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

Happy Independence Day

US Constitution by KJD

It’s sometimes unclear to me whether the US has been more of a good thing than a bad thing, but Happy Independence Day. Remember to thank the French–there’s a fairly strong case that without them, the US would have lost the War of Independence.

But every powerful nation has committed their share of atrocities, so, well, so be it.

Enjoy the day.




Happy Canada Day


Open Thread and Posting


  1. Willy

    As a youth I once went up to Canada with a few college buddies to get laid, or so we’d hoped. A group of girls we met took us to the fishing docks to meet the uncle of one, a small fishing boat owner. He and his crusty old bib-overalled partner discussed American politics with us while the girls went out to get us all some beer. I was a bit shocked by how much those two knew, which was far more then we Americans did. In hindsight, I also shouldn’t have been shocked when the girls never came back. They’d obviously ditched us there. I now believe they were hoping we’d get a clue and educate ourselves to at least Canadian levels of political thought, before trying to impress Canadian girls with our grandly idiotic American hubris, again. Or at least Canadian girls of the non-street walking variety.

    But still, the US seems a better place to be arrogantly and idiotically bombastic about one’s politics, and in which to find bimbos who’d be equally impressed.

  2. thecenterleftcannothold

    Every powerful nation has committed their share of atrocities- you\’ve got that right. The Belgians get a free pass for wiping out 10.7 million Congolese, and the Brits get a free pass for killing probably around 100 million people since 1700 (They fellated Churchill recently in a lionizing biopic). America is an evil nation run by evil politicians voted into office by evil citizens. There\’s no denying it anymore, we are the bad guys, and we are the number 1 cause of climate change, which looks like it could wipe out a billion people.

  3. Kris

    \”There’s no denying it anymore, we are the bad guys, and we are the number 1 cause of climate change, which looks like it could wipe out a billion people.\” Um – it\’s more likely to be closer to eight billion IMHO…

  4. Upwards of thirty-five million First Americans were put to the sword in the name of the jew christian muslim mormon dog in what we today think of as “America” alone, a genocide of perhaps a hundred million Humans Beings across the “western hemisphere”.

    The tyranny of a minority, highly vocal masters of manipulation in a position to get away with it, imposed upon the majority, imposed upon the rest of us. There’s an amendment for that.

    When the roaches write the next history of the world, it’ll be Religion, that wiped us out.

  5. Hugh

    The US is the world’s hegemon and has a lot of responsibility for what goes on in it in certain ways but has little control of it in others. We have no monopoly on kleptocratic ruling classes. Ethnic, sectarian, and regional conflicts would continue even if the US didn’t exist. The failure to develop strong and stable civil institutions would remain. The US has close to zero ability to control overpopulation even if it wanted to. And yes, we do contribute inordinately to global warming, but again even if the US did not exist, the rest of the world would be rushing to fill the void with their own greenhouse gases.

    I think we in the US need a new declaration of independence from our current overlords of the rich and elites, and from a mythological history we have been taught. What does “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” mean coming from the pen of an inveterate, unapologetic slaveholder? The Founders were every bit the rich and elites of their era as our Establishment is of ours. And they were every bit as anti-democratic, fearful and contemptuous of the many, you know us, as our own anti-populist, anti-progressive ruling class. The Constitution’s Preamble begins We the People but in fact less than 10 percent of adults in the US were even eligible to vote on the Constitution’s ratification, and its system of checks and balances was mostly about divvying up power among those with property and wealth and keeping it out of the hands of the rest of us, the ordinary people.

  6. Ché Pasa

    So be it.

    The United States was conceived and born in Original Sin(s), namely the sins of Native American genocide and black chattel slavery, both of which were legacies of the British imperial project from which the Founders sought separation and independence to continue their own peculiar developments of those very sins without the interference of London. Genocide would not just continue but expand and sweep the continent. Slavery would be institutionalized and forcibly spread well beyond the borders of the Thirteen Colonies.

    Those were major points of US independence. Those were primary “freedoms” demanded and fought for. Liberty to wipe out the Indians and steal their land, and liberty to hold property in human beings protected by government. Forever.

    The tension between those foul principles of independence and the higher values that supposedly animate this nation, whether religious or secular, are on display daily. The legacies of the national Original Sins are still with us, but so is the urge for redemption.

    The United States as a national enterprise is neither all good nor all bad, and its people likewise.

    Our problem is that we don’t yet have the ability or the mechanisms to resolve the tension or to obtain redemption. The impulses to do good often backfire. The urge to be bad often seems stronger than ever.

    Even with things as disjointed and out of whack as they are, the US will muddle through like much of the rest of the world. If we had several hundred more years to work on and rectify the problems the US is responsible for, perhaps we would come to some better place and become better people, but we don’t have hundreds more years to work these things out according to climate models. We’re in the midst of an existential crisis that we cannot resolve by main force but can only respond to reactively. The response so far has been dreadful and may lead to extinction both for the nation and the people. On the other hand, you never know.

    So. Blackbird fly into the light of the dark black night…


    Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music…..

    It’s well over two centuries now and nothing’s really fundamentally/structurally changed. White trash is still white trash and will always be white trash because it’s incapable of seeing its sordid reflection in the mirror that’s held up to it daily. Trump and his deplorables are the heartbeat of America. The orange day-glow lord of the manor and his dutiful, loyal, lard-ass, lunchables-loving serfs.

    35th Portier Lecture: “White Trash: The 400-Year History of Class in America”


    This is called progress. This is not a fall from grace. It is grace.

    America’s an open air, dilapidated concentration camp without fences or barbed wire.

    Seattle is Dying but America is Dead

  9. Stirling S Newberry

    You should have a joke at the end.

  10. someofparts

    Well, speaking as White Trash myself, nothing I have ever done is as vile as the standard, exploitive practices of my wealthy superiors. After living in Mexico for decades, Joe Bageant said that the only gringos he ever met who noticed and cared about the local hyper-poor Mexicans were either hippies or working class folks. Fuck my supposed social superiors. Posing as the moral superiors of their victims is just one more example of their stinking lies.

  11. Willy

    RE: Seattle is dying.

    KOMO is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. For anybody the least bit informed, that alone should be “nuf said”. In that piece they portrayed Seattle’s homeless problem as being caused by bleeding heart civic leaders ignorant that 100% of the homeless are lawless drug addicts in need of some tough love.


    Here’s a defense of the KOMO documentary from someone who works with the homeless. He should know considering he’s on the front lines. He doesn’t attack the messenger.

    Why KOMO’s ‘Seattle is Dying’ Special Resonated

    The Hinrichsen piece criticizes Seattle is Dying for looking at just one part of the homeless problem — the drug-addicted homeless on the streets — and ignoring the many other faces of the homeless who want help. It’s important to point out that Johnson’s special was the third part of a trilogy, and those other specials addressed the very points raised by Hinrichsen. The first, about the lives of the homeless in the words of the homeless, was titled There but for the Grace of God… and aired in 2016. Like his latest, it was not a show that jumps around to politicians, service providers and academics. It was about the homeless from their perspective. It was a yearlong project.

    The second special, also a yearlong project, aired in early summer of 2017 and was called Demon at the Door: Our Heroin Crisis. “We’ve been in alleyways and homes and police cars and assorted incarnations of hell on earth,” Johnson said in the show’s intro. “We’ve peered into the darkness of heroin addiction, looking for answers, truth, and, yes, humanity.” Both specials won regional Emmys.

  13. Stirling S Newberry

    The news story in Science Magazine about plant more tree will give us 20 more years to get our act together is amusing – because the countries themselves are planning to cut down more trees to make farms or pasture. Make money now is the plan.

    We people start dying, then there will be action.

  14. different clue,

    You must be descended from Rich White Cash . . . the class who made all the decisions and hired select White Trashmembers to enforce your White Cash class decisions for your special White Cash class benefit.
    You wouldn’t speak that way about White Trash otherwise . . . would you?

    I hope the White Trash can impose upon you more esthetic suffering and offense than you can possibly bear. And then impose even more esthetic suffering upon you.

    If you are one of the people who voted for the Free Trade Conspiracy Traitor-against-America Clinton, all I can say is: you people have never paid for what you did to this country. You have not even begun to pay. But you will. You will pay. We will make you pay.

  15. scruff

    Make money now is the plan.

    [When] people start dying, then there will be action.

    That last line seems really overly optimistic to me. I mean, people have been dying and there hasn’t been much in the way of action (to correct the causal problems).

  16. Willy

    From the John Carlson bio: He is a co-founder and former president of the Washington Policy Center in Seattle.

    From sourcewatch:
    The Washington Policy Center (WPC) is, in its own words, “a nonpartisan, free-market, state-based think tank in Seattle, Washington, that publishes studies, sponsors events and conferences, and educates citizens on public policy issues facing Washington state.”[1] In actuality the group advances a right wing agenda and is affiliated with organizations in the Koch Network.

    As a big fan of tough love, I merely disagreed with the ‘100% are addicts enabled by 100% bleeding heart liberal elites’ tone. I know a few homeless personally, as well as a cousin who actually does work with them. I believe there is more to the story than Sinclair employee Johnson has implied.


    The irony. Let’s take a look at SourceWatch, shall we, since Independence Day is Shoot The Messenger Day also.

    I wonder what “different clue” thinks and feels about Lisa Graves. Are he and his going to make her pay? Pay in what way? Specifically? The more details about that payment plan the better.

    SourceWatch: A Website For Conspiracy Theorists Run By Lawyer Lisa Graves

    Compounding this problem is the fact that half of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory. Instead of ushering in a Second Enlightenment, it appears the Information Age has turned us into paranoid cynics who perceive dark forces controlling world events. Such is the state of our culture in 2017.

    Taking advantage of this toxic mindset are websites like SourceWatch, a site that receives a lot of “dark money” (i.e., money given through industry-connected foundations so it can hypocritically accuse others of taking corporate money). The website is like a politicized, unscientific version of Wikipedia; volunteers, rather than qualified experts, write smear articles about people they don’t like. According to it1, we are a part of the grand pharma/chemical/agriculture conspiracy that is poisoning America.

    Unsurprisingly, SourceWatch is an arm of the left-wing, anti-corporate “watchdog” group Center for Media and Democracy. The executive director, Lisa Graves, is a former Clinton administration lawyer with no scientific training who once worked for progressive Sen. Patrick Leahy. Her partisan credentials are impeccable.

    That’s why all she ever talks about is money. In what has to be a pathological case of projection, Ms. Graves just assumes that money corrupts scientists the same way it corrupts her friends in politics. She doesn’t understand that scientists, like our team at ACSH, know that good science is good science, regardless if it was paid for by academia or industry. Honest (or dishonest) people can work for both. The only thing that matters is the quality of the scientific work.


    The fact of the matter is, all publications that have any readership these days have an agenda and that agenda is tethered to the establishment in some way, shape or form. In this respect, it’s all Fake News to varying degrees and it’s up to us to separate the wheat from the obfuscatory propagandistic chaff.

    You claim that it’s not accurate to assert 100% of the homeless living (if we can call it living) on the streets of Seattle are drug addicts. I agree, it’s probably not 100%, but so what? What if it’s 90% or 80% versus 100%? My guess is the majority, a significant majority, are drug-addicted. Does the percentage really make a fundamental difference in the unresolved predicament?

    It certainly makes all the difference in the world in regard to a viable, effective solution if there is such a solution. Just calling it homelessness and treating it as such without getting to the root of it, will never result in a viable, effective solution if there is one.

    One thing I did notice about Seattle’s homeless, most were white. Maybe that’s part of the problem in not finding a solution. White people are privileged according to people like Lisa Graves, so therefore they don’t need or deserve tough, compassionate intervention because their suffering is a form of reparations. In otherwords, they deserve it so they get tossed some new socks and a few cans of beans and fresh needles so they can continue to rot in undignified, inhumane perpetuity for the sin of being a privileged white trash bastard.

    An excellent book by an author who’s parents chose homelessness is as follows. It’s an excellent book. A great read. It gives incredible insight into one pathway to homelessness for there are many, but addiction, to be sure, is a super highway to that ignominious living arrangement.

    The Glass Castle

    The warning is this: If you are going to become parents you must simply forego being bohemian. Otherwise your children might grow up to be super successful & you will end up eating trash off dark alleyways…

    Peculiar upbringings are what memoirs are made of! We saw this in the Frank McCourt gray & sad “Angela’s Ashes” & even more so in any of the Augusten Burroughs books (mainly “Running with Scissors”). When memoirs are like this, invigoratingly Roald Dahlesque in painting pictures of past predicaments… and obviously the survival of the protagonist, the reader reads on. No matter how bad you have it, someone somewhere sometime probably had it worse.

    The Walls children (3 of the 4, at least) become inspired by their nomadic parents, wanting to be so unlike their progenitors that they actually turn their lives around. Here is testament of someone living way under the poverty level in modern times & getting out alive & a smarter woman for it. That she appreciates it and maintains a smile is the very heart of this non-fic gem.

  19. 100% of Seattle’s white trash are drunken meth-heads diddling their daughters. The rest of the whites are piss-beer swilling coke-heads. Good earthquake would solve the problem.

    This is another example having never been there not knowing what the fuck you’re talking about. Foremost Seattle’s homeless problem is every city’s homeless problem. Nothing’ unique about it. Also foremost many of those accused of drug addiction are in fact in need of doctor drugs to keep them from completely flipping out, they should indeed be institutionalized, not because they are homeless but because their mental illnesses make them homeless. And there are degrees of homelessness: a million dollar Beaver Coach is as homeless as a tent, that big, new four-door Dodge Ram with the hood ornament the perfect rendition of the human female reproductive system, twelve foot Lance camper with toilet, full shower, microwave oven and quad-glideouts is as homeless as my old ’85 Ford 4by4 with the 1962 Caveman camper. Think of that the next time you see a motor-home or camper, any motor-home or camper, down at the super market or in the shade at the park; think of it and ask yourself, are they camping … ?

  20. StewartM

    I once wrote a blog in a arranged debate on the American Revolution a dozen years or so ago; a friend took the side that it was a positive development in world history while I took the side it was a bad idea; that the US and the world would have been better off if we had gained independence the same way that Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and other British commonwealth nations did. It may have even been marginally better for the First Nations peoples and slavery might have been ended earlier (though the latter point is debatable; as given the size of eventual United States it could develop into the tail wagging the dog). Not perfect, mind you, as none of these countries close to perfect, but I think they are better off than we.

    Like most other topics which possibly involve nationalistic jingoism, most Americans are badly informed about the American Revolution. One of the things that horrified George Washington as something beyond-the-pale was the British offering freedom for any slaves who fought for their side. Nor do people know the true antecedents of the crises nor do they know of the concessions the British made or discussed making, which included by the end seating the colonies in Parliament (so the ‘no taxation without representation’ bit would be satisfied). But the colonies didn’t want any of that; what they wanted was to get a free ride for British protection without paying a dime for it; even though the taxes paid by the average British subject in the UK was far higher than anything even asked of the colonists, even if the Stamp tax and the Tea tax and the other ‘onerous’ taxes had been successfully put in place and maintained. The fact that the British withdrew many of their taxes, when surprised by the extent of colonial opposition, does not square with the typical American narrative of George III determined to run roughshod over ‘American liberties”.

    In short, there’s not a lot ‘noble’ about the American revolution. People have made the comparison of the American Revolution to the Vietnam war; there are similarities. In Vietnam and the colonies there was a civil war going on in addition to the external intervention; in both cases the ‘outsider’ (the British and US) armies won most head-to-head battles hands-down; in both cases the ‘outsider’ armies could take any territory they desired but only controlled the ground their troops stood on (the British took Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston but it didn’t do them any good), and in both cases the ‘outsider’ faced distractions both from the war being unpopular at home and involving interventions (and possible interventions) from competitors on the world stage. When the war ended, both wars produced “boat people” fleeing their homes–as I said, the Revolutionary War was a civil war too; and some 2 % of the US population fled the country fearing for their property and/or lives.

    The biggest difference was that the Vietnamese, however, had a lot more legitimate complaints.

  21. Willy

    Ten Bears, close to home. A friend of mine owns a unionized brick and mortar business in a dying occupation. His dozen or so employees find parking difficult because of all the full time campers living in RVs taking up most of the street. He doesn’t bitch much, probably because his own son is homeless. He’s married to a reality-challenged conservative wingnut who keeps them afloat by working in the lucrative medical business. She cannot recognize her undeserved luck and routinely makes his life hell by calling the homeless son “a socialist”.

    But I guess I was in her shoes once. That was before I learned the hard way that it’s the winners who get to rewrite history.


    Just as stupid is as stupid does, white trash is as white trash does. If you don’t want to be white trash, then don’t be white trash. It’s as simple as that and yet so few whites fail to not be white trash. It’s a vicious, self-reinforcing cyclical loop that’s existed in North America even before America was truly America and gained its independence. The deplorables are the borderers and Trump’s their Manhattanite cavalier. The following article dissects the match-made-in-hell relationship.

    Crackers & Cavaliers Go Together Like A Horse & Carriage

    Since Albion’s Seed was written 18 years ago, a lot of writers have drawn on it to explain events in modern America (a tradition I plan to continue, in due time). It’s notable that the overwhelming majority of them seized on Fischer’s dissection of the Scots-Irish Borderers, pointing out that the rednecks, white trash, holy rollers, crackers, and other assorted lower-class yahoos that supported Bush have been with us from the beginning — and been nothing but trouble from then to now.

    In the rush to blame the Borderers, though, this section on the Cavaliers has been almost entirely ignored. Yet I found it to be at least as powerful in its explanatory power. Because, as Dr. Robert Altemeyer’s work makes clear, authoritarianism is always a two-part problem. While the Borderers may supply more than their fair share of right-wing authoritarian followers, they’d go nowhere without a high-social-dominance authoritarian leadership to guide them. And in Fischer’s description of the Cavaliers, we see the early American prototype of that high-SDO authoritarianism.

    Among Cavaliers and corporatists, there is no morality beyond might makes right. There is no law — and no honor — beyond their own desire to expand their own sphere of power. There is no equality, no justice, and no universal freedom as we understand it. Theirs is the ancient plantation mentality we Americans have spent over 220 hard, bloody years trying to put behind us. It’s an outdated social system that has no place in a modern technological society — yet, in almost every detail, it’s the very world our new corporate royalists want to drag us back to.

    In the back of their minds, they’re just Virginia gentlemen, taking the liberties such gentlemen have always rightfully enjoyed at the expense of others. It’s true that we owe a handful of Cavalier gentlemen a tremendous debt for so clearly articulating the principles of American liberty during the Revolution. But we should also remember that when these first men asserted their God-given right to life, liberty, and happiness, they had no intention of sharing those blessings with anyone else.


    Foremost Seattle’s homeless problem is every city’s homeless problem.

    Truth. In fact, if you watch the doc, it reveals that Seattle’s street population is burgeoning in large part because the word is out that Seattle is Freeattle. The street peeps may be without a home, but they are not entirely immobile. There’s a vibrant street peeps grapevine and they can mobilize in short order when word on the street indicates more amenable, user-friendly confines.

    So yeah, you’re right, “Seattle’s homeless problem is every city’s homeless problem” precisely because it’s attracted many street peeps from other cities.

  24. Willy

    Just as stupid is as stupid does, white trash is as white trash does. If you don’t want to be white trash, then don’t be white trash. It’s as simple as that and yet so few whites fail to not be white trash.

    Magical thinking much? Wouldn’t it just be easier to go with the flow of basic human nature, temperamental variances and all?

  25. You seem to have missed the point, four, which is disconcerting in that 1) it’s right there at the top of the page, all you gotta’ do is follow the link and 2) I concluded the comment with reference to my Old Ford Pickup, and Caveman camper. Been there, done that, still have the t-shirt. Pretty much every city in the Pacific Northwest has the “Freattle” reputation – Bend, where I was homeless in my hometown for ten of the past thirteen years, Eugene, Portland/Vancouver, Ashland all have better reputations that Seattle. The problem is not unique to Seattle, the northwest, or the nation.

    Kudos though for linking to Sara Robinson. I remember those essays well and am about to peruse them again. I have long argued the Pilgrim mythology is gaslighting our Cavalier ancestry. Of the land grants to the younger sons (and daughters) of nobility lesser and great in satisfaction of the shortage of inheritable lands in England, and the seeds of not just slavery then but the white nationalism today. The Pilgrim is story is laughable, but seems to work.

    All-in-all: parr.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén