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Countdown to Crazy

This is your official thread for discussing the upcoming US presidential and congressional election on November 3rd; along with its possible outcomes.

Do not chat about the US supreme court, congress, presidency, constitution, constitutional crises (possible), coup (possible), Donald Trump and his hellspawn offspring and associates, or anything about US politics in general on the Laundry Files book launch threads. If you do, your comments will be ruthlessly moderated into oblivion.

You are allowed and encouraged to discuss those topics in the comments below this topic.

(If you want to discuss "Dead Lies Dreaming" here I won't stop you, but there's plenty of other places for that!)

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1:

Something of interest:
https://gruber.micro.blog/2020/10/27/mcconnell-played-trump.html
In short, McConnell may have thought one more Supreme Court appointment was all the utility left in "Drumph!".

2:

And another thing:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/26/republican-party-autocratic-hungary-turkey-study-trump

I believe the Republicans became infected when they invited "Dixiecrats" into the party, I see little hope for their future.

3:

"I believe the Republicans became infected when they invited "Dixiecrats" into the party, I see little hope for their future."

Yup. This goes all the way back to Nixon's "Southern Strategy."

4:

I'm much more concerned about the Republican Party (Never Trumper Neocons) colonizing the Democratic party...

5:

I think that the author of that article is underestimating the level of voter suppression shenanigans that Republicans are engaging in. Especially regarding the not counting of mail-in ballots that are majorly from Democrat voters.

He also forgets that the haste in cofiriming Barret was to have her in place BEFORE the election. Even if Trump lost there were still two months left to confirm her.

The SCOTUS was unable to reject one state decision protecting mail-in ballots because it hung 4 to 4 (I guess one of the right-wing judges still has a little shame). Had Barret been in, it would certainly have been rejected. And now so will every single one of the dozens of similar cases that will be presented by Republican legislatures.

Mark my words, Trump WILL be reelected because the election will be completely rigged in his favor. Putting Barret in the SCOTUS in a hurry was a means to this end, and also to guarantee Republican rule for decades to come

6:

Nemonowan
IF that happens, it's civil war time ...
Thousands if not millions of uncounted ballots & a really clear popular victory for Biden - & the latter seems very likely.
Is a recipe for utter disaster

7:

I remember an incident about the last election when Trump was still considered a clown. In the company elevator we have a screen showing the news where there was a video of Trump. A guy I had never seen before, who was standing next to me, suddenly said loudly: "He is going to win!" Well he sure turned out right. I wonder if some folks have an ability to forecast the future accurately?

I certainly live in an elitist bubble but have some idea that the mood of the common folk is angry. Right now if a leader comes along who is slightly credible and just says "I am on your side", that leader will win.

8:

Understandable, though still preferable to "Pick handle" republicans. Your thoughts on the possibility of such a party spinning off a moderately left party and a more or less sane conservative party? Or the remote possibility of republicans being reduced to the point the surviving leadership can all fit into a Pinto, and plunge to their deaths?

9:

Hillary won a popular victory in 2016 by millions of votes, but Trump still was elected because of the electoral college. You only need to fix a few states to win. And voter suppression has been the norm for decades (even if less blatant) and nothing has come it.

There won't be any international pressure either: do you see any country delegitimizing the uS elections? Will Almagro's OAS decree that Trump manipulated the results and call for a military takeover? Will the UK recognize Nancy Pelosi as interim president? Naah...

Also, Democrats have a tendency of appeasement and of conceding for the sake of stability. And if it really comes to armed insurgency, the Trump fanatics are much better at violence than their opponents.

10:

You can sometimes read the mood when you are close to the ground.

In october 2016 I hurried to travel to the US and make a road trip around National Parks and the such (because the possibility of Trump winning made me leary of postponing it)

I drove a lot around the backcountry of the northwest and southwest. I saw a LOT of signs put up by Trump supporters. But NOT A SINGLE ONE supporting Hillary. The closest thing was a sign thanking Obama (somebody who was saved by the ACA, I guess)

That's when I knew that Trump was going to win.

11:
You only need to fix a few states to win. And voter suppression has been the norm for decades (even if less blatant) and nothing has come it.

True. Which is why when I see breathless headlines saying "Biden leads in state $STATE by 2 points!" I think: any voting machines that can be tampered with are going to be tampered with. The PTB won't produce results 99% in favour of Trump, but if they shave a few points off of the democratic vote, you'd better believe that they will do so. And that may change the election right there.

12:

The way I like to put it is "Nixon thought he could put a saddle on the Confederate Faction so the Republican Party could ride it to power, but at the end of the day it was the Party with the bit in its mouth and the Confederates holding the reins and wearing the spurs."

13:

The hopeful read is that the wheels are finally coming off the GOP Clown Car, the Plutocrats & Followers faction override the Drunk On Their Own Koolaid Gang and start siphoning off Conservadems in search of a coalition that's competent enough to both win elections and write a tax cut without screwing over some of the intended beneficiaries.

14:

ITT (and it's early yet!): Much misapprehension of the importance to Republican ratfucking operations of the outcome actually being within ratfucking distance. This is not 2016. Joe Biden has not been the target of a 20-year nonstop smear campaign. People have gotten a good hard look at what a Trump Administration actually looks like, and it turns out that the number who are really OK with "burning it all down" is pretty small.

Trump's only real hope now is for a naked coup, with the Supremes barfing out some kind of word salad about an invalid election and Roberts administering the oath to him no matter what, and it's far from clear even that would work.

The danger is that the D Party takes the trifecta and doesn't use the resulting power to cripple the R Party until it either reforms itself to be able to win elections by appealing to a majority or disintegrates entirely. I anticipate the John Lewis Memorial VRA II being signed next January, after a "we don't negotiate with terrorists" abolition of the filibuster in the Senate and a "go ahead, make my day" message to the Supremes about trying to defang it.

15:

I tend to think that the 2018 results provide a pretty good guide to what's likely to happen; I don't think the "blue wave" has come close to subsiding yet. When Beto O'Rourke came so close to winning Texas in 2018, it was clear that something was changing - and it doesn't look as though the momentum has died away there.

The anecdotal evidence that Nemonowan cites about 2016 seems to be swinging very much the other way this time - the stories seem to all be about Biden signs in places that had rarely seen Democratic Party signs before (and also about how people had been trying to tear them down, which is also a signifier of mood shifts.) Yes, 2016 was a coinflip election which caught a lot of people by surprise (which is odd, considering what happened in 2000. Perhaps the series of pretty decisive results in 2004,2008 and 2012 had made people forget that this problem existed. And I worry that a decisive result this time will do the same thing.)

As to the Supreme Court issue: I think that one of the problems the 'majority' has right now is that a number of their rulings have been on the grounds that a state supreme court does not have the right to override a state legislature on setting the terms for voting (including things like which ballots are valid etc.) This is probably fair enough actually; the courts should not be doing that (let's leave aside the question of whether the courts actually are or not.)
But by doing so, they are making it difficult for themselves to be able to rule on such issues in future, since their argument is based on saying that the courts should not be able to override the legislature on voting rights. Which rather opens the door to the federal legislature passing bills that mandate minimum voting standards etc. and challenging the Supreme Court to either decline any challenges or to overtly say "well, of course, we are above the law", neither of which option would be pleasant for them. (The obvious escape route would be to say "it's still down to the individual states" but again that would set a nasty precedent that it would be difficult to dodge.)

16:

That's when I knew that Trump was going to win.

I think it pays to be wary of this sort of confirmation bias. As you point out, millions more voted for Hilary, so it wasn't that people didn't turn out for the Democratic contender. And if it's about a rigged game, then why does it matter how many lawn signs were out there? Electoral shenanigans certainly played a role in Trump's victory, as did his energetic voter base, but luck also played a role and his odds right now are slim.

17:
"Biden leads in state $STATE by 2 points!"

if [[ $STATE == "Georgia" ]]; then
echo "this is indeed worthy of an exclamation point!"
fi

Trump's "win" was so narrow that he can't lose any of the Blue States that went Red in 2016. To steal it this time, the Rs need to win seven States (some of which have D governance) that he is projected to lose by bigger-than-ratfucking margins.

If the ballots get counted, he's toast.

PS why does the <code> element not work?

18:

About the confirmation bias thing: my point was that sometimes the utterly unfounded impression given by a totally inadequate sample (such as mine or the elevator guy's) can turn out to be more right than a presumably reliable and accurate massive poll which turns out to be wrong because it was not researching the proper question. After all, a gut feeling about a binary question will be right half the time. Th only person I remember being actually right (as in by a reasoned conclusion) about 2016 was Michael Moore who correctly warned that Trump would carry the midwest states and win the election, because Democrats were ignoring them and not campainging agressively there.

19:

AS for the rest, you are talking about Trump's luck and odds. But that is the same thing as discussing your luck when you are playing poker with a bottom-dealer who is using marked cards. Luck has nothing to do with the result.

20:

How hard is it to add states to the Union?

I'm thinking Puerto Rico and District of Columbia are well overdue for statehood, and the effect on the Senate would the drastic ...

21:

> The closest thing was a sign thanking Obama (somebody who was saved by the ACA, I guess)

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not but the sign surely was.

22:

At the moment the Supreme Court seems to declining to get involved with (election) decisions by state courts and is only taking up those referred from a lower federal court.

No one should underestimate what can be excused by a partisan outlook, but the Court is not going to just jump in anywhere and everywhere.

23:

If the ballots get counted, he's toast.

They know. Why do you think they are going to such extreme lengths to ensure Democrat-leaning ballots are NOT counted?

Republicans are in full scorched-earth steal the election mode. If the voter disenfranchisement is not enough, the state legislatures will denounce the election as fraudulent and name republican electors for the College. And if this is fought against, they will tie the issue in courts for so long that the presidential selection will devolve to by-delegation vote in Congress where they have the majority.

24:

I think it first requires successful referendum in the territory in question, then two-thirds majority votes in both the House and the Senate, and then the President has to sign.

A two-thirds majority in the Senate is likely to be out of reach for some time.

25:

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not but the sign surely was.

I didn't take a picture and don't rememeber it verbatim, but at the time I got the impression that it was sincere. It was a hand-painted placard on a very modest rural house, respectfully referring to "President Obama" and no sarcastic language. It reminded me of similar signs back home thanking Saints for miracles granted.
It didn't specify what they were thanking him for, my guess was for medical coverage under the ACA because at the time I has read articles about people who had been helped by it and changed their opinion of Obama.

26:

Charlie- It's not that hard. DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa are all available. There was a legal request to merge two Republican states (IIRC North and South Dakota) that Congress has the discretion to take up. I don't think the Democrats in Congress are up for bold moves like that. The rest of this post may explain why.

I'm yoinking this comment from another blog. I'm not Che Pasa. This story is big if it's true. I don't know. It accounts for the facts pretty well. I've personally been despairing about related matters for a while. The fact that police forces and the military are controlled by right wingers is key. They have control of legitimate force here in America.

What follows isn't my post, but it rings true to me:

Ché Pasa permalink
October 28, 2020

Well, yeah.

Re: the 2000 electoral coup. Ian describes part of what was going on and blames Gore for “not fighting” and thus as fully responsible for the disaster(s) we face now. Blaming Democrats, of course, for everything that’s ever gone wrong since 1980 is de rigueur on the interwebs, right, but it’s incomplete and denies any agency on the part of others who might have something to do with current and past situations.

The situation in 2000 was more complex. No, Gore did not fight, and he actively prevented others from fighting (for example, shutting down the Black Caucus objections to accepting the Electoral College results, and many other interventions against those who objected to the coup). But there was another side to it. Teamsters might have stomped on the Brooks Brothers Rioters in Florida, but other members were armed and assembling every week, sometimes daily, at state capitols demanding that the Florida recount be stopped forthwith and the presidency be handed to Bush.

This is what I was told was driving events in Washington. Scalia took the Bush v Gore case (lawlessly) under what he perceived (or at least said) was a threat of insurrection, possibly civil war, and convinced a wavering SDO’C (the 5th vote) that the only solution to this immediate peril was to rule in favor of Bush. This belief became conventional wisdom almost immediately throughout the political shops in DC, and it was adopted by almost all the media as the only solution to the present predicament.

Gore’s capitulation was stunning and seemed really out of character, as up till then, he was not considered a wimp (except by some of the haters in the media.) What happened? Well, it was the same threat of rightist insurrection and civil war, combined with underlying knowledge that if he fought or encouraged others to, the military would side with the coup. Checkmate.

Gore did what he thought was right under the circumstances. Yes, it’s led to where we are now. But is Gore solely responsible? Far from it. He could command no troops, and he could protect no one in the streets protesting the coup. He had no fallback, and from every indication, there had been no preparation for the possible uncertain outcome of the election by the Gore team. It never occurred to them. In the end, their feeble efforts at a recount were slapdash and ineffective. They were convinced (why?) the System would work, and when it didn’t work in their favor, they said OK, that’s it then.

Should they have fought harder/better? In the end, they couldn’t. They didn’t have the insight or the resources.

The denouement is a tragedy, yes.

The rest of us should have learned from that (and the rightists did learn, if they didn’t already know) that there would be no salvation in electoral politics. No, seizing and using Power, raw and naked, would be the ticket to the future, and they’ve been doing it ever since, very effectively and successfully.

We’ve long sensed that in the vast, eternal scheme, it won’t matter if Biden wins the vote. It will matter on the margins if he wins and Team Biden and the Dems are able to rule. But we’ve had enough experience to know that their better natures can be thwarted with just a glance from the rightists. Effectively, they are captive to their fear.

The rest of us get to make the best of it how ever we can.

27:

Scurra
I tend to think that the 2018 results provide a pretty good guide to what's likely to happen
Yes, but, then ... if those votes are stolen / manipulated / lost / deemed "invalid" by the corrupted Supreme Ct ....
THEN what - that is the problem under discussion - I think.

Aardvark C
If the ballots get counted, he's toast.
That's the point, isn't it: IF.

See also Nemonowan @ 23

28:

No.

A simple majority vote is sufficient.

29:

Update - quote from the "indy":

The US Supreme Court dealt a blow to Donald Trump’s campaign on Wednesday by granting North Carolina an extended deadline to count mail-in ballots, giving the state until 12 November to calculate its total and overriding Republican objections in a win for state Democrats who are thought to be more likely to vote by post.

Interesting

30:

It may be easy, but it's not necessarily the panacea people think it could be. Puerto Rico has a strong religious population; they might be pissed at the current administration, but they could also fall under the sway of the antiabortion movement quite easily.

31:

Re: adding States to the Union.

They should clearly add Puerto Rico, Washington, DC and American Samoa. This would bring the state count up to 53, which would have the benefit of making the "One Nation, Indivisible" true, since 53 is prime.

32:

"And voter suppression has been the norm for decades (even if less blatant) and nothing has come it."

Off of the top of my head, Kemp was elected governor of Georgia after being Secretary of State (who runs the elections).

As SoS, he had overseen a purge of 250,000 voters from the registration rolls (note - in the USA that does *not* mean that they were notified).

He won by 50,000 votes.

Now, does anybody here think that the GOP in Georgia trembles at the idea of suppressing as many votes as they can?

33:

Also, Barrack Obama has the singular distinction of being the only US president who had the same number of stars on the flag when he was born as when he took office. With more states, the USA could keep the record for another 50-60 years.

Assuming the USA is still a going concern in 2070-2080, of course.

34:

No supermajority required. Admission of a new State is a standard Act of Congress. Or at least it has always been so.

Certain parties might welcome an attempt by the Supremes to thwart such an Act, since it would pour gasoline on the fire of support for Court reform.

35:

Mind you, in this case like in the Pensylvannia one, the new judge Barret did not participate because she came in mid-deliberation and wouldn't have the time to get up to speed before the election.

36:

"... 2016 was a coinflip election which caught a lot of people by surprise (which is odd, considering what happened in 2000. Perhaps the series of pretty decisive results in 2004,2008 and 2012 had made people forget that this problem existed. And I worry that a decisive result this time will do the same thing.)"

Dubya won in '04 by a very small amount of votes in Ohio, which had a GOP state government. Which means that '04 was stolen.


"As to the Supreme Court issue: I think that one of the problems the 'majority' has right now is that a number of their rulings have been on the grounds that a state supreme court does not have the right to override a state legislature on setting the terms for voting (including things like which ballots are valid etc.) This is probably fair enough actually; the courts should not be doing that (let's leave aside the question of whether the courts actually are or not.)
But by doing so, they are making it difficult for themselves to be able to rule on such issues in future, since their argument is based on saying that the courts should not be able to override the legislature on voting rights. Which rather opens the door to the federal legislature passing bills that mandate minimum voting standards etc. and challenging the Supreme Court to either decline any challenges or to overtly say "well, of course, we are above the law", neither of which option would be pleasant for them. (The obvious escape route would be to say "it's still down to the individual states" but again that would set a nasty precedent that it would be difficult to dodge.)"

Kavanaugh has already cited Bush v. Gore, which was explicitly declared not a precedent.

He's also explicitly justified not counting votes on the fraudulent grounds that it would mean that an election could not be called on Election Day. They already are not, and never have been; official certification has always come days to weeks after.

37:
That's the point, isn't it: IF.

See above comments about "ratfucking distance," a term of art in American politics with which you might be unfamiliar. Basically, the range within which results can be massaged by voter suppression and selectively losing ballots.

The margins are shaping up to be outside of ratfucking distance. The alternative is ripping off the mask and asserting that no, elections do not matter. The Army, for all its reluctance, will be forced to take sides.

I have no confidence in anybody's predictions about what happens after that.

38:

Trump's only real hope now is that things are tighter than projected and it comes down to Pennsylvania, with SCOTUS shutting down ballot counting early.

Otherwise it's hard to see a path for him. National polling is far outside the MOE, state polling is mostly good for Biden and even a 2016 polling error wouldnt do it for him. Trump has lost significant support amongst suburban women and seniors, is trailing with white voters and early voting indicates high turnout, which is always good for the dems. The strongest indicator may be district polling, which predicted a Trump win in 2016 and is pointing firmly in the other reaction now.

So all things being equal, we should see a Biden landslide with the dems taking the senate and retaining the house... but there's always a chance things may not go as expected seeing as we are dealing with perhaps the most insane political environment in history.

39:

Which rather opens the door to the federal legislature passing bills that mandate minimum voting standards etc.

Unfortunately not. The states have control of their own election processes. The recent Shelby decision was to strike down a federal law doing exactly what you suggest, on the grounds that the constitution doesn't let the federal government meddle with state voting procedures.

40:

Charlie @ 20:

Looks like new states can be admitted by a simple Act of Congress, although its considered good manners to ask the existing population first via a referendum.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admission_to_the_Union#Admission_process

So admitting a bunch of poor islands (plus Washington DC) looks like a good way to "pack" the senate Democratic. However bear in mind that the Philippines are pretty religious, so Republican culture-war tactics are likely to play well there.

41:

That decision was made by a very conservative Supreme Court, with Roberts as the Chief Justice, and he's very much a supporter of anything that will cause less people to vote.

42:

You really cannot trust the polls

Despite some really excellent work by Nate Silver and others this election is extremely unusual especially with regards to voter turnout, and without good benchmarks you cannot come up with a meaningful error bar

My gut is that the polls are probably wrong in favor of Trump (Overcompensating from last time) and Biden will likely sweep. But I don’t know how much of that is emotional, wishful thinking

My gut reasons for believing this
- some of the states that are in play like Georgia and even Texas are surprising
- voter turnout by all counts looks insanely high and that usually benefits dems
- the natural tendency among professionals to overcompensate for the last mistake
- the macroeconomic climate is still trash

Fixing the election if things are close I can buy, but fixing it when things are not close, I think is beyond the abilities of the fixers

So there is reason for hope at least

However i am so emotionally invested in this one I doubt my own conclusions

43:

Philippines? Are you sure you didn't mean Puerto Rico?

Enjoy!

Frank.

44:

Interesting potential non-sequitur. I watched the PBS science show Nova last night, as I've been doing since I was a kid.

For the last (few?) years, the two main sponsors for Nova have been Draper Labs, an MIT-based non-profit that specializes in basic defense research, and the David H. Koch Foundation for Science. Now the latter is considered a greenwashing side of the Koch Family, and Nova and other groups that take their money have got flack from it.

Here's the interesting non-sequitur, Nova's been around since the mid 1970s, and there's a list of episodes on Wikipedia. Back on November 2, 2016, the show before the US election, Nova aired an episode entitled "Treasures of the Earth: Gems," which was about what you'd expect. This time around, right before Halloween, but also the show before the election, Nova aired "Can We Cool The Planet?" a show about climate change, geonengineering, and carbon capture.

Even more interestingly, the normal David H. Koch Fund sequence was replaced with a aerial view flying over a generic, eastern US forest. The Draper sequence was unchanged.

Now, I assume the Kochs are greenwashing with money to Nova, and I assume that most of the people who watch Nova aren't going to vote for El Cheeto. Still, it's fascinating that a charitable arm of Koch Industries, a group that made their pile on fossil fuel extraction, decided to push climate change right before this election.

And it wasn't an episode of "oh, there's no problem, we can fix it," it was more along the lines of "we've got a serious problem, and we're going to have to try everything, especially planting biodiverse forests, if we want to have any hope of fixing it and saving civilization."

That's an interesting about-face. It likely has something to do with hurricane Zeta hitting Louisiana (for those counting, that's five hurricanes hitting the Gulf oil industry in one year so far). It also likely has to do with the fracking industry collapsing in 2020 due to high costs and falling demand (three companies declared bankruptcy this year that I know of). And it might have something to do with solar and wind power having good years despite the pandemic.

Now what did El Cheeto say about climate change? Something about it being a hoax, bad for the economy, and pulling out of the Paris Agreement? And now Koch's siding with us commie green snowflakes? Or at least pretending to? Interesting.

45:

Nothing will happen. The election will run its course, it'll be clear on election night that Trump lost, mail in votes will only add to that, he'll have tantrums on Twitter until Jan 20 and the moment Biden is sworn in his account will be deactivated.

That's it. Keep rolling.

46:

Not sure there's a good argument for American Samoa, but definitely DC and Puerto Rico. Those two have more than done their share and gotten shafted regardless. And they've each got more citizens than, say, Wyoming.

The other argument for Puerto Rico is the same one that sent the US to invade Cuba and Haiti a century ago: military bases there protect the Panama Canal, which is still vital to American trade. Similarly, the Hawaiian Islands sit below the midway point in the heavily trafficked North Pacific shipping lanes between North America and Asia, which is why they got invaded over a century ago.

America Samoa? check out this view from MarineTraffic. It's centered on American Samoa, and most of the ships in that area are out fishing. So yes, it may be important to protecting our tuna supply, but not vital to the protection of the US industrial trade.

47:

"The danger is that the D Party takes the trifecta and doesn't use the resulting power to cripple the R Party until it either reforms itself to be able to win elections by appealing to a majority or disintegrates entirely."

This. Sending his Attorney General after the Repukes is really the only important thing that Biden needs to concern himself with. And maybe recruiting people who will replace anyone Trump picked.

48:

Nothing will happen. The election will run its course, it'll be clear on election night that Trump lost, mail in votes will only add to that, he'll have tantrums on Twitter until Jan 20 and the moment Biden is sworn in his account will be deactivated. That's it. Keep rolling.

Nope, nope, nope. I'd rather have my stuff prepped for a really nasty general strike and leave it gathering dust than get blindsided.

Anyway, my political calendar is shaping up on a local level to be really busy in November and probably December too. The problem faced by the local republicans is that, if current polls hold, they're about to lose the positions of the San Diego mayor and control of the San Diego County supervisors. So there's a whole raft of *interesting* proposals getting lined up to be crammed through during the lame duck session.

The same will happen on the national level, of course. And then some. Even if Trump loses, he'll likely go on a shredding fest, issue blanket pardons, resign two hours before noon on January 20 so that Pence can pardon him. He may also gut all the "deep state" bureaucracies through mass layoffs of appointed personnel, pile on a bunch of bad executive actions, start a war with Iran for Biden to handle. And almost certainly he will do nothing about the pandemic or disaster relief to Louisiana or anyplace else.

But by all means, keep (t)rolling.

49:

Charlie @ 20

As far as additional states go, DC will absolutely be added if there's a Democratic trifecta. It's already passed its own enabling legislation and the House has passed a bill to make it a state. Puerto Rico is slightly more complicated because historical referendums on statehood have been muddled do to people splitting between statehood, the status quo, and a small pro-indpendence contingent, with no option getting a majority. This year there is another straight yes/no vote, which seems likely to go for statehood because of how clear it's become that the status quo isn't viable because of how vulnerable they are without representation. In that case, they'll be added as well fairly quickly - in theory both parties support that, and it's not clear that Puerto Rico would actually return two Democratic senators because their internal parties don't line up perfectly with the national ones.

Guam and the other Pacific territories are very complicated, due to their geography and small populations. Local politics also pose problems, because some of these islands have local legal structures that aren't compatible with American ones, particularly regarding restrictions on who can live there and own land. Their cultures and geographic distances also make turning all the territories into one state impractical, especially since some of them absolutely hate each other. (Along the lines of, "people from your island collaborated with the Japanese when they came to occupy our island.") Congress could in theory still unilaterally make them states, but that wouldn't sit well with anyone for fairly obvious reasons, much like Puerto Rico.

Paul @ 39

While the old VRA was struck down in part, the reasoning Roberts used rested a lot on equal treatment of the states. Congress does have the authority to regulate all federal elections, and to enforce voting rights at lower levels, despite conservatives wanting to pretend the reconstruction amendments don't exist. HR 1, which is the new act passed by the House and sure to pass again, does a lot to work around Roberts' ruling and if the cour tries to eliminate it again even the most milquetoast reps are going to vote to expand the court. As it is, a lot of formerly middle-of-the-road centrists are like Angus King and even Manchin are making noises about accepting expansion because they do actually want to pass laws and run the country, and have realized that won't happen unless the supreme court backs down or is reformed.

50:

Trump will definitely be an asshole if he loses, though how that plays out is another matter. He may also decide to cut his loses and resign while visiting Putin - that wouldn't surprise me at all...

But even with a huge Biden win, things will not go easily.

51:

Aardvark C
Agree ... I think the stretch is going to be too far to fuck the rats ...
What y'all should be worrying about is after 5-9th November, when the resuts are in, & DJT has comprehensively lost ......
And refuses to accept it & starts issuing orders, backed up by his cronies like McConnell to deny a hand-over & to totally trash the place.
It could easily end up considerably worse than if the screwing-around was "successful" between now & 5th November, I think.
Comments?

droid
perhaps the most insane political environment in history. Not quite, not yet.
It's not YET as bad as the spring of 1861, but it's heading in that direction.

JMM @ 45
You keep hoping that - OK?
I think DJT will go on a serious wrecking spree from mid-November on ... & like Buchanan before him, he can do an immense amount of damage.

52:

So here's my question. Imagine that Trump loses by 20 million votes and 60 electoral votes. He sues, take it to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court tries to legitimize the exact form of the complaint which would give Trump the victory.

What does Biden do then?

53:

I could see Guam potentially becoming a US state. Unlike the other territories in the Pacific, it is organized (as are the US Virgin Islands), rather than a commonwealth of the US (as are Puerto Rico and the Marianas). I agree that Guam and the Marianas would be rather unhappy to join as a single US state, despite both of them being heavily militarized by the US.

The argument against Guam and the Marianas are twofold. One, possibly outdated, is that they've both been kind of convenient for factories, because stuff made on either can be labeled "made in the US" without facing pesky US labor laws. The bigger problem, especially for the Marianas, is that they're going to be underwater in about a century or less, so making them a state is going to be a political nightmare. As it is, the US can conveniently ignore everything we do to the Marianas, which is why we used it for nuclear testing and why we now use it as a convenient site to dismantle and dispose of chemical weapons.

Guam doesn't have it quite so bad (they're a high island, not atolls as are the Marianas), and they've got a big navy base. And there are a number of people from Guam (Chamorros and ex-pat Filipino) in the US already.

We'll see. I'm surprised no one is arguing for the US Virgin Islands to become a state.

54:

So here's my question. Imagine that Trump loses by 20 million votes and 60 electoral votes. He sues, take it to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court tries to legitimize the exact form of the complaint which would give Trump the victory. What does Biden do then?

This has been Chief Justice Roberts' problem since he got appointed. The SCOTUS has no enforcement power outside its courtroom (it has its own tiny police force to keep order in the building, AFAIK). So basically, their major power has been legitimacy. Roberts seems to have been fighting teh crazeys on his bench to keep the court from falling into irrelevance since 2016.

So Roberts will be faced with an existential crisis if Trump rams through to the SCOTUS after clearly losing the electoral college. Given his past performance, he'll fight to preserve the legitimacy of the SCOTUS at all costs, even if it makes Biden president. Without rule of law, there's no need for a court.

If he does otherwise, we're into general strike to get Trump out territory. In fact, if Trump refuses to do anything about the pandemic, one batshit strike idea is that the country self-quarantines itself for two weeks, wherein it does precisely nothing to help the Trump regime and everything to help the Biden regime, and does not listen to the Supreme Court. Assuming this has the required effect and Trumps steps down, the next move is to reform the Supreme court, and Roberts either deals with an overwhelming Democratic majority or we find some way for him to resign or else.

55:

then why does it matter how many lawn signs were out there?

I can travel around and see only Trump signs. I can also travel around and see only Biden signs. It all depends on where I go. Rural Texas or NC, Trump. Urban Texas or NC, Biden.

Heck I can do that within 20 miles of where I live. All I have to do is pick my routes.

If you're visiting the National parks you're going to see Trump signs. Very few national parks are in urban Charlotte, Dallas, or Miami.

56:

How hard is it to add states to the Union? ... Puerto Rico and District of Columbia

Not as hard as a constitutional amendment.

But PR is somewhat an interesting case. For decades it was not popular with a huge majority or even a majority at all of the population for much of that time. And the "against has been strong for over 100 years. See this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_United_States_Capitol_shooting

As to DC, both parties have been reluctant as they haven't wanted to cede control of their stomping ground to those pesky local folks who don't always agree with how Congress and the Pres wants to run things locally. But that may be ending.

57:

Bare minimum requirements to add a state is a majority vote of both houses of Congress. Constitutionally, we don't actually even need the permission of the people living there. It's not unheard of for the US to think 'Golly, we got all this land we stole from Mexico, maybe we should make some of it a state.'

In practice, there's a referendum approving statehood and a petition sent to Congress. Congress passes an enabling act outlining whatever requirements about governance and the like, the proposed state meets the requirements and then Congress votes on statehood.

If there are majorities in both houses of Congress who can set the procedural rules for the vote and they're able to avoid dealing with a filibuster in the senate, adding states is pretty simple. It doesn't happen because usually there aren't the requisite majorities, or because the political advantage from the additional members isn't enough to justify the equivalent of setting off a nuclear bomb in the senate to overcome the filibuster

58:

Don't worry. Trump is a bully and a wimp. He'll be too busy stashing gold bars in his private 757 (Trump Force One) to think of trashing the place.

59:

Excerpt for, say, Georgia or TX, anything under 4 points is margin of error.

60:

Uniting N and S Dakota - if the GOP doesn't like that... then how about we make ever major metropolitan area with a population larger than the smaller of those two into separate states? Baltimore would almost make it, DC, and Philly, and NYC, and Boston, and LA....

61:

Just as a tangent, the official language of the Commonwealth government in Puerto Rico is Spanish. The exception is the federal district court there, where all filings and proceedings must be done in English. Only a small fraction of the population in PR is fluent in English. I'm simply curious about what hurdles might be faced in admitting a Spanish-language state.

62:

Nope. Some completely GOP-states have made a point of people who are registered to vote in federal elections don't meet the qualification to vote in state elections.

63:

on the grounds that the constitution doesn't let the federal government meddle with state voting procedures.

What can happen and what did happen after Bush v Gore was money was offered to the states if they wanted to spend it to do "these specific things" to their voting systems. Of course one of the allowed options was touch screen voting. Which should be first on the list of things not allowed. IMNERHO.

64:

However bear in mind that the Philippines are pretty religious, so Republican culture-war tactics are likely to play well there.

Well, Trump does like how Duarte has been running things… but the Philippines started fighting for independence from America in 1899. I doubt they would be happy with becoming part of America again, even if they did get full statehood this time.

65:

Um, nope.

If they actually did more than terrorism (which is, in fact, treason), then it would be like the Celts in Britain up against the Legions of Claudius. They have zip in organizations (who you tellin' to charge? You ain't the boss of me!).

And it doesn't need to all be firearms. IEDs work fine... and then, oh, just so I can point them out to the authorities if they start aiming weapons in my general direction, I just got a high power "military grade" laser (careful, you wouldn't want to point it at someone's face, though I understand it's really hard to aim firearms if you can't look at your target).

66:

Entirely anecdotally:

I live in the deep red section of Pennsylvania. My county, and the surrounding counties, went 70 plus percent for Trump.

So from the ground level:

There's a LOT more Biden Harris signs than there were last time. One of my neighbors who had a Trump sign in 2016 doesn't have one this year, and one, amazingly, has apparently switched to Biden from Trump, at least based on signage.

Likewise, a fair few of the GOP types I talk to have actually either switched to Biden or just opted not to vote for a presidential candidate (early voting began a while ago in Pa). For all of them his handling of the COVID stuff was damned him.

Which seems insane that all the other stuff was okay, but sure, I'll take it.

What appears to be the case (again, anecdotally) is that people who just assholes were and are Trump, whereas the 'hold my nose and vote for R' crowd have moved away from him.

This time four years ago I was a lot more worried than I am now. But there's a lot of evidence that Trump's razor thin 'victory' was rooted in him being Not Hillary (just as Bernie massively benefited from it in the 2016 primaries)

Ratfucking is a distinct possibility (and is why my ass is voting in person for just that reason) but I think people are way overestimating Trump.

67:

My gut is that the polls are probably wrong in favor of Trump (Overcompensating from last time)

In general the polls were very accurate in 2016. But Trump won a few when he was behind like 49-48 which left 3% to refuse to answer or whatever. Plus those few places with pesky 3rd party candidates gave it to him in a few places.

This year is making polls hard as the turnout is expected to be way above anything for over 100 years. North Carolina as of Wednesday night already had over 50% of the registered voters having voted. 3.9 mil out of 7.3. And I think Texas already has more people who have voted that the total in 2016. (Fact check me but turnout there is off the charts.)

And at least in NC all of those votes received by Monday night will have been counted and sealed until Tuesday night. PA is the big problem child here as their state laws prevent any forms of early counting. And there IS a reason for this but it goes way back in time. It was to keep the corrupt party bosses from knowing the totals they needed to bring in from bumpkin-middle-of-nowhere back in the day or slow horse travel over mountain roads on election day.

68:

I suspect it will be more Reconstruction: The Sequel, with (wannabe) oligarchs working face-in-sheet with (wannabe) terrorists to put them colored people back in their place at the bottom of the heap. Just as in the latter half of the 19th Century, especially in the southern US. We'll see if it works this time, but I suspect it won't.

Thing that annoys me is that those effin' boogerloos have ruined Hawaiian shirts for me. I liked Hawaiian shirts. I mean, heck, I used to like Norse runes too, back when I was reading Tolkien. Now. Can't those fuckers leave anything interesting alone? Hell, next, they'll be going after drug-addled conspiracy theories like pathetic knockoffs of Robert Anton Wilson. They really are like Tolkienian orcs, making mean, pathetic attempts of anything good, and ruining it thereby.

69:

RE: Koch sponsorships.

One of them died about a year ago. So maybe some of the hard core has changed in the foundation or the other brother.

Also with them it is purely about money. Which is why they are big in criminal justice reform. Prison are a drag on the economy.

What got me is when I visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History last year it seem the the Koch brothers paid for most of the re-modeling of the last decade or so. And in the back of my head I kept wondering about how the YEC crowd reconciled their support of other Koch things.

70:

Nobody has mentioned Airstrip One. While this is unthinkable, things that many people would have thought of as unthinkable have already happened, others are in progress, and we haven't hit peak fiasco yet. I can't even make an plausible guess what will happen when our economy collapses.

71:

but the Philippines started fighting for independence from America in 1899. I doubt they would be happy with becoming part of America again, even if they did get full statehood this time.

But they do looooooove those WWII pensions. Which will be paid out for another 50 years or so. Non trivial number of death bed marriages to youngest available extended family member there. Surviving spouse benefits and all that.

Not saying everyone there does it but the payments will continue for another few decades to a non trivial number of women.

72:

The GOP doesn't like anything but enthusiastic submission. If you are adding Democratic Senators by any means at all you had better be ready to overcome every form of resistance they can muster.

73:

As alluded to above not all or maybe any of the island clumps want to be states. With statehood comes unrestricted movement of US citizens (residents?). So in their current status they can keep people out. But as a state anyone with enough money can move in and further impoverish the existing locals. Or destroy the local ecosystem for their resorts. Or whatever.

75:

The polls were not very good in 2016, especially the state polls

Yes there is a meme about how they were “no worse then average” abs depending on how you look at it mathematically that is even true. However they were not very useful as a predictor of who was going to win the election

This is a pretty good write up

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-polls-are-all-right/

As a result of the issue pollsters have made significant changes

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-pollsters-have-changed-since-2016-and-what-still-worries-them-about-2020/

76:

EC
You are, obviously still assuming "crash out with no deal" - which would, if it happens completely crash our economy.
But if DJT loses & BoZo cuts a ( Really crappy, but better than nothing ) "deal" & the economy doesn't tank. Or no more than the C-19 trainwreck already is doing ... but that is happening to everybody & thus evens out "in the wash" so to speak.
LURVE the phrase: "Peak fiasco" though, sums it up perfectly.

77:

It depends. If the Democrats remove the filibuster for new state admissions at the beginning of this Congress, then it will be easy. Otherwise, it will be impossible.

Admitting Puerto Rico may hit some additional roadblocks. While the preponderance of the evidence indicates that the island prefers statehood, there hasn't been a clear referendum. That could gum things up more than a little.

Finally, even if both states are admitted, it wouldn't be a game changer. P.R. is not a slam-dunk Democratic state. In fact, accelerating outmigration seems to leaving behind a more conservative electorate. In addition, even if Democrats did capture both new Senate seats, that is only four out of 104. That is better than nothing, of course, but the GOP would retain its advantage.

I see that others have raised these points.

78:

No. That post was not primarily about Brexit, and certainly not about the current negotiations. Even if there is a deal, it is unlikely to include enough to do more than keep things staggering on for a while, and that is not the last or greatest fiasco that we have scheduled. If we get the sort of 'solutions' you expect and/or favour, all that will happen is that the crash will occur in slow motion, though it may simply be delayed.

79:

It may be easy, but it's not necessarily the panacea people think it could be. Puerto Rico has

Religion is less important to today's GOP than skin-colour. Most of the residents of PR are of the caste that is anathema to the GOP white supremacist base: like the Arab-Americans (especially notable around Dearborn) they're lost to the Republicans for at least a generation due to the GOP's essential racism and xenophobia.

This wouldn't have been the case back in 1960, but any time since Nixon kicked off the Southern Strategy the writing has been on the wall.

Pigeons, homing, roost. (With a vengeance.)

80:

Heteromeles @68:

They The people who enable them and egg them on really are like Tolkienian orcs Sauron, making mean, pathetic attempts of anything good, and ruining it thereby.

I finally am unable to restrain myself from the reply link.

Put the responsibility where it belongs. Money is being made by making sure those effin' boogerloos remain effin' boogerloos. There's no cure for stupidity but you can make it harder for people to sell it.

On an unrelated note, I see you mentioning "general strikes." I strongly doubt that will occur, though if street protests get big enough, basic services and supply chains might get disrupted. But it won't be anything as organized as a "strike" that will disperse if certain demands are met, where there are people supposedly in charge who have some plausible claim to make that happen.

81:

Religion is less important to today's GOP than skin-colour.

Yes and no.

Cuban heritage folks tend to vote R. And people from PR may align more with them than you think.

Both you and m are weak in this area in terms of our tribal knowledge. But my wife worked with a lot of people a generation or two removed form the Caribbean while in Dallas who voted the R ticket every time.

82:

However bear in mind that the Philippines are pretty religious,

The Philippines are an independent nation-state with a seat at the UN and stuff like embassies and an army. And a rich and tapestried history which means they're like to join the United States approximately never, or at least not before Communist China.

Did you mean Puerto Rico?

83:

Sadly, that's not completely clear.

The GOP has lost much of the Latino vote since the days of GWB. The unexpected thing is that most of that loss happened well before 2016. The way Trump has said the quiet part out loud does not seem to have cost him Latino votes. In fact, the evidence is that he is gaining on his earlier margins, and not just among Cuban and Venezuelan-Americans in Florida.

On the island Republicans win quite a bit. That said, it also often happens that members of the conservative party on the island (called the "New Progressives") will register as Democrats on the mainland. So it is possible that the island will elect conservative Democrats. But it is also quite plausible that if Trump loses next week and the island becomes a state that the GOP manages to repair its reputation on the island.

84:

Greg Tingey @51:

I expect Republicans to find whole new ways to commit irreversible vandalism on the way out, as well as stealing all the "B" keycaps from the keyboards in the White House.

Trump apparently means for his order enabling the purge of the Civil Service to take immediate effect: he might start the firings more or less right away. The two most elderly Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices, Samuel Alito (70) and Clarence Thomas (72), might announce their retirements during the lame duck, and appointments to replace them be ramrodded through during the lame-duck session of the Senate. This would be scorching the Earth to prevent Biden from appointing a Justice due to their being finally forced into retirement or dying at the bench.

I think that last would backfire. For years I have been viewed as a swivel-eyed crazy person because I advocate for increasing the size of the Court (the detail of which are an Article III power expressly allocated to Congress). With almost blinding speed, Conventional Wisdom is starting to look on that as nearly inevitable. It's like watching the maneuvers of a school of fish, or a flock of passerine birds. But I digress. Allowing Trump to appoint five Justices would tip that to a certainty I believe. Recall we are assuming that other Republican forces would not be supporting Trump's continuance in office here, some Republican Senators and Congresspersons lose their seats and acknowledge that, &c &c.

With luck, D officeholders and electees would denounce the firings as illegal and call the order without force. They might call upon civil servants to impede the progress of any directives issued by the Administration, and pass a bill right away in the new session to revoke all legislative action after the election. It would not be in character for them but they could do these things.

85:

I tend to agree with you. My understanding (with people like Anthony Fauci) is that, being career public servants, they can appeal their firings and ride out the clock on the appeal process.

Anyway, the simplest way to make a mess is to do nothing about the pandemic, particularly in states that went for Biden. The problem the Republicans have is that they're also committing state crimes, so if they screw up too badly, they may end up in a state supermax as easily as a federal one. The smarter ones will be shredding what evidence can be shredded.

86:

EC
Expect, NOT "favour" - unfortunately that ship has long sailed.

Aardvark C
IF Alito & Thomas go in the Lame-Duck period ...
That would be the perfect excuse to empty the S Court completely & start again, because exceptional circumstances, by Congress voting that the Court has lost it's legitimacy, thank-you DJT.

87:

As folks have said above, DC is primed to become the 51st state. That will almost surely add two Democratic senators to the mix, making that hold more solid.

There's another interesting inflection point coming two years from now. 34 senate seats will be up for re-election, but 22 are held by Republicans and only 12 by Democrats. 2 Republican incumbents have already stated they won't be running again, no Democrats have. So assuming Biden doesn't screw the pooch, there's a reasonable chance the Dems could pick up a couple of more seats.

In 2024, the swing goes the other way - 21 Democrats, 2 independents who caucus with the Dems, and 10 Republicans. At first blush, that might mean the Republicans can claw back control of the Senate. But conversely, that's four years in which some of the other territories might opt for statehood, likely adding a pair of Democratic senators per new state.

Gonna be an interesting four years, I tell you.

88:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if Trump loses and can't spin things so that he stays in the White House, then he'll either:

a) Retreat into a depressive sulk, either in DC or Mar-a-Lago (I give this one about a 20% probability)

or

b) run riot rampaging through the civil service with a chainsaw, encourage more COVID19 superspreader events, all but demand "milita" groups go after folks named on his enemies list (which he will tweet with daily updates), and generally try to destroy the United States' basic institutions.

Then on his way out the door at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- either way -- he'll steal the state silverware (and anything he can lift), rip the very wiring out of the walls, and take a shit on the desk in the Oval Office by way of a fragrant welcome for his successor. Hell, he might even take a golf club and smash all the windows. "If I can't have it, neither can you."

89:

Nope: separation of powers. Congress can impeach justices for breaking the law, and arguably Kavanaugh and perhaps Thomas are guilty of that. IIRC, this takes a 2/3 vote of the senate, and the democrats won't have that, even for Kavanaugh.

If the Congress merely decides to clean the court and install a new panel, that causes a huge constitutional crisis about how independent the court is. Do we want to go there?

(Un)fortunately, there's no numeric limit on the number of justices on the Supreme Court, so adding four left-leaning justices to the bench to make a 7-6 democratic majority is the simplest solution, and one the democrats can legally do if they take control of both houses and the presidency.

In the long run, yes, we do very much need judicial reform in the US, but that's not the short-term solution. The short-term solution is a combination of legislating and court-packing. For example, there's already a court-friendly version of the Voting Rights Act in Congress now, and it would be easy enough to do something similar with Roe V. Wade and Citizen's United. Then it would take a constitutional amendment to overturn those laws, or teh crazzies taking back all three and overturning them.

I'm not a fan of court-packing, because once you start, where do you stop? But the Republicans did, in fact, start it, so I guess it's too late to whine about it.

90:

Hmm.

This is amuseballs (and Won't Happen, for other reasons local to the UK), but one can just about imagine that one outcome of a no-deal Brexit and the current trajectory of the UK is that (a) Scotland, NI, Wales, and maybe the North of England leave the UK (and rejoin the EU), and the rump residue of England ... applies to become a member of the United States.

Lizzie Windsor or her successor would still have a throne (she's Queen of Scotland, Wales, NI, and a bunch of other countries, and actually has palaces is some of them). What would probably spike the chances of this happening is that enough of the Owners™ have inherited titles of nobility that they'd vanity-campaign against it. Oh, and also: no guns, but free access to reproductive medicine including abortion. Even England in full EDL/BF hue and cry isn't on the same page as the Republican Party in those areas.

91:

In 2024, the swing goes the other way - 21 Democrats, 2 independents who caucus with the Dems, and 10 Republicans.

The problem with just looking at the superficial numbers -- that is, how many seats must be defended -- there are a decreasing number of Senate seats that are truly in play. Consider that while the large blue wave in 2018 gave the Dems a large House majority, they managed to go down two seats in the Senate. And if they hadn't won the seats in Arizona and Nevada, the Republican majority would have been big enough that no one would be talking about the Dems retaking the Senate this year. And almost all scenarios for the Dems getting that majority this year start with flipping seats in Arizona and Colorado.

One of the badly underreported political stories over the past generation is the huge swing that has happened in the American West from solid Republican to substantially Democratic.

92:

OGH asked in #2

How hard is it to add states to the Union?

If the Democrats win all three power groups - the House, the Senate, and the White House - then it's not horribly difficult. On the US side, you need a majority vote in House and Senate, and a President who won't veto it. On the prospective state side, you need a plebescite of some and a 'state' constitution that doesn't conflict with the federal one. But those Congress makes the rules about that stuff, and Congress can change them.

For a nice writeup on all this, see this Feb 2020 article from Vanity Fair about both the process and some potential candidates for forming new states.

93:
The problem with just looking at the superficial numbers -- that is, how many seats must be defended -- there are a decreasing number of Senate seats that are truly in play...
The power of incumbency is hard to overcome, but there is always some degree of year to year change. In a year where most seats up for re-election are Republican, all other things being equal the Dems have a better chance of gaining seats than the Republicans. Of course, "all other things being equal" is not guaranteed; ask me again in four years and I'll likely have another opinion.

And that said, I think I've drifted pretty far from OGH's stated purpose for this thread, so I'll shut up now.

94:

Troutwaxer @ 3:

"I believe the Republicans became infected when they invited "Dixiecrats" into the party, I see little hope for their future."

Yup. This goes all the way back to Nixon's "Southern Strategy."

It goes back farther than that. Goldwater was first elected to the Senate in 1952. And in fact, it goes back to Truman's 1947 Communist Plot to desegregate the Armed Forces ... if not further than that.


95:

Aardvark Cheeselog @ 17: PS why does the <code> element not work?

I don't know why <code> </code> doesn't work, but the TeleType tag does the same thing (or close enough I can't see the difference.

<tt> </tt> ... TeleType

96:

Right, though there is a scenario that I can imagine that just might get there (probability

Things go as pear-shaped as I fear in my nightmares, and the gummint goes full-blown fascist, but fails to quell the civil disorder. It then asks for help from the USA, which sends troops in to keep 'order' (within its power, courtesy of That Bliar). Chaos continues, and there is an internal coup within the gummint, with the Bolsheviks taking over from the Mensheviks. And those wild-eyed radicals are NOT made of of people with old money and do ramrod through such a request.

The big problem about revolutions is that the second stage is very often far more extreme than the first, and the victors of the first often lose out. A certain Saul on the road to Damascus, the successors of Thatcher, in addition to the Russian and French examples.

Well, you ARE into dystopias :-)

97:

Charlie Stross @ 20: How hard is it to add states to the Union?

I'm thinking Puerto Rico and District of Columbia are well overdue for statehood, and the effect on the Senate would the drastic ...

Article. IV. Section. 3.
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

It's the same as passing any other law in the U.S.; simple majorities in both houses (House & Senate) pass a law admitting a new state & it goes to the President for his signature. The President could veto the bill which would require 2/3 majorities of both houses to over-ride. Trumpolini would veto & Biden would sign.

The reason Congress hasn't already made Puerto Rico a state is there has not been a majority of voters in Puerto Rico who favor becoming a state. There have been several referendums and I believe the results are (+/- some percentage) 1/3 favors Statehood, 1/3 favors Independence & 1/3 favors the Status Quo and Congress has respected the "will of the voters" and left Puerto Rico a territory until they make up their minds which way they want to go.

DC is a different problem. It might require a Constitutional Amendment.

Article. I. Section. 8. Paragraph 16.
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, ...

The intention of the "Founding Fathers" expressed by the Constitution, is that the seat of the Federal Government is NOT meant to be part of any state, even itself. There is no territorial legislature or territorial government. DC is directly governed by Congress.

98:

"Hell, he might even take a golf club and smash all the windows."

Oh, I hope he does. That would be excellent... Trump swings golf club; club hits armoured glass, and bounces off; result, either he ends up twatting himself in the head with it, or he tries again and again until he breaks the club and throws it on the floor and jumps up and down and screams and shits his nappy. Either way someone gets a mobile phone video good enough that youtube crashes under the load.

99:

The real thing with FL is all the ranting about "Cubans" is really ranting about Cubans who were part of, or supported the dictator Battista's nasty regime... or those who were, literally, part of the Mafia, which ran Havana since Prohibition.

I have *zero* sympathy with them.

Also, as we saw when Obama moved to normalize relations with Cuba, thee are a lot of second and third generation Cuban-Americans who said, "screw this, I want to go to Cuba".

100:

Barry @ 32: Now, does anybody here think that the GOP in Georgia trembles at the idea of suppressing as many votes as they can?

I'm sure there a few sleepless nights worrying about what's going to happen when voter suppression in Georgia finally fails.

101:

I thought there was some fundamentally important reason why DC is not to be a state? Something about when they set it up they figured the bit with the president in it couldn't be able to link to state.so or it would crash things, so they made a little enclave that specifically was not a state so it could have its own /usr/lib with non-standard contents.

102:

...Ah, I see JBS has quoted the man page.

103:

Barry @ 36: Kavanaugh has already cited Bush v. Gore, which was explicitly declared not a precedent.

He's also explicitly justified not counting votes on the fraudulent grounds that it would mean that an election could not be called on Election Day. They already are not, and never have been; official certification has always come days to weeks after.

Here's an interesting take on what Kavanaugh might be thinking ...
http://www.dorfonlaw.org/2020/10/scotus-election-law-kremlinology-or-how.html

Professor Dorf notes Kavanaugh's cite of PURCELL v. GONZALEZ for the principle that courts oughtn't to change the rules of an election late in the game.

In just about all of the election cases and especially in the Wisconsin decision on Monday, Justice Kavanaugh has been insistent on the Purcell principle--that courts oughtn't to change the rules of an election late in the game. Maybe that really is his guiding principle. If so, it would make sense for him to refuse to grant Republicans relief in the North Carolina case, because there the Republicans sought judicial relief, arguing that North Carolina localities were acting impermissibly by providing extra voting opportunities beyond what the state legislature provided. For the SCOTUS to grant relief to the North Carolina GOP plaintiffs would have violated the Purcell principle that Justice Kavanaugh seems to value even more highly than the state-legislatures-decide principle.

In his Wisconsin solo concurrence on Monday, Justice Kavanaugh proclaimed that strictly following Purcell promotes "confidence in the fairness of the election." He went further to state that the Purcell "principle also discourages last-minute litigation and instead encourages litigants to bring any substantial challenges to election rules ahead of time, in the ordinary litigation process."

Which brings us to Pennsylvania. If the eve of the election is too late for a federal court to intervene because of what such intervention will do to public confidence in an election's fairness, then litigation after the votes have been cast and the effect on the outcome determinable is a positively terrible time to change the rules. We thus have the intriguing possibility that Justice Kavanaugh didn't join with Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch in round 2 of the Pennsylvania case because he doesn't think that further judicial intervention--especially judicial intervention after the state has all the ballots in hand and knows their tallies--would be permissible.


104:

Paul @ 39:

Which rather opens the door to the federal legislature passing bills that mandate minimum voting standards etc.

Unfortunately not. The states have control of their own election processes. The recent Shelby decision was to strike down a federal law doing exactly what you suggest, on the grounds that the constitution doesn't let the federal government meddle with state voting procedures.

Not quite. The Shelby decision hinged on the law only being applicable to SOME states. Congress could pass a law applicable to ALL of the states that should pass Constitutional muster.

105:

When he finds that he can't smash the windows, he would find that there's plenty of smashable stuff inside - windows, vases, etc.

And yes, I think DJT would be just that petty & childish.

106:

Aargh. I meant he could smash mirrors inside (although interior windows are probably not bulletproof).

107:

The House of Representatives (currently controlled by the Democratic Party) passed a bill - called HR.51 - which was then rejected by the Senate (currently controlled by the Republican Party) on DC statehood.

What it did was cede all of DC except for the actual Capitol and White House buildings (and a small, uninhabited area around them) to a new state, called the "Douglass Commonwealth" (still DC, but now named for Frederick Douglass instead of Christopher Columbus). There would still be a federal district (called "the Capital District"), it just would be a couple of blocks, rather than the whole city.

Technically, that federal district would still have a non-voting delegate in the House and three electors in the electoral college (per the 23rd amendment), but there wouldn't be any voters to elect them; passing a constitutional amendment to undo the 23rd should not be overly difficult in the circumstance where the alternative is the First Lady effectively getting three votes in each future Presidential election (the President usually preserves legal residence in their home state; there are some weird constitutional and electoral problems if they run for re-election as a resident of DC; the First Lady could easily transfer residence to the White House)

A bunch of lawyers have had a good look at this, including some that are very hostile to the Democratic Party and none of them seem to have found a constitutional problem. The best argument is that not undoing the 23rd Amendment would be ridiculous, which is true, but ridiculous is not unconstitutional, and the sheer ludicrousness should make the constitutional amendment easy enough to pass.

108:

Troutwaxer @ 50: Trump will definitely be an asshole if he loses, though how that plays out is another matter. He may also decide to cut his loses and resign while visiting Putin - that wouldn't surprise me at all...

I keep hearing that, but no one can tell me what's in it for Putin?

109:

So writing a thoughtful letter to Biden is out?

GDRFC

I've been wondering what he'd do for this tradition if he loses. If anything.

110:

I offer a prediction.

Trump will contest the election results for a few weeks, but not to the extent that some are suggesting. Then, there will be an emergency summit in Moscow in late November or early December. And he will stay there claiming to be the "United States government-in-exile". Perhaps dragging along one or two Republicans besides himself (a Senator who loses their election, maybe, don't have any specific candidates for this in mind). Putin will eat this up, propaganda value alone is worth it... but the rise in domestic insurgency/terrorism will be something Biden has to deal with for his entire tenure.

111:

The reason DC isn't a state is that they originally had the capital in New York and later in Philadelphia and the state governments of New York and Pennsylvania kept trying to interfere with the running of the federal government (denying them permits to build buildings, taxing them, etc) and they figured they wanted their own bit of land that they ruled over.

The proposed DC statehood law (HR.51) resolves this by creating a new "Capital District" consisting of just the White House and the Capitol and the major federal buildings and monuments around them, and then making the rest of DC into a state.

112:

My point is that it is not a given. And the numbers either way are hard to predict.

Not all Cubans against Castro were for Battista.

113:

Michael Cain @ 61: Just as a tangent, the official language of the Commonwealth government in Puerto Rico is Spanish. The exception is the federal district court there, where all filings and proceedings must be done in English. Only a small fraction of the population in PR is fluent in English. I'm simply curious about what hurdles might be faced in admitting a Spanish-language state.

None whatsoever. Puerto Rico is "officially" bilingual; like South Dakota, Hawaii and Alaska (actually Alaska has 19 official languages in addition to English). The Legislature changed the official language to Spanish in 1991, but in 1993 another session changed it back to official bilingualism.

I suspect you grossly underestimate the percentage of Puertorriqueños who are bi- or multi-lingual.

114:

I think that what is in it for Putin is that it's a signal to any future proxy that Putin and Russia will protect them if it all goes to shit.

If Trump ends up in prison in the US, then anyone else on Putin's payroll (not just in the US, but in other countries too) will start looking for a way out, rather than feeling that they can always run to Russia if they get exposed.

Same reason that Kim Philby was allowed into Russia, same reason they've put up Edward Snowden. If you're a Russian agent, then knowing Russia will look after you if it all goes wrong at least means you know you have somewhere to run to.

115:

The Shelby decision hinged on the law only being applicable to SOME states. Congress could pass a law applicable to ALL of the states that should pass Constitutional muster.

Yep. Congress took aim at the south with the VRA and ignored what went on in the rest of the country. It was a bad law in that respect. And it would have been easy to draft it so that it worked equally for all. But it wasn't (who know what went on behind the doors back then before cable TV) and was never fixed.

Basically per the VRA states not mentioned could do things that those mentioned could not.

116:

OGH: "one outcome of a no-deal Brexit and the current trajectory of the UK is that (a) Scotland, NI, Wales, and maybe the North of England leave the UK (and rejoin the EU), and the rump residue of England ... applies to become a member of the United States."

Much more profitable for the US to just move troops in to 'support the democratic government' then proceed to loot everything that isn't nailed down.

After a few years either declare England 'stable' (in the sense that a pile of ash is unlikely to burn) and move on, or expand control in the interest of further looting.

117:

I suspect you grossly underestimate the percentage of Puertorriqueños who are bi- or multi-lingual.

At least when they want to be.

Ran into this with some French speakers in Toronto in the 80s. Their English was non existent or fluent depending on the accent of the English speakers in the conversation.

118:

One other thing I want to comment on is the worry that the Supreme Court will invalidate late votes, especially with Trump going on about (and Kavanaugh's ridiculous comment in his opinion) all votes being counted election day. While there's certainly been attempts to make early or mail voting harder, and it's possible in some states that votes arriving after election day won't be counted due to lawsuits, I don't think it's possible at all that they're going to successfully do anything to stop counting of ballots that definitely arrived on time, or that arrived after election day in states that permit that. Even if they try, there's a couple things working against them:

1) Key swing states where this could happen, particularly Pennsylvania, have Democratic governors. In the event of blatant attempts to steal those states, the governors / secretaries of state can still report the actual vote counts and certify a Democratic slate of electors. This is important because ultimately it is the House of Representatives, not the court, that can choose whether to accept the electors of a state as valid. If there are competing slates, the House and Senate can kick the stolen version out. That assumes we get both but certainly the House is very unlikely to swing.

2) Several other key states will have already counted all mail ballots and other early votes by the time polls close. Florida in particular will have results almost immediately, save for in-person tallies. This can also go to an extent for states like Texas and Georgia. If Florida goes for Biden, it's almost certainly a win for him; if Texas or Georgia even look close then all other keys states are guaranteed. No amount of shenanigans can change such a clear-cut result because of the number of states they'd have to screw with.

119:

David L
So an English speaker with no accent was spoken to, but one with an USA accent suddenly found themselves confronted with les Francais, oui?

DJT
Yeah, the "Moscow" option is all too feasible, except that Putin is then "Public Enemy No 1" in the USA & elsewhere, for harbouring known gross criminals - & I don't mean his own paid muderers, either.

120:

s/Philippines/Puerto Rico.

I checked to make sure I got it right, and I still got it wrong. Arrghh.

121:

There's a lot of misogyny in the US, particularly in the more rural areas.

122:

I assume you know what you said was sarcasm.

I saw English speaking Canadians adopt a US western cowboy accent in restaurants a few times. Or at least what they could get by with. It was a terrible accent but it worked.

123:

Puerto Rico has voted no in statehood referenda in the past - more than once! (It's more conservative than people expect.)
They're trying to figure out how to draw a boundary for DC so that the non-government areas can have statehood.

124:

On the Spanish/English thing for Puerto Rican statehood, I'd be very surprised if it made any difference at all from the way things are now. Mostly-Spanish for purely internal stuff, dual-language/equal-status for official documents and mostly-English for dealing with the other states. As for spoken language, those who need to learn a sufficient amount of one or the other language will do so.

(Same is true for Panama post-Torrijos-Carter.)

125:

Perjury in the confirmation hearings is a start. Kavanaugh also is showing signs of being incompetent at writing his own legal opinions.

126:

Let's amuse ourselves with what happens when El Cheeto tries to visit Russia for Thanksgiving, which we will rename Turkey Day in Agent Orange's honor.

--Because El Cheeto's organization has been publicly and notably lax about Covid19 control, Russia throws a justifiable hissy fit about letting the advance team in. El Cheeto is now immune-adjacent. Speaking of hissy fits, Russia bans most Americans from entering the country, due to out-of-control Covid19 in both the US and Russia (https://ru.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/).

But Agent Orange is always welcome...? Yeah right.

--So IQ.45 goes to Moscow with the intent to defect, taking with him the fabled nuclear football. He must take it, or people will get suspicious. He then proposes to resign in Russia and defect.

What's the worst that could happen? World War 3, because the defector has all the nuclear codes and the means to use them. Agent Orange puts the US in a use-it-or-lose it position with its nuclear arsenal. You know what happens then.

What's the best that could happen? Czar Pu immediately refuses, ends the meeting, and turns Trump, his entourage, and the football over to the American Embassy, and hopefully we avoid WW3.

Or, perhaps, some deal is reached wherein Agent Orange walks down a bridge, alone, to his Russian future, and then Now-President Renfield pardons him?

Well yeah, President Renfield is supposed to use his shiny Presidential pardon power to pardon treason, but he can't pardon himself for doing so. This leads to two fascinating questions: does President Renfield get impeached and them tried for treason for aiding an enemy? And what happens to Agent Orange? Well, he's kind of useless, so he gets returned to the US as a political bargaining chip, most likely. Or perhaps he gets a dose of polonium not made in Russia, just to make the point. Or if someone really doesn't like him, a nice 1:1:1 dose of amanitotoxin:Conium extract:Cicuta cocktail. Or maybe a little pellet of ricin, shot from an iphone instead of an umbrella?

Anyway, I expect that El Cheeto will go precisely nowhere outside the US if he loses the election, because every potential country is so worried about the risk of Covid19 from his entourage. At least that will be the official excuse. I mean, can you imagine him visiting Australia or New Zealand right now?

But it is fun to figure out how he might escape, isn't it?

127:

In line with your analysis in 107, I've always assumed the reason for carving a state out of DC is to get around the 23rd Amendment as an impediment. My suspicion is that if the DC statehood bill does pass, the GOP caucus will sue with a claim that the 23rd makes such a law unconstitutional because of the very absurdity you point out.

As with court expansion, the issue here is that the next time the GOP controls the two houses of Congress and the White House, they will be motivated to carve up the reddest states into gerrymandered small states (think Northwest and Southeast Mississippi, say) to change the balance in the Senate and the electoral college, and perhaps to reduce the size of the House, too.

128:

I'd also point out that Hawai'i is officially a bilingual state, so there's really no hindrance there (you speak Hawaiian?). New Mexico is a majority spanish-speaking state, but it has no official language and Spanish is not permitted in the legislature, so that's another solution.

129:

There's nothing in it for Putin to treat Trump exceptionally well. Besides, Russia only has 32 golf courses while Switzerland has 95.

130:

I think the simple argument for having DC and Puerto Rico admitted as states is that DC has over 705,000 people, more than Wyoming or Vermont, while Puerto Rico has more than 3,190,000 people, or more than the bottom 20 states. Incidentally, American Samoa has less than 50,000 people, half the number in the US Virgin Islands and the smallest territory on the list. It really should be last in line.

Anyway, that whole no taxation without representation thing? Yeah. That's a good argument. That also, by the way, is a major reason why the largely Republican representatives of about 20 states may get their shorts in knots about the idea of a Puerto Rican contingent joining the Congress. Fewer delegates for them.

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

131:

Things go as pear-shaped as I fear in my nightmares, and the gummint goes full-blown fascist, but fails to quell the civil disorder. It then asks for help from the USA, which sends troops in to keep 'order'

The whole “troops required to quell disorder” thing is called “Military Aid to the Civil Power” or “Military Aid to the Civil Authority” (MACP/MACA) as opposed to “Military Aid to the Civil Community” (MACC - rescuing old folks and cuddly puppies from floods).

Hopefully I can reassure you - just, no. Not going to happen. Firstly, because unlike the dystopian fantasies of the preppers, society doesn’t break down at the drop of a hat. When it all goes to hell, people by and large cooperate.

Secondly, the British Army isn’t exactly happy to get involved in that kind of thing. It’s far from being the eager boot heel of the Fascist Oppression, no matter what the Socialist Workers Party types / Press TV / Russia Today true believers want to think. Same applies to the US Army; if anything, they’re far more restrained than most US police forces. There’s also the obvious

Thirdly, look at the scale of the U.K.: sixty million people, spread across hundreds of miles, and several massive conurbations. That’s almost, but not quite, twice the population of Afghanistan or Iraq; twelve times the population of Bosnia and Hercegovina; thirty times the population of Northern Ireland. Now, consider the sheer number of troops that were involved with NATO’s Stabilisation Force (several divisions), or Operation BANNER (over 20,000 troops at the peak of NI operations).

Basically, you could drop the whole British and the deployable US Armies into London and Birmingham, and not touch the sides. And they know it. So it’s not even a starting option. And that’s quite apart from whether the USA would choose to “help”.

[[ smart-quoted broken link fixed - mod ]]

132:

Charlie Stross @

(If you're wondering why I'm harshing on the usual free-floating discussion right now, The Atlantic explains how The World Is Trapped in America’s Culture War and it's really irritating to us.)

I hope y'all will spare a little sympathy for those of who got drafted into that fight.

133:

Martin @ 131:

Your hyperlink is FUBAR. Try this one:
“Military Aid to the Civil Power”

134:

This shit (and we do mean shit) has essentially taken six (6) years of our lives to fucking sort out.

We'll remind you: $12.5 trillion dollar moves in the market. That we told Dirk to short. And that was just Wednesday.


I don't think you quite understand how fucking pissed off we are at humans right now.


You ruined the global ecology.
You killed all the frogs.
You killed most non-Caucasian peoples and/or stamped some shitty Capitalism Ideology upon the survivors
You...

And, at the end of it all. You're shit.

Literally: We gave the Keys to Power to those who soooo wanted it. And they're fucking inept. And Worse still: the ones who think they're better - can't stop the damage the really shit ones are doing!


YAY!


Get fucked. Anyhow, CMBS / Bonds / VIX is kinda puking over $4 trillion dollar injection, and the "Great Reset" is coming.


~


And none, and we mean none of these delusional fucks knows the cost to halting their planetary suicide for 5 years.


*LOOKS AT HURRICANE ZETA*


DON'T KNOW KIDS, PERHAPS YOU SHOULD HAVE FUCKING PLAYED NICE WHEN A CAT 5 GOT FUCKING STALLED AND NONE OF YOUR SCIENTISTS COULD UNDERSTAND WHY


But no.


Get fuuuuuuuuuuuucked.

135:

Even more interestingly, the normal David H. Koch Fund sequence was replaced with a aerial view flying over a generic, eastern US forest. The Draper sequence was unchanged.

You made me curious. I have 7 NOVA shows on my Tivo, including the one you just watched. So I played the intro for each one.

The video for the David H Koch foundation was related to the topic of the show each time. 7 shows. 7 different videos.

136:

Martin
Quote from Lt-Gen Sir Brian Horrocks: "It's called Military Aid to the Civil Power & the Army HATES it."

Also, the not-so-crypto fascists in this country are incapable of organising anything ... look at Nugent Farrago on fisheries, or Failing G on ferries, or ....

@ 134
DELIBERATE LIAR - I told you before. ( frogs )
What is this "Caucasian" white man? Last time I looked there was a supermajority of non-pink people on the planet, so you are lying AGAIN.
Now then:
Go & get medical help ...

138:

The accusations of antisemitism inside British Labour is based on the EHRC report and used to hurt Corbin in the fight of rival factions. But is the report reliable?
The tory press have been jumping on the “evil Corbyn” bandwagon until nearly all the media accept Corbyn is guilty as charged. But is he? I have dug up a lot of dissenting voices on internet, many by jews who suport Corbyn and I am beginning to see parallels to American smear campaigns to take down various politicians.
It is difficult for a foreigner to get an insight into what is going on -especially as most media have already made up their minds about the narrative.

139:

Puerto Rico has voted no in statehood referenda in the past - more than once!

AFAIK, those votes were for one of three choices: statehood, status quo (commonwealth) and independence. Status quo won handily, followed by statehood and single-digit percentages for independence.

Things might shift post-[Maria Trump Covid].

140:

I often despair about the previous respondent's ability to comprehend plain English. No, this is not likely to happen because, even if things go pear shaped, they are unlikely to get as bad as what I was describing as a prequisite. It's not impossible, but extremely unlikely. Look, if I foresaw Brexit and monetarist/fascist governments over 30 years ago, do you think that my nightmares are "small riot - not many dead"?

I am talking about widespread starvation, riots, looting, arson, thousands dead, pogroms against minorities, and groups forming with the intent of overthrowing the government. Despite the bullshit, the army WOULD obey orders to assist the police, just as it did in Northern Ireland - no, it would NOT mutiny and refuse to do so. It's not as untrained in such things as it was in 1969, so it wouldn't be suckered into another Bloody Sunday so easily, but it would be on the streets. Yes, I agree that there wouldn't be enough.

However, if TPTB were facing the prospect of being actually overthrown, and the army could not or would not stop that, they would invoke the Blair powers to call in external forces - and allow them to carry and use military firearms. Initially companies like Blackwater and other outsourced military but, if even that was not enough, they would call on the USA. The army would scream blue murder, but so what? They would be told to shut up and obey orders. What would they do then? Mutiny?

I am not going to pursue this, because it is a detrailment, but would like to remind people that things can get a LOT worse than what they think is the worst case - and, unfortunately, quite often do.

141:

No. It can be accomplished through ordinary legislation.

142:

I think that can't happen because it misses a fairly large elephant: London. I no longer recall where the brexit vote was strongest, but I do recall that the short answer was 'not London', which was pretty heavily remain.

I also question the idea that the north of England might leave to join the EU: again my recollection isn't clear but I suspect that the north of England was fairly heavily pro-brexit.

The fragmentation that I used to suggest was that London should become part of Scotland, either connected by a thin strip of land running down the A1, or just becoming a topologically disconnected state, and the new Scotland would then rejoin the EU. There are lots of reasons why this would not work, of course, not least the awkward issue of where the capital would be (could they agree on Glasgow as a second-best option for both parties?)

More realistically I suspect the problem is that the 'wants to remain in the EU' and the 'wants to leave at any cost' regions of the UK are in many areas dense in each other, or close to it, so there's no disentanglement which doesn't involve some kind of forced-relocation of people to form some new country of Englandshire where the brexiters could live (and where should that be? are there sparsely-populated areas of the US where we could dump them?).

None of the above is entirely serious, except for the 'don't forget London' bit.

143:

Yes and no. I have downloaded the report and looked at it. It contains very disturbing evidence of bias, but its conclusions seem reliable; however, they serve as much to exonerate Corbyn than condemn him. And, even just from what it says, this was clearly initiated by a smear campaign. From other information, I suspect that that campaign was aimed less at destroying socialism than opposition to Greater Israel's policies.

144:

When the Soviet troops withdrew from East Germany, they trashed everything that could be trashed in the barracks they left behind; mirrors, bathrooms, cabinets, everything.
The only reason Trump might not do the same is he is too lazy. But he might certainly grab expensive-looking items on his way out.

145:

BJ @ 138
The real problem with Corbyn is that he's STUPID.
To repeat, he's learnt absolutely nothing at all since 1973 ...
Whereas the rest of us have changed many of our opinions, because the facts have changed ....

EC @ 140
Sometimes, it's difficult to see what you mean, in spite of your plain language.
However, your clarification ( "unlikely to get as bad" & "as a prerequiste" ) help a lot.
Agreed it's possible - & would be a disaster, but it is unlikely.
WHat frightens me ( & you ) is the slippery slope from "mere" monetarism towards fascism.
Again, I partly blame the left, because they have been screaming "fascist!" for so long, that when a real fascist, like Patel, or a smiling one like Farage shows up, no one takes any notice ....
I sincerely hope that a crushing defeat for DJT on Tues/Wed will put the brakes on, hard.

tfb
Almost no area of the UK wants "To leave the EU at any cost" - that's the manipulators & crooks behind the scenes.
Huge numbers of "moderate" brexiteers are now either in a large Egyptian River or running round in circles, going "But this isn't what we voted for!"

On the main subject, there is a BBC report saying over 80 million votes already cast ... looking, as predicted to be a record turn-out, which is bad for the thugs.

146:

> PR statehood referenda

This had escaped my attention, but on checking it appears that there's going to be a statehood "political status consultation" on Tuesday. I'm not totally sure what that is, but it seems to be referendum-like.

See

https://www.sanjuandailystar.com/post/island-supreme-court-rules-statehood-referendum-is-constitutional

147:

looking, as predicted to be a record turn-out, which is bad for the thugs.

Nope. Yep. Very hard to tell. Both sides claim it is good for them.

All kinds of get out the vote going on for both sides.

Overall aggregations of polls show Biden with a win. But a narrow one in key states which translates into a very hard to predict electoral college win or for Senate seats. But in detail the various polls are up and down for both sides. Which indicates the polling groups are having trouble (a lot apparently) getting a handle or who will show up to vote. Registrations of new voters the last few weeks have been running something like 3-2 R-D. And the numbers are way above historical trends which implies registrations of people who have never voted before even if eligible.

The chances of Trump in a landslide are slim. The chances of Biden in a landslide are there. But a muddled middle is the most likely result.

The web site 207towin.com had the Senate results for the last few weeks as most likely at 49 to 47 with 4 hard to call. In the last 24 hours they've moved it to 48-46. Which means the result, if the latest polls are to believed can wind up somewhere between D48-R52 and D54-R46.

148:

I also question the idea that the north of England might leave to join the EU: again my recollection isn't clear but I suspect that the north of England was fairly heavily pro-brexit.

Reminder that "EU membership: good or bad?" ranked tenth in issues of concern to the British public per opinion polling in 2010; it took a five year propaganda campaign to make it the #1 issue, and six years of sadistic austerity by government with the Tory press blaming it on the EU to convince the public to blame the foreigners. And then you need to add the large segment of the "Leave" voters who were basically emitting an incoherent scream of rage at The Man, rather than expressing a considered political opinion.

Once the brexit process completes and there's nobody left to blame but Westminster tories ... well, we'll see how well the propaganda stays bedded in: but the English government is doing a terrible job on COVID19 and their mitigation efforts for social/economic damage in the "Red wall" constituencies is piss-poor: they just don't care about the north.

So I can see most of England north of Nottingham going the same way in the 2020s that Scotland went in the 1980s -- comprehensively shat on the the Tories and swerving away from them permanently. (Yes, northern England got the shaft under Thatcher, too: but less so than Scotland.)

The real question now is who would pick up the votes, given Labour's current ongoing ideological implosion/Finlandization by the Klept. I fear it'll be Britain First or the EDL rather than anything remotely left-wing that rises from the ashes up there.

149:

Small unrelated question: in the I assume upcoming DLD post-release thread, will it be okay to talk/ask about spoiler stuff from the book?

150:

I think Donald Trump doesn't actually care that much about being president, it is too much hard work and, it takes time aways from things he enjoy more, like TV, golf and scamming.

What he does like about being president, is gettting all the attention and the adoration of his followers.

He will keep that by simply frame whatever actually happens as: "Trump Winning, Bigly, See?"

1) Trump victory - Ohhh, He beat all those MSM and Swamp-people

2) Trump loss - Haha, see that sucker Biden go, how he fell for it. I sold him the clown car before the brakes failed and all of the wheels popped off!

- Then he will go on his way selling self-improvement training and motivational speeches, maybe buy up the dregs of Scientology and rebrand it. Whatever draws a big crowd, that's what he will do!

What results that Donald Trump's regime has actually achieved in terms of policy, those I think was crafted by deeper eldritch horrors dressed up in human skin while The Donald was distracting everyone.

151:

Yes. Equally badly, their claims of reskilling and adapting our economy to the new situation are political bullshit, pure and simple. We are very likely to lose London as the dominant financial hub and the UK as a preferred base for foreign companies to export to the EU, so the Brexit hit isn't likely to be followed by a recovery, despite the polemic.

I am horribly afraid you are right in your last paragraph.

152:

The White House is filled with historical treasures. They are the property of the people of the US and not the president. The secret service would intervene if he tried to destroy anything, on the pretext of stopping him from hurting himself.

153:
(a) Scotland, NI, Wales, and maybe the North of England leave the UK (and rejoin the EU),

Anyone asked the EU about that?

Because, many people here would think that we already have our plates loaded quite full up from the Buffet of Rickety Statehood served with Ethno-Centric Cray-Cray Sauce, like: Hungary, Poland, Austria and "sometime" Macdonia and Albania!

I.O.W, Now without the UK there pushing for geographic expansion, I don't think the EU will let more "disrupters" into the club until Brussels have found a way to make the EUR a full currency and the EU itself into a proper federation. Expansion in Depth, will be the new game.

154:

Well, so far the EU seems fairly happy to consider Scottish re-accession. (Scotland could well turn out to be Ireland 2.0 as far as EU membership goes -- English-speaking peripheral EU state with local industries contributing to the bottom line, subject to a few years playing catch-up after years of malignant underinvestment due to London.)

Northern Ireland will probably end up in some sort of pantomime horse federation/confederation with Ireland. So that's okay-ish.

Wales gets a bit more iffy -- Wales has been integrated with England at the legislative level for a very long time, and won't break away from England very soon, either. And Northern England is definitely getting into Macedonia/Albania territory.

I agree about expansion in depth as a goal for the EU: I think it was spiked last time around by backstage pressure from the USA (which wanted to (a) bite off and digest chunks of the former Warsaw Pact before Russia got its shit back together, and (b) wanted to dilute German influence on the continent by chaining Berlin to a bunch of, well, Poland and Hungary and Bulgaria, etc.)

155:

"You ruined the global ecology.
You killed all the frogs.
You killed most non-Caucasian peoples and/or stamped some shitty Capitalism Ideology upon the survivors
You...

And, at the end of it all. You're shit."

Isn't that a little bit of an exaggeration? I brought my children up to respect the environment. My son and daughter in law both have postgraduate degrees in marine environmental protection.
I did once kill a frog (in Norfolk any heavy rain outside the depths of winter results in frogs crossing the road.
I haven't killed any people, Caucasian or non Caucasian. Actually I've never met anyone from the Caucasus.
I'm a socialist and have never stamped a capitalistic ideology on anybody.
I don't think I'm a shit.
Now tell me what positive steps you have personally taken to improve the environment.

156:

Pushing to make it a federation seem highly unlikely - um, can you really see France, Germany, and Italy agreeing?

On the other hand, a full confederation, maybe. And definitely the EU a full currency (I hadn't realized it wasn't one).

Besides, I'd think any part of the UK that wanted to rejoin the EU on its own would be happily accepted - with a thumb to the nose at the Tories.

157:

fajansen
NO
Remember, that when ( We seriously hope it's when ) he loses the election, come 21st January, he's going to be knee-deep ( at least ) in process-servers & other lawyer-types, demading both money & criminal penalties.
One main reason he wanted to be "president" was that it kept those people away ....

Later: Austria is ethnically "German" Hungary "Magyar" your view of Europe is, um, not correct.

EC
We are very likely to lose London as the dominant financial hub and the UK as a preferred base for foreign companies to export to the EU Already happening
As for the openly nazi parties ... no, though they are going to make a LOT of noise & attract some followers, but I don't think they will get a serious grip.

Niala
Which raises an interesting point.
The US Secret Service peole are not DJT's personal assistants ...
What do they do if he openly starts either breaking stuff, or really egregiously breaking the law, or goes for The Football?
Because their duty is to the "Union" not the man - could be, very interesting.

Charlie @ 154
Wales .... even the railways cross the border multiple times, never mind the road layouts
NOT a practicable proposition unless you are going to go Berlinermauer on it.

Mike Collins
Don't worry, she'll be along to hurl insane abuse at all of us, fairly soon.
She's almost certainly in the USA, which accounts for her mental state.
In a civilised country, the mental health services would have been along to give her medication & counselling, long since.

WHitroth
"The seven kingdoms of the English" the Heptarchy
Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia, Northumbria, Essex, Kent, Sussex.

159:

Trump doesn't have a history of being a violent person. It's not like LBJ. If he became violent due to a steroid overdose the Secret Service would gently get him down on the floor, awaiting sedation.

160:

Just for a laugh, of sorts, I picked this up from Twatter, of all places ...
"The most embarrassing thing about the U.S. having another civil war is it’s not even for a new reason"

161:

@ 199 Richard Gadson:

Washington, D.C. was created to appease the Southern slaveholder power structure, particularly those of Virginia. There were a lot of reasons to do so:

https://washington.org/dc-information/washington-dc-history

Another very large reason was they were terrified of the still small abolitionist movements in New York and Philadelphia. Plus it was much closer to where they lived and easier to get to than NY, while Philly was in-between north and south. Going along again, with their pressure on the writing of the Constitution to make it slavery friendly, and even for the War of Independence, due to fear that Britain, following the Somerset Decision and the growing abolitionist movement there (though very small yet), would "take away our ---" well, I won't even think that word much less write it.

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/how-philadelphia-lost-the-nations-capital-to-washington#:~:text=The%20Residence%20Act%20of%20July,being%20too%20sympathetic%20to%20abolitionists.

Most of all, first, second and always, Virginia regards this nation as Virginia. The South was always petulant and whiney, and believed the federal government belonged to it, but no South was more entitled than Virginia -- just ask Virginia, which held the presidency for the first 5 administrations with the exception of John Adams, others thereafter, and those with VA origins after that even if no longer living there. Woodrow Wilson is another Virginian, he who gave the Dems -- the southerners, of course, federal workforce apartheid. The Southerners have always believed the White House and the federal government is by all rights theirs.

[ "The Residence Act of July 16, 1790, put the nation's capital in current-day Washington as part of a plan to appease pro-slavery states who feared a northern capital as being too sympathetic to abolitionists.

The City of Brotherly Love became the ex-capital for several reasons: the machinations of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson; the compromise over slavery; a concern about public health; and a grudge against the Pennsylvania state government were all factors in the move." ]

~~~~~~~~~~~

Like Our Host, my sense of what will happen if w/o a doubt rumptubtupshoggoth has lost, he will certainly steal everything inside the White House they can -- hell, they did it with the US Embassy in Paris, just took Stuff away 'coz he liked it. (At least some of which he liked and thought so valuable, were just copies, and not expensive ones either, of museum-class art works and furnishings.) That he'd try to break windows and other things too, isn't unlikely. He's certainly assiduously working to make as many people sick and dead as possible.

But we are in for a lot of terror and crime and lawlessness -- the cops are totally down with him as to the national police union, and he's been flying their flag, not the stars and stripes at his rallies.

162:

I've not found a definition of a 'full currency'. Could you enlighten me?

I'm guessing you mean a currency that all the EU states use.

163:

In a civilised country, the mental health services would have been along to give her medication & counselling, long since.

England doesn't have working mental health services any more, thanks to a decade of Tory neglect of an already-impaired branch of the NHS. (Scotland isn't notably better, either.)

164:

and he's been flying their flag, not the stars and stripes at his rallies.
Saw one of the "Blue Lives Matter" flags on a pickup truck hanging out in my neighborhood a week ago, and there is a smaller one by a house in the neighborhood.
https://www.advocate.com/sites/default/files/2017/06/27/blue-line-flagx750.jpg
They should be really creepy to nationalist flag-revering Americans; the red strips are replaced with grey (dark blue?) and the background for the stars is the same dark color.

The Truck Guy was associated with the neighbor that called the cops on me for Walking At Night (same house or close). (Was wearing a hood; it was winter.) Two responding patrol cars drove through the neighborhood with those car-mounted cop searchlights swiveling, found me and asked for identification, which clearly showed the same address as was on the letter box(mailbox) 7 meters away in large reflective numbers.

165:

...knows the cost to halting their planetary suicide for 5 years.
PERHAPS YOU SHOULD HAVE FUCKING PLAYED NICE
People have (extremely) stuck priors. (I've been [not quite keening, silently] for a couple of years+, tempered with willful optimism.)

---
EC at 158:
Ukraine: Protests in Kyiv after top court scraps anti-graft laws
Thanks for that. We might need analogues in the US.

Protesters, including students and anti-corruption activists, held placards which read "Corrupted court of Ukraine" and "Out the pigs of the constitutional court."

166:

Heh. LBJ actually picked up and shook Canada's then-PM, Lester B. Pearson.

A good thing that LBJ didn't try that with Pierre Trudeau, our next PM (and father of our current PM). The elder Trudeau was a black belt in karate. Assault and counter-assault would have been embarrassing all around.

LBJ: 192 cm (6' 3")
PET: 178 cm (5'10")

167:

On a totally unrelated note, after ycts re the Clamshell, I've been wondering what I'm going to do when I am forced to get something beyond my flip phone.

Then an odd thought came to me, and I looked online. Sure enough, there are cases for mobiles with keyboards in them. Not sure there's a small one that's *only* for a mobile, and not so big as to fit a tablet, but that looks like my answer.

168:

@Heteromeles on general strikes:

It was recently pointed out that it didn't take a general strike to end the US Federal shutdown in early 2019, but a call for one did play a role. If the air-traffic controllers don't show up for work, an awful lot of things that are important to powerful people shut down pretty quick, and don't start again until the controllers go back or are fired and replaced with military personnel.

The guy at the link says useful things to know about strikes.

169:

They were alone on a terrace at Camp David. Horrified US and Canadian officials heard what was going on through an open window. Some of them peered out a bit. LBJ swore repeatedly. This would never happen again.

Like Pierre Trudeau our current PM Justin Trudeau is a martial arts practitioner. He's a serious boxer at 6 feet 2 inches.

170:

Richard Gadsden @ 107: The House of Representatives (currently controlled by the Democratic Party) passed a bill - called HR.51 - which was then rejected by the Senate (currently controlled by the Republican Party) on DC statehood.

What it did was cede all of DC except for the actual Capitol and White House buildings (and a small, uninhabited area around them) to a new state, called the "Douglass Commonwealth" (still DC, but now named for Frederick Douglass instead of Christopher Columbus). There would still be a federal district (called "the Capital District"), it just would be a couple of blocks, rather than the whole city.

Technically, that federal district would still have a non-voting delegate in the House and three electors in the electoral college (per the 23rd amendment), but there wouldn't be any voters to elect them; passing a constitutional amendment to undo the 23rd should not be overly difficult in the circumstance where the alternative is the First Lady effectively getting three votes in each future Presidential election (the President usually preserves legal residence in their home state; there are some weird constitutional and electoral problems if they run for re-election as a resident of DC; the First Lady could easily transfer residence to the White House)

A bunch of lawyers have had a good look at this, including some that are very hostile to the Democratic Party and none of them seem to have found a constitutional problem. The best argument is that not undoing the 23rd Amendment would be ridiculous, which is true, but ridiculous is not unconstitutional, and the sheer ludicrousness should make the constitutional amendment easy enough to pass.

I just don't think that's going to work. Even if you can undo the 23rd Amendment, there's still the Article I provision to be overcome.

If you look at the Original District of Columbia it was a 10x10 mile diamond on the Potomac River, partly in Maryland & partly in Virginia. The Virginia portion was ceded back to Virginia in 1847.

What I think could work and would be fair would be for Congress to cede the residential portions of the current District of Columbia back to Maryland and let those portions of DC that are not actual Federal properties be represented by a Maryland Congressman (or Congresswoman) and Maryland's Senators. There are however, several obstacles
     1. The 23rd Amendment
     2. The State of Maryland doesn't want it back
     3. The residents of DC don't want it.

171:

We need to repeal the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, which fixed the number of Representatives at 435, and then institute the Wyoming Rule (the smallest state population - Wyoming - gets one representative and all other states get a number of representatives equal to the number of "Wyomings" that their population contains).

The total number of reps in the US House increases from 435 to 573, which also affects the Electoral College. Wyoming still stays at 1 rep while the California delegation increase from 53 to 68. Blue states in general do much better.

By matching the number of reps to actual population a lot of the unfairness of the Electoral College is mitigated. The number of EC votes needed to win the White House increases from 270 to 339.

Simple legislation from a Blue Congress (assuming the filibuster is eliminated) can completely change American politics.

No constitutional amendment needed.

172:

David L @ 117:

I suspect you grossly underestimate the percentage of Puertorriqueños who are bi- or multi-lingual.

At least when they want to be.

Ran into this with some French speakers in Toronto in the 80s. Their English was non existent or fluent depending on the accent of the English speakers in the conversation.

I've only kind of run into that once. First day of Basic Training in the Army we had a number of Puertorriqueños in the company I was assigned to who were "no comprende" ... lasted all of about 5 minutes before the 1SG straightened them out. He was a Puertorriqueño himself.

I'm pretty sure Francophones anywhere would rather speak to me in English than listen to me butchering guidebook French. Their disdain for English doesn't seem to be as strong as their horror at having French mangled by non French speakers.


173:

Hell, I'm disgusted when I hear too many Americans mangling English.

I mean, how does Cairo become kay-ro? And then there was the guy 20 years ago in a Schlotsky's, who told me that he had someone come in a couple weeks before who couldn't say "Texas".

174:

Beautiful Displays of Paradoxical Extinction Burst @ 134: *LOOKS AT HURRICANE ZETA*

DON'T KNOW KIDS, PERHAPS YOU SHOULD HAVE FUCKING PLAYED NICE WHEN A CAT 5 GOT FUCKING STALLED AND NONE OF YOUR SCIENTISTS COULD UNDERSTAND WHY

But no.

Get fuuuuuuuuuuuucked.

Be nice now. This iteration hasn't landed in the bit bucket YET ... but is probably headed that way.

Hurricane Zeta never got to be more than a Cat 2 storm. The remnants passed through Raleigh yesterday.

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/WTUS82-KRAH.shtml

The interesting thing about Zeta is we've still got a month or more left in the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season & we've already used up all of the storm names and are into the Greek Alphabet.

175:

On a totally unrelated note, after ycts re the Clamshell, I've been wondering what I'm going to do when I am forced to get something beyond my flip phone.

Let me just point you at next year's Astro Slide 5G transformer, the third iteration of Planet Computers' valiant attempt to resurrect the old Psion PDAs for a new century: this time it works as a proper touchscreen smartphone as well as having a slide out proper keyboard.

176:

fajensen @ 150: I think Donald Trump doesn't actually care that much about being president, it is too much hard work and, it takes time aways from things he enjoy more, like TV, golf and scamming.

[ ... ]

What results that Donald Trump's regime has actually achieved in terms of policy, those I think was crafted by deeper eldritch horrors dressed up in human skin while The Donald was distracting everyone.

Trump has significant legal issues that he has so far managed to hold off by being President. Even if he manages to self-pardon on his way out (and make it stick), that won't shield him from State level prosecutions, nor from Civil liabilities.

177:

The interesting thing about Zeta is we've still got a month or more left in the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season & we've already used up all of the storm names and are into the Greek Alphabet.

You need to follow the Greek alphabet with an alphabet of Doctor Who monsters/aliens. I mean, show's been running for well over fifty years, right?

Hurricane Autons

Hurricane Blathereen

Hurricane Cybermen

Hurricane Daleks

...

There are so many of them the full alphabetic list takes up four pages on wikipedia!

178:

They should be really creepy to nationalist flag-revering Americans; the red strips are replaced with grey (dark blue?) and the background for the stars is the same dark color.

I think the not-so subtle message is that they want to replace blue with grey.

Unpacking this for the rest of the world: it's an allusion to the American unpleasantness of 1861-1865, during which the treasonous side abandoned the blue uniforms of American troops for grey clothes (rather less uniform than the loyalists). Authoritarians don't like turbulent democratic discussions where everyone gets their opinion heard, doubly so for letting people of the wrong ethnicity speak up at all.

179:

whitroth @ 167: On a totally unrelated note, after ycts re the Clamshell, I've been wondering what I'm going to do when I am forced to get something beyond my flip phone.

Then an odd thought came to me, and I looked online. Sure enough, there are cases for mobiles with keyboards in them. Not sure there's a small one that's *only* for a mobile, and not so big as to fit a tablet, but that looks like my answer.

FWIW, when I reached the conclusion I was going to have to give up my flip phone & reluctantly join the 21st Century, I decided I was probably going to end up with some form of iPhone. So I joined an Apple User Group and asked them to recommend which flavor of iPhone would be most congenial to someone who hated the idea of having a "smart phone".

They recommended the iPhoneSE as probably the least annoying & so far it has been tolerable.

180:

No nuclear testing was done in the Marianas, they were in the Marshall Islands like Bikini, Johnston and Kwajalein Atolls. The Chemical storage and destruction was at Johnston Atoll.

181:

Sure enough, there are cases for mobiles with keyboards in them. Not sure there's a small one that's *only* for a mobile, and not so big as to fit a tablet, but that looks like my answer.

I know someone who bases his cell phone purchases as to which can use a case oriented small chick-let keyboard. If you want I can ask him what he likes. He has never liked touch screens.

Personally I think both of you need to just get over it. But I'm also big in that people should use what they like. So to each their own.

182:

whitroth @ 173: Hell, I'm disgusted when I hear too many Americans mangling English.

I mean, how does Cairo become kay-ro? And then there was the guy 20 years ago in a Schlotsky's, who told me that he had someone come in a couple weeks before who couldn't say "Texas".

If you mean the town in Illinois, it's pronounced "KAIR-oh" (or "CARE-o") because that's how the locals chose to pronounce it specifically so it wouldn't be confused with that other city located on "denial".

183:

I'm pretty sure Francophones anywhere would rather speak to me in English than listen to me butchering guidebook French.

You need to understand my experience was in the middle of the Quebec separatist movement.

184:

I mean, how does Cairo become kay-ro?

Or Versailles Ky become ver-sales?

I've lived near both.

I suspect that they were named by the French in the 1600s. Then those pesky folks from the northern end of the British Isles settled eastern KY and nearby lands on the western side of the Appalachians. They gradual moved west mangling the names as their went. And bringing a strong heritage of home brew with them.

Or so I guess.

185:

Doctor Who monsters/aliens. I mean, show's been running for well over fifty years, right?

Best description I ever heard of how the show got started so campy was:
Make a science fiction show for TV. Here's $50/show for special effects. We expect the unspent amounts to be turned in after each show.

186:

Charlie Stross @ 177:

The interesting thing about Zeta is we've still got a month or more left in the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season & we've already used up all of the storm names and are into the Greek Alphabet.

You need to follow the Greek alphabet with an alphabet of Doctor Who monsters/aliens. I mean, show's been running for well over fifty years, right?

Hurricane Autons

Hurricane Blathereen

Hurricane Cybermen

Hurricane Daleks

...

There are so many of them the full alphabetic list takes up four pages on wikipedia!

That would work, but do you think humanity would survive a hurricane season where we went through all of the "names", all of the Greek Alphabet and then got all the way to Hurricane Zygon. It'd be kind of rough if we got to the end of the Doctor Who alphabet and had to start in with Star Trek names?

187:

No-English placenames:
"Ockott saint Annie"
Eucourt de St-Anne
Or, for that amtter .... "Wipers"

188:

If you mean the town in Illinois, it's pronounced "KAIR-oh" (or "CARE-o") because that's how the locals chose to pronounce it

Sorry got to go with whitroth on this one. His way is how everyone I grew up with for 20 year pronounced it. I lived 25 miles by bird flight away. But to get there was longer as we had to navigate the bottom lands of the two rivers and actually cross the Ohio.

189:

Make a science fiction show for TV. Here's $50/show for special effects. We expect the unspent amounts to be turned in after each show.

I worked at the BBC for a while doing CG special effects and graphics for a rather niche but famous science show, "The Sky At Night". There's a common belief that the official BBC tartan is "small checks" which I can thoroughly agree with.

190:

It is less difficult than amending the Constitution.

Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1:

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

(from wikipedia)

Just an act of Congress, with Presidential signature. It has not been done since the late '50s.

191:

Bear with us.

While Greg thinks we're insane, we're actually crunching huge amounts of your Brain Wave Data (hint: go look up France, Macron and what's happening as this is typed. You might spot what "Algerian" means now. For the UK it's a protest at the Embassy; for Malaysia it's the ex-Foreign Minister tweeting out a Jihad (call to arms, not the other version). Yes, 1.7 billion angry followers of the Hajj is a mind-fuck to skim through, thank you anyhow, notice how it was suddenly a Right-Wing attack yesterday after it was a "mad Muslim attacker screaming Al. Ak"? This type of stuff takes skills to splice in. That's after the BBC and others reported it and the RW media culture went wild.......).

And yes Greg: if you were even slightly clued in, you'd not think us Mad, more covering your ass.


Look: 100%, the US 2020 election is going to be fixed. It's a money race, never anything else, until now. Record spending this year, as ever. It's not a question of "if", it's a question of whose "ratfucking / hacks / tricks / skills" are better.

Here's a tip of how strong sentiment is getting: https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/11/11/why-twitter-shares-plunged-27-last-month.aspx -- 27% off Twitter, means Big Boys (and they are Boys) are maneuvering and they're not liking the Big Tech plays (censorship / stopping the FFANG train).

Here's another tip: https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamminsky/2020/09/09/senate-stimulus-bill-no-second-stimulus-checks-and-5-other-takeaways/

The Money has made its bets (and woooo look at what's actually under the HOOD). And... look. You need to pray that Biden doesn't win. Honestly: they're not trying to, but...

That Cat 5 was real, was really stopped in its tracks and your scientists really don't know why, since that's never happened before. Go check. As we told you: vote is 90% 3 weeks.

They're going to cheat, and they've enough $$$ in the tank and enough tear gas on the floor (anyone remember '98 anti riots in Seattle?) to not give a shit. At this very moment they've been practicing and perfectly small urban riots.

~


Sure, Biden wins. "OK". When a majority of your "Democratic" elected officials are ex-military or ex-spooks, well.


Russia, 1991. It's the same fucking playbook.

192:

I'd think that they'd change the codes as soon as he touched down. Claiming to be "president-in-exile" would be unlikely to fly even with the current Senate, and DoD would be even less likely to go along with it.

193:

I think the WH staff - who are not employed by the president, but by the government - would be doing a lot of the packing.

194:

Maybe - but it's also to keep it free of the various political desires of states - it's written into the Constitution, under things Congress does (Article I).

195:

Where are you going to put the 140-some new representatives? The size of the house is set because that's as much room as it has. (If you want to start a movement to rebuild the Capitol to allow for a bigger House, that would be a good start.)

196:

Where are you going to put the 140-some new representatives?
Perhaps by packing the seats tighter? I'm sure the airline industry would be eager to help.

197:

I think the not-so subtle message is that they want to replace blue with grey.
Thanks, I hadn't spotted that. Might seed it around a little to see if it gets traction.

198:

Nice. Well, except I'm a retired computer pro, and just beginning author, mostly living on social security, and a $1500 phone is, shall we say, a bit much.* Meanwhile, I could get a *far*, far cheaper phone and keyboard/cover for $8-$20.**

JWS, @179: no. I refuse to touch Apple. They're overpriced commodity hardware, and work very hard at being a monopoly, and that's not even getting into their what, $78B, or is it $100B CASH RESERVES that they avoid paying taxes on.

"Get over it", why? I get online in the morning, and I'm on all day. Why do I need to be online more, when all I want is, say, like this evening, sit in the parking lot until my SO comes out of the medical center, where she went for some lab work, and call me to TALK to me, to tell me to come get her?

* For the same reason, I will never own a brass locomotive - they're drop-dead gorgeous, a friend referred to them as sculptures... but model railroading is a *hobby*, not a "means of disposing of unwanted income".

** Just this evening, it was suggested a get a large mobile, and use that to replace my Nook, and then I can back up everything on my computer.

199:

Cairo become kay-ro

Heh. In southwestern Ontario, we have a Delhi that's pronounced Del-hi (accent on the second syllable) in the local parlance.

The county just south of where I live is Elgin, pronounced the correct way. I have heard some Elgins in the USA are pronounced Ell-gin (rhyming with Belgian).

Crazy, amirite?

200:

Um, yeah, I mean in IN, and I was told how it was pronounced by folks who grew up in Cinci, and know the area.

201:

That's what's wrong with the revived Dr. Who (well, other than I've forgotten to watch it for a few years now, because I forget when the season starts, and what night it's on....

I want my cheesy special effects! I don't want hot CGI....

202:

Damn, that makes it harder to merge N & S Dakota.

203:

Am I the only one seeing a bit of Machiavelli in Macron practically challenging fundamentalist religious hot-heads to engage in huge crowded protests during a pandemic ?

204:

P H-K
Possibly - a useful side-effect, perhaps.
The French take their Laicité very seriously - it was introduced, because of a farcical failed military-catholic coup ( The "Boulanger crisis" ) in 1899, (I think) leading to "the Law of 1905".
It's a very public message, akin to people attempting to break the "Basic Law" ( Grundesgesetz ) in Germany.
THESE ARE THE RULES for LIVING IN FRANCE - if you don't like it, then fuck right off, we are not interested.
May I add: "Vive la Republique Francais!"

Scotland needs to pay attention, before idiot Wee Fishwife & tosser Humza Yousaf re-impose a "Blasphemy" law there ... some-one REALLY NEEEDS to re-publish the Hebdo/Jyllens cartoons about a microsecond after said proposed law is enacted, if they are that stupid .....

205:

Modest proposal (that requires a daydream constitutional amendment):

Legislate to move Congress and Executive branch to city in an entirely new state, once every 30 years.

The state will be selected from those which (a) have never hosted the government before, and (b) are poorest.

The city will be selected from those which have (a) not less than 10% of the state's population, and (b) are poorest.

There will be no "federal district" or gated communities permitted: everyone will be required to live among the locals. (Possible exception: POTUS/VPOTUS, if the level of exposure to assassination attempts is deemed too high. But remember you have a VP for a reason: as the last 4 years have demonstrated, an imperial presidency has become a single point of failure for the US government, and the POTUS needs to be brought down a peg and reminded that they are potentially disposable and the nation will still go on.)

Legislators, president and VP, and supreme court, all need facilities building anew. Federally funded, natch. Ditto lobbyists, on their own dime: ditto homes for individual members of congress/senate and their staff, who will be required to live in the current capitol for 6 consecutive months out of every calendar year.

The purpose of this proposal, beside splurging a huge lump of cash on urban renewal in a state capital every generation or so, is to forcibly restore the social structure of Congress to it's pre-1994 model, where legislators don't fly home at the weekends and leave their families back in their home constituencies, but move to the capital properly: so there is social mixing with the other side (to mitigate the intense partisan hostility that Newt Gingrich's cohort brought to congress). We have the tech for long-range video interaction with the home constituency: in-person presence every week is less important than it was in order to maintain a connection.

The move is also intended as tax on lobbyists, who'll have to spend a chunk on property in order to maintain an in-person connection.

It's also intended to break the legislature out of its bubble. Right now there are two Washington DC's: the federal government, and the ordinary people, and they barely mix. This proposal probably won't result in much mixing, but if it forces the reps kids to mingle in local schools -- and then drags their parents into parent/teacher or school sports stuff -- it'll at least have achieved something.

Discuss ...

206:

They're overpriced commodity hardware, and work very hard at being a monopoly, and that's not even getting into their what, $78B, or is it $100B CASH RESERVES that they avoid paying taxes on.

It's not about the commodity chips/gpus (and by the way had you noticed the in-progress migration to their own silicon?), it's about the integrated vertical stack from the low-level silicon right up to the application layer on top: Apple is ironically maturing into IBM circa 1975, only on an infinitely vaster and more pervasive scale (with nicer eye candy).

As for the $100Bn cash reserves, they're not inactive.

What AAPL do is, they work out what magic hardware they're going to need in five years' time that doesn't exist yet -- say, 8Mpixel 40-bit colour OLED display panels in sizes nobody makes, or their own chip fab and CPU design. Then they find a company like Panasonic or Foxconn that specializes in that tech. And they say "hey, we'd like to buy 10 million units of $UNOBTANIUM starting in 3 years' time. Can you supply us?"

The supplier initially says "hah, we would if we could, but the factories don't exist and we can't afford to build them!"

To which AAPL replies, "how would you like an interest-free (or very low interest) loan to build that factory, with a GUARANTEE of 10 million sales in its first couple of years in operation? Only catch is, we want an exclusive line on the first production." (Oh, and they also buy some shares in the supplier, so that when the tech is mature and the other OEMs are lining up to buy the $UNOBTANIUM running off the Apple-bankrolled production line, Apple gets a cut of the profits.)

Anyway, this is how you end up with unibody laptops becoming the norm, or laptops all having 4K screens, or a magic mirror in every pocket. It's not money sitting in a pile in a bank vault, it's the seedcorn for the next stage in their product line.

207:

Scotland needs to pay attention, before idiot Wee Fishwife & tosser Humza Yousaf re-impose a "Blasphemy" law there ...

Um, no.

What happened was: there was a pre-existing blasphemy law, from way back when. As in England, it had become an embarrassment due to private prosecutions (no cop would touch it with a barge-pole). So parliament moved to fix it via abolition.

Abolishing blasphemy, however, coincided with hate speech as a concern. So some well-meaning idiot legislator said "how about we generalize it into a criminal libel law aimed at incitement on racial and religious grounds"?

Which proposal surfaces, then deteriorates rapidly into much shouting about Blasphemy Law 2.0 (especially in the overwhelmingly anti-SNP press). And the whole thing is sent back to committee for a re-think.

I keep saying this, Greg, but it never seems to sink in: you cannot trust a single word the English press writes about the SNP and the Scottish government without checking secondary sources. You can't trust The Scotsman or The Glasgow Herald either, they're both strongly pro-unionist (i.e. Tory) because they're owned by press barons. The BBC is about as reliable on Scotland as it is on anything else, see also the current fracas about banning employees from attending pride marches or anything remotely political where they might express a personal opinion. Our supposedly free press is feeding you lies.

208:

"I'd think that they'd change the codes as soon as he touched down. Claiming to be "president-in-exile" would be unlikely to fly even with the current Senate, and DoD would be even less likely to go along with it."

I've been hoping that the Football is now a dummy. If he loses (God willing!), he'll make late-stage Nixon look sane and sober.

209:

"Heh. In southwestern Ontario, we have a Delhi that's pronounced Del-hi (accent on the second syllable) in the local parlance."

In southeastern Michigan, we have a 'dell-high' road. Along with a city called 'Say-leen'. It's in my county, right near Brighton, Chelsea and Manchester.

That's why I was surprised a few years ago when our local football stadium (107K seats) was being used for a soccer game involving the 'Manchester United' team.

I hadn't even known that our local Manchester *had* a soccer team, and wondered why it would require a large stadium.

210:

The Versailles Kentucky (ver sales with a country twang) is the home to a Toyota factory.

When it was being built 40-50 years ago there were a lot of folks visiting the area from overseas. Setting up local offices and such to work with Toyota. They kept getting odd looks when asking the locals the best way to get to "ver sigh" from Lexington.

211:

Poorest by median household income or by per capita income? I have the 2 in Wikipedia and it makes a radical difference.

212:

The grain of truth is that the first version was a complete balls-up, and the second isn't brilliant, but the SNP are right that something to discourage hate speech IS need. This has been called for in the UK and England, many times, for good reason. Muslims are quite right to feel victimised in the UK, because they ARE victimised. Greg should consider three aspects:

He should transliterate what is being said (and by whom) about Muslims to be about people who practice Judaism, or even Roman Catholics (in Northern Ireland, or even Glasgow), and ask himself if that is acceptable.

He should match what is being said (and by whom) about Muslims and people from some specific countries to what was said historically in the UK and elsewhere shortly before there was a pogrom.

He should remember that hate begets hate, and the current increase in anti-semitism followed on from hate campaigns against other minorities, most definitely including some of the pro-Israel hate campaigns against others.

213:

As for the $100Bn cash reserves, they're not inactive.

There's a lot wrapped up in that figure. There's a lot of it earned in various places around the world and moving it back to the US just to have it here incurs taxes so they tend to leave it where it will not incur such. (Ignoring the Irish and similar tax fights.)

Toss into that with interest rates so close to 0% (and on the bottom side of it at times) they just borrow funds in places where they cash pile isn't. The interest on the loans is trivial compared to the tax bills of moving the money around.

Based on some quick Google searches they currently have about $95 billion in long term debt and $90 billion in cash and short term assets.

https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/aapl/financials/balance-sheet

Similar to why I borrowed at 1.19% and 1.49% for my main car and truck. And will likely finance the car I MUST[1] to buy this week at either 0% or 0.9%. My money is more useful in my bank or investments than in my cars.

[1] My wife's car was rear ended a low speed a couple of weeks ago. Visually it looked almost like the bumpers could be buffed out and was driveable. But it turned out the metal on the bottom of the car behind the rear bumper was now an inch or two shorter than before. Oh, well. Take check from insurance and go find another car.

[1a] My wife will not drive my Tundra. Just too big. So she says.

215:

Another angle on Apple, the usable lifetime can be quite long, in effect, more economical than buying inexpensive hardware more frequently.

216:

That's too bad.

On his 90th birthday (25 August 2020) someone recounted a Connery anecdote. Don't know if it's true.

Connery was in Edinburgh for the Fringe around 2005. He was in a cab, and amazed the cabbie by being able to name all of the streets before they got to them. The cabbie asked how he knew downtown Edinburgh so well.

"As a boy, I used to deliver milk in this neighborhood. All of the businesses have changed, but the streets are the same."

"Oh. And what do you do now?" asked the cabbie.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

217:

It would be amusing. Given that the US's biggest divide, probably by orders of magnitude, is classism rather than any of partisan hatred, mysogyny or racism...

My prediction is that there would be a modest dearth of upper class politicians with children willing to serve. They won't mix their kids with the lower classes.

So, meh effects. Given that you just end up with modest increase in sociopathy in the political elite. But, I'd buy popcorn for this.

Personally, trifecta actions that seem achievable without? starting a civil war are most likely either packing the courts or admitting US territories.

Of the two, I'd prefer admitting any and all US territories interested in admission. (Which is likely zero.). Yes, 3-4 are below 60k inhabitants, but, eh, the current failure point of our politics is racism. Most likely, adding 10, eg, senators from non-white states would significantly reduce the viability of basing evil policies on racism.

Packing the courts is more achievable but would be returned in short order. Probably within 2 years.

Albeit, please forgo optimism, reduced racism does not seem.to translate towards reduced classism at all. (Having watched the local democrats torpedo a homeless shelter based in largely groundless nonsense).

Now, if you want a war, I favor California1-California50, each artfully gerrymandered to add 80+ non-Republican senators and maintain a population over that of Wyoming.

218:

it forces the reps kids to mingle in local schools

It won't that. They will still go to elite private schools, even if the private school has to open a new branch or do fancy commuting to make it work…

Moving the entire elected branch plus hangers-on and their families would create a great market for a private charter school, and you can be that someone would fill that market, so the local kids would still be attending their shithole underfunded public schools that congress-critters never see.

219:

Charlie
( @ 206 )
Apple is ironically maturing into IBM circa 1975, only on an infinitely vaster and more pervasive scale SCREAM - run away or something ... shudder.

( @ 207 )
NOTHING AT ALL to do with "The English Press"

The National Secular Society are getting very excited about this & with good reason - & that is where my information is coming from...
I suggest you read this, from them OK?
It's the exact opposite of what France is, quite correctly, doing to preserve freedom of expression - which you also touched on, yes?

As presently worded, I think a Hebdo/Jyllens re-publication in Scotland ( Or even a repeat publication by "Private Eye" - available in Scotland ) would immediately produce an attempt to stamp down on ridiculing the religion of submission, or any other religion for that matter.
Let's avoid this obvious trap, shall we?

EC
Sigh
Agree about "hate" speech, but ... when school teachers who were TRYING TO EXPLAIN THE PROBLEM are murdered by religious nutters, then ridicule & sarcasm need protection.
Look at Poland, for another example, if you want another totalitarian religion.
Ah yes Rangers/Celtic "games" - a wonderful example of religious tolerance ...
"Hate begets hate" - yes, but when ridicule & a redfusal to "respect" untrue myths begets murder, what then?
Manchester Arena / Paris suburb / Polish Streets

I'm with Macron on this one.

220:

Agreed for the most part. I love the idea of the U.S. Government spending thirty years in Fargo, N. Dakota.

The other big legal improvement I'd make is to outlaw private schools. You want to see public schools improve? You want to see an end to ignorance? Make a Senator's kids attend!

221:

Don't you ever watch DIY or HGTV?

Give the job to Chip and Joanna Gaines and they can expend the congress building with an open floor concept.

And shiplap. Lots of shiplap.

222:

Troutwaxer @ 220: Agreed for the most part. I love the idea of the U.S. Government spending thirty years in Fargo, N. Dakota.

But what would you do with all the museums & monuments? They moved the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, but it was only a little less than 3,000 feet. Moving the Washington Monument all the way across country would probably be a bit much.

The other big legal improvement I'd make is to outlaw private schools. You want to see public schools improve? You want to see an end to ignorance? Make a Senator's kids attend!

You'd have to repeal the 1st Amendment, because a lot of those private schools are "religious" schools.


223:

Troutwaxer @ 220: The other big legal improvement I'd make is to outlaw private schools. You want to see public schools improve? You want to see an end to ignorance? Make a Senator's kids attend!

I don't think you need to disband private schools to make sending kids to public school a requirement for federal employement (which I think would catch congress-critters, the President+Vice, and executive appointees?).

I think private schools are insufficiently regulated, but I think removing them would be even less likely to happen than OGH's original idea. Speaking of:

OGH @ 205: Modest proposal (that requires a daydream constitutional amendment):
Aren't modest proposals supposed to be the ones that one doesn't want to actually happen?

JBS @ 222: But what would you do with all the museums & monuments?
Leave them in DC? Let that bit stay (with the current WH and Capital buildings joining the Smithsonian), while the new builds in other states get built bigger from the start to support growing beyond 435.

224:

I was listening to the radio the other day & they had a Doctor/Sociologist on talking about "herd immunity". What he had to say was interesting.

We (the world, and especially the U.S.) will have "herd immunity" sometime in 2022. The pandemic will end & SARS-CoV-2 will become endemic.

What route are we going to take to get to "herd immunity"?

The first route is to let a lot of people get sick and die. A lot of people will die because we don't have the resources to treat them if they all get sick at once. It won't result in acquiring "herd immunity" any faster.

The second route is via vaccine with social distancing, and masks, and quarantines in the meanwhile to prevent everyone from getting sick at once and overwhelming the medical system. What they're calling "flattening the curve"

It's buying time for treatments to be developed & for a vaccine to become available. The doctor said that if you get Covid19 now you already have a better chance of survival than if you had caught it in March or April. The more people we can prevent getting sick the fewer unnecessary additional deaths.

So, there it is. We're going to get "herd immunity". The question is how many excess deaths are we going to have along the way? Do nothing and get a lot before the vaccine becomes available or do masks, closings, social distancing and all the other active measures to try to minimize the number of excess deaths.

PS: He said we'll be approaching something resembling normal by 2024. But I don't think that's going to be true if we follow the "let a lot of people get sick & die" route. The downstream effects of having so many holes in our economy are going to be much more difficult to overcome.

225:

Bluntly, as I have said before, from the death aspect, a viable strategy is simply to let it rip and live with the near-uniform factor of two death rate. That will reduce the life expectancy by only a few years, and have a negligible hit on the economy. The bigger problem is the 'long-term COVID', which is FAR less age-dependent. Now, that IS a serious economic problem.

And anyone who says we are going to get 'herd immunity' (even in a very weak sense) is talking bullshit - the simple factor is that we don't know, and whether vaccines exist doesn't change that. We THINK that vaccines will reduce the incidence of serious problems, as will second infections, but we simply don't have the data to be certain. It's unlikely that either of those will increase the incidence of serious problems, but we don't have the data yet to exclude that.

We live in interesting times :-(

226:

He said we'll be approaching something resembling normal by 2024. But I don't think that's going to be true if we follow the "let a lot of people get sick & die" route. The downstream effects of having so many holes in our economy are going to be much more difficult to overcome.

Depends on who the dead are, doesn't it?

If they are predominately the elderly, well, that probably saves money for other purposes. Especially if heroic measures are limited to those willing to pay for them.

Dystopian? Sure, but this is a science fiction blog. Plenty of SF has been written on this theme. I'm not certain that Covid forcibly shifting assets from over-70s to younger folks would have a negative economic impact.

Societal, definitely. A society that chooses to effectively sacrifice its elderly (especially in the name of consumerism rather than survival) is a lot harsher than one I want to live in.

(Speaking from a city where bars & restaurants account for 17% of all infections, contact tracing is overwhelmed, cases are shooting up, and the mayor wants to reopen eating establishments because of the economy — even though they are less than 1% of the city's GDP.)

227:

Not a medical doctor, but I am a PhD ecologist and my wife's a pharmacist (which also requires a doctorate).

So, couple of points:

--Covid19 is already endemic in our species. Unless we get everyone perfectly vaccinated, it's not going away again, ever. If we get lucky, nonlethal forms will take over, if they'll be better at reproducing and spreading than the lethal forms are. Note that's if, not when. Disease evolution depends on being able to infect new hosts faster than existing hosts die. That's the balance between lethality and contagion. While the simplest solution is not to kill your hosts, that gets into the issue of true herd immunity, which is simply that there are no susceptible hosts if no host dies so eventually the infection burns out. Solutions to this include mutations that can't be attacked by existing antibodies and having a system where the antibodies forget you fairly rapidly. This last is what coronaviruses are notorious for.

--To repeat, in case you don't read paragraphs: coronaviruses are known for being easily forgotten by human immune systems. This doesn't mean they mutate rapidly, as do influenza and HIV. Rather it means that, for structural reasons I don't understand (and I'm not sure anyone understands), people can get reinfected by the same exact virus years later, because they lost the antibodies for it.

--This is the *really nasty* part of Covid19, and why herd immunity through infection without a vaccine may not be possible: by the time most people have had it, those who had mild infections the first time will be losing their resistance and may well get reinfected.

I'll let that sink in, because it shows how evil the proposed herd immunity strategy is: there's a reasonable chance it won't work. If that happens all you do is kill a lot of people, keep hospitals at flood stage for treating the sick, and burn out and kill off health care workers who have to deal with the mess. Indefinitely. And if a major disaster or another pandemic happens? Well, too bad, there's no additional hospital capacity to take care of the victims, unless we spend billions to trillions building and staffing Covid19 wards. Forever.

With vaccines, even if we have to get the darned things yearly, we do have a chance of getting something resembling true herd immunity, simply because people don't have to get uncontrolled infections to become at least temporarily immune. Unless the vaccines are surprisingly effective, Covid19 will always be circulating in lower numbers, but these cases (hopefully!) will be more treatable than uncontrolled spread. But it is and will be an endemic infection for the known future.

Also note that the US currently sucks plague-killed rat testicles when it comes to public mindedness, wearing masks, and social distancing. As a result, we're crippling ourselves badly. Or rather, than authoritarians who use their flags as diapers do. Guess they want an apocalypse. I got reminded of this when I saw a clip of a Taiwanese baseball game where the stands were full. In 2020. We can't do those things in America because, as a society, too many of us are like the proverbial Ik: too selfish to do the right thing even when we benefit from it.

228:

"With vaccines, even if we have to get the darned things yearly"

I remember when I had to have TAB vaccinations every 6 months and, from what I have read, antibodies fade even faster for COVID.

229:

You are obviously correct that brexit was something confected, and that a lot (although not all: something that the last few years seems to have shown is that there are a lot of people who have really, really vile views about various things) of the vote was just an incoherent protest at the damage done by the tories.

However it is not clear to me that the current government will run out of people to blame. What they are busily doing is manufacturing such people – the EU (and hence continental Europeans in general) will of course be to blame for the disaster of a no-deal brexit. The liberal elite will be to blame for whatever it is they are to blame for which is mostly everything, epidemiologists and academics generally will be to blame for CV19, Gypsies will be to blame for all the litter, and so on. This is of course the fascist playbook and it ends where the fascist playbook ends: camps and ovens.

Like you I suspect that a lot of people who voted tory will get fed up, and that they won't move to the left but to some not-so-crypto-fascist party. But I think that party may well be ... the conservative and unionist party, one-white-nation edition.

Going back to the original point: I think a proposed split of the UK which leaves a region which is (depending on where you draw the lines) more populous than Scotland and most of which (again, depending on where you join the lines) was fairly to very strongly remain in a fragment which does not rejoin the EU is implausible.

230:

A) This is actually in the category of pretty effing normal for royalty. If their realm can't afford to keep them in a capitol and/or their lords are uppity and restless, the royal court travels from castle to castle, spreading the misery of supporting the Court around and thereby keeping the lords under a bit of control.

That also points to some of the major weaknesses in this particular idea.

One is that you need massive infrastructure for the capitol to be effective. Dropping it in a place without that infrastructure takes more than 30 years, and after it's moved, you've got a lot of useless infrastructure rotting away. Since we're allegedly heading towards sustainability, building a new capitol every few decades seems more than a little wasteful.

Another is that peri-modern capitols like London and Paris actually control trade very effectively. It's the old all Roads Lead To Rome thing. The reason for doing this is not just to keep the city stocked, it's so that it's easier to tax trade. Washington DC is not at all set up for this, and that's a problem.

That said, I do actually support moving the capitol out of DC, because it's doomed by sea level rise. I'd support moving it to some place around the Great Lakes, like Cleveland, Detroit or Chicago, because trade does flow into the Great Lakes area via the St. Lawrence, and those lakes are going to be a lot more sustainable than the rapidly sinking Atlantic seaboard. With Chicago especially, a lot of highways and railroads already feed into that hub, so it would serve as a more traditional trade-taxing capitol, more like Paris.

But Chicago politics are already so corrupt, you complain. And to that I say: Yep. But that's a problem just about anywhere these days.

Corruption is not a function of the scale of the metropolis. Heck, some of the smaller of the 86 independent cities in Los Angeles County are essentially run as multi-generational aristocracies now. Others, like Commerce and the City of Industry, are areas that are primarily industrial districts with just a few full-time residents who benefit mightily from all that tax money flowing in. And they are rumored to dislike newcomers.

I could go on (Avalon) but the point is that Emperor Constantine's solution of taking a little fishing village somewhere and making it Constantinople to get away from Roman endemic corruption probably won't work so well any more.

Worse, if such a plan were instituted, the land speculators would get to the site first and drive up land values so much that the place would be unbuildable. That's what happened to California. Our first state capitol was supposed to be Benicia, on a bluff overlooking the Sacramento River. The speculators bought up all the land, so they had to move upriver and into the floodplain in a little place called Sacramento, just to get affordable land. Sacramento flooded 10' deep a decade or two later and bankrupted the state, and they actually raised the whole center of town 10 feet and remade the second floors as ground floors, just to deal. Successive floods ultimately led to the whole dam and aqueduct system on which California currently depends. Meanwhile Benicia is still a tiny little town overlooking the river.

231:

You may well be right. I missed the TAB vaccines. We'll see. The path to getting effective vaccines rolled out is a whole problem of its own. Derek Lowe's been blogging about it a bit on In the Pipeline.

232:

That said, I do actually support moving the capitol out of DC, because it's doomed by sea level rise.

https://www.npr.org/2020/10/21/926042188/landscape-architects-unveil-plans-to-save-the-national-malls-tidal-basin

233:

And in Chicago, the center of the largest Indian and Pakistani community in the US, or maybe North America, is Dee-Von Ave (spelled Devon).

234:

Heteromeles
This is where I disagreed with EC & certainly got it partly wrong ( "endemic" ) - however, however .....
The hope here is the in-trial "Oxford/Zeneca" vaccine, which targets the virus "spikes" ( which enable infection ) rather than the virus itself.
Come to that ... so I have to have a booster shot every 12 months, so big fat hairy deal, I can LIVE with that.
( I've had at least three Tetanus jabs ... I'm not sure if I'm allowed any more, though the rules for that one seem to change regularly )

235:

> Discuss...

Since nobody else wants to take you up on that...

The problem with your suggestion is that if we could pass a Constitutional Amendment, we wouldn't need to do any of that. Any program for reform in the US that starts with "we need an Amendment to..." is just flat-out wanking in public these days. I mean, you're not an American so you can be excused for the error, but any Constitutional text changes that happen before the wingnuts get marginalized somehow will be the stuff of nightmares.

For this reason i restrict myself to imagining paths that involve only legislation and legitimate executive action. Examples are Court reform (I favor appointing 18 new Justices, reducing the nutcase faction to a rump that can be ignored), elimination of supermajority requirements anywhere that the current Constitution dues not explicitly require them, reforming the lower House so that the disparity of representation for citizens of different States is lower, that kind of thing.

A D party with control of all the elective branches and a willingness to use it could still save the Republic. Signs point to their soon having a chance.

236:

Heard earlier. Yeah, the one and only Bond, James Bond.

237:

I am underwhelmed by Charlie Hebdo. It begins to seem as though they want trouble.

Were I them, I'd published cartoons also ridiculing Jesus, and Trump, and BoJo, and given yesterday I think, the "King of Europe" Nigel.

238:

It's all about racism, plain and simple.

Unless "religious schools" can prove that their syllabus includes ALL of the public school syllabus, the students are coming out of a NON-ACCREDITED school.

And completely wipe out charter schools.

239:

Don't despair :-) I have had closer to ten tetanus jobs - just possibly more. The rules do, indeed, change frequently and there have been at least six changes in the past 70 years, quite probably a lot more. I remember when it was 3 years (possibly even 2).

240:

No. I object.

The same way I object to Kim Stanley Robinson, in 2150, moving the US capital to Denver, which is idiotic, and could no way support the population needed... never mind that there will be people who can't deal with the atmosphere 1mi high.

There's a *far* simpler and more obvious solution, which has ALL the infrastructure, including rails... and, except for downtown, is > 24' above the current sea level, and even some of that is higher.

The original capital, and a lot of folks wouldn't even have to relocate, says the native Philadelphian.

241:

Charlie Hebdo has published several cartoons of all the members of the Holy Trinity and of the pope too. Many of them were obscene.

242:

Um yeah. And when Cat 5 Hurricane Iota takes out the 24' higher White House, drowing the POTUS in the emergency shelter beneath the building?

I think moving the capitol to Cleveland or Detroit has a certain poetic justice. If nothing else, it gives Canadians the opportunity of finally dealing with Americans and imposing the slightly more sane leadership of Rob Ford's relatives and descendants on us rowdy rhinos* down south.

*Referencing the metaphor where other countries dealing with the US find it like being in a party with a rhinoceros, where the US is the rhinoceros in the room: huge, shortsighted, and not housebroken. Even if the rhino is in a good mood, any time he moves, everyone else gets out of the way. And if he's in a bad mood...

243:

"Packing the courts is more achievable but would be returned in short order. Probably within 2 years."

Nope. To 'pack' the court you need the Presidency and the Senate. If the Democrats succeed with Biden and a newly blue Senate in 2021, the Republicans won't have the Presidency in two years, regardless of what happens in the House and Senate elections in 2022.

244:

"The Atlantic" is worried that the US supreme will replicate the 1850's - unless stopped.

In other news ...
Lockdown for Engalnd, with ( FINALLY ) co-ordination with the devolved sections of the UK - postponed to Thursday morning, so there can be a debate & vote on Wednesday.
Hopefuly, I & couple of friends will be able to toast the prospective downfall of a Tyrant before we part for at least a month .....

245:

That will reduce the life expectancy by only a few years, and have a negligible hit on the economy.

Wrong.

We have no idea what the long-term post-infection prognosis is for most survivors because the disease is only just reaching 12 months old.

However: we know there is widespread organ damage as a result of microvascular disease. We know that "long haul syndrome" is fairly common and can last for several months or longer -- going by other post-viral syndromes it could well last for years or decades to life.

Taking a one-time 1% mortality rate might be acceptable (not if you're in the 1%, or the 1% is in your family!) if that was all there was to it. But it's totally not acceptable if it comes as 1% mortality plus 10% permanent disability and 20% suffering some degree of low-level impairment for months to years. Never mind if it has a chickenpox/shingles like many-years-subsequent sequel condition that fucks shit up differently but badly for survivors who make it through the first few years.

Basically, we don't know jack about the long-term prognosis, nor will we for many years, and this should scare you witless. Because coming through the pandemic with 10-20% of the population seriously disabled is long-term worse in many ways than coming through it with 10-20% dead.

246:

And completely wipe out charter schools.

As a total supporter of public schools I disagree here. Sort of. Mostly. Kind of. Both of my kids did the public route the entire way. About 1/3 of that total in magnets.

What I've found in my very light weight research is that how charters operate, are certified, and so on in the US varies greatly by state. The nonsense I've read about in NYC is just nuts in my opinion. What we have in NC is mostly good. But some want to make it bad.

What some want though is to destroy public education and are using charters as that path. (DeVoss) And it's hard to separate the good aspects from the wing nut ideas.

247:

The original capital, and a lot of folks wouldn't even have to relocate, says the native Philadelphian.

You object to Denver for heath reasons of the air and want to promote Phili?

Never been in a more humid place in my life. At least one that's in the northern half of the US and not next to the lower half of the Mississippi. And I find the road system there to be much worse than DC. I'm talking routes to get around not maintenance. And that's saying a lot.

And I've spend a LOT of time in the DC area.

248:

Charlie Hebdo has published several cartoons of all the members of the Holy Trinity and of the pope too. Many of them were obscene.

My understanding is that they go after EVERYONE.

My favorite story in this arena is when Isaac Hayes quit the cartoon "South Park" after they ridiculed Scientology. Of which he was a member. This was after the show had ridiculed nearly ever other religion on the planet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Hayes#Departure_from_South_Park

249:

You misunderstood me. I was responding to a post that I understood to be referring to the 'immediate' deaths, and what I stated IS true for those (we do have enough data). Perhaps I should have stressed that the context was the 'immediate' deaths. As you say, if there are delayed deaths, it's a lot worse, but I ended that paragraph with "The bigger problem is the 'long-term COVID', which is FAR less age-dependent. Now, that IS a serious economic problem."

Obviously, I agree with the contents of your post, but it does omit one aspect. As I said, the 'immediate' deaths are closely pro rata to normal risk, and mostly take out the 'economically unproductive' (think: me and Greg), but what I have seen is that 10% of young people get 'long-term COVID'. And that's an entirely different matter and a serious economic problem.

250:

I was already scared witless because we don't know a thing about the prognosis for Covid-19. What got me even more scared was the lack of concern of my co-workers, who had all taken off their masks, once inside our mini-cubicle (low walls) work area.

I was visiting for a few minutes with my P 100 respirator on at all times. I went back home to my telework installation, shaken.

251:

What got me even more scared was the lack of concern of my co-workers, who had all taken off their masks, once inside our mini-cubicle (low walls) work area.

That's what pushed me into retiring — seeing colleagues less than 2m apart taking off their masks because they were 'tired of wearing them' and knowing that my health would potentially be in their hands. (And knowing I was far more vulnerable to immediate consequences.) I figured if the adults were that cavalier about it, the kids would be worse, and opted for early retirement. (I was lucky I had that option.)

Looking at the working conditions now, I'm glad I did it just on stress grounds.

Oh, and to improve morale the school board decided to give management an extra week's pay, because setting up for this whole remote/hybrid education thing has taken extra work. No acknowledgement that the front-line workers have been doing even more extra work for less pay, right from the get-go. Morale among my former colleagues is dropping. Wonder why.

252:

Many of the French place names that litter the Midwest have a common origin and a rather amusing story behind them

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visit_of_the_Marquis_de_Lafayette_to_the_United_States

253:

Sorry, but now you're being silly. I said downtown Philly, and I guarantee they'd be using further north in the city. Plus, with only two major rivers, and with the Schuylkill already having a dam by the Art Museum, putting in flood walls would be a relatively easy fix.

Philly, humid? In the middle of the summer, yeah, and you think DC is less? Really?

It's also got better public transit than DC.

254:

Disagree. For one, a lot of those damn charter schools, whose *entire* intent was a) screw the public school system, and b) keep their poor dears away from Those People (i.e. segregation).

AND many of them cherry pick the students. When you look at the ones that are not *allowed* to cherry pick, the results are dead even, or *worse* than the public schools.

Plus, I want real regulation on home schooling. We *DESPERATELY* NEED a common understanding, rather than the they think they know this, and y'all think you know that, and....

255:

I realize that "scared witless" is a metaphor, but since I've had to deal with any number of people doing the headless chicken dance when confronted by real emergencies, it's among my least favorite actions, and it's a pretty useless idiom.

For example, if you're scared witless by your coworkers' disregard for anyone's safety, you might, oh, rip off your mask and run away hyperventilating and screaming, thereby saturating your lungs with any viruses in the vicinity.

Presumably that's not what we're talking about? If so, let's find better metaphors. Please?

For the record, I'm not as scared of Covid19 as I am of resurgent smallpox, given the known outcomes.

256:

There are at least four kinds of coronaviruses that cause the common cold, and there's no vaccines for them. Immunity is - yeah, *right*.
So unless people get shots several times a year, vaccines for COVID-19 aren't going to be all that useful.

Wear those masks. And get flu shots.

257:

Smallpox is a known quantity, and we could restart vaccination. Nipah virus and similar are more problematic.

258:

Capital in St Louis. Or Memphis. Or even Tulsa. Middle of the country, accessible by highway, rail, water, air. (Yes, there's a port near Tulsa: Port of Catoosa. Barges, mostly.)

259:

AND many of them cherry pick the students. When you look at the ones that are not *allowed* to cherry pick, the results are dead even, or *worse* than the public schools.

Some areas allow that. Some do NOT.

Here in my entire state a charter has to take anyone who shows up. And if over subscribed they must do a lottery. The only pass I know of is once a child is in the younger get a seat if they want to attend.

You're painting all of something with a broad brush that doesn't apply to all.

Which was what I said above.

260:

@ 194 P J Evans

Watch us fall down laughing. As They do to this very day, every second of every day They project on others what Their own objectives, goals and behaviors are.

[ "...it's also to keep it free of the various political desires of states - it's written into the Constitution, under things Congress does (Article I)." ]

Yes, that worked out very well for total domination of the Constitution, the federal government and Washington D.C. to be totally dominated by the Virginians and the slaveholding south until the civil war. When the prospect arrived with Lincoln that it would change -- well they declared war. And began the process all over again when Clinton -- despite being from Arkansas -- got the White House. It was intended forever to belong to Them. Reagan proved that!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

@ 206 Charlie -- It would be easier and cheaper to abolish the cheap airline flights and invest in D.C. which being run by these same sorts They always refuse. Which maybe the virus will have done. But the Capital will have to move (if a USA continues) because it is going to drown fairly soon.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, Mr Sean Connery Bond was a wife beater ... so one cannot really mourn him, yanno?

261:

I may be scared witless at times but I remain brave.

262:

On a Human level, we wish your Mental and Spiritual fortitude much strength.

You're Fucked

BUT HOLY FUCK DID Y'ALL DO FUCK ALL FOR 4 YEARS.

What did American Democrats do? Gave $70 million dollars to a scam outfit fronted by.... the fixers who got Bush and Cheney in power. No, really. Oh, what did they do? Democratic Party snorted up $400 million in donations and then let ACB get verified.

Y'all scooped up $15 billion dollars (btw, peanuts) while the average wealth of the top 1% went up by $850 billion dollars, meaning we could accidentally drop a wallet and have more money than your broke-ass scamming shit).

And...

No, really.


You're utter fucking clowns.

263:

I may be scared witless at times but I remain brave.

I'm the opposite. I'm pretty good at getting sensibly out of trouble, rather than getting scared and charging in without thinking.

To each their own.

264:

Capital in St Louis. Or Memphis. Or even Tulsa. Middle of the country, accessible by highway, rail, water, air. (Yes, there's a port near Tulsa: Port of Catoosa. Barges, mostly.)

Memphis is fair, at least for Mississippi River access, and above any high water line for sea level rise.

Tulsa depends on water from three reservoirs, so it's only as good as the (dust bowl) rain. Furthermore, it doesn't really serve anywhere: it's not a port, it's running out of oil, it's running out of farmland from the Oglalla, and it's in tornado alley. It's not clear what the advantage is of going there.

St. Louis is an unreinforced brick city sitting near the New Madrid Earthquake fault. As a Californian, I got the serious twitches every time I visited there. You're quite right that it's got access to the Mississippi and the highways east and west, but it's eventually going to get trashed the same way any west coast city will eventually go.

In contrast, Chicago is one transit point between the Mississippi system and the Great Lakes, so it's a natural transhipment point. So is Cleveland, which is on the old Portage Path between Lake Erie and streams leading into the Ohio River. Both lead to the Atlantic via the Great Lakes Waterway and St. Lawrence Seaway. By putting a capitol in either place, you capture trade between the Atlantic and the Caribbean, as well as through much of the northeastern US and the most densely inhabited part of Canada. With climate change, that's a pretty good choice.

That's my logic in pitching these cities as future capitals: it's about a future where people move north and inland. Cities along the Great Lakes are well-situated for it, more than cities south of there. Even without taking killer humidity into consideration.

265:

St. Louis is an unreinforced brick city sitting near the New Madrid Earthquake fault.

And you think Memphis is NOT? Seriously.

New Madrid runs from SOUTH of St. Louis all the way down to North of Memphis. Most of the last big quake occurred south of where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers meet. (I grew up in Paducah and I don't want to live where the ground moves either.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1811%E2%80%931812_New_Madrid_earthquakes

266:

You're not.

Try matching a -$trillion hole to stop your SLAVE MASTERS utterly dominating your Minds. Or running guns in Mogadishu or surviving as a Muslim in 1947 India. Etc etc.

Running out of fucking granola in CA ain't it.

Point is: Nope.

@Naiai : new song by Sinead O'Connor - "Trouble of the World" (you remember her: Pope, picture , Islam, now this): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lnYBbYeMts

Worth a watch.


$15 billion on the US President is now chicken feed. $500 mil in India for Modi? Cow Dung.


You literally just handed all the fucking psychos (outside of .mil funding) an infinite stack of cash that can never run out. Literally.


That's the point. And it's also True


[1] Btw Greg. We Survived.

267:

above any high water line for sea level rise.

Where would you put that line? I've seen an estimate of 80 meters sea rise if all the ice melted everywhere and the seas warmed, but that's probably a few hundred years out. But if I were building for the centuries, I'd want to be 100 m above current sea level, just to be safe.

If you were building to last to, say, 2150(*), where would you put the line?

(*) Attempts to extrapolate the next 130 years are, of course, mostly futile -- consider how an extrapolator in 1890 would have done in predicting the current state of affairs. But we do what we can with what we've got, and such exercises may not be totally useless.

268:

Love this discussion.

I am an American who studied a year in the UK and traveled around Europe a bit. The US has moved so far to the right in the last 40 years, and it is getting even worse.

After Trump won in 2016 I made what I considered an innocuous remark among coworkers who I knew were pro-Trump - that we really needed to get rid of the Electoral College (EC). Didn't mean it in any other way than it is not democratic and skews our politics. Two of my coworkers vehemently disagreed, because they didn't want this liberals on the coasts telling them what to do. I pointed out that that was not very democrat. They DID NOT CARE.

Over the last 4 years Trump and the Republican cult who follow him have wrecked about every norm we have had in politics, don't care about the law, don't even care a bit about trying to be truthful or trying to find out what the truth is. Maybe I was naive, but it seems there was some limits to what you could try to pull over on people 20 years ago. Now we live in a dystopia where people say and believe things that are demonstrably untrue.

When Sean Spicer insisted that Trump's audience at the inauguration was bigger than Obama's when it clearly wasn't, I knew we were in deep trouble. If they lie on the FIRST DAY about something that has NO REAL SIGNIFICANCE, they will lie about everything and anything.

Reminded me of Karl Rove's quote that "we make reality now" or something along those lines. This right-wing impulse to believe you can "make" reality bend to your beliefs has reached its final conclusion, where members of the executive branch claim "almost no one" is dying from Covid-19 and we have "rounded the corner" when we just had a day with over 100K new cases.

As many have said, the trouble with trying to shape reality with rhetoric is that you get used to it "working" but then you try to spin reality and reality bites back.

I think the Democrats will win every branch of the government and Trump will say the election was stolen from him and try to overturn the results, via state legislatures, SCOTUS, declaration of a national emergency, whatever he thinks will work. Pretty sure he will call out the right wing gangs to defend the "real" results of the election. As we are all aware, there are an enormous number of people with serious weapons and serious mental disorders who feel it would be patriotic to kill the "socialists" who are taking over the country. Trump stirs up trouble and people get killed on both sides and we slip toward serious internal political violence. Then the Trump people offer a compromise; maybe Trump and his gang are totally immune from prosecution (although I don't know how this would be enforced against the southern district of NY for example). Possibly Trump and Biden meet and Trump just flat out threatens to kill thousands of people at some anti-Trump protest unless Biden concedes defeat.

I am so angry at these criminal idiots that I am completely against any type of compromise a la Gore in 2000. And if and when the democrats take over, I demand that Trump, his family, his advisers all be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want to see Trump in jail, Kushner in jail, the whole lot (of course for actual crimes, but my God there is no end to the crimes they have committed).

And the Democrats should do whatever it takes to ensure - not continued democratic rule - but a complete dismantling of the voter suppression, police state. Get Fox News and other outright propaganda off the airwaves.

Four years ago I heard how "angry" these whites without degrees were, that they were so desperate that they took a chance on Trump (after being told for 20 years the Clintons were the anti-Christ). There are a LOT of people like me who are just or more angry than they were.

Four minutes after Trump either concedes or is dragged out of the White House he and the Rs will blame the whole virus and economic problems on Biden and the Ds. Typical.

I hope this post doesn't get rejected. Sorry if I am venting. Politically I am a left democrat, not antifa or extreme left wing or someone who wants to resort to violence. There are a significant number of like minded people (I think, I hope), and we will not just lie down and take it. I intend to protest and put intense political pressure on institutions if these criminals try to take power.

269:

I'm voting Biden, but I'm not happy over it. When it comes right down to it, the Democrats are, at best, the janitors - they clean up after the Republicans, quite submissively, but don't ever exert any discipline.

270:

Better to win with Biden than lose with Warren. The good news is that he's centrist enough to not scare off the independents.

Otherwise I agree with you. I liked the Faceplant snark saying that Biden was the rebound relationship after breaking up with the abuser. Not Mr. Forever, but the one to restore your faith in relationships. And, hopefully, the one to convince you that you're actually into women.

As for discipline, right now I'm humming a politics-swapped version of "Strange Fruit," so I'm certainly not the one to restore nonpartisan discipline in the mess we're in. Hopefully Ol' Uncle Joe was serious when he said he wasn't letting them walk, as they did in 2008.

271:

letting them walk

Yes, I think history is more on the side of 1945 than 1865 as far as the individual perps are concerned. They shouldn't walk.

But not collectively. Marshall Plan, not the Treaty of Versailles. Just how you do that for the red states and areas is something that needs a bit of consideration.

272:

I hope this post doesn't get rejected. Sorry if I am venting. Politically I am a left democrat, not antifa or extreme left wing or someone who wants to resort to violence.
You're fine here. You do need to understand what your limits are, and more important how flexible they are given the behavior of the opposition. We've had discussions here about non-violent methods. (My default is that camp.) OTOH we have a regular here who once casually mentioned in a monkey-wrenching discussion that they knew how to adjust a helicopter so that it would spontaneously disassemble in flight.
And ... stay super ready/alert for the next several months at least. Whatever prep you do will be like 10 percent of what the RW nuts are doing.
Tool up with whatever tools you are good with. Read up on protest tactics and security and anti-coup tactics. Work a bit on COMSEC(and OPSEC) - e.g. reports are DHS broken some rules(maybe laws) in Portland:
DHS analyzed protester communications, raising questions about previous statements by senior department official, and that included reading the messages on at least one Telegram group, somehow, perhaps phone cloning of a member's phone.

273:

Just how you do that for the red states and areas is something that needs a bit of consideration.
Red-state hurricanes (check out the storm tracks the last several years), derechos, etc. Disaster relief money as leverage. The Red states threw the non-partisan disaster relief money norm into the woodchipper a while ago, stupid them.
There will be other acute fracturing events impacting the US (the world, some of them) - they will also be political opportunities.
All while being excruciatingly nice, and fair. :-)
But yeah, a good question that would need careful consideration.
Must separate Rs from power first(non-trivial), though, with eyes on back (and sides and top and bottom) of the head watching allies. (e.g. Lincoln Project; they've burned some bridges, but are still who they were, as mentioned I think above.)
(And; these years will be golden years when seen from the future.)

274:

In Wellington, NZ, there's a Lancaster St. It is of course pronounced as God intended - Lan-cass-ter. This gave my English aunt conniptions.

275:

OTOH, your aunt should have been happy that, back when I were a lad, Majoribanks St were definitely "March-banks". Not so much in these degenerate days.

JHomes

276:

Er, how on earth was she expecting it to be pronounced?

277:

Lin cis ter ?

278:

Apropos the way forward for Mr Biden should he win, I suggest reading Bret Devereaux on the subject at his blog here :-

https://acoup.blog/2020/10/30/fireside-friday-october-30-2020/

My opinion, as a non US person, is that the US is too big and there is a distinct lack of commonality between the far-flung states. The best way forward would be to disassemble the US into a series of smaller states. An independent Hawaii and New England is an easy win-any ideas on the rest, would Canada accept Alaska as a member of the Dominion?

279:

The political divisions don't follow state boundaries very well at all.

Here in NC Charlotte and the Raleigh/Durham area tend one way, most of the rest physically the other.

Florida and Texas similarly except the differences tend to be more extreme.

Out west the coastal regions, west of the Sierra Mountains, tend liberal, while the eastern halves tend militia conservative. With pockets like Bend OR breaking even those rules.

The map of such a split would make what was Yugoslavia look simplistic.

Our biggest issue is the rural/urban divide. With the "burbs" in the middle. And it is driving the R's nuts that the burbs seem to maybe be trending toward the urban crowd. Especially as the old fart boomers like me die off.

280:

Bryan Kansas City
The US has moved so far to the right in the last 40 years, and it is getting even worse. Same happening here ... except.
There are serious forces resisting that change - many of us can see what is/has happened in the USA & don't like it.
Unbfortunately, the most obvious example of that rightward drift is ... Brexit, which we are now lumbered with.
At the moment, it is recognised that BoZo is a liar, but is still regarded as "funny" ... but that is diminishing rapidly.
The centre/left is rapidly regaining popularity, fortunately - though we have 4 more years of this shower, if we are unlucky.

Bill Arnold
Yeah, what about Thw Lincoln Project people?
They're like the Conservatives ejected from the tory party by BoZo, I think, as an analogy....
Some of them have been actually honourable, i.e. "Never Trump" - others, not so much.

281:

Allen Thompson @ 267: consider how an extrapolator in 1890 would have done in predicting the current state of affairs.

Funny you should say that. The 1890s had a full-on environmental crisis going in the cities:

This problem came to a head when in 1894, The Times newspaper predicted… “In 50 years, every street in London will be buried under nine feet of manure.”

Of course it didn't work out like that. Henry Ford created affordable easy-to-operate motor transport, Edison and Westinghouse electrified the cities, and by 1944 horses were almost completely redundant in cities and increasingly redundant outside them.

283:

For the record, I'm not as scared of Covid19 as I am of resurgent smallpox, given the known outcomes.

Don't go there. Just don't.

Smallpox may be extinct in the wild but there are still samples in biological warfare labs around the world for an absolute certainty. Smallpox has been sequenced, it's a relatively simple RNA virus, and several years ago idiot journalists from New Scientist used a mail-order RNA synthesis lab to order sequences of Variola minor to prove a point -- that our defenses against some shitbag resurrecting this nightmare were minimal. Guess what? It's illegal to do that now, but enforcement ... almost certainly still minimal, because it's easier to legislate than it is to impose a weapons proliferation regime as picky as the one on plutonium sales on a standard medical/research technology.

Finally there are stories (not obviously supported by evidence) out of the collapse of the Soviet biological warfare program about a weaponized maximally-lethal smallpox loaded on some ICBMs reserved for a second strike role as a final "fuck you" to be used in event of the destruction of the USSR -- obviously this isn't a sane first strike weapon for even a paranoid, aggressive superpower, but if you're dead and you want to take your murderer with you, it kinda-sorta makes sense (if you have a reckless disregard for everyone else on the planet).

(The USA claims not to have gone down this road, and arguably didn't need to ... but remember the settlers and the smallpox-infected blankets? There's historical form. And who knows who the hell else went there. The sad fact is, biological weapons are a game that's easier to get into than nukes, as long as you're prepared to forcibly vaccinate your whole population.)

So: smallpox is a credible threat, and we have anti-Vaxxers coming out of our ears. What are you willing to bet that if there's a weaponized poxvirus outbreak there'll be an idiot chorus of "it's no worse than COVID19" and "stop exaggerating"?

284:

> Another angle on Apple, the usable lifetime can be quite long, in effect, more economical than buying inexpensive hardware more frequently.

A few years ago, I was forced to throw away my perfectly-functional 4-year-old iPhone and buy a replacement, because the old phone could not be upgraded to any version of iOS that was still receiving security updates, and was thus permanently insecure.

285:

Yes, I think history is more on the side of 1945 than 1865 as far as the individual perps are concerned. They shouldn't walk.

I'd like to note that the Trump regime has escalated from petty insults -- exaggerating about the inauguration crowd size -- to criminal negligence in office -- the utter failure to promptly rebuild Puerto Rico after the hurricane landfall -- to crimes against humanity -- babies in cages; toddlers in the dock in immigration court: cops violently assaulting peaceful demonstrators: providing top cover for racist lynch mobs -- and now arguably genocide. The COVID19 death toll in the US is likely to be around the 240,000 mark by election day. If Trump loses the election, he will go on a superspreader rally spree, and block attempts at pandemic control. Upshot: I suspect the USA will be somewhere in the range 300,000-400,000 dead before he's kicked out on January 20th. Possibly as high as half a million, because exponentials exponentiate and the entire US healthcare system is poised for collapse. (You can't run a hospital if all the doctors and nurses need oxygen.)

The worst case for COVID19 in the US is that it's going to be the worst mass casualty event since the Slaveowners Treasonous Rebellion.

PS: not gloating. Our fuckstain prime minister has finally agreed to put England back into Tier 4 lockdown, about 2-4 months too late: we're looking at another 80,000-120,000 dead over the winter season, on top of the 60,000 already dead -- the per-capita equivalent for the US would be a million corpses: Boris Johnson is definitely going for the "hold my beer" in this race to the bottom.

286:

The centre/left is rapidly regaining popularity, fortunately - though we have 4 more years of this shower, if we are unlucky.

Four years is too much.

I don't think I'm sticking my neck out if I predict that the political climate of England on November 1st, 2021 will be absolutely unrecognizable from where it is today (November 1st, 2020). Certainly BoZo won't be PM by then, barring a miracle. Quite possibly Scotland will already have voted to leave the UK. But those are the predictable aspects of 2021, before the full onslaught of Disaster Capitalism strikes.

Less definite but equally possible and worrying: 250,000 to 300,000 dead from COVID19, Sterling crashing to below US dollar parity, several major regions and city councils going bankrupt, food riots, mass protests rising to the level of a general strike, resumed paramilitary bombing campaigns in NI, major banks going into public ownership (because they're not viable without government support -- see 2008), major banks going bankrupt (and by major I mean "pick any two of Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest, HSBC") and the government cancelling the deposit protection scheme because it costs too much (so millions of people lose their savings), collapse of the London stock exchange and/or Lloyds, one or more major climate change events directly affecting the UK (e.g. a summer drought), the car industry collapsing, Airbus shutting down production in the UK, TfL being forced into bankruptcy and parted out to private equity, the Biden admin deciding the UK isn't stable enough to be allowed to play with Trident missiles and a UNSC permanent seat, race riots and "anti-immigrant" pogroms.

I can't quite see England going the whole distance to a military-backed coup by November 2021, but by November 2023? All bets are off.

287:

throw away my perfectly-functional 4-year-old iPhone

1. You keep those and use them as iPods.

2. I'm guessing you bought it right before that model was discontinued or superseded? Apple typically provide five years of software updates for phones after introduction, but sell older models at reduced price/spec for a couple of years after they're superseded -- e.g. they just introduced the iPhone 12 range but are still selling the iPhone 11 and iPhone Xr (a rebadged XS) as entry-level models, so devices up to 3 years old.

There was one big rupture a few years ago when they pushed out a 64-bit-only update to iOS that obsoleted a bunch of earlier models, but that ain't happening again: it was a one-time-only issue (early iPhones used 32-bit ARM cores).

Support for macs is even longer lived: I have a 2011 Macbook Pro -- technically obsolete -- that won't take upgrades as of the next macOS release, due around August 2021. A PC laptop would probably have crumbled into obsolescence well before then -- would you be happy installing Windows 10 (latest iteration) on hardware specced for Windows 7, which sunsetted in 2019?

288:

BKC @ 268
How about this for post coital regerets vide DJT? ( Scaramucci )

Charlie : 285
BoZo is rapidly losing all credibility, after this, but ....
286
C-19 deaths & worse the Long-Covid afermath ... anyone's guess, but NOT GOOD is certain.

Well, the Brexit negotiations are getting froaught with C-19
Assuming Biden wins, BoZo will cave to "Brussels" immediately ( i.e. come to some vaugely sensible arrangement ) but it will still be a shit sandwich.
Miltary-backed coup - here? REALLY?
More likely a "governemnt of national unity, led by Starmer - who can then be blamed by the tory rump, another 5 years down the line, actually.

289:

In the novel Warday, by Strieber and Kunetka, Canada buys Alaska from a USA weakened by a limited nuclear war with the USSR. In real life Vermont is much more likely to want to join Canada than Alaska.

290:

Miltary-backed coup - here? REALLY?
More likely a "governemnt of national unity, led by Starmer - who can then be blamed by the tory rump, another 5 years down the line, actually.

Remember there was nearly an MI5/Army backed coup in the early 1970s? Sterling crisis, IMF intervention, strikes, Northern Ireland going sideways and on fire, etc ...

I reckon 2021 will be at least as bad as 1973-74, and quite probably much worse: remember, Brexit is cover for the application of the Shock Doctrine to the British economy. See also Chile 1973-80, Russia 1991-2000. Nobody getting paid, industries at standstill, oligarchs buying up everything that isn't nailed down for pennies on the pound.

So I'm not ruling anything out -- although I think a government of national unity led by a sacrificial lamb/useful idiot from the Labour front bench is likely to happen first (then possibly a coup attempt if the GONU looks like it's working against the interests of the disaster capitalists who created the crisis in the first place).

291:

My uninformed take:

Biden will get a clear majority of the popular vote.

Trump will do anything to make sure the votes aren't properly counted, and make sure the electoral College delivers for him.

Irrespective of who wins, there will be fallout. Expect increased "civil unrest" aided and abetted by the Blue Lives Matter uniformed brigade.

And of course Borisconi won't do a damn thing to make things better over here until he knows which ass he's going to kick.

292:

which ass he's going to kick.

Kiss, surely?

293:

See Bill Joy's "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us".

294:

Really? Nearly a coup, that is. Unless you know something I don't, when I should be interested to learn.

There assuredly was an attempt to start one, but that never got beyond the lunatic fringe - which, admittedly, included much of MI5. But I don't think more that a little of the army would have played ball, and it would have been jumped on almost as soon as it started. Well, it was :-)

I think that a coup is almost more likely now. If things go as pear-shaped as in your or my posts, there is a high chance that Bozo's more insane successor will overstep and essentially suspend our 'democracy', and/or flagrantly sell out the country to the USA etc. At that point, it is possible that Sturgeon, Starmer, the Chiefs of Staff and Charlie Boy will petition HM, and we might see a Very British Coup (though completely the other way round from the book).

295:

"So: smallpox is a credible threat, and we have anti-Vaxxers coming out of our ears. What are you willing to bet that if there's a weaponized poxvirus outbreak there'll be an idiot chorus of "it's no worse than COVID19" and "stop exaggerating"?"

At that point the attitude of the overwhelming majority of the US public will be 'let them die' combined with 'vaccinate the children by force'.

The thing about COVID is that it's in the deniable range of infection and lethality.

296:

That's how my English parents pronounced it, too. (In the context of the WWII bomber.)

I wonder if there's a regional/class difference at work?

297:

This problem came to a head when in 1894, The Times newspaper predicted… “In 50 years, every street in London will be buried under nine feet of manure.”

My grandfather told me that the advent of the motor car made London a much cleaner and healthier place to live. Yesterday's solutions are today's problems…

298:

Less definite but equally possible and worrying: 250,000 to 300,000 dead from COVID19

Going by published numbers [various caveats apply], UK fatalities, 46229 as of yesterday, have been sticking closely to an exponential increase with a doubling time of about 11 days since the first of September. Extrapolate to taste.

299:

OGH ... You seem to be getting more and more depressed about the possibility of the UK, or more likely England, coming through the next 5-years without massive socio political unrest.
I'm interested know what was the tipping point that pushed you from pessimism to downright apoco-pessimism

300:

Govt "worst case" model projected 120,000 deaths over winter. For the past month cases (and the R coefficient) have been comfortably in excess of that worst case.

Also: 46.2K COVID19 deaths on death certificates, but over 61K surplus deaths -- COVID19 recording as a cause of death is decidedly dodgy, with some clear cases being attributed to other causes (because no antibody test within a specific time window, or because they died of secondary issues in the immediate wake of COVID19). The government has a strong incentive to massage the figures downwards, so why wouldn't they?

301:

Brexit and Trump, with a side-order of the global alt-right front pushing forward with terminal disaster capitalist policies fronted by overt xenophobia and racism.

It's a reaction by The Money to the dual-pronged threat of anthropogenic climate change and the End of Oil (and coal) as sources of rent, plus the more subtle effect of a global money laundering financial system increasingly divorced from actual wealth creation processes and instead focussing on wealth aggregation: basically, the kleptocrats have taken back control, and we're their victims, and it appears to be a global phenomenon and they don't even care that their own children are going to die as a result.

I think we'll survive, as a species, but it's going to be unpleasant and many of us, as individuals, will not make it.

302:

Interesting. I was expecting Brexit, and wasn't expecting that bunch of charlatans to do anything other than fuck it up royally, so that didn't change my view. What triggered it for me was (a) the looting of public funds and fascism becoming overt and (b) the way the sheeple and Labour party were prepared to accept that.

303:

You still did better than the early adopters who bought Core Solo & Core Duo Intel Macs or the ones who bought Windows on ARM machines* a few years ago.

*Windows on ARM may return, barring economic collapse, but not for those machines.

304:

Just what do the moneyed class think they'll be able to buy after they've killed the economy? Will they hover briefly over the abyss like Wile E. Coyote?

305:

(286) "Certainly BoZo won't be PM by then, barring a miracle."

Hopefully he won't be PM by that time. But I think he still will be - bozo's an egomaniac who will seek to remain in power for as long as he can. And his own MPs, famous for their rubber backbones will never vote for something if it means their own party is thrown out of power or they lose their seats in parliament. So there's no chance of bozo being binned by his own. They'll always choose to remain in power even if it means they have an idiot as PM.

I also think that a lot of the stories that appeared in the press recently and stories about bozo wanting to quit or not "enjoying" being PM are probably not much more than westminister chitter-chatter. Prehaps the origin of these stories are from within the tory party and from a small few tory MPs who don't really like bozo?

Moving back to the US election I've read many times now if there is a trump victory bozo will throw his EU negociations under a bus, or if there's a biden victory he has serious problems as he'll have to upset one part of his party. But I doubt that even the upset part of his (bozo's) party will get rid of him. (See above about not wanting to be out of power).

What I've not heard anyone talk about is what bozo might do if trump objects to the election result and sends the whole thing to court. Then since the whole thing goes to court it is unclear who gets to be next president and with the uncertianty and the brexit deadline looming ever closer what does bozo do without a clear answer?

306:

They'll buy sports cars from Japan and seal fur coats from Canada. There are other producers of luxury goods around the globe.

307:

Easy. He will do the first thing that passes through his, er, mind that he feels will get him off the immediate hook, until such time as he fucks it up SO badly that even his own MPs want him out. Has he ever done anything different? The only question is when that will be.

308:

What I expect for the Tories is that they'll let Boris run the country into the ditch for easy looting, and bottom put the place. Only after that will people be willing to replace him and only then will competent people want the post.

Until then it's a poisoned chalice.

309:

Tim H @ 304: Just what do the moneyed class think they'll be able to buy after they've killed the economy?

The trouble is, there is no Omniscient Council of Vagueness running capitalism. It would be a lot simpler if there was: we would just have to find them and explain things. But without such a council the billionaires are just as trapped as the rest of us.

I've been looking for an alternative to capitalism for some years now and I still haven't found it. The best option I can see is a kinder, gentler capitalism along "Nordic" lines, which seems to work the least badly of any system I've seen so far. I'm reluctant to call that "socialism", partly because its still capitalism, but mostly because then I'd be agreeing with the Republican party.

310:

I'm reluctant to call that "socialism", partly because its still capitalism, but mostly because then I'd be agreeing with the Republican party.

Also because it does not match the basic definition of socialism, which is "common ownership of the means of production".

Really, to call Nordic system "socialism" is like calling a duck a fish. Duck has a few things in common with fish. It is still a bird.

311:

That might prove difficult to do with Dollars and The Pound Sterling if they no longer represent living economies.

312:

True, but capitalism with a few things borrowed from socialism, while being all kludgy, can save a Nation from hosting a piece of "Richistan", which seems to involve the wealthiest citizens being alienated from any sense obligation to the State which enabled their good fortune.

313:

This story (in a local Pennsylvania news outlet) made it to the Washington Post[1] (the Trump campaign was told no in this case). Ooops:
Security info request from Trump campaign perturbs Cumberland County officials ahead of election (Zack Hoopes, Oct 30, 2020) (bold mine)
The Trump campaign described the request as “standard election transparency details,” but local officials find the implication — that the President’s campaign staff is harvesting election security plans through what appears to be a personal web-based email account — to be extremely concerning.
“It’s almost kind of chilling the sort of data they wanted us to provide,” Cumberland County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said. “This is basically the whole security plan. We’ve never received a request of this detail and I find it troubling that one of the interested parties [in the election outcome] feels they have a right to information that obviously could jeopardize the security of the ballots.”

This is especially funny:
But the details O’Shaughnessy asked for in her email do not concern ballot verification; rather, they are specific physical security details for ballots and voting machines.
These include information on “the location(s) that ballots are immediately sent to when polls close (including address and room number)” as well as “the individuals who transport the ballots to the location(s).”
The campaign is also asking for “the time(s) when are ballots are transported to canvass site,” information on any security provided, and “the best point of contact for each storage location(s) of the ballots.”

Better than even odds that a Team Trump Clown Ops A Team (and their vehicle(s), important) is caught and identified somewhere on high resolution surveillance cameras, and maybe in person, attempting to steal/manipulate/destroy ballots(/voting machines/whatever). And will then try to spin their own failed efforts as evidence of massive election fraud. Hell, if I were in that county, I'd quietly hide trail cams (or similar) (with cell links and email on motion detect) around and maybe set up ambushes, just for fun. Maybe the local officials already have. At any rate, the GOP has now announced their intent (they have clear motives; behind in polls). (Which could be attempted false flag ops, of course.)

[1] Charlie asked for no WaPo links. The title of the piece is "Trump campaign sought sensitive ballot security information from Pa. county, alarming commissioner".

314:

Just what do the moneyed class think they'll be able to buy after they've killed the economy?

Asia.

Once they've finished asset stripping the West, The LocustsTM will move on to East and South Asia. But, I'm not enough of an expert on China or India to speculate on how that will play out. E.g. will they buy off the CCP or go to war with them as an enemy faction?

As to the long game, to the extent there is one, I'm confident they're keeping an eye on Elon Musk's Mars project. If/when it becomes viable, they'll start planning to exploit it. Endgame: luxury villas overlooking the Martian plains with a vast, 3rd/4th-generation colonial servant class supported by AI running all the life support machinery.

315:

And yet my iPhone 4 and my wife’s iPhone 3 are both still working perfectly well, including the original batteries. Both were bought within a week or two of the initial release.
And my 8 y.o. iMac is updatable to the next release of Mac OS, as is my 7 y.o. Mac mini. My 6 y.o. iPad is doing very nicely (it’s what I’m typing this on) and the original iPad was passed to a niece after replacing the drop-damaged screen. My wife’s 6 y.o. MacBook got replaced this Jan only because she managed to give it a large cup of tea. Previous Macs of various forms have lasted similarly. In fact another niece is still using a 2004 G5 iMac.

So by and large I’d have to say that Apple hardware has been a pretty good deal for me.

316:

@310: What I think people want is "Capitalism with a Human Face." To counterfeit a phrase. I think it could work.

317:

You still did better than the early adopters who bought Core Solo & Core Duo Intel Macs or the ones who bought Windows on ARM machines* a few years ago.

That was circa 2006-2009, for the first generation Intel Macs. They got software updates for about 5 years rather than the more recent models (still getting them at 9-10 years after introduction).

Windows on ARM is returning, but it's all-new hardware and the first iteration isn't getting resurrected.

318:

The Core Solo & Core duo Macs were 32 bit and dead ended with 10.6 Snow Leopard, one major update more than the last PPC Macs. Though they did get security updates.

319:

It works in Denmark, where even the fire and rescue operations are run by a private company, Falck.

320:

BTW, I'm not referring to the slightly later Core2Duo, which was 64bit, to various degrees, depending on whether it was from 2007, 08 or 09.

321:

I have clients doing CAD on iMacs from 6 or 7 years ago. (They would like to buy newer but times are tough just now.)

Anyway, swapping the spinning rust for SSDs gave them all a huge boost a few years back. Speed isn't all that bad except for some rendering which can be done on other systems. Biggest issue are that some of the displays have some burn in / burn out. We're shuffling them around to the spare pile.

At home I have 2 MacMinis of "Late 2012" vintage. They run the Current macOS and will run the next one I think. But even with SSDs installed they are getting to be a bit slow. I guess I'll have to replace them after 9 years of service.

322:

Govt "worst case" model projected 120,000 deaths over winter. For the past month cases (and the R coefficient) have been comfortably in excess of that worst case.

Headline from one of today's CNN stories.

Boris Johnson accused of 'giving in to scientific advisers' as England heads for lockdown

I guess the Ouija board users were miffed at not being consulted. Or maybe they were consulted bug lost out in the debate.

Hold my beer indeed.

323:

Charlie
( 290 )
Really?
Even for you, that's unduly pessimistic. There wasn't "Nearly" a coup - some idiots thought it might be nice, tried asking prospective "Leaders" & got told where to go, IIRC.
SEE ALSO EC - yes ... I really don't think Brian, or Brenda, old though she is & CERTAINLY not William sitting still over that one!
Correct in that IF we get crash-out, then 2021 will be very unpleasant indeed.
I still think Wednesday onwards, as the US results emerge is the critical point. If Trumpolini wins we are all utterly fucked, with the UK becoming Österreich-Ungarn to Trump's Zweite Reich as a replay - if DJT loses, then a different path is taken - I have a question about that for our US correspondents, actually - at the end of this ...
[ Murphy's Lawyer /Charlie - that should be LICK ]
( 301 ) Coal is DEAD, here ....
See also Tim H's question - very apposite.

EC @ 307
Correct
Which is why if Trumpolini loses ( Including disputing an obvious "fail" for him & his goons that he does not accept ) ... then BoZo will break for a "settlement" with the EU ...
It keeps him in suposed "control" doesn't it?

Calling all US correspondents ( Esp inc Bill Arnold @ 313 )
MOST if not all of the key states that the D's need to win back are in the East or centre of the USA, 5 or 6 hours behind GMT.
[ Florida / Georgia / Michigan / Minnesota / N Carolina / Pennsylvania / Wisconsin ] And most of your polls close ridiculously early ...
Even allowing for the UTTERLY BONKERS different rules about counting & postal votes & pre-counting dropped-off votes between "states" ...
By what time (GMT) will it be apparent ( see list above ) will it be clear, even given your, um "variations" that DJT has lost or is in actual dispute.
I expect to be in a pub(*) on Wednesday evening - booked before the lockdown was announced - between 17.30 & 20.00 GMT, with the intertubes avalable on my magic phone-screen.
Is it likely that I/we will know if Biden has actually won, or not, by then?
I'm assuming the arsehole will cry foul & try every trick in the book, but am ignoring that, ok?

(*) The Hope, Carshalton

324:

By what time (GMT) will it be apparent ( see list above ) will it be clear, even given your, um "variations" that DJT has lost or is in actual dispute.

For a discussion, not an answer, see

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/election-results-timing/

and

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/both-candidates-might-fall-short-of-270-electoral-votes-on-election-night-but-how-close-might-they-get/

325:

The people who own the UK do not keep their money in UK-dependent locations.

326:

I just replaced my daily work driver -- a 2014 27" iMac Retina -- with a like-for-like upgrade. The old one was a bit flaky at times and I decided I didn't want to wait for first generation Apple Silicon when I could get a final-iteration Intel model with hopefully all the bugs squished. It is a beast, and should future-proof me for the next six years, too.

(And I just pulled the trigger on the same upgrade for my wife, b/c her iMac is only six months younger than my old one, I expect sterling to tank in January if there's a no-deal brexit -- buy now before the price goes up 30% -- and besides, this year's lack of travel has dented my business tax deductibles, so there' room.)

327:

One frustrating thing. When people debate herd immunity vs lockdown/contact tracing, the point they seem to miss is that the main observable economic effect is that virus prevalence drives economic effects, particularly in economies with high Gini coefficients.

Discretionary income is mostly in the hands of the upper middle and upper classes, who can also mostly work from home.

Regardless of lockdown status, most wealthy middle+ aged people are not interested in chancing a nasty hospital trip to go on vacation, paying for in person classes for their kids, or maid service. Given that those are also the people who still have discretionary income... And the reality is that you can't force people outside effectively, so herd immunity mostly takes as long as vaccination, assuming it is achievable.

The question is whether or not strict measures can lower virus prevalence enough to lower the economic hit more than they cost. It has been successful in Asia and island nations, not so much elsewhere. There may be cultural issues...

328:

> GMT

Note that most of the US just switched to Standard Time, meaning that the East Coast will be GMT-5 on Election Night, West Coast GMT-8.

329:

By what time (GMT) will it be apparent ( see list above ) will it be clear, even given your, um "variations" that DJT has lost or is in actual dispute.

You may be thinking on the wrong time scale.

Enjoy your pints and maybe reserve the seat for a week or few. (Will pubs even be open after the recent new lock down in the UK?)

If it comes down to Pennsylvania (PA), and that is way up above a trivial chance, you might be talking days. Ditto Texas(TX) and Florida(FL). Or even North Carolina(NC) depending.

Here in NC and many other states law NOW says we count mail in and early voting ballots as they come in and just seal the results. Well count is a bit of a term as we feed them state wide into tabulation machines and stack the paper in case things really go south. So in NC, which may be a difference maker, around 8PM eastern, 1AM GMT you will know our totals for early voting and within an hour or two after that 95% of the total. But if the margin is less than the outstanding mail in ballots then WE IN NC get to wait until Nov 12 before we stop accepting ballots postmarked by Nov 3.

In PA they, by law which made sense way back when, they can't start counting until election day. So it might be a while as they will have millions of ballots to feed into machines. And since most machines will be at actual polling places the ability to do so is limited. So if it's PA that determines things, buckle up. And they can't accept ballots after Nov 3 via the mail because that's the law there.

TX is fairly fast at counting but they now have over 100K early ballots tied up in a lawsuit over how they were turned in via drop off boxes. So if the margin late night Nov 3 is under or even near 100K then things might take a few days/weeks.

FL has similar but different issues. Ballots are piling up in some post office processing sites (as of Friday) and FL requires ballots to be in by election day, Nov 3. And a judge just told the post office to basically drop everything else and take care of the ballots. Period. Not sure if that was in FL or a wider area.

Anyway, unless it's a blowout, the result will not be in for days. Maybe not till Dec 13 which is the deadline for the Electoral College to be set.

And that date is what really drove the 2000 BvG issue. The SCOTUS voted 7-2 that the recounts violated the equal protection clause. The 5-4 vote was about the law stating that Electors must be set by "Monday after the second Wednesday in December". One day I need to read the actual decision by the 4 about why that should have been ignored. Other than "we do/do not like the result" that most people yell about.

330:

Also, in this video Nate Silver (fivethirtyeight) says that there's a (roughly) 60 percent chance that Biden wins AND we know by "3 AM". (The link is to the relevant bit.)
Nate Silver On Whether We'll Get Final Results On Election Night l FiveThirtyEight (30 Oct 2020, 2:52)
He is a stats + heuristics guy, and is not modeling ratfucking etc, so I'd lower that percentage quite a bit.

331:

"Lin cis ter ?"

In a lifetime in England I've never heard anyone come out with anything resembling that. I guess Phil the Greek might say it a little bit like that, but nobody else talks like him.

We do have craploads of place names whose pronunciation is a matter of debate and/or plain fucking silly, but Lancaster isn't one of them; it's invariably pronounced just as you would expect from the spelling. Off the top of my head I think that is the case for all the "-caster" and "-chester" towns, though not for "-cester", which is just "-ster" (except for Cirencester).

332:

Now, I realized that you're not from the US, but please, at least *look* before you accuse: the Dems actually walked out, trying to keep the GOP from having a quorum on the Judiciary Committee, and Mis Lindsay misused a rule to vote it out, and the GOP have the majority in the Senate, and it was pretty much a party line vote, The Dems did what they could....

333:

Biden *said*, in so many words, there will be no pardons.

334:

Partly, because the goddamned racist bigots are doing their best to destroy the US public school system.

335:

Heh. I just retired my workstation that I built in '12, with a Core I-3. At that point, I start worrying about MTBF.

I'd keep using my '09 HP Netbook... but it's 32-bit.

And I run CentOS Linux, and there's no official 32-bit release....

336:

What, you don't *want* to be what your ancestors, 500 or so years ago, were, serfs? (Hmmm, and if your lord didn't like you, did you get serf-boarded?)

337:

I see from the link someone posted to 538 that PA, for example, *won't* be all in by the end of the day (04:00 GMT).

338:

Comparing machines that some of us build ourselves to those people buy "off the shelf" isn't very fair.

339:

Sorry. As of yesterday mail in ballots in PA can arrive by Nov 6 if postmarked by Nov 3.

Gee, you'd think it would be simpler. [snark off]

340:

Rabidchaos @ 223:

JBS @ 222: But what would you do with all the museums & monuments?
Leave them in DC? Let that bit stay (with the current WH and Capital buildings joining the Smithsonian), while the new builds in other states get built bigger from the start to support growing beyond 435.

So, shut the whole government down for a month while everyone traipses off to DC for the Kennedy Center Honors?

341:

would you be happy installing Windows 10 (latest iteration) on hardware specced for Windows 7, which sunsetted in 2019?

*looks over at cheapo 8" Win10 tablet running on dual-core 1.6GHz Celeron with 2GB of RAM*

Actually Win10 will run on quite old PC-specced hardware. There's a supported 32-bit version of the OS (unlike Macs) which is getting upgrades and patches (see tablet mentioned above). The 64-bit version of Win10 can run 32-bit programs without sandboxing or recompiling (unlike Macs). I'm running a 20-year-old program executable on that Win10 tablet regularly with no problems other than it is limited to 4GB of working storage since, you know, 32-bit but that's not a deal-breaker.

I saw a Youtube video a while back where someone loaded Win10 onto older hardware, stuff built to run Windows XP and later (Vista, ME and Win 7) and compared the boot times and utility run times with the original native OS. Win10 ran as fast or faster than the original OS. The only problem with it was that Win10 took up more disk/storage space than the original OS when loaded, not really surprising. He did have to slipstream a cut-down version of Win10 on some of the machines since 20GB HDDs wouldn't cut it but it booted and ran without some utilities pre-installed, the voice and assistance support and the like.


342:

60 percent chance that Biden wins AND we know by "3 AM"

I assume that's EST, so 2020-11-04T08:00Z. Best get a night's sleep and check in the morning. Which is what I'm going to do, and I'm in GMT-5.

343:

The thing about "herd immunity" as I understood what the Doctor was saying is that it will come will or nil. It's the only thing that will end the epidemic.

The argument is over what we are going to do getting from here to there. The doctor's point was that just letting people get sick and die won't produce "herd immunity" any more quickly. We won't get "herd immunity" without the vaccine, no matter how many people die in the interim.

Prophylactic measures like wearing masks, avoiding mass gatherings & practicing social distancing with a massive campaign of vaccinations will get us to "herd immunity" just as soon as "do nothing and let people die" will.

And over the long term having fewer unnecessary deaths will have less deleterious economic impact, even if the short term effects of the closings are a bit greater.

So which is preferable - a short term economic boost with lots of excess deaths & long term downsides OR short term downsides with a long term economic boost from having better survival rates?

344:

For good or bad MS HAS to support a lot of this older "crap", err 32 bit apps. Way too much critical stuff uses it. MRI systems, power plant control systems, process control whatnot.

So they keep supporting it in ways to allow companies to keep things going but push them hard to move to 64 bit and Win 10 and whatever is next.

Large airline my wife just left. Someone in Switzerland was reporting an issue on their Win 10 Explorer (or whatever was MS current at the time). This was about 5 years ago. Her developer team in Argentina said their MODERN software only was supported on Google Chrome. She got to firmly, but politely, explain to them that in much of the world airlines had to use what the airport put in front of them. Web based apps only. And how it was a call to tech support for her to get Chrome on her standard issue Win 7 Pro laptop. Which is what was in use company wide as of this summer.

Now I'm sure that MS likes the income from paid support for this company's Win 7 Pro usage but at some point the complexity of such support becomes a drag on the company's developers no matter how much money it brings in.

345:

Elderly Cynic @ 257: Smallpox is a known quantity, and we could restart vaccination. Nipah virus and similar are more problematic.

They have restarted vaccinations for Smallpox.

I got one in Dec 2003, just before Christmas. The Army decided we needed smallpox vaccinations before deploying to Iraq. I think some of the younger soldiers in the brigade had never had smallpox vaccination.

Wasn't able to celebrate with family that year because I have a niece & nephew young enough they had not been vaccinated. I and all my sibs were vaccinated for smallpox in the 1950s to early 1960s (you had to have a smallpox vaccination at age 5 before you could attend public schools).

Maybe they've stopped again since then, and maybe the vaccinations are not quite general now, but they did restart them at least for a while.

347:

Tim H. @ 304: Just what do the moneyed class think they'll be able to buy after they've killed the economy? Will they hover briefly over the abyss like Wile E. Coyote?

I don't think the moneyed class comprehend that they're killing the economy.

348:

From the guardian, "Trump plans to declare victory before election is called - reports".

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2020/nov/01/us-election-2020-donald-trump-joe-biden-mike-pence-kamala-harris-coronavirus-covid-19-live-updates

Wait...he's going to declare victory *before* the election? ----- (!)

ljones

349:

I don't think the moneyed class comprehend that they're killing the economy.

This.

Most are wedded to an ideology of capitalism good / socialism bad without understanding they are already benefiting form a huge does of non capitalistic policies. And so since it ideological it must be correct and can't fail.

350:

Allen Thomson & others inc Bill Arnold
I assume that, both from exit polling & from actual counts, even in US states which are not expected to change hands, a realistic picture, of whom the real winner is will be presented by Wednesday, 12.00 hrs EST = 17.00 GMT (?) ...
Unless it's a really tight result, yes/no? Irrespective of whatyever bullshit DJT puts out, that is.
Please inform.

Thanks - those links are useful ...
So: we need to watch the indicators as well as the swing states & the early-reporters are likely to be:
From the 538 site - Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, S Carolina & Florida ( though I thought the last was likely to be delayed? )

351:

He's going to declare his victory if the early results show he's leading.

352:

If you’re a politician with an election coming up, the first often looks better.

353:

The question is whether or not strict measures can lower virus prevalence enough to lower the economic hit more than they cost. It has been successful in Asia and island nations, not so much elsewhere. There may be cultural issues...

You think? (sarcasm)

Chatting with friends overseas, the big difference seems to be that people here (GTA, Canada) have been ignoring the virus restrictions way more than people in China or Thailand. Which kinda surprised me: given how much the average Chinese person happily ignores rules I'd have expected a lot of evasion but apparently that's not happening (at least, not as much as here).

Looking at South Korea, their biggest source of spread seems to be evangelical Christians — and evangelical Christianity is a Western import (especially the "we're victims, everyone is out to get us" vibe that the Korean sects apparently have going on.

354:

Bill Arnold @ 313: This story (in a local Pennsylvania news outlet) made it to the Washington Post[1] (the Trump campaign was told no in this case)

[edited for brevity]

Better than even odds that a Team Trump Clown Ops A Team (and their vehicle(s), important) is caught and identified somewhere on high resolution surveillance cameras, and maybe in person, attempting to steal/manipulate/destroy ballots(/voting machines/whatever). And will then try to spin their own failed efforts as evidence of massive election fraud. Hell, if I were in that county, I'd quietly hide trail cams (or similar) (with cell links and email on motion detect) around and maybe set up ambushes, just for fun. Maybe the local officials already have. At any rate, the GOP has now announced their intent (they have clear motives; behind in polls). (Which could be attempted false flag ops, of course.)

Doubly disturbing in light of Eric Trumpolini's call for supporters in Texas to Have fun" harassing the Biden Campaign

Democrats cancel Central Texas events after Trump supporters surround, follow Biden bus on I-35

FBI investigating alleged harassment of Biden campaign bus in Texas

How to spot voter intimidation and what to do if it happens to you

Spotting The Difference Between Poll Watching And Potential Voter Intimidation | NBC News NOW

355:

Should note that that sarcasm is directed at those idiots holding huge parties, yelling in the middle of shops about how they can't breath with a mask, etc, not at Erwin.

Given I've just has a precautionary surgery cancelled because of the Covid uptick, I'm rather cranky at idiots ignoring precautions right now.

356:

Pigeon @ 331:

"Lin cis ter ?"

In a lifetime in England I've never heard anyone come out with anything resembling that. I guess Phil the Greek might say it a little bit like that, but nobody else talks like him.

We do have craploads of place names whose pronunciation is a matter of debate and/or plain fucking silly, but Lancaster isn't one of them; it's invariably pronounced just as you would expect from the spelling. Off the top of my head I think that is the case for all the "-caster" and "-chester" towns, though not for "-cester", which is just "-ster" (except for Cirencester).

The only one I know is Worcester, pronounced "WUUS-tər"

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/17/En-worcester.ogg

Wikipedia's Pronunciation respelling key is an interesting read.

357:

Worcestershire sauce is terrible. I wish the Unifon alphabet had caught on in the 70s.

358:

Unless it's a really tight result, yes/no? Irrespective of whatyever bullshit DJT puts out, that is. Please inform.

You have to wrap your brain around that it is really 51 or so individual elections. Popular vote across the country is just an indicator. It can be like 2000 where it was obvious who was going to win what states EXCEPT for Florida. So it was all about Florida for weeks.

Or it can be that PA, NC, FL, TX, AZ, WI, MI, etc... are some or all close and depending on which ones break which way the results can vary all over the place. Who's leading at 11pm EST doesn't matter unless it's a win by then. If the too close to call states hold the balance, get ready for a long night or few weeks.

I might have a feeling for it but the mix is just hard to read. I know many committed voters to each side. But the real decision is which is larger and motivated to vote:
Love Trump + D's are evil
or
Love D's and Trump is a steaming pile of dog poo.

Texas and North Carolina have early voted more than voted in total in 2016. So either no one will show up Tuesday or the numbers will blow away election rates going back 100 years. I'm betting the latter. But that means guessing just who all these never voted before folks are and which way they will vote.

And in reality, no one knows the answer to that.

Obama won NC in 2008 due to weather IMNERHO. D's get out the vote for early voting was very strong. Then the entire state was rainy and 45F/7C. The R's stayed home and O won the closest state race in the country that year. Tuesday is supposed to be sunny here. But I wonder about TX, MI, WI, PA, etc...

359:

I saw something the other day about him canceling his election night party and that he'd spend it in the White House.

360:

He'll be spending it in the bunker under the East Wing of the White House. He's scared of the violence he'll start by declaring himself victor the moment he sees an early lead.

361:

A big part of that party was flying in a few "winners" from each state to celibate the win. Given how his campaign squandered their cash I'm thinking there were 2 reasons it was cancelled.

Celebrating a possible defeat is anathema to Trump.

Trump wasn't going to pay for it out of his pocket.
He really is a cheap skinflint.

362:

@358: 50+ individual races

This is correct. But some matter lots more than others.

Florida is particularly important. Florida has a record of fucking up elections but this year might be better than in the past. If they don't fuck up this time they are expected to report almost all of their ballots soon after the polls close.

If they manage that, and the result is D by an un-ratfuckable margin, the game is more or less over. Trump needs support for a coup to defy the results unless a whole bunch of really unlikely things happen.

363:

JBS @ 340:
So, shut the whole government down for a month while everyone traipses off to DC for the Kennedy Center Honors?

So, I haven't heard of the Kennedy Center Honors, so I had to look it up. It's a long weekend event with a bit hosted by the State Dept and traditionally a bit hosted by the President + spouse. Probably not all that many people to fly across the country for the weekend.

Though, that does bring to my mind another question regarding the rotating court capital idea: do all the embassies move too?

364:

Heh. No worries.

My general impression of Chinese disregard of rules ( being somewhat of that persuasion ) is that it is much more prevalent when not visible. (Eg, we'd save a lot of money building with the noncompliant building materials and no one will find out...). Masks, on the other hand, no one likes being beaten to death by a mob. ( Or being repeatedly browbeaten. ). So, not exactly surprised that compliance is higher. Couple that with a federal government willing to enforce policies and a populace capable of understanding that modest improvements in containment shorten lockdowns significantly, and you get a recipe for success.

That, and killing your parents is rather more likely ( parents not stuck in nursing homes ) and also less accepted.

365:

There is indeed a Mac OS 32bit still getting updates; I’m using it. The version currently on my iMac (Mojave? I forget) runs 32 or 64 bit apps with no complications. The very latest is, I think, 64 bit only, which seems fairly reasonable all in all - it’s not like they haven’t been waving the flag for years.
Tbh the main reason I haven’t moved to the latest is that I have a copy of SketchUp 2017 that I really don’t want to fart around with - they have gone annoying web based subscription etc - and that is 32 bit. I suppose I should do the virtual dance with it some time. I’d really hate to try to learn any of the other packages in that space.
Mac OS is awful. But all the other plausible GUIs are far, far, worse. Linux UIs are lamentable and I only tolerate using it for Smalltalk where I can have a decent ui. Windows... just no.

367:

The Oglalla is farther west (the Panhandles of TX and OK, and mostly under Nebraska). Eastern OK does get rain - it was pretty when I went through there in mid-October one year.

St Louis - yeah: one of my friends, who was working in Dayton and traveling through St Louis one summer, described it as "the world market for used brick is Not That Large". But it's possible to fix that.

368:

Teehee, I know that one rather well. There's even some nipple driving around with a number plate on his Mercedes that spells it like that.

But there are plenty of others, eg. Alcester (Alster), Bicester (Bister), Towcester (thing for burning bread in), and lots more. Cirencester is AFAIK the only one that is pronounced with greater precision, without the elision.

The related suffices -caster and -chester, however, are pronounced according to the spelling. If there are any exceptions, I can't think of them. So Manchester is just Manchester, and Lancaster is just Lancaster, and if someone thinks it is something different they must be very weird.

The one which is probably guaranteed to produce arguments is Shrewsbury, because even the people who live there can't agree whether it's Shroozebry or Shroazebry.

I've probably mentioned before that my favourite toponymic mispronunciation is of Loughborough (Luffbra), which Americans are reported to pronounce as Loogabarooga. I now call it that as well because I like the sound of it, and I want some French film-maker to make a Loughborough-based spoof version of American Werewolf in London just so that it can have the title "Le Loup-Garou de Lougabarouga".

369:

California law says up to 38 days after Election Day for counting - so final by Dec 8. (The ballots are paper. At least if you use the one that was sent to you. Not sure what the "voting centers" have; I opted for mail before the primary, because of warnings about the machines being unreliable and also the county effing it up.)

370:

No nuclear testing was done in the Marianas, they were in the Marshall Islands like Bikini, Johnston and Kwajalein Atolls. The Chemical storage and destruction was at Johnston Atoll.

Forgot to acknowledge this earlier, but you're absolutely right. My bad.

If someone wants to discuss the ethics and practicalities of the mainland US offering resettlement to all the islanders our carbon emissions are displacing, I think that's a good discussion to have. It might even be the best argument for statehood, actually. Unlike Floridians, who had a choice in our climate change politics and refused to exercise it, the atoll-dwellers and others really are getting screwed here.

371:

Some 32-bit programs won't run under Win10, even with compatibility set as far back as possible. I need either XP or Win7 for some things to work properly.

372:

The voting centers have paper ballots and big shiny boxes to put them in after you finish inking the ovals on your ballot.

To be fair to California, I'm pretty sure they've already processed the ballots they've received, so there's going to be a big old bolus of results at 8 pm Pacific Standard Time when California early votes get announced.

Where the 38 days matters is in the small elections, when you've got a few thousands or tens of thousands of people voting, and the race is basically 50/50. At that point, every vote does, in fact, matter. Since California has non-partisan races, it's entirely possible to have two democrats or two republicans running for a position, so you can't forecast the results by looking at party affiliation in an area. Also, our ballot propositions often go down to the last day, or at least until it's mathematically impossible for the losing side to close the gap, based on how many ballots are left to be processed.

For example, in San Diego County, there are two democrats running for the District 1 County Supervisor seat, two republicans running for District 2, and two democrats running for mayor of the City of San Diego.

373:

"Mac OS is awful. But all the other plausible GUIs are far, far, worse. Linux UIs are lamentable and I only tolerate using it for Smalltalk where I can have a decent ui. Windows... just no."

UIs? I'm still using PSPICE version 5.0 for DOS (in QEMU) to simulate circuits because it has such a super UI. I reckon the good DOS UIs, like that one or the Borland Turbo one, beat anything else I've come across. The Linux variant of SPICE has a crappy UI, and I've seen screenshots of Windows variants and they look no less of a pain in the arse than graphical interfaces for any program that involves craploads of parameters/variables usually are.

It has its limitations - it crashes if the output file gets too big - but I can work around that and it's rarely a problem. What is a problem is that it's so bleeding slow, but I don't think there's any good answer to that. AFAIK the basic SPICE engine pretty much fossilised ages ago in a form which more or less precludes any useful parallelisation, so whatever version I use I'll have 7 cores idle and one getting red hot.

Why this should be the case I don't know; I thought it was basically doing iterative solutions of a ruddy great matrix of equations and should lend itself quite well to being split up into subsections to do them in parallel. But Berkeley say you can't. Maybe the original development didn't take account of the possibility because there wasn't much call for it at the time, and they wrote themselves into a corner so now you'd have to more or less start again in any case.

374:

Maybe the original development didn't take account of the possibility because there wasn't much call for it at the time, and they wrote themselves into a corner so now you'd have to more or less start again in any case.

Having written more code like that than I care to think about, that sounds completely plausible.

I hadn't heard of PSPICE before and after googling I have to say I hope they write better simulation code than websites. I guess they figure if you're there you already know what you want.

375:

SPICE is the industry standard circuit simulation engine, which came out of Berkeley in the early 80s IIRC, maybe earlier. There are numerous prefixed variants which are basically different people's attempts at bolting on some better interface than the fuck-awful teletype graphics mess it had as original. PSPICE is one such variant which also tweaked some of the models for active devices and is sometimes more accurately predictive of the real circuit. I've never got anything at all that I wanted off that website, but since PSPICE is probably the most popular commercial variant there's no especial difficulty about finding models for it all over the place.

376:

The locusts are Already In Asia. Really. Apparently, one hasn't made it in China until one has a Cayman Islands Trust handling one's account.

The simplest model for the future that I know of is Piketty's redistribution or revolution. Obviously both can fail, badly, but his point is that the concentration of wealth appears inevitable in all kinds of societies, and it's a problem that certainly goes back to the iron age and probably the bronze age. The ancient solution was the jubilee, where all debts were wiped out, prisoners freed, etc., and the whole system was reset to start over. This was in service of keeping the king on his throne, of course. But the problem, as I understand it, isn't just that some people are better at particular things (farming, herding, leveraged buyouts), it's that luck is also unevenly distributed. Some people get unlucky just because excrement occurs, and people get lucky for exactly the same reason. Since people with property tend to accrue more of it, at least while they're alive, if property is inherited, over time it builds up, along with influence, until you have rich and poor as we do now. At that point, the system is unstable. The question then becomes whether to break it down or let it break down, to the degree you have control over it.

Now this is overly simplistic, because wealthy families tend to have huge problems hanging onto their wealth and power. Versions of the "shirt-sleeves to shirt-sleeves in three generations" metaphor reportedly shows up in European, Chinese, and Muslim societies, and it's about the problems of the normal descendants of financial geniuses hanging onto any parts of the fortunes their ancestors amassed. The current US president is a classic example of the problem. Indeed, many political/aristocratic dynasties don't last more than a few generations, probably for the same reason.

In our current situation, the super-wealthy are trying to game the systems to stay in power and keep their wealth. That's to be expected. Even Gates and Buffett, who pledged to give away their money, have somehow only become richer since they made those pledges. The question is whether they lose their wealth because things fall apart, or because people take it from them and tell them to start over. The latter is actually less dangerous, but given everybody's apocalypse-addled brains, many of them seem to think that building disaster-proof hideaways and trying to be both a survivor and in power makes more sense.

377:

Just for fun, here's two California place names that most people have trouble with, one that some have trouble with, and one that is pronounced as it's spelled. I'll let you figure out which is which and how to say them right

Del Norte County
Sepulveda
Suisun
Zzyzx

Oh, and get out of Wikipedia. Sheesh!

378:

First Sunday of the month. Isn't that "Pico and Sepulveda" Night?


"You can keep Alvarado,
Santa Monica,
even Beverly Drive.

Vine may be fine,
but for mine I want to feel a-live
and settle down in my
La Brea... (Pico and Sepulveda, Pico and Sepulveda)
...Tar Pits (Pico and Sepulveda, Pico and Sepulveda)"

379:

I had a brief play with Fritzing the other week. It promised to do breadboard layouts from a circuit diagram and I was looking for some independent advice that what I was doing with the breadboard made sense. I gather it's got a SPICE implementation built in, but didn't go that far with it. I believe it works as a graphical thing on linux... have you had a go with it?

380:

Pigeon
Note for our US readers: -caster or -cester endings indicate a Roman foundation or re-foundation.

Reverting - so ... which states are likely to both report first & give a reasonably accurate picture of whether we have a definite Biden win - even if that state has (eventually) voted for for the turd?

381:

Trump has said "we’re going in the night of - as soon as the election is over - we’re going in with our lawyers..

His strategy for winning the election really is "send lawyers, guns and money".

382:

Reverting - so ... which states are likely to both report first & give a reasonably accurate picture of whether we have a definite Biden win - even if that state has (eventually) voted for for the turd?

As several of us have said. There is no easy answer.

If you want to experiment try this site:
https://www.270towin.com/
You'll have to enable scripting but it allows you to game it out.
Their Consensus seems to be their analysis of the polls added to the polls. Their Polling map is just that. How things look based on an average of a lot of polls.

They show 7 states that "lean" Biden. If all go to him plus the ones assumed to be a lock then he wins. If not then it depends on the 5 other states which this site and many others feel are too close to call. Then you have Texas which seems to lean Trump but...

As I and others have said, there are a LOT of first time voters showing up which makes polling hard to do as you can't use the past to predict the future.

Plus the demographics of all of these states that may be in play are each wildly different.

So visit the site and click on the states and play it out.

Now at around 1 am if it's a blow out for Biden you can head to bed. If not a blow out, well Wednesday might be an interesting day. If a blowout for Trump it will not show up till much later as early voting has been dominated by D's doing about 1/2 of it. I's and R's split at about 1/4 each. So it means that R's will be playing "catch up" in the count Tuesday night and Wednesday.

383:

There is indeed a Mac OS 32bit still getting updates; I’m using it. The version currently on my iMac (Mojave? I forget) runs 32 or 64 bit apps with no complications. The very latest is, I think, 64 bit only, which seems fairly reasonable all in all - it’s not like they haven’t been waving the flag for years.

The move to 64 bit was trailed with the release of 10.5, Leopard, in 2007: and they finally pulled the trigger and killed 32 bit compatability with macOS 10.15, Catalina, released in 2019. So a 12-year cut over period for a primarily consumer-oriented OS, with a couple of years of security patches for machines still stuck on the older OS version (because: critical apps hadn't been upgraded in over a decade).

PowerPC support ended with Snow Leopard, 10.6, in 2009 (107, Lion, in 2011, dropped support for Rosetta binary emulation of PPC).

This level of backward compatability is obviously not what you want if you're supporting a deep space mission or an obscure piece of industrial or medical equipment manufactured in the 1990s, but then, nobody was using Apple kit as a platform for that sort of application back then.

384:

I've probably mentioned before that my favourite toponymic mispronunciation is of Loughborough

Edinburgh.

Pronounced "Edinburruh". Fools a bunch of Americans.

385:

I reckon the good DOS UIs, like that one or the Borland Turbo one, beat anything else I've come across.

You are not obviously wrong, but they lack a bunch of modern bells and whistles (support for networking tools is just a start).

This shouldn't be a surprise: they're all descended from IBM's CUI or Common User Interface, a mid-1980s attempt at designing a common UI for all their kit, on the then-reasonable assumption that the future consisted of mainframes connected via LAN to PCs running front-end apps. The idea was that CUI would replace all their old terminal interfaces, would run on DOS, Windows 3, and the shiny new OS/2, and mean users only had to learn one set of accelerator keys (eg. Alt-F-S for File menu->Save) regardless of the underlying platform.

Windows 3 did indeed follow the CUI guidelines rigidly (as did Microsoft Word 5.5, or Microsoft Works 3, the last DOS versions) and it was reasonably smooth.

But the writing was already on the wall. CUI support for mice was lamentable but Apple/Atari/Commodore had already popularized the rodent-driven interface which was clearly superior for free-form graphics and stuff like page layout which (who knew?) turned out to be a killer app for GUIs. Apple did not buy into that CUI stuff, though, so MacOS never followed the same rules (although the File and Edit menus look superficially similar -- I think they go all the way back to Xerox) and then Microsoft broke everything at the UI level in Windows 95, emphasizing eyeball candy over compatibility and functionality.

386:

Look on the bright side. We are hearing all the classic slogans that predate a fascist coup, and his supporters have armed themselves to his teeth. If he were competent as well as evil, 2016 would have been the last time the USA elected a president for at least a generation. That might still be the case, but it's not even odds-on.

387:

On this matter, what do YOU look at for Scottish news?

388:

"Smallpox may be extinct in the wild but there are still samples in biological warfare labs around the world for an absolute certainty"

It's not even needed ; I remember reading an article about rebuilding it starting from cowpox (which happen to be named "vaccine" in french), maybe some 10 years ago, and while looking for this article I landed on this :

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/paper-showing-how-make-smallpox-cousin-just-got-published-critics-wonder-why

Smallpox can be resurected by any sufficiently competent biologist with the right kind of hardware. At least several hundreds people in many nations.

389:

I was involved in the CUI project, as a sort of external adviser, and have a copy of the original document somewhere, unless I have thrown it out. Yes, that's basically right.

IBM originally designed it to be a common interface on both IBM display stations (3270s) and IBM PCs (IBM DOS and OS/2 only); Microsoft was not involved, but had rights to use it, and then shafted IBM with Windows 3 (another story). Many of us advised against that, because it was only a few aspects that were in common, and we said the 3270s would not last long, but IBM disagreed; in the event, the 3270 mode rapidly disappeared during CUI's development, as IBM realised we were right.

CUI was pretty ghastly, largely because it was designed by people with 3270 but no WIMPs experience, and people like me were consulted only at a late stage and on details. As you say, they didn't think that mice would become important for general use, and had other blind spots.

Inter alia, I tried to argue against having a direct (single action) menu item and accelerator for quitting, but was told people needed it to be easy and fast because they did it so often (eh?) I wasn't surprised to see the next release come up with a nag box, thus negating the whole point, which is clearly a good idea when quitting an editor with unsaved data but a damn-fool one when quitting a game of patience with no game in progress!

But that's what we got, and it's why so many of our interfaces are what they are.

390:

On this matter, what do YOU look at for Scottish news?

No single source will suffice. The Scotsman is a generally centre-right broadsheet with an Edinburgh bent and a unionist editorial stance. The Glasgow Herald is its west-coast equivalent. For a pro-independence perspective, there's The National. The Daily Record is a tabloid but often has some interesting political insights from the unionist side (lots of Scottish Tory and Scottish Labour infighting, mostly).

391:

Thanks very much. For my purposes, adding The National to The Scotsman should do - but, Oh! God!, its ad.-suppurated Web page!

392:

uBlock Origin will help you here, under Firefox,new Edge and *even* ad-friendly-Chrome, I just checked.

393:

Thanks. My problem is that I also run a secure environment, and (a) the number of pop-up screens for XSS is a real pain and (b) some Web pages bypass my mechanisms and go into a loop, soaking resources.

394:

Modern Internet is a pain, more often than not.

I have a special place in hell for the sites that only load thru Javascript.

Even, with my standard uBlock + Cookie Autodelete settings blocking a lot of crap the difference in speed between a newspaper with and without Javascript is quite telling about the level of spying involved.

You should not need Javascript pure content sites, it should be reserved for interactive graphics these days, useless for editorials and standard news.

395:

a populace capable of understanding that modest improvements in containment shorten lockdowns significantly

As opposed to North America, where flaunting containment seems to have become a badge of political allegiance…

(And I'm including Canada because defying containment measures seems to correlate quite well with populist/right-wing political positions. Which isn't surprising, given how much of our politics — and culture — comes from south of the border.)

396:

Mac OS is awful. But all the other plausible GUIs are far, far, worse.

So every OS sucks?

397:

@380:

Reverting - so ... which states are likely to both report first & give a reasonably accurate picture of whether we have a definite Biden win

To reiterate, Florida could be a bellwether if it votes D by more than a few %. Florida tabulates early votes as they come in, so those ballots that have arrived have already been counted. If there are no major fuckups/disasters on Election day, Florida should be reporting enough votes to close the deal on Election night. If the result is an un-ratfuckable Biden win, the Trump campaign is in the following position (using State-by-State odds from the 538 projection):

They need to win every State that has even a 51-49 R lean. There are five of these.

Then they need to win three States where the odds are 70/30 against them.

Then they need to win certain big State that is projected 85/15 odds for D.

Then they need at least two *more* wins (they're making up for Florida here) in places where the odds are even worse, in to 9:1 range.

That is, with Florida off the table on the D side and the Ds otherwise winning only places that are more or less overwhelmingly Blue, Trump needs a 1:10E6 (that's what I get, multiplying out the odds) series of wins at the State level for an EC victory.

If Florida calls an unquestionable win for Biden on Election day, the i's will not be dotted nor the t's crossed until the Upper Midwest reports results. The dust might not be settled for days or weeks. But assuming the D's win only races where they have 9:1 odds, plus one 8.5:1, there is no way for Trump to win an EC majority if he loses Florida. He leaves, or finds support for a coup.

398:

He already has support for an attemoted coup .....
However ... if the D's win, the very first thing they need to do is reverse that Supreme decision that screwed the voting rights Act, tes?

399:

For your night of election how to call it?
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-02/your-hour-by-hour-guide-to-an-election-night-like-none-before

As to the voting rights act. Like a lot of other unpopular SCOTUS decisions, they say to write a better law. Which in this case means rules must apply to all states. The original voting rights act was written such that states not mentioned could pull crap and not be in violation like the states mentioned doing exactly the same thing.

Laws should be forward looking, not punishments for past crimes.

But, yes, a new law would be good.

400:

My personal nightmare is that a Biden victory is probably much less certain than polling would indicate. First, polling errors in states tend to be correlated. That brings us to 538 levels of uncertainty (9%) at the moment.

But...the pandemic has affected broad changes in voting patterns, which will likely affect turnout and ballot spoilage in odd ways. Coupled with an administration that is demonstrably ready to cheat... I worry that the odds are probably closer to 1 in 3.

On the bright side though, more likely than not, turnout will tend to favor democrats. The odds of a wave election are probably as good as those of a trump victory.

Longer term, once Texas turns blue, the Republican position is much worse than is appears. Their racism is probably close to a local maximum in support, so getting back to 50% would involve a significant leftward shift.

402:

Also, per slightly reputable source, best to avoid Chinese groceries, other possible right-wing nutter targets until maybe a week after election day.

Source probably advising out of an abundance of caution, but, meh.

Personally, we've stocked up, so, eh.

403:

"The Whale Saves!"

404:

"Just what do the moneyed class think they'll be able to buy after they've killed the economy? Will they hover briefly over the abyss like Wile E. Coyote?"

If you are an individual, your best chance for yourself and your family is to have a lot of money. Stepping out of the game will not slow it down even a bit.

Also, if you are in the game, you spent years working extremely hard to get in and advance. You're not going to suddenly change your mind.

405:

to Heteromeles @376:

The simplest model for the future that I know of is Piketty's redistribution or revolution. Obviously both can fail, badly, but his point is that the concentration of wealth appears inevitable in all kinds of societies, and it's a problem that certainly goes back to the iron age and probably the bronze age. The ancient solution was the jubilee, where all debts were wiped out, prisoners freed, etc., and the whole system was reset to start over. This was in service of keeping the king on his throne, of course.
Redistribution of wealth is a normal and natural process, and it is inadvisable to prevent it in the long run - the wealth is going to be accumulated in the hands that are not suitable to hold it and thus provoke the obstacles to collapse with catastrophic results. The problem is that jubilee would only be effective in the society that fearfully rejects and detests money brokering operations - the Middle Age society. Usury, in particular, was very much frowned upon by religions of all types. In modern times, exponential runaway processes are so ubiquitous that even if somebody successfully persuades everybody to wipe their sins, debts and crimes, the next time they will have to repeat the process will come even faster. Exponentially faster - all the smart people know that this cannot continue for too much longer. They can only be checked by other processes of the same property and magnitude.

But the problem, as I understand it, isn't just that some people are better at particular things (farming, herding, leveraged buyouts), it's that luck is also unevenly distributed. Some people get unlucky just because excrement occurs, and people get lucky for exactly the same reason. Since people with property tend to accrue more of it, at least while they're alive, if property is inherited, over time it builds up, along with influence, until you have rich and poor as we do now. At that point, the system is unstable.
This might seem to be rather cynical, but I do not believe "people" to be better at anything by themselves, not at significant levels of biology - I see them as a blank template in this context. It is the knowledge and tradition they bear that makes better at something - this naturally includes all sorts of "luck". I am, of course, not very familiar with such terms except when it comes to technology.

Now this is overly simplistic, because wealthy families tend to have huge problems hanging onto their wealth and power. Versions of the "shirt-sleeves to shirt-sleeves in three generations" metaphor reportedly shows up in European, Chinese, and Muslim societies, and it's about the problems of the normal descendants of financial geniuses hanging onto any parts of the fortunes their ancestors amassed. The current US president is a classic example of the problem. Indeed, many political/aristocratic dynasties don't last more than a few generations, probably for the same reason.
Wealth is supposed to be based on something, and also it is to be maintained by something. AFAIK, there are a lot of things that can constitute to that - industry, culture or trade. But none of them are as effective as finance and everything that is connected to it. Well, in the end, finance acquired so much wealth that it becomes impossible for them to maintain it with sources they have and the crash follows - because they do not generate any value themselves (it is all fraudulent).

TBC

406:

In my admittedly cynical opinion, software vendors are all in favor of CUIs so long as their application is (a) an exception, or (b) their bindings can override everybody else, or (c) both. In the case of (b), if their apps add a new binding, it means anybody else already using that binding has to retroactively change.

407:

Cont.

In that manner, modern public associate "wealth" with money, or securities, and maybe property (especially intellectual). They assume that ideas, knowledge and tradition is not something that fits to be valuable because they can't be moved, sold or liquidated fast enough. You have to think a decade ahead for something like that. That is a big downside, because if they transition from one system to another, values themselves will change, rules will change, and all of top-99% of wealth will vaporize in instant. That is why I believe that it is impossible for modern Capital Sharks to migrate into Asia as whole and abandon Europe at once - this is their ship and they will sink with it. The exception might be in those people who actually base their money on less virtual skills and have more of the "tangible" value.

It is not entirely obvious for many people, especially wealthy, but technology we operate costs A LOT of money, and not because of intellectual rights only. Not only direct costs, but also indirect infrastructure and social expenditures. Sure you can buy yourself a gold bathroom, or cool electric yacht, but you would be surprised that just a proper schedule upgrade for a substation nearby will cost a comparable sum of money, especially considering that it hasn't been considered for too long. For the same reason we can't really go to space either.

to FUBAR007 @314:
As to the long game, to the extent there is one, I'm confident they're keeping an eye on Elon Musk's Mars project.

I assure you, there isn't enough space on this comment section to describe how I detest modern "venture capitalism" and similar - those people who (act as if they really) believe that any problem can be solved at no time if unlimited amount of money is thrown on it. Modern financial system cannot even remotely fathom what amount of money and time is to be redistributed to allow casual spaceflight like "private spaceflight" likes to preach. Most certainly it is measured in hundreds of trillions, and require greater planning than any imaginable climate change plan can provide.

408:

Early voting is over in Virginia. The final tally for my small town in the Shenandoah Valley: 50% of registered voters, 36% in person and 14% absentee ballots already received and scanned. Only about 2% more absentee ballots remain outstanding. So, barring intimidation tactics outside the polling locations, neither side is doing any ratfuckery as Virginia doesn't report results until the after the polls close on election day.

We had some non-voters show up, including several 70+ women who told me that this was the first time that they'd ever voted. The number of registered voters increased by about 4% during the early voting period, but Virginia doesn't ask for party affiliation as we have open primaries here.

The only thing that I feel confident about in this election is that voter turnout is going to be very high, possibly over 85%.

409:

There’s also Happisburgh pronounced Hazeburra!

410:

Try Mousehole and (I believe) St Osyth, at least until my youth.

Answer: Mowzle (ow as in plough) and Toozey. The first I can guarantee.

411:

How *do* you pronounce Chichester?

412:

whitroth @ 359: I saw something the other day about him canceling his election night party and that he'd spend it in the White House.

He ran up against a DC city ordinance that required all attendees to wear face masks & maintain social distancing (which also limited the number of people who could be in the room at the same time).

413:

What's been mind-boggling has been registration, and turnout. The early votes/mail-in votes broke 90M - about 3/4 of the *entire* vote in '16.

And Austin, TX, reported 97% voter registration, something I've *never* heard of.

414:

Right. The stock market, for example, is literally a Ponzi Scheme - musical chairs (if you know that kid game) with money. If I understand correctly, right now it's about 90% fantasy (I'll pay x, even though it can only make a dollars, and it's not even paying dividends, because it's HOT and COOL!)

[shakes head] As I've been saying for decades, to paraphrase the Batman, stock traders are a superstitious and cowardly lot.

415:

Best ever: Brief (by Underware - <G>). Easiest to use, didn't even use a mouse, and it was *the* preferred programmers editor late eighties into the nineties.

My copy's on the shelf above my head to the left....

416:

100% agreement: there's a reason that venture capitalist is often referred to as vulture capitalist.

There is *zero* interest in the long term (ok, 99 44/100%) disinterest in the long term. For them, as the joke goes, "long term" is "next quarter".

And space travel... I saw something recently about PRIVATE SPACE STATIONS, which is the most mind-bogglingly STUPID IDEA EVER. I want to grab the morons by their lapels and shake them - why do they *think* that, in the US, most big cities have a train station called "union station"... which is where ALL the railroads that came into the city, passenger, came to? For that matter, name a single major airline with its OWN, privately owned, airport.

417:

Pretty much a clone of the Rand Editor (PDP 11 Unix), itself heavily influenced by the Yale Editor (PDP 10).

Brief was good. Was it withdrawn/sold/or something strange?

418:

Yeah...

I think you'll do better if you parse out history better and get a better handle on what's going on now.

One example is that bronze age, iron age, classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and current transnational wealth all work on different systems. While yes, this is obvious, you have to be careful about mixing eras. The bronze age had international commodity trading with credit but without coined money, for example. Money (as in coins) was an iron age invention.

The same problems of accumulation, wealth attracting wealth in a way that results in rich and poor, seems to be universal in hierarchical societies. I've even seen reports of it from the Andes, and they certainly were not part of the Old World trading system. The destabilizing effect of wealth and poverty also seems to be universal in hierarchical societies, again regardless of system (cf: Andes, Central and North America). Therefore, we can probably get away with talking about this issue somewhat abstractly. Wealth accumulation is not a problem that capitalism invented. It's a problem that capitalism has failed to solve, although good attempts have been made in Scandinavia in the last few decades.

In reference to modern transnational capitalism, I'm not sure you realize how utterly pervasive the system is. American ultra-rich tycoons won't flee to Russia or China, because there are already ultra-rich tycoons there. China has homegrown billionaires exporting capital to hide it from authorities, the same way Russia, the US, and every other large country does.

Moreover, when you're talking about individuals whose net worth is greater than the GDP of about half the countries on the planet, the notion of citizenship gets very odd indeed. This seems to be one reason why the wealth management industry tend to operate on smallish islands: they're too small to put up a fight, but the fact that they are recognized nations in the international community of nations makes them extraordinarily convenient places for the wealthy to manage their wealth from.

Anyway, if you want to better understand how modern wealth is managed, I strongly suggest getting a copy of Brooke Harrington's Capital Without Borders. I don't think ownership of the book will get you in trouble, as it's a sociological study, not a polemic.

But the problems of wealth accumulating in the pockets of transnational billionaires are analogous to those of bronze age slaveowners: wealth accumulates, but too much inequity in the distribution of wealth throughout a culture destabilizes it. That leaves us stuck with the possible solutions being some combination of rebuilding the system (revolution) to (temporarily) do away with the inequities, or resetting the system (redistribution) so that the wealth is (temporarily) more evenly spread around.

It is apparently possible to have a resilient meta-system of many cultures working together to avoid accumulating wealth and manage their resources sustainably for a very long time. The only example I know of is from aboriginal Australia (see Dark Emu), and it was rapidly destroyed by English invaders. Unfortunately, that kind of resource management probably only works at very low human populations. Getting from our current status to population densities on par with those of Aboriginal Australia require well over a 99.9% reduction in human numbers. That little problem make revolution and redistribution more palatable, even if they're only temporary fixes.

419:

@413:

What's been mind-boggling has been registration, and turnout. The early votes/mail-in votes broke 90M - about 3/4 of the *entire* vote in '16.

Early voting in TX was more than all voting in 2016.

420:

And space travel... I saw something recently about PRIVATE SPACE STATIONS, which is the most mind-bogglingly STUPID IDEA EVER. I want to grab the morons by their lapels and shake them - why do they *think* that, in the US, most big cities have a train station called "union station"... which is where ALL the railroads that came into the city, passenger, came to? For that matter, name a single major airline with its OWN, privately owned, airport.

I saw a episode of the Amazon Prime series Beyond Geek that covered good old JP Aeronautics and their quest to put airships into orbit. Two things I didn't realize were a) how far along they are (they've actually got and tested first generation electrochemical engines for their orbital ship), and how serious this nonprofit is about taking people's experiments up to 100,000' on the rigs they use for testing their equipment.* And how cheaply they're doing their efforts.

If they can get a human to orbit for $50,000 and have suborbital stations at 140,000' doing industrial work, then yes, I could believe in private "space" stations.

More to the point, if and when our society gets on a geoengineering kick to deal with climate change...giant, high altitude airships are a really good system for hacking the atmosphere to reduce insolation. And guess who's developing really cheap, really effective ways to get cargoes to the right height?

*Seriously, they launch balloon platforms 4 times per year. Any experiment (within reason) that you can fit into a ping-pong ball they will rack and send up to 100,000'-130,000' for free. You can get bigger boxes lofted for a few hundred dollars. For student science and basic stuff, that's a tiny price compared with what it costs to do something with NASA.

If nothing else, let the nerd kids in your life know about the pongsat program. Or heck, do it yourself.

421:

Pigeon @ 368: I've probably mentioned before that my favourite toponymic mispronunciation is of Loughborough (Luffbra), which Americans are reported to pronounce as Loogabarooga. I now call it that as well because I like the sound of it, and I want some French film-maker to make a Loughborough-based spoof version of American Werewolf in London just so that it can have the title "Le Loup-Garou de Lougabarouga".

I'd expect it to be pronounced "Loffburra".

422:

Charlie Stross @ 384:

I've probably mentioned before that my favourite toponymic mispronunciation is of Loughborough

Edinburgh.

Pronounced "Edinburruh". Fools a bunch of Americans.

Didn't fool me because I had an Edinburgh "native" explain it to me before I got there, along with how to tell the natives from the tourists.

423:

wealth management industry tend to operate on smallish islands

A refinement on that may be in the works:

https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/ship-operations/crypto-cruise-ship-satoshi-soon-heading-panama

Crypto cruise ship Satoshi soon heading to Panama

Tourism Authority Administrator Ivan Eskildsen has welcomed plans for the crypto cruise ship Satoshi to be located off Panama.

It is being touted as a place for 'everyone from digital nomads to YouTube influencers, start-up teams and established businesses.'

A Panamanian newspaper adds the detail

https://www.laestrella.com.pa/economia/201025/golfo-panama-recibira-crucero-residencial-nomadas-digitales

Este lujoso barco saldrá del 4 de noviembre próximo del Puerto de Pireo en Atenas, Grecia con destino a Panamá y donde permanecerá anclado a 22 kilómetros de la costa. (where it will remain anchored 22 kilometers from the coast)

Undoubtedly by coincidence, Panama's territorial limit is at 12 nautical miles, 22 km.

424:

whitroth
Masive registration & turnout ...
Most seem to think this will mostly turn out ot be "D's" - yes?
Is this likely to be the case?

I note that DT's "supportes" have been blocking roads, bridges & attempts to block Polling Stations! - WHY? What's the supposed point of this?
Or are they really as stupid as that seems to show?

From the reports, here, it seems that ... unless it's really close - like last time - a winner ought to be apparent by or soon after 08.00 GMT ( = 03.00 EST? ) & certainly by 12.00 / 07.00
Yes? Please inform.

I am expecting Trumpolini to go utterly bonkers ( I mean REALLY bonkers ) unless he's got an obvious win, which does seem unlikely on today's form.

AT
"Cruise ship Satoshi" - as in Bitcoin?
Wait until it's full, then hit it with a cruise missile.

425:

"Cruise ship Satoshi" - as in Bitcoin?

Exactly so.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satoshi_(ship)

426:

Didn't fool me because I had an Edinburgh "native" explain it to me before I got there, along with how to tell the natives from the tourists.

* Is it wearing a kilt? (While being male -- female clothing rules mean the tourist detector trick doesn't work.)

* If "yes", is he also:

- Wearing a dinner jacket

or

- Wearing Football or Rugby colours

* If "yes" to the above, is he Drunk?

If you got a string of yes's, then congratulations: you spotted a native.

If the kilt-wearer is sober and not dressed for a match or a wedding, he's probably a tourist.

(You occasionally get weirdos who wear utilikilts while sober or to goth night clubs, but they're pretty rare, and the goths don't stay sober for long anyway.)

427:

Masive registration & turnout ...Most seem to think this will mostly turn out ot be "D's" - yes? Is this likely to be the case?

Per Talking Points Memo, it appears to be voters of both parties, with a slight edge in democrats. TPM is partisan left-wing, so I don't know how true that is. We'll find out during the rest of this week.

So far, there haven't been massive, coordinated attempts to block voters, just possibly because in the US that's a federal and often state crime. Equally likely, everybody saw how many people voted in advance and gave it up as a bad job.

There are also reports that the Biden campaign is swarming with lawyers who've spent months gaming out the possible legal challenges to the votes in each state and are ready to go with counters. Again, I don't know if this is true, but we may find out.

One reason for optimism is that there's been a glut of lawyers coming out of law school in the past decade or two, and taking apart the current administration in court could keep many of them gainfully occupied for years, if they can get those jobs to materialize. I'm hoping that someone (potentially someone named Harris or even Obama) started organizing that effort awhile ago. Come to think of it, this may be why Senator TurtleWight has been corrupting the courts as fast as he can approve justices--to try to keep his fellow undead from being turned into "men of conviction."

428:

"How *do* you pronounce Chichester?"

/ˈtʃɪtʃɪstər/

"Chi" as in chicken (twice) then "st" then an indistinct "er" or "uh" sound (then an optional r on the end, depending on your regional BrE accent.)

In ad-hoc spelling pronunciation, "chi-chi-stuh" or "chi-chuh-stuh"
Definitely not anything with "chest" in the middle.

(The first syllable gets all the stress, so the vowels in the second and third syllables are not very distinct.)

429:

Most seem to think this will mostly turn out ot be "D's" - yes?

A week ago in NC and a few other places it was 3 to 2 R's over D's new registrations in the last month or so.

Both sides are energized. Which makes polling so frigging hard just now. Surveying 1000 people in a very diverse population in so many ways is based on apply historical standards.

No matter what the result there are going to be a lot of frustrated/pissed off people.

430:

@398:

Certainly he has support for an attempted coup. What he needs is support to actually pull it off.

As for voting rights... The House already passed a voting rights act at the beginning of the session. It's languished for want of attention from the Senate. I didn't look at the contents, but I assume it denies the rationale Roberts used for gutting the previous version by making all the States get pre-clearance. If Ds win the trifecta, I expect prompt action on a voting rights law.

Obama called for sweeping reform in his memorial speech for John Lewis earlier this year, and made explicit that it's worth ditching the Senate filibuster to get it. Personally I'm hoping for universal automatic registration of voters and making Election Day a national holiday, and you-lose-your-business fines for employers who won't let employees have time off to vote. Since Court reform is approaching Conventional Wisdom, if they threw in redistricting rules for Congress requiring some kind of neutral procedure, it could turn into a threat to the Supremes to either refrain from attempting to kneecap D governance, or be demoted to irrelevance by appointment of enough reliable D partisans to ensure a majority.

431:

AFAIK, not ported to Windows.

Haven't seen it in Linux, either, though I suspect I could run it under wine.

433:

And how much wealth accumulation begins in outright force and violence?

As I understand it, the lower castes in India were the previous inhabitants, before being invaded.

Then there are mine-owners... (see the wikipedia entry on the Molly Maguires).

I understand that part of the Roman Empire's wealth came from expansion, that is, conquest.

434:

The blocking the way to the polls isn't just "attempted". It's just more blatant this year.

My late ex, a Floridian, told me how in 2000, a Black friend? co-worker? was on his way to the polls, and a cop down the end of the street looked at him, and said, "You don't want to be here".

Yes, that wide-spread.

435:

There's a Brief-alike called "Grief" which you can find on github. You might have to do a "configure, make, make install" to get it working, but it's available.

436:

to Heteromeles @418:

Moreover, when you're talking about individuals whose net worth is greater than the GDP of about half the countries on the planet, the notion of citizenship gets very odd indeed. This seems to be one reason why the wealth management industry tend to operate on smallish islands: they're too small to put up a fight, but the fact that they are recognized nations in the international community of nations makes them extraordinarily convenient places for the wealthy to manage their wealth from.

I remember now that about two month ago I've had a strong urge to read more about thalassocracy in general and about several examples such as Venice, Genoa, Hanse or Byzantium. They are all ancient powers of considerable weight (before the colonial era), but I am sure history does not put enough attention to them since they are just not associated with certain big nations of today. But they all did play significant role in history of Europe. My country, too, and in many ways the same role modern West does.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gazaria_(Genoese_colonies)
What if I to review them with respect to their economy in the same way that we treat our current situation.

to whitroth @416:
And space travel... I saw something recently about PRIVATE SPACE STATIONS, which is the most mind-bogglingly STUPID IDEA EVER.
The funny thing is what happened about decade ago when Space Shuttles went out of use. And even a bit earlier, when ISS became operational. My country's "tech giants", the remnants of USSR engineering bureaus, jumped up and presented new systems to the world "markets". This is how we got variants of mini-spaceplanes, air launch from a large plane, and privately-operated space stations. Not owned or constructed privately - they were only looking for funding.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_Technologies_Commercial_Space_Station
Predictably, every single one failed to gain any traction, despite the fact that they have actually had all the technology they've advertised at their hands and did not require a decade of "incremental testing" or changes of plans. They could just salvage decades old technology and adapt it to new commercial rails. Now it is just too damn late - it seems that not even NASA is going to cooperate.

437:

And how much wealth accumulation begins in outright force and violence?

That's a loaded question, but a good one. You're absolutely right that, by the time a bunch of hierarchs are trying to make empires for themselves, violence seems to be inevitable. Rome, the Inkas, England, France, Spain, Japan, etc. all invaded their neighbors and imported the booty as a way to enrich the imperial citizens. China's the one that doesn't quite seem to fit that trend, but the way the emperor ran the Middle Kingdom(s) isn't that much different. And the same is true for most empires, actually. A good empire is one where the benefits of being subjugated outweigh the costs (taxation, corvee, resettlement) of being subjugated.

The problem's at the other end of the scale. To pick absurd examples, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, and Alexander didn't set out as five year-olds in hunter gatherer villages and end up as military rulers of sophisticated civilizations. They all were able to conquer because they were in the right place at the right time, building on military infrastructures that others had created before them.

That's the deep problem: how do groups of people gather resources to get to a situation where they can send out conquering armies that essentially forage for slaves and booty, expand the territory, grow the conquering machine, and keep doing it again? They need to develop some set of advantages, either resource-based or cultural, that lets them become conquerors. That's where inequalities and luck seem to come into play.

That probably didn't make much sense, but if you see imperial expansion as a massive avalanche, there are two different questions: what started the avalanche, and what made the avalanche unstoppable when it took off? Genghis Khan, Alexander, etc. are examples of unstoppable avalanches, but they benefited from others who got the rocks rolling long before they were born.

438:

Far out. I'll look at that. I don't see an rpm, damn it.

439:

I remember now that about two month ago I've had a strong urge to read more about thalassocracy in general and about several examples such as Venice, Genoa, Hanse or Byzantium. They are all ancient powers of considerable weight (before the colonial era), but I am sure history does not put enough attention to them since they are just not associated with certain big nations of today. But they all did play significant role in history of Europe. My country, too, and in many ways the same role modern West does.

Oddly enough, I've been reading Lincoln Paine's The Sea and Civilization, which takes an ocean-centered view on the development of civilization. You might like it if that's something you're interested in.

So far as the whole offshore financial center phenomenon, it seems largely to be a follow-on of the British Empire, which as you know was a thalassocracy. The key point here is that English law back during the Crusades developed the legal mechanism of the Trust. It run under the church courts, rather than the king, and the point was so that some lord going off to fight in the Crusades could entrust his property to an honorable friend or family member to manage on his behalf (if he came back) or on behalf of his heirs (if he died on crusade). This was critical for the Church in that it meant that nobles could go on crusade without risking their lands and family.

Jump to the 20th century, and hugely sophisticated trusts are a centerpiece for how the super-rich manage their money. They actually don't own it, the trusts do, and since a trust is a relationship, it can't be taxed.

Most of the offshore financial centers are current or former members of the British Empire, governed by some descendant of British law. Thus offshore wealth is not about a thalassocracy, but rather it depends on the legal mechanisms laid down by a former thalassocracy.

440:

A quick web purusal reminds me that Brief eventually ended up at Borland, which killed it.

None of the articles I just read mentioned the Rand editor. The user interface and appearance were almost exactly identical.

441:

Heteromeles
imperial expansion as a massive avalanche
Like the Han, repeating previous attempts & are doing exactly that in "Xinjiang" & elsewhere ( like Tibet )
"Slaves & Booty" indeed ....

Back to the main subject:
We all know, that last time, the polls actually got it correct, Hilary C won by about 3 million votes, but lost the election, because "electoral coll/apse/age/spiracy"
How bad COULD it be?
Could DJT lose by 10 million votes & still game the "college" to win?
Expert opinion, please?

Footnote: If DJT wins, that's it for the anglospheric global civilisation ... because BoZo will jump back into DJT's pocket & we are all seriously shafted.
If I was under 50, I would seriously consider moving country - to either Germany or NZ ...
As it is, I will be 75 in January & if the worst happens, there are worse ways to go than going down fighting.

442:

Damn.

I had such hopes with Apollo-Soyuz in the seventies. But Fucking Raygun, the GOP, and the ultra-wealthy (WE CAN'T LET SOCIALISM SUCCEED, WE'LL LOSE OUR MONEY) cheated us out of.

443:

@434:

What you're describing is ordinary garden-variety ratfucking. It works to cloud the issue when the result is close, but when margins get to 2% they can't change things.

If Florida looks like a 2% win for Biden by midnight, Trump needs Republican officials to say "Elections don't matter after all" or he's done. It's not clear he has that kind of backup.

444:

Could DJT lose by 10 million votes & still game the "college" to win?
Expert opinion, please?

Mathematically possible. But very very unlikely. 10 million is a big number.

And it wouldn't be gaming the system if it was within the rules. Win enough states with enough electors and you win.

Basically you have California and New York which have lopsided D majorities. So you get more electoral votes from them relative to the popular vote than a win in Texas where the popular vote is close.

PS: Not an expert in any fields you are thinking of.

Just someone who has been watching the polls state by state for months now. Too much at times.

445:

If you are interested in how and where billionaires stash the cash then you should read "Moneyland: Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take It Back" by Oliver Bullough.

Moneyland is a country I invented; it doesn't exist in the way that any normal country does. But it's basically the place where you can put your money, you can put your reputation, you can put your children, if you are rich enough to afford it services. And it is essentially a hybrid country that exists outside of ordinary nation-states, where the reach, the power of law enforcement, doesn't stretch to. So essentially, it's a secret country, a private country for anyone rich enough to afford its services, and it's essentially government, sort of, of the rich, for the rich, by the rich.
(From this interview)
446:

It was Nixon who torpedoed NASA, not Reagan. Reagan poured billions in the aerospace industry. It was for totally loony projects like the Space Defence Intiative, but it kept the industry working.

447:

In my city we had nearly 1million, 200 thousand early voters last week. This despite the entirely incompetent, lazy and jerkish Board of Elections doing their level best to make voting if not exactly impossible, as difficult as possible. Mail-in is a total failure due to BOE incompetence teams with Team DT's sabotage of the US Post Office.

~~~~~~~~~~

@ 436 Reply

[ " ...Venice, Genoa, Hanse or Byzantium. They are all ancient powers of considerable weight (before the colonial era), but I am sure history does not put enough attention to them..."]

That's not true among responsible historians everywhere, particularly in Europe. And particularly in Italy! And especially in the medieval centuries, they were utterly entertwined via trade rivalry, which so often became outright war.

Though ignorance of even the existence of these long-standing cultures and powers us true in the US.

For ex, the Ottoman Empire is hardly acknowledged in Western Civilization survey, beyond the mention of the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and then the parceling up of the middle east and other territories of the losing side's empires in Asia, Africa etc. among the winners of WWI. But I don't think anybody teaches the history of so-called Western Civilization at any level in the US anymore. Colleges and universities have gotten rid of history departments entirely. Now with the virus, cost-cutting includes getting rid of graduate history study departments too even at the a-tier schools in a lot of places.

However, it's pretty hard to get a decent handle on the history of Europe without the Ottomans (or another very neglected, long-running empire, the Holy Roman Empire), particularly in the 16th century, particularly if one is studying France. Among the reasons France is the most islamicized European country presently goes back to that century and the alliances François I made with the Turks.

I've branched out from my specialties, US history and slavery, to, since the election year of 2016,
studying Merovingian, Carolingian, Mongolian, and Ottoman, and European medieval history, systematically. It's called escapism, even the 14th century -- maybe even the 14th century especially, with its hinge of the first visit of the Great Mortality.

448:

Re: IBM CUI - yes, I was a minor consultant on that when I was at IBM UKSC. Basically it was a fairly typical xkcd “one standard to unify all the other standards “ approach. I tried to discourage the inclusion of the horrible mainframe terminal stuff and the 80x25 PC pseudo terminal stuff but... well.

I’d already got hooked on the Smalltalk approach and al those other systems just feel so utterly lame by comparison. I remember ‘Brief’ for example, and tried enacts and vi and E and so on over the years. The least awful (but still so very annoying) is/was StrongEd on RISC OS, the Acorn OS. Which one can still try, for free, on a Pi. So many nice ideas with so much promise. Sadly, no proper multitasking etc, no multi core support. But wholly khao, it’s fast on a Pi4!

But really, when you’re in Smalltalk you just don’t have much use for a mere string editor.

449:

Apollo-Soyuz was dead on delivery, at least at the US end: it was using up the last flightworthy SIB launcher left over after the end of the Skylab program, which in turn was the final whimper of the Apollo Applications Program, which was a bunch of follow-on programs to use Apollo hardware tech in human space exploration. AAP was killed by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967, and Saturn V construction ceased in 1968. Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz survived, but Apollo 20 was cancelled in 1971 and Nixon cancelled Apollo missions 18 and 19 in 1971 -- he was minded to cancel everything from 16 onwards, but was talked out of it.

450:

Don't forget that Nixon also cut the budget for the original, totally reusable space shuttle. He was the one reponsible for the kludge that we eventually got instead.

451:

I am so tempted to buy the new Raspberry Pi 400 and install OpenRiscOS on it. Just because! I never had an Archimedes, now I can buy a ridiculously over-powered one and have change from a hundred quid.

(Edit: Luckily for me the Rpi 400 is currently sold out -- on launch day! -- so my wallet is safe for a few weeks.)

452:

Space pedant - Nixon landed up cancelling Apollos 15 and 19, the original 16-18 then got renumbered. The original 15 was going to be using the handcart to lug gear around with the astronauts but the first Rover was ready, along with the LEM capable of carrying it, so the 15 crew got to drive instead of walk.

On the private space station front, Axiom Space is worth keeping an eye on. NASA is paying them to launch a new module in 2024, and between now and then they have three Crew Dragon flights lined up. Further along they have grandiose plans to add more modules and then detach the whole thing as an independent flier when the ISS is decommissioned. How well that will work when, in the same timescale, it's likely firms with the cash to spend can go to Elon and get him to put something the size of the Skylab workshop (no room for the telescope mount, and you need to shorten the docking adaptor a bit, but width-ways it fits the Starship cargo area with room to spare) into orbit and even bring it back rather than scattering it across Australia.

And, for those of a certain age, SpaceX, Gerry Anderson style