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.


What App Stores Have Cost All Of US


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 3, 2021


  1. NR

    A new study finds that when Republicans control state legislatures, infant mortality is higher:

  2. NR

    Rudy Giuliani has admitted under oath that he got some of his “evidence” of election fraud from Facebook:

    Rudy Giuliani admitted under oath that his “evidence” of voter fraud in the 2020 election came partly from Facebook and that he did not interview or fact-check his sources, reports say.

    The conspiracy theories about Coomer were sparked by accusations made by right-wing podcast host Joe Oltmann.

    Oltmann claimed to have infiltrated an Antifa conference call in which someone who identified themselves as “Eric from Dominion” boasted about preventing Trump from winning the election, The New York Times reported. Oltmann offered no proof of his claims.

    Just a friendly reminder that when right-wingers talk about “overwhelming” evidence that the election was stolen, this is what they’re talking about.

  3. Hugh

    The right to “life” is sacred. The right to stay alive, not so much.

    Congressional progressives need to come up with what their lowest number is on the reconciliation bill, $3 trillion or keep it at $3.5 trillion. They should tell Biden, Pelosi and Schumer, and Sinema and Manchin that if they can’t accept this, then set up the votes, let both bills get voted down, and stop lying to the American people and wasting progressives’ time.

  4. bruce wilder

    Robert Kagan wrote an op-ed warning of an imminent constitutional crisis for the WaPo and attracted a lot of attention. (I despise all Kagans as a matter of general policy.) I wonder if anyone had read it and wanted to comment either on the essay itself or the reaction (particularly among so-called liberals).

    Personally, I marvel at how stupid reactionaries are with regard to “the lessons of history” for imperial collapse. ymmv, of course, but I thought the reaction revealing of both anxiety and cluelessness among the supremely irresponsible.

  5. Hugh

    Giuliani and fact is an oxymoron. He is and has been a pathetic washed up hack who should have retired into obscurity a long time ago. But like Trump. it doesn’t matter to him if he shows up in front of the camera as a crook, liar, and fool as long as the camera is on and pointed at him.

    In the last few weeks, we have seen a dangerous cabal of partisan hacks, otherwise known as the Supreme Court, defended by Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, Stephen Breyer, and Samuel Alito. They aren’t going to stop being and acting like a dangerous cabal of partisan hacks. They just are offended that the lesser orders known as the American people dare, dare I tell you, to question their magnificence. I mean Amy Coney Barrett being railroaded on to the Court by the dark demon of political hypocrisy and cynicism Mitch McConnell, then showing up to an event glorifying him, and topping it all off by saying that the Supreme Court isn’t a bunch of partisan hacks doesn’t show how out of touch and arrogant she is. It’s more like irony and hypocrisy are dead. If you want to know why we are going down the toilet, look no further than these sanctimonious clowns in their ridiculous black robes.

  6. Z

    The “Pandora Papers” are supposed to be released tomorrow by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). I had never heard of the Pandora Papers or the ICIJ but I guess they are similar to the Panama Papers and are supposed to involve financial secrets of high-profile individuals, probably centering on tax evasion and whatnot.

    “The Pandora Papers are larger than the Panama Papers in terms of data collection and collaboration, made possible by the largest research team in the history of journalism in the world.”


  7. different clue


    Yes, the progressive Congress officeholders should do that, but will they? Maybe if enough millions of their constituents call their various offices and say various versions of that very thing, maybe they will do it.

    Those among their constituents who would actually vote against them in their next elections if they fail to do that should say so. But only if that is really those callers’s ” One Issue”. Politicians can smell a bluff the way dogs can smell fear.

  8. bruce wilder

    Sinema seems downright frivolous in her callous disregard for her constituents, never mind her progressive allies in the Party.

    The reality of the situation is that the Dem Party leadership always packs in blue dogs in every marginal seat where they think they can rationalize the choice of candidate and will freeze out more progessive candidates even when there are indications a more progressive candidate would be easier to elect.

    The highway funding bill is “bipartisan” and can pass with Republican support. All the Dem leadership needs to do is wink and a few more Republicans will vote to pass it, bypassing the Progressive bloc’s withholding of support. The Dem leadership is just waiting out the Progressives, who always play Charlie Brown to Lucy holding the football. If they are counting votes, the focus is on eroding “moderates” currently wearing progressive sheep costumes — the people who think “passing something” qualifies them as the “lesser evil” in the next “most important election in our lifetime”.

    Hardball would be filing ethics charges against Pelosi for insider trading and cooperating with Republicans to remove her. That “burn the house you are in” mode is something Republicans threaten to do, but Dems do not have the stomach for, but really, short of a wholesale purge of corruption in the Party gerontocracy, there is no cause for hope. Until the Democratic Party no longer competes with the Republicans for plutocratic support in the corruption sweepstakes, I do not see how any of this turns around.

  9. Hugh

    What’s missing from Kagan’s op-ed is Kagan. It’s not a bad piece, but what’s missing is how Kagan’s neocon-ism helped create the Trump voter: steering trillions into pointless, forever wars, America first-ism, militarism, and racism. Kagan praises Gore for accepting Bush v. Gore (with a passing dig at the SCOTUS itself). But he misses completely the link between this and Trumpism’s own support of election fixing. He mentions fascism once and talks some about Germany in the 30’s but proceeds to miss that fascism must be called out and resisted at every turn. Not to call fascists out is to give them cover, and let’s many others off the hook for not resisting them.

    Kagan has had no coming to Jesus moment. He just wants a return to Republican craziness without Trump. This doesn’t mean he’s wrong about Trump and the lack of opposing Trump. It’s just that his return to the status quo ante isn’t much better.

  10. Hugh

    Johns Hopkins is a few days behind google and some of the MSM, but it crossed the seven hundred thousand US covid deaths count today at 700,793.

  11. Mark Pontin

    Hugh: ‘This doesn’t mean he’s wrong about Trump and the lack of opposing Trump. It’s just that his return to the status quo ante isn’t much better.’

    From the POV of the rest of the world, Kagan’s desired return to the pre-Trump Republican status quo of yore would be worse than Trump. It’d mean a return to full-blown neocon American Imperialist mode, Rumsfeld-Cheney-Wolfowitz-Hillary style.

    Say what you will, unlike several preceding decades of US presidents Trump didn’t manage to start a war (though in the case of Iran, it wasn’t for want of trying; the Pentagon had more sense than to let him).

  12. Hugh

    Sorry, Mark, but fascists and fascism are a bright red line for me. Kagan, McConnell trash the society we live in. Trump and Trumpists would destroy it.

  13. bruce wilder

    Hugh: “Kagan, McConnell trash the society we live in. Trump and Trumpists would destroy it.”

    I think I am missing the fine distinction or “bright red line” that supposedly separates Kagan or McConnell from Trump as a force for evil in the world.

    Color me skeptical of anything Kagan says, but it seems to me that Republicans like McConnell are perfectly happy to undermine electoral democracy under whatever political cover Trump gives them with Trumpian Republican voters, just like they take the judicial nominations and the tax cuts.

    The establishment elites in the Republican Party have ideological commitments and policy druthers that mostly they do not share with a majority of Republican voters. Trump, as I trust all reading or commenting here know, has no ideological commitments much beyond his own corrupt selfishness and hypomaniac self-regard and will say anything to get applause from his supporters. Kagan’s longing for a status quo ante amounts in part to suppressing awareness of the rupture that emerged between Republican leaders and Republican voters, as Trump rambled chaotically through his version of a-b testing of soundbites looking for a response from rally goers. Kagan’s contempt for those rally-goers and voters is openly acknowledged.

    I do not see much value in Republican or ex-Republican “Never Trumpers” as allies against the power grabs of the Republican Party, with or without Trump. Grabbing power is what Republicans do. If they need Trump in 2024 to do it reliably, I am pretty sure they will do it. It worked for them in 2016 — and it did not entirely backfire in 2020; they lost the Presidency in 2020, but held on to a lot without much threat so far to their political druthers.

  14. nihil obstet

    As bruce wilder points out, propaganda has it that the Republicans are burn-the-house-down crazy and Democrats are gutless protectors of the status quo. In fact, both serve the rich.

    Legislation that overwhelmingly benefits the rich is passed easily. The few crumbs that might help the non-rich are trotted out as how the Democrats are looking out for your interests.

    Legislation that purports to benefit the non-rich is meager and benefits are wrapped up in means tests and gatekeeping that keeps supposed beneficees from being able to use the programs.

    Look at the ACA and the help to homeowners during the Obama administration. The Republicans put on a show of objecting to the ACA, but the gift to insurance companies was funded. The lickspittles over at the Supreme Court could have ruled it unconstitutional, but one of the Republicans crossed over to make sure it continued. The homeowners’ benefits were even easier to turn into banks’ profit.

    The same thing is happening here. First they passed the bill that gives the rich and their corporations the infrastructure they need, through private contracting. Next they find it impossible to pass legislation for the non-rich. The whole theater of supposed negotiating by the two parties is just drama to distract.

    The elite insist on the necessity of two parties and on the necessity of bi-partisanship. Two parties are necessary for propaganda purposes only.

  15. Hugh

    I make distinctions between who my enemies are. McConnell’s message to ordinary Americans is Go die. Any money spent on you is wasted. But he has limitations on what he can do. Trump doesn’t.

  16. bruce wilder

    I make just the opposite calculation: McConnell knows the levers of power and is networked with people who relentlessly pursue a coherent vision of their selfish, predatory interests institutionally and systematically.

    Trump is like a carnival barker, and no more able to direct the show than any such noisy conman. He is remarkably clueless when it comes to moving the institutional state, even if he is expert at arousing the crowd.

    I think the country might well convulse, but I attribute that to the persistent neoliberal/neocon rot perpetrated by the McConnells and Kagan. Trump is a symptom. Treating the symptom might make some sense: cool the fever; soothe the rash. Exacerbating the symptom while leaving the disease of predatory governance and pervasive corruption exemplified by Kagan and McConnell untouched as “normal” seems a perverse reversal of all moral sense.

  17. Z

    I wonder if these Pandora Papers have something to do with those three Fed Chairmen suddenly fessing up to trading stocks and that recent WSJ Story about all those U.S. judges not recusing themselves from cases in which they had a financial interest in?

    I suppose we’ll find out tomorrow …

    Maybe they’ll reveal Epstein’s financial ties and maneuvering too. That would be grand.


  18. A 67 year old former Notre Dame professor, Karen Croake Heisler, said “damn the unvaccinated”. She has died 12 days after her third Pfizer mRNA injection.

    According to the enlightened sages guiding our “health policy”, she didn’t die of the vaccine, as you need 14 days to develop full immunity.

    So, apparently, Karen Croake croaked because she waited 2 days too long to get her booster.

    Boy, what a dummy!

  19. Hugh

    Before delta, the Pfizer vaccine had an efficacy rating around 95%. With delta, its efficacy dropped to around 50-55%. What this means is that the Pfizer vaccine reduces your chances of getting and dying from covid, but even before delta, it never eliminated the possibility entirely. For most people, vaccination also reduces the time they can transmit the disease to others because they will mount a faster immune response. Anti-vaxxers kill people and are bad citizens, period. I am sure they don’t want to hear that but it’s still the truth whether they like it or not.

  20. @metamars

    Before the future entered the equation the experimental injections was brining dead people back to life. It was so effective it prevented 4 out of 100 people from getting Covid (this was before the future decided to rear its head and was what the corporation selling it said). Anyone pointing out the fact that according to Pzifers own data the injection kills more people than it saves is a murderer. Anyone pointing out that mortality rates are higher after mass vaccinations and more Covid vaccinations preceded higher mortality rates is a bad citizen. That is truth. Did you know that liberalism means your body is my choice and that real leftists bow before drug corporations?

  21. “real leftists bow before drug corporations?” Ha! Sure seems that way, doesn’t it? At least for the nuttier ones. However, I don’t take the paid left-leaning whores in mainstream media as authentic leftists. I have about as much faith in inferring what lefty citizens really think, from watching CNN, as I do in what CNN says about so-called conservatives. (I think Noam Chomsky has come out against vaccine mandates; but, I’m not sure.)

  22. I’m not sure if this foreign language video really shows a ‘covid vaccine extraction’, but, to my non-expert eyes, the instantly congealed blood is highly abnormal, and it’s thickness jives with the blood clotting events associated with the vaccines.


    In any case, if anybody feels compelled to get the ‘clot shot’, they may want to consider doing such an extraction. I doubt it could hurt anything.

    BTW, I witnessed cupping with blood extraction (via razor cuts) performed on my grandmother, quite a few times. IIRC, my mother also had it done once, and it ‘cured’ her, though she didn’t make a frequent practice of it, like her mother.

    It always looked like witchcraft, to me, so I never had the least interest in doing it.

    Until now….. My first option is to refuse any vaccine, even if it leaves me destitute. But, who knows? Maybe a year of homelessness will convince me to take the risk of vaccination.

  23. Hugh

    The anti-vaxxer cavalry has arrived wearing their talismans and riding their sparkle ponies. See it’s OK if they infect and kill as many as they can because FREEDUMB!

  24. NR

    It was so effective it prevented 4 out of 100 people from getting Covid (this was before the future decided to rear its head and was what the corporation selling it said).

    Here you are with this bullshit statistic again.

    Anyway, if we look at more recent data, we find that unvaccinated people are much more likely to catch COVID, much more likely to be hospitalized from it, and much more likely to die from it than vaccinated people.

    During April 4–July 17, a total of 569,142 (92%) COVID-19 cases, 34,972 (92%) hospitalizations, and 6,132 (91%) COVID-19–associated deaths were reported among persons not fully vaccinated, and 46,312 (8%) cases, 2,976 (8%) hospitalizations, and 616 (9%) deaths were reported among fully vaccinated persons in the 13 jurisdictions (Table).


    But I’m sure this is all just more proof that vaccines don’t work and kill more people than they protect.

  25. Wake up and smell the CommieFascism, boys and girls!


    Bernie’s Tweets
    · Oct 2
    Australia under military control.

    Not a word of condemnation from any government.

    Lt. Gen Frewen, Commander of the COVID-Force Operation in Australia, will “ I will make sure everyone gets a dose by Christmas 2021.


    Bernie’s Tweets
    CANADA- A provincial government has enacted Orwellian emergency COVID powers, these allow officials to detain or remove people without a warrant and seize personal property at will.

    Totalitarian rule, for the government, by the Government.

    Wake up!

  26. Z

    You gotta love the “You go, girl!” support that the media is providing Sinema in her corrupt quest to sink any chance we have to start making steps towards turning the tide on climate change.


  27. Hugh

    We know that Manchin is a corrupt conservative pol. I’ve heard one puff piece on him by a former staffer who said how he would talk for hours and hours to protestors or almost anyone. Of course, he would then screw them over anyway. The staffer missed that part. But it does look like the MSM is trying to sell this defeat as a “victory” by nice people. It leaves the question unanswered, where are the progressives? I haven’t heard much from Sinema. She strikes me as someone vastly out of her depth but that could be just her arrogance. I’m hoping these guys who ran as Democrats because they couldn’t get elected as Republicans finally destroy this con.

  28. NR

    Z: Examples?

  29. Z


    Axios had a puff piece on her about how tough and independent she is and Dowd had another one in the NYT basically promoting her as a rock star politician that takes no guff from anyone.


  30. Z


    It’s Sly Chuckie Schumer (D-Wall Street) who used DCCC funds to assemble this group of rotating betrayers.

    Not to mention he directed a ton of money at “I’m a Trumpist Too” McGrath so she could beat Booker in the Dem primary and then get creamed by Let Them Eat Shit Mitch in the Senate election though Booker had a much better chance of taking him down.


  31. Trinity

    I’m with Nihil. And this:

    “The whole theater of supposed negotiating by the two parties is just drama to distract.”

    Although I would posit that two parties are necessary so that two “opposing” views can be used for practical reasons such as re-election. And which naturally lend themselves to construction of two “opposing” views for propaganda purposes. But there is only one outcome, and it’s the same for both: make money for themselves and their owners.

    As in all populations, there are always exceptions to this rule. But the whole “say one thing, do the opposite” has been running for decades. Meanwhile everyone still runs around talking about how disappointed they are that the shiny new savior couldn’t manage to pass X. This has been going on for decades now. And we read the headlines: “I can’t believe it, but Congress just passed a $250 trillion Pentagon budget!”

    And Texas leadership are relating how their ban on abortion has increased interstate business. Everybody is a spin doctor these days.

  32. Hugh

    Booker is now running against Rand Paul who is up for re-election in 2022. McGrath struck me as one of those candidates who looked good on paper but was a disaster the moment she opened her mouth.

    metamars’ newest atrocity is apparently Bernadette Spofforth an anti-lockdown nut from the UK.

  33. NR

    Z: I found the Axios piece. I wouldn’t quite call it a puff piece but it’s definitely more positive than is warranted.

    Regardless, Sinema is an asshole. Her “thumbs down” gesture when she voted down the minimum wage increase is all the proof we need of that.

  34. From “India’s Ivermectin Blackout: The Secret Revealed” @

    On August 25, 2021, the Indian media noticed the discrepancy between Uttar Pradesh’s massive success and other states, like Kerala’s, comparative failure. Although Uttar Pradesh was only 5% vaccinated to Kerala’s 20%, Uttar Pradesh had (only) 22 new COVID cases, while Kerala was overwhelmed with 31,445 in one day. So it became apparent that whatever was contained in those treatment kits must have been pretty effective.

    Two days ago, just seven fresh positive cases were reported from Uttar Pradesh. Kerala reported 215 deaths on August 25, while Uttar Pradesh only reported two deaths. In fact, no deaths have been reported from Uttar Pradesh in recent days.

    Dr. John Campbell broke India’s Ivermectin Blackout wide open on YouTube by revealing the formula of the secret sauce, much to the dismay of Big Pharma, the WHO, and the CDC. Readers will want to watch this before it is taken down. See mark 2:22.

    Each home kit contained the following: Paracetamol tablets [tylenol], Vitamin C, Multivitamin, Zinc, Vitamin D3, Ivermectin 12 mg [quantity #10 tablets], Doxycycline 100 mg [quantity #10 tablets]. Other non-medication components included face masks, sanitizer, gloves and alcohol wipes, a digital thermometer, and a pulse oximeter. See mark 2:33.

    Is it a coincidence that the vaccine fetishists have nothing good to say about ivermectin; and seem blind to the fact that Australia is not a free country; and just as blind to the fact that the US is heading towards Australian levels of authoritarianism?

    I don’t think so….

  35. Z

    The Pandora Papers appear to be a nothing burger as far as U.S. corruption is concerned. A little bit about Tony Blair, but nothing incriminating.


  36. Hugh

    metamars is hallucinating again with his visions of authoritarian Australia. Must be all those barbies. He thinks Australia should open up and let ‘er rip because while one out of 470 Americans has died from covid only about one in 20,000 Australians has.

  37. metamars is hallucinating again with his visions of authoritarian Australia. Must be all those barbies. He thinks Australia should open up and let ‘er rip because while one out of 470 Americans has died from covid only about one in 20,000 Australians has.

    Actually, I think Australia should do what Uttar Pradesh did. That would impress me. But if they really want to impress me, they can up their kit contents more in line with FLCCC protocols; and further, distribute nebulizers and hydrogen peroxide. Oh, and tell obese people to lose weight; and offer free vitamin D blood testing.

  38. Trinity

    Truth out has a great article about a forthcoming dissertation on exactly how long industry has known about the problem of carbon in the atmosphere.

    They end with a call for a change in what is valued, but … pigs will fly before that ever happens, as much as I wish it would.

  39. Hugh

    Wiki had the following citation Yadav, Jyoti (16 April 2021). “‘Dead bodies all over’: Lucknow funerals tell a story starkly different from UP govt’s claims” in its article on covid in Uttar Pradesh.

    The official Indian covid death count is currently 448,000. The excess death count from studies released back in July was 4 million or about ten times the official death count. metamars needs to improve his BS.

  40. If we take the UP data shown at seriously, which shows both reported covid deaths and excess deaths estimated as covid, the difference is about 4x. These are cumulative deaths for this year (with projection till the end of the year).

    Total estimated excess covid deaths for UP are 90K.

    Kerala’s estimated excess covid deaths shown at this same website are about 2x that of their reported covid deaths. Their year end total is estimated to be about 58K.

    UP total population is 200 Million

    Kerala total population is 34 Million

    UP excess covid death per million is 90K/200M * 1M = 450

    Keral excess covid death per million = 58K/34M * 1M = 1,705

    Oh, me! Oh, my! So even looking at just excess covid deaths, the Kerala covid fatalities are clos to 4x that of Uttar Pradesh, even though their full vaccination rate is 4x that of UP. How can this be? Could the vaccine fetishists be wrong? Is such a thing even possible??

    But wait! There’s more!

    From we read

    As you can see, COVID has been dead in Uttar Pradesh with the exception of a very brief six-week spike in the early spring. Uttar Pradesh likely would have been the first world experiment of what a given area would have looked like had they been taking ivermectin from day one before a wave hit. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of seasonal migrants fled Mumbai and other big cities when the Delta wave hit and all settled back in their villages in Uttar Pradesh, giving them the same spike that every other state got because those people were not on ivermectin. As the AP reported in mid-April, during the surge in Uttar Pradesh, many of these seasonal workers who work half the year in the big cities returned home to their villages. They were likely not taking ivermectin.

    But when the state began distributing the drug to everyone, cases plummeted quicker and sharper than anywhere else we’ve seen in the world, and the gains have held for months with record low cases. Dr. Surya Kant Tripathi, head of the Respiratory Medicine Department, King George Medical University, Lucknow, told the Financial Express Online in April that the state began giving ivermectin to everyone who was in home isolation (rather than telling them to do nothing until they can’t breathe, like we do here in the United States).

    So, their 2nd wave spike was likely largely due to the hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers who weren’t prophylaxing with ivermectin and vitamin D, etc. (Note that it takes many days for the typical form of ingested vitamin D to be in the form you ultimately need to be protected.) We’ll probably never know, for sure, how many were out-of-state migrant workers.

  41. NR

    ICMR ‘Tailored’ COVID Findings to Meet Modi’s ‘Optimistic’ Narrative

    States join Centre in saying no one died due to oxygen shortage

    After all this, how anyone would trust any data coming from India is beyond me.

    Oh, and hospitals in Uttar Pradesh are packed and people are dying of a “mysterious” viral disease. Hmm, I wonder what that mysterious viral disease is?

  42. different clue


    It depends on who values what. For every Coaly Roller there is a Mean Greener, and for every Mean Greener, there is a Coaly Roller. But I suspect that for every matched set of those two types, there are many thousands of weary demotivated worn-down citizens who have been carefully instructed by America’s carefully engineered politics that they have zero effect on anything anyway, so why even try?

    If the DemProgs can either force passage of Both Bills together or force the destruction of Both Bills together followed by the destruction of Coaly Joe Manchin, a few of the demotivated may see that actual things can be forced to happen. That may be enough to re-motivate one out of a thousand of the Demotivated Majority, or even one out of a hundred of the Demotivated Majority. If so, whichever political combat faction can win their allegiance will have something to build out from.

  43. Hugh

    People believe what they are going to believe. So metamars cites as gospel stats out of Uttar Pradesh as if they were from the US, France, or Japan. Why? Not because they are reliable but because they agree with what he wants to believe.

    The study I was looking at was Three New Estimates of India’s All-Cause Excess Mortality during the Covid-19 Pandemic by Abhishek Anand, Justin Sandefur, and Arvind Subramanian.

  44. Z

    Weird how the Pandora Papers didn’t have any U.S.ers in them, at least thus far.

    On that note, can you imagine how clean the Iranian government and elite must be that nothing turned up on them?


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