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.


US Sanctions On China’s Chip Industry Have Completely Backfired


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – February 18, 2024


  1. Albert De

    No country whose creation was forced to save the British money and which has such weak ethical bearings: seizing bank accounts, supporting Genocide, cutting support to a UN agency providing food to deliberately starved people, applauding a Nazi in parliament, being a member of NATO will survive after the next Quebec referendum. Polls are predicting a Parti Québécois majority government and even they can see independence will win.

  2. Ian Welsh

    Unlikely, there isn’t enough support for Quebec independence and young people support it less than older people.

    Canada has acted wrongly, but Quebecois aren’t likely to care that much: they tend to be more racist against Arabs/Islam than Anglos.

  3. bruce wilder

    Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, et alia reported again recently in greater detail on the origins of Russiagate, the FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation and the false accusations that Trump was colluding with Putin’s Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton. The role of Brennan at CIA in concocting this web of disinformation in the waning days of the Obama administration has been highlighted.

    Alexsey Navalny, an opposition figure in Russia thought to be a tool of Western Intelligence, died in prison in a remarkably timely way – on the eve of a speech by his wife to the annual Munich Security Conference.

    Tucker Carlson’s interview with Putin, accompanied by such inane shorts as a visit to an ersatz McDonalds in Moscow to confirm that the fries (non-GMO) remain up to standard, continues to reverberate.

    The combination of what people know that isn’t so and what people generally do not know at all shadows the War in Ukraine, an ugly war the U.S. is losing by proxy, but which together with out of control illegal immigration, is the subject of a struggle in Congress dividing the Republican Party.

    The rhetoric advocating for Ukraine War funding generally follows along lines that presume Russiagate was real and Trump and Tucker are tools of Putin’s evil empire.

    But, who is a tool of whom here? And, does factual information matter? (Not much, I guess, on any issue.)

    Marjorie Taylor Greene, I note, opposes Ukraine war funding and would free Assange. What to make of that? Or of dismissive characterizations of her as stupid.

  4. unfathomable

    Thank you for your site and for all you do Ian. I tried posting this over at Naked Capitalism, to no avail. It seems they can’t handle the entire truth yet.

    Here are a couple “regular joe” working class guys trying to help us. Please spread the word. All we have left is us:

    It is no longer possible to deny what is going on. I didn’t get the “vax” because I read Peter Doshi and others early on and it was obvious that the efficacy numbers were a complete joke. The fact that they changed the definition of vaccine to fit the new mRNA concoctions was also a huge red flag. BUT, I didn’t believe the things I was seeing a couple years ago regarding these white clots. There was scant information then, and I wasn’t able to do a proper “deep dive” into it.

    We now have all the evidence necessary to show that these jabs are causing an entirely new disease – and it’s not just the mRNA, though they are the worst. The adenovirus vaccines, which include Novavax, are also a problem.

    Retired Air Force Major Tom Haviland set up the simplest questionnaire to determine what may be going on. No leading questions, no mention of either covid or the shots. Just “what are you seeing and when and how does this compare to what you have seen historically?”:

  5. mago

    Encountered someone with whom I share certain sensibilities yesterday—even if he is a retired white shoe corporate lawyer. And he said:
    “Navalny died today.”
    I said I knew that. He implicated Putin.
    To which I replied the Navalny person was sick in prison and posed no threat so Putin lacked motive.
    He suggested sick and death by poisoning.
    I deflected by saying we use drones, they use poison, who knows how this shit works?
    Nobody needs to read this, I’m just sounding off, because I run into this ignorant and misinformed crap all the time from otherwise intelligent and creative people whose conditioning runs so deep you couldn’t blow it out with a bunker bomb
    Got a friend, a retired actor, who is witty and informed in his art, who quotes Shakespeare at length. Last phone conversation with him was just prior to October 7, and he was singing Biden’s praises to the heavens, best president ever.
    I held my tongue knowing that he was partially baiting me to get a reaction, and partially because he’s a believer.

    What’s up with these people? Rhetorical question for sure.
    I know some answers.
    Doesn’t matter except I’m surrounded by it.
    God, Covid and vaccination time was another joy ride.
    But in the here and now, the light grows longer and stronger in the Northern hemisphere.
    And be kind to your web footed friends, for a duck could be somebody’s mother.
    Something like that.

  6. bruce wilder


    One big, multifaceted factor is the information vacuum. Amidst the flood tide of propaganda, there has been a serious diminishment of institutional integrity and mediated verification. There are a lot of people online and on teevee trying out their charisma, so it is easy to find attractive models of apparently powerful, self-confident understanding of the meaning of everything, but not very many examples of careful, balanced judgment backed up by insight into how things actually work.

    What you cannot find much of is genuine, objectively well-informed reasoning. And, much of what can be found is wasted clearing away the debris of misinformation and argumentative misdirection. The cognitive cost of navigating political news events is very high. People are bored and exhausted, and they settle for stupid in the form of cheerleading or paranoia or some other quick and easy formula.

    Another factor is social isolation: lots of people have no opportunities to watch intelligent people disagree in ways that challenge and deepen arguments. They are used to one-liner bumper sticker slogans and “witty” comebacks. If they do encounter an elaborate argument in, say, a podcast or documentary it is likely to be an hypnotic trance induction prefacing a dishonest narrative — a political dramatization akin to an infomercial or a narrative to make the listener feel good about themselves and anxious about the perfidy of those “other” people whose opposing viewpoints are inexplicable as anything other than simple badness.

  7. Current events:
    USA life expectancy falls below what it was in the late 90’s.
    Israel is committing genocide.
    Autism rates went from1 in 10,000 to 3% in 45 years.
    Biden is starving the people of Afghanistan
    The rich have taken all the income gains of the last 45 years.
    The clinical trials showed Covid vaccines increase mortality by 24%
    Under oath a EPA expert witness admits that fluoride causes cognitive impairment.

    Concerns among people:
    “OMG Mexicans are crossing the border”.
    “ Hunter Biden has a laptop.”
    “In Russia a politician died in a jail cell”
    “I’m so pissed about having to call people a different pronoun”

    Anyone ever hear the joke about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? Dark and funny because it’s a completely accurate reflection of our society.

  8. Curt Kastens

    Bruce, do not take this the wrong way, you are one of the lights of my day. But I just have to place my new bumper sticker proposal here. The timing right behind your criticism of sound bites and bumper stickers is rather bad. My bumper sticker is supposed to be a humorous dig at those who think that we are on the verge of the Chinese Century if not Mellinium. In large print, The New World Order will be No World Order. In small print, Created by the band 2° Sellseeus.

    Orderless whether equals orderless agriculture equals orderless society at best or human extinction @.

  9. Joe

    To Bruce’s excellent points. It isn’t just institutional integrity in question it’s information generally. Grabbing one’s attention like it’s a fetishized object seems to be the overwhelming purpose behind a lot of this so called information. And this situation covers subject from the mundane to the critical. I despair for where this is leading us. I can’t claim to be highly educated but at least I like to think I have some ability to discern babble from accurate accounts of reality. Advertising and attention grabbing seems to be trumping what would otherwise be a way of knowing reality, like an all out war.
    Such a shame the net could have been so beneficial. I guess this is what happened to t.v and radio too just supercharged. We are coming to a place when the uniformed may be better informed than the informed.

  10. different clue


    Clickbait and velcro tarbabies.

  11. mago

    Oh, geez.
    Yes, complex issues reduced to slogans and sound bites.
    Lotsa folks have been throwing darts at that one for a while now.
    But we’re still faint echoes in the abyss.
    Not to mix metaphors or anything.
    Blame social media, Netflix and the MSM, all those harlots whores and more who kill attention spans and awareness.
    Nobody listens anymore, they’re too caught up in their own mental buzz and distractions.
    I’ve abandoned any hope of conveying subtlety, irony and nuance let alone complexity and interdependence when trying to communicate about anything of weight and importance, let alone the mundane and quotidian.
    Even when imparting essential information regarding tasks, one draws a slack jawed blank.
    Apropos of none of this I actually heard someone today refer to Nalvany as a freedom fighter and request prayers for him.
    Need a pair of hip boots to wade through this shit.

  12. bruce wilder

    the mundane and the quotidian

    title of an epic novel for our times

  13. capelin

    @bruce wilder

    “What you cannot find much of is genuine, objectively well-informed reasoning. And, much of what can be found is wasted clearing away the debris of misinformation and argumentative misdirection.”

    I would disagree with the first part and agree with the second part.

    “The cognitive cost of navigating political news events is very high. People are bored and exhausted, and they settle for stupid in the form of cheerleading or paranoia or some other quick and easy formula.”

    Yeah, no, you are being too kind. People are actively screening it out. Because it’s way easier and most people are self-centered herd-animals with vestigial moral instincts.

    Bring it up, they deflect and shut it down. Active non-curiosity. Bring it up again, social shunning. Very clear. Active.

  14. Curt Kastens

    This came to my in box today. It came from a site called The Lever. Since the SCOTUS has been stacked with quacks it is higly probable that they will do the wrong thing.
    So a death blow to government regulations seems likely to be in store for the future of the US. Not much can be done about at this point. On top of that I can not even see that it will be of any help to know that it is comming down the pike.

    A Supreme Court case being considered today could deal a death blow to federal regulations, including some that have been in place for decades. As Katya Schwenk reveals in today’s featured story, right-wing business groups, especially those backed by the conservative Koch network, are trying to overturn a rule that could unleash an onslaught on consumer protections that most Americans don’t even know exist.

    This is the bummer sticker for the back of my lawn mower. I am a technological dinasour stuck in a tar pit surrounded by dinasours with large and sharp teeth hoping that I can become a piece of amber on a wall in San Pedropoul.

  15. Curt Kastens

    From google,
    Their beaks are also considerably different. A closer look reveals that ravens have bigger thicker and curvier beaks than crows. Crows instead have much smaller slimmer and straighter beaks. Another key difference is their tails. 19 Jan 2021

  16. Curt Kastens

    Those who think that the world’s environmental problems can be solved at this point are proving that they are not very good scientists because they clearly do understand the depth of the problem.
    Back from about 2002 when I first became aware of the problem until 2015, more or less, I thought that advanced technology could solve the sustainability problem. Specifically I thought that the holy grail was nuclear fusion power. I thought if humanity could hold out long enough until nuclear fusion power was developed we could create anything and if we could create anything we could solve any problem. Now I think that this way of thinking is an example of wishful thinking. I guess that was my equivelent of the barging stage in the 5 stages of grief.

  17. Curt Kastens

    The ethnic cleansing of Estonia, Latvia, and LIthuania is now a morally and legally justifiable option for Russia to persue. Most importantly it is a doable project for Russia.

  18. Curt Kastens

    The Stegasaurus main battle tank which has been under developement since 2002 will begin production tommorrow in a secret location. A Production run of 1453 units is projected. The tank is projected to provide a qualitative offensive edge for the Royal Farce Military Units over the next 20 to 25 years.
    The tank has a cost of only 250, 000 pounds of Rials making it a cost effective purchanse for any non governmental organization that wishes to order its own units before the prices become inflated by high demand.
    A special unique feature of the tank is its injection seats which insure that the crew members remain in one peace should the tank be destroyed by enemy fire.
    Tow color schemes are available rainbow and pink.

  19. Curt Kastens

    Other than the headline I did not read even one word of the article that I am linking below because I no longer have any interest in the subject of the plandemic.
    But it did occur to me, based upon the title of the article, that other people who frequently read here might find the linked article quite interesting.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén