Enlightened ones there as elsewhere, and yes, they do the same thing to them: usually kill them.

~

Tl;DR

The correct response to any projection is the 'YMS' response: Tell me what they did. Tell me why unsanctioned intercine murder was required[2] without G_D's sanction. Tell us why.

Egyptians: you get cursed, there's a fucking obelisk / entire building with the multiple and specific reasons the curse happened.
Greeks: you get cursed, it's because a God/ess got personally offended (and probably wildly out of context, which is why Twitter is Greek at heart)
Sumerian: you get cursed, someone got horny and delivered the wrong tablet somewhere and/or you refused to sleep with the God/ess asking it


~

Anyhow kids, that was all a really long shaggy-dog-story segue into "Why 2020 USA is about NONCESENSE and it's going to get bloody".


It's all prepped, and has been for ages: which is why, at the very least, if you're fronting a Youth Organization, you need to know these things before you slap your fucking cock into the middle of a fight that has some really bug-fuck nasty monsters involved.

And if you think the Chans are the monsters here, whooooooo boy are you about to get 731'd.

[-1] Look: the Greeks, the Romans, the Jews etc etc of the time all had significant "Blood Libel" of their own, which was: you cannot sacrifice 'HUMANS' to the God/G_D/Goddess of your choice. All practiced Animal sacrifice in various ways (Jesus' great anti-Capitalist crime: being pissed off about sub-par sacrifices and over-charging, but hey - way to misunderstand what the loans / payments were being used for in the context of the 2nd Temple, Christians). Thus Carthage and baby-sacrifice stuff. No, the Spartans didn't sacrifice them, they did a loop-hole of "accidental abandonment, if the God/essess care, that baby will survive". Which is why the entire Sacrament stuff triggered a wild Roman persecution and why Protestants and Catholics still argue about substantiation. Yes, we really do know your religious stuff, and we really don't disrespect it, all Abrahamic religions inclusive.

[0] Like, it's really easy to do it without being variously 'anti' whatever.

[1] Flitting through a million Q Minds is toooough. Images of farm huge tractor pulling cow-shit storage tank and crawling though it

[2] Annnd... that's where most Rabbis will panic.

322:

You need to check your sources for bias: the Daily Express is virulently right-wing/pro-Tory and anti-SNP by default, and they're over-egging the pudding quite considerably.

(Yes, some Orcadian and Shetlander folk would prefer to go their own way, much as Greenland fractured off Denmark; their size and viability and contribution to the greater Scottish economy is not so large that they'd be missed. Shetland and Orkney have a combined population of around 45,000, and are heavily dependent on subsidies from, well, someone larger, whoever that might be: they're about 300-500 miles away from the main population centres of Scotland, pop. 6 million, with less than 1% of the population.)

323:

Shetland and Orkney have a combined population of around 45,000, and are heavily dependent on subsidies from, well, someone larger, whoever that might be

So let's speculate which someone larger might be willing to subsidize those 45,000 souls in return for, say, some modest basing rights in the Shetlands.

324:

If Trump loses the election and the result sticks, I seriously expect him to steal the silverware, the art, and the copper wire out of the White House walls on his way out the door. It's how he rolls.

Most likely off-shore his assets, you mean. It's not clear to me how much the White House Staff will listen if he tries to steal the silverware. For example, even though he's president, they won't let him walk out the front gate. It's called the world's most luxurious prison for a reason.

I suspect that, after the election, IF there's clear evidence that Trump lost, various state attorneys general will swarm the federal government on all levels, demanding that everything that can be used as evidence be preserved as evidence for upcoming cases. That will be the extent of the interregnum. It's going to be hard for the Biden team to get past that, but hopefully they get copies of anything vital to government operation, while the originals go into evidence bags.

I'm not sure what El Cheeto will do, but I predict fraud and incompetence, as well as his typical Bullshit, Bully, and Settle tactics*. We do have to worry about lone wolves, but while he's capable of running a con, I don't think he's capable of running an insurgency. Nor is Senate Leader Dr. No, for that matter.

*What's left for him to negotiate a settlement with, I wonder? The football? He's running out of money and options, unless he wins.

325:

The other thing that's worth remembering is that the Big Orange Snack is a coward. While that does make him dangerous if he's trapped, he hasn't been through a hardening process, like, oh, the North Korean leadership exam...

The other bit of joyful fun is the Atlantic hurricane season. Bit busy out there. It would be a shame if one hit the White House.

326:

Troutwaxer @ 272: I'd guess that idiots who own a weekend cabin in a rural area who changed BLM to "Black Lives Matter." Imagine that Farmer Joe is on the CB and he says "BLM just announced that the fire is heading up the southern slope of Mount Simpson."

Farmer Steve replies, "No shit? I better move my cattle!" Both farmers know they're talking about the Bureau of Land Management.

Missus Comes-From-The-City, who's listening in her cabin says "Black Lives Matter set Mount Simpson on fire! I'd better announce it over Facebook!"

No. Missus Comes-From-The-City knows damn well BLM means the Bureau of Land Management. If you got someone claiming it's "Black Lives Matter" or "Antifa", that's part of an organized disinformation campaign.

327:

The "things" that own him (and we're not talking RU nationals here[1]) are not. They run shit like Diamond King JPMorg and they're fucking serious buzzinezzz: do not forget this. You're not fucking with the L'Orange POTUS fruit, you're fucking with the System (and Mandate) behind it.

They are not stupid. And this shit has a reason, if even L'Orange didn't think him becoming an Avatar was possible.

(Apparently using [redacted] is upsetting to Greg, but not sure how otherwise to describe it without Mind-fucking you. There's an interesting segue into why Non-Human Minds so disturb you beyond 'The Uncanny Valley' but hey[2]).

Every time his Son in Law gets on screen, the more pasty and waxen and shiny he looks. That's a Man who has met his Master(s).

~

The lesson we've been attempting to give you is: if you think it's 'accidental' that the Netflix Film landed as a gift to the various principles (HELLLO TED CRUZ) or you think it's 'accidental' that the 2020 thing is coming down to Pedogeddon (HELLLO EPSTEIN) and so on, we can't do much for you.

Your Mind is gonna get eaten.

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to nought or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

https://twitter.com/johnharris1969/status/1305573596211929094

That is a Man who sold his soul and wants it back.

We at least meant it (Joy in our heart? "Remember me" were her last words and we mourn....)


Pink Floyd: Time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgXozIma-Oc&list=PL3PhWT10BW3Urh8ZXXpuU9h526ChwgWKy&index=4

~


Watches you ignoring the reality for the nice story the PR team made up to cover the shit they're doing, as if playing their constructed reality wasn't sick and evil.

What can you do?

[1] Go look up the fire in his building. Art Dealer. 9th Gate vibes.

[2] Wait. Did you just... tie the Uncanny Valley, a schismatic traumatic event in Judaism long before Christianity turned up, 2020 QAN mimetic attacks and... Kids. We're not fucking Dementia patients here, we're just using a larger frame of reference than you're used to.

328:

David L @ 280:

So, what is Stone's outburst covering-up, then?

Or how he advice on voting violates the law in NC and other states. And he gave the advice to R's. Giving serious heartburn to local R's running for office.

The thing you have to understand about Trumpolini's "advice" on voting in North Carolina is it's not about voting. It's about disrupting the election and preventing the counting of absentee ballots.

In many states the law doesn't allow absentee ballots or vote by mail to be counted until after the polls close on election day. This could mean that Trumpolini takes an early lead as election day in person votes are tallied first. The disruption is to provide a PRETEXT for Barr to go to the Supreme Court and demand they stop the vote count the same way they did in Bush v. Gore.

... with presumably Trumpolini declared the winner as a result.

It is only one part of Trumpolini's multi-pronged attack on the legitimacy of U.S. elections.

329:

P J Evans @ 283: The Electoral College meets in December. The absolute deadline is Inauguration Day, Jan 20 (or Jan 21, if the 20th is a Sunday). The states have about a month to get the ballots counted.

... or until the Supreme Court orders the counts halted as they did with Florida in 2000.

330:

They are not stupid.
Indeed. Though many of them (those visible) appear to be under some stress.
This lawyersgunsmoneyblog piece links to a NYTimes article but has the text. Michael Caputo, wingnut who has tried to influece CDC information releases and policies for DJT PR purposes:
Even by the standards of the moment this is completely bonkers (LGM, Paul Campos, September 14, 2020)
Excerpts (bold mine :-):
WASHINGTON — The top communications official at the powerful cabinet department in charge of combating the coronavirus accused career government scientists on Sunday of “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic and warned that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election.
...
Mr. Caputo, who has faced criticism for leading efforts to warp C.D.C. weekly bulletins to fit Mr. Trump’s pandemic narrative, suggested that he personally could be in danger.

...
Mr. Caputo on Sunday complained on Facebook that he was under siege by the media and said that his physical health was in question and his “mental health has definitely failed.”

331:

Is the Seagull trying to say that "Benghazi" was a set-up, rather than sheer incompetence & bad luck?
If so, she's even more deranged that I thought.

Hmmm.

It was a CIA official intel point, and did have hardware in there that would make your average TV channel green with envy, and it did have an open internet connection (with enough pipe on it to run high-level EVE Online engagements) running through the hours siege that the USA publicly claimed they were 'off radar' for, and all of the bluster surrounding it never even disagreed that it was being used in various stuff involving Syria, mainly rebranding and off-loading weapons so they were not traceable...

But no. We mentioned it because this happened just after we mentioned it:

Khalifa Haftar's rival Libya government resigns after Benghazi protests

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-54145499


Now, if you think that means that Haftar is giving up his place in the Great Game, we've a bridge to sell you. But it does mean {{CAUSALITY INC}} and us have more connection than you attempting to insult us.


Greg: you can't. You're male, for one thing. We don't get insulted by males of your species.

332:

Past 300, so not as creepy as a violin made of human bone but still pretty cool: a stone violin.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbird_(violin)

333:

David L @ 284: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/the-electoral-college.aspx
Nov 3 Popular vote
Dec 8 Vote counting must be done
Dec 14 Electors meet, vote, and send results to Senate. (Pence)
Dec 23 Last day ballots can be received by Senate
Jan 6 Congress counts the official votes
Jan 20 Inauguration

Lots of university and such legal speculation of what happens if a state count is still a mess as of Dec 8? Can the state legislature meet and select a slate of electors and tell them how to vote? And if they don't and the state fails the Dec 14 date does the state loose their voice in Congress for the election?

Both sides have various opinions on such things. Some not in agreement with their "side".

And if not all states get their votes to Congress does a winner still need 270 or is it a majority of votes received by the Senate by Dec 23?

AMENDMENT XII
Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.
Note: A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th amendment.
The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; -- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States. *Superseded by section 3 of the 20th amendment.

Based on my reading of the XIIth Amendment, Yes it still requires a majority of the Electors appointed (i.e. 270 Electoral Votes for an outright win) even if the states don't get their certificates to the President of the Senate (who at that point will still be Mike Pence) by the date specified for counting (Dec 23).

If there are not 270 certified Electoral votes for one candidate or the other, the election is thrown into the House of Representatives.

And here's where it could get a REAL HINKY!

When choosing the President, the house votes by STATES, with each state getting one vote. Even though the Democrats have a majority of House members, the Greedy Oligarchs Party holds a majority of the State delegations. (D=22, R=26, Tied=3). That seems unlikely to change. Even if the Democrats do pick up additional House seats in this election it's unlikely they will be able to win a majority of the State Delegations.

If somehow the Democrats managed to win the votes of the three states with tied delegations, the Greedy Oligarchs Party holds an absolute majority of state delegations and could make Cheatolini iL Douchebag President again even if Biden won the popular vote AND had a plurality of the Electoral votes.

I'm not sure how they'd steal the election for Vice-President in the Senate, but you know damn well they'd try.

Refer to my comment about edge cases above.

And here's where another of the Greedy Oligarchs Party's schemes for stealing the election comes into play.

Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 2
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

There's nothing in there about the states counting the popular vote in choosing Electors. "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct"

The Greedy Oligarchs Party controls 29 of 50 state legislatures, including the three swing states where trump won the electoral votes by less than 80,000 votes against a Popular Vote loss of more than 3 million. It's entirely possible those state legislatures could decide to appoint Trumpolini's electors regardless of the results of the popular vote. And there's a very good chance the Supreme Court would back them up.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/could-legislatures-hijack-the-2020-presidential-election.html

335:

Troutwaxer @ 286:

Immediate transfer of power, once an election is over, no waiting for a "dead dog" period.

I think the waiting period is in The Constitution. The idea is that one gentleman will be giving into another gentleman, and it would naturally be appropriate to give the incoming person a couple months to select cabinet secretaries and such, not to mention that travel when the Constitution was written could be a matter of weeks...

The Constitution gave Congress the power to set the date for federal elections, stipulating only that they will occur on the same day in every state. They also have the power to set the date when the Electors will meet & cast their votes. And along with that they had the power to set the date for inauguration of the incoming administration (whether it's a new administration or one that has been reelected.

The timing was based on how long it took to travel from one end of the "United States" to the other. I'm pretty sure Congress has changed the date for inaugurations twice ... once in the mid-19th Century when the advent of railroads & canals made travel faster - Washington was inaugurated on April 30,1789 and Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861.

I think March 4 was where it stayed until the 20th Amendment fixed it on the current day, January 20.

336:

ATHENA, FREYA, AURORA EX MACHINA
I never found the first two. (Well, other than the normal places.)

Mind Wipe them. All.
Mmmmmmm.

Large Orange Star in the sky. Betelgeuse why you angry?
Where I'm sitting, Mars is rising, close, bright, and retro(grade).

Anyway, TTY tomorrow. Appreciate tonight's clarity.

337:

Scott Sanford @ 291:

AND the big one. Woodward's book. And the tapes that can't be denied. Well they can but only his base believes the denial.

A recent cartoon has the ghost of Richard Nixon demanding, "You read about Watergate and still let Woodward tape you? Are you a f***ing idiot?"

Right. Donald Trump read about Watergate. Trump never read a book in his life, including the one he claims he wrote.

338:

Except... the Dems are looking to pick up several states. States are in play that no one expected to be in play.

Note that Trumpolini isn't even advertising in PA... but has spent real money in GA, forcrisakes.

339:

SlightlyFoxed @ 306: Returning to the port of Beirut Some interesting film and graphics to get your teeth into

Sad. I'm amazed it didn't kill more than it did.

340:

Charlie Stross @ 309:

Having seen the mess the current administration made of coming in to power, I have no doubt their eventual replacement will be even more chaotic, whatever the date.

If Trump loses the election and the result sticks, I seriously expect him to steal the silverware, the art, and the copper wire out of the White House walls on his way out the door. It's how he rolls.

And if he somehow manages to steal the election & make it stick, take another look at the NY Times article linked @306. That's your template for how Trumpolini's AmeriKKKa will operate. And don't count on an election in 2024. If he "wins" in 2020, the only way he's leaving power is in a body bag.

341:

Change of topic ... CRISPR-Cas9

Okay - this is going to change a ton of stuff going forward.

'Gene-edited livestock 'surrogate sires' successfully made fertile'

https://phys.org/news/2020-09-gene-edited-livestock-surrogate-sires-successfully.html

342:

No, it doesn't work that way. Election Day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, so anywhere from the 2nd through the 7th. The setup included travel time for the news to get through, back in the late 18th century - when it was still slow. And with Alaska, it still may be slow.
Plus, you have to have time to get things set up. Even if you're planning well ahead, shit happens.

343:

It was in the mid-1860s, anyway. The telegraph pretty much went in with the railroads.

344:

Oh, wonderful. Zillions of dead animals as they catch something, or are infected deliberately, that a non-edited critter has "garbage" DNA that can deal with it.

Pringles meat.

345:

We vote for *a slate of electors* in November. It's just that all we see on the ballot is the candidate they're pledged to vote for. People forget this.

346:

"(Yes, I've been researching circa-1800 travel times for a future writing project.)"

Out of interest:

In 1919, an extremely competent young Lt Colonel named Eisenhower attempted to take a US Army motorized convoy across the USA from Washington DC to San Francisco. 3,251 miles.

It took them 62 days to cross the US coast to coast. That's 1919 travel speed for a competently led army convoy (a motorized one!) in its own country, on roads (not wilderness), if it wasn't travelling by rail or by ship. 62 days.

https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov/research/online-documents/1919-transcontinental-motor-convoy

Pony Express was very fast, but that was speed of *information*, not speed of *travel*.

347:

The telegraph pretty much went in with the railroads.

Pony express
April 3, 1860, to October 24, 1861

Transcon telegraph
October 24, 1861

Transcon RR
opened for through traffic between Sacramento and Omaha on May 10, 1869

The dust up resulted in a lot of new transportation and communications infrastructure in the east in the early 1860s. Grant and other Union Generals understood logistics and built a lot of RR and telegraph networks during the war. In many ways it laid the future for the expansion of the country.

And made it a lot easier to attach the east to the transcontinental RR.

348:

on roads (not wilderness)

Many of those roads were really wide dirt paths. Not even gravel.

My grandfather in far western KY hired out a crew of 3 plus a mule and drag bucket to the county to maintain such "roads" during the early 30s. I think[1] he got $3/day and kept half and the 3 men split the rest. And all were happy for the money in at that time.

My point is that what was a road in the 20s and 30s was a far cry from anything we today consider a road.

[1] Story from my father. I wish I had written such things down at the time. 40+ year ago. Memory is fuzzy.

349:

Charlie
Slight problem there, you used the words "Daily Express" & "THINK" in the same sentence ...
However, I hear that Orkney/Shetland are thinking of dcelaring UDI from Scotland if Scotland leaves the Union .... Taking the oil revenue with them, of course.
At this point, the UK as we know it is not going to survive Agree, unfortunately.
I think BoZo's current fuck-up will crash & burn - even if it passes the Commons, the Lords will shred it & then a few more tories will rebel in the Commons & then what?

Menwhile we have: 321, 327, 331, 335, 342
At a minimum 99% content-free & taking up space.
And claiming to be non-human ....And using "Mind" as if it meant anything other than brain-wanking .... And ....

350:

Who is the "we" you are talking about? Some of us were brought up where roads were like that, and still use similar ones regularly.

351:

Meanwhile
A repeat warning & more evidence on the dangers of "Long Covid" where even fit young people are dragged down for months, possibly years or for life.
Shades of the after-effects of the 1918-19 pandemic, indeed.

352:

Yes, I'm aware of Eisenhower's expeditions: they're where the Interstate highway system ultimately comes from.

I will note that he could have done it a lot faster by rail, even in 1919, but that's not exactly the point. (WW1 and the war of the railway timetables on the Eastern Front in 1914 demonstrated the clear advantages of an autobahn system -- it's not about speed but about flexibility in the logistics chain.)

353:

Taking the oil revenue with them, of course

The oil revenue peaked several years ago; IIRC Scotland now earns more by exporting electricity from renewables than gas or oil. Also, Shetland and Orkney have about as much claim to those oil/gas fields as Scotland: which is to say, all the money went to London ...

354:

Back to the original topic, that plot makes interesting fiction, but there are a lot of similar, and much less attractive, conspiracies that we know are going on, suspect are, or just may be.

To try and divert some of the rabid trolls, the following also applies to Russia, with the differences that it has a much smaller quasi-governmental machine, and a largely dysfunctional low-level political and commercial legal system. While Putin is in charge more than Trump is, it is well-known that he has tried and failed to bring rogue companies to heel - inter alia, he wants the tax, and can't get it! Given Russian history, he probably has no more control over his spooks than recent, non-Trump USA presidents did (anyone remember the Contra affair?)

I know that there are conspiracies involving at least the UK (and probably the Five Eyes) to spy on foreign (even British) companies for the benefit of USA ones. I have mentioned the ones involving the DTI and patent offices before, and the GCHQ one became public. But, given the obvious scope for and advantages to such things, one wonders how widespread this is.

But that's just the simple commercial aspects, and most of the military-industrial complex benefits from conflict. How many black operations and even false flag operations have been done by private agents at third- and fourth-hand from the people who benefit?

The claims that Putin had a major influence on Trump being elected and Brexit have been rejected many times by researchers, but the claims that he mounted a major black campaign are based almost entirely on the fact that Russian (and even governmental) sites were used. Well, given the security of many USA secret sites, and Russia's dysfunctionality, that proves little. As I posted out, using other countries for such purposes is SOP.

Something stinks in the OPCW, too, and one wonders how that happened. We know that the initial reason that Iran backed out of the IAEA was that the USA sneaked spies onto it (and admitted it!), so there is precedent. Assad is a shit, but the deniably USA-backed terrorists captured several of his arms dumps very early on, and the evidence is that nobody has used nerve gas, though possibly chlorine - but that could have stored for commercial use.

The poisoning of Navalny is very odd, too. It (and even the Skripals) absolutely stinks of rogue agents - whether Russian or other, we can't say. As Germany has pointed out, we don't know who else has Novichok. My guess is that, if it were the former and Germany provided evidence to Russia, there would be some unexpected deaths among those rogue agents. No, Putin had NOTHING to gain in either case, and a lot to lose - his position as a strong man was established, and he was trying to negotiate commercial deals at the time. If he had wanted to send a message to dissidents, even an ice-axe would have done as well and not pissed off the EU as much.

And, of course, video evidence. We have now got to a state where there are a horrific numgber of organisations who can forge it to order - not starting from nothing, yet, but by massaging existing footage. So what do we really know?

I could add a lot more examples, but we are in a world where real conspiracies could easily masquerade as lunatic conspiracy theories. It's not nice :-(

355:

Sorry - I wasn't clear. I am NOT denying that two official Russian agents went to Salisbury for some nefarious purpose, at exactly the right time to poison the Skripals, and that makes them the primary suspects. Their risible cover story supports them being rogue agents and having applied the Novichok.

It was the Navalny poisoning I was referring to. The Russian government shows all the signs of having been caught completely on the hop by it.

356:

Menwhile we have: 321, 327, 331, 335, 342
At a minimum 99% content-free & taking up space.

Have we had more Seagull posts deleted? Again?

Beginning to think that if one refers to a post by number one should also include the author, or it will get confusing to someone trying to catch up.

357:

Anyone else wondering how clean Soviet clean rooms were for the early Venera probes?
If they bothered with them, that is.
I would assume it’s pretty unlikely, but maybe extremophiles hitched a ride and happily spent the next half-century on Venus?

358:

Since we keep mentioning the Pony express, I submit an interesting tidbit: The first successful (as in: didn't die) Pony Express rider was Herbert G. Rockefeller (yes, he is related to *those* Rockefellers). See page 31 of "The Transactions of the Rockefeller Family Association". https://books.google.com/books?id=F1xPAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=express&f=false

359:

RobertPrior at 356:

Good idea. I shall try to do that from now on. (Not that I comment much.)

360:

Another first for this US presidential campaign
Both startling, encouraging & dperessing, all at once.

361:

Re the Contra affair: Raygun knew. 15-20 years ago, declassified KGB docs showed that THEY HAD AN AGENT IN THE ROOM as VP *candidate* Bush, Sr, bargained arms for hostages in the upcoming 1980 elections, just as Nixon had agents telling the S. Vietnames not to settle in the peace talks in '68. And Raygun and Bush were *funding* the Contras.

Also, the Russians *did* have an effect in '16. The GOP-controlled Senate Intel report came out a couple of weeks ago, and said they had.

362:

Thanks for that amusing information. Sometimes one wonders whether there's a conspiracy among the spooks of all major countries to ensure that conflict remains high and their jobs are secure ....

And, re 2016, oh, sheesh! A Senate report! That's a truly MAJOR influence.

Yes, OF COURSE, the Russians were trying to influence the USA's and UK's elections, just as the USA influences ours, and we both try to influence Russia's. It was the claims that it was unusually extensive and an important factor that are such codswallop.

363:

Elderly Cynic @ 362:

The massive hack and leak Russia performed on one of the 2016 US presidential campaigns strikes me as something that was both unusually extensive and a major factor in the election results.

364:

You clearly aren't familiar with how much of a hand both the USA and Israel (our 'allies') have on UK elections.

The announcement that DID have a major effect was by the director of the FBI - or are you saying that Comey was a Russian agent?

365:

whitroth @ 338: Except... the Dems are looking to pick up several states. States are in play that no one expected to be in play.

Note that Trumpolini isn't even advertising in PA... but has spent real money in GA, forcrisakes.

The Democrats have a good chance of picking up additional SEATS in the House in addition to possibly taking control of the Senate. But they are unlikely to have control of a majority of the state delegations, which is what counts if the House is choosing the President.

Each state gets only one vote; 50 states, 50 votes. The Republicans have majorities in 26 of the state delegations. Democrats have a majority in 22 delegations. There are two delegations that are TIED.

The Democrats would have to flip control of both TIED delegations PLUS two of the current Republican controlled delegations, while not losing control of any of the delegations where they currently control majorities.

366:

are you saying that Comey was a Russian agent?

Useful idiot? Bribed? Blackmailed?

367:

The real question is who put such serious pressure on him that he released that letter two weeks before the '16 election.

368:

Elderly Cynic @ 364

Comey's public announcement was in part made in because he feared the public reaction to a document likely faked by Russian intelligence.

369:

Re: 'You clearly aren't familiar with how much of a hand both the USA and Israel (our 'allies') have on UK elections.'

Conspirators by coincidence?

370:

David L @ 347:

The telegraph pretty much went in with the railroads.

Pony express
April 3, 1860, to October 24, 1861

Transcon telegraph
October 24, 1861

The dust up resulted in a lot of new transportation and communications infrastructure in the east in the early 1860s. Grant and other Union Generals understood logistics and built a lot of RR and telegraph networks during the war. In many ways it laid the future for the expansion of the country.

And made it a lot easier to attach the east to the transcontinental RR.

Congress had been working on the project since the late 1840s

In 1853, Congress authorized Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to have the War Department conduct surveys to find a suitable route.

Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4. Volumes I-XII.
Washington, Government Printing Office, 1855-61.

Nothing got done because they couldn't agree on whether to seek a northern route or a southern route. But the 1860 Republican Party Platform included a plank "That a railroad to the Pacific ocean is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country; that the Federal Government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction; and that, as preliminary thereto, a daily overland mail should be promptly established."

When the Pacific Railroad Act was passed by Congress in 1862 the Union already had an extensive rail network extending as far west as Omaha (just across the Missouri River from Council Bluff's Iowa). Which is why Council Bluffs/Omaha was chosen as the eastern terminus for the Union Pacific Railroad's westward effort.1

The "east" already extended pretty far west by the time construction of the 1st Transcontinental Railroad began. A true transcontinental railroad should have had its eastern terminus in Washington, DC (or some east coast port ... Baltimore is probably the closest) and it's western terminus at San Francisco (or Oakland since there was no Bay Bridge at the time).

1The fact that Thomas Durant, the Union Pacific Railroad's main backer had hired a young Illinois lawyer named Abraham Lincoln to represent him in an 1857 business matter about a bridge over the Missouri River probably had nothing to do with it. Really!

The more important factor was how far Council Bluffs/Omaha was removed from fighting in the Western Theater of the War of the Rebellion. The other two proposed sites for the eastern terminus, St Joseph, MO & Kansas City, KS were much closer to the fighting & potentially subject to having the construction disrupted by raiders.

371:

Referring to the Shetlands as "Highlands and Islands" is fighting talk ! They take great care to refer to "the Scottish Islands" when anyone mentions those in the gaeltacht or elsewhere off the Scottish mainland coast.
There are historic ties with Norway and Iceland, plus some cultural & linguistic connections, but genetically the modern population is essentially Scots.
The Shetlands themselves got a cut of the oil passing through the local terminal (not a huge amount, but a lot for what was then an impoverished council - ruled from London remember), which allowed them to develop infrastructure and services years ahead of the Scottish islands who had to wait for EU membership and then convince a reluctant London government to allow them to apply for EU development grants.

372:

Re: 'Zillions of dead animals as they catch something ...'

That and weather/climate resiliency - yes, very much like Monsanto & rice farming in India.

But also ...

Now that we've seen this gene hacking done successfully in large mammals, it's pretty likely to also work in human beings. (Think 'Clinical Trial Phase 1'.) Now imagine an uber-paternalistic/authoritarian society where the head honcho decides that he wants in the most literal sense to be the father of his nation. So he'd end up with a hive society with a masculine spin and the female workers as breeders and designed male warrior clones who'd spread his 'seed'. In-breeding within a generation.

Another possibility is a 'time-stamp' something along the lines of 'x number of cell divisions' per designed critter and then the entire reproductive system shuts down.

What most bothers me about this is the likely reduction in species varieties/variation therefore ability of that species to survive the random environmental problems increasingly encountered like a new virus or other novel pathogen. Bad news for survival overall.

373:

Unless it was a personal agenda.

374:

David L @ 348:

on roads (not wilderness)

Many of those roads were really wide dirt paths. Not even gravel.

My grandfather in far western KY hired out a crew of 3 plus a mule and drag bucket to the county to maintain such "roads" during the early 30s. I think[1] he got $3/day and kept half and the 3 men split the rest. And all were happy for the money in at that time.

My point is that what was a road in the 20s and 30s was a far cry from anything we today consider a road.

[1] Story from my father. I wish I had written such things down at the time. 40+ year ago. Memory is fuzzy.

It was probably a remnant of the Corvée system, which figured prominently in a book I once read.

My Mom's family lived about 40 miles east of David's. My grandfather got a job in Detroit, so the family would split the year between Detroit & Princeton, KY (actually Freedonia, but Princeton was the nearest "big city"); school year in Detroit & summer in Kentucky.

She told stories of the semi-annual road trips they made back & forth (mostly during the Great Depression). There weren't any highways yet, and the journey was made by driving from town to town & inquiring locally which was the best road to use this time to get to the next town.

After the New Deal kicked in, there were some highways and some of them were even paved, especially as the 1930s were giving way to the 1940s.

375:

Charlie Stross @ 352: Yes, I'm aware of Eisenhower's expeditions: they're where the Interstate highway system ultimately comes from.

I will note that he could have done it a lot faster by rail, even in 1919, but that's not exactly the point. (WW1 and the war of the railway timetables on the Eastern Front in 1914 demonstrated the clear advantages of an autobahn system -- it's not about speed but about flexibility in the logistics chain.)

The Good Roads Movement in the United States began in the late 1870s and predates travel by automobile by quite a bit. It actually starts with bicycles needing paved roads. I guess 'cause they hadn't invented Mountain Bikes yet.

The U.S. was already building limited access/controlled access freeways/parkways/motorways before WWII as part of the numbered highway system that predates, but still co-exists with, the Interstate Highway system; a system primarily designed to enhance commerce, essentially "logistics" without any specific military objective.

But at the time, there was really no need for 4-lane divided highways in most rural areas. Just a paved road was good enough to support military convoys outside of a few densely populated coastal cities.

More importantly, the good roads facilitated local commerce and an interchange between rural and urban populations (to the benefit of both). For one thing, good paved rural roads give rise to school improvements because school buses mean you can have economies of scale by consolidating schools. People who live in the country or in small communities can more easily get to jobs in the city where the factories are (were) located.

376:

Elderly Cynic @ 355: Sorry - I wasn't clear. I am NOT denying that two official Russian agents went to Salisbury for some nefarious purpose, at exactly the right time to poison the Skripals, and that makes them the primary suspects. Their risible cover story supports them being rogue agents and having applied the Novichok.

Where I strongly disagree is with the contention they were "rogue" agents.

It was the Navalny poisoning I was referring to. The Russian government shows all the signs of having been caught completely on the hop by it.

They didn't expect to get caught.

377:

The Good Roads Movement in the United States began in the late 1870s and predates travel by automobile by quite a bit. It actually starts with bicycles needing paved roads.

A good reference for that is Roads Were Not Built For Cars by Carleton Reid.

https://roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com

378:

Robert Prior @ 356:

Menwhile we have: 321, 327, 331, 335, 342
At a minimum 99% content-free & taking up space.

Have we had more Seagull posts deleted? Again?

Beginning to think that if one refers to a post by number one should also include the author, or it will get confusing to someone trying to catch up.

That's why I begin most of my replies "Poster @ nnn", so that if the number gets shifted you can still figure out what I'm replying to. The quoted bit gives you what part of the post I'm replying to. If I don't quote a part, my reply has nothing to do with that part.

Sometimes I will use [...] to indicate I'm leaving out significant parts of a post I'm replying to [editing for brevity], just so you'll know I'm trying to NOT take parts of their post out of context.

379:
Some of us were brought up where roads were like that, and still use similar ones regularly.
Yesterday we drove from Koarho (6.65402N, 8.42988W) to Abidjan, frankly the bits on mostly newly graded red dirt were way less stressful than the often washed out potholed tarmac.

Was great to get onto the motorway after Yamoussoukro though!

380:

JamesPadraicR @ 357: Anyone else wondering how clean Soviet clean rooms were for the early Venera probes?
If they bothered with them, that is.
I would assume it’s pretty unlikely, but maybe extremophiles hitched a ride and happily spent the next half-century on Venus?

Not until you brought it up. But then the question becomes "How would those extremophiles get from whatever environment they came from to the unclean clean rooms?"

I got the impression that they can't survive in an oxygen environment, so wouldn't they have died before they could get onto the Venera probes.

381:

(546km in 10 hours, not bad really).

382:

whitroth @ 361: Re the Contra affair: Raygun knew. 15-20 years ago, declassified KGB docs showed that THEY HAD AN AGENT IN THE ROOM as VP *candidate* Bush, Sr, bargained arms for hostages in the upcoming 1980 elections, just as Nixon had agents telling the S. Vietnames not to settle in the peace talks in '68. And Raygun and Bush were *funding* the Contras.

Also, the Russians *did* have an effect in '16. The GOP-controlled Senate Intel report came out a couple of weeks ago, and said they had.

Ever wonder how the phrase "October Surprise" made it's way into the American political lexicon?

1972 Peace Is At Hand

Transcript of Kissinger's News Conference on the Status of the Cease-Fire Talks Oct. 27, 1972


383:

It took them 62 days to cross the US coast to coast. That's 1919 travel speed for a competently led army convoy (a motorized one!) in its own country, on roads (not wilderness), if it wasn't travelling by rail or by ship. 62 days.

This is sort of in the speed-of-information category, mentioned previously. Roads are much much better now in the US, and cars are faster :-) :
The automotive world’s most illegal record just got broken… again (Cameron Kirby, 10 Apr 2020) (bold mine)
A team of high-speed drivers recently performed the highly illegal New York to Los Angeles ‘Cannonball Run’ in record time, beating the previous fastest time that was only set late last year. Unsurprisingly, it’s brought about a wave of serious backlash.
Cannonball veterans Alex Roy and Ed Bolian have verified the new record of 26 hours and 38 minutes according to Road & Track, while at the same time condemning the new record holders.

...
What is known is they used a 2019 Audi A8 with a pair of large-volume marine fuel tanks ratcheted into the boot. Road & Track also reports that an unknown number of drivers – possibly four – were used for the run.

It's been broken at least once since. Roads emptier than usual (pandemic) help with times.

384:

Was thinking overnight about telepresence robots, and the joy of designing the appearance them. You'd want them small for cost and storage reasons, and as generic as possible to facilitate flexible use. Specifically, you would not want a 2m tall brick shithouse with ebony skin and a big subwoofer for that deep voice... not just storing it, but can you imagine how Trumpkin would react if he found himself using it?

So we're probably going to get a spidery frame in generic Lego figure yellow than can have a shirt and skorts thrown on it. And some truck nuts to make it obvious that it's being used by a Real Man{tm}

385:

whitroth @ 367: The real question is who put such serious pressure on him that he released that letter two weeks before the '16 election.

The answer appears to be James Comey.

He was so worried about having his integrity criticized that he compromised that integrity. A "holier than thou" attitude will bite you in the butt every time.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/06/comey-letter/562889/

386:

Re Michael Caputo above, he's admitting to making a mess on his social media accounts, and removed his twitter account (old racist tweets went away, except in archives).
Caputo apologizes to HHS staff, signals desire for medical leave - The departure of the administration's top health spokesperson would be a major blow to Trump's messaging strategy on coronavirus. (ADAM CANCRYN, DAN DIAMOND and SARAH OWERMOHLE, 09/15/2020)
Caputo also disputed anonymous White House criticism about his mental health — saying that some of his comments have been taken out of context — and concluded the meeting by encouraging his staff to listen to music by the Grateful Dead.
Frankly, if I were offering him advice, I'd advise that he get away from the DJT adminstration, before they finish eating his soul.
Maybe this is what he had in mind?
Confusion's Prince (Grateful Dead/Warlocks, youtube)
If only I could be less blind, if only I knew what to find
Everywhere and all of the time, it's bending my mind
Confusion's Prince is at my door
The crown I wear is the one he wore
He's here to bring me down some more and bend my mind

---
EMV @REDACTED:
not who we're referencing at all.
Not who I was referencing either; bunch of google hits(plus at least one not-hit). I mainly hinting at an obscure meaning of Avatar (a substance) that has been memory holed or deleted or is at least mildly hard to find; don't clearly recall the nym or venue.
The DJT package has pathetic taste in drugs. I mean snorted Adderall???("equal parts racemic amphetamine and dextroamphetamine")??
I sort of vaguely half-expect DJT to do an old-man's Belushi on a gold toilet with something like a levorphanol/methamphetamine speedball, maybe a bit of Fentanyl for added risk. Secret Service guy with a cellphone camera could retire comfortably. :-)

Athena ... She killed a lot of [redacted] and she was... not Homo Sapiens. That's all you need to know.
Works for me.

387:

"The U.S. was already building limited access/controlled access freeways/parkways/motorways before WWII"

AFAIK, #1... was what became the Pennsylvania Turnpike, says the boy from Philly.

388:

I think the problem wasn't that Russia tried to help a particular side in the U.S. election, but that Trump clearly and publicly accepted the help. I suspect that China will also be very likely to "help" Biden. But neither side is stupid enough to have any kind of meeting, or shout about the help from a podium with the mike on: "Russia, if you're listening..."

389:

on roads (not wilderness)

Many of those roads were really wide dirt paths. Not even gravel.

Let me sing the praise of wide dirt paths!

A mounted platoon moving in untracked NZ bush in the 1860s carrying a decent amount of gear made 70 miles in 14 days. 5 miles a day, rather than 50.

That's through dense bush - sub-tropical rainforest - but not mountainous terrain, and with no river crossings and no cliff-sided gullies. Not kidding about the *dense* bit.

(The example I'm thinking of is an expedition from Patea to a pa near Waitara. Across the Taranaki watershed, so the streams and little stream valleys run perpendicular to their route, so you can't follow a streambed.)

390:

My understanding was the Comey had promised to keep the House committee in the loop, so he felt he had to write a letter. What I don't understand is why he didn't produce a document which read, in essence, "We're letting you know we found this, but we don't think it will result in any changes to our conclusions, and we'll let you know whether, on further examination, we find anything that sheds further light on these matters." or some nothing like that...

391:

Before I go ... some things I ran across I thought might amuse/bemuse y'all:

The best way to ensure your voted gets counted this year remains in person voting:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/14/opinions/election-2020-vote-by-mail-absentee-pildes/index.html

A Trumpolini "support the troops" ad prominently features a MIG-29:
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/14/trump-ad-asks-people-to-support-the-troops-but-it-uses-a-picture-of-russian-jets-414883

(and the soldier on the far right appears to be carrying an AK-74)

Where did the unfounded rumors that antifa was responsible for Oregon wild fires come from?
https://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/2020/09/before-a-clackamas-county-sheriffs-deputy-spread-unfounded-antifa-wildfire-rumors-a-supervisor-did-in-a-public-meeting.html

And the South Dakota Attorney General ran over a man walking along the side of the road while he was returning from a fund-raiser being held at Rooster's Bar & Grill in Redfield SD where he definitely was not imbibing at the event
https://abovethelaw.com/2020/09/state-attorney-general-told-officers-hed-hit-a-deer-in-reality-a-man-is-now-dead/

Update:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jason-ravnsborg-south-dakota-attorney-general-revises-story-killing-man-with-car/

Anyone have any way to figure out how far from the bar the site of the accident is located and how far it is from there to his home?

And how convenient is it that he didn't get a breathalyzer test immediately after hitting the deer?

392:

As you probably know, by 1919 the lessons of The First Battle of Marne had certainly hit home for any military officer who was paying attention.

For those who haven't read military history, the First Battle of Marne was France's last-ditch effort to stop the German's from taking Paris in the opening days of World War I, and it required every member of the reserves they could bring to the front. Since they didn't have enough motorized assets, they used taxicabs, and this was a very big deal to the point that the alternate name of the First Battle of Marne is "The Battle of the Taxicabs."

393:

troutwaxer
The OTHER interpretation is that the Imperial Germans lost the war even earlier ... thanks to the personnel of .... Belgian Railways
Under Schlieffen, they expected to take over SNCB intact, for forwarding troops & even more importantly, materials to the front lines....
Didn't happen: THe Belgian railway staff systematically trashed their own railway systyem, as only professionals could ( Driving a loaded freight train into a half-open swing-bridge fucks it royally for at least 2 weeks ) ... to the point that they were ordered, as a priority to get in the evacuation queues first, before they were captured & tortured .....

And, yes, the "taxis of the Marne" are a solid legend ... turning their passengers out at the specified time, in Paris, saying: "Nous allons a la Guerre!"

394:

The Marne taxi influence was a fabricated myth. The French version of Wikipedia explains this better than the English version in Taxis de la Marne. The real (unsung) mechanical heroes here were the French railways.

395:

Their risible cover story supports them being rogue agents

No, their poor cover story supports them not expecting to be caught, and that their standards have slipped. After all, the UK is an unusually surveilled country, with systems that were intended to allow the tracking of Irish Republican terrorists (after all, when a single large truck bomb can cause a couple of billion of damage to the City of London, it's worth spending several hundred million or more on mitigation measures).

When you look at the amateurish way that the GRU have handled their car registrations, etc, I'd hazard a guess that their domestic tradecraft assumptions were developed in a more closed society like the fUSSR. Perhaps against less-capable opposition, if the bulk of their operational experience is in the Near Abroad. Likewise, they may have conflated "difficulty" with "personal danger" - surely, operating in Salisbury should be less risky and easier than operating in Chechnya?

Today's GRU have now been lifted in several Western countries; their predecessors must be pretty disappointed in them, when not embarrassed...

396:

Well, the Germans had ditched the idea of encircling Paris at that point. They'd altered the direction of their line of advance to all pass to the east of it, instead of the westernmost lot passing to the west. The poor coordination between the two westernmost armies led to them becoming separated so the British and French could advance into the gap between them, and the change of the line of advance gave the Paris garrison the opportunity to come out and attack them on the other flank. The taxicabs were not so much down to general deficiencies of the French transport as to there having been no plans made for the Paris garrison to come out and fight in the field instead of defending Paris, along with the suddenness of the change in situation, the need to be "creative" in regard to such matters as getting approval from the top level of command to do it at all, and the French transport being overwhelmingly concerned with transferring enough troops to put together an army as fast as possible from the other end of the front.

Certainly the taxis became a legend, but like pretty well all the WW1 legends its notoriety is out of proportion to its significance. Kicking people out of their taxi rides en masse to rush troops to the front makes a great tale of French élan and desperate heroism, but they weren't the only transport; more of the troops got there by means of less spectacular improvisations, such as buses, and the main constraint was capacity of the roads rather than speed of the vehicles.

Also, you'd be hard put to it to argue that the taxi contingent were the decisive contribution. They were just one part of a series of actions taking place all the way along the line, and there is a lot of room for any portion involving only a few thousand troops to have gone either better or worse than it did without affecting the overall outcome very much. It was pretty much inevitable that the German advance would start to fall apart at roughly that point simply because the westernmost end in particular had advanced so far and so fast beyond its railheads, and were reaching the limit of what they could do until their supplies caught up. That the French and British were able to turn it round was down to numerous instances, both large and small, of twigging what was going on and improvising a response to it, all along the line, rather than just one of them.

(It gets on my tits a bit that apart from Verdun there is so comparatively little to be found about what the French did unless they were doing it next door to the British. 1st Marne was mostly a French battle, but apart from the taxicabs there's far more coverage of the small part of it that the British were involved in than there is of the main French effort.)

Greg: or you could indeed argue that they had lost it eight years or so before it even started, when Schlieffen popped his clogs without having come up with a decent solution to how to properly support that tremendously long and rapid advance :)

397:

It's all relevant stuff, but we don't know your rules - "this shit gets you dead" is the saying:

Catholic group launches $9.7M campaign against Biden targeting swing-state voters

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/516504-catholic-group-launches-97m-campaign-against-biden-targeting-swing-state

Note: Biden is Catholic, at least nominally.

There is an absolutely massive battle going on in Catholic spaces as we speak revolving around that Netflix film, the US - EU divide (Where some US figures have basically started Culture War[tm] stuff that the Catholic Church got past in the Beatification argument of 1634 and whoooo boy has that one got Civil War[tm] hard-loaded into it), various intel stuff where Catholic African leaders have been targeted by their states using .IL sourced .mil grade spyware[1] and a load of other stuff. Oh, like incredibly important figures getting sick/dying suddenly and so on.

And, if you think we missed the various Palestinian protest sides to it, nope. On that as well.

And this is a Sphere that would be united in a single thing: OUR. NON-EXISTENCE.


All we've been saying is: this Abrahamic Treaty, well: there's some push-back to it, and this is the non-light edges to what's been done.

The Arab saying "poke your nose into a business and..." means little here. You might want the other one, about which Master you serve and so on[1].

~

And yes, we flagged up the genocide stuff before it splashed because you old people get heart attacks and shit. No shit they do that, that's basic policy, always has been (Moon Astronaut Gun Meme ---- ooooooh, not seen anyone do that yet) -- the tell is that : you ain't (grep) worked it out yet that all this Trans* panic (plastics... remind us, seen that 'shocking' revelation that oil companies lied about plastic recycling yet? Wait until PCBs and frogs and fucking up H.S.S genetic structure gets a sniff - told April this years ago, they'll do the hate before admitting that their world created you fucking lovely creatures (you always existed, you just weren't so common then - you kill the frogs, you get more trans* people - that's the see-saw that they deny).

Athena ... She killed a lot of [redacted] and she was... not Homo Sapiens. That's all you need to know.
Works for me.

That's not what happened, at all. You're not ready for that. As for the Avatar drug, you probably don't want to know about what various Human scale entities have been doing to Minds.


Titans. Cats and Titans.


~

For Greg: Mind here denotes a complicated and incredibly boring set of knowledge that you don't have. And no, not psychology, that's where the fantasists are.

That Black Hole post getting deleted though, ooff.


[1] MiM peeps: not the time to do that boring shite of input staggering or nonsense bullshit eh? What are you, 12 or from the fucking Valley (this is a UK Welsh joke / Ancient Judaism cross-over joke, thanks for playing, we're just faster than you)

398:

@ Niala: Oh, absolutely true. IIRC the taxis moved about 6000 troops, with the rest moved by other means. But per Barbara Tuchman it was enough to make a difference.

@ Greg: IIRC Schlieffen made a good plan, then made things so overly complicated it wasn't a good plan anymore. But yes, anyone who smashed a railcar certainly did their part! (Tuchman wasn't brilliant in her understanding of logistics.)

@ Pigeon: Yes, the French discovered the German error by scouting from the air. I sometimes see Field Marshal Joffre as a spider, eating three very good meals a day while waiting at the center of his web for the Germans to make a mistake.

399:

That plot is so very Ross Thomas. He was always writing stuff like this back in the 1980s. His protagonists were always getting into or stumbling onto plots like this one, and running into the usual round of spooks, US and foreign, politicians, diplomats and the like.

I've been missing him and rereading some of my favorites lately.

400:

Another 2020 headline:
'Transsexual Satanist anarchist' wins GOP nomination for NH county sheriff
https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/516616-trans-satanist-anarchist-wins-gop-nom-for-nh-county-sheriff

401:

@ Greg: IIRC Schlieffen made a good plan, then made things so overly complicated it wasn't a good plan anymore.

I disagree.

You fail to mention the big issue with the plan. It involved invading Belgium as a way to outflank the French, and the UK had a defense treaty with Belgium (nor was that just a scrap of paper - the UK had a strong interest in not letting any great power control the Belgian ports).

So the Schlieffen plan caused the British Empire to enter the war. Which (eventually) dragged the USA in too and (eventually) lost Germany the war.

Strategically, the plan assumed the Belgians would roll over and surrender (or grant Germany permission to run armies through Belgian territory) in shock and awe at the massive German attack. And so the UK would stay out instead of defending Belgium because the Belgians had rolled over. And France would then be swiftly defeated. That the Belgians chose to fight instead of rolling over on schedule isn't a minor complication, it's a major flaw with the plan.

The Schlieffen Plan is like Pearl Harbour, or the US invasion of Iraq, or Trump's invasion of Canada in 2023. Militarily operation may have been nifty, but still strategically stupid.

402:

'Transsexual Satanist anarchist' wins GOP nomination for NH county sheriff'

The only way satire could be deader would be if the Satanist won.

403:

Hm. You're probably right.

404:

It's all relevant stuff, but we don't know your rules
You mean substances or something else? If the former, over decades, I've been less cautious about such things than most, but also careful/experimental. Also, US, so many things are prison-level illegal. It's not the law's brain, though. Meditation is also very helpful, at least what I've tried and worked out, and is legal. (Other methods (e.g. brain stimulation) never tried. Well, various nootropics.)

There is an absolutely massive battle going on in Catholic spaces as we speak revolving around that Netflix film,...
Ugh, that fight/battle looks dangerous (from some google skims).

That's not what happened, at all. You're not ready for that.
One of several obvious parsings.

Titans. Cats and Titans.
I'll assume you saw Charlie's link to this, baby dragons with cat faces:

excuse me, edward burne jones drew schools for dragon babies??? i saw these on tumblr and was like, how can this be real... then googled it... and it is... pic.twitter.com/y8zOf3p6vw

— charlotte geater (@tambourine) September 15, 2020

405:

Well, there are a lot of widely variant opinions on "the Schlieffen plan" (whatever that means...) but Schlieffen himself, at least, was well aware of its difficulties and never stopped trying to work out a solution, only he died first.

It's not that unreasonable a response to an awkward situation. To avoid violation of neutral territory would have meant attacking France only on a front much too narrow for the German army to manoeuvre and to bring all its force to bear, on difficult terrain which the French had fortified to buggery and back and unlike the Belgians had kept their forts up to date. The necessary rapid victory would have been impossible to achieve that way - apart from anything else, there just wasn't enough room for the amount of parallelisation required.

Nor was it that unreasonable to discount the British in that context of the rapid victory. Germany was also a guarantor of Belgian neutrality and didn't really grok the notion that one of the other guarantors might actually object to them pissing all over it, even less that the objection might extend to effective military action. The British army was tiny and it was not clear that Britain had any enthusiasm for using it in Europe - indeed it remained unclear right up until the last moment with the way we were pissing everyone about not letting on which way we were going to jump. The "quick victory" concept meant that the war in the west would be done and dusted before Britain had been able to do anything much, and thereafter there would be even less opportunity and no point trying.

The main problem with the scheme was the one that Schlieffen never managed to figure out - how to handle the conflicting requirements of keeping the right wing strong, advancing it very fast over a very long distance, and keeping it supplied over that distance with only an inconveniently narrow corridor to move stuff in. This is where much of the difficulty with getting held up in Belgium arises - not so much in it giving the French more time to get their shit together, but in that the check causes traffic jams to propagate backwards down the chain so when the front does get going again it leaves the supplies behind and the more critical later phases of the advance suffer the more for it.

At one point they planned to both bypass the forts in Belgium and widen their supply route through it by going through the sticky-out bit of Holland which is in the way as well, but they decided that it would be more valuable to keep Holland neutral and import stuff through it. It might be interesting, at least, to have a peek at the parallel universe where they decided the other way.

406:

A large percentage of the entire federal government is contractor; that's not limited to the intelligence community.

The whole related-entity fraud ring seems far too vulnerable to detection. As much as I generally doubt DIA's ability to find their own posterior with both hands, a headlamp, and a copy of Gray's Anatomy1, a rogue operation of that magnitude seems rather unlikely to go well; there's too much paperwork and too many people who could spoil the whole thing by dropping a dime, even if Deutsche Bank and HSBC handle all the financial arrangements.

1 DIA was one of the last organizations to enable HTTPS for their website despite being a HUMINT agency.

407:

All this discussion of "Schlieffen" & violating Treaties ...
And WHAT IS FUCKING BoZo DOING?

408:

is like Pearl Harbour, or ... Militarily operation may have been nifty, but still strategically stupid.

Dono about that one. They left after only implementing 2/3s of the plan. Yamamoto got nervous after they couldn't find any of the US carriers.

The last 1/3 and final wave of planes was to take out the dry docks / repair facilities and the fuel depot.

With those gone things would have been very different in the Pacific.

409:

According to an acquaintaince of mine, this delightful bit of propaganda went out on a Conservative "information" mailing list yesterday:

"Dear NAME

Last night I voted to protect the United Kingdom, as any Prime Minister would do.

Unfortunately, I was not joined by a single Labour or SNP MP.

Instead Labour and the SNP chose to side with the EU and their outrageous threats to carve up our Union.

Making it clear we’re the only Party willing to stand up for the United Kingdom.

Which is why NAME I’m asking you to stand with us today by joining our Party

Become a Member

Last year in good faith I signed the Withdrawal Agreement, believing the EU would stand by their word to be reasonable.

But regretfully, as Labour know, in recent months the EU have suggested they would go to extreme and unreasonable lengths.

Threatening to put up blockades across our own country, divide our own land and change the very economic geography of our own union.

No British Prime Minister, Government or Parliament has ever bowed to such a humiliating and offensive threat.

And I’m proud to say that legacy continued last night.

But appallingly when presented with another opportunity to stand up for the UK, Labour chose not to. Instead they buckled to the EU.

So now NAME, faced with this unprecedented situation we must all redouble our efforts to combat Labour.

Will you step up and side with the only Party willing to protect the United Kingdom? Become a member now >>

Stand with Us

With your support I’m certain we will succeed.

Yours sincerely,

Boris Johnson"

tl;dr: Other parties are all traitors who want to see the destruction of the UK.

410:

Yes, that is the real issue, but it is NOT how it is being spun by the anti-Russian brigade.

In the UK, of course, even (possibly critical) interference from our 'allies' is accepted as reasonable. Brexit would not have happened without external pressures, and I think that Bozo would have won the last election mbut by only a small majority without it.

411:

The Seagull, in passing, commented on a proverb about "which Master you serve".

My personal preference is Mr Cards, as the only one I'm sure has my best interests at heart. Failing that, Apples and Wines are perhaps the least dangerous Masters (other than Mirrors, of course, but there is little advantage or safety to be had from serving the guardian of B*****'s W***).

412:

I wouldn't serve a mere Curator.

413:

To me, the most interesting aspect of the cannonball run endurance road race is the electric option. Which is a lot slower than the gas-powered one, but still ridiculous: 45 hours and 10 minutes, with an added constraint of not breaking the speed limit ... so they averaged about 60mph coast-to-coast.

This says something about the endurance of Teslas in 2019, and the density of charging stations, that the "don't break the speed limit" was a tighter constraint than the "don't stop for charging". (The first EV record, in 1968, stood at a whisker over 210 hours, or nearly nine days.)

414:

BJ appears to be making a beeline for no-deal Brexit. It's not something that could get approved under its own name in Parliament, but put up a bill to 'protect the UK from being carved up' which effectively does that and there you are, a majority.

415:

The most charitable response to the support the (Russian) troops is it was likely prepared for publication by someone with design skills, but no knowledge of implements of destruction. Something similar could be seen in "Starman", where F-16s are shown launching to intercept the UFO, and a F-106 is shown launching a missile, close enough in "Holly-Weird", I suppose.

416:

That has been obvious for some years now, ever since he 'signed up' to the ERG, though whether he was aware of what he was doing is another matter. You are right about his strategy.

417:

I don't believe such folks are non-existant in the GOP, but admitting it is!

418:

You're talking tactics. Pearl Harbour WAS strategically stupid. Without it, the USA would probably not have entered the war (and certainly not then), giving Japan time to kick Britain out of the far east. We could not possibly have fought both Germany and Japan unaided. The USSR would have eventually defeated Germany, liberating us from either blockade or occupation, but I can't guess what would have transpired in the far east.

419:

Right now my to-do list (beyond the copy edits for "Invisible Sun"
I was wondering. In "Dark State", there are references to the "Grand Dauphin" as being in power. Has he become king? If that's the case, then he is not a Dauphin (Duke of Dauphiné -the area aroud Grenoble-) anymore. Same thing for Charles III, he won't keep the title of Prince of Wales.
In modern French, dauphin still means "designated successor" for politicans, CEOs, etc...

420:

dpb
This bit: the EU and their outrageous threats to carve up our Union. Is a direct, plain LIE.
No such threat exists.

EC
No
BoZo didn't win the elction ... Labour threw it away with both hands, by picking Corbyn & some policies that were as mad as those now embraced byBoZo ...
And, of course, outside London, people didn't realise what a lying shitheap BoZo is ...

AVR
Yes - he is ... nor sure why, unles he KNOWS it's going to be a dsisater & is banking on blaming the EU for his & his party's total fuck-up

421:

To me, the most interesting aspect of the cannonball run endurance road race is the electric option.

Yes. But since I live in a place that has winter, I want to see them run it in January rather than July.

422:

There were at least two orchestrated campaigns against Corbyn (*), both were VERY heavily pushed by our externally-controlled media, and one had all of the hallmarks of a foreign government behind it. That is in addition to the amount of money funnelled from the USA to the Conservative party and other organisations that promulgates black propaganda against him.

You are carefully ignoring that he was leader during the 2017 campaign, and his policies were essentially the same. The only differences was Bozo versus May and the campaigns I mentioned.

(*) The bogus (and they WERE bogus) anti-semitism claims and 'communist' claims, both of which you assisted with (in an insignificant way).

423:

Pearl Harbour WAS strategically stupid.

The US was expanding westwards into Japan's sphere of influence -- Midway island was being turned into a long-range airbase capable of handling B-24 and B-17 bombers, Pearl Harbor was already a major Naval base of course and there were other US Naval and air assets in the Philippines and elsewhere. The Japanese military and especially the Imperial Japanese Navy had at their core the strategic concept of a "decisive battle", a plan to lure their opponents into one giant engagement that would weaken the enemy sufficiently that they could no longer oppose Japan's legitimate interests in the western Pacific. It had worked in the last great Naval battle the Japanese had fought back in 1905, the Battle of Tsushima against the Imperial Russian fleet (aka The Voyage of the Damned), it was bound to work in a world of aircraft, radar, fleet submarines and other modern fripperies. It is to the IJN's credit that they kept trying this tactic of attempted entrapments until mid-1945 against a nation that simply steamrollered them time and time again at sea with superior numbers and ridiculously massive production capabilities.

424:

BJ appears to be making a beeline for no-deal Brexit. It's not something that could get approved under its own name in Parliament, but put up a bill to 'protect the UK from being carved up' which effectively does that and there you are, a majority.

Are you sure about that ? I thought he could just run down the clock during negotiations: where does Parliamentary approval fit in to the picture ?

From outside it looks like a dangerous attempt to break the Good Friday Agreement to prevent the UK collapsing to Singapore-on-Thames.

425:

The Good Friday Agreement is a treaty co-signed with other nations including the USA as guarantor. It would take Parliamentary approval in the form of a law for the UK to abrogate the GFA and not have to comply with its terms and conditions. The Withdrawal Agreement with the EU is similarly a bilateral international agreement backed up by existing legislation which needs to be overridden for the WA to be messed with.

Running out the clock and doing nothing else means the GFA and the WA are both applicable in British law. That would necessitate some kind of customs agreement in Ireland so no hard border (the GFA), or a customs barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK necessitated by the WA. The UKIP successor party Boris heads up, having won an overwhelming number of true-believer MPs (thanks to loony right-wingers banging on and on about super-ultra-Marxist Jeremy Corbyn in the last election) can't be having with any of that hence the cherry-picking bill that's got through its first reading in the Commons with a predictable majority of 80 or so.

I think the UKIPpers in Parliament want their supporters to believe that the EU will go along with their "good bits" version of the Withdrawal Agreement once the legislation is signed off even though it's been made clear time and time again by the EU that the WA is a unitary concept and, absent a long renegotiation process that no-one's ready to engage in, that's how things are going to work in terms of trade and cross-border relations between Brexit Britain and the rest of the EU.

426:

It's complicated. There is currently a statute on the books requiring the PM to negotiate a deal, and a failure to do that would be at least contempt of Parliament. Also, too overt a move could trigger an emergency motion and, in the UK, Parliament's powers are unlimited. Yes, in theory, they could pass a bill requiring him to be hanged, drawn and quartered on Tower Hill (*) - I am pretty sure that HM would gag at that one, though :-) But he can't afford to seriously piss off a majority of the House of Commons.

I doubt that it has any more intent than to threaten the EU, so that they cave in and accept his deal. He isn't sufficiently in contact with reality to realise it is likely to have the opposite effect.

(*) All they have to do is to include words like "Notwithstanding the HRA, this treaty, etc., ...".

427:

amckinstry at 424:
My suspicion is that Johnson is now trying to appease the DUP, now that the treaty implications have become clear to them. They are still trying to have their cake and eat it; he is still trying to obey many masters.

IMO the damage to the GFA is collateral (i.e. he just doesn't give a toss about it), rather than intentional.

(I'm not ruling out the possibility that the whole thing is a deliberate attempt to restart the Troubles so that he can declare martial law, mind.)

428:

The DUP he threw under a bus the moment he got a real majority? I'm not sure why he finds appeasing them necessary again. I wonder what else is going on.

The DUP have to be really, really thick to fall for it, but I suppose their leaders are overqualified in that regard.

429:

dpb at 428:
Yes, that DUP, the Tories' old ally in NI. Back channels via old-school Tory back-benchers is the mechanism I guess at; they have always been close.

430:

AIUI the status of Northern Ireland and the border with Eire was one of the main reasons "Treason May" failed to get her version of Brexit through the Commons - spiked by a combination of the DUP and wannabe Tory ministers.
That splendid chap Johnson then took over, got a large enough majority to reward the wannabes & ignore the DUP, and then signed off on a Withdrawal Agreement which was effectively the same as the one May had proposed. When people pointed out that the agreement involved custom checks between NI and the British mainland he initially rubbished the whole idea and then grudgingly agreed there "may be some additional paperwork". A couple of months later the London government announced funds for infrastructure to apply these checks & help affected companies.
As for the current brouhaha/fustercluck, either they've just realised what they agreed to or this was the plan all along (in which case they're assuming Trump will force through a MAGA trade deal over any Democrat whinings about the Good Friday Agreement).

431:

Question for Australians…

I see in the news about the Melbourne anti-lockdown protests that a number of protestors are wearing MAGA hats. For example:

https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-lockdown-protest-melbourne-australia-fd96c8a4-35bc-4142-9e60-1a8e26999c45.html

Is this common, or an artifact of the pictures I've seen?

432:

But it's also the difference between being a traitor and being the beneficiary of someone else's actions, (which are at least theoretically unknown to you.) Trump signed on the dotted line. Clinton didn't.

433:

But he can't afford to seriously piss off a majority of the House of Commons.

Bear in mind the 80-or-so UKIPers in his parliamentary party exceeds the threshold for the number of Tory MPs who can write a nastygram to the leader of the 1922 Committee and trigger a leadership challenge.

At this point in the train-wreck he'd probably still win a 50%+1 vote of the PCP, and fend it off for another 12 months, which is probably the main reason why it hasn't happened yet. But if he backs down over a no-deal maximalist hard brexit, there will be a showdown, and once he delivers a MHB there may be a showdown.

Basically the Tory party is locked in on the target of its kamikaze attack run, and if the pilot gets cold feet the navigator(s) will shoot him in the head and take over the controls.

I'm pretty sure Boris knows exactly what's going on, but the brakes have failed and he's just a passenger now, along for Mr Toad's Wild Ride until such time as he jumps out of the car or runs out of road.

434:

Any strategy formulated around the idea that "the enemy is weak" is strategically stupid.

435:

Maybe the idea is to provoke the EU enough that we get to find out what no deal looks like before January. The BBC are already commisioning "How the Europeans stole Christmas".

436:

For me, the question is whether BoJo wants the GFA and/or WA to fall, or at least to be in peril. There are several bits at stake.

I personally know of a couple of companies who work across the Irish border whose existence is threatened by a hard border, or uncertainty about rules: eg. export of waste (not allowed through EU border, etc). These companies' very existence is dependent on the stroke of a pen in No. 10, or other ministries, either now, or soon after a hard brexit. They are fighting off a shakedown in the form of vulture funds such as Rees-Moggs buying them out while their business is on the floor, then a Minister fixing the regs and the company being resuscitated.

Now the shakedown comes in the form of an "investment" or sale of shares/part ownership between private companies, so its hard to spot from the outside. But it doesn't require the company to go bust for the vultures to move in - it can be happening now, on the basis of the threat. So how much of this is actually going on as we speak?

Alternatively, BoJo could look at the now inenvitable vote for NI to leave the UK under the GFA as being the domino that will kick off the breakup of the UK, and deciding his legacy depends on stopping this. (I don't think he cares about NI per se, but seeing the UK reduced to England will reflect badly on him).

Can it really be about this?

437:

All this conspiracy shit takes its toll. Even if you don't buy into them, they'll leave you in a suspicious frame of mind where you have trouble trusting anyone.

Because even though YOU don't believe the conspiracies, THEY may be one of the wingnuts trying to dupe you with disinformation.

Or they may just be an innocent bystander making small talk out of common courtesy.

It makes my head hurt trying to figure it out.

438:

whitroth @ 387:

"The U.S. was already building limited access/controlled access freeways/parkways/motorways before WWII"

AFAIK, #1... was what became the Pennsylvania Turnpike, says the boy from Philly.

That seems to have been the first limited access highway in the U.S. that connected distant cities. I believe a few urban "parkways" & such had gone before, particularly around New York City.

Pennsylvania has a fairly long history (for U.S. values of "long" history) of building turnpikes (privately built toll roads). The first long distance paved road in the U.S. was the 1795 Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike

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

439:

There are a lot more than eighty UKIPpers in the current majority party in Parliament. The New Boys and Girls who make up a large part of the UKIP majority are pure-quill shiny-brained pro-Brexit types chosen by their constituency parties and elected to Get Brexit Done but there were at least another hundred or so Old Chaps and Chapesses who were comfortably ensconced in the xenophobic bigot side of the debate in previous years. A bunch of the semi-rational pro-EU Conservatives got deselected or decided to retire from the snakepit when the writ was called for the last election and they aren't available to give the tousle-haired moppet any kind of an internal opposition or provide any kind of a rational backstop to the internal decision-making efforts.

440:

That's in the Hill, a right-leaning paper? Not the Onion?!

441:

And after I hit submit, I remembered that I meant to ask if he was also from Transylvaaaaniaaaa....

442:

Niala @ 394: The Marne taxi influence was a fabricated myth. The French version of Wikipedia explains this better than the English version in Taxis de la Marne. The real (unsung) mechanical heroes here were the French railways.

My understanding of the situation is the French wanted to get troops to the front & used EVERYTHING they could get their hands on and that included using some taxis ... because they were available.

And some of those taxis were later used to carry away wounded soldiers and refugees from the battlefield.

443:

"Schools for dragon babies"?

A bit late, I think. From "Unicorn Girl", Michael Kurland, 1969, our heroes happen across a dragon with a clutch of young dragons, and she is related the story of Ethyl the Martyr and the Man in the Tin Suit.

*sigh* If only Ethyl had won, instead of that George guy.

444:

Oh, speaking of latecomers, Charlie, have you seen about this YA author winning a prize for a series about "bloodthirsty unicorns"?

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/16/bloodthirsty-unicorns-debut-author-record-publishing-deal-annabel-steadman-skandar-and-the-unicorn-thief

445:

Robert Prior @431:
Question for Australians…

I see in the news about the Melbourne anti-lockdown protests that a number of protestors are wearing MAGA hats. For example:

https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-lockdown-protest-melbourne-australia-fd96c8a4-35bc-4142-9e60-1a8e26999c45.html

Is this common, or an artifact of the pictures I've seen?

First I've heard, but I try not to look too closely at the idiots in case I see someone I know :-(

I can't see any "MAGA" caps in the pictures in Monday's Age, and I can't find the report on the ABC website, I'll keep an eye out for them!

446:

And that depends on neither a fed nor a contractor either hitting the brakes, or saying something.

https? I know at the NIH, we were pushed, hard, to make the move, and did.

447:

Ok. So the question is, which of Trumpolini's PACs/billionaire supporters paid for that. It very much looks like it was done in the US.

448:

Ok. The last few posts of hers have just been so "in" and k3wl that I had no interest in even thinking about trying to find what she was talking about.

This is not a class with homework assigned by an alchemist.

I just tried to look up Mr. Cards, and other than a US comic book and card shop, a Mr. Cards in the UK is a malware site (go there, and "you have just won, you're the xth person using mozilla to come here...")

449:

Robert van der Heide @ 400: Another 2020 headline:
'Transsexual Satanist anarchist' wins GOP nomination for NH county sheriff https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/516616-trans-satanist-anarchist-wins-gop-nom-for-nh-county-sheriff

Just a SWAG, but I expect he was the only candidate for sheriff running in the Republican primary.

He's up against a 5 term, popular incumbent Democrat in the general election.

I wonder if he's from Transylvania?

450:

"https? I know at the NIH, we were pushed, hard, to make the move, and did."

Maybe a spook agency is better placed to respond to such pressure with "it's pointless and we're not going to bother".

451:

That is interesting... given that most Interstates in the east, and some limited-access state roads have a speed limit of 65 (meaning most people do 70).

452:

"The BBC are already commisioning "How the Europeans stole Christmas"."

Trouble is I can't tell whether or not that's a joke.

453:

That would be an interesting alternate universe story.

Hmmm... Would the US have come in, later, to protect France from the USSR, or the US' interests in the South Pacific... or would the UK and France have asked them to help protect *their* interests in India and Southeast Asia?

454:

Tim H. @ 415: The most charitable response to the support the (Russian) troops is it was likely prepared for publication by someone with design skills, but no knowledge of implements of destruction. Something similar could be seen in "Starman", where F-16s are shown launching to intercept the UFO, and a F-106 is shown launching a missile, close enough in "Holly-Weird", I suppose.

There's no doubt whoever put together the ad "doesn't know Shit from Shinola" about the U.S. Military. It was all made up of stock images, and whoever put it together had no clue where those stock images came from.

But why should I be charitable to those bastards when I know they don't give a shit about the military or veterans? ... except as props to be used for their home-grown Triumph des Willens.

455:

The really important troop movements in that battle were the railway movements that rushed in a whole army's worth of troops from the other end of the front. The bit with the taxis was kind of an impromptu sideshow in which the first obstacle to be overcome was the negative attitude of higher command, so it was very dependent on being able to cobble together resources as best they could from what was around. The taxis weren't even the most significant contribution in terms of numbers of troops moved, they were just the most unusual and newsworthy one.

456:

Yeah, I gave that one a quick scan and mostly ignored it, but since I know there are at least a few other regulars here who play (one or more of) the relevant game(s) I thought that response might amuse them. As dpb notes, the Curators are far from the highest links on the great chain, but "serving" Mr Cards makes a great deal of sense for those with a certain very specific ambition.

The lore of Fallen London is far too vast to go into in any detail here*, but the game is free and the various imaginations that have worked on it pleasingly twisted.

*Also, the right place for that is their forums, not Charlie's blog.

457:

whitroth @ 440: That's in the Hill, a right-leaning paper? Not the Onion?!

I believe The Onion has thrown in the towel for 2020.


458:

whitroth @ 444: Oh, speaking of latecomers, Charlie, have you seen about this YA author winning a prize for a series about "bloodthirsty unicorns"?

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/16/bloodthirsty-unicorns-debut-author-record-publishing-deal-annabel-steadman-skandar-and-the-unicorn-thief

Glenn Cook's first Garret P.I. novel Sweet Silver Blues (1987) has bloodthirsty unicorns.

459:

Oh, indeed, but my point stands. To lose in Parliament, he would have to piss them off badly enough for almost all of the centrist MPs to oppose the government - but a clear rejection of ANY deal might do that. As I read it, that's the only reason he is proceeding with even a pretense at negotiation.

460:

One of Tanith Lee's 'Tales From The Flat Earth' also has violent unicorns - I think it's 'Delirium's Mistress'?

461:

Ahh.... Right. This is where key players come in.

For those who have never worked in a LARGE organization, they are *not* unitary. One section may do something long before another.

For example, the NIH, which is comprised of 27 Centers and Institutes. I worked in the Center for Information Technology. *That* was comprised of a number of divisions (or, after the reorg, two "offices", with what had been the Division of Computational Bioscience becoming the Office of Intramural Research (actually a more representative name).

In that, there were six, I think, groups. However, my manager, technically under one chief, wound up taking over the Unix/Linux servers for all.

Now, let's talk about IPv6.... IPv4 addresses are used up, as of a few years ago. CIT said yeah, they're about to run out, we'll get to it (they're almost exclusively Windows, btw). We implemented it, and he had to push, for several years, for the rest of CIT to support it. And push. And push....

We were ok. They... not so much.

462:

whitroth @ 452: That is interesting... given that most Interstates in the east, and some limited-access state roads have a speed limit of 65 (meaning most people do 70).

IIRC, it's a federal regulation that requires a lower speed limit on Interstates running through densely populated, congested Urban Areas. Right around Raleigh, the speed limit is 65 mph (104.61 kph) on I-40. But just a few miles out of town, it's 70 mph (112.65 kph) until you get to the next congested Urban Area (Burlington or Wilmington).

As you travel into the north-eastern U.S. the congested areas get closer together. I've been on Interstate Highways where the speed limit flips back & forth several times in a 10 mile stretch. It was right after they started allowing higher speeds on the Interstates again after the 55 mph (88.51 kph) cap was removed, so the "high" speed was only 65 mph.

As you travel west, you encounter long stretches of low population density that justifies even higher speed limits. The highest posted speed limits I remember is 80 mph (128.75 kph) in Oklahoma/Texas/New Mexico ...

463:

Remember the "unicorns are bloodthirsty creatures of horror" was the original mediaeval version of the legend? Back before the 19th century cutesified them. (Hence the lion and the unicorn on the UK coat of arms.)

464:

Jack Chalker does, too (River of Dancing Gods) and there's a 'pure' SF story by someone about humans marooned on a planet with hostile weather, huge wolves and huge carnivorous unicorns.

465:

Pigeon @ 456: The really important troop movements in that battle were the railway movements that rushed in a whole army's worth of troops from the other end of the front. The bit with the taxis was kind of an impromptu sideshow in which the first obstacle to be overcome was the negative attitude of higher command, so it was very dependent on being able to cobble together resources as best they could from what was around. The taxis weren't even the most significant contribution in terms of numbers of troops moved, they were just the most unusual and newsworthy one.

IIRC, it was 4,000 of the 150,000 soldiers the French used in the battle. I think the French Army would have been constrained if they hadn't had those 4,000 soldiers, but I don't know if it would have been enough to really affect the outcome.

The reason I find it interesting is the taxis kept their meters running & the French Government paid the accrued fares.

Which brings up some interesting questions I'd never considered before.

I know tipping is an insult in some places, where in other places it's customary ...

Are you supposed to tip French taxi drivers? And IF you are supposed to tip them, what percent tip is considered reasonable?

AND, IF tipping taxi drivers in France is something that is done, how much of a tip did they get from the French Government?

466:

Charlie Stross @ 464: Remember the "unicorns are bloodthirsty creatures of horror" was the original mediaeval version of the legend? Back before the 19th century cutesified them. (Hence the lion and the unicorn on the UK coat of arms.)

I did not know that. So how did they get the rainbow candy coating w/sugar frosting?


467:

... and finally for today:

Scientific American has never before endorsed a candidate for President.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientific-american-endorses-joe-biden/

468:

Hopefully a joke.

469:

I did not know that. So how did they get the rainbow candy coating w/sugar frosting?

I'm not sure -- but quite possibly by the same process which turned the Peter Pan of "Peter and Wendy" -- a creepy sociopathic kidnapper who's so detached from reality that his own shadow can't keep up and who murders boys who have the temerity to grow up -- into the twee sparkly travesty Disney gave us: an iterative removal of all the abrasive or non-PG rated aspects of the story. (I'm pretty sure the original version of the "unicorns and female virgins" relationship involved consuming them, either as food or sexually, for example.)

A lot of other earlier folklore got messed with, too. The thing about mounted knights in full plate needing to be winched into the saddle with a crane, for example? Totally false. (Plate armour weighs about 25kg: per original 14th-16th century manuals of arms, one of the tests for a squire who wanted to become a knight was to be able to go from lying face-down to running a hundred yards and climbing into his saddle unassisted wearing full armour. Late gothic plate wasn't any worse for mobility or weight than modern body armour and helmet: it lost on heat build-up, visiblity, and not being great protection against crossbow bolts or musketry, and towards its end it was mass produced so that a full suit cost about 6 months' wages for a man at arms.)

470:

As you travel west, you encounter long stretches of low population density that justifies even higher speed limits.

Indeed, the population density is often so low as to be a very good approximation of zero.

I've driven this stretch of I-10 on a number of occasions:

https://www.google.com/maps/@32.3136529,-108.822537,3a,75y,220.32h,65.63t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sRxsyXNLHFz9GDHioGbj4_w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

471:

>>>"unicorns and female virgins" relationship involved consuming them

And this is why unicorns went extinct. Virgins ate them all.

472:

Pigeon, re Battle of the Marne: email me offlist. A good friend of mine is a historian, and his speciality is France, from the Third Republic to WWII. I emailed him, and he says it's not something he covers in depth, but he's sent me his lecture on it, which I can forward.

473:

They also went from being goat-like and often black to horse-like and always white. If the Hunt of the Unicorn tapestry and King James's arms are representative, the whiteness considerably predated the species change.

474:

I-40 and I-5 have long stretches of Not Much, also. (And then there's I-10 between Blythe and Indio, where it bends because it's easier to go around the ridges: it has wide spots, but only three of them. If you count Desert Center and Cactus City.)

475:

"Dear NAME
Last night I voted to protect the United Kingdom, as any Prime Minister would do.
Unfortunately, I was not joined by a single Labour or SNP MP.
Instead Labour and the SNP chose to side with the EU and their outrageous threats to carve up our Union.

That strongly resembles the D.J.Trump campaign fundraising emails. Here's the start of a sample. (I have a early-days gmail address so get a lot of misdirected email.) This one is essentially a sale on hats, targeted at people slightly less literate and more gullible than the targets of the communication you quoted. Block quoted to make it clear that it's quoted and being mocked, and formatting roughly preserved.

LABOR DAY FLASH SALE
Bill,
The Republican Party is the party of the American Worker, the American Family, and the American Dream.
President Trump has proven he will ALWAYS be a champion for American Workers and now he wants to do something SPECIAL for YOU. For Labor Day, we’ve put our ICONIC Trump American Worker Hat on SALE for only $37 $27.

To be clear, the first two sentences contain more than two lies. (There are additional lies in the rest of the email.) I"m not a UK person so I only spotted 2 lies in the mailing that you quoted, but it seems similar, and the ">>>" is also in the DJT emails.

476:

Just a SWAG, but I expect he was the only candidate for sheriff running in the Republican primary.

Yep. Both parties at times get some folks claiming allegiance that the parties would rather slither back into their hole. Especially when the other party is a lock to win so no one with a brain even tries.

For those outside the US to get on a primary ballot almost all you have to do is register as a member of that party with the local officials and collect the number of required signatures on a petition. And that number can be fairly low for very local things.

477:

Yes. I remember a few decades ago, when my friend decided to see if he could peg the speedometer of his Corolla on I-5. He came pretty close, because the traffic was light and the CHiPs were chasing other speeders. That was also the trip where I took a ruler along to see if the horizon was still flat. It was. Frequently

(The point of the ruler is that traveling south, you know you're getting out of the valley when you start to see mountains ahead of you. The only areas I know in the US that are that flat are parts of Florida and southern Illinois. Most of the "fly over states" have considerably more local topography than does the California Central Valley).

I haven't driven I-5 to the Bay Area in awhile, but my friends who do that drive now complain of heavy traffic to the point where they take alternate routes, even though the roads are slower. It's mostly trucks heading between LA and the Bay Area.

Smells like progress. Or something. Yay.

478:

Yes, they also took the motor buses from La Compagnie Générale des Omnibus.

479:

EC 422
For the Nth time .. GROW UP
My solidly Social Democrat & amazingly popular Labour MP despaired of Corbyn & his "leadership" & the total wankers from momnetum who wanted to unseat an MP with a majority of 20 000, because she wasn't "Socialist enough"
This sort of insanity gives it away to the arseholes running what used to be called "the conservative party"
And NO - Corbyn did not have a policy on the EU - he is a brexshiteer for opposite & equally mad "reasons" as the right-tories ... in other words a re-run of the original EU refernedum, where the only people campaigning against the EU were the communists & the fascists.

Nojay - in addition to EC above
NOT super-ultra-Marxist JC, simnply super-ultra-STUPID JC, who has not learnt one single thing since 1973.

REMINDER _ I voted for my Labour candidate & now MP, OK?

arrbee
In other words, BoZo did what he always did & still does ... DELIBERATELY LIED - & hoped to get away with it ....

Charlie
I am desperately afrid you are correct.
We can, of course, hope that when it does turn out to be the utter smash-disaster we are expecting that BoZo ends up dangling form a lamp-post

acmckinstry
EXCEPT that the breakup of the UK means BoZo gets to control a semi-fascist England - he hopes.
I think the backlash will prevent this, but it's all-too-plausible if you are locked into the Brexshit mindset.
See also Nojay's scary comment.

480:

The Good Roads Movement in the United States began in the late 1870s and predates travel by automobile by quite a bit. It actually starts with bicycles needing paved roads. I guess 'cause they hadn't invented Mountain Bikes yet.

Members of the US Army 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps road their very much non-mountain-bike 2 wheelers 1,000 miles from their headquarters in Missoula Montana to Alliance Nebraska. It took them 21 days, including a stop-off in Yellowstone, which they rode through. They reached Alliance on July 4, 1897. June in Yellowstone? Oh yeah. Go for the geysers, stay for the mosquitoes.

Yes, some of the Buffalo Soldiers rode 19th Century bikes cross country, just to prove it could be done. It's a bit sad that the Steampunk/Weird West contingent doesn't have a whole infragenre devoted to the Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Corps, where they fight evil geniuses, extraterrestrial tripods, and revenant Tyrannosaurs on the High Plains. That's just begging for a story treatment.

481:

Would the US have come in, later, to protect France from the USSR, or the US' interests in the South Pacific... or would the UK and France have asked them to help protect *their* interests in India and Southeast Asia?

The US would have come in. Part of the diplomatic landscape of the time was that FDR was trying to stop Japanese expansion through progressive measures. Moreover, without dealing with Guam and the Philippines, any Japanese action towards European colonies in the Southeast Pacific would leave its supply lines vulnerable to US raiders operating out of its aforementioned territories. As it would happen, they were vulnerable to much longer ranged submarines that did not need those forward bases, but IJN planners of the time didn't take those into account. They also weren't shown that error for a couple years because BuOrd dropped the ball and refused to fix it.

On the European front the US very much preferred the "Lets you and him fight." approach that would lead to the Soviets eventually rolling up the Nazi armies.

482:

MAGA hats are entirely plausible for some contingent of the protesters. They're not more our of place than the swastikas and Golden Dawn flags. Mostly they symbolise far right conspiracy theory type people. Racist as fuck (by Australian standards!) but also a weird mix of authoritarian and libertarian which I interpret as "we should have rigid rules strictly enforced that only apply to other people".

The thing to remember is that there are not many of them, but they are emphatically not harmless - the terrorist who went to Christchurch to take advantage of Aotearoa's weak gun laws was one of them.

483:

Um. Um... Buffalo soldiers on bikes, pulling carts, and steam-powered machine guns against a pride of T-rexes....

If I write it, it's your fault!

484:

Not Much, also

I should say that the stretch of I-10 I pointed to is a good place to see dust devils, which are quite impressive mini-tornados 100s of meters tall. They do relieve the tedium of everything else along the way.

485:

Was that someone saying "bullshit wank" while fanning their face? It's 2020, no-one but your own psyche is going to be shocked[1] by sub-teen levels of crudity.

I wouldn't serve a mere Curator.

Oh, you're lovely and priceless and funny and we want to jump your bones. We're translating for you.

'Thought I'd draw a tarot card to see how my day is going to turn out'

https://twitter.com/RealSardonicus/status/1305885376599519232


(Old fella: interesting Mind, getting a bit darker as 2020 goes on, but we'd rub his back)


If you want the mature edge, just ask. I think the term geeks will understand is down-scaling.


Or quit fucking around: the absolute zero coverage we've seen of this as quite obviously a multi-stage/belief driven Operation and your inability to spot this shit coming from a mile off has us all wondering:


"Do they know? (they must! but then again, Orcas)"
"If they know (they must! age and seeing the patterns so many times) then why do they not decry it?"

And so on.


Or you can come clean and admit most of your fucking culture is really really abusive and based on slavery, and we can talk again.

~


You would not believe[2] how patient we're being.

Note: don't, when faced with some mild critique, double-down into "re-send that tired old shocking piece of research we have that makes everyone mention the Holocaust and how stupid USA teens are.... again" because there's new players in town who can see it a mile off.

You know, in case you don't want to waste billions of dollars funding people who've fallen so far from the tip of the spear, it's up their Anus.


[1] In one of the most effective anti-Police violence protests we've seen this year, here is a young lady from Florida proving that "sex and violence" do not mix so well, on a highway, not her car, no-one shooting her, with a concerned non-English commentary (which, if you need a translation is pretty much a descriptive flow with a bit of "hey, she hot but also cute" (if you're surprised, well: do not be - CIS HOT WHITE LADIES NEKKID get a lot of lee-way in the USA)): https://www.reddit.com/r/trashy/comments/itolo4/let_me_rub_one_out_on_top_of_my_car_in_traffic/ --- Old Men. That's NSFW. You're gonna see nudity. She's really not that concerned about your shitty Lower Tier worries right now though, absolute dominant WAP move to move beyond the strip-tease level (MALE) into active masturbation.

[2] Mainly because unless you're a serious author like Thompson or Goldman or Hemmingway, you cannot drink the amounts of proof alcohol we just did to get through a billion Q thoughts.

486:

We mean: that piece (sent to the Guardian! Well done Haaley!) kinda gets a bit shit once you notice a few things:

1) Covid19 and school's out
2) Betsey' De-200 Yachts Valos De Pure has defunded everyone
3) All major US state bonds pertaining to education and pensions just shit the fucking bed
4) It was made by a fucking ghoul level "Fuck your bread" outfit
5) Don't ever ask kids those questions about the internet, you're gonna get trolled
6) It's paid for content funded by some fuckers who made their money in extremely exploitative ways and like the UK YouGov [fixing elections is our game, Cambridge Analytica threaten our bottom line] are about as non-biased as Hamas


Want more?

I wouldn't serve a mere Curator.


Yeah, well. Newsflash.


Ask us for something (Djinn time - and if you think they're not threatened, they wouldn't be altering the wikipedia about it, would they Laddos) and give us a dead-line.


Try it. (Only, don't do something like Host did and ask for the dissolution of the United Kingdom, shit is getting waaay out of hand on that one)

487:

1. "Sub-teen levels of cruelty" are not shocking, well, depending on how far they go ("blue streakers" come to mind), they're boring and tedious, and why should we care for the 5,205'th time?
2. That's an anti-police demonstration? [shakes head]. Naked Athena, in Portland, was an anti-police demonstration. This is nothing but Florida Girl.

488:

Allen Thomson @ 471:

As you travel west, you encounter long stretches of low population density that justifies even higher speed limits.

Indeed, the population density is often so low as to be a very go