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

Open Thread

As usual, use the comments to this post to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


The Justification for Great Wealth


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 1, 2020


  1. bruce wilder

    The U.S. has not been doing surveillance testing, or really much testing at all because of epic incompetence at the CDC, so its “confirmed” cases are “64” ; Korea is 3150, Italy 889 and Australia has declared a pandemic is underway and Amazon has grounded its 800,000 employees. This thing is happening. Noriel Roubini predicts a stock market decline of up to 40% — we’re one-quarter there this week — and Trump will lose the election as a result of the crisis.

    Hand-sanitizer anyone?

  2. Buzzard

    I’m afraid Trump will use the crisis as an excuse to cancel the elections. And the Democrats will meekly comply, because the alternative is a President Sanders.

  3. Buzzard

    And brace yourselves. Today is not going to be a good day for Bernie. Now, this was expected, and the Sanders campaign knows this, but be prepared for Biden’s victory today in one of the least-educated states in the country to be treated like the media as a combination of the Super Bowl, the moon landings, and the second coming.

  4. bruce wilder

    “Trump will cancel the election” is an interesting meme to me. I see zero evidence to support such a supposition, but — rightly or wrongly — I connect it with the Clinton campaign’s 2016 general election debate move to try to get Trump to indicate that he might resist accepting the election’s eventual result. Of course, in that case, the Clintonistas themselves attacked the legitimacy of the election results in a variety of ways: soliciting faithless electors, Russia,Russia,Russia, and so on. Where they can — as in my home city of Los Angeles — the Democrats have sought to implement ballot marking and counting systems designed for vote-rigging.

    I am interested, Buzzard, are you looking forward to the end of electoral democracy? Because that is what it sounds like to me. That you want “cancelling an election” to become a normal, expected thing, just another partisan tactic and you are pursuing your goal by projecting this course of action on the “enemy” you love to hate, repeating the propaganda to this end.

  5. Buzzard

    Wow, talk about misreading my intentions.

    Trump has done A LOT of unprecedented things in his administration — co-opting the DOJ and establishing a Ministry of Information for the coronavirus, headed by noted scientist Mike Pence and staffed by medical experts like Larry Kudlow (just to name two recent actions), while muzzling the doctors who DO have a clue what’s going on. Cancelling the elections, after the virus has decimated a good number of Americans (and a lot of those who would vote for him) might have sounded like an outlandish thought as recently as four years ago. It doesn’t sound so outlandish today.

    I am NOT a fan of the Clintons, in any way. Hillary deserves as much blame as anyone for foisting Trump upon us. I am a Bernie supporter, and I am semi-resigned that the party will deny him the nomination no matter how the primaries shake out. But just because the DNC is garbage doesn’t make Trump any better. And he’s the relevant one in power now.

  6. There was a meme out there in the fever-swamps mid-Obama years that the executive “could” dissolve congress as “obstructionist”, declare Martial Law and “postpone” the election.

    Pretty sure the Cheney Administration gave it some thought.

  7. Buzzard

    On the other hand, if the Dems are successful in wresting the nomination from Sanders, there wont be any need to cancel the election from Trump’s viewpoint; the subsequent curbstomping will make Trump look more legitimate than ever.


    It’s clear to me now that in several weeks to a month to two months America is going to experience what China is experiencing now and other countries are experiencing as well like Italy and Iran. The elections will definitely be postponed. Congress will be suspended. There may in fact be a military coup and take-over in order to coordinate an appropriate centralized, top-down response to this crisis that’s about to hit America like a merciless and relentless tsunami. The world as we’ve known is is transforming before our eyes in real-time. It’s happening so fast, so rapidly, we can see it. It truly is an apocalypse in this regard. America could very well descend into a civil war over this. It’s not the virus itself that is so dangerous at this point, it’s the effect it has on the fragile global system. It’s a match to the myriad tinder boxes just waiting to be lit. This is what the AI trading algorithms are seeing right now in their determination of valuation and consequential trading decisions.

  9. bruce wilder

    There is the actual Trump, who talks like a third-grader and surrounds himself with grifters, and then there is the imaginary Trump of MSNBC land, who is a rabid racist and Putin’s puppet, about to burn the Reichstag at any moment in his mad pursuit of a fascist dictatorship. When crazy talk doesn’t sound outlandish, you may be in MSNBC land, possibly by mistake?

    The real Trump is bad: weak, reactionary, friendly to corruption, media savvy but apparently stupid and authoritarian in his outlook. The MSNBC land Trump is designed by people who are, at best, irresponsible and amoral, representing interests that are not actually opposed to plutocracy, perpetual war et cetera. Letting your imagination get caught up with the “unprecedented” doings of MSNBC land Trump is aligning yourself with some very untrustworthy forces in American politics.

  10. Marcus

    Bruce I also have the concern about what Buzzard mentioned, and I know what you’re talking about with MSNBC making Trump the squeaky wheel forever in need of their oiling. But just because they would propose such a fear as Trump canceling the elections doesn’t mean it can’t actually happen. And expressing a fear, as Buzzard did, isn’t the same as pushing a paranoid narrative for a hidden or unconscious agenda.

  11. Ché Pasa

    So we the rabble will not have access to any reliable and/or factual information about the Outbreak because every shred of information from the medicos at CDC et al will have to go through Stephen Miller’s wife before being massaged and released by the Vice President.

    And everybody will be accused by everybody else that the Virus is being used to issue lies and fantasies for political advantage. To an extent it will be true to, especially if the only way we can get useful, truthful information about the Outbreak is to acquire and use political power.

    It’s not rocket science, but it seems dreadfully hard for some folks to comprehend. I was reading something over at “Yves”place yesterday regarding the political sniping taking place. “The political class should be rooting with one voice for the administration to succeed on this issue. But here we are; crabs in a bucket.”

    Previously she had said it would be nice to have a germaphobe president with administrative skills instead of the president we have.

    But you can’t have it both ways. You don’t root for an admin filled with jokers, charlatans, conmen, criminals and liars to lead the response to what could become another pandemic. You just don’t. If the political class as a whole were to do that under the circumstances it would be complicit in every bit of the goon show underway.

    We are under the rule of incompetent buffoons, every one of whom has a political agenda of their own. Seeing yet another crisis, they act.

    Meanwhile, Pompeo puffed himself up even bigger than usual at the ritual signing of a Peace Deal with the Taliban supposedly bringing to an end one of the many endless wars the US engages in. If it holds, hurrah. Or it would be worth cheering if it weren’t the product of the same bunch of conmen that are bringing us the coronavirus crapshow.

  12. Marcus

    Che – does Pence really have total control over information for the virus? I saw this morning that Washington and Oregon were reporting “presumptive cases” that had been confirmed at state level but not yet by CDC. Was that some thing the virus csar had to sign off on, or are states free to report their own testing? Anyone? I’m a valet at a hospital in Wisconsin and my wife is on the verge of giving birth and will be immune compromised for the next while so I’m trying my best to keep up.


    Give it a rest, bruce. This is beyond political at this point so quit dragging it back to politics as usual. China and Iran and Italy and Australia and countless other countries experiencing this and responding to it are not involved in a conspiracy with the neoliberal Dems and the American deep state to remove Trump from office. If Trump gets removed, and he should be at this point, it’s not because this was planned for him to be removed, it’s a reaction to this crisis and it is a crisis at this point. The market is speaking and the market doesn’t scare easily so this for real. Your parroting the fascist’s talking points is absurd and, I would say, deadly thinking considering an inappropriate response or no response at all to this virus could have incredibly destructive effects that far outweigh deaths from just the virus itself. If you are an American over 60 to 65 years old and especially male, you should be nervous right about now because this virus is coming for you. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when. In two months, maybe sooner, 1/3 to 1/2 of Congress could be infected with this virus. Trump himself could be infected. He’s vulnerable as is Biden and Bernie and Warren and Bloomberg. Calling it a Dem hoax won’t save you. Trump keeps it up and the world will demand his removal. I already demand his removal. The question is, do our institutions have the temerity to do what is right at this crucial moment and coordinate with one another to remove him and get him the mental help he so sorely needs? In the meantime, we can finally set about addressing this pandemic in an effective & efficient manner before the reaction to it descends into intractable chaos.

  14. Dan

    South Carolina is going to be closer than the narrative of the last couple days suggests. Here’s what to look for:

  15. DZee

    I checked Wikipedia to see if I remembered 1968 correctly. Dem Party : FDR/New Deal still leading ideology- main issues/disputes regarding war and nationalism.

    \”At the time, polls suggested that McCarthy was more likely than his Democratic rivals to defeat Republican frontrunner Richard Nixon in a head to head matchup, leading 40 to 37 percent in a Harris poll. …McCarthy criticized the approach of his two closest Democratic rivals. He stated that there were three kinds of national unity; Humphrey\’s approach of \”run things together indiscriminately,\” Kennedy\’s approach of a \”combination of separate interests…or groups,\” and his own approach of \”call upon everyone…to be as fully responsible as can be,\” which the candidate labeled as the approach for 1968. .. Four days later, McCarthy received the most votes in Time Magazine\’s national presidential primary. The poll counted votes of over 1 million students in more than 1,200 campuses. Kennedy came in second, trailing by more than 70,000 votes….McCarthy\’s plan to gain more delegates was complicated when Senator George McGovern of South Dakota entered the race as the successor to the legacy of Robert Kennedy. The entrance had the effect of splitting the anti-Humphrey vote. Meanwhile, the McCarthy campaign alleged that Democratic National Chairman John Bailey was giving preferential treatment to Humphrey, to the detriment of McCarthy. \” Deja vu?

    So yes, popular left candidate outmaneuvered – party runs conservative candidate, conservative candidate loses, replaced next election with moderate, also loses, lesson learned seemed to be better to lose with conservative

    meanwhile many of the youth driving the McCarthy campaign leave electoral politics and vote McGovern but tepid support.

    Dem Party Insiders wage so-called anti-patronage, anti-corruption campaign that marginalizes and ultimately destroys local party organization. So one -two punch against democracy in the party.

    The party embraces a hyper meritocracy with their neoliberal economics, hollows out debate and reframes the conservativsm of Humphrey etal as the best, the brightest and most competent.
    Democratic party embraces their elites and elitism.

    50 years later- a fight to restore New Deal ideology and democracy to party with youth at the lead- What will be the outcome? Redux not acceptable.

  16. Ché Pasa

    As I understand it, any public communication from the CDC, the Federal Coronavirus Task Force, the White House, or any other federal agency about the Outbreak has to go through Stephen Miller’s wife and then be approved by Pence before release to the public or media. No one involved in the federal response is authorized to speak or write anything about it without prior approval.

    At the state level, official reporting and commenting is apparently relatively free of White House interference — at least for now. So we’re hearing about some of the cases appearing in California, Oregon and Washington, but not in other states — if they’re there. Not yet.

    Ms. Ché is headed to San Antonio next week (driving, not flying) near where some of the quarantines have taken place (at Lackland AFB). The stories of community transmission in California seem to pivot around the quarantines at Travis AFB and the lack of any protective gear worn by personnel in the initial reception of potential carriers from the cruise ship. That then becomes a source of community transmission, which by this point could be taking place anywhere those personnel then traveled — including DC.

    We aren’t necessarily going to know, however, depending on the politics of the state/locality. It’s a mess and not getting better.

  17. bruce wilder

    . . . just because they would propose such a fear as Trump canceling the elections doesn’t mean it can’t actually happen

    I am saying the talking morons at MSNBC propose such a fear to make cancelling the elections a live possibility in the hands of either Party. It is the hypnotist’s trick: “don’t think of a pink elephant!” And, there you are thinking of a pink elephant. And, as a bonus, you have half forgotten the actual bad things about Trump’s actual policies, horrible policies the millionaires appearing on MSNBC and elsewhere in the Media favor.

    Supposedly, the first precept at the Psychoanalytic Institute was, “Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean that they are not out to get you.” Paranoia is a defense mechanism; it is an imaginative act to protect you from a genuinely threatening reality. And, it is being manipulated by experts for a nefarious purpose.

    You don’t root for an admin filled with jokers, charlatans, conmen, criminals and liars to lead the response to what could become another pandemic. You just don’t. If the political class as a whole were to do that under the circumstances it would be complicit in every bit of the goon show underway.

    If the cheerleaders claiming to be on the “other” side, are also jokers, charlatans, conmen, criminals and liars, do you root with them anyway?

    It is human nature to choose a jersey and argue for your team — this is the year the Cubs go all the way! — and the professional propagandists know this and use it.

    But, human nature to pick a team and root or not, real life politics presents no simple binary.

    Realistically, Trump is Trump — he’s not particularly smart in an intellectual way, and he lacks the discipline to dive deeply into the nuance of policy. But, he and those around him surely know that the Administration must perform on this highly visible issue. Which presumably is why the highly disciplined Pence has been put in charge. Hardly an “unprecedented” move. Administrations have been doing this since forever. So if someone at the Guardian or MSNBC or CNN or the New York Times goes all hysterical about how “unprecedented” this is, it might be a tell that they are not trying to inform you objectively.

    As far as the Administration is concerned, giving the issue highly visible leadership might not work out well, but we will know who to blame, which is a hazard they are accepting to their credit. And, in the meantime, the chances of mobilizing resources on the scale necessary improves by an order of magnitude.

    My concern is that the propagandists in the so-called liberal Media and in the Democratic Party have no discernible ethical boundaries or sense of public responsibility. They are going to say whatever they think will get a response from large numbers of readers or viewers or twitter followers, regardless of the consequences and regardless of the objective truth of the claims made in many cases. They lie about Trump regularly. Or, haven’t you noticed? Trump is so awful, you would not think they would feel the need, but it is revealing that this is what they choose to do, even when it leads to self-destructive political results, as was the case in the impeachment for nothing that boosted Trump’s approval ratings and implicated their own leading candidate for President in corruption. Rekindling the Cold War with Russia,Russia,Russia for more than 2 years never gave any of them pause, either for the serious issues they ignored nor the ill-feeling they generated vis a vis a nuclear power.

    And, you bring up Afghanistan, where the Trump Administration has negotiated if not a peace at least a figleaf for withdrawal. So, should we gather together with the Democrats who have relentlessly kept that useless, fantastically expensive conflict going for nearly 20 years and root for the repulsive Pompeo to fail? “Who lost Afghanistan?” Catchy.

    Take a deep breath. Get real. Resist teh Resistance™

    There’s still plenty to be paranoid about and outraged about. I am not suggesting to anyone that they should not be alarmed. But, do not channel your good will into the hands of people who mean to do us all harm and simply do not care.

  18. Marcus

    Che, true. I could see the DNC apologetically conceding the election in some way, just as much if not more than the Trump admin gladly walking the bases because of corona or whatever other crisis necessitates saving the establishment. I agree that fear mongering and playing up Trump is not helpful. It grosses me out too.

    I’m been detached from politics all my life, and because of recent events in my past five years of existence, have pretty given up on there being any “side” worth its salt, politics or otherwise. At the same time, something about the Bernie thing has got me hoping. It’s very likely going to just disappoint, and I know he’s playing the populist fervor with some easy answers (like, sure, in theory we all “deserve” healthcare and education…but that seems to unquestioningly assume that anyone deserves a first-world way of life and what that requires in terms of relationship to nature, other humans, and our own psyches.)

    So we’ll see…

  19. StewartM


    Trump has indeed talked about a third and a fourth term. And Micheal Cohen–who I dare say knows Trump better than either of us–says if he loses in November he won’t go peacefully (and why should he step down? He’s facing prosecution and very possibly jail time).

    Sure, some people say Trump’s talking about repealing or ignoring the 22nd Amendment is “just joking” and you may say that Cohen’s warning hysterical, but maybe I should remind you that people thought Hitler was also comical; comedians poked fun at the little outlandish corporal too, thinking that “he can’t be serious about that”. To whit what Masha Gessen warned:

    Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable. Back in the 1930s, The New York Times assured its readers that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all posture. More recently, the same newspaper made a telling choice between two statements made by Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov following a police crackdown on protesters in Moscow: “The police acted mildly—I would have liked them to act more harshly” rather than those protesters’ “liver should have been spread all over the pavement.” Perhaps the journalists could not believe their ears. But they should—both in the Russian case, and in the American one. For all the admiration Trump has expressed for Putin, the two men are very different; if anything, there is even more reason to listen to everything Trump has said. He has no political establishment into which to fold himself following the campaign, and therefore no reason to shed his campaign rhetoric. On the contrary: it is now the establishment that is rushing to accommodate him—from the president, who met with him at the White House on Thursday, to the leaders of the Republican Party, who are discarding their long-held scruples to embrace his radical positions.

  20. StewartM


    Yes, I fear Bernie will get trounced, and trounced largely due to African-American voters flocking to Biden to vote against their own best interests just because Clyburn told them to do that. Voting against your best interests based on symbolic shit just isn’t a poor white voter thing. I sadly conclude that even many African-American voters don’t know the real MLK (who said–that America’s biggest problems were racism, militarism, and capitalism, and who wanted to create a multi-racial ‘poor peoples’ coalition’) in favor of the corporate re-make of MLK.

    If Sanders does win, the MSNBC “explanation” for that will be that Trump voters rat-fucking the Democratic primary pushed him over.

    But Nate Silver has run some likely outcomes from SC. If Biden crushes Sanders, then Silver calculates that Bernie will still arrive at the convention with a plurality, but a modest one. If Biden only narrowly wins, Sanders will have a much larger plurality and if Sanders pulls off the upset, then Biden falls to also-ran status and Sanders will either have a majority of the delegates or nearly a majority.

  21. Mark Pontin

    The “Trump not leaving the White House” meme if Trump loses the presidency frankly says more about the dire IQ levels of the Americans who believe it than it does about Trump

    Because how’s it realistically work? What’s he going to do? Physically stay in the White House till he’s physically ejected?

    All right, suppose he does (though pretty clearly he’d rather be in one of his own sumptuous properties like Mar-a-Lago). It still doesn’t mean anyone will take orders from him once he officially ceases to be the president. So, so what if he physically remains in the White House?

    And if power grows out of the barrel of a gun and he’s going to seize dictatorial powers, with what army?

    Not the actually-existing US military. He’s pissed off and attacked Mathis, McMasters, John Kelly, and every other member of the Pentagon brass who’s tried to work with him and they hate him back. As for the rank and file, veterans are currently donating more to Sanders than to any other presidential candidate.

    And this is without getting into all the history and context indicating that a direct military coup is the one taboo the US military will never break. Never say never and all that, but the US military is not going to break that taboo in 2020 for Fat Donny.


    Without the featured speed bumps built into the stock market trading system to mitigate massive plunges, the market could very well have been down more than 50% by now to 15,000 for the DJIA or less. Wrap your head around that. The powers that be know how terrible this is and is going to be and yet Trump the insane narcissistic mad man is still at the helm. How can this be? Every day he’s left in office to rant & rave like a lunatic means that there will be many more deaths from this and the very real possibility America and many countries never recover from the effects this will have on the global system of economics and governance. Their money, the oligarchs’ wealth, will be meaningless when and if we reach that point. Surely they have to know this and yet no one is acting to remove this nutjob and his fascist administration from the White House.

  23. different clue

    When Yves Smith says that we should root for the TrumpAdmin to succeed in its corona virus approach, I think she means that we should root for the TrumpAdmin to actually be able to stop the spread, contain the virus quickly and then get it killed off within US borders quickly after that.

    I really don’t think she means that we should root for the TrumpAdmin to succeed at “looking good” in the middle of a raging epidemic.


    I think she means that we should root for the TrumpAdmin to actually be able to stop the spread, contain the virus quickly and then get it killed off within US borders quickly after that.

    That’s akin to rooting for Trump supporters to suddenly fall in love with Hillary Clinton and implore her to run for POTUS so they can vote her into office. In otherwords, you can’t root for something that can never be. It’s yet another apologetic normalizing gesture in defense of the indefensible orange dildo. Looks to me like someone wants their pussy grabbed. That, Trump can do and apparently he does it well.

  25. Benjamin

    No, 450. It’s called not wanting a bunch of people to die. You psychopath.

  26. Benjamin


    Unlike Trump, Hitler was actually a fascist in his ideals. He was also fairly competent. When it came time to consolidate his power, he actually did it. Meanwhile Trump couldn’t get much of anything done even when he controlled both Houses (much less abolishing the Houses, which is what Hitler essentially did). Trump thinks leadership is signing endless executive orders that mostly don’t do much.

    And Masha Gessen is an idiot.

  27. Ché Pasa

    It seemed to me that the Trump Show could probably get away with their smoke and mirrors wrt the Outbreak until there was a death, and well, wouldn’t you know, there was a death in Washington state, announced by the governor, and right away Team Trump was on it, and they couldn’t even get that right.

    According to reports from Washington (Seattle Times, KOMO, among others) the patient who died was male, in his 50s, who apparently had not traveled to affected regions and had no contact with known COVID-19 patients.

    Trump and his people report the death of a female (thoughts and prayers) in Washington.

    So, as if it weren’t obvious, this is a situation in which accurate information depends on the individual and what they choose to believe. You can’t trust the White House because of the lies the president is notorious for; you should be skeptical of the media for obvious reasons. And whether anyone is telling the truth — or if they even know it — about the Outbreak is anyone’s guess.

    It’s a recipe for disaster, and there’s little we can do about it.

    Now that there has been a death, all bets are off. The rumors will fly, corrections — if they come –will be too late, and we will find no reliable resources for information or supplies. It’s not just that we’re on our own, it’s that so many will be at cross purposes. Chaos.

    It might be better if nobody said anything.


    Unlike Trump, Hitler was actually a fascist in his ideals.

    Unlike Hitler, Trump has no ideals. But he does represent & enable fascism. He’s a spokesperson and conduit for it.


    And Masha Gessen is an idiot.

    I think you have a little crush on her. I don’t blame you. She is beautiful. Drop-dead gorgeous, in fact. Just your type.

  30. StewartM


    Unlike Trump, Hitler was actually a fascist in his ideals.

    Uh, how do you know Trump’s ideals? What makes you believe that he is some defender or advocate for small -r republican or democratic institutions? Has Trump ever run or ever known any system that isn’t autocratic where when he barks out orders to jump the correct answer is always “how high?”? Hitler, just like Trump, believed that the military and civil service should owe loyalty to HIM, not to Germany or any constiution, and in fact he made them swear an oath to that effect:

    Mark Pontin, you should reverse your question. If Trump loses and says the election was fraudulent, who, exactly, is going to evict him? The Republicans in the Senate–who might also have an interest in staying and declaring the election results fradulent, if they lose the Senate–are going to impeach? Really? If the civil service objects, Trump just fires them and replaces them with people who say “yes”—we’ve already passed that threshold. As for the military, their tradition is to obey the CoC.

    So explain to me the mechanism how Trump is supposed to be ejected, please. Who’s going to arrest him and evict him?

  31. StewartM


    Yes, I don’t understand that antipathy toward Gessen, who I’d say knows more about the rise of recent autocrats than Benjamin. On that point, let’s summarize her full list:

    Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable. Back in the 1930s, The New York Times assured its readers that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all posture. More recently, the same newspaper made a telling choice between two statements made by Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov following a police crackdown on protesters in Moscow: “The police acted mildly—I would have liked them to act more harshly” rather than those protesters’ “liver should have been spread all over the pavement.” Perhaps the journalists could not believe their ears. But they should—both in the Russian case, and in the American one. For all the admiration Trump has expressed for Putin, the two men are very different; if anything, there is even more reason to listen to everything Trump has said. He has no political establishment into which to fold himself following the campaign, and therefore no reason to shed his campaign rhetoric. On the contrary: it is now the establishment that is rushing to accommodate him—from the president, who met with him at the White House on Thursday, to the leaders of the Republican Party, who are discarding their long-held scruples to embrace his radical positions.

    He has received the support he needed to win, and the adulation he craves, precisely because of his outrageous threats. Trump rally crowds have chanted “Lock her up!” They, and he, meant every word. If Trump does not go after Hillary Clinton on his first day in office, if he instead focuses, as his acceptance speech indicated he might, on the unifying project of investing in infrastructure (which, not coincidentally, would provide an instant opportunity to reward his cronies and himself), it will be foolish to breathe a sigh of relief. Trump has made his plans clear, and he has made a compact with his voters to carry them out. These plans include not only dismantling legislation such as Obamacare but also doing away with judicial restraint—and, yes, punishing opponents.

    To begin jailing his political opponents, or just one opponent, Trump will begin by trying to capture members of the judicial system. Observers and even activists functioning in the normal-election mode are fixated on the Supreme Court as the site of the highest-risk impending Trump appointment. There is little doubt that Trump will appoint someone who will cause the Court to veer to the right; there is also the risk that it might be someone who will wreak havoc with the very culture of the high court. And since Trump plans to use the judicial system to carry out his political vendettas, his pick for attorney general will be no less important. Imagine former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie going after Hillary Clinton on orders from President Trump; quite aside from their approach to issues such as the Geneva Conventions, the use of police powers, criminal justice reforms, and other urgent concerns.

    Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. Consider the financial markets this week, which, having tanked overnight, rebounded following the Clinton and Obama speeches. Confronted with political volatility, the markets become suckers for calming rhetoric from authority figures. So do people. Panic can be neutralized by falsely reassuring words about how the world as we know it has not ended. It is a fact that the world did not end on November 8 nor at any previous time in history. Yet history has seen many catastrophes, and most of them unfolded over time. That time included periods of relative calm. One of my favorite thinkers, the Jewish historian Simon Dubnow, breathed a sigh of relief in early October 1939: he had moved from Berlin to Latvia, and he wrote to his friends that he was certain that the tiny country wedged between two tyrannies would retain its sovereignty and Dubnow himself would be safe. Shortly after that, Latvia was occupied by the Soviets, then by the Germans, then by the Soviets again—but by that time Dubnow had been killed. Dubnow was well aware that he was living through a catastrophic period in history—it’s just that he thought he had managed to find a pocket of normality within it.

    Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system; the judiciary collapsed unnoticed. The capture of institutions in Turkey has been carried out even faster, by a man once celebrated as the democrat to lead Turkey into the EU. Poland has in less than a year undone half of a quarter century’s accomplishments in building a constitutional democracy.

    Of course, the United States has much stronger institutions than Germany did in the 1930s, or Russia does today. Both Clinton and Obama in their speeches stressed the importance and strength of these institutions. The problem, however, is that many of these institutions are enshrined in political culture rather than in law, and all of them—including the ones enshrined in law—depend on the good faith of all actors to fulfill their purpose and uphold the Constitution.

    The national press is likely to be among the first institutional victims of Trumpism. There is no law that requires the presidential administration to hold daily briefings, none that guarantees media access to the White House. Many journalists may soon face a dilemma long familiar to those of us who have worked under autocracies: fall in line or forfeit access. There is no good solution (even if there is a right answer), for journalism is difficult and sometimes impossible without access to information.

    The power of the investigative press—whose adherence to fact has already been severely challenged by the conspiracy-minded, lie-spinning Trump campaign—will grow weaker. The world will grow murkier. Even in the unlikely event that some mainstream media outlets decide to declare themselves in opposition to the current government, or even simply to report its abuses and failings, the president will get to frame many issues. Coverage, and thinking, will drift in a Trumpian direction, just as it did during the campaign—when, for example, the candidates argued, in essence, whether Muslim Americans bear collective responsibility for acts of terrorism or can redeem themselves by becoming the “eyes and ears” of law enforcement. Thus was xenophobia further normalized, paving the way for Trump to make good on his promises to track American Muslims and ban Muslims from entering the United States.

    Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.

    Despite losing the popular vote, Trump has secured as much power as any American leader in recent history. The Republican Party controls both houses of Congress. There is a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The country is at war abroad and has been in a state of mobilization for fifteen years. This means not only that Trump will be able to move fast but also that he will become accustomed to an unusually high level of political support. He will want to maintain and increase it—his ideal is the totalitarian-level popularity numbers of Vladimir Putin—and the way to achieve that is through mobilization. There will be more wars, abroad and at home.

    Rule #5: Don’t make compromises. Like Ted Cruz, who made the journey from calling Trump “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar” to endorsing him in late September to praising his win as an “amazing victory for the American worker,” Republican politicians have fallen into line. Conservative pundits who broke ranks during the campaign will return to the fold. Democrats in Congress will begin to make the case for cooperation, for the sake of getting anything done—or at least, they will say, minimizing the damage. Nongovernmental organizations, many of which are reeling at the moment, faced with a transition period in which there is no opening for their input, will grasp at chances to work with the new administration. This will be fruitless—damage cannot be minimized, much less reversed, when mobilization is the goal—but worse, it will be soul-destroying. In an autocracy, politics as the art of the possible is in fact utterly amoral. Those who argue for cooperation will make the case, much as President Obama did in his speech, that cooperation is essential for the future. They will be willfully ignoring the corrupting touch of autocracy, from which the future must be protected.

    Rule #6: Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever. Donald Trump certainly will not, and Trumpism, to the extent that it is centered on Trump’s persona, will not either. Failure to imagine the future may have lost the Democrats this election. They offered no vision of the future to counterbalance Trump’s all-too-familiar white-populist vision of an imaginary past. They had also long ignored the strange and outdated institutions of American democracy that call out for reform—like the electoral college, which has now cost the Democratic Party two elections in which Republicans won with the minority of the popular vote. That should not be normal. But resistance—stubborn, uncompromising, outraged—should be.

  32. Hugh

    I think Trump appointed Pence to head the COVID-19 response, not because he’s competent but because Trump will have someone to blame. I gave up on the idea of thinking there were competent people in government, and who had some control over policy, in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. We should have a pro-active response. Protocols should be up and running now before cases start showing up. Instead what I am seeing is reactive, ad hoc, and a bit of a botch. And if anything way underplaying the risks. We may get lucky and the virus quickly mutate into something far less dangerous. More likely we are seeing a first impulse, creating multiple disease reservoirs, with a much deadlier and more widespread second impulse to follow. The precautionary principle, good medicine, and good policy say we should be preparing for this more pessimistic scenario.

    They aren’t. To hear Trump and minions, like Mulvaney, COVID-19 is a conspiracy to make Trump look bad. And it’s not just the hacks. I heard from the mother of an ER doc at a major urban public hospital that they had had so far one meeting on the virus but did not expect any problems anytime soon from it. To me, this is exactly the wrong approach to take. When you start getting cases it will already be too late. The ER crew will have been exposed and you will have unknown cases walking around the community from people who went through or had contact with people who went through the ER. ER and EMT personnel are going to be on the frontlines of this. We, they should be thinking more about how to protect them. Finally, as others have mentioned the US has a sh#tty healthcare system to deal with something like this. People won’t come to be evaluated because of bad or no insurance and will remain out in the community longer capable of infecting others. A perfect example of a bad system producing bad medicine.

  33. Benjamin


    “Uh, how do you know Trump’s ideals?”

    He has no ideals, good or bad, beyond grifting and self-aggrandizement. What’s actually scary isn’t Trump; it’s the smart version of Trump that comes along later, exploits the same populist rhetoric and economic outrage, and again rides it to power, only this time actually does something with it.

    This is what will likely happen if Democrats succeed in screwing Sanders again, and regardless of if Trump wins or losses the election. Because the underlying causes aren’t going to go away. Economic populism will continue to be a potent base of support. If the left can’t exploit it, the right will.

    As for Gessen, she’s a fool who has made a career out of fear-mongering about Putin and peddling Russophobia. Pushing racism against her countrymen almost certainly wasn’t her intention, but that’s what she has effectively done. She panders to it with every article she writes.

    I have no doubt there’s actual truth buried in her writings (I certainly would have no desire to be gay in Russia), but there’s also lots of hyperbole and half-truths.

    And no, 450, she isn’t attractive, not that this should matter. She’s gay so wouldn’t have any interest in me anyway. Though I guess now she’s claiming she’s not really a woman and is instead ‘non-binary’, which makes her look like a clown and even less attractive in my eyes.

  34. Benjamin

    Oh, and I forgot to add that if Democrats ever actually did achieve their mad fantasy of prematurely removing Trump they would only succeed in getting Pence, who is both evil and vaguely competent, put in charge. That would likely get us much closer to actual fascism.

    But, given how many liberals are currently gravitating to Bloomberg, that probably wouldn’t bother them much. What offends them with Trump is his crudeness, not the substance of most of what he’s actually doing. They just long for someone who has a pleasing manner while being evil.

    Every word ever written about how untrustworthy and dangerous liberal moderates are, from Marx to Malcolm X, every last fucking word of it is true.

  35. Zachary Smith

    From 2016:

    *** Trump: ‘We should just cancel the election’ and declare me the winner ***

    This follows the refusal of the Senate to even allow a vote on Obama’s Supreme Court candidate. Cancelling/preventing votes is a very Republican thing.

    Fast forward to 2019:

    *** Trump floats proposal to cancel 2020 elections ***

    Declaring he is entitled to the time “stolen” from him, he’d just reschedule the elections to 2022.

    Still another alternative: go through the motions of having an election – then right after the last polling place in California closes, declare victory. When the results showed otherwise, simply refuse to leave, and likely declare a National Emergency to investigate the theft.

  36. Zachary Smith

    For a very long time events in Ukraine have been a blur to me. I had no idea what was happening, and all the news stories just made no sense. After reading the linked essay, the Ukraine situation is now in much sharper focus with me. Allowing Vice Presidents to keep busy doing dirty work seems to be quite an American tradition. Making loads of money on the side might not have been quite as well established until the Bidens arrived on the scene.

    *** Joe Biden, Ukraine, nazis, John Conyers and the fall election ***

  37. And now, for something completely different…..

    you can watch a new documentary mostly about a race of ET’s living in a small colony in Nevada, nicknamed the “tall whites”. The witness/claimant is some sort of math genius who was in the army, at the time he interacted with them. See , for the amazon prime documentary “Walking with the Tall Whites” . This race of ET’s is about our height for most of their adult life, but after about 600 years, they undergo a second growing period, and can reach 10 feet. Their internal organs do not grow along with their limbs, and they become very feeble. Their anti-gravity suits come in especially handy for their oldsters, I figure.

    The Tall Whites are a friendly race*, as are the “Norwegians”, who he has also encountered. OTOH, he says the greys are not friendly, extremely arrogant, and he doesn’t ever want to be near any of them.

    The Tall Whites have inferior immune systems, compared to ours, at least in terms of how long it takes to heal from traumatic injuries. I don’t think they’ll be able to help with coronavirus. Also, while they’ve traded some technology to the US government in exchange for logistical support, they won’t tell us anything about their propulsion systems. They haven’t mastered faster than light travel, but they can cancel inertial effects, which allows them to accelerate with such ferocity that absent their technical intervention, it would liquefy the metal (and not just the occupants).

    I found it interesting that they feel our government should be open with the public about the presence of ET’s on earth.

    There’s more than a few youtube videos about Charles James Hall and the tall whites, so you don’t have to spring for amazon prime to learn more.

    (If this is more white privilege than you can stand, you can read up on the crash at Varginha, Brazil. The occupants of the vehicle had brown skins and red eyes. 🙂 See The craft, BTW, was removed by English speakers with American accents. The Deep State is deeper than we know. )

    * unless they feel you’re threatening their children; in which case, they will readily kill you

  38. Zachary Smith

    If a person believes he has an understanding of some subject, he is unlikely to investigate that topic. I had no idea whatever that the US was responsible for luring so many Cubans to their deaths. As the second link shows, the ‘bait’ the propagandists used was potent stuff.

    *** Recovered History: America lured, drowned thousands of Cubans ***

    *** Time to end special privileges for Cuban immigrants ***

    My new interest in looking at Cuba arose from the attacks on Sanders for saying kind words about Castro. Is Cuba really a filthy commie hellhole? What I learned from some searches is that Cuban life expectancy is higher than that of the US, and infant mortality is lower. This despite them spending FAR less on Health Care. The place is very poor, (on account of US sanctions?) but they’re still well above the bottom in terms of GDP/per capita in the Western Hemisphere. Probably not a hellhole after all.

  39. Hugh

    Anyone got a can of Russian troll bot spray? I like Ian’s place, but he does seem to attract them.

  40. Benjamin

    @Zachary Smith

    Trump says a lot of things. That’s one of, maybe his only, discernible talent: spewing bullshit. Look at what he actually does, not what he says.

  41. Benjamin

    Sanders was annihilated in South Carolina. Just destroyed. At least a thirty point loss.

    I’m going to have to echo Welsh here: ultimate responsibility in a democratic society rests with the voters. Yes the media will lie to you, yes your union/church/’community’ ‘leaders’ will tell you who you should vote for, yes there may be fuckery when it comes to the vote count, yes to a million other ways your vote may be manipulated. But in the end it’s still your vote. Even in its current degraded state the US still holds elections, and those elections matter. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be so much time, effort, and money poured into manipulating voters.

    Voting is and should be a universal right for adults (there is no just way to restrict it), but there should also be an expectation of responsibility on the part of voters. You are voting for policies, or the people who will set policies, that affect the lives of you and other people. You need to actually be informed about matters political. It doesn’t matter if you ‘don’t care about politics’, because these things will have impact, whether you find them interesting or not.

    And ‘being informed’ does not mean ‘wait until two week before the election and then spend a few hours reading about all the candidates platforms’. It means actually having some awareness of people in politics, their histories and records, their credibility. It also means having some understanding of underlying political philosophies, so when yet another empty neoliberal suit or retrograde conservative with a nice smile shows up, you can know to not vote for them, regardless of if you’ve heard of them before or not.

    If you are a black person (especially, but also any other ethnicity) and you voted for Joe Biden, you are a wilful idiot. The internet exists; you could have chosen to become informed about his record. His long history of outright lying is not a secret, nor is his record of pushing for awful policies. There is simply no excuse. Ignorance and stupidity at this point is a choice.

    Yeah, I’m a bit mad. That Sanders lost was largely a given, but that he was so crushed so utterly is a bad sign. It means Biden will limp on in this race longer, and undercut Sanders Super Tuesday sweep (which will hopefully still happen).


    Oh, I’m a bot now, am I? Scary. AI must be getting damn impressive.

  42. Ten Bears

    EYup, that’s pretty much how I remember it DZee. Nobody listens.

    Midnite reporting has SC called for Joe Nothing Will Fundamentally Change Biden.

    EYup, that’s pretty much how I remember it.

  43. Zachary Smith

    *** “Sanders was annihilated in South Carolina. Just destroyed. At least a thirty point loss.” ***

    Maybe he was, and maybe he wasn’t. South Carolina has some brand new voting machines which are supposedly a marvel. Problem is, they’re still hackable electronic devices. And their output is NOT transparent.

    *** “Another voter at the site was Duncan Buell, a computer scientist at the University of South Carolina who is concerned about aspects of the technology. “I’m not a fan of the ballot marking devices because the votes are actually counted not from the text that I can read, but from bar codes.” ***

    Did you catch that? The machine prints out the choices you made in plain English for your inspection, but what gets COUNTED is whatever it is the Bar Code says. I don’t read Bar Code either, and suspect it’s a quite an unusual talent. Unless there is a recount in SC, we won’t know how the voting actually went there. I’d settle for a random 20% of the ballots checked to see if the English Language Candidate matches the Bar Code Candidate on the selected ballots. Prediction – it ain’t gonna happen.

    Iowa was a caucus. The Dem Brass cheated as much as they could, but there were practical limits to their thefts. New Hampshire has some decent election security, it was expected to be Bernie country, and there was no way to make a massive delegate grab there either. Nevada was another caucus. But it’s Katie Bar The Door when they get a chance in SC. Turns out Sanders is positively hated there! Neither Party wants to go back to paper and pencil voting. This leaves the field wide open for a Billionaire to hire some hackers and make the votes come out the Right Way.

    I predict some more “surprises” on Super Tuesday. High probability they’re going to steal this from Sanders right in front of our eyes. Add the fact Bloomberg is also buying superdelegates like crazy, and I’ll say Sanders’ loss is preordained.

  44. Tom

    Our Patient has been transferred to Detroit and will be tested in two weeks when the test kit becomes available. Meanwhile Italy and South Korea are testing more people. Iran despite all the sanctions is ramping up testing and is facing an existential crisis with key Government Officials falling sick, and not just key officials, but the Old Guard from the Revolution.

    And Trump is completely out of it. I saw his press conference during a lull in calls. He is clearly not well. And the reports from Washington are horrific. An entire Hospital’s Staff where the patient died, had to be quarantined as they were all exposed and a Nursing Home has to be Quarantined and the EMS personnel who responded to said nursing home also needed to be Quarantined.

    Safe to say Washington State has Community Spread and cases are going to double rapidly.

    Abroad, Damascus confirmed two cases of Covid-19. This occurs as the massive Turkish Offensive has forced the SyAAF from the skies after all their forward bases got taken out by Turkish Drone Swarms and the SNA backed by regular Turkish troops are advancing in East and South Idlib against a disintegrating SyAA.

    Erdogan holds all the cards now, systematically destroying SyAA air defenses, airbases, and military convoys with a drone capability he has been building up for years now and rendering RUAF irrelevant. RUAF now has to reduce its sorties, fly with fewer and more expensive smart bombs and more EW equipment, and use more escorts as low level radars have been taken out out making it easy for Turkish F-16s to hug the terrain below the S-400 coverage which itself is being subjected to jamming.

  45. Jerry Brown

    Benjamin, yeah I’m upset also and kinda angry and probably want Bernie to win just as much as you. But we have to respect people’s vote even if it is stupid in our opinion. Or we are just already done for. We can win this and I think we are going to but it will not be easy. But we can do it.

  46. Mojave Wolf

    I just marked my vote by mail ballot today; despite being troubled by MANY things about his campaign and thinking that Tulsi has demonstrated better leadership qualities and would be the better president, had to vote for Bernie and did so w/great enthusiasm.

    He can win this and she can’t get 15%, if the candidate is under 15% your vote essentially doesn’t count (or rather, gets distributed proportionately among the people getting over 15%, which is arguably worse; the thought of some part of my vote going to Warren, Bloomberg, Biden or Buttigieg is vomit-inducing)

    It helps that it’s actually a hard call between the two of them for me and that I like them both; if I only liked Tulsi as a choice I might vote her anyway, or I might be convinced that the priority is taking the establishment down in which case I’d still have to vote for Bernie.

    If they don’t cheat w/the voting machines, he will win. Of course, I’m pretty sure he won Cali last time and we saw how that went down, so they can cheat even w/paper ballots. Cali cheats more than Ohio (see: over 100k people getting dropped from rolls in LA to help ensure Newsom over Villaragosa–I say this as someone who didn’t like either but obvious is obvious and that’s just what was visible; and the twice elected mayor of Richmond getting fewer votes for LG in the city that elected her mayor than when she previously ran for LG as a complete unknown; if the dems here don’t like you they will find ways to screw you over; let’s hope the margin is great enough to overcome whatever the loss of votes here is)

  47. Mojave Wolf

    if Democrats ever actually did achieve their mad fantasy of prematurely removing Trump they would only succeed in getting Pence, who is both evil and vaguely competent, put in charge. That would likely get us much closer to actual fascism.

    But, given how many liberals are currently gravitating to Bloomberg, that probably wouldn’t bother them much. What offends them with Trump is his crudeness, not the substance of most of what he’s actually doing. They just long for someone who has a pleasing manner while being evil.

    Gods yes!

    This should be obvious to everyone by now but apparently isn’t, so thanks for saying it.

  48. Hugh

    From what I am seeing from the google, in the South Carolina primary, Biden got about 50% of the vote. Sanders, about 20%. So the Biden campaign survives until Super Tuesday and could limp along for a while after that. But there are several things to keep in mind. Any clip of Biden lasting more than a few seconds shows brutally just how not up to being either a candidate or a President he is. Biden won South Carolina because Obama. But South Carolina like most of the early states is not representative of the Democratic party or the country. And of all the early states, it is probably the least likely to go Democratic in the November election.

    So benjamin, you say you are not a bot but do not say you are not a troll. Good to know. I just find your hard on for Putin delusional or complicit, either way seriously at odds with reality.

    The NYT last week was the Gray Lady on acid. Thom “the mustache of understanding” Friedman counseled both Sanders and Bloomberg to promise to fill their Cabinet with the other candidates, past or still in the race. He was sure that this stacking of their possible future Administrations with neoliberals would guarantee a Democratic landslide. That many of the Democratic contenders are Senators and that such a large loss of Senate Democrats would only increase the Republican Senate majority does not seem to have occurred to the ever insightful mustache. Or that maybe Bernie Sanders supporters when they vote for him are voting against the neoliberalism that Friedman and the Times represent.

    Then there was David Brooks shrieking about OMG the death of liberalism because Sanders which would be a lot more believable if Brooks weren’t a conservative. And a frontpage article by Lisa Lerer who seems to have it in for Sanders describing how superdelegates want to intervene to A) beat Trump and B) help down ballot races. They dismiss Sanders’ argument in a multi-candidate field he should get the nomination if he has a plurality of delegates going into the convention because democratic process. What is so weird about this is that these superdelegates/party officials had no problem back in 2016 stuffing the one candidate who could lose against Donald Trump down the throat of voters in a thoroughly rigged process. And didn’t give a rat’s a$$ about the effects down ballot. Nor do they seem at all concerned that if they do this again, many supporters of Sanders (who probably could have beaten Trump in 2016 and again in 2020) are going to walk: delivering the Presidency to Trump. Anyway a few lowlights from a week of Bernie bashing. It all goes to how spooked the Establishment is by Sanders, and that yes, Virginia, they would rather lose with anyone else than win with him.

  49. Back in the 70’s, I belonged to a group – Project Starlight International – which was attempting instrumented proof of UFO’s. It was already abundantly evident that the government was suppressing UFO’s as a serious subject.

    We had a lab, of sorts, in the hill country northwest of Austin, TX. It had a circle of lights that could be seen 100 miles in the air (requiring FAA approval). There was a gravitometer, radar, triangulated cameras (or video cameras) and a laser that could be audio-modulated.

    Although the emphasis was on physical evidence, nevertheless we were encouraged to have a higher ideal of communication, and eventually “communion”, with ET’s. One of the maxims undergirding everything was “There are no problems which are purely terrestrial”. (Another one was that planets are like spawning grounds for their indigenous civilizations. They need to develop the ability to leave their home planet, or they will die.) Another one was that we are “one”. (In fact, the near universal humanoid shapes observed amongst independently evolving intelligent species suggests a oneness at an archetypal level.*)

    The continuing chaos we see in world events doesn’t suggest that we’ll make it, but nobody is suggesting that fulfilling the higher archetype would be easy, either. Human birth is painful; at least in our case, a civilizational birth looks to be analogously painful. I hope we make it. I believe many humanoid species didn’t.

    PSI folded long ago, but the ideal of communion ‘reincarnated’ with Dr. Stephen Greer and his big project.

    * alternatively, a “morphic resonance” type of phenomenon, as per Rupert Sheldrake. See

  50. Buzzard

    Well, as expected, it wasn’t a good night for Sanders. But he did pick up a few delegates and retains his national lead, with many friendlier states to follow.

    My conspiracy theory du jour is that authorities in Super Tuesday states will “strongly recommend” that voters stay home due to Coronavirus, depressing turnout accordingly. Thank goodness for early and mail-in voting.

    Bernie still has plenty of money to play with. As for Bloomberg, ever heard of Josh Rales? He tried to buy the MD Senate Dem nomination in 2006, flooding the media with ads. All that did was get people tired of him quickly and he wound up with maybe 6% of the vote.

    And a quick aside regarding Coronavirus: A close friend of mine, a retired physician, worked for Dr. Fauci for over a decade at NIH. He knows him pretty well. When he saw Dr. Fauci’s don’t-worry-be-happy-I’m-really-not-being-censored clip, his first comment was “That’s not how he talks AT ALL. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone got to him.”

    Dr. Fauci is probably writhing with frustration, but my guess if he knows that if he speaks the truth, he’ll quickly get fired and Trump will appoint a toady to take his place. So he’ll play the game for damage-control purposes.

  51. That Biden won with SC black voters does not mean that SC black voters are stupid. It’s more that they don’t trust you.

  52. Ten Bears

    Fears of Donald Trump’s reelection may have driven South Carolina voters to seek refuge in the familiar, but should not be mistaken to mean that the familiar is safe. Rather than a glowing endorsement, Biden’s win may well be a concession to a politics of fear.

    For the record, if I catch the bat-flu I’m going to every MAGAt rally I can.

  53. bruce wilder

    That Biden won with SC black voters does not mean that SC black voters are stupid. It’s more that they don’t trust you.

    But, they trust . . . Biden? That is like the definition of stupid.

  54. But, they trust . . . Biden? That is like the definition of stupid.

    They don’t trust Biden either. Biden is the devil they know. Problematic but workable.

  55. Buzzard

    The mental process that leads one to conclude that Biden is more trustworthy than Sanders when it comes to the African-American community is… well, “stupid” is way too strong, but it’s certainly counterintuitive.

    The only thing I can think of is that Sanders doesn’t usually frame his rhetoric within identity politics; he’s more an advocate for working people (of all colors and genders). Biden (and the other “moderates”) are more explicit in their statements about minority groups. So maybe minorities respond to that better. I don’t know.

    As for anti-Trump voters flocking to Biden because he’s “familiar”, I don’t doubt that’s happening, but one really wishes voters would remember how well that worked four years ago.

  56. It astonishes me that after all this, people would analyze the choices of black Southern voters in terms of whom they would “trust”. The answer is “no one”. No matter how bad he is, Biden is the only white candidate who reported to a black political boss for a significant length of time. Policy promises are transient, and some black voters are just not going to trust any candidate that doesn’t ever centre race as a thing-in-itself in their analysis or who relies entirely on policy promises motivated by class politics alone.

  57. Mallam

    It’s not just about “trust” of the candidate (that’s very important but it’s not totally what’s happening), but “trusting” what they perceive other white people to do. And they do not trust white people to come through and vote for Bernie Sanders. I said it from the beginning that they would not move off of Joe Biden unless and until someone else showed up that they perceived white people would support. Mike Bloomberg’s ad saturation had some affect, Kamala Harris in one debate had some effect, but ultimately nothing has changed: Biden is the most likely to beat Trump, they “trust” him more than the others, and they “trust” him to have the best chance to win the general election.

    How many election cycles do we need to have before this becomes apparent to the so called lefties who are here? Apparently never since some are hoping for Tulsi Gabbard, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.

  58. bruce wilder

    I think race is the wrong explanator, at least in isolation. Age. Just from my personal acquaintances, I think people over 50 or so are often very hostile to the reforms Sanders advocates and more skeptical of the possibility of delivering. They also tend to have the biggest memory holes for the betrayals of the Obama years.

    I think we tend to underestimate generational change for political outlook. And, right now the U.S. is at an extreme of constipation in regard to generational change in politics. Leading politicians are mostly really old and even some of the young ones appeal only to the old (Buttigieg). Many of the pundits are really old, too. How can Chris Matthews or Maureen Dowd or Tom Friedman still be around?!

    When I was growing up in the 1960s, the Second World War was just about as long ago as 9/11 is for us now, but every aspect of the political and economic landscape was changed then, including for the most part, the elite personnel.

    The populist revolt against neoliberalism that began after the failure of reform after the GFC of 2007-8 has been transformed into a war of the young and disempowered against the old anxiously complacent.

    And, so far, the young are mostly losing. Being old, I am especially sad to witness this. I am afraid that the political lesson learned with be helplessness. The minority of old who have despaired of the poor judgement of their contemporaries as I have are the only ones who can model a different possibility from memory. We will be gone before the young can experience taking power and instead they will experience having power taken from them by the mega-rich and their PMC helpers.

    That the old who chose the present (and take no sense of responsibility) will choose an awful future they themselves won’t even live thru seems a great injustice.

  59. bruce wilder

    Biden is Trump without the spray tan. Even if Biden could win the general election — very unlikely — how would he be an improvement? Really?

    Creeping senility. Lies and fantasies in every speech. Corrupt family. Loves billionaires, tax cuts and deregulation. Loves wars even more than Trump.

  60. Willy

    I consider the source. SC is a fairly low education state and doesn’t have to be since it’s also a pretty non union low cost of living state. It’s not like $40K a year makes it impossible to raise a family on down there. I dont think South Carolinians feel much more bern than they did the last time, where status quo dominated by something like 73 to 26.

    But yeah, maybe somebody needed to put out more MLK quotes.

  61. Mallam

    Perhaps the fact that you yourself can not perceive how Biden would be an improvement is all the information that these voters need to know about you, and precisely why they have no trust in white voters to pull the lever for the other candidates, and is precisely why they’re voting for Biden.

    Still, SC is not representative of the country, and it was always going to be one of Biden’s top five states. Bernie is still the favorite to win the nomination, but it’s going to be very close. We will have a much better idea once the dust settles on Tuesday.

  62. Buzzard

    I dunno, it seems like white people are much more into Sanders than into Biden…

  63. Buzzard

    If Biden gets the nomination, Trump won’t need to talk about cancelling the election. Biden will get curbstomped fair and square.

  64. Buzzard

    At least if Biden gets the nomination, Trump won’t need to talk about cancelling the election. Biden will get curbstomped fair and square.

  65. bruce wilder

    old white people are also likely to favor Biden over Sanders. Present company are the exceptions.

    the capture of the black vote by the black misleadership class is just one of many political pathologies afflicting the U.S.

    the centrist argument for Biden’s alleged electability, is just a mask for pro-plutocracy authoritarianism and war-mongering, which are deeper, more troubling pathologies.

    that the sickness will “win” became a foregone conclusion when Obama elected to extend and pretend all the self-destructive policies of the Bush II administration.

    extend and pretend is resolving into a war of the old on the young, with the old betting they will be gone before the full consequences of their amoral irresponsibility comes home and screw the young and unborn. sadly, i cannot say that choice is irrational for the old. anything we do now to correct the sins of the past or stave off future collapse will tend to accelerate collapse and/or civil war into the present. for the young, breaking a system that is already immigrating for at least a chance at a better future is a good bet. for the old, breaking a system that kind of, sorta works for a future they will not see much of . . . not such an attractive bet. only the idealist old are going to favor “doing the right thing” because it is the right thing. we are a small minority.

  66. bruce wilder

    already immiserating

    (What is it with spell-check? Is it a prophecy of self-crashing cars?)

  67. Dan

    South Carolina is not representative of the black vote across the entire south. Alabama is close in character. That’s it. And it’s certainly not representative of the black vote across the country.

    The mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, the state’s capital and most populous city, recently asked his city to determine which candidate to back ahead of the Mississippi primary. They chose Bernie Sanders:

    That’s a far cry from the machine politics of Jim Clyburn.

    And of course it merits hardly a mention across the media landscape. Go ahead and search for it. The mayor of the most populous state in deep south Mississippi is a progressive who supports Bernie Sanders and who, in a stunning display of pure democracy, put the question of who to endorse for president directly to the people. The people chose Bernie Sanders.

    Instead we hear crickets. Or talk of how blacks trust Papa Joe Biden.

    We live in a world of illusion.


    Bernie needs to tether Biden to Obama in ways that are damning. Michael Moore can be helpful with this. This scene from his latest documentary is appropriate juxtaposed with that segment from NPR where the elderly South Carolinian black woman says she likes Bernie’s message and will vote for him because he’s for helping all people who need help and not just some at the expense of others who need help. Michael can allow Bernie to use that clip from his documentary for free. Surely Big Mike would be willing to do that for the cause, right? Surely Big Mike wouldn’t try to profit from such a thing and exploit it for personal economic gain, right?

    What the Dem establishment has done to blacks is horrible and tragic. South Carolina shows the Dems should be called the Plantation Party versus the Democratic Party. The votes Biden relied on are directly tethered to the historical racist Democratic southern politicians such as Strom Thurmond. It’s been long past time to move beyond these racist roots and chains where elderly black folk can be counted on, like plantation slaves, to vote for whoever Massa says to vote for and in this case Massa and the house negroes are telling blacks to vote for Massa Biden because Massa Biden has a history of throwing the slaves the most choicest and best crumbs. The Dems are telling the plantation slaves to drink the Flint Plantation water because it’s good for you and actually tastes like Kool-Aid. A little lead never hurt no one no how.

    Still, all in all, Bernie did better than the Dems and MSNBC & CNN hoped. It’s clear they were disappointed. They were rooting for him to get less than 15% so Biden could take all the delegates. Since Bernie got 20% MSNBC would not show the final numbers and instead would only show that Biden was the projected winner and that Biden was neck and neck with Bernie for overall delegates. The way they framed it was clearly propagandistic messaging. MSNBC and CNN are meddling in the Democratic Primary elections every bit as much as Putin’s Russia is or I would say more so.

    The fact of the matter is, Bernie performed better than expected in South Carolina and he leads the delegate count going into Super Tuesday where he’s poised to run away with it. This messaging is much more realistic and truthful than what MSNBC and CNN are presenting. Scumbag cheaters. They’re no better than Israel & Russia in meddling in our political process with their flagrant, blatant propaganda. Their licenses should be revoked for engaging in flagrant propaganda under the aegis of news.

  69. Benjamin


    In fact I have never much of anything in praise of Putin. What I have essentially said is that he is not the anti-christ, a mustache twirling cartoon villain who is behind everything that happens in the world (or in the US in particular).

    That this constitutes a ‘hard on’ for him to you, says a lot more about you than it does me.

  70. Benjamin


    Sheldrake is hack and a loon.

  71. Willy

    “Capitalism forgets that life is social. And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis.”

    “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.”
    “I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter: the guaranteed income… The curse of poverty has no justification in our age.”

    “If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.”

    “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

    Not bad. And there’s a lot more where these came from. He seems ahead of his time, with a fair amount of New Testament thrown in. And this stuff was said way back in the new deal 60’s. Sometimes I wonder what MLK would’ve thought about how far we’ve devolved (except for some anti-racist veneer), about what he might’ve called Uncle Joe.

  72. Feel free to post references backing your claim. I would omit anything by Richard Dawkins, who is eloquent enough when it comes to atheism. When it came to Sheldrake, he revealed himself as a dishonest hack.

    from “Richard Dawkins Comes to Call” @

    “He produced no evidence at all, apart from generic arguments about the fallibility of human judgment. He assumed that people want to believe in “the paranormal” because of wishful thinking.

    We then agreed that controlled experiments were necessary. I said that this was why I had actually been doing such experiments, including tests to find out if people really could tell who was calling them on the telephone when the caller was selected at random. The results were far above the chance level.

    The previous week I had sent Richard copies of some of my papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, so that he could look at the data.

    Richard seemed uneasy and said, “I don’t want to discuss evidence”. “Why not?” I asked. “There isn’t time. It’s too complicated. And that’s not what this programme is about.” The camera stopped.

    The Director, Russell Barnes, confirmed that he too was not interested in evidence. The film he was making was another Dawkins polemic.”

  73. Mojave Wolf

    @Benjamin — I only just noticed you in the last couple of weeks and I”m only here on the weekends these days, but I’ve quite liked a lot of your comments. Assuming I’m not confusing people in my quickie comment read-throughs. But if you & Metamars are talking about Rupert Sheldrake, what is your issue w/him? He may or may not be right in his theories, but he’s an interesting thinker who is willing to put his work to the test, insofar as it is possible to test some of his ideas. Been interested in his work ever since reading interviews w/him back in 1990 or 91, “The Search for Unity: Dialogues w/Scientists and Sages”.

  74. nihil obstet

    My old-line Democratic Party circle is exchanging emails about their presidential choices. These are predominantly white males aged 50+. It’s enough to make you break down and cry. Example: “But Dammit, Joe is a real Democrat, who has toiled with distinction in the vineyards.
    He comes from an era of more pragmatic politics and knows how to move the ball down the field, even if in small steps.”

    These are not people I’m going to convince of anything, especially since the sarcasm just reels out of my mind. On the example above, I noted that it does matter which direction you move the ball, and got the admission that Joe had got a few things wrong, but “I got to play the cards dealt me.”

    The line this morning is that Biden’s win in SC gave them permission to do what they know is right. Otherwise, they’d have to vote for Bloomberg. The most important thing is to get a Democratic win. However, I note that they believe everything that supports an anti-Bernie opinion, and nothing that supports Bernie. They can’t believe any polls, because polls predict a Sanders victory. They can’t be swayed by a poor record, because the candidate just got a few things wrong.

    Sorry, I just needed to rant.

  75. different clue,


    Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  76. Buzzard

    Well, if the nomination does fall to Biden, at least there won’t be any talk from Trump about cancelling the election. Uncle Joe will get curbstomped fair and square.

  77. Buzzard

    Sorry about the multiple postings, all. Sometimes they show up right away, and when they don’t I wo see if I submitted correctly.

  78. bruce wilder

    @ nihil obstet

    very much consistent with my personal experience/acquaintance

    i argued upstream (in a comment no one read) that age more than race “explains” SC

  79. different clue

    The little I have read and heard about how the Black Voters of South Carolina goes like this: they consider defeating Trump to be the absolute Prime Directive. They try gaming out who they think “White America” will “vote for”. They then try to advance in the SC primary the candidate they think that “White America” will be most likely to “vote for”. As far as I can tell, their thinking is game theory all the way down.

    So they voted for Biden because they think he is the one that maybe just enough of “White America” will “vote for” . . . to add to “Black America” and “Latinxo America” and “etc. America” to defeat Trump.

    I am not in a position to say that is stupid. I am also not in a position to pick their leaders for them. The left can denounce the “Black MisLeadership Class” all it likes, but Black America will keep on picking the leaders it picks without regard to making the left happy.

    For myself, I will vote Sanders in the Michigan primary no matter how far down he is by that time. Because to me, the primary is my chance to say whom I want. I don’t regard it as an opportunity to try predicting whom the majority thinks that the majority thinks “will win”. I do not care what the majority thinks the majority thinks.

  80. bruce wilder

    in response to a private communication accusing me of racism for labeling SC voters as stupid

    i think the vast majority of voters and non-voters are pretty stupid about politics.

    a lot of resources and effort go into making people stupid about politics and the counter-efforts are often pathetic and desperate.

    mainstream economics seems designed to make people stupid. mainstream punditry and opinion journalism seems intended to make people stupid.

    the political polarization of which the earnest complain piously substitutes cheerleading for critical thought and often seems to require team “members” to subscribe to absurd theses.

    it should not surprise anyone that the mass of voters seem to be individually voting at random, with only statistical probabilities applying to large groups able to pick out patterns.

  81. Z

    Never bought into the Russia hysteria. Never paid much attention to it. Never saw any proof to validate it. Look who started it: the scumbag, sore losing Clintons! For f*ck’s sake, I stopped right there thinking about it. And look at what it deflected: that the Clinton-funded DNC rigged the presidential nomination to Highness Hillary in 2016 because they were concerned that the lowly U.S. voters might not do what the Clintons wanted them to do. Well, they found out in very humiliating fashion in 2016 that enough people absolutely hated them enough, enough had caught onto their betrayals, to vote in sloppy Trump over horrific Hillary.

    And I laughed my ass off in joy when Trump won! And I still laugh thinking about it! And I still feel joy every time I do! Donald Trump, as fucked as he is, is 10x better than both of those scumbag Clintons. Ten times the person than either one of them sociopathic pieces of trash ever were. And a much better president, again, as unacceptable as he is IMO.

    The Clintons are the lowest life form on this planet: the type of people who steal from you and demand that you celebrate them for it. And keep coming back to steal more. They sold out the U.S. working class and walked away with 100s of millions of dollars as a result and they still want to f*ck with us and won’t leave us alone. When and if these scumbags who have been dominating our life for damn near 30 years die, I will openly celebrate it. Bill Clinton is Dead Day! I’ve been looking forward to that day since the mid-90s. The sooner they do the better off it is for humanity and the planet. They are a cancer to this country and the world as a whole! Everything connected to them is rotted to its core. We still haven’t cleansed their dirt and scum from our politics.

    So, is it plausible that Trump has financial ties to Russian oligarchs and that Putin might have some influence on Trump through them? Absolutely! What do we know about the labyrinth of Trump’s shady business dealings? All we can do is speculate. You’d probably need a team of a hundred of the world’s finest financial criminologists to sift through all that shit and come to an accurate rendering of it. Trump certainly ain’t gonna divvy it up to us in all of its dirtiness. But where are the signs of Putin’s influence? It’s not in Iran, that’s for certain. And who is withholding the genetic evidence that Trump is indeed Putin’s evil twin cousin?

    As far as Russian interference in our elections? How and who cares? They’re not sending over Russians with fake voter IDs to stuff the ballot box, as far as I know. They’re not invading our voting booths. I’ve never heard they hacked into our voting software. There’s never been no proof of that. Facebook accounts and disinformation? If so, so what! What is the net effect of that? Negligible. Probably not worth a 100 votes.

    The country that has the U.S. government on its leash, has U.S. politicians in their pocket, is Israel. That’s as clear as day. They even brag about it. But of course our Jewish mafia dominated media never talks about that. And who empowered them so much? Of course: the scumbag Clintons!


  82. nihil obstet

    @ bruce wilder

    I read the comment. It says something about me that I didn’t connect 50+ with “old”. Moughtn’t be spring chickens, but old?

    And it also says something that I can read a comment about a group of people and not connect it up with the individuals in that group that I know, even when it obviously applies. I just thought in terms of reasonably intelligent, educated people (heavy on lawyers and engineers) who follow politics more than most and are sometimes on the side of the angels and virtually never on the side of the demons, being totally oblivious to the last 20 years or so of American life.

  83. Z

    The U.S. is essentially a colony of Israel. Our government gets on its knees to Israel and spits in the face of its own people. It’s disgusting and treasonous. But of course the biggest truths are the ones the Jewish mafia dominated media silences.


  84. Z

    When you sift through it all, when you get down to its core, who is Sanders’ biggest enemy? The Jewish mafia. Who is the U.S. working class’ biggest enemy? The Jewish mafia, the group that has the biggest influence, by far, on the financial markets that disempower and enslave us.


  85. Z

    The Committee to Save the World, the three man Jewish team of Rubin, Greenspan, and Summers, did nothing that benefited the working class in this country, the working class of any country for that matter. They work for the Jewish mafia, that’s why they were in those positions, that’s where their loyalties lay.

    Summers ripped off post-USSR Russia, Rubin pushed through all those Clinton era Wall Street deregulations that the working class has so dearly paid for, and Greenspan whose name is synonymous with financial market rigging (The Greenspan Put) all damaged the working class dearly in many, many ways and they weren’t placed in those positions of power to serve the U.S. citizenry. They weren’t the best, the brightest, the most ethical, the most able of civil servants. None of those f*ing corrupt, evil clowns even owned up to foreseeing the 2008 financial crisis, though no doubt they did, but they were there because they are members of the Jewish mafia where serving Jewish interests is paramount and U.S. citizens just chumps to feed into the grinder.


  86. Z

    And the Jewish mafia in this country corrupts our government to empower Israel.


  87. Z

    And what is the Jewish mafia’s most prized possession: the Federal Reserve.


  88. Z

    Those are the facts, ladies and gentlemen.


  89. Z

    And it doesn’t make anyone an anti-semite to state the obvious: that our country is dominated by a Jewish mafia that heavily influences the financial markets, our economy, and our media, none of which serves the working class, all which are our enemy.

    Bernie Sanders, a Jew, is the closest thing to Jesus we have in this world. And who is trying to take him down? Of course, just like before: the Jewish money-changers.


  90. Z

    We can talk about the Italian mafia without condemning each and every Italian, but point out that there is a Jewish mafia and all of a sudden you’re a fan of the Holocaust and hate every Jew on the planet, according to the Jewish mafia and its media.


  91. Z

    The Jewish mafia does not break arms and legs, what they do is create systems that benefit themselves and Israel. They also make them legal.


  92. Z

    The Jewish mafia members get into positions of power and they take care of their own. That is why they have so much of an out-sized influence despite their relatively small numbers.


  93. Z

    Bernie Sanders is a flawed human being. Him buying into this The Russians Are Coming nonsense and the Trump hysteria pisses me off to no end, but he is the man whom I most respect in U.S. politics, by far. Who else would have the guts to tell AIPAC to go f*ck themselves?

    And you saw what happened once he did that: a heightened series of attacks against him. Look at how many of those attacks emanated from Jewish institutions and sources? And Jewish writers in the media? The majority of them! No surprise there.


  94. Z

    And f*ck you, Ten Bears! I know it’s coming. So go f*ck yourself before you get a chance to say the same to me.

    Go slide off your couch, drunk, stupid and smelly. And then get on the internet and tap out a slew of arrogant, stupid missives on your keyboard. Then go back to your binky and bliss out on your delusions that you’re wise.

    And then go f*ck yourself! Real hard! And do it right this time!


  95. Z

    Hillary and Bill Clinton: the two largest carbon emitters on the planet. When they finally cease sucking in oxygen it will be a breath of fresh air for the rest of us.

    Bet you can’t hold your breath til 100, Bill. C’mon, you haven’t missed a beat. You can do a hundred easy …


  96. Z

    And to the people who have fought so hard to deny us the moral, human right for universal healthcare, to line you’re already overstuffed pockets, I hope you scumbags get a big dose of COVID-19. You mf’ers deserve it the most. You’re the biggest reason we’re so ill equipped to deal with it. I hope you’re made to finally, fully understand what you wrought.


  97. nihil obstet

    Z, please get back on your meds.

  98. Dan

    Zionist activity has become increasingly more overt as they’ve continued to infiltrate the government and media. The breadth of their power and influence has been beyond inane for a long time now. The word treason doesn’t begin to describe what they’ve done. How did the goyim allow it to happen right under their noses? In the old days, it was covert:

    Louis Brandeis, Zionism, and the “Parushim”

    In 1912 prominent Jewish American attorney Louis Brandeis, who was to go on to become a Supreme Court Justice, became a Zionist. Within two years he became head of the international Zionist Central Office, newly moved to America from Germany.

    While Brandeis is an unusually well known Supreme Court Justice, most Americans are unaware of the significant role he played in World War I and of his connection to Palestine.

    Some of this work was done with Felix Frankfurter, who became a Supreme Court Justice two decades later.

    Perhaps the aspect of Brandeis that is least known to the general public – and often even to academics – is the extent of his zealotry and the degree to which he used covert methods to achieve his aims.

    While today Brandeis is held in extremely high esteem by almost all of us, there was significant opposition at the time to his appointment to the Supreme Court, largely centered on widespread accusations of unethical behavior. A typical example was the view that Brandeis was “a man who has certain high ideals in his imagination, but who is utterly unscrupulous, in method in reaching them.”

    While today such criticisms of Brandeis are either ignored or attributed to political differences and/or “anti-Semitism,” there is evidence suggesting that such views may have been more accurate than Brandeis partisans would like.

    In 1982 historian Bruce Allen Murphy, in a book that won a Certificate of Merit from the American Bar Association, reported that Brandeis and Frankfurter had secretly collaborated over many years on numerous covert political activities. Zionism was one of them.

    “In one of the most unique arrangements in the Court’s history, Brandeis enlisted Frankfurter, then a professor at Harvard Law School, as his paid political lobbyist and lieutenant,” writes Murphy, in his book The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices. “Working together over a period of 25 years, they placed a network of disciples in positions of influence, and labored diligently for the enactment of their desired programs.”

    “This adroit use of the politically skillful Frankfurter as an intermediary enabled Brandeis to keep his considerable political endeavors hidden from the public,” continues Murphy.

    Brandeis only mentioned the arrangement to one other person, Murphy writes, “another Zionist lieutenant– Court of Appeals Judge Julian Mack.”

    One reason that Brandeis and Frankfurter kept the arrangement secret was that such behavior by a sitting Supreme Court justice is considered highly unethical. As an editorial in the New York Times pointed out following the publication of Murphy’s book, “… the Brandeis-Frankfurter arrangement was wrong. It serves neither history nor ethics to judge it more kindly, as some seem disposed to do… the prolonged, meddlesome Brandeis-Frankfurter arrangement violates ethical standards.”

    The Times reiterates a point also made by Murphy: the fact that Brandeis and Frankfurter kept their arrangement secret demonstrated that they knew it was unethical – or at least realized that the public would view it as such: “They were dodging the public’s appropriate measure of fitness.”

    Later, when Frankfurter himself became a Supreme Court Justice, he used similar methods, “placing his own network of disciples in various agencies and working through this network for the realization of his own goals.” These included both Zionist objectives and “Frankfurter’s stewardship of FDR’s programs to bring the U.S. into battle against Hitler.”

    Their activities, Murphy notes, were “part of a vast, carefully planned and orchestrated political crusade undertaken first by Brandeis through Frankfurter and then by Frankfurter on his own to accomplish extrajudicial political goals.”

  99. Z

    Our healthcare system is modern-Barbaric in how much psychological and financial stress it places on its subjects. You got one hand on your wallet and the other on your heart in the U.S.. You rarely know how much you’re going to pay for anything until after you get treated and when you do find out it sometimes comes in a string of seemingly never ending bills. And if they f*ck you, then you’re placed under the stress of trying to fight back against the medical-health care industrial complex under their rules.

    There shouldn’t be a profit motive in denying healthcare or charging patients huge out of pocket expenses by sneaking in out-of-network doctors without consulting them first. It’s immoral, unethical, and insane.

    The largest reason our rulers deny us universal healthcare is they want better healthcare than the riff-raff. If you are not contributing to our rulers’ profit then they want to deny you healthcare. That’s what it comes down to.


  100. Z

    Nihil Obstet,

    I’m already on them.


  101. Z


    Thanks for that article. Not surprised at all.

    The Jewish mafia’s greatest weapon is their systems. They set them up, get them running, and then feed them fuel. It doesn’t require any muscle. The fuel for their systems is the working class.


  102. Z

    The truth is in the numbers: look at their extreme over representation in the financial world, the government, and the media compared to their percentage of the population.

    Let’s just assume that there is something genetically special about Jewish people and they’re more able than normal people. Hey, I’d give them that. That’s practically undeniable in my mind. Look at where they’re at compared to their numbers. But do those numbers accurately reflect HOW much better they supposedly are than the rest of us? And who do these institutions end up benefiting the most and who do they harm the most? They benefit the Jewish mafia and they harm the working class.

    We have a lot of Jewish brothers and sisters. The Jewish mafia is all of our enemy. It’s what Bernie is taking on.


  103. Z

    Good night.


  104. Benjamin

    Re: Sheldrake

    These two videos do a good job summarizing my problems with Sheldrake:

    He has a very poor grasp of what science even is, and he can’t provide evidence for his magical ideas.

  105. Zionism, Z, Zionism. Not all Jews are Zionists nor are all Zionists Jews, though unsurprisingly only Zionists agree Zionism is a good thing. And no, criticism of Israel, and Zionism, is not anti-Semitic. For the thousandth and second time: ethnicity is a social construct, the bend of your nose, kink of hair or pigmentation of your skin don’t do fuck to prevent you from making babies… although… although… If your ethnicity, a social construct, is predicated on somewhere in the deep dark recesses of antiquity your remote ancestress bred with giants, or “those who fell from the sky”, I would argue it you not I who have left yourself open to the suggestion you may not be entirely human. May be less than human. All moot, in the generally accepted vernacular.

    And trope. All trope, that doesn’t need to be repeated. If you’re not actively stirring the pot, if you’re not be divisive and combative, you’re repeating that of those who are.

    The jury’s still out on you, bub …

  106. StewartM


    It astonishes me that after all this, people would analyze the choices of black Southern voters in terms of whom they would “trust”. The answer is “no one”. No matter how bad he is, Biden is the only white candidate who reported to a black political boss for a significant length of time.

    Mandos, people like Thomas Frank have written books about why poor whites vote against their own interests. Unless you yourself are a racist, and think that black people can’t possibly make poor choices too, I don’t think it’s an unfair question or point. In both cases myth is driving voting, not facts.

  107. StewartM


    He has no ideals, good or bad, beyond grifting and self-aggrandizement. What’s actually scary isn’t Trump; it’s the smart version of Trump that comes along later, exploits the same populist rhetoric and economic outrage, and again rides it to power, only this time actually does something with it.

    No, I’d argue that Trump has at least the ideals of a Mussolini. It’s become clear by the ‘what he does’ metric–and that ‘what’ is brutality and antipathy towards people of color (Puerto Rico, anyone?) He does this *even when it brings him bad press* because what he’s doing is even over-the-top for even some of his supporters, like separating families, putting children in cages, and sending sick kids with rare diseases who have been invited to the US to receive experimental treatment home to die.

    I didn’t vote for Trump (I’ve voted for Stein the last two elections) but I shared the hope that at least some of his populist rhetoric might be geniune. The Trump of 2016 talked about raising taxes on Wall Street, on delivering ‘great health care for everyone’, about pulling out of trade deals, and more. I had hoped Trump would be like George Wallace, another rightist populist, that he’d only throw symbolic dog meat at times to his following on the uglier things. (Wallace was not the rabid racist of popular portrayal; he didn’t start his career as one and he ended it courting black voters and appointing blacks to public office*–my former college landlady, who was there and politically active during the time (and was trailed by the FBI, great stories) thought Wallace was secretly an integrationist who was able to get the segregationists to trust him, only to deliberately set their cause up for failure).

    But did we get these? No. That’s because Trump handed all THOSE important decisions to the Repug leadership, and so instead he tried to get Paul Ryan CrapCare (which even Trump said was ‘cruel’, and which would have meant that *premiums alone* for those over 60 would have cost more than the average income!) passed, he pushed through tax cuts for billionaires and tax increases for much of the poor, and his trade deals were just re-doing the existing ones with cosmetic changes. No, none of these things warranted his attention and sustained effort. But the putting brown kids in cages thing? That apparently is something he insists be done. Apparently that is his “Jewish question”.

    And while I don’t agree with everything Gessen says (I think she clearly misses in her criticism of Sanders’ Cuba statements that Sanders did in fact say what she contends he should have said) I do think we’re closer to a Trump de facto autocracy than people are willing to admit. One must remember that even Hitler didn’t undo the Weimar Republic institutions, he just took them over. There was still a Reichstag, there were still judges and the appearance of an independent judiciary, and there were still even elections in Nazi Germany. It’s just that the former have lost all real independence and as for elections, they’re fine as long as you can decide who can run, who can vote, and how the votes get counted (does this sound scarily familiar now?). It must also be kept in mind that other fascists–Mussolini, Franco, Antonescu, and others– never achieved the complete takeover of all government institutions. That didn’t stop them from being autocrats.

  108. @Benjamin

    Well, one video starts out calling Sheldrake a pseudo scientist, and the other a crackpot. That doesn’t augur well for any sort of fair, dispassionate analysis. Neither does the brevity of both videos.

    In fact, these are just the sort of “light weight debunking exercise” that Sheldrake complained about with respect to Richard Dawkins. Much more impressive is if he had taken on Sheldrake’s strongest claims and showed they were wrong.

    So, e.g., if you listen to Sheldrake explain the history of experiments involving learning by a specific rat species, through multiple generations, and multiple, discrete locations (presumably involving not even decedents of the rats that were put through the learning task), as you can hear him describe in this interview, starting at 12:00 , then you will have a good idea of what I consider to be worthy of a serious challenge. The experiments, which date back to somebody named McDougall, didn’t even involve Sheldrake.

    However, a similar experiment, co-performed by Sheldrake, involving conditioning chicks based on the color of objects they pecked on, is described by Sheldrake, in the same video, starting at, 20:00.

    How do you explain these experimental results? While the idea of “morphic resonance” is sort of murky, the murkiness is a feature, more than a bug. IMNSHO, these experimental results clearly point to a non-mechanistic sort of learning. That doesn’t mean that “memory” is a particularly good way to describe it, but in the absence of “nuts and bolts” objects, it seems as adequate as any other.

    BTW, I was interested in experimental parapsychology when I was a kid, and there is sort of an analogous murkiness in explaining a phenomena as clairvoyance, or precognition, at least in some scenarios.

    I’ll give you another pointer. I heard lectures by a parapsychologist, sometime in the ’70’s, named Rex Stanford (of St. John’s University, IIRC) who claimed that, while conscious psi ability is unusual, unconscious use of psi is not. He developed a theory call “psi mediated instrumental response” PMIR, which he tested. I don’t remember any quotes of statistical significance, but I do remember there was an undeniable effect. One experimental design of his was as follows (my memory might mutilate it, slightly….)

    Prepare some boards showing the backs of X (say 5) different playing cards, and present them to college age males (who have hormones raging a-plenty, at that age.) Ask them to point to “the ace of spades” (e.g.). Don’t tell them that none of the cards has an ace of spades; but do hide a pornographic picture behind one of the cards. (I don’t remember him stating that this was done in a double blind fashion, but doing so would be particularly easy.)

    PMIR is supported by males pointing to the pornography-hiding card at a statistically significant rate.

    Even if you accept the idea of “unconscious psi”, what mechanism can you possibly ascribe to it? As it turns out, Rex Stanford’s twin brother Ray was a very gifted conscious psychic, who believed the ability was somewhat inheritable. (I presume he meant via nuts and bolts genes).

    In fact, there might be two aspects mediating what Sheldrake calls morphic resonance. A non-physical holder of such learning or memories, made of God knows what. Additionally, some micro-tubule type structure in the brain, of the sort spoken of by the brilliant mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose. Penrose ascribes human consciousness, in general, to such structures, that are small enough to make quantum effects loom large. So, variations in such structures, ascribable to genetics, may explain why only rare individuals have exceptional, conscious psychic abilities.

    Books by Penrose on this subject are “Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness” and “The emporer’s new mind”

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