Food Policy

Food Issues That Should've Been Front and Center in the 2020 Presidential Election

Food industry workers and wonks make their case for agricultural and food industry reforms.

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Over the years I've bemoaned the fact presidential candidates rarely focus on food-policy issues. In 2012, for example, I wrote a column on issues I thought the presidential candidates should be discussing but had ignored to date. I did the same in a 2016 column. Each time, my entreaties fell on deaf ears.

For this presidential election—taking place during a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on everything from food supply chains to restaurants—I decided to ask a handful of people from different areas of the food-policy realm to answer the following question in around 100 words: What is the key food-policy issue(s) the presidential candidates should be talking about (but aren't)?

Several people, from various parts of the food-policy realm, responded. (Thanks!) Their unedited responses—save for adding a few hyperlinks where needed—are below. Keep in mind that this column presents a survey from across a wide spectrum of the food-policy world. Not all the ideas below are ones I (or Reason) endorse.

Jayson Lusk, Distinguished Professor & Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University: The COVID-19 related disruptions to our food supply chain revealed there were a number of barriers preventing food from freely flowing from areas of low demand (restaurants) to areas of high demand (grocery stores). In many instances, regulations were a major obstacle. For example, many eggs are delivered to restaurants in liquid form, and regulations prohibited eggs from these facilities being sold in grocery stores. The result was an unnecessarily large spike in grocery egg prices and an unnecessarily large fall in liquid egg prices. In many locales, restaurants were prohibited from selling food directly to consumers because they lacked grocery licenses. 

Mike Callicrate, Rancher & Advocate: Food security is national security. We are currently dependent upon a few predatory multinational corporations for our food. They are also serial felons. For example, recently, JBS/Pilgrim's Pride agreed to pay $110 million in fines for price-fixing. The campaigns should be offering plans to rebuild our nation's food system around a more resilient and sustainable local/regional model, applying an urgent critical infrastructure approach. Initially, the new infrastructure should be paid for by the federal government, with a high priority on connecting producers as directly as possible with consumers, circumventing the current middlemen who have proven to be fragile and unreliable. There should be renewed efforts to address monopoly power and predatory practices to totally protect the new food economy.

Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow, Taxpayers Protection Alliance: Consistent with his deregulatory agenda, President Trump should have campaigned on a pledge to streamline food and agriculture regulation in a manner that would foster innovation. For instance, the turf-battle between the USDA and FDA over cell-based food (are we allowed to call it "meat"?) caused costly delays and rewarded rent-seekers rather than innovators. 

Vice President Biden could channel his enthusiasm for protecting the environment into not only cell-based foods but other advanced food and agricultural technologies that would benefit the environment. Doing so through smarter regulatory policy would benefit both the environment and the American economy, as innovators could export greener food technology around the globe. 

Michele Simon, founder and vice president of policy, Plant Based Foods Association: Sadly food issues rarely make it onto presidential platforms. Of course, I think we should be hearing about how shifting to a plant-based diet is a key solution to climate change. While the current focus on the pandemic and related healthcare issues are important, many of the co-morbidities we are seeing are related to poor diet, so food is connected to many issues.

Pete Kennedy, attorney, Weston A. Price Foundation: The key issue the candidates aren't addressing is the decentralization of food production and distribution. With the upheaval in the food system after the onset of the COVID-19 crisis and the decline in food imported into the US, now more than ever is the time to strengthen food security by further deregulation of food produced and consumed at the local level. This effort will improve local and regional self-sufficiency in food production, food safety, public health, the vitality of local economies, small farm prosperity, and community resiliency.

Judith McGeary, executive director, Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance: I wish the candidates were talking about the fact that small sustainable farms provide real solutions for numerous problems, in ways that make sense to people at all points of the political spectrum. Small business economic development, food security, climate change, public health— small farms could make a huge contribution on all these issues if the government stopped buying into the "bigger is better" myth.

Liz Williams, founder & curator, National Food & Beverage Foundation: COVID-19 has driven food insecurity to the century's highest levels. The existing food insecurity of the working poor, often not based on a lack of calories, but inadequate nutrition, places its victims at higher risk for major impacts of COVID-19. And pandemic closures of gathering places and the corresponding loss of jobs creates new victims of food insecurity, who are not familiar with the meager food safety net. SNAP, food bank pickup sites, and community resources are a labyrinth to maneuver for the new victim. Without money to buy food, and without food banks or a means to get to them, food insecurity can actually mean starvation, public health risks, poor school performance (especially with schools closed), and increased COVID-19 issues. Local food banks and community groups cannot do this alone. No one seems to be talking about the hungry.

Tyler Lindholm, rancher and state representative, Wyoming: Presidential elections are consistently devoid of one topic, in particular, let alone food policy….Why shouldn't States be the master of their own markets and in return let the people be the master of their own free market? To put it into perspective, it is now easier to sell marijuana brownies in Colorado directly to a consumer than it is to sell a ribeye steak in Wyoming directly. Standing on the principle of removing barriers for States to economically develop by promoting direct-to-consumer sales is a winning issue. It's also important to note though that farmers and ranchers rarely have lobbyists to line pockets. I expect nothing.

Daren Bakst, senior research fellow in agricultural policy, Heritage Foundation: Policymakers need to remove the excessive government intervention that exists in food policy. They should be freeing up food innovation instead of hindering it, reducing farmers' dependence on government, not increasing it, and removing barriers to the sale of food, such as meat, not keeping these barriers in place. Then there's free trade. The U.S. should be fighting to remove trade barriers imposed by other countries and taking action to remove our own barriers. In general, food policy should respect consumer dietary choices and allow individuals across the food supply chain to have the freedom to meet this demand.

Tom Philpott, food & agriculture correspondent, Mother Jones: With poverty spreading and the hunger on the rise, the candidates should be talking about how they'll ramp up food aid and bolster institutions like school lunch—and how to boost wages and improve conditions for vital food-system workers. Then there's the climate emergency: fires, floods, and droughts haunt California, our main source of fresh produce; while ever-fiercer spring storms have created an unprecedented, unchecked, soil-erosion crisis in the Midwest corn belt. The candidates should be competing over who has the best plan to mitigate climate change and protect our food system from its now-inevitable ravages.

Baylen Linnekin, columnist, Reason.com, Sr. Fellow, Reason Foundation: Other than a handful of minor COVID-related deregulatory efforts (e.g., temporarily easing food labeling rules), I wish Donald Trump could point to even one meaningful food-policy accomplishment his administration had achieved during the past four years. I wish Joe Biden would call out the folly of Trump's food protectionism and make the case for freer trade and the elimination of food tariffs and farm subsidies.

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  1. Great article. I suspect the reason that this is not getting more attention is that we tend to think of food and food production issues as regional or local issues. I have also noted that when this topic is mentioned it is usually from prospective of the farmer. Talking about loss of farms but never really talking about how food policy is affected. Maybe Joe Biden should promise to make Chef Tom Colicchio the head of the Department of Agriculture?

    1. Good morning. Are you talking about the “loss of farms” or the “loss of acreage being utilized for agriculture?”

      1. To me it is usually about farms. We here about the number of farms dropping or the number of small farms that are lost. Certainly around large urban areas there is a loss of acreage as farms are converted to residential and commercial use.

        1. Yeah, the 1980’s were especially hard on farms, but the trend was already there: from 6+ million farms in 1935 to 2.2 million in 2012. The number continues to decrease, albeit more slowly (just over 2 million in 2020).

          But remember, even though the population has increased by 190 million people since 1945, the amount of land used by agriculture has DECREASED by 18 percent. Modern ag tends to favor large farms and cooperatives over small farms.

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        2. And yet food costs, as a percentage of income, are at record lows.
          There is no lack of farms or acreage.

          1. Yeppers.

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          2. Until the “fix-it” crowd starts playing with it. As-if healthcare wasn’t the perfect example of the “Fix-it” crowd.

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            2. They can fix it the Same way Stalin fixed the Ukraine

              1. Hitting a little too close to plausible reality there.

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      2. When SNAP (supplemental nutritional allowance program) allows soda, candy, cookies, and pizza – food that offers zero nutritional value… we show our hypocrisy. If you want to eat it, don’t use taxpayers dollars to fund your 9yr old’s future diabetes.

        1. Disagree pizza is it’s own food group and much better for you than crap ass fruits and veggies

          1. Yes but the addition of pineapple on pizza should be banned. We should all be able to agree on that.

    2. That’s BS President Trump didn’t tell his supporters to Target and Run Bidens bus and those following it off the Road! That’s just Plain Ridiculous. He would not endanger his campaign like that or risk being arrested for doing such a thing. The ones who did it were being A-holes on their own. Either way, that was Wrong to Do That……Click For Full Detail.

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  2. “‘Mike Callicrate: “The campaigns should be offering plans to rebuild our nation’s food system around a more resilient and sustainable local/regional model…. Initially, the new infrastructure should be paid for by the federal government, with a high priority on connecting producers as directly as possible with consumers…”

    Hmm. Local produce? With fifty-four percent of the people in this country living in major areas, this seems unlikely to be realistic. It probably takes close to half the farms in CA to feed just the LA basin. An infrastructure paid for by the feds? And here I thought we already had an interstate freeway system. This man be a fool.

    “‘Jayson Lusk: “…The COVID-19 related disruptions to our food supply chain revealed there were a number of barriers preventing food from freely flowing from areas of low demand (restaurants) to areas of high demand (grocery stores).”‘

    This guy seems to know what he is talking about. At least he makes sense.

    “‘Michele Simon: “Of course, I think we should be hearing about how shifting to a plant-based diet is a key solution to climate change.”

    Speaking as a vegan, Michele is … ridiculous. Even going to 100% plant based diet would have very, very, VERY little impact on climate change, land usage, or anything else. Probably not even measurable.

    I will leave the rest of the commentariat the pleasure of responding to the rest of the contributors.

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    2. Land usage would increase and if calculated on a per calorie produced or per nutrient produced (especially per biologically available nutrient produced) plant based diets are no better, and some research suggest worse, than omnivore diets. It is even worse if you go organic, plant based. Additionally, most beef in the US is raised on marginal land that is unsuitable for plant based agriculture, and range is actually a carbon sink. It is a myth that beef cattle aren’t raised on range. They, slaughter steers, live on range for anywhere from 6 months to a year and then are finished in a feedlot for 6 months to a year. Grass fed take three years to reach slaughter size, feedlot cattle 18 months. On a per kg of meat produced, when adjusted for life span feedlot cattle produce less GHG than grass finished. Also, hormonal implanted cattle produce even less.
      Most plant based foods are annuals, and unless the farm is no till or minimal till, they don’t actually store any CO2. No till and to a lesser extent minimal till are carbon sinks, but not as much as pasture is.
      Making it easier to market cattle locally (and beef, poultry and sheep) would allow more ranchers to finish their own cattle, thus decreasing transportation. Montana is one of the largest cow-calf states on the nation but almost all of our calves are transported to Nebraska (or beyond) and almost all of our sheep to Colorado or Michigan for finishing and processing. The few local feedlot still end up transporting (and the remain small because of federal regulations many of them passed by Obama and Clinton to “help the little guy” which surprise surprise hurt them and helped the big corporations which do have monopolies) to out of state processers for the most part because we don’t have USDA inspected packing houses large enough to process commercially.
      Many ranchers would love to do direct marketing (my wife and I are doing that with our ranch) but the regulatory burden is a major stumbling block. I can sell shares in a live animal without inspection, and have them pay for slaughter, but if I pay to slaughter it and try selling cuts directly, I have to go through a USDA inspected processor and I have to have commercial level freezers for storage. Selling shares is a fixed price and I can’t take advantage of premium cuts, this reduces my profit potential. USDA inspected facilities are more expensive, and putting in commercial freezers (and paying for inspection) is expensive. Or I can sell locally (within State) beef that is processed in state inspected processors, but this severely reduces my customer base.
      Additionally the number of smaller processors is shrinking as regulatory, inspection fees, and licensing fees are a major hurdle to those trying to break into the industry. There is high demand for new processors but the supply remains fairly small. You basically have to book almost. A year in advance anymore, 6 months at the latest. And when your date comes up, ready or not, you have to get it processed or loose you date. So what you end up doing is over finishing, you schedule your processing date for beyond what you expect them to finish, to account for unforeseen (a wet spring, colder than average winter, illness) that will set back finishing. If these don’t happen, you take an over finished animal. This has its own costs, mainly the cost of continuing to feed past finishing.
      Basically, the current system doesn’t allow a lot of wriggle room for innovation and high demand for farmers and ranchers looking to diversify and innovate. And almost all the downward pressure stifling innovation is due to federal regulations (and state to a lesser extent). And a good portion of those regulations were created “to help the little guy”.

      1. I will also add in the NCBA is not really great at lobbying on this issue because they are dominated by large packers and feeders. The state organizations are better but have far less power at the federal level.

      2. This is a lot of incredibly useful information for someone without any personal connection to the meat industry. Thank you.

      3. Thanks soldiermedic76 — good stuff.

        “…most beef in the US is raised on marginal land that is unsuitable for plant based agriculture…”

        Yep.

        The figures I have for the amount of land agricultural land “freed-up” if the meat industry went out of style is somewhere around 3% — max. And I think your figures easily fall within the range of possible outcomes, as well.

        I think a lot of folks, including, until a few years ago, myself, have a misconception about crops grown for livestock. While some soy beans are grown to feed cattle, nearly half the crop is exported. Of the rest, more soy is grown to feed chickens than to feed beef. As far as corn-fed beef, well, twenty percent of the corn crop is exported, and forty percent is used to make ethanol. Subtract the corn which goes into corn-based human foods and high-fructose syrup, chickens and the like, and it doesn’t leave all that much for beef.

        1. A lot of the corn and soybeans fed to cattle is after the have used it make ethanol or extracted the oil. The amount of food waste fed to livestock, byproducts of processing etc is huge.

          1. Yep.

  3. Michele Simon, founder and vice president of Plant Based Foods Association: “I think we should be hearing about how shifting to a plant-based diet is a key solution”

    Well that was unexpected. Supper valuable contribution.
    I wonder if the President of the Pork Producers Association thinks we should be eating more pig?

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  4. “Over the years I’ve bemoaned the fact presidential candidates rarely focus on food-policy issues.”

    Not to worry. When the Harris administration elevates the Green New Deal Tsar to cabinet level, we will see all kinds of new policies, from banning meat and corporate farms, to education camps for millions of commune farmers.

    1. Steaks at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
      Soy slop for the proles to combat the Climate.

  5. The most pressing food-related issue is that there simply aren’t enough agricultural workers in the US because of Orange Hitler’s draconian war on immigration.

    #OpenBordersWillFixEverything
    #ImmigrationAboveAll

  6. Maybe the best policy is fewer policies.

    1. Yeah. It seems to me that the most efficient way to get food to the folks who want it is to eliminate “policies” and leave it up to the folks who actually grow, ship, process, package, and sometimes, prepare our food, to figure out the best way to get it to us.

      1. But how can they possibly know as much as Linnekin? The only purpose for the informed elite is to tell others what to do.

    2. PS: Joe Biden is a crook

    3. This is probably a good idea other than a lot of policies are driven by the large scale food industries and they have lots of money. I think this is likely very true in terms of direct to consumer sales, where the middleman expects his cut.

      1. Direct to buyer would be less driven by middleman. For example right now, the practice is for one person to raise the cows and calves, they then sell it to a feedlot or a backgrounder (who sells it to a feedlot) who then sells it to a processor, who then sells it to a grocery. Under direct marketing, I raise the cows and calves, finish the cows, pay for processing and sell directly to the consumer. Two middleman involved, the processor (local and smaller than commercial) and the transportation costs (FedEx of UPS) add a third for web page marketing. I add the cost of transportation and processing to the consumers price, but in the current regulated market you have twice as many middle men (because transportation and marketing is also steps they have to do).

        1. This works in rural or even some suburban areas, but those ‘middlemen’ mean the majority of the population living in urban areas get food.

          1. There are webpages desk aged solely to ranchers looking to direct market to urban and suburban customers. My farm has a Facebook page you can order from.

            1. The problem is I don’t always know I want steak 3 days in advance. I agree fewer regulations will help make things easier for direct sell, but we aren’t getting rid of the middlemen in urban areas. HEB is a large Texas grocery store that has there own meat processing plants that cuts down on at least one of the levels. It buys directly from ranchers if my understanding of the process is correct. They actually did an amazing job during Covid. Lysol spray was really the only thing unavailable for any extended time.

              1. You will always have had need for the commercial feeders and processors and distributors. That is a given. However, regulations make these the default rather than just an alternative. They will probably always be the majority s well.

    4. Fewer policies is a policy. Based on Linnekin’s past writing, i doubt he disagrees with you.

  7. Food policy is not relevant when everyone has to wear a mask 24/7.
    Those who qualify for a feeding license based on political purity will be allowed IV sustenance at official survival stations.
    The rest of you can reflect on your poor choice of policy as you starve to death.
    The resultant loss of life will fix global climate warming change.

    1. Sweden covid death rate continues to be almost non existent as the rest of Europe heads to lockdowns again.

      https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/coronavirus/new-lockdowns-ordered-across-europe

      Friendly reminder. Peanut allergy counts and deaths exploded after scientists told us to avoid them as kids to protect children. Let our systems work as they evolved.

    2. And put an end to those nasty CA wild-fires!

      1. Or at least an end to people talking about them.

  8. We have all seen the scare tactics used with a virus that kills so few people and the effect on food supply. The powers that be were paying attention and have calibrated their next move to fine tune your reactions. You should be very afraid of a Harris-Biden administration and their plans for you.

  9. You sure did get some anti-free markets and anti-free minds responses! Thanks especially for asking those people and for including their answers.

  10. What is the key food-policy issue(s) the presidential candidates should be talking about (but aren’t)?

    Ersatz “food” fraud. Vegan “mayo” and “butter” soy and nut “milk”.
    Impossible, Beyond and unbranded faux “meat”.

    And the old misbranded and adulterated dairy standbys, tolerated or even encouraged by our food regulatory state; fat free “sour cream, cheese,half n’half”etc.

  11. For example, recently, JBS/Pilgrim’s Pride agreed to pay $110 million in fines for price-fixing.</blockquote

    Tsk…tsk, poultry production is private sector economic activity. If you don’t like centrally planned market prices build your own regulatory -captured poultry industry and sell chicken for the price YOU want. It’s not the role of the government to enforce competition. Invisible hands (or chicken feet) do that.

  12. “What is the key food-policy issue(s) the presidential candidates should be talking about (but aren’t)?”

    Was disappointed none of the commentators mentioned the most overwhelming, but ignored, food-policy issue: REDUCING OBESITY

    From 2000 to 2018, the US adult obesity rate increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the rate of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.

    Obesity has surpassed cigarette smoking as the leading cause of preventable morbidity, mortality and healthcare cost increases in the US.

    But the WHO, CDC and state/local health agencies, Democrats and the left wing media are all worried they will be accused of “Fat Shaming” by fat rights activists.

    Obese people also account for most Covid deaths under age 60.

    While Michele Simone’s claim that “shifting to a plant-based diet is a key solution to climate change” is total BS, eating more plants would reduce obesity (as there are very few obese vegetarians and virtually no obese vegans).

    1. I’m not suggesting that government impose any new policies to regulate food consumption in the US.

      But public health agencies (and politicians) must begin to acknowledge that obesity is a HUGE and GROWING public health problem (far worse than Covid), and encourage Americans to consume fewer calories and burn off more calories with more exercise and physical activity (walking and bike riding are excellent low risk activities).

      FDA should also reduce misleading and fraudulent claims by the diet industry (e.g. TV ads marketing food contracts claiming that it will help people lose 25 pounds or more while showing people eating lots of the delicious food being sold by the company).

      1. People eat voluntarily. Keep your mitts off their Cheetos, slaver!!

    2. It’s not “food shortages” it’s “Reducing Obesity”
      It’s not “energy shortages” it’s “Reducing Weather Changes”
      It’s not “stealing” it’s “Wealth equality”
      It’s not “race entitlement” it’s “Ending racism”
      It’s not “sexist entitlement” it’s “Ending sexism”
      It’s not “commie education camps” it’s “Public education for all”

      Inside the profoundly confused and evil intended Marxist mind.

      1. You forgot Reich’s “Truth and Reconciliation” commission.

  13. This election hasn’t just been deficient for a lack of focus on food issues. This election hasn’t centered on any issues, really. The whole campaign has been about how people feel about the economy, the pandemic, and the president’s personality.

    The press actively suppressed a story about Biden’s financial dealings with China, and we haven’t really focused on questions like Trump’s withdrawal from Afghanistan or the obvious consequences of Biden’s Green New Deal either. So, don’t feel too left out because we haven’t focused on food issues. This election cycle hasn’t really focused on any other issues either.

    The closest we get to focusing on issues is questions like–How do you feel about packing the Supreme Court? How do you feel about President Trump’s abrasive tweets? The question, “How do you feel about the forced closure of restaurants?”, probably enjoyed as much attention as any issue over the course of this election cycle–not that how people feel about an issue should be confused with the issue itself.

    We had someone in comments earlier this week claim that there was no way Obama could have known that banning high deductible plans would force people to change plans–because the future is unknowable. Until we get more Americans who understand that the issues don’t change depending on how we feel about them, don’t expect them to focus on the issues. Expect them to stay focused on their feelings–especially those who can’t tell the difference between the issues and their feelings.

    P.S. Joe Biden is a crook regardless of your feelings.

      1. Are you contending that the Bidens didn’t actually benefit from their negotiations with the Chinese, or are you contending that the press didn’t actively suppress the story?

        Because whether or not the deal actually went through isn’t the issue. The issue was influence peddling, which the emails revealed, and the fact is that the press actively suppressed the story.

        P.S. Joe Biden is a crook.

        1. I’m suggesting that there is more to the Hunter Biden story than one would get if one gets all one’s news from right-wing news sources. There is not one source for the story that is not a hardcore pro-Trump partisan, and a tremendous amount of flaky behavior from the story’s sources.

          Hunter Biden has clearly cashed in on his last name, and Joe Biden has clearly turned a blind eye to his activities. This is all unethical, but despite the right wing’s desire for a big scandal, what has been presented so far falls short of catching Joe Biden doing anything illegal.

          1. “I’m suggesting that there is more to the Hunter Biden story than one would get if one gets all one’s news from right-wing news sources.”

            And yet 1) the others were suppressing the story and 2) facts are still facts regardless of who reports them.

            The fact is that Hunter Biden’s signature is on the order, and the emails’ contents say that Hunter Biden was peddling influence to the Chinese on Joe Biden’s behalf.

            The fact is that neither the Bidens nor the Biden campaign have denied the authenticity or the contents of the emails–because the emails are authentic, their contents are as reported, and other recipients of the emails have come forward to confirm both their authenticity and their contents.

            If you are contending that the emails are not authentic or that the contents are not as reported, you are making claims that neither the Bidens nor the Biden campaign are willing to make.

            Which is bizarre.

            P.S. Joe Biden is a crook.

            1. “… the emails’ contents say that Hunter Biden was peddling influence to the Chinese on Joe Biden’s behalf.”

              The email says that Hunter Biden was peddling influence with the Chinese on his own and his uncle’s behalf. The only purported mention of Joe Biden is a reference to “the big guy”. One business partner says that it is a reference to Joe Biden, another partner says Joe Biden wasn’t involved. The former undermined his credibility by showing up as Donald Trump’s guest at the debates. The email mentioning “the big guy” was from a time when Joe Biden held no public office, and nobody made any money.

              “The fact is that neither the Bidens nor the Biden campaign have denied the authenticity or the contents of the emails”

              The Biden campaign gave a blanket denial.

              1. This is a selective reading of the facts. Because you can rationalize something doesn’t mean it should be rationalized. Incidentally, that’s why it’s better not to argue with creationists.

                Meanwhile, neither the Bidens nor the Biden campaign are denying the authenticity or the contents of the emails. I can read the emails myself and form an opinion. I’ve read the testimony of the guy who vouched for their authenticity and their contents, too, and he said that in the email in question, Hunter Biden was saying that he was supposed to hold that money for Joe Biden himself. I can form my own opinion on the credibility of his testimony, too! It’s a plain reading of what is being said there–regardless of your rationalizations.

                First, it was that the emails weren’t authentic because of who found out about them and who reported them.

                Then it was about the contents being uncorroborated.

                Now, it’s that they’re being misconstrued.

                Maybe the gun is smoking for some other reason! Maybe Putin hacked Hunter Biden’s email server and wrote this email just to make Biden look bad!!!

                You can run around with the goal posts all day. That doesn’t mean you should run around with the goal posts. It certainly doesn’t mean anyone else should follow you around while you’re running around and around and around with the goalposts either.

                No matter how you rationalize anything and everything that comes your way, the fact remains that we have authenticated emails that show Hunter Biden peddling influence for his father–and the credible testimony of a participant in the deal who is corroborating those emails. A plain reading of the emails themselves show that Joe Biden is a crook. The questions about the authenticity and their contents have been answered–without Joe Biden’s input. If Joe Biden isn’t a crook, he should deny the emails’ authenticity or contents, and the fact that he hasn’t is further evidence that Joe Biden was complicit in peddling influence to the Chinese.

                P.S. Joe Biden is a crook.

                1. It is not selective, it is inclusive. It is conservative Trump supporters who are ignoring the flaky aspects of the story.

                  I don’t have a side in the Trump vs. Biden partisan war, so I’m paying attention to ALL the news and have the luxury you do not of being able to reserve judgement.

                  1. “A repair-shop order from April 2019 contains Hunter’s name and what appears to be his signature. The shop owner supplied a subpoena showing the computer and hard drive were seized by the FBI in December 2019. And the Biden campaign hasn’t said the emails are phony.

                    . . . .

                    According to the emails, both Bidens were in line in 2017 to benefit from a deal with CEFC. One email appears to identify Hunter Biden as “Chair/Vice Chair depending on agreement with CEFC.” It also refers to financial payments in terms of “20” for “H” and “10 held by H for the big guy?”

                    Fox News says it has confirmed the veracity of the email with one of its recipients and that sources say the “big guy” is Joe Biden. An August 2017 email from “Robert Biden” (Hunter’s legal first name) crows that the original deal was for $10 million a year in fees, but that it had since become “much more interesting to me and my family” because it included a share of “the equity and profits.”

                    —-Wall Street Journal

                    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-bidens-and-china-business-11603236651

                    Do the Bidens deny the authenticity of the emails?

                    The correct answer is no.

                    Do the Bidens deny the contents of the emails?

                    The correct answer is no.

                    And if JesseAZ, Sevo, and John all registered as Democrats tomorrow, the facts would still be the same.

                    P.S. Joe Biden is a crook.

                    1. You’ll take my L registration out of my cold, dead hands!

                  2. “Mr. Bobulinski, a Navy veteran and financier, was recruited by Hunter and associates to serve as CEO, and the interview shed more light on hundreds of emails and documents he recently made public.

                    Mr. Bobulinski said that in 2017 he twice met with former Vice President Joe Biden, as part of a Biden family effort at “wining and dining” him to “take on the CEO role.” He pointed to documents in which Hunter and others refer to Joe’s involvement in the deal, including an email from Hunter partner James Gilliar that proposed the “big guy” get 10% of the company equity, held in Hunter’s name. Mr. Bobulinski says “the big guy” is Joe. He also related a conversation in which he said Jim Biden said the answer to questions about Biden family involvement with foreign entities was “plausible deniability.”

                    —-Wall Street Journal

                    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-bidens-and-tony-bobulinski-11603927190

                    1. P.S. Joe Biden is a croooooooooooooooooooook!

              2. You are so full of shit it is amazing. We have God damn witnesses discussing Joe being involved. We have pictures with Devon archer and Joe. Pictures of Joe and Ukrainian lobbyists.

                China doesn’t give 1.5 billion away to a son whose dad is oblivious to everything. You have to be fucking retarded to believe that.

                1. You have to be fucking retarded to believe that.
                  Bears repeating.

                  1. PS: Joe Biden is a crook.

                  2. You have to be fucking retarded to believe that.

                2. https://www.factcheck.org/2019/10/trumps-claims-about-hunter-biden-in-china/

                  “Hunter Biden was involved with the cross-border equity consortium in question, but the $1.5 billion was what the fund hoped to raise in 2014 for investments. It is not the value of the management company in which Hunter Biden now holds a minority share. It’s unclear if that $1.5 billion goal was reached in its first year, as the investment fund had forecast, but the company website says it now manages assets worth the equivalent of over $2.1 billion in U.S. dollars.”

                  Can see the reply already: you are going to dismiss anything fact-check.org says. As Ken said, “this is why you don’t argue with creationists”.

                  1. How in any way do you think this helps you out? It is only worth a a billion, so doesn’t matter? Holy shit man.

                    Are you Jennifer Rubin?

                  2. Ken is correct”

                    Joe Biden is a crook.

          2. “Hunter Biden has clearly cashed in on his last name, and Joe Biden has clearly turned a blind eye to his activities. This is all unethical, but despite the right wing’s desire for a big scandal, what has been presented so far falls short of catching Joe Biden doing anything illegal.”

            Yeah, being a partner in influence peddling as a sitting VP isn’t illegal, is it?

            1. There’s the problem. There isn’t any specific evidence of influence peddling to nail Joe Biden with doing anything illegal.

              1. So it’s all just coincidence?
                BTW, I have the majority interest in the north anchorage of a bridge and am willing to make you a very good deal on it; you seem to be just the suck, uh, wise investor to take advantage of such a deal.

                1. Let’s put it a different way. Maybe the influence peddling and conflict of interest rules need to be tightened up. A lot.

                  1. Maybe Joe should quit hoing and Hunter should quit pimping.

                    1. Hunter absolutely should stop pimping or hoing.

                      And, at least for anything that happens in the future, Joe cannot credibly use the “I wasn’t aware of my son’s activities” excuse. Joe needs to sit down and have a talk with his brother, too.

                    2. Uh, you either can’t read or you’re an idiot.

                    3. Why not both?

                  2. Maybe you should stop reading by gaslight

              2. “There isn’t any specific evidence of influence peddling to nail Joe Biden with doing anything illegal.”

                There is specific evidence, but this isn’t a criminal trial yet.

                The question isn’t whether we should put Biden in jail.

                The question is whether we should elect his influence peddling ass to be the President of the United States.

                1. P.S. Joe Biden is a crook.

                  1. P.S. Don’t necessarily disagree, but so is Trump.

                    1. Cite missing, but your TDS isn’t.

                    2. Not going to bother. You are a pro-Trump partisan who will dismiss any evidence that the Trump kiddos are sticking their fingers in the same cookie jar as Hunter.

                      Ever notice how much Hunter and Donald, Jr. even look alike. Two Fortunate Sons cut from the same cloth.

                      Doesn’t matter at this point. The election is in a few days.

                    3. There’s this thing called a tu quoque fallacy.

                      It isn’t a legitimate fallback position.

                    4. “Not going to bother. You are a pro-Trump partisan”

                      The emails are authentic or not and the contents are what they are regardless of whether Sevo is a pro-Trump partisan.

                    5. Sevo was asking me for a cite that Trump is a crook, not for a cite that the Biden emails are not genuine.

                      I’m not going to bother because I feel Sevo is not actually interested in truth about Trump. Ain’t going to defend that — I just don’t feel like bothering. Fine with me if that’s a “tu quoque” strike against me. I’m done with lunch and it’s Halloween, so going to go work on my spooky lawn decorations with my kids.

                    6. The election is two days away, it’s Halloween and my face is made up like Horace M. Derwent. So, will catch up with the CACLL partisan parade later.

                    7. The election is two days away, it’s Halloween and my face is made up like Horace M. Derwent. So, will catch up with the CACLL partisan parade later.

                      You clearly don’t need any help dunking on yourself.

                    8. When the government spends 40 million to find no evidence of the bidens being crooks we can maybe call it a true equivalency.

                    9. “…You are a pro-Trump partisan who will dismiss any evidence that the Trump kiddos are sticking their fingers in the same cookie jar as Hunter…”

                      You are a lefty shit with TDS and an active imagination.

                2. I voted for Jo, and I agree this should be a reason to not vote fir Joe Biden.

                  But here’s my challenge to you: How then is influence peddling and nepotism also not a reason not to vote for Trump?

                  1. Cool fiction.

              3. We have emails and wore transfers. We have 9 million from the biden shell company to his pocketbooks in 2017 when he left office. The 9 million can not be explained by his book and speech deals which at max were around 5 million based on public information, his book only sold 300k copies for fucks sake.

                You are just a partisan clicking his heels.

                1. Cite? All I can find is a Forbes article that says Biden and his wife’s net worth is estimated at $9 million.

                  1. It was linked this week in 4 different threads you dishonest shit.

                    You’ve already admitted you don’t read linkd.

              4. By the way… al capone was just really bad at taxes, otherwise completely innocent.

                1. We’ll see how those$750,000 Ivanka Trump consultancy fees going over when audited.

                  1. Yet you ignore 5 million in consultancy fees from CEFC… WEIRD.

                  2. “We’ll see how those$750,000 Ivanka Trump consultancy fees going over when audited.”

                    Gonna get access to Trump’s tax returns again? Wonderful how that worked out last time; he paid taxes, oh, and he owes some money and lefty shits like you claimed he was a ‘poor businessman’, since he’s only worth $4bn.
                    As if you didn’t make a big enough ass of yourself last time; here’s your shovel, keep digging.

            2. “This is all unethical, but despite the right wing’s desire for a big scandal, what has been presented so far falls short of catching Joe Biden doing anything illegal”

              This is what Bill Clinton claimed in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It wasn’t illegal! The question wasn’t really whether what Bill Clinton did anything illegal. The question was whether Bill Clinton was the kind of womanizing scumbag who would bang a intern and smoke cigars that had been dipped in . . . her.

              These emails are very much like Monica Lewinsky’s stained dress. The genetic material on that dress was proof that Monica Lewinsky wasn’t lying–and demanded a response. Without that dress, Clinton’s people would have just called her a nut and a liar. Hunter Biden’s emails, likewise, are authenticated proof that Hunter Biden peddles influence on behalf of his father–and demands a response. Joe Biden should at least be forced to go on the record denying either the authenticity or the contents of the emails.

              If the American people choose to elect Joe Biden in spite of all the evidence that he used his son to peddle influence to the Chinese, they should be free to do so, but don’t expect the rest of us to shut up about the facts–when the fact is that we have authenticated proof that Hunter Biden peddled influence to the Chinese on behalf of his father. We’re not shutting up about it.

              P.S. Joe Biden is a crook.

              1. Bill Clinton was a scumbag. Joe Biden very well might be one, too.

                1. His drug war escapades alone remove the “might be”

          3. You are full of shit. See Glenn Greenwald retard. Are you going to admit the 2015 email is authentic now that it has been verified against Google DKIM?

            Or you going to keep denying all evidence that makes your team look bad?

            1. Yes, in order to stand by the narrative that this is a non-story and that the press wasn’t repressing it, they must feel compelled to argue that Glenn Greenwald resigned for no reason over a non-story.

              P.S. Joe Biden is a crook.

              1. Unlike you guys, who have a partisan need for Trump to be the good guy and Biden the bad guy, I don’t have a side in this. I can sit back and watch the story unfold, consider ALL the news, and won’t be bothered a bit of it turns out both Trump and Biden are crooks.

                1. Yes you do you partisan hack. All you’ve ever done here is defend the left while claiming as fact trump is a crook. See above you dishonest shit.

        1. Obama, Schiff, Clinton, Pelosi, Trump, Guliani, the RNC, and the DNC have been aware of Biden’s decade’s-long corrupt ways – he is far from unique among elected officials. The curious thing is the amount of gullible followers insisting Biden is clean – his supporters are getting a chuckle out of it.

          He got too greedy when he got to the executive branch and was exposed by careless family members. Will he suffer consequences? Probably not.

        2. NBC just tried to pull a bait and switch. They have zero crediblity.

        3. I’ll be happy to read that link, since I doubt it says anything like you hope it does.
          But I want a non-pay-walled one, thank you.

  14. Where is the mention (totally missing!) for MUCH lighter regulation of GMO foods, especially GMO animal products? It took like ten bazillion years for GMO salmon to be approved! GMOs are both good food, AND good for the environment!

    Sad to say, the “enviropigs” (GMOed in Canada) herd was killed off (fertilized egg cells still held on ice, at least), because it was going to take decades (s?), centuries, or millennia to get approval anywhere!

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

    1. The reason salmon haven’t naturally evolved the higher levels of growth hormone that are a feature of GMO salmon probably has something to do with the limits of the ecosystem in which they evolved, and the risks to that ecosystem from GMO salmon escaping and interbreeding with wild salmon are a real and legitimate concern–from libertarian, capitalist, and environmentalist perspectives.

      1. Regarding salmon in particular, as I understand it, a gene was taken from Atlantic salmon and introduced to Pacific salmon. And you are correct in that Atlantic salmon have a higher growth rate due to their environment. And, therefore, any modified Pacific salmon which escape into the wild, due to an inadequate food supply at the proper time in their life stage, would not be live to reproduce.

        1. “would not live to reproduce.”

        2. I appreciate that they have taken steps to address the legitimate concerns regarding GMO salmon–although I believe the growth hormone levels was jacked up higher than just kicking one species of salmon up to the same rate as another.

          Regardless, I hope you appreciate that my point was that there are legitimate libertarian and capitalist concerns regarding GMO salmon–in addition to environmental concerns. Reality is too complicated to make this a simple libertarians are pro-GMO and environmentalists are anti-GMO kind of issue.

          There are good reasons for libertarian capitalists to support the construction of nuclear energy facilities–so long as they’re located away from high risk tidal areas, away from earthquake faults, etc., and with adequate safeguards in place. Because local homeowners object to someone building a nuclear reactor on a nearby earthquake fault does not mean they’re being anti-capitalist or anti-libertarian. Their concerns may be entirely libertarian and entirely capitalist–and oppose the construction of any particular nuclear plant with reason.

          It’s the same thing with GMO salmon. The concerns are legitimate.

          1. “Regardless, I hope you appreciate that my point was that there are legitimate libertarian and capitalist concerns regarding GMO salmon–in addition to environmental concerns.”

            There are “concerns” about anything and everything, and such concerns do need to be addressed, and certainly many concerns do not come under only one “flag,” be it libertarian, environmentalist, or whatever.

            One thing not mentioned is the couple of billion dollars, at least, dedicated to conserving wild salmon populations (the feds spent $220 million on one, single project in N Cali which, so far, seems to have no measurable effect on the situation). One really good way to satisfy both the consumer and those who want to reduce the pressure on the wild salmon population is to have (relatively) inexpensive salmon available in the market place. We might even be able to eliminate ALL salmon fishing. This would probably do more to stabilize the wild population than all the grants I wrote to support projects to do the same.

      2. All water pipes going into and out of the facility have multiple physical barriers, such as metal screens, filters and pumps that fish cannot pass through. As an added precaution, all genetically modified salmon eggs are female and sterile, making it impossible for them to breed among themselves and with other salmon.

        From… https://gmoanswers.com/nine-9-things-you-need-know-about-gmo-salmon#:~:text=All%20water%20pipes%20going%20into,themselves%20and%20with%20other%20salmon.

        (SQRLSY comments) Evolution is on-going all the time. If these fish (or others) had the ability, in the wild, to grow faster, they would. (Faster growth would have already evolved in the wild). Growing faster lets one reproduce sooner, and be more successful at making babies and passing on your genes. The sooner one reproduces, the less chance of getting preyed on, or meeting some other early death! So it is fairly safe to assume that there is SOME mechanism out there in the wild (predation, lack of food, or other) that has prevented natural fish from evolving this fast growth rate. If these new GMO genes DID escape into the wild? ‘A) The new genes would be quickly “weeded out”, most likely, by evolution, because the new genes would be less fit in the wild, for those same reasons. ‘B) By some wild chance that is NOT true? Ooops, now we have fast-growing wild fish to catch and eat! Bonus!

        Of course, ultra-caution rules the day. Anti-GMO paranoia also rules the day!

        1. Have you not seen Jurassic Park, SQRLSY?! Did Jeff Goldblum live in vain.

          1. Yeah but John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.

            1. Only because Walt kept the Imagineers on a short leash.

        2. all genetically modified salmon eggs are female and sterile, making it impossible for them to breed among themselves and with other salmon.
          Someone didn’t see Jurassic Park.

          1. I agree with Ken about the nuke-plants… Let’s DO them, but keep them away from the ocean (big waves) and earthquake fault lines. Ditto, SOME restraint on the GMOs; not TOO totally cowboyish! Just common sense here, not strictly a libertarian issue…

            Sometimes the Holly-Weird folks get carried away, and portray some GOOD things as BIG BAD SCARY things to make libertarian-capitalist money-money-MONEY! (Not that I am in favor of laws to prevent that). Holly-Weird folks just need to hear some corrective back-talk, is all…

            As a lesser-known example of Holly Weird vastly exaggerated scare-movies, let me mention this… Keep in mind I can only post one link per post, so continued shortly below…

            First, there is “helminthic therapy”; On “helminthic therapy”, AKA gut parasite worms (WORMS!!!) are GOOD for you, too, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20054982 (USA government again) or others …

            1. “I agree with Ken about the nuke-plants…”

              What Ken said about nuclear plants was about GMO salmon. You seem to have a bad habit of only understanding what people say when you want what they say to be true.

              The precautions they’ve taken to stop GMO salmon from interbreeding with wild species are not 100% effective, and the fact that they need to take additional precautions to prevent the GMO salmon from interbreeding with wild salmon in addition to that underscores the point.

              The fact is that there are legitimate concerns about GMO salmon, and trying to reduce it to a GMO=libertarian and anti-GMO = anti-libertarian is not only an oversimplification of the complex reality but also false. GMO salmon, without proper precautions, could and probably would destroy the property and violate the rights of all kinds of people and industries that aren’t specifically and directly tied to salmon.

              If both the real world and libertarian capitalism are more complicated than some overly simplified and wrong model in your head, then you need to change your model because the real world doesn’t change itself to conform to your wrong models just because you want them to be true.

              1. “The precautions they’ve taken to stop GMO salmon from interbreeding with wild species are not 100% effective…”

                How do you know that? This seems to me to be another classic example of demanding absolute theoretical perfection! If an enemy invades the salmon farm and extracts the DNA using high-tech tools, bypassing the designed-in sterility, and THEN deliberately, forcibly spreads them (GMO genes) into the wild, we MIGHT have some bad side effects! That kind of thinking is classic “precautionary principle” at work… If you can’t prove it to be PERFECT in every way, don’t do it!

                As others have repeatedly stated, the “precautionary principle” is “hoist by it’s own petard”! Regard the “precautionary principle” as a piece of “technology” (which it is, it is a technique or tool, not just a policy), and apply it to itself… Can you ALWAYS guarantee me, that the “precautionary principle” will always yield perfect results? No? Then I guess we’d better not use it!

                (The instantiation of the “precautionary principle” over our past history would have us living in caves, still. I’m not sure if fire would be OK, or if rock-chipping rocks into sharp points and cutting edges would be allowed, or not.)

                “and the fact that they need to take additional precautions to prevent the GMO salmon from interbreeding with wild salmon in addition to that underscores the point.”

                This is horseshit as well! I buy fire insurance on my house, in addition to keeping a fire extinguisher in the house, and I support the local firefighters. I ALSO take special precautions with storing flammable materials. Does that mean fire extinguishers don’t work? And more to the point… Shall we give up on using fire?

                1. The reason I know that the sterilization techniques aren’t 100% effective?

                  Well, for one thing, you should be skeptical of anybody who claims anything is 100% effective. For another there’s this:

                  “One of the most common methods of sterilizing these fish is to add an extra chromosome, which prevents the development of functional gametes (sperm and eggs) with a success rate of 98-99.8%.”

                  https://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/accumulating-glitches/are_gmo_fish_safe_for/

                  Even if it were only the upper end of the range, that would mean it was ineffective in two out of a thousand fish. If that were the only means to prevent GMO salmon from interbreeding with wild salmon and a big school of GMO fish escaped into the wild because of a storm or a flood or something, the chances of the GMO salmon interbreeding with wild fish would be extremely high.

                  It’s a good thing that isn’t the only means they use to prevent GMO salmon from interbreeding with wild salmon.

              2. “The precautions they’ve taken to stop GMO salmon from interbreeding with wild species are not 100% effective…”

                They need to teach GMO salmon better birth control methods.

                1. Rubbers, IUDs, IEDs, LEDs, withdrawal, celibacy, spermicides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, AND birth control pills! Redundancy, redundancy, and MORE redundancy!!! THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!

          2. So “helminthic therapy” is of interest to me; so is “radiation hormesis”.

            On radioactive wastes (ionizing radiation), Google “radiation hormesis”, and see USA government study of the Taiwan thing (accidental experiment on humans) at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477708/ … Low-dose radioactivity is actually GOOD for you! Seriously!!!

            Well anyway, WHAT is a summary of what I am saying? I thought I heard you asking about that, through my tri-cornered aluminum-foil hat, as I am sitting here…

            HERE is your summary: Holyweird is WAY off base, with their horror movies! A Giant Gut-Parasitical Radioactive Teenage Mutant Ninja Tapeworm would be GOOD for us!!! Bring it ON, ah says!!!

      3. Simple solution is make all GMO salmon triploid and they can’t reproduce, like they do with farmed trout. Not a big hurdle to overcome.

  15. The only “food issues” that are relevant to libertarians are (1) reducing subsidies, (2) reducing taxes, and (3) reducing regulations.

    1. …and strangely enough I couldn’t even imagine anyone but Trump and a few GOP politicians even speak of such things if “food issue” was a topic of center-stage debate.

  16. “Tom Philpott, food & agriculture correspondent, Mother Jones: With poverty spreading and the hunger on the rise, the candidates should be talking about how they’ll ramp up food aid and bolster institutions like school lunch…”

    Bullshit and bullshit.
    The cites are NYT and CBS; you can’t read the former, but the lede claims an “increase in poverty” due to the lack of a second stimulus package, meaning it’s a result of government-dictated shut downs, while the “hunger” is ‘food insecurity’; more lefty bullshit.

  17. Scientists are proposing cannibalism as an eco-friendly alternative. Probably need to repeal some regulations for this:

    https://nypost.com/2019/09/09/scientist-suggests-eating-human-flesh-to-fight-climate-change/

    1. Didn’t Swift propose something like this to solve other problems?

      Either you believe the scientists when they say global warming is a problem or you don’t, right?

    2. Nothing stands in the way of the “Climate Emergency”!!!!!

      It went from 31-deg to 70-deg!!!!! In just under 12-hrs where I live. Oh, the horror!!!/s Oh, wait; My HVAC unit seems to have fixed it.

      but, but; what-about ALL those “poor” people without an HVAC unit??? I’ll have to make myself feel virtuous by waving around, “Nothing stands in the way of the “Climate Emergency”!!!!!”

  18. Single Mom With 4 Kids Lost Her Job and…READ MORE

  19. RIP Sean Connery

    And f you, 2020

    1. I still prefer Roger Moore.

      1. Roger Moore was really bad in the Zardoz remake.

    1. Sound like a wonderful opportunity for mailchimp’s competitors.

    1. https://twitter.com/radleybalko/status/1322177153727942657
      A black woman inadvertently drove into a protest scene. Philly cops pulled her from her car and beat her in front of her toddler. America’s largest police union then posted a photo of the boy and claimed his mother had abandoned him on the street.

      1. Mistakes were made.

        1. Procedures were followed.

          1. stop resisting

  20. The #1 reason we don’t have many “food issues”…..
    “food issues” isn’t in the main-stream of the political sphere……

    … like “healthcare” is.
    … like “education” is.
    … like “climate change” is.

    Let’s not destroy our “food supply” by pretending it needs to be “fixed”.

  21. I filled out my New Jersey mail-in ballot today, and holy hell, if that monstrosity is the Democrats’ idea of combating voter suppression, I am not impressed. That thing is confusing as fuck. I had to read it so many times to understand what I was supposed to be doing, and I’m still not entirely convinced I was doing it right. There were just so many words everywhere. Not to mention, there were not one but three proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot, which didn’t even have the courtesy to provide the actual text of the amendments—I had find that on Ballotpedia!

    If a freaking physician struggles to correctly fill out that abomination of a form, what hope is there for a high school dropout to get it right? These mail-in ballots are going to disenfranchise far more would-be voters than a simple ID requirement ever could.

    But of course, this isn’t a system rife with potential for abuse. No, not at all.

    1. In Montana we elect our Supreme Court. All candidates are supposedly non partisan. One was running unopposed, looked at his record, nope voted not to retain him. The other seat had no idea who either was and had to Google both and ballot pedia was no help and the one candidates web page was extremely misleading. I ended up googling the cases and then it was obvious the challenger is extremely progressive trying to pretend to be non partisan moderate. Nope voted for the incumbent. We also had 2 amendments that didn’t also cite the wording of the amendment being modified. I am still not certain on which one I supported but one set the threshold for ballot initiatives at 10% of eligible voters in a district the other at 5%. I originally was leaning towards thev5% threshold but decided considering how bad a number of ballot initiatives are, I went with the 10% threshold (they also were modifying the same portion of the state Constitution).

      1. I generally like voter ballots (and we are likely to legalize marijuana under them) but I also know a number that have been proposed lately that we outright misleading, impossible to enforce or unconstitutional, therefore felt a higher standard of eligibility would probably be in order.

      2. One of our amendments was for legalizing marijuana and taxing the shit out of it. I said fuck it and voted for it. The second amendment was for giving veterans who didn’t vote in a foreign war a property tax break, and I voted against that one. The third amendment was for delaying reappointment in years in which census data is delayed, and I voted against that one because I can see Democrats weaponizing the hell out of that. The new apportionment wouldn’t even kick in for three years.

        1. Oops, veterans who didn’t serve in a foreign war.

          Even though as a libertarian I should be for tax breaks of any stripe, that one rubbed me the wrong way for some reason.

          1. Not veterans but I can see active duty. But it is already federal law that you can claim resident and pay income tax based upon your claimed residency rather than income tax on the state you’re assigned to. That is why so many serviceman declare residency in stages like Alaska, Texas, Washington that don’t have income tax. They are only supposed to claim residency in states they have resided in, so you get assigned to Texas, claim residency and never pay state income taxes again, no matter which state you get assigned to after that.

  22. The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is literally communist propaganda.

    I’m just sayin’.

    1. How are you feeling about the president’s chances given the downturn in the S&P?

      1. Um . . . when I was talking about the S&P 500 as one indicator of whether the incumbent will win, I was talking about the reasons why I might be wrong in thinking that President Trump will probably lose. If the S&P 500 on election day is below where it was three months ago, that would be even less of a reason to think President Trump will win–but I didn’t expect Trump to win in 2016 and I don’t expect him to win this time either.

        I will say this: because so many people are voting before election day this time, a large number of them who voted because of the way they felt about the economy might not have as big of an impact as it has in the past.

        Whether he should win or whether he’s head and shoulders above Biden is another question entirely. I do, in fact, hope President Trump wins reelection, but I think it unlikely he will do so–mostly because of the economy. When the economy goes bad, swing voters don’t care why. They just blame whomever is in charge.

        I think at the time I was also mentioning that in 2016, a huge drop in the number of people who have faith in the news media should have been an indicator that Trump was likely to win–because the news media at the time wasn’t covering much else other than criticizing Trump, so if their opinion of the news media took a dive, that must mean they liked Trump. That dynamic is still pronounced today. A huge chunk of the independents out there have little or no trust in the news media.

        But like I said, if I’m wrong about Trump losing, those will be reasons I’m wrong. I remain persuaded that Trump probably will lose, and I’ll be happily surprised if he wins.

        I want to be wrong. I’m looking for reasons to be wrong. I hope I’m wrong.

        1. Just for the record, I’ve posted the same kind of thing a lot, so I don’t know which one you were looking at. This one about the S&P 500 and such is from October. I did it much earlier, too.

          P.S. Still, if I had to bet, I’d bet against Trump winning–and it’s all about the economy and the pandemic, which still isn’t his fault. If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, he’d be cruising to victory right now. And one of the things I’m looking at this year is what’s happening in other countries all over the world. From Chile and Bolivia to Belarus and from Thailand to Nigeria, people are in open rebellion against their governments because of the pandemic and the economy. It’s like the revolutions of 1848, the protests of 1968, and the populist revolts circa 2016 in Brexit, France, Germany, and the USA. We imagine that the forces that drive our politics happen in our own little cocoon, but the economic forces driving our politics are driving the whole world at the same time. It’s wrong. It should [shouldn’t] be happening, and I wish it weren’t. Still, the same train is running over everybody right now. It’s a shitty time to be an incumbent.

          —-Ken Shultz

          https://reason.com/2020/10/21/will-trump-beat-the-odds-are-you-willing-to-bet-on-it/#comment-8533407

          I want to believe, but the data says what it says regardless of whether I like it.

        2. I have to hand it to you: you’re predictable. It’s one of the things I like about you. You rattled off the entire litany of points I expected you to raise, and for the most part I agree with you. I’d be curious to get your response to Steve Turley, who has released dozens of videos on YouTube outlining the reasons why he thinks Trump will win. He dives pretty deeply into the polling and early voting data, which he insists shows that Trump is actually leading in most of the states that matter. He’s hyperbolic and a bit of an oily salesman type, but he seems to raise some compelling points.

          1. It’s hard to predict markets. That’s one of the reasons good business and good investing doesn’t depend on predicting that the market will go up. It depends on finding a way to get in at below market prices. Buying something at market prices with the expectation that the market will go up is basically the greater fool theory.

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

            I don’t know what the market will do. The data I see suggests that Trump will lose. I’ve seen that before. I can find good reasons to buy Amazon stock at market right now. I can find good reasons to short it, too. If we really want to be honest and make the right choice, we can’t let our personal desires get in the way of the data.

            Trump’s polls are tough because a lot of people are ashamed of supporting him. They’ll tell strangers on the phone one thing and go out and vote for him despite what they said on the phone. We still can’t ignore the polls though. Opinion is even harder to gauge than markets because with market data you have real transactions. Somebody had put their money down–regardless of what they said.

            You ask people in line at Walmart what they think of the Chinese government and trade with China, and they’ll tell you one thing. You look in their shopping cart, and you can see that they don’t give a shit where their products are made. Asking people what they think and why is not reliable data, but it is data–you can’t ignore it. Ask a single woman why she’s with her boyfriend or what she’s looking for in a man, and chances are the explanation doesn’t have any resemblance to who she’s with or why.

            That their opinion of Donald Trump and Joe BIden, too. Since when has asking people what they’re going to do on tough choices closely resembled what they actually do? They’re telling you what kind of person they want to be–what kind of person they want you to think of them as. That may or may not be an accurate indication of what they’ll actually do.

            The fear and anger when the economy goes bad, on the other hand, that’s real. That goes back to Babylonians. The economy has never fallen so hard so quickly, and I’ll be surprised if Trump survives that–despite the fact that none of it is his fault.

            1. Trump ran a poor campaign. He failed to blame the economic collapse on the Donkeys at every turn. He failed to call them out as the party of vandalism intimidation, looting, arson, and cop killing. He failed to show their reaction to his SOTU mention of lowest black unemployment ever (sat on their hands). He failed to emphasize the ME peace initiatives enough. He ran a replay of 2016 rather than adapting to today.

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