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

Open Thread

Use the comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


The Judgement of Craig Newell


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 17, 2021


  1. someofparts

    Sharing new links and whatnot that have shown up this week.

    Listened to an interview with these guys on the Kyle & Krystal podcast. I will be watching this as soon as I can get myself set up to do streaming. Sounds very good.

    This website was posted by Trinity last week. I’ve been checking it out this week and it is a fine spot, so I’m posting a link to it again so everyone has a chance to see it. Thanks Trinity.

    This one got linked to at NC. Good to see that feminism has not died despite Hillary’s best efforts to give it a bad name.

    Also, the full three-hour conversation between Joe Rogan and Sanjay Gupta was a pleasure to watch.

  2. Z

    Gotta love our rulers’ reasons for inflation: they gave us too much with the smaller portion of the COVID legislation that actually benefited us and not them, we’re spoiled now and too lazy to get back to work, and of course they’re paying us too much.

    So, it has nothing to do with the vast majority of the COVID legislation that benefited them, nor the Fed’s money spigot which is hooked up directly to BlackRock and is being used to prop up rental property values which allows them to consolidate ownership and easier for them to collude to drive up rental prices, nor the immense amount of free Fed money they have used to drive up all markets and which has found its way into damn near every commodity known to man, nor their destruction of our supply chain in their maniacal greed to send our jobs overseas and boost corporate profits, nor the artificial shortages due to that damaged supply chain that includes car computer chips which leads to increased car prices, nor our criminal health care system they’ve devised and refuse to allow to be reformed that will rob you while you are under anesthesia with surprise billing.

    Nope, it’s just us. We’re being too lazy and too greedy.


  3. Hugh

    Yes, I saw that too, Z, and I agree with you. They screw up. They profit. The rest of us get the blame. Globalization with its supply chains thousands of miles long was perfect, the future, be there or be square. From any number of points of view, it was always an obvious con but none of that mattered, until it did. By definition it can’t be the fault of the rich and our powers that be so when it all falls apart it must be us. I just thought it was so cleverly twisted that they came up with the real problem was spending money on ordinary Americans. If they had just let us go die in a ditch, which is what they really wanted to do, just ask Mitch or Sinema, there would be no problem.

  4. NR

    So the media loves their “Dems in disarray” narrative, but if we look at what’s happening right now, there’s a lot of disarray on the right, too. And I think maybe we are underestimating how much impact Rush Limbaugh’s death had. His death was a seismic shift on the right and a major downgrade in GOP unity.

    Limbaugh set the tone for some 600 radio stations and policed messaging for another 1,000 Republican stations. They lost that centralized spin control and that arm of their propaganda machine is headless now. Limbaugh’s replacements are all over the place and they are much lousier liars than he was. Some are going more extreme while others are actually trying to moderate their rhetoric since they are no longer as afraid of the dittoheads.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens there. Will a new Limbaugh-type figure emerge, or will talk radio stay the way it is now?

  5. Willy

    Maybe he’ll be an amalgam of all the other disparate conservative heads? The eyes of a Michelle Bachman, the voice of a Ben Shapiro, wearing a Ted Nugent hat over a Tim Pool cap hiding an Alex Jones hairline… Gotta be authoritarian manly and always pissed off about trivial stuff though. Trump could of course do a reality TV version of his MAGA road show but he doesn’t seem to have many years left.

  6. different clue

    Limbaugh developed his act over time and won his loyalty and command presence over time. And he helped evolve the right wing cultural-fascist radio ecosystem to where it is now. He was the keystone species and his death leaves the cultural fascist ecosystem without a keystone species. And all the little righties want to be the Head Limbaugh In Charge. Let us hope they all eat the living meat off of eachothers’ faces all the way down to the living skull beneath.

    Trump is sort of a unifying magnet for a certain set of iron filings. When he goes they will look for another magnet to arrange themselves around.

    Fox News will desperately try to keep the band together and on the same page. Tucker Carlson has big dreams for himself.

    The DLC Clintonite Shitobamacrats will desperately try to hold the line against the more liberadical future-seekers and will try their hardest to buy the Right as much time to re-organize as they can for as long as they can.

    We unhappy campers outside the power structures and the propaganda structures will have to try evolving our own eco-Betterculture of political-economic resistance, rejection, refusal and combat. Perhaps we can become numerous and powerful enough in eachothers’ distributed presence to where we can grow a durable-over-time movement to use as a foundational base for a social fortress full of political strike-forces launching destruction-raids and then sustained “extermination” attacks against the opponents of whatever we finally decide our agenda-for-political-conquest is going to be.

  7. Polish Scientist Shows Pictures of Cute Little (microscopic) Fellers

    He says these cute little fellers are partly made of aluminum.

    AFAIK, aluminum is used by no natural, terrestrial organism. (Contrast with magnesium, e.g., which is involved in hundreds of different human biochemical processes.)

    So, how can this be?

    It’s either a hoax, or something extraordinary.

  8. bruce wilder

    Limbaugh was a tool.

  9. Willy

    I read somewhere that a strategy of the Reagan “big tent” campaign was to target and bring on board authoritarian enablers. Or supplicant-wannabes. Or mindless tools, eunuchs, sheeple, or whatever the hell a better name is for people who want to be led by a strong dear leader father figure type, all nationalist and religious.

    I never completely understood how Limbaugh, who doesn’t seem the best strong dear leader father figure, made it there. A regular guy you want to have an oxycontin with? Never got it. There must’ve been some serious promo going on behind the scenes.

  10. Z

    Limbaugh “made it” on Clinton’s corruption and in particular the big corporate lap dawg putting his mug on NAFTA. I used to listen to him back then sometimes to hear to what he had to say about that lowlife and it was often observations that were obvious but couldn’t be heard on TV. As f*cked and as intellectually dishonest as Limbaugh was, he was often spot-on about Clinton and that’s how he grew his credibility with his audience.

    Talk radio’s greatest influence is on the individual listener driving on the road alone. When you are driving, if you are paying proper attention to the task at hand, you are expending a large amount of your brain’s capacity and are in a low grade trance which makes you more susceptible to influence. And there was Rush’s friendly voice and often accurate observations about Clinton to fill the void in the Heartland to confirm what they knew: their future was being sold out . It wasn’t all Clinton and the democrats mind you, it was also the GOP, but they would be reckoned with later with the Tea Party movement.


  11. “HILARIOUS: ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Has Been Turned Into A Hip-Hop Song That’s Now #1 On iTunes (VIDEO)”

    The culture war has many aspects. If your alpha Democrat gets turned into a laughing stock amongst the hip hoppers, it may become much harder to steal the next election.

  12. GlassHammer

    Should we just admit that present day politics has little to do with how to solve problems (something few voters actually believe could happen) and instead is about giving you permission to hurt and hate? (Giving you the most destructive form of catharsis possible.)

    It’s not hard to see how this happened (decades of institutional rot) and how it continues (a media ecosystem that married user engagement to outrage).

    I never thought I would say this but maybe the American people should find religion and get out of politics. (Few mainstream religions are as degenerative as our present political ideologies.)

  13. Hugh

    The Republicans are the minority party. They are the ones who need to cheat and steal Presidential elections. So how does some tune pumped up by Trumpers make it harder for them to steal elections –oh I see they[re just blaming Democrats for what they are doing, so just more noise from the right wing noise machine?

    If you want to criticize Democrats, criticize them for the spectacle of selling out their agenda, criticize them for Manchin and Sinema. Of course, that might bring up the question why Republicans hate ordinary Americans, don’t want to spend a penny on them, and wish they would all go die in a ditch, preferably out of their sight and down wind from them.

  14. bruce wilder

    Both the Democrats and Republicans are minority parties and both Parties have party establishments dedicated to serving constituencies of predators and parasites. Neither Party is willing to empower a constituency with a broad-base in the population to pursue economic interests in conflict with corporate business, the financial sector, the tech giants or the billionaire oligarchs. For the elites of the Republican Party, Trump is a solution, a lightening rod that draws off the electric charge of anger, resentment and dissatisfaction of many millions of Republican voters and delivers in policy little of policy substance, while furthering the long-term projects of a far-right judiciary and a stunted capacity to collect taxes from giant business corporations and the mega-rich.

    Institutionally the Republican Party and its ideological and policy support infrastructure remains very strong nationally, with a deep bench of pseudo-academic operatives active in law and economics to further an authoritarian agenda and retain control of or contest control of most States.

    Institutionally, the Democrats are the weaker Party, though the geographic distribution of their support encompasses the large cities of the East and West Coasts. They managed to elect Biden, the oldest President ever and one associated with many policy choices destructive of the economic interests of many tens of million though also one with a working-class persona, against the ridiculous Trump, but just barely — in a high-turnout election 5 million of their 7 million popular vote margin came in one State, California. The Vice-President in this Administration of oldest President only won a single primary, the one held in the Hamptons to secure approval from the wealthy elites who back the Party financially.

    Few spectacles in politics are more boring than watching the Democrats enact another variation on a kayfabe of struggle with the heels in their own Party (or the heels in the other Party) as they fail to enact promised reforms or make the programs they do manage, effective for people.

    The two Parties are far from identical, but each has among its core functions the channeling of popular anger and resentment into economically impotent (and economically ignorant) symbolic struggles and symbolic gestures. American politics on the whole is responsive only to large business corporations and the very wealthy. This is a fact of politics systematically demonstrated by academic studies. This fact is created by neither Party taking on the cause of popular issues unpopular with the extremely rich in effective ways and thus neither Party feels any strategic pressure to do anything but continue to contain the 80%-90% and let their financial backers feed on the prostrate carcass of the American political economy.

    The American People — the vast majority of that 90% — are complicit in this state of affairs. Vast numbers rarely vote or participate at all — more than those who identify however weakly with either Party. Those who do vote at least sometimes divide their identifications between the two Parties and let themselves be manipulated by the vast stream of propaganda paid for by the billionaires and millionaires and managed by the most important operatives of the permanent campaigns deployed by the Parties.

    The most important function of representative democratic government is disabled in this state of affairs, in this top-down politics of manipulative propaganda and kayfabe paid for by global business corporations and billionaires. Democratic government ought to provide a channel for countervailing power to operate for the masses expressing their interests electorally against the economic bosses of a hierarchical economy.

    Historically, that worked imperfectly at best, and depended delicately on the willingness of a few talented folks to “betray their class” and contribute leadership to popular causes alongside such leadership as emerged from below. And, it was often subverted by corruption of popular leaders. But it was also aided by a vast diversity and numbers in small business and also in other voluntary social organization — churches and clubs and civic organizations where politics was discussed.

    It is tougher now for the same reasons it is more to be desired: the domination of the economic system by many fewer businesses and the monopoly of wealth in fewer hands grows intense.

    It does not help at all to fool one’s self that the differences between the Parties — of which there are many — or the entertaining kayfabe some of those differences give rise to — matter much at all to the important, desperate work of finding realistic ways out of this degenerate political system. I think one needed step is to stop identifying with or feeling any kind of loyalty to either Party or pre-packaged ideology. Stop participating even as a voting spectator in this mad spectacle and call the bs

  15. Willy

    Why not rate and support individual power players for qualities like ethicality, progressivism, etc.. as a means to (at least hope that we can) overcome the money and vindictiveness of corporate players?

  16. NL

    Ideological self-encapsulation!

  17. NR

    They managed to elect Biden, the oldest President ever and one associated with many policy choices destructive of the economic interests of many tens of million though also one with a working-class persona, against the ridiculous Trump, but just barely — in a high-turnout election 5 million of their 7 million popular vote margin came in one State, California.

    So what? Californians are Americans too, despite what right-wingers say.

    The simple fact is that Biden did not “barely” defeat Trump. He won by the biggest percentage since 2008, and of the last seven presidential elections, only two had the winner getting a bigger margin–2008 and 1996. The fact that the relic that is the electoral college made it seem closer does not change the fact that the country solidly rejected Trump.

    Now, was this any kind of affirmative support for Biden? No, of course not. There are a lot of people out there who only voted for Biden because he wasn’t Trump. I am one such person (although I was actually leaning toward voting third-party in spite of everything until I saw what Metamars and Thomas Golladay and other right-wingers here were saying; they convinced me that I needed to vote for Biden and they are doing a very good job of convincing me I still need to vote for Democrats despite all the problems I have with the party). The election was 100% a rejection of Trump and not an endorsement of Biden. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was a solid rejection of Trump and not particularly close.

  18. Willy

    Or as NL suggests, narrow down the window of critical thinking so much just like our conservative corporate minions have, until everything “USA” hits bottom. And then watch Latinos swarm over our great wall to avoid heat stroke like something outta that WWZ movie. Maybe they’ll have some ideas.

  19. @ bruce wilder
    For the elites of the Republican Party, Trump is a solution, a lightening rod that draws off the electric charge of anger, resentment and dissatisfaction of many millions of Republican voters and delivers in policy little of policy substance, while furthering the long-term projects of a far-right judiciary and a stunted capacity to collect taxes from giant business corporations and the mega-rich.

    This is certainly true to some extent. The question is, “how much”?

    Besides the folks at American Intelligence Media turning against Trump (as a Machiavellian player, at that), I’ve recently heard Lee Stranahan similarly point his finger at Trump supporters (like Steve Bannon).

    Also, in the recent talk by Shiva Ayyadurai, he recites his own journey against vote fraud, and how nobody in the Trump camp would either help him with his battle in Massachussetts; or even provide data to him so he could plumb the depths of the fraud against Trump. Shiva doesn’t trust Trump, nor should he. As he points out, Trump called for a gathering of followers on Jan 6, saying he would march to the Capitol; then took a car in the opposite direction. AFAIK, he’s done nothing to help the so-called “terrorists” who non-violently trespassed. No, briefly mentioning them in a Sean Hannity interview doesn’t count. This also underscores a problem with Bannon, in that he never talks about Trump’s betrayals. One of his guests gently did, maybe about 2 months ago, in that he called for Trump to intervene. Bannon sort of ignored the remark.

    I think Ayyadurai is wrong to solely direct attention firmly in the direction of building a movement. I get it that both Democrats and Republicans are corrupt; and furthermore, collude in producing non-transparent and corrupt ‘elections’. However, I believe there is still enough honest play left in the system to allow for disruption (certainly the foundational principle of my votersrevenge dot info); and, furthermore, fraudulent vote counting can be illuminated if enough people would secondarily create legal documents publicly declaring their private, official vote. If only to de-legitimize the system, and draw more people into a reform movement.

    I also think he’s too harsh on Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., but that is another matter.

  20. bruce wilder

    metamars: The question is, “how much”?

    If a man is his own measure, the answers will vary with individual perceptions. Even in a mal-functioning politics of representative democracy and law, some enterprising politicians and pundits will find opportunities in the widespread discontent and give voice to the frustration and anger and desperation. It is what Tucker Carlson is doing (I think cynically and hypocritically given his reactionary history) it is what Matt Taibbi is doing (with some idealistic conviction imho). I am cynical enough to think some corporate Media do a bit of it, just as a way of taking the temperature of a possibly feverish polity. I have speculated that The Hill, an establishment right-wing outfit, was doing that with Rising with Krystal & Saagar (the right & left populist combo resonated with the commentariat here I think — Ball’s history as a con artist and John Solomon’s early involvement as producer were tells). I find it hard to read Steve Bannon — I get that he is smart, but for me he comes across as a bundle of personality disorders, a bit “borderline” if you know the psychiatric lingo.

    The thing is mass-movement reform needs some institutional bottoms, platforms with resources to employ people to plan and organize “outside”. Movement conservatism and the economic policies it set in motion back in the late 1970s and early 1980’s was phenomenonly successful in destroying those ” bottoms”, the institutional foundations of liberal reform. It is what Chris Hedges wrote about in Death of the Liberal Class Much of that destruction was deliberate; some was dumb luck, like the internet destroying classified advertising, the economic basis for big and medium city dailies owned by local real estate developers invested in boosterism and fighting machine politicians for control of city hall.

    Local oligarchs, such as newspaper publishers often were, are usually pretty reactionary as you might expect, but historically local newspapers, local bankers, local industries played an important part in making reforms possible nationally because they were natural antagonists to both other regions and to the “big boys” in New York, say. It is too little appreciated that Trump, as a real estate developer with near-death experiences with big banks, represents a species of reactionary conservatism hostile to cosmopolitan centralized power.

    What I am saying is that you need not look to the substance or integrity of what a pundit or politician says, to detect the seeds of reform or revolution. Look at whether their success, if it comes, can be cancelled. Rush Limbaugh, I would submit, was always a creature of the right-wing Media empire that gave him a home. It is not that a liberal/left hope (or even a genuine conservative populist) could not arise in talk radio or YouTube or cable news or TikTok. Heck, RT puts on talking heads, who were professionally successful on teevee news. But any of those types of venues will happily cancel them, too. Where code is law, the algorithim rules — so no actual person or institutional face has to take responsibility for intentionally ending a career, or “blowing it up” with viral spread either. Carlos Slim never has to explain why Tom Friedman continues to write opinion for the New York Times; Mrs Steve Jobs is never asked to explain the PMC drivel dripping from the virtual pages of the Atlantic; we can joke about the Bezos Daily Shopper, but can we imagine the paper publishing the Pentagon Papers when AWS is fighting Microsoft for access to the Pentagon/IC pig’s trough? They can barely manage a mild word of protest against the persecution of Assange.

    Facing the reality of our plutocratic political extremes is too much for many, I think. They want to swallow any blue pill on offer, and give up on anything changing while pretending to themselves and others, that they are doing something and cling to hope.

    We are in an era when we do not have the luxury of hoping that we are going to get thru this, whatever “this” is in your mind: the collapse of empire, global warming, ecological collapse, the fascism of plutocracy, economic chaos . . . . I see people reject a lot of political discourse as “conspiracy theory” or “alarmism” (about the environment or AI & surveillance e.g.) and swallow a lot of bs sweetened with, say, the hope that their Tesla is a harbinger of hi-tech salvation. Consider that it may not be about your feelings.

  21. Trinity

    “Should we just admit that present day politics has little to do with how to solve problems.”

    Yes, we should. But there is a lot of evidence that there is no will to do so.

    People don’t like change, I guess. It’s puzzling to see so much (detrimental) change going on in a short span of time yet people still seem to think the answer is politics. So maybe it’s “sunk costs”. Or just habit. Or a lack of interdisciplinary educational opportunities back in the day.

    “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

  22. Hugh

    Tucker Carlson is just another carnie. There is a difference between expressing the popular discontent and trying to exploit it. Metamars remains lost in his right wing miasma trying to figure out which of his many nutcases is the most credible.

  23. different clue


    Perhaps these very threads on this very blog could be a place for people to offer thoughts on other ways to understand and to solve, or at least, attack problems other than electoral politics.

  24. different clue


    Wait a few decades and then watch a hundred million or more Ameranglos and Amerafros swarm over the border into Canada to beat the heat. Along with millions of Latinos and Caribbeanos. Canada will run out of bullets before we run out of climate refugees.

  25. different clue


    I, too, voted for Biden because I was tired of the Trump show and I wanted to change the channel.

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