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

Open Thread

To avoid off-topic comments on the admin thread below, and because I don’t think I’ll be posting anything non-admin related today, I’m putting up the open thread a day early this week. Use it for comments unrelated to recent posts!


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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 4, 2021


  1. different clue

    The more powerful China becomes , the more China will come up as a subject.

    NaCap has run an article about the Chinese Communist Party’s Centennial celebrations and observances.

    Here is a relevant first two paragraphs from Yves Smith’s foreward.

    “Yves here. On the one hand, the Chinese Communist Party does deserve a lot of credit for the simply remarkable rise in living standards in China. I don’t know if this factoid is still true, but as of about ten years ago, Jospeh Stiglitz pointed out that all of the reduction in poverty in developing economies was due to the rise of China. Other low income countries, on average, had stood still as China marched ahead.

    On the other, the Chinese Communist Party’s apparent success was due in large measure to China being allowed to enter the WTO despite not meeting its entry conditions. The US was particularly keen to see China join, since the belief was that a more prosperous China would become more democratic and therefore aligned with the West. That movie didn’t work out according to script.”

    Yves Smith ascribes good faith to the sellers of letting China into WTO. I don’t. I think “it will democratize China” was just part of the sales pitch. I think the real intention was in line with the International Free Trade Conspiracy’s broader real intention, which was to exterminate the American thing-making economy in order to exterminate America’s thing-making industrial unions. The plan was and remains to make America into One Big Haiti.

    Anyway, here is the link.

  2. Plague Species

    Who says money can’t buy you love.?A quisling by any other name.

    Muslims aren’t as tight as some would have us believe. When given the choice, powerful Muslims will turn a blind eye to powerless Muslims who are being persecuted.

    Analysts said the remarks make sense in the context of Pakistan’s relationship with China, on which it depends for political and economic support.

    “Pakistan just can’t afford to go against China on such a sensitive issue,” said Filippo Boni, a scholar of China-Pakistan relations, “especially at a time when the West is very much focused on the Uyghur issue.”

    Announced in 2015, one of the most conspicuous elements of the relationship is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor — a $60 billion set of Chinese infrastructure investment in Pakistan, including a $6.8 billion railway upgrade and new highways, as part of the Belt and Road initiative. Projects are still underway.

  3. different clue

    It isn’t about money buying love. It is about money buying obedience. Pakistan is too committed to its vision of itself as being an important regional player in One Ball One Chain to risk giving it all up.

  4. bruce wilder

    I give China’s communist leadership credit for studying what needed to be done and doing it. Somethings they did strike me as not very far-sighted. I would have strongly advised against building for the automobile.

    The “deal” American commercial powers offered the Chinese was not generous, but the Chinese accepted the unfairness and found ways to make it work for them.

    The contrast between the senile Biden with no idea how to serve the good of the country, or even any concept that the country as a whole might have a good to be nurtured and leaders like Putin and Xi conspicuously pursuing measures to develop and strengthen their countries is startling.

  5. Ché Pasa

    You may have heard or maybe not that Zorro Ranch, Jeffrey Epstein’s 8,000 acre playground south of Santa Fe is now on the market for $27.5 million. No one will buy it for that price.

    We would pass by it every time we went to Santa Fe, and for years had no idea what it was. The we called the mansion on the brow of the ridge “The Monastery” because that’s kind of what it looked like in the distance from the road. The Western village below looked like a movie set, of which there are a number in the area. The microwave antennas and airstrip suggested something not necessarily of a religious order, though.

    When we learned who’s place it was, every time we went by we kept our eyes open for activity, and there was some now and then. People would arrive and leave, planes would land and take off. Exotic cattle would graze the scrub. One time a news crew was seen arriving at the gate and was turned away by a big burly guy in a black pick up. But usually, nothing.

    After Epstein was suicided, there was a surprising amount of activity at the ranch, and one night as we headed home we saw the mansion lit up like it was full of partying revelers. Maybe it was.

    Haven’t been by it since the pandemic began. But a number of us in the area believe the best fate is for the state to seize the property (don’t ask me the law, but there is apparently a legal way to do that), demolish the mansion and plow the ground so there’s no trace of it left and burn the village. There are also some “private” outlying houses, get-aways in a manner of speaking, that should also be demolished or left to rot.

    Then questions need to be asked. A lot of them. Starting with how this situation was allowed to develop in the first place. Epstein purchased the land from the late Bruce King, a former governor, but the King family still owns lots of land around and about in the area. How much did they know and when did they know it? Apparently Epstein got perks from the state and Santa Fe County to build. There are parcels of state land within the boundary of the ranch. Why? And on and on.

    The listing:

  6. different clue

    All that activity around the Epstein Ranch/House after his suissassination was probably all kinds of relevant intelligence people and other government people stripping out every trace of everything remotely resembling evidence of anything, removing all the bugs and cameras and communications devices and everything, and then patching up every trace of it ever having been there so no trace of any of this technology ever even having been there would ever be seen.

    Like decommissioning a nukular power plant.

  7. different clue

    Oh, and . . . removing any and every trace of any DNA traces, too.

    Why was Epstein stupid enough to come back to America? Did he think his “power” was innate or personal, as against purely derivative and usefulness-based?

  8. Hugh

    Total nonfarm jobs not seasonally adjusted in June increased a very strong 1.148 million, about a half million better than the usual. I figure we are still 8.771-10.261 million jobs down from where we would be if there had been no covid. That’s about 18-22 months at this rate, which isn’t likely.

  9. Hugh

    With people like Epstein and Trump, it comes down to the same thing; understand the pathology, you understand the person. They have been getting away with things, including crimes, all their lives. Why would they think that would ever change?

  10. bruce wilder

    As long as they can get morons to “elect” the likes of “nothing will funfamentally change” Biden, why would anything change?

  11. Plague Species

    The question is, will McDonald Trump be suicided like Epstein, or does he get a pass for life?

  12. Plague Species

    And pretty much the majority of those million plus new jobs are McSh*t jobs of course with crappy benefits if any and hardly a livable wage. Those statistics are meaningless to me anymore.

  13. Plague Species

    China was happy to sacrifice its people to slavery for Western multinationals in return for stealing technology. Afterall, slavery has long been a feature of Chinese culture dating back to thousands of years before christ and apparently it still is a feature, effectively. China played the part of scabs in America’s labor struggle. It was happy to do so in return for all that technology it never could have developed on its own. Operation Warp Industrialization. The transition to China for manufacturing began in earnest with the Reagan administration. The horse was let out of the barn never to be put back in. Reagan’s remains should be desecrated. All the remains of those who were responsible for transitioning to China should be desecrated ceremonially. An example should be made of all of them whether they’re living or dead.

  14. Hugh

    PS, it’s a good point. The real measures of an economy are not numerical. They are found in how well an economy produces and maintains good and meaningful lives for all its members.

  15. Mary Bennett

    I applaud China’s peaceful rise to prosperity. Let all Chinese enjoy the benefits for which they have worked. Now that China is a wealthy and powerful nation, it has no need whatever to send migrants to the USA, not directly and not indirectly through Canada or Belize or any other country. Let China enjoy its success and stop gaming the immigration laws of other countries.

  16. Plague Species

    I applaud China’s peaceful rise to prosperity.

    It wasn’t peaceful. They subjugated their own and broke their backs by effectively making them industrial slaves and they tag teamed with American multinationals to annihilate American labor thus ruining many lives and destroying many families and communities. All of that is a form of soft, hidden in plain sight systemic violence, so peaceful my ass.

  17. Z

    China owes nothing to U.S. citizens, including U.S. labor. The ones responsible for crushing U.S. labor are the U.S. politicians and their sponsors that financially incentivize it: the “donor class”.

    The U.S. politicians and the “donor class” like to point their fingers at China for our problems, like somehow we are victims of China, when they’re the ones who enriched themselves by empowering China and disempowering U.S. labor.

    If China’s business practices are damaging the U.S., then it is the job of U.S. politicians to take measures to prevent it, but instead they do little because so many are minting money directly and indirectly from the current arrangement.


  18. Plague Species

    China owes nothing to U.S. citizens, including U.S. labor.

    Who said anything about “owe?” The CCP is as much to blame as the Western multinationals and politicians and economists and lawyers and accountants and other academics who enabled the transfer of America’s manufacturing base to China. The CCP is many things. Among the countless things it is, it is a thief and a scab and is no friend of American Essentials.

  19. Plague Species

    Here’s a well-reasoned article about China’s whataboutism related to their treatment of the Uyghurs.

    First, U.S. officials need to get their history right. Chinese officials have sought to use purported American hypocrisy to undermine any criticism of their own policies for decades. But the charge that the United States committed genocide against Native Americans is valid. American violence, neglect, disease, and ecological disruption contributed to a process that from 1492 onward has led to the deaths of millions and myriad lingering effects. U.S. officials ought not to hide that behind a whitewashed version of history, such as that presented by the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission report. Early U.S. policymakers, including George Washington and his secretary of war, Henry Knox, evinced at least an occasional understanding that if the new government behaved maliciously toward Native nations, it would be a stain on the country’s reputation well into the future. They and subsequent policymakers nonetheless pursued policies that brought about the dispossession of Native Americans, and it should not be surprising that other states would use this history against the United States. Such openness in acknowledging historical realities – and in noting similarities in Chinese history – would allow U.S. officials to note the insecure opacity behind which China is violating the human rights of Uyghurs.

    Beyond transparency, U.S. officials also have more positive aspects of recent history that they can juxtapose with Chinese policies. Over the past century, the United States has taken steps to better honor its commitments to Indigenous communities, efforts that have remained imperfect and intermittent but that include the Indian Claims Act of 1946, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. While such correctives have not fully addressed the desires of many individuals and tribal governments, these reforms give U.S. officials some room for a rejoinder to their Chinese counterparts. Past genocides do not justify current ones, especially given subsequent commitments to human rights, and if anything, the Chinese government could learn from U.S. efforts at redress, incomplete though they may be.

  20. Trinity

    I guess technically the ranch was a movie set (ugh).

    And Jeff E. may have been lured back with false promises, or even real promises that were reneged on. They all eventually believe their own fake narratives, especially the ones about their omnipotence. Arrogance has no long-term shelf life.

    Meanwhile, blame shifting (another fake narrative) still doesn’t solve any problems, and because it solves exactly nothing it remains one of the most important narrative control devices of the elite (“bootstraps”, etc., “poor people are lazy”, etc., etc.). Just ask Bozo, he’ll tell you all about how lazy his workers are. I’ll bet he also calls them “morons” behind their back, while firing them on a schedule to prevent union formation. I guess they aren’t really morons.

    And finally, Matt Stoller is reporting that PE is again behind more ransomware attacks. Or put another way, PE appears to be expanding their portfolios to include having the ability to raid companies that they don’t own or even have to purchase. If they employ fake narratives correctly, they will be able to do it again and again and again. Just like Jeff E. (ugh).

  21. bruce wilder

    Does any one really know how Jeff Epstein got hold of that much money?

    And where is there a return on blackmailing Prince Andrew?

  22. DMC

    Epstein got all that money in commissions laundering money from international arms deals for Mossad. Rich backers put money in in the first place, and got way above market returns for causing confusion about what was really going on. As far as anyone could tell, Epstein was just a really savvy investment manager, except that he was never known to buy so much as a stock bond or annuity. The whole teenage girl blackmail thing was just Epstein monetizing a hobby, also for the benefit of Mossad. Look at Ghislaine Maxwell. Look at who her father was and what happened to him as a lesson as to what happens to Mossad assets who become more trouble than they’re worth.

  23. Z

    The CCP is as much to blame as the Western multinationals and politicians and economists and lawyers and accountants and other academics who enabled the transfer of America’s manufacturing base to China.

    Might want to toss Wall Street in there as well. I tend to suspect they might have had some slight influence on passing PNTR since it happened during the Robert Rubin Administration.

    Again, the CCP has no responsibility to U.S. labor. And, as far as I know, the U.S. has no elected officials in the CCP.

    Now we are on to the China! China! China! diversion along with the Russia! Russia! Russia! hysteria when the country that has done the most damage to the U.S. is in fact Israel. And many of the people involved in that are dual citizens of the U.S. and Israel.

    No country has had as much to do with corrupting U.S. politicians and the U.S. government as Israel (see Epstein, Jeffrey) so of course the Hasbarists point everywhere else … racism, Russia, republicans, Trump, China … except at all-blessed Israel.


  24. Z

    Epstein also had backers such as Les Wexner and Leon Black not to mention the money he made from blackmailing. The financial assets he had were used to build his credibility with the ultra-rich set, purchase his honey pot nests, and lure elites to them.

    The elite suckers probably thought Epstein had skin in the game because he was having sex with underage girls too so they thought they were safe from being blackmailed by him for their deeds. But what they probably didn’t realize was that he was sharing his info with the Mossad and being protected by them by blackmailing U.S. politicians (see Clinton, William).

    Though you rarely hear it mentioned, Larry Summers was very much involved with Epstein as well. It might have even been info from Epstein that empowered Summers and the Harvard boys to “restructure” (see loot) the Russian economy after the fall of the USSR.


  25. Astrid

    Firstly, whataboutism is just a cold war era ploy to prevent leftist criticism of US coups and abuses against other countries. It’s raised as an argument about why only the US is allowed to intervene in the internal politics of other countries while nobody else is even about to raise the hypocrisy of US actions.

    Seconds. There is no whatabout between the Uighur story. There’s no smoking gun, no actual abuse. Just a bunch of fake numbers blown up by Adrian Zenz, UWC, and MIC tied NGOs/press. But PS and Hugh never bother to respond or properly rebut. They just keep repeating American slander because it feels so good.

  26. someofparts

    I read somewhere that the collapse of the Russian economy made Israel more radical, because it led to a mass exodus of Russian Jews to Israel. Because they were unskilled they were used to do the labor that had previously been done by Palestinians. Once the Israelis did not need them for unskilled work, they were free to treat them even more horribly. I’m also under the impression that the Russian Jews were especially hostile to the Palestinians.

    Also, for what it is worth, the last I heard Israel has declined to register as a foreign power. I’m guessing that this gives them leeway to interfere with our domestic politics in ways that would make them legally vulnerable if they were accurately registered as foreign agents. I wonder if they have pulled a similar trick on the British, because they sure messed with British politics in some extremely repulsive ways.

  27. Hugh

    The UIghurs never had it so good. China never stole any technology. Tiananmen never happened. China has the right to do whatever it wants in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China Sea because because. Better Chinese propaganda and propagandists, please.

  28. Plague Species

    Shrinking basic industry. Standardized goods, such as basic steel, autos, textiles, commodity chemicals and others that rest on mass or large-batch production are particularly vulnerable to price competition. Thus, the easiest way to reduce their size is to increase their price in world markets – thereby making it difficult for them to export and making it relatively easy for foreign producers to threaten them at home. And the fastest way to increase their price is to raise the value of the dollar by running huge budget deficits. Presto: these industries are forced to contract.

    The Reagan plan to shrink America’s basic industries has been enormously successful. Since 1981, when the value of the dollar began climbing to unprecedented levels as the budget deficit ballooned, some 2 million jobs have been lost in old-line manufacturing businesses. Steel, autos and others have been forced to reduce domestic capacity, set up operations abroad (or enter into joint ventures with foreign producers) and diversify into specialized niches.

  29. Mary Bennett

    Nice bit of misdirection, PS. Grab the first sentence and don’t respond the the actual point, which is newly rich and powerful China can and should provide for ALL of its citizens, not send them to other countries. I am afraid your multicultural fantasy is a luxury we, who are not wealthy China, can no longer afford.

  30. different clue


    Are you inviting me to believe that Mossad is the people who reached into that New York Jail to suissassinate Jeffrey Epstein? That the American authorities do not have control of our own jail? That the American authorities were not the people who diddit in our own jail?

    Especially after Attorney General Barr visited that jail in person after the first failed attempt? Why did he do that? My personal view is he did that to tell his people that they had to do it again and they had better get it right the second time.

    Unless Mossad gives the instructions to our authorities as to whom to suissassinate in our jails. Is that what happened?

  31. Trinity

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week is reporting how unusual Elsa the tropical storm/wannabe hurricane is, according to experienced meteorologists. They report the last time a storm formed in the eastern Atlantic so early in the season was 2005 (Dennis), and before that was in 1933. It’s interesting to note for our friends north of the border that Dennis made landfall in Pensacola Florida, but didn’t completely dissipate until it reached Ontario, Canada.

    They are fairly certain Elsa will make landfall somewhere in Florida early this coming week, so we will see if they are right.

    You probably recall that 2005 was also the season for a storm named Katrina. Four Cat-5 storms formed in 2005, three of which hit the US, including Katrina, Rita, and Wilma (Emily affected Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico).

    From Wikipedia on the 1933 storm season:

    The 1933 Atlantic hurricane season set the pre-weather satellite record for most tropical storms formed within a single season, and currently ranks as the third-most active Atlantic hurricane season, only behind 2005 and 2020. It also produced the highest Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) on record in the Atlantic basin, with a total of 259.[1]

  32. Z

    One of the most underrated talents of Ronald Reagan was his ability to hypnotize all the presidents who followed him into carrying on his industrial policies … and then some. Even after he was dead …


  33. Z

    In 1992 the U.S. worker voted to end Reagan-ism. What they got instead was something much worse: Reagan’s industrial policy and anti-union zealotry plus a criminally unaccountable Wall Street-dominated financial system.

    What they got was Rubin-ism.


  34. bruce wilder

    NC pointed to Mrs Steve Jobs’ hobbyshop for PMC smug stupidity, which produced this predictable article. China faces a demographic catastrophe: too few people. Oh and too much infrastructure.

    If America’s best and brightest cannot work out that China is still overpopulated (and their industrial economy never created enough jobs for their population), they are not going to be embarassed by America’s infrastructure or industrial policy made by Wall St vampires.

  35. Z

    You know, “Handjob Across the Aisle” Joe Biden is a great guy if you look at him in the right light.

    For one thing, you got to give the man this: he keeps his word. Yes he does, dutifully to the republicans and his Wall Street sponsors.

    For another, he loves his son Hunter … and who could fault him for that? Who wouldn’t love spunky little Hunter? In fact, he loves his boy so much that instead of going out as a legendary hero to tens of millions of U.S. citizens by entirely freeing them from the financial and psychological burdens of student debt … which would only require a stroke of a pen from him … he’s much more concerned about securing his son’s future prospects to grift from Joe’s elite pals. Say what you will, but that’s love!


  36. Willy

    A bit off topic but in line with all the other wildly varying topics, does anybody know why Reagan said that he “didn’t leave the Democratic party they left me”?

    Best I’ve been able to find is that Reagan was a classic Dunning Kruger dupe spotted by various nefarious power players like Fred Koch, the John Birch Society and Holms Tuttle, who knew they were far too ugly and/or evil looking to make a decent public appearance and so pumped up the attractively avuncular Ronnie with ego and cash to be their spokesman/unwitting puppet.

    And ever since that success, this has been the model for evil plutocrats everywhere looking to influence governments and even the common culture.

  37. bruce wilder

    The old joke was that politics was hollywood for ugly people. Reagan changed all that: when General Electric discovered his talent as a model-spokesperson politician, displacing the power-hungry dweebs who might actually want to do something for, instead of to, their voters.

  38. different clue


    I don’t know, but can only suspect, that various old Democrats who said “the Party left me” meant that some highly visible newer younger people both in the Party and also in society were living out a counter-culture that the various old Democrats did not approve of.

    The question has been raised as to whether Trump will get the Epstein treatment, or whether he will get a free pass. He may face some legal jeopardy, and may get some affordable fines or even a few years of “soft time” in the nicest Club Fed “prison” the Federal Government can find.

    But he won’t get the Epstein treatment. He wasn’t involved in the kind of procuring young girls and massive kompromat-gathering which Epstein was involved in. The Great and the Good felt threatened by Epstein. They merely feel offended and disgusted by Trump. They viewed Epstein as a Sidney Funnel Web Spider which could no longer be trusted. They viewed Trump as a ” Mr. Butt-Crack Plumber” whose style just couldn’t match his money.

  39. different clue


    Yes, what we got was Rubinism. And since it was Clinton who brought it to us, I will go all the way and call it Clintonism, since Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and smart enough to know exactly what Clintonism was designed to do.

    Plus, Clinton was Jeffrey Epstein’s friend. And Hillary was Jeffrey Epstein’s friend’s wife. Let’s don’t forget that.

  40. someofparts

    Actually, I read somewhere that there was quite a bit of stealthy support for Trump in some wealthy communities in Connecticut when they saw how much money his tax cuts were going to bring in for them. They just knew enough to be quiet about it.

    Also, as to Reagan being a front for unattractive villains – yeah. I remember being depressed by that when he was in office. It dawned on me that the only things folks in the USA minded about Hitler were the dorky mustache, the uncouth ranting, and being too obvious about the genocide. However, they were fine with his overall policies as long as somebody with a pretty face and pleasant manners fronted for them.

  41. Hugh

    Call it the Ronald Reagan or even Clarence Thomas effect. They essentially won the lottery and spend the rest of their lives arguing that it was their hard work and smarts, not dumb luck, that did it.

  42. different clue

    Ran Prieur’s blog, which I have mentioned here from time to time, just now offers a look at a completely different aspect of the unfolding China experience, and its possible worldwide deeper meaning.

    ” July 8. By now you’ve all heard about the lying flat movement in China. I’m trying to think of something to say about it that’s not totally obvious, and what I’ve come up with is, this is the end of “communism”.

    I put the word in quotes because for a long time now, the word has been more important than the thing. In America, “communist” is a word used to denigrate any attempt to use the state to redistribute wealth or help the poor. In China, “communist” is a word used to give the impression that a capitalist economy with an authoritarian government is for the people.

    So in both places, the word is being used to protect a domination system from any attempt to make it more bottom-up — the opposite of the original intention of the word.

    Communism, the thing, came out of the industrial cities of the 1800’s, with deeper roots in the 1700’s — the Age of Reason, when domination shifted its metaphysical foundation away from an imaginary sky father, and toward an imaginary clockwork universe.

    If the fundamental reality is the Machine, then the fundamental values are efficiency, productivity, usefulness, and central planning by an elite trained in reductionist thinking. That’s why all communist states turned out that way. It’s also why, in communist literature, human beings are called “workers” — as if human existence has no meaning other than utilitarian toil.

    When Oscar Wilde said “Work is the curse of the drinking classes,” his point was that the meaning of existence is to have a good time, and we’re blocked from that by the often unnecessary imperative to get things done. ”

    Here is a link to the ” lying flat” article Prieur has referrenced.

    Here is a link to the Ran Prieur blog in general.

    Does anyone remember the Hippie Era slogan: Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out. . . . . ?

    Here’s a possible new meaner tougher leaner Hippie Slogan for today’s leaner tougher
    meaner times of today.

    Tune Out, Turn Down, Slack Off.

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