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Hometown: London
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Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 07:25 PM
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Journal Archives

The Tara Reade Story Is Tricking Progressives Into Voting For Trump Again

We are doing our best to cover the continually evolving Tara Reade story responsibly here at The Banter. It’s an incredibly delicate subject and we hope to provide our readers with thoughtful, carefully researched articles that do the story justice. You can read our original story here, with new updates added: Tara Reade's Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden Is Falling Apart


WASHINGTON, DC -- As many of you have noticed, I’ve been almost exclusively focused on doing whatever I can to verbally undermine Donald Trump and his entire criminal enterprise. It’s what I do now. While I don’t have the same online reach as various heavy-hitters, I’m doing what I can to expose Trump’s vast horrendousness, while forecasting the kind of damage he’s manifesting. And based on what I’ve been documenting for several years now, Trump and the idiocratic movement surrounding him is absolutely the most dangerous threat we’ve faced as a nation since World War II. Consequently, I’m intensely driven to use my platform to help make sure Trump loses his re-election campaign this year, and loses it humiliatingly. My hope is, at the very least, to provide rocket fuel for other like-minded Americans in our national effort to destroy this monster and to marginalize if not snuff out the twisted ideology of Trumpism once and for all.

Knowing the destructive potential of a second Trump term as president -- knowing how it would annihilate the last remaining institutional impediments blocking Trump’s ongoing power grab, we ought to be extremely suspicious if not downright hostile to anyone who’s helping the president or hurting his opponent, Joe Biden. This is a political war for our collective future. This election will determine whether we’re spraying the crops with Brawndo under a Trump dictatorship, or whether America will course correct and reacquaint itself with democratic values. Not to belabor the point, but defeating Trump at the ballot box has to be our highest national priority this year. Everything depends on it -- one of the myriad reasons why I’m so driven. It’s also one of the reasons why I’m deeply suspicious of the motives of activists who are exploiting the allegation of Tara Reade to damage the Biden campaign, effectively aiding in the re-election of Donald Trump.

Briefly, Reade was a Senate staffer working in Biden’s office in the early 1990s. Throughout the last 30 years, she’s remained silent about what she’s alleging -- that Biden accosted her in a hallway and sexually violated her. We also know that Russian trolls and bots are actively spreading the allegation around social media and beyond, lending a thick patina of dubiousness to Reade’s claims. It should be further noted that the Republican Party throughout its eight year jihad against Barack Obama’s administration never once unearthed the incident Reade described. Not even Trump’s team landed on this in 2016 when it was looking to distract from Trump’s 25 rape accusers.

In recent history alone, there have been two presidential elections with Biden second on the ticket, plus a third presidential election, 2016, in which Biden briefly explored jumping into the race, as well as the past two years of the 2020 primary process. Why is the Reade allegation coming out now during the exact same pocket of time in the 2020 cycle as the DNC emails were hacked by Russia in the 2016 cycle? Why is this only being circulated now that Bernie Sanders has withdrawn from the race after coming up short on delegates? Nevertheless, this presidential election, like most others, is a binary choice. There are two legitimate options for your presidential vote: Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Voters have the option to vote for Trump, or they have the option to vote for Biden. We therefore have to decide which man is better suited for the presidency. Again, this isn’t merely a “what about Trump?” argument, it’s the actual binary choice we have to make. It’s a mandatory either-or scenario between two contrasting candidates. We’re not just randomly picking on Trump in reaction to the Biden allegation. If Biden is morally eliminated, Trump is the singular alternative. A vote against Biden and what he represents is a vote for Trump and what he represents. That’s how this all works.


Abandoned Ghost Towns Across America You Can Actually Visit

Once bustling with bars, brothels, and bandits, these 14 hamlets are now eerily desolate.


Everyone’s chasing riches in the Land of Opportunity. But when the riches run out, people move on to something newer, shinier, and untapped. It happened to countless boom towns after Gold Rush miners depleted all the gold, and when Gilded Age industrial sites collapsed -- and it’s a big reason why the United States was left with so many abandoned towns in the 19th and 20th centuries. From coast to coast, America’s ghost towns carry the most peculiar backstories. Some began as lucrative mining communities that cleared out almost overnight, and some are casualties of new railways and interstates. Others were once capital cities ravaged by nature and fate. These skeletons of the past could be sets for the next Coen Brothers Western, and at least one has already inspired a chilling horror flick. Hell, some ghost towns are reported to have literal ghosts roaming through the wreckage. Once bustling with bars, brothels, and bandits, these 14 hamlets are now eerily desolate. You can visit most of them today, but be careful what you touch. Many are so perfectly preserved -- furniture, dishes, even beer exactly where it was left -- that they feel like dusty time capsules from a century ago.

Kennecott, Alaska

All that glitters may not be gold, but it can still make you a fortune. Copper lured brave miners to this remote Alaskan spot in the early 1900s after two prospectors stumbled upon what turned out to be $200 million worth of the metal while resting their horses.

They formed what was then called the Utah Copper Company in 1903. Within a few years, and with the help of J.P. Morgan and the Guggenheims, they turned the place into a self-contained company town, complete with a tennis court and skating rink. One of Kennecott’s five mines contained the world’s richest copper concentration -- they named the claim "Bonanza." By 1938, however, the copper supply was running low enough that the mines shuttered.

Today, it’s a National Historic Landmark -- and one of Alaska’s most popular points of interest -- in the heart of the massive Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, which doesn’t charge an entrance fee. The iconic red mill on the hill spans 14 stories above a glacier and can be explored by visitors who take the official Kennecott Mill Town Tour.

St. Elmo, Colorado

Founded in 1880, St. Elmo was once a highfalutin gold mining town and popular whistle-stop on the Pacific Railroad. It boasted almost 2,000 residents and more than 150 mines -- plus enough hotels, brothels, saloons, and dance halls to keep everybody in town happily cutting a rug. When the Alpine Tunnel closed in 1910, however, the music stopped. With the price of silver already down, the last remaining rail service stopped in 1922. The dedicated few that stuck around suffered another loss 30 years later when the postmaster died and postal service was discontinued, further sequestering them from civilization.

Despite numerous fires charring the canyon over the years, St. Elmo remains one of America’s best-preserved ghost towns. Several original structures are still intact, providing an unfiltered glimpse into life during the mining boom (one big exception is the town hall, which had to be rebuilt in 2008 following a particularly destructive blaze). Present-day visitors can tour the old mining roads in ATVs, fish along Chalk Creek, stay in a historic cabin, and shop from a general store that’s open through the summer. Most tourists stop in during warmer months when St. Elmo comes to life, but some prefer to visit in the wintertime when roads and trails are truly abandoned.

Cahawba, Alabama

Cahawba has an illustrious history for a ghost town: From 1820 to 1825, it served as Alabama’s state capital before flooding so many times that most of the residents fled for drier pastures (and took the title of capital with them). It remained for years a hub of cotton distribution. During the Civil War, it was home of the Confederate Castle Morgan prison, where thousands of Union soldiers were kept between 1863 and 1865 -- when another massive flood started driving people out for good. By the early 1900s, most buildings had been demolished, too.

Still, there’s enough left for history buffs today to enjoy. The welcome center, built in the image of a notable general's cottage, includes a small museum of artifacts and photos from Cahawba’s peak. Guests can take self-guided tours of the major Civil War sites, the cemetery, and a woodsy nature trail; and no visitor should leave without seeing the Crocheron Columns, the only remaining parts of the Crocheron Mansion where important negotiations were made during the Battle of Selma.


NYT: Stymied in Seeking Benefits, Millions of Unemployed Go Uncounted

As state agencies grapple with new guidelines and sheer volume, many workers are frustrated in filing claims and omitted from jobless tallies.


With a flood of unemployment claims continuing to overwhelm many state agencies, economists say the job losses may be far worse than government tallies indicate. The Labor Department said Thursday that 3.8 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the six-week total to 30 million. But researchers say that as the economy staggers under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of others have lost jobs but have yet to see benefits.

A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that roughly 50 percent more people than counted as filing claims in a recent four-week period may have qualified for benefits — with the difference representing those who were stymied in applying or didn’t even try because the process was too formidable. “The problem is even bigger than the data suggest,” said Elise Gould, a senior economist with the institute, a left-leaning research group. “We’re undercounting the economic pain.”

Alexander Bick of Arizona State University and Adam Blandin of Virginia Commonwealth University found that 42 percent of those working in February had lost their jobs or suffered a reduction in earnings. By April 18, they found, up to eight million workers were unemployed but not reflected in the weekly claims data. The difficulties at the state level largely flow from the sheer volume of claims, which few agencies were prepared to handle. Many were burdened by aging computer systems that were hard to reconfigure for new federal guidelines.

“We’ve known that the state unemployment insurance systems were not up to the task, yet those investments were not made,” Ms. Gould said. “The result is that the state systems are buckling under the weight of these claims.” The crush of claims is a major reason — but not the only one — that states are backlogged. Frustrated applicants who refile their applications, some as many as 20 times, slow the system as processors weed out duplicates. Some applications are missing information. New York analyzed a million claims and found many had been delayed because of a missing employer identification number. In such cases, each applicant has to be called back. Callers looking for updates also flood the system, increasing the wait for those who need to correct a mistake.


I Was Skeptical of This Hyped, Award-Winning Bourbon from Washington State. Then I Drank It


Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey

If you don’t know Woodinville yet, you will soon. The distillery has earned numerous accolades, including Craft Whiskey of the Year and, more recently, Best Straight Bourbon at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition this year. Bourbon authority Fred Minnick said he’d “buy every single bottle of Woodinville.” Its straight bourbon is an easy-drinking 90 proof that’s aged in standard 53-gallon drums for five years which, for a non-major distillery (like Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace or Brown-Forman), is a rarity. What’s rarer, the booze is better than its stats. It’s rich, buttery and sweet, and, at $40, it won’t cost you a fortune.


2016 Craft Whiskey of the Year
-American Distilling Institute Craft Spirits Awards

Woodinville® Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 45% ABV

This truly small-batch bourbon starts with traditionally grown corn, rye and malted barley. All of our staple grains are cultivated exclusively for us on the Omlin Family farm in Quincy, Washington. The grains are mashed, distilled, and barreled in our Woodinville® distillery, then trucked back over the Cascade Mountains to our private barrel houses, where Central Washington’s extreme temperature cycles promote the extraction of natural flavors from the oak. Prior to being coopered, the barrel wood is seasoned in open air, rain, wind, sun, and snow for eighteen months, softening the wood’s harsh tannins. The barrels are then slowly toasted and heavily charred to further enrich the wood’s desirable flavors. This meticulous process yields a truly hand-crafted spirit with aromas of crème brûlée and spice cabinet, as well as notes of rich caramel, dark chocolate, and vanilla bean on the palate with a sweet, lingering finish.

*Also available in Cask-Strength at distillery only.

You Know That Little Hole in Your Pen Cap? It Could Save Your Life


Welcome to Further Details, a series dedicated to ubiquitous but overlooked elements hidden on your favorite products. This week: the hole in the cap of your favorite cheap pen.

Pop open a fresh box of Bic’s famed Cristal pens and you’ll come face to face with a bunch of pen caps with holes in them. As an everyday function, the hole equalizes pressure so that uncapping and capping the pen isn’t a struggle. The hole’s other function is to save your life.

According to Iconic Designs: 50 Stories about 50 Things, Bic has been manufacturing vented pen caps since 1991 in an effort to reduce deaths by asphyxiation after accidental ingestion of the pen cap, particularly by children. Pen cap inhalation is a common issue with school-aged children, and the results can be deadly if not addressed immediately. The hole of the pen cap allows for airflow to continue even while lodged within the body. But the safety measure is only good for buying time until one can seek medical attention; one teenager in the UK died when he inhaled a pen cap and the cap’s vent became clogged.


Bic may have been the first in the implementation of the pen cap hole, but other pen manufacturers have since adopted the safety measure in accordance to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an independent organization that sets product standards for 164 countries. In 1993, the ISO released the safety standard ISO 11540, which dictates the design specifications of pen caps. These guidelines only apply to writing utensils that may be used by those aged 14 and younger — pen caps that are targeted towards adults, or are too large, aren’t subject to these measures.

The specifications include the condition that pen caps be ventilated with an aperture that will allow someone choking on a pen cap to maintain somewhat regular breathing functions until medical help arrives. The hole in the pen cap can literally be the difference between life and death if the cap is ingested. So the next time writer’s block hits, and the urge to chew your pen cap comes, maybe stick to chewing gum.


The Bic Cristal (stylised as BiC Cristal and also known as the Bic pen) is an inexpensive disposable ballpoint pen mass-produced and sold by Société Bic of Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France. It was introduced in December 1950 and is the best-selling pen in the world – the 100 billionth was sold in September 2006. It has become the archetypal ballpoint pen and is considered ubiquitous, to the extent that the Museum of Modern Art has made it a permanent part of its collection. Its hexagonal form and design mimics a classic lead pencil and it is sold in 6 types of point and 18 colors around the world.

Your Funeral ‎- I Want To Be You

Local Anesthetic Records ‎– none
Vinyl, 7", Single, 45 RPM
Goth Rock, Punk, Deathrock, Post-Punk


The The ‎- This Is The Day (Original 12" Version)

Some Bizzare ‎– TA 3710
Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM, Single

Cetu Javu - Situations (Razormaid Version)

Razormaid Records - RM-A22
2 × vinyl , 12 ", clear

Half of world's workers 'at immediate risk of losing livelihood due to coronavirus'

1.6 billion people face economic hit from Covid-19, says UN labour agency


A fruit vendor waiting for customers during lockdown in Prayagraj, India. About 2 billion people worldwide work in the informal economy. Photograph: Prabhat Kumar Verma/Zuma Wire/Rex

Almost half the global workforce – 1.6 billion people – are in “immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed” by the economic impact of Covid-19, the International Labour Organization has warned. Of the total global working population of 3.3 billion, about 2 billion work in the “informal economy”, often on short-term contracts or self-employment, and suffered a 60% collapse in their wages in the first month of the crisis. Of these, 1.6 billion face losing their livelihoods, the ILO warned on Wednesday.

“It shows I think in the starkest possible terms that the jobs employment crisis and all of its consequences is deepening by comparison with our estimates of three weeks ago,” the UN agency’s director general, Guy Ryder, told a briefing, foreseeing a “massive” poverty impact. “For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future. Millions of businesses around the world are barely breathing,” said Ryder. “They have no savings or access to credit. These are the real faces of the world of work. If we don’t help them now, they will simply perish.”

North and South America were the worst affected regions following the rapid spread of the virus through the US and Brazil, but self-employed and contract workers in Europe were also in imminent danger of seeing their livelihoods disappear. In the Americas, the loss of working hours in the second quarter is expected to reach 12.4% compared with the pre-crisis level. In Europe and central Asia, the decline is estimated at 11.8%.

This translates into a drop in the incomes of informal workers of 81% in Africa and the Americas, 21.6% in Asia and the Pacific, and 70% in Europe and central Asia. An easing of the lockdown in China meant thousands of businesses had reopened and increased the hours of their workers. The ILO said this development meant the incomes of employed workers had increased on a global level.


The (Almost) Worst Case Coronavirus Scenario Is On The Way

The nonstop efforts of Trump and conservative propaganda to downplay Covid-19 are leading us to disaster.


Four months ago, if you would have told me that white Republican voters were literally suicidal, I would have scoffed at you. Homicidal? Sure. The right wing produces domestic terrorists like rotting meat produces maggots. But suicidal? Not so much. I would have thought the MAGA Moron Mob was far too self-centered to throw their lives away on the word of Donald Trump and Fox News. But I forgot how much power a cult has over its victims.


That’s a beach in a red-leaning California county and, presumably, most of the people there are of the opinion that the coronavirus that has killed over 50,000 Americans is not a big deal. Or at least it’s less important than their Gawd-given right to get some sun. This was the same scene at Florida beaches last weekend where Republican governor Ron DeSantis has been treating Covid-19 like a minor nuisance to be ignored whenever possible. It’s not like his state is filled with retired senior citizens or anything. Hundreds of thousands of (mostly) Republicans are delighted to rush back out into public right when we’re still in the middle of the first peak of a pandemic. And now it’s going to get so much worse.

The Suicide Squad

Countries all across the globe that are much better prepared than the United States are finding out how difficult it is to ease their lockdowns without setting off new waves of infections. This goes for countries like China, which did an extremely poor job handling their initial outbreaks as well as countries like Germany, which did an astonishingly good job. But those countries are aggressively combatting the virus with testing and tracking on a national level. When they find an outbreak, they do something to keep it from spreading to the rest of the population. By contrast, the United States is doing literally nothing on a national level because Trump and his Republican regime of corrupt lackeys refuse to take any kind of responsibility.

Therefore, it is up to each individual state to do its own testing and tracking which is akin to having 50 people build a boat to escape a flood knowing that several of them will use cardboard for the hull. Even if the rest of the boat is solid, you’re all going to drown because of the idiots you’ve been forced to work with. Take idiot Georgia Republican governor Brian Kemp. Reports CNN:

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