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AvatarComments by George Turner in reply to DavidTC*

On “No, Google Did Not Steal The Election

The money the Kremlin spends in Moscow stays hidden, but we get to see what foreign entities spend on lobbying, which can indicate quite a lot about priorities.

If you need to do a bunch of illegal stuff to advance cause X, and you can also do a bunch of legal stuff to advance cause X, rational actors will spend a lot on the legal means of advancing cause X because it's a priority and legal means are easy to use.

So if you see a country that has easy legal options of advancing a particular set of interests, yet doesn't do so, then it's not putting a high value on advancing those interests and is not likely to spending much on illegal means of advancing those interests, either.

You can go to OpenSecrets and track spending by country. Russia spends less on US lobbying than Ireland does.

And we have Mueller's indictment of the Russians. They spent millions per year and employed eighty people to troll US social media.

Their operations budget for September 2016 was only $1.25 million. As American campaign spending goes for that month, that's virtually nothing.

On “2019 Time Capsule

I'm sure 23andMe can quickly determine her ancestry. I await her test results.

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That's hilarious!

Snopes: We can't take her father's word for who his own family was, even though he's an esteemed professor who wrote a book about it.

No wonder they keep fact checking the Babylon Bee.

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Harris's Jamaican family owned over a hundred slaves, even two that they named "Sambo", so in a way she's definitely an ADOS.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

He's just pointing out that it makes no sense for them to keep voting for a party that wants to see Israel pushed into the sea.

On “Greta Thurnberg’s Semi-slow Boat Upon the Stormy Seas

Well by that standard, all scheduled flights are carbon neutral. :)

On “No, Google Did Not Steal The Election

But were they spending more on Washington lobbying activities than the Marshall Islands, the Bahamas, or Aruba? The answer to that is clearly "no".

Many islands stand to make a fortune by getting the US to elect someone like Trump. All those ultra-rich outraged celebrities have to move somewhere, and it sure isn't going to be Manitoba.

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That got more retweets than Greenland has people. :)

It'll be even more fun when he tweets that if Denmark won't sell Greenland, we should just go ahead and buy Denmark.

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If Internet stuff can't mess with the election, how were the Russians managing to use Internet stuff to mess with the election?

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Heck, the Russians entirely deleted Wisconsin from Hillary's campaign maps. I wouldn't discount them at all.

On “The Answer, My Friend, is Blowin’ in the Wind? Perhaps.

Drilling a rifle barrel in high grade steel just isn't that difficult. 1800's technology worked just fine. Gun drills (the bits) run anywhere from $20 to $120 from machine tool retailers.

There's not much of a market for low production-rate equipment because it's cheaper just to buy a barrel from a custom shop that can profitably crank them out in volume.

On “2019 Time Capsule

If Biden wins the nomination then I think we can rule out Harris as a VP pick. He likely, and probably rightly, suspects that after he won, as soon as nobody was looking, she would shove him down a flight of stairs. At best she would just use him as a stepping stone to further her own ambitions. Biden knows what it is to be a trusted VP, and I don't think anyone would ever accuse Harris of loyalty.

In that vein, I'd rule out self-aggrandizing or vanity candidates like "Pocahontas", "Spartacus", Buttigieg, Bernie, Yang, Williamson, and Beto. Some of the more mainstream governors, or Tulsi Gabbard, might be good possibilities.

But it's not unlikely that he won't even pick one of the other primary candidates for the VP slot. He might not even pick a sitting Senator or governor. In fact, the most logical choice to bring energy to his campaign and compensate for what he lacks is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Or he might surprise everyone.

Adviser: "Joe, it's time to pick a VP."
Biden: "I know. I know."
Adviser: "Leaning towards anyone yet?"
Biden: "I think I'm going to pick Hillary."
Adviser: "But Joe! That's suicide!"

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I think Trump is a shoe-in for renomination, and he'll stick with Pence as VP.

What do I win?

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

The race is shaping up to be "Keep America Great!" vs "Death to the America! Death to Israel!"

I'm reminded of a recent NY Post article on luxury beliefs.

We feel pressure to display our status in new ways. This is why fashionable clothing always changes. But as trendy clothes and other products become more accessible and affordable, there is increasingly less status attached to luxury goods.

The upper classes have found a clever solution to this problem: luxury beliefs. These are ideas and opinions that confer status on the rich at very little cost, while taking a toll on the lower class.

The article of course discusses "white privilege", and how denouncing white privilege is a white elite status signal.

Trump isn't running the conventional GOP vs Democrat playbook, he's running a normals vs dysfunctional elites campaign.

On “The Answer, My Friend, is Blowin’ in the Wind? Perhaps.

Well, no I understand why there's no underage drinking in the US. It's illegal and there isn't an underground alcohol market. :)

On “Churches In the Hands of an Angry God

Pastors don't charge money for marriage counselling, so I'm not sure how you would claim zero as a charitable deduction. If they did charge for it, they'd be running an unlicensed side business.

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So far as I know. They were mostly Presbyterian coal mine owners and geologists, but one was an aerospace engineer who designed components for our nuclear bomber aircraft before he became a very rich abortion doctor. He owned the only Maserati in town, or for that matter, perhaps in all of southeastern Kentucky.

On “Censored By YouTube!

I think a lot of the violence we see on the African savanna can be traced back to Youtube clips taken from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and other nature shows. Young lions and cheetahs are watching that trash and getting bad ideas about eating gazelles.

On “Churches In the Hands of an Angry God

Well I'm pretty sure God isn't short of cash, since he owns an entire universe, so why would he need money?

No, the money should go to those who need Gulfstream IV's to do God's work.

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I think that's more to do with the economics of mass communication than religion. Preachers were probably asking their congregations for lots of money for centuries before we came up with a way for one to reach vastly larger audiences via radio and TV, filling the role of an celebrity entertainer with a loyal fan base. From there, marketing takes over and you end up with Reverend Wayne’s Pearly Gates, the Pentecostal church franchise in Neal Stephenson's "Snowcrash".

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Southern WASPs would be another big Venn grouping. They were evangelical and highly political back when they'd rather die than vote GOP, but in the Appalachians the reverse was often true.

The PTL Club, 700 Club, and many other early televangelists put an emphasis on defending Israel and rejecting sinful Marxist hippie culture.

On “Censored By YouTube!

Was Herbie the Love Bug one of the contestants?

On “Churches In the Hands of an Angry God

I went to school with snake handlers. ^_^

I also went to a classmate's funeral at the "Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name". That church made international news a couple years ago when the preacher died from his umpteenth rattlesnake bite.

I went to the funeral with another classmate who'd become a policeman, and who noted that our mutual classmate apparently killed himself without a suicide note under mysterious circumstances so his cheating ex-wife, who he hated more than Satan, would get a big life insurance payout. He'd have looked into it, but our force didn't have a detective because nobody could pass the written test.

But he was obviously saved, and it's insurance money coming into the local economy, so it's all good.

A few years after that some of our police were arrested for selling cocaine to the school kids from the squad car in the school parking lot. Once those two were put away our crime rate dropped by over a third.

In retrospect, it was kind of a weird town.

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You must be one of those people who didn't do a complete backup before you upgraded to Windows 10.

The upgraded cultural software is extremely buggy and full of security holes, and it turns out that if you disable the mocha latte service the whole OS crashes.

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They don't as far as personal tax deductions go, generally aside from travel expenses.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.