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.


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 24, 2023


German Dependence On China


  1. Neil

    I noticed it this morning after my reading of the news. The left is dead! Capital has won.

  2. responseTwo

    “Biden’s NLRB Brings Workers Rights Back From the Dead” – I suggest getting different views on the union in conjunction with Biden. Corporations buy the federal government and they tell Biden what to do. is a good source to get more details on what these unions, with Biden and his corporate news doing the cheer-leading, actually do.

  3. Willy

    I’m old enough to remember when Nike made its shoes in Oregon. I even owned some.

    Then they sent manufacture to the lands of “race to the bottom”. They made Michael Jordan (known by insiders as a bit of an asshole) the face of their company. Then they jacked up the prices of their low-quality sneakers to make them seem exclusive (I myself as an avid buyer of used shoes, noticed that Nike’s gave out more quickly than Adidas, New Balance, Converse, Reeboks, Columbia and even some brands I’d never heard of. )

    I knew that surely, all of these whammies would sink Nike.

    Nope. Nike overcame it all by making their shoes cooler than the competitors. In fact, I think if a Nike stood today in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shot somebody, they wouldn’t lose any customers. Witness the firepower of a fully armed and operational marketing campaign.

    But maybe this should be about Biden and his relations with labor. Is he really the “most pro-union president ever”? Or is he just pulling yet another Nike and herding the mob into mindlessly buying his bullshit? We all know Trump is worse, right? So how do we make social anger cooler than “freedumb”?

  4. bruce wilder

    the war of narratives v the war in reality in Ukraine continues

    there are so few facts available, it remains difficult to discern the reality

    as the AFU continue to expand their salient, I wonder if someone’s narrative is about to crash and burn. Either the Ukrainians are about to “break thru” in an accelerating fashion or the Russians will send in their reserves to cut off the salient.

    If you believe the Russophiles, Ukraine is out of meat. It seems a plausible take.

    If you believe the pro-Ukrainians, the Russians are struggling to maintain their logistics, under the barrage of assaults on bridges and depots.

    I find it easy to credit the idea that Ukraine’s economy is in a state of collapse, kept going solely by western financial aid. I do not know the scale of their losses in this war of attrition.

    The Russian military has not been impressive so far, in their ability to impose their will on Ukraine. The Russophiles claim Russia is restraining itself. Hmmm.

    I wonder if Biden can publicly lose and acknowledge losing a war against Russia and survive politically.

  5. Tallifer

    @bruce wilder

    I recommend that you follow the Telegraph’s Ukrainian podcast for the most insightful analysis of the Ukrainian invasion. The youtube channels Military Lab and Ukrainian Update give good synopses of each days progress by the Ukrainians.

  6. different clue


    All during the very same time that super-marketing made Nike super-profitable, there were still some people buying ” Adidas, New Balance, Converse, Reeboks, Columbia and even some brands I’d never heard of. ” And that I had never heard of either.

    These people were being marinated in the same vat of Bernays Brain-soak Liquid as the Nike-buyers were. What made these people resistant to the Nike marketing? Or even immune to it? Can that power be taught? Can it be learned?

    And even if it can’t be, enought people have it to where the brands you named are still alive even unto this very day. How can the people who are un-Nikefied be advised of eachothers’ existence? How can they be inspired to find eachother at the politicultural combat level and make themselves into an extended and distributed political and cultural strike force to bend the culture their way and shape the political battlespace to their advantage?

    Perhaps we who never owned a Nike should just write off the Nike-buyers and Nike-fans as low-functioning dull normals and write them off. Cut them loose. Regard them as Darwin’s Discards waiting for the Stark Fist of Removal to deal with them in its Own Good Way in its Own Good Time.

  7. Willy

    I sometimes wonder if the situation in Ukraine isn’t just a planned diversion. Besides all the obvious enriching of the western industrial-military complex. And Russia’s too, I suppose.

    I mean, with all the talk about nukes I seriously doubt that Putin is any more nuts than Khruschev ever was. You’d think the mere thought of his beloved resort Sochi turned into a radioactive death zone would just plain suck. What I’m saying is that the west could escalate much without much worry. Speed things up a bit. But they chose to instead, keep that conflict just hot enough to maintain the relative stalemate.

    That’s my attempt to re-segue this back to all the union strikes going on. And to which presidential or fascist candidate might be best for those workers.

  8. Failed Scholar

    Canada has gone full clown-world. The Liberals especially, as they and their supporters have made a living accusing their opponents of being various flavours of racists and nazis, etc., the trucker protestors in Ottawa being the example par excellence. And now we have a guy who was a literal SS *volunteer* being cheered by these doofuses in Parliament as a ‘Canadian hero’. You really can’t make this s*** up!

    I found some of the headlines around the net enlightening as well:

    CNN – Canada House Speaker apologizes after celebrating Ukrainian veteran who fought for Nazi unit in World War II

    Reuters – Canada House speaker apologizes for recognition of veteran who fought for Nazis

    Fox News – Canada under fire for applauding ‘literal Nazi’ in parliament during Zelenskyy visit

    BBC – Canada’s House speaker apologises for praising Ukrainian Nazi veteran

    Al Jazeera – ‘Deepest apologies’: Canada official backtracks after Ukraine Nazi honoured

    Politico – Nazi-linked veteran received ovation during Zelenskyy’s Canada visit

    And the locals:

    Global News – Jewish group says an ‘apology is owed’ after MPs honoured man who fought for Nazis

    CTV – House Speaker Anthony Rota apologizes after inviting man who fought for Nazis to Parliament

    CBC – Ovation for Ukrainian who served in Nazi unit in WW II ‘deeply troubling,’ Jewish organization says

    Toronto Star – Jewish groups angered after Parliament gave standing ovation to Ukrainian veteran who fought in a Nazi unit

    Globe & Mail – House Speaker apologizes after MPs honour man who fought with Nazi unit

    Notice the framing in the headlines of ‘fought for Nazis’, ‘served in Nazi unit’, versus ‘Ukrainian Nazi’ and ‘Ukrainian Nazi veteran’ (from the BBC and Al Jazeera)-which is far more accurate in this case. Despicable journalism trying mightily to sugarcoat their headlines – good f****ng luck with that. And speaking of despicable, my friend who is a reddit sleuth through and through got himself banned this morning from r/worldnews for posting any mention of this. I’m told r/news is also censoring it as well. The censorship and ‘narrative management’ is so blatant it burns the eyes.

  9. Willy

    @ different clue,
    I originally got into political commentary because I’d been workplace mobbed. Not once or twice, but thrice. I finally did the big WTF?!

    None of the perpetrators knew each other. But they all seemed to operate the same way: make me (their competitor) uncool to the boss and enough of any witnesses so that a critical social mass of manufactured contempt would be achieved so the boss could successfully eliminate me without causing workplace dysfunction or insubordination that’d get himself in trouble with others higher up the food chain.

    But I wasn’t special. I saw the same thing happening to others who the manipulators also didn’t like. Since one of them was our very best employee and another was our very best manager, the quality and innocence of the targeted individuals seemed irrelevant to the power of this darkside dynamic. Anthropologist Janice Harper Phd, the Rev. Detrich Bonhoeffer, and even a teacher named Ron Jones (of Third Wave fame) all tried explaining the same human social glitch. Bernays too I suppose, but he was an asshole.

    I once proclaimed that the Neocons/neoliberals were two sides of the same international corporate bastard coin and were pushing a great divide between the progressives and conservatives, to deflect attentions and power away their own plutocratic ambitions and actions. I now humbly take all that back.

    Sure, divide and conquer is a useful strategy. But I think division can also be accomplished by capturing the emotions of just one side. It then winds up looking like two sides are needing a kumbaya moment when in reality, only one side has gone completely batshit looney tunes. Robert Reich describes how the American right has moved much further right since the 70’s while the American left hasn’t changed much at all. The other side is then left scrambling trying to figure out WTF is going on and it only looks like a widening divide in need of a kumbaya moment.

  10. Failed Scholar

    For those interested, Mark Felton made a video back in June detailing the sordid affair of how Britain and Canada helped to quietly resettle an entire Waffen SS division into the UK and Canada after the war:

  11. different clue

    @Failed Scholar,

    This is the sort of thing that people have in mind when they speak of a ” Nazi-Paperclipping Deep State” .

  12. different clue


    I remember the days of my TV-watching youth. I remember ” Beauty Shop Madge” selling the joys and benefits of Palmolive dishwashing liquid. So I tried to find that old legacy ad on You Tube. In the short time I have available, every version of that ad is somehow blocked by You Tube.

    But I found an Australian version. Who knew that Australia had its own Australian Beauty Shop Madge selling Palmolive dishwashing liquid? But Australia did. And here it is.

    Why is this relevant? Because a thought occurred to me about a satirical ad that could be made if Madge were close enough to our own present day that anyone watching it could get the referrence.

    It would be an ad for Bernays Brainwashing Liquid. Keeps your brain soft and smooth.
    ” You’re soaking in it.”
    ” What!? ”
    ” Relax! It’s Bernays Brainwashing Liquid.”

  13. Willy

    I found Madge:

    When I first watched Madge she seemed like the quick-talking baby sitter I wouldn’t want. Watching today, she looks kinda hot. Sweet Jesus, I’m getting old.

    Bernays Brainwashing Liquid = Fox News, even with all the firings, lawsuits and comedy sketch inspirations… still being considered the infallible word of God by millions.

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