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

Open Thread

Use to discuss topic unrelated to recent posts. Nothing about Ukraine/Russia/Covid will be approved.


What Is Our Plan C if Sanctions and the Guerilla Trap Don’t Take Out Russia?


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 13, 2022


  1. Chipper

    Anyone care to comment on the election of Yoon Suk-yeol? I don’t have good grasp of Korean politics (though working to educate myself), but it doesn’t sound promising.

  2. someofparts

    Today I’ve been trying to recalibrate my thinking about all of us in this country who have spent our lives marinating in the lies our leaders tell us.

    First I want to move pass the temptation to think of anyone more gullible than I am as stupid or evil. That plays right into the hands of the people in charge who inflict the propaganda on us. They want to pit us against each other. So I want to manage my own thinking so that they don’t succeed in breaking my sense of connection with friends and relations.

    The second step, which facilitates the first one, is to practice humility. I am not immune to being influenced by the spinmeisters. There is always more truth for me to learn about our history in this place. The practice of being open to admitting my blind spots in a non-confrontational spirit is a frame of mind that I mean to cultivate.

    Finally, I am working on thinking of myself and those around me as lost – not stupid, not evil, but lost. The longer I think about it, the better that fits. The subtext behind the ways we rage against the lies we live in, is that there is some version of a good life that all of us feel in our bones and yearn for relentlessly. It feels like this way of framing things will keep me from being alienated and make me kinder.

    And, of course, anything I can manage to say in a few clunking paragraphs has been said so much better by some artist.

  3. someofparts

    even better than I remembered

  4. edwin

    100% max extremism.

    Proposed Missouri HB 2810 would make it a class A felony to abort an ectopic pregnancy

  5. Trinity

    There has to be some specific reason why they want to kill living children with covid by unmasking them, but also want to kill mothers with high risk pregnancies. I guess one has to be a sociopath to understand it.

  6. Trinity

    Most weeks, I cave in and grab a fiction book. Needs must, as they say. But for whatever reason, this week I grabbed Alan Watt’s The Book On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are from my stack. And someofparts’ post inspires this selection from this excellent book.

    “Other people teach us who we are. Their attitudes to us are the mirror in which we learn to see ourselves, but the mirror is distorted. We are, perhaps, rather dimly aware of the immense power of our social environment. We seldom realize, for example, that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society … Our social environment has this power just because we do not exist apart from a society. Society is our extended mind and body.

    Yet the very society from which the individual is inseparable is using its whole irresistible force to persuade the individual that he is indeed separate! Society as we now know it is therefore playing a game with self-contradictory rules … This state of affairs is known technically as the ‘double-bind’. A person is put in a double-bind by a command or request which contains a concealed contradiction.”

    He then goes on to describe two such contradictions: we are to told we are “free” even though in reality we are dependent on each other, so of course we are told we must be independent. The second contradiction is that we are told we must do things but only the things that are voluntary (it’s easier to see the contradiction here – we are compelled to do the things we might not actually want to do). The admonition of “Learn to code!” comes to mind here, despite the very real fact that not everyone is comfortable thinking in abstractions, or even if they are, they don’t necessarily want to do so for the rest of their lives. But hey! It’s all voluntary: learn to code, or starve.

    He finishes by noting that children never see these inherent contradictions, and so we all grow up very confused, and unsure what to do. So (speaking sarcastically), it’s a darn good thing we have all these commercials to tell us what we should “want”, and also what we “need”, and all these tele-evangelists and other talking heads who tell us what we should do (send them money or visit their sponsors).

    None of this is news, of course. Just wanted to share an excerpt from an excellent book.

  7. different clue

    If Missouri succeeds to pass and sign the No Ectopic Pregnabortion Law, and other states keep ectopic pregnabortion legal, then people-for-Legal Ectopic Pregnabortion can move to Legal Ectopic Pregnabortion states and begin a long persistent brain drain against Missouri. The population of Missouri can be depleted enough to degrade and attrit the size of its economy, Congressional Delegation, etc.

    Perhaps Missouri and other anti-human-rights states can become a series of social and cultural sumps into which the very worst anti-human-rights people from pro-human-rights states slowly and steadily drain.

  8. DMC

    I find myself considerably more concerned with the emergent Nazi movement in this country than what Putin might be up to. Governors who back the criminalization of parents of trans children, seekers and providers of abortion, or anyone who who would say “gay” to a minor, need to be opposed by any means necessary, and I don’t mean just don’t vote for them. They would turn this country into an overt autocracy along the lines of Saudi Arabia and that is something worth “watering the tree.of Liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants” for.

  9. someofparts

    Trinity – Thanks for mentioning that Alan Watts book. I had no idea it even existed. Now I think I will be getting a copy for my own library.

    Reading the review of the book at Amazon reminds me of an odd little thing I discovered that seems to fit in here.

    There are languages that don’t have nouns. I think they tend to exist in indigenous communities and, like those communities themselves, are dying out.

    A couple of decades ago, before Hillary made me ashamed to call myself a feminist, I used to spend my days at the Ms. Magazine bulletin boards. One day I mentioned this idea of languages without nouns and got an interesting response from one of my close friends in the community who was a trans-woman from an indigenous tribe that was part of the Abenaki federation in Maine. All she said was, ‘It rains’, and knew me well enough to know I would chew on that until I figured it out.

    The phrase ‘It rains’ is a perfect little tool to see how our language forces us into using nouns. Think about it for a while and ask yourself, what does the ‘it’ in that tiny sentence refer to? Nothing. It refers to nothing. It is the perfect example of how our language forces us into using nouns even when they don’t make a bit of sense.

    Seeing that, I remember the biblical story of Adam. After being banished from the garden, Adam got busy naming everything, and the world as we know it was launched. Now I’m left with the odd notion that the onset of our culture’s suicidal war against nature began with the imposition of nouns on humanity.

    different clue – I have a question dear. What constructive, real world thing can we do to push back against what they are attempting to do in Missouri? Are there legal defense organizations we can support? Are there ways we can build networks of support for women stuck in those states, or support any networks that already exist? How can we reach out and help the women who will be hurt by this?

    My brother and his best friend used to bury butterflies alive. I would follow them around and dig up the butterflies. I couldn’t repair the damage to their wings, but I would at least find some sheltered place in the yard where I hoped they would be safe from the birds and let them die a better death than my brother and his friend had tried to inflict on them.

    Maybe we can’t save all the people around us that are hurt by people who are more powerful. Even so, making the effort and doing what we can is the best we can do in the face of the horrors of this world.

  10. Lex

    Some of parts, agreed in full with the sentiment. It may be time to let go of geopolitical analysis and focus inward, and outward in terms of mutual aid. It is much different to have these conversations in person, with connection via real dialogue.

    Trinity, that’s such a lovely book. I’ve always though it one of the better first steps for westerners to start to see. I particularly like the motif of “god playing hide and seek with itself”.

    I’m going to really do it this spring and build a small greenhouse. I’ve got three 4×8 beds that I’ve built convertible, open ended low tunnels for. They’re all no till beds. It’s time to get very serious in producing what we each can.

    In much worse news, it appears that Iran launched a missile strike, a fairly large one, from Iran against Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. The target was the US base. No reported casualties. Once Brutus stabbed Caesar, the other senators joined in.

  11. bruce wilder

    I feel left out by the propounders of 21st century American propaganda. They have neither hook nor bait for me. Perhaps it is because I retain my taste for moral ambiguity. Perhaps it is because I know some history and retain my own adult memories of the last forty-five years.

  12. Trinity

    Thanks so much, SOP and Lex.

    “Perhaps it is because I know some history and retain my own adult memories of the last forty-five years.”

    Big yes to this, Bruce. Alan Watts notes in this book (but says it way better than I do) that even the positive things being done elicit a backlash response, as the civil rights and environmental movements elicited backlash from the business community, etc.

    This is what I mean by my “what goes around comes around”, in an endless back and forth, up and down. In Newtonian terms, it’s the “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” We exist in a cyclical universe. It’s inevitable that the oligarchs will one day fail, as did the civil rights and environmental movements. Part of that failure is because they don’t think they will.

    So maybe the answer to all this is to avoid the extremes as another, better reason to “flatten the curve”, these arcs (up and down) that define these cycles. To my mind, it’s the sociopaths and their minions that are the ones pushing the arc of history to the extremes, eliciting extreme responses in an endless, crazy cycle of up and down. I remember there were once calls for the US to step off the world’s stage as “world leader” but that wasn’t going to happen due to the power hungry among us.

    Japan seems to have avoided this, in general, but China not so much. I know very little about India’s history, other than their own extreme cycles relative to the British Empire. I’m better at math and trig than history, for sure (unless I lived it), so set me right if needed.

  13. someofparts

    Chipper – Interesting election results indeed. I think they qualify as bad news.

    Looks like the guy is a right-winger who will probably be a solid ally of the US in challenging North Korea and China. So, not somebody who will try to be neutral or balanced. Instead, somebody who will help the US threaten China. Also probably somebody who won’t try to stop the inequality and sky-high housing prices in South Korea so, yeah, not good news at all. If he bungles the response to the wave of Omicron rampaging through the country, even worse.

    Lex – According to the link below, Iran is saying Israel was the target of those missiles.

    I am probably showing my ignorance here, but I’m a bit relieved that Israel, not the US (at least directly), was the target in response to an Israeli attack in Syria. My sense of it is that Israel has always been an aggravation to most of the other countries in the Middle East.

    Abby Martin did a podcast a while back where she walked around some Israeli city one evening randomly asking people on the street about the Palestinians. Everyone she spoke with was fully on-board with everything they are doing to the Palestinians. After all of my fine rhetoric upstream about seeing people as lost, not bad … it’s gonna take a lot of work to follow my own sermonizing in this case.

  14. Z

    If you ever wonder why these 80 year old idiots like Franken-Feinstein, Speed Queen Nancy P, the current and future first transhuman Speaker of the House, and the head stiff for Weekend at Biden’s won’t retire from politics to more enjoy their remaining time alive you should keep in mind the cautionary tale of one Dennis Hassert, a former Speaker of the House himself. While he was in office and useful to our rulers all the payment transfers between him and the people he was accused of molesting went smoothly and no one knew anything. Once he retired from politics though and was no longer useful to our rulers there were snags in those payments and it all came out about what he was involved in.

    Shoot, whoever was financially covering for Hassert’s sins may have even turned the cards on him after he retired from politics and asked him to start providing hush money to them.


  15. different clue


    Its a very good question. It deserves a better answer than I can give, based on my extremely limited knowledge of these things. Perhaps someone who knows more can give that better answer.

    My best-I-can-do answer is this. I am dimly aware of some already-existing groups which try and hold back the rising tide of Christianazi Satanofascism through various legal and political channels. As long as the current Missouri Bill hasn’t been passed and signed yet, it can still perhaps be prevented by political means. Planned Parenthood, various Womens’ Rights organizations, NOW if it still exists, some of what are called the “liberal” churches ( Unitarian, United Church of Christ, Society of Friends -“Quaker”, etc.) might know of organized efforts within Missouri to lobby against this bill in Missouri. ACLU will no doubt have lawsuits ready to go if it is passed and signed.

    If this becomes law in Missouri but ectopic pregnabortion remains legal in states
    near Missouri, people inside and outside Missouri can set up Underground Railway networks for women diagnosed with ectopic pregnancy to pay for getting them to other states where ectopic pregnancy has not been made a death-penalty crime, get their lives surgically saved, and get them back to Missouri. If Missouri tries to persecute them for going out of state to get their lives saved, then these same networks will have to become domestic refugee resettlement and new-life-establishment networks, because these women will have to become domestic refugees as the price of having their lives saved.

    And if it gets to that point, the question arises very sharply, how can Christianazi Satanofascism be confined to less than all Fifty States? Once things have reached that point, the only way I can see for stopping the Christianazi Satanofacists from conquering all Fifty States state by state is for the Human Rights States to invite as many seekers-of-human-rights as possible, as fast as possible, to flee the Christianazi Satanofascist States and resettle in the Human Rights States. That could demographically immunize those States from political takeover at the State level. If it were pursued hard enough and thoroughly enough, it could make the Christianazi Satanofascist States poor enough that apathetic normals might also flee for economic adequacy in a Human Rights State.

    We could perhaps divide America into a United States of America for the Human Rights States and a Free Christianazi Republic of SatanoFascistan for the anti-Human Rights States. And all the Christianazi Satanofascists living in the United States could be encouraged to self-deport themselves to Christianazi Satanofascistan.

  16. different clue


    Iraq is a long way from Israel. Is Iranian targeting really that bad?

    If the rocketed facilities in Iraq were connected with the Sunni side of the political equation in Iraq, or were even ” fair and balanced” enough between Sunnis and Shia-partisans-of-Iran that the IranGov would want to weaken the non-pro-Iran side a little by rocketing some sites, it might make Iran look bad in the wider Muslim world. So the IranGov might deflect by claiming after-the-fact that the missiles were meant for Israel.

    That theory seems more plausible to me because I don’t believe Iranian targeting technology is that bad. If it is, then how effective should the IranGov consider its missile force to be for defense-offense purposes?

    By the way, about lost-versus-bad, are the Russian-Citizen-majority supporters of the war in Ukraine “bad”? Or “lost”? Were the American supporters of invade-Iraq “bad” or “lost”?

  17. different clue

    A few threads ago I referrenced Ran Prieur as a blog worth reading. Several years ago on Ran Prieur I read about a concept called ” airless bicycle tires”. Apparently it still exists and they can be found and bought. Here is a link.

    If I hadn’t been reading Ran Prieur, I would never have even heard about this.

  18. Lex

    SOP, indeed. Some reports that it was a joint missed/CIA location. Have to think that between this and Pence telling Israelis that a GOP admin will rip up any agreement with Iran means that Biden’s hope to split Iran off will come to naught.

    Fascinating article at war on the rocks about financial warfare and the Chinese historical experience with it.

    “ “a key architect of China’s economic reforms of the late 1970s and early 1980s,” established his reputation in halting the economic crises of the 1940s. The experience of the hyperinflation was formative for Chen, who began to stress “the importance of trade and commodity circulation for economic development.” ”

    Not a subject that I consider myself knowledgeable on, but the whole piece made feel like I understand better how and why China approaches economics as it does. And the copied quote seems to offer some explanation for both the BRI and the friendship with Russia. A Eurasian economic zone isn’t autoarky per se, but could be developed along the lines Chen laid out for China. It would seem that barter and trade in multiple currencies would benefit such a system in terms of consistent, productive economic activity.

  19. bruce wilder

    It might seem a bit random, but, having claimed my personal memory of political history as a shield, Z’s rant against the Democratic Party corrupt gerontocracy led me to look up Porter Goss in Wikipedia. Don’t even ask what triggered that synapse — I do not know.

    Porter Goss was appointed by GWB as the last Director of Central Intelligence and continued briefly as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under the first Director of National Intelligence, Negroponte.

    My recollection was that Goss was a casualty of the Cunningham scandal, in which his pick as Number 3 at CIA, “Dusty” Foggo, was implicated (and for which Foggo would eventually would serve time). Not mentioned at all in the Wikipedia article. (The Cunningham scandal was a huge procurement scandal with regard to the “black” budget of the security agencies, not just the CIA.) Not incidentally, Goss’s first pick for the Number 3 position (before turning to Foggo), a CIA alumnus turned lobbyist named Michael Kostiw was blocked when it was revealed he originally had left the Agency after a shoplifting incident. Foggo was lifted from a mid-level career position over the objections of career CIA officials.

    Naturally, Porter Goss, with his eye for talent, was chosen in 2008 co-chairman of the board of the new Office of Congressional Ethics, a citizen panel sharing responsibility with the Ethics Committee. (Also not mentioned in Wikipedia.)

    My feeling about the Missouri bill supposedly making ectopic pregnancy a death sentence is that this is an example of a shiny object thrown into the maelstrom of propaganda and intended to herd the sheep. We are meant to be outraged, and with the outrage dial turned to 11, we are meant (naturally) to regard any other information about anything as essentially irrelevant. “The Republicans are clearly eviiiil!” sing the Maddow chorus.

    Years ago there was a classic essay that circulated concerning how a newspaper article about someone putting kittens in the microwave would bring out a response from readers. The Letters to the Editor column would fill up with outraged responses. It is kind of ridiculous in a way — as if someone somewhere was blithely unaware of this evil perpetrated on kittens and needed to be lectured on it. It is also true that people respond predictably to certain kinds of cliched storytelling. It is very effective disinformation, precisely because it clears away so much ambiguity and with it, information.

    The other side of outrage mongering is the kind of political reporting that just bores your pants off and regards any kind of suspicion of wrong-doing not backed up by conviction in court as he said, she said, whataboutism or unfounded conspiracy-theories . . . or less and then forgets it. Hillary Clinton declares, “. . . anybody who knows me knows you can’t buy me. . . .” and that’s the end of it, except perhaps for some remark about having the integrity to stay bought.

  20. different clue

    Well . . . hearing that the Missouri Legislature was advancing the No Ectopic Pregnabortion Bill did outrage me. It is good to know my outrage glands still work.
    But as Bruce Wilder reminds us, we should be careful of how sincere these things may be, as against how much they may just be bright shiny squirrel-object Apple-Grenade of Discord set among the pigeons.

    Here is another fake kitten scandal which some people thought was real and were very upset by. ( Let’s see if it is still somewhere on line . . . ahh Yes! . . . . here is something about it . . . not the actual website, more of a retrospective, but still . . .)

    Behold! Bonsai Kitten!

  21. different clue

    Here is a Beau of the Fifth Column video about preserving psychomental health and balance in the midst of various kinds of world-disturbing badness. It could apply to people marinating their brains in any kind of extended world-disturbing badness. It runs somewhat parallel to videos which Ian Welsh himself has made.

    It is called . . . ” Let’s talk about staying positive through this and letting it go . . . ” Here is the link.

  22. different clue

    Now this is interesting . . . a little video giving a thumbnail sketch of a Gugarati ceramic company’s recent history and a little bit of information about a no-external-power refrigerator it has invented and is selling . . . . based on evaporative cooling-of-water concepts. If this company did this without even having known beforehand about the ” Zeer Pot” , then its independently invented application of this concept is even more impressive.

    ( Zeer Pot . . . )

    Versions of stuff like this . . . if rolled out worldwide . . . . will do more for human survival prospects than anything coming out of mainstream America or mainstream Europe or mainstream China.

  23. Z

    Bruce Wilder,

    I think I found the source of your synapse that my post set off:

    “On February 16, 2016, Goss expressed his support for former Speaker Dennis Hastert in a letter to Judge Thomas M. Durkin.”


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