Acute on Chronic & Malignant on Idiotic

Note: This was intended for yesterday and today's still needs work so you may get two today, or possibly a bonus on Sat as we look at the Big Ten reversing itself and deciding to have football which seems appropriate on a fall Saturday.

We had problems long before Donald Trump, but with a government that at least pretended to function, they were much easier to ignore because they didn't include pictures of people digging mass graves in the Bronx, a red sky over California and miles long lines for food banks. There is a medical phrase for what we now face: Acute on Chronic. Covid-19 has forced us to reckon with the chronic problems of America while battling an acute illness that has killed roughly 200,000 Americans. The other night on TV, former senator Barbara Boxer said Trump thinks he's a king, then proceeded to quote King George in Hamilton: "When push comes to shove, I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love." I think she was talking about Trump's super-spreader indoor rallies that kind of look like the Night of the Living Dead, but she could have gone even deeper given the news of the last few weeks, climate change, the massive decline of American influence & unidentified federal troops in American cities: "Oceans rise, empires fall, we have seen each other through it all, and when push comes to shove I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love."

Slate: The Phrase That Explains Why This Pandemic Has Been So Devastating

For decades, activists and civil society members, researchers and policymakers have tried to highlight the ways in which our social and economic structures and institutions exclude, marginalize, and harm countless individuals. Even among the most prosperous societies, large sections of the population experience poverty, homelessness, unemployment or precarious employment conditions, unsafe work, and food insecurity. Systemic racism, misogyny, homophobia, and the legacy of colonialism continue to take a toll on communities across the globe.

The experience of living within oppressive structures constitutes a chronic health risk for many. Research across a number of disciplines has exhaustively documented the detrimental health impacts of the intersecting factors of racism, misogyny, poverty, marginalization, and oppression. The advent of COVID-19 represents an acute situation that has brought these ongoing injustices into sharp relief.

Okay, now combine this with the Government Blessed Rage Machine -- maybe the acute needs no assistance but this certainly helps with the chronic, the malignant and the idiotic.

Wired: Section 230 Is a Government License to Build Rage Machines

Google might be viewed as a search engine, and Facebook as a virtual community, but these services are not where the profits lie. They make money by deciding what content will keep readers’ eyeballs locked near ads. The platforms are paid for their ability to actively select and amplify whatever material keeps you hooked and online. And all of that content is specifically protected by Section 230, even when they are recommending QAnon or Kenosha Guard.

This unusual state of affairs exists because, while Section 230 was intended to limit the platforms’ responsibility for bad content, the courts have also perversely interpreted it as providing protection for commercial decisions to elevate and push stories to users. This allows Google and Facebook to focus on user engagement to the exclusion of everything else, including content quality and user well-being. If I threaten or defame someone in an online post (assuming I’m not acting anonymously), I can be sued. If a platform decides to promote that threatening post to millions of other people to drive user interest and thus increase time on the site, they can do so without any fear of consequences. Section 230 is a government license to build rage machines.

The magic of social media is now ably demonstrated here by Michaal Caputo, high level Trump aide. ** Also, watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix it really helps illustrate the problems of social media and some of the people thinking about how to fix them. I think removing protection from liability will go a long way in forcing these entities to deal with their bad actors. Why else make all that money if you are not going to use it to hire people? **

Vanity Fair: Senior Trump Aide Goes On Deranged Rant, Says Scientists Are Working for “Deep State”

“There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president,” he continued. “To allow people to die so that you can replace the president is a grievous venial sin, venial sin. And these people are all going to hell.”...

During the Facebook Live event, Caputo also made allegations that Antifa had “squads being trained all over this country” with the goal being to target the current administration’s supporters. He told his listeners to stock up on ammunition come November when Trump would win but Biden would refuse to concede defeat, leading to an uprising from the left. “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,” he said.


(Update: Caputo is now on a leave of absence. Not fired. Because Trump)

Whew. Thank GOODNESS Facebook has no liability for the stuff they host on their platform. Oh wait. No. Fuck Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg and every person who works there and thinks this is okay. I guess given the above, Scientific American had no choice but to endorse a candidate who actually believes in them. (Spoiler alert: It's Biden.) Or it might have been this:

Scientific American: We’ve never backed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history—until now

Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.

And so at the end of this post we imagine Vladimir Putin singing King George's last number in Hamilton: "Oceans rise, empires fall, next to Washington they all look small, all alone, watch them run, they will tear each other into pieces, Jesus Christ this will be fun."

This is totally bootleg and in the covid era the spitting might make you rethink front row seats when Broadway comes back. But Jonathan Groff is marvelous and if you haven't seen the whole thing, do it now. It will do more for your patriotism and eagerness to vote and fix this land of dysfunction than probably anything else can.

Da da da da daaaah da da da da diya da da da da da da daaaaaaah.

The Sideshow

I love Seth Meyers. He has almost completely rehabilitated the name Seth in my book. Almost.

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NEW: Charlie Kirk's c4 enlists minors in "troll farm" spreading coordinated pro-Trump messaging -Thousands of identical posts lifted from shared doc-Users nowhere disclose ties to Turning Point-Twitter and Facebook acted after our questionshttps://t.co/ihZIDdE4eI

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Oregon GOP state senator Fred Girod was one of 11 Republicans who made headlines when they walked out of the senate - some even leaving the state - so that a quorum could not be achieved for a climate change bill. Now the wildfires have claimed his home.https://t.co/5aQfw9dSV1

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Guy who runs the main Qanon post archive site is an info sec guy at @Citibank https://t.co/68OGCC8kuh

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ICE deported a woman who has been a key witness in an ongoing investigation into sexual assault and harassment at an El Paso immigration detention center https://t.co/BhTFB9xsec

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have started using "due to the ongoing apocalypse" in professional emails

And lastly, this week in misogyny... Mad Money's Jim Cramer, the half of Kudlow and Cramer that couldn't get a job with the Trump admin to do drunk tv appearances called Speaker Pelosi "Crazy Nancy" today on television. I guarantee that he never would have called Speaker Dennis Hastert "Pedo Denny" even though that would have been provably true.

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Stay classy, Jim Cramer. He just called Nancy Pelosi, "Crazy Nancy" - to her face, during an interview. pic.twitter.com/pzQmCG6Cnb

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