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.


How Religions Go Wrong (Fire From The Gods 3)


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 23, 2023


  1. Astrid


    I left a note for you in the Persuasion thread. Not intended as persuasion but just noting something that helped me in recent months. It’s funny that after a lifetime of ignoring something because I was told it was crazy and couldn’t work, I started to listen and found it was clear and persuasive (ha!) for me.

  2. Willy

    Communism. I think I’ve got the basics down but still, I have many questions.

    The bad rap: specifically, the big central government gone genocidal rogue. Or that just plain screwed up and many suffered and died. So that now, we’ve got most people equating the term “communism” with “Satanism” or even “Nickleback”. What’s the solution? Or is there a new and improved version in the works?

    Why go full commie when basic progressivism, properly done, seems to work reasonably well?

    Why all the hatred towards “liberals”? Wouldn’t it be smarter to make attacking reactionary regressives a popular fad first, before moving on to abusing and degrading the liberals?

    I’m wondering if one of our resident commie commentariat (or any informed somebody who’d always wanted to play one) might answer.

  3. Willy

    MTG is like a one-man million-monkeys-typing. Sooner or later she’s gonna inadvertently endorse all of her opposition. And sometimes it’ll even come across as Shakespearean.

    Plus I predicted that Biden would listen to Bernie. I knew what would happen if Biden’s handlers could keep the deviously machinating corporate influencers away. Not always successful. A few do sneak in to gain his ear. But he’s been better than Trump.

  4. NR

    There’s certainly a lot of discussion to be had about Biden’s performance in office, but I want to focus on this quote from MTG:

    “Joe Biden had the largest public investment in social infrastructure and environmental programs that is actually finishing what FDR started, what LBJ expanded on, and Joe Biden is attempting to complete,” says Greene. “Programs to address education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, transportation, Medicare, Medicaid, labor unions. And he still is working on it.”

    What really stands out to me is that MAGA thinks all of these are bad things. I’ve thought for a while now that if the Republican party ran to the left of the Democratic establishment on economic issues while keeping their hard-right stances on social issues, they could win landslide victories, at least on the level of Reagan in 1984. And I remember Glenn Greenwald (among others, probably) saying a while ago that they were going to do exactly that.

    But it’s clear to me now that that’s not going to happen, because MAGA simply doesn’t want that. Their politicians and their voters are completely fine with our system which screws over the poor at the expense of the rich, which lets thousands upon thousands of people die every year from lack of health care, which continues to hollow out huge swaths of the country to line the pockets of a very few. They just want that cruel system to be even crueler to women, to black and brown people, trans people… everyone they don’t like.

    MAGA isn’t a repudiation of neoliberalism, it’s neoliberalism on steroids, with a huge helping of cruelty and prejudice to go with it. There was an opportunity for the movement to go in a different direction, but it’s not going to, because the people driving it don’t want it to.

  5. different clue


    Beau of the Fifth Column noticed the same thing you noticed about those recent statements about the Biden Agenda by little Miss Jewish Space Lasers. He noticed that she discussed all that like it was a bad thing, which she thinks it is. Especially if it were all as much “for real” as she thinks it is.

    Beau thinks that the Biden Group has even made a clever little politica ad pointing this out which they haven’t released yet, and which they may never release. He hopes they do release it. He talks about that in his little videocast called ” Let’s talk about Biden’s new Dark Brandon ad . . . ”

    And yes, many lay MAGAs in the field would be reachable by a pure form of New Deal Revivalism, purely expressed. Sanders was gaining a toehold of respectul listeners in the MAGA community. I remember reading that Sanders showed up to address a group of West Virginians in the East Kentucky Appalachia region, which is supposed to be a stronghold of deep MAGAtude. I remember reading that one of the attendees later said that ” at least a Senator from Vermont came all the way here to see us, which is more than Senator McConnell has ever done.” That potential reach by Sanders is what the ClintoBama Bidendemocrat Party hates, loathes and fears Sanders the most for, and which is why they engineered his deletion from the primary process two times in a row.

    Showing once again that America has lots of democracy for the Right, some trappings of democracy for the Vital Third Way No Labels Center, and no democracy for the left at the National FedGov level. The only real non-engineered choices the Leftists can excercise at the National Level are choices for bitter vengeance expressed as maximum “electoral arson” and “voting for the spoiler”.

    Some softish leftish-ists like me might vote for 4 more years of “give us a breather and time to get ready” for the Rightlash to come, and a case could be made for that.
    But that only makes sense if those ” 4 more years” of Biden are indeed used to get Leftish and Leftish-adjacent communities ready for the Rightlash to come after 4 more years of Biden.

  6. different clue

    ” West Virginians” in East Kentucky? Actually, I meant to mean ” Kentuckians” in East Kentucky. Whom Sanders went to see.

  7. Willy

    MAGA is yet another version of neolib snake oil. Say one thing do another. The peacenik libertarians at proclaimed that Trump was also a worse neocon than his two predecessors were.

    But he’s always telling us we’ve got all these damned commies to fight. Yet mysteriously, I’m having a helluva time finding even one, even at known commie hangouts.

  8. different clue


    Neither Trump nor the Republicanons are concerned with real commies or not. ” Commie” is just a Pavlov’s Bell word that they spray paint on any target of convenience or desire at the moment.

    (There is a classic National Lampoon magazine image titled Great Moments In Science- Pavlov’s Dog, which I would bring here if I could find it. But all I could bring is the title. It is a picture of “Pavlov’s Dog”. This is the National Lampoon we are talking about here, so try imagining what the dog looks like.)

  9. Mark Level

    Here’s a comment I shared at Naked Capitalism viz the great piece they had today about Annaleena Baerbock going to India and lecturing the “jungle” residents (since she lives in Josep Borrell’s wonderfully white “garden” world) about their moral responsibilities to punish “aggressors” like Russia. (US has never been an aggressor?) Somebody noted Baerbock gives off a vibe like Li’l Miss Susy Creamcheese, perfect little girl pretensions . . .My comment: “On the other hand, Blinken has a “my life is miserable & my soul is dead” glare, the affect that he has gone thru severe depression or is struggling with it. I think the Duran duo or someone covered that when he was age 9, Blinken’s mom tossed aside his dad and ran to France, taking Anthony along, to take up with a much richer man who she eventually married!! And Blinken as a political consiglieri has been a disaster from the get-go (daddy got him into the field), one of his first “accomplishments” was sending Mikey Dukakis in a helmet for a tank ride, and the whole campaign tanked starting with this absurd image. Blinken gives off the vibe of someone suffering complex PTSD from early childhood (I have a family member with this vibe so I recognize it), could’ve been bullied also. And an even clearer case was Trump sub Steven Miller. Born in ritzy Santa Monica, he was enraged starting in middle school & felt “bullied” by the “mean Libs” who didn’t agree that Latinos are inferior, blacks are beyond the pale (pun too easy not to use), Feminists are ugly & arrogant, gays are repugnant, etc. Nietzsche discussed “ressentiment” at length. Don’t forget also that Nixon was never one of the “cool guys,” he seethed with resentment at the handsome & patrician JFK (not entirely without reason). So politicos can learn to bully and dominate as victims or victimizers. I’m unsure if any consistent pattern could be shown.” Oh, & different clue, I’m pretty surprised you have the intestinal fortitude to watch the hypocritical & smarmy “Beau of the 5th Column” who I used to support until he became an All-In-For-Ukraine dead-ender (I expect due to his military background.) Kyle Kulinski also covered the campaign Biden-world (smartly) made out of MTGs utterly false word salad about “socialist” Lefty Joe . . .I did force myself to serially watch Beau’s hypocritical piece about the U$ sending cluster munitions to Ukraine, a war crime on its face, which he kind of mostly acknowledged (he has to pose as a lefty to herd support for the U$ MIC and also Raytheon, which he has openly praised for their lobbying for profits.) Anyway after that concession he copped out of & rejected all the reasonable points he’d made by saying “I’m confident that the Ukranian military will only use those RESPONSIBLY.” Oh, right, foaming at the mouth Bandera Nazis are always known to be measured & “reasonable”, careful people, Amrrrite?

  10. different clue

    @Mark Level,

    Many otherwise-right people can be wrong about something major. When he is not talking about Ukraine, he seems interesting and value-adding to me. But my screen-time is limited to workplace computers during break/lunch or the public library computers on my off days. So I don’t have the time to watch every Beau video in detail to see what I think of the whole body of talk. I click on the titles which seem interesting in the limited time I have.

    About Ukraine, if one enters the theater in the middle of the movie, it certainly looks like a classic morality play of big bully Imperial Russia invading plucky little Ukraine. Perhaps he could be looking at it that way instead of from his military background. But I don’t know. For myself, I just throw up my hands and decide I won’t know what ” is happening” in Ukraine until it has all-the-way finished happening and then we will know. My vague feeling ( hardly a firm prediction) is that Ukraine will end up like Paraguay did after the Chaco War, or maybe even worse off. But that is just a vague feeling.

    Speaking of looking at things from a military point of view, I suspect there may be many such. Within a few weeks after the Syrian Civil War was well under way, Lang supported the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic in a serious way. He felt is was defending multi-confessional Arab-Culture Civilization in Syria against the US-supported GAJ ( Global Axis of Jihad) and the CLEJ ( Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadis). He became very well disposed towards Russia for supporting Civilization versus Barbarism in Syria.

    He didn’t start to turn against Russia for invading Ukraine until the Russian forces starting showing what he considered to be serious military incompetence. For him, military competence had a valence all its own. If Russia was this incompetent, maybe it really was in the wrong as well. And TTG ( The Twisted Genius) has always been very pro-Ukraine in this affair. Turcopolier and Naked Capitalism have been running completely opposing narratives of this war. My only comments about this subject over there at Turcopolier have basically been that I throw up my hands and can’t know what is happening until it has happened. Turcopolier Blog does seem open to counter-narrative comments in its comments threads.

  11. mago

    I kind of care while I don’t care why nobody comments on the chemical cocktail that the ruling class lives on

    The so called elite with their endorphin enhancing pharmaceuticals, their daily huffs, snorts and injections.

    Think that’s conspiracy?

    Check your own pulse.

  12. NR


    I’m skeptical that “many” MAGAs could be reached with a New New Deal. Certainly there are a few that could be. But I don’t think it’s anywhere close to a majority.

    Maybe the best metric we have of this is how many working-class white voters abandoned Trump in 2020. Remember that Trump talked a good economic platform in 2016 when he was running, and once he won, he implemented virtually none of it. This cost him about 4-5% of the working-class white vote in 2020, which isn’t much, but it made the difference between him losing and winning.

    Still, is this 4-5% enough to be the core of a long-term political constituency? Again, I’m skeptical. And in any case, most of MAGA is just fine with neoliberalism, they just want the people they don’t like to suffer even more than they are.

  13. Willy

    Speaking of National Lampoon, someday MAGAs will realize that brownies don’t want to replace whiteys just because Dems want more votes, but because brownies want whitey jobs. For shit sakes you neo-nazi proud boys, quit mindlessly marching against blue zones and go after the meatpacking and construction industry overlords already.
    Makes me think of that marching band scene in Animal House where they can’t figure out they’ve marched into a wall.

    “We shall not be replaced” Brrump! (bang heads against wall). “We shall not be replaced”…

    Anyhoo… No communists? Anybody want to play a communist or get one’s ass in here to answer my questions? I saw a comment recently touting Stalin-talk. Is that like a coffee klatch talk show or something?

  14. Z

    Putin pulled a double jujitsu move on NATO.

    After the Kerch Bridge in Crimea was bombed it was pretty much a given that Putin was not going to renew the Black Sea Grain deal that expired this past week especially since, according to some Russian sources, the bombing was done by Ukraine with UK weapons and the weapons were transported to the attack by commercial vessels that came out of Crimea.

    The Ukrainian grain being shipped in the Black Sea Grain deal was all, as far as I know, being shipped out of Odessa.

    NATO, Larry’s and Stanley’s Asset Inflation Factory Blackrock, Larry Fink’s pal Steve-O’s Blackstone, and Vanguard all badly want to hold onto Odessa so that they can maximize their return on their Ukrainian investments. Russia wants Odessa for their own benefit and also to landlock and weaken Ukraine.

    As I predicted last week, once the deal was not renewed by Russia, Ukraine and the U.S. immediately started squawking that it was going to cause higher grain prices and thereby increase world hunger and began calling for UN meetings on it. They want to gin up a humanitarian cause as grounds to put NATO and/or maybe UN forces in Odessa and use NATO ships to escort the grain out. This would force Russia to either bomb NATO and/or UN troops or allow the grain to pass out. I’d imagine that once NATO and/or the UN had a presence in Odessa this would be accompanied with coordinated international campaigns to call for peace negotiations. I believe that India would join in because they’ve recently had high level discussions with U.S. diplomats that seemed to end in amiable terms. This was almost immediately followed by U.S.’s entreaties towards the Chinese, which were not successful.

    So, to counter this move that the West plans on putting on Putin, he is bombing the Port of Odessa to the point that it will be unusable to ship grain from before NATO and the UN can ever develop enough support and execute their plan and the U.S., as they’ve already begun, can jam up the price of grain with their paper money games to solidify international pressure on Russia to come to a peace agreement. This way NATO can’t argue that their and/or UN troops need to be in Odessa to ship out grain to save the world from hunger because the ports will be too damaged to do it.

    Then Putin also announced that he is going to ship free grain to Africa, which was one of Russia’s biggest complaints about the Black Sea Grain deal: that the grain wasn’t going to the neediest nations as had been negotiated, it was going to NATO countries instead. By doing this, Putin also solidified African support.


  15. different clue


    You may be correct that “many” MAGAs would never respond to a clearly stated New Deal Revival program and platform. But “many” would not be needed. ” Just enough” would be all that would be needed. And “just a few” might be ” just enough”. As you note about election 2020, 4-5% of Trump’s White-identified voters switched to Biden and that helped get Biden elected. ” 4-5%” was the “just a few” which was ” just enough” to deny Trump his victory. And they might have been MAGAfringe rather than MAGAcore. Still . . . ” just enough”.

    And the ClintoBama Bidendemocrat Party lords and leaders were all afraid that Sanders would get that ” just enough” or maybe even “more than enough” to win the election, in which case a President Sanders might well have begun the course of radical political chemotherapy needed to cleans, burn, and exterminate every single ClintoBama Bidendemocrat cancer cell out of the Democratic Party Leadership and operative levels.

    At any rate, the ClintoBama Bidendems were scared enough of that possibility that they engineered the outcome against it.


    Chemical self-encrazement of the Overclasses and their class operatives is a very intriguing possibility and usually fails to occur to me. It could deserve some research.

  16. Z

    “After the Kerch Bridge in Crimea was bombed it was pretty much a given that Putin was not going to renew the Black Sea Grain deal that expired this past week especially since, according to some Russian sources, the bombing was done by Ukraine with UK weapons and the weapons were transported to the attack by commercial vessels that came out of Crimea Odessa.”


  17. Curt Kastens

    I found this quite interesting.

  18. Jorge

    “Civilization runs on oil.” But really, civilization runs on diesel, which has a much tighter long-term supply problem. This is a fine exegesis on why we’ll run out of diesel in, maybe, 2030.

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