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.


So Much Plastic Chemical Contamination in Rainwater It’s Unsafe to Drink


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 14, 2022


  1. Willy

    There’s been a few Democratic Party victories, so they say, not seen since New Deal times. Old school conservatives are getting voted out. And Trump World is going batshit (not that it wasn’t always batshit), especially with the conspiracy theories in some desperate effort to remain relevant.

    Somebody’s feeling the pressure. Maybe everybody, elites included. Maybe talk about the failures of neoliberalism/neoconism is having an effect. Maybe elites are throwing out diversionary crumbs while regrouping. We can’t let things just go back to ‘normal’.

  2. bruce wilder

    I suppose we almost have to talk about the Trump Raid.

    The partisans are doing their predictable whatabout? songs and not entirely without reason though of course without sincere adherence to any known principle.

    Looking from the great distance of detachment, it sure looks as if the folks who brought us Russiagate (and arguably though indirectly, the Ukraine War) are hoping once again that if they stir up enough dust, people will think it’s smoke, and conclude there is a fire.

    Democratic political discourse has so little traction with policy it is hard not to turn first and last in every case to conspiracy theory.

  3. different clue

    Sometimes we should take time out and admit to seeing something beautiful if we actually see something beautiful.

    Last night I was sitting in my back yardlet looking out at the collective strip of lawn along the houses and the brushy woods just beyond that. I saw a skunk, but not just any skunk. This skunk was so white that from the side it looked like a hognosed skunk and not our striped skunk at all. When it was facing directly away from me I could see the center of its back was black, but white all around that. Whole top of head white.
    Whole tail white.

    ( Here is what a hognosed skunk looks like.
    and )

  4. mago

    Since it’s slow blog season and interest wanes with diverse distractions I’d like to touch upon one of Ian’s themes,
    to wit: you can’t know what it’s like to be poor unless you’ve been there (are there), to which I would add : you can’t know what it’s like to be old unless you’re old. And if one is both old and poor, you’re not only misunderstood but likely despised—at least in some quarters.
    Happy August, late summer moving into fall.

  5. multitude of poors

    For mago,

    A huge embrace to you for your humanity,


    Apropos of working and living in it for decades (as a very, very young rustbelt refugee) witnessing repeatedly and first hand (with no recourse): Grifters permanently rising like scum on a polluted rust belt, dead fish stream—but staying here to help those I love who could not move—words cannot be expressed how vile and deadly the bipartisan* politicos that be, and their venal owners are, in Silicon Valley, California.

    Their well gloved hands are literally saturated with death, as people increasingly die, or commit slow suicide against their own hope to live (never to be reported), particularly those older, on the cement they’ve been tossed on because inexplicably they can no longer afford to live as Renters—or those Foreclosed on, who bought homes to evade the sadistic and venal renter experience.

    I repeat, as I’ve now done numerous times: If you still bother to vote in the US (and I don’t blame you if you don’t, I only vote on Ballot measures since 2008—all of which I vote for, almost always have inverse results from how I voted, because MONEY).

    *One from out of State(or even in California) might be stunned to realize how many Blue™ City, City Council politicos in the wealthiest areas are full fledged ‘Buck Up’ (though they never had to) ‘Libertarians’ or Republicans while totally supportive of Lifer, Grifter, Dems at County, State and Federal levels. They are always supportive of the Sadistic Real Estate and Apartment Owners (read VCs; REITS, et al) Industries, as are the Dems, behind closed and open doors, at this point.

    gotta run, will check back

  6. bruce wilder

    I tend to think the Trump Raid was instigated by deep state actors who are after nothing in particular, nothing of substance. It was another nothingburger like all the series before, but the side effects in political polarization and general chaos are the “real” aims. Chaos is a ladder for some deluded climbers.

  7. Willy

    Trump World claims the documents were planted by Biden’s FBI. Then they claim Trump mistakenly packed and forgot them. Then they claim the documents were legally declassified by Trump himself. Then they claim the Biden crime family does far worse and we should be looking over there. Then they claim Trumps hundreds of times taking the 5th isn’t self-incrimatory while Hillary doing it a few times was. On and on.

    It’s the same strategy as climate denial: throw everything at the wall (who cares what’s self-contradictory) to see what sticks. Based on observation of behavioral habits and basic common sense, why isn’t it obvious that Trump just took the documents so he could try and profit off them, personally?

  8. bruce wilder


    all of those “hypotheses” of Trump’s supporters as well as the speculations of the MSNBC/CNN/Twitter-verse “national security” echo chamber, including your own, are quite predictable and none of them are ever likely to be resolved into a factually-verified “common reality” even for the remaining handful who might be receptive to such a thing.

    it is not like we don’t have a history here. this has been American politics for at least 15 years. i am sure an historian of these things could trace it all back to before the stylized confrontations of CNN’s Crossfire, the mythology of the Republican “Tea Party” movement, “birtherism” (of which Trump was a major promoter), and Hillary Clinton’s delusional strategic decision that she could “beat” Republicans by joining in their ruthless corruption of official record-keeping, political finance and campaign fundraising, not to mention media manipulation and gaslighting.

    it is very hard to believe that a way couldn’t have been found to go about the business of archivists: locate, retrieve and/or secure important Presidential papers that didn’t entail a dramatic and vaguely incriminating raid on the former President’s residence by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. but, because of the history, it is very easy to believe that what was wanted was the made-for-teevee drama, with all the vague and impenetrable “explainers” of what laws may have been “violated” and, yes, all the usual defensive and belligerently bombastic, conspiratorial drivel from Trump himself. absolutely, lets heat up the partisan political polarization bonfire by throwing on some fresh logs!

    finally, the Espionage Act of 1917 can give America the fascist governance it has craved through the rich irony of the martyrdom of America’s favorite Mussolini figure.

    the history that forms the context of the FBI’s Trump Raid cannot be ignored or dismissed. this is the same FBI that fraudulently legitimized Clinton’s bought-and-paid-for Steele dossier, even using it before the secret FISA court, volunteering to participate in the Russiagate hoax. this is the same FBI that was raiding the Uhuru Movement a couple of weeks ago, rousting an 80-year-old and his wife at 5:30 in the morning, with no colorable criminal charge or prosecution any where in sight, because Russiagate apparently can never just die.

    “why isn’t it obvious that . . . . ?”

    there is an awful lot that is obvious but ignored by most people most of the time, maybe because it is just too scary to admit that the country is being run by liars and fools to benefit . . . . ??? . . . it is really not always clear who the manipulative oligarchs are who are the would-be beneficiaries of the kayfabe of American politics. the machinations of the big money that funds the use of mainstream institutional Media as a mechanical cacophonous chorus of giant propaganda wurlitzers are partially on the masthead (see Bezos, Jeff) so to speak though still mostly ignored and partially deeply hidden as “dark money” (see Thiel, Peter or Koch).

    “chaos is a ladder” was a line from Game of Thrones, but our own neo-feudal era has illustrated its truth as disaster Capitalism has gone from strength to strength, gaining wealth from global financial collapse, from perpetual/perennial war, from a pandemic managed into catastrophe, and now from the quixotic attempt to apply the tactics of cancel culture to a nuclear-armed Great Power controlling massive natural resources.

    Biden, senile and corrupt, has pushed an “ambitious” bill supposedly funding climate change response that also expands opportunities to extract fossil fuels from public lands — can you feel just how responsive our post-democratic politics has become to the concerns and interests of ordinary people, how “our democracy” conceives of and protects a national interest?

    Well, that’s what happens while you are having fun anticipating what Comey’s Mueller’s Russiagate House Impeachment I, II, III Jan 6 [fill-in the blank this week] investigation will uncover. Pretty soon, the Hollywood Producers who brought you Faith Hill, patriot and convinced you that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation have conjured up a war that costs more than the long-forgotten Build Back Better and threatens more intensely profitable economic disruption (check out those rents, baby! and gas prices! and food prices!) and not only that but ratchets up the risk of nuclear annihilation! so much fun for the whole family!

  9. DMC

    Honestly, I’ve been reading the headline “Walls finally closing in on Trump!” since he took his hand off the Bible at his inauguration. I’ll believe it when he’s wearing an orange jumpsuit. The idea is not to actually ever DO anything about Trump, legally. Its just to keep up his “shiniest object in the room” show. Don’t worry that the Dems can’t get anything done with the Presidency and both houses of Congress, or worry that we’re pushing a nuclear armed power into a corner, or needlessly provoking another such power, or that we support the worst regimes on earth, or that we are and have been for decades a plutocratic oligarchy with only the hollow forms of a republic! Because we have definitive tapes of Trump farting loudly in public!
    Not to be construed as an endorsement of Trump, btw. Its just when real criminals like Bush and Clinton and Obama commit REAL, ACTUAL WAR CRIMES like people got hanged for at Nuremberg, I find Trumps foibles amusing by comparison.

  10. Willy

    bruce, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just say that elites have made greed, corruption, and stupidity cultural values, but that some elites are worse than others? If you’re amongst the remaining handful into a factually-verified “common reality”, why not speak of causes and antidotes in ways the common masses can relate to?

    Speaking of echo chambers, I just saw a clip from Morning Joe where Morning Joe himself told his audience that conservatism was Thatcher/Reagan and not Trumpism. Maybe I missed his part where he explained that Thatcher/Reagan caused Trumpism, but I don’t think so. Maybe this should be where you come in. Maybe factual reality folks like you can set them straight, maybe… to carefully explain how corporate infotainment is the opiate of the masses, or something.

    And then you recommend certain people or places who only describe a factually-verified common reality which might makes sense to all.

  11. Calvin

    Kamala Harris gets bought off by Soros et al to resign the vice presidency for hundreds of millions, or less, as Willlie Brown, the Speaker of the California State Assembly discovered, Kamala his mistress was happy with a new BMW.
    Biden then names Gavin Newsom, governor of California, as V.P. He churned out of the same rotten political machine as Kamala,
    Biden resigns finally.
    President Newsom then gets to name a new vice president. Probably the failed gubernatorial candidate of Georgia, black woman Stacy Abrams. No one voted for them and they run the country further into the ground and allow the last marrow to be sucked out of the skeleton of the nation.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén