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

Open Thread

Use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


Hot Enough to Die


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 11, 2021


  1. Eric Anderson

    This comment got modded and buried in the Covid-Variant post, but I think it’s useful so I’m re-upping:
    As for prophylaxis:
    I’ve began reading and following the research on simple povidone iodine since about 5-6 mo. into the pandemic (no, I’m not injecting Clorox).

    1/2 tsp 10% betadine into 44ml saline nasal spray. Shake. Squirt and snort twice in each nostril. Head back and roll it around in your sinus until it begins to trickle down the back of the throat (watch out easy gaggers). Take a drink of water and deep gargle about 30 secs. Spit and then don’t mess with it for a few minutes.


    I’m vaxxed. My 3 1/2 year old is not. He came down with something a week ago and immediately passed it to my wife who immediately got tested b/c we didn’t want to subject him to the stick to the brain again. Turned out negative. But, I hadn’t gotten it yet and it seemed like she was suffering plenty with her nasty little rhinovirus or what not. Well, sure enough, later that day I started to feel that dry feeling I get in my sinuses that always tells me a cold is coming. So, I followed up on my earlier research.

    Stopped whatever that virus was dead in it’s tracks. My Mom and Dad also live nearby and love to smooch on the lad as well. They’re around him a ton. Had them start doing it prophylactically and it hasn’t touched them.

    Just some news you alls can use.

  2. Plague Species

    What On Earth Is Going On With The Housing Market?

  3. different clue

    NaCap has been running articles describing how various OverClass Investors, like BlackRock, have been given several trillion dollars of MMT credit-money over the past several years, and they use that free-to-them money to buy millions of houses from distressed sellers of all kinds. They outbid legitimate homeowner-wannabes and get all these millions of houses.

    Their goal is to own so many houses that tens of millions of homeowning-capable people and families can no longer find a home to buy and own. The purpose of that is to force this entirely new forcibly-recruited class of people into lifelong renter-hood.

    And that’s what’s happening with the ” housing market”.

    It seems to be a free-lance pursuit of the World Economic Forum’s ” Great Reset” concept , wherein ” you will own nothing and you will be happy”.

    ” Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to abortionize and exterminate this future so that it never comes to pass.”

  4. My post that got deleted, recently, after appearing, involved warning about “mad cow disease” from mRNA vaccines, from Dr/MD/JD Thomas Fleming. From animal models, those would start appearing a year from now. From googling vCKD because I have a relative, who has been wasting away and is suspected of having it, this is invariably fatal, with death occurring about a year after symptoms appear.

    Fleming’s interview was brief, with only enough details to sound convincing to a layman, like myself. There are more details about this at “Covid vaccines could trigger prion-linked brain degeneration similar to mad cow disease?” @

    Dr. Stephanie Seneff, who works in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with colleague Greg Nigh from Naturopathic Oncology in Portland, Ore., identified a “signature motif” within the injections that they say increases the risk that misfolding will occur, creating toxic oligomers. They call this the glycine zipper motif.

    “It is characterized by a pattern of two glycine residues spaced by three intervening amino acids, represented as GxxxG,” they explain.

    “The bovine prion linked to MADCOW has a spectacular sequence of ten GxxxGs in a row … (and) the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is a transmembrane protein, and it contains five GxxxG motifs in its sequence … (and, thus) it becomes extremely plausible that it could behave as a prion.”

    The two mRNA “vaccines” from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were specifically designed with an altered sequence of these amino acid strands, where two adjacent amino acids in the fusion domain were replaced with a pair of prolines.

    “This is done intentionally in order to force the protein to remain in its open state and make it harder for it to fuse with the membrane,” the scientists revealed. “This seems to us like a dangerous step towards misfolding potentially leading to prion disease.”

  5. Sorry. From animal models, these diseases would start appearing a year and a half after vaccination, not a year after vaccination.

  6. Ché Pasa

    Anybody having trouble finding common supplies, groceries, pharmaceuticals and other things lately?

    We know about lumber at astronomical prices. But how often do you still encounter empty shelves of once common items? At our grocery store, for example, canned food is often in short or non-existent supply. OTC pharmaceuticals (like the eye drops I tried to find yesterday: nope) are sparse.

    Prices overall (out here) are about 30% higher than 2019. Gasoline is the highest price I’ve ever seen in this area. Still lower than in California, but not by much.

    Local store managers I’ve asked say they aren’t getting deliveries, or when they do, they get half or less of what they ordered. Thus the sparse shelves.

    Sign of things to come? Probably.

    Oh, and a house near our place was put on the market “as is” in March — habitable but needing work, on a smallish plot, for $50,000. I said it would sell within a week. It sold the day after listing, or rather had a pending offer. Didn’t close till late May (not sure why, but I know there was a divorce involved.) Anyway, crews started working immediately, and it was finished and relisted yesterday for… $165,000. Very high for that kind of property out here, but they might get it or something close to it.

  7. Willy

    Regarding the housing market, somebody once told me that prices in our PNW area are unsustainable, even for our incoming tech sector wealthy. Then I saw videos telling me that tech sector workers were leaving expensive cities in droves for places out in the cheaper and safer countryside since they can work from home virtually. I personally know a couple who are selling for exactly that reason, after years of remodeling their home to get it right to where they want it.

    Recent I’ve come to believe that the prices are actually quite sustainable when you factor in wealthy investors willing to buy and hold properties as rentals. Then I saw a video where an investment manager talked about moving towards buying family homes “as a hedge against inflation”. Then I saw one where a home builder had contracted with a corporation to build them a development of family homes, which after completion, would all be sold to that corporation to rent out. It was recommended to buy a vacant lot and contract with a custom builder, if one can find and afford one.

    Obviously, telling this stuff to people so they can research for themselves whether homes will be available for their own children going forward seems important. Of course, after you tell them to keep an open mind about a potential climate change disaster of course.

  8. different clue

    My shopping life-experience remains as narrow as it ever was. I am encountering no shortages or price-rises in the narrower-than-normal range of things that I buy and use.

    I don’t have a car, so I don’t keep track of what car-stuff costs.

    I live in a Co-op dwelling unit but am aware in theory of what housing costs are. By the time I am psycho-mentally ready to buy a house, houses will either be owned by the big players of the Landlord-Industrial Complex, or will be unaffordable. But here in College Townville, a $50,000 house has costed $400,000 or more for many years.
    Airlift such a house to Blodgett Mills, New York or Dismal Seepage, Minnebraska and it would cost $50,000.

    Maybe I will retire to Blodgett Mills or Dismal Seepage.

    Luxury fun foods like Copper River Sockeye Salmon were always expensive. So if it “was” $15.00 / lb. in the beforetime and is $30.00/ lb. now, I wouldn’t know anyway.

    For me, other things are what they were. When the grocery stores were short of toilet paper, office supply stores had their own kinds and brands of utility toilet paper.
    So I got that. Seed packets in garden stores are costing more than they did, and some are unavailable.

  9. different clue

    Here’s a random video found roaming the Reddit.

    It is titled ” Uighur women being forced to serve Han Chinese.”

    The people in it look physically real, as in ” not computer generated.”

    If it is fake or staged and debunkable on those grounds, that would be a good thing to know. Anyway, here is the link.

  10. Willy

    You’d think that the PTB and the plutocrats and all their media and all their corporate advertising servants would be happy to see the Uyghurs forced to make cheap supply chain components for their products. Or at least turn a blind eye towards it. Yet they’re all squawking about how serious it is.

  11. Astrid

    Different Clue,

    Because the CPC, which is so desperately trying to say none of this shit is going down, would totally let dumb shit like this happen and get posted. Go look at how Israeli settlers act against Palestinians, sure as hell not like this goofball.

    One easily faked video (or dumbshit video that got recaptioned to make sinister) that has zero reason to exist makes for a genocide.

    If you believe this, there truly is no point in interacting with you. You can’t be reasoned with. That’s okay, just more reason to get out of this psycho country, where most of the population just wants to feel angry at somebody else, anybody else, seems to trump everything else.

  12. Willy

    Common sense about the Uyghurs from a self-proclaimed socialist:

    Uh oh. He doesn’t respect The Grayzone either.

  13. Hugh

    Different clue, the Fed has been keeping Wall Street juiced since the financial sector collapsed in 2008 nearly 13 years ago–to the tune of trillions. Most of the time that money just chases itself away from the real world, but every so often some of it sloshes into the real economy. And because there is so much of it, it can totally distort a whole sector of the economy like housing. And it feeds on itself. Buying into the market, they have more money than anyone else. Jacking up prices works for them too since it increases the value of all their previous investments. Renting these properties or even maintaining them is an afterthought and expense. The real money comes from the price spiral fueling the value spiral. This will go on until there is a collapse, communities start seizing and condemning these properties or citizens start burning them down.

  14. different clue


    Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  15. different clue


    Citizens would be better off seizing the houses than burning them down, if things get to that extreme, because then at least de-homed citizens would get homes back. The Overclass would lose nothing because they spent none of their own personal wealth to buy these houses in the first place, seeing as they bought them all with Fed-Issued free MMT play-money.

  16. different clue


    The PTBs have access to all kinds of out-of-sight out-of-mind slave and semi-slave labor, in various hell-havens all over the world.

  17. Plague Species

    Willy, thanks for that link to the second video. He is SPOT ON. I have been saying the same for years now. American Exceptionalism rubs both ways, both positive and negative. Astrid is an American Exceptionalist. Of course, Astrid and The Grayzone and Glenn Greenwald would just call this guy a contrarian and a troll and their fans would agree and ignore him.

  18. Chipper

    @Ché Pasa – I live in a large metropolitan area and haven’t seen widespread shortages since the early months of the pandemic, but I can definitely tell that things are not quite normal. There are random things like I noticed there was only one brand of paper plates on the shelves recently, and a couple weeks ago there was no lip balm, but then it was back the next week. The frozen vegetables and meat are not as fully stocked as they used to be (not sure about canned foods because that’s not something I buy routinely).

    And yeah, I think it’s a sign of things to come.

  19. Astrid

    The supply issue I see are subtle. After getting my shots + 2 weeks, we back to biweekly masked shopping trips at Costco and occasional outings to Wegmans, Korean supermarkets, and Trader Joe’s (the latter two are not in central PA but my parents live in the DC area). I see well stocked shelves except for a few things like canning lids ( didn’t see any in stock anywhere and marked up to 3x their pre-pandemic price). The selection is a little “weird”, for example Costco is no longer selling Kirkland brand canned corn and now sells an Italian brand for about twice the unit price. Otherwise the price increase is subtle, maybe more in the form of less sale prices or being on the high end of “normal” pricing than going above that. Maybe things like Kirkland green tea going for a buck more than last year. But these guys all have a lot of buying power (H Mart and Lotte and Great Wall are niche, but dominate in the sorts of produce and goods I would but from them) so they almost certainly get what they need ahead of smaller independent grocery stores. So I think the system stresses might not be noticeable by the coastal elites yet.

    I think even if the pandemic calms down (we’re back to 10-20% mask wearing at my local Costco), this is splitting the buying habits of the haves and have-nots further. I have a couple friends who love the new specialty delivery services and grocery ordering options and may never go into a grocery store again. For them, the pandemic is an upgrade on their previous experience. Very different from folks who are seeing the prices of staples rise and shortages.

  20. Astrid

    Different Clue,

    You asked for feedback on that link, I took time to watch it, scan the Reddit thread to see if anyone has any constructive comments about why it’s true or reflect a genuine policy and just saw dumb circular reasoning, and compose a comment stating why I find it unconvincing, easy to fake, and even if taken as true, isn’t indicative of an oppressive pattern.

    Nice of you to finally unveil that you don’t actually care about other people’s opinions or getting at any kind of truth and just wanted backslaps from your best buds Willy, Hugh, and Plague Species. You’re not just wrong and close minded, your are arguing in bad faith.
    Thank you for saving me time I can used on gardening in the future.

  21. Ché Pasa

    The more I look into shortages and high prices, it seems that rural areas like ours are being deliberately neglected by suppliers, while most urban and suburban areas are still being supplied more or less at pre-pandemic levels. Prices out here have always been a little higher than in the cities and suburbs, but not a lot. Now they seem to be significantly higher, perhaps due to a shortage of supply, but also due to higher costs to the few retailers we have in the closest town. Getting deliveries at all seems to involve them paying a premium. Which of course they pass on to customers.

    It’s also a crapshoot for individual households to get deliveries out here. Sometimes they’re quick and efficient, sometimes delayed for varying lengths of time (usually 10 days or more), sometimes the delivery doesn’t come at all. I told the story of actually getting a package from India in 2019 faster than I could get a delivery from Walmart or Target. As for Amazon, we do our best not to patronize them. Sometimes, though, they’re practically the only available source. That may become more common as Bezos consolidates his control over the retail market.

    Speaking of: so many people had to become entrepreneurs over the last few decades, something most people really aren’t suited to. But there was little choice given the shitty jawbs — if any were available at all.

    . The financial collapse of 2008 wiped out millions of those sole proprietorships, and happily confiscated millions of homes from the struggling masses. Essentially nothing replaced what was lost by the Lower Orders.

    The “recovery” was ultra-slow due to ridiculous Overclass-serving policies, and then just as the economy was settling into a new lower level normal for ordinary people, the pandemic came along, destroying millions more entrepreneurial efforts of the lower and middle classes, consolidating more wealth and power in the very richest of the rich, and despite periodic payments, throwing more and more millions into poverty or to the edge of it.

    Our rulers are largely oblivious. But then, “everything’s going according to plan” too.

    And then we heard that Wells Fargo is canceling personal lines of credit which was essential for funding entrepreneurial efforts and keeping households afloat. I don’t doubt it’s yet another harbinger of Things To Come.

    Thanks for the testimonies about what’s going on elsewhere in the country/world.

  22. Plague Species

    (the latter two are not in central PA but my parents live in the DC area)

    Too funny. You almost forgot. Nice catch. But you can’t catch everything and when you inevitably drop one, I will be there to catch it for you. Not that anyone cares, but I do, and that’s what matters.

  23. Z

    David Veale,

    I subscribe to your hypothesis that someone or entity is purposely unleashing this virus, with its increasingly lethal “variants”, on the world. I don’t know for sure obviously, but that’s what my suspicions are and have been from the very beginning of COVID.

    As you stated, in some respects it’s completely understandable and humane, though I doubt that’s what “their” primary motivations are.

    From an earlier thread (

    What I believe is this Eric, and this might put your knickers into a knot, I believe that there is a substantial possibility that this virus was man-made and purposely unleashed on the public. Why? Because it is becoming increasingly obvious, especially during these last five years, that ecosystems essential to human life are breaking down, the planet is warming at an accelerating rate, and we are at least a few billion people over comfortable capacity. In lieu of that, I have a tough time believing that every one of the people in the world who have the means available to them to create a virus such as this, primarily heads of states and mega-billionaires, looks at the human calamity coming down the pipe that is primarily due to overpopulation and then looks at their kids, grandkids and the future of their country and basically says “f*ck ‘em, I’ll be dead anyway by the time the sh*t hits the fan”. In fact, we should expect that something eventually will be deployed such as this, I have, because it is the near perfect solution, too perfect for my suspicions, to depopulate earth and heal its ecosystems. It’s just what the planet ordered: it only kills humans.

    Now if some entity was playing chess instead of checkers and wanted to design and deploy a lethal virus to seriously put a dent the world’s population they’d have to design something that beats the immunization process that vaccines set off and if they really wanted to have the ability to pump up the volume on the killing they’d design the variants to work similar to the dengue virus where the variants become more lethal from a process that usually leads to immunity.

    As far as potential state actors are concerned, a man-made virus such as I’ve described not only would depopulate the earth but it also has the advantages that maybe less than a handful of people would have the be in the know in the entire operation; it leaves no fingerprints and if you drop it in Wuhan it will probably be blamed on the wet markets or possibly escaping from the Wuhan Institute of Virology; the variants you have on hand allow you to drop them on enemy countries so that they get hit particularly hard by them; and it does no damage to what is left after the depopulation, in fact it very likely would make our planet’s life essential ecosystems healthier.

    The “game” may come down to whether the decrease of particulates that humans have been dispersing into the atmosphere during our carbon burning partying ways, which Mark Pontin pointed out may have actually slowed down global warming by deflecting the sun’s rays, will cause our climate to lethally destabilize and/or ecological systems to collapse before our atmosphere can heal from the reduction of hydrocarbons being emitted due to depopulation from the killer virus. If what we are experiencing with the climate this year is a reflection of the decreased particulates from the reduction of burning fossil fuels due to onset of COVID last year then the early returns are certainly not promising.

    Anyway, these aren’t cheery thoughts and there isn’t much we can do to effect the macro in this situation but I for one am reluctant to get the vaccine for this and other reasons, such as the lack of historical data on the side effects of the vaccine and my particular set of circumstances.

    I also understand that other folks may feel and act differently and for all I know they may be right that getting the vaccine is the best decision for them.


  24. Willy

    PS, I had a friend once who by some amazing miracle seemed to share all the same experiences I’d had and seemed to like all the same stuff I did and seemed to have all the same political leanings I did.

    Then she started inviting me to stuff which involved Trumpers and libertarians. I was pissed, mostly at myself. I knew better that people like that know their beliefs are ideological nonsense (at least at some unconscious level) funded by self-serving plutocrats and so resort to subterfuge to try and persuade others to join their cults.

    I prefer the honest guy who calls it like he sees it right up front, and so far, that guy also makes reasonable sense to me without any black/white good/evil ad hominem judgments we see around here.

  25. Mary Bennett

    Different Clue, How much money are you willing to lose from us in the USA no longer importing cheapo products from China? How many things are you willing to source locally or even make yourself?

    If we don’t like Chinese behavior for any reason or no reason, we don’t need to keep sending them money.

  26. Joan

    Are people actually going to rent suburban homes? That seems pointless to me. If you can’t own the home, why not just stick to an apartment and try to save money for a larger down payment later?

  27. Plague Species

    If we don’t like Chinese behavior for any reason or no reason, we don’t need to keep sending them money.

    I remember when Made In The USA was a big deal marketing campaign and Walmart once bragged it was at the forefront of that. Boy, was that short-lived. Corporate Chinese apologists erased all of that and now buying products from China is reparations of a sort.

    I truly believe most everyone who was previously on the “left” have lost their minds and way every bit as much as those previously on the “right.” For anyone on the “left” to provide apologia for China in any way, is despicable, but many on the “left” did so for the Soviet Union too and some moved there and paid the ultimate price for their gullibility.

  28. Astrid


    At least in my neck of the woods, renting a nice 2/2 apartment or monthly payments on smaller 3/2 house are pretty equivalent. Nicer 4/3 houses will cost more, but not that much more and is a major lifestyle upgrade. American apartments are also often less well built than European counterparts, and you can hear your neighbors very well. An upstairs neighbor’s heavy gait or bass heavy video gaming on the other side of the wall drove me crazy in my rental days, and we lived in really nice “luxury” places. And if you’re unfortunate enough to have a neighbor with ongoing domestic disputes and 2 AM music playing, 24/7 of that is enough to drive an acquaintance to put up above market bid after above market bid to escape that.

    Apartments are also harder on families as there’s typically less safe outdoor space for kids, may be in bad school districts, limited availability as very few 3 bedroom or above units exist and typically charges a significant premium. And home prices are jumping up so fast while wages stagnate, that saving to buy will just not look feasible for a lot of people without family help. So I could see renting even suburban homes being a viable strategy , especially if it’s a newly built track home development where there is efficiency of scale for things like yard care, repairs, and evictions.

  29. Willy

    I get the “better us than them” part of nationalism. But when we ruin entire democracies just so we’ll pay a few cents less for bananas, not so much. I’m doubtful the Wuhan virus was intentional nefariousness. If it was engineered, it was far more likely yet another “free trade less regulation” gone clusterfuck. I lived it in the corporate world, seeing it every day.

  30. Joan

    @Astrid, interesting. I guess that makes sense. I forget how much thicker the walls are here. Plus twelve foot ceilings as opposed to the typical nine in the US. And there’s no social stigma against living in an apartment. Even rich people do it, and it doesn’t mean anything about the schools.

  31. Plague Species

    American Homes 4 Rent owns and rents at least one home in our neighborhood. They are not keeping it up well. The roof needs replacing. The fence is falling apart. I can only imagine what it looks like inside.

    The most recent tenants flew the coop literally overnight. They were perhaps evicted. Not sure. One day they were there. The next they were gone. A bunch of garbage is in the backyard. We saw the American Homes 4 Rent truck there a couple of times after they flew the coop, but it doesn’t look like anything was done. The back yard still looks like a pigpen.

    My evaluation of American Homes 4 Rent based off this one property alone? Slumlord. I don’t want them owning homes in the neighborhood, but there is nothing I can do about that so it will be what it’s going to be. Keep in mind, the latest home in this neighborhood that sold a month ago sold for $440,000 — $60k more than the asking price. It’s not a neighborhood you would think would be ripe for Slumdog Millionaire landlords and unsavory tenants who abuse time and space.

  32. Hugh

    Losing money by not buying cheapo products from China overlooks lots of hidden and not so hidden costs.

    If your job is shipped to China or elsewhere to produce those cheapo goods and you can’t find another job or only a Mcjob, is it worth it? If those goods mean a lot more greenhouse gases in their making and transporting, if the savings from buying those cheapo goods is illusory, that is you save a little up front but lose money because they don’t last and you have to buy them more often, if producing goods abroad that could be made here makes the US less secure, then no Virginia, it’s not worth it.

  33. different clue


    Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  34. different clue

    @Mary Bennett,

    I don’t lose any money if I spend more money ” here” than spending less money “there”, because the more money I spend “here” allows other Americans to spend that more-money “here” as well, keeping the more-money circulating longer “here” mediating more exchanges of goods and services made or performed “here”.

    So the money I lose by spending more money “here” is made up by the greater social stability and greater social-economic value everyone spending their more-money “here” are able to co-create together “here”, which I get to share in the enjoyment of.

    You see the wasteland which a hundred million people spending less money “there” had turned ” here” into.

    Examples of what I have done about that in my own life? Quite a few years ago I read an obscure little article about how some high-powered investors had bought Stanley Thermos which was based in Tennessee, with the intention of shutting it down and opening new Stanley Thermos factories in China to make Cheap China Crap thermoses and put a “Stanley” label on them and import them into an America. Their game, as with all differential costs arbitrage racketeers who support Free Trade was to pay a China Cost, charge a ten-per-cent-less-than American Price, and pocket the difference themselves. So I bought from here and there a personal lifetime supply of made-in-Tennessee Stanley thermoses, to either use myself or to give to others to save them from having to spend their American money buying Cheap China Crap thermoses from our most deadly Foreign Trading Enemy.

  35. Willy

    Harbor Freight is useful if I need a one-time-use tool in a pinch even if I know the tool was made using monkey metal with bad reverse engineering. Still, I have a hard time carefully repacking and returning the tool because I don’t like lying. I might need to work on that.

    One unexpected outcome of forced neoliberalism is a culture of cynicism. For many, if a neighbor loses his job and is now unemployable, then they’d better suck up to their own bosses better and fuck that neighbor because he’s not relevant anymore.

    Now that the kids are too old for “pull my finger” I’m trying to work on my uncle stories. I tell them tales of the days when any yahoo could walk down the street and find a reasonable job, and if they could stay off the drugs and work a full 40 hour week, they could buy a house and maybe even a new car.

    Then I go all Chris Hedges on their little asses and tell them that today they’re all fucked and then I laugh maniacally. I’m not a very nice uncle. But maybe if I can keep conning them into believing I’m of neoliberal value to them, they might consider me relevant.

  36. different clue


    The overall problem is that enough millions of people bought the bad monkey-metal reverse-engineered tool for ” just one use” from the Foreigner instead of buying the good gorilla-metal virgin-engineered tool for ” just in case” from Our Fellow America that Our Fellow Americans all went out of business and out of jobs.

    Of course, in all honesty, this was not entirely a sum of individual choices. When the Overclass shut down Stanley Thermos in Tennessee in order to reopen “Stanley Thermos” in China, then there was no more Stanley Thermos left for the “buy-American” economic fellowship patriot to even be ABLE to buy any more. That’s why I pre-bought quite a few when I learned that some high powered Yuppie Scum were moving Stanley Thermos from Tennessee to China. At least I will never have to give our most deadly Trading Enemy any money for a Thermos.

    But 200 million Americans were successfully indoctrinated in the neoliberal concept of “getting the best deal” and when the neoliberal IFTC offered the appearance of a better deal ” Always the Low Price. Always” those 200 million Americans took the bait and ate the hook.

    Are they sorry now? Are they sorry enough to join an “America Only” patriotic Protectionist party if one emerges?

  37. different clue


    I watched partway into the second of your two Bad Empanada video links. Even though it was just a person looking at the camera and explaining things with no charts, pictures, diagrams or anything; I still listened partway into it.

    It described Astrid exactly. ” Contrarian Fanaticism” is a real thing and a real syndrome.

  38. Mary Bennett

    For any gardeners reading, I would like to recommend Made in America Rogue Hoes. This company in Missouri recycles steel disks to make a fantastic line of garden hoes. Long handled hoes. I have back problems enough without having to bend over a short handled tool. I buy hand garden tools from Red Pig, a blacksmith in Oregon, also top quality.

    What really, truly, upsets me is the importing of foods from China. Almost anything that grows can be grown somewhere in the USA, and tropicals could be grown for us in places like Haiti.

  39. Willy

    Contrarian Fanaticism” is a real thing and a real syndrome.

    Simple pleasures for simple minds I guess. He does note that even people playing for the “good team” can be bought. Seems these days one has to always follow the money.

    I agree with Mary here asking why our corporations can’t support the takeover of a place like Haiti so they can grow our tropical fruits for us. To be more serious folks, in a more serious world we’d just deal with Cuba.

    My preference is Dewalt tools but their components can come from outside the USA. I bought my tile saw off the shelf for 20% off the Home Depot online warehouse price at a little ma and pop tile store.

  40. different clue


    Well, you know the not-old-yet saying . . . buy American, if you can find it. ha ha ha

    When I buy a thing, I try going for quality first, at whatever the price is. Sometimes the foreign thing is better than the American thing. Claringdon Forge Bulldog tools from England are the very best I have seen for gardening in my limited experience. But you pay for the pleasure.

    Then there is also a ladderof descending social okayness. European workers are treated as well or better than American workers, so why not buy European if you need it? Then there is a descending order of social-standards-okayness countries below that. If the Union Movement isn’t making comprehensive guidebooks to the social okayness aspects of different things from different countries, they really should.

    Unfortunately, ever more companies are outsourcing their thingmaking to China ( and sometimes other places). Fiskars has allways been a respected Finnish ( I think) brand. Just lately, things called Fiskars say “made in China for Fiskars” in tiny type.
    Maybe they are just as good as Fiskars itself used to make them. But if I can find something almost as good and made in a better social-standards place than China, I will buy it even at a much higher price. ( Though I notice that Fiskars in particular is still charging a “Fiskars price” for its “made in China at a Chinese cost” tools. They are probably pocketing the difference.

    And if I need a tool badly enough, and China is the only place it is made any more because the International Free Trade Conspiracy has carefully exterminated every other source in the whole world, then I will buy it from China. Unless I can do without it altogether.

  41. different clue


    As with everything, there are degrees of evil and then there is the Evil which stands Apart.

    If I need ( as in really really want) a thing , and the “made in America” version is only available from Amazon whereas the “made in China” version is available everywhere else, then I will buy the ” made in China” thing from NOmazon rather than the “made in America” thing from Amazon. jeff Bezos is truly an Evil which Stands Apart.

  42. Willy

    Even the Kung Fu Panda series was made in China. Even Ben Shapiro proclaimed that just because you give all your manufacturing to China, doesn’t mean they’re gonna liberalize and quit the CPC tyrannical persecution shit. Now if his team could just take at least half the credit for being bought by fat, greedy and stupid libertarians.

  43. Mary Bennett

    Willy, My kitchen doesn’t function without a pretty impressive array of tropical and semi tropical products, all of which, IMO, could and should be grown by Caribbean farmers and transported to us North American addicts by Caribbean shipping. No need for American companies to take over–you have perhaps heard of United Fruit Company which controlled the govts. of and extracted wealth from Latin American countries in the 19th-early 20thC.

    I read somewhere that when Bill Clinton was managing Haiti, he gave grants of the money he was distributing to American friends of his to set up coffee plantations. That is exactly the wrong way to go about it. With all the money Clinton was handling, he could have bought fishermen state of the art boats, reforested the country and invested in sustainable indigenous farming and modern transport, controlled by Haitians for Haitians.

  44. different clue

    @Mary Bennett,

    I remember reading that when Bill Clinton was still President, he started a program of dumping Arkansas Rice into Haiti under cover of helping with a transient emergency of some sort. But the real reason was to drive all the rice farmers in Haiti out of business and exterminate Haitian rice in order to turn Haiti into a permanent captive market for Arkansas rice.

    Wasn’t it also during the Clinton Administration that the US AID division of the DC FedRegime conspired to exterminate all the native tropical-hardy creole hogs in Haiti in order to take their place with tender delicate American corporate high-maintainance high-expense hogs? I somehow remember that, too.

    If you are talking about after-office Bill Clinton Foundation activities, what he did was to advance the interests of those of his friends who were part of the International Free Trade Conspiracy plan for Haiti.

    Bill Clinton was a very destructive President.

    As to ag-product from the Caribbean into America, if Americans can’t grow it in America and yet Americans still want it and will pay for it, then Caribbean growers would of course grow it. And if the Caribbean growers say, accept our shipping or go without it, then that would be part of the price.

  45. different clue


    There are three blogs I consistently read; this one, Colonel (Retired) Lang’s blog, and Naked Capitalism. Yes I know, they banned me over there. But I got over it and I still read their blog.

    So . . . . the Chinastan-Uighuristan issue . . . who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s straight, who’s twisted . . . came up over there in a thread. I would link straight to it but I don’t know how to set up a link that goes right to the desired part of a thread. So I will first give a copy-paste of the first comment in that subthread so you can know it when you see it. And then if you choose to find it and see it, you can follow down for the rest of that subthread. First, the copypaste.

    July 7, 2021 at 8:56 am
    Xinjiang Denialists Are Only Aiding Imperialism The Nation

    Nice and punchy article. Its worth pointing out that the author is a well published academic with a specialism in minorities in China, so he knows a lot more about the topic than most pontificators.

    US involvement in Xinjiang means that it’s perfectly possible to oppose US empire without engaging in denialism, praising colonialism, and debasing the dignity of victims and survivors. But doing so would undermine the impact of the anti-imperialist argument on their target audience: Americans. As part of their laudable but misguided efforts at building popular opposition to US imperialism among Americans, these anti-imperialists want to portray the United States as a two-dimensional comic book villain engaged in a program of global deceit.

    In the end, although not all these denialists are American—there are many in Canada, Pakistan, and Australia—all of them are engaging in a celebrated American tradition of denying other countries’ human right abuses in order to make arguments about America to Americans. This narcissistic parochialism is surely one of the most successful exports of American empire.

    The situation (as he has written about in other articles) is that you can’t specifically distinguish what is happening in the Uighur lands from what happens in the many fringe minority areas of China, although there is little doubt that the outbreak of attacks a decade ago by Uighurs led to much stricter crackdowns. The only thing we can be sure about is that US government protests are almost certainly counter productive for those minorities, and Washington officials almost certainly know this and don’t care. ”

    Now, the link to the MotherPost whose thread this is.

  46. Joan

    I’m excited to see the comments about buying domestically or from places where the workers are paid well, like in Europe, and avoiding Amazon, etc. My experience of Made in America products is that they tend to last much longer than anything out of a sweatshop. There’s a labeling system here with the flags which makes it easy to find domestic-grown produce.

    AI is cheaper than American workers, and ultimately, slaves in Asia are cheaper than AI. That is the free trade world.

    We thankfully still have an apprenticeship program here. For students who know they don’t want to go to college, they can start apprenticeships as young as fourteen.

    I worry what the Belt Road Initiative is going to do to European manufacturing and small businesses.

  47. different clue


    I assume the long-run purpose of One Ball One Chain in Europe is to exterminate as much thingmaking in Europe as possible, just as the purpose of MFN status and WTO Membership for China was to exterminate as much thingmaking in America as possible. And since the leadership elites of EUrope are all part of the International Free Trade Conspiracy, this is your own leaders’ agenda for Europe . . . . to exterminate every advanced industry you have in order to exterminate every industrial union you have. If you want to see the your-future which your own leaders have planned for you, come visit Youngstown, Ohio or Erie, Pennsylvania. China and its One Ball One Chain is just the weapon your own leaders plan to use to burn your own countries down with.

    This probably sounds like raving tinfoil paranoia to you now. If the next twenty years see nothing like that at all happen in Europe, you can look back on my comment and laugh.

  48. Dr/MD/JD Richard Fleming


    Dr/MD/JD Thomas Fleming

  49. Astrid


    Belt and Road lends money to other countries for infrastructure projects. They must be agreed to and supported by the local national governments. They’re similar to IMF and WorldBank lending, though apparently at better terms ( this does include use of Chinese engineering and crews) and thus far, without intervention in domestic policies the way usually seen with IMF/WorldBanks lending.

    Here’s a short clip where Yanis Varoufakis explaining his experience dealing with China

    Longer clip where he goes into greater depth here.

    This isn’t to excuse bulk global trade and its role in immiserating billions around the world. It’s absolutely terrible for resiliency of national economies, disaster for local labor and citizenry, and environmental disaster. Any same country should be doing what Cuba and Russia is doing to promote self reliance and develop internal capabilities. If they are too small or specialized, they need to partner up and pick their partners very carefully.

    China knew the game it was playing, to industrialize itself, came at the expense of mostly US workers (since the US industrial policy intentionally enabled it to depower US workers, while other developed economies’ labor forces did comparatively better because they had more labor supporting industrial policies). But if not China, the US PTB would use Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Latin America, Eastern Europe, even Africa, against its workers. Once the alternate system of USSR was brought down, time was up for the US work force.

    As it’s supposed to do, China is always interested in doing what’s best for China, it’s up to other governments to do what’s in the best interest of their respective peoples. So far China’s efforts seem to be mostly carrot but I don’t doubt that they would use sticks if they judge it necessary and their get away with it. That relatively benign outlook might change, especially if the US and EU completely goes away as counterweight and there’s always drawbacks to any relationship, but right now very few sane, non-Anglo countries are going to prefer dealing with the US system, with its terrible track record for going back on its words, unilateral imposition of violence, defiance of international law, etc., when there is a real alternative.

    And never forget, the Europeans/Anglos were destroying millions of lives through global trade for hundreds of years before the East Asians came in the scene. It was called merchantilism and they know exactly what their doing when they intentionally shipped jobs off to China. They just didn’t realize the CPC has a plan too and was serious about caring it out.

  50. Astrid

    China isn’t a monster or a saint. It’s a big complicated country with a different political system, different history, and different strategies to success. It’s so different that even veteran China watchers don’t understand it or know how to properly interpret it, I sure don’t feel fully up to the task as I feel up the toes of this elephant.

    It has some advantages and tons of problems and contradictions, some of which may undo it in the next 20-50 years (assuming any coherent human civilization is still around at that point).

    It just is. It’s answerable to its own people on its performance. The West’s tongue wagging hypocrisy just bonds the Chinese more closely to its government, I see it when I talk to the Chinese in China and in the US (including overseas Chinese with origins in HK, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Laos). The CPC fears and respects its people, it remembers all the times when rebellions have brought down an unresponsive Chinese government, most recently in 1949. Another one in 1912. The Boxers and Taiping Rebellion before that nearly undid it and imposed great costs on it.

    I don’t live in China. I don’t have a job that involves China in anyway. Before I started reading into this topic more deeply, I was quite willing to believe the broad strokes of the West’s accusations against it. There was and still is plenty of corruption and dysfunction in China, just talk to a thirty-something Shanghaier and he or she is almost certainly guaranteed to be a basket case. But now, I think maybe there’s hope for us all. The USSR offered a competing system that forced the US to be somewhat better. There’s a chance that the emergence of China-Russia-Iran block can act as a counter to force the West to be better. So I’m celebrating that glimmer of hope, not perfection, not fully formed, not always wearing a white hat. But something else and maybe something better.

  51. KT Chong

    On the random video titled ”Uighur women being forced to serve Han Chinese” posted in the Joe Rogan subreddit.

    The video has a watermark on the upper right corner: Abdagheni Sabit

    So I googled “Abdugheni Sabit”, and got only three pages of search results. Abdugheni Sabit is a person. Almost all of the search results link to his personal social (or propaganda) accounts at Twitter, Instagram, etc., or to various Xinjiang independence/separatist websites. Browsing them provided me an idea of what his motive or “slant” is. I am not gonna say much on it, but you can google, check out the search results and judge for yourself.

    But I found out more about “Abdugheni Sabit” at a TURKSIH website:

    A member to the factory of lies, Abdugheni Sabit’s affiliations to ISIS-al-Qaeda is interesting. Sharing the al-Qaeda leader’s call to “take care of East Turkestan” on his Twitter account, Sabit is also seen on his YouTube channel with ISIS fighters. On the YouTube channel “Talk East Turkestan”, Sabit has uploaded a video including someone named Akif Razaq. Sabit’s dear guest, is a man who has been denationalized by the UK for his ISIS activities.


    That’s all I gotta say on this matter.

  52. Plague Species

    …and different strategies to success.

    Success? Hardly. Unless you consider the destruction of the living planet a success. When it comes to the destruction of the living planet, China is now the preeminent gargantuan elephant in the room no one seems to want to discuss.

  53. Plague Species

    There’s a chance that the emergence of China-Russia-Iran block can act as a counter to force the West to be better.

    Statements like this lead me to believe you are purposely being absurd because you want peeps to take a 180 degrees position from this absurdity.

  54. Z

    When it comes to the destruction of the living planet, China is now the preeminent gargantuan elephant in the room no one seems to want to discuss.

    Another completely foreseen consequence of the PNTR that the Rubin Administration pushed through. In fact, that’s a significant reason that it got passed: to take advantage of China’s lax environmental standards.

    Just as with piracy, if our rulers didn’t include some actionable repercussions for China damaging the environment in any of the trade agreements with them, it’s because they deemed it to be less important than reaping the financial and power benefits from sending manufacturing jobs overseas and disempowering U.S. labor. If they did include them, then why aren’t they going after China for violating them? Same reason: they deem the arrangement to be to their advantage. And now some of these same assh*les are pointing their finger at China like they’re ones that are responsible for screwing us while these scumbags set this all up to enrich themselves and further weight the heavy boot of capital on U.S. labor’s neck.


  55. Plague Species

    All that is true, Z, but still, China is the gargantuan elephant in the room no one is discussing. Does anyone believe Xi’s promise that China will be carbon neutral by 2060? What does “carbon neutral” even mean? China cannot continue to grow. Period. It must start shrinking today. It should have started shrinking yesterday in fact. Same holds for every other developed and developing nation on the planet. So long as economies are predicated on Growth, nothing can or will get done. Fine, point fingers at Rubin and Clinton and Reagan all you want, it still doesn’t make their polluting Golem, China, disappear.

  56. Astrid


    Thanks for digging it up though I suspect it’s not going to change anybody’s mind. That video made zero sense. It said plenty about the gullibility or grasping at straws-ness of anyone who believes it is legit evidence for anything.

    I took a look at your link, a bunch of familiar faces. It seems like there are 5 neckbeards doing social media for ETIM and that’s it. Their xenophobic and exterminationist language is well documented for anyone who actually cares to learn anything about this topic.

  57. Z

    Plague Species,

    What do you reckon U.S. citizens should do to force China to shrink its industrial base? Besides boycotting China’s goods … when we are fortunate enough to have a choice.


  58. Plague Species

    Z, nothing. The cat is out of the bag. The horse has left the barn. China will do what it will do. Until it can’t any longer and then it will be too late even though it’s already too late. It would be nice to throw Rubin & Friends into a volcano though, wouldn’t it? Make them walk a plank into one after asking them their favorite color.

  59. Hugh

    Luckily, China’s open access policy for Xinjiang has meant that stories of oppression of the Uighurs have been easily debunked. Oh wait . . .

    Most trade agreements have national security exceptions and really any core manufacturing, and core can mean socks and underwear, can and should be included. But the system we have now is what happens when greedy and not very bright people are put in charge of it.

  60. Astrid


    The Uighur genocide lies, manufactured by the NED tied East Turkistan separatists, have been debunked many times by independent press, online vloggers, and Chinese state media. I even pointed you to them again and again and asked why I should doubt the debunkings.

    The Chinese government can’t make CNN, MSNBC, BBC and the US State Department from repeating debunked lies over and over again, or useful idiots like you from continuing to believe DoS and MSM even when they’ve lied to us on everything that mattered for the last 25 years.

    Your unwillingness to honestly engage in this topic isn’t ignorance or difference of opinion. It’s outright dishonesty likely fueled by the racist ” humanitarian interventionists” update to white man’s burden. You don’t know or care about the actual people in these places that you’ve never been to. You don’t care what wreckage US foreign policy has done to people’s around the world. You just want to keep your “good liberal” boner going a little longer.

  61. different clue

    @K T Chong,

    Your comment on the Joe Rogan hosted video is the kind of fact-and-research-based comment I was hoping to see. Thank you for being the first commenter to bring it here.

    Given the black-hat nature of the original poster of that video, the question arises as to whether it was staged with fake actors like some of the “gas attack” videos in Syria were apparently fake- staged by the White Helmets working for the Global Axis of Jihad and the Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadis . . . or whether the video is a genuine recording of actual people doing actual things in an actual place.

    If the latter, then it is subjectable to different interpretations by differently motivated people. Would any one such interpretation be more truth-pursuing than another?

  62. KT Chong

    Hugh: “Luckily, China’s open access policy for Xinjiang has meant that stories of oppression of the Uighurs have been easily debunked. Oh wait . . .”

    ACTUALLY, Xinjiang has a thriving tourism industry, so the access is already open for tourists both Chinese and foreign. Tourists can travel in groups or solo, backpack, bike, hitchhike, etc., in Xinjiang.

    There are shit tons of videos and vlogs on YouTube uploaded from BOTH Chinese and foreign travelers who have been to Xinjiang, and plenty of them (including foreigners) who went to Xinjiang, left Xinjiang and China, and uploaded video and said the US and Western media has not been honest about Xinjiang. Don’t trust everything you read or find out about China from the New York Times, CNN, BBC, etc. Those are the same outlets that lied about Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction, Iran and ISIS, Julian Assange, the Russiagate, the chemical attacks in Syria, etc., either deliberately or by omission.

    I’ll get back to this topic later with links to those videos and vlogs.

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