Thursday Open Thread


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.)

NEXT: Biden's Proposed Bipartisan Commission on Court Reform Could be a Hopeful Sign for Opponents of Court-Packing

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So I was listening to a podcast about the general theory of relativity, and Sir Roger Penrose said something pretty interesting – he said Einstein was more artist than scientist. That his thought-experiment intuitive style meant he made some leaps no one else would. Penrose posited that we may not yet have come up with GR if Einstein had not been there!
    I also watched a vlog about expertise, and how after a certain threshold you count as an expert, and what makes top experts is generally a cosmetic question.

    All of which makes me think about intelligence. And how it is really vastly more nuanced than we give it credit for. I want to talk/think a bit about other arenas of intelligence than the usual.

    Creativity in the sciences is undervalued, partially because it is hard to teach within that paradigm – but it is taught elsewhere…sorta.

    Intuition is not about processing power or pattern matching, it’s something ineffable about predictions not based on past experience.

    Ability to communicate is another component. Because otherwise your intuitive/creative insights are effectively throttled since they cannot get across to the public.

    Two of my heroes are Feynman and Oppenheimer. Feynman had a great intuition for engineering, but also worked very hard to intimately understand a library of mathematical tricks that enhanced his mathematical intuition to let him solve some serious math issues. But his ability to communicate is what lead to his leadership in Quantum Field Theory.
    Oppenheimer famously had a science of bank shots – finding outcomes that were logically required by interactions of existing laws without having to do a lot of math. But he also was known for being able to read a paper and find it’s flaws in an astonishingly short amount of time, even if he didn’t completely grasp the upshot – a good thing for the manager of the Manhattan project. He left physics for more administrative pursuits pretty early on, and the counterfactual of where he would have gone if he’d stayed a physicist remains controversial.

    Anyhow, long story short I don’t much like IQ.

    1. Feynman was the greatest. I still remember his anecdote about how he was learning Portugese (I think) and because he didn’t know the simple words, he would take the big words he knew and “adverb” them by adding “mente” ….

    2. IQ is a test of problem solving capability. While it is possible for problem solving to be done through rote memorization of things discovered by others. In practice, most people with high IQ’s have high IQ’s because of their ability to come up with solutions by making leaps of logic and creative thinking.

      I will cede that communication skills aren’t measured by IQ, but I don’t see what your other issue with it is.

      1. IQ is a single number summation of multiple factors, so people with the same IQ aren’t going to be interchangeable for specific applications. But all the factors of IQ do tend to go up and down together, because they’re all dependent on the same low level hardware.

        1. These factors seems to me almost certainly would interact in different ways in different applications.

        2. There’s an old philosophical rub, is intelligence in the potential or in the product?

          Are two equally brilliant geniuses both geniuses or just the one who actually produced novel, great ideas?

          Mark Twain once lamented all the potentially brilliant writers who labored their whole lives not having tried to write a damned thing, all that possibility lost.

        3. Brett, as a tendency, correlation among IQ factors may be commonplace, but it is far from being a reliable rule. There are styles of cognition—some commonly even diagnosed as types of autism—which push IQ sub-scores in opposite directions. Conspicuously high scores in one category of sub-score—verbal cognition, for instance—can correlate in recognizable subgroups with notably low scores in other areas—such as executive function.

          And within that general group, mathematical IQ can be exceptionally high, or exceptionally low. Among high-mathematical IQ/high-verbal IQ/low-executive function types, you may find stereotypical absent-minded professors. Based on biographical information, Isaac Newton and Niels Bohr were possible examples.

          There is also some reason to suppose that typically-correlated IQ scores may not serve creative thinking as strikingly as do less-typically aligned scores. Persons with seeming IQ shortfalls in some sub-test categories apparently may shift cognitive processing to use neural circuits otherwise reserved for different kinds of cognition, with surprising results. Someone with lower math IQ, but very high verbal IQ, may reap a creative advantage by reasoning verbally or visually through mathematical problems. Whatever their math IQs may have been, both Feynman and Einstein may have demonstrated use of that capacity.

          It is worth noting that there is a kind of psychological testing, called neuropsychological testing. It concerns itself with measuring styles of cognition. Neuropsychology delivers results which are quantitative, and strikingly repeatable. Even different practitioners tend to get mathematically repeatable results over wide ranges of subtests.

          Neuropsychological surveys of individual capacity done years apart tend to show durable patterns among subtest scores. Those can prove useful in identifying subjects with atypical cognitive sub-types.

      2. I guess I’m talking about discovery, not problem solving.

      3. My wife is a highly accomplished scholar, but she’s a mathphobe, so she tends to score poorly on IQ tests. Any question with numbers and she freezes. So IQ doesn’t come close to capturing her intelligence. I’m energized by problem solving, so it plays to my strengths, almost certainly exaggerating my score.

    3. “I don’t like IQ”.

      Did you take an IQ test and it told you the obvious lie that you are not a genius?

      The problem isn’t IQ. The problem is people who think that IQ is the only means of figuring intelligence. Or that a very high IQ means people can’t be creative too. Or creative people can’t have high IQ. Or what exactly is your point?

      1. So IQ alone is not a very useful metric. Since we have no further metrics of like creativity or intuition, I don’t know if it’s useful at all.

        1. IQ is not dispositive, but I think you would be hard pressed to find that it did not have strong correlation to ability/success/whatever.

          I doubt we will ever have a metric for something so subjective as creativity. The value of creativity (or the creation thereof) comes from what other people think of it. It isn’t intrinsic.

          Steve Jobs was very creative, but his true talent was in directing the right people toward a goal. How could you possibly quantify that outside of the market success of Apple? Or, imagine a world where people’s tastes gravitated toward the Zune, and Nokia phones. Steve Jobs would still be exactly the same person, but if Apple didn’t acquire him that cult status, would anyone care?

          Yes, IQ is a useful metric. It’s just not the most important metric for all things at all times. It’s a useful tool, but it’s not the only hammer in the toolbox.

          1. “IQ is not dispositive, but I think you would be hard pressed to find that it did not have strong correlation to ability/success/whatever.”

            Go to the stereotype library, and pull up the “absent-minded professor”. IQ tests measure one thing, the ability to take IQ tests. How well that transfers to ability to function in the actual real world is highly variable.
            I got into law school on my LSAT score. My undergraduate grades were 4th percentile.

        2. “So IQ alone is not a very useful metric.”

          Useful for what?

          1. Yeah, I was not clear in my OP.

            I’m going for figuring who will be a good scientists when it comes to discovering things.

        3. I remember the summer orientation class at my U way back when, they said the SAT wasn’t a great predictor of college success, but that SAT + HS grades were.

      2. IQ only measures what you already know, not your ability to learn.

        1. Just like any other test, it depends a lot on who wrote the test, and on who graded it.

    4. “Intuition is not about processing power or pattern matching, it’s something ineffable about predictions not based on past experience.”

      That’s just processing and pattern matching happening below the surface. Like instant calculators, if you time how long they take to come up with an answer, it’s proportionate to the number of steps necessary to do it the conventional way, even if they’re not aware of performing the steps. Something in their brain is performing the steps anyway, it’s just sufficiently low level that they’re not conscious of it, the way you’re not conscious of all the reflexes necessary to walk, you just pick the direction.

      The thing the really brilliant in a field do, is they internalize the lower level principles and operations to the point where they can go at a problem from unusual directions, and can concentrate on the overall picture, because the details are handled below the conscious level.

      Back in high school I read up on relativity theory, and was able to go through the steps of deriving the Lorenz equation myself. It’s really just all basic geometry, plus the speed of light being a constant. The clever thing was coming at the problem from an unconventional perspective.

      1. I don’t know if this is correct. That’s part of why I brought it up – Penrose argued that Einstein’s intuitive leaps were not pattern matching, they were more than the sum of past data being processed.
        And having worked with very smart physicists and myself being a not-so-smart one with a supposedly high processing power, I can tell you there is at the very least something beyond quickly jumping through hidden analogies that allows some to separate the bad analogies from the good ones.

        I don’t disagree that special relativity was probably going to be discovered within the decade anyhow, but general relativity is where things get…artistic.

        1. No, my point is, if you’ve internalized the lower level stuff to the point where you don’t have to think about it, you’re enabled to spend your conscious efforts on approaching a problem from novel directions. It’s still a trait of brilliance to notice novel directions, though.

          The genius considers an absurd number of possibilities, and rejects the worthless almost instantly, and moves on, because they’ve got enough understanding of the basics that they don’t consciously have to go through all the steps of proving that a bad approach is bad. It still takes a special sort of mind to generate possibilities nobody considered before, even if most such are actually worthless and almost instantly rejected.

          1. Yep. The ability to automatically do the lower-level tasks, without actually thinking about it, really opens up the higher level abilities for more attention.

            1. Think of all the times you got in your car in your driveway, and got out of your car in the parking lot at work, and then realized you had no memory of driving from the one to the other. You can do this because driving is a task that can be offloaded to the subconscious mind quite readily. You don’t need to use your forebrain to drive a route you’re familiar with. Now, things are different if you’re trying to figure out out to get somewhere you’ve never been before… you actually have to read the street signs to know where to turn.

              1. The routine drive done automatically is precisely the example of complicated activity conducted by the subconscious that Julian Jaynes uses. He goes on to take that insight that the subconscious can do a lot into absurd territory, but the basics are quite correct.

          2. So you’re saying one depends on the other being above a certain threshold, not that they are the same.

            Again, I’m not sure that’s true. Einstein was famously not great at math and geometry, but his intuition was enough to make up for it for SR. If you want to argue a bare low threshold, I’ll give it to you but I think that’s a pretty trivial detail.
            But he had to go back to school and learn some stuff to be able to do GR. But he was still not great and needed to be in constant correspondence with Grossmann to figure out how to make Gauss work for him.

            There is a nonlinear multifactor relationship going on here.

            1. Famously not great, in the sense that he was only better at it than 99.99% of the population, not 99.99999%. IOW, he was darned good at it, just not phenomenally good at it.

              I’m an engineer and at one time a math nerd. I tutored my brother’s kids in calculus over the phone. I found special relativity fairly easy to understand, it was really just advanced HS math and geometry, a clever kid could work it out knowing what he was supposed to be working out.

              General relativity? Yeah, that took some special mathematical chops to work out. I never got far enough in math to handle that stuff.

              1. Newton is the physics guy who was also the math nerd. He discovered (the hard way) that physics needs calculus, and since there was no such thing as calculus yet, he went ahead and invented it.
                Einstein, on the other hand, never quite got the hang of quantum mechanics.

                1. Interesting but you spelled “Leibniz” wrong.

                  1. Liebniz and Newton invented calculus separately and more-or-less simultaneously. Newton published second because he was doing physics and got hung up on a tough question of applying calculus to the motion of the planets, while Liebniz was doing pure math, so could publish as soon as the math was complete.

                    Liebniz clearly invented a better notation; I think it was essentially the “dx/dy” that we use today. I’m not sure what Newton’s notation was, but eventually even the British gave it up.

    5. Science in general, and IQ as a metric, are useful because they constrain the creative types into a realm where layman can say, “prove it.” Without those constraints, Einstein might have used his creativity to “discover” that mushrooms (his favorite food according to some sources) imbue humans with wisdom and righteousness.

      Thus the IQ-deniers generally have similar issues in that they have theories that are non-scientific, because they do not make claims that are supported by evidence, or can be refuted by evidence (in their minds at least) and often the claims they make are related to metrics that are most easily explained by IQ (an imperfect metric, but the best in social science by far).

      1. “Without those constraints, Einstein might have used his creativity to “discover” that mushrooms (his favorite food according to some sources) imbue humans with wisdom and righteousness.”

        AKA Mario Theory. Sorry, your princess is in another castle.

    6. “And how it is really vastly more nuanced than we give it credit for.”

      Boy howdy. I think the mistake is assuming that intellectual ability is univariate. I think that there are different intellectual abilities that are as different as the physical abilities of a marathoner and a power lifter.

      1)The chess grandmaster who can play a couple dozen games simultaneously … without looking at the boards.
      2)John Boyd’s ability at dogfighting.
      3)Beethoven composing even after going deaf.
      4)Israeli intelligence supposedly had a lady who could look at a grainy photo, consult her memory, and match it to a photo taken of the same person 20 years prior.
      5)The guy who came up with the 3 speed bicycle hub, or the car differential, or the sewing machine, or …
      6)Quantum mechanics, crypt-analysis, …
      7)Lawyers who are very good at legal logic are famously bad at mathematical logic.

      Those are all very different skills.

    7. Would you consider chess grandmasters requiring more creativity than processing power? The game of chess has been conquered by computers.

      1. It hasn’t been conquered; computers are just better at than humans now. And there has been a major shift in how the new computer programs approach the game. Far more human-like, often with seemingly intuitive sacrifices that can’t be calculated using brute force. They have played some incredibly beautiful games lately.

          1. What he said was 100% correct. Do some research on the AlphaZero software, for starters.

        1. Naw, that’s pretty cool, dono.

          Our inability to really analyze this area tells me we are are ages from a legit AI.

      2. “Would you consider chess grandmasters requiring more creativity than processing power? The game of chess has been conquered by computers.”

        Not without the creativity of the programmers that taught them the game.

        1. Same thing goes for the robots that can solve Rubik’s cubes.

    8. Do you have a link, or name of, the podcast?

    9. There are precisely two kinds of people who “like” IQ.

      (A) People who use it for it’s intended purpose, which is to help diagnose cognitive problems.

      (B) Egotistical idiots who forget that IQ was never intended to measure anything meaningful for average or superior people.

      Which is to say, anytime you hear someone trying to brag about their high IQ, you’re listening to someone admit they don’t know what the frack they’re talking about.

  2. I have been doing some side research on Myers-Briggs typing. In my company, we use this typing tool when we hire, to better understand what role(s) a candidate might be suited for. We do not base employment decisions on typology.

    VC conspirators, if you ever took the Myers-Briggs typology test, how did you come out? And do you think you changed over time? I will go first. I took the M-B typology twice, once in 96, and again in 2003. Both times, I tested out the same: INTP

    Where did you come out?

    1. For VC conspirators, here are the Myers-Briggs classifications.

      Introvert versus Extrovert
      Sensing versus Intuition
      Thinking versus Feeling
      Judging versus Perceiving

    2. INTP as well, twice. After that, I can’t really take the test, as I understand the theory well enough that I know which attribute most questions are asking about.

    3. I’ve done the M-B a few times in my life and it always comes out INTJ (heavy on, as I recall, on the I and J). And the description given to INTJs does describe me fairly well. Then I found out most of the famous INTJ’s (e.g., Ayn Rand, Elon Musk) are colossal assholes, which led to some depressing soul-searching.

      1. What’s to soul search? The vast majority of humanity are dependent on a handful of people pushing things forward, whether those people be assholes or not.

        1. The probe a different angle, most of humanity are assholes, and the few that aren’t are rare and precious. Jesus was Jesus, and most of the rest of us are not.

    4. ESTJ for me. It’s stayed fairly consistent over the years.

    5. I’m all over the map whenever I take it. Always E.

      ENFJ at the moment.

      1. LOL! No wonder we joust so well! 🙂

    6. INTP or INTJ, depending on the day.

    7. Strongly NT.
      P but have trended toward J as I get older it seems.
      Pretty down the middle on E/I, more I when younger but trend toward E.

      So it varies and I think this is pseudoscience in large part but best answer: ENTP

      1. It IS unambiguously pseudoscience.

    8. Ugh, Myers-Briggs. I’ve been hit with it a few times. INTP, steady over the years.

    9. ENTP in junior high and again in high school (mid-late 80s). ENTP again about 5 years later, and more to the extremes in each as I recall. I wonder if I’d be different now at 50– 15 years as a practicing lawyer has to have impacted the logical core that led me to engineering as undergrad, and all this sitting in my office alone no doubt destroyed some of the E spirit that led me to the military decades ago.

    10. It’s been a while, but I have taken it.

      I know it was I_T_ but don’t recall the other two.

      1. There are free M-B tests online. Try it out. Then see if the description feels right to you.

    11. Wherever I wanted to.

    12. INTP was my M-B type the summer between junior and senior years of high school. As another person commented, I now feel I can’t take the test honestly.

    13. I come out different on two of the axes every time I take it. And that’s to be expected. The test takes four qualities that would give four approximately Gaussian curves (highest in the center), and force each of these into one of the extremes. Most people are going to be somewhere near the middle on each of these, and so will test differently on different days, or with different sets of questions.

      Myer and Briggs were mathematical idiots, assuming they weren’t consciously perpetrating a fraud.

  3. “(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.)


  4. When Biden wins, how many days will it take for Fox News to turn on Trump and publish stories from traditional Republicans about how Trump destroyed the Republican Party.

    I’m guessing about 7 – 10 days after the election (just to confirm the results).

    1. “traditional” republicans, aka RINOs, are the reason the party deserves to be destroyed and its how they got trump in the first place.

    2. I’m guessing negative days, since they’ve been doing that since he announced for the 2016 election.

    3. 1. Denial.
      He didn’t lose. It was the illegals. And the felons. And the cats. And the mail-in ballots. And fraud. FRAUD!!11!!!!11!!
      (1-4 weeks)

      2. Anger.
      If it wasn’t for COVID! And the first debate! And that he got COVID! And the women. If the women and minorities and the elites with their stupid college educations hadn’t been allowed to vote, he totally would have won! And 2020! If Trump hadn’t been President, and 2020 hadn’t happened, he would have won! It’s not Trump’s fault, it’s 2020’s fault! I HATE 2020!
      (This is constant, really, with the True Trump Supporter … so …. always?)

      3. Bargaining.
      Maybe he didn’t lose? He filed a bunch of lawsuits, right? Maybe something will change! He is still President until January, maybe he can just seize power, because he needs to Keep America Great, and keep himself and his family out of jail? It’s not over until the fat lady sings, and I haven’t seen Giuliani in drag rencently.
      (Until January 20, 2021)

      4. Depression.
      I cannot believe that John Roberts is administering the oath of office to Joe Biden. Of course Roberts would do that, because Josh Blackman told me that John Roberts was a commie pinko who uses the Constitution as toilet paper.
      (January 20, 2021)

      5. Acceptance.
      Trump betrayed the GOP. We would have won if it wasn’t for Trump. I never liked that guy- he was crass, a liar, and he was always kowtowing to the Saudis and to Putin. Never even built a wall. Did you know he was a liberal New York Democrat?
      Good riddance. We need a real Republican in office.
      (January 21, 2021, on)

      1. Can we have the election first before laying out the stages of grief? 🙂

        1. I get the impression over the past decade or so that there are 2 types of people – those who cannot resist public speculation over the post-election world before the outcome, and those who keep it private.

          But everyone speculates.

    4. Butbutbut… Trump is the Republican party manifested in the flesh… or something. /s

      This is why Trump was never much of a threat. He doesn’t have much tangible support from “his own” party. They won’t so much “turn” on Trump as breathe a sigh of relief, which will be short lived once the “oh shit, but that means Biden was elected” kicks in.

      1. He has a buttload of tangible support from the base of “his own” party. What he lacks is any support from the institutional party.

        The GOP is kind of odd, in that there’s a huge disconnect, ideologically, between the people doing the voting, and the people running the party. They’ve been running a bait and switch on their voters for decades, and in the 90’s it finally became obvious enough to start voter revolts.

        So far the institutional GOP has managed to beat them back, except for Trump. They seem to believe that if they can engineer Trump losing, they can keep hold of the party, and things will go back to normal.

        But “normal” died back in the 90’s, when the GOP unexpectedly ended up in control, and still contrived to lose all the important fights. Normal isn’t coming back.

        I really think the GOP would have long since fallen to a third party, if the two major parties hadn’t so thoroughly rigged the system to keep third parties down. The GOP voting base are that unhappy with “their” party.

        1. I’ll never donate to the GOP party again.


          1. And I’ve given enough to have the people at Obama’s IRS harass me too.

            1. Are you claiming that the “Obama IRS” harassed you because of the amount of money you gave to Republican candidates and/or Republican related beneficiaries? if that is your claim, you’re lying.

              1. Yep, he’s lying……

          2. Helpful hint for your made up fantasy world: the “P” in “GOP” stands for “Party,” so “GOP party” is redundant.

        2. “I really think the GOP would have long since fallen to a third party, if the two major parties hadn’t so thoroughly rigged the system to keep third parties down. The GOP voting base are that unhappy with “their” party.”


          Some unfortunate facts. Given our political system (first past the post, bicameral+executive ,etc.), we will inevitably have a two-party system. It’s structural. There may be brief occasions with a third party, but that only means that one of the two parties is weak and will either be destroyed by the new party (Whigs, GOP) or the new party will eventually die out. Unless we radically change our political system, there will be two parties- maybe not the GOP and the Democrats, but A and B.

          So there will always be some level of unhappiness, because two parties (especially in eras of extreme partisanship, as we have today) cannot map on to the entirety of experiences that we have.

          For example, if you are fiscally conservative and socially liberal? (The old Rockefeller Republican)
          Or socially conservative and fiscally liberal?
          (Describing some religious voters, including many LDS voters for example).

          What if you are pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-choice, pro-immigration, and also in favor of decreased regulation?
          Or you are against immigration, pro-English language only, but favor an expanded welfare system and minimum base-level income for “Real Americans”?


          This is nothing more than a re-alignment of the parties and groups, as tends to occur. The GOP is catering its constituencies with their own identity politics:
          Non-college educated
          Chamber of Commerce Types
          2d Amendment

          Those are some of the primary factors, but many of these compete with each other. For example, the Chamber types tend to be pro-immigration (even illegal); that’s the divide you are probably thinking of (“establishment” as opposed to base).

          But every political party has to deal with this. It’s the same in the Democratic Party; there are debates about the unwavering support toward unions with specific support toward individual unions (such as PBA and FOP – the police unions) and the gradual shift of the Democratic Party toward a college educated base which is less likely to be unionized, especially in the private sector. And so on.

          Plus ca change.

          1. ” There may be brief occasions with a third party, but that only means that one of the two parties is weak and will either be destroyed by the new party”

            That’s what I think would have happened to the GOP, if not for the entrenchment efforts the major parties undertook after 3rd parties started to pick up in the late 70’s.

            First past the post means that 2 parties is the relatively stable equilibrium, but it’s more of a shallow depression than a deep pit, you can see parties replaced as major parties if they do a bad enough job of representing their base.

            What the Democrats and Republicans got together on, (Called it “campaign reform”.) was supplementing first past the post with OTHER defenses, to turn what had been just a tendency into an inescapable prison.

            Ballot access laws that treat 3rd parties much more harshly than the major parties, so that a huge proportion of a 3rd party’s resources have to be spent just getting on the ballot. It’s like having to run a marathon to arrive at the starting block for a race, when your foes get to start the race all fresh and rested.

            Pollsters being persuaded to stop reporting on 3rd party candidates.

            The League of Women Voters having the Presidential debates taken away from them, and given to a bipartisan commission that won’t let 3rd parties in.

            “Party building” no longer being a legitimate expense under campaign finance law.

            They changed a tendency to have two parties into a prison, and once safe, welded the escape hatch shut. That’s why things have been going downhill in our politics since: The major parties no longer need to be liked to stay on top. Each just tries to persuade their voters the opposing party is more awful.

            1. ” Each just tries to persuade their voters the opposing party is more awful.”

              Again, you are confusing factors. Negative partisanship is, unfortunately, effective.

              The issue that we are having is that increased polarization does not work in our system; if you look around the world at the use of first-past-the-post systems that use a legislature (either single or bicameral) and strong executive- usually modelled after ours- you see that they are incredibly brittle unless they both have strongly ingrained norms to supplement the legal system as well as weak partisanship (to allow the system to work).

              Strong partisanship, which can work in multi-party parliamentary systems (for example) doesn’t work here, because once the norms are gone, the incentives to completely control the government are too strong, and in a divided government (with bicameral + executive, that’s 3 ‘levers’) the incentive is just to delay until you completely control the government while blaming the other party.

              1. loki13, how can that be? It’s not what they taught me in high school.

              2. Negative partisanship is effective in the short term, but it opens the window for 3rd parties, by generating a high level of dissatisfaction with the available choices. It only becomes an effective long term strategy once you’ve nailed that window shut.

                1. Given Donald John Trump is “negative partisanship” made flesh (like Jesus, the Word of God), I’d say it’s short-term effective. Four year’s worth at least.

                  Brett keeps insisting insisting Trump speaks to the Right’s base, and he’s correct. This buffoon reality-TV-star gave his base “negative partisanship” at loud volume & in garish colors, just as they pined for. It’s one thing to hear a political Tom&Jerry cartoon on your favorite talk radio show. That’s entertaining, but nothing like seeing your cartoon on Fox News. But even that pales next to having your cartoon entertainment in the actual president himself.

                  Subtract “negative partisanship” from Trump, and what’s left? A liar. A dull-witted fool that speaks at a fourth-grade level. A bungler with the attention span of a child.

          2. The president’s power of veto is sufficient for smaller, single-issue or region parties (as are so plentiful in parliamentary systems) to band together to grab for it. That’s much more useful than trying to extract concessions from larger minority parties after the election to form…a coalition legislature?

            Many have felt the Republicans would do better orienting more towards Latino, and Trump’s hard and angry shift away may hurt them for a decade or more even if successors shift tone. Pull in some of what makes blue states blue.

        3. What he lacks is any support from the institutional party.

          Quite seriously, could you give some examples of the institutional party has failed to support Trump?

          From my POV it looks like they have utterly capitulated to him. The Senate, for example, seems to follow his every whim*, and GOP spokespeople like Ronna McDaniel show up on TV to defend him vigorously no matter what.

          *The current stimulus discussions may be an exception, if anyone knew exactly what Trump wanted, but to the extent the GOP Senators are undermining Trump, I suspect it’s a bit of early scurrying away.

          1. Well, you can see an example in the debates. Every Republican member of the Debate Commission is a “NeverTrumper”, so you get nothing but hostile “moderators”.

            Or the Senate basically ignoring his priorities outside of judicial nominations.

            1. Nothing hostile about them. If trump wants to act like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum respectfully asking him to stop is not hostility. If Pence wants to talk way past his time limit, saying “Thank you” repeatedly to try to get him to shut up is not hostile.

              What priorities has the Senate ignored? What serious legislation has Trump proposed?

              1. “What priorities has the Senate ignored?”

                Well, currently they’re putting the breaks pretty hard on Covid relief, and see other examples below.

                “What serious legislation has Trump proposed?”

                This is a good point, though. Trump is a lot of talk but very little competent execution. In general, it seems like he’s in alignment with the “mainstream” GOP on judges (which they are happy to help him on), regulatory rollbacks (which he mostly doesn’t need their help with, but he could probably use better staff for) and tax cuts (which they managed to make happen when they had the House as well). But they’re probably hostile to topics like infrastructure, even though it’s an area where compromise with Democrats might theoretically be possible or even health care reform (where it’s probably not). It’s impossible to say, though, because Trump never actually makes any serious policy proposals. This isn’t helped by the fact that McConnell is very much geared towards opposition and doesn’t really have any talent for or interest in driving legislation.

                1. The problem with McConnell is that his majority is dependent on RINOs who have to be protected from the Republican primary voters. The way McConnell has done this is by blocking votes on topics where the RINOs would predictably vote in ways that would anger the Republican electorate.

                  That’s why the filibuster is still around for legislation, it gave McConnell cover for not bringing conservative legislation the House originated in the first 2 years of the Trump administration to a vote.

                  1. OK, but the implication of what you are saying is that if McConnell didn’t do that, some of his members would lose primary challenges to more conservative opponents, and then those candidates would lose in the general. If they won, after all, it wouldn’t hurt his majority.

                    So is it worth it to you to give up the majority in order to have what you see as a more ideologically pure, by your standards, caucus?

                    You do also realize that “RINO” is in the eye of the beholder? Nowhere is it written that the Republican Party must be ultra-conservative.

                    1. “OK, but the implication of what you are saying is that if McConnell didn’t do that, some of his members would lose primary challenges to more conservative opponents, and then those candidates would lose in the general. If they won, after all, it wouldn’t hurt his majority.”

                      *Some* of those candidates. More of them than would otherwise, because the institutional GOP tends to abandon seats where challengers win primaries against incumbents.

                      He doesn’t just want a majority, after all. He wants a majority that’s willing to have him as majority leader.

                    2. “Some.” Granted.

                      So you are willing to accept a lower probability of having a majority in exchange for more of what you see as purity?

                      I would not have the same preference for my side.

                      What specific issues do you think the RINO’s give too much ground on?

                    3. “So you are willing to accept a lower probability of having a majority in exchange for more of what you see as purity? ”

                      It comes down to the two approaches to politics. Shirts vs skins, or goal oriented.

                      McConnell, and most of the institutional GOP, are shirts vs skins Republicans. They’d have been OK with being Democrats, but they started their political careers in areas where the Republican party was the only real game in town. So they’re Republicans, and want the Republican party to win, but don’t care much what the Republican party does, having won.

                      The Republican base are goal oriented. They want certain things. The GOP winning only matters to them to the extent that it accomplishes something they want, or at least prevents something they don’t want. Electing a ‘Republican’ with different goals than they have is just another way of losing.

                    4. I think both sides here are being way too generous on McConnell’s motives. He sees Trump as losing. The misery a benefits package will address will be President Biden’s burden shortly. As with Obama, McConnell goal is to make Biden’s presidency as unproductive as possible : The more misery the better.

                  2. I think we’re saying similar things, which is that McConnell cares a lot more about maintaining his majority and doing the few Senate-specific things where he’s aligned with the President than legislating. Even on tax cuts, he was totally happy to let the House lead.

                    You’d need someone like Hawley driving a legislative agenda from the Senate these days, but I’m not sure how seriously to take him and like you say, McConnell isn’t actually interested in having any actual votes on legislation if he can avoid it.

                    1. “McConnell isn’t actually interested in having any actual votes on legislation if he can avoid it.”

                      Yes. He is a briliant tactician but he has no substantial policy goals other than cutting taxes. Never really has.

                  3. The problem with this analysis is that you have defined 95% of the GOP as “RINOs.”

              2. The establishment GOP gave Trump nothing except tax cuts and judges. That was of course entirely predictable. Everything signature Trump was totally unsupported. Trump had multiple serious immigration reform legislation proposed, for example.

                1. I know Trump made a fairly comprehensive proposal on immigration in 2019, but by then Republicans had already lost the House so it was basically DOA. Were there any seriously legislative proposals from Trump in 2017 or 2018?

                  1. I don’t remember all the details but there were several, most prominently several iterations from Goodlatte, but there were others. These proposals were generally very good, and viciously opposed by the pro-big biz, Chamber of Commerce wing of the GOP that wants to keep immigration levels at historically unprecedented highs to a. keep wages low for corporate profits and general benefit of employer classes, b. continue inflation of asset prices and c. continued skyrocketing of costs in housing, education, and health care, the big 3 that hit working and lower class pocketbooks while enriching others. Paul Ryan sticks out as one of the worst.

                    Trump himself of course doesn’t know a thing about legislating, especially during the first half of his Presidency, but he supported these proposals from the few GOP politicians that actually bothered to come up with something.

                    1. The Goodlatte bills failed in the House, so probably not fair to blame that on the Senate. I do think that they demonstrate the difficulty in legislating generally these days, which is that the parties are too factionalized to get essentially unanimous support on any substantive issue, and there’s basically no willingness to work across the aisle on major issues, so you can’t round up the votes you need from the minority in order to get something passed. (And this is even before we get to the filibuster, which forces the Senate to somehow get to supermajority support.)

            2. “Or the Senate basically ignoring his priorities outside of judicial nominations.”

              Are you certain this is because the Senate is ignoring him, or do you think it might have to do with him ignoring the Senate? Is there any reason to think that any proposal the President issues on twitter or in a press conference is a serious one? How many double-backs must he have before we stop treating things he says as “priorities” in the first place? You can hardly blame an institution for not responding to the whims of a priority-free person.

              Was there a major legislative initiative that the President wanted, went down to Congress to fight and argue for, and didn’t get? Could you give examples?

            3. Actual facts: none of the Debate Commission members are NeverTrumpers, and there were no hostile moderators.

          2. bernard11, I think McConnell has given Trump up as a dead duck. He seems busy laying groundwork to sink a Biden presidency, and doesn’t want Biden to get any economic improvement going in, hence no stimulus.

            1. The problem is that this is a really bad look for Republican Senators trying to hold onto their seats as well, and there’s a ton of them in close races.

            2. There is a lot to that.

              We will be hearing from him about the horror of deficits soon.

        4. Let me disagree slightly here.

          What’s going on is an inversion in the typical party structure. Democrats used to represent the working class. They largely don’t anymore. Instead, Republicans are representing the working class, while the Democrats have moved on to the rich.

          But, the way the party structure is set up, it’s more advantageous to co-opt an existing party (and deal with the divisions), than it is to set up a third party. And it’s been that way since the 1840’s, and the fall of the Whigs. The biggest issue here is the Presidency, which is an all or nothing election, nation-wide. And for that, you NEED one of the big two parties. A third party (especially a new third party) just can’t compete.

          1. “Democrats used to represent the working class. They largely don’t anymore. Instead, Republicans are representing the working class, while the Democrats have moved on to the rich.”

            This is not a very good read on the situation. It’s true that Democrats used to broadly represent the interests of the working class (and hence attract low-to-mid income voters across other spectrums). What’s happened is that with increased partisan sorting, income has become a lot less meaningful than other factors in terms of party affiliation. So today age, religion, population density and race are much more strongly correlated with party affiliation than income. The one exception to this statement is that as of 2016, Democrats still had a nearly 2:1 advantage in people earning <$30K per year. That may have narrowed somewhat, but I'd expect it's still a pretty wide gap.

            Data from:

            1. “So today age, religion, population density and race are much more strongly correlated with party affiliation than income.”

              Education belongs on that list.

            2. That’s likely a misread of the situation. Class is still an important category. And “Working class” (Or in these days, non-college educated people) had been a key bulwark of Democrats for a while.

              But, they’re losing it. Badly. They lost non-college educated whites 64-28 in the last election. That’s larger than the gender gap, age gap, population density gap, or any of several other gaps, with the exception of the African American vote. (The African American vote helps to disguise the working class loss).

              That “working class” white vote used to be 50/50 as recently as 1996. But, it’s gotten dramatically worse.


              1. I agree that the Democrats have lost a lot of working class white voters, but as you note the “white” part is critical to that statement. Now, Democrats have really widened their advantage with college educated voters. College education does correlate fairly well with income, but if you look at the trends you’ll see that educational attainment is a much more pronounced driver of party ID than income.

                1. Education is in many ways these days a better predicter of “class” than income.

                  You can be a landscape worker or union worker doing dredging in a harbor and make good income. But you’ll still be considered to be doing “blue color” work and of “working class.” Or you can have a Ph.D. in English Lit and be teaching at a community college, but you wouldn’t be considered “working class” or “blue color”. It would be considered “professional class”.

                  The “White” part is important here, because if you add in the African American population (which overwhelmingly votes on race) it distorts the numbers and hides the trends.

                  1. What does “overwhelmingly votes on race” mean here?

                    1. So, take any category breakdown you want. Gender, religion, age, income, gay, any non-African American race…

                      And you’ll rarely see more than a 75-25 split in the 2 party breakdown. People have a disparity of different beliefs, characteristics, etc.

                      The one exception is the African American vote. It’s almost always 90-10 (or higher) one party or the other.

                    2. @Armchair,

                      If I understand your point, when you say “overwhelmingly votes on race” you mean black people agree with each other on presidential candidates at a higher rate than non-black people. And that “overwhelmingly” kicks in some where between 75% and 90%. Is that what you’re saying?

                    3. NTOJ,

                      It’s helpful to look at the various voter breakdowns historically. And not just presidential, but other races (Senate, Congress) as well.

                      Here are the exit polls for 2016, for example.

                      To give you an example, what’s a better predictor of if someone voted for Clinton or not?

                      1.) They’re a self described liberal.
                      2) They’re African American.

                    4. @Armchair,

                      For clarity, Hillary Clinton is not black. When you say “votes on race” you don’t mean they vote for black people, you mean black people are more likely to vote the same way other black people do for a party (Democrats). The phrase “votes on race” here just means black people vote more consistently as a racial group than non-black people, right?

                  2. Fair enough. I agree with all of these points.

                    My main disagreement was with your original assertion that the Democrats are now the part of the rich. The data doesn’t really support that point, and people in the lowest income buckets still tend to be Democrats. I think that last point is true even controlling for race given how wide the margin is, but I’m struggling to find data one way or the other.

                    (Also, there’s more than two races in America, and it’s not just African Americans that lean away from the Republicans; you’re right that the skew is much higher with African Americans than other racial groups.)

                    1. I’d agree the Democrats still hold the lowest income levels. It’s an odd joining where the Democrats have the under $20K a year crowd as well as the Richy-riches, while the GOP has the working and blue color classes.

                      The recent donation history for the current election reinforces this. Trump has easily been winning in small donor donations, which are typically working class folk. But Biden has been winning the BIG donors handily.

                    2. Donations mostly tell you about enthusiasm for particular candidates and not general trends in party ID. Democrats also tend to move a lot of their small dollar donations via ActBlue versus directly to the Presidential campaign, so to the extent you wanted to use donations as a proxy you’d need to look beyond just the Trump/Biden fundraising numbers.

                      There’s actually a really interesting conversation to be had about the economic dynamics around Republican vs. Democratic areas (versus voters) which contributes to some of what you’re observing. We’ll have to pick it up next week, though!

              2. As a function of leaning Republican or leaning Democrat, whites without four-year college degrees were 46R/45D as recently as 2008. But then they rapidly shifted lean Republican (53/38) in 2009, and stayed leaning Republican ever since. It was a big year.

          2. Armchair Lawyer : Instead, Republicans are representing the working class, while the Democrats have moved on to the rich.

            A question for everyone : What are the odds Armchair Lawyer sees “working class” as exclusively a White phenomena in this statement? Hell, it’s more likely than not he sees it as a White Male term alone.

        5. GOP is the party of stupid, Dems the party of evil.

          1. The problem is that the party of Stupid is also evil, and the party of Evil is also stupid. They invade each other’s baliwicks.

            1. No doubt though I wouldn’t call this “the” problem.

        6. That’s on Trump—-all Trump had to do was hold up judicial appointments until McConnell relented on Trump’s priorities but instead Trump relinquished his best leverage over the Republican establishment very quickly when he outsourced judicial appointments to McConnell and McGahn and Leo.

          1. I think you understate the extent to which the institutional GOP wasn’t just indifferent to, but actively opposed, to parts of Trump’s agenda. If they had been merely indifferent, they might have been bought off in that manner, but if they’d been merely indifferent, they would have been on board with the agenda just as a matter of political expediency.

            It took being actively opposed to popular parts of Trump’s agenda to cause them to resist it, given that it actually was popular with the same people who’d elected them, too.

            There wouldn’t have been a Trump Presidency in the first place if the institutional GOP weren’t actively intent on NOT delivering on that agenda, because delivering on it would have been smart politics even if their hearts weren’t in it.

            1. Most of the things Trump ran against actually happened under W Bush when the institutional GOP controlled everything for several years. The huge decline in manufacturing jobs happened under W Bush while China boomed. Coal jobs in WV and KY peaked in 1983 and they rose slightly under W Bush thanks to high natural gas prices but they never got anywhere close to 1983 levels. US steel production plateaued under Clinton/Bush even as the economy grew. Obviously W Bush was forced to increase border security after 9/11 but illegal immigration actually peaked under W Bush and not Obama. Obviously it was Bush’s bright idea to invade Iraq and mismanage Afghanistan and flush trillions down a toilet in the Middle East. W Bush also saw a huge welfare expansion as the good manufacturing jobs disappeared and replaced by Walmart jobs that needed to be subsidized with EITC, SNAP, and Medicaid.

              1. Like I said, institutional Republicans are often, philosophically, Democrats who had the misfortune to start their careers in areas where the Republican party was dominant. So they had to “be Republicans”, doesn’t mean they actually agree with Republican voters on much.

            2. Brett Bellmore : There wouldn’t have been a Trump Presidency in the first place if the institutional GOP…..(etc)

              The only thing unique about Trump’s rise is the way it jibed with the Right’s focus on politics as entertainment. You know what proves that? Look around the world:

              There are Trumps everywhere, some examples being in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, India – and the granddaddy Trump himself in Moscow. All are busily undermining the democratic foundations of the state the govern; all are hucksters selling populist snakeoil, all are liars. Our Trump is distinctive only in being more clownish than the rest (which is actually a good thing – big picture-wise)

              Look, there was a Great Depression. After a delayed-reaction of some years, right-wing populist thugs rose to power in countries around the world. Tragedy ensued. There was a Great Recession. After a delayed-reaction of some years, right-wing populists have rose to power in countries around world. The effects are less because the generating economic calamity was smaller, governments provided more support to those suffering, and democratic institutions are stronger. But it’s the exact same process.

              1. What is going on with the recent worldwide rise of illiberal populism, I wonder?

                Easy to blame the rise of social media, and I’m seeing some pretty strong social science work suggesting it.

                1. Social media surely is a part, but I still say economics. From the point the Great Recession hit & disrupted millions of lives (as it did mine), you could have set a stopwatch on the rise of politicians selling phony solutions, villainous Others, and shadowy forces who betray the good Volksdeutsche behind the scenes. It would be a stopwatch set for years – not hours – but equally sure. That’s why I grimace when someone says Trump was a special reaction to the our country’s state or condition. That’s giving American exceptionalism a bad name.

      2. ” He doesn’t have much tangible support from ‘his own’ party.”

        Mitch and the boys felt otherwise when it was time to circle the wagons.

    5. The central political problem that the GOP has is that it is really four parties who have little in common with each other: Quasi-libertarians who just want to reduce government, Christian conservatives who just want to ban abortion and push back on gay rights, the racist/clinger/know-nothings Arthur Kirkland keeps bringing up, and Main Street Republicans who want crony capitalism in which the government helps them make money. Obviously those four philosophies are in conflict with each other, but that’s the GOP. And the only thing they all agree on is that we shouldn’t have single payer health care and Democrats shouldn’t be allowed to vote. (I’m exaggerating a little but not much.)

      For most of the last fifty years, the Main Street wing has been running the party. Trump forged a coalition of the Christian conservatives and know-nothings, which got him elected in 2016 with help from some other factors, but probably won’t get him re-elected in 2020. The interesting question is what will emerge from the ashes. I know better than to bet the rent on that one.

      1. You realize, both major parties are comprised of separate groups with separate goals, right?

        You can do the same for the Democrats if you tried.

        1. I could, but we were talking about the Republicans. Also like the Republicans, the Democrats have a batshit crazy wing of the party. The difference is that so far the Democrats haven’t allowed the batshit crazy wing to choose our nominee.

          And that’s an important point that doesn’t often get mentioned. There are plenty of left-wing equivalents to Trump. We just don’t nominate ours for the presidency.

          1. There are plenty of left-wing equivalents to Trump. We just don’t nominate ours for the presidency.

            Neither do the Republicans, really. GHWBush, Dole, GW Bush, McCain, Romney. GW Bush was maybe the rightmost of the group, but even he is not from the batshit wing.

            Trump, for all his manifold flaws, is not basically a hard-right ideologue, the way I think Tom Cotton, for example, is. I mean, he is batshit crazy, but his politics are mostly about his pocketbook and his ego.

            I do think the GOP caters more to its extreme wing, simply because of its size, and because there are more of them in Congress than there are left-wingers.

            1. Just to be clear, I do not necessarily equate right-wing with batshit crazy, though there is some overlap.

              When I said batshit crazy, I was thinking more along the lines of the tantrum-throwing toddler wing of the party. Which is manifestly a significant chunk of Trump’s base. Though also not a perfect overlap.

              1. I’d say the biggest “My way or ruin!” tantrum going in the GOP right now is the Lincoln Project, run by the NeverTrumpers.

                1. What you call a tantrum will come off pretty good, history-wise. Do you honestly think President DumpsterFire will look better over time? I’ve never seen so many subordinates of a POTUS willing to document in print what a clown their boss was – while he was still in office. This was while Trump still has the GOP terrified of his tweets. This was while he still has the power of office, and has repeatedly shown he’ll use it in the most petty & vindictive ways.

                  People didn’t care, which is understandable. We’ve all had bosses like that; you just can’t help but vent. But imagine the flood of accounts to come, in all their excruciating & humiliating detail. They’ll be painful to read but you can’t help yourself – like looking at a gory car crash.

                  Then comes the indictments. NeverTrumpers are gonna look pretty good…

                2. You seem to be saying it’s a “tantrum” for voters to oppose the Presidential candidate of their own party if they decide he’s an unqualified incompetent.

                  I don’t think so. Suppose some Democrats bought all the Fox/NY post BS, decided Biden was corrupt, and formed some sort of “Never Biden” organization. Would you consider that a tantrum?

                  I wouldn’t. I’d consider it idiotic gullibility, just as you could consider the Lincoln Project foolish, but not irrational based on the members’ opinions.

      2. @krychek and @bernard

        This is the sanest breakdown/discussion of Trump and the Trump electorate that I’ve seen. Though I disagree in part, I have to give kudos where it is due. This is what political discussion should be.
        Maybe then we could all actually move forward.

        1. Thanks, Vinni.

          After reading that I’m afraid to post another comment, for fear of screwing up.

        2. Thanks. And since you and I are frequently on opposite sides of issues, I especially appreciate it coming from you.

        3. Krychek’s cartoon version of what constitutes the Republican party is a joke. To see what is happening in the GOP today you have to understand nature of the revolt, which basically corresponds to Trump’s base. It is not just “Christian conservatives and know-nothings.” It is primarily a reaction to perceived threats from the Left and from the RINO or Main Street side of the GOP.

          From the Left the threats are open borders, gun grabbing, weakening of free speech through things like hate speech laws, turning media into a propaganda arm, destroying states’ role in the structure of the government, identity politics, and assaults on cultural norms such a binary gender, etc.

          From Main Street we see some overlap: mainly with open borders but also complacency about cultural institutional control. They are also accused of tolerating and enabling crony capitalism, hostility to small business, and a globalist viewpoint that is sanguine about job outsourcing.

          The Christian conservative element is certainly a component. The extreme side of it manifests itself in opposition to abortion at any stage and hostility to homosexuality. This is maybe 10%. The more moderate elements are opposed to abortion on demand after viability and the more extreme views of the LGBTQ “community”, whatever that is.

          1. “cartoon version”

            Yes, rabid haters trying to pretend to intellectually break down the party they hate.

            Its simple, the GOP used to be socially and economically conservative but its new voters are socially conservative but economically liberal.

            Many elected officials and party regulars have not adjusted fully to the new reality. I don’t see what choice they have in the end, the opposition is socially radical and even more left on economics than the new GOP voters.

    6. We’ve been reading these “stories” i.e. pure opinions non-stop for 5 years now. In 2016 their wrongness was quite a spectacle.

      Regardless of whether Republicans lose the Presidency in 2020, 2024, or some other time, this opinion is and will be right and wrong, but mostly wrong.

      There is no doubt that the Trump presidency is a historic event which, more than most presidencies, has accomplished some reshaping not only the Republican party but also the country and the world.

      Trump is kind of a moron in a lot of ways, but the blame for any “destruction” of the “Republican party” in our time rests squarely on the shoulders of the so-called “traditional Republicans.”

  5. Finally got around to reading “The Sleepwalkers” because what else am I going to do … WWI is fascinating.

    Schools are starting to reopen, so hopefully in a month or so the house becomes somewhat more peaceful. University / Job are still online though. Interviewed at a consulting company, though the primary benefit of consulting is travel. If you cannot travel because no one can, is there really a point?

    Oh yeah and I am just about really to kill whoever says the words “new normal” in my presence.

  6. My name is Tony Bobulinski. The facts set forth below are true and accurate; they are not any form of domestic or foreign disinformation. Any suggestion to the contrary is false and offensive. I am the recipient of the email published seven days ago by the New York Post which showed a copy to Hunter Biden and Rob Walker. That email is genuine.

    What I am outlining is fact. I know it is fact because I lived it. I am the CEO of Sinohawk Holdings which was a partnership between the Chinese operating through CEFC/Chairman Ye and the Biden family. I was brought into the company to be the CEO by James Gilliar and Hunter Biden. The reference to “the Big Guy” in the much publicized May 13, 2017 email is in fact a reference to Joe Biden. The other “JB” referenced in that email is Jim Biden, Joe’s brother.

    I realized the Chinese were not really focused on a healthy financial ROI. They were looking at this as a political or influence investment. Once I realized that Hunter wanted to use the company as his personal piggy bank by just taking money out of it as soon as it came from the Chinese, I took steps to prevent that from happening.

    I don’t have a political ax to grind; I just saw behind the Biden curtain and I grew concerned with what I saw. The Biden family aggressively leveraged the Biden family name to make millions of dollars from foreign entities even though some were from communist controlled China.

    God Bless America!!!!

    1. So, I read that. But another piece to the puzzle is Joe Biden’s financial disclosure form.

      Biden had $16 million plus in declared income after he left the White House. (2017-2020). But he listed his assets of $1.5 to $3.2 million for this year. So, the question is, where did the rest of the money go? Is Joe hiding it?

      1. Yes. The real question in this election … has JOE BIDEN been profiting off of his public office?

        Did HUNTER BIDEN profit off of his family’s name?

        Because, really, it’s obvious to everyone that the Bidens are the product of pure nepotism, and that the opaque financial of Joe Biden that he has never disclosed is the major campaign issue!

        Straws, grasping. It’s funny!

        As for the question above-

        There will be days of anger at mail-in balloting.

        Then the recrimination about the campaign.

        Then, a little while later, the “Trump was never a real Republican. He would have won if he had just followed TRUE CONSERVATIVE VALUES.” Etc.

        1. “Trump was never a real Republican”

          Some of us have made that remark since before he was elected. Not the rest of that crap though. Why couldn’t all y’all assholes all be cool like me and vote for Gary?

        2. The real question is, has Joe Biden been taking money from China and hiding it?

          The reason it’s a question is because of these recent e-mails related to Hunter, and how Joe’s been getting a cut. In addition, Joe’s financial disclosures don’t match up well with his stated official income. That would make sense if Joe was used to moving some of his income/assets off the books, and forgot that a big chunk post-presidency was actually official income/assets that weren’t supposed to be moved.

          1. “The real question is, has Joe Biden been taking money from China and hiding it?”


            Irony is dead.

          2. You, uh, heard about Trump’s secret Chinese bank account, AL?

            1. What about it? And why do you think Twatter didn’t apply their “no hacked information” rule to that story?

              1. Aside from the fact that they admitted that this rule didn’t really work? Because that’s not hacked information?

            2. Please, do tell, how Trump has secretly been paid off by the Chinese, and they’re putting money in his Bank Account right now….And how all this anti-China talk and tariffs are just a complicated double-agent cover…

              I mean, it’s not like the Chinese are sending large gifts of diamonds to Donald Jr, right?

              1. Nah, I’m not going to speculate myself into fan-fiction; that seems more y’alls side of the street.

                All I know is he has a bank account in China that he did not disclose.

                Which is more than you have to set you off on The real question is, has Joe Biden been taking money from China and hiding it?

                1. We are only one step away from …

                  The real question is did Joe Biden kill his first wife and daughter in order to further his political career? I mean, you remember VINCE FOSTER, don’t you?

                  1. The play will be pedophilia. You already see folks around here throwing that around.
                    QAnon is has over half the GOP saying it’s entirely or mostly accurate.

                    1. Eh, remember Dennis Hastert? You think nobody knew what he was until he retired?

                      Look at the Rotherham scandal in the UK. These things happen. It’s just a subset of the political elite being spared enforcement of normal laws/norms, but it’s still real.

                    2. Brett, did you think I was saying no politicians were pedophiles? I’m saying the right is going to start tossing that around about Dems quite causally.

                    3. No, I’m saying that pedophilia is, I don’t think I’d say rampant, but a thing in politics, and the pedophiles get covered for if they’re important, so it’s more common in politics than in lines of work where you don’t get protection. (Priest used to be such a line of work, it hasn’t been for some decades because the Church did some reforms. But they’re still dealing with the long term consequences of protecting pedophiles before the reforms.)

                      I don’t think it was a secret in Washington that Hastert was a pedophile. I think it was considered a useful weakness, rather; Extortionists don’t profit, (In money, or critical votes.) by blabbing, but rather by not blabbing if they’re paid off.

                      All sorts of things that would ruin you in normal lines of work are survivable in politics so long as you’re useful. But the consequence of that is that a lot of people in politics are vulnerable to blackmail, and not just from domestic threats.

                      The contents of that laptop are no longer useful for blackmailing Biden. But they’d have been very useful to that end before the NYP story.

                    4. My totally non-scientific suspicion is that pedophilia is more common among politicians of all political views than it is in the general population because I think the personality type that makes for a good politicians is also the personality type that makes for being a predator. If you spend a few minutes actually thinking through which personality traits make someone not just inclined to run for public office, but also effective at running for public office, it’s somewhat unsettling.

                    5. Eh, remember Dennis Hastert? You think nobody knew what he was until he retired?

                      Yes. Plus, uh, you know that he wasn’t implicated in pedophilia, right?

                2. Here’s what we know.

                  1. The Chinese paid Hunter Biden a huge amount of money.
                  2. The E-mails indicate part of that was shared with Joe
                  3. Joe hasn’t disclosed any such funds in his financial statements.

                  1. 1. No, dude was on firms that wanted big world-known names and that got money from China.
                    2. That is in no way established by anyone reputable.
                    3. You think Biden would be this dumb? He’s not Trump.

                    This is getting to Benghazi levels.

                    1. 2. Yeah, who do you think “the big guy” is, anyway?
                      3. Yeah, I think Joe would be that dumb. People in politics for a long time get used to having immunity to the things that people outside politics would get ruined over. They get sloppy after a while.

                    2. Brett,

                      3. Yeah, I think Biden made a big mistake in his financial disclosures. He was used to hiding assets. But he brought in more than $16 million worth of legit income between 2016 and 2020, and his assets disclosure form didn’t account for it. He just hid it, as normal.

                    3. Why then was Hunter getting the 10% for “the big guy?” If it was so reputable why wouldn’t the big guy just get his cut directly?

                      And in this text from Gilliar to Bobolinkski:
                      “Don’t mention Joe being involved it’s only when u are face to face, I know u know that but they are paranoid”

                      So when you are pitching your prospect you can mention Joe ftf but not is any way that can be traced. Seem legit.

                    4. A.L.,

                      I don’t get your implication.

                      So Biden had $16M in income, but shows only $3.2M in assets. Are you saying he made some secret investments that he’s not disclosing? Why would he do that?

                      Note that he paid about $6.4M in federal and state income tax in 2017-19. What he did with the $10M after-tax I don’t know, but what your story is is not clear to me.

              2. it’s not like the Chinese are sending large gifts of diamonds to Donald Jr, right?


                Totally legitimate. No cashing in on her father being President. Right, A.L?

                1. Trademark requests granted, get this, 40% faster. Think about it. Fortyyyy percent. Boggles the mind. Makes Hunter and Joe seem clean by comparison. Honestly I can’t get over it. 40%.

                  1. Then again.

                    No opportunities for corruption there.

                  2. A whole bunch of backlogged trademark requests were being processed at that time, it wasn’t just Trump. China was finally responding to pressure on the issue of trademark infringement.

                    China’s Trademark Reforms Signals Stronger Protection and Enforcement

                    “CTMO Reforms to Shorten Processing Time

                    The China Trademark Office is making way to facilitate the registration, recordals, renewal and assignments of trademarks. By the end of the 2018, the CTMO will shorten the window for trademark search (time lag between the trademark details available on the CTMO website and the filing of the trademark application) from 3 months to 2 months.

                    The Office will also shorten the examination period for national trademark registrations from 9 months to 6 months; for issuing filing receipts from 2 months to 1 months; for trademark assignments from 6 months to 4 months; and for recordals of changes and trademark renewals from 3 months to 2 months.”

                    You were saying something about 40% faster? Tell me, was it 40% faster than other people were seeing at the same time?

            3. Nothing secret about it. LLC paid taxes in China from it from 2013 to 2015. Been inactive since then. Trump never denied pursuing biz interests in China before he was elected. This is a pathetic attempt at deflection and indicates the level of desperation that’s out there with the Dems.

          3. Armchair, I finally took a look at the laptop story. Still don’t have any way to verify or disprove the allegations.

            But there is something I learned doing investigative reporting, while trying to separate truth tellers from liars. True story tellers are usually pretty forthcoming, and respond in detail to open ended questions. Liars tend to tell only as much as they think will support whatever points they want you to buy into.

            One result, true stories tend to feature quite a bit of irrelevant detail—stuff that has nothing to do with the main theme. Lies are more often lean and clean, with nothing in the tale except the theme itself—whatever bits it takes to support the tale are there, and little else. The Biden laptop story looks more like the latter than like the former.

        3. Leave aside the politics for a second (I know, difficult to do).

          Objectively speaking, does Hunter Biden represent a potential national security threat with his documented behavior? The pictures and video from his laptop are what they are. But what else could be out there? And who might possess that?

          If it were Donald Trump Jr (and not Hunter), and there were pictures and video like we see, I would absolutely call him a national security threat. That is the ‘shoe on the other foot’ test.

          1. Sure. And if you happened to live in America the last 10 years, Comrade, you probably know that most families have had a family member, loved one, friend, or at least acquaintance struggle with drug addiction.

            So I am sure that it will continue to be fruitful for people like you (you know, the one who gleefully enjoy misogynistic attacks on Biden’s VP candidate) to say, “Yes, I know that Biden lost his first daughter in a car accident, and his hero son to brain cancer, but let’s revel in the unfortunate addiction of his other child! Because that makes Biden look monstrous and unrelatable, not at all like Trump.”

            1. He was actually talking about Hunter being a national security threat.

              Not what you were saying at all.

              1. “and there were pictures and video like we see,”

                Uh huh. Did you know that gullible isn’t in the dictionary, Grandpa Gompers?

                Ya got some more stories you want to tell us?

                1. Those pictures and videos are what constitutes the national security threat.


                  1. And what do those pictures and videos show, Grampa Gompers?

                    C’mon! You can do this! I know you can!

                    ….well, maybe my confidence is misplaced.

                    1. Hunter smoking crack.

                      Hunter naked.

                      Hunter’s underage niece naked.

                      Hunter with his underage niece naked.

                      Naked children.

                      That’s my guess.

                    2. Push Grandpa Gompers on a reply or two …

                      ….and you get QAnon.

                      I am shocked, shocked I say, that this happens.

                    3. Uh,

                      There is a picture of Hunter smoking crack.

                      There was a text message released with Hunter talking about being naked in front of some redacted child.

                      There are reports by journalists who have seen the hard drive of child pornography and of a naked underage family member.

                      Your willful ignorance is not my conspiracy.

                    4. I would ask if at long last Sam Gompers has no sense of decency, but the answer to that is beyond obvious.

                  2. Sam, might you walk loki and I through how these already publicly released pictures and videos could be used to compromise national security?

                    1. Well we’ve all seen the picture of him with a crack pipe in his mouth.

                      And the ones with him naked with his naked niece are being reported on but can’t be released since they are illegal child porn.

                      You clearly knew that already which is why you have your massive hedge in your statement. Commenter_XY never claims they were publicly released, but you intentionally added that to your statement as some sort of lame gotcha.

                    2. Those pictures and videos are what constitutes the national security threat.

                      That’s what I was responding to, Sam.

                      Nice pedophilia accusation there. Based on…uh, your ass?

                    3. That comment doesn’t say they are public.

                      The naked children claim comes from reports from journalists who have seen the videos and from text messages already released.

                      So, no, not my ass. From news that your mindmasters on Twatter’s Trust and Safety Team do not allow you to hear.

                    4. Hey Sam, did you hear the latest release from Giuliani was a photo of a phone still connected to Russian wifi?

                      This…is not going well for you.

                    5. The naked children claim comes from reports from journalists who have seen the videos and from text messages already released.

                      You’re lying. Common sense should tell that you’re lying, because if someone is showing them child pornography, then that person is committing a felony.

                    6. Yep. Giuliani takes a picture of a text message, supposedly off his magic laptop (miraculously saved by a blind Trump fanatic computer repairman in Wilmington).

                      But Rudy’s Blackberry screenshot is of a Russian iphone on the ru_MTS mobile network, because (a) This was an obvious foreign intelligence operation from the start, and (b) Rudy isn’t very bright.

                      Now we have Giuliani’s pal Andrii Derkach (who Trump’s Treasury Department say is a Russian spy) claiming he’s gonna release even more Hunter laptops “miraculously” found in Ukraine, making the computer repairman cover story even more absurd.

                      Plus we have child porn added to the mix, though no one thought to mention it before now – even though the blind Trump fanatic computer repairman gave a long description of all the terrible things he saw (yeah. I know).

                      How long before this entire farce collapses?

            2. loki, yeah I hear you about the number of families who have members that struggle with addiction. It is not unknown in my own extended family. I can empathize with VP Biden. That was not my point.

              My point is: What else is out there, given what we know already? This is just (sigh…just) sex and drugs. And some emails sprinkled in.

              And does unknown represent a national security threat?

              If it were any of the Trump kids, and the shoe were on the other foot, the answer would be emphatically yes. It would represent a national security threat.

              1. “If it were any of the Trump kids, and the shoe were on the other foot, the answer would be emphatically yes. It would represent a national security threat.”

                Wait- are you trying to say that Trump’s children, and in-laws, might not get a security clearance?

                Huh. What do you think would happen then?

                1. Well, in terms of classification, a POTUS can authorize anyone. I recall reading something about that way back when. The law has that provision.

                  Could Jared and Ivanka get a security clearance without POTUS Trump? Honestly, I do not know. But I am going to go out on a limb here and say no, they would not. Why? Probably too many blackmail risks involved with them. For instance, Jared’s father was involved in some shady shit, and he was imprisoned. Does that mean Jared is into shady shit? No, but the risk is there, objectively speaking.

                  1. Yes, I am sure you do remember … something.

                    So to review, this situation has already come up. A family member could not pass the security clearance, and POTUS let them through.

                    Of course, it’s fairly unusual for POTUS to simply designate all of their family members as a shadow cabinet, but hopefully that will change after Trump. And you won’t have to worry about that thing that you just started worrying about!

            3. “hero son”

              Dude was a JAG. He never missed a hot meal or shower or even saw an enemy.

              1. Hey. it’s Chickenhawk Bob.

                So, Bob, we know that Beau served in Iraq.
                We know he was awarded a Bronze Star.
                And we know the criteria for the Bronze Star.

                Why don’t you and the keyboard commandoes go eff yourselves? Thanks!

                1. “we know the criteria for the Bronze Star.”

                  Yes we do.

                  “either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. When the medal is awarded by the Army and Air Force for acts of valor in combat, the “V” Device is authorized for wear on the medal.”

                  Any “V” for Beau? No, then its a routine award for officers who keep their noses clean, especially the VP’s son and a state attorney general with Senate aspirations.

                  “The Army alone awarded over 170,000 Bronze Star Medals in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, only 4,500 of which had the accompanying “V” device, which denotes exceptional valor.”

                  “E-5s and E-6s all received Army Commendation Medals, and E-7s and above received blanket Bronze Stars. It didn’t matter what they actually did during the tour, whether they patrolled everyday, or sat in an air-conditioned office.”


                  So eff yourself.

                  1. Hey, it’s Chickenhawk Bob, insulting military members who earned medals. And the doubling down!

                    Chickenhawk Bob says it’s no big deal behind the safety of his keyboard.

                    Just like his hero Rapin’ Trump.

                    People die from Covid? People die who were in the military? No big deal to Chickenhawk Bob. He has some typin’ to do to defend his real hero, real estate developer and draft dodging rapist, Donald Trump.

                    So yeah, go eff yourself Bob.

                    1. Must suck to be so unhappy.

                    2. Must suck to be correctly called out as a traitorous vermin supporting a draft-dodging rapist, who insults dead members of the military.

                    3. You support a draft dodging accused rapist too.

                    4. Hey, it’s Bob, trying to change the subject from why he likes to mock dead military service members, denigrate their achievements, and then mock their family members!

                      Bob doesn’t thank them for their service; Chickenhawk Bob thinks if you serve in the military, you’re a loser and mocks your sacrifice and achievements.

                      Just like his hero, Rapin’ Trump.

          2. You want to know if Biden’s history of addiction that he has publicly spoken about and which is well known makes him a risk for blackmail?

            It’s very difficult to blackmail somebody over something that is widely known. So “no.”

            1. No, I don’t think that was a blackmail risk. The real blackmail risk here was evidence that Joe was complicit in some of the things Hunter was doing. Which he clearly seems to have been.

              Well, nothing on that laptop is a blackmail risk anymore. It was before the NYP story, though.

      2. Did you vote against W Bush in 2004 when it came out his brother was paid $2 million by a Chinese semiconductor company when Neal knew nothing about semiconductors?? But good ol’ Neal was an expert on Asian hookers! 😉

    2. Is it legal what the Bidens are doing?

      Here’s what VP Biden has released:

      I’m not a financial expert so can’t say what’s legal but at least we have some info.

      What has Trump released?

      1. “is it legal what the Bidens are doing?”

        it doesnt matter. as i’ve pointed out before, the political elite are above the law and will never be held accountable on the same terms as the peasantry

        1. “It doesn’t matter” if it’s legal? And that’s because, even if it *is* legal, he won’t be punished for it?

          Okay, this is a long time coming. Show of hands: How many commenters here are actually just random word generators?

      2. “Is it legal what the Bidens are doing?”

        It doesn’t matter, he’s a Democrat.

    3. I haven’t been able to shake the too good to be true vibe from this whole affair, but at the same time, all indicators keep pointing towards it being actually true. Photo’s no ones seen before, confirmation from people who were on the emails. That’s evidence that’s harder to fake than most.

      1. At first I was skeptical. But the response from the Biden camp has been practically an admission that the emails are genuine.

    4. I thought I recognized that name. Turns out Tony Bobulinski graduate from my high school two years before I did. Go Chiefs!

  7. A large scale randomized trial on the efficacy of mask wearing to protect from COVID was conducted, yet every major journal refuses to publish it.


    1. Usually the reason is faulty methodology or uninteresting result. Since there’s nothing stopping them from doing a preprint except, apparently, that people on their own team don’t think it’s ready to publish, it’s probably not surprising that journals aren’t ready to do so either.

      1. The authors are saying that it’s ready for publishing but the journals refuse to accept it.

        1. Edit:

          One author says it’s ready, the others do not want to release preprint until some peer review has been done.

          1. So it turns out that journals also want peer review before they publish.

            1. Who do you think conducts the peer reviews?

              1. Who says they’re not? The only information in that Twitter thread is that no journal is willing to publish, not that they’re unwilling to do peer review.

                1. No, it says they are unwilling to accept the paper.

                  That means they are unwilling to even do a peer review.

                  The Party of Science ™!!!

                  1. “No, it says they are unwilling to accept the paper.”

                    You should really read your own sources.

                    “A lead investigator on the Danish mask study – the ONLY (as far as I know) randomized trial to see if masks protect from #COVID – was asked when it would be published.

                    His answer: “as soon as a journal is brave enough.””

                    Note the word PUBLISHED. You are just making shit up.

                    “The Party of Science ™!!!”

                    I’m pretty sure neither US political party has anything to do with the decisions made by international range of journals that could potentially publish an article from a Danish group of scientists.

                    It turns out that not everything you don’t like perfectly aligns with US political partisanship. Remember when you thought the completely Republican Florida Supreme Court was a bunch of Democrats just because they did something you disagreed with?

                    1. The quote from the PI says:

                      “As soon as a journal is brave enough to accept the paper.”


                      WTF dude.

                      Look at your quote:

                      His answer: “as soon as a journal is brave enough.””

                      Look where you put the period.

                      How disgusting. You should be ashamed.

                    2. I literally copy/pasted your Tweet. I didn’t put a period anywhere.

                    3. Maybe you should Tweet at that guy and tell him he should be ashamed of himself.

                    4. The picture of the email with my quote is sitting right there.

                      The original source was right there and you still dishonestly misquoted it.

                      And now you’re blaming everyone but yourself.


                    5. I shall allow future readers to click on the link to your Tweet and decide for themselves who is being dishonest here.

                    6. Is the author’s original email present in the link? Yes.

                      Does it contain the source quote? Yes.

                      Did you not see the author’s own words even though it was mere inches below the text you allegedly cited? (I mean who wouldn’t look at the source material when quoting them especially when it’s available one inch below on the screen????)

                      Or did you see it and try and dishonestly misrepresent it?

                      We can let Gentle Reader decide.

                    7. If Sam Gompers thinks those extra words are so important, why did Sam Gompers link to a tweet where they truncated it?

                      Kinda feels like a gotcha, to put a trap like that in your citation.

                    8. The source material was literally an inch below the text of the tweet.

                      I assumed people had eyes and a brain capable of recognizing the source material was literally an inch below the text of the tweet.

                      My bad.

                  2. You are mistaken about the process. Acceptance of a paper comes after peer review.

    2. Why isn’t peer review adopting the new paper?

      Might be because the peer reviewers are overly orthodox.
      Might be because the science is crap.
      Or more likely a combination of both.

      The one thing I do know is that the author is not the one to ask about which is going on.

      1. What peer review are you talking about here?

        They won’t accept the paper to even be peer reviewed by any of the journals reviewers.

        1. Peer review isn’t just the panel – it’s the journals’ gatekeepers as well, who are subject matter experts. If a lab wants to get more attention, the usual practice is to get letters of endorsement and come back.

          Not to get snitty and declare you’re being persecuted for your revolutionary results.

          I don’t know – maybe the paper is getting rejected for political reasons; such things sure do happen. But having trouble getting published is not proof of that.

          1. Oh, come on, we’ve already seen more than one peer review scandal in recent years. (Remember the Climate Change Unit email scandal?) The peer review system is broken. Cliques have formed gaming the system to censor papers they disagree with.

            1. No, Brett, it’s not broken. Your ‘scandal’ does not establish that.

              I know that you think expertise is elitist, and experts are yet another in the long set of institutions with a liberal bias, plus you have some axes to grind.

              I mean, what alternative would you posit for the performance of worldwide science? Put papers to a popular vote?

              1. How many retractions have we seen from the Lancet and NEJM, Sarcastr0? More than there should have been.

                1. What would have decreased the retractions? I don’t think it is at all clear the problem is peer review.

                  1. Oh, I disagree about that one. Peer review is getting infected by political bias.

                    1. Scientists are still a pretty apolitical lot by and large.

                      But lets say you are correct, and peer review brings political issues to the fore and not merit. What is the alternative?

                      There are alternatives to peer review, but they all involve humans making judgment calls, so politics in peer review will also be fonud everywhere else.

                  2. See, I disagree with you on both counts. I don’t think there are many systems that could have actually reduced retractions, and I also think peer review is a bunk system. Its been shown over and over to be lax in detecting fraud, and even more importantly, it seems the “peer” group consistently doesn’t understand statistics, which means that almost no peer reviewers understand what the p values (or other) they are reviewing actually mean.

                    1. So this is an area where I work, though not on the peer review side. I’m always interested in new review paradigms; maybe a peer review group must include a statistician? (Though a surprising amount of time those guys don’t seem to understand stats either).

                    2. I’ve made a note to bring up review paradigms next Thursday.

                    3. “I’ve made a note to bring up review paradigms next Thursday.”

                      I’ll look forward to that.

                      My sense is that doing a good – i.e. critical – job of peer review isn’t well rewarded, nor is doing it poorly penalized.

                      In a parallel universe, I was a software developer for 40 years, and several different organizations. All but one had mandatory code review that was superficial, perfunctory, and a waste of time. The one where review was optional, ironically, did the most effective reviews – doing rigorous ones where it mattered, and skipping them where it didn’t. I’m not sure if that provides any generally applicable insight though, because that organization was also a small company in a competitive field, where any major oopsies would bankrupt the company and throw all of us out of a job. So running things there was easy, for the same reason it’s easy to get a group of people in a lifeboat in a storm to bail effectively.

                      “maybe a peer review group must include a statistician?”

                      The time to involve the statistician is before you run the experiment. Statistics can’t fix GIGO.

                    4. Be sure to ping me. My only follow up comment is that these people need to be employed by the journals themselves (probably). Basically an anti-fraud unit that is actually paid, because few people are going to look through data sets and run many regressions for free. Certainly its a cost imposed on the journals, by why not charge fees for submissions, it is publish or perish after all? And prominent places like Science and Nature should say they have a presumption against publishing articles that aren’t pre-registered.

                      Peer review is nice for finding minor errors like a missed citation or in a math paper if someone’s proof failed to carry a variable, but its not equipped for the modern frauds where you massage numbers until it pops out P<.05.

                      All my proposed changes, still, would probably only cut the problem in half, which would mean we still would have a huge problem.

                    5. One other promising approach is some kind of ‘open data’ policy – if you want to be publish, you have to provide the raw data and analysis details in an open archive. As with open source software, many eyes can then do the quality control.

                    6. So I work on the grants policy side of the street, which is also heavily into the peer review. And happens before the research begins, so a statistician being in there could be legit!

                      There’s also the DARPA/E-ARPA model, and various others. IMO, as one might expect, is that a robust scientific enterprise includes both.

                      I don’t know a lot about the publication side of peer review except from talking to scientists, most of whom have at least one story of the lengths they had to go to get their greatest opus published.

                      My office also runs these reviews that are important for the guests who might pick up on some basic research and turn it into some technology, but pretty clearly a chore for the PIs.

                      Fraud does not happen very often that I have heard about.

            2. Indeed. Just this year we had the Surgisphere debacle, where the Lancet had to retract a “peer-reviewed” paper that was used as a cudgel to shut down ongoing hydroxychloroquine studies worldwide, but then the data it relied on was (quite trivially) shown to be facially improbable and in fact turned out to be shamelessly made up by a two-bit huckster.

              Nobody — from the study authors to the peer reviewers — did the least shred of diligence on this joker before relying on his fabricated data.

              What, exactly, did peer review demonstrate in that situation other than wide-eyed groupthink?

              To the extent peer review was ever a standard of excellence, those days are over. It’s high time to stop pretending it’s a panacea.

          2. They won’t even accept it to conduct a peer review.

            You would think there would be interest in the topic.

            1. That is part of the process, Sam, as I discussed above.

              Interest is not the threshold for journal acceptance.

              1. You were talking as if the paper had been peer reviewed and rejected.

                That’s not the case.

                Pay attention.

                1. I’m also not talking about that, so glad we’re on the same page.

                  1. “Why isn’t peer review adopting the new paper?

                    Might be because the peer reviewers are overly orthodox.
                    Might be because the science is crap.
                    Or more likely a combination of both.”

                    What the hell are you talking about here then?
                    That’s you talking as if the paper was peer reviewed and rejected.

                    WTF dude.

                    1. Because, as I said at 12:01 pm gathering attention and endorsements is part of the process

          3. ‘It’s the journals’ gatekeepers as well, who are subject matter experts.’ This is if the review is unbiased, and if the reviewers are actually SMEs.

            1. Reviewers are SMEs, that part is absolutely true.

              Arguing bias when a paper you like doesn’t get picked up is just sour grapes.= and pretty anti-science.

  8. Are the FBI and the Media sitting on the Hunter Biden story until after the election (or inauguration) when they’ll suddenly find it is valid, and Biden will have to step down in disgrace and leave the way open for a Harris/Pelosi administration?

    1. biden has already agreed to step down and i dont think this laptop had anything to do with it. but i doubt pelosi would be bumped up to VP, they’ll choose someone younger for the future of the party. maybe buttigieg

      1. Biden has already agreed to step down


        1. How many times must you be asked not to break the entertaining chain of mutually reinforcing craziness?

          1. Too true. It’s been getting pretty great, lately.

            These Dems the conjure up are like the charismatic type of villainous masterminds you’d see in like a Mission Impossible movie. It’s getting pretty creative!

      2. I think they had Beto in mind, he’s already been designated gun confiscation czar.

        1. thats possible, especially if they think that helps them turn Texas blue in 24. but he has 3 strikes against him – he’s a straight white male. thats a lot to overcome in a party driven by identity check-the-box politics.

        2. LOL no one likes Beto except that he might have beaten Ted Cruz.

          What will you say if Biden actually does a full 4 years? Will you learn maybe don’t speculate so hard you convince yourself of nonsense?

          1. If he does a full 4 years, I’ll have regarded myself as having dodged a bullet, or anyway, turned a center of mass shot into a flesh wound.

            But, you know, I don’t see a whole lot of apologizing on the left, for having believed the Steele dossier, or having claimed that Hunter’s Ukraine corruption was fictional. Debunked scandals on the right shamble on like zombies, shot full of holes but still believed, while every left-wing scandal starts out “debunked” regardless of accumulating evidence.

            Consensus reality is dying. If this were an SF/fantasy novel, I’d almost believe they were conducting an experiment to see if you got people to disagree about what reality was enough, you could cause a space/time rip.

            1. Brett, you have switched from your own predictions about the future to continuing disputes of facts about the past.
              Rather than getting into it with you on those yet again, lets compare apples to apples.

              On the left this would be like the ‘Trump will replace Pence’ or the like. Stuff Trump hasn’t mentioned, but which some people are still sure will happen.

              When you are sure about some prediction or other about the other side, and those predictions don’t come true, you should do more self-analysis than just being relieved and moving on.

            2. having claimed that Hunter’s Ukraine corruption was fictional.

              Pretty much everyone has admitted that Hunter Biden taking that job was sleazy.

              But that doesn’t make it corruption by Joe Biden. That the right won’t accept the plain facts about Joe’s involvement in firing the prosecutor doesn’t make it a corrupt act.

    2. It’d be irresponsible not to speculate about a vast but airtight liberal conspiracy against Joe Biden.

    3. I really doubt they will ask him to step down over this scandal. The party faithful would feel betrayed if after all the defending they did the party turned around and said the other side had been right all along. Look at Star Wars and how pissed journalists were when Disney started admitting the second movie in the new trilogy was actually terrible. People don’t like it when you mock their loyalty.

      1. I disagree. the party faithful arent motivated by a love of biden, theyre motivated by hate of trump. as long as he’s out they dont care.

        the party power brokers gave joe the nomination and inserted harris as VP because they love her too. the party voters sure as hell didnt love her, go look at her record in the primary.

        1. Biden won the primary.

          1. On the basis of being the least scary candidate available, not being loved.

  9. Random thought, prompted by the current idiot pope’s apparent support of gays having civil unions.

    Why is there so much blame (deservedly) for the Catholic Church (as an institution) for the sexual abuse of altar boys and others, but little, if any of that ire is aimed at gays (as a group) for the abuse? It was gay men covering up the crimes of other gay men, for the most part.

    Clearly, there is little hesitation in blaming entire groups for the acts of a few (Muslim terrorists, white school shooters, etc. etc.).

    1. I misplaced my reply to your question. It’s below.

      Clearly, there is little hesitation in blaming entire groups for the acts of a few (Muslim terrorists, white school shooters, etc. etc.).

      By who? Well, some right-wingers are happy to blame all Muslims for the terrorists. Sensible people aren’t I don’t know of anyone blaming all white people for school shooters.

      1. Lots of people blame all Muslims for the works of the relatively few terrorists, likewise the leftist media you consume blames all white people for the works of a microscopic few white supremacists. Collective guilt is a common ingroup/outgroup thing, right or wrong, it *does* happen, and is engaged in by virtually all people to some extent, and happens rampantly by political parties.

        1. likewise the leftist media you consume blames all white people for the works of a microscopic few white supremacists.

          Funny, I haven’t seen that in the media I consume. And if you think the NYT or WaPo are “leftist” you are mistaken.

      2. “I don’t know of anyone blaming all white people for school shooters.”

        Sort of tangentially related, on the topic of blaming entire groups, what’s your opinion of San Francisco declaring the NRA is a ‘domestic terrorist organization’?

        Do you think it is an accurate description? An example of group-blaming that slipped under your radar? Something else?

    2. You should change your name to sick_kalak.

      Sexual abuse is non-consensual and therefore criminal.

      Why aren’t you condemning all hetero men for sick men who rape little girls?

      Grow up.

      1. Why, you perfectly illustrated the conundrum. There is a group that blames all men for the acts of a few who rape women. A whole political movement in fact.

        I suppose it was wrong-headed of me to expect a serious or thoughtful response. Maybe someone else?

        1. The real answer is that we have conflated two very separate issues in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals, by labelling it all “pedophilia.” We should distinguish between (1) the sexual abuse of prepubescent boys, which is genuine pedophilia, and is not generally committed by gays; and (2) the sexual abuse of post-pubescent teens/young men which is not pedophilia in the normal sense of the word, and is, where the perpetrator is an adult, primarily committed by gay men.

          Basically, the Catholic Church had two big problems in this area — there were the out-and-out criminal deviants like Geoghan in Boston who preyed on young children, and there were also a lot of repressed gay men who joined the church to try to escape their sexuality, and instead found themselves in a situation where they were able to act on their desires with little or no fear of retribution.

          1. Okay, criminal sexual abuse is sexual abuse. Whether it’s pederasty or pedophilia, that’s kinda a useless distinction when we have an actual crime and cover up.

    3. “Why is there so much blame (deservedly) for the Catholic Church (as an institution) for the sexual abuse of altar boys and others, but little, if any of that ire is aimed at gays (as a group) for the abuse? It was gay men covering up the crimes of other gay men, for the most part.”

      1. Pedophile priests abused both boys and girls. Some had preferences for a particular gender, some didn’t.

      2. The reason the Catholic Church (as an institution) received blame is not because of some notion of “group guilt” like you try to assign, but because the Catholic Church (as an institution) often covered up the crimes of certain Priests, or moved them around and enabled, aided, and abetted the victimization of more children.

      3. From (2), you are missing the point; the correct question you should ask is- “Why aren’t we blaming all Catholics?” And the answer is, “Because that would be stupid.”

      4. There is something deeply, deeply wrong with you.

      1. 1) It was almost exclusively homosexual priests abusing underage boys. Moreover, it wasn’t until the mid 1990s you saw altar girls. Decades of abuse starting in the 1960s through that time was all of boys.

        2) I know. The cover up. Blame the church rightly for the cover up, but not the perp as well? Like I said, many on the left blame whites for the crimes of their ancestors in the slave trade, or on the right blame all Muslims for terrorism…yet here we are, not blaming the gays as a group for molesting tons of altar boys and Boy Scouts.

        3) Your hypothetical question is stupid, because people are blaming all Catholics.

        4) uh huh. sure. I forgive you though you don’t deserve it.

        5) Thanks for at least a thoughtful answer.

        1. “It was almost exclusively homosexual priests abusing underage boys.”

          That’s like saying all Jeeps are motor vehicles – but you’re forgetting the second part that not all motor vehicles are Jeeps.

          Just say you have some anti-homosexual thing up your ass and then leave us alone.

        2. “It was almost exclusively homosexual priests abusing underage boys.”

          It was 4 to 1 according to the John Jay College’s report. I don’t know if “almost exclusively” means 80% or not but to say it was primary a gay priest problem is accurate.

          1. It was almost exclusively male priests abusing underage victims.

            If your model of child sex abuse is that there are these adults who really want to have sexual contact with children, and these particular adults are men who want to victimize boys, then it’s obvious there is a gay pedophile problem.

            The thing is, that seems not to be how it works. Most child sex abuse is highly opportunistic. It is not driven by the offender’s highest sexual fantasies but instead is a cruel outlet for a less specific set of pressures and desires.

    4. You mean besides your “for the most part” being untrue?
      Or the part where conservatives have been blaming gay people for everything wrong under the sun since before Anita Bryant squeezed an orange?
      Or the part where the Catholic Church is an actual organization and “gay men” aren’t?

  10. What do you think about coerced COVID testing, both for ethics and for law (ala

    What about coerced flu vaccination for kids, despite the very weak efficacy (and safety!) research.

    1. For the flu vaccine … there Cochrane reviews provide a comprehensive overview of the weakness of the current research.

      For anecdotal concerns, there is

  11. Why is there so much blame (deservedly) for the Catholic Church (as an institution) for the sexual abuse of altar boys and others, but little, if any of that ire is aimed at gays (as a group) for the abuse? It was gay men covering up the crimes of other gay men, for the most part.

    Um. Because:

    1. There is no “gay institution” with a hierarchy that tried to cover anything up. There’s no “Archbishop of New York Gaydom,” for example.

    2. That it was “gay men covering up the crimes of other gay men, for the most part” is neither relevant nor true. I’m sure you have an example in mind, but that’s meaningless.

    1. bernard11, I am not being facetious, but there is something I have never understood about all of this. If a male priest sexually abused a male child, how is this person not gay? How is pedophilia distinguished from homosexuality when both people are male?

      Sexually abusing a child?! To me, pedophiles deserve execution. But that is just me.

      1. They argue that the definition of homosexuality is only age appropriate sexual attraction.

        That’s how.

      2. XY,

        Not my point.

        M_k claims that the perpetrators of the cover-up, as opposed to the offenders themselves, were “for the most part,” gay. I don’t think he can support that.

      3. Get ready for your mind to be blown: it’s not even necessarily pedophilia.

        It turns out most men serving sentences for sexual abuse of minors (i.e., child molesters) aren’t pedophiles, in the sense that they do not experience significant sexual attraction to children. Most of them are opportunists who found themselves in an opportunity to sexually victimize a child and took it. In other words, they are situational offenders. Often they are experiencing one or more of the following:

        –stress or depression

        –an urge to control or abuse another person

        –a general sexual urge

        –social outcast status

        I would argue (and so I am doing so) that the celibate Catholic clergy are particularly prone to these problems so we see a high rate of situational offenders who victimize children.

    2. 1) You don’t think there is a gay political movement with specific gay run organizations? That’s like saying the gun right movement exists without the NRA. It does, of course, but I suppose it would be silly to expect ACT UP to condemn gay pedophilia like the NRA condemns gun crimes.

      2) How is it not relevant? The abuse was homosexual in nature done by homosexual priests. Much of the coverup, like say by the now defrocked McCarrick, was done by gay bishops. If you deny this, then it’s clear evidence to me, that there is a natural reluctance by leftists such as yourself, to blame a member of their in-group (gays) while simultaneously blaming an out-group (a church).

      I suppose I kinda knew the answer, but this is a nice confirmation, at least via the two data points responding thus far.

      1. Political movement != institution that performs coverups and the like.

        It is not proven that mutual gayness is a motive for covering up same-sex pedophilia. That’s a prejudice you’ve brought in.

        Catholic coverups were done by well beyond bishops, gay or no.

        If you deny this, then it’s clear evidence to me, that there is a natural reluctance by leftists such as yourself, to blame a member of their in-group (gays) while simultaneously blaming an out-group (a church).
        Well, this is some closed-minded nonsense. ‘If you disagree with me, it just shows how closed-minded *you* are!’

        1. Uh. I should have expected the most solipsism-ist sophist that I’ve ever (virtually) met weigh-in.

          I do suppose I have some information in my head that fellow commentators don’t. Mutual gayness is the reason for the biggest cover ups. It’s not my opinion. The gay network in the church is called the “lavender mafia” and the biggest cover up perp was the gay Cardinal McCarrick, who literally ran a sex ring. Whole books full of evidence have been written on it, sometimes by secular authors with no particular acts to grind.

          And if pointing out normal human foibles about collective guilt and in-group/out-group behavior makes me closed minded, what does that make you, Sarcastro….think really, really hard before you answer here.

          1. What jb said.

            What leaders of the gay political movement who were actually involved in covering up the church’s abuse scandals? Besides, these movements do not dictate doctrine to all gays, or administer sacraments, or have, in fact, any sort of authority, moral or otherwise over their behavior.

            In addition, it is incorrect to say that the bishops and cardinals engaged in the coverup were all gay. I’ve never heard that claimed about Law, for example.

      2. There is a gay political movement, but they had literally nothing to do with covering up what the priests did or reassigning them to other parishes without warning the local congregants. Catholic leadership did do all of those things. Hence, people blame the church and not the gay political movement, just like they also don’t blame the Aryan Brotherhood even though most of the abusers where white and some are now in jail.

      3. Someone can be gay without being part of any gay political group.

        Someone cannot be a priest in the Catholic Church without being a part of the Catholic Church.

        This really isn’t hard to understand.

  12. Overheated rhetoric on Courts, additional evidence:

    Rep. Clyburn: Confirming Barrett Would Be “Throwback to Plessy vs. Ferguson and Even Dred Scott”

  13. Can the Pope’s position on same-sex unions be reconciled with the Church’s doctrine that homosexual conduct is sinful?

    1. Great question, Josh R. Probably. How you ask? The pope was not speaking in his official capacity. That would be my guess.

      1. What is the significance of the Pope expressing an opinion that Church doctrine is wrong?

        1. Usually when one Christian group, starting with Luthor, didn’t like church teachings on X or Y, they create their own church, going so far as to throw out 7 books of the bible because they are inconvenient in what they say. Catholics have 73 books, Protestants have 66.

          Theoretically, aside from clarifications or some such, Catholic teachings should be the same from the time of Christ to today.

          1. I hope you aren’t saying the Pope is the next Lex Luthor.

        2. His expressed personal opinion, or his opinion in the capacity of pope? Big difference between the two, no?

          1. Of course there is a difference and perhaps a big one. But what’s the significance of the Pope expressing his personal opinion that Church doctrine is wrong?

            1. Josh R, I think when you are the pastoral leader of hundreds of millions, all of whom have different levels of comprehension and understanding, you have to be cautious and maybe even a little bit circumspect about your own thoughts and feelings….is how I would put it.

          2. I have an image of Pope Francis tweeting in Latin … TRISTIS!

    2. The church’s teaching is that homosexual conduct is intrinsically disordered, violating natural law. In short, what Western society used to think/believe/enforce by law until about 1-2 generations ago.

      Having said that, Comm. XY is right, in that the pope did not speak in his official capacity, called ex cathedra (“from the chair”). So, on one hand it’s not necessary to rectify official doctrine, but on the other hand it’s not rectifiable with 4,000 years of teaching either.

      What it is, though, is an embrace of modernism. What was church teaching in 33 AD when Christ left, should be the same in 2020 AD. Sure, some things were never clarified, which is why there is the whole ex cathedra thing to begin with, but sodomy etc. certainly was clarified as a sin in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

      1. Isn’t another possible view of the Pope’s comments that marriage and civil unions are different things, with the former being primarily a secular institution, and that it seems fine for the state to support whatever unions it wants as long as it doesn’t get into the more religious realm of marriages?

        1. Wouldn’t endorsing a secular institution that recognizes the legitimacy of same-sex relationships conflict with Church doctrine?

          1. Unless you think there’s a problem with “Yes, the state can perform divorces, but as Catholics we do not divorce”, then no.

            1. The Pope did more than argue the state can offer same-sex civil unions. He affirmatively said they should. Has the Church similarly endorsed secular divorce?

    3. In theory it could, if you were talking platonic relationships. Not otherwise.

      I’m not sure what religion the current Pope is, but he doesn’t seem to be a Roman Catholic.

      1. Not all Roman Catholics are roundly intolerant, stale-thinking, immigrant-hating, half-educated right-wingers, Brett.

        Some see their religion as a reason to prefer inclusiveness, love, freedom, peace, altruism, and charity.

        1. worthless reply – pretty much like all others you do.

      2. Brett,

        Here are some of the things you’ve said:

        1. Some people who claim to be Jews aren’t really Jews, because they don’t conform to your notion of who is a Jew.

        2. Lots of Republicans are RINO’s, because they don’t share all your political beliefs.

        3. The Pope is not Roman Catholic. (What next, bears use outhouses?)

        Think about that.

        1. “3. The Pope is not Roman Catholic. (What next, bears use outhouses?)

          Think about that.”

          That’s not what he said. You are being deliberately obtuse. Typical progressive lefty tack.

          1. That’s literally what he said:

            “I’m not sure what religion the current Pope is, but he doesn’t seem to be a Roman Catholic.”

            1. You have an uncanny ability to not understand the nuance of the English language. Is it perhaps not your native tongue? What he is expressing is that the Pope’s statements are inconsistent with what a Catholic person might say. And he didn’t’ say the pope isn’t Catholic, he said he doesn’t’ SEEM to be.

              1. Brett was saying the Pope isn’t a “real” Catholic, which was precisely jb’s point. Just like certain Republicans are not “real” Republicans, certain Jews are not “real” Jews, at least not in Brett’s telling.

                Other than that, great comment, you bigoted rube.

                1. wait didn’t you say be an adult in your other comment? Follow what you preach Rev.

        2. What’s your problem? It’s not an antisemitism thing, obviously, because I’m capable of noticing the same thing going on among Catholics, or for that matter, Muslims.

          For some people a religion is an actual religion. For others it’s something more akin to an ethnicity or social affinity group, and doesn’t have much implications for their moral beliefs.

          As I said some time ago, I have a maternal grandmom who was from Ireland, came over during the potato famine. I like eating corned beef and cabbage. And that’s about the extent of my being Irish.

          Does it shock you when I say that some people are Jewish, or Catholic, or Muslims, in the same sense as I’m Irish?

          Sure, in some sense the current Pope is a Roman Catholic. But it’s a somewhat nominal sense, being “Roman Catholic” is a job, it’s a source of power and influence, but he doesn’t let it dictate his opinions about moral matters, he doesn’t care a lot about the Church’s teachings, or long term health. See his willingness to kneecap the actual Catholic church in China by agreeing to share the power to appoint Bishops with the Chinese government, and reappoint some ChiCom ‘Bishops” who’d been excommunicated for teaching communism instead of Catholic doctrine. He just went an legitimized Xi’s fake Catholic church, instead of the real Church Xi is oppressing.

          We’ll be rooting out the Communists he inserted into the Church hierarchy for a generation after he’s gone.

          1. “What’s your problem? It’s not an antisemitism thing, obviously, because I’m capable of noticing the same thing going on among Catholics, or for that matter, Muslims.”

            It’s pretty impressive that you, alone, have the ability to discern who is truly of each religion.

            I could make fun of you some more, but this is pretty self-evident.

    4. I don’t know what he said exactly but this Pope seems to love giving his opinion regarding his generally very leftist politics.

      But to answer the question, I think it’s a yes: There is no conflict between (1) a doctrine that something is biblically sinful, and (2) advocating a government policy that allows individuals the liberty to make sinful choices, at least provided that these are generally private choices that do not involve or result in violence or injustice against others.

      Indeed, there seems to be a biblical basis for supporting (2), although it would seem that unequivocal affirmation of (1) would be required to go along with that, if we are accepting these premises.

      The entire concept of the 1st amendment’s establishment clause and free exercise clause (which has come to be known, somewhat misleadingly, as the “separation of church and state”), could plausibly be traced back to the statement of Jesus in response to a trick question about paying taxes. The question was posed by those seeking to have Jesus killed. In a similar vein, Paul asked, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?”

      1. advocating a government policy that allows individuals the liberty to make sinful choices, at least provided that these are generally private choices that do not involve or result in violence or injustice against others

        Does the Church recognize victimless sins as being different from other sins?

        What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church

        Perhaps the Pope would like to clarify whether he supports the state offering same-sex civil unions, but Catholics should not partake?

        1. “Does the Church recognize victimless sins as being different from other sins?”

          Not as such, but the Bible repeatedly urges one to seek justice, to do good, to correct oppression, to deliver from the hand of the oppressor those who have been robbed, to care for the orphan and the widow, to plead the widow’s cause, to defend the weak and the fatherless, to uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed, to rescue the week and needy, to deliver them from the hand of the wicked, and on and on and on. Literally thousands of verses OT and NT.

          So, the above are affirmative commands to do a particular thing, as opposed to the negative commands to not do a particular thing, which are also found in the Bible.

          As far as the differentiation among sins generally, it seems there is a differentiation in terms of the earthly negative consequences likely to be suffered as a result of sin, whether brought upon yourself or suffered by an innocent third party. But in terms of sin creating a separation from God and need for grace, there is no differentiation at all, and the slightest infraction such as hating a brother is the same as murder. I can’t speak to any expertise about “the Church” position; this is just what I gather.

        2. “Perhaps the Pope would like to clarify whether he supports the state offering same-sex civil unions, but Catholics should not partake?”

          Most definitely it seems you are right.

        3. To the first question, the answer is a qualified yes. Thomas Aquinas wrote that not every moral evil needs to be outlawed:

          “Therefore human law rightly allows some vices, by not repressing them. . . . Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained: thus human law prohibits murder, theft and such like.” ST I-II, Q. 96, Art. 2.

          You will note that he suggests evils that create victims should be outlawed, which suggests “victimless” offenses are more likely to qualify for legal toleration.

    5. He’s Catholic. If he can get reconcile a deity that is supposedly forgiving yet still has sinners going to hell then I imagine a little homosexual action is easy.

      1. It’s not that hard to rectify. You want forgiveness, you have to accept that what you did was wrong. As long as you think you didn’t do anything to be forgiven for, you don’t get the forgiveness you don’t think you need.

        1. Ditch the superstition. Be an adult.

          Or, at least, try.

          1. funny you’re talking about being an adult you have some of the most childish replies out of all the commenters.

        2. Who says you need forgiveness? An omnipotent God doesn’t need to torture people.

    6. Sure.

      “Governments aren’t Catholic, and are not responsible for enforcing Catholic doctrine.”

  14. Anybody seen any research that points how useless or useful an “October Surprise” can be, given at least a month of early voting in key swing states?

    1. Nate Silver talked about this on a recent fivethirtyeight podcast. His assertion (I’m not sure how well grounded this is in data–I haven’t seen any one way or the other) was that early voters tend to be more partisan and locked in, so many of the more influenceable voters would still be influenced by late news. He did acknowledge that it probably does mute the impact, though.

    2. No, but Clinton’s 2016 lead was cut in half between the time Comey released his letter and election day.

      1. Right, but there was a lot less early voting in 2016 so this doesn’t really get at the question.

        2016 basically swung on a few tens of thousands of votes in three states, though. It’s not hard to imagine swings that big as a result of late-breaking news, but Biden’s lead has been a lot more stable than Clinton’s and there’s way fewer undecideds so it’s not clear that there’s much room to move the numbers regardless of early voting or not.

        1. I continue to wonder about the under polling of Trump. There is so much overheated rhetoric about Trump that I believe many people who will vote for him won’t say so.

          I also wonder if the down ballot races will be affected as much as some people seem to think.

          I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

          1. Most pollsters don’t give much credence to the “shy Trump” voter and attribute the 2016 polling misses to a combination of not weighting for education and undecideds breaking disproportionately for Trump. Here’s the fivethirtyeight take:


            There is one pollster, Trafalgar, who believe in the shy Trump voter theory and apparently is trying to do things in their methodology to compensate. Their results are generally much more pro-Trump, although they still have him losing Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Importantly, though, they have Trump up in Michigan and basically all the other close states so that would give Trump a 274 electoral college votes and a very close win. The problem with Trafalgar is they don’t really disclose anything about their methodologies and talk about doing some kind of whacky stuff like asking who your neighbor is going to vote for to try to figure out who you’re secretly voting for, so it feels like a pretty thin reed to base your hope on.

            1. Just ancedotally, I was on vacation last week, and the only mask I brought was “thin blue line” on one side, and “Trump 2020” on the other. (Picked it up at a campaign headquarters during a trip to NC, when we stopped for dinner and discovered they were being very hard core about requiring masks.) My wife mostly insisted that I wear the thin blue line side out, and I got several relatives of police officers thanking me.

              When I flipped it I typically got Trump supporters saluting my bravery for openly wearing Trump paraphernalia.

              1. I live in a very “progressive” area and if it wasn’t for the pandemic (which prevents me from meeting up with friends at coffee shops etc), I’d get a hat made that mirrors a Trump MAGA hat as much as possible but is really a MATA (Make America Trumpless Again) hat.

                It would be fun to watch as those suffering from TDS blow a gasket — and then are humiliated after they rant for a while while I just sit there before saying “Read the hat carefully”. Although most of those with TDS seem to be lacking the self respect and introspective skills to be humiliated, but some around them will think the TDS victim was humiliated – and that’s enough for me.

                (FWIW, I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 or 2020 although I like his Supreme Court nominees and generally agree with some of his broad stated goals but not his execution at achieving those goals. I wish the Republicans and/or Democrats would put a decent candidate on the POTUS ballot.)

          2. I am a shy Trump voter. I won’t wear a MAGA hat because I don’t want to have to shoot some idiot who will violently attack me because of it. I won’t put up Trump yard signs because I don’t want my property vandalized.

            If anyone is like the Nazis in the 21st century it’s the progressive lefties.

            1. The theory behind the shy Trump voter, though, is that you’d also lie to a pollster because you’re embarrassed by your vote. Lots of people don’t wear their political affiliation on their sleeve, but that’s generally not a problem for polls.

              1. I am not embarrassed to say, I just don’t engage with pollsters.

                1. Sure, lots of people don’t. And this is actually consistent with the fivethirtyeight piece, which notes that it’s possible Trump voters are undercounted, but probably not because they’re “shy” and telling pollsters they’re voting for Biden.

                  1. I’m not engaging with pollsters, because I have a strict policy of only answering the phone if I recognize the number, and only returning calls if a voice message is left. Pollsters don’t bother with voice messages, and for some reason don’t set things up to have caller ID say, “Gallup”.

                    If I was engaging with them I’d tell the truth about who I meant to vote for, because I’m a bit ornery at this point. But I’d have no confidence AT ALL that my reply was anonymous. Rather, I’d assume it wasn’t.

                    1. Depends what you mean by “anonymous”. I don’t think the pollsters are going to publish a list of who they polled and who they are voting for, but I don’t think they promise to keep your answers separate from your personal data in their internal files either. (This may vary by pollster.)

                      Some pollsters specifically ask if they can share contact information for followup from, e.g., the journalistic organizations that they’re partnering with to do the poll which is how you often get quotes from voters along with the aggregated results.

              2. I lie to pollsters because I don’t want to be put on some targeting list.

                1. I figure I’m already on too many lists to be worrying about it at this point.

            2. You sound like a pansy, ThePublius.

              1. Once again your be an adult comment do as I say not as I do?

  15. I like reading the posts by the Conspirators. The comments, not so much. The commentariat here is composed of a group that enjoys jousting over politics, with the same points repeated ad nauseam. You see a handle, you know the content. It never goes anywhere, does not inform, does not entertain, does not not enrich. The comments section on this blog is mostly a gigantic waste of time. A playground for people with too much time on their hands.

    1. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out of the comments section, then.

    2. Largely correct.

      But reading articles and comments here is part of my deliberate effort to not be stuck in an “ideological bubble”.

      Which is to say… it’s important to be reminded that yes, some people really are like that.

      1. Escher, supposing there were other blogs you could visit, where most folks were very much on your wavelength, would you find that tedious. I can’t find another like that, but even if I did, I would probably still prefer commenting here.

        1. I’ve only managed to find one person that’s (almost) always on my wavelength, and I married the man.

          And no, I wouldn’t say I actually “prefer” commenting here. It’s very much a reaction that I often later regret, because even when I earnestly respond to questions I’m treated to absurd levels of stupidity. My blood pressure is much better when I don’t come ’round here for a while.

    3. Jack Balkin seems to agree with you. On his blog, now only other bloggers may comment on posts.

  16. The Democrats boycott of the Barrett vote seems like the only approach that will not blow up in their face. She came across as sincere and knowledgeable, even charismatic. The predictions of her votes on the Court are over reaching speculation.

    Beating up on the nice lady on the floor I think will turn off many women.

    Simply not participating expresses their displeasure without a lot of baggage and she’ll still be confirmed fifty-sumthin to nutten,
    as opposed to fifty-sumthin to forty-sumthin.

    1. There is a good argument that the Dems failed to retake the Senate in 2018 because of how they handled Kavanaugh. And (unfortunately) I think they learned their lesson with Barrett so didn’t do what many wanted to do and trash her for religious beliefs.

      1. I continue to believe the open hostility to Trump caused many Trump voters to deny they were and that Trump mania has less effect on down ballot races than expected or hoped for by many.

      2. Jimmy, suppose, just for the sake of argument, that a former member of Barrett’s congregation reported that she practices speaking in tongues. And that like other such people, she believes that God compels it.

        Would it be too much to ask if there were any possibility that God might compel her to speak in tongues, maybe during an oral argument? I know that’s a question I’m not supposed to ask, but confess I need help understanding why I’m not supposed to ask it.

        Do you think someone who says, “You shouldn’t ask that,” is on stronger moral ground than someone who wants the answer? Is it all decided by politics, which maybe dictate (from my point of view) that a dangerously superstitious person should not get questioned, only because it is not politically expedient? Do you suppose people would take it as a hostile question, or just one founded in curiosity?

        I guess, coming from me, it would be a hostile question, because I don’t believe in glossolalia, and take that kind of thing to be a marker for considerably more superstition than I want in a Supreme Court Justice. I suppose Barrett’s supporters might think there are too many people who, like me, would struggle with such a revelation, as it would literally seem to others, of course. But still, except for politics, why shouldn’t the question be asked?

    2. Yes, but they couldn’t resist the childish stunt of placing posters of “poor, sick children who will lose their healthcare if ACA is repealed” in their empty seats. They behave like bratty school girls.

      1. How do you expect Republicans to behave as the Supreme Court is enlarged, the filibuster eliminated, two or three states admitted (with senators), the House and Electoral College are enlarged, universal health care is enacted, and a new voting rights act is passed?

        How, in your judgment, should they act?

    3. Predicting her vote based on her years and years of conservative activism is “over reaching speculation”?

    1. If accurate, then China.

      If they’re stretching “state media” to include Facebook and Twitter and such, then US.

      The US doesn’t have state media, no matter how much conservatives want to pretend that non-state owned/operated companies are actually “state” companies.

      1. Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio.

        Nice try, though.

        1. None of those are state-controlled.

          NPR isn’t even state funded, it’s fee-for-service so that NPR covers rural areas that are not profitable enough for radio to get to.

          1. Don’t try and use “facts” on M L. They don’t matter, and he just moves on to regurgitating the next BS he finds.

            1. He has taken on a shotgun approach of jus posting everything that day’s Breitbart feed has these past few months.

              The changes in some of the posters are pretty remarkable. TiP and ML being the most notable.

              And probably me; I’ve moved left these past 2 years, no doubt.

              1. Not just you; I absolutely cannot suffer the fools anymore.

                I still remember, back when I was a regular poster, joking with Prof. Kerr during the GOP primaries in 2016 in the comments. And I was thinking that Cruz would be the worst possible nominee. So I said that the GOP should nominate Trump, because at least that would get the GOP to re-examine some of it priorities (maybe get back to more moderate positions with an emphasis on personal freedom and less regulation) and would be entertaining along the way to a loss. I mean, anyone who knew the slightest bit about Trump realized he was an inveterate liar who couldn’t run his businesses competently and only wanted the PR. He’s always been a joke since the 80s!

                Prof. Kerr disagreed; and boy, was he right on that.

                1. “I absolutely cannot suffer the fools anymore. ”

                  No excuse for being rude and obnoxious.

                  1. Hey, at least I don’t make myself feel better as a Keyboard Command by supporting a draft dodging rapist, like you do, then copying his behavior by insulting dead people who served in the military.

                    Must be proud of yourself, Bob.

                    1. It is insulting to actual heroes to call a desk jockey lawyer a hero.

                      His dad was a draft dodger too. One rape allegation as well.

                    2. You just can’t help yourself, can you Bob.

                      Supporting Rapin’ Trump? What, are you and the rest of your Q Bortherhood hoping to “save the kids” so you can bring them to Trump? I am Q-uite sure he will treat them just like he did the underage contestants at his beauty pageants!

                      And yeah, just like your hero, Rapin’ Trump, you can’t help but attack the family of dead servicemembers after you attack the dead military members. What, isn’t there a gold star family around for you to mock from the safety of your keyboard? Of course, I’m sure that you, just like the Trump family, loves to praise the military … so long as you … and none of your family has to serve in it.

                      Go eff yourself, Chickenhawk Bob.

                    3. Denigrating military folks who don’t serve on the front lines is pretty poor, Bob.

                    4. “Denigrating military folks who don’t serve on the front lines is pretty poor, Bob.”

                      I dunno if you followed the whole exchange, or how familiar you are with military decorations, but the original claim was that getting the ‘Bronze Star’ qualified one as a hero. Bob correctly pointed out that the ‘Bronze Star with V’ indicates valor; the ordinary one without the V has become pretty commonplace, and doesn’t indicate any kind of heroism. Bob even provided links backing up his point.

                      Lots of military decorations don’t involve heroism – my Dad liked to drag out the commendation for one of his, which read something like ‘during his year at this command, CWO Absaroka has never once failed to file the weekly Spare Parts and Maintenance Status Report in a timely manner’. My Dad was shot at enough in his career, but his ‘heroics’ that year were all performed from a desk.

                      Bureaucratic excellence is a good thing; the Army needs spare parts and JAG services. But calling it heroism is silly, and is denigrating to the people who have shown valor in combat.

                    5. I don’t know from bronze star requirements, but this shows some contempt for some good people:

                      “hero son”

                      Dude was a JAG. He never missed a hot meal or shower or even saw an enemy.

                      Maybe that’s not automatically hero material – minds may vary. But that’s a pretty screwed up nit to pick, and would probably be fighting words in some circles.

                    6. “Maybe that’s not automatically hero material”

                      Not even a little bit. Heck, the guys with the real for-valor medals usually say ‘No, I’m not a hero, I was just doing my job’.

                      “… and would probably be fighting words in some circles.”

                      What circles would those be?

                      Look, everyone who joins the military deserves respect. Even in peacetime, because peacetime has a bad habit of become wartime without much notice. And even people in rear echelon jobs, because when the fit hits the shan you might get a sudden promotion to rifleman (see, e.g. the early days of Korea).

                      If young Biden had been in a convoy going to interview someone and hit an IED and dragged the other folks out of the burning vehicle, that’s heroic. And he’d get a for-valor medal for it. Competently running your desk just isn’t heroic. He may be MoH material who never got the chance to show it, just like lots of other people. But we usually don’t apply the ‘hero’ label until you get that opportunity.

                2. I still suffer fools; it’s the substance of my views that has changed. My new job includes a lot of diversity and inclusion work, and I’m seeing the value of it a lot more on the ground which has generally made me more open to racial stuff.

                  I’m also not as against entitlements as I was back in the day, largely due to thinking and arguing about the ACA.

                  And, of course, along with many of my compatriots I have moved a lot on court packing, seeing it as the only real way to prevent Republicans for being rewarded for their minority rule cynical power plays.

                  Still think guns are good, and Bernie isn’t the Way, and speech cannot be violence, so I’m not all the way. (Warren is the Way tho!)

                  1. Don’t know how you do it. At a certain point, I just can’t. If the same people keep repeating the same lies, it’s just not worth it.

                    Back in the day, I used to have good debates (and this blog used to mostly have legal issues!). But to have those good debates, you have to agree on at least a few basic facts- from there, you can move on to the normative issues. You can discuss the differences in policy that you might have based upon the facts.

                    We can no longer even get to that basic level of understanding. We literally have to have articles explaining to people the Fox/Breitbart/QAnon “lore/shorthand/craziness” that the President spouts and that people here use. It’s an entire alternate universe of crazy that … shocker … other people aren’t familiar with. And you note that if you try to really, truly engage them, the topic just shifts.

                    It doesn’t matter. And it’s too bad; there are some important and interesting policy differences between people that can be discussed, but it’s all lost in the DERP TRUMP that is repeated.

                    (It is interesting that the longer you have been on here, the more you have moved to the left; I would say the same for me. I don’t think it’s the VC so much as the collapse of the intellectual integrity of the GOP.)

                    1. It’s basically genetic, I think.

                      But yeah, conversation has gone way downhill since like 2007-2009.

                      At some point it won’t be worth it anymore.

                      Certainly taking election week off, except maybe for some lurking.

                    2. Trump and the Trumpkins have forced Loki13 to the left. So sad that such a moderate, reasonable voice should be silenced. I have been coming for ten years and you have been a leftwing hack from the first day I encountered you. And you were a douchebag ten years ago but now you’re just nuts.

                    3. Oh, no!

                      Donojack doesn’t like me. DONOJACK!

                      I would be worried, if I knew who he was, and cared.

                      You’ve been coming around for TEN WHOLE YEARS, you say. Wow. You’re like a veteran.

                      What a tool.

                    4. @loki13

                      What makes you think I don’t like you? I have a number of friends who are douchebags and it may amaze you to find out I have at times been called a douchebag. I assumed that you carried the DB label as a badge of honor.

                      You are capable of making interesting points. I don’t agree with most of them but even in this thread you had some interesting observations about the political system.

                      But Trump and Trumpkins didn’t turn you blue or make you into a DB.

                    5. “But Trump and Trumpkins didn’t turn you blue or make you into a DB.”

                      You didn’t read what I said, did you? Let’s try again:

                      “(It is interesting that the longer you have been on here, the more you have moved to the left; I would say the same for me. I don’t think it’s the VC so much as the collapse of the intellectual integrity of the GOP.)”

                      All I said was I had moved to the left; not where I started.

                      The last time I voted Red in a presidential election was 2000 in the primaries (McCain). I didn’t approve of Bush and Rove’s actions in South Carolina. I didn’t much care for Bush.

                      I was a Rockefeller Republican (which I still consider myself to be). I was, based on the information I had at the time, strongly supportive of a limited engagement in Afghanistan (re: 9/11) and weakly supportive of Iraq (which was a mistake). I did not, however, support Bush generally and pretty much ended any and all support on the issue of torture, which is a deal-breaker for me.

                      That said, I continued to support local Republicans on a case-by-case basis up until the election of Trump. This past early voting was the first time in my life I had ever straight-party voted at all levels. Including voting against a few friends of mine.

                      So, yeah, I know that I have definitely shifted to the left. Not enough to want to go back to the Conley pleading standard, mind you, but still.

                    6. And, I would add, that as a general rule I support lower regulation, lower taxes, and reducing the deficit when the economy is good.

                      What I have learned, unfortunately, is the GOP isn’t the party for that. The GOP is the party that will complain about the deficit when the Democrats have power, and then lower taxes and raise spending when they have power, sticking the Democrats with their mess so that they can complain about the deficit when they don’t have power.

                      It is so frustrating to see one party be so unserious about governance.

                      I mean, say what you want about the tenets of the Democratic Party, donojack, at least they’re trying to govern. 😉

                  2. I’ve also moved significantly “left” in recent years. I’m much more anti-war, much more opposed to imperialism, more distrusting of government intelligence agencies, much more concerned about civil liberties, more concerned about representative self-government, less concerned about entitlements and traditional “economic liberal” issues, even less concerned about deficit spending.

                    At least this used to be what was considered “left” I think. Maybe not any more.

                    1. No, ML, you’re becoming more and more right wing populist. All of this is just following Trump.

                      And I have seen you have exceptions to literally all of these when Trump says jump.

                      Really disapointing.

                    2. Right so what I just described is no longer “left” to you I guess. Also, for me this predates and is independent of Trump. ” I have seen you have exceptions to literally all of these when Trump says jump.” Just making things up.

          2. Well, I never said they were “state-controlled.” They are government-funded, including NPR in part. I was obviously trying to be provocative in calling them “state media” which is subject to semantic debate.

            1. ” I was obviously trying to be provocative”

              Just like my heroes, I can’t stop lying.

              Seriously, literally, whatever man. It’s not like anyone believes you.

              1. You’re saying that I did believe CPB PBS and NPR are state controlled, but now I’ve been corrected and am pretending I didn’t, or that I was claiming they were state controlled even though I knew they weren’t? Just trying to understand.

                1. You said “state media.”

                  Then, when called out on it (“The US doesn’t have state media, no matter how much conservatives want to pretend that non-state owned/operated companies are actually “state” companies.”) you doubled down by naming …. non-state media.

                  Then, when called out on it AGAIN you left for a while, hoping everyone forgot about it, so you could post that … uh, you were just using hyperbole, or something.

                  So either you are stupid, or you were lying; as far as I m concerned it’s a distinction without a difference.

                  1. State media could refer to state-funded media, or state-controlled media that is or isn’t state-funded, or some combination or degrees of the two.

          3. CPB annual grants from gov: 449M. NPR produces and sells content but some of that is paid for by grants from CPB. The argument seems to be that the tv and radio stations, and the content providers like npr, get much of their revenue from other private sources so that means they aren’t really state sponsored. If that’s the case then they shouldn’t miss a measly half a billion a year and will continue to thrive without it. Let’s try it and see. Any bets on how they’ll do?

            1. Oh wait, so they are state media?

              But M L just clarified that they aren’t! That he was just intentionally being provocative.

              So good of his fellow morons to step up and “help” him.

              1. What I said is that whether they are or aren’t “state media” is an issue up for semantic debate, and to describe them as such is to invite that debate. Thanks for obliging!

                1. Oh, yeah, you totally planned this!

                  Sure. And we believe you.

            2. This talking point was old in 2009. NPR would be fine.

              But who wouldn’t be fine is a bunch of rural communities that would get cut off from the outside world, local reporting, weather reports, etc.

              On average, less than 1% of NPR’s annual operating budget comes in the form of grants from CPB and federal agencies and departments.

              Elimination of federal funding would result in fewer programs, less journalism—especially local journalism—and eventually the loss of public radio stations, particularly in rural and economically distressed communities.


              1. NPR would not be fine. The fact that they don’t get most of their revenue directly from CPB just means it is one step removed. This bs about loss of programming in “rural and economically distressed communities” is pure CPB and NPR propaganda. But even if that were true, so what? That just says that there is no real market for the product and it has to have a government injection to survive. btw that is not a “failure of the market.”

                Government sponsored mass media is not healthy. It has become what everyone who opposed it in the first place predicted: a left-wing propaganda organ.

                1. I provided evidence. You’ve provided nothing but unsupported contradiction.

                  Some things can run on things other than fee for service, chief.

                  And whatever you think, NPR is not *government sponsored*

                2. Plus the BBC is fine and independent, and that is legit government media. Do you think it’s unhealthy?

  17. Newsflash: Biden is a corrupt swamp politician. Who would have guessed?

  18. Would the United States be better off today if we had amended the Articles of Confederation to fix their faults rather than replace them with an entirely new system?

    1. Well, I do think we over-shot the mark moving from the Articles to the Constitution. But I’m not sure it’s possible to write a constitution that won’t get subverted in over two centuries.

  19. Time to check in again with the virus minimizers. Still convinced?


      0-4 y/o: 36 deaths/104,106 cases 0.035% death rate
      5-17 y/o: 62 deaths/439,931 cases 0.014% death rate
      18-29 y/o: 846 deaths/1,476,083 cases 0.057% death rate
      30-39 y/o: 2,102 deaths/1,028,227 cases 0.204% death rate
      40-49 y/o: 5,048 deaths/942,497 cases 0.536% death rate
      50-64 y/o: 24,661 deaths/1,271,842 cases 1.939% death rate
      65-74 y/o: 33,499 deaths/469,415 cases 7.136% death rate
      75-84 y/o: 42,147 deaths/264,788 cases 15.917% death rate
      85+ y/o: 50,561 deaths/183,332 cases 27.579% death rate

      Why are schools shutdown? Why did five Democrat governors send COVID patients into nursing homes?

      1. Sam, congratulations. That is notably better minimization than I expected. Your list reports only 71% of the current actual reported deaths (222,896, Johns Hopkins — yours total 158,962), so right there you have taken a big cut out of the numbers. In fact, you got rid of nearly a whole Viet Nam War’s worth of fatalities.

        Better yet, you have nearly halved the total compared to the various excess death counts now circulating, which put the total at ~ 300,000. Way to go!

        But where are your buddies? There were so many of you, and now it’s just you. Maybe the others live in Wisconsin?

        1. I copied the numbers directly from the CDC website. Did you not even check my link to verify my source?

          My guess is you’ll next say the CDC data is fake news and the Johns Hopkins data is the “real data”.

          1. I think the page is saying they don’t have demographic data (sex, age, race, …) for all the deaths. One possibility is that not all jurisdictions are reporting demographic data, which would explain why the page says “Age group was available for 158,963 (99%) deaths”. So it is probably a reasonably accurate picture of the age breakdown, but totaling the counts doesn’t tell you the total deaths.

            The CDC is currently reporting 221434 or sototal deaths.

            1. That’s a good explanation for the difference. Thanks.

        2. Did it occur to you that the CDC only did this breakdown on the cases where they could identify age?

  20. Chris Wallace says, if the Bidens had done anything wrong at all, the FBI would have already said so. LOL!!! Wow duh, why didn’t anyone think of that.

  21. Trump posted the 60 minutes interview on Facebook! I would recommend watching it, and I rarely watch things like this.

  22. My suggestion for a state wanting this style of ballot pamphlet would be to require that candidates make statements only about themselves, and not about their opponemts. The pamphlet should describe only the candidates’ message and merits, and not the opponents’ sins.

  23. “The Big Guy” has now been directly implicated in a Chinese money scheme.

    How can he stay in the race?

      1. One tweet down:

        “(Of course this isn’t actually from the Delaware computer shop, but I still figure Rudy’s behind it and this screenshot is the only one I’ve seen from the “business partner” that has the MTS /iphone interface)”

        This strikes me as your 50 Politico’s Letter where they said they had no evidence it’s a Russian op, but you used it as proof of your empiricism.

        1. Where do you think it came from, then?

    1. Also Sam:

      It is increasingly looking like none of this is real and you got played.

      1. Is Lt. Bobulinski a Russian agent?

        1. Does that matter? Lots of reasons to go along with this besides Russian loyalties.

          Are you insisting on his credibility?

  24. O
    -|- <— The prophet Wuhammad

    1. No do Woses.

  25. I just had a Biden campaign worker come to my door to say my wife’s mail in ballot was rejected. He also conjectured that “she voted for Biden, right?” and mentioned her name specifically. Of course since he obviously didn’t know the language he pretty much butchered the pronunciation.

    It seems we both missed the same box on the witness information section of the envelope. Oddly he never mentioned my name or the fact that my ballot was also rejected. I know they have two names, one is an obvious immigrant/minority and the other has a 98% probability of being straight white male, they want to make sure the “right” person votes. I’m not saying it’s racist but it sure felt that way.

    1. How did they get that information?

      1. Some states ballot status public. You can get a sense for what sorts of information states are making public at the Guardian/Pro Publica mail in ballot tracker:

    2. Every campaign tries to target people they think will vote for them in their Get Out The Vote campaign, and doesn’t target people who they think will vote for their opponent. Is this really surprising to you?

      1. Of course! For a Trump supporter, the idea that there are people that would prefer Biden be elected is evidence of FRAUD, because reasons.

  26. Does anyone sincerely believe that the laptop in the news is not really Hunter Biden’s laptop, but was created by anti-Biden or pro-Trump agents?

    1. That seems vastly more likely to me than that Hunter Biden happened to drop off his unencrypted laptop full of child porn to a repair shop conveniently owned by a well-known pro-Trump operative.

      Even more likely: “the laptop” is not actually the source of the data supposedly from the laptop.

      1. So, you believe it was created to smear the Bidens? How were the images of Hunter Biden created? Using some deep-fake technology?

        1. Some state actors could have a finger in it with hacked stuff. It doesn’t need to have been a magical operation by some yokels.

          On the other hand, I don’t remember is legalese for I did it but don’t want to be pinned down.

        2. I think it’s plausible that someone got some data belonging Hunter Biden. It seems very unlikely that it came from “the laptop”, but hackers gonna hack.

          What portion of the resultant material is real (maybe all of it) and how much is fake (also maybe all of it) is not really answerable if all we have to go on are a few screenshots of e-mails. Someone good at computer forensics would have to take a look, and as far as I can tell no one is even asserting that that’s happened.

          1. By the way, all of the data I’ve seen from “the laptop” seems entirely consistent with someone having access to Hunter’s iCloud account. Maybe even more so, since it includes photos that I’d expect to be from an iPhone backup rather than from a laptop. (It’s possible to sync photos from an iPhone onto a MacBook, obviously, so it’s not dispositive, but that’s not the default and most people seem to just rely on iCloud these days.)

          2. Explain the FBI subpoena for the laptop.


            Do you think the FBI subpoena’d a different laptop, then the Russian’s hacked his iCloud and this Mac Repair guy is their dupe to release the faked/real data?

            1. I think there’s a laptop, and apparently the FBI has possession of it. I think there’s some files. I have low confidence the files are from the laptop. I’m not into wild speculation beyond those points, so I guess I’m unlikely to be invited to appear on Fox News.

        3. Hunter’s iCloud gets hacked, then they grab some random laptops to plant the hacked and faked info onto to try to cover their tracks.

          All the genuine stuff we’ve seen are pictures and iMessages, things people regularly keep on he cloud. Everything else is at best suspect. If they really had his emails why are we only seeing the one instead of a dump like the 2016 leaks.

          Honestly still waiting to see the physical laptop even exist since it seems neither the FBI or Da Post has actually seen it.

          1. Yeah, explain Hunter’s lawyer demanding the laptop back.

            Sure, if you want, you can rationalize that it’s fake. Requires ignoring multiple people on the other end of emails saying it’s real. Requires ignoring wire transfers. Requires ignoring Hunter’s business partner confirming just today that it’s real, and handing over devices on the other end of those communications over to the FBI.

            Requires ignoring a lot of things, but if it makes you feel better, you can pretend it’s a Russian disinformation operation on the basis of some guys who haven’t seen the evidence saying it might be.

            1. “Yeah, explain Hunter’s lawyer demanding the laptop back.”

              Sorry, I haven’t been reading my Breitbart lately. Do you have a citation for this?

                1. So here’s the claim:

                  “Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who was brought in to help with the release of the Hunter Biden data, has also promised that much more is to come, including emails he claims are from Hunter Biden’s attorney requesting the hard drive back.

                  “Hunter Biden’s lawyer has come to us both with phone calls and with emails saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got to get the hard drive back,’” Bannon told Sky News on Sunday.

                  “They admit it’s their hard drive,” he added, promising that if the emails need to be released, “we will release them.””

                  Uhh, yeah. Because if the FBI has the laptop, Hunter’s lawyer would definitely call Steve Bannon to get it back.

                  To go back to your question original, do you sincerely believe that Steve Bannon had such a conversation with Hunter Biden’s lawyer?

      2. How do you reconcile the confirmations of the emails from people on the other end?

        Or the Secret Service travel logs matching events discussed in the emails?

        And why do you think the repair shop guy sent it to the FBI a year ago?

      3. We’re talking about a guy who left a crack pipe in a rental car when he turned it in. He’s not exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

  27. Would a true Scotsman consider an American-made haggis, one made without lambs lungs as an ingredient, and not encased in a real stomach, to be a true haggis?

    1. Heck, I have no claim to being a Scotsman at all, and I wouldn’t consider it to be real haggis. And, honestly, why not use the stomach or lungs? I’ve eaten both, and they’re not my cup of tea, but they’re not horrible.

      I actually kind of like chicken lungs, they’re pretty good. It’s like a special treat when you find them in fried chicken.

      1. It’s apparently illegal in the US to buy or sell animal lungs as food.

        1. First I heard of that, but apparently so.

          1. Tyranny!

    2. As a Jew with ancestors from Poland and the Ukraine, I can have no opinion.

      Now ask me about stuffed intestines, aka kishke, and I can opine the whole day long.

      1. kishke tastes awful. Doesn’t take me all day.

        Knishes, kneidlach, kreplach, OTOH, are fine.

  28. I just learned that “The Eyes of Texas” a racist song. Apparently because I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad once had minstrel dialect verses, Dinah was once a common slang for a black woman and Robert E Lee once said something similar, in a different context.

  29. None of this has anything to do with Dinah Shore.

  30. The media claimed Trump’s popularity was just a cult of personality, but the one thing most voters weren’t wild about was his personality. Unfortunately, Trump may be the only person who actually believes the fake news on this. He seems to think that what drove him to a stunning upset victory in 2016 was that the public just adores the big lunk!

    Rough estimate of topics in the typical Trump campaign speech, 2020:

    40 minutes: Re-living 2016 election night
    20 minutes: His experience with COVID — he’s better than ever!
    15 minutes: Insults Biden, Kamala, the media
    20 minutes: Brags about his crowd size and how his fans LOVE him (they never loved Reagan like this!)
    0 minutes: Biden’s massively unpopular promise to amnesty illegal aliens and halt deportations on his “first day in office.” . . .

    It’s one thing to push an unpopular idea. The GOP does that all the time: the Trans-Pacific Partnership — how about the Iraq War?

    How many people supported moving our embassy to Jerusalem? (Answer:36%.)
    How many supported Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security? (Answer: 25%.)
    How many supported Trump’s tax cuts? (Answer: 24%.)
    How many thought immigration levels should be decreased or stay the same? (Answer: 75%.)
    How many supported mass deportation of all illegal immigrants? (Answer: 54%.)

    Trump’s genius was that he was pushing policies that were popular. Maybe he should try it again at this Thursday’s debate.

    Ann Coulter: Stumper — Should Trump Mention His Most Popular Issue?


    1. I have no love for Ann Coulter, but I’d say she’s onto something. I do think that there is a weird cult of personality around Trump–TDS works in both directions–but it probably accounts for less than a third of the population so leaning into it isn’t a great electoral strategy.

      The problem is not that Trump believes the media on this, but that he’s always thought that his brand was what he was selling as opposed to ideas.

      1. I agree. Trump only won because he contradicted the uniparty with popular policy positions on immigration and such. On the whole, his voter appeal was in spite of his personality and not because of it.

        1. I think his win was based on more than that.

          Large swaths of Americans feel the Government has abandoned them to pander to small slices of the population in certain special categories many main street Americans seldom come into contact with.

          I live in New Orleans a city with about 50% blacks and a significant LGBTQ+ population. Much of the Midwest and West outside of big cities has low numbers of blacks and LGBTQ+ (at least visibly) who often reside in their own neighborhoods. Even “woke” Portland has less than 6% black population, the Portland MSA is less that 3% black while the state of Oregon as a whole has only a little more than 2% black population.

          Then there’s the outright scorn heaped on people who don’t live in cool places.

          1. “I think his win was based on more than that.”

            You’re right! It was based on, in no particular order:

            1. He didn’t win. Legacy of the electoral college.

            2. Ran against a historically unpopular candidate (Hillary Clinton) trying to become the first female President (structural misogyny) and because the Fox/GOP contingent had spent more than two decades beating her up, allowed a fair number of GOP voters to convince themselves “DERP DERP lesser of two evils.”

            3. Following 8 years of an incumbent President (running against “the system”). Who happened to be a black President (well, you know).

            4. Had a prior, and false, image to a lot of people as a successful businessman and decisive leader thanks to the Apprentice. In fairness, he also treated the whole campaign trail as a reality show, and the press was only to happy to oblige him.

            5. Took a lot of populist, anti-GOP positions (infrastructure, healthcare, social security, and so on) to appeal to working-class people. This is the usual, “Certain people deserve benefits, other people are sucking off the teat of government” populism that appeals to some.

            6. Was able to leverage social media (both paid and unpaid), and specifically Facebook, in a far superior way than his opponent.

            7. Continually benefitted from being underestimated, as in, “What sane person would vote for this guy?”

            1. “1. He didn’t win. Legacy of the electoral college.”

              That’s an idiotic statement. It’s like saying that a football team didn’t really win because, despite scoring more points, the other team gained more yards.

              There are rules to elections. If the rule was that the president is chosen by popular vote, the campaigns would have conducted themselves much differently. We don’t know who would have won had that been the case.

              Trump did, indeed, win the election, according to the rules in place at the time. Stop beating this tired, old, sore-losers’ drum.

              1. That’s BS, and you know it.

                Start with the obvious; the creation of the electoral college is a legacy artifact that reflects a different time when the issues of voting and counting votes were far different.

                As you probably know, there have only been three (3!) times that the loser of the popular vote became the President through the electoral college (putting aside JQ Adams and Hayes, because those circumstances were different and weren’t EC issues)-

                Harrison (1888), Geroge W. Bush (2000), and Trump (2016).

                Generously construed, since 1992, we have had Democratic candidates win seven of eight elections for President (assuming that incumbency did not help Bush), yet we get these tired arguments.

                It’s part of the devaluation of the American voter.

                So what you are really saying is, “Look, I understand that the game is rigged in my favor, which means that every now and then, instead of the team with the most points winning the football game, it goes to the team that had the fewest turnovers. And I’m okay with that, because I root for Donald Trump and his underinflated balls.”

                Just own your hatred for the American Voter. We get it.

  31. It’s neat how well-informed we are in this day and age.

    For example, tons of new polls are out today.

    Depending on which one you look at, Trump job approval is either +4 or -16.

    1. Polls are run by experts. And as the old saying goes, and expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less.

    2. Quick M L

      Polls are neat! Either Trump is deeply unpopular according to every poll, or you look at Rasmussen which has him treading water.

  32. Joe Biden and his Crime Family were given a $5M forgivable, unsecured loan by that Chinese energy company.

    Why is he still running?

    1. It’s amazing. Four years of Grandpa Gompers being lied to, and spitting out the same lies here, and always being disappointed when those lies don’t come true … then swallowing the next set of lies wholesale.

      I mean, you would think that Charlie Brown would learn about the football, yet here Grandpa Gompers is again! “What are you selling me? I’ll take it! Make sure there is a direct mail solicitation too!”

      1. “On Aug. 8, 2017, CEFC Infrastructure Investment wired $5 million to the bank account for Hudson West III.380 These funds may have originated from a loan issued from the account of a company called Northern International Capital Holdings, a Hong Kong-based investment company identified at one time as a “substantial shareholder” in CEFC International Limited along with Ye.381 It is unclear whether Hunter Biden was half-owner of Hudson West III at that time. However, starting on Aug. 8, the same day the $5 million was received, and continuing through Sept. 25, 2018, Hudson West III sent frequent payments to Owasco, Hunter Biden’s firm.382 These payments, which were described as consulting fees, reached $4,790,375.25 in just over a year.383”

        U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
        Majority Staff Report – Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns

        1. 1. “May” is a weasel word.

          2. It didn’t go to JOE Biden.

          3. There is not evidence that Hunter Biden was a “half-owner” at the time.

          4. There is, in fact, no evidence of this.

          …You know that gullible isn’t in the dictionary, right?

  33. Russia and Iran are not in the top 10 or top 20 or bigger lists of foreign countries that have influence in this country and on its government, politics, and elections.

    So what the hell is up with all of this insane blather in the media? The state of propaganda that we live in is just astounding.

    1. Yes, you regularly post excerpts from Breitbart.

      1. Do you agree, or disagree, that Russia and Iran are not in the top 20 foreign countries that have influence in our government and politics?

        1. That’s a question that is beyond stupid, and only a fool would either ask that or believe that.

          What does “influence” mean?

          Paid and registered lobbyists?
          How about unregistered lobbying (like, say, renting out space in Trump buildings for fake businesses … as the UAE and other gulf states do)?
          Or covert operations used to influence our politics and government?
          Or the amount of attention are government is required to pay to them? As an ally, or as a threat? For example, even if China and Russia never lobbied us or attempted to covertly and overtly affect our government, they would influence or politics by nature of the geopolitical threat that requires our attention and strategy- not to mention Iran, the major antagonistic player in one of the more important and unstable areas that contains many allies and/or frenemies.

          So yeah, that is nothing more than the most insanely stupid and self-serving bit of Breitbart idiocy, and I am dumber for having to engage with you. Q. E. D.

          1. More or less what loki says. We are in an era once again of great power competition, with the 2 great powers being China and Russia. But that doesn’t mean they’re the main influences in all domains.

            Bottom line – you don’t get to screech about insane blather in the media and post the unfettered oftentimes false propaganda that you do.

            1. How do you figure Russia to be a Great Power? Their GDP is less than Italy, Canada and South Korea, and not much greater than Brazil, Australia and Spain. Sure they have a bunch of nukes, but so what?

              1. “Sure they have a bunch of nukes, but so what?”

                “Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?”

                “Oh, I wasn’t watching it. My husband, Donald, was too busy ogling the naked under-age girls.”

                1. Obama just called, he said Mitt Romney wants his foreign policy back because the 80s called him and want theirs back.

                  1. Oh, snap!

                    Now there is some consistency for you, M L!

                    But wait … you don’t believe any of this, do you? You think all of the stuff about Russia (which is very serious) is just a hoax, right?

                    Except when it comes to Obama’s debate line and Clinton’s reset, right?

                    Because, all together now … you have no core beliefs. If you did (like, say, Russia is a threat, or Russia is not a threat) you would try and stick to them, instead of just shifting them around whenever it is convenient.

                    And for what it’s worth- Obama was incorrect in 2012. It happens. No one is right all the time. Clinton was correct in trying to reset all policy with them (perhaps without the theatrics) because it’s important to be flexible in foreign policy … but yeah, that didn’t work.

                    It’s entirely possible to criticize “your own team” because you have a coherent belief system that doesn’t change with every tweet.

                    1. It seems to me that Obama was right and Mitt Romney was (and is) wrong. I thought that was obvious.

                      I’m open to being persuaded otherwise, since I can’t imagine having a “core belief” of viewing a certain country as a permanent enemy of some sort, much less a “core belief” regarding the constantly-shifting and more pertinent question of when and where and how a countries’ interests may align with the best interests of the American people (whose interests are not necessarily the same as those of Boeing, Lockheed, or Goldman Sachs, mind you).

                      I know it’s corny and outdated and unpopular, but I tend just dwell squarely on what the likes of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison had to say. No permanent alliances, no wars except to repel invasions, peace and trade with all . . . Peace and no Entangling Alliances: Did this View Make the Founders a Bunch of Quacks?

                    2. “It seems to me that Obama was right and Mitt Romney was (and is) wrong. I thought that was obvious.”

                      Well, then you’re a fool.

                      Sure, Saudi Arabia might also assassinate people on occasion, but at least they have the decency to do it in their own embassies. Few countries are so brazen as to send their intelligence teams out for assassinations.

                      Or put bounties on our troops.

                      Or invade other countries (sorry … have their troops “vacation” in other countries and just happen to serve as mercenaries).

                      Or interfere in our elections.

                      …and so on. No, Russia is not a permanent enemy, no country is. But they certainly don’t have our best interests in mind, do they?

                2. So Israel, South Africa, India and Pakistan are all World Powers?

                  1. Having a large advanced military, the most nuclear weapons in the world, the ability to project power over a great distance, and the repeated desire to use both military power (Syria, Crimea, Ukraine) and assassinations and covert ops around the world … against us and our allies … is a little more than South Africa.

                    But hey, thanks for playing! Always good to know the un-American traitors among us, right?

                    1. You have become a real dick.

                      I never said or implied that Russia was our friend, nor have I said or implied that the Putin regime is anything but a Mafia family writ large.

                      I simply made the anodyne observation that Russia is a second-tier power at best, and is in no way comparable to China or the US on the world stage.

                      Apparently, the bar for treason is a lot lower than I had thought.

                      You have a nice day.

              2. It’s their influence on world affairs. Largely due to disinformation campaigns in their part of the world and associated influence over the resources there in a world of globally connected supply chain.


                1. I don’t buy that they have any real outsize economic influence. They do supply a disproportionate amount of Western Europe’s oil and natural gas needs, but any problems they could create would be remediable in the short term (increasing LNG imports from the US, restarting nuke plants, completing the Trans-Caspian Pipeline, etc.), and would be much worse for Russia than for the rest of Europe. Their leverage is imaginary.

          2. Influence could mean any and all of the above, from lobbyists to the nature of the supposed geopolitical threat.

            So, again I ask, are Russia and Iran among the top countries that have influence on our government? Should they be?

            Is foreign influence on our elections an inherently bad thing? If so, does it extend to foreign media outlets, think tanks, international organizations and others, as well as intelligence agencies and government actors? Or, is it only bad to the extent there is some kind of deception involved in the nature of the influence? Or, is it all sort of begging the question regarding what is in the best interest of the American public as opposed to the many various interests aligned against them? These are all just honest questions raised by peculiar headlines unquestioningly parroted by media from our government.

            1. So to start with, no, these are not honest questions. Let’s set aside Iran for a second.

              The idea that the American government would let adverse foreign powers covertly influence our elections (or put bounties on our soldiers) with minimal or no pushback, or even acquiescence, is beyond the pale. I am having a lot of trouble imagining Kennedy or Reagan saying, “Hey, the USSR is interfering in our domestic elections. No big deal.” Of course, the reason that they were (somewhat) deterred is because they knew if they were to get caught doing that, we would retaliate in massive fashion, not try to have people say, “Eh, no biggie.”

              That’s not to say that foreign powers aren’t interested in what we do. Arguably, Israel is one of the top five foreign powers that attempts to influence our government; we provide them massive amounts of foreign aid, our military protects them in a volatile region (and they return intelligence, among other things), they often need bi-partisan support, and the actions of our government have a disproportionate influence on their country. It would be a disaster if they lost the support of the U.S.; they most assuredly spy on us (as we do on them) – see, for example, Jonathan Pollard. It would be weird if countries, from Israel to the UK to Taiwan did not try to influence our government and lobby for those things that benefit them.

              But when we know that there are countries that operate in a manner adverse to our interests, and have specific operations set up to subvert our democracy; when one of the top headlines TODAY is about the Russian effort to hack into and disrupt the election systems of our states, then your questions do not seem honest at all, but rather the type of self-serving drivel that might make you feel better about your actions, but paint you as someone incapable of serious converstion.

              1. Good comment, for the most part. I find media reporting and commentary to be shrouded and oblique on these matters. Ben Rhodes said something to the effect that all journalists were totally and completely in the dark about various international developments in foreign policy, and that they simply parrot whatever the government feeds them. That seems accurate to me.

                In 2016 Russia allegedly posted a handful of Facebook memes in broken English. The idea that this is of very special importance or had any meaningful effect is absurd. It’s good for the public to know and to think about, I suppose. But where is the context? There are certainly much more serious ways that our government and elections are influenced by foreign interests, and most people know little to nothing about it. And where is the context to explain for the public what “we know” is “adverse to our interests” in your words? The FBI claimed that Russia was responsible for the DNC email hack, which is certainly more serious. But they haven’t offered any evidence for this and seem not to have any, and the Mueller report ended up merely saying that it “appears” the alleged perpetrators were responsible. Nonetheless, it is a serious allegation and I’m happy to assume it’s true. But let’s say internal RNC documents were published by WaPo and the NYT, as they are all the time, saw a headline last week. Doesn’t the question of which true revelation is “adverse to our interests” depend on your point of view? Is the difference just that a foreign party was involved, regardless of the independent content of the information? Then what if it was the Guardian, or what if the NYT was bought by a foreign company?

                And then you mention “hacking election systems.” Why am I getting a sense of deja vu? Is there any actual evidence that any such hack has ever happened successfully, or that single ballot/vote was altered or compromised? You know, these foreign actors would have better success sending out people to harvest ballots, collect votes from nursing homes and so on, etc. Oh, wait, there are groups that do this. And don’t lie, you don’t know who funds it. Should there be any concern about that?

                1. I am unable to compete with the self-constructed and delusional world you have created for yourself.

                  It’s like any cult, or flat earth. The rational person thinks to themselves, “Surely this person must realize that they are being lied to! There are abundant facts out there!” And yet, it does not work.

                  Over and over again, I see the same lies parroted. And when they are corrected, crickets. Time for a new lie!

            2. Is foreign influence on our elections an inherently bad thing? If so, does it extend to foreign media outlets

              And with this logic one can rationalize treason.

              FFS, ML.

  34. Well, when at about 9:15, debate “moderator” Kristen Welker called Biden “President Biden”, you sort’a knew how the debate was going to go.

    1. You gotta love the conservative grievance machine.

  35. Just started reading the work of H. Rider Haggard, starting with his first Allan Quatermain novel King Solomon’s Mines. They are a lot of fun, but wow are they racist! A lot of blithely slaughtering African fauna as well. If you can get by those little problems, highly recommended!

    1. I read some of the original Tom Swifts from 1910…uh, if you ignore the racism, there’s hardly any plot left!!

      For the late 1800s era, I cannot recommend REH’s Conan enough. Even the style still holds up.

      1. Howard was an excellent writer, very overlooked now. But I’m a big fan of so called “genre” fiction” I think John D. MacDonald, Elmore Leonard, and James Cain are three of the best writers of the 20th Century.

    2. “She” is also really good.

      1. I’m getting to it. According to wikipedia, it’s been adapted to the cinema at least 10 times, including the famous 1965 version with Ursula Andress.

  36. It will be very interesting to see if the debate moves the needle. I saw an interesting bit of reasoning that suggests it might, though not how far.
    It goes like this: A significant number of Biden-leaning voters in the battleground states are conservatives who haven’t changed their policy preferences, but have been put off by the President’s behavior to the point that instead of holding their noses and voting for Trump they were going to hold – well, the other nostril I guess – and vote for Biden.
    But they would still prefer to vote Republican if Trump could demonstrate that he could rein it in, and that’s what they were looking for in the debate. The substantive content or lack of wasn’t really important to them, that isn’t what had them on the fence. And since Trump was certainly better behaved last night, the question is was it enough to get these anti-Trump Republicans backing the party again?

    1. My guess is, like the VP debate, this Presidential debate is mostly a Rorsarch Test where anyone can see whatever they want in it. It certainly won’t move people away from Trump like the first debate (probably?) did, and it may tighten the race a little, but it was hardly a game-changer and I would expect that Biden will retain a fairly strong lead both nationally and in key swing states.

      Trump did manage to behave himself, but people have four years of experience with the guy at this point. I really doubt one night is going to be what sets people’s perception about him, and historically debates have essentially no ability to improve perception of a candidate long-term. (They can have a negative effect, but that’s unlikely for either candidate in this case.)

      1. Early results are that the debate changed basically no one’s mind as to who they would vote for:

Please to post comments