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

Open Thread

Use this thread to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. Please keep vax/anti-vax discussion out of this thread as well.


How Monopolies and Oligopolies Cause Shortages


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 12, 2021


  1. Plague Species

    Happy 9/11 everyone. Seriously, why isn’t this a national holiday at this juncture? 3,000 people sacrificed their lives that fateful day and yet we do not commemorate them and thank them for their service.

    Let’s Roll, or better yet, Let’s Rollover!!

  2. Mark Level

    The executives of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, GE et al certainly thank the unfortunate dead or maimed for their Profits– er, “service” that is. Those death profits purchased a lot of wonderful 2nd homes, boats and other luxury items that the Masters of the Universe deserve to show off their status as “winners”. 9/11 was a “Golden Opportunity” as great nationalists/ ethnic cleansers like Benny Netanyahu and Condolezza Rice quickly shared with the public. George “El Matamoros” (the Muslim Killer) W. Bush the Lesser launched two failed wars, one which petered out recently, not to mention an orgy of torture & sexual abuse where our brave troops “served”, that wasted Trillions so selfish Americans couldn’t get decent healthcare, keep the infrastructure up to speed, or even assist other Americans during climate change disasters (Hurricane Katrina and dozens more). . . I guess Plague Species lives on Earth B to my Earth A in the Marvel Universe, ‘coz when I opened up the homepage for my local Minnesota Public Radio page today the first thing I saw was pictures of cops & military being lauded– not dead cops either, living cops from today, “celebrating” their opportunities to keep the pesky “civilians” in line, especially the poor and non-white ones, and be seen as “heroes” to the Authoritarian hangers-on . . . We already have 2 national holidays devoted to settler-colonist military aggression and homicide, so we don’t need a 3rd, imho, celebrating the US’s “victimhood.” I think A Tiny Revolution got it right here:
    ” . . . you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists!” as George Bush defiantly crowed to the plebs who would be robbed or die for the Great War of Terror. Meaning of course, we’re going to make out like bandits (Uncle Dick Cheney will make millions directly) and you will suffer, and some of you suckers will die in our Story of Triumph. Nothing to celebrate, and as most of us with at least a shred of humanity left can see, the US drive for global dominance creates nothing but misery and death, and like every other cruel, grasping Empire, it’s not gonna end well, no matter how many cheer “Our Group is the Best, Kill Those Others Who Dare to Have a Different Culture or Language!”

  3. Ché Pasa

    Twenty years on, what’s changed?

    I was going through old papers the other day and found the receipt from the Executive Hotel Pacific in Seattle where I was staying from 9/10/ to 9/14/ 2001. Huh. Well, I burned it along with a lot of other papers I’d kept for no particular reason. And I thought about what was different now and what might have been.

    I was in Seattle for a work assignment. I retired early from that job in part because the Government was going insane. With the distance of time, I can see how 9/11 was the catalyst for changing the dynamics of Government — not just in the US — to divorce it almost completely from the public interest. Congress doesn’t work. The courts snigger at the masses and more often than not seek to cause harm to the public and their welfare.

    The presidency is an odd joke on all of us. Trump didn’t start that but he made it manifest constantly.

    Local and state governments mirror the worst of what’s happened in DC since 9/11. Even the post office has at times behaved like a monstrous mockery of what it once was, assuming that all patrons are potential terrorists.

    Many of us assumed that when the Bush/Cheney regime was installed (arguably illegally) the US would be in a war within a year, and sure enough. We were right. And some of us wonder if that’s why they were installed against the wishes of the voters. It must have been very important to some interests that the US and its forsaken allies enter into a period of neo-imperialist Forever War, and we know who has benefited. Not us.

    Pulling the plug on that bullshit has proved to be nigh impossible. But we keep trying, and we keep thinking about what might have been. Where might we be now if not for the manufactured horrors of the last 20 years?

  4. NR

    Interesting video about how the alt-right recruits and radicalizes people:

  5. Hugh

    The world has changed since 9/11. Back then, the loss of 3,000 Americans for no other reason that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time was shocking. Now we lose that many a week from covid and it isn’t even a blip on the screen. Biden finally after twenty years gets us out of a pointless war in Afghanistan, and he catches grief for it, from Republicans, from the media, from the Europeans. Some of the Republicans are critical just because it was a Democrat who did it. Others like Lindsey Graham never met a war they didn’t like, and defend. The media after ignoring Afghanistan for years suddenly develops a bad case of faux outrage, the women! like they just discovered there are women in Afghanistan. As there are in every other war and failed country on the planet which they continue to conveniently overlook. The Europeans never like what we are doing, and like us stopping it even less.

    As for the Taliban, it’s still early days, but their PR is already showing holes. And their new government looks a lot like their old government. The core problem remains the same: feeding the population. I don’t think the Taliban has either the interest or the smarts to do it. As for its neighbors, I can’t help thinking that they deserve each other, and we are and should stay well out of it.

  6. bruce wilder

    “Homeland” as in Department of Homeland Security” still sickens me.

  7. edmondo

    “Happy 9/11 everyone. Seriously, why isn’t this a national holiday at this juncture?”

    Absolutely! The annual bathos festival. Or the annual “Remember to hate the Muslims” holiday. Holloween without the candy.

    The fact that GW Bush can ever appear in public is a testament to Americans lack of perspective.

  8. NL

    A positive test in an individual with obvious (and pretty bad) symptoms just shut down a unit next door. The individual was full vaccinated and, if not for the obvious symptoms, would never be known to be infected.

    Hugh and NR, you promised that the vaccine will protect us, what happened?

  9. NR

    Well gosh, NL, I don’t know. I mean, sure we have a ton of data showing that vaccines do in fact protect people from COVID:

    But on the other hand, we have one unverified anecdote from an anonymous poster on the internet about a vaccinated person with COVID. Hmm, I really don’t know what to think here. A difficult problem to be sure!

  10. bruce wilder

    Please keep vax/anti-vax discussion out of this thread as well.

  11. NL

    NR, sounds like (I really hate to put words into your mouth, so correct me if I am wrong) what you are saying is that ‘don’t blame me, I am just parroting the media’, and you are sending me to some dinky news articles that you are parroting. Now, do you realize that I can send you to other news articles saying the opposite? For every expert, there is a counter-expert. You can argue that the other sources are political claptrap all you want – how would you know, you are not an expert, you are just echoing? And I do not want to make it a battle of news sources.

    Furthermore, there is no reason for you to doubt my sincerity. I am just sitting here alone in isolation, instead of having a fun weekend with fiends and family. At first, I thought of letting Hugh and you slide, but then why should I? You promised that the vaccines will keep us safe. What happened?

    Fully vaccinated, 49, good physical shape Oscar De La Hoya spent 3 days in a hospital with severe symptoms. Will you claim that he is a liar about his vaccination status too? Everyone is liar, the reality is a liar!

  12. nihil obstet

    The world has changed since 9/11. Back then, the loss of 3,000 Americans for no other reason that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time was shocking.

    At the time, there were already studies giving evidence that around 45,000 Americans a year were dying prematurely because of lack of health care. I remember thinking at the time that makes a “9/11” every month plus at least a bonus attack each year. But not only was nothing done about this killer of Americans, but the first responders to the World Trade Center bombings were being shafted on adequate medical attention within a year. The loss of 3,000 American lives wasn’t so shocking. The break in the American elite narrative of invincible power was what was shocking, and as usual, the propaganda machine jumped to action to scare Americans about wrong-God secret enemies hiding under their beds.

  13. NR

    NR, sounds like (I really hate to put words into your mouth, so correct me if I am wrong) what you are saying is that ‘don’t blame me, I am just parroting the media’,

    You are wrong, and I will correct you. The articles I linked to are merely reporting on the data that shows that vaccinated people are much less susceptible to COVID than non-vaccinated people. The articles include links to the studies and data that shows this, so if you don’t trust “the media,” you can click on the links and review the studies and data directly without any “media” bogeyman in between. The data is quite clear about the fact that vaccines work.

    And that is the last I will say on the subject since Ian requested that vaccination stuff be kept out of this thread. I wouldn’t have even said anything in the first place except that NL mentioned me by name.

  14. Hugh

    nihil, I agree. It was an argument we used during the debate on Obamacare in favor of universal single payer. But we were unable to put a spotlight on them and keep it on them. 9/11 and covid did put a spotlight on the numbers. The difference is on 9/11 it made a big difference, and with covid where the numbers were much larger, nothing.

  15. Ché Pasa

    It depended on who the victims were and are. On 9/11 most of the victims were financial big shots or closely adjacents. That was why there was such a bloodthirsty and immediate reaction by Government. If they had been mere schlubs, like most of the dead and disabled from Covid, the reaction — while still bloodthirsty — would have been quite different.

    The class of the victims determines their worth and what’s to be done about it. In the case of 9/11 what’s been done about it is sheer madness in part because so many of the High and Mighty were victims. In the case of Covid it’s been a matter of protecting the Overclass at all costs (vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, sequestration in secure locations and so forth) and essentially indifference to what happens to anybody else. Nobody’s going to war over it — so long as the Overclass is protected at any rate.

    Several hundred first responders were lost on 9/11 and thousands were sickened, and the response was… if not exactly indifference by their betters, far from more than minimally considerate. Much the same has been happening with regard to Covid first responders. Again, it all about class.

  16. Astrid

    I attended a talk by the 9/11 compensation czar Ken Feinberg years ago. He was absolutely throwing money at 9/11 victims in a way that was unprecedented and as far as I can see, never occurred again. Victims of Katrina got formaldehyde trailers. Victims of Ida and COVID got nothing.

  17. Hugh

    Ché Pasa, I agree, but still the deadness of the response to the covid deaths gets to me. And that isn’t just the indifference of our powers that be. It is the dismissal of those deaths, more than two hundred 9/11, and often seen here, by people who aren’t of the powers that be, because those deaths undermine their denial and conspiracy theories.

  18. Plague Species

    Hush Money

  19. Ché Pasa

    Oh yes, there is something crazy-deliberate about the Overclass indifference to the deaths and misery caused by the virus, mirrored in both major parties, sorry to say, but enthusiastically supported by a faction of the Rs and the R leadership in thrall to a virulent media-plex that was once in thrall to Trump but mostly seems to have shaken it off. They don’t want to wake up. Eventually, they won’t be able to.

    Wasn’t it Jay Gould during the previous Gilded Age who said he could hire one half the working class (and petit bourgeoisie) to kill the other half? Well, that’s basically what’s been going on throughout the pandemic, and it shows no sign of letting up.

    And this time, they don’t even have to pay their underlings for their service.

  20. China may be on the warpath. The author states, unambiguously, that the venue for the article he talks about guarantees state endorsement.

    Part of his take on things doesn’t sound plausible. China has been “disappearing” some of their billionaires (not necessarily killing them, but yanking them from the public eye. This suggest (to me) that they are getting rid of capitalist celebrity culture.

    On youtube: “Breaking – Did China just Declare WAR?”

    I wouldn’t be inclined to take talk of a “Great Leap Forward 2” too seriously, either. I think the original is widely recognized as a disaster.

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