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

Open Thread

Rather delayed today. Used to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


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The Decline Of Facebook (Meta)


Merry Christmas


  1. Chuck Mire

    Algorithm Warfare: How Elon Musk uses Twitter to control brains:

  2. bruce wilder

    How the CIA used Twitter to control minds.

    I did read the Lakoff essay Chuck Mire linked to and I would be sarcastic in my assessment, but I am seriously concerned that people are losing their bearings, with Lakoff demonstrating the syndrome. Musk is an ego-maniac billionaire with the talents of a con-man, but is he really controlling our minds as part of a plot to turn the country to extreme conservatism? Everyone seems to have “genuine” “neo-nazis” lurking behind door number 3.

    The Final Report of the Jan 6 committee helpfully informs us that Trump was doing exactly what the Russians wanted him to do. Not at Russian direction, but on his own initiative. What is the point of such a gratuitous accusation? I would say, mind control, but Lakoff does not include it as an example.

    Taibbi’s deep dive reveals a pretty active government operation to control minds via Twitter, but Lakoff dismisses the episode of the Biden laptop news suppression: no wrong-doing Lakoff says. Otherwise nothing to see, move along. (Pay no attention to that war in Ukraine.)

    OK, so I got sarcastic after all. I really do not how else to respond as people lose their minds. Merry Xmas.

  3. NR

    Ian made this point some time ago and it was (and still is) spot-on: billionaires like Musk understand that the current neoliberal order that rules the West will not last much longer, and there are two possibilities for what will replace it. It will either be fascism or some form of leftism (perhaps socialism, perhaps FDR-style politics that implements pro-worker policies). And billionaires would much, much rather our governments be replaced by fascists than by leftists. Fascists will let them keep most of their money and power while the left won’t, and will do things like break unions for them, gut clean air and clean water regulations, etc.

    Musk and the other billionaires know exactly what they’re doing.

  4. Z

    We’re starting to see China and North Korea, and possibly Iran and even Turkey in regards to Syria, more overtly ally with Russia militarily and strategically by giving the U.S. of Israel a taste of their poisonous “color revolution” candy and forcing them to “suck on” (shout out to Thomas Friedman!) a multitude of disturbances of various flavors. Note today that China is getting more militarily aggressive with Taiwan and also that North Korea is doing the same with South Korea. That, IMO, is being coordinated. Note also that China has recently been uncharacteristically making comments about the unacceptable interminability of the situations in Palestine and Syria.

    One can hardly blame them, it’s best to take the offensive against greedy, narcissistic maniacs who offer well over 90% of the world’s populace nothing but economic and psychological subjugation rather than sit around and wait for them to come for you.

    Tucker Carlson is starting to get into what I’ve said from the beginning about the folly of the West using Ukraine to weaken Russia and remove Putin from power: the big prize they’ll win if they’re successful is that the country with the most nuclear weapons in the world will be dangerously economically and politically destabilized.

    But this is the insanity you get when the foreign policy of arguably the strongest country militarily on the planet, the U.S., is more geared towards the interests of Israel … which has very little skin the game in regards to Ukraine but stands to benefit the most from a regime change in Russia … than the host.

    The U.S.’s obvious attempts to destabilize the world’s economic system by starting economic wars with China and Russia and at least being a passive participant in the NordStream sabotage that economically damaged Europe lends credence to my belief that COVID was man-made and purposely deployed. As Pam Martens pointed out (, there was serious $ signs in the Fed repos actions, to the tune of $6.6 trillion of various Fed maneuvers, prior to COVID that there was a major derivative blowup that the Fed was papering over. Though Yves Smith will tell you with absolute certainty ( that this was all due to some innocuous operational mess by the Fed, THOUGH SHE IN FACT HAS NO WAY OF KNOWING THIS FOR CERTAIN BECAUSE REPO MARKETS ARE NOT STAGNANT ENTITIES IN WHICH YOU CAN DEFINITIVELY DETERMINE THAT ALL $6.6 TRILLION THAT WENT THROUGH THE BANKING SYSTEM TO SUPPOSEDLY SOLVE THIS SO-CALLED “OPERATIONAL MESS” WENT TOWARDS THE PURPOSE SHE CLAIMS IT DID, an idea that she more or less got from one of her MMT faves, who Peter Orszag and Bloomberg happen to prop for, and repeated verbatim.

    The derivative hole is systematic, the market is deregulated thanks to The Committee to Enslave the World ( and has grown into at least tens of trillions of dollars of market bets and hedging with very loose control, if any, of counter-party risk. It has significant value to our rulers though because they can use it to manipulate markets of actual physical goods and commodities with the “capital” that comes from the output tray from the Fed’s money printer. The spackle our rulers were using to patch that hole wasn’t working pre-COVID and the amounts the Fed was pumping into the repo market were getting unexplainably large so they needed a crisis to credibly create enough money to mend it so, IMO, they unleashed COVID on us.

    Sneaky Schnucky Chuckie Schumer (D-Wall Street), Money Man Mnuchin, and Larry Fink from Larry’s and Stanley’s Asset Inflation Factory BlackRock went to work and temporarily rescued the system with the largess they handed the banking system with their COVID legislation, but that could only mend it for so long so now our rulers are working towards creating a ground zero of the upcoming financial system cataclysm which blows up in another country so that they can rescue the world from the financial system instabilities they created and position themselves to be in charge of rebuilding it.


  5. bruce wilder

    But, what exactly is Musk doing?

    Yeah, in the abstract, Musk is a billionaire and almost by definition that makes him some species of libertarian reactionary — though the details of what slogans and memes his impulses latch onto may be idiosyncratic. Musk’s penchant for impulsive stupidity, Lakoff could easily document from his record as a Tweeter . . . and did.

    That’s not the same thing as subscribing to a definite plan to push some specific political program that we can meaningfully label, “radical conservatism” as Lakoff asserts. The impulsive and egotistical character, Musk, Lakoff describes is not really consistent with the relentless pursuit of an ideologically-driven political program. It is not a coherent story.

    I think Lakoff goes off the rails, maybe just by being lazy and not wanting to go beyond his own long-worn arguments about “framing”, maybe because of excessive partisanship that keeps him from seeing Democrats Gone Wild.

    In the midst of revelations that Twitter (and pretty much all of the Social Media giants) were being prompted by the FBI and the now notorious “Other Government Agency” (the OGA) to employ various technical tools and methods to effectively suppress particular arguments and assertions, Lakoff has jumped ahead to what is in effect a highly personalized attack on Musk as the Second Coming of the Trump Antichrist, without even pausing for breath or to consider the import of the “Twitter Files” revelations. So, though he uses “the algorithm” as a rhetorical hook, he does not have anything to say about the various “tools” the Twitter bureaucracy developed and applied at the behest of the Intelligence Community bureaucracy. He’s still stuck in his own ideas about rhetorical “framing”.

    He’s not thinking about the rise to power of the Intelligence Community on the strength of the Democratic Party’s embrace and weaponization of RussiaGate gaslighting. Partly, that may be because he’s too partisan to even “see” the sins of the Party he identifies with. I don’t think he’s so far gone that he would deliberately distract his followers from looking, as part of a political project to secure an authoritarian regime for the U.S.

  6. Z

    As far as billionaires go, Musk is a loose cannon. He can be brought in line, and has been and probably will be in the future, especially because he is partially dependent upon government contracts for his SpaceX venture. But he has to continually be brought back in line because he, somewhat like Trump, enjoys his celebrity-hood too much and gets a dopamine ping out of getting a bunch of hearts on his tweets. He plays to the crowd too often, which makes him unreliable.

    Looking at the trajectory of the price of his Tesla stock tells me that our rulers are getting tired of reigning him in, particularly now that he owns Twitter and isn’t as Deep State sympathetic as the previous owners. He’s messing with one of their propaganda mills and they ain’t liking it.


  7. different clue

    I remember reading years ago about how I was supposed to be impressed by Lakoff’s brillyuntly innalekshul arguments about “framing” and stuff.

    I remember wondering at the time, where were Lakoff’s electoral victories? Where was Lakoff’s pile of severed heads?


    What preparations are you taking to enhance the chances of your own personal long-term survival in the world you foresee developing in the near and mid-range future?

  8. Z

    different clue,


    What preparations are you taking to enhance the chances of your own personal long-term survival in the world you foresee developing in the near and mid-range future?

    Stocking up on popcorn. You?


  9. bruce wilder

    Matt Taibbi had an interesting reflection on Friday, one that’s worth quoting on the experience of trying to keep your bearings amidst the floodtide of disinformation.

    Sometime in the last decade, many people — I was one — began to feel robbed of their sense of normalcy by something we couldn’t define. Increasingly glued to our phones, we saw that the version of the world that was spat out at us from them seemed distorted. The public’s reactions to various news events seemed off-kilter, being either way too intense, not intense enough, or simply unbelievable. You’d read that seemingly everyone in the world was in agreement that a certain thing was true, except it seemed ridiculous to you, which put you in an awkward place with friends, family, others. Should you say something? Are you the crazy one?

    I can’t have been the only person to have struggled psychologically during this time. This is why these Twitter files have been such a balm. This is the reality they stole from us! It’s repulsive, horrifying, and dystopian, a gruesome history of a world run by anti-people, but I’ll take it any day over the vile and insulting facsimile of truth they’ve been selling. Personally, once I saw that these lurid files could be used as a road map back to something like reality — I wasn’t sure until this week — I relaxed for the first time in probably seven or eight years.

    The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

  10. Z

    Elon Musk’s meandering mind wants to know: where is Elon Musk going to find the time to come up with a coherent plan to control our brains?

    This Lakoff line of bs supports my belief that our rulers are coming for Musk.

    Lakoff knows it’s nonsense but that it’ll still sell to an audience who wants to believe it. He also knows that folks who know better but want the populace to believe it will pay him for his efforts.

    *Disclosure: I didn’t read one word of the Lakoff article and I’m proud of it.


  11. bruce wilder


    I, too, have a sense that Musk has been marked.

  12. Z


    No doubt. It looks like these Twitter file releases, which I’ve largely ignored because I find nothing surprising about them from what I’ve heard thus far and I know it won’t amount to any change anyway, are still something that our rulers won’t take likely. Any peeks at what they do behind the scenes never is (see: Wikileaks).

    Would love to see releases of what was done to protect us from the anti-semites though, and who and what organizations were unsurprisingly behind it, but something tells me that Musk doesn’t have the guts to release it and/or Yoel Roth erased those traces before he left.


  13. different clue


    Not much more than that. Learning a little gardening. Getting along with all my neighbors and getting not a single one of them mad at me.

    Back when I thought I was going to get fired one time, I discovered that stores sometimes ran super sales on this or that. So I built up a small stockpile of cans of canned fish in cans, honey, etc. That’s a little better than popcorn, though not by much. And I did note one thing . . . . Back when Bernie ( not Sanders . . . . the other one) made off with all the money, I noticed that for all the billions of dollars he stole, he was not able to suck so much as one single sardine through the side of a single one of my cans of sardines.

    I keep spending money on those parts of the “economy” whose existence I approve of, to the extent that I have such money to spend and can use ( now or later) what I buy. Maybe I will survive a partial decline and partial fall, as long as it remains partial.

  14. Willy

    Musk has been marked.

    Probably. Ford’s Lightning has enough torque to make a Texas redneck wanna put solar panels atop his barnominium. And actual luxury car makers seem more capable of building quality EVs that might actually last. Since Tesla’s stock run of mega overvaluation (considering the fundamentals for other more established auto or tech companies) has run its course, it’d be hard to imagine a cabal of auto makers not wanting some of that investment in their own companies.

    Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy his collapse: self-inflicted, enabled and enhanced. But I’d enjoy it more if voters learned a bit more about the way western politics actually works.

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