Sunday 17th of January 2021

hope and change — again— versus the crazy uncle... if things were as simple as "hockey"...


"Every family has a joke teller, and he is usually bad news. That's right, bad news." This is the beginning of chapter XVIII "Uncle Ben and the Side-Splitting Knee-Slapper OR Some Words Are Loaded" in Jean Shepherd's "IN GOD WE TRUST *** ALL OTHERS PAY CASH ***"


Donald Trump has been compared to a "crazy Uncle" and Biden endeared to a “scrappy kid from Scranton” by Obama, now on the trail for the "No More Trump" campaign... By strange coincidence, one of my bedside books at the moment is the one mentioned above. It's an old-fashioned kind of read : "And so the bartender says to the guy...."


"Uncle Ben was our family Joke Teller.... Uncle Ben had the kind of Brass-Lamp look.... tell jokes. Not funny stories — Jokes. And I mean the worst kind that should be fumigated before they are allowed in the house." 




Barack Obama likens Donald Trump to 'crazy uncle' in Joe Biden rally speech. Barack Obama returned to the campaign trail.

“With Joe and Kamala at the helm, you’re not going to have to think about the crazy things they said every day,” Obama said. “And that’s worth a lot.”

“Eight months into this pandemic, cases are rising again across this country” Obama said at a drive-in rally in Philadelphia less than two weeks before election day. “Donald Trump isn’t suddenly going to protect all of us. He can’t even take the basic steps to protect himself.”

Declaring this “the most important election of our lifetime”, Obama pleaded with Americans to deliver Biden a victory so overwhelming that Trump cannot seriously dispute the result. “What we do now these next 13 days will matter for decades to come,” he said.

Obama, who swept to the White House on an optimistic message of “hope and change,” acknowledged that progress was not always a straight line. “The fact that we don’t get 100% of what we want right away is not a good reason not to vote,” he implored.

His visit to Pennsylvania, one of three traditionally Democratic Rust Belt states that he won twice and Trump flipped in 2016, underscored its significance this cycle. Both candidates have lavished the state with frequent visits and a blitz of advertising. Biden holds a narrow lead in Pennsylvania, according to a RealClearPolitics average of state polls.

Seizing on a comment Trump made during a rally in western Pennsylvania on Tuesday, when he told supporters that he would not have been there if his campaign wasn’t trailing, Obama smiled mischievously: “Poor guy. I don’t feel that way. I love coming to Pennsylvania.”

Waving away the polls and punditry that have shown Biden widening his lead in recent weeks, Obama urged Black men and young progressives not to sit out this cycle. 

“I don’t care about the polls. There were a whole bunch of polls last time,” he said. “Didn’t work out because a whole bunch of folks stayed at home.”

Read more:

in Gastonia tonight...

Picture at top  — mischief by Gus Leonisky — picked from the BBC...


US President Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, have directed blistering attacks at each other during rival rallies.

Campaigning for Democratic White House nominee Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Mr Obama likened Mr Trump to a "crazy uncle" and said he emboldened racists.

In North Carolina, the Republican president mocked Mr Obama for being wrong about the 2016 election outcome.

With 13 days to go until this election, Mr Biden holds a solid lead nationally.

But the margin is slimmer in the handful of US states that could go either way and ultimately decide the outcome on 3 November.

Americans are voting early at a record pace this year, with 42 million having already cast ballots both by post and in person.

What did Trump say?

Mr Trump trained most of his fire during his rally in Gastonia on Wednesday evening on his current Democratic challenger for the White House.

Read more:



The final debate is going to be crazy...



And the word "hockey" was the word that a seven year old Jean Shepherd thought he heard and misunderstood in the bawdy joke from uncle Ben...

facing up to disappointments...


Biden will take office under immediate pressure to address internal Democratic battles over a broad range of topics, including, to name just a few, mass incarceration, immigration reform, denial of asylum seekers’ rights, constraints on evictions, the politics of utility shut-offs, defunding law enforcement and the logistics of mandatory vaccination.

Julie Wronski, a political scientist at the University of Mississippi, was explicit in warning about future schisms within the Democratic Party:


A Biden victory may not be a referendum on a progressive policy agenda. If anything, a Biden presidency may amplify the fractures within the Democratic Party as they try to push forward a post-Trump platform. A coalition may be in agreement on outing Trump and pulling the country out of its pandemic-induced economic tailspin. But when it comes to racial justice, income equality, or environmental regulation initiatives, differences within the party can manifest as opposing ideological forces that can bring legislative compromises to an impasse.

Difficulties in managing the Democratic Party are inevitable, given the scope of what Wronski described as the


“Never Trump” coalition that spans multiple ethnic/racial groups, socio-economic classes, issue preferences, and ideologies. On the left-right ideological spectrum, general election Biden supporters range from far-left Sanders primary voters to establishment Republicans such as the Lincoln Project.

Winning control of the Senate is critically important, of course, and will shape what happens as much as anything else an election can decide.

FiveThirtyEight estimates the odds of a Democratic takeover of the Senate at 74-26, or three to one.


Read more:


Read from top.

and billionaires for a free meal...

During the debate something was raise that Biden had more cash support than Trump. Trump reacted that if he wanted he could get anyone in Wall Street to dig deep but did not want to (Whether Wall Street would or not dig deep is a different question). One needs to be aware and we would be deficient in not mentioning this:


One Monday evening last month, Hillary Clinton and Senator Kamala Harris, and two actors who portrayed them on “Saturday Night Live,” Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph, gathered for a virtual fund-raiser benefiting the Biden campaign. By all accounts, the livestream was a smashing success: about 100,000 people watched and donated. The event raised $4.4 million.

That same night, Joseph R. Biden Jr. beamed into a more intimate affair of fewer than two dozen people: a $500,000-per-ticket fund-raiser hosted by the billionaire financier Haim Saban. It raised even more: $4.5 million.

While Mr. Biden’s campaign has trumpeted the small donations flooding in at record rates, the elite world of billionaires and multimillionaires has remained a critical cog in the Biden money machine.

From Hollywood to Silicon Valley to Wall Street, Mr. Biden’s campaign has aggressively courted the megadonor class. It has raised almost $200 million from donors who gave at least $100,000 to his joint operations with the Democratic Party in the last six months — about twice as much as President Trump raised from six-figure donors in that time, according to an analysis of new federal records.As the size of checks has grown, the Biden campaign has become less transparent, declining so far to disclose the names of its most influential fund-raisers, people known as bundlers who gather large checks from friends and business associates and then deliver them to the campaign.

Mr. Biden legally must disclose the contributors themselves. And his donor roll includes some of the wealthiest and most prominent Americans: Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood producer, and his wife, Marilyn Katzenberg, gave $1.4 million. Sean Parker, the tech entrepreneur, and his wife, Alexandra Lenas, gave $1.2 million. And Reed Hastings, the Netflix chief executive, and his wife, Patty Ann Quillin, gave $1.4 million.. Top executives with investment, private equity and venture capital firms like Blackstone, Bain Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Warburg Pincus all contributed handsomely.

This parade of industry giants delivered a surge in donations even as the progressive base of the Democratic Party agitates against the influence of billionaires and corporate titans. A group of progressives, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, signed a letter last week that reads like a warning shot to a potential Biden administration, urging the Senate to reject any future executive branch nominations of corporate lobbyists or corporate executives.


Read more:

a bit of deliberate disinformation...



Iran Seeks to Confuse the United States?

written by Philip Giraldi

Those who have been waiting for the elusive October Surprise that will upset the apple cart on election day are admittedly running out of time. The media’s unwillingness to even consider that the antics of Hunter Biden just might constitute an embarrassment of major proportions or even something worse has done much to kill that story. And the old tried and true expedient of starting a little war somewhere is also proving to be a false hope as no one appears ready to provoke the righteously wrathful Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by ponying up a casus belli. Maybe there is still time for a false flag operation, but even that would require more prior planning than the White House appears capable of.

There is, however, one area that might just be exploitable to create a crisis, though it much depends on whether a tired public is willing to go one more round over the issue of “foreign election interference.” And yes, the Russians are presumed to be involved, on this occasion, as they always are, joined by the ever-vengeful Iranians.

On Wednesday Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe held a news conference at which he laid out details of the most recent dastardly plot against American democracy. He described how Iran and Russia both obtained American voter registration data, apparently through publicly accessible databases and through purchases of email lists. Though no actual votes have been altered, they are using that information “to influence the presidential election as it enters its final two weeks.” Ratcliffe elaborated how “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine…confidence in American democracy.”

Ratcliffe focused mostly on Iran, saying that it had been identified as the source of what he described as a claimed 1,500 “spoofed emails” routed through Estonia that “seek to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump.” Iran was also blamed for other material, to include a video encouraging the casting of illegal ballots both domestically and overseas. Additional intelligence suggests that Iran is planning to take more steps to influence the election in the coming days, though what those measures could possibly be was not revealed.

Other government sources elaborated, indicating that Iranian intelligence has been credited with the sending of the email messages going out to Democratic voters in four states, including hotly disputed Pennsylvania and Florida. The emails falsely claimed to be from the alleged far-right group Proud Boys which has been much in the news. Their message was that “we will come after you” if the recipients fail to vote for Donald Trump.

It doesn’t take much to realize that threatening messages relating to voting for Trump allegedly coming from a source described as “racist” would undoubtedly motivate most registered Democratic voters to do the opposite, but that seems to have escaped the analysts of the Directorate of National Intelligence. And one must also ask why Tehran would want the re-election of a president who has been unremittingly hostile, including imposing crippling sanctions, withdrawing from a beneficial nuclear agreement, and assassinating a leading Revolutionary Guards general. Even US Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer appears to have figured that one out, saying “It was clear to me that the intent of Iran in this case and Russia in many more cases is to basically undermine confidence in our elections. This action I do not believe was aimed... at discrediting President Trump.”

The anti-Trump New York Times has, of course, another, more sinister interpretation, suggesting that “…it may also play into President Trump’s hands. For weeks, he has argued, without evidence, that the vote on Nov. 3 will be ‘rigged,’ that mail-in ballots will lead to widespread fraud and that the only way he can be defeated is if his opponents cheat. Now, on the eve of the final debate, he has evidence of foreign influence campaigns designed to hurt his re-election chances, even if they did not affect the voting infrastructure.”

The Times also notes a broader conspiracy by the dreadful Persians, explaining how “Iran has tinkered at the edges of American election interference since 2012, but always as a minor actor. Last year, it stepped up its game, private cybersecurity firms have warned. They have caught Iranian operatives occasionally impersonating politicians and journalists around the world, often to spread narratives that are aimed at denigrating Israel or Saudi Arabia, its two major adversaries in the Middle East.” Again, however, the article provides no explanation of what Iran could possibly hope to gain from the minimal “tinkering” it might be able to engage in an American election in which billions of dollars will be spent by Democrats and Republicans who are viciously attacking each other without any outside help.

Ratcliffe had less to say about Russia but US media coverage of the story included a referral to a recent account of how the US military’s Cyber Command helped take down a network developed by Russian hackers called TrickBot that had been used in ransomware attacks directed against companies as well as cities and towns across the United States. It also reported how “In recent days, another Russian hacking group called Energetic Bear, often linked to the F.S.B. — one of the successors to the Soviet Union’s K.G.B. — appears to have focused its attention on gaining access to state and local government networks. That has caught the attention of federal investigators because, until now, the group had largely targeted energy firms, including public utilities.”

There was, however, no evidence that either hacking group was being directed against voter systems, so Russia’s inclusion in the front-page Times story headlined “Iran and Russia Seek to Influence Election in Final Days, US Officials Warn” has to be considered questionable editorial judgment. Perhaps scaremongering would be a better description. In any event, the story itself is much ado about nothing. Iran’s sending out 1,500 emails if that actually occurred, would have zero impact. Likewise, the claimed existence of alleged Russian hacking groups that have done nothing directed against voters or balloting systems with only a few days left until the election would appear to be an electoral tactic rather than exposure of any genuine threat. One might even describe it as a bit of deliberate disinformation.


Read more:


Read from top. Are they talking about "Borat"?



Read also: "the big guy"...