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

Open Thread

Use the comments on this post to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


TINA trauma


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – December 15, 2019


  1. Some Guy

    Early prediction, next Prime Minister of Canada to be Peter MacKay.

  2. Picking up on Chiron’s comment a few posts downstream, no, Russiagate is not a hoax …

    Indeed, as former CIA analyst Cindy Otis wrote in USA Today, “Russia determined it did not need to be the driver of disinformation campaigns in most E.U. countries and primarily looked to amplify false content already being publicized by far-right groups.” She added, “If anything, domestic actors are poised to be the bigger information threat.”

    They only perfected what we invented, amplifying indigent background noise. Yes, there are other actors deeper in the background, perhaps even more influential, but the Russians have been the most prolific – quite possibly as much a victim as we. Unless you consider getting snookered… bamboozled, chain jerked, wool pulled over your eyes, led down a primrose path … a “hoax”.

  3. Chiron

    The winner of Brexit is be the European Union, the French and German ruling class will have their Continental Empire and NATO will probably die if not dead already, I honestly see the EU becoming a Federal State/Country and by 2030 Norway, Swissterland (even then), the rest of former Yugoslavia and Moldavia joining.


    Note how the poseurs here who cry Deep State never direct your, or their feigned, ire and rage against the oligarchy. They conflate the Dems with the Deep State and claim Trump is outside of the Deep State and the Deep State is out to get him. It’s clear those who proffer this angle are themselves the Deep State. How clever. The Deep State decrying the Deep State in comment sections and misinforming about the Deep State so people believe the Deep State is The Dems and that the Dems are somehow miraculously progressives and leftists.

    The eye on the prize is THE OLIGARCHS. There is no Deep State without the Oligarchs and in fact, the two are interchangeable and overlap significantly. Those who decry the Deep State, if you notice and I do, will always steer the discussion back to partisan bickering and label you a Dem or a Leftist if you don’t support and/or defend Trump. The Deep State, whatever that really is, wants this. The Deep State, at the behest of the oligarchy, in order to mitigate and neutralize solidarity, promulgates and enables partisan bickering to keep the masses fractured and fragmented. Mission Accomplished.

    Trump is part of the Deep State to the extent there is a Deep State. If he wasn’t, or wasn’t useful to the Deep State and hence useful to the other oligarchs, he never would have ascended to the Oval Office. They would have filled his ass and head, which are one and the same, with lead long before he had any chance of being elected and in fact I believe had him elected and then blamed it on the Russians or sat back and let the Russians elect him because they knew they could run with that and make it work.

    It’s beyond cynical. We need a new word to describe this multi-dimensional chess. These people have no better nature. To that extent, they’re really not human in the sense we understand what it means to be human.

  5. Chiron

    “Trump is part of the Deep State to the extent there is a Deep State. If he wasn’t, or wasn’t useful to the Deep State and hence useful to the other oligarchs, he never would have ascended to the Oval Office.”

    This is pretty obvious, Trump wouldn’t have run for office and become President if he wasn’t assured that he would be protected, he has a lot to lose after all. Just see who is benefiting from the Trump Administration: Israel, rich people, big corporations, financial markets, evangelicals,…


    Wow, surely the Deep State is suppressing the Evangelical vote, right? 25 million Evangelical Christians are not registered to vote. Bruce and Peter and realitychequer, let’s get together and go door to door and get these fine god-fearing folks registered to vote because every vote for Donnie Darko the Hutt counts like no other.

  7. Ten Bears

    I’d be careful with that word, five-oh. Glass houses, stones, people therein, all that.

    Whose oligarchy? A deep state is certainly necessary to the maintaining of such, but there are those among us who’ve been battling the ‘oligarchy’ for a thousand years, and more. Are they ‘deep state’? There should be a science of discontent…

    I learned how to drive the back roads of Oregon in m’g’da’s one-ton Ford pick-up. It was a ‘Custom’: had a heater and a windshield wiper. One wiper. Manual. As in you reached up there above the driver’s side windshield and took ‘hold of the handle and wiped the windshield. I asked him once “G’da, how come you never use the wiper?” Said “see beyond the windshield, boy.” In the real world any good barroom brawler will tell you the big guy in the middle of the room making all the noise isn’t the one you want to watch out for. It’s the short guy in the corner …


    Take note how Trump has hardly mentioned Bloomberg let alone attacked him in any meaningful way. Donnie Darko the Hutt is afraid of Bloomberg. Bloomberg is truly his match and he and his team know it. Bloomberg can beat Trump and so too can Bernie. The Dems can stop Bernie but they can’t stop Bloomberg since Bloomberg and his fellow oligarchs own the Dems and the Repubs too.

    It may be direct oligarchical rule from here until full collapse in ten to twenty years maximum.

  9. bruce wilder

    Glancing at the polling analytics for the British elections, two remarkable things stand out: Labour got no discernible “working class” vote over the country as a whole. The young voted Labour; the old voted Conservative — to an overwhelming extent: massive Labour vote among the under 30’s!

    Also, the Lib Dems, branding itself the Remain Party, got more votes than last time but lost nearly half their seats. And, Change UK lost all their seats. Centrism does not look like a winning strategy, if one looks closely.

  10. bruce wilder

    Russiagate is not a hoax …

    The success of the propaganda makes it impossible at this point to rescue consensus reality from derangement. Anne Applebaum’s recent piece in the Atlantic (owned by oligarch, Mrs Steve Jobs) seals the epistemic bubble on this.


    oligarchs own the Media that generates the propaganda flood in which democracy swims and drowns. Trump, reality teevee star, thrives in this oligarch-created and oligarch-driven virtual reality; he’s playing the heel in a politics of kayfabe. American politics as seen on teevee is as fake in its content and posed controversies and as much a show as pro wrestling.

    my big complaint about the partisan mob cheerleading against Trump is that joining the oligarchy’s fake show, with its broken reasoning and fake issues, is helping to destroy democracy.

    If you have ever seen pro wrestling on tv, you probably know that partisans of this wrestler or that in the audience hold up signs with slogans for or against some of the big names. Those signs are prepared by the organizers and handed out as the audience streams into the arena. The audience is part of the show and knows it, and that is OK, because being part of the show is entertaining and entertainment is all its about.

    Politics is about power. If all you can do is cheer for or against Trump, you are missing the point. It is not OK, what you are doing, by insisting on taking the show (e.g. Impeachment and RussiaUkraine-gate) seriously, and trying to shout down or ridicule any attempt to point out the corruption and bad faith of many of the other actors, including the “deep state” apparatchiks on parade and many establishment Democrats.


    What would Greta say? Every election is a referendum on climate change. Whether it’s too late or not. Fracking and transforming the product into a concentrated liquid form to be shipped around the world is deleterious to the living planet and deleterious to human health. I don’t care whether Trump is doing it or the Dems are doing it or the Repubs are doing it, it’s wrong and it needs to stop. But it won’t. Trump has broadcast that he and the Repubs and the Deep State are set to cheat agin in the next election. He has telegraphed it with his tweet about 25 million Evangelical Christians not registered to vote. He is telegraphing they are about to engage in a massive crusade of voter fraud. In plain sight and you know what, the Dems wouldn’t impeach him over this because they reserve the right to cheat in elections too. They’re just not as good at it. The Deep State, at the behest of the oligarchs, prefer Trump right now to anything they the Dems could or would put up and in fact, considering the Dems are putting up Biden it appears they are in cahoots with the oligarchical Deep State in ensuring Trump is reelected. Will another faction of the oligarchs, one led by Bloomberg, upseat this seeming inevitability?

  12. nihil obstet

    I have trouble following arguments and analysis based on what the left thinks, or the right, or Dems, or Repubs, or the Deep State, or the Russians, or . . . . There reaches a point where data have to be aggregated to be meaningful, but we’ve gone beyond that to use terms that mean different things to different people as the bases of the analyses. So I’ll use this entry in the Open Thread to define some terms as I see them.

    Russia-gate: the current term for the old “Red scare” that devastated popular movements in the 20s and 50s. It’s back as a result of the enthusiasm shown for the policies announced by Sanders in 2016.

    The Deep State: Go back and watch the old British comedy series “Yes, Minister”. I objected then and still do to the portrayal of civil servants as motivated by stopping the elected officials from doing anything. However, the show pretty much catches the level at which most so-called “deep state” members work. Most bureaucrats have gone into an area that they believe in — environment, education, labor. They will resist efforts by political appointees who want to undercut the purpose of the agency in, say, environmental protection. No, it’s not all right to let corporations self-certify compliance and then be excused when they dump poison in the river. But after arguing as long as reasonable, they will then follow policy because that’s what a democracy is. The exception is secret agencies. There I think it seems to be true that the permanent staff is convinced that they defend the country by whatever means necessary, including the blackmailing of elected officials.

    The right: easier to define than the left, because the right is hierarchical and authoritarian. They believe what their strong man says.

    The left: generally consists of people who believe in equality. Therefore, all the differences in what individuals believe and prioritize and see as a goal keep the left from being unified as the right is. This enables the people who love being in authority to shift definitions around as is convenient, to include and exclude points of view to undercut real devolution of power. For an example of the problems of arguing while using the term “the left” see the immediately preceding post and comments on TINA trauma.

    Political parties — this supposed democracy in which we live has outsourced ballot access to private entities, which make a minimum show occasionally of being democratic in nature. They aren’t. So Dem and Repub are simply brand names. Some of them are true believers. Many (I fear that it’s most) adopt the brand that they’re most likely to succeed with, and the party apparatus extends its brand approval to the sufficiently deferential.

  13. Tom

    Bloomberg has no traction and will go nowhere. Trump doesn’t need to waste his time on him.

    As for Russia Gate: A nonsense story with no substance to it. Wikileaks got the DNC e-mails due to an idiot giving his password over the phone. As for the Russian Troll Farm, the most found was facebook posts in Russian with clickbait that no one saw. No votes were altered.

    Fact is that Hillary was a terrible candidate who wrote half the country off as racists and deplorables with said people in turn giving her the finger at the polls or withdrawing support.

  14. Z

    The Deep State says it doesn’t exist, pass it on …


  15. Willy

    I don’t think powerful people who factcheck everything and play by rules and debate without fallacy are gonna be very Deep State. To find Deep State we used to just follow the money. Now we also get to follow the smears. Cant wait to see how Bernie gets Corbyn’d.

  16. Z

    One of the most unhinged things I hear from anti-Trumpers, and I don’t know if this applies to anyone on this board, is that the Ukraine thing with Biden is proof that Trump is power hungry. I suppose this is because what he is accused of doing pertains to an election that if he won would keep him in office. This line of thinking can sometimes extend into the hilarity with visions of Trump being forcibly removed from office if he does lose the election.

    What this lazy analysis, and we’ll be kind and not attach intention to it, completely misses is that Trump is win-hungry, he is not power hungry. There is a big difference. He is a reality performer who likes to win contests, he really isn’t particularly power-hungry for someone of his stature. If he was power hungry, he’d be throwing his weight around invading countries and such, but he hasn’t and actually has little interest even in governing.

    If he loses the election, he’ll walk away happily. But I’ll say this, and I won’t give him credit for it because it wasn’t purposeful and may have had different plans: he will be the first president in modern times who will be worse off once he leaves office than what he was before he took it.

    He probably won’t be invited to give paid speeches and whatnot because he has become such a controversial person, especially with Hispanics and immigrant activists, that there will be big protests and whatnot. Plus, what can he offer anyone post-presidency? He is not going to be like Obama and Clinton who kept their fingers on the scales of power in the democratic party or the Bushes who had institutional power within the republican party. Trump will have no power at all within the party or in the government to sell post-presidency. Any TV shows he might get will produce protests of the media that employs him, his business deals will be under much more scrutiny, and he better be extra careful on any business dealings with Russia.

    Trump, unintentionally mind you, will be the first modern president who will have actually have sacrificed for his country.



    The REAL reason Yovanovitch was replaced. But, but, but. Yovanovitch is Deep State though, right? And the Deep State is all about fossil fuels, right? It’s all about ensuring that fossil fuels remain the supreme source of energy until the last drop is extracted come hook or crook, right? So why then would they remove Yovanovitch? Because they wanted to run their own racket within a racket, that’s why, and Trump is up to his ears in it like he’s up to his ears in all manner of other rackets within rackets yet to be investigated if ever. The Dems impeachment spectacle is a distraction from all of this — the root of the matter.


    This is Healy Baumgardner — a call girl by any other name if you ask me.

    Methinks some knobs have been polished along the way.


    Like Rudy, Trump is also not working for nothing. He is benefitting financially from all of this somehow, someway. Maybe the Deep State knows how he’s benefitting but they’re not saying because it’s all okay as far as they’re concerned. Rudy sure does behave as though he has a license to do whatever the hell he feels like doing with impunity. The Deep State knows Rudy knows the real truth behind 9/11 so I guess this is one reason he gets a long leash. Think about this. Rudy has the protection of the Deep State because he is the Deep State. Otherwise, he would have been found dead by now from sleep apnea in some lonely hotel room in Turkistan.

    A review of publicly available information is eye-opening. Giuliani has worked with multiple clients who could benefit bigly from influencing U.S. foreign policy and various presidential actions or inactions, as I discovered while delving into a decade’s worth of news articles about his businesses, hoping to understand how they make money. Indeed, it looks as though even as Giuliani was attacking Hunter Biden for accepting a swampy position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, appearing to monetize his ties to his then-vice-president father, Giuliani or his partners were in contact with clients and potential clients who could profit from Giuliani’s ties to Trump.

    That would explain the anomalous behavior: Perhaps Giuliani doesn’t take money from Trump because Trump’s not the client, but the product.

  20. Willy

    If Trump loses the election he’ll need a big fat “Thank You For Making America Great Again!” party to get him to leave. And/or some kind of golden parachute like some CEOs get, since his core motivation is winning.

    Just as not all psychopaths creep around backyards with knives in their teeth, not all NPDs want absolute power over everything. When they’re that far gone their pathological chutzpah will usually lead them to prison, death, or some other unpleasant circumstance. Trump’s not that far gone. Power is definitely on the NPD motivation list but I believe that being worshipped is number one. Losing a war won’t get one worshipped. Nor will starting an endless war which you’d sold as a cakewalk that’d pay for itself.

    Normals who’ve been caught in a bad lie or making an ass of themselves will usually rationalize the event, spin some damage control, or lay low for a while. Trump can make a complete ass of himself over obvious inauguration attendance numbers or getting laughed at for spouting nonsense at NATO, and not give it a second thought. Think about how messed up that is.

    But he did appear less neoliberal than Hillary. And maybe his very good brain is helping people to think more.

  21. Z

    And as I’ve pointed out before, some of these same people that depict Trump as a power-hungry madman that will do damn near anything to remain in power, say hey let’s up the ante on this unstable monster and threaten him with a possible jail sentence if he doesn’t remain in power.

    Sure. Hey, sounds like a grand idea. Pass the popcorn. Whose got the jujubees and milk duds?


  22. Z

    Trump beat a candidate last time that ran almost solely on that she wasn’t Trump, Trump, Trump because she didn’t want to pass out any promises to voters that she never had any intention of keeping and then have to deal with the aggravation of hearing about it when she walked back from them. She campaigned like she had the oval office in her pocket and the campaign season was a good opportunity for her to go shopping for the bedroom drapes in the Lincoln room, the one she and her husband would treat like a bnb again, before the inevitable frenzy of the holidays and her inauguration.


  23. bruce wilder

    hey,, do you get a taste for amplifying the propaganda stylings of Mrs. Steve Jobs?


    hey,, do you get a taste for amplifying the propaganda stylings of Mrs. Steve Jobs?

    I’d like a taste of her net worth she worked so hard to attain. Enough to cover the cost of my euthanasia and burial. Dying with dignity on our own terms is a universal right.

  25. hey,, if you’re single in a couple of years, I think I may have found just the girl for you.

    I’m talking about a fully legal Greta Thunberg.

    Greta’s latest is that she intends to “put world leaders against the wall”. I don’t think she’s talking about adult time-outs. She appears to be talking about executions.

    If you simply confess, to her, your desire to ” Let them die in the streets as they grow old and frail. Do not change their diapers. Do not heal their wounds. Do not offer them empathy and succor for they have betrayed you and written you off. They kept the baton and now it’s time to take it from them and shove it up their gnarly asses. “, she may fall instantly in love with you.

    It would be a match made in anti-climate-change heaven.

    You can thank me (if I’ve still survived the wall-standing and/or baton raping) by NOT inviting me to your wedding.

    Think of it this way: no carbon will be emitted journeying to the wedding location of a wedding that I won’t be attending.

  26. I heard a climate change debate in Newton, NJ, this morning, which had Dr. Patrick Michaels and Dr. William Happer, amongst others. I asked Dr. Happer if Trump even KNEW about dysfunctional scientific cultures, other than the climate change one.

    He indicated that Trump did, or believed he did, but blamed Trump’s advisors for Trump doing nothing on this, basically because it’s not on the voters’ radar. I took exception to this, citing the case of dysfunctional “pharmaceutical science”, and the effect this has had on my poor brother, whose kidneys failed, had a heart attack, etc. “Trump has bad advisors”, I scolded.

    After the main session, I was chatting with Dr. Patrick Michaels, who had kindly gifted me (and only me) with a copy of a new book of which he is a co-author, called “Scientocracy: The Tangled Web of Public Science and Public Policy”. I think it’s fair to say that he was happy with my previous question. 🙂

    I shared with Dr. Michaels my two leading theories as to why Trumpian advisors don’t want climate change ‘philosophy’ destroyed or exposed. 1) the uber rich that run the country have no intention of paying down the national debt, and carbon taxes are regressive enough for them and 2) Ivanka and Jared are dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, and Trump doesn’t want to jeopardize their political futures.

    Dr. Michaels didn’t offer an opinion of my theories, but did make the interesting comment that he thought Ivanka will be the first female US President, and she will run as a Democrat. He lives in the Washington D.C. area, so maybe this is more than his personal speculation.


    Greta really triggers you guys, doesn’t she? She’s a badass, no doubt about it. She has bigger balls than all you Trump defenders combined. Go Greta!!. Give them hell — quite literally.

  28. She doesn’t trigger me, at least not directly. I can’t quite get over how predictable her ascension was, and juxtapose that against Trump wasting 2 years (going on 4) educating the public about climate science, and what I call “meta” climate science; and how equally useless Trump’s legions of adoring fans have been about doing any sort of organizing, pretty much over anything fundamental, but including climate science.

    So, in a sense she triggers in me exasperation with our low information, lack of principles, President. If Trump loses to a morally motivated Greta Thunberg vote, I’ll shed no tears for him. It’s not as if he didn’t have an EXTRAORDINARY opportunity to do something about the ignorance- pretending-to-be-knowledge that she represents.

    I think that, psychologically speaking, the more unhinged comments directed against Trump and Thunberg have, in common, impotent rage. In the case of Thunberg, at some level (perhaps unconsciously), her haters know they’ve done nothing to educate the public against the Thunbergian claims. Cheering for Trump at one of his rallies doesn’t count, even when he says something predictable about climate.

  29. “Doesn’t trigger me” … BULLshit

    Rolling on the floor laughing my rosy red ass off.

  30. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Not sure who Greta is planning to put against the wall, given that the entire western world’s leadership class agrees with her 100%? She does sound like a good little commie though, no wonder the limousine left’s infatuation.

  31. realitychecker

    @ 450

    You say,

    “Bruce and Peter and realitychequer, let’s get together and go door to door . . .”

    and I say, “Thank you for confirming my longstanding suspicion that you simply do not know what a reality CHECK is.”

    Explains a lot. Thank you. Really.

    Rant on, sir, your imagination and mind-reading skills are never unremarkable.

  32. If you’re into science fiction, IMNSHO, you can’t beat “The Expanse”. The only series I’ve seen comparable to it is the new(er) Battlestar Galactica. The fourth season was released this past Friday, on Amazon prime.

  33. News flash:

    “Greta Thunberg Apologizes for Saying World Leaders Should Be Put ‘Against the Wall’”


    Sorry, Greta is just not in your league. Perhaps she will come around, in 2 years, and marriage possibilities will flourish, anew.

    If not, you may have to dispatch her, also.

    Must be strong, for the love of Gaia!

  34. Ben

    In regards to Labour getting its ass completely kicked, I’ll say that I’m surprised the extent to which a deluded English patriotism is apparently one of the causes for their defeat. I’ve seen multiple commentaries now that basically say Corbyn and Labour were percieved to be unpatriotic, while Johnson and the Tories told voters they could be proud to be English.

    On the validity of this as a cause for voters, and on the validity of ‘being anti-English’ as a problem with Labour, I can’t say, and won’t comment.

    But on the patriotism well…really? I’m going to be a douchebag here, but what the hell do the English think they have to be proud of? I mean, other than their stellar NHS (that they just voted to destroy). You’re the pathetic husk of a once globe spanning empire. You’ve been the also-ran buttboy of the United States for the better part of a century.

    Peter Hitchens recently wrote a book that challenged the idea that Britain was the decisive player in WW2. Putting aside the fact that the Soviet Union did all the heavy lifting, if we just focus on the Western Front, Britain’s main contribution was in being an unsinkable staging post for US forces. You could say ‘oh well, at least they nobly held their ground until the Americans arrived’, but the reality is that Germany had zero capacity to stage a plausible invasion of Britain. The British were a supplement to the US military, nothing more.

    There’s a million things that can (and have been, and should be) said about American narrissicism and self-obsession. But at least we actually do have things like being the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, and having the most powerful (or at least most lavishly equipped) military in human history, to back up our arrogance.

    The fact that apparently English self-delusion is so thick that Hitchens can play a radical by saying something that the rest of the world knew as a simple fact for 70 years is…sobering. I’m beginning to understand why Shashi Tharoor has had to write multiple books trying to make the point that “no, guys, the British Empire was bad, actually”. He’s basically trying to bash his way through a solid brick wall.

  35. ven


    Labour lost because Corbyn had a split party on Brexit, with the young who had been inspired by him, the London elites and most of him MPs being Remainers, whilst the Labour heartlands wanted to exit. And Labour came across as leaning towards remain, which was a betrayal of the referendum result. Boris’ strategy was to over-ride the divisions in the Conservative party and go all out for Brexit. Corbyn just had no option to do that.

    But make no mistake. We have voted for a lying, manipulative, elitist bully over a decent, honest, gentle man, who had sincerely fought all his life for the working class, and who would have protected the NHS, education, etc. The working class disliked him, because he wasn’t rabidly nationalistic, he cared about refugees and the poor in other countries, he wasn’t pro-monarchy. I guess, to be fair, they’ve been blasted by negative messaging along these lines by the plutocratic press.

    So there seems little hope, if the poor can turn against the one person who was fighting their corner. The Labour partly will likely be wrenched back towards the right, such that there is little difference between Blue and Red, and the plutocracy can rest easy.

    Hard not to be a misanthrope in such circumstances.

  36. realitychecker

    “Hard not to be a misanthrope in such circumstances.”

    Why try?


    It’s amazing how frightened the rapists are of Greta Thunberg. Even metamars, or especially metamars, has to turn my mentioning of her here into something sexual. What kind of mentality is it that has to paint giving credit to Greta Thunberg as something sexual and said mentality implores me to marry her? The mentality of someone who feels it’s his god-given right to rape the planet and to rape anyone who gets in the way of that god-given right, that’s what kind of mentality.


    It turns out, like myself, Greta is a time traveler. She was directly inspired by John Muir, perhaps even shook his hand at one time or she and her family had dinner with him in the Yukon.

    “We’ve had about 15 to 20 requests just to talk about the photo, and we’re getting into almost the triple digits now, in terms of requests to use the photo,” Lisa Oberg, an archivist at the university, told the CBC.

    Ever since 1997, the university’s digitized collection has been available to search online, meaning facial recognition software might have mistakenly picked up the young miner’s face when searching for Thunberg.


    Keep your distance from this false harbinger of hope, Greta. She and her husband had a golden opportunity to help lead the planet down a path of righteous environmentalism and instead they chose greed and avarice and a continued rape of the living planet. Michelle considers George W. Bush a friend. That’s all you need to know about her and her sincerity about the environment. She, like her husband, is an imposter. A poseur. Don’t let her usurp and undermine your thunder.


    Bloomberg has no traction and will go nowhere. Trump doesn’t need to waste his time on him.

    We’ll see. We’ll see.

    It’s telling Trump hasn’t acknowledged him let alone attacked him. It’s not like Trump. Scratch that, it is like Trump. Trump cowers and capitulates when he meets his match. Look at how he’s cowered to the likes of Putin and Kim Jong-un. Bloomberg will have him pissing and crapping his diapers and sucking his thumb as Donnie cries out for his momma.


    Beware the Ides of January? I highly doubt it. More like The Hill trying to create drama where there is none, but still, it would be a pleasant surprise — a belated Christmas gift versus coal in our stockings. If it did come to pass, would they have to drag Trump from office kicking and screaming? Would those with the guns start shooting up schools and shopping centers in revenge? We’ll see. We’ll see.


    It’s clear the Senate trial will be conducted as a clown circus kangaroo court for acquittal. Graham has invited Rudy to give an update on the findings of his recent investigation into Ukraine’s 2016 meddling in America’s presidential election and more dirt on the Bidens. The Trump administration is still holding back aid to Ukraine despite the impeachment. The constitutional scholar was right, the Dems and the Repubs have effectively rendered useless this dimension of the constitution and many other dimensions as well. The constitution is now a feckless relic that’s lost even its symbolic luster and appeal. The Senate trial will quickly become a rumpus investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden versus an impeachment of Trump. There was never any democracy in fact but for awhile at least, there was a democracy in appearance. No more. Any notion of democracy, appearance or otherwise, is now dead. It’s now a matter of who will head the autocracy. The oligarchs or the masses. It looks like it will be the oligarchs if the UK’s election is a harbinger and I believe it is.

  43. bruce wilder

    It’s clear the Senate trial will be conducted as a clown circus kangaroo court for acquittal.


    Really, if nothing else proves the wilful blindness to political reality on every level of the Dems in Congress, it is the absolute refusal to look ahead to how this must play out.

    It is hard to interpret the strategic choice of this course as anything other than avoidance. But, avoidance of what?

    There are so many better issues to focus on, if one actually cares about the country and its welfare, one might be led to think the Dem leadership emphatically does not care about much of anything other than servicing the donor class and cultivating their alliance with the intelligence community.


    Democrats, some Democrats at least, are focusing on some of those issues, bruce. But it will be for nothing more than posterity because McConnell and his cartel-supporting Senators will shoot it down once it reaches the Senate floor.

    The legislation, which passed 24 to 10, has a high chance of approval in the full House where Democrats control the chamber with 234 seats. It’s likely to face a tougher battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes marijuana legalization.

    The legislation allows states to enact their own policies and gives them incentives to clear criminal records of people with low-level marijuana offenses. It also includes a 5% tax on cannabis products that would provide job training and legal assistance to those hit hardest by the war on drugs.

    According to the American Civil Liberties Union, marijuana arrests account for more than half of all drug arrests in the United States. U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday repeatedly cited the disproportionate impact drug laws have had on communities of color, saying that decriminalizing marijuana helps alleviate some of that imbalance.

    If you were a Senator, bruce, would you vote for this legislation? I would. I support it and I’m not even a Congress Critter. How about you, do you support it even though you’re not a Congress Critter or not one that we know of at least?

  45. bruce wilder

    The working class disliked him, because he wasn’t rabidly nationalistic, he cared about refugees and the poor in other countries, he wasn’t pro-monarchy.

    Clive, a frequent and articulate NC commenter (also a Labour Party voter and supporter) turned this around a bit in a way that is worth thinking thru:

    However good you might think your, say, progressive ideas are on healthcare, the environment, the international order reshaping and that kind of good stuff, if the base you’re hoping to rely on isn’t with you all the way on your policies on, taking a few things, immigration, welfare, pride in your nation, education standards and identity you are, to put it bluntly, stuffed.

    Falling back, as the cohort in U.K. Labour did, into despising your natural base because of these questions, is likely to have the same not-especially encouraging outcome.

    I think it is clear in comments here on Ian’s site that some who identify with the left anchor that identification in contempt for a large part of what we might call the lower or dependent classes. Large swathes of the population are condemned for racism, nationalism, or religion and their economic interests and grievances are dismissed (particularly their grievances against an unresponsive Party system).

    In British politics, Remain politics before and after the referendum was often unselfconscious about how much their class contempt shown thru. Jo Swinson was thoroughly disliked for good reason. Their arguments against Brexit were a mix of x- splaining why xyz could not be done for technical reasons (never likely to win the day), absurdly alarmist predictions of imminent doom, and blaming Brexit sentiment on selfishness and bigotry. In short, a persuasive strategy doomed to fail, which they combined with convoluted plans for a do-over referendum on an ill-defined question.

    Brexit was always going to be a hard issue, because it is so hard to summarize or encapsulate: “hard” or “soft” — no one knows what such terms mean. And, no one seemed to want to admit that the EU had every incentive to punish Britain. But, it was not the impossible complexity of Brexit that did Labour in, it was the class polarization that has been waiting since Blair-Brown did in the membership party in favor of the careerist PLP model.

    I do not know if any significant part of the credentialed, professional classes can stomach an alliance with voters drawn from below. If not, there can be no path to real power for “the progressive left”: they can do what the LibDems (nee Liberals) have done for a century I suppose.

  46. bruce wilder

    Sure, I support decriminalizing marijuana.

    My problem with Pelosi & Co is that they oppose M4All, student loan forgiveness, an end to “free trade” policy that exports American jobs and security interests for Wall St profit, GND, and on and on thru a host of issues.

    I want to end perpetual (losing, corrupting) war; you want to extend it for twenty more years and see how that goes.

    I see both political Parties as being mostly unwilling to respond to the needs and interests of the great majority of the country, because each Party is in thrall to billionaires and corporate business interests in its own way. The Republicans are less embarrassed by their corruption — the Party of Betsey DeVos and Erik Prince is pretty shameless in embracing its evil oligarchs — but the Republicans get away with that because the Dems are themselves so compromised both by their own corruption and by their reliance on identity politics to mobilize votes that the Dems cannot effectively attack the Republicans on the betrayal of the Republican voter base by Republican elites. Trump in the 2016 primary demonstrated how vulnerable Republican elites are on the great distance between the policy preferences of Rep elites and Rep voters. Dems, though, are unable and unwilling to take advantage; Sanders, not a Democrat, is the exception proving the rule.

    Even on decriminalizing marijuana, the Dems have to play the identity politics card: “U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday repeatedly cited the disproportionate impact drug laws have had on communities of color, saying that decriminalizing marijuana helps alleviate some of that imbalance.” But, that compulsive inability to argue for universal material benefits is minor in comparison to the almost eerie way Dem corruption exactly mirrors Rep misbehavior in ways that make the Dems impotent critics. That Dems are focused on impeaching Trump for doing what Biden did makes mincemeat of irony. And, that they are taking it to a Republican Senate for adjudication . . . there are no words!

  47. bruce wilder

    What is a pointless impeachment distracting the nation from?

    Maureen Callahan, writing in the NY Post(!):

    On Monday, The Washington Post published a bombshell six-part series exposing the Bush and Obama administrations for knowingly and repeatedly lying to the American public about the war in Afghanistan.

    This is nothing short of this generation’s Pentagon Papers, which exposed the terrible lie of Vietnam. But chances are you haven’t heard of the Afghanistan Papers, because impeachment is sucking the oxygen out of every newsroom, network and political website in America.

    Have we lost our ability to be outraged over anything or anyone aside from Trump and his reality-show administration?

    But, of course, 450 wants this to go on for another twenty years, because “right reasons” or some other damn nonsense.

  48. ven


    I don’t disagree with what you or Clive wrote. The Labour Party have been parachuting Oxbridge educated candidates (like Blair) into safe constituencies for years. And not listening to them re: Brexit was obviously showing disregard.

    However many in the working class electorate, don’t feel solidarity with the international working class, don’t like refugees, etc, etc. Because these have been scapegoated by the media for years. And the media used Corbyn’s background to paint a picture of a man who cared more about those issues than the difficulties faced by people at home.

    So polling showed that Labour policies were deeply popular (especially with the young) – though some fears were sown about their affordability. But the feedback since the election has been that it was Brexit and an intense dislike for Corbyn (a big shift since the last 2017 election, and certainly inconsistent with polls straight after the recent Corbyn vs Johnson debates). Why this sudden dislike? I’d suggest his listening to the Remainer wing of his party, and blocking May and Johnson’s Brexit; and no doubt the personal media campaign against him over the last 2 years.

  49. Willy

    Trump should be impeached.

    But impeachment for the reasons stated in Ian’s most recent impeachment post would have done far more to help drain neoliberal oligarchic swamps, and gain popular traction, than doing it for apparently and/or obviously political reasons, which appear to be designed to protect those same swamps.

    But then I don’t have any credible polling on hand to demonstrate the idea. Maybe somebody else does.

    And then there’s Pence and the highly labile Republican leadership, who appear ready to discard whatever little Trump has done to actually help drain neoliberal oligarchic swamps.


    bruce, I wouldn’t disagree with any of that latest comment. The Dems do not form my opinion. Nor do the Repubs. I think the bill is good legislation and it’s not untrue that the war on drugs has affected blacks to a much greater extent than it has affected whites. I agree with you though that the Dems have used and abused blacks and doen blacks a substantial disservice. The proper perspective is a class perspective. If the majority of the unwashed could see it as a class war, the oligarchs would be toast and that is why the oligarchs go to the trouble they do to prevent solidarity amongst the unwashed.

    That being said, Trump is guilty as sin. Yes, the others are too so let’s bring them to justice also, but right now, it’s Trump’s turn because he’s in the catbird seat if you can call it that.

    I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half. ~ Jay Gould the Robber Baron

  51. ven

    On both sides of the Atlantic, we need to be honest that the working class are largely brainwashed and distracted by a plutocratic media. If they weren’t, the elite wouldn’t have had a chance to own democracy as they do today. So they have a particularly crass form of propaganda, which instills patriotism, flag waving, monarchy supporting, elite admiring, and immigrant scapegoating behaviour. It is always someone else’s fault, but not the elites.

    That is not to say the middle classes are any better. Sure they’ve been to university, but there they have been indoctrinated to think along certain channels, and socialise in the same circles. So they believe they understand the merits of capitalism, and how socialism has been a failure; they believe in meritocracy, incentivisation and that if your work hard you will better your position; and occupying the middle rung in the ladder, they can feel a sense of superiority and entitlement to those below, be desperate to protect their income from taxes, whilst trying to be be obedient to enable them to keep climbing the ladder.

    They are the managers and bureaucrats that keep the system functioning, whilst averting their eyes and intellects from understanding the truth of what is happening around them. They are the PR agents, the journalists, the lawyers, the financiers who mix in the same circles, and wouldn’t dare think out of the box – and certainly not verbalise that thinking.

    Hierarchies are wonderful at keeping everything in place. It is this hierarchical obedience that means that when things get bad, there will be easy scape-goats to blame, perhaps a few crumbs thrown it, but an inexorable drift to fascism. Sheldon Wolin talked about inverted totalitarianism.

    Not sure how we overcome this.

    Climate change is the game-changer, where a few crumbs won’t work. But by then, it will be too late.

  52. bruce wilder

    Trump is guilty as sin.

    I do not doubt it.

    Three things give me pause. The first, as I indicated above, is the unwillingness of Dems to challenge Trump on policy in any way that does not simply reinforce the status quo ante.

    The second thing that gives me pause is the unwillingness of the Dems in Congress to impeach him for a sin, or a high crime, or any crime at all. So far all they have charged him with is defending the prerogative of the President to conduct foreign policy.

    The third thing is: why isn’t this a colossal waste of time and scarce attention less than a year to the next election?

  53. Ben

    Trump should be impeached, but so should every President going back…phew, a long way indeed (sometimes people say \’Carter was good\’, but I think a mountain of corpses in Afghanistan would disagree). And most of them for crimes of life and death issues that are far more serious than Trumps (supposed; I\’m still not at all convinced he actually did anything) clumsy blackmailing or comically blatant emoluments violations.

    I\’m not keen on getting rid of Trump because:

    1. It leaves Pence in charge, so great, now we\’ve replaced the flighty, chaotic buffoon with few real principles with a guy who both has firm principles, all of them horrible, and isn\’t a blithering idiot. I don\’t consider that an improvement.


    2. Any impeachment that involves members of the \’intelligence community\’ is merely the latest stage in an escalating series of slow-motion coup attempts that has gone on for the last three years. If successful it will set spies up as a kind of Praetorian Guard with veto power over civil candidates, and that permanent constitutional change is far more dangerous than anything Trump will ever do (and actually fascist, as opposed to Trump, for all the dumb hyperbole that gets thrown around about him). I would rather have two to six more years of Bad Orange Man™ than entrust whatever is left of US democracy to the gentle ministrations of the CIA.

  54. Hugh

    There need to be consequences. You look at every sector, public and private, at our rich and elites. They behave the way they do because there are no consequences. We have real problems and nobody gives a shit because they don’t have to. The impeachment is a spectacle but a revealing one. We have this life-long crook, demented narcissist as President. If there were real consequences, this kind of corrupt clown would not be allowed within a million miles of even a lemonade stand. But we don’t so we have Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz vying for who is the biggest political whore in their slavish devotion to this walking POS we have in the Oval Office.

  55. Ben

    That seems hopelessly naive, Hugh. Impeaching Trump isn’t going to establish any precedent for holding presidents accountable. None of this is about Trump being corrupt; finding (or inventing) transgressions on his part is merely an excuse. The motivation is a combination of 1. many people being upset, mostly not by the substance of what Trump does, but how he does it, being a crass, clumsy oaf who doesn’t seem probably ‘presidential’. And 2. genuine outrage over what he’s doing, but because the substance of what he is doing is, in however small a way, to neoliberal and neocon free-‘trade’ and warmongering.

    Don’t forget that throughout all of this ‘he’s a Russian agent!!1’, and now impeachment, the ‘opposition’ has had no problem giving Trump all the military money and spying powers he could want.

    The presidents that follow will feel no hesitation whatsoever to continue doing crimes against not merely the rule of law, but against humanity itself. Because blatant class warfare and literal warmongering are not only perfectly acceptable in DC, they’re expected.

    And ‘life-long crook, demented narcissist’ is also exactly how I would describe Obama. Trump is a monstrosity, but so were all of our presidents going back a very long time. Trump just doesn’t have any ability to hide it.

  56. Ben

    Above should be:

    “because the substance of what he is doing is, in however small a way, COUNTER to neoliberal and neocon free-‘trade’ and warmongering.”

  57. Hugh

    False equivalence, everybody does it so nobody should be held to account, why bother. . . Such arguments mean there will never any consequences, and things will just continue to get worse. We have to start somewhere, and bad as Obama was he was nowhere near the level of a caricature of a caricature like Trump. And Trump, not Obama, is the current President.


    “It’s amazing how frightened the rapists are of Greta Thunberg. Even metamars, or especially metamars, has to turn my mentioning of her here into something sexual. What kind of mentality is it that has to paint giving credit to Greta Thunberg as something sexual and said mentality implores me to marry her? The mentality of someone who feels it’s his god-given right to rape the planet and to rape anyone who gets in the way of that god-given right, that’s what kind of mentality.”

    Wow, that’s really rich!

    So you, the author of

    ”Let them die in the streets as they grow old and frail. Do not change their diapers. Do not heal their wounds. Do not offer them empathy and succor for they have betrayed you and written you off. They kept the baton and now it’s time to take it from them and shove it up their gnarly asses. “”

    imply that I’m a rapist, but of the planetary sort. Project, much?

    While reading your post, I’ve been half listening to Jimmy Dore eviscerate liar and apparent co-conspirator (against Trump, American citizen, and the Constitution). Comey plays stupid, but Chris Wallace digs into his contradictions enough to make this fairly transparent.

    You remind me of James Comey. Why not simply own your murderous, sadistic impulses? Why not simply say, “I’d be happy to marry somebody who wants to “stand up world leaders against the wall”? Maybe we can graduate to taking turns with the baton raping!”? Comey might face legal action if he comes too clean, but what could you possibly be afraid of? Are Trump’s brownshirts going to kick in your door, and drag you off to a concentration camp?

    In the climate change debate I attended this past Saturday, Dr. Happer started walking off, at one point, after being heckled. After being coaxed to come back, he told the audience that he didn’t have much tolerance for hecklers, having been aggravated by death threats, over the years. After the debate, when chatting with Dr. Patrick Michaels, I asked him about the degree of harassment he had endured. He told me that when talking at a college campus, about 45 days ago, IIRC, he needed a police escort.

    I don’t think you need to worry about death threats or needing police escorts.

    In my impending old age, I’m less interested in seeing serious debates about technical issues involving science controversies (as desirable and rare as these may be, especially with regard to climate science); then in seeing the public educated about the degree of dysfunction in the scientific communities and their ecosystems. In the case of climate science, the brain-washing/propaganda has been too successful, and has been going on for too long. Probably the most efficacious thing to deprogram the brainwashed is to educate about ‘meta’ science, not science, itself.

    There’s an analogy to be made to politics. Years after the research of Gilens and Page made clear we live in a de facto plutocracy, all the political energy still seems to be channeled into D vs. R. The #Resistance people, as well as the adoring Trump fans who attend his rallies, need to be educated and confronted about how corrupted the whole system is, and focus on fixing THAT, as a top priority. Otherwise, we are spinning our wheels.

    So, e.g., I’m less interested in people knowing various details and criticism of specific climate models, then to know that, of the IPCC models, the most accurate one (which was the only one that also predicted, or postdicted – can’t recall, exactly – “the pause”) was a Russian model. This model ran cooler than all the others, and thus was truer with respect to the historical data. Dr Patrick Michaels showed the graphs, but I don’t want to spend any more time looking for them. I’m guessing the Russian model predictions must be the lowest, dotted-orange-dot one shown in the first diagram @

    If a citizen can digest this graph, they will (hopefully) begin to grasp just how much of a false narrative they’ve internalized, and just how dysfunctional the climate science COMMUNITY is, and thus begin the process of deprogramming.

    I kind of doubt that anything can be done, for you, but by drawing attention to your murderous, sadistic impulses, I hope to “heighten the contradictions” for less brainwashed members of this community. Your deflections may satisfy your “amen corner”, but they won’t fool people more salvageable than yourself.

    Why don’t you elaborate on torture and execution methods that you find desirable for ‘planet rapists’ (including ones who can correctly interpret simple graphs)?

  59. Plenue

    Trump being impeached isn’t going to result in any future presidents feeling restrained.

    Yes that is in and of itself false equivalence, but add in that what Trump being removed *will* do is show the spy community (and the media, and the parties) that they can disregard the outcome of elections, all the way up to the level of president, if they cry and lie hard enough and work together.

    Trump is a staggeringly bad president (though I think that’s about 90% ineptness, and 10% unique evil. He’s mostly just another ugly Republican when you get past all the asinine Tweeting and weird bluster). But the republic, whatever is left of it, can survive a term or two of an extremely bad president. Getting rid of him isn’t worth the extreme cost that it would cause the constitutional order (again, whatever is left of it).

    “Such arguments mean there will never any consequences, and things will just continue to get worse.”

    There will never be any consequences. In fact just about the only times the media and Democrats rally around Trump is when he ‘acts presidential’ by bombing something. The next president will be just as free to engage in war and corruption.

    “and bad as Obama was he was nowhere near the level of a caricature of a caricature like Trump.”

    I disagree. Trump is openly vain and outlandish. But beneath Obama’s ‘charisma’ (they people assure me he has, I don’t really see it), is an irredeemable grifter who is currently worth something like 30x what he was in 2008, and who is currently ruining a public park in Chicago with a monument to his own ego.


    I kind of doubt that anything can be done, for you, but by drawing attention to your murderous, sadistic impulses, I hope to “heighten the contradictions” for less brainwashed members of this community. Your deflections may satisfy your “amen corner”, but they won’t fool people more salvageable than yourself.

    Sure, whatever. You’re wasting your time. First, this isn’t a “community,” and second, you won’t change anyone’s mind who reads and/or comments here. So, why you continue to post your climate change denial schlock despite that, is rather curious. The fact you admit you attend these various symposiums and in the same breath as admitting that you’re talking about death threats makes me think, “he who doth protest too much.” If I’m an FBI agent, I have my eye on you even if you are an FBI agent.

    Fyi, the baton is a metaphor and shoving up their asses is a figure of speech. As for the rest of my comment, I stand behind it and will not back away from it or apologize for it. The young will be responsible for caring for these scumbags who voted the way they did and vote the way they do and their voting is screwing over the young. In twenty years, maybe less for some, these scumbags will NEED these young peeps at a crucial time in their lives when they can’t do for themselves. These selfish, racist, confidently & arrogantly ignorant scumbags should reap what they are sowing and what they are sowing for themselves is a miserable death where they are thrown to the curb like so much garbage just as they have done to the youth with their vote.

    Considering you find marrying young brides rather titillating, have you considered what Ukraine has to offer in that category? You can have an Eastern European bride just like your hero Donald Trump and she’ll think climate disruption is a Chinese hoax if that’s your requirement, or one of your many requirements, for a happy marriage.

  61. Hugh

    Ruining the country vs ruining a park, no false equivalence there, nope.

  62. Wow, that’s great – you don’t actually want to murder anybody, even if you hope they die miserable deaths. This is actually a good thing, relatively speaking.

    Some of the people that Dr. Patrick Michaels needed protection from were the antifa thugs. You know, the sort of people who attacked Andy Ngo, and smashed some other guy named Adam Kelly over the head with a bike lock. It required 25 staples to close the resulting wound.

    Are you at all concerned that, when the climate change driven END comes, the antifa-type thugs will dispatch you, for being too soft? Mere virtue signaling may not sate their appetite for violence and retribution. There may not be room enough for you in the dytopia to follow, if you can’t rise to their lofty standards before that time.

    ” The fact you admit you attend these various symposiums and in the same breath as admitting that you’re talking about death threats makes me think, “he who doth protest too much.” If I’m an FBI agent, I have my eye on you even if you are an FBI agent.”

    Not sure what you mean by this. I think you’re insinuating that I work for the FBI, because I disparage Comey, as a deflection. And mention the threats against the likes of Michaels and Happer, which somehow are also deflections.

    Well, I don’t, and hope Comey gets prosecuted, though I’m not holding my breath. Here’s Tucker Carlson tearing him apart: . It’s cut short, but you get the flavor.

    Finally, as you are doubtless a moral person (in your own mind), why don’t you tell us what should be done to Cliff Mass? He’s apparently a CO2 catastrophist, wants carbon taxes, but is too honest to want to support climate catastrophist friendly lies about snowpack covering disappearing.

    Thankfully, you won’t want to murder him. But what sort of punishment do you think is appropriate? If you say “none”, then please tell us what punishment should be meted out to the liars that he works with.


    Come on, metamars, get real. There are no true militant leftists remaining. The antifa thugs you refer to are imposters. Provocateurs. Just like you. You need to fish elsewhere. This is hardly the venue for such expeditions.

  64. Snicker.

    No opinion on Cliff Mass, eh? That’s convenient. You can avoid even recognizing that something is very rotten in the climate science community, even if only at a single university. We wouldn’t want people to think that, now, would we? They may start looking more closely at how science is funded, and thus biased towards the agendas of the funding dispersers.

    Unfortunately, you may have a point about violent provocateurs working for the man. There’s a well known (I think) video of a cop patting a provocateur on the back as he runs from the crowd into an area controlled by cops, during the WTO protests. Also, I think it’s very likely that many, maybe most, of the Black Bloc jerks who smashed things up during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations were paid saboteurs. I was hoping the peaceful protesters would grab them and unmask them.

    However, there is room for both undercover saboteurs (to a cause) and violent fanatics within the same movement.

  65. The superior Russian climate model(s) I referred to above is INM-CM4/5. As I understand it, only INM-CM5 correctly postdicts “the pause” (unlike every other model)



  66. Ben

    “Ruining the country vs ruining a park, no false equivalence there, nope.”

    I’m sorry, but do you have an understanding of what a monster Obama was, and still is? He oversaw the largest organized theft in US history, destroyed Libya, and started a genocide in Yemen. The park is merely the shit cherry on top of a whole cake of crimes.

    We’re also drifting away from my core point. Fine, let’s let the spies remove Trump. But don’t come whining when they do it again later against Sanders, or whoever is the next half-way decent president (assuming we ever get a decent one again). There’s a bigger picture than just Trump at play here.

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