On keeping time

I place great value on time. I am one of those people who makes sure that all the clocks in my home are kept right on time. When it comes time to change clocks due to the absurd practice of Daylight Savings Time, I go round the previous night and do so so that there is no danger of my doing something at the wrong time the following day. I am baffled by those who are not bothered that their clocks are wrong and find even more incomprehensible those who deliberately set their clocks fast in order to help them avoid being late for things. Having to constantly mentally adjust the time makes no sense to me.
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Bolivia, lithium, and Elon Musk

Oligarchs tend to be jerks in general and Elon Musk is clearly one of the biggest jerks. One of his big jerk moves was in blackmailing the city of Oakland that if they did not lift their covid-19 restrictions, he would move his Tesla manufacturing plant out of the city. So it should be no surprise that he is also an example of the arrogance of US imperialists.

Recall that the US was an enthusiastic supporter of the coup last year in Bolivia that overturned the election results that had socialist Evo Morales winning easily. Morales has speculated that one reason that the US wanted him out is that, in addition to his policies that benefited the long-neglected poor and indigenous people of his country (the kinds of policies that the US absolutely detests), he had also made a deal with China for the export of the element lithium. It appears that Bolivia has great reserves of this element which is an important component of batteries.
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The real Abbie Hoffman

The release of the film The Trial of The Chicago 7 that I reviewed here has renewed interest in the life of Abbie Hoffman. Nathan J. Robinson writes that while this is to be welcomed because there is much to be admired about Hoffman, the film also downplays some of the more radical of Hoffman’s ideas because writer-director Aaron Sorkin is someone who feels that the US institutions are fundamentally sound and that it is the people who run it that are the problem, while Hoffman felt that the system was rotten through and through and needed fundamental restructuring.
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Trump and white women voters

One of the big stories in the 2020 election is how so many white women who voted for Trump in 2016 have defected to Joe Biden. This has resulted in Trump pleading with them to vote for him. (He uses the euphemism of ‘suburban women’ because explicitly asking for white women’s votes would be a racist rhetorical bridge too far even for him.) His pleading to them borders on the pathetic.
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Early voting trends

According to the site maintained by Michael McDonald who is keeping track of early voting, in the 2016 election, 47,015,596 people voted early out of a total of 136,669,276, which works out to about 34.4%.

For this year’s election, as of today, 52,643,908 early votes have been cast, rocketing past the 2016 total with still another 10 days left to go, and the numbers have been rising at the rate of about 3-4 million votes a day. While that rate will likely drop as the days go by, we might well see over half the votes handed in before election day, even allowing for more total votes being cast in this election than 2016. This is clearly a sign of both determination to vote as well as the belief that many minds are well and truly made up.

McDonald also provides data on the party affiliation of the people requesting ballots and who have returned them, provided that that information is provided by the state.

I am getting a huge amount of election related material in the regular mail, much more so than when I was in Ohio. Much of it is related to the many ballot initiatives in California but most of it is arriving after I have voted. It seems like the campaigns were either caught by surprise by the popularity of early voting or felt that the only persuadable people are those who wait until the last minute.

The Sacklers get off easy

The Sackler family has made billions of dollars by pushing doctors to aggressively prescribe the opioids produced by their company Purdue Pharmaceuticals to patients, thus helping cause the passive prescription drug addiction problem that has ranged so many families and communities. They then donated money to universities and other cultural institution that put their name on buildings to enable them to pose as philanthropists.
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Reflections on the final Biden-Trump debate

I watched the debate last night and it was much better than the first one simply because it could not have got worse. Believe it or not, for the most part Trump did tone it down as his advisers had promised. He did not interrupt Joe Biden as much though he did refuse to listen to the moderator when she tried to limit the length of his responses. What he did as usual was to reel off lies, make up stuff, and refuse to answer some questions, and keep veering off into accusing Joe Biden and his family of getting payments from foreign governments.

Biden got in some good shots at Trump for not having any plan to replace Obamacare and for being utterly callous about the suffering of so many people due to covid-19.
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Can this be true?

A Dutch security researcher has said that he had gained access to Trump’s Twitter account by guessing the password. What was it, you ask? “maga2020!”. Yes, really.

Victor Gevers, a security expert, had access to Trump’s direct messages, could post tweets in his name and change his profile, de Volkskrant reported.

Gevers – who previously managed to log into Trump’s account in 2016 – gained access by guessing Trump’s password. Maga2020, a popular tag for Trump’s re-election campaign, was Gevers’ fifth attempt – and it worked.

“I expected to be blocked after four failed attempts. Or at least would be asked to provide additional information,” Gevers told de Volkskrant.

Remarkably, it wasn’t the first time Gevers has gained access to the president’s Twitter account. In 2016 he and two others guessed Trump’s password, and got into his account.

Back then Trump’s password was “yourefired”, according to Vrij Nederland.

I find it hard to imagine that even Trump would use such an obvious password but with Trump, there seems to be no lower limit for incompetence.