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.


Climate change is getting worse, faster. It’s accelerating. What is required to change that?


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 30, 2022


  1. mago

    Whatcha gonna do when the lights go out and you’ve got no food, can’t feed your dogs can’t feed yourself and the well goes dry and your knees fall out and there’s no one around to help or care?
    It could happen but even worse, just ask street dwellers and the penal fodder.
    They’d talk if they had a voice, if anybody gave a hootie tootie
    Oh, look! What’s that? A head in the road?
    It’s just your ass being handed to you while distracted.
    Kiss it goodbye baby bye bye
    The sun also rises
    Of course there’s always a shotgun in the mouth moment for those so inclined
    There’s sunshine on the mountains and the seas, magic and miracles, too in the sacred world
    Where we live what we say what we do
    It’s a cliché but it’s up to you.
    Thanks for everything.

  2. Astrid

    I have been in the dupe side of the Gorby was a dupe/knave of the West discussion. This piece is making me reassess.

  3. bruce wilder

    Glenn Greenwald promotes Glenn Greenwald, video at 11

    Still, the catalog of an ever-more-enveloping censorship regime brought to you by the same folks who brought you Russiagate (and arguably, the War in Ukraine — at least the fictional version which the brave Ukrainians are going to win real soon), adds up and he makes a better case than I would like that this is being led (in part only) not by the right, but rather by Democrats. For a recovering Dem like myself, it does seem like an inevitability, there being “no alternative”. (Unlike Greenwald, I am not a fan of Tucker Carlson — for me, he is a demagogue using truth to deceive. ymmv)

    Rule by spies. And a regime of thorough-going censorship of politics and the political discourse. It is here, people; its real. Not a projection of a dystopian future — a daily reality.

    And, I don’t think a subscription on locals or Rumble or substack will help.

  4. Chuck Mire

    Note: Switch to English and read without an account 😉

  5. Tallifer

    Imagine if Russia had taken the path of other post-Soviet democracies like the now affluent and free Baltic states and Poland? I think that was what Gorbachev dreamed for his people.

  6. Z

    I’m willing to believe that Gorbachev knowingly sold out the Russians on the principle that it is almost always more likely that the “mistakes” made by someone who was smart and savvy enough to get into power and who personally benefited off of those “mistakes” are more attributable to them knowingly acting in their self-interests (((including parrying blackmail))) rather than accidentally benefiting from their naivety.


  7. different clue


    Imagine if Clinton had not been tasked with using the naive Yeltsin to organize the sack, pillage, looting and total oligarchification of post-USSR Russia. Russia might have been free, able and even assisted to pursue the path you describe.

  8. NR

    I’m surprised that Greenwald wasn’t cheering about another narcissistic billionaire taking over Twitter. It was pretty instructive though that the moment Musk took over, a bunch of people reacted by spamming the N-word all over Twitter–which, of course, is what right-wingers really mean when they say they want “free speech.”

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Twitter in the months ahead. Musk is already backing away from his promise of 100% free speech and saying there will be some content moderation, though we don’t yet have any idea what it will look like. Musk took out like $30 billion in loans to buy it, and he of course immediately transferred the debt over to Twitter as soon as he took over (which is a predatory and scummy capitalist practice that should be illegal). Twitter’s yearly interest payments on debt promptly skyrocketed from $50 million to $1 billion. I don’t think there’s any way Twitter can even break even on that if Musk lets the site turn into 4chan 2.0.

    So we’ll have to see if Musk is going to try to actually make money off Twitter, or if he’s content to let it be a billion-dollar a year loss leader so he can use it to spread right-wing propaganda and disinformation with the aim of helping the rise of fascism in the West. Time will tell.

  9. Astrid

    I am amused by descriptions of the Balts and Poland as “affluent and free”. The Balts in particular are known for their racist exclusions of ethnic Russians from public life and even citizenship (versus the Russian Federation where Buddhists and Muslims can’t rise to positions of national prominence). They are also known for losing a large proportion of their population since 1990 and having stagnant economies since 2008.

    Versus presumably “unaffluent and unfree” Russia, where the populace had suffered a 5x increase in their income since 2000 and largely stabilized their population.

  10. Astrid

    My smartphone again making me sound even more idiotic than I already am. Correction:. versus the Russian Federation where Buddhists and Muslims CAN rise to positions of national prominence.

  11. bruce wilder

    I was trying to explain to a friend today my mixed feelings about Russia and its conflict with the West: “you cannot just ignore the machinations of U.S. and European statesman leading up to the conflict” I said to his uncomprehending facial expressions. I wanted to go on to challenge most of all the ignorant assumption of innocent, liberal intent behind a whole series of foreign policy debacles that allows him to conveniently forget so much recent history and maintain his facile opinions.
    The full-on propaganda spewed by France24 or DW or bbc is amazing. But I wonder at the larger purposes. And, the precedents!
    Giving a pass to “whoever” destroyed the Nordstream pipelines goes unremarked. If this genuinely known (and I presume it is), this should not be state-secret in a democracy; it is no longer a democracy if the People cannot know critical information about who forecloses their options, destroys infrastructure without warrant of legality.

    Seizing Russian assets — whether the personal property of oligarchs or Central Bank reserves — again with scarcely a fig leaf of legality — would be a violation of sacred norms in the rules-based international order, except it is not somehow.

    Ukraine is already broken by the conflict and yet facilitating negotiation to obtain a peace and a cessation of the destruction is treated as unthinkable in the West. Just as it was in the Syrian civil war (where the U.S. continues to occupy Syrian territory with no legal justification).

    It is very hard to avoid the suspicion that U.S. foreign policy is controlled by a vicious and unaccountable regime partially hidden from public view or awareness.

  12. Trinity

    Astrid, I think we were all a little more naïve back in the day. It was just easier to believe them and their narrative. In the present, it’s much easier to believe they are lying because the evidence continues to pile up. It also helps that they are contradicting themselves and making promises they clearly have little to no intention of keeping.

    The history of the present will be written by whomever is in power in the future. Hopefully it’s not written by the usual liars, which would be a first in hundreds if not thousands of years of western history. Meanwhile, the default now is that they lied about pretty much everything.

  13. different clue

    The Russians living in the Baltic countries where sent there during the Soviet period to settle them in order to change the demographic balance of the Baltic provinces away from the native Balts who lived there. They served the same exact purpose against the Balts that the Jewish settlers in the West Bank serve against the Palestinians.

    Once the USSR broke apart, they were left behind there. It would be nice if the native Balts were nice enough to them for long enough that they might come to feel identified with the Baltic countries AS countries. If the Balts are mean enough to them for long enough, they will long for Russia to re-conquer the Baltic countries in order to rescue them from current Baltic mistreatment.

    Can the Baltic peoples overcome their “Balkan” levels of hatred for Russians enough to be nice to the legacy Russian settlers put there by the USSR and left behind when the USSR disappeared?

  14. Z

    Gorbachev at his shabbiest (Russian pizza-triotism video – 1998):


  15. Astrid


    The Jewish settlers of the West Bank are backed by the full force of the Israeli state (and its backer, the USA). I don’t know the recent histories of the Baltic states but note that the Balts are the majority in all three states, something that Israel is doing everything to ensure won’t happen in Palestine.

    Russians are currently small minorities in all three states and treated as second class citizens (or non-citizens) in all three. Not nearly as brutally as Palestinians are treated by Israel for the guilt of inhabiting “Jewish land” but in my opinion they are being oppressed for racist reasons. Inciting purported historic crimes of people’s ancestors really isn’t better than justifications for lynching people in the Jim Crow South, who also had plenty of arguments for putting other humans in their place.

    But thank you for making clear how you would feel if the ETIM or the more extreme Tibetan separatists we’re to gain the upper hand in their US sponsored “struggles”. Assuming that a majority of your ancestors do not come from the north American continent and are thus considered “recent” migrants, there is a great way for you to demonstrate your solidarity with the Balts and other people’s entitled to live without the polluting “other”.

  16. different clue

    Honest readers can read my comment and then read Astrid’s comment and see how I hoped the Balts would respond to the Russians now left behind in their countries, and see if Astrid admits to having understood that part or not.

    And honest commenters can decide if I or Astrid is the honest commenter here. I leave it up to the honest readers and commenters.

  17. bruce wilder

    I have mentioned this incident before: touring Havana, the Cubans took my American tour group out of the way to see the Russian embassy — a vast fortress, walls topped with barbed wire. The Cubans thought it peculiar in the extreme.

    Poland, I know, has grievances going back centuries with Russia. The Poles are currently pressing claims for reparations against Germany. Among the Baltics, Latvia pressed a severe policy to force their proportionally large Russian population to emigrate. Lithuania, with a proportionally small Russian population, was more relaxed, but as was seen in the attempt to blockade Kaliningrad, are willing to be aggressive.

    A sensible West European or North American statesman might have been hesitant to feed that aggressive Russophobia, let alone offer U.S. military force hostage to their gamblers’ impulses. Oh well . . .

  18. mago

    Put MDA in the water supply or drop the bomb since diplomacy’s for losers apparently.

  19. Astrid


    You’re the one comparing ethnic Russians deprived of citizenship to Israeli settlers currently violently squatting on Palestinians land and using that comparison to justify the actions of the “free and prosperous” Baltic states. Throwing in how you wish the Balts were nicer doesn’t negate the state acts of anti-Russian racism that I was pointing to. Everybody has historic grievances towards everyone else, that should not be sufficient justifications for acting like assholes. If Asians and Latin Americans and First Nation peoples filled their hearts with grievances and hatred the way that Poles and Balts do, then the US skids be subject to hundreds of legitimate massive reparations claims.

    If the Balts’ hatred were merely limited to their actions inside their borders and were done without undue US influence, that would be an unfortunate matter for themselves to work through, perhaps without the benefit of cheap Russian energy. My problem is that the hatred is also fueling escalation towards a nuclear confrontation.

    As for the rest, I am simply drawing out how that your logic can be applied in other parts of the world.

    (And now back to smugly curing my winter squashes and hoping that I do live in the blast zone for a top tier nuclear war target.)

  20. Jason

    The Jewish settlers of the West Bank are backed by the full force of the Israeli state (and its backer, the USA)

    The entirety of the U.S. State Dept was against recognizing “Israel” (the Jewish supremacists originally wanted it to be called “Zion”). It was domestic political pressure and typical espionage tactics that forced its recognition. For just one example among a seemingly countless many, see Mathilde Krim’s relationship to LBJ:

    About twenty years earlier, Harry Truman stated:

    “I am sorry gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents.”

    Hundreds of thousands of Arabs, Harry?

    Were there “hundreds of thousands” of working or middle class USians? Did the WASP or Catholic intellectual classes of the period give a f***k about “Israel” and the Zionist project? Did most of the non-Jewish elite? Did most Jews even care that much?

  21. Astrid


    That was then, the Zionists infiltrated the English establishment before it took over the American one. Even then it was partial as Israel got plenty of cover to ethnically cleanse Palestine and terrorize/murder thousands of Palestinians to build their state.

    Denial of US support of Israel, when there are American laws on the books outlawing boycotting of Israel and speaking out against Israel gets you branded an anti-semite no matter how Jewish you are, is as absurd as Holocaust denial. It’s one thing to be low information and not realize the true facts on the grind. The fact that you can marshal fairly obscure information in defense of this false position, show your true colors.

    When people show you who they are, listen. Jason, I’m listening.

  22. Jason

    Astrid, the question is why do the respective countries give Israel cover?

    So, to your point about Zionist infiltration of England, I would look into Rupert Murdoch’s background. The following article by the late Richard Curtiss of WRMEA is a good primer:

    Christopher Bollyn has also done good work on this subject.

    Back in 2012, Murdoch tweeted that he allegedly felt the “Jewish-owned press is being anti-Israel” (!!!):

    This is a game, and they play it well.

    The same tactics were used in Russia in the 90’s and prompted Russia’s Communist Party General Secretary Gennady Zyuganov to state in 1998 that Russia had become “Zionized.” Zyuganov was quoted at length on Zionism and its destructive effects on Russia:

    “Zionism has in reality revealed itself as one of the varieties of the theory and practice of the most aggressive imperialistic circles striving for world supremacy.”

    Z reminded us recently that Russia under Putin has done what it can to mitigate this cancer, and of course Russia may now be said to be “taking on” the thoroughly Zionist-infiltrated “West” in its war in Ukraine.

    “Holocaust denial” is also used as a weapon, just as “antisemitism” is.

    Back in 2010, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman was interviewing Former Israeli Minister Shulamit Aloni. Goodman told Aloni that in the US when people dissent against the policies of the state of Israel (policies derived from Zionism, which is derived from…?) they are branded “antisemitic.”

    Goodman asked Aloni what her response to this fact of life here in America is. Aloni immediately and forthrightly replied:

    “Well, it’s a trick. We always use it. When, from Europe, some of these criticize Israel, then we bring up the holocaust. When in this country people are criticizing Israel, then we bring up “antisemitic.”

    Aloni, cracking an ever-so-slight smile, continued,

    “And the organization is strong and has a lot of money and the ties between Israel and the Ameri…Jewish establishment are very strong…they are strong in this country, as you know. And they have power, which, okay they are talented people and they have power, money, and, ah, media, and other things…”

    “And their attitude is, Israel, my country, right or wrong…the identity fiction. And they are not ready to hear criticism.”

    Aloni concludes,

    “It’s very easy to blame people who criticize certain acts of the Israeli government as “antisemitic” and to bring up the holocaust and the suffering of “the Jewish people.”

    “And that justifies everything we do to the Palestinians.”

    Aloni here gives the game away when she corrects herself mid-sentence: “And the organization is strong and has a lot of money and the ties between Israel and the Ameri…Jewish establishment are very strong…”

    She begins to say “American” but she’s very honest and knows that the ties are really between Israel and the Jewish establishment in America which then uses all manner of dirty pool (espionage) to control the American establishment.

    “…they have power, money, and, ah, media, and other things…”

    All the old canards. One is reminded of Joel Stein’s 2008 LA Times article entitled “Who Runs Hollywood? C’mon” in which he runs through the obvious and ends by saying:

    “I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.”

    That’s Chutzpah!

    Yes, Astrid, listen to them when they tell you who they are.

    Israelis, incidentally, don’t think much of most US Jews either, unless they’re actively working for Israel in some capacity.

    Language and narrative are intentionally created and destroyed in the interests of those wielding power.

    It’s obvious that if countries erect laws against historical inquiry into one specific incident – when every other thing in the world is open for debate and discussion, as it should be – then the incident they are preventing you from looking into is a lie. It’s a false narrative.

    This doesn’t mean atrocities weren’t committed against Jews, simply because they were Jews, and this is obviously repulsive. This holds true for all of us. It is not at all unique that energies are directed against an “other” in the midst of the horrors of war.

    Finally, it is also interesting to note the importance of the number six to the Jewish canon, and the fact that the six million dead number was bandied about in the Jewish press during WWI and the number 600,000 was likewise used in speaking of the number of Jewish deaths due to the pogroms.


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