Thursday Open Thread

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Please feel free to write comments on this post on whatever topic you like! (As usual, please avoid personal insults of each other, vulgarities aimed at each other or at third parties, or other things that are likely to poison the discussion.)

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    1. One problem for race based decisions is that the entire, modern, human species originated in Botswana. All humans are African. Some drought wiped out the trees. The apes that could stand up, were less aggressive, could cooperate better, thrived on a plain and survived.

      Very dark skinned African immigrants outperformed whites in the 2010 Census. They do not need a discount.

      American South blacks can be half white. The discount should apply only to people providing a lab report of maternal mitochondrial DNA with greater than 50% origin in Africa. They are also lighter in skin color. That is not helpful.

      Someone who makes a living calling people, racist, is called a race whore. All race whores must also produce that report. Many have DNA from the British Isles.

      1. ” Someone who makes a living calling people, racist, is called a race whore. ”

        What about someone whos call a racist a racist not for compensation but rather just as a civic-minded contributor to the national debate and because it seems the right thing to do?

        1. No such person exists. All have a rent seeking agenda.

          1. America is selfish, not racist. “What can you do for me.”

            A reverse form of racism has arisen. See a very dark person, that could be an immigrant from African. Employers chase that person waving cash, and admissions officers do the same, to get a superior performer. Africans are the new Koreans, and much sought after.

        2. ‘Just as a civic-minded contributor to the national debate and because it seems the right thing to do,’ Kirkland, trolls don’t operate like this. Kudos though, noble effort. And, if it is a legitimate question, your in-group tends to use false accusations and smearing via falsehoods to try to bring down out-group members and sociopolitical opposition. I suspect you would consider this ‘the right thing to do.’

          1. All race whores are Trojan Horses for bigger government tyranny. They are full of it.

    2. “Most businesses do not aim to cater to all consumers, so if they alienate some part of the market, yet increase their standing with other consumers, then the net effect may be positive,” said Meyvis.
      So, it’s OK to seat only Whites at the Woolworth counter, if that’s good for business in Tupelo, right?

    3. If you want to end systemic racism, black people will need cheap bicycles.

    1. It was a ‘traffic hazard’, don’t you know? 🙂

      1. It was disruptive to Army communications.

      2. They need to check of other signs have been taken down or not. There was a case in Virginia (?) where an old company put up a sign protesting the local U’s attempt to use eminent domain to seize it, and then the city was forcing them to take it down. A clerk said that law was old, but they only decided to start enforcing it now, on that company.

        1. I never did see a follow up… 🙂

      3. That Hollywood sign needs to go…

    2. I hope the owners of the property and sign:
      1. Hold a press conference and tell what happened;
      2. put the sign back up;
      3. install trail cameras and alarms;
      4. sue, sue, sue. Get a court order to keep the govt. actors off their property.

      1. And lots of concertina wire.

    3. I imagine it was probably a violation of zoning ordinances, if they had a right to put up a billboard/sign at all it would probably need a special use permit.

      1. This doesn’t necessarily mean the government acted properly here, though.

    4. Without more information, it seems like a zoning issue. I know someone who had their Biden sign taken down in a similar way, citing a local ordinance restricting sign size due to how it would distract drivers. That friend’s sign was a fraction of the size of this sign.

      1. Yes, but…to go onto someone’s property and take down a sign doesn’t sound like due process to me!

        How about going to court and getting order to tell the owner to take it down; and the owner can make his case against the order; and so on?

  1. So does anyone know what the Belarus dictator did to spark protests? All I keep hearing is a shady election, but those literally happen all over the place all the time. What has he done to piss his people off?

    1. It was engineered by the State Dept. and several Soros related NGO’s.

      It’s following the classic “Color Revolution” Pattern as defined by Norm Eisen (whose now applying that pattern in the US with the same groups).

      1. It’s a poorly kept secret that Soros cooperates closely with Mike Pompeo.

        1. How can you people still trot out that lame trope given what all we’ve seen of the permanent bureaucratic state the past three years?

    2. Let’s ignore your ridiculous use of “literally” and instead focus on your ridiculous assertion that because corrupt elections happen, a corrupt election is no reason to take to the streets. Are you a person, or a random conservative word generator?

    3. I think he showed a video.

  2. Favorite book: Catch-22
    Favorite author: Steinbeck

    Favorite sci-fi book: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
    Favorite sci-fi author: Harlan Ellison
    Favorite sci-fi author as a kid: Asimov

    Favorite non-fiction book: The Making of the Atomic Bomb
    Favorite non-fiction author: Robert Caro

    1. Currently about to read: American Hippo by Sarah Gailey

      1. Currently reading: A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

      2. Currently reading : Edo Culture: Daily Life and Diversions in Urban Japan, 1600–1868. I’m back in full woodblock-print-mode.

      3. I’m re-reading Schmidt’s “The Witches of Karres” series. (Later extended by several other authors.)

        Not great literature, but a fun romp in old style SF.

        1. The wiki on them looks pretty impressive.

          On my morning bike rides, I’m listening to the 4th in the Book of the New Sun. It’s pretty trippy-but-gritty 1980s SF.

          1. Stationary bike one hopes. Or that you have your ‘head on a swivel.’

              1. I got that, I meant that cycling with earbuds or headphones can block out traffic noise or distract the cyclist from the surroundings. Then, I don’t run with music or audiobook for the same reason.

              2. I do audiobooks on the job. It can be a problem if my workload is excessively light or I’m facing a frantic deadline, but otherwise is fine. Current listen : The Winter of Frankie Machine, by Don Winslow.

          2. It’s sure not daisies and sunshine.

            If you’re reading that, enjoy!

          3. I’ve tried a few times, but I just don’t enjoy Gene Wolfe’s novels. His short fiction is great. That seems to be true for many SF authors, in my humble opinion. As for instance James Schmitz, mentioned above by Mr. Bellmon.

            1. Oops, Bellmore.

            2. I can’t blame you. I’m not transported, nor am I a rabid fan, but it is a pretty different experience than anything else I’ve read so I’m glad I’m going through it.

              1. You might enjoy Samuel Delany, if you haven’t read/listened to any of his work yet. One of the best.

                1. I read Nova for my book club. Took me a while to get into it, but when I did what a ride.

                  I’m in a sci-fi fantasy book club that meets monthly. It’s pretty great.

            3. His short fiction is great. That seems to be true for many SF authors, in my humble opinion.

              Ba ck when i read a lot of SF that was my impression also.

              My explanation was that the SF idea often was interesting for a while, but not strong enough to sustain a novel without a lot of work on the non-SF aspects, which lots of writers didn’t do.

              You can write an entertaining short story about a time machine, but unless the plot and characters have considerable depth on their own you can’t make a novel out of it.

            4. I enjoyed the series. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite, but certainly interesting concepts. Glad to have read it, but unlikely to re-read.

              That song I linked to, based on the series, is a favorite. Got to see her play it in person on her famous 12 string guitar, with the spooky chord transitions she’s so good at. The linked version doesn’t feature her amazing guitar work, sadly.

              Now, I’m a big fan of McMaster Bujold. Very sneaky writer! In her Vor saga, you start out reading space opera, and several books later you realize you’re reading romance novels…

              But I’ve enjoyed her other works. The Spirit Ring, (Kind of a one-off.) The World of the Five Gods series, The Sharing Knife series. All of them tend to have more romantic elements than you’d expect a hard boiled engineer to enjoy, but I found them all good.

              1. Agree completely, Bujold is excellent and underrated.

    2. Favorite color?

      1. Blue…no, yellow!

        1. Green.

          It’s kind of a new deal for me.

          1. It appears the candidate doesn’t support that position anymore. I wonder why you would support a person who flip flops so much.

            1. Shades of : “You just lost the Left! You just lost the Left!”

              The Trumpsters are starting to sound desperate & that’s never a good look.

              1. Desperate, anxiety-ridden clingers is a great look. And an increasingly common sight.

                Trump has slipped to a 15 percent chance this morning at 538. Democrats are at 67 percent to take the Senate and 95 percent to hold the House.

                Another great look: One-party government.

                When Republicans recognize they are in treacherous waters, and foundering conservatives begin to renounce Trump and asking for a helping hand and return to normalcy in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, the proper response from Democrats will be to throw plenty of chum in the water.

    3. Caro has been working on his LBJ bio for more than 40 years, roughly two-thirds of his subject’s life. The devotion/obsession required is almost unfathomable. And yet the result, thus far, has been quite even-handed, generating reasons to be in awe of Johnson and to loathe him. Easily the blue ribbon standard for biography.

      1. The only people who get this kind of exhaustive biographies are authors, politicians & generals. Architects (for example) never do.

        1. Caro did Robert Morris before Johnson. It’s on my list.

          1. Robert Moses, perhaps?

            1. That would make more sense, yeah.

          2. Moses was more politician than anything else, tho an unconventional one to be sure. (and, yes, Caro’s tome sits on my shelf too, a used book purchase not yet honored). But the kind of bio that collects every last bit of info about a life (like Ellmann on Joyce) seems overwhelmingly restricted to the three types above.

            Richardson on Picasso is an interesting exception, being exhaustive while still dishing out the dirt. I still hope for a fourth volume.

            1. The Moses bio has a similar theme of how power corrupts, but the subject never inspires the same mixed feelings about the man. Moses was similarly ambitious and manufactured the structures of power he harshly wielded, but he never comes off as anything but an imperious SOB. Nevertheless, even if Caro never turned to LBJ, his Moses book would still put him in elite company as a biographer.

            2. Some scientists get the treatment, but moreso the political ones like Oppenheimer.

              Also want to read those Chernow bios of the financial guys, though more for entertainment than history, ’cause it’s Chernow.

              1. I found them to be tough slogs compared to his more recent ones. The one on the Warburg family was probably the best one, I think.

    4. Favorite sci-fi book: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

      When he came up with the idea of a transcedent, post omega-point villain, his bud said that was a story he could never write. How could finite humans ever defeat something that can trivially whip up a trillion trillion simulations of you, or entire galaxies?

      Much more clever than having Voyager crew running around with muskets that “were really Q-level weapons”.

      1. None of that is spoiler as it’s literally from the opening sentence.

      2. Fire Upon the Deep is great, and probably my favorite Sci Fi as well. Two things I particularly like are that you have to work a bit for the payback and the interesting approach to faster-than-light travel that doesn’t depend on upending our Earth-bound understanding of physics.

        Speaking of physics, this is an interesting development and maybe means that someday we can have both time travel after all:

        https://www.npr.org/2020/09/27/917556254/paradox-free-time-travel-is-theoretically-possible-researchers-say

        1. By the way, Fire Upon the Deep is actually located, if I understood the author right at a talk he gave at a Worldcon, in the same universe as The Peace War/Marooned In Real Time. Humanity had left the Earth en masse at a point after The Peace War, to escape the “slow” zone.

    5. Favorite sci-fi author: Arthur C Clarke….then Ben Bova.

      1. Clarke is a heavyweight. I’m a Frank Herbert guy, myself. His fascination with self, social structure, faith, war. His ConSentiency novels with the Bureau of Sabotage in particular do it for me.

        1. A great SF writer from that era I’ve just really discovered (again) is Ward Moore. Didn’t publish a whole lot, but every bit of it is first rate.

      2. I only recently read “2001” (last year or so) and it’s an incredible piece of writing. Forget about the story; the prose was superb.
        A very underrated writer is Kissinger. His works on his White House years are just tremendously clear writing.

    6. My favorite book usually ends up being the one I’m currently reading.

    7. I just finished Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, which is a fictionalization of the aftermath of the Bernie Madoff scheme. I mention this mostly to endorse her previous novel, though: Station Eleven, which is pandemic-themed. I like that it reflects on the fragility of modern society–how many people need to be taken out of commission before everything starts breaking down? The number might be fewer than we think.

    8. In case you missed it, NPR published a striking remembrance (definitely not a eulogy) of Ellison upon his death in 2018.

      If the link doesn’t work, you can search on its first paragraph: “Harlan Ellison is dead. He was 375 years old. He died fighting alien space bears.”

      (Since you mentioned Asimov – It is perhaps a comment on Ellison’s colorful life that the story of his first meeting Asimov didn’t make the cut for the above remembrance.)

    9. Now do first pet’s name, first best friend’s name, favorite band and top 3 favorite passwords.

  3. Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.

    1. How does rank democracy differ from file democracy?

      1. Less abrasive.

        1. That’s good, Brett.

    2. This country isn’t great because its a democracy. It’s great because it’s free. Democracy is the servant of freedom, not the other way around.

      Rights are inherent to you, and are not a gift from the powerful, nor from other people voting. Nobody grants you rights. How in God’s name, or better yet, why, would you ever agree they had that power over you as step 0?

      1. Inherent rights have no operative nature at all without other people.

        1. Not true. The inherent natural right of individual self defense applies regardless of if the attacker is a human or not. Note, there are other examples I am not bothering to think of right now.

          Now, I agree that we have to agree as a “society” as to what is a “right” and where their boundaries are, but some are basically self-evident from basic powers of observation.

          1. In what fashion related to real-world events does an individual right apply?
            There are plenty of peasant societies where no such right was recognized, and no such right was exercised.

            Claiming that there are some rights should objectively exist, and society should take steps to make that this case, that I’ll get on board with. But it’s a bit too existential for me to claim rights that many do not realize they have or cannot exercise.

            1. Since I already mentioned self defense, let’s go with that. The natural response of any creature is to try continue to live. The universal response of all creatures, when attacked is to flee or fight, in order to continue to live. And if they cannot flee, they fight, as best they can given their abilities. Therefore, as a human, your individual right when attacked is, if you cannot flee, is to defend your life in order to continue to live.

              I know there are some people who try to say there is no such thing as natural law, but there quite clearly is, even if we debate its boundaries. Just because a society, say China, squashes the right to an extent, it doesn’t mean that the right still does not exist. It exists when the state isn’t watching, and it exists for animals the state can’t control.

              1. Appealing to ‘natural response’ and ‘universal response’ is basically an appeal to incredulity. Plenty of examples of self-sacrificing or defenseless behavior throughout living things.

                And building up human rights from ‘universal behavior’ is also fallacious. We are not all creatures. We’re not even like most animals. We do not model our moral philosophies on nature, red in tooth and claw.

                I do think there is an objective good, but that doesn’t mean it exists without any effort.

                1. Appeal [from] incredulity? It’s an appeal to your power of reasoned observation over millennia, not personal observation. Misuse of a fallacy citation. Anyway, you’re arguing against inductive logic itself here Sarc, it’s not a good look. Sure, that brick you throw at that window might not break it, but you can be fairly sure it will after countless iterations.

                  And if you don’t start using universally applicable principles, just what exactly do you build it up on, eh? Really, if there are no universally applicable principles than you’re saying that each society has to come up with their own hierarchy of values, which they already do, and we are back at square one.

                  1. It’s basically ‘this is true, don’t you believe me.’ But you’re absolutely right- I was just hearing about the naturalistic fallacy and I should have twigged to that.

                    Nature is a bad choice to start from; it’s far from the only one. I tend to be pretty phenomenological, but look across philosophy for lots of options – start from an axiom, or pure reason, or intuition, or a paradigm. Or revelation.

                    Philosophy is not engineering.

                    1. Though philosophers can be engineers. Wittgenstein did a lot of work on aircraft engines. He also had a fascinating go at architecture, designing a house for his sister.

              2. “The natural response of any creature is to try continue to live.”

                Besides this not being true, this isn’t a coherent theory of rights. It’s just a restatement of the naturalistic fallacy. Just because something exists in nature does not make it right or a right. Rights tied to nature (as opposed to ethics) is an empty concept. You can insist they exist, just like some people think angels and ghosts exist.

                And your example is a poor one. Lots of animals (including humans) engage in self-destructive behavior that cannot be explained by self-preservation at the phenotype level. Autothysis in some ants, for instance. The Fight instinct can explain a bee stinging an intruder but cannot explain suicidal sting autonomy for the bee, who willingly dies so that the poisonous stinger remains in the predator (rather than attached to the fighting bee). Matriphagy cannot be explained by fight or flight.

                1. The exception proves the rule. Just like humans will essentially throw their life at risk attacking an enemy in war (as a bee defending the hive) it doesn’t mean that the individual solder loses his individual natural self preservation instinct. It’s why we find generals who maximize the saving of their own troops lives to the extent possible while still achieving a greater goal to the collective defense superior to those that don’t. You and think of some more, I am sure, like male black widow spiders, or an individual human suicide. But at that point, you’re saying well, the sky’s not *really* blue, sometimes it has clouds!

                  Nor did I try to build a coherent superstructure of rights around the right of self-defense. That’s you putting words in my mouth. I’m just pointing out that there is such as thing as the natural law even if we debate its boundaries.

                  1. Or the exception blows up your argument.

                    Makes me wonder if this is really an argument at all, or more of a statement of dogma.

                  2. “…it doesn’t mean that the individual solder loses his individual natural self preservation instinct.”

                    That’s uncontroversial. My problem is you treating “individual natural . . . instinct” as evidence of a right. The same self-preservation natural instinct that causes the rabbit to flee the wolf, causes the wolf to give chase. So does the wolf have a “natural right” to eat the rabbit?

                    All human behavior is the consequence of evolutionary coding. When a human attacks another (for any reason) it’s part of their hard-wired genetic code. And when the other person defends themselves, same deal. So why does the latter get primacy, in your view? You cannot make a coherent theory of the natural right of self-defense without confronting those questions. Pointing to an idiosyncratic animal species that fights or flights doesn’t fill any gaps.

                    And biologically we aren’t talking about a “rule” with exceptions. The same behavior that causes possums to play dead or some ants to explode themselves, causes some animals to defend themselves or run away from predators. But if we were talking about a rule, human fight/flight would be the exception relative to, say, programmed cell death. The number of single-celled organisms that kill themselves in your body is greater than the number of human beings you’ll ever see, encounter, or know in your lifetime. In 50 million years there may be no humans. Alternatively, maybe there are humans that no longer have a fight/flight instinct. You don’t know because you’re observing the results of evolution, which produces different threat responses, to different species, at different times.

                    Why does that matter? Because you’re talking in terms of exceptions that explain natural rights. The concept of natural rights cannot be conditional. Yet every biological fact about every species that has ever existed is conditioned on the environment and the resulting survived response. You can’t make “self” preservation inherent. To address the exceptions, you may be able to get there if you replace “self” with “group” but that defeats your underlying theory that individuals are the ones with rights. (Not that your theory was any good to begin with, since it would still be depending on the naturalistic fallacy.)

                    If there is a natural law, you have yet to demonstrate its existence at all.

              3. I don’t think it makes sense to talk of a right to self-defense in the absence of government, broadly defined. Having a right to do something means I am entitled to do it even though others might not like it.

                But if there is no authority to prevent me from doing it then there is no question of “having a right,” or not having one. I can just do it without worrying.

                Now, we might say that there are behaviors that government ought not restrict, and that these can be somehow deduced from first principles, so they transcend the government’s right to restrict them, but I don’t know what these principles are.

          2. Now, I agree that we have to agree as a “society” as to what is a “right”

            Part of the issue here is that the term “rights” has been deliberately mutated. If you look at what Locke was arguing, “rights” were those things that a monarch and by extension a government could not infringe without being considered illegitimate. One is going to have all the rights that one will ever when absolutely alone on a desert island. Of course, this is not going to sit well with utopians as all of their utopian schemes will of course need to violate some of those basic rights and that’s not going to play well to the narrative.

            What to do ? They do pretty much what any bullshit artist does. They invent a private definition that has the same name but differs in meaning so that they can play motte and bailey games with the definition. Then, instead of having to explain their utopian scheme violates natural rights, they can define rights as a bunch of gimmes they really want and claim the more narrative friendly “rights have to be balanced” which if you are using the original definition is purely a lie.

            Actually this is a pretty good way of judging thinkers versus sophists. If you see redefinition and the motte and bailey in operation with other terms such as “fascist”, “racism”, “white supremacy” and many others you can be pretty sure you are in the presence of a hack, not an honest debater.

            1. You think the concept of “rights” is mutated you should check out what they’ve done with “freedom.”

    3. We love our big, beautiful prospefity, don’t we folks?

      I wonder what would happen if a left-wing South American leader said “democracy isn’t the objective”? Would the GOP call for a full-on invasion, or would they limit themselves to a mere coup/assassination?

      1. Only the GOP in your fever-dreams.

      2. In South America leaders of both left and right wings have done exactly that many times, and US governments (GOP and otherwise) usually opt for coup/assassination. Full-on invasions seem to be used only in the Middle East or Southeast Asia, for some reason.

        1. Don’t forget the CIA 1953 coup against Mossadegh in the Middle East under Eisenhower. CIA director Kermit Roosevelt was a grandson of Teddy Roosevelt.

    4. As Jason Stanley said this morning: ” I think what [Mike Lee] is saying is that democracy doesn’t form an assemblage of wise men, but rather collects together a crowd of subservient nonentities who can easily be led in certain directions, and lets the real wire-pullers remain safely in the background.”

      1. Indeed.

        Rule by the people is an inherent good. Anyone telling you differently is selling you something. Generally a dictatorship.

        1. “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.”

          “Rule by the people is an inherent good. Anyone telling you differently is selling you something. Generally a dictatorship.”

          ? I find those statements hard to reconcile..

          1. Sorry – the original post was a quote from Mike Lee, typo and all.

            I disagree a lot with it, and my actual position is the later post you quoted.

            1. Thanks for the clarification, I missed the import of the exchange.

              1. That’s not on you; I kept the origin obscured so we could discuss it without as much partisanship.

                1. Lee was rephasing and old truth.
                  Democracy is mob rule. Which does not promote freedom, peace and prospefity

    5. “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.”

      Patrick Henry

      1. Offer the people liberty and some will sell themselves into bondage to get it.

        1. Some won’t sell themselves for it, because they’d much prefer to sell other people.

          1. The people who like to sell other people are those that favor immigration and trade policies that destroy American working classes for profit.

            1. Do you think the American working class is entitled to a minimum wage?

              1. Yes they are, as a matter of law and fact. I don’t have a strong opinion on minimum wage laws but I would support dropping them altogether. On the other hand, Ron Unz made an interesting conservative case for a higher minimum wage.

                1. E.g., “The minimum wage is a much more effective means of solving many of these economic problems in our society than many of the proposals that have been more popular on the liberal and progressive side in the last few years. Take social spending: a lot of social welfare programs tend to be leaky buckets. One reason people don’t want their taxes to be increased is they have a sense a lot of the money will be burned up in the system and will never really go to the beneficiaries. Well, with the minimum wage the money goes straight to the person who has a paycheck. At a stroke, so many workers are no longer so poor they no longer qualify for anti-poverty programs—which makes conservatives much happier. The minimum wage is basically people working at their jobs. We’re talking about raising income by $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple. . .

                  The $250 billion spent on social welfare programs for the working poor are really less of a subsidy for workers and more for their low-wage employers. If these workers had to actually survive on their own paychecks, they wouldn’t be able to come to work in the morning; they wouldn’t have food, rent money, they wouldn’t be able to afford to live. Whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, having the government give hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to these low wage businesses doesn’t make a lot of sense.” https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/ron-unz-why-i-dropped-my-ballot-initiative-raise-californias-minimum-wage/

                  1. I don’t think Walmart should get to use SNAP to subsidize its employees, either. That’s an argument against Walmart getting to use SNAP to subsidize its employees, not an argument for a minimum wage. And rather than mandating that all employers pay a certain centrally ordered wage, the better solution would be to make employees of companies like Walmart ineligible for SNAP.

                    1. *subsidize its payroll

                    2. It can be an argument for either one of those things. Politics is the art of the possible. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, etc.

                    3. Your premise is that Walmart has an obligation to provide every worker some particular living standard.

                      That is, frankly, an absurd position the Left has taken.

                    4. @Sam,

                      I can’t tell who you are responding to, but my position has never been that Walmart has a duty to its employees beyond the voluntary relationship they enter into. I don’t support government mandated minimum wages.

                      If because of social spending Walmart defrays some of its costs that it would otherwise pay employees in a market without social spending, I think it’s fair to ask what portion of the social spending burden Walmart should bear. If 60% of SNAP costs, for example, are used by employees of Walmart, maybe Walmart should have some more skin in the game.

              2. The only proper minimum wage is $0.0

            2. Don’t put your factual opinions into our sociological conversation.

        2. Sure, but then it wasn’t truly an offer of liberty of course.

          1. If your philosophy is totemic invocation of a concept, you need a plan to recognize counterfeiters.

  4. Good review of the studies about mask wearing and COVID-19: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02801-8

    1. Great cite. Informative.

      What I thought was missing from the article…how often (and how best) to wash masks. That would have been extremely helpful and useful information.

    2. Scroll down to the picture of the baseball players allegedly wearing masks in 1919. Looks totally photoshopped. Why would their masks be pure white, compared to the white uniforms. Fake for certain.

      1. YEA THE SHADOWS ARE ALL WRONG I’VE DONE SOME SHOPS IN MY DAY

      2. If you search google for “1918 flu mask baseball” and click ‘images’, there sure are a lot of them.

        And they even got Getty Images to host the photoshopped version!

  5. Michelle Obama’s peaceful protesters mostly peacefully threw bricks through people’s homes and peacefully burned down more buildings.

    Is Big Mike the most disgusting public figure we’ve ever had?

    1. * Last night in Wisconsin.

    2. Black cop shoots black man who pulled a gun on him. Perfect situation to riot for racial justice about I think, don’t you?

    3. No she isn’t. Not by a country mile. Exactly how long is a country mile?

      1. 8 country furlongs

  6. Have the Democrats given up, resigned themselves to ACB’s confirmation, and also to a loss in November?

    I am getting hints of this, from Harris’ poor performance at the VP debate, and the Commission on Presidential Debates apparently protecting Biden by deciding to go virtual for the next debate, something that Trump says he won’t do (I don’t blame him).

    1. I think skipping a debate is a potential mistake. Any chance to allow Biden to trip up should be taken, and if Trump can work on what the media pushed as his horrific image from last time, then bonus. By which I mean, he was gentle with Biden, but still his normal swaggering NYC self that his detractors claim is bad, but only when folks they don’t support show those traits.

    2. It seems to be the resolution here is rather simple. Two negative tests within 24-48 hours of each other is the medical standard, no?

      Why not have daily tests (I am sure POTUS Trump is tested daily).

      Look, as a citizen, I want the debates. I was not happy with the first debate. The moderation was terrible. What I don’t like is changing the rules of the game after they are agreed to and set. The PDC should have had some discussions beforehand with the two campaigns. That was a mistake.

      Maybe there is a face-saving way for the PDC to reach out to the campaigns and try to preserve the debate. I hope they do.

      1. I am sure POTUS Trump is tested daily

        No evidence for this at all. The White House has been quite evasive about Trump’s tests, only saying he is tested “regularly.” That could be once every three months.

        I actually suspect he hadn’t been tested for a while before his super-spreader ACB event.

        1. bernard11, my thoughts here are that this can be easily resolved. Start daily testing. It is not so complicated or costly.

          I have to tell you though, I cannot imagine the Secret Service and WH medical staff failing to test POTUS Trump daily, post treatment. The POTUS…not tested? No way.

          1. Completely speculative, but the test is unpleasant; the tricky part would be getting Trump to go along.

            1. Sarcastr0….it is a finger stick. Not a big deal. Diabetics do this daily. They aren’t measuring antibodies, they are measuring viral load. Different test.

              1. I believe the test the WH *was* using is the thing up your nose.

                Now, I have no idea. Hesitate to speculate. Health does not seem top of the President’s mind.

                1. I haven’t a clue what the WH does, but I think there are rapid cheek-swab tests now. My completely uninformed guess would be that the Secret Service would be swabbing people just like going through the metal detector. They tend to be pretty cautious.

                  But who knows. Maybe someone in the admin thought that would be bad optics.

          2. XY,
            The main problem is the way it’s being run. If I did not know better, I would think Trump’s orders were, “Make me look as corrupt as possible; as incompetent as possible; as ill as possible. Whatever you do, do NOT appear to be open or honest or transparent with the media or America people.”

            I think Trump has a HIPPA right to assert his privacy rights and to refuse to release his testing schedule. (Close call for me, but I end up coming down on the side of Trump’s privacy rights.) But, when Trump asserts (via his doctor), “Well, I’ll tell you facts when I think they help the president, and will deliberately hide facts that are not politically helpful.” . . . then, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that the withheld facts are ones that are not helpful to Trump. Would be silly to give Trump any benefit of the doubt in those cases.

            1. Observation: If I run for office and I announce, “I’ll be releasing all my financial records and state/federal taxes for the past 15 years. BUT…not for years 2019 and 2012. You get nothing from those years. Well, then, obviously, people are going to be VERY interested in learning what’s in those 2 years…and why I was unwilling to be open with the American people for just those 2 periods. That would be a pretty normal human response.

            2. Yeah, I can’t speak to how it is run; my only interest here is having the damned debate. I think they should. Hopefully, the PDC and the campaigns can find a face-saving solution. This cannot be too hard.

            3. I think Trump has a HIPPA right to assert his privacy rights and to refuse to release his testing schedule.

              Sure.

              But then everyone else has the right to assume the worst. He can’t say, “I’ve tested negative, but I’m not going to show you the details” and expect others to routinely act as if that’s true.

              My suspicion is that he has been tested much less often than claimed.

              1. Kind of like how he says he pays lots of taxes, but won’t release the tax returns and people who have seen them report he has paid $750 in two years and similarly little to nothing in other years. This is the man who lied about his inaugural crowd size, whether that was his voice in the p—y grabbing tape, and countless other, easily verifiable facts.

                When someone (like Trump) who disputes the claims of someone who has seen records and that person (Trump) controls access to those records, but that person (Trump), withholds those records, the normal human reaction is to assume they are lying. In fact, the common law and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (and various state rules) tend to make the same assumption.

                There is every reason to believe the information Trump is hiding (information of the type other Presidents have released) is quite unfavorable to him, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

                He’s a liar. And, even absent that history, he is acting like he has something to hide and is lying about the facts. (With respect to both his taxes and his medical information.)

            4. I think Trump has a HIPPA right to assert his privacy rights and to refuse to release his testing schedule. (Close call for me, but I end up coming down on the side of Trump’s privacy rights.)

              There is no such thing as “HIPPA,” and the thing you’re referring to -— HIPAA — doesn’t apply in this context anyway; it’s pure category error. HIPAA says that Trump has a legal right to prevent his doctors from releasing information about him. That has nothing to do with the topic, since nobody is suggesting that they can force the doctors to reveal the information.

          3. Then why are they being evasive about Trump’s tests?

            Why not, “We test him every morning, and here are the last ten days’ reports.”

            1. Why not, “We test him every morning, and here are the last ten days’ reports.”

              Would you believe them if they did?

              1. I would believe them if a physician other than that lying piece of crap Sean Conley said so.

                But tell me, LoB, whose fault is it that this Administration has negative credibility, top to bottom? Can you really criticize anyone for not believing, and refusing to act on, what they say?

          4. On the other hand, admitting the POTUS was tested, and when, is too tricky. That could point the finger directly at Trump for spreading Covid to others. No chance they are going to hand out information like that.

    3. They’ve given up on ACB, but why on earth would you think they think they are losing in November? All the polling is strongly in their favor on the Presidential race, their fundraising is through the roof, and early voting is already showing massive turnout.

      1. POTUS Trump supporters would be well-advised not to be too confident. The polls are what they are. They pretty much all indicate POTUS Trump is trailing Brain-Damaged Biden. That is an objective fact.

        I cannot speak to turnout, but I don’t think an electoral blowout is in the cards for either candidate (or party).

        1. An electoral college blowout is looking reasonably possible for Biden (fivethirtyeight’s modal outcome is >400 votes for him). I don’t think he’s going to win by the 12 or 14 point popular vote margin that some of the recent polls are showing, but a 54 – 46 win would blow past the tipping point states and likely flip Ohio and Florida while putting Georgia, Texas and Iowa in play.

        2. In the end, controlling 95% of the media was decisive. That’s my takeaway. And my bet is, once the Democrats have the trifecta again, they’ll move to make it 100%.

          1. Lovely when every win and loss come pre-explained.

          2. Let me offer an alternative hypothesis: that the many Republicans that talked about how terrible Trump was for the party and for the country before he sealed the nomination in 2016 (and the few who have continued in that vein since) were actually onto something. That Jim Mattis and John Bolton and others who were in the administration were right to criticize Trump’s conduct as President. And that despite Trump’s strong personal brand and loyalty from a core of voters, that the majority of the American people just fundamentally do not like the leadership from the last three years and that many downticket Republicans who necessarily tied themselves to him paid a price in 2018 and that’s likely to be the case again in 2020.

            But I guess you can just blame the media instead. That seems like a diagnosis that is unlikely to provide for any course correction heading into future elections, though. More importantly, it’s fundamentally bad for the country to be stuck in this hyperpartisan, divisive mode of civic engagement. That’s not all the fault of Republicans, but Trump and Trumpism have had an outsized impact and I’m hoping we’ll see more people reject the approach if it becomes clear that it’s not electorally viable.

          3. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy so long as the Republican party refuses to accept any accountability for electoral losses. If President Trump can’t beat Biden, the Republicans need to look inward.

            1. Did y’all look inward after those 1000s of electoral losses at state and local levels during Obama’s tenure?

              Or did y’all double down on crazy?

              1. First, who is “y’all”? I’m not the Democratic Party.

                Second, the Democratic Party has twice now resisted a populist demagogue in favor of a centrist candidate. The Republicans handed the country to the President. I’m trying to reward good behavior and punish bad behavior.

                Third, don’t you think the Democratic Party should look inward when it loses elections? If so, don’t you think the Republican Party should do the same?

          4. In the end, controlling 95% of the media was decisive. That’s my takeaway.

            This is ridiculous. Trump is corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent – a human wrecking ball – and seems to be losing his already tenuous hold on reality. A vote for Trump is simply irrational, a pure gesture of animosity towards people you don’t like.

            And my bet is, once the Democrats have the trifecta again, they’ll move to make it 100%.

            How much do you want to bet? And what would constitute a “move to make it 100%?”

            Shutting down Fox? Arresting Limbaugh? Closing the WSJ and National Review?

            Tell me what terms you suggest for your proposed bet.

            1. Can I get a piece of this action? (I’ve always wanted to defund the Right)

              1. Count me in too. I could use extra cash that, presumably, would either go to something Limbaugh is hawking or a televangelist.

    4. Have you looked at the polls lately? Democrats can’t do much to stop the ACB confirmation (Republican indifference to Coronavirus is the biggest headwind here), but unless something dramatic changes Biden is going to win easily.

      In terms of VP debate performance, I read someone who described it as looking good for Republicans if you’re a Republican and good for Democrats if you’re a Democrat. That seems to exactly match the narrative from both sides this morning. What it’s definitely not going to do is change very many people’s minds.

      1. Unless someone really bombs a modern televised debate, that is the reaction. If Pence can get good marks from his party despite the fly in his hair and his Orwellian lies, and if Harris can get good marks from her party despite not answering her questions, then it’s party identification that is determinative of how one evaluates performance and votes; performance doesn’t determine voting preference.

        1. Yeah, that’s probably a good synopsis.

          FWIW, the actual polling I’ve seen on this (there’s not a lot compared to the Presidential debates) seems to show Harris as the “winner”, although once again influencing basically no one’s vote, e.g.:

          https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/harris-pence-vp-debate-poll/

          1. Yeah, I wasn’t terribly pleased with Harris’s performance, but the least partisan analysis seems to be she won. I think the key takeaway will be that, once again, Team Trump just kind of ignored the rules to which they had agreed and, more specifically, the Pence talked over Harris repeatedly which, if you have been awake in the last 20 years, women tend to experience rather frequently in the professional world and very much don’t like. In other words, Harris remained likable (if evasive) and Pence came off as creepy and disrespectful to women (both Harris and the moderator) which will only worsen their problem with women voters.

            It probably won’t change many votes, but it will reinforce where people are leaning which is good for Biden/Harris.

      2. In terms of VP debate performance, I read someone who described it as looking good for Republicans if you’re a Republican and good for Democrats if you’re a Democrat. That seems to exactly match the narrative from both sides this morning. What it’s definitely not going to do is change very many people’s minds.

        While that does describe the narrative, polls do show that more people think Harris won.

        But even if it was essentially a wash, that’s effectively a loss for the GOP. It’s like being down by 14 points in the fourth quarter and then the two sides exchanging field goals on their next drives. The fact that each side gained 3 points means that the score hasn’t changed — but you’re still 2 scores down, now with less time on the clock.

    5. Nah. I think it’s a rational calculation: Biden is ahead in the polls, the election is only weeks away, and another debate is pure risk.

      Trump’s getting sick provided Biden the excuse to duck the next debate, and the debate commission, (Whose Republican members are NeverTrumpers.) obliged with a format Trump would reject.

      I don’t like the prospect of a Harris-Biden administration, but unless Trump turns this around really fast, it’s in the cards.

      Covid 19 was tough luck for Trump, it was exactly what the Democrats needed, when they needed. I think he’d have been reelected if it hadn’t come along.

      1. A demoralizing debate performance four days before Election Day would be pretty bad for day-of voting turnout.
        I get the idea that Biden should try to keep the race exactly where it is and minimize risk, but Trump has been absolutely tanking his debate performances.
        There is a risk in playing this too safe too.

      2. Trump was basically coasting on cruise control for reelection before COVID, but even now I give him the odds. Not by a lot though.

        I look at it this way. The polls are roughly the same as 2016. If you look at Trump’s approval rating, the RCP average is 44.4 currently. That is basically just exactly the same as it was for months prior to the 2016 election, and comfortably within a pretty tight range that has stuck all throughout his presidency.

        As for the battleground states, Trump is currently up +0.5% compared to 2016:

        https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/trump-vs-biden-top-battleground-states-2020-vs-2016/

        1. “The polls are roughly the same as 2016”

          This is not true. It’s maybe arguable if you look only at the delta between the numbers for each candidate, but importantly there’s way fewer undecided voters than in 2016. In addition to many of the polls being off in 2016, most of the late-deciders broke for Trump. This time around, there’s very few people to break one way or the other–Biden has consistently been at >50% support in many polls meaning that Trump actually needs to pull voters away from him down the stretch which wasn’t the case against Hillary. The other big difference between 2020 and 2016 is that Biden’s lead has been much more stable than Clinton’s, so there’s less reason to think that it’s going to diminish into the low single digits like Clinton’s did (she’s been there before in the cycle; Biden hasn’t).

          1. Yeah, that’s a huge laugh. ML is just saying things; he’s clearly not checked the numbers.

            He beat the odds then, and he may beat the odds now as he did in 2016, but cruise control for reelection?! Only if you disregard every bit of actual data in favor of your safe space.

            1. In fairness to people who think the polls look similar, Clinton was seeing a bunch of >10 point leads in national polls about this time in the 2016 cycle. There’s a lot of underlying dynamics that were different, but it’s not surprising that people who want to see Trump win still see reasons to hope.

              1. Yeah – the lesson from 2016 is look at the swing state polls. That’s a pretty ugly story for Trump these days.

                Though
                1) There is always a tightening in the last 2 weeks.
                2) Trump is nowhere near doomed; polling has errors, opinions are not fixed and external factors continue to play.

                1. Sarcastr0, we see the same thing = There is always a tightening in the last 2 weeks; and, Trump is nowhere near doomed; polling has errors, opinions are not fixed and external factors continue to play.

                  I don’t think all the lessons from 2016 have been learned yet. In fact, it will take years for a few of those lessons. To me, the biggest lesson learned tactically was digital media.

            2. In 2012 I thought Obama would very likely win again, but I never thought he was just going to coast on through.

              1. Incumbents usually either coast or lose.

                Usually. There have been exceptions (Wilson in 1916 comes to mind).

                1. I don’t think he coasted. I think he had to work very hard to defeat Mitt Romney and defend his administration’s record, particularly when the ACA was not as popular as it is now.

          2. Those are all fair points, and I’m decidedly not focused on parsing poll numbers. Looking at some RCP averages is about as far as I go. There are certainly numbers-focused rejoinders to your points that poll nerds would be able to offer, but I’m not that guy. I’ve seen the analyses here and there about a specific Biden-favorable poll, and how it greatly oversamples certain populations based on education or party affiliation, RV vs LV, etc. But I’m not diving into the merits of that or whether it’s reflective of the polls as a whole.

            So as far as polls go, again, his RCP average is the same as 2016. The battleground states have been similar as well, but there is less bouncing around as you correctly note. But there is more to it than just polls. Pre-pandemic, the idea that an incumbent with moderately rising approval numbers, all-time low unemployment rates for black and Hispanic Americans and female Americans, 50 year record low unemployment overall, all-time high stock market and a mile long list of other economic stats, respectable foreign policy successes (probably his strongest area), and other factors like this — the idea that this incumbent would lose is very unlikely. Of course, pre-pandemic is irrelevant now, and the violent Democrat shock troops swarming the streets have done a number as well.

            1. The remarkable thing is that Trump was behind, albeit by smaller margins, in most polls even pre-Covid despite all of the positive factors you indicate.

              I know you’ll just blow this off as TDS, but I think this is because Trump is uniquely terrible. Not in terms of his policies, but just in terms of his selfishness and willingness to further polarize America in pursuit not even of any particular agenda but just to stroke his own ego. I think basically any of the other serious Republican candidates in 2016 would have beaten Hillary, and any of them would be cruising to reelection right now despite Coronavirus. I’m on board with the Democratic agenda, but the Dems are going to win this cycle not because they have better ideas but because the Republicans have tied themselves to a uniquely terrible politician.

              1. This. Republicans who supported Trump despite his obvious unfitness and character flaws in order to further their preferred policies will ultimately have discredited their policies and agenda. It’s another reason Trump is a disaster, because I tend to support Democratic policies more than Republican ones, but principled Republicans have very good ideas on some things. But they tied even their good ideas to the anchor that is Trump, so those ideas will be seriously discredited in the minds of many voters, especially including younger voters.

                It is somewhat fitting that unprincipled Republicans went for short term gain by supporting Trump (a very Trumpian thing to do) and ultimately lost the future in a big way. If they had opposed things they purport to object to on ideological grounds (trade wars/tariffs, Russia, lack of character in public officials, deficit spending, politicizing DOJ/FBI/CIA, picking winners and losers based on political support (e.g., farmers), random handouts ($1200 checks to everyone with Trump’s name on it), corruption (G7 at Trump’s resort???)), they might have won the ideological war or at least made ground and gained converts. I believe acting on principle (even misguided principle) actually can win converts to your cause (see Sanders, Bernie).

                But Republicans chose to go all in on corruption, conspiracy, and selling out both their voters and their principles. I think enough people see them for who they are that they have made themselves toxic and, by association, a number of their ideas.

                It’s a tragedy.

                (Still frustrated I couldn’t vote for Kasich in the general in 2016, but being anything less than an angry, Obama-hating, conspiracy theorists renders you a RINO, so principled conservatives like Kasich, Flake, Corker, McCain, are persona non grata in today’s Republican Party. Consequently, I can’t see voting for a Republican President again in many, many decades. Kasich would have appointed similarly conservative Justices who I would have disliked, would have enacted many policies I wouldn’t have liked, but would have easily walked to reelection by being a responsible, ethical grownup who didn’t vilify people with whom he disagreed. Alas….)

        2. Trump was basically coasting on cruise control for reelection before COVID

          Biden has been ahead in the polling averages since the moment he entered the race, seven months or so before COVID. There has not been one day when Trump led. (Note: I am talking about polling averages, not individual polls.) Not one. At some point, you’ve got to face reality.

          , but even now I give him the odds. Not by a lot though.

          But that’s because the way you’re looking at it is wrong. Trump won in 2016 in the EC because undecided voters ended up choosing him. But there are many fewer undecided voters in 2020, and Biden is ahead in absolute terms of where Hillary was.

          A (say) 51-45 lead in a state is more formidable than a 48-40 lead, even though the latter is a higher differential (+8 vs. +6).

          Trump would not merely need to convince people who he hasn’t been able to convince in four years, but would need to win over people who already support Biden. Also, people are already voting now; Trump doesn’t have weeks to convince people.

      3. Covid 19 was tough luck for Trump,

        Well, sort of, but not really. I mean it certainly damaged his prospects, but there are two points to bear in mind:

        1. Despite cultist protestations he utterly bungled the response, not to mention ignoring preparations before the pandemic struck. It could have been a gift. If he had responded in an honest and statesmanlike fashion, starting even in Dec of last year, by taking it seriously, doing what the medical people recommended, emphasized the risk, etc. we would have come through far better than we have. Instead he blustered, lied, did nothing, politicized things like distancing and masks, hyped phony cures and imminent vaccines, etc. In other words, he bungled it, like he bungled the casinos, the Plaza, and whatever else.

        2. A President is likely to face at least one crisis while in office, and to be heavily judged on how he handles those that come up. Trump’s is the pandemic. In that respect you can’t say he’s had bad luck. It would be unusual to go through a term without one.

      4. Do you truly think it’s unreasonable to refuse to have a face-to-face debate with someone who is likely contagious, and will not come clean about their testing?

        I mean, really. Would you spend 90 minutes in a room with Trump right now? If you knew he was going to be talking loudly much of the time?

        Sure, it’s in Biden’s interest to run out the clock, but that doesn’t mean the debate commissions suggestion of a virtual debate is designed to help him. It was just common sense.

      5. As evidence stacks up Biden was included in every secret White House meeting with Obama, Brennen, Comey, Yates, etal. to spy on the Trump campaign, transition, and administration, wise voters may decide not to encourage such abuse of government power.

    6. How confident are you that the Democrats will lose in November? Are you willing to wager?

      1. Let me know the response. If you don’t want to take all the action I’ll take some.

    7. Have the Democrats given up, resigned themselves to ACB’s confirmation, and also to a loss in November?

      No. This has been yet another episode of Simple Answers to Stupid Questions.

  7. Why is it that the supposedly non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates gets away with appointing obviously biased debate moderators?

    One might disagree about Chris Wallace and Susan Page, but Steve Scully?

    “According to Scully’s biography, he served as an intern in Biden’s office during college when the former vice president was a Delaware Senator. Scully later served as a staff assistant in Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy’s communication office.”

    Wow, how can that be?

    1. He was a 6 week mail room intern intern in 1978, and his SA was in 1979, dude. That was over 40 years ago.

      I presume he’s shown no signs of bias since then, if this is what you guys are digging up.

      1. And Susan Page hosted an event celebrating a current Trump Administration official a month ago, which seems a bit more relevant.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2020/09/10/susan-page-hosts-event-for-seema-verma/

      2. Did you watch the VP debate? I request your honest assessment of the questions if you did. To me, they were mostly When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife questions lobbed at Pence.

        I want a debate where they ask each other questions with 2 minutes answers.

        1. Seeing as the moderator made no attempt to make Pence answer any of the questions, and let him talk way past the time limits (and cut off *Harris* when she attempted to go past time), I don’t think Pence has anything to complain about.

          1. It’s kind of funny to see the initial polling on last night’s debate. Apparently there a sizable difference between the perceptions of male & female viewers. Me? I once tried to tell my ex-wife how mansplaining is an absurd concept, but she refused to listen….

            1. My wife watched it, (I’m on a swing shift to be home when our son is, thanks to the crazy school schedule, so I had to be sleeping.) and thought Pence won it handily.

          2. What did you think of the questions themselves? I think they were all Dem talking points rephrased as questions.

            1. I will not pass personal judgments on the questions – I did not watch the debate, nor do I care much about debates generally, other than the reactions to them as a reflection of party mindset.

              I hear the same objection you have from the left – that the questions are all coming from a fundamentally conservative worldview.

              IOW, what you sense is coming mostly from terminal partisans. Doesn’t mean you’re wrong, but it does mean your views are not widely shared outside of your circle.

            2. mad_kalak : What did you think of the questions themselves?

              Below are the topics chosen by Wallace for the first debate between Biden & Trump :

              1. Trump’s and Biden’s records,
              2. Supreme Court,
              3. Coronavirus Pandemic,
              4. Race and Violence in Cities,
              5. Election Integrity
              6. Economy.

              I look at that list and every item not obvious and unavoidable seems on Trump’s preferred ground. Violence in the cities? Election integrity? You couldn’t have picked subjects more in line with what Trump wanted to talk about. Yet still the snowflakes whined.

              Well, we have a few more weeks of their blaming everyone except Trump for the state of his campaign, then we’ll have a few weeks of their blaming everyone except Trump for his loss, then mercifully it will all be over. Can’t come soon enuff…..

              1. Well, that’s your honest opinion, and I appreciate it. Harris, according to another Reason article here, dodged as may questions directed at her by the mod, specifically a good one about the 25th amendment.

                But I wasn’t asking about the topic, but the questions themselves.

                Here is a link to the a transcript: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/read-the-full-transcript-of-vice-presidential-debate-between-mike-pence-and-kamala-harris/ar-BB19PfNS

                1. mad_kalak : Harris, according to another Reason article here, dodged as may questions directed at her by the mod, specifically a good one about the 25th amendment.

                  True, but both Harris & Pence shamelessly ignored the questions they were asked. if you only saw Harris doing it you need to take off the blinders. If both answered the questions put to them it could have been a pretty good debate. If moderators could figure some way to make pols do that (electric shock?) it would be a major advance in debate technology. Worth a Nobel easily….

                  1. Note, I never denied the premise of your comment, that Pence dodged the questions. I just pointed out after you complained about Pence, that Harris did so as well.

                    Again, I am requesting opinions on the questions themselves. Chose one. Even Sarc, or anyone else, who didn’t watch it but can see the transcript.

                    1. mad…I thought the presidential succession question was truly idiotic. The answers were completely non-responsive.

                      I wondered why the candidates did not say, the 25th amendment provides for succession, and there is no need to speculate. Then go about the business of attacking each other.

                  2. grb…Can you imagine a SNL skit with citizens (or mederators) able to administer electric shocks? That would be priceless, and hysterically funny.

                    1. Something that would bring us all together, Left & Right…..

                  3. Simple. Ask a question. If the answer is non responsive turn off the mike. The hard part would be finding enough non-partisans to make it fair.

                    I suppose another way would be to ask yes or no questions and to keep the mike off until they actually said yes or no and then allow them 90 seconds or so to elaborate. For the time limit have the mike controlled by computer. Also have a program that keeps your mike turned off for the same amount of time that you try to talk over your opponent during their time.

                    If nothing else it would be fun to hear the silence.

          3. Kamala ended up with more speaking time then Pence.

            That’s even considering your complaint.

            How could that be?

            1. Not sure where you are getting your info. CNN timed them as having nearly identical speaking time (36:37 for P, 36:34 for H). (Which is the stat reported by The Hill and other sources too. I don’t see another count.) Where do you get your information?

              1. Early numbers I saw had Kamala 38 and Pence with 36.

                Maybe that’s changed since I saw them.

        2. VP Pence correctly called out Susan Page when he stated, “You know, I think this is one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country. That you selectively edit, just like Sen. Harris did, comments that President Trump and I and others on our side of the aisle make. Sen. Harris conveniently omitted after the president made comments about people on either side of the debate over monuments, he condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, and has done so repeatedly.”

          I will say this. It ‘felt’ like VP Pence was going over on time, but when the final stats were in, Heels Up Harris actually spoke for 3 minutes more (38 mins vs 35 for VP Pence).

          It was a very polite food fight.

          1. “It ‘felt’ like VP Pence was going over on time, but when the final stats were in, Heels Up Harris actually spoke for 3 minutes more (38 mins vs 35 for VP Pence).”

            Most reports indicate it was 35 minutes for “Heels Up Harris” and 38 minutes for “Doomed Bigot” Pence. (This site permits but a single link.)

            Do you have a different source?

            1. I prefer the nickname his. former Republican Congressional colleagues called him behind his back – Mike Dense.

          2. Heels Up Harris actually spoke for 3 minutes more (38 mins vs 35 for VP Pence).

            “Heels up Harris?” I didn’t think you were a gutter Republican. Guess I was wrong.

            And for a Trumpist to cast aspersions on someone else’s sexual morality is really pretty disgusting.

            1. Yeah bernard11, I absolutely despise adultery. Truly terrible, I know.

              1. Trumpian piety on sex? Well that’s entertaining. Adultery is the least of your problems re Dear Leader. For start, there’s his bizarre fixation on his daughter. A sampling from the public record:

                DJT on Ivanka at age sixteen, in 1997 : “Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?”

                DJT on Ivanka in 2003 : “she’s got the best body. She made a lot money as a model—a tremendous amount”

                DJT on Ivanka in 2004 : “Let me tell you one thing: Ivanka is a great, great beauty, Every guy in the country wants to go out with my daughter”

                DJT on the Howard Stern show in 2004 : Stern: “By the way, your daughter…” Trump: “she’s beautiful” Stern: “Can I say this? A piece of ass” Trump: “Yeah”

                DJT on The View in 2006 : When asked how he would react if Ivanka posed for Playboy, he replied, “It would be really disappointing — not really — but it would depend on what’s inside the magazine.”

                DJT, same show : “I don’t think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

                DJT on the Howard Stern show in 2006 : Stern : “Did your daughter get breast implants?” Trump : “No, she didn’t. I mean, I would know if she did. The answer is no. Why? Did she look a little more stacked?”

                DJT on the Wendy Williams show, 2013 : Wendy: “Ivanka, what’s the favorite thing you have in common with your father” Ivanka: “Either real estate or golf” Trump : “I was going to say sex”

                DJT on Ivanka, in an interview with Rolling Stone 2015 : “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father . . .”

                https://twitter.com/TexDem16/status/756320768917733376

                1. Who is saying POTUS Trump piety on sex? It isn’t me. The man is a serial adulterer. That (adultery) is one of the few things I am not rational and understanding about.

                  I have seen too many lives destroyed by adultery.

                  If you’re wondering, I’m with her = https://jo20.com/

                  1. I don’t notice you calling him Two Timing Trump.

                    1. Two? You mean twenty-two, right?

                      Maybe just go with Daughter-Diddling Don.

                  2. “POTUS Trump” – you state his name and title accurately, somehow, despite his many, many adulterous relationships.

                    Meanwhile, you come up with a juvenile nickname and omit the title of Senator for someone who dated someone while he was technically married but had been separated for over a decade.

                    Seems like an oversight on your part.

                2. Do you think he sniffed and fondled her when she was under 10 like Biden likes to do to children under 10?

                  1. That’s what you’ve got in return ?!? Pretty weak, guy……

                    1. Well I would’ve posted a video showing a series of child sniffing and kiddie fondling, but multinational corporations are interfering in our elections and banning it.

                    2. John Stewart did a segment on the Daily Show, The audacity of grope.

              2. I absolutely despise adultery.

                Yet you only choose it make it an issue for Harris, when in fact Trump’s behavior is vastly worse.

                1. Clingers gonna cling.

                  The racism usually takes the lead role, and the gay-bashing is splashier, but the misogyny is never very far behind.

                  1. No, not misogyny. There are any number of women I would happily vote for. Heels Up Harris is not one of them.

                    1. Then why insult Harris, and not Trump?

                    2. Because he is an obsolete bigot . . . and becoming more desperate and disaffected by the day as the recognition of what is going to occur in November and after January develops.

                    3. “Because he is an obsolete bigot…”

                      Hey Kirkland, weren’t you saying the other day that Susan Collins was tonguing Trump’s ass and McConnell’s genitals? Or was it the other way around?

                    4. No name-calling, though.

                    5. And I have written the same thing about several men, including Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Pompeo, and William Barr.

                    6. “No name-calling, though.”

                      So in your book, “Heels Up Harris” is misogynist, but “Harris, who frequently raises her heels” is OK? Maybe you should find a different name for your church. “Exalted Reason” seems like a stretch.

        3. The only thing more useless than a president debate is a VP debate.

          Great Dodgers game yesterday. Better use of time.

          1. Uh oh. In complete agreement with Bob. I guess that millionth monkey managed to type Hamlet.

      3. “No, Not Trump, Not Ever.”

        He tweeted a posed pic with Biden in 2016 with the caption “Gotta love the @VP at the Biden Beach Bash ’16.” And in the same year tweeted the David Brooks editorial “No, Not Trump, Not Ever.” Dude.

        1. You’re grasping at straws, if you think this is proof of bias.

  8. For a libertarian site, there isn’t much about the recent documents on abuse of power in Crossfire Hurricane (or explaining away why those documents are irrelevant). Lots of inked spilled on the Mueller investigation.

    1. I can’t say I want you to provide so-called examples of your “abuse of power”. Listening to empty bullshit is tedious, much less responding to it. But if I must, I must. You have nothing. The “abuse of power” charge is nothing. It can’t stand even a minute’s scrutiny.

      1. The CIA and FBI investigations into Candidate and President Trump were totally legit guys! I swear! Brennan said so!

        1. Mini-me is back.

          And, if Prof. Volokh’s record means anything, entirely within this blog’s publication standards . . .

          unless he uses “sl@ck-jaw” to make fun of conservatives, in which case he’ll be banned.

          1. No, that is an ‘Other Me’. Your ‘Mini-Me’ goes under ‘Kuckland’. 🙂

            1. I figure they’re all Professor Volokh.

              1. I actually thought your ‘Mini-not-me’ was better than my ‘Other-me’ moniker. You should go with that one.

      2. Well, it was interesting to read that the FBI knew, and briefed Obama, the Russian collusion hoax originated with Clinton as an attempt at a political smear to distract from her problems. Not surprising since we’ve all known that for years.

        1. Uh huh. If this was all Clinton’s doing, then why didn’t she do anything? She was given Steele’s report & shelved it. The counter-intelligence investigations into Trump’s campaign occurred in the background and not a bit was leaked.

          Don’t you care your tin-foil-hat gibberish makes no common sense? Does it bother you that every fact is against your fantasy?

          1. I’m just telling you the facts about Brennan’s briefing to Obama — indicating that Clinton approved “a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.” A later CIA investigative referral outlined the same thing for possible investigation.

            But then the Clinton campaign’s Steele report was fed to friendly bureaucrats and used as the primary basis for spying on the Trump campaign. And we saw a veritable monsoon of leaking, with the whole world reading innuendo in the press for years on end, starting before but especially right after the election.

            It appears your claim is that none of this was not “all Clinton’s doing” or maybe that none of it was. Ok. I guess that leaves her underlings and all the other actors here. I’m perfectly happy to entertain any evidence of that.

            1. No, ML; arguing with lies will get you nowhere. The Clinton campaign had nothing to do with Steele’s report reaching the FBI, and that report had nothing to do with opening a DOJ counter-intelligence operation. Both of those facts are documented in the report from the DOJ Inspector General.

              1. “The Clinton campaign had nothing to do with Steele’s report reaching the FBI”

                The Clinton campaign was the one that hired Steele to produce the report for its use. So the Clinton campaign is the only reason that the report ever existed in the first place. And since Steele was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, he was in fact part of the Clinton campaign himself in that sense.

                Beyond that, if you have arguments and claims about who did what and when, and how information went from A to B to C, and then C to D and so on, that’s all well and good I guess.

                Overall, this stuff was passed around D.C. quite freely. McCain. Lindsey Graham. Michael Isikoff wrote about it in Yahoo News on Sept 23. Mother Jones in October. Wiki says, “By the third quarter of 2016, many news organizations knew about the existence of the dossier, which had been described as an “open secret” among journalists.”

                1. The Clinton campaign was the one that hired Steele to produce the report for its use.

                  No. Fusion GPS was.

          2. Yeah, you don’t quite grok Fusion GPS’s service, do you? They don’t provide you with stuff YOU use in commercials.

            They concoct the smear, and then use their paid agents in media to get it carried as news reports, so it’s not connected to you.

            1. If this is how Republicans want to spend their remaining three months of political relevance at the national level, be my guest.

            2. Unfortunately for your babbling, Brett, Fusion GPS provided the Clinton campaign with a report she DID NOT use in commercials. Clear fact; end of story; full stop. No doubt you wish reality / truth was different, but that’s your problem.

              Nor did the Clinton campaign have “paid agents in media” get it carried as news reports. That. Didn’t. Happen.

              Why don’t you try again, this time restricting yourself to stuff that did happen.

            3. But here we are getting down in the weeds dealing with your B.S. nonsense about Trump being treated unfairly. Let’s look at the big picture, shall we? For your snowflake whining on “deep state plots” to be true, you need to answer yes to the below:

              1. Opening an investigation on Trump’s campaign was improper
              2. Mueller’s appointment was improper.
              3. Mueller’s investigation conduct was improper.
              4. Mueller found nothing to investigate.
              5. Mueller’s conclusions were unwarranted.

              You don’t required a yes to all of them, but you probably need more than one. Unfortunately, you can’t support “yes” on a single damn one. Right now we’re yakking over No.1, where the DOJ Inspector General clearly documented you don’t have a leg to stand on. The facts are against you. The sequences are against you. Common sense is against you.

              Try any of the other points above and you fare even worst. You’re peddling nonsense non-factual conspiracies because that’s what whiny losers do.

              1. I dunno….we don’t have the full documentary and testimonial story yet. There is a lot we simply do not know. We may never know.

                Was opening the investigation improper? No. But keeping it open after 1/5/17 was.
                Was Mueller’s appointment improper? No.
                Was Mueller’s investigation conduct improper? Not sure, but the erasure of 20+ phones was….peculiar. An extraordinary coincidence. Actual prosecutorial misconduct…Maybe.
                Did Mueller find things to investigate? Yes.
                Were Mueller’s conclusions unwarranted? No.

                1. Commenter_XY : No. But keeping it open after 1/5/17 was.

                  Walk me thru your reasoning here. You admit Mueller found a great deal of substance to investigate. He thoroughly documented the Russian efforts to make Trump president. He found Trump’s son was gleeful when told the Russians wanted to secretly help his daddy’s campaign (in writing, no less). He found Trump’s son-in-law asked to use Russian’s secure communications lines, so his own country couldn’t hear what was said. He found Trump’s NSA appointee held discussions with the Russians, then lied about the topics to White House aides, to the Vice President, to the FBI.

                  As I note below, he found Trump’s campaign head gave personal briefings to a Russian spy. He found Trump’s fixer was negotiating a secret business deal with Kremlin officials throughout the campaign – right up to the very eve of the election. He found Trump lied repeatedly to the American people when asked specific questions about just that,

                  So it looks like the initial decision to open an investigation was more than warranted in hindsight. The DOJ Inspector general has already addressed the justification at the time. Please explain why the investigation should have been shut down before a full accounting of the evidence. What logic are you using?

                  1. Again, I personally think the FBI had to open the counter-intelligence investigation and take a look (fall of 2016). The man was running to be POTUS. Now that part makes me uneasy, but ok, I understood that. My interpretation of the meeting notes from 1/5/17, post-election, is that it was clear there was nothing there from a counter-intelligence perspective and the FBI was closing the investigation. My layman’s reading is that that was the inflection point; it switched from being a counter-intelligence investigation to something else. Keeping the investigation open after that date was not proper. That is how it looks to me.

                    I suspect that you and I may have a strong difference of opinion on what the meaning of a ‘full accounting of the evidence’ actually means in the context of a counter-intelligence investigation. There is still a great deal of documentary and testimonial evidence that will eventually come out. So I guess the jury is still out.

                    1. Commenter_XY : My layman’s reading is that that was the inflection point; it switched from being a counter-intelligence investigation to something else.

                      1. OK. I’m still confused. Mueller’s investigation was counter-intelligence, though it quickly generated obstruction of justice investigations as byproduct. Mueller admitted in his final report that outright collusion between Russian Intelligence and the Trump campaign would have been difficult to charge under U.S. law. Are you claiming Mueller’s investigation was “something else” and – if so – what? And on what basis?

                      2. Or maybe your claiming there was some “ali, ali, oxen free” period when the first round of troubling evidence about Trump-Russian ties could be discounted if you squint just so, but all the troubling evidence I list above wasn’t firmly established yet. In short, excuse enough to sweep major allegations under the rug before their seriousness was confirmed many times over (see evidence, above)

                      3. If you do claim that, how? Nothing was completely wrapped on on your magic date. For instance, the counter-intelligence inquiry was first opened after a minor Trump aide bragged over inside information about coming Russian action against Ms Clinton. Nothing about that issue was resolved on your magic date.

                      4. Question : Why does so much of your conspiratorial bullshit rely on back-and-forth discussions during an investigation in progress to the exclusion of the actual facts known at that moment? Answer : Because that kind of cherry-picking minutia is the your only way to discount just what those facts were.

                      5. Here’s a last question : Are you claiming the investigation should have been terminated on the date you mention, but was amply justified later by the evidence I list? Can we at least agree on this : A foreign government gives illegal aid a U.S. politician’s campaign at the same time that politician is conducting secret business negotiations with that same government – and lying about it. Repeatedly.

                      We agree that needed to be investigated, right?

              2. 1. Opening an investigation on Trump’s campaign was improper.
                No, but the conduct of that investigation was including conducting the investigation out of main justice and the falsified FISA warrants.

                2. Mueller’s appointment was improper.
                Yes, Rosenstein did not follow DOJ guidelines as has been extensively documented by Andy McCarthy at NRO.

                3. Mueller’s investigation conduct was improper.
                Yes. Including, but not limited to, extending the Page FISAs, not terminating his investigation in fall of 2017 when he had concluded there was no collusion and proceeding on a wild theory of obstruction of justice, wiping cell phones, charging foreigners who would never come to the US for trial to pad their stats, conducting pre-dawn raids on individuals with no violent criminal history, and continuing to use cutouts to communicate with Steele.

                4. Mueller found nothing to investigate.
                He found something to investigate, namely the Steele dossier’s origins, he failed to investigate that.

                5. Mueller’s conclusions were unwarranted.
                The obstruction of justice conclusions were based on a novel legal theory. Their Russian conclusions were not so much unwarranted as they were incomplete, because the investigation was bungled so horribly.

                1. (1) Your answer is no. The rest is dross.

                  (2) I regularly read Andy McCarthy at NRO for the entertainment factor, because he’s such an obvious hack. If that’s your go-to justification, then you inevitably have nothing. Mueller was appointed because Trump fired the FBI Director and then bragged about the deed to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov & Russian Ambassador Kislyak. He told the two Russians this: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off”

                  The idiot actually thought this ham-fisted bungling would stop the investigation, then was dumbass fool enough to brag about this in the most explicit terms imaginable. It was public knowledge within two days and a Special Counsel became inevitable. Andy McCarthy’s prolific weaseling can’t alter that a bit.

                  (3) You : “not terminating his investigation in fall of 2017 when he had concluded there was no collusion and proceeding on a wild theory of obstruction of justice”

                  How deep in the cult do you have to be to write this lame? Here’s what I see : Mueller never leaked, kept his investigation out of the press as much as possible, shut everything down any time close to an election, carefully controlled/restricted his remit (too carefully), was cautious to the point of excess (too cautious), drained as much politics as possible from his final conclusions, and finished an incredibly broad probe in about half the time it took Brett Kavanaugh to “investigate” Vince Foster’s suicide.

                  If Mueller was a partisan hack like Starr or Kavanaugh, he’d be investigating still. That Mueller would also have required Trump testify live – and then rigorously pursued the inevitable perjury counts that followed. As a Trump cultist, you should thank God Mueller is not the cartoon-lie you describe. Trump would have been in a lot more trouble if he was.

                  (4) So let’s get this straight : Mueller discovers Trump’s campaign manager was regularly briefing a Russian spy. Manafort was deeply in debt to Ukrainian oligarchs tied to Moscow, took the Trump campaign job without wages, but then paid off his debts in service. Yet you think Steele was more important….

                  Russia was actively assisting Trump’s campaign by illegal means. Mueller proved they sometimes responded to events within an hour when DJT needed assistance. Meanwhile, Trump secretly negotiated business with Kremlin officials throughout the entire presidential campaign, lying whenever he was asked specific questions about his Russian ties. But you think Steele was more important….

                  My, aren’t you quite the clown……

                  (5) The same “novel legal theory” can be found in Starr’s Report, only to a more surrealistic degree. Don’t you remember when Ken Starr found obstruction of justice in Bill Clinton’s choice of necktie? Perhaps you should do a little research – or at least be duped by a better class of handler.

        2. No, they were briefed that Russian intel said Clinton started it. That’s not the same thing as being briefed that American intelligence knew Clinton started it.

          1. You are correct and I described that inaccurately. It was not Russian “disinformation” though, and it met the high threshold to brief POTUS on it as well as to make an investigative referral to James Comey. He doesn’t remember it though.

          2. There’s this weird unreality about Brett & ML’s conspiracy garbage. Bill Clinton was investigated five-plus years over a two-bit real estate investment where he was victim of fraud – yet Trump was treated unfairly? Vince Foster’s surviving family was dragged through the dirt for over three years by a smirking Brett Kavanaugh & his farce probe into Foster’s suicide, yet Trump was treated unfairly? Fitzgerald spent four-plus years investigating the leak of Plame’s name; Hillary Clinton was under investigation for four-plus years because a U.S. ambassador died under her watch.

            There was more substance in the Trump-Russia probe than any of the above investigations – much, much more. What on earth are these cult-types trying to say? Trump is a delicate flower that should be exempt from scrutiny for the actions of himself, family and associates?

            Why Trump was campaigning for president, his fixer was in Moscow secretly negotiating with Kremlin officials on a massive business deal, his campaign head was giving private briefings to a known Russian spy, and Trump was repeatedly lying about his Russian dealings to the American public.

            Meanwhile, Russian intelligence was running a systematic effort to help Trump become president. When the Access Hollywood story broke, the Russians released the first stolen Podesta emails within a hour. They’d sat on them for over five months, but now their boy was in trouble and they rushed to help.

            Meanwhile, Trump was fawning over Putin repeatedly in interviews. No one knew then he was using a presidential election campaign to help grease secret business dealings. It just looked strange.

            In what world would this not not prompt an investigation?
            Answer if you can, Cultists……

        3. ML, stop slurping up Russian propaganda, even if it’s laundered through the DoJ the attribution remains.

        4. Well, it was interesting to read that the FBI knew, and briefed Obama, the Russian collusion hoax originated with Clinton as an attempt at a political smear to distract from her problems.

          That’s not what you read, because that didn’t happen.

          What you read is that the FBI knew that the Russians were saying that Clinton was going to attack Trump over the fact that the Russians were interfering in the election on his behalf. Which she did. That says nothing about a hoax or who originated anything, and of course the claim that it was about her “problems” gets the timeline wrong.

  9. Oh, just your average Thursday on which the President demands that his political opponent be jailed. Not worth a front-page post, definitely not.

    1. Right.

      Lots of silence coming from the Trumpists on that one. Guess they are studying and memorizing the talking points.

      1. Must be.

        Or they just assume after “Lock her up!” that we should just “let Trump be Trump” and that it isn’t banana republic type activity to call for the prosecution of your political opponents. And the conduct he is complaining about is personal to Trump, which makes it even worse. It would be one thing if he didn’t have a personal stake in this besides the fact that they are political rivals, but the conduct he (falsely) alleges was criminal directly involved him and he has additional motive to twist the justice system to his ends. Even if you accept all his allegations as true, a responsible government official would not insert himself into the prosecutorial decision.

        No one who cares about the rule of law should vote for this chump. It is unconscionable. But I think his cultists have decided that nothing which furthers their electoral chances is unconscionable.

  10. Here is a “court packing” scheme that perhaps those from both sides of the aisle can agree is a good idea.

    1. Interesting article. There seem to be some weirdish separation of powers issues lurking in it — I’m skeptical that Congress truly has the power to instruct the executive and judicial branches to this degree, particularly on a straight majority vote as the article implies.

      On the substance, it seems utterly backwards to have the most important cases in front of the Court decided by the 9 most junior justices. That seems like it would drive the every-two-years appointments to be more political, not less.

      Another issue that comes to mind is that a predictable 2-year cycling of the 9-justice “appellate panel” would create a new form of “panel shopping” where the parties (and perhaps judges) would jockey over case timing in the lower courts in order to have the case decided by a more/less sympathetic panel.

      Third, having a completely different body of justices decide to grant cert than the one that decides the merits of the case seems likely to lead to a far larger number of cases where the petition is dismissed as improvidently granted (i.e., a majority of the appellate panel doesn’t think it should be deciding the case at all).

      That’s what comes to mind from a quick skim. I’m not really sure it “solves” anything as much as it just puts a new set of tradeoffs in place.

      1. Temporally-based panel shopping hadn’t crossed my mind. That could prove to be a serious issue.

        On the other hand, I am not following why every-two-year appointments would be more political than an appointment that never expires. It would seem to me the stakes are higher in the latter case and that would ramp up the politics.

        Also, at worst if the cert process runs into DIG issues, we could revert to limiting cert decisions to the junior justices.

    2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

      1. Given the raw politics of the Garland and Barrett cases, it’s broken.

        1. Elections matter. I thought what happened to Garland was disgusting and it affected my vote in later elections. It will continue to affect how I vote. That’s how democracy works. We could have avoided the Garland situation if we had never elected a Republican-controlled Senate. And if the Democrats had won the EC in 2016, Garland (or someone else) would still have gotten the seat. And Barrett wouldn’t be the current nominee.

          1. That’s how democracy works. We could have avoided the Garland situation if we had never elected a Republican-controlled Senate.

            Who is this “we?”

            And I for one don’t think our democracy is working very well, for reasons hashed out endlessly here.

            1. We, the people voting. The electorate.

  11. This, week SCOTUS reinstated witness requirements for absentee voting in South Carolina that had been voided by a federal court. In the name of letting the elected branches decide how to run elections during a pandemic, that seems right to me. I hope SCOTUS consistently applies this principal if Trump sues attempting to void legally cast mail-in ballots because prior rules were relaxed by the elected branches in response to the pandemic.

    1. Agree. SCOTUS laid out the principle (which I agree with) that elected branches make the rules and judges can’t go changing the rules just before the election. SCOTUS has to be completely consistent. Otherwise, their legitimacy will be questioned.

      Some Legislatures did in fact change the rules to make them more lenient for mail in ballots. That is their prerogative.

      1. “Some Legislatures did in fact change the rules to make them more lenient for mail in ballots. That is their prerogative.”

        The Republican National Committee, the Republican National Lawyers Association, the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., and the Trump Victory Committee do not approve this message.

        1. Meh…too bad if they don’t approve. That is the system we have. The Legislature makes the rules, not federal district court judges.

          1. The key is “legislature,” not governors or Democrat courts as in PA.

            1. Whether the legislature has authorized the governor to act is rightly within the jurisdiction of state court. Likewise, three of the four issues decided in the PA case (permitting ballot drop-box locations, permitting ballots received without an outer envelope and permitting third-party delivering of a ballot) were decided based on statutory interpretation (Democrats won on the first item, but lost on the latter two). The one issue decided based on the PA constitution’s Free
              and Equal Elections Clause extended the deadline for receiving a ballot by three days. While I agree that decision violates the principle that courts should butt out, I do not know enough about the Clause to say whether it justifies breaking the principle in this case. I can only comment that because the federal constitution lacks such a clause, federal courts should butt out.

          2. I doubt the clingers are relying on federal district court judges . . . that’s a toss-up based on how the assignment wheel turns.

            The clingers are banking on the Supreme Court to approve voter suppression this time around.

            1. And stopping recounts.

          3. The Legislature makes the rules, not federal district court judges.

            And what happens when the Republicans deliberately damage the mail-in voting system?

            DeJoy is doing all he can to cripple the USPS, and in Texas at least Abbott is restricting drop boxes for mail-in ballots to one per county.

            When the GOP is using every trick at its command to suppress the vote, I don’t find delicate separation of powers arguments appealing.

            1. bernard11…Yeah, yeah. And here in the People’s Republic of NJ, we have letter carriers tossing ballots in the trash. And municipal boards of elections ruling ballots invalid. It happens. That is the nature of the beast. And oh BTW, you can only cast a provisional ballot in person.

              TX: You can vote in-person. The TX Legislature passed that law. You can also vote absentee ballot starting October 13th. You can vote early starting October 23rd at in-person locations. If there is voter suppression in TX, they have a mighty peculiar way of going about suppression. Here is a link to the AARP how to vote in TX guide.

              https://states.aarp.org/texas/election-voting-guide

      2. Seems right to me as well, except I’m not sure when it comes to timing issues — Can they decide to accept ballots up until Nov 31? Dec 31? If so then why isn’t the “election” actually that day?

        But generally, states make the rules of their voting system. If they want to make it wide open to fraud and resist any type of security or integrity, as Democrats consistently do, the federal government generally doesn’t get to intervene, unless, I suppose, there is something that becomes necessary under “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”.

        1. Democrats invite fraud and resist security and integrity with respect to elections.

          Republicans are half-educated, voter-suppressing bigots.

          Where is the hope for America?

  12. Anyone catch Google v. Oracle yesterday? How does the most powerful company in the world screw up so badly? They didn’t even understand what they were arguing! It was such an easy to win!

    In other news, I went to a diner the other day for the first time in 7 months. I live in NJ. I ordered a Philly cheesesteak. I feel like I betrayed something.

    1. The Google briefs are pretty compelling, but Goldstein’s performance was pretty bad. It’s a hard case to argue given how poor the Justice’s understanding of technology seems to be, but it seems like he was the wrong advocate for this case.

  13. This week, Justices Thomas (joined by Justice Alito) wrote
    in respecting the denial of certiorari in the Kim Davis marriage case

    It would be one thing if recognition for same-sex marriage had been debated and adopted through the democratic process, with the people deciding not to provide statutory protections for religious liberty under state law. But it is quite another when the Court forces that choice upon society through its creation of atextual constitutional rights and its ungenerous interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause, leaving those with religious objections in the lurch.

    Not surprisingly, the justices likely think Employment Division v. Smith does not give enough protection to religious-based objections to neutral and generally-applicable laws. What surprised me it appears they believe a neutral and generally applicable statute gets greater weight than a neutral and generally applicable constitutional mandate when the mandate is “atextual.” That sounds like a new principle of constitutional law to me.

    1. Not all religious persons are gay-bashing bigots.

      Not all gay-bashing bigots are religious.

      People left in that lurch deserve the lurch.

    2. The Thomas/Alito rant makes no sense at all.

      What is the infringement on religious liberty? That Kim Davis should be allowed to decide on her own who gets a marriage license?

      That’s bullshit.

      1. One aspect I never understood about that case. If Kim Davis was incapable of issuing marriage licenses to SSM couples because of sincerely held religious beliefs, then why not have a surrogate issue the license instead?

        1. It makes more sense if you accept my premise that some people view the very institution of same sex marriage as the attack on religious liberty. When you view it that way, it makes sense why a surrogate or deputy can’t do it because SSM still exists and infringes on their liberty.

          1. LTG…I have to be honest. I am having difficulty wrapping my head around how SSM is an ‘attack’ on religious liberty. That is just me, I guess.

            In the People’s Republic of NJ, we had civil unions, which legally granted all the benefits of marriage. But then the NJSC ruled that was not good enough [civil unions], and literally ordered the NJ Legislature to change the law to ‘marriage’ [which they did].

            1. I have difficulty wrapping my head around it too. That’s why I disagree with Thomas and Alito.

              1. LTG…I need to better understand what Justice Thomas wrote and why.

                1. Fair enough. I think when you do reflect on his views you should consider them in the broader context of why justices generally write statements like this. When they criticize precedent, they usually don’t just say “this was wrong” and leave it at that. They say “this was wrong and look at all these negative legal and practical consequences that stem from this bad decision. We should revisit it.”

                  So you have to ask yourself what do Thomas and Alito think are the negative consequences of Obergefell itself? Why would this particular decision need to be revisited when all it did was say that States can’t deny same sex couples marriage licenses? How does deciding that in and of itself lead to bad things for religious liberty?

                  Roberts obviously thinks Obergefell was wrongly decided. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh almost certainly do too. All three are very committed to an expansive view of the free exercise clause and religious liberty. So why didn’t one of them (particularly Gorsuch) sign onto this statement? It is probably because they don’t actually think that Obergefell in and of itself causes the problems that Thomas and Alito think it does.

                2. He is greasing the wheels, or attempting to grease them, for a later overturning of Obergefell.

                  “The consequences are horrible! We clearly didn’t think Obergefell through because treating people equally requires all this equal treatment which some people religiously oppose. For example, now clerks have to provide marriage licenses to people whose marriages they do not approve!…oh, wait, they already had to do that and the apocalypse never came and people kept happily practicing their religions. Nevermind. Or, wait, gays are icky, so maybe we should revisit Loving too, because think of the clerks!”

        2. Well, the courts have agreed with you. Getting a surrogate to issue the license would have been a reasonable accommodation. Preventing the issuance of licenses altogether isn’t.

        3. I believe that was the ultimate compromise. However at one point, Davis insisted there be no indication that the license came from her or her office, which put in doubt whether the license was legitimate. She argued her religious freedom rights permitted her directive.

    3. Justice Thomas admitted in a footnote that Kim Davis didn’t have the slightest legal basis for her case. That makes his screed with Alito all the more bizarre. Ms Davis could have opted to fulfill her job as County Clerk; she could have chosen to resign her position and campaign full-time against gay rights. Instead she just threw a snit. Call it “religious liberty” if you like, but that just debases the concept. Sorry, a snit remains a snit.

      I also don’t understand Thomas using “democratic process” for the fig leaf to his rant. First, by late 2014, same-sex marriage had become legal in states that contained more than 70% of the United States population. The Supreme Court wasn’t in front of public opinion on this topic, it trailed significantly behind it. Second, how would Thomas’ “democratic process” made the slightest difference to Ms Davis’ snit? She still would have claimed the same “right” to ignore the law.

      1. As I read it, that footnote supports the conclusion Davis doesn’t currently have a legal case under Smith. But my quote above suggests Thomas believes she should have a legal case because same-sex marriage licenses were mandated by the constitution rather than statute (which still strikes me as a very odd doctrine).

        1. Hodges does not mandate marriage licenses for anybody.

          1. It mandates that states provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples who want them. Are you the only person who refers to the case as Hodges rather than Obergefell?

            1. I apologize.

              Obergefell does not, in my view, mandate that states issue licenses to anybody. Even under Kennedy’s fundamental rights analysis, states would still be free not to recognize marriages at all.

              1. Instead, Kentucky mandated all county clerks issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which Kim Davis refused to do. That was the reason she got into trouble, not because she read about a SCOTUS ruling in far-off DC and decided to ignore it. Being a non-lawyer, I’m not seeing the distinction Thomas is making.

              2. You could be correct, but that is not relevant to this case. Because Kentucky issues marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples, Obergefell mandates it does so for same-sex couples. Thomas appears to believe this mandate should trigger higher scrutiny when it substantially burdens religious practice than a similar mandate passed through ordinary legislation.

                1. Of course, among other things, it doesn’t substantially burden religious practice.

                  1. I think does per Thomas v. Review Board

    4. “Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws.” And that, “[n]oreover, Obergefell enables courts and governments to brand religious adherents who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman as bigots, making their religious liberty concerns that much easier to dismiss.”

      Why wouldn’t the same be true of a statute permitting same-sex marriage? The same consequences flow: people with objections to same sex marriage will have a hard time ignoring it and people will consider them bigots if they oppose it.

      What Thomas seems to be suggesting is that the existence of same sex marriage itself is an attack on religious liberty because those with sincere religious views on the topic will have to suffer the “indignity” of being viewed as a bigot.

      1. LTG, rightly or wrongly I interpreted this – Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws – as Justice Thomas saying these individuals would be at risk of getting hauled into court and prosecuted (either fined or imprisoned); not that they would have to live with the indignity being called bigots.

        1. If that was the case he wouldn’t have been criticizing how the courts talk about “anti-homosexual animus” so much.

          1. Yeah, ‘participate in society’ seems to contemplate quite a slope from where we are today.

            1. Credit where credit is due to Thomas. He’s right that having views that the rest of society increasingly views as odious makes it more difficult to participate in society. But, that isn’t the fault of Obergefell and the courts. It was going to happen regardless of the outcome of that case. Opponents of SSM were never going to win the argument in the long run.

        2. Commenter_XY : …..not that they would have to live with the indignity being called bigots.

          From Thomas’ opinion : The Supreme Court “enable[d] courts and governments to brand religious adherents who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman as bigots.” LTG didn’t invent the issue of perception as central to Thomas’ strange argument. It’s right there in the text.

          1. I got that part [branding as bigots]. That wasn’t how I interpreted what Justice Thomas wrote. What I took away – rightly or wrongly – is that Justice Thomas is more concerned that the people who adhere to the idea of one man/one woman = marriage could be hauled into court, fined or imprisoned for their belief.

            The comments on this are all over the place. The conclusion I draw is that I need to do some reading and really understand what Justice Thomas wrote and why.

        3. Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws

          This may be true.

          It may also be true that

          Due to Loving those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning inter-racial marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Loving and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws.

          Maybe Thomas should reflect on the effect of Loving on his own life.

  14. I’m thinking of switching from Rev. Arthur Kirkland (of the Congregation Of Exalted Reason) to Capt. Arthur Kirkland in early November, because (1) I understand that most bomber pilots are captains and (2) I expect that the American liberal-libertarian mainstream’s campaign to politically bomb the Republicans back to the Stone Age will begin then.

    1. (3) you’ve finally noticed the disconnect between your hatred of religion and title?

    2. Heh

      1. Hey, mini-me . . . or should I say mini-not-me . . . do you expect these discussions at the Volokh Conspiracy to be more fun or less fun after Democrats toss Trump out of office and take control of the House and the Senate? Do you figure we should wait until the entire 13-justice Supreme Court is seated before making that call? Or should we wait until two or three new states are admitted and the House of Representative is enlarged?

        So many variables. So much progress.

  15. Daphne or Velma?

    1. I kinda had a thing for Penelope Pitstop.

      1. So you have a thing for fast women?

        1. Guilty as charged!

          1. You like fast women?

            I remember you from that first day at boot camp!

            1. “I hear Dickinson girls are fast.”

  16. Ubelievable the “nonpartisan” debate commission is giving a gift to the Biden campaign by trying to cancel the in-person debate. Will they get away with it?

    1. Pretty sure it was COVID who gave the gift to the Biden campaign.

      Quite partisan these days, that COVID.

      1. Well, it is true that the left has uniformly, heartily embraced the opportunities presented to them by “God’s gift to the left” as one person called it recently. https://thehill.com/homenews/media/520039-jane-fonda-calls-covid-19-gods-gift-to-the-left (Of course, that the left has uniformly done this does not rest in any way upon that statement, it’s just a funny anecdote.)

        But no, COVID is just an excuse, there is no reason to cancel the in-person debate.

        1. Except for the virus that Trump has that’s super contagious.

    2. Trump blew this one when he brought a sketchy coronavirus history onto the first debate stage and had his dumbass family and followers break the rules by ditching their masks.

      No free swings, clingers. Your betters are calling the shots now.

    3. Yeah. Common sense has an anti-Trump bias. I wouldn’t trust him not to go and deliberately cough at Biden.

      Trump was looking for a way out and found it.

    4. This is the true scandal of our time. Why won’t the debate commission let our big wet boy cough all over his opponent and the audience?

    5. Given the first debate gifted Biden about four percentage points in the polls, no wonder he’s been eager for round-two, from the moment the first debate ended right up until now.

      Also unsurprising is Trump’s excuses …. and those following from his cult.

      1. Great. Then the in-person debate will happen as scheduled after all. If the Biden campaign wants it, then it will happen.

        1. Biden will show up for any debate, anytime, anywhere, any format
          Trump will whine, make excuse, duck-out.

          Any questions?

          1. Only why you are in denial. Biden doesn’t want to do Oct 15 in person, AND he doesn’t want to just delay the schedule and have a debate Oct 29.

  17. In the news today 34 white house inmates are said to be infected with COVID-19, and one security official is “gravely ill”. According to Worldometers the cumulative mortality rate among diagnosed cases in DC is 4%, which means that statistically the likelihood that at least one patient out of 34 will die is just over 75%.

    1. White house inmates? Freudian slip?

  18. A plot to kidnap and possibly murder a sitting governor is going to be in the new cycle for maybe half a day

    1. Is that completely f’ed up, or what?

      I’m like…AYFKM…kidnap a governor? You have got to have several screws loose, or be completely inebriated.

      1. I’m interested in how far along they were before the FBI got involved. Was it the classic he scenario where the FBI found some complete doofus’s and basically gave them all the motivation and (fake) materials they needed to meet the elements of a crime they probably weren’t going to get close to committing on their own? Or were these actually very dangerous people that got thwarted?

        1. Just some peace-loving militia types.

          Ask Brett. He knows.

        2. There’s some in between ground where they were complete doofuses but not entrapped by the FBI. My guess is that it’s more like that than anything else, but at the same time it’s reasonably likely that 13 well-armed doofuses could successfully kidnap the governor of Michigan, especially if they’re willing to martyr themselves in the process.

          1. Yeah. As I read more about it they seemed to be leaning more to the dangerous side. And while I think threats from these types of groups are very real, I also am often skeptical that the FBI didn’t do more to advance the crime than the defendants were actually going to do on their own. It’s a pretty common practice in terrorism and drug cases.

            1. This is why democracy matters.

              1. Democracy matters for many other important reasons, but authoritarianism would be way better at stamping this out.

                1. Authoritarianism would be excessively better at stamping this out. For example, today’s episode could easily be used as a pretext to jail political dissenters.

                2. And Syria, for instance, is an authoritarian regime. Was Assad better at stamping out an armed uprising? The stamping is not an indicator of success.

            2. The FBI loves, loves to focus on these types of crazies and encourage them along. I agree the FBI does a lot to make these crimes happen.

              At the end of the day though, they just give them the rope and these guys do themselves in (short of actual entrapment). But a lot of idle talk + some “affirmative step” is all it takes, even if unlikely they ever would have done anything.

        3. My attitude is pretty simple, LTG. If you’re that malignant, or just that crazy, where you actually think it would be Ok to kidnap a governor of the state because you don’t like the policies, and you start acting on that; you belong in a cage. That is the kind of thing they did in communist countries. You don’t do that. Period.

          I just hope there is copious amount of unedited/unaltered video recording so we can completely eliminate any possibility of FBI entrapment.

          1. These individuals had all sorts of YouTube videos describing their anarchist and police-hating “philosophy” but YouTube removed it all. They probably could have just joined antifa.

            1. Sometimes the crazies are on your side, ML. It’s okay.

              Looks like Commenter is the only one on the right around here willing to even condemn this.

              1. Pretty easy to condemn. I mean, you just don’t do that sort of thing, period. I look at rioting the same way.

                1. Concur.

                  Neither side is covering themselves in glory at the moment.

    2. Crazy. And yet already more coverage than all the cop murdering that was not just plotted but actually carried out this year.

      1. All the cop murdering? Don’t know if cop deaths are even up beyond baseline this year.

        Also, of course, a governor is different from a cop.

        Quit minimizing this. I fully say rioters are bad and should be jailed. You, on the other hand, seem to be having some trouble saying conservatives may have a wee political violence problem.

        1. “governor is different from a cop”

          Cops provide a vital service.

        2. Conservative anarchists?

          That makes no sense.

        3. All the cop murdering? Don’t know if cop deaths are even up beyond baseline this year.

          Oh, they are — but that’s not because of BLM or murdering. It’s because of coronavirus, which has led to more line of duty deaths than all other causes. (Although I suppose you could call that “murdering” attributed to Trump.)

  19. I guess we’ll learn soon which of the Volokh Conspiracy’s carefully cultivated class of fans and commenters are Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, Paul Bellar, Shawn Fix, Eric Molitor, Michael Null, William Null, Pete Musico, and Joseph Morrison. They’re the ones who won’t be commenting for a while, starting today.

    1. If the plot was against the governor of Maine I’d have a pretty good guess.

      1. Maine . . . Michigan . . . are you confident a fully lathered clinger could distinguish the two?

    2. They were supposed to stand down and stand by, remember?

    3. Apparently, the Trump campaign’s response is to criticize Whitmer for her alleged hatred of Trump.

      Can anyone not see what utter dirtbags these people are?

      1. In fairness, the Trump operation is down to its ninth-string spokesperson . . . the first eight clingers on the depth chart were infected by belligerent ignorance.

        I think they’re down to a choice of sending out (1) Joseph Farah’s half-educated, twenty-something daughter or (2) the kid who delivers the six buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken to the White House every morning, five minutes before Fox and Friends starts.

    4. anarchists are Left.

      1. Those left wing militias attempting to kidnap a Democratic governor.

        Sam, you’re a tool.

        1. Those “right-wing” militias who are anarchists and call Trump a tyrant.

          Gaslightr0, you’re a dunce.

        2. Further, your premise is that blue doesn’t ever attack blue.

          In order to believe that one would have to have had their eyes closed for the past 3 months while the left-wing setup autonomous zones in Democrat cities, or left-wing protestors and looters ravaged Democrat cities and Democrat run police departments.

          See how stupid you are?

          1. Sam, they had Confederate flags.

            Quit digging.

  20. Who will be in President Biden’s cabinet?

    1. warren and butteige for sure, to represent the “middle”

      1. So basically all his primary challengers.

        1. Only the ones saying goodbye to politics.

          Cabinet is a dead end. Its lobbying or retirement afterwards.

          Only person whose one and only office was cabinet secretary to be president was Hoover. I can’t remember the last cabinet member to be elected to anything afterwards.

          1. To anything afterwards? Donna Shalala comes to mind without requiring any research. Lamar Alexander. Mel Martinez. Mitch Daniels. Rob Portman. Dick Cheney. Elizabeth Dole. Andrew Cuomo. Bill Richardson.

  21. Now that we know a pandemic is a national security risk, should money be reallocated from the Department of Homeland Security to the National Institute of Health?

    For example, if 200,000 Americans died from a terrorist attack, think of how much new defense money would be spend in response.
    Shouldn’t priorities be readjusted to prepare for the next national health crisis?

    1. congress wont reallocate, they’ll just add more

  22. Biden has clinched the endorsement of the US Communist party.

    1. didnt that happen about 6 months ago? thats just another name for the DNC

      1. Nobody cares, guys.

        1. No, you don’t care.

          1. No, red-baiting doesn’t play much outside of the Breitbart crowd.

  23. Why do the people at the FBI always trot out some lame “right-wing” terrorist charges right before an election?

    2018 the hilariously fake “white hispanic” “MAGABomber”
    And now these anarchists in MI?

    Whose ever heard of right-wing anarchists?

    Are the people at the FBI trying to intefere in our elections?

    1. Media loves them a right wing extremist story. Problem is they only pop up rarely. But left wing violence is happening every day in major cities all around the country. Never a peep from CNN about that.

      Remember the time they even set up a lawless zone and the Governor AND Mayor were like “whatevs…maybe it will be a summer of love” but only closed it down after multiple murders.

      The time of reckoning is coming soon.

      1. Never a peep from the FBI either. They’re too busy kneeling to looters.

    2. “Whose ever heard of right wing anarchists?”

      I mean, anarcho-capitalists (AnCaps) are definitely a thing. Of course that is not “real” anarchism, but try telling them that.

    3. Yes, Sam, twas a set-up conspiracy by the FBI to hurt Trump.

      Paranoia like that isn’t conducive to a healthy relationship with reality.

      1. What’s your explanation for the last two “October Surprises” by the FBI in 2020 and 2018? Not to mention their interference in 2016?

        1. Your own confirmation bias, Sam. You have provided evidence only of your very strong confirmation bias.

  24. Voting machines stolen in Philadelphia. DA calls it “apparently a random crime…” Yup the fix is in for this election.

    1. Philly was gonna go big for Trump?

      1. Maybe you need a lesson in geography. Philadelphia is in Pennsylvania. Their votes count in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is going to most likely be a toss up state. More fake Dem votes in Philly dilute the Republican strongholds elsewhere in the state. Do I need to draw you a map?

        1. How does taking away voting machines, assuming your story is even true, help make there be *more* fake votes?

          1. Keep on reading your fake news Sarc. The kool-aid must be really good.

    2. No voting machines were stolen in Philadelphia.

      1. Laptops with information that is used to maintain and possibly download votes were stolen. Obviously it was a random crime and there is no intention of using those to get past security measures, access networks, or compromise voter integrity. It was just some guy walking through the Election Commission warehouse who decided to steal some laptops and usb drives….completely….randomly….

    3. This is why people who understand computer security say that there needs to be as paper trail for each vote. (And lots of Republican jurisdictions use electronic-only voting machines. It’s dumb to try to paint this as a partisan issue. Why should Democrats trust the machines in Georgia more than Republicans trust the ones in Pennsylvania?)

      1. A paper trail only works if it can be used later for an audit. Providing “receipts” to individual voters was all the rage for many years. That was stupid because it didn’t create a record that could actually be used to contest a ballot.

        Ideally you would have each machine record the vote on a paper ticker that would exist is a locked, access controlled portion of the machine. That ticker would then be separated from the machine and given to a party to analyze. Each machine would then have its votes reconciled against the ticker. Anything over a certain tolerance would get flagged for drill down.

        This didn’t happen though because neither party wanted it. Both engage in voter fraud and to some extent rely on it in certain jurisdictions. Democrats are far more notorious for their scams and will use these tactics to steal national elections, but Republicans will do it every now and then too.

        There is no incentive to stop or prosecute a practice that is generally accepted in political circles. That is why no one seems to care. Perhaps the media would care a little bit more if it was Republicans setting up to steal a Presidential election, but until that happens voter fraud is just a bar room joke that gets a fun laugh.

  25. In the 1967-1968 flu season, the flu killed 100k Americans. That was 0.05% of the population at that time.

    In the 2019-2020 season, COVID killed . . . a much smaller percentage, actually. But even if we take the current CDC total of 199k, now well into the next season, that’s 0.06%.

    1. I think it was in 2019 according to the CDC there were 35 million confirmed cases of the flu – and we don’t test for the flu. Imagine if we did what that number would be like.

      We never shut down anything ever even when 1300 kids died of H1N1 in 2009. The flu kills across more age groups than the Wuhan does.

      Spare me about waiting and putting our lives on hold for the vaccine.

      We’ve lived with four strains of the coronavirus without a vaccine. I think we can handle this one. The data is telling us to GO AND LIVE LIFE.

      Get on with herd immunity already.

      1. “Many fewer people died even though we did nothing” was not the winning argument you thought it was.

    2. Dunno if you’ve noticed it, but Covid is still killing people.

      The ’68 flu was a novel strain so in many ways it’s a similar situation to Covid-19, although with a lower CFR. In the best case scenario that Brett was laying out earlier in the week where Covid deaths stabilize across the population at 100 – 150 deaths per 100k you’re talking about something 2-3 times deadlier than the 1968 pandemic. Many scenarios look quite a bit worse than that.

      1. Dunno if you noticed but the flu is still killing people. CDC estimates 46,000 to 95,000 in 2017-2018.

        COVID is never going away. 50 years from now and well after a vaccine, people will still be dying. Just like the flu.

        I believe the CDC’s “season” measuring period ends in April, and that COVID deaths were around 60k for the 2019-2020. We are well into the 2020-2021 season now, which will be higher, yet still probably not as bad as the 67 pandemic in terms of deaths per capita. Back then they were going to Woodstock and doing things like that. There was scary media coverage of the pandemic but nobody considered it a big deal. Now, one can argue of course that COVID could have been far worse and the results are only this good because the USA has done such and incredibly good, outstanding job on its coronavirus response under President Trump and has met the various challenges quickly and ably.

        1. ML, your goal posts shifted in a very dishonest way from a particular flu season to the flu in general. And then back again.

          I don’t know if you are lying to yourself, or just lying, but this was an elementary fail; you should do better.

          1. I don’t know if you’re not smart enough to follow a conversation, or you’re just making up some word salad.

            If you think anything I said is incorrect, point it out specifically. I’m eager to be corrected.

            67-68 season: 0.051% of the population dies from the flu.

            19-20 season: 60k, or 0.018% of the population dies from COVID.

            20-21 season: 139k thus far, or 0.042% of the population dies from COVID (this will be going up).

            ’20 calendar year (as opposed to the CDC’s “sesasons”): 199k thus far, or 0.060% of the population dies from COVID (still going up).

            As we know, 50 years later, people are still dying from that 1967 flu. Likewise, COVID won’t be going away and 50 years now people will be dying from it, although less.

            I was reading the CDC website just now, and one of the things the CDC cautions about when comparing stats decades apart is: “it is useful to keep in mind that direct comparisons to influenza disease burden decades ago are complicated by large differences in the age of the US population and the increasing number of adults aged ≥65 years.”

            So with that in mind, here’s another important stat: According to the CDC, the percentage of the population over 65 was about 9.6% in 1967 (link: https://www.cdc.gov/Nchs/data/statab/pop6097.pdf ) Today, that percentage is 16.9%.

    3. Still on that Trump tweet that was clear nonsense, eh?

  26. Not directly a hot topic nor of law but greatly overlooked: What are we to do about the declining hormonal health of the US and the world? Male testosterone levels decreasing across age-groups over-time is well-documented, and female puberty ages have dramatically lowered. Why are these factors never talked about? This is the single-greatest attack to the human-condition I have ever seen and there is 0 air time, 0 discussion on it. I had a comment with links for in-line sources but it was flagged for moderation.

    1. It’s an effect not a cause:

      potential causes for these declines could be increased obesity/BMI, assay variations, diet/phytoestrogens, declined exercise and physical activity, fat percentage, marijuana use, and environmental toxins.

      1. It is my belief it is the cause of much of the turmoil we see today, horomones have such a grip over our lives, far more than people typically anticipate. And while those are all potential partial causes do indeed affect horomone levels, no scientists I ever have seen are claiming those encapsulate the whole issue here. From what I can tell, testosterone levels are decreasing worldwide and dramatically so, similarly for female puberty rates. Plastics and xenoestrogens are a major culprit.

        1. I couldn’t find any similar data for male testosterone levels across dates globally (only regionally), but for female puberty ages “the age at which the girls began to develop Tanner breast stage 2 went down by 0.24 years, which is almost 3 months for each of the 10-year periods within the study.” Here referring to a globular multi-study on the subject.

  27. Genuine question regarding CDC statistics.

    The CDC’s stats on flu deaths are discussed very frequently. They are provided not by calendar year, but by “seasons” :

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/past-seasons.html

    I’ve been trying to figure out the measuring time period. If you look at the CDC’s page for 2019-2020 season flu deaths (I can only provide one link), it seems to suggest that the time period of the “season” is Oct 1 to April 4.

    Does anyone know, then, if the CDC’s frequently discussed flu stats just completely exclude everything from April 5 through September 30 for every year? If so, that would seem to be a pretty massive caveat regarding “annual” flu deaths, even though that is the off-season time. Anyone have insight?

  28. Democrats need to be careful with their excessive rhetoric about Trump being a tyrant, a Nazi, and so on.

    Such rhetoric encourages folks like those who plotted to kidnap the Governor of Michigan, folks who viewed Trump as a “tyrant” and who were anarchists that opposed all government:

    https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1314326901683617792

  29. Today Mike Pompeo told Fox News he has access to Hillary’s emails and plans to release them all before the election. To demonstrate how irresponsible it was of her to have them on a private server where some unauthorized hacker might see sensitive or even classified material, he plans to release them so that everyone can.

    And in other news, Trump supporters continue to claim that Democrats can’t get over 2016.

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