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.


And Roe Is Gone: What’s Coming Up on the Chopping Block?


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – June 26, 2022


  1. Z

    You can only dodder around in circles for so long before you get dizzy and fall …

    A photographer snapped an image of the document when Biden held it up backward at a meeting with wind industry executives, which he attended after skipping his administration’s morning meeting with oil companies about combating record gas prices.

    So, the production team of Weekend at Biden’s … and it’s pharmaceutical arm … is apparently having a tough time standing up their lead stiff in time to attend important meetings.

    Biden reportedly reminded staff that he’s the president after they said he didn’t mean what he said in March when he called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be removed from power over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    “The so-called clean-up campaign, he has told advisers, undermines him and smothers the authenticity that fueled his rise. Worse, it feeds a Republican talking point that he’s not fully in command,” NBC News reported last month.

    Sweet Auntie Anita Dunn, Lead Director of Weekend at Biden’s, nods sympathetically at her lead stiff as she listens patiently to his complaints and then once he turns his back to return to the stage she shakes her head and smiles …


  2. Z

    I’d vote for this woman for president, she knows the deal and hasn’t been corrupted by the democratic party.


  3. bruce wilder

    Probably not that interesting to most of you, but I found myself thinking this morning about “meta-reasoning”: the filters of plausibility, “reasonableness”, respectability and so on that we all apply in our participation in the discourse of politics and daily life.

    Some “tells” set off alarm bells for me, but do not, apparently, for the whole population. I have always been kind of fascinated by what I would consider “obvious” fraud: late-night televangelists, Sean Hannity in high dudgeon, “Trump University”, Russiagate disinformation (James Clapper was really good at making listeners “think of a pink elephant” while not actually making any positive assertion of his own about anything).

    Dating myself since it happened more than 20 years ago, I can remember people intensely discussing Clinton’s televised and emphatic denial: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Even many (but not all) partisans of his own Party could not believe him, taking the line that it didn’t matter. The partisan struggle to make “outrage” stick though didn’t interest many as much as the chance to assess Other People’s Lidar (“lie detector” — not Tesla’s navigation).

    Again dating myself, I remember when the centre-left were the reality-based critics of censorship, were giving journalism awards to Wikileaks and Julian Assange, happy to see the Administration of war criminal George W Bush embarrassed. But, that’s all reversed. Biden’s Administration is prosecuting Assange and The Guardian and the New York Times say nothing. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweets support for Assange. It is kind of disorienting, don’t you think?

    I have mentioned several times in comments that I marvel everyday at the determined narratives of the NY Times’ Ukraine coverage. (I do not propose discussing Ukraine issues in this thread — it would be off-topic.) I ran across this article reproduced from a substack (one of those places quality commentary is submerged these days): It really does a nice job of explaining how American propaganda is centralized and driven forward, and even a bit on why (corruption). Not so much on the erosion of journalistic professional “ethics” or “standards” or just critical thinking — I am thinking about really obvious things like “the memory hole” down which inconvenient history is drained away and nobody thinks doing that involves a serious epistemic wrong.

    I guess my point is that the escalation of propaganda has taken us from a time when we valued our abilities to lie detect to avoid deception to a point where lie detection is irrelevant because there’s no testing of the narrative against actual fact at all — it doesn’t occur to most journalists or commenters that assembling some minimum set of actual facts would be a precursor to choosing a descriptive narrative because it meets some minimum standard of consistency with what is known about reality. Instead, we are offered narratives the way we might be offered Team hoodies by some football-mad University or an NBA team. Probably, my point will not make any sense if you are admiring yourself in the logo-ed Jersey you bought in your favorite colors, but I feel confused by it all and how few people I know personally who have the slightest acquaintance with political news fully question the onslaught of misleading nonsense.

    The abject failure of COVID pandemic policy in the U.S. — I wouldn’t know how to take that apart in detail and such a project sounds exhausting, but I will observe that I think there was commenter hereabouts in the early days who regularly decried the failure of the public health establishment to pursue treatment protocols — it was an obvious point and a pretty huge omission, but nothing ever happened except late-game slanders of “horse-paste” enthusiasts. That bit of professional incompetence — alongside many others — never seemed to become something to account for in the stories people told, beyond ridicule of Trump for remarks that may not have meant what his critics said they meant. It certainly did not get Fauci or anyone else fired. Cuomo was forced out of office, not for killing thousands in nursing homes (something that happened in California on a smaller scale and to less outrage) but for some alleged sexual behavior which is temporarily a type worthy of official cause of outrage.

    It wasn’t long ago that people were talking about “epistemic closure” as a political problem. Now it seems to me that we have embarked onto epistemic chaos.

  4. different clue

    Bill Clinton was a very clever shysterlawer. ( A shysterlawer is a lawyer skilled in bending the law till it cracks very badly but never quite breaks).

    I read an explanation of how it was that shysterlawer Bill managed to tell the oh-so-technically-narrow truth about how he did not “have sex” with that woman. It seems that his particular Christian Denomination defines “sex” as being what others call “sexual intercourse” and other forms of “sex organ stimulation” . . . oral . . . finger . . . cigar . . . are thereby defined as “not sex” in his denomination’s Sharia Law Belief System. So he technically told the shystertruth with that statement.

    ” It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

  5. bruce wilder


    it is kind of a tribute to the lingering morality of days gone by that Clinton would even waste precious time and braincells on assuaging his inner demons with casuistry or pilpul or whatever Southern Baptists call such perversions of reason

    hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, right?

    but does anyone even bother now?

    “virtue” has been transfigured and has no relationship to vice. “virtue” is now a signal, not a signifier of good

    think about the many controversies of the pandemic — one very consequential series of policy and propaganda missteps turned on failing to ascertain a critical fact — whether vaccines were in any wise “sterilizing” and then shaping policy accordingly. We all learned the term “sterilizing” rapidly enough, but policymakers had latched onto the concepts of “vaccine passporting” and making vaccination of a sign of superior virtue and social credit — narratives of social (class, regional, partisan political) superiority and “following the science” (NOT!) and facts were not allowed to get in the way of storytelling, which was mostly about blaming those Other People and feeling good about our own precious selves.

    there is a weird perversion of basic fairness and respect for other people involved, too, that I cannot quite fathom

  6. Willy

    Back in olden times, one sinned first then begged for forgiveness later (if caught). Now you’re supposed to just keep on lying after getting caught and if the plausibility gets overwhelming, you resort to shamelessness. I think it’s a conservative Christian cultural thing.

  7. bruce wilder

    Catholics could confess their sins — sin being inevitable to our sinful natures — in the sanctity of the confessional, be forgiven, prescribed a spiritual penance and never admit anything publicly — let alone be interrogated before a Grand Jury by a pissant Prosecutor on the once and future payroll of a vengeful billionaire oligarch with an unexplained grudge.

  8. Z

    The production team of Weekend at Biden’s is bringing their shit show overseas this week, this time to Europe to shore up support for the war, support that I’d imagine is much weaker amongst the European leaders than is being portrayed to the public.

    Taking the Lead Stiff overseas is always dicey (((there’s always the risk they’ll check his pulse in Customs))), but this week’s episode is going to be particularly suspenseful. All kinds of potential plot lines. Can the Lead Stiff deliver one last time and “just read his f*ing lines?!”, as the increasingly irritated head director Sweet Auntie Anita Dunn might scream. Will Biden’s heroic, behind-the-scenes pharma team bullseye “The Joe Biden”, the ever changing concoction of drugs administered to the lead stiff to stand him up straight on his strings? Will the European political leaders at least politely pretend to be led by him/it? Can Jill fluff her husband’s ego just enough that he feels good about himself but not quite raise his vigor to the level that he publicly challenges Putin mano-a-mano to a nuclear war?

    Lots of possibilities. We’ll see. Grab your cornpops and watch, folks. This week’s episode oughta be reeeeeal interestin’ …


  9. marku52

    “Marjorie Taylor Greene tweets support for Assange. It is kind of disorienting, don’t you think?”

    And Rand Paul (!!!) pointing out to St Fauci (“I am science”) that there is no actual data to suggest a benefit to giving covid vaccines to under the 5s….

    I just think everyone has gone insane. It seems to explain a lot.

  10. Bill H.

    Perhaps you can explain to this Navy veteran what the difference is between a “40-foot long warship” and a “small river vessel up to 35 feet long.” (Okay, it’s obviously five feet of length, but…) In fact, perhaps you could explain what a “40-foot long warship” is, because when I was in the Navy we would have called that a boat.

  11. Willy

    Well bruce, speaking of the American religious as well as their oligarchic overlords, I remember my first encounter with a Catholic climate change denier.

    I was tasked with overseeing her work along with that of a recent college grad named Ken (a Methodist). It was snowing in spring and she got all angry loud and proud about climate change, yada yada. I politely let her go on then went back to checking her work. While Ken’s work was excellent, a couple mistakes at worst, Ms. Denier would have dozens, even getting into the hundreds. Mistakes. And I was even letting the little stuff go. She had such a poor grasp of what she was doing that I was basically doing all of her work through my checking of it. And then she took it all quite badly, no matter how polite I’d try to be.

    I hoped that management would figure it out. They never did. They got rid of me instead (as a suspected political threat), and Ken left for more reasonable conditions with a rival company. Management, deft with the political arts, was able to carry on. As did she, for reasons not entirely clear to me.

    I consider this little story an exemplification of our national politics and American Office Space working conditions as a whole.

    In hindsight, I wish that instead of being the kindly patient mentor, so very patient, that I had instead, taken one of her “documents” so feathered with correctional post-its that the document looked like a chicken, and slammed it onto her desk and shouted out “IDIOT!”

    Maybe the end results would’ve been the same. Or maybe not. I’d never been very good at dealing with the psychology of shameless idiots. Does that explain plausibility, reasonableness and respectability for you?

  12. multitude of poors

    @bruce wilder

    Cuomo was forced out of office, not for killing thousands in nursing homes (something that happened in California on a smaller scale and to less outrage) but for some alleged sexual behavior which is temporarily a type worthy of official cause of outrage.

    Yep, though I question whether anyone really knows how large the scale of deaths were in California. Historically, California Nursing Homes and all of its other facilities—for not only for the elderly, but the disabled; those impoverished and tagged with a Mental Health Background; and those incarcerated in jails and prisons on relatively minor, or totally bogus charges— have suffered horribly, historically. Who knows how many died well before ‘their time.’

    As I recollect, Newsom was only restrained from what Cuomo did, by increasing voices in California attesting to how its millions of vulnerable citizens are actually brutalized by the inhuman negligence of bi-partisan legislators across the board.

    Two examples, and believe me when Blue™ Silicon Valley loving [San Jose] Mercury News bothers to finally cover a disaster that’s been festering for forever), you know its a nightmare. Our dear Fourth Estate needs to have a Pulitzer Winning Death Story before they bother to address it (yes I’ve come to despise most journalists for very good reason, having suggested hot, verifiable tips which might have prevented further harm, that went nowhere for most of my adult life):

    050620 Editorial: Newsom’s failed response to COVID-19 nursing home deaths-At least 41% of California coronavirus deaths from eldercare facilities, and cases there are increasing rapidly

    10/06/21 Newsom admin ripped for nursing home policies

    One does not raise to such power in California, without being a vile scumbag; it’s actually far, far worse than the infamous movie Chinatown , and I’ve no doubt the California Republic is the Shadow Government. Just look at the California Legislature, its total membership (Senators and Assembly) has not changed since the 1850s. My experience over decades of calling my Rep is that I’m apt to be talked to like they’re the police instead of public servants.

    If I seem California centric, its only because I know fully well that Gavin Newsom and Ro Khanna are going to be touted as the DC solution, first indirectly, then directly. I witnessed it this morning, much to my revulsion, re a promoted Greenwald twit™ from two days ago that linked to a piece which does not at all indicate the success story he implies, which was then glommed onto and supported by someone who doesn’t live in California and clearly couldn’t have read the piece he linked to, because it’s very weak tea regarding California budgets required to take care of their own suffering residents let alone others. (For the record, I haven’t cared for Greenwald since his Citizens United Support ).

    This, repeated touting of Newsom (despite Newsom’s now countless episodes which indicate him to be a fraud, and deceiver bar none) and Khanna, despite both their wealth and vast conservative and undesirable connections, is both insane and terrifying. California currently ranks the third (after New York and Louisiana) for US inequality ( ) while Newsom and Khanna talk like its a haven of Justice and Fairness, it never has been.

  13. Chuck Mire

    Neil Postman’s Book: “Amusing Ourselves To Death”;

    An argument about the fragmented mental consequences pertaining to the reduction in long-form sequential reading and logical thought that traces its beginning starting with the telegraph; followed by the photograph, movies, videos – all the way to television (first published in 1985). He argues that the adoption and symbolic use of each new technology (a physical apparatus) results in it becoming a medium with the social and intellectual environment created.

    Since 1985 we now have the Internet, email, cell phones, texting, social media, etc. which is why this book’s thesis is still relevant. Below there are links to both the YouTube audiobook and an online PDF copy of the 20th Anniversary Edition. If you view the YouTube audiobook in YouTube, you will see “live” time-stamps for the beginning of each chapter. I have also copied the time-stamp locations in this email for your manual use if you are viewing the YouTube audiobook on a computer where you have the option of viewing it in email and not following the link to YouTube.

    For those of you who see a certain irony in attempting to read and digest a long-form book online, I have a link to Amazon below where the physical book can be purchased in paperback for $13.99.

    Complete Audiobook on YouTube:

    Here is a PDF copy of the book that you can read while listening to the audio book:

  14. Chick Mire

    The time-stamp location in the YouTube Audio Book for each Chapter:

    Publisher’s Introduction (00:00)
    Foreword (01:15)
    Chapter 1 – The Medium is the Metaphor (03:13)
    Chapter 2 – Media as Epistemology (26:48)
    Chapter 3 – Typographic America (53:05)
    Chapter 4 – The Typographic Mind (01:17:45)
    Chapter 5 – The Peek-a-Boo World (01:53:52)
    Chapter 6 – The Age of Show Business (02:25:01)
    Chapter 7 – Now…This (02:53:22)
    Chapter 8 – Shuffle Off to Bethlehem (03:20:02)
    Chapter 9 – Reach Out and Elect Someone (03:40:10)
    Chapter 10 – Teaching as an Amusing Activity (04:12:15)

  15. Z


    Perhaps you can explain to this Navy veteran what the difference is between a “40-foot long warship” and a “small river vessel up to 35 feet long.” (Okay, it’s obviously five feet of length, but…) In fact, perhaps you could explain what a “40-foot long warship” is, because when I was in the Navy we would have called that a boat.

    I’ll call them both vessels from hereon in to avoid any confusion.


  16. Z

    We got BoJo the Clown dreaming he’s Churchill and Fourteen Hundred Dollar and Zero Sense Joe fantasizing he’s JFK Sr. and both fools acting like they’re dealing with Yeltsin.


Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén