|Welcome to curmudgeon's corner for Saturday, December 9th, 2023.
It is 1945 UTC as we're starting to record. And yeah, it's just me.
Yvonne let me know on Thursday, middle of the day that he was not able to make it.
You may remember that last week he talked a lot about what he was going to do with his home office. So basically his excuse is that his home office was in total and utter chaos, and so was the rest of his house.
His computer was in his son's bedroom, you know, all this kind of stuff.
Now, of course, we are set up so that he could do this from his phone.
He could like go to his car and call in and do the show, but no, no.
Excuses, excuses, excuses.
Anyway, it's just me. I did send out my usual email and I made a couple of changes to my mechanism to try to get more people.
There was one person, Peter, you're out there who asked to be added to the list.
So I added him to the list.
And also instead of excluding the last three people to do the show, I mean, I still excluded the last three people to do the show, but I changed it. So I counted myself.
So that if I did a solo show, I counted myself as a co-host.
And so like it really only excluded the last two since I've done a solo show recently.
And so that, that made it so that Bruce could also be included on the list this time, but Bruce was busy.
He re he, he did reply. Thank you, Bruce. Bruce was busy and no one else replied this time. So it's just me.
And also I will mention I am sick.
It's a negative COVID tests, all that. So it's something else, but I have a nice rattly cough.
I've had a low fever, like not like, it's not like crazy high.
The highest it got was a hundred and, you know, off and on, like not even continuous and, but you know, enough. So I kind of felt like crap.
So here we are. I got that going on right now. still, like it hasn't fully gone away, but like I went and, oh yeah.
Agenda where I'm going to do my butt first and I have the media piece I promised last week and I'll probably complain about being sick a little bit.
And then our next two segments, you know, I think it's probably going to be pretty predictable for me.
There's going to be a Trump stuff segment and then there's going to be another politics segment, you know, fun.
And because I'm doing it by myself over the weekend, I'll do the thing where I spread it out over the whole damn weekend.
So I'm going to do this intro, and then go like, do something else.
And I was about to say go back to sleep, but not quite.
I don't think I'll quite do that, but definitely going to be doing stuff that doesn't require much. So here comes the complaining about being sick part.
So, you know, here's I.
I don't know. Like I started to feel bad, like Thursday evening.
I mean, not really bad Thursday evening.
So I went into the office anyway, like, you know, I've complained before my company has this like back three day a week back to the office thing.
So, I was in the office several days last week.
I was there the required three to be specific.
But Friday was one of those days where even I would agree, okay, it makes sense to come into the office. There was a...
At like an all hands thing for the group I'm a part of.
So everyone was giving a couple minute blurb on like the stuff they're working.
I shouldn't say everybody, like the, the, each sub team had like a little thing.
And so, you know, and there were people getting together and so I like everybody came in and so that was fine.
I would have been there anyway, even if there was no return to office mandate kind of stuff, Cause there was an actual purpose where people were coming together and chatting about things.
Now it's still split over multiple locations and there were still a bunch of people at home.
So it was kind of whatever. And also like the only thing that happened.
That was the entire group was like the presentations of everything.
It wasn't like there was organized free food or some sort of social activity afterwards.
I did have, I did have lunch with a couple of people, but it wasn't like the big group or anything, but yeah.
So here's the thing though, crowded conference room, nobody wearing masks in, including me. I mean, I thought about it.
I thought about it because it specifically, this was one of the cases where I was the one that was coughing.
I mean, there, I think there a couple other people too, honestly, but I was very aware of it on myself.
I'm like, you know, I might be contagious here. Should I put on a mask?
You know, not for me. Although like the room was crowded enough.
I'm like, you know, this is, this is the thing I've said this before.
Like one of the things we should have freaking learned from COVID is that yes, like we should avoid tight, crowded spaces.
And if we can't avoid it, that's a good place for a mask, especially.
When things are spiking and it's not just COVID is spiking right now, but so is RSV. So is flu. So is some other stuff.
And this is exactly the kind of scenario where the smart thing to do.
Would be to not have meetings like this in small conference rooms with the door closed.
At the least, leave the damn door open so you get some ventilation.
At the least, wear some masks.
Maybe have the thing in a more open area with better ventilation and blah, blah, blah, or, you know, whatever, but no, no, none of that.
I had, I made, I had my mask with me.
Cause I was like, you know, maybe I should put this on. And I fully admit at this point, it's like peer pressure because nobody's wearing their stupid masks, like that's long gone at this point.
But this is exactly the scenario where that should be happening. And I didn't do it.
And I feel bad about not doing it a little bit, but on the other hand, this time, I know like I'm the potential giver and I'm the potential one making other people sick because I was already sick to a degree, you know, it wasn't like really bad, but I have this little dry cough going on.
Like I said, like the fever was coming up and down.
I mean, like, again, it wasn't like I had 103 degree fever and was coughing nonstop. There's just a little cough every once in a while.
And the, the temperature would sometimes spike into the, you know, above 99, between 99, five and a hundred or whatever.
And, but I, I, I, I remember myself at one point thinking, well, if somebody catches this from me, that's their own damn fault for like not wearing a mask around me, they can hear me coughing. They could put on a mask.
Of course, I should have put on my mask. I know I should have put on my mask, but I didn't. Cause I was one of the ones presenting and I was like, I could have put it on and taken it off.
I could have done them. I could have done a variety of things. I didn't.
Instead, I'm just like, okay, whatever, because it's also the kind of, this is also the kind of sick that in the, in, in the olden days, and I guess we're back to now that people would still go to work with, which is another thing we should have learned from COVID is like, if you've got that kind of thing going on, you should be staying home.
You should, you should be ideally, you should probably just be taking a sick day and not doing anything for work, but if you are doing something for work, you should be doing it from home.
But frankly, the whole required days in the office thing makes you be like, okay, I'm going to the office, I guess.
If I'm spreading disease, oh well.
Now, to be clear, various people in my management chain have said, like in, in large group emails and one-on-one and everything like, Hey, if you're sick, stay home.
Don't worry about the stupid policies if you're sick, stay home.
But for the most part, it's like, well, yeah, but those aren't the ones who are like pushing to enforce this stuff. And so they may or may not have any power.
So, so, you know, you're like, I have to make my three days in the office. I'm coming in.
And I'll try not to cough on everybody. But, you know, I, you know how that goes.
You know, if, if, if you're in a crowded closed room and you're coughing, somebody, somebody's likely to, to get something. And, and I'm pretty sure I was not the only one coughing in that room anyway, which means like you're talking a high risk spread scenario in And, you know, and there've been all kinds of reports that, well, I said it was spiking all over the place, but anecdotally too, like the number of people who are just like, have low grade crud, like they're not feeling so sick.
They're out of commission, but kind of feeling with like coughs that go on for months and just low energy levels and all this kind of stuff.
Or, you know, the, the, yes, Siri, or just the one shot, like, Hey, feel bad for 24 hours. And then you feel better. There's been, there's a lot of that too.
And so, yeah, we've learned nothing.
We've learned absolutely nothing.
This kind of stuff can be made so much better by people staying home, by people wearing masks and we, nope, it's all, it's all back worse than before.
And again, I'm not talking just COVID I'm talking about regular old colds and flus and all of the, this kind of nonsense, like, yeah, we've learned nothing, nothing at all.
We could severely reduce the amount of this that happens every year simply by reducing social activity and wearing masks.
But no. No.
Anyway. I guess I should talk about my film now.
As I mentioned last week, the film of the week.
Of the week. Well, whatever. I watched this back in like April or May or something.
It was Hocus Pocus from 1993.
|Um... Hocus Pocus is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Kenny Ortega from a screenplay by Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert and a story by David Kirschner and Garris. This answer is from Wikipedia.
|Well, thank you Siri. I was about to read the Wikipedia page myself, but you did it for me.
Oh, there's there's the cough. You got that?
Anyway, you know this thing. It's weird. They mentioned that this was released in July 1993.
But it's a Halloween movie. What were they even thinking? Like, you released this in October.
They mentioned that in the original release in the theaters, it got mixed reviews, there was a box office bomb, etc., etc., etc.
Why did you launch a Halloween movie in July? Why? Really? Why?
That's so stupid. Anyway, the basic plot is that there are these witches in Salem, Massachusetts that, you know, it starts out in the timeframe of the famous...
Really? What? Now the dog wants to participate.
Anyway, it starts out in Salem, Massachusetts, during the famous witch trials.
This trio of witches get burned or whatever, but they use magic to sort of put themselves away so they can come back, whatever.
And then these kids accidentally bring them back in, you know, in the early 1990s.
And then, you know, chaos ensues.
And it's sort of a comedy, you know, the, the witches are supposed to be funny and the kids interact and it, it's supposed to be a fun, lighthearted thing.
I will reveal, I'm giving it a thumb sideways.
This has, you know, after, you know, over the years, like this has become sort of one of these things that, you know, Disney puts back out every year and pushes every Halloween and lots of people have memories of it.
Like my, my wife loves this movie or whatever.
And I don't know. I just.
It was fine. It was fine.
I don't know that it deserves this cult movie status.
A lot of the times I felt like it was a little over the top and a little stupid.
I can see why it's funny a bit, but yeah, again, it was fine.
I, I, I, I didn't mind watching this movie.
Like I reserved a thumbs downs to the movies where I really, really have to force myself to finish it because it's, I just dislike it so much.
This, this is not anything like that, but I, I just don't get like, Like the excitement people seem to have over it as like this cult movie that blah, blah, blah.
I agree more with the original reaction to people that people apparently had when this thing came out in 1993, which was a meh, whatever.
And, uh, you know, apparently it has, it has sequels.
I, there's a hocus pocus too. There's also, I guess there's a TV special and a short film too.
I don't know. I, I knew about the sequel, but, and, but I didn't, I have to make sure that the, the TV special and the short film are on my like to-do list because I didn't remember that they existed, but yeah, that that's it.
Oh. And I guess I should mention the stars because, you know, it's got Bette Midler in it.
It's got Sarah, Jessica Parker, Sarah, Sarah, Jessica Parker in it.
And who's, who's the third witch? Kathy Najimy.
You know, you'd, you'd, you'd recognize her.
I don't remember the name, but like, if you see these three witches in costume, you're like, okay, yeah, I know these things.
And yeah, I don't know. Do I have anything else to say about this?
No. I'm, am I going to stretch it out? No.
So we're going to close this off for now.
And I guess I'll be back to talk about Trump stuff.
But like I said, after a bit, like for me, for you, you're going to listen to the break and then it'll be back. But for me, I'm going to go chill or have some food or something.
Anyway, back after this, which will be, it'll be the thing promoting election graphs.
Okay, I am back. Welcome to Andrew. Or something.
So yeah, it's as expected. It's the next day. I'm still feeling sick. I'm like...
Getting myself motivated up to actually do this has been hard.
So, yeah, here we go. Okay.
I said the next segment would be Trump stuff, so here of course is the Trump stuff.
I've got like six bullet points to like go through, but But I don't know that any of them, I'm not even going to say they're not, they're not going to be super long. Cause you know, you know how this goes anyway.
The first thing is just the, the picture on polls is still glum.
You know, of course I'll point you to election graphs, election graphs.com.
You can see Biden's percent chance of winning in my estimation is now at the lowest it has been so far, depending on which of my two probabilistic views you look at, it's between 1.6 and 11.1%.
Again, key caveat that that is if the election was held today, and it is also looking at the last four election cycles worth of how the, how far the polls were often in what direction to predict how far off the polls will might be this time.
I shouldn't say predicted it gives percent of jobs based on, you know, it's, it, it could go either way. Right.
But it, it, in the end, like when you boil it all down, because two out of the last four elections have underestimated the Republicans and only one has underestimated the Democrats, the other was pretty close to being spot on.
It, it, it, it tends to assume that it's underestimating the Republicans again.
And in this case, we've got in all of the state polls in the, well, I shouldn't say all of the state polls, but you, you've got the critical ones have Republicans ahead.
You got polls with Trump ahead in Michigan and Pennsylvania and Nevada and North Carolina in Arizona, in Georgia, you know, all of these ones.
Wisconsin has flipped back to the Biden side since the last time I talked about this by a little bit, but in, and basically you just need to flip Michigan and Pennsylvania.
But the thing is the trends have not started moving in the other direction yet.
Yeah. Wisconsin moved back a little. It was just barely Trump.
Now it's just barely Biden. But for the most part, we've still been in a cycle of Trump getting stronger in the polls that have been coming out and.
As you know, as we've talked about before, there are all kinds of reasons to think that, Hey, maybe something's up here.
The democratic wins and various elections in between 2022.
And now I guess we're going to have a few more special elections coming up early next year.
We'll see how those go, but my, you know, it, it's just, it still looks cool.
That, that that's all I'm going to say there. Or if, if the tide is going to start turning, it would be nice if it started turning soon.
You know, um, that's all, that's all for the moment.
Yeah. And, and again, it's, it's close anyway.
Like I know I said I was done, but of course I'm not the, if it was today represents, Hey, If you had the election day, when, you know, Biden was behind in Pennsylvania by almost 3%, which is the case right now.
And he was behind in Michigan and he wasn't being competitive in Arizona or Georgia, which he picked up last time.
It looks really bad, but he's only behind in Pennsylvania by 3% and polls move around more than 3% on a regular basis.
And like we've said before, there's a huge number of undecideds and third parties and blah, blah, blah.
So yeah, it's see, the cough is still there anyway.
Yeah. As I said, it'd be nice for it to turn around.
Like I'm not feeling confident about this thing in toll or in less Biden's numbers this year are better than his numbers in 2020.
Cause he just barely pulled it off in 2020. And he is falling way short of where he was in polls four years ago. That's all.
Okay. What else do I have? What else do I have that sort of Trumpy one?
I wanted to follow up a little bit last week, Yvonne and I had that discussion on sort of the worst case for if Donald Trump wins again, and I worry that we came off a little bit glib. Like it was sort of like, Hey.
It's not going to be as bad as some people say.
But the key is though that the part of like what was being discussed was like the claim that, hey, if Donald Trump wins, we're never having elections again.
And Yvonne pointed out there have been plenty of places that have ended up with dictators that eventually had elections again, you know, but that doesn't say you don't end up in that time in between that's bad.
Now, I think the far more likely scenario is the, what they, they call the illiberal democracies, like, like Hungary, where you have, you have all of the elements that you normally associate with a democracy are there.
You have elections, you have parties, you have this, you have that.
But it's just that one, the people in charge have neutered the opposition and have put all kinds of anti-democratic elements in place and, you know, and are doing this and that and blah, blah, blah.
And, and are basically...
Using the reins of power in a way that bypasses all of the traditional protections that you have in a democracy.
Because when we say democracy, technically speaking, I guess it's really about having some sort of election that people participate in, etc.
But what we really think about is not just that, but the whole series of protections, The whole idea that there's a rule of law that is consistent and predictable in some sort of way, that you know that—and I know you can easily point out that in the U.S., for instance, the law is not evenly applied at all, and certain people can get away with more things than other people can get, and money makes a big difference, and race makes a big difference, and all kinds of things make a big difference.
But the notion that at least in theory, things operate by rules, whether it's criminal law, or whether it's the way you make new laws, or whether it's the way that the judicial process works, et cetera.
And so part of what Donald Trump has been saying in all of his speeches recently in terms of how he's going to, yeah, the whole retribution thing, the whole, he, he won't be a dictator except for day one and all of this kind of stuff.
A lot of it just has to do with the extreme strengthening of executive power and the aligning of executive power to be based on loyalty and based on just I don't care what else is going on if I say so you do it.
And that is as opposed to sort of, Hey, you've got layers and layers and layers of rules and bureaucracy and things that like, if you are going to do X, Y, or Z, you have to do it in a certain way and you have to follow a certain process and you have to have a certain set of people approve and all of this kind of stuff.
That's the stuff that's being eroded and it lets whoever is in charge end up running roughshod over everything.
I guess my point in all this is we talked a lot last week about how, well, we don't really think it's going to be no elections forever, but that doesn't mean it can't be really, really bad.
I think you've – and a lot of people are sort of – you hear the mindset of, well, the first Trump presidency wasn't that bad, so another one, same thing again.
We survived. We'll survive again.
And first of all, of course, a lot of people didn't survive.
But I think what we're hearing over and over again is that, He and his supporters have learned a lot from the first time in terms of ways like don't bring in the people who say no in the first place, and ways to sort of push past the people who do say no that are still there and the willingness to just say, okay, make me and just do it anyway, you know, that kind of stuff is, is greater.
And, and they're outright promising it, they're explicitly promising it, and they're explicitly saying they will go after people and make their lives miserable and all of this kind of stuff.
And. The, they would be able to like may, yeah.
I, we talked a little bit about last week, how certain protections may still survive.
And, you know, it's not like they can immediately convict somebody.
They have to, there's still a, there's still a process of prosecution and there are judges involved and there are appeals involved and blah, blah, blah.
But you can still make someone's life miserable as you drag them through that process.
And who knows if that process will all like, you know, survive.
I do worry about over indexing on, like, I think there needs to be a good portion of the doom and gloom and look at how bad things could get under Trump and that's why you can't let it happen.
I think that in the early days of Biden and Biden and company have been ramping that up a little bit lately, but in the early days, there was very little of that they were trying to concentrate on positive things about Biden and I'm sorry, it wasn't adequate, but I was listening to a few things earlier this week and I can't tell you where I heard them, but it was, it was somebody basically talking about how you really need to be careful about.
You really need to be careful about pushing that too far too.
Because if you paint too much of a bad picture, people start getting...
First of all, lots of people don't believe it. No way it couldn't possibly be that bad.
And if you're exaggerating, then they may well be right. You're exaggerating. You shouldn't do that.
But also you get people sort of feeling inevitable about it, feeling like, oh, okay, well, that's going to happen.
Guess we have to deal with it and not, not willing to sort of do the work to stop it from happening.
And so it's a delicate balance in terms of how you talk about it in terms of predictions, you know, cause cause people always paint the worst case scenario.
And if you always paint the worst case scenario, then if what actually happens is 80% of what you said, people will still be like, well, you were a liar.
That didn't happen. It didn't happen that way.
I think part of when we had the whole Mueller report thing, I think that was part of the equation there too, because people were constantly speculating about the worst case scenario of the worst possible things you could possibly find out about Donald Trump and what he was doing and what you actually found out, what was painted in the Mueller report was very bad.
But it wasn't that bad. It wasn't as bad as the worst case scenarios people were pointing out.
It wasn't he was directly getting a paycheck for Putin and doing his bidding or whatever.
And some people did imply that.
And I mean, even we talked about it as a worst case scenario, although we never thought that was the most likely. As it turns out, despite the people that say the Mueller report said no collusion, it never said any such thing.
It concluded there wasn't enough evidence to bring charges of conspiracy.
Collusion and conspiracy are not the same thing. Conspiracy is a crime.
Collusion is not. Collusion is not well defined.
But if you think of collusion as two people working together for the same purpose, which is how I think of collusion, there was plenty of that.
There was plenty of that going on.
But in any case, the reality, while still very bad, was not as bad as the worst case that lots of people built up.
And so therefore, it was like, ah, it turned out to be nothing.
It was not nothing. It just wasn't as bad as the worst case scenario.
And I think that's the same dynamic you have here. If you've got everybody being like.
Donald Trump winning again is the end of the American constitutional experience.
Democracy will be over. Elections will be over. The constitution will be thrown out the door, you know, all of this kind of stuff.
And then that doesn't happen.
You know, it's, is that a worst case scenario?
Yeah, maybe it is a worst case scenario, but we're, and you have to think about the worst case scenario, but you can't be like the worst case scenario is what is going to happen.
You have to allow for the fact that the reality is probably going to be bad, but not that bad.
And when I say, but not that bad, I, the tone of that, I don't want to be diminishing it.
I I'm literally meaning it in terms of the comparison. Like if, if the worst case scenario is a hundred, maybe you get a 60 or 70 or 80, but even a 20 would be bad.
No, it's still bad. It's still very bad.
It's just not as bad as the worst case scenario, you know, but at the same time, you know, yeah, I think you do need to scare people a little bit with.
Things on the higher end of that spectrum, but yeah.
Even there, you know, it's like, you got to be careful, you know, and I've seen this over and over again in like a bunch of arguments that have come up politically where people have said like, if you let this happen, this set of horrible things will occur and you'll regret it and blah, blah, blah.
And then the thing has happened and things haven't fallen apart in the same way and Not immediately.
And, you know, they've in many cases still been bad, but it has been nowhere near the picture that people painted.
And so in the end, it's like, okay, well, we don't trust you anymore.
So anyway, what else here?
I just saw that, you know, Donald Trump is not going to be testifying in his own defense at a civil trial, after all, it had been, well, expected he had, he and his defense team had been planning on calling him on, I believe Monday, which at this point, as I'm recording is tomorrow.
And, you know, everyone was sort of geared up for that, but they made a, and then there's been the back and forth going on the New York gag order in terms of him being able to talk about the.
Clerk or whatnot.
He lost all of those appeals eventually, including one that said, hey, at least hold off on this until after his scheduled testimony.
I saw a lot of people speculating that while he was coming and going from his testimony, he was planning on talking about the clerk some more in the hallway.
Like, I don't know about the rules about what he could do while actually testifying, but certainly he had hoped to have more of that on the outside and they said no.
And maybe his lawyers convinced him to not do it because he already testified, when he was called by the prosecution.
So there's a balance of like, what additional benefit do you really expect to get out of here?
Is he just, yeah, like the risk was probably higher than any possible reward out of it.
And so that's not happening. In the meantime though, I've heard at least one report that he's been, in his speeches, he has made comments about potential witnesses in the DC case, specifically Barr, I believe, which would of course violate the DC gag order, which also got affirmed on appeal this week.
And so I don't know, we'll see if anything happens from it.
I think on all of these, even with the gag orders affirmed and he may appeal it further to the Supreme court, we'll see.
But with this currently like in place, there's still going to be an amount of reluctance to actually quote unquote, do something about it other than slap him on the wrist and say, don't do it again.
Like, cause at some point when that becomes real, like, okay, they could maybe find him some more money. Like they did in New York and that he'll just pay.
But of course what everybody is like, the things that would actually matter.
Are things like prohibiting posting on social media or, or actually like putting him in a house arrest or real arrest or whatever, like as a contempt of court kind of thing, or as I, you violated your, your initial bail orders and all that kind of stuff is going to be an extreme reluctance to actually do that.
Again, I've said before, I don't think Trump will ever see a day in jail, but that the one way that it might happen is if he keeps doing this kind of stuff and violating gag orders and just really annoying these judges.
So, so we'll see. Uh, I suspect that like making one comment in one speech that technically violates is the kind of thing that they will at most warn and they'll, nothing will actually happen unless there's an accumulation of these, but yeah, we'll see, of course, like he's incapable of actually like shutting up, you know, it's like, I don't know anyway, like, and then finally delay, delay, delay, delay, delay, delay, delay, yeah, that, that thing.
Latest is the, well, we've got a lot of these, he had made a, a motion to just dismiss the case, the DC case entirely because of presidential immunity and double jeopardy.
The appeals court said, no, that's ridiculous.
Go away. Well, where is it exactly?
Not the appeals court. The initial judge said, no, I think they're in the process.
Anyway, regardless, this is the one that has the highest chance of getting to the Supreme Court.
And it's just a question of.
This is his delay, delay, delay. This is trying to get a situation.
This the D.C. trial is the one that everybody seems to have has the most chance of actually starting and finishing before election day.
Of the four criminal trials, this is the one that has the best chance.
And it is scheduled to start in March.
And so while it is being appealed, Trump is trying to get them to basically, pause all proceedings on the trial until all of the appeals go through.
So far, things are continuing to move.
If he gets a pause, and then the appeals process ends up being slow.
You know, there's a possibility that even if it gets paused, every step of the appeals process will be expedited and happen in weeks rather than months, and they'll still be able to do March.
But if any part of that appeals process ends up being slow, that March date gets in trouble.
And so, here we go again with the delay process.
It's his standard tactic. It's a standard tactic everywhere.
This is for the DC trial. As I understand it, this is his best shot at that actual delay because most of the other things he's doing in that trial, even if they're appealable, they're only appealable after they get to a verdict, whereas this is one of the few things that they can appeal immediately.
And we'll see, we'll see if he gets that delay.
Delay is succeeding very well in the Florida trial.
The judge there seems to be very much on board with delay doing things as slow as possible. That trial is still officially slated for May, but if, if the kinds of delays she's been.
Basically she's been slow rolling everything. And if she continues to slow roll everything, then things will get jammed up against that May deadline to the point where it, there really won't be a way to start in May.
And then they'll have to delay it.
And I could see her at that time taking the argument to, okay, next year, after the election, the...
The Georgia case, they've asked for a start in August, there hasn't been one officially set yet, but even if it starts in August, given the expected complexity of what is going on, it may well stretch past the election before it's concluded.
Now, frankly, because the Georgia one is the only one televised, I'm not sure I actually feel all that bad about the possibility of it starting before the election and actually being in progress during the election, that would be interesting.
And then there's the New York one. It's also scheduled to start in March, but late March instead of early March.
But that judge has said they will, they will defer based on what's happening in the DC case. So like if the DC case is happening in March and is taking a while, the New York case may get pushed back, blah, blah, blah.
So we got a log jam here, but the log jam actually contributes to the possibilities of a delay because these things are all interfering with each other.
So we shall see any other Trump stuff I've missed. I don't, I don't think so.
I think that's the main ones.
So we are going to take another break and I am going to go and maybe get some food like you care, but I'm hungry.
I'm going to go get, I've been hungry for a while, but I do this first anyway.
So I'm going to go and do that.
And then we'll be back with the last bit, which is all the other sort of miscellany, mostly, I think they're all political or, you know, in some way, shape, or form. They're all sort of politics or politics adjacent.
We'll talk about those when we come back in the meantime.
The thing about bugs on my face back after this.
Okay, I'm back, a little bit of food later, and here we go. Let's start with a couple things that are still sort of Trump adjacent.
One is we had this thing come out where Biden made comment that then, I guess, as usual with Biden, sometimes he says things that later people wish he didn't say.
But he he implied that if Trump hadn't been running, he wouldn't be running either.
Maybe he would only have stuck with one term and be done now and be handing it off to the next generation.
I mean, he'd talked before about wanting to be a bridge, you know, to some sort of new generation of leadership.
And he sort of walked back, somebody asked him, well, if Trump got out now, would you get out? And he's like, no, not at this point, no.
But I think it's pretty clear that's true, right? I mean, the first time, like the time he wanted to run was in 2016, but then his son died.
Now I don't know if there'd been a Biden versus Clinton primary in 2016, whether Biden would have come out on top, Clinton, I think still would have had an advantage there in the primary, not necessarily in the general. I don't know.
And I don't know, Biden might have won against Trump where Hillary lost.
I mean, people have estimated that Clinton lost 5% right off the top just by being a woman. So maybe.
I don't know what would have happened in 2016. But clearly that's when, he would have run. Like if his son had not died, Biden clearly would have run in 2016.
And from all reports that I've heard, he was not really all that excited about running in 2020 either, but sort of got to the point where he's like, I'm the one who can actually beat Trump.
None of these other jackasses can.
And so I'm jumping in, you know, he tells the story about the, the whole thing in Charlottesville being why he decided to run in the first place.
And, you know, there's definitely a, there's a stigma to the presidents who've only done one term.
Now, a lot of them have been, you know, out on their asses cause they lose, you know, So it might be a bit different if you're just like, okay, I'm out. I mean, I guess we had that with Johnson.
He had sort of one and a half, but you know, I, I feel like Joe Biden. No.
Well, who knows what's the right way to put this? There are other things he could be doing with his final years.
You know, being president is a very stressful job.
There's a lot involved. You get a lot of shit for anything you possibly do.
There are decisions that are very heavy.
There are decisions that no matter what you do, people are going to die.
It's just, I mean, you're, you're basically picking who's going to die.
I kind of believe him. I kind of believe that if Donald Trump was completely out of the picture at this point, Biden might not have done this.
Now, as they say at this point, like something happens to Trump between now and, you know, six months from now, does, does Biden say, oh, you know, nevermind that. I don't think so.
But, but if, if, if Trump had been completely out of the picture and he felt like everything was safe and even if a Republican was going to win, it was going to be a normal old fashioned, Republican that he could feel good about, you know, a John McCain kind of Republican.
I could easily have seen him step out and just say, okay, well, it's time for the next generation.
But I think for him to do that, he would have had to feel strongly that the Democrats had it in the bag, that it wasn't a, it wasn't a pot shot.
And he feel, I think he's still honestly feels he's the, the best one to take on Trump.
He feels like he's won before and that he can do it again.
As I said at the beginning of the last segment, the polling picture is still really got damn glum.
So I hope he's right, you know, and there's no, the other potential Democrats don't have the track record.
Don't have what you could say for sure. Like, and, you know, if you go with a Kamala Harris or something, you know, first of all, she didn't do all that great in the primaries for the Democrats last time around.
I mean, I liked her, I supported her, but she didn't do that great, just objectively.
But, you know, I was saying, you know, Hillary Clinton probably had five points off the top just for being a woman.
Harris has that too, and she's black and she's Indian.
And I think all of those things are positive things, but apparently lots of people are, would exclude people just because of that.
So I feel like you got to have, I don't know, maybe things will change enough at some point so that that's not true, but I think that's unfortunately still part of the equation right now. And I think that's part of what.
Like someone like Biden would be weighing, but yeah, it sets us up for Biden versus Trump again and we'll see what happens. See what happens.
Okay. I feel like there was one more Trump adjacent thing I had, but I've forgotten it.
So whatever it's whatever, if I remember, I'll bring it up later. If not.
Next off, we got McCarthy resigning. He's going to be out of the Congress at the end of the year. I don't think this is a surprise.
It kind of leaked out that he was thinking this right after he lost the speakership, but then he backed off and said, no, no, no, I'm staying for now.
And it, it seemed even then clear that it was, I'm staying until there's a new speaker and that's all sort of sorted.
And, you know, maybe as long as it takes in order to get past the budget crisis and all that kind of stuff, but that he didn't really want to be there.
He was just sort of doing his duty to finish off those things.
And while those things are finished off, so he's out.
Unlike the Santos case, this is not really a competitive seat.
You know, this is the most Republican seat in California. It's like an R plus 15, 16, something like that seat.
So it's not one that you expect. The Democrats have a realistic shot at picking up like the Santos one.
There's a decent shot. The Democrats will pick that up. It's not guaranteed, but there's a decent shot.
But this one, it would. Um, no, it's, it's, it would be an absolute, like earthquake monumental event if the Democrats took this one.
I think the better thing to watch in this one is the margins.
Do the Democrats lose by less than they usually do?
You know, and you know, I've seen, I saw somebody somewhere like there was some local, race a week or two ago where there were election results and there was a headline or a comment or something where someone was like, whoa, this is amazing.
The Democrats only lost by 6%, whereas historically they'd lost by a lot more.
And there was somebody replying who was like, basically, well, yeah, close doesn't count.
Why are you celebrating this? This doesn't matter. They still lost. Give me a win.
Well, the reason why it matters is if you see that kind of movement, even in a very red area where the Republican is still winning, but by a lot less than they used to, it's potentially indicative of similar movement elsewhere.
And so that's why when people look at all of these special elections and things that happen all over the place, it's not just, did the Democrats win a bunch?
It's how much has that seat moved from where it's been in the past?
Because that gives you indications towards what might be national movement.
And this is, you know, this is one of those things where, you know, I mentioned the election graph stuff showing Trump ahead in all of these places where he, that he lost in 2020 is leaving people scratching their heads to a little, to a degree, because there are so many of these special elections and elections on issues and all this kind of stuff that have been moving in the Democratic direction.
We had the Democrats outperform expectations in 2022 overall.
We've had all of these abortion referendums. We've had a number of special elections that have all, not all, but mostly have been moving in the democratic direction.
So why are these these polls of Trump versus Biden showing something different?
I think the two special elections coming up for McCarthy and Santos will just be another couple of data points to throw into that mix to see, like, do the Democrats overperform on those two?
And, you know, and there may really be something here where there is a difference between the overall tendencies and the very specific case of Biden versus Trump.
Because once again, just like when you had Clinton versus Trump, you have a scenario where there is a huge, huge group of people whose response is, I hate them both, give me somebody else, please.
And that really makes the dynamic different because that then a race where people are really excited about their candidate and look, there are people who are excited about Biden and there are people who are excited about Trump.
Absolutely. I'm not saying those people don't exist.
I'm just saying there's a very large group of people who would really rather have somebody else besides the two of them.
And how and you know, people in the last time around in 2020, what happened amongst other things that happened.
But one of the things that people have analyzed is of the people who said they hated both of them.
They broke towards Biden in the end. And so does that happen again?
Anyway, the McCarthy race will be interesting to watch.
Again, not because there's any expectation that a Democrat could take that seat, but simply because the...
Watch the margin. Okay.
Next. That stupid hold on the promotions was finally lifted. Tuberville. Whatever.
The... and the thing that made that happen Is the Democrats were finally proposing a rule change?
To basically make it possible to do it, despite his objection.
And the thing is. That that made Tuberville basically say.
OK, they got me. I'm lifting the hold is theoretically still holding like 11 nominations, something like that, but they could do those one by one if they needed to.
What's frustrating here is I feel like the Democrats could have done this a lot earlier.
Now, here's the thing on that. For a rule change such as this, I mean, and they weren't even going to do it as a temporary thing.
They weren't even going to make a permanent rule change.
They could have made a damn permanent rule change, too, to like just make this shit impossible.
But, you know, even the Democrats, like, they kind of like the idea of individual senators having a lot of power.
But in any case, they were only going to do it temporarily and they were going to do it in the way that got past a filibuster.
So like there, there are a couple of different ways to do rule changes like this.
The normal way is you have to go through the standard process, which means you have to be able to get past the filibuster threshold.
The actual vote to change the rules is a majority vote like everything else, but that the filibuster allows you to hold up and not stop debate and get to that final vote unless you have 60 votes to stop debate, which is why the 60 votes can stop it.
But in this case, they had enough Republicans on board that were fed up with Tuberville to make this temporary rule change.
And so once that threat was credible, Tuberville backed down.
And maybe it took them this long to get the number of Republicans they needed in order to beat the filibuster and get this done.
Maybe that's why it took so long, but it seems like for the longest time, they were essentially claiming that they were stuck.
Democrats couldn't do anything. Hey, you know, it was up to Tuberville.
Tuberville had to release the hold and the Republican should convince him to release the hold and all this kind of stuff.
Whereas really, okay. there's a rule change that's potentially on the table.
You just have to make it so that the one guy can't stop it.
And this is all related to unanimous consent and the normal process would require you to do each of these promotions individually and so they are asking unanimous consent to approve them all at once instead and unanimous is unanimous and if any one person objects Peace.
Then you're done. Now the kinds of rule changes you could make are if a unanimous consent request fails, you just automatically have a roll call vote and you have some other threshold required.
You may, maybe you make it like the, like the filibuster, you need two thirds or whatever, or, you know, whatever threshold you want to set, but you make it a lower threshold that's not actually unanimous, but still greater than 50%.
And boom, there you go. You've eliminated the ability of any one senator from ever holding up anything, ever.
You could do that. Now, again, the rule change would normally take a filibuster-proof majority to do, and perhaps they didn't do that.
The other thing, the other way to do it is what they've called the nuclear option in the past.
It's basically where the chair makes a ruling that something is allowed, even though by the rules it's not allowed, and the chair rules that you can...
So you make a proposal to change the rules.
You don't have the 67 votes or whatever, but the chair basically rules that you only need 50.
And there's a motion to override the chair, and that has other thresholds, and blah, blah, The bottom line is if you've got a determined chair, they can basically shove through something with 50 votes whenever they want.
But it requires the chair to basically ignore the actual rule in order to do it anyway.
And so it's very controversial and that's how they've done, they've used the nuclear option before when they've modified the filibuster.
When they haven't had enough votes to actually change the filibuster with a filibuster proof majority.
And they've used the nuclear option. So it's very controversial.
They're very reluctant to use it, but they could, they could have done it here too.
But I guess in the end, they got here after however many months it's been.
Got a couple more things here. OK, where was I? What's next?
Same thing with other forms of congressional dysfunction.
Both Israel and Ukraine is all held up in some sort of limbo world right now.
I think Israel has the greater chance of getting shoved through one way or another.
But Ukraine specifically, the Republican position at this point is they're not going to approve anything more for Ukraine unless it is tied to substantial changes to immigration on the Southern border.
They want more money. They want more rule changes. They want a variety of things.
Part of the problem as usual is there, it's not entirely sure exactly what they want.
Joe Biden has indicated he is ready to negotiate on that.
And he's willing to do lots on the border because he agrees that there's issues there and that the southern border needs attention so he's he's willing to talk on that now his preference would be talk about that separately not tied to Ukraine but you know he'll do what needs to be done and so that they're they're chatting it's held off there are all kinds of people talking about how well you know where our previous aid is going to run out in the next few weeks and you know we can't We Ukraine really needs more now.
Ukraine has actually been getting more from the Europeans than from us actually.
But our component is clearly a critical part of everything.
And so right now for months and months and months and months now, it's basically been a stalemate there.
And if everything we've been doing has only been leading to a stalemate, You can definitely see the case where if support was reduced, the Russians might be able to start making positive ground again.
It's unclear. The thing is that's interesting in here, this is another case where the specific party breakdown, the specific party leadership, the filibuster all makes a difference.
There is a majority in both houses of Congress for the Ukraine aid. But!
Because of the way things are actually structured, it's not that simple.
It's not that simple to just vote for it and go because there are significant amount of Republicans who are not actually in favor of the Ukraine aid at all, especially in the house and in the Senate, there is, they do want to, push on the border issue as well.
So it's a mess. I guess I'm guessing the most likely scenario is that there will be delays, but in the end, aid to both Israel and Ukraine will go through, maybe a little bit less than originally intended, and then more punted for more down the road.
So instead of giving them what they expect to need over six months or something, they give them enough for three months and then we debate it all again in another few months.
And there probably will be some border stuff thrown in the mix.
The question though, I'm actually not too worried in terms of how the Senate ends up, but the House, like if it falls apart, it's gonna fall apart in the House because the House has a significant number of people who are just totally against the aid at all.
And you have these slim majorities and Johnson is weaker than he was before.
So he was willing to do the whole, most of the Democrats plus a few Republicans to get past the budget issues, but Johnson himself is a Ukraine aide skeptic.
So I could see this failing in the House and then see where we go from there.
Because Johnson, you know, if he keeps bucking the hardliners in his party, he's going to be out just like McCarthy was.
So another mess. And I think, you know, we may end up in a situation where we see how Ukraine does for a few months without anything more from us. I don't know. We'll see.
Two more quick things. And then I'll wrap this up.
One, Hunter Biden, four indictments.
These were the ones that were expected. These were the ones that after the plea deal fell apart, these were the tax-related indictments, and here they are.
What's been pointed out over and over and over again, is that it is almost unheard of for these particular types of charges to be brought against someone who has, actually already paid all the back taxes, all the interest, all the fines.
Yes, he did not pay on time.
He broke the law, but he did eventually make all of that whole.
And apparently the norm here is you only end up actually charging people when they are still actively avoiding paying the stuff they owe and that's not the case here. So is this selective prosecution?
Probably. Did he do it? Oh, absolutely, he fucking did it, you know, should he be, you know, I feel like.
I actually get frustrated whenever I hear about these laws that are in, are on the books, but enforced only a really tiny portion of the time that things happen because of prosecutor, prosecutorial, I am getting tired.
Prosecutorial discretion. I feel like I understand the need for prosecutorial, prosecutorial discretion, but I think it should be like, if, if it's not the weird exception, if it's not the like, you know, Hey, yes, we know he's guilty, but, and there's some really good reason, to let them off the, you know, I think like if, if, if the law is not structured in such a way that you're seriously going to go after almost everybody who commits that crime, maybe it shouldn't be that.
Maybe that shouldn't be the law in the first place. I don't know.
Like, it seems like having a whole bunch of laws that are only actually enforced a really small percentage of the time is just asking for abuse of the system and those laws being used to harass people you don't like.
I don't know. In any case, I have no problem with them going after Hunter go for it.
Go, you know, Hunter will bring up the selective, selective prosecution defense, and he will have his day in court, blah, blah, blah. This will probably drag out through the campaign series to series season, campaign season.
And so this will be going on next year in the heat of the campaign as well.
And the Republicans will be able to go hunter, hunter, hunter, hunter, and try to produce all these like false equivalencies in terms of how, how bad the Biden crime family is.
And so, you know, you're not even, whatever you're saying about Trump doesn't matter. Cause look, the Bidens are just as bad.
I mean, that's the whole point behind all of this messaging.
It's not true at all. If you actually look at the two, there's no comparison, but, uh, Hunter, Hunter, Hunter.
Anyway, and also, by the way, I, I fully expect, yes, eventually at the end of his term, Joe Biden will pardon Hunter.
Like, let's get that controversy out of the way right now. Of course he's fucking going to do that.
It's his son, you know, is he going to do it early?
Probably not. Not maybe if Hunter's actually like going to jail, like all the appeals are over.
He is lost. They are putting him in handcuffs and they are sending him to jail.
Maybe Joe Biden would do it early, but normally I would expect like just how every president on the last day of their presidency puts out a whole bunch of fucking pardons, some of which are controversial.
I fully expect yes, Joe Biden will punt will pardon Hunter at that point.
I just don't see how he doesn't, you know, but okay, last thing, the U.S.
Vetoed a U.N. resolution about Israel, basically calling for a ceasefire, you know, condemning the human rights violations in Gaza, et cetera.
There have been reports that, again, sort of internally, in private.
The Biden administration is getting more and more insistent with Netanyahu and his government that you're not doing enough to protect civilians.
You're not doing this right. You've got to do better, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
You know, the perfect way to make that absolutely clear would have been to abstain on this instead of veto it.
You know, and I know there's the whole thing about like, you know, if they do a unilateral ceasefire, or Hamas hasn't agreed to any ceasefire, they're still throwing rockets over the border, et cetera, et cetera.
Yeah, but I don't expect Israel to actually do a unilateral ceasefire if the UN passes a resolution about it.
They haven't paid attention to any of the damn UN resolutions in the last however many decades either. Why would they pay any attention to this one?
But the US could really send a big message, not even by voting yes, but just by moving from a veto to an abstain.
I think that was a missed opportunity, you know, because, yes, I think the Israelis are completely and totally mismanaging it, the horrors coming out of Gaza are huge right now, and at this point are several times the amount of people killed in Israel from the initial attack at the beginning of October.
And that which doesn't mean the initial attack at the beginning of October was justified or good or can be ignored or anything like that.
It's just at this point, it's perfectly fair to say that there have been, you know, horrors on both sides of this.
As there have been forever. And as has been the norm going back decades and decades now, there are more Palestinians dying than Israelis.
So, and I think it's clear that, you know, you know, yes, Hamas puts their civilians in front, and that makes it hard to avoid them, to avoid killing them.
But that's actually the responsibility we expect Israel to have in this situation is you're careful anyway, even though it makes your goals harder, even though it, you know, you have to, I don't buy any view of this scenario, that doesn't treat all lives equally here, you know.
Anyway, it's a mess. It's always been a mess. I think that the fact that the U.S.
Has been slowly ramping up its rhetoric about how Israel has to.
Move to doing this in a better way is good, but I don't think they've been moving fast enough.
Like the, the, the, the Israel has completely lost the worldwide PR war.
The U S is getting dragged down with them.
And very specifically, Joe Biden is getting dragged down with him, A significant chunk of his weakness in the polls in the last couple months can be tied to this.
At least it seems very nicely tied in time.
And now people will point out foreign policy usually doesn't make a difference in US elections, but when it's close, everything makes a difference.
And there have been exceptions. It sometimes matters.
This may be one of those times where one of the keys in what's happening here is sort of the, liberal left coalition is fragmenting over approach to this problem.
You've got sort of your traditional long-term Democrats like Biden who of course start with the position of support Israel no matter what, and then you've got a significant portion of, the younger nonwhite parts of the coalition saying, no, the, the beleaguered people here are the Palestinians.
Those are the ones we need to get behind. And it's really putting great strains here.
And there may be ways to, to sort of square that circle, but I'm not sure Biden's there yet.
Do I know the right answer? No, of course I don't. It's, it's, you know, the, the, this problem has, has been a thorn in the side of us presidents, since the creation of Israel.
And so, yeah, it's going to continue to be a problem, but I think Biden needs to be moving more strongly, not, not just to be absolutely clear, not to abandon Israel, not to say that Israel is unjustified in defending themselves, of course they should be able to defend themselves, etc., but to also simultaneously recognize that you're not going to solve the problem through violent means like this.
In the end, the only way to solve this is to create a future solution where the Palestinians, feel like they're in control of their own destiny and are not impoverished and have economic, viability, have political viability.
Now, you have to do that in a way that does not also require the destruction of Israel.
You have to have something that comes out with both of these populations being happy, content, wealthy, successful, all of this stuff.
You know, to some degree, we made fun of the Trump administration's approach, which was saying, basically, can we buy the Palestinians off?
Can we buy some of these people off? Can we throw money at them?
And that is not a complete solution by any means. But honestly, it's probably part of a solution.
You know, you got to find a way to make it so that this population does not feel continuously oppressed and constrained.
You got to give them a way to succeed. Israel's approach was sort of wall them off. That did not help.
Okay. That is going to be the end.
Thank you all for joining us again at curmudgeon's corner.
Hopefully Yvonne will have his office sorted and back in place next week and we'll be able to join us I will remind everybody once again that we are getting ready We're getting very close.
I should say to our end of the year prediction special.
And we've got that, that Google doc set up.
I'm looking at it again. There are still no suggested questions in here.
I am feeling so left out last year.
Several of you came through. We had a whole bunch of questions from listeners.
Like I added in a couple and the end, but most of the questions came from listeners.
So I, you guys got to step up. It's at tinyurl.com slash CC pred 2024.
It's topics for the 2024 curmudgeon's corner prediction show, which we will be recording the last week, the last show we record in 2023 and yo it's divided into politics, international economy, technology, and hodgepodge.
Get your questions in, just add bullet points with whatever you want us to make predictions about.
Do sign them with like, I don't know, first name, initial, whatever you feel comfortable with signing them with, just so that we can credit you appropriately.
It can be a pseudonym, you know? You can sign it Voldemort.
I don't care, you can sign it Donald Trump. You know, whatever, you know? As long as we know and we can credit somebody.
But please drop in your questions. If nobody gives me any, you know, I'll make up my own. But, you know, we would love to start out with requests from the audience.
So please tinyurl.com slash ccpred2024.
Okay. And also our normal thing, uh, you can go to curmudgeons-corner.com in order to find out how to contact us. We've got email, Mastodon, Facebook, all listed there.
We've got an archive of our shows, including transcripts of the last.
I I don't know, some, some number of months, I guess everything's a number of months.
Anyway, you've got transcripts there. You've got to give the archive of shows and you've got our Patreon link, which of course is how you can give us a little tip if you appreciate the show.
Helps go towards the helps defray. That's a good word.
Defray the costs of running the show.
At this point, we have several monthly costs associated with the show.
And the amount we get in from the Patreon is actually less than that number, so a lot of it's coming out of pocket, but Oh, well, that's okay. It's a hobby.
It's a hobby. It's a fun hobby. It's a hobby horse.
Is it a horse? I'm not sure it's a horse anyway.
That's it. I am not going to do the highlight of what is on the curmudgeon's corner slack.
Cause Yvonne usually does that. Oh, well, you know.
I might as well, I will look, there is a new comment in our random channel right now that I have not looked at yet.
I'm going to look at it and I will tell you what that is.
Okay. It is. There is a back and forth conversation between several people between Bob, Yvonne and Greg talking about software development and how it was done and how, and why people get into it, what's the appropriate place of, of large language models and helping with programming and all this kind of stuff and how you determine what you need to do and all that kind of stuff.
Yeah. So it basically a, a conversation about the software industry and how it's been evolving and how all of these things feed into it, everything from program and project management to LLS, to all this kind of stuff that now that may not interest some of you, some of you might like that conversation.
See this, this one isn't even a link that someone like linked to a story about, this is just a conversation happening on our convergence core Slack.
So if you'd like to be a part of that.
Oh yeah. I forgot to say, when you give us money, we'll give you various things like a mug or a postcard or whatever.
But one of those things is an invite to our convergence core Slack, which you can also get just by asking us and we will invite you to Slack and you'll find a bunch of us throughout the week talking about stuff, sharing links, all that kind of stuff. It's a lot of fun.
We would love to have more of you there in the meantime.
That's it. I'm wrapping up. I've got, I got a couple of things.
I've got a phone call I'm supposed to be doing with somebody any minute now.
I think I've, there's more food ready for me that I should be eating.
There's a bunch of stuff going on, so I'm going to say goodbye.
I have a great week, everybody stay safe, goodbye.