The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 10, 2024


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  1. mago

    Here ye here ye the court’s in session
    Stand up. sit down, bow down
    Get down on your knees and pray (prey?) for the best cinematic display evah, dontcha know darling
    Sideshow distractions catching your fancy while raptors feast on carrion, but it’s ok, dontcha know darling it’s just a display
    And the takeaway is Hello Darling, someone said something wrong and we’re further down the hole, but put on a Happy Face.
    Everything’s gonna be all right.
    Reliable sources say so.

  2. Soredemos

    The Biden administration has reached new heights of sheer absurdity, in addition to malevolence. They’re killing people with aid drops, dropping aid into the same neighborhoods that are being actively bombed with US supplied munitions, and promising to build a pier to bring in more supplies, which will take two months or more to build, by which time everyone will have starved to death.

    Clearly pressure from both inside and outside the government is forcing it to Do Something, while still being unable to actually just order Israel to stop committing genocide. So we get these morbidly farcical band-aid measures

  3. Eric Anderson

    Let’s have a little discussion about this:
    “This Prophetic Academic Now Foresees the West’s Defeat”

    From the article:
    **One is constantly reading in the papers that Vladimir Putin is a threat to the Western order. Maybe. But the larger threat to the Western order is the hubris of those who run it.**

    Definitely on my list to read soon.
    But the real kicker? The shit that just breaks my brain in half?

    Go to the comment section on the article. Scroll through. Comment after comment after comment about why one of the foremost historians in the world, who has nailed his predictions again and again is wrong. But, lo and behold the wisdom of the NYT comment section! Everyone is the smartest person in the room and can more accurately diagnose the problem than Emmanuel Todd.

    Did someone say something about hubris? Our collective minds are mush.

  4. Willy

    Mossad, Hasbara… sure those outfits have their roles. But AIPAC is the primary influencer, not to mention the original elected government official bribe agent. AIPAC’s an OG in the world of ‘making bank while playing public servant’. I get why NRA got so good at that shit – they’ve got American mouths to feed. But what’s Israel ever done for the USA?

  5. Anonymous


    It’s far worse than a stall tactic. It’s for ethnically cleansing northern Gaza and likely lock the rest into a tinier speck of land with no land access.

    Note that while very few aid trucks make it into northern Gaza, heavy equipment for building GenocideJoe’s pier arrived promptly.

  6. Z

    Lots of talk about that pier in Gaza actually being built by the U.S. military FOR Israel. Makes sense; if it was being built to assist the Palestinians, why wouldn’t the U.S. just simply stop supplying Israel with bombs they are dropping on Palestinians, mostly civilians with the majority of them women and children, and then start supplying the Palestinians with aid? Why wouldn’t they at least use their leverage to try to force Israel to stop bombing the Palestinians to allow aid into Gaza? Of course though, anyone who honestly follows Israel-U.S. relations knows which of the parties has the true leverage on the other and it ain’t the U.S. on Israel.

    Instead, the U.S. is giving Israel bombs with one hand and then pretending that the other hand is tied behind their back and essentially helpless to do anything to help the Palestinians other than build a pier as a work around the bombs they are giving to Israel to drop on the Palestinians; a pier, as Soredemos pointed out, which won’t be finisheduntil probably tens of thousands of additional Palestinians die from malnutrition and disease that come as a result of the bombing the U.S. heartily supports.

    So, it’s basically a cover to get the U.S., which is essentially Israel’s rabid attack Rottweiler, to do Israel’s dirty work in a kinder, gentler way by building a pier that will probably be used to deport Palestinians and to provide a port for all-blessed Israel to steal offshore oil and gas on territory that belongs to the Palestinians, which many believe was one of the core reasons for Israel’s and the U.S.’s genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

    There are also murmurings that there is a substantial amount of U.S. military members who are not anxious, and perhaps not even willing, to fight for Israel, so this is a way to get them to assist Israel under the guise of providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.


  7. The EPA is being sued to end the govenment practice of adding flouride to public water supplies.
    Here is the EPA’s final witness on the stand:

    “You do not dispute that fluoride is capable of causing neurodevelopment harm, correct?” Connett asked.

    “I do not,” Barone said

    Below is a systemic review of various plausible harms of adding low levels of fluoride to drinking water. Note that for almost all harms there are very few studies on the topic. However there are enough studies for the authors to state:
    “In addition to dental fluorosis, evidence was considered strong for reduction in IQ scores in children, moderate for thyroid dysfunction, weak for kidney dysfunction, and limited for sex hormone disruptions. ”

  8. Z

    In regards to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, it’s a very dangerous race our rulers have placed the future of humanity on.

    In one lane is Ukraine and how much our rulers can do to keep them up and running before Ukraine collapses. This is fueled by the U.S. dollar, the West’s ability to produce weapons, the West’s military support of Ukraine, and, the weakest link, which is Ukraine’s manpower and capability to continue to fight. If Ukraine collapses and is forced to capitulate, then Putin will very likely declare all Western ownership of Ukraine’s assets null and void in order to keep our rulers from meddling in Ukraine’s affairs and also as a peace offering to the Ukrainian people and a clarification to them as to whom are truly their worst enemies, which is the West, the entity that encouraged them into their own destruction and now awaits to pick over their carrion and use the country to deport their unwanted immigrants to, which will ironically destroy Ukraine’s national identity that The Uncrowned Queen of Ukraine Victoria Kagan-Nuland did so much to promote.

    In the second lane is the power of the U.S. dollar and how far our rulers can run the Fed’s printing press to support Ukraine and to continue to maintain leverage to bully around and coerce other countries to do their bidding until the dollar collapses and/or we have debilitating societal breakdown in the U.S., which could lead to the balkanization of the U.S. and hence destruction of the U.S. dollar. As I’ve mentioned in the past, it is my suspicion that the Fed is running an unmetered money pipe into Larry’s and Stanley’s Asset Inflation Factory BlackRock to keep the financial markets, and hence the economic system, afloat. I also wouldn’t doubt that BlackRock, which bought a ton of Ukrainian farmland and other Ukrainian resources, is ultimately purchasing Ukrainian assets with paper and ink from the Fed’s printing press.

    Then in the third lane is Europe and how much further their political “leaders” can continue to work against the interests of their populaces before their populace’s successfully revolt and the EU and/or European governments collapse. Our rulers are doing all they can to keep Europe in their lane to prevent them from converging into Russia’s since, in fact, Europe’s best interests are to make-up with Russia in order to regain access to Russia’s cheap energy. I wouldn’t doubt that the recent circular shooting gallery in Europe and the UK … with Germany, France, and the UK pointing fingers at each other for their clandestine support of Ukraine … was ultimately instigated by the U.S..

    And then in the fourth lane is Russia and how far they can go before our rulers’ dreams of regime change come to fruition and our rulers are certainly pitting Russia’s lane with plenty of booby traps and obstacles in order to encourage that.

    One might ask though: even if our rulers win out with regime change in Russia how do they hope to control all the chaos and instabilities that they will have unleashed in the process? And the answer to that is also the answer as to what this race is all ultimately about: control of the world’s financial system.

    The biggest risk to this race, that our greedy and reckless rulers have prodded the participants into, is that the stakes are so high … with the end result leading to the dangerous destabilization of countries with nuclear weapons … that the finish line is actually a cliff because once it is reached it will lead to nuclear annihilation of all life on this planet.

    As it is, at the very least, it will likely lead to the deaths of tens of millions of people, if not hundreds or more. Not that our rulers care, as long as they survive and rule over what is left.


  9. Carborundum

    Interesting. Todd is actually trained in demography and anthropology, so that speaks in his favour. As in, not yet another economist.

    His latest does not seem to be available in translation, but the original french is easily accessible. (Tangentially, I did not previously realize that “Putin” was rendered as “Poutine” in french. That’s… going to take some getting used to.)

  10. Mark Level

    Kudos & my thanks to Z for the thorough & detailed take on Biden’s promised “port”– my sources had been informing me of exactly the same data. It is not there (as the State of the Uniparty speech hinted) to aid the Palestinians– quite the reverse!! It will be Israeli-run, the will steal the best aid, possibly poison any given to the natives and kill them dead when they try to collect the US “gifts” en masse.

    Not surprised that Emmanuel Todd is allowed past the usual censors– he is brilliant. I remember a piece he did on the EU, panel of 5 and 1 moderator debating its future in late 2012, published by Harper’s in early 2013. He & Joseph Stiglitz predicted the EU’s demise due to lack of real integration of the separate countries + the ossified bureaucracy’s imposition of Austerity on all (but esp. Greece, Portugal, Spain etc. at that time). 2 of the other debaters were EU apologists who declared “the nation-state is dead”, global hegemony coming. The 5th participant was on the fence.

    Going back to Palestine & the genocide that after 5 months uninterrupted is looking increasingly likely: I had taken the ICJ’s 14 to 1 vote that tacitly recognized genocide was intended & ongoing; I clearly recall that they were supposed to report back in 30 days (?) though far more has passed since then & it looks like we may never hear back? Does anyone know why? Any follow-up or none. Perhaps all their families were threatened (as Pompeo once threatened to kill the child of a Russian official attending college in the US)? Does anyone know? If no further action here, I expect all but maybe 40,000 or so Palestinians will be butchered, that small remnant forced out, & “Eretz Israel” stage 1 will be declared before the attacks on Syria, Lebanon etc. form stage 2. I hope I’m wrong, but it’s not looking good.

    Lastly, the kill list was 30,000 officially over 4 weeks ago and is still the same, after multiple “flour massacres”. It’s known 1,000s are dead under building rubble and can’t be counted. The Ralph Nader website suggested there were at least 200,000 dead by now but I can’t find ANY other sources (even the Grayzone or Electronic Intifada) updating the death #s. Does anyone have any info?

  11. mago

    The point being , it’s toxic melodrama disguised.
    Build a pier, drop some food, make shit up and call it real.
    It would almost be humorous if the loss of life and environment weren’t so devastating and long lasting.
    Consequences, man.

  12. Eric Anderson

    Isn’t that what they call French fries and gravy in Canada, Ian?

    Mark Level:
    You get me thinking conspiratorially here. The U.S. is masterful at false flag operations. So, make lemonade from the lemons that are the Hamas attack.

    With the obvious alignment of Russia and China, what is the most effective move to move the needle in the Ukraine proxy war? Take the oil that isn’t defended by nuclear capable states before they become nuclear capable. In other words, strike first in the Middle East and hold ground. And do so, by claiming the offensive is necessary to control the spiraling crisis created by the zionists.


    It’s what I’d do if I were a megalomaniac sociopath. It’s the “correct” geo-strategic move given the position the bumbling U.S. elites have put themselves in. Guarantee this is being discussed at the Pentagon.
    You know it’s true now that you see it.

  13. DMC

    Ralph pointed out that lo-balling the death tolls seved the interests of all parties, including Hamas, in that the lower figures made the the Israeli response seem less terrible, which made the initial Hamas attacks seem less irresponsible. The fear is that Palestinians would turn on Hamas if they realized the extent and ferocity of the Zionist response.

  14. Stewart Millen

    As promised, I finally got an answer from “Econoklast” on DKos about this post:

    My email:

    Hi Econoklast,

    Sorry to bother you, but I would like to bring to your attention this blog post:

    Which in turn references this Twitter Post

    Which references the Fed’s “Distributional Financial Accounts models updated for the 2023Q3 release.”

    Why would the graphs show inflection points at different times? Would the same methodology produce this change in the data? Or Is it even referencing the same data?

    I tried going to the Fed site to figure it out myself, but I figured you were better at such things than I.


    His reply:

    Hi Stewart,

    Note that the “middle” class is defined as 50-90%, not 50-99%. The FED data shows that the three classes (top 1%, 90-99%, and 50-90%) together have more than 90% of the wealth and each has about a third.

    Wealth is not an area to which I have devoted much time. I think the data is fuzzier than for pay or income. Even pay and income have their uncertainties.

    So far, I have not found the source of data for the twitter post. The twitter graph is very simplified, showing smooth lines connecting data only every 5 years. The starting point of the 1% line does not match the FED data, but the 50-90% starting point does. I did find the “old” data still on the FED site. I do not expect the updated models to affect data before 2019. From my cursory reading, the update consists of replacing recent years of extrapolated census data with the 2022 actual data.

    Re-graphing the FED data with 5 year data points does not reproduce the twitter graph. Would you be willing to ask the twitter poster about where his new data comes from (explicit references to FED website)? I do not wish to become involved with twitter myself.

    The Guardian article you reference in your third comment uses quintiles, not the same division of the data used in the FED graphs I found. I did not explicitly look for quintile data however. To compare data, one must be careful to match categories.

    What I have not found, so far, is error estimates for the data. One has to think of the lines as broad and fuzzy. When the fuzzy lines separate, then one can worry about changes. A lot of the jaggedness of the top wealth must come from changing stock values. One could start with the local magnitude of the wiggles as an estimate of uncertainty.

    I just saw your message today. I have been busy with a issue about the MIT living wage calculator raised in the comments to my second essay. I’ll spend some more time if I can get the twitter data and its source.

    — Econoklast

  15. Stewart Millen

    And something that may only interest me….

    You remember the oft-repeated story of the B-17 ball turret gunner, trapped in his turret, with the bomber’s landing gear unable to extend for landing, and the bomber being forced to belly-land and the trapped gunner being crushed upon landing? THAT story?

    Turns out it almost certainly never happened.

    Seems like the story got traction via Andy Rooney (who was probably repeating something he had heard). This guy (who works at a museum) grimaces whenever he gets asked this question, so he took the pains to explain why it almost certainly didn’t happen, but also why it was extremely unlikely to happen.

    Each gun turret had its own power/hydraulic system, independent of the one that was used for the landing gear, so damage to the landing gear hydraulic system would not affect the ones for the gun turrets. There were manual cranks that could either lower the landing gear or rotate the turret in case of the powered system going down, and in the case of the turret there were external cranks that the crew could use to rotate to fee a trapped gunner. If the gunner was wearing a parachute (many didn’t however) he could easily just bail out of the turret. Nor would you need to get all the landing gear down–if you just got one wing’s down, the turret would not contact the runway and not be crushed (he has photos to prove this).

    Finally—one should not imagine that the ball turret is some fragile plexiglass and thin-metal assembly. Oh no, it was more robustly constructed than the fuselage of the bomber (the lower plate was a quarter-inch steel plate). So even if all the redundant systems failed, it’s quite possible to belly-land a B-17 bomber with the gunner in the ball turret and have the gunner survive–because the turret would NOT be crushed upon landing, but instead popped upwards into the fuselage of the plane. Again, he has photos of this actually happening. By detaching the upper supports of the ball turret inside the fuselage, his crew mates could make the ball turret being “popped” into the fuselage on landing even more certain.

  16. Mark Level

    2 responses:

    Eric Anderson– thanks & agreed. That would seem to be the best “plan” from the p.o.v. of the megalomaniac sociopaths who “run” things. There is all that gas off the Gaza coast, & the plan to exterminate the locals & run a pipeline to what remains of European markets that can’t get Russian oil due to sanctions has been openly discussed.

    DMC– I don’t think that Hamas COULD hide the extent of the deaths from the people experiencing them, nor do I think that this is going to “turn the populace against” them. The “alternative” to Hamas is the corrupt, bought-off & bumbling Fatah, who informs on & polices their own populace on behalf of the Settler Colonial state. So essentially the Capos who worked at Auschwitz. Now, the Capos then were forced, but these fine Fatah folks decided to side with the “winner” & help steal from & exterminate their own kinfolk. I’d call that extremely short-sighted. (I doubt many of them will be left around in roles higher than slave-servant if the genocide is completed as planned, if they’re even allowed to live, since like all Canaanites they are “unclean,” “ungodly” & despised by the Tribal Godkin, Yahweh.)

  17. Stewart Millen

    I note that no one has mentioned the TikTok Banning Bill.

    The rationale for the ban is, to my mind, bizarre. It’s goes something like this:

    “Governments possibly influencing user internet feeds, searches, and results (disinformation!) is unconscionable and cannot be tolerated.”

    “Billionaire individual X (Zuckerberg, Musk, Pinchai, etc.) possibly influencing user internet feeds, searches, and results (spreading disinformation!) is a-OK.”

    The latter is justified by the ‘freedom of the market’ where there is precious little market, due to a lack of regulation, available. Oh and while the disinformation is very real, I don’t see disinformation spread by foreign governments to be any worse than that of our domestic billionaires. Very often, the two disinformation sources are designed to niche well hand-in-hand.

  18. capelin

    Happy Ramadan.

    Not of the faith myself, but I had a buddy who was and explained it to me, pretty cool and sensible actually. So this is my understanding of it.

    Lunar-time based religion, so dates vary. New moon.

    Nothing passes the lips, sunup to sundown. “Oh, it’s easy in Canada! It’s not the food that’s the problem, in a hot dry country it’s water!” Oh.

    Besides the health benefits of a fast, one gets cranky not eating and so it brings up interpersonal crap that one then deals with, in theory.

    It makes one appreciate the value of sustenance.

    One can delay the fast etc, under extraordinary circumstances, ie you are sick, or the infidels are invading, again.

    It’s a big party every sundown.

  19. Curt Kastens

    I was at a major university hospital today. I only saw one person wearing a mask and that person was not an employee of the hospital. It was the first time that I had actually visited the inside of a hospital since 2022.

    Back in the middle of the hysteria new variants of the Covert Intellegence Deception Virus that were supposed to be more dangerous and easier to spread were being trotted out every 3 or 4 months. It was claimed that our vaccinations would have to be renewed each year just like a flu shot. Well why has the deasease not kept on evolving to become more and more transmissalbe and dangerous? Why did this evolution suddenly stop??
    What is that!! You say that it has not stoped it is just not being reported and because it is not being reported all of the medical staff in the hospital that I was in today are oblivious to the danger that they were in. Well!!!! how do I know that they were not perfectly aware of the danger that they were in but they were part of a vast conspiracy to hide the truth from the public????

    I have said this a million times already. But maybe now it is time for it to sink in. The medical authorities have to be either lying now. Or they had to be lying in 2020. O r they have to be grossly incompetent. No matter which their credibiltiy is destroyed.
    Could destroying the credibility of the world wide medical authorities have been somoething that the powers that be in countries that normally hate each other be something that they all could have agreed on.

  20. Curt Kastens

    I think that everyone who works for Times Radio should go to prison for war crimes.
    Everyone. Mice included. Stomp repeating that.

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