The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

50 State Protests Fizzle + Biden

The plan was to have right wing protests at all 50 states. I thought that would likely happen, but it has fizzled: almost no one showed up.

I’m not sure if this is due to the disruption of the communication system between right wing activists, or if their will has been broken.

The fizzling is good news. I still see the conditions for a right wing insurrection, but I’d love to be wrong and I’m happy to be wrong about the 50 state protests.

Just as important, perhaps this will convince Biden and Democrats not to do a Patriot Act II: because whether the right has it in them or not, left-wing demonstrations do continue.

As for Biden, he’s stopping the Keystone XL pipeline (the right thing to do, which I say as a Canadian, and Trudeau was a fool to throw good money after bad on it.) Biden is also due to rejoin the Paris agreement. The Paris agreement has always been bullshit, no major nation has come even close to meeting its agreed goals, but Biden does seem serious about the environment, so we can hope for some improvements in US policy.

He’s also, apparently, going to get rid of the border wall, though that’s more show than meaningful. (Plenty of miles of border wall was built before Trump.)

The original optimism on anti-trust has faded, given Biden’s appointments.

As for Trump, it appears he’s going to be made an example of by being driven into real bankruptcy. The bank securing his loans has said they will no longer do business with him. He embarrassed his fellow elites, then he tried for an extremely incompetent coup and made them feel scared. They won’t forgive him for this. As with Martin Skrelli, you can hurt the hoi polloi all you want, but there’s a certain style required.

The next four years, I am quite sure, will be very unpleasant, and not particularly better than the last four years. Biden will be worse for many foreign nations than Trump was (and better for a few, like Iran.)

In the meantime, congratulation to the winner, and to Harris, who won nothing but whose machinations carried her next to the Presidency and who stands a good chance of being President, even before 2024.

Update: The NYTimes has a list of Biden’s first executive actions.

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Anti-Terrorism “Meat Grinder” Coming Home


The Logic Of Bootlickers Is The Logic Of Too Many Americans


  1. mago

    Venezuela policy says it all.

  2. scott (the other one)

    “The next four years, I am quite sure, will be very unpleasant, and not particularly better than the last four years.”

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    Are we about to enter into an age of sheer utopia? Of course not. But we no longer have an utter madman with his finger on the nuclear button, and we DO have a guy who will not go HAM on putting kids in cages.

    When you’re right, you’re so right.. But when you’re off-base, you’re off the damn map.

  3. Fourteen Hundred Dollar Checks By March Maybe

    Things are looking good. Things are looking good.

  4. S Brennan

    Shit Ian, if you are going to listen to VOX and let EZ-Rah Klien make a fool out of you, you might as well sell out and make the money they do. I live in a 75/25 percentile Trump area, nobody here and I mean nobody thought of replicating Hillary/DNC’s effed up shit. They are pissed and rightfully so, but unless D’s send in the ATF/FBI to violate the 2nd amendment* there will be no replication of the mob-like behavior that created this protracted coup of the last four years.

    Now, I don’t know that Ezra Klein, Josh Marshal et al ever really sold out, as, in retrospect, I’m not sure they had a soul to sell in the first place. But Ian, it seems pointless to support their efforts 80% of the time at your pay grade; go all in and get paid real dinero to herald the ever changing dogma to the liberal class and to propagandize to the proles into silence. The days of making a living writing truth are long past, back in the time of FDRism. Spare yourself, listen to your most rabid neoD commenters and echo their voices, go all in with the neoDs!

    *You want to confiscate rifles, fine, do it legally, amend the US Constitution. Can’t do it, fine, then all your talk is tribal bullshit. Again, only 2% or less of firearm homicides involve a rifle in any manner and yet 98% of the effort to ban firearms revolve around weapons that account for about 1% of firearm deaths.

  5. NR

    Apparently Q told all the QAnoners that the real Q was the friends they made along the way.

  6. Chicago Clubs

    “kIdS iN cAgEs!!!!!!!!!!”

  7. Ché Pasa

    I really did expect at least one state capitol to get torched, but I guess the Storming of the Capitol in DC was the apex and it didn’t turn out so well. Better to stay on the couch.

    Biden is off to a start. Everyone Who Matters is heaving a big sigh of relief. Things are back to Normal. Peace and prosperity will reign. Trump and most of his fans and followers will be pariahs for a period of time, but most (barring Trump) will be rehabilitated without too much fuss.

    The future won’t be pleasant for some, but it will be very pleasant indeed for others. Oh my yes.

  8. KT Chong

    If you have not seen them, here are some farewell songs that came out in the past 48 hours:
    😂 🤣 😂

    💃 With A Song In Her Heart, Melania Trump Returns To New York:

    ⌛ ‘One Day More’ of President Trump:

    The most amazing thing about the second song is, if you google the names of some of the singers, you will find out they are actually James Corden’s staff members! 😲

  9. mago

    As far as the eye can see señor $1,400 dollar check coming our way by March maybe.
    Lookin way good.

  10. Plague Species

    It’s a relief to have a president again who is presidential. Hopefully Biden stays at home most of the time and works rather than traveling all over Timbuktu holding comical Nurembergesque rallies and spreading COVFEFE-45 far and wide.

  11. Willy

    I think this is worth repeating.

    Trump fucked up when he went for the divide and conquer strategy. Divide America and try to conquer it with a coup. He would’ve done better as an actual populist.

    At least we now have this:

    Never quit reminding BoBidens how we got Trump.

  12. nnb

    You really do have the dumbest commentariat on the internet, Ian.

  13. S Brennan

    Worth repeating in it’s entirety, Ché who for years decried a return to FDRism in favor of his idea of “utopia-ism” is in rapture with Biden…too funny, a real keeper.
    Ché Pasa – January 20, 2021

    “[An idiotic conjecture about the future that, the author now admits was nonsense, deleted, now more predictions from Ché]

    Biden is off to a start. Everyone Who Matters is heaving a big sigh of relief. Things are back to Normal. Peace and prosperity will reign. Trump and most of his fans and followers will be pariahs for a period of time, but most (barring Trump) will be rehabilitated without too much fuss…The future won’t be pleasant for some, but it will be very pleasant indeed for others. Oh my yes.”

  14. anon

    I don’t like saying this about our first woman and first woman of color VP, but Harris does not deserve to be where she is today. Not at all. She should not be VP, definitely not POTUS, and it has nothing to do with her being a woman of color because I would vote for Nina Turner or the Squad members for higher office. Harris really lucked into this role and she’ll be even luckier if she is handed the presidency should Biden die or become incapacitated before 2024.

    I am happy to hear about the Keystone XL pipeline and extending student loan moratoriums until September. I also hope that he gets COVID-19 under control. Biden will be better for the USA than Trump, but he won’t do enough to keep the country from going off a cliff once all the moratoriums end. My prediction is that Americans will be in for a world of hurt toward the end of 2021 into 2022.

  15. Thomas Golladay

    Ian do you even do basic research anymore? The 50 capitol protest was a media fantasy. A look at the Trump Campaign websites show nothing like it planned, in fact they disavowed any such protest.

    Nor was the capitol riot a coup. Trump planned a peaceful protest off the capitol grounds to cheer on the objectors and note who failed to vote to sustain the objections so they could be primaried. The riot was the last thing he wanted and he moved to suppress it quickly once he was aware of it which took time due to a complete communication breakdown which is solely on the Mayor of DC.

    You need to get back in the game.

  16. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Q Nuts Calling
    Now don’t look to us
    ‘Drenochrome mania
    Has bitten the dust 😛

  17. Linda Doane

    Ian is right.

    Obama was the first prez who put kids in cages.

    If you think Biden and Kamala are wonderful, even minimal research will show you what they are about. Dick Cheney is a foreign adviser to Biden now, just for starters. More war, all the time.

    Re protests at the capitols, the Patriots were told not to go by credible advisors, and I doubt the real ones would have gone anyway. Plus, if you look into almost any protest, you will see that they are usually not at all what purported to be, replete with major outside funding, actors, complicit cops, along with the real protestors. I am a progressive of the Jimmy Dore Medicare for All variety–ie, not too popular with many in some ways–and Caitlin Johnston et al. But I still understand being more for Trump than for the DNC/Hillary/Biden neo liberal corporatists. Our corrupt politicians are all evil, as I see them; two factions with the same end game; phoenix /dragon golden dawn.

  18. Thomas Golladay

    A postmortem on how Trump was stabbed to death in the back by his own administration and how Trump proved unable to simply hire and keep the right people.

    That said, Big Tech is on the way out. One thing to ban Trump after he left office, doing it while still sitting, nope, Governments need to bring down the hammer and make it clear Big Tech obeys them or die. is the new rising star after Parler was too stupid to use their own proprietary systems to run.

  19. Ché Pasa

    FTR, Brennan is still incapable of recognizing irony, satire and sarcasm on the Intertubes. After all these years… sigh.

  20. different clue


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  21. ooc

    I’m still working through nnb’s comment. There’s the proverbial “a lot to unpack” within it. I think what she’s essentially saying is that Ian’s commenters aren’t that bright. If anyone would like to start a separate comment thread concentrated solely around discussions of nnb’s wisdom, I’m on board.

  22. Plague Species

    Trump f*cked up by being born. Period. There is no defense for the defenseless. No pity for him. No sympathy. No empathy. Only scorn and shame and damnation. Instead, we’ll get a three day Senate impeachment trial that will exonerate him of all wrongdoing so he can help stoke the next wave of the fascist putsch. That’s what Unity mean, afterall.

  23. bruce wilder

    I am a little surprised that Ian credits the probability of a right-wing insurrection. That seems like a Media fantasy to me, even if Golladay concurs.

    Biden-Harris is in many ways the embodiment of a big fu to everyone who was genuinely appalled by Trump. He’s a senile fabulist with a corrupt family (son and brother) and he is bringing back the people who drove the Obama Administration

  24. Plague Species

    Obama was the first prez who put kids in cages.

    Nope. That would be George Robinette Washington, or do you think slaves weren’t put in cages or the filthy horrid diseased hulls of ships?

  25. Astrid

    Congrats to those have actively cheering for the start of the Joemala administration. You cheered for this racist sex harassing reanimated corpse and his warmongering, austerity for little people cabinet. Enjoy!

  26. Astrid

    Biden is bringing back all the greatest hits of the Clinton/Bush/Obama years. I’m sure they can rehabilitate most of the Trumpies too, given a year or two for TDS to subside and when they need someone to put down what might look like another genuinely populist effort from the left or right. As long as the stock market keeps going up!

  27. Plague Species

    We all commented last night what a breath of fresh air it is to see a presidential press secretary who approaches normal. Jenn Psaki is a professional in every way, meaning in affect and appearance. She’s all business and she’s cordial about it and committed to full transparency. And it’s nice she wears very little makeup because she’s too busy working on our behalf to be bothered to obsess over her appearance like Kayleigh McEnany.

  28. someofparts

    Actually, makeup and style that is not obvious, that looks un-made up, is just more expensive and requires more skill to use. Liz Warren doesn’t look like she’s gone blonde to hide the gray but I assure you she has.

  29. bruce wilder

    Is PS joking?

    Parody might make a come-back in the brief Biden era, if it were not that the audience has been ruined for it by so many years of faux outrage over made-up nonsense.

  30. someofparts

    Recognizing Juan Guaido is the one that made me sick.

  31. bruce wilder

    I really do not expect rebellion, though power is concentrated now in a few corporate/financial hands. The left is fighting “racism” and the right is fighting for QAnon.

    What I fully expect is further economic collapse at home as the devastation of small business and Trump’s failure to revive industry come to fruition. With the Obama Alumni Association’s corrupt interest in foreign adventures, I would say the come-uppance will come from abroad. Russia or China will break SWIFT or sink an aircraft carrier with a $10,000 drone.

  32. Plague Species

    You may be right, bruce, but meanwhile you have to think about numero uno because no one else, obviously, will. If it worked for Lindell, it can work for you too and for me.

  33. Ché Pasa

    Stamping out the very idea of populism is high on Our Rulers’ list of Things To Do.

    It’s happened before. 19th and early 20th century populist movements were largely destroyed by the Progressive Movement — which in turn was a corporatist Republican reaction to Populist agitation, disruption and political success. As it happened, more people were happy with the minimal Progressive reforms and the relative peace and quiet than wanted further populist disruption.

    This time of course the Dems are in the position of corporatist Republicans, and it will be their job to stamp out the grassfire of right wing populism. Leftish populism has already been canceled what with the failure of Bernie-ism to move the dial leftward.

  34. kråke

    I don’t have to ‘cheer’ to be relieved there might be simething like a coordinated response to Covid-19.

    Can’t fight the plutocrats if I’m choking to death in a hospital hallway.

    Please, fellow lefties, start thinking strategically and tactically. Moralism is for quietists.

  35. GlassHammer

    “I’m not sure if this is due to the disruption of the communication system between right wing activists, or if their will has been broken.” – Ian

    To some extent the fantasy of the moment was damaged by reality.

    Also, there is a difference between the momentum and power of a large crowd at a single event (like the capital) vs. much smaller crowds at smaller events (state capitals). The decision to shrink their crowds and disperse them across the states after the one big event (the capital) probably damaged the Trumpers more than they realize.

  36. kråke

    We can be pious idealists or we can win. FFS, choose. If pious moral posturing is your thing, may I suggest a cheaper form of masturbation aid? It’s called amateur porn. It’s just as embarrassing, but it’s cleaner. It has the added benefit of being way less passive than complaining pseudonymously on the internet about the powerful using their power over others.

    If you want them to be less powerful, cool. It means taking their stuff and cracking some skulls. It doesn’t come from whining about how morally impure they are, while you wait for a White Hat who is never going to come.

    Jesus feck, grow up and get some courage; either that, or you can go watch The Bachelor.

  37. anon

    The crazies will move on from Trump but their movement won’t go away. They’ll just worship another perhaps more dangerous leader. These movements evolve over time starting with the Tea Party, then QAnon, and they’ll still be here in 2024 perhaps on another online platform with a different name. Trump will also still be around too trying to start his family members’ political careers in Florida and griftong his remaining followers for cash that he will desperately need to stay afloat. He’s done in NYC and blue states but he’ll find the attention and support he craves throughout the South.

  38. GlassHammer

    I should say that “The decision to shrink their crowds and disperse them across the states after the one big event (the capital)” was probably not planned by the leaders of these people and it likely came about after their main event (the capital) ended.

    I suspect the capital was “the event” and there was no plan of what would come next.

    In some ways recent events remind me of the Arab Spring in that the participants didn’t have much of a plan after the main event.

  39. Eric Anderson

    “You really do have the dumbest commentariat on the internet, Ian.”

    If dumb is defined by one’s departure from MSM zombie narratives, then yes — chock full of idiots.

    And btw … did anyone really expect the backlash to come immediately? Really? Seriously? No, the Tim McVeigh’s and Randy Weaver’s of the world are silently plotting on their backwoods compounds.

    For example, I saw a big ad banner strung up on a local right-wing hate church calling all patriots to a rally ($10.00 bucks a head) on Jan 30th at the local fairgrounds.
    I intend to observe and document for material to send to a certain journalist twitter-mutual of mine that documents white supremacy in the region.

    It’s coming. They’re just licking their wounds and formulating new plans. More clandestine, new plans.

  40. Eric Anderson

    And for all the keyboard cowboys on here opining from their safe leftist bubble enclaves — this is how real change will happen in this country. We’ve Tiebout sorted ourselves into a serious conundrum. We don’t know what are neighbors are up to anymore because we’ve walled ourselves off from one another and only speculate about the ghouls on the other side.

    Well, I work with the ghouls every day.

    You want to make a difference in this country? Move somewhere rural, and red, then get to work. The leftist insurgents on the ground, actually doing the work, could definitely use your help.

  41. Feral Finster

    1. Ian, this seems like quite a turnaround from “Biden will be a mostly good president” a few days ago, or whatever. Seems that you are starting to get wise – Biden will give us more of the situation that made a Trump possible in the first place and not a bad joke.

    2. I am not a 9/11 truther, but I recall that when he was a Senator, Biden himself had proposed something like the so-called “Patriot Act”.

    Suffice it to say, Biden’s initiative went nowhere at the time.

    9/11 came and Americans could not give up their civil liberties quickly enough. 9/11 gave the opponents of liberty the excuse they needed to do what they wanted to do all along.

    1/6 will be used much the same way.

  42. Ché Pasa

    Feral Finster says:

    9/11 came and Americans could not give up their civil liberties quickly enough. 9/11 gave the opponents of liberty the excuse they needed to do what they wanted to do all along.

    What civil liberties did Americans give up? What civil liberties did you personally lose with the advent of the Patriot Act and its many re-iterations?

    (I agree that the Patriot Act was bad legislation and should be repealed. It won’t be, however, unless you can demonstrate actual harm to yourself since its passage.)

    “Opponents of liberty” means what? Liberty for whom? Freedom to do what? Again, catch phrases without substance mean nothing in the end. Who are these “opponents of liberty?” What is it they actually oppose, and how does the Patriot Act, or if you prefer, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the United States, interfere with your personal liberty? What can’t you do now that you could do prior to the passage of the Patriot Act and/or the elevation of Old Joe to the White House?

  43. Eric Anderson

    Che —

    That sounds dangerously close to:
    “Well, if you’re not doing anything wrong, what’s the problem?”

  44. Astrid

    I don’t think Joemala will be significantly more effective in responding to COVID and related fallout. They had no problem encouraging their (older and frailer) voters to go to the polls during the primaries.

    After the coup against the Sanderistas, they went into hiding all summer and fall, never bothering to elucidate any vision other than that they’re not Trump.

    Trump may have actively worked against COVID containment efforts, but Clinton/Bush/Obama years hollowed out federal agencies and stockpiles agencies and ensured that there cannot be an effective response to a crisis. Look at how Europe’s comparatively much better effort is still not nearly enough.

    And remember that the current DNC is responsible for the Obamacare rollout. These are professional gaslighters who think the solution to every problem is more PR and certainly believe hundreds of thousands or millions of victims (abroad and in the US) are acceptable prices for propping up the MIC, pharma, and banks. You think they’re going to change their behavior because you really really really want them to?

    And remember that Fauci saw what the Chinese did and then sat on his hands and told the “noble” lie about mask effectiveness.

    Democrats didn’t bother campaigning for any kind of expanded financial support in 2020 or Medicare expansion or against the outrageous corporate handouts or even support BLM .
    In fact Biden went on record that he’s against it. When 80% of the population wanted more financial support, their mouthpieces were busy denouncing such efforts. They let SCOTUS and federal court go to Federalist Society stooges without a peep. The only time I hear them making a racket is when Trump threatened to withdraw troops from the middleeast.

    They indubitably suppressed third party voting in the general. They changed the rules in the primary again and again to favor their peeps and black out Gravel, Yang, Gabbard, Williamson, and Sanders.

    And Biden is a known plagarist, fabulist, abuser of women, and out and out corporate whore of 40+ years. His cabinet is full of people with similar records. Why do you think they’re going to change?

    If Joemala is the”resistance’s” idea of a solution, then I must regretfully take my ball home, do some organic gardening, and figure out a loophole that let’s me leave the country before it fully implodes.

  45. Willy

    Anybody can speculate. Anybody can opine. It might be smarter to aim specifically at enacted policies and who wins and loses as a result, instead of resorting to nonsensical ad hominem and tribal bullshit.

  46. Feral Finster

    Oh, I don’t know, freedom from unlawful searches and seizures, freedom of speech, quibbles like that:

    Why the Patriot Act’s expansion of records searches is unconstitutional
    Section 215 of the Patriot Act violates the Constitution in several ways. It:

    Violates the Fourth Amendment, which says the government cannot conduct a search without obtaining a warrant and showing probable cause to believe that the person has committed or will commit a crime.

    Violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech by prohibiting the recipients of search orders from telling others about those orders, even where there is no real need for secrecy.

    Violates the First Amendment by effectively authorizing the FBI to launch investigations of American citizens in part for exercising their freedom of speech.

    Violates the Fourth Amendment by failing to provide notice – even after the fact – to persons whose privacy has been compromised. Notice is also a key element of due process, which is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

    And there’s more –,or%20will%20commit%20a%20crime.

  47. Hugh

    The choice we had was between a President who was insane and an Establishment retread. If the right was serious, it would never have chosen as its spokesman a lying POS who looked like he might start gnawing the woodwork at any moment. If the liberals were serious, they would stop trying to buy us off with crumbs.

    Progressives should be organizing now. The Republicans don’t want us. The Democrats don’t either. The difference is that the Democrats can’t win without us. We should be telling them now. For now, we want two things from you. You put through Medicare4All or we are gone. You try to stack your primaries and elections against our candidates like you did with Sanders in 2016 and 2020, we are gone. If you weasel on either of these two things, again we are gone. No surprises. No hoocoodanode.

    Reality is pushing the Democrats to the left, but all their political instincts will have them running to the right. Look at Biden and his bipartisanship push with the better-behaved racist, fascists. It’s already started. This is in a lot of ways like managing a divorce. We need to be building our own party.

  48. Astrid

    Your solution for winning is to not hold accountable the people who “lost” countless winnable battles and happily ceded grounds to reactionaries for the last 40 years and expect them to change their behavior? And denigrate anyone who might be looking for an alternative solution?

  49. S Brennan

    Yes, SARS II aka Covid deaths will decline as a direct result of Biden’s election and it’s not just the development of the vaccine.

    Since the election, indeed, in one case, Friday night before the election, numerous medications that the AMA, NIH & CDC had banned for use in EARLY TREATMENT of SARS II are now being removed and recommended…now that Biden is power. That’s a good thing, there are numerous anti-virals out there that have been used with great effect and safety in SARS I and for other viral infections. Those numerous anti-virals should have been used in the beginning, had they, about 75% of all deaths and long term IC admissions would not have occurred.

    We will never have an investigation into why they were not used when, definitive evidence of their efficacy with SARS I and positive correlation of their efficacy with SARS II was known in late February 2020. With a few notable exceptions most people on this blog went along with the scheme, in fact many were active participants, screaming down anybody who suggested that EARLY TREATMENT of SARS II with anti-virals used in SARS I would be the most logical response.

    Well you got your prize…own it.

    The high death rate was a political ploy that affected people who did not matter, untermenschen. Notice how few notables died, a couple without connections…probably said the wrong thing a cocktail party. Yep, the SARS II death rate wasn’t artifice…and yet it was.

  50. Steve of Plainfild

    Ian your posts generally seem to be spot on but I’m really surprised you bought into the “protests” in 50 capitals. I live in Indiana which was certainly Trump country and the thought of Trump supporters coming out to protest the inevitable was just dumb. Most of the Trump supporters I know believe the Capital siege was a false flag operation by the Democrats/Socialists/ Antifata to further attack Trump and his supporters. These same people will still show up armed to any BLM protests that come to their community but unless the democrats start banning particular firearms look for the Trump supporters to continue trying to make it in this Neo-liberal made dystopia or go full off grid if they can. Never forget the Oklahoma City bombing does not happen if the fed’s don’t do Ruby Ridge and Branch Divadian raids. Both were done because there were violence seekers in government law enforcement.

  51. Willy

    Somebody here once told me I suffered from “white guilt” because I voted for Obama. I told them I voted for Obama because I thought he was more likely to benefit the middle class than McCain was, but I’d come to think that maybe I’d been conned by a slick talking politician, but there was no way to know if McCain would’ve been much different.

    He repeated his “white guilt” bullshit, making me think him a brainwashed zombie. Why not be a normal human being and just state your specific desires? If you believe that the white man is superior and government policies should reflect this, then just say so. If you believe that political tolerance for illegal workers has ruined the middle class, then just say so.

    Then somebody else here had to accuse me of being a racist. And here we go again…
    Don’t be a zombie. Don’t do stupid shit like invade the capitol hoping your master will be there to keep you from going to prison. Focus on policy instead. At least you’re being honest, and more importantly, specific, increasing your chances at some kind of philosophical “unity”.

    Accountability is a poor mans game.

  52. Ché Pasa

    Unfortunately, the First and Fourth Amendments were vitiated long, long before the advent of the Patriot Act — as the ACLU well knows. Little or nothing in the Act was novel. It’s still bad legislation, but your rights were probably not directly affected by it. Put another way, your First and Fourth Amendment rights were already curtailed but those curtailments had little or no effect on your life or activities.

    Were you rounded up under the Patriot Act? Anyone you know? Have you been unlawfully investigated? Are you familiar with COINTELPRO? There are millions of Americans who have done nothing illegal who nevertheless have FBI files because of First Amendment protected activities that may have been contrary to the wishes of the government.

    The government has never been particularly diligent about protecting the rights of those deemed “enemies of the state.” The Patriot Act is bad and should be repealed but it won’t be so long as its primary application is toward those deemed “terrorists,” “terrorist sympathizers,” and other assorted “enemies.”

    ACLU’s argument so far has not resulted in more than modest adjustments, and it probably won’t, not so long as government claims it’s under siege by agents of mayhem and chaos. The insurrection at the Capitol was tailor made for extending that claim indefinitely.

    Good job, if that was the aim.

  53. kråke

    American pols aren’t ‘accountable’; they’re technicians, or, rarer (like Kerry or Loeffler) members of the ruling class filling in their CV. Interchangeable parts, like the rest of us. Just better compensated.

    The real adversaries take Gulfstreams to Davos, Abu Dhabi and Durban.

    How’re you ‘holding them accountable’ with the politics they permit you?

  54. Plague Species

    It’s a shame about the fizzle. I was hoping to see national guard troops mow down some ignorant white folks for once. Not since Kent State has that happened. I think it was Thomas Robinette Jefferson who said you need to mow down ignorant white folks every twenty years or so if you want to keep the republic.

  55. someofparts

    “It was the combination of the gentle self-image and the brutal truth that made Americans so dangerous. Because if you aggressed against such a people, who could see themselves only as innocent… they would react not just with anger, but with Old Testament-style moral wrath. Anyone depraved enough to attack such angels forfeited claims to adjudication, proportionality, even elemental mercy itself.”

    Fault Line
    Barry Eisler

  56. Hugh

    Last comment went into mod. Basically, if you think the Republicans are crazy and the Democrats are worthless, you might think about starting a new progressive party.

    Since 9/11, the Supreme Court has shown more deference to national security exceptions allowing increased limitations on First and Fourth Amendment rights. Mostly internationally, but on “incidental” collection on US citizens, and the types of electronic information that are protected.

    There have also been moves like the creation of fusion centers that pool information on you from across the country and give almost anyone in law enforcement access to it.

  57. Astrid

    You can hold them accountable the same way as republican electorate hold their representatives accountable. By not voting for people who have a terrible track record of voting against things you want and voting for things your claim to have, against people who have ties to bad people, by giving money to their opponents, by stop making excuses for them. It might not be enough, but it’s a start and at least you’re freeing yourself from your Stockholm syndrome.

    Direct your anger and energy at people who are actually hurting you by their activities, not the ones who no longer wish to continue their journeys on the USS Neoliberals Death Wish.

  58. Willy

    The surest way to ensure Trump II is to open up the borders and open up the offshoring. There are simply too many powerless people impacted.

    With Trump II, Bullshitting Power Hungry Demogogue New and Improved, we risk getting “leftist” abuse, like dropping them out of helicopters and forty years of Franco.

    Many of the people I know who buy Chinese and hire Mexican, are “staunch conservatives”. Figure that one out. How do you hold people like that accountable, when they’ve been conditioned to blame everything bad on “socialists”?

  59. kråke

    So, following a course that has not yet worked, again, while self-soothing by looking down on other people as angry, mis-aligned, captive sheep?

    Didn’t work for the New Left. Didn’t work for Labor. Didn’t work for Democrats left behind by the DLC.

    Maybe it will work this time.

  60. Mark Pontin

    Biden-Harris have explicitly said they’ll be a return to and continuation of the ‘normalcy’ of the Obama administration. The Obama administration and its verminous criminal complicity with Wall Street was precisely what brought on Trump’s accession.

    I concur with everything Astrid said. In particular: –

    “…the current DNC is responsible for the Obamacare rollout. These are professional gaslighters who think … hundreds of thousands or millions of victims (abroad and in the US) are acceptable prices for propping up the MIC, pharma, and banks.”

    There’ll be the facade of competent governance even as the neoliberal incompetence/indifference to enacting anything other than ‘market solutions’ and ‘public-private partnerships’ that enable further looting continues.

  61. different clue

    In the very most recent Water Cooler post at NaCap, at the end of the thread someone comments . . .

    January 21, 2021 at 3:05 pm
    “Amanda Gorman’s nods to ‘Hamilton’ won a ‘Brava’ from Lin-Manuel Miranda.” [New York Times]. • Hamilton. Of course.

    Another link to Stoller’s hit piece on Hamilton calls for another link to Christian Parenti’s Jacobin piece, “Reading Hamilton from the Left”: And also to Parenti’s interview last month with the Boston Review:

    If Tony Wikrent is reading this thread, perhaps this is an opportunity to go over to NaCap ( Where Tony Wikrent is a welcome commenter) and offer thoughts and info about Hamilton’s
    thoughts on civic virtue , social-political economics, and so forth.

  62. js

    Do people really think Republicans hold their politicians accountable by not voting at all, or voting Dem just to spite them? Really? Where? I mean leaving out the few never-Trump Republicans who are politically better aligned with Biden or noone, where and when have they done this? Republicans rather seem incredibly disciplined voters to vote Republican no matter what, one reason they punch far above their weight, the other being the rigged system. Primarying? Oh the left tries to primary all the fricken time though, it often fails though.

  63. someofparts

    As far as American politicians, I don’t think anyone on this thread is in the conversation. It’s like that scene in Bladerunner when the detective refers to the replicant as being “in” the business and she corrects him, reminding him that she “is” the business.

    All of us at this website “are” the business. The actual conversation is between the politicians and their wealthy sponsors. The politicians pitch themselves to the sponsors by showing how well they control us. That’s why Democrats make such a public display of pissing on Bernie. It’s why donors are leaving the Republicans for not being able to control Trump.

    Democrats are ebullient right now because the money is pouring in like it never has before. Their continued victory with the donors depends on proving that they can keep a better lid on people like us than the Republicans can. Being brazen about their contempt for us and their service to the donors is going to be a new part of their brand – not just smirking anymore, but smirking and swaggering.

    On the Republican side, I guess the donors themselves are going to do what the party could not and finish off Trump with full-on bankruptcy. Then I suppose a reduced Republican party moves on minus those millions of estranged Trump voters the same way the Democrats have moved on minus those millions of estranged Bernie voters. Once the Republicans purge Trump the split-ticket voters will come back to them, which could even the scales with the Democrats. They will settle into representing various factions among the moneyed interests.

    As far as controlling us, it sounds like they plan to automate it by installing surveillance systems on the scale it has been done in China. That’s why they are starting to drop the pretense of listening to us at all, because if things go as planned, pretty soon they really won’t ever have to maintain the pretense of caring again. If I look at how consent is being managed on “legitimate” media these days, it’s not a stretch to say that they are preparing their audiences to accept expanded surveillance.

  64. @ Thomas Golladay

    A postmortem on how Trump was stabbed to death in the back by his own administration and how Trump proved unable to simply hire and keep the right people.

    Thanks SO MUCH for posting this youtube video. This guy Robert Barnes is a real gem. I don’t think I ever heard of him before 3 weeks, ago. Not only does he strike me as totally honest and extremely objective, but he’s very connected, and insightful. Just listening to a small amount of his interview lends a great deal of insight into what often appears as Trump bizarro and infuriating, shoot-himself-in-the-foot, behavior. Contrast that with the near-zero insight you get from years of listening to either Trump lovers and sycophants, like Sean Hannity* and Kayleigh McEnany, or Trump haters like Acosta and similar CNN ‘luminaries’ or, frankly, some of the people that frequently post fanatical comments on this blog, and the difference is stunning. Like night and day.

    Having said that, he’s really much more critical of Trump than somebody would guess from your saying that Trump was “unable to simply hire and keep the right people”.

    As you have probably heard Barnes for quite a while, can you tell us whether he’s been asked why Trump didn’t fire Wray, say at least as soon as he found out that either a) Wray’s FBI sat on exculpatory evidence that should have freed Flynn from legal jeopardy or b) Wray’s FBI sat on the Hunter Biden laptop revelations?

    I have less of a problem with Trump being duped into hiring people for key positions who have it in for him, than of Trump keeping the backstabbers on, instead of firing them, ASAP. I sometimes feel sorry for Trump being surrounded by so many backstabbers, but refuse to feel sorry for him for being such a failure at using the powers that his office conferred. He could have been a much better President, even after we grant that he wasn’t really much of a populist, or in other ways wanting the same things we projected into him.

    You might be interested in the research of Lee Stranahan, who apparently doesn’t have close to Barnes’ inside connections, but is similarly honest. (He also tries to be objective, I believe, but once posted nonsense about the progressive coders network, of which I’m a member; I pointed him to the list of projects they’ve worked on, which didn’t support his subversive theories, at all. The only semi-exception was a comment I saw in a slack feed about making a bot that argues with conservatives on their blogs and such, which is meant to just waste their time and energy. So, I don’t think he rises to Barnes level of objectivity, though I think he’s honest enough to want to.) Unfortunately, Stranahan is nowhere near as articulate as Barnes.

    Stranahan repeats some of his criticism of Giuliani and Posobiec in a recent interview on the crowdsource the truth youtube channel.

    * I ignore the frequent stellar guest of Hannity’s, Greg Jarrett. I’m referring more to Hannity’s own utterances, usually in service of a repetitive, unending “Trump is a Godsend” narrative. Part of Trump’s failure can be laid at the feet of people like Hannity, who refused to press him on his hypocrisies, failures, and apparent bizarreness.

  65. Hugh

    Der Führer wurde verraten! How sad. Wouldn’t it be simpler and more accurate to say that Trump was a POS and move on. “Apparent bizarreness”? LOL, he was F-ing nuts.

  66. NR

    js – In fact, Republican congressmen vote far more often against the policy views held by their districts than Democratic congressmen do, yet they are punished for it less often than Democratic congressmen are. This is because identity politics is much more common among Republicans than it is among Democrats.

    Here is a study documenting this phenomenon:

  67. anon y'mouse

    we all have FBI files.
    let that sink in.

    if you try to move to Canadia, the blessed land, they ask for a copy of it before they let you become a permanent resident. which means you have to request it from the FBI.

    at least, that’s what i read when i dreamed of flying north away from this hellhole years ago. until realizing one needs to be somewhat independently wealthy beforehand.

  68. anon y'mouse

    Steve of Plainfield.

    okla city doesn’t happen without government undercover agents making it so.

  69. Willy

    Identity politics is as common amongst the right as is having comments around here put into moderation. But if the Lincoln Project is any example, at least there’s somebody over there willing to have a more honest debate, suggesting a level of sanity which might even be socially acceptable.

    As some of us know, the sweet spot for any liberal democracy is that place where loyal oppositions debate honestly, with certified and trusted scorekeepers, for the sake of solving problems too big for smaller groups.

    Sadly too many of us have been divided quite neatly into opposing camps using advance brainwashing and social engineering technologies, for the sole benefit of our elite few. Fuckers.

    Would it be possible to assemble a list of policies which sane working people might all have in common? Personally, I wouldn’t include stuff like white supremacy, a Dear Leader we must worship regardless of how batshit they behave, fascism, accusing “the other” of things which have nothing to do with reality, and mindlessly FUDing up the place up with bullshit trollery for the amusement of our elite few.

  70. Willy

    For example, maybe middle class workers could agree that Biden dumping Kathleen Kraninger as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a good thing?

    She did after all, with zero previous experience in “consumer protection”, try to undermine the agency’s role as a watchdog for the financial sector on behalf of the far-too-busy and/or pandemic stressed little guy.

  71. mago

    “Masturbation can be fun” from Jesus Christ Superstar must be true as evidenced by comments here.

  72. different clue


    “Masturbation can be fun” is not from Jesus Christ Superstar.

    “Masturbation can be fun” is from Hair.

    And here is the official lyrics where you can see it for yourself.

    Hair. Not JCS. Hair.

  73. Willy

    mago’s snarks are masturbation, otherwise he’d actually say something worth repeating.

  74. Feral Finster

    By Che Pasa’s logic, anyone not actually arrested by Nazis or Communists wasn’t directly affected, so that made it OK!

    I also note that you fail to provide specifics of what laws, exactly violated the First and Fourth Amendments in the way that the Patriot Act did before the Patriot Act came along.

  75. Ché Pasa

    Everything the Nazis did was ‘legal’ wasn’t it? Most Germans weren’t directly affected until the War, and even then, apart from rampant starvation and disease, most went through the War relatively unscathed and emerged on the other side with most of their prior legal framework and ideology intact. Absent the Fuehrer and his goons of course…

    In the United States, the historical situation has been more complex: soaring ideals in the Founding Documents, lack of application of those ideals, substitution of some of the worst social and political ideas on the ground, disparate application of law enforcement, ‘unconstitutional’ laws passed and enforced for decades, nay generations, before any judicial intervention and on and on and on. That’s how it works in this country, how it’s always worked.

    Most Americans go along with it and always have. They go along with the Patriot Act because it doesn’t affect them in any way they are conscious of. They went along with Jim Crow laws because it made God-fearing white people feel good.

    It doesn’t make it right, it doesn’t justify vile law or non-law that is considered ‘normal.’

    On the other hand, the ACLU has been fighting the Patriot Act or elements of it for almost 20 years. How much has actually changed?

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