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.


Consequences Of Indicting Trump


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 2, 2023


  1. Trinity

    ‘China on Tuesday issued “The Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2022.”

    Following is the full text of the report:
    The Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2022
    The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China
    March 2023’


  2. Willy

    Since China chose to copy what had worked for the USA (and some of what didn’t unfortunately) it’s a good indicator of where the USA would be now had so many USAians not been brainwashed by their corporate plutocracy. But we already knew that. Some say the trick is to ignore the loud and proud freedumb zombies (who only want the freedom to eat you), and try to get more rational moderates to better understand what’s been going on.

  3. mago

    Word’s out that the joke’s on us
    that we lost the subtlety of it all
    and hey, look over there
    what’s that in the road? A head?
    What’s going on?
    Everybody’s trying to tell, teach and preach their version of the gospel
    to the choir
    St. Paul: “by their actions you shall know them, not their words.”

  4. Ché Pasa

    Re: for profit health care

    I was wondering: has anyone encountered the hot (not so) new trend in health care, the hedge fund financialization of ERs, doctor’s offices and hospitals?

    I encounter it, I think, when I get my eyes examined annually in what amounts to an assembly-line operation. Hordes of patients all the time, none receive anything like personal care, just run through a mill and spit out the other end. My insurance pays for it, but still…

    Then there’s a local clinic I go to for treatment “on demand” as it were. I don’t have to wait months for an appointment and can usually be seen the same day or within a week. BUT… It’s nice that it’s local in my tiny rural town and I don’t have to travel an hour or more to get to my PCP. However it changes ownership and name every other year or so. Staff is inconsistent to say the least. The guy I’ve been seeing has screwed up several times and is moving to Utah next month, to “spend more time with his family,” says he will do telemedicine visits from there. Mmm, not so sure about that.

    Telemedicine is becoming the norm. I don’t mind not having to travel to see a provider, but I found there’s little they can do over the videophone beyond prescribing certain medications and not others. If things go south, their almost automatic recommendation is to call an ambulance and go to the ER. Go in an ambulance don’t try to get there on your own. If you walk in, you’re probably going to have to wait many hours to be seen after triage.

    What other experiences have people had? And can you tell the difference when profits are being squeezed out of an industry that shouldn’t be for profit in the first place?

  5. Curt Kastens

    Re: My comments to Sean Paul Kelly on 2 April 23 on the thread about The US losing the next cold war.

    Does the motive behind the US efforts to rule the world matter? I guess it could. If the US wanted to spread a Cuban style socialist revolution around the world I might not only forgive it for trying I might even actually support the project.

    But of course that is not what the US is doing. The motives behind US international (and national) behavior are either terrible, horrific, or diabolical. Take your lick.

    NATO describes its self as a defensive alliance. Hhahahaha. As Putin pointed out in 2007, who is NATO directed against. The correct answer is not only Russia, and China, but against the workers of Europe as well as the workers of the entire planet.

    I now understand why although the US proclaims Iran as an enemy of the US the policies that they have followed have always really been counterproductive to actually getting regime change in Iran. US leaders know that an Islamic Republic as understood by those in power in Iran, can never serve as an inspiration for anyone outside of Islamic countries.

    Also, I have always been troubled as to why the Project for A New American Century was made public. It always seemed odd to me that the goals that were explicitly released in this document, which actually serve as evidence of US malfesance , should be made public . After all it is in a manner of speaking a warning to all those who do not share a desire to be dominated by US cultural values.
    Now I think that I finally get it. It shows that I am rather slow on getting things. The PNAC document gets people thinking in such a way that they do not realize that the biggest fools in going along with the PNAC document are the US working and middle class. OK the Ukrainians have suffered the most by going along with the stupidity of the US leadership. But in the mid 1990s when the PNAC document was released few people could see far enough ahead to know the exact details of how history would be playing out almost 30 years later.
    European elites are joined at the hip with the US sitting on top of this exploitive system. So they certianly did not want to upset the system. That is why they do not turn the rudders on the ship of states to oppose US policies.

  6. Willy

    Back in ’92 my newly osteopath’d in-law invited me to check out the multi-branch clinic that’d hired him (his best buddy works there as an MBA). The facilities were a bit plain and austere, but the services, prices, and overall functioning were excellent. It was a score!

    Then I went through a long healthy period where “I don’t need no stinking doctors”, contrary to the wife’s insistence. Fast forward 25 years.

    The wife wins and I return back to my clinic for a long overdue checkup. I find that it’s been completely remodeled into a 5-star hotel bar experience (except it’s still a medical office). Mood lighting, etched glass reception desks manned by pretty young robots, large plants and blacklight signage… a coffee bar even. I wait almost two hours past my appointment time. The doctoring is still adequate but sped up like I’m watching a movie at 2x speed. My doctor can’t do simple procedures anymore like he used to, so now refers me to “really good guys”, who specialize in all that stuff. Finally, after moving around from doc to doc with lots of waiting inbetween, I get all the bills. It’s a lot.

    After chuckling to myself that they’ve managed to turn an austere but high functioning reasonably priced quality medical service into a clusterfucky money extraction racket (except with beautiful facilities), I came to realize that this was exactly the plan.

    I think what happened, is that doctors used to run medical businesses as honest medical businesses. Then one day a doctor amongst them hired an MBA to run his business end while he did the doctoring. He found out that it was like hiring a business tax accountant for the first time. It can be a real score – so many ways to save money. But they allowed the MBAs to take control. After cutting the fat, they’ll cut the muscle. And then they go for the bones and vital organs and invent ways to try and make more and more money. When the organization begins to bleed customers who’ve become wise to the scam (those who can still remember those better managed days), MBAs leave behind the ruined shell of a once great medical services business to do the same to another place. Well, that’s the short story anyways, based on my own personal experience.

    Some youngsters have no idea that most doctor businesses have gone MBA grifter-greedy. They think it‘s normal. I tell them they used to be like a lot of dental practices still in existence. Sure it’s a bit expensive, but not crazy expensive after waiting 2 hours to have your hygienist refer you to a “really good guy” who can handle your plaque, and other specialists for your gums and your bad breath plus you’ll need a flossing specialist, and you haven’t even seen your dentist yet. I hope they’ll see the contrast and demand something different.

  7. Curt Kastens

    The PNAC document makes complete insanity appear normal. It gets drafted (and signed? I forget if it was signed) by all of these people who are protrayed as knowledgeble people who then also end up in important positions in government to boot.
    This is PNAC in a nutshell.
    Gee wizz lets go out and plan on murdering people for the next century because if they are alive they may use their meger savings to raise a standing army and a navy and and air force and try to invade a powerful country on the otherside of the planet.
    Of course that is what they would want to do because that is what we want to do. After all we are all human so of course they can not be that much different than us. Ok we are reasonable we go half way around the world and attack weak undeveloped countries before they develope. There is little to know risk to us which proves how reasonable we are.
    But they are fanatics because once they have used their meger savings to build a standing army, navy and air force they will go half way around the world and attack a powerful country getting their whole family killed in the process which proves why we have to kill these fanatics and their families today because that is a far more cost effective thing to do.
    Yes this is preaching to the choir. I am cooling down.

  8. Eric Anderson

    Early entry for toot of the year:

    “There’s stupid and then there’s paying for twitter stupid.”

    Come say hi 🙂

  9. Curt Kastens

    How German Rulers Can Avoid en mass persecution:
    You may be wondering why I do not write this on a German website in German:
    There are three important reasons:
    1. Because Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would not be able to read it.
    2. Because Miguel Diaz-Canel would not be able to read it.
    3. Because I am afraid if I post it in Germany I would be charged with a crime

    To avoid mass war crime trials in Germany, and Europe for that matter.
    1. All US military Forces must be told to leave Europe.
    2. All US nuclear weapons must be turned over to the Russians. The American leadership is to irresponsible to be in the possession of such weapons. For their own good Americans should be limited to breach loading single shot double barrel weapons. I guess that they will have to figure that out for themselves.
    3. Because European governments have been engaging in a campaign of slaughtering truth, all government owned tv and radio stations, and all internet sites will have to come under Russian Government supervision for a period of 50 years.
    4. All school textbooks have to be approved by the Russian Government.
    5. The Russians get Control of Ramstein Airbase and the Edelweiss MWR facility.
    6. The Iranian Government gets control of the Baumholder Training Area
    7. The German military will be sent, with out weapons, except for Pistols and knives, to
    Syria to help rebuild the country under Syrian supervision for a period of 3 years, except for field grade officers who have to stay for 6 years, and general officers who have to stay for 9 years. Pardons for exceptional cases will be made. ie those who spied or were in other ways Russian agents.

  10. Curt Kastens

    In Hind sight it seems that western nations began training and arming Ukrainian Forces shortly after the events that led to divisions with in the country. Obviously the goal seems to me was to make the entire region of what was Ukraine in 2001 a part of the NATO alliance.
    Fast Forward to the Autumn of 2021 and Winter of 2022. By this time the Russians were no doubt getting the picture that the Ukrainians were going to launch a counter attack to regain territories that refused to recognize the government that they believed had illegally taken power in Kiev in 2014, just as the Croatians did back in the 1990s and as the Azeris did just in 2020 (2019?) making major use of drones.
    The Russians would have no doubt been very concerned about that. It would have brought an offensive alliance right up to a very long border. At the same time there was a very clever NATO operation starting many years ago, to create the impression in Russian Intellegence Institutions that there was a growing political unrealability of NATO and possibly even US military forces.
    I butress theat outlook due to the claimed suicide of US Admiral Stearney, the air attack launched from US aircraft carriers against Iran that was suddenly called back, the decision by the Captain of a US aircraft carrier to discontinue operations at the begining of the Corona crisis which got him fired from his position,and the initial German decision to only send 5000 helmets to the Ukraine. Of course there were no doubt many many more events occuring over the years that we no doubt never heard about designed to give the Russians a false perception about the actual level of sanity of the officers in the US military.
    So the US definately wanted this war and they wanted it when it occured. But what is odd is that they thought they would win by getting the Russian people to drive Putin from power. If that was the plan it was so stupid it was stunning. One of the most basic rules of political science is that when a nation, particularily one that has existed for a long time, is at war, the vast majority of the people rally around the flag. For some reason the vast majority of people never learn what suckers they are. But that general rule does not apply to the Russians in this case, it applies to the Ukrainians and the citizens of NATO nations. It appears that the 2/3 of Ukrainians and 80% of the citizens of NATO nations are to stupid to figure out that when their leaders tell them that NATO is a defensive alliance they are being lied to.
    I have strayed a bit from my point. I was saying that if the plan was to drive out Putin by creating the conditions for a color revolution in Russia it was a bad plan. The funny thing is American Deep State Generals are extraoridinarily clever. If they have done something that appears to be stupid it must not be their real plan.
    But oddly I can not figure out what their real plan would have been. I can see how if NATO (EU) forces get directly involved they could prevent the Russians from making further gains. But without a mass mobilization in western nations Russian could never be completely occupied. So at best we end up with a military stalemate in EUROPE. It does not appear that the US leadership ever thought that NATO forces would have to get directly involved against the Russians. Because unless I am mistaken they do not seem to have enought forces themselves in Europe.
    If the best that the US can do is a stalemate that is bad because the Russians and Chinese seem to winning on other fronts. On top of that if I am ever able to speak directly with Putin I might be able to persuade him, and the Russian people not to accept a stalement in Europe. Because a stalemate with the United States is worse that a stalemate with nazi Germany. The nazis did not go half way around the world to try to expand their empire. The United States has been doing that again again and again.
    Are the Europeans ready to make Europe a battle ground to make Americans happy by killing Russians?? Well the Ukrianians certianly were. And they were not heroic freedom fighters, they were stupid pawns. If the Europeans are not ready to be prawns of the United States then Russian tanks could be rolling through the streets of Paris in the not to distant future.
    Unless the US or the UK or the French decide to use tactical nuclear weapons first.
    Or unless the United States leadership decides to use strategic nuclear weapons first.
    If the US can reverse Chinese gains outside of Europe maybe they will not have to make that decision. But even if they do reverse those gains outside of Europe if the Russian Bear is angry reversing Chinese gains may not prevent the Russians from pulling Europe out of the US orbit.
    After all now is a good time to die. We have a chance to die for what we believe in. In as little as 15 years everyone could be dying simply because we have destroyed our environment not through military stupidity but economic stupidy. And make no mistake about it human economic stupidity has sentenced us to death in this century.

  11. Curt Kastens

    I do not know who to tell this to. Because I do not know anyone in the who is as radical on this question as I am. There are a few European Parlimentarians who will go so far as to condemn NATO. But no one will take that condemnation of NATO to its logical conclusion and support Russia. Is that because they may be prosecuted? I do not know. So, I will throw this out here in the hopes that someone finds it interesting and that person knows someone who knows someone and so on until it reaches someone who can make use of it.
    I have heard that the letter Z has been outlawed in Germany under the same principle that the hakenkruez is outlawed. Well I have a simple way to get around that. Use the number 2 instead.
    Now on one hand I do not think that if someone goes around and puts up the number 2 as grafitti it will really change anything. Because to have an effect people need to be able to a person standing beside or underneath the number 2. On the other hand I do not want to put up a sign in my yard or hanging from my balconey with the number 2 because it paints a target on my house and I doubt that the police would really investigate any damage that someone might do. There have been lots of people who flew Ukrainians flags from their yards. But they were moving with the herd not trying to redirect the herd. So they were safe. I really want to express my support for Russia publicly here in Germany. But the costs risks and benifits of doing that do not make sense unfortunately.
    So I was wondering if anyone wants to take a number 2 and run with it.

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