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Roaming Charges: A Fly in the Anointment

“Some legislators only wish to vengeance against a particular enemy. Others only look out for themselves. They devote very little time on the consideration of any public issue. They think that no harm will come from their neglect. They act as if it is always the business of somebody else to look after this or that. When this selfish notion is entertained by all, the commonwealth slowly begins to decay.”

– Thucydides, The Peloponnesian Wars.

+ A return to normalcy, you say? Normalcy brought us the Iraq War, torture, assassination by drone, 607 billionaires & 600k homeless, the gutting of welfare, warrantless wiretaps, militarized police, the war on drugs, globalized fracking, the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico and an atmospheric C02 level of 416 ppm and rising. Screw normalcy.

+ Mike Pence rope-a-doped Tim Kaine in the last VP debate. Or maybe Kaine rope-a-doped himself. But Pence won, if only because Kaine lost, and the same might happen tonight given that Harris is expected to go all George Foreman on his ass, the image of which will serve to inflame white male grievance and elicit the sympathy of handmaids from Chilocothe to Sheboygan.

+ I thought Kaine was too aggressive, almost spastic, slipping in and out of his Jesuit Spanish. He was inauthentic & a little unhinged. Pence, who is basically an android programmed by Focus on the Family, remarkably came off as the calmer, more benign presence which helped soften Trump, too.

+ Harris hasn’t debated a Republican opponent in 10 years, though many of the Democrats she debated in the primaries were to the right of Reagan.

+ Why fact check these debates? If we haven’t already developed herd immunity to politicians lying, then there’s really no hope…

+ Through plexiglass darkly: Mother insisted that Mike be separated from Comma-la by two panes of plexiglass. Nothing to do with Covid.

+ Pence comes out swinging: Their COVID plan looks like plagiarism, which Biden knows a little bit about. Zing! (Of course, plagiarizing MLK and Neil Kinnock is one thing, Trump’s Covid plan another.)

+ Here’s what Pence was getting out. Given an open lane to lay out Biden’s strategy for confronting COVID, helping the sick, getting schools and businesses reopened, and aiding the unemployed and soon to be evicted, this is the best Harris could muster:

And our plan is about what we need to do around a national strategy for contact tracing, for testing, for administration of the vaccine and making sure that it will be free for all. That is the plan that Joe Biden has and that I have, knowing that we have to get a hold of what has been going on and we need to save our country.

+ The grim truth is that Trump and Biden’s COVID plans are pretty much the same. Both rely on a gutted for-profit medical system that barely functions under normal circumstances and is institutionally incapable of dealing with a pandemic. It could have been much different if Biden had proposed a single-payer health care plan. Now they’re arguing over minutia as a thousand people a day die and other ten thousand a day go bankrupt.

+ The debate then erupted into this scintillating colloquy…

PAGE: Well, let’s go –

HARRIS: No, I – Susan, I – This is important –

PENCE: Susan, I have to weigh in here –

HARRIS: Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.

PENCE: I have to weigh in –

HARRIS: I’m speaking. I wanna –

+ Pence makes the stupid sound thoughtful and Harris makes the thoughtful sound stupid.

+ Mike Pence is an anesthetic in human form. Consider this answer to Page’s question about the super-spreader event held at the White House for the debut of Amy Coney Barrett:

If I may say, that Rose Garden Event, there’s been a great deal of speculation about it. My wife Karen and I were there and honored to be there. Many of the people who were at that event, Susan, actually were tested for coronavirus. And it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise, the difference here is President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates, and not not just mandates with the coronavirus but a government takeover of health, the Green New Deal…all government control. We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people.

+ 15 minutes in, is it too early to call this debate…BORING?

+ Here is Harris describing the man who claimed to have been arrested in South Africa while trying to see Nelson Mandela:

“Joe has been incredibly transparent over many, many years. The one thing we all know about Joe, he puts it all out there. He, he is honest. He is forthright.”

+ Every Pence answer is a meandering filibuster in search of a Tweet of approval from Trump…

PENCE: But the American people have a president who is a businessman, he’s a job-creator. He’s paid 10s of millions of dollars in taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes. He’s created 10s of thousands of American jobs. The president said those public reports are not accurate. And the President also released, literally, stacks of financial disclosures the American people can review just as the law allows. But the distinction here is that Joe Biden, 47 years in public service, compared to President Donald Trump, who brought all of that experience four years ago–

PAGE: Thank you – Thank you, Vice President –

PENCE: – and turned this economy around by cutting taxes, rolling back regulation, unleashing American energy-

PAGE: Thank you – Thank you, Vice President Pence –

PENCE:– fighting for free and fair trade, and all of the is on the line –

PAGE: Thank you, Vice President Pence –

PENCE: if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are in the White House.

PAGE: You know, that’s a good segue into our third topic–

HARRIS: That’s a great segue.

+ Pence hasn’t been thanked that much since he moved out of the governor’s mansion in Indianapolis.

+ Harris: “Joe Biden will not end fracking. He’s been very clear about that.” Take note, Sierra Club, an early adopter of fracking for natural gas, as a “bridge fuel.” Bridge to where, now seems clear: CO2 levels of 420 ppm, as early as next year.

+ Susan Page: Is climate change an existential threat, Vice President Pence?

Pence: Biden is going to raise taxes.

+ Pence’s best joke of the night: “Harris is the most liberal member of the US senate.”

+ Chris Wallace lost control of the debate with Trump and Biden. Susan Page has given control of it to Pence…

+ The spectacle of Pence attacking Harris as a racist prosecutor is rich…also true.

+ Harris’ claim that a key part of Biden’s criminal reform package will be a national ban on chokeholds rings pretty hollow. After all, NYC banned chokeholds several years before Eric Garner was killed…in a chokehold.

+ In his own Town Hall session this week, Biden claimed that Obama had granted 18,000 clemencies. He was only off by about 16,000….Over the course of 8 years, Obama used his executive power to grant 1,927 clemencies from federal crimes, many of them incarcerated under the merciless terms of Biden’s own various crime bills.

+ Now a Fly has landed on Pence’s head and seems to be stuck in the shellac sealing his hair to his scalp. In medieval art, a fly was often painted on a liar and moral hypocrite.

+ It sounds like the Coalition of the Willing is now running the Biden/Harris campaign.

I’ll tell you. Joe and I are particularly proud of the coalition we’ve built around our campaign. We probably have one of the broadest coalition’s of folks that you’ve ever seen in a presidential race. Of course we have the support of Democrats, but also independents and Republicans, in fact, seven members of President George W Bush’s cabinet are supporting our ticket. We have the support of Colin Powell, Cindy McCain, John Kasich, over 500 generals, retired generals, and former national security experts and advisors are supporting our campaign.

+ Will Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith be jumping aboard, too?

+ In the debates, Biden and Harris both stubbornly refused to say whether they would even consider expanding the Supreme Court. But there’s a very simple, apolitical logic to increasing the number of justices by at least 3 and probably 4 members. Why was the number of Supreme Court justices set at 9 in 1869 to begin with? It’s because in 1869 there were 9 federal appellate circuits–one justice for each circuit. Today there are 13 circuits–12 regional and the court of federal claims.

+ Pence needs a laxative. His face is fixed in a perpetual grimace. It  looks like the man hasn’t had a bowel movement since July.

+ Either Biden and Harris “aren’t listening to the scientists” on climate change. Or worse: they’re ignoring them.

+ I hope the Fly gets a rapid COVID test after spending so much time on Pence’s rotting head, of course since flies only live 28 days it will probably expire before the results come back…

+ The war in Afghanistan started almost exactly 19 years ago. There wasn’t one question about it in the VP debate.

+ Debate moderator Susan Page stated the officers who shot into Breonna Taylor’s home said they were acting in self defense. But according to the grand jury testimony, the officer who shot Breonna Taylor said he wasn’t even aware that he’d used his gun…

+ It’s hard to tell where Harris’ reputation as a fierce prosecutor derives based on that performance. She was not very effective at cross-examining Pence. But most prosecutors aren’t great lawyers. They wield the power of their office to coerce guilty pleas from poor defendants. And that she did without mercy…

+ People who were convinced that Harris was going to knock Pence out have to be disappointed. The fly did more damage.

+ Anyone who watched that entire debate deserves an additional stimulus check.

+ Single payer health care, Green New Deal, ban on fracking, free college, the Democrats run away as fast as they can from the most popular policies they’ve proposed, while embracing the people (Bush, Powell, McCain, Biden) who started the most disastrous war of the last 50 years.

+ Pence put himself in the difficult position of making Harris look like she was weak on crime while, at the same time, being an over-zealous prosecutor. Of course, the kind of crimes Harris was weak on are the very financial crimes committed by the current Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin. It was a point Pence couldn’t press and Harris couldn’t defend.

+ One explanation for Harris’s rather toothless performance is that she didn’t want to come across as the “angry black woman”, despite the fact that there are millions of angry black women in the country looking for a politician to validate how they feel. This, of course, refers back to FoxNews’s (and the New Yorker) attempt to paint Michelle Obama as an “angry black woman,” even though she never said a threatening word about the ruling class in America. Now she’s the most popular woman in the country.

+ Can someone this research about that nasty-looking pink eye to Mother Pence? A new report of SARSCoV2 nucleocapsid protein in the eye tissue of a patient with COVID19, including conjunctiva and iris…

+ If Harris had really wanted to destroy Pence in the debate, she could have simply recited these stats, done a mic drop and walked off the stage…

New COVID-19 cases in the last 7 days:

Vietnam – 5
Taiwan – 9
Yemen – 10
New Zealand – 25
White House – 34

+ Trump used 7.6 million Americans as human shields and COVID still got to him.

+ Trump is now officially a biological weapon.

+ “I’m ready for my close up, Fräulein Reifenstahl…”

+ The last time Trump put people’s lives at risk for a photo-op he teargassed peaceful protesters and considered breaking out his “pain ray” weapon in Lafayette Park so he could get an image of himself holding Ivanka’s Bible upside down…

+ Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes and got more than $200,000 of free medical care at a hospital run by the federal government, whose doctors are paid by the federal government. (Price doesn’t include helicopter, super-spreader drive-by, or hair stylist.)

+ Eugene Gu, MD: “Trump kept telling us to take hydroxychloroquine and inject bleach into our veins to cure the coronavirus. Yet when he got infected, he took the most advanced monoclonal antibody cocktail made from fetal tissue obtained from abortions and never even once took hydroxychloroquine.”

+Reporter: “Why were you so reluctant to disclose that the president had been administered oxygen?”

Dr. Conley: I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude…the team, the President has had… It came off as we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”

+ Trump’s doctor may not be in demand as a doctor after this is all over, but it looks like he’d have a good chance of joining whatever firm Ari Fleischer’s working at these days…

+ JFK hid his Addison’s disease (and his addiction to the drugs he was taking to ameliorate it) and Ben Bradlee, and other DC “journalists”, helped cover it up. If his limo had safely rounded the Grassy Knoll, the Addison’s would have probably incapacitated him a few years later.

+ There are now 32 known White House related COVID cases…

1+2 POTUS, FLOTUS
3 Stephen Miller
4 Greg Laurie
5-7 Press aides
8 @PressSec
9 Stepien
10 Christie
11 Hicks
12 Conway
13 Sen Lee
14 Sen Tillis
15 Sen Johnson
16 RNC chair McDaniel
17 Rev. Jenkins
18 Luna
19-21 WH press
22-32 Debate staff
33 Claudia Conway

+ The Trump administration hasn’t delivered this many positive results since, well, ever…

+ This would be a good time for Trump to host the G-8.

+ While Steve Miller is in isolation (hopefully in an ICE detention center, somewhere along the Texas border), his doctors should give him an involuntary Orchiectomy (removal of testicles, if they can find them) …

+ Mark Ames wins the Internet for the week with his description of Stephen Miller as the “Waffentwerp.”

+ In Trump’s (aka, Infected Individual One) drive to turn the White House into Jonestown, it will likely be the underpaid domestic staff who pay the heaviest price, most of whom are black or Hispanic and over the age of 50. The 90-plus full-time cooks, servers, ushers, butlers, housekeepers, and valets work more closely with the first family than anyone else in that building.

+ The head of White House security office, Crede Bailey, is gravely ill with coronavirus and has been hospitalized since late September. The Security office handles credentialing for access to the White House; and works closely with (what’s left of) the Secret Service on security measures on the compound.

+ Mitch McConnell on why he hasn’t been to the White House since August 6th: “I haven’t actually been to the White House since August the 6th. Because my impression was that their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I suggested that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing.”

+ Michael Salamone: “Now that COVID19 is ravaging the Senate, I propose all Senators must live off $1200 for the next 8 months, lose their healthcare and figure it out the way the rest of the country battling this pandemic has all year.”

+ The White House Gift Shop is selling a “Donald J. Trump defeats Covid” commemorative coin. You can pre-order it now for $100.

+ Joe Hagan: “After it was revealed the President paid no taxes & wasn’t the success he long claimed, he caught the virus he said was a hoax but which killed 200,000 people and then, with body pumped full of experimental drugs, left the hospital to comfort a crowd of white supremacists.”

+ Trump’s version of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell…As the virus spread through the West Wing, Trump pleaded with one adviser not to disclose results of their own positive test. “Don’t tell anyone,” Trump demanded.

+ Melania’s new Rose Garden, which many landscape architects derided as resembling a cemetery lawn, will forever be remembered as the epicenter for one of the most infamous viral outbreaks in history…

+ Ben Ehrenreich: “I know this isn’t how it works but I can’t get the image of a gasping Trump gobbling down fetuses out of my head.”

+ Hyped on dexamethasone, Trump said on FoxNews that he wants to get American troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas (finally!) Why? So they can be ready to fight (kiss your ass goodbye) Russia or China!!

+ In a disease that hits blacks, Hispanics and Native people the hardest, we find that Moderna, Trump’s favored vaccine maker, didn’t enroll enough people of color to validate the results from it’s COVID vaccine testing regime…

+ Chris Christie, now receiving primo treatment for his COVID infection at a private hospital, attacked teachers in New Jersey for their “Cadillac medical coverage” and thunderously vowed to slash it.

+ According to Vanity Fair, when Fred Trump developed Alzheimer’s, his family pretended “he was still running the Trump Organization. Every day Fred Sr. would go to the office in Brooklyn and they would ‘give him blank papers’ to sort through and sign.”

+ Wherever Trump goes he’s got two aides with him, one carrying a satchel with the nuclear codes, another carrying a satchel with a thick stack of NDAs, which he duly made all of the doctors at Walter Reed sign.

+ At least two doctors at Walter Reed, who refused to sign NDAs were not permitted to have any further involvement in the president’s care.

+ Trump said this week that he probably contracted COVID from an infected relative of a slain soldier. Aside from the fact that the Gold Star families event was on Sunday September 27 and the people who were at the WH or with the president on Saturday September 26 have tested positive, this makes a lot of sense, if, that is, you want to double down on the notion that you think soldiers killed in battle are losers….

+ This May, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, a self-professed Christian and former Tea Bagger, hosted a wedding with 70 guests for his daughter in Atlanta, in violation of a statewide order and city of Atlanta guidelines banning gatherings of more than 10 people…

+  Here’s Judith Butler writing about Trump’s death drive, a year ago in the London Review of Books: “My wager/dream is that he would rather die than pause to feel the shame that passes through him and is externalised as destruction and rage.”

+ Whoops!

+ Only the Fly knows for sure. But that redness in the eyes is often associated with use of hydroxychloroquine.

+ Biden on Trump calling him a socialist: “Remember I got in trouble through the whole [primary] campaign: Joe Biden is too centrist, too moderate, to straightforward… there’s not one single syllable I’ve ever said that would lead you to believe I’m a socialist or a communist.” Well, he’s right about that…

+ Ha! Ha! Ha! Art Laffer, the supply-side berserker who advises Trump on making the economy service the one-percent, visited the White House last week, when COVID was running rampant. Laffer urged Trump to quash a stimulus deal, braying that: “A relief deal really won’t help the economy. The spending is not good for the economy.”

+ “Nothing was done, and nothing seemed capable of being done.” – Herman Melville, Moby-Dick.

+ The moment Trump believes he’s going to lose, he’s going tell his base to arm up, delete all incriminating files in the Oval Office issue preemptive pardons for himself and family, steal the White House silverware and tank the economy on his way out the door…

+ Among the many programs at risk without a stimulus? Distributing a COVID19 vaccine to tens of millions of people. The stimulus would have provided states, counties and cities with funding to prep for and distribute a vaccine. So far only $200 million has been provided; it’s projected that more $6 billion will be needed.

+ Filipino Americans make up about 20% of California’s nurses, but account for nearly 70% of the job’s coronavirus deaths.

+ Trump implying that Madame Prosecutor is going to knock off Biden, the way some conspiracists think LBJ orchestrated the assassination of JFK…

+ Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito’s “religious liberty” argument against Obergefell (gay marriage case), which they’ve set their sites on overturning, would apply equally to Loving v. Virginia–thus Thomas is effectively arguing for the invalidation of his own marriage.

+ The Washington Post story on Amy Coney Barrett and the People of Praise cult, where she served as a “handmaid,” says the group was started to provide a more “intense experience” than average people are comfortable with. Religiously intense lawyers give me the creeps. Look how many people Thomas More, the humanist student of Erasmus, lit up just for the offense of preaching the Bible in English.

+ From the Post article on Barrett’s splinter sect of handmaiden, praisers…

He was giving me head,
I was his handmaid he said
While the limousines picked up the priests
Those were the reasons, that was South Bend
We were in it for the money and the fetuses
That was called love for the judges of song
Probably still is for those in Opus Dei…

+ We’re about to have a Supreme Court dominated by a bloc of jurists whose judicial philosophy derives from the tribunals of the Spanish Inquisition.

+ Eric Trump on North Dakota radio last week touting his dad’s accomplishments: “He literally saved Christianity.”

+ According to evangelist, Kat Kerr, “1000 Special Ops angels” have been dispatched from heaven to secure Trump’s electoral victory. Will the “Special Ops Angels” be coordinating with Eddie “the Blade” Gallagher?

+ Maybe Kimberly Guilfolye can go into business with the Falwells, if the whole Trump thing goes bust:

“…among other things, she said that she was frequently required to work at Guilfoyle’s New York apartment while the Fox host displayed herself naked, and was shown photographs of the genitalia of men with whom Guilfoyle had had sexual relations. The draft complaint also alleged that Guilfoyle spoke incessantly and luridly about her sex life, and on one occasion demanded a massage of her bare thighs; other times, she said, Guilfoyle told her to submit to a Fox employee’s demands for sexual favors, encouraged her to sleep with wealthy and powerful men, asked her to critique her naked body, demanded that she share a room with her on business trips, required her to sleep over at her apartment, and exposed herself to her, making her feel deeply uncomfortable.”

+ In Mexico, 173,000 more people died between April-August this year than last, that includes people who died from Covid and from other causes who may have lacked medical attention. Investigative reporters had to file 250 freedom of information requests to extract this data.

+ We now know that Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein were directing a child-snatching operation on the border, ordering migrant children detained by ICE to be seized from their parents “no matter how young.” The “secret” pilot program–which was only secret to those who weren’t paying attention–began in 2017. “We have now heard of us taking breastfeeding defendant moms away from their infants,” one government prosecutor wrote in disgust.

+ The night they killed Breonna Taylor…

+ An audit by the Department of Defense shows that the Pentagon transferred more than $7.4 billion in “excess” military gear and hardware to nearly 8,000 federal and state law enforcement agencies since 1990, a significant amount of that gear was unwanted or unneeded by police forces.

+ USPS documents show first-class mail’s on-time delivery performance for the week of September 19 sank to 84.23%, a decline of 4.51 percentage over two weeks. That means the nationwide on-time delivery score for first class mail are nearing lows seen in July and August, when the agency experienced significant delays because of significant changes to postal operations.

+ Back in May, Trump praised the armed thugs who occupied of the Michigan state house and urged Governor Whitmer to defer to their show of force. “The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people,” Trump tweeted.

+ Here’s Trump campaign official Jason Miller, the guy who slipped a powdered abortion pill into his pregnant mistress’ smoothie, on Fox News attacking Michigan Gretchen Whitmer, the target of a kidnapping plot by rightwing fruitcakes: “If we want to talk about hatred, then Gov. Whitmer, go look in the mirror — the fact that she wakes up everyday with such hatred in her heart for President Trump.”

+ Mugshots of three of the Michigan terrorist suspects…

+ They all have beards. Could they be Antifa Muslims? Stayed tuned to Tucker Carlson tonight on FoxNews…

+ While the current incarnation of MOM (Militia of Michigan) was plotting to kidnap the state’s governor, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security was spamming local police departments with “facetious” tweets about BLM ….

+ You might have to read this a couple of times to get the full impact of what the Covid-spreading Senator from Utah is saying…

+ A report from Physicians for Human Rights found that “Portland police officers and federal agents engaged in a pattern of ‘disproportionate and excessive use of force’ against protesters and medics in the city in June and July.”

+ The city editor of the Grants Pass (Oregon) Daily Courier was attacked while reporting on a meeting led by the organizer of a local militia.

+ Pennsylvania state representative posted Snapchat videos encouraging his five-year old son to smoke a cigar. “Hit it harder!” he urged. “Smoke the cigar?” I guess that’s all the evidence we need that this guy isn’t a Clinton Democrat…

+ Cuba, if you’re listening, this is the moment to liberate us. Seize the day!

+ Then again who would want a plague-ridden, bankrupt country, already stripped of most of its natural resources, and populated by armed miscreants living next to toxic waste sites and religious lunatics celebrating the manifest signs of the approaching End Times?

+ Speaking of Cuba, Danny Glover and Oliver Stone have executive produced a terrific new documentary series called The War on Cuba, which premiers this week on Youtube. Here’s a preview…

+ I read last night in Andrew Roberts’ hefty biography of Napoleon that the scourge of the European aristocracy, a prolific correspondent who wrote as many as 35 letters every day, had all of his mail, incoming and outgoing, dipped in vinegar to avoid transmitting or contracting plague. This White House, which now has more current COVID cases than Taiwan, New Zealand and Vietnam combined, hasn’t even reached the vinegar stage of disinfection…

+ The last time the White House was thoroughly fumigated was back in 1814 when Rear Admiral Cockburn and his merry band of redcoats and freed slaves torched the place…

+ The head of the NYPD, Dermot Shea, is complaining that “human nature” and “long hours on their feet” make it too hard for NYPD officers to be expected to wear face masks during COVID19.

+ Two former Orange County sheriff’s deputies testified to a California grand jury, last month, they did not know it was against the law to falsify police documents.

+ According to a study by the Marshall Project, many people bitten by police dogs are unarmed, accused of non-violent crimes, or weren’t suspects at all. (Not to mention the abuse of the dogs themselves.)

+ Under Trump and Barr the US incarceration rate has now risen to 698 per 100k, up from 655. Compare with: France=105. China=120. Germany=77. This, mind you, at a time when jails and prisons are the primary infections zones (along with the White House) for a killer virus.

+ Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump and the RNC, who hired Michael Cohen to pay $1.6 million in hush money to a former Playboy model who got an abortion after he impregnated her, has been charged conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent by lobbying the Trump administration to drop an investigation into the massive Malaysian embezzlement scheme 1MDB. The charging documents allege that Broidy had direct access to Trump, saying he used his high-level contacts “to orchestrate back-channel, unregistered campaigns to lobby the Administration and DOJ.”

+ Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, another Incel in the making…

+ Looting during a pandemic: Total billionaire wealth hits record high of $10.2 trillion during coronavirus crisis.

+ According to new data from the Federal Reserve’s Distributional Financial Accounts report, the 50 richest Americans now hold almost as much wealth as half of the U.S. Meanwhile, the Millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, control just 4.6% of U.S. wealth, even though they are the largest segment in the workforce with more than 72 million members.

+ Democrats are giddily passing around Goldman Sachs’ endorsement of Biden’s economic plan. Goldman may prefer a steadier hand on the wheel of the economy, but they win either way, of course, and tossing out chum like this on the electoral waters will only encourage the Democrats to court them more slavishly than they already have…

+ Meanwhile, the Hippie Pope declared that the “magical theories” of free market capitalism aren’t working…

+ A Canadian research project gave homeless people $7,500 each. The experiment in basic income for the homeless paid for itself, saving the shelter system $8,100 per person.

+ In their violent crackdowns on civilian protests, Chilean police pitched a 16-year old boy off of a bridge. These scum will be back to flinging people out of helicopters again before you know it, a development which would be cheered by Trump’s Pinochet-loving Proud Boys, who remain on standby awaiting his orders…

+ Is Trump sending out those Trump Drug Discount Cards to seniors by the mail? The US mail? He thinks they’ll arrive before the election? Is Louis Louis reinstalling the sorting machines?

+ The folks over at MSDNC, who get weirder by the day, now want the Deep State to vet presidential candidates. Think of this as a kind of electoral college, comprised of officials from the FBI, CIA and NSA…

+ More than a half-million sharks could be slaughtered to extract squalene from shark livers, an ingredient used in the manufacturing of COVID vaccines. How much of the planet are we going to wipe out in a desperate quest to protect a species that won’t even tolerate the tiniest inconvenience to its own super-spreader behavior, like wearing a simple mask in public?

+ In less than a day, the intensity of Hurricane Delta increased by 60 knots. On record, only 1 other Atlantic Basin storm in October exceeded this 24 hour uptick: Hurricane Wilma (2005).

+ Faster intensification, as just happened with Hurricane Delta, is one of the ways climate change is loading the hurricane dice against us. On average, Atlantic hurricanes are now intensifying from a storm to Category 3 more than 20 hours faster than 25 years ago.

+ The September global average sea surface temperature was above the 20th Century average for the 532nd consecutive month.

+ According to internal documents, Exxon’s assessment of its $210 billion investment strategy shows yearly emissions rising 17% through 2025…

+ As much as 40 percent of the current Amazon rainforest is now at a point where it could shift into a savannah type ecosystem, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

+ A recent study estimates there are about 16,000 species of trees in Amazonia, of which several thousand have not even been named by scientists, much less evaluated for medicinal potential.

+ According to new data from Cimi Nacional, violence against indigenous people in Brazil worsened dramatically in 2019 from the previous:

+ Land invasions increased by 135%;
+ Suicides in indigenous communities increased by 33%;
+ Deaths due to lack of assistance increased by 181%;
+ Death threats increased by 312%;
+ Deaths of children (0-5 years old) increased by 39%.

+ In yet another frontal blow to the tribes, Trump’s EPA moved unilaterally to strip Oklahoma’s tribes of regulatory sovereignty over environmental matters and handed it to the state’s pro-oil governor…

+ Video shot by Rafael Samanez of Monday’s tribal-led blockade against the Border Wall at Organ Pipe National Monument, where wall construction is desecrating O’odham sacred sites and pushing endangered species to the brink of extinction. 

+ The age of the methane volcanoes: Methane Volcanoes: Scientists have already found dramatic signs of permafrost thaw: in Siberia, giant craters are forming as gases from decomposing matter build up underground and then explode.

+ 2020 has seen the longest essentially ice-free conditions in the Laptev Sea in the Arctic, near Siberia since at least the start of the consistent satellite record (from 1979).

+ The August Fire complex, in northern California, has now been dubbed a ‘gigafire,‘ a novel designation for a blaze that chars at least a million acres…

+ The amount of land scorched by the August Fire Complex is larger than all of the recorded fires in California between 1932 and 1999…

+ New research confirms that endangered Snake River sockeye and Chinook salmon face grim prospects in a future with higher water temperatures, their stocks are expected to decline by as much as 80 percent. Removing the four Lower Snake River dams is the only realistic hope for their longterm survival.

+ 37 gigawatts: the amount of wind and solar power the US added to the grid this. Sounds impressive and I suppose it is, assuming that most of the solar isn’t coming from vast industrial solar installations in desert tortoise habitat, but the US will have to continue to add this much every year for the next 25 years to achieve true decarbonization of the economy.

+ Wildlife “Services,” the hunter-killer squads of the Department of Agriculture, just released its carnage count for 2019: Last year, the agency killed more than 1.2 million native animals across the country, including 62,000 coyotes, 24,000 beavers, more than 2,000 foxes, and hundreds of black bears, wolves and cougars.

Dead coyotes. Photo: James Balog, Wild Earth Guardians.

+ Sixty Democrats have signed a letter asking the Trump administration to “reconsider” its massive logging plan for the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska, the largest temperate rainforest left on the continent. Only 60?

+ The 2020 ozone hole expanded quickly from mid-August and growing to about 9.2 million square miles in early October, the biggest and deepest it’s been in years….

+ Trump on forest fires: “You know in Europe, you go there and they have forest nations. They call them Austria and different places. They don’t have the woods burning down and their trees are more explosive than ours.”

+ Last month Comma-la Harris proclaimed Tupac her favorite “living rapper,” probably the coolest thing she’s ever said. She was roundly ridiculed and the Pence campaign trolled her by living tickets at the “will call booth” for Tupac at last night’s debate. But did Harris actually blow his cover down on the Big Rez?

+ From a terrific profile of Wayne Shorter in the Sydney Morning Herald, where he is admired and cherished more than in his native country:

“To interview him was to be stunned by how similar his verbal expression was to tenor lines that seemed to begin mid-sentence and stop in equally unexpected places. Wayne’s mind built up broader theses by juxtaposing laconic snippets based on abstractions and enigmas. He saw seeking out originality as parallel to seeking the truth of what it is to be human.”

+ When Chet Baker learned that the pianist on one of his Italian gigs was Romano Mussolini, son of Il Duce, he went up to him and said: “What a drag about your old man.”

+ I’m remind of what the late, great poet Bill Knott (an occasional contributor to CounterPunch) wrote about Ezra Pound: “He made the quatrains run on time.”

+ I was asked this week if I could name one Paul McCartney song “better than John Lennon’s ‘Imagine.'” Well, “Imagine” is really a John and Yoko song and there are a lot of McCartney (Lennon, Harrison and even Ringo) songs “better” than that strained ode. But all of these McCartney songs still hit me where it counts, mainly because most of them rock: Get Back, Maybe I’m Amazed, I’m Looking Through You, We Can Work It Out, Back in the USSR, I Saw Her Standing There, For No One, Penny Lane, Blackbird, Here There & Everywhere. As for “Imagine,” it lacks almost everything that made Lennon’s songs great: anger, irony, slyness, yelps, screams and power chords.

+ When the first Van Halen LP came out, I was listening to punk and jazz almost exclusively, but that didn’t stop me from playing that record four or five times a night for the first couple of weeks after I ripped it out of its packaging, playing it as loud as I could without the neighbors calling the cops (again)…Fuck cancer for taking Eddie too damn soon.

+ I remember how thrilled I was when I heard that Valerie had been dating “bad boy” rocker Eddie Van Halen–a sign that she was really one of us, and had completely fooled middle America with her role on One Day at a Time, like so many other kids hiding their true desires inside the stifling hothouse of the Burbs.

+ Eddie Van Halen: “My first friends in America were Black. It was actually the white people that were the bullies. They would tear up my homework and papers, make me eat playground sand, all those things, and the Black kids stuck up for me.”

Seems Like 40 Days and 40 Nights, Since Someone Used My First Name…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

White House, Inc.: How Donald Trump Turned the Presidency Into a Business
Dan Alexander
(Portfolio)

Balzac’s Lives
Peter Brooks
(NYRB)

Douglas-Fir: the Story of the West’s Most Remarkable Tree
Stephen Arno and Carl Fielder
(Mountaineers Books)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Onward and Upward
Ralph Peterson and Messenger Legacy
(Onyx)

Lost
Adam Kolker
(Sunnyside)

The Lost Berlin Tapes
Ella Fitzgerald
(Verve)

What’s This Switch?

“So this is it,” said Arthur, “We are going to die.”
“Yes,” said Ford, “except… no! Wait a minute!” He suddenly lunged across the chamber at something behind Arthur’s line of vision. “What’s this switch?” he cried.
“What? Where?” cried Arthur, twisting round.
“No, I was only fooling,” said Ford, “we are going to die after all.”

(Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch

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