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. No vax/anti-vax.


Why Am I Writing About China So Much?


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – June 30 2024


  1. GrimJim

    The Confederacy has risen again.

    It now controls the Supreme Court.

    It has rendered Congress useless.

    It is poised to take the Presidency.

    The Democrats fiddle as Democracy burns.

    The Republic will fall.

    The Great Endarkening shall triumph.

    Full chattel slavery shall return. The Constitution shall be purged of all Civil Rights.

    Fascism shall reign.

    Truth, Justice, Freedom, and Hope will die horribly in a Concentration Camp.

    Billions will suffer. Billions will perish. All so a few old rich white men can be richer before they die.

    My only solace in all this is that it won’t last long. It will be swept away in massive Climate Chaos…


  2. mago

    Sheesh GrimJim. I guess you’re living up to your moniker.
    Anyway, most of that shit’s already in active force and the bus is flying over the cliff.
    I had something else I wanted to say after a sleepless night, but no matter. Maybe I’ll get around to it later.
    Just felt like responding in the moment.

  3. Bill H.

    I have been through 15 national elections, the first in 1964. At least 10 have been touted as “having democracy itself at stake.” 7 or 8 have been labelled as “the most important election in history.” In two or more we have been told that “the survival of the nation is at stake.” The nation endures.

  4. Richard Holsworth

    This man is awesome. If people in the West were educated enough to understand what he lays out in an hour, it would open their eyes to the horrors their genocidal project has continued to unleash for, as the speaker says, THREE THOUSAND D YEARS.

  5. GrimJim

    I’m just really bitter because I thought I’d make that Death Bet.

    I’m 55, based on my personal and family health history I’m lucky if I’ve got another 10 to 15 years in me, but that requires a fair amount of health care that won’t be available soon as I’m not rich.

    I figured we would not be to this stage in the Collapse until at least 2050, long after I’d shuffled off this mortal coil.

    But nope, we’re here, decades early, and it is going to be a complete shitstorm and shitshow starting the moment Trump wins. And much like Clinate Chaos, it will only get worse exponentially from there.

    As bad as you think it will be, double that, then take it to 11. And if you are not white and male and straight and Christian, it will be absolure hell on Earth.

    Orwell and Huxley never foresaw what is coming in their worst nightmares.

  6. Troy

    The US Supreme Court has just effed over their whole governmental system.

    In terms of simile, they just created a blockage in two of the government’s main arteries: administration and judicial. Administration will be bogged down in stupid little court cases that the judicial system will not even be able to process in a timely manner.

    At some point, someone over on the libertarian side’s going to look at this and realize this is just going to be “How a New Hampshire libertarian utopia was foiled by bears” but scaled up, right? Right?

    I just hope Canada doesn’t get caught up in this batshit insanity.

  7. Chuck Mire

    George Lakoff: Moral Politics, Framing 101: Metaphors, moral systems and the politics of your brain (58:57)

    UC Berkeley professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics George Lakoff explores how successful political debates are framed by using language targeted to people’s values.

  8. different clue


    If we pretend that civilization ” as we know it” will survive for the next thousand years, we can imagine English evolving into separate languages the way that Latin did after the fall of West Rome. England will have Englandish ( which they might still call English). America ( or the ” former America space”) will have Ameringlish and the Mexico-America gradient zone will have more bigger better Spanglish than now.

    India will have Hinglish, Singapore will have Singlish, etc. The big East Asain countries will have their own InterEastAsian Basic English. I couldn’t guess what it will be called. There will still be scholars reading and writing in today’s English for their own amusement the way scholars read and write Latin today. Maybe the Anglican Church will still maintain English as we currently know it as their Church Language, the way the Roman Catholic Church will still be using Latin a thousand years from now.

    @ Bill H.,

    I remember a saying from years ago, but some years after the Goldwater-Johnson election . . . ” They told me that if I voted for Goldwater I’d get a war in Vietnam. Well, that’s what I did and that’s what I got.” As to this election, a DemParty win may permit a 4 year grace period of not-yet broad civil strife. If the DemParty voters use that win ( if they get it) and use that 4 years to prepare to survivalize and beat back the eventual waves of Gilead MAGA violence and attacks, and armor up some state and regional level governments against Gilead MAGA conquest, then they will have a chance to survivalize in those places. If they waste those 4 years trying to “make America good again” and pursuing their various DemParty kicks and causes like Liberal Fascist Gun Control, then their chances of surviving the eventual Gilead MAGA Dark Ages in certain protected Survivalist Fortress Zones will be low-to-zero.

    @Troy, the current US Supreme Court is a Koch ALEC Federalist Society Court. They knew what they were doing with those two decisions and they knew why. Their goal is to make America ungovernable in hopes that the Koch ALEC Federalist Society forces can conquer the pieces and create a sort of New Confederacy. The type of people who vote Dem are too stuck in the past to understand that their only hope of survival is to turn some predominantly or overswhelmingly Dem-controlled places into Fortresses of Survivalism. So they will probably disappear beneath the raging flood of the Gilead MAGAs over the next few decades.

    Canada should spend the next couple of decades building a Big Beautiful Wall on the Canada US border to keep out millions of Dem-type political refugees in flight from Terminal Gilead MAGAfication. If Canada doesn’t have enough Canadians to hold the border, then Canada should bring in a hundred or so Chinese, Indian, etc. immigrants with the following deal . . . . they will be allowed into Canada if and only if they agree to live in a 20-30 miles wide band along the border and all be armed and trained and led and supplied to be a Territorial Border Immigrant-based Garrison to protect the Big Beautiful Wall. ( Of course no Big Beautiful Wall will keep out 200 million Climate Refugees from America, Mexico, South and Central America and the Caribbean, but that’s a problem for a further-out future).

  9. different clue

    correcting above comment . . . did I say ” a hundred or so Chinese, Indian, etc.” immigrants? I meant a ” hundred million or so Chinese, Indian, etc. ” immigrants . . . to man and defend the Big Beautiful Wall as a Borderline Defense Garrison Army.

  10. Willy

    Well, at least we had a presidential debate so bad that I saw a cartoon with “WTF?!” thought balloons coming from every nation on earth. Worth a chuckle.

    I’m curious about the rumored “500 CEOs who’ve realized a MAGA economic shitstorm is coming”. Plus I think Trump is far too old to be starting any major invasion wars, the old par for the course for our previous bored malignant narcissists. It’ll be undocumenteds in cages I think. Plus what doesn’t kill America only makes China stronger, right? (who gives a fuck about Russia)

    As for surviving in America, I plan on going full evangelicaltard, where while incognito, I’ll be playing a version of the old “fart and make it look like somebody else did it” game. Stuff like starting evangelical barfights then backing away slowly trying not to chuckle at all the ensuing chaos I caused.

  11. mago

    Hello different clue.
    I’m curious where the millions defending against the barbarian hordes will be housed and how they will be fed and where they’ll poop and pee.
    Maybe one tactic could be to line the millions up on the border and pee in unison, thus washing the unwashed away.
    Sorry. That’s a lame joke I’ve made since my teenage years.
    Can’t help myself. Gonna get around to another more serious comment when I wake up from current torpor.

  12. In a meta-analysis:
    “The overall pooled RR of dementia was 1.75 for SSRIs”
    “antidepressant use is significantly associated with an increased risk of developing dementia.”
    Another meta-analysis done by those with conflicts of interests found:

    “Use of antidepressant drugs was associated with a significant twofold increase in the odds of some form of cognitive impairment or dementia (OR = 2.17)”

    This meta-analysis reported on several biases favoring the drugs in the studies used.

    All studies were unblinded. All but 1 study had another recorded bias. That study -with no recorded biases- showed that “antidepressants” increase dementia by 3.25 times.
    Another study funded and done by groups who sell the drugs found the drugs induced almost 10% of users over 60 year of age to develop dementia.

    “there was a significant difference in the risk for incident dementia for the group exposed to antidepressants compared with those who were not adjusted HR, 3.43; Notably, this result was replicated in all sensitivity analyses.

    “detrimentally influence cell survival in HT22 cells. The addition of (antidepressants) to HT22 cells led to an increase in intracellular peroxides”

    “(antidepressants) cause both oxidative stress and changes in the antioxidative capacity, resulting in altered NF-κB activity and, ultimately, cell death.”
    “(Antidepressants) induce cell death”
    “neuronal cell death induced by antidepressants.”
    “data suggest that antidepressants increase turnover (IE death) of hippocampal neurons”
    “fluoxetine strongly reduced expression of the mature granule cell marker calbindin. The fluoxetine treatment induced active somatic membrane properties resembling immature granule cells”
    “Fluoxetine, sibutramine and sertraline treatment produced morphological (brain) abnormalities”

  13. VietnamVet

    In the past week, the acceptance of the truth that was there for all to see became normalized. While fighting a proxy World War 3 in Ukraine and Gaza and loosing with no end in sight, Western leadership is clearly incompetent and divorced from reality.

    The “Deep State” knives came out. It is obvious now much like 1974 and Dick Nixon’s resignation or Dallas, TX in 1963. The Blob can see that their clean sweep from the executive branch is coming with Donald Trump’s inauguration. The Empire, their jobs, are on the line.

    The tragedy is if Joe Biden somehow wins, again, the Blob will continue believing the greatest delusion in the world that the Western Empire is still the global hegemon. The inevitable Western collapse will be violent. Every battle lost. The world war with China devastating.

    Instead, Donald Trump’s inaugural will initiate a global pull back and an internal civil conflict. The Red and Blue States likely will secede into Secular and Christian — Spanish and English, regions. This is the first skirmish of the future wars between nationalistic true believers and professional cartel managers.

    No matter, the Supreme Court is finishing the deregulation of business by the corporate-state. Government by and for the American people is gone. This assures continued profiteering, war, pollution, pandemics and court cases.

  14. bruce wilder

    Barack Obama: “. . . this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself. Between someone who tells the truth; who knows right from wrong and will give it to the American people straight — and someone who lies through his teeth for his own benefit. Last night didn’t change that, and it’s why so much is at stake in November.”

    I wish there were more journalists willing to cynically report on the machinations behind the scenes presented to us. Like where do the scriptwriters live and work?

    If Biden had been at Camp David preparing all week, intensely enough to go hoarse, that means a veritable army of aides and operatives knew this was shaping up as a disaster. Someone was far-sighted enough to schedule this debate for June instead of only September and October. Who was that? Was the purpose to expose early the mental status of the President? All I hear is speculation, ungrounded in any facts I do not already know.

    Maria Shriver last night: “I love Joe Biden. I know he’s a good man. I know his heart is good. I know he’s dedicated to our country and is surrounded by good people. Tonight was heartbreaking in many ways. This is a big political moment. There’s panic in the Democratic party. It’s going to be a long night.”

    Maria Shriver after Biden’s rally today: “I love Joe Biden. I know he’s a good man. I know his heart is good. I know he’s dedicated to our country and is surrounded by good people. Tonight was heartbreaking in many ways. This is a big political moment. There’s panic in the Democratic party. It’s going to be a long night.”

    About these invisible scriptwriters, do they focus group the themes? Do they war game a narrative arc? How many news cycles out do they plan the evolution of the reactions leading politicians and political celebrities will publicly display?

    I feel like the alleged panic among Democratic donors and operatives was a bit rushed. “Donors” were mentioned a lot interestingly, even by Rachel Maddow. John King on CNN, never the brightest bulb in any pack, was ready very quickly with a firm declaration on the panic, as if he had had time to witness and reflect on what he had seen and heard among Dems at the highest levels.

    Biden has been displaying obvious signs of dementia since at least 2019, so throughout his 2020 campaign and his Presidency. No one on the political inside seems to have thought this was a serious problem before now, though now the deterioration is accelerating as it will. Maria Shriver, a “Kennedy”, is an advocate for Alzheimer’s and presumably “aware”. Do the insiders have actual thoughts on the substance of issues or is their attention focused on “the narrative” exclusively? Do piously intone on Biden’s nonexistent honesty and “capacity for leadership” and privately imagine that the “Presidency” is a job for an empty-headed spokes model?

  15. mago

    A couple of months ago I lamented the diminished presence of migratory birds in my mountain neighborhood, but the grosbeaks, cardinals and finches all arrived along with the resident woodpeckers, chickadees and others, so good tidings in that way. They’ve departed north now, but they’ll return come September.
    On my front porch light sconce is a more or less permanent nest to which the same bird family seasonally returns.
    Mom sits there now hatching her eggs and tolerates my coming and goings without disruption.
    Soon the chicks will hatch and fly away, to return again to raise their own brood another season.
    I mention this as a sign of constancy and normalcy in a fractured world gone astray.
    God bless little Tim.

  16. bruce wilder

    Narratives of the Ukraine War seem to be diverging radically. The Russophiles endorse the idea that Russia is methodically wearing Ukraine down, in a very slow, grinding offensive across an extremely long line, pushing everywhere and all at once, inflicting high casualties with glide bombs of immense explosive power. Ukrainian infrastructure, particularly electricity generation and distribution, is being methodically ground down. Ukrainian military units are being downgraded from armor and mechanized formations to mere light infantry as losses mount. The narrative picture is that Ukraine is becoming fragile and exhausted, being prepared for collapse.

    The cheerleaders for Ukraine see salvation in strikes deep inside Russia against refineries and air defense and in occupied territories, against air defense and logistical supply transport and marshalling hubs. Russian casualties are above 1000 killed plus wounded per day. The Kerch Bridge will surely be broken soon and the rail line along the coast and the ferries and barges across the Azov and the Black Sea — it is all increasingly under attack and vulnerable to the scrappy Ukrainians with their home-grown drones and ATACMS and other munitions from the U.S. Soon, the F-16s will roll in and given the current success against Russian air defense, Ukraine might even have limited air superiority at times. The lethal humiliation of Russian forces will induce regime failure.

    American fans of Ukraine are convinced this war is a bargain, destroying Russian military capability on the cheap as it were. The Russophiles are saying the Russian economy is stable and growing; Russian industrial capability has been enhanced and rates of military production is rising, on an efficient basis.

    The scariest deviation in narratives involves the risk of nuclear confrontation. Putin is warning in stark and plain terms or he is bluffing and blustering.

  17. Chuck Mire

    A list of all the various World’s Religions with their different ideas about a so-called “God” or “Gods”:

  18. Jan Wiklund

    Ian: Concerning the GDP PPP figures from your source and my source (wikipedia’s WB figures) they don’t fit together.

    Skipping the 2024 figures that may be preliminary, focus in the 2022 ones. Your source tells WB has 31,8 for China while the wikipedia quote has 30,3, and yours has 6,0 for Russia while mine has 5,3.

    It seems as they don’t just write up the running figures but they revised past figures as well. I wonder if any of these are worth anything, more than very, very roughly.

    Russia has certainly gotten rid of a lot of sleaze with the national emergency as a pretext. Perhaps that’s why the western leaders bang the wardrum, they want to do the same, get rid of their oligarchs and start to compete in serious. There are at least eight different explanations but this one is at least as credible as the others.

  19. Willy

    Once upon a time, clearheaded folks used to say: “Geez, who in their right mind would ever want to do a job as tough and thankless as POTUS?”

    Then came the age when people understood that the “Presidency” was actually a job for their chosen experts and handlers (and since Reagan’s 2nd term, their caretakers).

    Biden seems more like the frail old man who softly quivers “Uh… could you kids like… um, please get off my, my lawn?” before his handler arrives to coax him into the house.

    Trump seems more like the crazy old man who wildly waves his gun around at the lawn kids, accusing them of all kinds of nonsense, before his handler arrives and they wrestle around with the gun until it goes off spraying the neighbor’s house. And then they tell the terrified lawn kids that the neighbor deserved it.

    I think I prefer the former.

  20. bruce wilder


    I repeated the same Maria Shriver quote when I meant to paste a different, next day quote from after the North Carolina rally to illustrate the narrative arc Dem spokes models are following:

    The man speaks his truth. He slept and got back up. Schedulers are crucially important in any and every campaign. They can run you ragged, give you no sleep, make you make too many speeches—or they can give you space for rest. Schedulers need to give the candidate some pacing!

  21. different clue


    The Canadian government can contract with all the Chinese companies necessary and relevant for solving the problems you raise. About the Wall and the Housing, the same Chinese contractors who built a thousand million hundred ghost cities can certainly build the necessary Wall and Housing. They can call it the Great Chinese Wall of Canada. Canada can sell all the food it grows to the garrison force wall defenders instead of selling it to random foreigners overseas. That solves the food problem. Waterless compostoilet latrine complexes can be built for aerobically decomposing all the pee and poo to sanitary farmland nutrient restoration material.

    On another note, Fifth Column Beau, ever the irrepressible optimist, has made a video explaining why he thinks the Republicans have just “caught the car” with their Federalist Society Supreme Court decision on the Chevron Doctrine. Such fun if he is right. A lot of pollutionization and pillagization and sackification on the way there, though.

  22. mago

    Per usual different clue makes a more persuasive and detailed argument/analysis than myself.
    I concede that the Chinese are an ambitious and industrious lot who will move and blow up mountains to achieve their aims, so all the bright young things out there might want to add Mandarin to their curricula.

  23. Curt Kastens

    I found this interesting. Though I suspect that it is irreverent due to the rapid collapse of earths life supporing environment,

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