Oct 312020
 


Alfred Buckham Edinburgh c1920

 

WHO Special Envoy On COVID Reiterates Caution Against Lockdowns (PFW)
Governments Closing Economies Worse Than Pandemic Itself – Jim Rogers (RT)
Swing States Face The Worst Postal Delays, Data Shows (F.)
Thousands Of Ballots In Pennsylvania May Be Missing (ET)
Polling Averages Show Trump Gaining On Biden In Most Swing States (USA Today)
Positive Trump Polls Spark Polling Circle Debate (Hill)
Trump Must Win Pa. By 4 Or 5 Points To Overcome Voter Fraud – Pollster (JTN)
Biden Advisers Sound Red Alert Over Black, Latino Turnout (ZH)
Michael Moore: Trump ‘Evil Genius,’ Biden’s Poll Lead Not Accurate Count (JTN)
Mueller Had Evidence DNC, Clinton Camp Made Up Russia Collusion Story (JTN)
Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From The Intercept (Taibbi)
Intercept Abandoned Truth-Seeking Mission – And Lost Its Best Journalist (Q.)
Project Veritas To Sue New York Times Over Ballot Harvesting Story (JTN)
The Tech Antitrust Problem No One Is Talking About (Wired)

 

Trunalimunumaprzure.

 

Who said Dems don’t know how to create memes?

BIDEN: “I’ll lead an effective strategy to mobilize trunalimunumaprzure.”

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve said 1000 times that Lockdown 2.0 is the worst idea ever. But here they come. The politicians who failed at 1.0 should resign, not get a shot at failing again.

“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer..”

WHO Special Envoy On COVID Reiterates Caution Against Lockdowns (PFW)

WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19, Dr. David Nabarro, cautioned in a Thursday interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today that full national lockdowns should be used only as a “reserve” measure to control the coronavirus, describing such actions as very extreme. Nabarro, who was appointed in February as one of six special envoys tasked to deal with the coronavirus response, warned that national lockdowns are “a very extreme restriction on economic and social life” that temporarily “freezes the virus in place.” “You don’t want to use those as your primary, and I stress that, primary, means of containment. Because in the end living with the virus as a constant threat means maintaining the capacity to find people with the disease and isolating them,” Nabarro said.


The British doctor went on to recommend a robust test, trace and isolation system as the priority for government response with lockdown being “the reserve that you use to take the heat out of the system when things are really bad.” In early October, Nabarro also cautioned against lockdowns in an interview with the Spectator, saying, “we in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus.” Perhaps the most jarring part of his warning was when he described the economic impact of imposing strict lockdowns. “Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.

Read more …

“I would suggest to you that maybe next time when we have a serious bear market it’s going to be the worst in my lifetime..”

Governments Closing Economies Worse Than Pandemic Itself – Jim Rogers (RT)

While the coronavirus outbreak triggered the deepest crisis in decades, “overreacting” politicians have only exacerbated the situation, legendary investor Jim Rogers has told an international forum hosted by Russia. “This is probably the worst [crisis] that I have seen in my lifetime, because everything collapsed and you had politicians and media and everybody overreacting in my view, and everybody closed down,” he told the 12th annual ‘Russia Calling’ Investment Forum in Moscow, when asked if he sees any parallels with previous financial crises. The business event is being held online this year for the first time due to the pandemic.


“We’ve had many epidemics in history, but never before did they close McDonalds, never before did they close all the airlines,” Rogers noted, adding that this overreaction has ruined many economies and the lives of many people. The investor believes that the current crisis is markedly different to previous ones as never in history have governments spent, printed or borrowed so much money. While the current situation might be good for the markets, he noted that it cannot be good for the future due to skyrocketing debt. “I caution all of you, it’s been 11 years since we’ve had a serious bear market… and I would suggest to you that maybe next time when we have a serious bear market it’s going to be the worst in my lifetime,” Rogers told the participants of the forum.

Read more …

It’s going to be such a mess.

Swing States Face The Worst Postal Delays, Data Shows (F.)

Battleground states in the presidential election are suffering from some of the worst ballot delivery delays in the country, U.S. Postal Service data analyzed by the Washington Post shows, and with state laws or court rulings requiring mail-in ballots to be received by Election Day, several states face a particularly high risk of voters having their ballots arrive too late to count, potentially impacting close races.

Michigan: Data analyzed by the Post shows that only 72.8% of ballots in Detroit and 84.3% of ballots elsewhere in Michigan have been delivered on time over the past five days, and an appeals court ruled that mail-in ballots must be received by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Wisconsin: Less than 85% of ballots are being delivered on time in the Lakeland district covering much of Wisconsin, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that ballots must be delivered by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Colorado: There’s a similar on-time rate in Colorado, which has been holding primarily mail-based elections since 2013 and has a number of established mail-in voting processes in place and requires ballots to be returned by Election Day.

Pennsylvania: While ballot delivery in Western Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area is above 93%, on-time delivery is less than 85% in Eastern Pennsylvania, and though ballots can be delivered for up to three days after Election Day, late-arriving ballots will be segregated and could potentially be invalidated by the Supreme Court.

Georgia: Parts of Northern Georgia are experiencing less than 85% of ballots being delivered on time—mail elsewhere in the state is being delivered between 90% and 93% on time—and an appeals court has ruled that ballots must be received by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Only approximately 85% of North Carolina ballots were delivered on time, but mail-in ballots there can be delivered up to nine days after Election Day, and while not as bad as in other battleground states, ballot delivery is still below the USPS’s ideal service standard of 97% on time in parts of Florida, Ohio and Minnesota, where late ballots will also be segregated and potentially invalidated by the courts.

95.04%. That’s the average national rate of on-time delivery for completed ballots being sent from voters to election officials between October 24 and 29, according to USPS data filed in federal court Friday, while 98.2% of blank ballots were sent on average from election offices to voters on time. (On-time delivery for first class mail like election mail is classified as between one to three days.) The Justice Department, which is representing USPS in court, noted in the filing that the numbers aren’t a “representatively accurate measurement” of USPS service performance because they only include ballots sent using specific codes, and do not take “first mile” and “last mile” service into account, which could add time to delivery.

Read more …

“Butler County voted for President Donald Trump over Democrat rival Hillary Clinton in 2016 about 66% to 29%.”

Thousands Of Ballots In Pennsylvania May Be Missing (ET)

Thousands of voters in Butler County, Pennsylvania, said have they never received their ballots…Nearly 40,000 registered voters in the county requested mail-in ballots, but only about 24 percent of them have been returned back to the county so far, authorities said. “At first we thought that maybe it just was a delay in the postal system” due to the high number of requests, Leslie Osche, chair of the Butler County commissioners, was quoted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as saying. “And that could still be the case. But nonetheless, when we realized that, we changed our strategy and now have begun to tell folks that if they haven’t received a ballot, they still have multiple options.” “Our main focus—because it’s too late now to worry about this—we need to make sure we get these people their ballots,” Osche added.

A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) spokesperson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the agency is “unaware of any significant delays or issues and is in regular contact with the Board of Election as we work to locate and deliver ballots as they are presented to us.” As of Tuesday, voters in Pennsylvania cannot apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot. A local county official, Aaron Sheasley, told CNN Friday that the county has received more than 10,000 phone calls about information related to the ballots that were requested but not received. “Somewhere between the post office and the Pittsburgh sorting facility something happened,” Sheasley told the network. “We don’t know what.” He added: “We haven’t given out any numbers” about the number of missing ballots “because we simply don’t know.”

Speaking to CNN, Chuck Bugar, president of the American Postal Workers Union Pittsburgh chapter, said there is no record that suggests the missing ballots in Butler County made it to a Postal Service facility. “There’s no pile of ballots that have been taken from the Butler County election committee that are sitting around,” Bugar said. “There’s no record or indication that they entered the mail stream. There’s paperwork that goes along with it.” Butler County voted for President Donald Trump over Democrat rival Hillary Clinton in 2016 about 66% to 29%. The county is located north of Pittsburgh and has approximately 150,000 registered voters. In 2020, both Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have been holding events and rallies, vying to secure the key battleground state with 20 electoral votes.

Read more …

“Biden’s polling average advantage is greater than 5 points in just four of twelve swing states and the race will hinge on what happens in the races where Biden’s margin is thin enough to leave the candidates in a virtual dead heat.”

Polling Averages Show Trump Gaining On Biden In Most Swing States (USA Today)

Election Day is four days away, and more than half the number of Americans who voted in 2016 have already cast their ballots, as polls continue to show Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a large national lead over President Donald Trump, along with a smaller advantage in several key states. The deadline for early voting ends Friday in several states where the race is tight, including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Texas – and on Saturday in the key states of Florida and North Carolina. Though early turnout appears to favor Democrats in many states, Republicans are gaining ground quickly in Florida and other early voting states. As the race enters the home stretch, the USA TODAY average of averages, which is based on data from RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight, finds Biden up 8.3 percentage points over Trump nationally. That is nearly a full point higher than Biden was at the end of September but 2 points lower than the 10.1-point edge he held in mid-October.


The polls were also shifting in Trump’s favor ahead of his upset win over Hillary Clinton in 2016, but that trend was more pronounced and her lead was not as big as Biden’s heading into the election. Four days before Election Day that year, Clinton’s average lead was about 2.1 percentage points. If the states end up breaking according to their current polling averages, and assuming the non-swing states go the way they did in 2016, Biden would win decisively in the Electoral College, even if he lost Ohio, which is tied. But Biden’s polling average advantage is greater than 5 points in just four of twelve swing states and the race will hinge on what happens in the races where Biden’s margin is thin enough to leave the candidates in a virtual dead heat.

Read more …

Trafalgar was right 4 years ago. The others, not so much.

Positive Trump Polls Spark Polling Circle Debate (Hill)

Most pollsters show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a sturdy and stable lead over President Trump at a time when tens of millions of people have already voted and there is almost no time to change the course of the race. But a handful of contrarian pollsters believe Trump’s support is underrepresented and that election analysts could be headed for another embarrassing miss on Election Day. The battles have spilled on to social media, where some well-known political analysts have dismissed polls that show Trump leading Biden. The Trafalgar Group, which was the only nonpartisan outlet in 2016 to find Trump leading in Michigan and Pennsylvania on Election Day, shows Trump with small leads in both states, which would be keys to another Trump win in the Electoral College. Nearly every other pollster shows Biden with a comfortable lead.

Trafalgar’s Robert Cahaly says there is a hidden Trump vote that is not being accounted for in polls that show Biden on a glide path to the White House. “There are more [shy Trump voters] than last time and it’s not even a contest,” Cahaly said, adding that it’s “quite possible” that the polling industry is headed for a catastrophic miss in 2020. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver and Cook Political Report editor Dave Wasserman are among those deeply skeptical of Cahaly’s polling. Both have dug into the crosstabs of Trafalgar polls and pointed to questionable breakdowns as evidence Trafalgar doesn’t know what it’s doing. For instance, the crosstabs in a Michigan poll, which are no longer online, appeared to show Trump leading Biden by 8 points among young voters, a Democratic stronghold.

“[Trafalgar] doesn’t disclose their ‘proprietary digital methods’ so I can’t really evaluate what they’re doing,” said Jon McHenry, a Republican pollster with North Star Opinion Research. “They’re far enough out on a limb that a year from now, we’ll all remember if they were very right or very wrong.” FiveThirtyEight’s model gives Trump about an 11 percent chance of winning — roughly equal to pulling an inside straight in poker — after giving him about a 30 percent chance on Election Day in 2016. Biden appears to have a more comfortable lead in the polls than Hillary Clinton had at this point in 2016. Polls show Trump is underperforming — in some cases dramatically — among the key coalitions that powered his 2016 victory. Biden is also a more popular candidate than Clinton.

McHenry said he does not think there are many “shy” Trump supporters who would lie about their intentions. Rather, there is concern about a “skewed response rate pattern,” whereby Trump voters would be less likely to participate in a survey or answer the phone when a pollster calls.

Read more …

More Trafalgar.

Trump Must Win Pa. By 4 Or 5 Points To Overcome Voter Fraud – Pollster (JTN)

Robert Cahaly, one of the few pollsters who correctly had Donald Trump ahead in Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan the day before Election Day in 2016, said on “Hannity” Friday night that Trump is going to have to win Pennsylvania by four or five points to “overcome the voter fraud that’s going to happen there.” Cahaly, the chief pollster with the Georgia-based Trafalgar Group, is predicting a Trump victory against Democratic candidate Joe Biden. He says the other pollsters don’t understand the so-called “shy Trump voters.”


“These [voters] aren’t straightforward when it comes to these polls,” Cahaly told host Sean Hannity. “[The other pollsters] don’t understand it, they refuse to understand it, and it seems actually logical. I think that the states that we had before for Trump — Florida, Arizona and North Carolina — are still there. I feel like Michigan is a win right now. Pennsylvania, he’s going to need to get further along than he is. I think he’s going to need to win Pennsylvania by four or five to overcome the voter fraud that’s going to happen there.”

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“..half of White voters have cast ballots [..] In Pennsylvania, nearly 75% of registered Black voters have not yet voted..”

Biden Advisers Sound Red Alert Over Black, Latino Turnout (ZH)

Senior Biden campaign officials are ‘becoming increasingly worried’ over low turnout among black and latino voters in key states such as Pennsylvania and Florida, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. “Despite record early-vote turnout around the country, there are warning signs for Biden. In Arizona, two-thirds of Latino registered voters have not yet cast a ballot. In Florida, half of Latino and Black registered voters have not yet voted but more than half of White voters have cast ballots, according to data from Catalist, a Democratic data firm. In Pennsylvania, nearly 75% of registered Black voters have not yet voted, the data shows.” -Bloomberg. “I would like to see turnout increase – and yes, we need improvement,” said Biden super PAC president, Steve Schale in a Tuesday blog post.

According to the report, top campaign leaders are confident that blacks and latinos will show up on election day, however some Biden advisers have expressed concerns about a lack of participation – and are urging the campaign to spend more money to target minority voters in the final stretch. Perhaps minorities found out that Biden didn’t want to raise his children in a racial jungle when he opposed desegregation? Or that he drafted the 1994 crime bill, which sent tens of thousands of black men to prison for minor crimes, something Biden was proud of as recently as four years ago. Or that his ‘guide and mentor’ was an ‘Exalted Cyclops’ in the KKK (who renounced his racist ways when it became a political liability he saw the light.)


Or that he equates being poor to being black. Or that rapper 20 cent endorsed Trump (until his ex-girlfriend Chelsea Handler yanked his leash), while Lil’ Wayne, Kanye and Ice Cube have thrown their support behind Trump, or at least a new ‘platinum plan’ intended to help the black community.

Lil Wayne

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“He thinks he’s going to win, and I know he’s an evil genius and he’s smarter than all of us. And I know people hate to hear that, but I’m sorry.”

Michael Moore: Trump ‘Evil Genius,’ Biden’s Poll Lead Not Accurate Count (JTN)

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore is warning that Joe Biden’s hefty leads in nearly every national poll is not accurate and is calling President Trump an “evil genius” who could well figure out a way to win reelection. The left-wing director told The Hill that 2020 is beginning to look a lot like 2016, when pollsters predicted Hillary Clinton would win in a landslide, prompting the Democratic candidate to stop campaigning in Wisconsin and Michigan — two states she went on to lose. “Biden is pretty much doing what Hillary did,” Moore said Thursday. “He’s come to Michigan a couple of times, but he hasn’t for the last 10 days. I’ve been, like, putting out there on social media and saying that ‘Where’s Joe Biden? Why isn’t Biden coming to Michigan?’

“Remember Hillary not coming to Michigan, not going to Wisconsin? Why is Pence here in Flint the other day? Why is Trump in Lansing, Trump in Muskegon? Trump everywhere!” Moore, known for films like “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Roger and Me,” said there are most definitely hidden Trump voters out there. “The Trump vote is always being undercounted, the pollsters, when they actually call a real Trump voter, the Trump voter’s very suspicious of the ‘Deep State’ calling them and asking them who they’re voting for,” Moore said. Of Biden’s lead, Moore said: “It’s all fake news to them, remember. It’s not an accurate count.”

“I think the safe thing to do, this is not scientific … whatever they’re saying the Biden lead is, cut it in half, right now, in your head. Cut it in half, and now you’re within the four-point margin of error.” Trump, Moore said, is “smarter than all of us.” “I wake up every morning with the assumption that Trump believes he’s going to win and that’s good enough for me,” the director said. “He thinks he’s going to win, and I know he’s an evil genius and he’s smarter than all of us. And I know people hate to hear that, but I’m sorry.”

Michael Moore

Read more …

“Tony Podesta, Manafort and Gates worked together on lobbying and political consulting projects..”

Mueller Had Evidence DNC, Clinton Camp Made Up Russia Collusion Story (JTN)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office gathered evidence suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee launched a political “smear job” in spring 2016 tying Donald Trump to Russia collusion through the lobbying work of his campaign chairman Paul Manafort in Ukraine, according to memos that were excluded from the prosecutor’s final report. The evidence, reviewed by Just the News, includes information obtained by State Department officials from a trusted Ukrainian source, a private investigator’s report, and an email exchange suggesting Tony Podesta — a Manafort business associate and brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta — tried at one point to slow down the opposition research project.

The evidence — which is additional to records showing the law firm for the Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the infamous “Steele dossier” given to the FBI — was never mentioned in last year’s vast, two-volume Mueller Report, which concluded that no Americans colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The newly surfaced evidence bolsters separate intelligence reporting that Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe made public recently showing the Obama CIA also believed Clinton’s campaign had launched a political dirty trick to “vilify” Trump on Russia in an effort to distract from her own controversies.

“We did have evidence to show that early collusion allegations against Trump and Manafort were created or propagated by people who either worked for the DNC or the Clinton campaign, including some efforts that went beyond the Steele dossier,” a person with direct knowledge of the Mueller probe told Just the News. Asked why the Mueller report did not mention the Clinton campaign tactics, the source answered: “Our job was to report on and prosecute crimes, not write an essay on how political opposition research was conducted by the two parties.”

Unredacted emails and other documents gathered by Mueller’s team suggest the earliest hint of the Democrats’ Russia collusion smear campaign emerged in a May 2016 email exchange between Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta and Manafort’s lead business manager in Ukraine, Rick Gates, who also worked as a deputy campaign manager for the Trump campaign. The thread appeared under the subject line: “DNC and Paul Manafort.” Though on opposite sides of the political spectrum, Tony Podesta, Manafort and Gates worked together on lobbying and political consulting projects related to Ukraine’s Party of Regions and former President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted from power in 2014.

“Last Friday APAC had a meeting at DNC organized by their ethnic outreach office, presenting Democratic Party strategies for presidential elections,” Gates emailed Tony Podesta on May 17, 2016. “One of the subjects was a smear campaign against Paul Manafort, which will be launched in a couple of days. The head of the ethnic outreach is of Ukrainian descent and has connections in Ukraine. “She was able to produce documents linking Manafort to Moscow during his time as adviser to Victor Yanukowych (cq), ousted former Ukrainian president. They will try to link Donald Trump to Putin through Manafort’s engagement and money trail of over [a] billion dollars. This was a formal presentation on the part of DNC — I am trying to obtain an audio tape from the meeting. I just wanted to share this with you to make you aware before they start.”

Read more …

Taibbi and Greenwald would seem to be a good team.

The Tucker video is excellent. And a strong sign of what US media has become, that Greenwald needs to go to Fox to be able to tell his story.

Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From The Intercept (Taibbi)

Greenwald, after commenting pointedly about the reaction by press and Democratic Party officials to the New York Post story, reached out to Intercept editor Betsy Reed to float the idea of writing on the subject. The first hint of trouble came when Reed suggested that yes, it might be a story, if proven correct, but “even if it did represent something untoward about Biden,” that would “represent a tiny fraction of the sleaze and lies Trump and his cronies are oozing in every day.” When Greenwald retorted that deciding not to report on one politician’s scandals because those of another politician are deemed worse is a “corrupt calculus” for reporters, Reed expressed concern. Based on this, on his comments on Twitter, and other factors, she worried that “we are headed for a conflict over the editing of this piece.”

Greenwald insisted he wasn’t planning an overwhelming amount of coverage but wanted to do a single article, reviewing the available facts and perhaps asking the Biden campaign to comment on the veracity of the Post story. Reed agreed that he should write a draft, then they could “see where we are.” An aside: when reporters and editors interact, they speak between the lines. If an editor only ever suggests or assigns stories from a certain angle, you’re being told they don’t particularly want the other angle. If your editor has lots of hypothetical concerns at the start, he or she probably won’t be upset if you choose a different topic. Finally, when an editor lays out “suggestions” about things that might “help” a piece “be even stronger,” it’s a signal both parties understand about what elements have to be put in before the editor will send the thing through.

Reed explained that any piece Greenwald wrote on the Biden/Burisma subject would have to go through “the editorial process and fact-checking that we do with any story with this kind of high profile.” Peter Maass would edit, but Reed also noted that there was a lot of “in-house knowledge” they could all “tap into.” By “in-house knowledge,” she meant the work of Robert Mackey and Jim Risen, two Intercept reporters with whom Greenwald clashed in the past. Risen had already loudly denounced the Post story not only as conspiracy theory, but foreign disinformation. Essentially, Reed was telling Greenwald his piece would be quasi-edited by people with whom he’d had major public disagreements about Russia-related issues going back years.

To this, Greenwald responded that this was a double-standard: when Risen wrote an article credulously quoting intelligence officials like James Clapper, John Brennan, and Michael Hayden (more on the extreme irony of this later) describing the Post story as having “the classic earmarks of Russian misinformation,” he could do so willy-nilly. But when Greenwald wanted to write an op-ed piece questioning the “prevailing wisdom on Biden and Burisma,” a team of people would would be summoned. “The only reason people are getting interested in and ready to scrutinize what I write is because everyone is afraid of being accused of having published something harmful to Biden,” Greenwald told them. “That’s the reality.”

Tucker Greenwald
https://twitter.com/i/status/1322003267182682113

Read more …

From a colleague at the Intercept.

The Intercept Abandoned Truth-Seeking Mission, Lost Its Best Journalist (Q.)

Unfortunately, not everyone at the Intercept felt that we should be “aggressively anti-partisan.” As the election approached, many colleagues began to complain about my articles about Clinton. At the time, I should stress, I was a politics reporter. I didn’t write columns or offer my opinion in these articles. My reporting was fact-based and in the public interest, and at no point did my colleagues (or other credible critics) question the facts I presented. Rather, they simply didn’t like seeing Democrats facing bad press at a time when they were going up against Trump in the general election. These internal pressures grew by an order of magnitude after Trump went on to win the presidency. It was ruefully communicated to me, in various ways, that I had helped betray our unwritten mandate to help Clinton defeat Trump.

Over time, these discussions became more explicit, with the editorial line becoming increasingly partisan and ideologically skewed. It no longer felt like we were an independent outlet dedicated to telling the truth and investigating those in power. Our goal was to undermine the Trump administration. Yes, we occasionally criticized Democrats, but almost invariably for not being sufficiently progressive or militantly anti-Trump. Greenwald is a controversial figure, but my sense of him is that he’s extremely principled. Although he’s unabashedly a man of the liberal-Left—having spent years advocating for left-wing causes from animal rights to anti-war activism—he has developed an impressive (some would call it inflexible) commitment to what he sees as basic fairness.

He doesn’t care about the letter next to a politician’s name: Greenwald believes everyone in power should be held accountable at all times. For someone who’s so outspoken about his progressive politics, he’s remarkably consistent about refusing to do favors (including favors of omission) for any politician or party. In the current climate, this marks him as an exception. And no matter what others’ views on Greenwald might be, it would be hard for any informed media observer to deny that his newly published observations about the Intercept apply equally to numerous other journalistic outlets around the world [..]

Read more …

“The Times is being sued for defamation for calling the videos “deceptive,” “coordinated disinformation,” using solely “unidentified sources,” and for having “no verifiable evidence.”

Project Veritas To Sue New York Times Over Ballot Harvesting Story (JTN)

James O’Keefe, the founder and CEO of Project Veritas, announced Friday his organization intends to sue The New York Times and two of its reporters, Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu, for defamation. The announcement came after negotiations for an apology and a retraction failed. The lawsuit is based on a story that Project Veritas broke regarding the practice of paying cash for ballots, tied to Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar. As they often do, Project Veritas used undercover video and published footage of two people who state that it was Omar who “came up with” the scheme to purchase ballots.


[..] The Times is being sued for defamation for calling the videos “deceptive,” “coordinated disinformation,” using solely “unidentified sources,” and for having “no verifiable evidence.” The Times claims that the term “deceptive” is an opinion, and thus not defamatory. But Project Veritas points out that it was in the news, not opinion section of the paper, and that the Times violated its own standards by not contacting Project Veritas for a comment before publishing the story. The parties appeared close to resolving the matter to avoid a lawsuit. O’Keefe said Project Veritas worked in good faith to achieve that outcome, but in the end, negotiations failed.

Read more …

Third world.

The Tech Antitrust Problem No One Is Talking About (Wired)

After years of building political pressure for antitrust scrutiny of major tech companies, this month Congress and the US government delivered. The House Antitrust Subcommittee released a report accusing Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook of monopolistic behavior. The Department of Justice filed a complaint against Google alleging the company prevents consumers from sampling other search engines. The new fervor for tech antitrust has so far overlooked an equally obvious target: US broadband providers. “If you want to talk about a history of using gatekeeper power to harm competitors, there are few better examples,” says Gigi Sohn, a fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy.

Sohn and other critics of the four companies that dominate US broadband—Verizon, Comcast, Charter Communications, and AT&T—argue that antitrust intervention has been needed for years to lower prices and widen internet access. A Microsoft study estimated last year that as many as 162.8 million Americans lack meaningful broadband, and New America’s Open Technology Institute recently found that US consumers pay, on average, more than those in Europe, Asia, or elsewhere in North America. The coronavirus pandemic has given America’s gaping digital divide more bite. Children without reliable internet have been forced to scavenge bandwidth outside libraries and Taco Bells to complete virtual school assignments. In April, a Pew Research Center survey found that one in five parents with children whose schools had been closed by coronavirus believed it likely they would not be able to complete schoolwork at home because of an inadequate internet connection.

Such problems are arguably more material than some of the antitrust issues that have recently won attention in Washington. The Department of Justice complaint against Google argues that the company’s payments to Apple to set its search engine as the default on the iPhone make it too onerous for consumers to choose a competing search provider. For tens of millions of Americans, changing broadband providers is even more difficult—it requires moving. The Institute for Local Self Reliance, which promotes community broadband projects, recently estimated from Federal Communications Commission data that some 80 million Americans can only get high-speed broadband service from one provider.

Read more …

 

 

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Oct 112020
 


Paul Wolff Frankfurt Opera House 1934

 

It’s A 2-Point Race, Not 16 (WE)
Biden Says Voters Don’t Deserve To Know If He Would Pack Supreme Court (JTN)
Beltway Republicans Want Trump to Drop The “Russiagate” Issue (sundance)
Biden Misquotes Trump on Gold Star Families (FactCheck.org)
50 Richest Americans Now Worth More Than Poorest 165 Million (ZH)
Most Voters Believe FBI Should Be Prosecuted For Role In Russia Probe (JTN)
EU Agrees Common ‘Traffic Light’ System For Coronavirus Travel (R.)
New Italy Mandate Requires Face Masks At All Times When Outside (JTN)
Schools Aren’t Super-Spreaders (Oster)

 

 

 

 

The Plot Against the President

 

 

Pollsters, like much of the press, don’t care about their credibility. They’re political instruments.

It’s A 2-Point Race, Not 16 (WE)

Add John Zogby to the growing number of Democratic pollsters questioning major media surveys showing a double-digit lead by Joe Biden over President Trump. “It’s closer than you think,” according to Zogby, who’s own John Zogby Strategies survey puts Biden’s lead at two points, 49%-47%. In his latest podcast with son and pollster Jeremy Zogby, John Zogby said that polls showing a bigger Biden lead are using a bad model, one that includes far too many Democrats. His model follows the partisan turnout in 2016 that was about 34% Republicans and about 38% Democrats. “We believe that is a more accurate reflection of the turnout model,” he said. But others showing a big Biden lead over-weigh Democrats. “Now some of the polls that have come out, I find troubling,” he said, citing CNN, Fox, and YouGov.

They give an average 15-point advantage to Democrats. CNN had it a 16-point lead. “I’m a Democrat,” he said, but “I just don’t don’t think the sampling is accurate.” While the elder Zogby didn’t cite a reason other pollsters are showing a bigger Biden lead, his son Jeremy did — Biden bias. “To me, it’s only two things. It’s deliberate, or it’s a projection of bias, and I would go with the latter,” he said in their weekly conversation, The Zogby Report. “If you live in an area, and you live in an echo chamber, and most of your friends think a certain way, a lot of times the echo chamber effect is that you tend to project, ‘How could people think such a certain way, clearly, for example, the president is out of mind, and he’s bad for this country, he’s bad for the world, so of course people are going to turn out in droves for Biden.’ I’m afraid that that’s what’s happening, a projection of bias in the data,” he said.

John McLaughlin, of McLaughlin & Associates, recently sent a memo to the president titled “Skewed media polls,” and said the media is trying to rig the election and suppress the GOP vote by making it look like a Biden runaway. In it, he wrote, “The latest skewed media polls must be intentional. It’s clear that NBC, ABC and CNN who have Democrat operatives like Chuck Todd, George Stephanopoulos and other Democrats in their news operations are consistently under-polling Republicans and therefore, reporting biased polls. They continue to poll adults or registered voters that skew away from likely voters. So instead of the 33% Republican turnout which actually happened in 2016, they are reporting polls on only 26%, 25% or even 24% Republicans.

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“You’ll know my position on court-packing the day after the election..” What a curious thing to say. But who attacks him on it? He gets away with it.

“.. the moment he answers that question all headlines will be about his stance.” No, the same press who don’t ask it now will not write about it after.

Biden Says Voters Don’t Deserve To Know If He Would Pack Supreme Court (JTN)

During a trip to Las Vegas, a reporter confronted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on if he would pack the court, in which he replied that voters don’t deserve to know. A KTNV reporter told Biden the number one thing viewers have asked in the past couple days is if he would choose to pack the court. “Well you’ve been asked by the viewers who are probably Republicans who don’t want me continuing to talk about what they’re doing to the court right now,” Biden responded Friday. “Well, sir don’t the voters deserve to know…?” reporter Ross DiMattei asked.


“No they don’t…. I’m not gonna play his game, he’d love me to talk about, and I’ve already said something on court packing, he’d love that to be the discussion instead of what he’s doing now,” Biden said. Last year during the Democratic primary, Biden claimed to oppose packing the court, something some of the other candidates supported. “You’ll know my position on court-packing the day after the election,” Biden said in Phoenix on Thursday, explaining that the moment he answers that question all headlines will be about his stance.

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In whose interest is this?

Beltway Republicans Want Trump to Drop The “Russiagate” Issue (sundance)

While it might seem frustrating to see republicans and conservatives demanding that President Trump stop talking about the greatest act of sedition and usurpation, within our Constitutional Republic in the history of our nation, this espousal by Andrew McCarthy is factually a very wide-spread opinion within the DC beltway:

Take the intents in their best possible light, and the basic premise is that no-one cares about the abuses of power that took place. National Review article by Rich Lowry is here. I have shared by own thoughts on this matter several times; and despite knowing this issue may not/will not drive the 2020 election; in my own contemplation I keep coming back to this central question: How can this be ignored? “… How does the office of a U.S. president; and more importantly the republic itself; survive a coordinated coup effort involving all three branches of government; while simultaneously those in charge of exposing the corruption fear the scale is too damaging for them to reveal?” What are your thoughts?

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Did he say really crazy things? Factcheck says no.

Biden Misquotes Trump on Gold Star Families (FactCheck.org)

Bartiromo, Oct: 8: And you said it was a blessing in disguise. Trump: A blessing in disguise. I’m — I’m glad because I’m the leader. And I can’t be like Biden where I hang out in a basement every day. Sure, he — if I wanted to hang out in a basement, I wouldn’t catch it, but I meet a lot of people and I have to. I’m the president of the country. I can’t hang around in a basement. So, I figured there would be a chance that I would catch it. Sometimes I’d be with — in groups of — for instance Gold Star families. I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that. But they all came in and they all talked about their son and daughter and father.

And, you know, they all came up to me and they tell me a story, Maria. It was really amazing actually, beautiful but sad. And they come up and they tell me a story about my son, sir, was in Iraq or he was in Afghanistan. And sir, he did this and he did that and then he charged in order to save his friends. And yes, sir, he was killed but he saved his friends. He’s so brave, sir. And they tell me these stories and I can’t say, “Back up, stand 10 feet.” I just can’t do it. And I went through like 35 people and everyone had a different story. I could also say don’t tell stories. They’re telling the story of their son who just died or daughter — Bartiromo: Right.

Trump: — or husband who just died in a war or recently died, you know, mostly over the last 10, 12 years but some very recent. And I can’t back up, Maria, and say, “Give me room, I want room. Give me 12 feet, stay 12 feet away when you talk.” They come, they come, within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it. But I did say it’s like, you know — it’s obviously dangerous. It’s a dangerous thing I guess if you go by the COVID thing. But I’m thinking — Bartiromo: Yes. Trump: Look, I look at the numbers. I figured that you probably — that probably at some point I’d catch it and I’ll get better. That’s what happened. I’ve caught it.

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Perversity.

50 Richest Americans Now Worth More Than Poorest 165 Million (ZH)

If readers want more evidence that the current economic system is rigged towards the working poor, well, look no further: New Federal Reserve data shows how these monetary wizards exacerbated the wealth gap during the virus pandemic via unprecedented quantitative easing programs. Never before has the Fed unleashed so much monetary stimulus in a given quarter (2Q20) to shield the economy from the virus-induced downturn. The result is a “K-shaped” recovery, disproportionately affecting low-wage service workers and households of color, while billionaires, cent millionaires, and millionaires added record wealth. The Fed’s monetary interventions resulted in surging stock and other asset prices, while those who owned no assets did not participate in the “V” recovery.

Earlier this week, Swiss bank UBS and accounting firm PwC published a new report that showed the wealth of the world’s 2,189 billionaires jumped to a new record high of $10.2 trillion in July, surpassing the $8.9 trillion record at the end of 2017. It was only when the world’s central banks aggressively expanded their balance sheets, beginning in March, that the rich got richer… Bloomberg notes that the Fed data shows the top 1% of Americans are worth $34.2 trillion, while the poorest 50%, around 165 million people, control about $2.08 trillion, or less than 2% of all household wealth. Meanwhile, the 50 wealthiest people in the country are worth almost $2 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, up $339 billion from the start of 2020. Tesla’s Elon Musk is a prime example of a billionaire who saw his wealth rapidly increase this year, up $75.6 billion year-to-date, to $103 billion.


Covid-19 has exacerbated the already worsening inequality issues in the U.S. If it’s monetary or fiscal, the transmission of stimulus has primarily flowed to society’s wealthiest. The rich got richer, and the working-poor got poorer. Tens of millions of working poor households were handed lousy $1,200 checks, with many folks still without jobs, depleted emergency savings, food insecurity issues, and millions at risk of eviction. The wealthiest 1% saw their wealth erupt earlier this year as they own about 50% of all stocks and mutual funds. The top 9% own about a third of stocks, which means the top 10% of Americans own about 88% of stocks.

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The takeaway from this is how few people know they lied to a FISA court.

Most Voters Believe FBI Should Be Prosecuted For Role In Russia Probe (JTN)

A near-majority of voters say FBI agents and leaders should be prosecuted for their role in the Russian collusion conspiracy theory, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen. Among the voters, 46% said FBI officials should be criminally charged over the scandal, while only half that number — 23% — said they shouldn’t. Thirty percent were unsure. The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted by Rasmussen using a mixed mode approach from October 1-3, 2020.

In a related Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen, just one-third of voters were aware that the FBI lied to a judge to obtain wiretaps against 2016 Trump campaign associates. When asked, 33% of voters said it was “true” that FBI agents lied to a judge to obtain warrants against Trump campaign affiliates. A fifth of all voters — 21% — found the allegation to be “false,” while 46% were unsure. The results indicate that relatively few voters are aware that former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith earlier this year admitted to falsifying an email used to obtain a wiretap against 2016 Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

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As if that solves any problems.

EU Agrees Common ‘Traffic Light’ System For Coronavirus Travel (R.)

European Union countries agreed on Friday to a common “traffic light” system to guide them on COVID-19 testing or quarantines on EU tourists and other non-essential travellers during the pandemic.It aims to end a confusing patchwork of restrictions across Europe and to bring back free movement of people, one of the key principles of the EU, within the 27-nation bloc when conditions allow. The system would lead to more “predictability and transparency” when travelling under COVID conditions in the EU, a spokesman for the German EU Council presidency said, calling it an important step forward.

The guidelines, which were backed by a majority of EU governments and will be formally adopted next week, advise that restrictions should be non-discriminatory, proportionate and limited to what is necessary. Under the plan, regions across the European Union will be designated green, orange or red, based on the degree to which the virus is under control, and grey if data is insufficient. The idea is that all countries will grant access to visitors from green zones. The European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control will provide weekly updates to assign the colours.

Based on its current assessment, with COVID-19 cases spiking across Europe, few areas would qualify as green – most of eastern Germany, parts of the Nordic and Baltic countries, Cyprus, certain regions of Bulgaria and Greece and one zone in Italy. While individual EU countries are free to determine their own measures, they will be encouraged to be consistent, for example setting the same measures for all red zones. A green status will apply to regions with fewer than 25 infections per 100,000 people in 14 days and where the percentage of positive tests is below 4%. Red means infection rates of 50 or more and positive tests of 4% or higher or infection rates of over 150 even with a low positive test rate.

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“..masks and protective gear..” What other gear does he mean? Look, if people wear just anything on their faces nobody gets protected. That’s just signalling.

I just bought a whole bunch of KN95 masks for the people working at the social kitchen in Athens. They are at risk. And if I can do that, your government can also.

But this is just plain nonsense. The risk of getting infected outside is not zero, but still negligible.

New Italy Mandate Requires Face Masks At All Times When Outside (JTN)

Protesters gathered in Rome on Saturday to show their anger over the country’s mask mandates among other continuous COVID-19 rules as infections across Italy and Europe are on the rise. Demonstrators expressed their frustration over harsh virus mandates that have not stopped since the beginning of the pandemic, including a new order that calls for all Italians to wear face masks while outside or else they could face a fine up to 1,000 euros ($1,200). “From now on, masks and protective gear have to be brought with us when we leave our house and worn. We have to wear them all the time unless we are in a situation of continuous isolation,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.


There were two different anti-mask protests on Saturday in the city, according to AP News. The ‘march for freedom’ event rallied Italians together to show their government disapproval and concerns for the democracy and economy. There have been 350,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy and 36,140 deaths. Most of the recent cases in the country are asymptomatic, and are detected through increased testing.

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Smart girl.

Schools Aren’t Super-Spreaders (Oster)

In early august, the first kids in America went back to school during the pandemic. Many of these openings happened in areas where cases were high or growing: in Georgia, Indiana, Florida. Parents, teachers, and scientists feared what might happen next. The New York Times reported that, in parts of Georgia, a school of 1,000 kids could expect to see 20 or 30 people arrive with COVID-19 during week one. Many assumed that school infections would balloon and spread outward to the broader community, triggering new waves. On social media, people shared pictures of high schools with crowded hallways and no masking as if to say I told you so.

Fear and bad press slowed down or canceled school reopenings elsewhere. Many large urban school districts chose not to open for in-person instruction, even in places with relatively low positivity rates. Chicago, L.A., Houston—all remote, at least so far. It’s now October. We are starting to get an evidence-based picture of how school reopenings and remote learning are going (those photos of hallways don’t count), and the evidence is pointing in one direction. Schools do not, in fact, appear to be a major spreader of COVID-19. Since early last month, I’ve been working with a group of data scientists at the technology company Qualtrics, as well as with school-principal and superintendent associations, to collect data on COVID-19 in schools.

Our data on almost 200,000 kids in 47 states from the last two weeks of September revealed an infection rate of 0.13 percent among students and 0.24 percent among staff. That’s about 1.3 infections over two weeks in a school of 1,000 kids, or 2.2 infections over two weeks in a group of 1,000 staff. Even in high-risk areas of the country, the student rates were well under half a percent. School-based data from other sources show similarly low rates. Texas reported 1,490 cases among students for the week ending on September 27, with 1,080,317 students estimated at school—a rate of about 0.14 percent. The staff rate was lower, about 0.10 percent. These numbers are not zero, which for some people means the numbers are not good enough.

But zero was never a realistic expectation. We know that children can get COVID-19, even if they do tend to have less serious cases. Even if there were no spread in schools, we’d see some cases, because students and teachers can contract the disease off campus. But the numbers are small—smaller than what many had forecasted. Predictions about school openings hurting the broader community seem to have been overblown as well. In places such as Florida, preliminary data haven’t shown big community spikes as a result of school openings. Rates in Georgia have continued to decline over the past month. And although absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, I’ve read many stories about outbreaks at universities, and vanishingly few about outbreaks at the K–12 level.

Read more …

 

 

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Nov 062018
 


Elio Ciol Via Portica, Assisi 1958

 

Pollsters were so wrong in 2016 you’d think they would have changed jobs by now. Yeah, sure. We remember the 97% prediction for a Hillary win, right? And the 92% from the New York Times? Happy days. Now we have the same suspects plying their usual trade again. As if nothing has changed. And that’s a bit of an issue. It would be beneficial if pollsters asked themselves why they got 2016 so wrong, but since there’s been little to no consequence for their livelihoods, they haven’t.

Because of the frenzy whipped out over today’s midterms, with almost everyone declaring this the most important midterms, if not elections, of their lifetimes, more people have participated in early voting, and far more than usual have expressed their intention to go vote.

And so the pollsters look at that and apply their age-old models to it. More people voting is good for the Democrats, as is more early voting, according to them, and so is more young people voting. Ditto for black people, Hispanics. Because that’s how it’s always been. And it’s easier that way than to actually go talk to people about their votes, and the reasons behind these votes.

But it’s as if Trump never happened in 2016, when his performance made that entire polling industry look like useless fools. How about if Trump’s rallies and tweets are a major reason why more Americans, and more young Americans, will go and vote? Certainly doesn’t sound crazy.

Update: after I wrote the above last night, first thing in the morning came this graph from NBC. I feel at least partly vindicated.

 

 

The Democrats and their media allies have a bit of a Catch-22 going on. They want to sound enthusiastic and confident about the midterms, but not so much that it will make potential voters stay away. It doesn’t seem to work: they again sound like they got it in the bag.

Moreover, their entire schtick is based on one thing only: Trump. Not being Trump is supposed to be their ticket to ride. They don’t actually have programs or policies, at least not on a national level. They’re simply betting on being able to whip up enough hatred of the Donald.

In a nation as polarized as America is these days, that is both extremely easy and extremely hard. Easy, because the one half of Americans who already despise the man read and see that part of the media that cultivates that hatred from dusk till dawn every single day.

Hard, because there are very few people left who are either on the fence or don’t hate the man, whose opinions could be changed by more of the same kind of ‘reporting’. The chips are down, the lines have been drawn.

If only the MSM could report on terrible economic numbers on top of labeling Trump a racist, misogynist, aniti-Semite, fascist. But the economy -on the surface- is doing fine, and it’s that, stupid. For many Americans, including fence-sitters, that’s what it’s all about.

One of the first things I read yesterday was a headline that said Hillary is still the Democrats’ best bet for 2020. I’m going to have to doubt that there’s a better illustration of what’s ailing the Democrats.

Even as there’s the issue of Schumer, Pelosi, Feinstein, Wasserman-Schultz and Waters still leading that party, while their only challengers insist on calling themselves ‘socialists’, which is to one’s election chances in America what a wooden stake is to a vampire’s odds of survival.

 

And they would still win by a wide margin if not for Trump. Because the Republicans have the exact same issues. They too are ruled by a bunch of sociopath pensioners who can’t and won’t let go of the thrill of power and the millions slipped to them under the table by banks and insurers and gunmakers.

There’s only one way for the nation to prevent being run by the cast of Cocoon, and that is Trump, and he’s 72 himself. A president has two terms, even if he’s under 50 years old, but Senators can stay forever even if they live to be 100. And changes to that are subject to decisions by that very same crew. It’s a bankrupt system in which voters can and do go bankrupt and politicians are all millionaires.

And yet the systems rolls out all it’s got to protect itself. But it’s gone overboard with that. There has been so much in the way of smear and allegations against Trump that turned out not be based on anything, that the MSM has muzzled itself, prevented itself from reaching anyone other than those who are already in their camp.

That’s what you get for confusing news and opinion. Of course it’s tempting, because it attracted so many viewers and readers, and so much money, but in the end, the WaPo, NYT and CNN have voluntarily given up access to half of America, and with them the Democrats have too. Down the line, that will prove to be a very costly ‘business model’.

 

In 2015 I predicted Trump would win the presidential elections. not based on his qualities so much, but the lack of qualities on Hillary’s side. This time I don’t want to predict the outcome of the midterms, but I just can’t see the Democrats win, let alone bigly, because they have nothing to offer other than not being the man responsible for more jobs and -so far- slightly, slowly higher wages.

If the Democrats do take the House, they can be expected to go after Trump and his administration, with more investigations in the vein of the Mueller one, endlessly protracted innuendo that doesn’t go anywhere. The polarization might well make America a de facto ungovernable country. If they take the Senate as well, Trump may be a lame duck, and impeachment talk will rear its ugly head again.

If the Republicans maintain control of both House and Senate, they will demand thorough investigations of the Mueller files and much more, like the Kavanaugh accusations. Not a highly desirable thing either, because it will lead to even more polarization. But how much deeper can they dig themselves into their trenches?

Both the Democrats and the MSM have painted themselves into a tight corner. They should engage in a dialogue with Trump, but how do you do that after publicly bashing someone 24/7 for 2 years and change?

That all said, it’s obvious that it truly will be an important day today. The only good outcome, regardless of the vote, would be for everyone to sit down and talk to each other. But what are the odds of that?