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

Open Thread

Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


The Ukraine Crisis Is Speeding Up Arrival of Cold War


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy –February 6, 2022


  1. bruce wilder

    Are hyphenated surnames in American culture markers of political/social class?

  2. Bobby Smith-Jones

    No. Hyphenated names telegraph indecision.

  3. Willy

    Speaking of book-burning, todays conservatism is all about freedom from accountability, in all things. I prefer the personal responsibility bit a little more. However…

    In his book about the downfall of Boeing, Peter Robison describes a culture of short-term profit focus which isn’t merely shortsighted but ultimately, destroys. Focusing on profits alone creates a ruinous sociopathic corporate and cultural insanity. Robison describes Boeing’s current situation, where stead of reinvesting profits into engineering the bigger and better, the stock buybacks and outsourcing is ruining their long-term business prospects and yes, tomorrow’s profits.

    On a personal level, I’m dealing with a customer whose own corporate conditioned desire to have it all now is ruining her own life. She seems unaware of how and why this happens.

    I think those two situations are related.

  4. different clue


    What if the current executive leadership class at Boeing is not concerned with long term profits for Boeing? What if they are only concerned with their own high pay as boosted by artificial stock price increases as boosted by artificial stock buybacks?

    Bill Black once wrote a book called The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One. Here is a NOmazon link to a description of it.

    Maybe someone should write a book titled The Best Way To Rob A Corporation Is To Manage One. Boeing under its post-Seattle management would be a textbook example in such a book.

  5. Trinity

    “Are hyphenated surnames in American culture markers of political/social class?”

    Yes, I had a professor back in the day named Penn-OTHERNAME who made sure we understood he was a descendent of William Penn.

    Nowadays, it’s more likely to signal a woman who kept her maiden name after marriage.

  6. someofparts

    Seems to me that the wish to keep one’s maiden name and be hyphenated might relate to social or economic class. I could see how keeping a maiden name could be legally clarifying if the name were attached to significant financial resources through relations or a woman’s own earnings. Conversely, the daughter of a single or divorced mom might have scant attachment to the name of some absent father, and would also be more likely to be poor because of that absence.

  7. KT Chong

    Eileen Gu is a half-Chinese American woman who uses her Chinese mother’s last name because her “American” dad more or less abandoned her and her mother; and, she is supposedly a traitor to America:

    ACTUALLY, given that her American dad abandoned her, it was her mother — or rather, her mother’s PARENTS, who are in China and wealthy — who “raised” and “financed” her. Her mother – or rather, her maternal grandparents – owns a house in Aspen, (that is how rich they are.) She and her mother frequently went to Aspen for vacations, which was how she became interested in snowboarding in the first place. All this information was revealed in various news reports and her interviews.

    So, given that it is her Chinese grandparents, who are in China and made their money in China, who have afforded her all the opportunities to become who she is. Knowing all this information, do people think it is okay for her to represent China in Olympic? Does that make it okay for her to be appreciative of her grandparents — and therefore China, which is the place the grandparents earned their wealth that had bought her all the opportunities in her life? After all, it is her grandparents – and their Chinese money and China – who actually afforded afforded her all the opportunities in her life.

  8. KT Chong

    BTW, Eileen Gu is NOT the only Chinese Americans who are representing China in Olympic. She is the most high profile one. Beverly Zhu and Ashley Lin, who are figure skaters and are also American-born Chinese, are also representing China in Olympic. Zhu and Lin are not as high profile as Gu. Zhu and Lin are 100-percent Chinese ethnic, while Gu is only half. So that makes two Chinese Americans plus a half-Chinese American who are competing FOR China.

    Here is an interesting observation: all three (Gu, Zhu and Lin) are Chinese American FEMALE. Ironically, it is the Chinese American MALE athletes who are representing the US in the Winter Olympic; i.e., Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou, both are 100-percent Chinese ethnic. Both Chen and Zhou were willing to criticize China on human rights and the treatments of Uyghur, and had recently done so before they arrived in China to compete in Olympic.

    Even MORE ironically: in America and the West, Chinese FEMALES are generally more accepted and enjoy more social and institutional advantages than Chinese MALES. Chinese females (like all Asian females) date, marry and procreate with white men at a disproportionate percentage (compare to other interracial couples,) while it is extremely rare to come across any Chinese males with white women in America (or just any East Asian men in any sort of interracial relationship.) We all know the uncomfortable stereotypes and discrepancies of Asian female-white male vs. Asian male-white female, and how Americans consider Asian/Chinese men as undesirable mates and partners, but let’s be hush about it. I am almost in my mid-life. I have personally seen more Asian female-White male couples than I can count or remember. On the other hand, I literally can count all the Asian male-White females I have seen in my entire life with my two hands, (i.e., more than five but less than ten.)

    Chinese women also enjoy more institutional advantages in careers and at workplaces in America – because they can fulfill two diversity quotas, (i.e., minority + woman; well, Harvard University and other top universities in US discriminate against Asians, but they still enjoy the affirmative action and special treatment for women.) People who are in charge of companies and hiring/promotions in America (typically white men) love to hire and promote Asian women: they are “diversity” showcases, and they are also potentials for Asian poontang, yah, (for white guys.)

    Yet now it is Chinese American men who are anxious to represent America in Olympic, while Chinese American women have no problems with publicly representing China, knowing that they would be called traitors to America, (not that it will likely affect their future prospects in America; just marry some white dudes down the road and all will be fine and be forgiven) On the other hand, maybe Nathan Chen and Zhou Vincent have been trying so hard to be “American” and to fit in that it is almost… sad. Maybe they thought it would help them get accepted in America and get white girls? 😂 IMO there is some very interesting identity crisis dynamics going on there.

  9. someofparts

    I was startled to hear that GoFundMe had refused to release the ten million donated to the truck convoy people. Now I’m discovering the back story and realizing the convoy is not what I thought upon first hearing about it. It still worries me that GFM would just refuse to release funds, for the same reason I don’t like it that Spotify has now removed over a hundred Rogan podcast from their site, but that doesn’t change the fact that the people behind the trucker convoy are not people I would support.

    “At the time of its suspension, the convoy campaign had racked up approximately $10.1 million in just over two weeks.

    Any Canadian fundraiser will tell you this number is impossible to achieve organically within Canada. This group is not a registered charity, non-profit or even a trucking organization. Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly is on record saying there is significant influence and money pouring in from the United States. ”

    Also, on the topic of online platforms becoming increasingly disposed to censor and cancel their customers, Glenn Greenwald calls out the entire edifice of cancel culture.

  10. someofparts

    Well, here is Russell Brand talking about the convoy and cancel culture with his usual humor and insight.

  11. someofparts

    Apologies for the repetition, but no sooner do I post the last link than something even more interesting pops up. This is a report from someone who lives in an apartment right next to a spot where the convoy is parked. He just went out, walked around, and talked to the people he met, with results that are compelling.

  12. different clue

    @ KT Chong

    In American Constitutional-Legal terms, ” treason” and therefor “traitor” are very narrowly defined. Choosing to represent a foreign country in the Olympics when America is not in a declared state of war with that country does not fit the carefully narrow and specific definition of Treason as spelled out in the Constitution.

    So legally speaking, Eileen Gu is not a “traitor” to America for representing China in the Olympics. Just as an American descendant of recent JewIsraeli immigrants would not be a “traitor” for representing Israel in the Olympics. Nor would an American descendant of recent Palestinian immigrants be a “traitor” for representing Palestine in the Olympics.

    So Eileen Gu’s grandparents made their money in China? If they made their money from selling product into America or from facilitating the moving of industry from America into China, then they made their money “from” America even if they made it “in” China. But since I don’t know how the money was made, I don’t know if they are among the numerous Free Trade Conspiracy racketeers who have made a fortune from America’s misfortune.

    And of course the Free Trade Presidents are not legally “traitors” in the narrowest sense for advancing the International Free Trade Conspiracy agenda against America.
    But in the emotional and politicultural sense, about a hundred million or so Americans do consider the Free Trade Presidents to be the functional equivalent of traitors against America. And most especially Bill Clinton, who finally made all the Free Trade Agreements happen.

    About the psycho-sexual considerations raised toward the end of your comment, I have lived too slow, small, narrow and shut-in a life to even know enough to even begin to comment in particular. In general, if America has something of a tribal ethic and outlook, then for any American to represent a not-America tribe in the Olympics would feel like tribal treason to the America tribe. But the Constitution does not enshrine such tribal feelz in its definition of treason.

    As to psychosexual dynamics at play layed out in the last few paragraphs

  13. NR

    Ah yes, in Glenn Greenwald’s mind, rich white guys being “cancelled” is censorship, but book banning by right-wingers in schools is not.

    None of this is to suggest that American liberals are the only political faction that succumbs to the strong temptations of censorship. Liberals often point to the growing fights over public school curricula and particularly the conservative campaign to exclude so-called Critical Race Theory from the public schools as proof that the American Right is also a pro-censorship faction. That is a poor example. Censorship is about what adults can hear, not what children are taught in public schools.

    Greenwald is a right-wing tool, and a well-paid one at that.

  14. Ché Pasa

    It’s only “cancel culture” when someone on a purported “left” criticizes this, that, or the other person or thing that the supposed “right” likes, funds or promotes.

    I’m so old I remember well the numerous blog-swarms Greenwald instigated to get people he didn’t like fired (like the ombudsperson at the WaPo back in the day), or to send his fans out to quiet and “cancel” is own critics.

    Of course it was justified when he did it; it’s never justified — can’t be by definition — when the “left” does it.

    On the other hand, he and most of his ilk were fervent defenders of the private sector’s absolute right and duty to police their own online property and remove (“cancel”) any and everything they wanted to at their sole discretion. There was no question in his mind that private entities had absolute liberty when it came to their own property.

    But now, of course, that’s no longer true, because property rights no longer are absolute, and they do not apply to big business (especially online) when the target of disapproval happens to be admired by the “right”.

    Spotify cannot “cancel” Joe Rogan because he’s popular on the right and says things and hosts guests that certain rightist libertarians like, and The Government is applying “pressure”.

    On the other hand, the blogpost by “reformed physicist” is little more than positive PR for the sweet put upon truckers occupying Ottawa who simply don’t want Canada to have a underclass of “untouchables” over the vaccine mandates. Canada, he says, has never had a class of “untouchables.”

    He’s full of shit. Canada has always had “untouchables” and has them now, with or without vaccine mandates. He’s not fooling anyone.

  15. Z

    Another stellar week for our rulers as the weight of logic and reason continued to do its duties fracturing the façade …

    1. The NYZ Times, the Grey Whore herself, our rulers’ paper of propaganda, went all in on the evil Chinese narrative blaming their leaders for refusing to force feed their citizens into the wood chipper by fully staffing factories while COVID rages. Apparently patriotism is only manufactured in the U.S. any more.
    2. Speed Queen Nancy P, our current and future first transhuman Speaker of the House, looking particularly rough and every bit the part of the 81 year old political crack whore she is, utilized a break from her day trading activity to chime in on the anti-Sino hysteria and warn U.S. Olympic athletes to mind their Ps and Qs lest the ruthless Chinese government (((you know the one that doesn’t treat its people as disposable factory machinery))) might do … lick, lick, lizard lick something … yeah, yeah … lick, lick, lizard lick to them. Uh-huh. Yeah, definitely, Nancy.
    3. Amnesty International called out all-blessed Israel in a scathing report about their wanton apartheid, though it was largely ignored by our rulers’ media. Imagine that …
    4. The Head of the Bank of England, who draws a salary of $780K and has worked along with the European and U.S. central banks to heavily inflate assets for our rulers since COVID hit, had the audacity to lecture the working class about greed and asked them to forego requesting wage raises to do their part to fight inflation even though these central banks’ monetary policies have substantially contributed to consumer price inflation.
    5. The Russians Are Coming … the Russians Are Coming was raised to a higher octave of hysteretics than even our national security press corps, well, let me rephrase that, at least ONE of our national security press corps refused to silently accept:
    6. Let Them Eat Shit Mitch’s Handie Man Jo Biden predictably reversed course and gave his private equity donors another tootsie massage by allowing them to skim fees from U.S. workers’ 401Ks, something he criticized Trump about when he was campaigning as president:
    7. Status Quo Joe tried to give student debtors another kick in the behind … because he cares … but the folks at The Daily Poster rung him out on it and he was actually shamed into withdrawing his boot from their ass on this particular matter:
    8. The California Democratic Party, despite having a super majority refused to even hold a vote for universal healthcare in the state:
    9. President he/bipartisan Jo Biden got misty eyed and choked up talking about his special relationship with Let Them Eat Shit Mitch ( gushing about the good ‘ol times that they shared which had the creepy tone of reminiscing about getting a couple of co-eds drunk and taking advantage of them in Joe’s 57’ Chevy back in the day. But they weren’t drunk co-eds they were fondly remembering f*ing, it was the U.S. worker and poor that they conspired to act out their mutual austerity kink on by attempting to cut SS and medicare during the reign of The Head PR Man of the Point Zero One Percent (((referred to in more savvy circles as the Rubin Administration II))).
    Let Them Eat Shit Mitch appeared to be largely unaffected by Biden’s sentimental babbling since the thrill is gone and Joe’s radiant smile and his dapper ducktails are dust in the wind and he’s now wearing diapers and his face looks like it’s on a g-strain drop of the Kingda Ka. It’s also been rumored that Triple Chin Mitch gets bored at times with f*ing the working class and poor and satisfies his taste for varietals by sitting on the pot at random truck stops in the Lexington-DC corridor awaiting friendly intruders protruding through neighboring stall walls.


  16. different clue

    Well . . . I watched the Tucker Carlson video that K T Chong linked to up above. It was making a bigger point than about Eileen Gu. It was making the point that all of America’s biggest companies did and do the Eileen Gu thing for China before Eileen Gu herself ever actually even existed. But they don’t quite go deep enough to analyze the Free Trade System environment which these big companies and their Republican and Clintobamacrat servants engineered into existence.

    When we go that deep, and think about the need to abolish Free Trade and rescue America from all the Free Trade agreements and memberships that America is now a part of . . . . then we will slowly be able to de-create the environment which the Free Tradians carefully created to oh-so-very-strongly encourage these companies to divest from America and invest in China to begin with.

    And as to Eileen Gu’s rich Chinese grandparents being the sole source of her affording to become who she is now, that is part of the story. The rest of the story . . . as Paul Harvey used to say . . . . is that the grandparent’s money would have been pointless without state of the art American ski facilities and knowledge and training masters and etc. for them to be able to spend that money at for getting Eileen Gu her strictly American-based ski-training expertise. THAT . . . is the REST of the story.

    And given how Tucker Carlson sometimes makes things up, I wonder if she really lost or turned in her American passport the way Tucker Carlson says she did. I find that hard to believe.

    I suppose I could be upset that she skis for China rather than America. But this is the first I heard of it, and I don’t know if I can bother to be upset about yet one more thing.

    I am a lot more upset about how many years ago some high-powered investors bought out the Stanley Thermos company which was based in Tennessee and shut down all the thermos works in Tennessee and rebuilt whole new Thermos works in China. When I read that was going to happen, I bought a lifetime supply of made-in-Tennessee Stanley Thermoses, for either using and/or giving away to worthy and deserving people. I still sometimes see a made-in-Tennessee Stanley for sale in secondhand stores. I have never compared Teneessee Stanleys to China Stanleys to see which one holds heat better-longer. I know that the China Stanleys feel a lot lighter and more fragile than the old Tennessee Stanleys. But maybe the Tennessee Stanleys were heavier than a thermos needed to be.

    Regardless, I haven’t priced the new Chinese Stanleys either. If they cost the same as the Tennessee Stanleys used to, given the lower labor costs, pollution control costs, working conditions costs, etc. in China, then this is just another case of anti-American American economic “traitors” working the differential-costs-arbitrage rackets against America. Same as when some high-powered yuppies bought out Ohio Arts and shut down its Etch-a-Sketch factory in Ohio and built a new factory in China to build Etch-a-Sketches in China to sell back into America to work the differential-costs-arbitrage rackets.

    And that is what Free Trade is all about. And that is something to be upset about. Eileen Gu is just an afterthought, really.

  17. Z

    From what I’m seeing, admittedly a very narrow view because I haven’t toured the U.S. to come up with this opinion, one more wave of this and there will be serious shortages in the grocery markets which will lead to further problems because people will start stockpiling.


  18. Z

    If it was somehow discovered that Putin’s mother had an affair with a U.S. diplomat and nine months later out came Putin and he was able to prove it and got his U.S. citizenship and ran as president I would vote for him over Trump and Biden.

    Change my mind in 500 words or less …


  19. Astrid


    The Collapse Reddit had been documenting the empty grocery stores and other logistics chains breakdowns for months. There’s obviously reporting bias, but I have found it to be a very useful canary in the coalmine on what’s coming down the pike.

    I would say that I can’t think of any Western national leader (maybe the Portuguese socialists?), including Jacinda Ardern, that I would prefer over Putin. At least he’s effective and not a hot head, and whatever his corruption doesn’t seem to get in the way of the Russian people’s well being. Perhaps Corbyn would have been better, but he’s probably too nice to ever be allowed to make effective change.

  20. Z

    At least Putin is willing to aggressively confront oligarchs. Things were worse in Russia than they were in the U.S. or England when he took over but he could have probably kept the power structure pretty much the way it was and personally benefit off of it like Clinton or Blair but he had enough guts to run a lot of the oligarchy out.


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