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.


Why The Rich Love To Crush Wages, Cut Pensions And So On To Fight Inflation


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 30, 2023


  1. Jan Wiklund

    Industrial capitalists would like proletarians to be able to buy their products, like Henry Ford. But the capitalists of today aren’t industrial, they are rentiers. So they don’t care.

  2. Willy

    I met a german-born plumber who’s done well for himself installing solar-heated in-floor radiant heating systems in/on new custom homes. That conversation quickly went from his technicals to “Lets Go Brandon” as if everything wrong with America, from my own ‘failures’ at making it in the corporate world to the insane prices of homes was entirely “the marxists” fault and that Trump is our savior. I can’t recall anybody that kooky back in the day of “fighting the man”. Nobody talked up Richard Nixon after his comparatively innocent little corruption faux pas. It seems that as long as these people have gotten theirs, fuck the rest of you.

    Still, I try to plant the seed that things were far better for far more back in the day, before all the “greed is good” brainwashing.

  3. Trinity

    If you have a Netflix subscription, I highly recommend the movie ‘The Laundromat’. It’s a little uneven, but has lots of surprises and humor in a really dark film focused on things we already know.

  4. different clue

    little garden report . . .

    Last December I planted garlic just before the winter freezeup. Earlier this spring most of it has emerged and started growing. I will see how it did at harvest time in July.

    Last year I began tending a small patch of wild raspberry plants. I cut the ends off the canes that were bending down under their own weight, so the remaining cane would stand more upright. They grew more-than-normal side branchlets and more-than-normal raspberries. So I am tending them again the same way this year, along with another small patch I have begun tending just this year, to see if I get more-than-normal raspberries again.

  5. Laura

    I’m surprised the Christian Smalls story hasn’t gotten more traction. In short: he’s a complete fraud.

    Just like Patrisse Cullors. And so many others.

    Mike Elk did a story on him at Payday Report, then Business Insider did a more expansive report.

    If you want to see how “they” control a vulnerable but otherwise healthy individual by tapping into the person’s empty and potentially vainglorious side with money and a little fame, simply compare videos of Smalls on Jimmy Dore. In his initial video, he’s a somehwat shy young guy just starting out. Then, the next Dore video he does, he shows up with a gold tooth and an ego-attitude to match.

    Not a confident attitude borne of experience, mind you.

    Then pictures and videos of him always looking cool on the phone, leaning against his new truck. It quickly becomes obvious in following his antics that it’s all about him, not the larger purpose.

    I wonder if Dore, or Briahana Joy Grey, or “Sabby Sabs” or Krystal Ball – or any of the left print media often aligned with same – will address this obvious elephant in the room.

    And I don’t just mean the Smalls story. I mean a serious attempt at unearthing the money and people who are funding large portions of the left in order to control it and ultimately steer it against the interests of the people it purports to care about and work in the interest of.

    They could begin by simply admitting they were wrong about Smalls and that they should have seen it sooner. And they will henceforth be constantly on the look-out for these sort of shenanigans, since they are par for the course in the big game TPTB play with our lives.

    I doubt any of the aforementioned will have the courage to do that.

    It’s not just the bought-and-paid-for politicians like Bernie and the squad who are frauds. It runs much deeper. It’s similar to how the feds will target vulnerable individuals and set them up as patsies for larger purposes. Like “the underwear bomber” crap.

    Wake up.

  6. StewartM


    If you have read anything about who in Germany were attracted to Nazism, it was people like your plumber. Skilled tradesmen, small businessmen, and similar ilk were the ones who were most likely to vote for and support the Nazis. Well-off business types favored the more traditional conservative parties, while workers were more likely to vote SPD (Socialist) or–if radicalized–vote KPD (communist).

    That’s because people like your plumber, while they be may be crapped on by the current state of affairs, still believe in the “rightness” of the capitalist system and believe that they are not the downtrodden oppressed, but temporarily embarrassed millionaires. Hence his remarks about your “failure” in the corporate world (something he has apparently never experienced).

    Or, as my mom had a sign in our house growing up (and she definitely would have voted Trump) “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” You see, these types define smarts by wealth, even though to anyone remotely aware, wealth and smarts aren’t even remotely correlated.

  7. multitude of poors

    I guess I’ll learn. Occasionally—under a one time user name—I post a very rare comment (rare, due to increasingly bad, dignity stripping, experiences when I used to post very well backed up and researched comments there more often) at Naked Capitalism, in circumstances where a lot of eyes help expose an issue that needs wide exposure for public benefit.

    Yesterday, I posted the following on the April 28 Links, at 8:36 Pacific Daylight Time (11:36 AM EDT), as user Shame on Them:

    I’m amazed that no articles in the news discuss what happens to people’s Social Security deposits when a bank goes into receivership, there are millions in the US barely surviving on their Social Security Disability or Social Security Retirement checks. Surely there are those who had/have accounts at one of the failed or failing US banks, and don’t have any extra money to deposit and are daily living on the razor’s edge as it is.

    Are these people supposed to guess whether they should write the rent check or not?

    Are they supposed to guess what new bank they are under?

    Will their old checks even work? If not, will they be provided new ones for free, as they should be?

    Who will pay for late fees on the payments paid by check: rent; utilities; phone; insurance; etcetera that cannot be paid with cash if they can’t be made on time?


    I know one thing, the beleaguered Banks won’t be contacting, them, and Social Security is already excruciatingly difficult and time consuming to get any valid information from the lowest on the totem pole workers at the privatized Social Security call centers.

    SHAME ON OUR Fourth Estate and Our US Government; It’s more than sickening that this doesn’t appear in the mainstream news when I search for it.

    Of course my comment never showed up. Not sure which is worse over there, a comment never showing up, or showing up hours and hours later, as if it was a part of the days conversations but not considered response worthy, though actually barely anyone ever saw it. Not much of a reliable historical rendering of back and forth conversation in their archives. I know the comment number but I’m not about to be dignity stripped for a second time in two days there, nor politely note that it never showed up, despite 24 hours passing, only to: have it added to a quite dead thread; receive a mean lecture despite my politeness; or, once again be vaporized.

    I know a very poor renter, who can’t work, is on Social Security, with no online banking access, or email. They have an account at First Republic Bank (which was very decent to them, despite their poverty, waiving fees they would have otherwise charged) and are petrified about the potential location closure, and impending auction. Per today’s news, the decision is to be determined apparently likely by days end (a Sunday at that), with no little person commentary. They did all of their bank transactions in person (sans ATM card), in a very close, accessible location. Even worse, Pittsburgh National (PNC), headquartered in Pennsylvania, with no Silicon Valley locations (Burlingame and Fremont are not in Silicon valley, and very far for someone poor to travel), is one of the noted bidders. This, even though PNC is actually closing a ton of locations by June 23 (04/03/23 PNC Bank Is Closing 47 More Branches in 15 States, as of June 23 )

    They have no credit card, their last card was shut down for non-use, which should have been illegal (remember when the bi-partisan government shamed people for using credit cards, and stopped allowing credit card interest deductions on income tax returns, but since the nineties have allowed citizens to be totally victimized if they don’t have a credit card). They pay for their basic needs: rent; utilities; and phone by check; it’s not possible for them to pay for their outrageously high PG&E and Telephone charges with cash.

    The government is deliberately culling such people; 24/7 immiserating their lives with increasing daily blows. Further, the failure of those still doing pretty well (e.g. still able to globe trot) to listen to the words of the victims on what it’s like to walk in the poor’s shoes—versus kneejerk, and offer worthless White Paper™, and Data Based™ advice, along with podcasts etcetera that many of the poors (even in Silicon Valley) have no affordable access to, even if they wanted to spend precious time they don’t have, because they actually live in the real world, listening to some blowhard Pundit making bank off others miseries—will end up in a world of only Niemollers who’ll then be in line for the horrid abuse, with not even a choir left to pontificate to.

    (Lovely, Bill Gates’ crew does not acknowledge the word immiserating, at one point, when I still had my shirt on my back, I had thought of doing a telling collection of words not included in their dictionary, or thesaurus, on my now old MS ‘professional’software; which tellingly includes the word surveillance)

    Hugs to all in dire need of one.

    I made this comment when Laura‘s comment was the last showing on my browser.

  8. different clue

    At times when I was not banned at all over at NaCap, I would sometimes have random comments never show up. It was so random that I suspected and still suspect that it was random digital mechanical error. Because enough other comments showed up quick and timely that I was clearly not being stealth-excluded in those pre-banning days.

    So not showing up may be deliberate. Or it may be digital mechanical error. Way after-the-fact de-moderation maybe less so. Still, it may be worthwhile experimenting with a few shorter lower-effort comments just to see what percent get right through.

    Also, near-instant thread-death is a weakness over there. So many new posts are posted each day that most threads die before they have a chance to even mature and then age. Perhaps writing a comment to such a thread could be attempted, and if it gets published, one could then write a one-sentence comment in the very newest thread saying . . . ” I left a comment at the (supply name) thread at this link ( give link to the relevant thread).” That would give people an easy way to circle back to the comment in question if they want to.

    And of course one can always offer high-value comments here instead. Now that Ian Welsh has instituted permanent pre-moderation, the trash and garbage comments never appear which will eventually deter the trash-and-garbage commenters from even bothering to comment. His main requirement appears to be that comments adhere to a Canadian standard of politeness which can be hard on us Americans but is a worthwhile discipline to follow. ( By the way, Colonel Lang ((and now his successors)) at the Sic Semper Tyrannis blog and now the Turcopolier blog also did and do pre-moderation to keep the comment quality up).

  9. different clue

    little landscaping report . . .

    There is a municipal roadside lawn-space around a bus shelter right near where I live. I have started gathering all the grass clippings off it after every infrequent mowing for taking them home to use in my garden.

    After last month’s ice storm and then super wet-heavy snowstorm, lots of branches were torn off of trees. Eventually the big branches were removed. They left behind a whole bunch layer of twigs and sticks. I have raked them up into piles as a first step towards removing them into the nearby woods so I can again gather lawn clippings after the infrequent mowings for use in my garden.

  10. Keith in Modesto

    multitude of poors,
    Your comment is there now, right at the very end of the comment section:

  11. multitude of poors

    Keith in Modesto,

    Thanks much for the heads up, sigh, and sorry for that big error, Ian. Looking closer at the url I see I accidently posted it on the links for April 28th. when I had intended to post it on the Links for the 29th, and even effed up my above post by noting the 29th was the 28th. I do know my comment never made the side bar, other than that, I’ve no clue when it showed up. I also know that my increasing lack of time due to my own increasingly shabby online access; trying to help loved ones; increasingly insane means testing; predatory corporate actions, etcetera, means that I shouldn’t make comments I really don’t have time to make carefully, which I used to be able to do.

    In general though, I don’t retract what I said about the site. Those experiences did happen frequently to myself and others; while they allowed highly negative comments and supposed humor with no chiding whatsoever, including one commenter who frequently made (likely still makes) extremely misogynist comments about females. For me, it got to the point It had a very a negative psychological effect, which I call dignity stripping, so for the most part, with very rare exceptions, I stopped posting there, spending very little time there.

    I do understand that moderating can be very stressful, and difficult to do, but I feel they have inexplicably disappeared some comments, and/or pulled them from moderation way too late for anyone to even see them, when they might have at least noted the late release when it was clear the person made a very valid well researched, time consuming comment. They never apologized for certain things they’ve done, and repeatedly said some unnecessary things to their commenters. Susan chiding about anecdotes, but then front paging her own anecdotes, was particularly icky. Some of their under appreciated commenters bring much value, including extra eyeballs from those who follow those particular commenters, on that particular type of site. Too many times some commenters are treated pretty shabbily; to the point I increasingly wonder which comments were deliberately vaporized in the few front page posts that interest me most (i.e. the ever increasing homeless; increasingly abused renters; and exploding US poverty in general) . As I noted above, to my mind it renders not much of a reliable historical back and forth conversation in their archives on certain subjects.

    Adding, First Republic was sold to horrid Chase, just like had happened with Washington Mutual (WAMU). The only good thing about it being that it wasn’t sold to more horrid BofA or Pittsburgh National (PNC)—the other expected bidders—and supposedly the bank locations will remain the same, good news for my friend, who felt utterly panicked about a potential new location and still outstanding basic needs checks, including rent; and checks to their horrid Part D provider and telecomm. They had already gone through the WAMU buy out by Chase—during Obama/Biden’s Great Recession™—and despised Chase, so switched to First Republic and loved the change, and being treated kindly by a bank even when they became impoverished and an apparently widely despised older single renter.

    I made this commentat 9:10 AM PDT, when Keith’s was the last showing on my browser.

    gotta run …

  12. multitude of poors

    belatedly adding to my above comment:

    Keith in Modesto,

    I’m feeling that I did not express enough how important it was to me that you listened to my voice, a special embrace to you.

    anon y’mouse, mago,22 and Ché,

    I hope your silences, given your prior frequency of comments, are just meditations, versus something more ominous. The three of you have all provided stepping stones on very bad days; thank you so very much.

    Mark Level,

    I’ve really liked what you’ve imparted on other posts that I’ve read, but a kind meaning suggestion: some of our eyes are failing, and an occasional 2 ‘carriage returns’ (“enter” on a computer keyboard)—the second one being what’s called ‘white space’ (online/digital reading is very hard on older eyes without those blank spaces, it’s very different than reading something hardcopy, not sure why.)—as they used to call it regarding a typewriter, might bring even more attention to your very thoughtful and important comments.


    Again, thanks for the stepping stone. Particularly in not—subtly, or otherwise—shaming commenters not able to monetarily contribute.

    The US Government (and the Deep State Republic California) is so venal it’s hard to wrap my mind around it. Now, my friend (noted in the above two comments of mine), my remaining loved ones, all older than me, and myself, get to be petrified at the prospect of not being able to pay for anything at all!!!!! How Fucking Vicious Is That?????? because of a Debt Ceiling™—in a country sovereign in its own currency which has just forked out quasi legal/illegal? billions to billionaires making runs on banks—that may prevent Medicaid (in California it’s called Medi-Cal) Social Security and Medicare payments being made. (PLEASE, don’t at me about how the DemRats are not complicit in this, not interested, never voted republican but will never vote for a DemRat again; nor vote for a Green™ who shows no regard for human life other than their own precious lives).

    Again, hugs to those in dire need of hugs.

    gotta run …

  13. multitude of poors

    uuugh, have no idea where the 22 after mago’s name came from in my last (not posted yet) comment which showed up in the preview in moderation. I pasted directly from what I wrote. I hope there are no other odd additions, as I’m exhausted, and terrified by this state (California) and country, and going to bed, apologies if there are. I’ll address it later if so.

    gotta run …

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