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

Open Thread

As usual, feel free to use the comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


Coronavirus Bungling Is What We Voted For


The Economics of a Flu Pandemic (Virus)


  1. Chiron

    This is the end of the line for Trump/Kushner, there is no way they get out of this unscathed.

  2. someofparts

    Great new site just popped up. Their first video on the rigging of the current primary is the best thing I’ve seen on the topic.

  3. Buzzard

    The single most astonishing thing about the coronavirus disaster is that Trump’s floundering around is costing rich people money — the one unforgivable sin — and there still hasn’t been any attempt to get rid of him (and the 25th amendment provides a legitimate roadmap for that). His rank-and-file supporters will follow him off a cliff, of course, but I can’t imagine the power structures aren’t at least having conversations about this.


    Hillary. There, I beat different clue to it. His job is to bring every post back to Hillary so I preempted him and his fans here. Patty Cake’s proud, I’m sure. The “gooks” didn’t get him but maybe, hopefully, COVFEFE-19 lays low his murdering catholic ass.


    Exactly, Buzzard. They were willing to tolerate, nay even support & enable, his odious narcissistic oafishness so long has he further enriched them and never threatened their status. Now, all bets are off. How will they take him out? There are so many ways, I wouldn’t know where to begin in conjecturing.


    The rebound in the stock market yesterday was one in a number of dead cat bounces it’ll experience on its way to zero. There are always those, and the algos reflect this, that believe the bottom has been reached so they buy what they think is the bottom. It’s not the bottom. Not even close. In fact, this time around, there may be no bottom in the sense that this thing will never turn around to enjoy the over-valuated levels it once attained & achieved. Next Friday I would look for the DJIA to be 17,800, approaching a 50% decline and that’s just the beginning still to what’s coming. The technocrat managerial enabling class, all of the small amount of wealth they’ve accumulated for being loyal lapdogs to their liege lords, well, it will be obliterated and they’ll understand what it means to be poor & destitute with no prospects to alter the course.and manage their fate.

  7. Senator-Elect

    “The essayist Ian Welsh…”

    Ian is quoted in this article:

    Have a read!

  8. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Happy Pi Day! 😀

  9. Zachary Smith

    I’ve got to wonder if living in a Pandemic Emergence causes the loss of a few dozen IQ points. This morning when I made a duckduckgo search for “coronavirus” and “toilet” most of what I found were stories about TP shortages. Yes, I ought to have remembered this issue, but so should have many medical professionals!

    **** Short story: Stay Out Of Public Restrooms unless you have no other choice. The issue of toilet plume aerosols is one which has been known for a long time, and has been totally ignored by the bean counters for an equally long time. ****

    Years ago I read an article about the work of an infectious disease specialist. This person (I believe it was Paul Ewald) took the author to a bathroom where he had put colored dye in the toilet bowl water and stretched some white tissue paper over the top. When that toilet was flushed, the many colored spots on the paper demonstrated the reality of “toilet plume aerosols”! More:

    Amost all the talking heads on the teevee trash the wearing of masks. Well, if (God forbid) I MUST go to a public restroom, I’m going to put on some kind of mask. An Old West outlaw bandana if I can find nothing else. Afterwards, until I got a shower and clean clothing (not to mention laundry for the garments I’d been wearing, I’d treat myself as a walking infection center. I’d consider this issue to be yet another reason to curtail travel on the interstates.

    If you’re at home, always put the toilet lid down before flushing. Then make darned sure the bathroom fan is left running for half an hour. BTW, those newfangled timer switches for the fan are wonderful things, and an installation ought to be considered. The models with “locks” (can’t be forced off) are to be preferred.

  10. Zachary Smith

    Trump has been constantly fighting the “legacy” of Obama. It looks to me as if he has also taken on Hillary – trying to outdo the woman on the topic of sheer viciousness. That’ll be a daunting task, but if any man is up to the task, it might be the Orange Oaf.

  11. NR


    At this point, I don’t think the big money people will be able to remove Trump. The billionaires were happy to nurture and support the racist, nationalist, fascist movement that powers Trump as long as they could use it to make themselves richer, but now it’s progressed to the point that they can’t control it anymore. It’s one of those classic tales where someone creates a monster and it ends up devouring them. I have no sympathy for the rich people who are about to find that out, but the problem is, this monster is going to devour all of us, too.

  12. Zachary Smith

    Open thread stuff:

    An example of the state of “Justice” in the US of A.

    Judge Releases Manning After Suicide Attempt, Effectively Fines Her Supporters $256,000

    This was a contrived jailing from the start – simply more punishment. When it looked as if the prisoner might die in the tender care of the US Government, the judge released Manning. But kept the fines! Keeping Manning in poverty is not a bad alternative from the point of view of the US “Justice” system.

  13. nihil obstet

    The rich don’t have a potential leader who could deal with the coronavirus and protect their wealth. The only way it can be done is by imposing a full-fledged authoritarian police state, and at this point even the police wouldn’t go along with mass lock down of the masses.

  14. Zachary Smith

    Don’t forget the other activities of God’s Favorite People. Besides their casual murders and thefts, another of their delightful hobbies is maiming the subhuman Palestinians.

    ‘I remember the knee in the crosshairs, bursting open’ – Israeli snipers boast of shooting ‘ducks’ in Gaza

    Remember, this is the Most Moral Army in the World.

  15. Hairhead

    Just a note on our “free market” system.

    Yesterday the Dow Jones spent 7.5 hours staggering around +500 points.

    And then in last 28 minutes soared an additional +1300 points. How convenient that it soared JUST before the end of trading on a Friday, giving two days for traders to think about the “+2000” day they had.

    The Fed has given out $1.5 TRILLION in the repo market in the last 6 weeks or so.

    The market is suffering its own hidden coronavirus and the fatalities are soaring while few are paying attention.

  16. different clue


    I like sardines. When decent sardines go on special sale, I buy bunches of cans. Then I eat my way through them till the next special sale.

    Ever since the Bernie Madoff embezzlement scandal ( you remember . . . . the one where Bernie Madoff with the money), I have carefully looked at the sardines inside each can that I open to see if they are all there. And they have all been there every single time so far.

    So for all the billions of dollars Bernie Madoff stole, he wasn’t able to suck a single sardine out through the side of a single one of my cans. There is a lesson in that.

  17. KT Chong

    Do not like or watch Fox News, but Tucker Carlson was absolutely correct here…

    Tucker: Bernie Sanders may be the LAMEST revolutionary ever:

  18. KT Chong

    And here is a reminder of what happened in 2015, when Black Lives Matter activists hijacked a Bernie Sanders rally and humiliated him:

    Those Black bitches publicly humiliated Bernie in 2015, just as Black people has humiliated him in this primary season. Bernie did not even try to stand up for himself.

    Bernie is weak. He has always been weak. He is, really just as Tucker Carlson put it, a professional loser and the lamest revolutionary.

  19. Mojave Wolf

    Not that Trump hasn’t bungled the corona virus response about as badly as is possible (he has!), and not that he doesn’t deserve to lose because of it (he does!) but you people who keep wanting to get rid of him do realize the replacement would be much-further-to-the-right, much more neo con, even more pro-corporatist, much more war mongery (possibly worse than Hillary at her worst based on 2016 debates and some past statements), extreme fundie zealot on social issues Mike Pence, right?

    The only way Pence would be better would “not saying stupid stuff on twitter or in speeches”, i.e. he would be a more acceptable figurehead for much worse policy. Why do none of the “we must impeach” people get this?

    Do you all only WANT a figurehead and don’t actually CARE about the policy?

    I mean, “says embarrassing stuff on twitter and stupid stuff in speeches” vs “has worse policies that will make lives worse for more people by a large margin, but seems like an acceptable dinner companion” SHOULD NOT be a close call, or be a call in the second direction, but “decorum is MUCH more important than the effect on most people’s lives” is exactly the impression I get from the majority of Democrats and some establishment Republicans.

    (I would ask the same question of those who think we need to pull together behind
    Biden, since even aside from his numerous policy/personal corruption issues, at least 60% of the time he really would be a figurehead in the purest sense, doing whatever someone told him to & signing/saying whatever was put in front of him, a la Reagan in his last couple of years)

  20. S Brennan

    KT Chong, good vid. Every time I’ve mentioned that Bernie will fold like a cheap suit/lawnchair [circa 2016/20], I’ve been told in the most strident and insulting language that I was wrong.

    Well, he’s done it again; and again, his supporters don’t hold him accountable, no they just throw threats at those who called it all the way

  21. bruce wilder

    the racist, nationalist, fascist movement that powers Trump

    You forgot “sexist”.

    I say that sarcastically.

    What drove Trump’s rise to power was always the irresponsibility and incompetence of the hegemonic classes, and particularly that subset, the political classes of professional politicians, political operatives and political journalists — the professional and managerial class (PMC) that thought Obama was great because he was black. And, ignored the wars that never ended and the decline in life expectancy that was just one indicator of social and economic decline and pathology. As if he was not responsible for anything.

    Labelling anything with the pejoratives, racist, sexist or fascist, is more than likely a dodge at this point. And, nationalist? Well, how’s globalization working out for you? Got enough toilet paper for the apocalypse?

  22. nihil obstet

    Who’s the racist? Good link on this from Naked Capitalism today:

  23. different clue

    Tomorrow ( Sunday)’s debate is Sanders’s last chance to show that he has the hate in his heart which is needed to succeed in policy-based politics as much as in any other kind of politics.

    Does he hate the people who deserve to be hated? Right now that would be Biden. Does he hate Biden enough to destroy Biden on TV? If not , then his movement will get demoralized and demobilized, in whole or in part.

    At which point, Gabbard will be re-discovered by the properly focused and aimed rage-and-hate vote. I will certainly look to see if there are any Gabbard people in my town who will let me know if they begin a put-Tulsi-on-the-ballot petition drive.

  24. dan

    My gut says this will help Trump somehow. His supporters don’t see government or any federal agency as necessary since they have gawd, guns, and guts. They have a lot riding on the apocalypse and the failure of secualr state systems. They really do want it all cut down, and they will sooner believe a conspiracy theory that makes Trump a hero fighting a secret cabal or simply shifts responsibility elsewhere. The bad guys for them will ALWAYS be “the left”/”marxists”/libruhls…

    This is not a stereotype. Even “moderate” evangelicals have thoughts in this direction. Even those who consider themselves progressives and will never vote for Trump will happily vote for the Democrat farthest to the right, especially on “social” issues. I’ve lived most of my life with these people in the northeast, southeast, and upper midwest. They do not have any identity or existence apart from very old foundations in antimodernist reaction. There’s a catholic version, and really it all goes back to European counter-revolutionary politics. They have it too, and it’s been coming back — hard.

    Winners will be anyone with a message of stronger borders, more xenophobia and blaming of minority scapegoats, “traditional” national identities, etc. Definite risk of getting ecofascist green new deals.

  25. Z

    What exactly do you expect Bernie Sanders to do in a situation where a group of ultra-aggressive young black women jump up on stage and start screaming in his face, shoving their fingers at him, and whatnot? And they probably have ties to the Clinton campaign in some way and are hell bent on causing a scene? Use some Kung Fu and restrain them? Charm them? Break the tension by telling a joke?

    Bernie Sanders is not God, everyone knows that. He’s a 77 year old man who had a very narrow path to victory, if any at all, and made some mistakes and more than likely is not going to win the nomination. If he quits now, does that make his effort akin to “folding like a cheap suit”? A guy that worked his ass off and came off a hospital bed and a heart attack at the age of 77 and carried out an energetic campaign that had a strategy to win and was in the midst of going after Sloppy Joe and doing damage to his candidacy over SS and Iraq and whatnot when Lyin’ Liz ended up taking a cheap misogynist shot at him and threw him off course.

    Bernie Sanders is not God and he made some mistakes, but neither is he a sheepdog or a coward.

    And I don’t think he’s done yet either.


  26. Z


    The difference between Wall Street’s ailments and the coronavirus is that the Fed can supply a limitless IV of medicine to “cure” the markets.


  27. Z

    China’s theory that the coronavirus was created in the western world and exported to China isn’t a completely crazy notion. If Boris Johnson walks away from this with barely a sniffle my suspicions would lean further in that direction.


  28. different clue

    My lonely comment sits and weeps in moderation.

  29. Z

    And if Trump don’t get it either …


  30. Z

    It’s never been clearer that our rulers want a good number of us to die.


  31. Z

    I don’t care if the devil is running against him, I will not vote for Sloppy Joe.


  32. Chuck Mire

    The GOP’s war on government: From Reaganomics to Trumpism

    Coronavirus is the Trump catastrophe we’ve been terrified of

  33. Dan

    China’s theory that the coronavirus was created in the western world and exported to China isn’t a completely crazy notion.

    Not crazy at all. Whitney Webb wrote about this a few months ago:

  34. bruce wilder

    The rote claim that this virus is an accident of evolving nature is recited piously in refutation of “conspiracy theories” but that completely misses the important point.

    Even if the emergence of this coronavirus is a natural accident, the response won’t be. We live in the era of disaster capitalism and if this catastrophe proves as profitable as the Iraq War, the GFC of 2007-8, and similar events, it will be a proof of concept.

    A coronavirus can be engineered and if billionaires benefit from this one, another will follow.

  35. Z


    Yep, there’s certainly some logic to our rulers wanting to reduce the population and planting this in China first.


  36. Mark Pontin

    Z wrote: ‘China’s theory that the coronavirus was created in the western world and exported to China isn’t a completely crazy notion.’

    Eh. Not completely crazy. But if some black lab run by the U.S. government created such a designer pathogen, why’s it loose infecting non-Han folks in Europe, the current epicenter, and in the USA, its soon-to-be greenfield where we conspicuously don’t have the remarkable degree of authoritarian control that China’s CCP has used to contain COVID-19?

    After all, it’s definitely _theoretically_ possible to create a bioweapon targeting some allele(s) which only Han-descended folks tend to have. Genetically, the Chinese are fairly distinctive and homogeneous, since the original human population that entered that part of Asia was possibly as small as 400 people. See forex —

    ‘Allelic differences between Europeans and Chinese for CREB1 SNPs and their implications in gene expression regulation, hippocampal structure and function, and bipolar disorder susceptibility’

    Now, given that COVID-19 _doesn’t_ exclusive target Chinese folks, it’s true you could generate alternate conspiracy theories about why Western actors would release a bioweapon that initially hits in China, then blows back globally. Off the top of my head: –

    [1] Because that actor aims to close down globalized supply-chains and the neoliberal era.

    [2] Because that actor aims to use the pandemic as a rationale for the TPTB in the US to institute the same degree of authoritarian clampdown that China’s CCP have over here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. (i.e. a variant on one conspiracy theory about 9-11, which claimed that the US Deep State was responsible because it wanted to clampdown here.)

    [3] Because the 0.1 percent (or radical Greens) have begun the first stage of the Jackpot by culling a global segment of the olds and the poors.


    People who’ve done biodefense/bioweaponeering generally say that while you could do singular things thanks to the targeting specificity that designer pathogens provide (anything that a drug could, in principle, so a pathogen could cause temporary and permanent schizophrenia, amnesia, pacificity, and other behavioral effects in an infected population), if you want sheer virulence and lethality it’s hard to beat the classical agents produced by Nature, which has been doing its work formany millions of years.

    Long story short: the wet markets in China have been a natural bioweapons factory waiting to happen. With a high degree of probability, that’s what has happened with COVID-19

  37. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    @Nihil Obstet:

    Thanks for that link to Policy Tensor. The article and its predecessor were quite interesting, although I needed to consult a search engine to find out what in Areinnye “Boasian antiracism” is.

    I gathered from the articles that the white upper and middle classes are actually more likely to be racist, and otherwise bigoted, than less fortunate white folks. However, the better-heeled are also more likely to realize the diplomatic necessity of hiding their bigotries–thus, paradoxically, the less-bigoted working classes and underclasses come off looking more bigoted because, when they are bigoted, they often don’t know how to hide it effectively.

  38. Mark Pontin

    Bruce Wilder wrote: ‘A coronavirus can be engineered and if billionaires benefit from this one, another will follow.’

    Bruce, this has been known over here for more than thirty years and over in Russia for more than forty. If TPTB were going to release an engineered coronavirus, why now, rather than earlier?

    And how would billionaires benefit? For them as a class, this pandemic will be a destabilizing, market-toppling force.

    Now, we can think of ways that some singular billionaire or faction of billionaires — a Goldfinger with bioweapons — might have a plan to benefit from such destabilization. But: –

    [1] for a variety of technical and practical reasons to do with engineered bad bugs’ environmental stability and mutation rates, such a plan would not be very reliable;

    [2] and there’s no reason it needs a billionaire to do it; with today’s technology and knowledge, a couple of people in a garage can do what it took two-hundred scientists in the old Soviet program, Biopreparat, to do. A bioweaponeering Ted Kaczynski would be at least as plausible a candidate as a billionaire would be.

  39. Z

    Mark Pontin,

    You know a lot more about viruses than I do.

    I certainly don’t think it’s a probability that it’s man made, but it’s not out of the question either was my point. It wouldn’t be out of character for our rulers to want to kill a bunch of us off and even better if it left the rest of the ecosystem as it is.

    If I had to pick the likeliest of the possibilities you mentioned I would pick the last one.

    But it’s one of those things that I’m not going to spend a lot of time thinking about either. Whatever its origins, there’s not much left to do but survive it.


    P.S. I never bought into the 9-11 deep state detonating the World Trade Center theories. Never gave it much thought. Too many moving pieces. Too much chance involved.

  40. bruce wilder

    And how would billionaires benefit? For them as a class, this pandemic will be a destabilizing, market-toppling force.

    Will it?

    Shouldn’t we wait and see?

    I think they have been testing the limits for some time, and have had nothing but success from their point of view.

  41. Jerry Brown

    Open thread. I’m going to assume some leeway then. And will complain about the comments.

    I like reading Ian’s posts. I like reading most of the comments. But sometimes some people write many multiple comments on every post and I would ask if they could maybe organize their thoughts into that particular point they wish to convey rather than writing multiple times where that point becomes difficult to figure out.

    I mean if you hate US policy and society, for example,- say it all in one coherent comment per post. I’m not saying don’t say it. Just take the time to make your argument count instead of putting forth multiple comments that are difficult to connect in any way.

    And of course if someone cares enough to argue then respond for sure.

  42. different clue


    I also think that crafting a killer-virus and releasing it has too many moving parts and too little control to be safe to the releasers to do. That is why I discount any possibility of materially future-interested government doing it. Now . . . virus design engineering may be so easy that an amateur mad scientist with a personal fortune could do it, just for fun. But how would a mad scientist do it in China under tight regime surveillance? And how would a mad scientist get it into China from the outside?

    Given all that, the “America diddit” theory faked up to look like spontaneous popular sentiment on Chinese social media was placed there by members of the Chinese Nazi Communist regime . . . . as a Blood Libel to try diverting Chinese public attention from the Nazi Communist regime’s own failures in spending 3 weeks letting coronavirus run free and amok with wild abandon before deciding they had better go on a war footing to suppress it instead.

    If their Blood Libel campaign runs away with them and they find their masses generating an irresistable pressure to Make War on America because ” America diddit” . . . then the proper American response would be a thorough extermination campaign of every Nazi Communist regime leader and cadre in China. If the Nazi Communist Occupation Regime in China makes Americans genuinely afraid of their demographic and cultural existence, do you think the American public would tolerate a Chinese running-dog Free-Trade lackey class in Washington DC doing anything less than what I suggested as a proper and measured response? I didn’t think so.

    Maybe the Chinese Nazi-Communist regime should re-think its propagation of the “America diddit” Blood-Libel meme.

  43. NR

    bruce wilder:

    It has been empirically proven multiple times over that racism was one of the primary factors that drove Trump’s victory. I have no patience for anyone who tries to deny objective reality. Here is just one of many sources about the topic, you could find plenty more with a simple Google search if you cared about facts and not pushing your preferred narrative:

  44. Mojave Wolf

    Based on comments from his own (mostly well meaning but almost entirely utterly incompetent) campaign staff, I do not actually expect Bernie to do anything worthwhile or to improve his own chances at election or to hurt Biden in the “debate” tomorrow night, but just in case, I shall hold off till next weekend on the post mortem of his campaign, in case it isn’t as dead as I think it is.

    I will, however, share this wonderful email I got from “Andrew Yang”, aka the DNC but w/Yang the “outsider” putting his name to it, in case anyone (like me) had previously failed to realize what an utter phony he is and that he was probably part of the giant Dem tag team effort to take down Bernie, and also because I wish to share my response to said email (I usually ignore these but I really had thought Yang seemed genuine so actually read this; my higher expectation for him relative to most Dem pols led to me being irritated enough to actually respond). Here goes:

    I may no longer be a candidate in this race for president, (my legal first name here). But I am just getting started in the fight for our future.

    I’m committed to building the movement to rewrite the rules to work for all of us, the people. It’s time for a fairer, human-centered America — and the very first step in building that future is to elect a Democrat to the White House and make sure Democrats win key seats all across our country this year.

    That’s why I am asking you to make your first donation to the Democratic Unity Fund today. The fund, launched by the DNC and President Obama, will directly benefit our future nominee and Democrats at all levels of office. The DNC is the only party organization capable of helping elect Democrats from the top to the bottom of the ticket, so your investment in the Democratic Unity Fund will make an important, tangible impact on the outcome of 2020.

    Will you make a $7 contribution to the Democratic Unity Fund? There is too much at stake in this election for any one of us to sit on the sidelines, and any amount you can donate today will make a big difference.

    DONATE: $7
    DONATE: $10
    DONATE: $25
    DONATE: $50
    DONATE: $100
    Donate another amount

    We must come together now to create the strong party infrastructure it will take to defeat Donald Trump and the GOP in just a few short months — and the window of time we have to get that done is closing with each passing day.

    That’s why I’ve pledged to do everything in my power to help the eventual Democratic nominee win the White House come November 3, regardless of who it may be. I’m asking you to step up today.

    Donate $7 directly to the DNC’s Democratic Unity Fund. Every penny will add up to help elect Democrats from the bottom of the ticket to the top this year.

    Thank you for everything,

    Andrew Yang

    My response, copied and pasted exactly:

    I was never going to vote for Yang but I never thought he was quite as big of a phony as he turned out to be. I don’t want unity w/the neolib warmonger phoney scumbag faction of the Dems (i.e. hi to whoever’s reading this, that is you). I want you scumbags to lose. If you put up Biden as the nominee or any of the neolib scumbags, I will write in Tulsi if my state is not close or flat out vote for Trump if it is. You are all much worse than him. Rot in hell.

    Back to addressing Ian’s commentariat: Obviously this was written in haste and could have been better. I should have talked up Tulsi more, so it was clear I actually wanted to vote for her because she is awesome next to their patheticness, and not just as an alternative to the horror that is the DNC and the “manufacturing consent to enrich the rich and feed the war machine” types. And they are not “all much worse than (Trump)” individually, I realize this. Some of them may be perfectly nice idiots and just hopeless in their stupidity, and not malignant sociopaths. But, in actual practice, they are doing more damage. I shoulda made that clear. Then again, it woulda been a waste of time and I mostly just wanted to annoy them, the Dem establishment workers, who are greater enemies to progress or good outcomes than Trump by far.

  45. Chuck Mire

    Swiss Scientists Have Recreated the Coronavirus in a Lab

    A synthetic virus could help develop drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests but could also be used as a bioweapon

  46. Mojave Wolf

    @Nihil — thanks for that link. I had seen it elsewhere then forgot about it. Was not surprised that the non-college degreed are !shock! mostly NOT racist, contrary to the various neolib IDpol scumbags who keep trying to portray them that way (I mean, I AM working class, and am around non-college educated people every day) but I was surprised at the large gap between working class and the noticeably much more racist college educated types.

    Then again , that explains the absolute obsession w/race from the PMC/internet activist types. I had previously assumed this was entirely due to manipulation from above (i.e. rich people wanting to keep the non-rich at each other’s throats by constantly pitting them against each other w/different types of name-calling, combined w/the fact that most people are frighteningly easy to manipulate via ridiculously obvious marketing techniques and/or ginned up peer pressure), but obviously this manipulation is a lot easier if a lot of the people obsessing about race are doing it because they are themselves racist, and they are projecting their own inner shame onto everyone else.

    So, all the IDpol obsessed people running around calling everyone else racist, and assuming everyone who disagrees w/them on issues must be doing it because of race, are saying this because they know how deeply racist they themselves are, and like many morally deficient people think everyone else is the same way. (or, also like many morally deficient people, don’t think this but wish to point the finger of blame elsewhere regardless of guilt or innocence, so that people won’t be looking at the actual guilty party, Probably a little of both).

    This is good, tho–whenever you see anyone making issue disagreements about racism, or turn discussions of practically ANY issue to race, or getting angry because someone is failing to center racial division and promote racial divisiveness, we now know it’s a good bet to assume that person is, in fact, the actual racist. I’ll go w/that.

  47. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    I also found NR’s link interesting, particularly that (if I read correctly) the study did not attempt to measure racism as such, but rather, denial of racism. Many of my fellow white folks are not themselves significantly racist, but they want to believe that it no longer matters, to believe that the reforms of the ’60s and ’70s fixed everything.

    Alas, it still matters. A black man, even if he makes ten times my annual income, is still less likely to survive a routine traffic stop than I am.

  48. bruce wilder

    NR: It has been empirically proven multiple times over that racism was one of the primary factors that drove Trump’s victory.

    It has been asserted many, many times, not because it is true in any deeply factual sense, but because assertions of this form stop all thought in many of those receptive to the hypothesis. I have been told in comments on Ian’s blog that racism explains Trump’s political support and that is all anyone needs to know (about Trump or his 2016 campaign strategy).

    Trump is more than a bit of an authoritarian in his demagoguery and personal outlook. That is certainly true. And, that entails some affinity for attitudes that embrace racist notions for sure. It is also true that Trump makes regular political efforts to demonstrate that he is friendly to blacks and the concerns of African-Americans, meeting occasionally with black celebrities and political groups on some issues. He will happily make the true argument that Obama’s administration wiped out a large portion of African-American wealth.

    You linked to a regression analysis that showed a correlation between “racist” attitudes in survey data and voting patterns. The researchers tip their agenda by posing as an alternative hypothesis the personal economic distress of Trump voters as motivator. They knew going in, as any well-informed political observer would, that Trump voters, like Republican voters for decades, tend to relatively prosperous members of their communities. So, I think they knew how to get the result they wanted while ignoring what they wanted to ignore, in the economic distress of areas of the country that shifted from voting Democratic to voting Republican in 2016.

    The racism hot button, like the sexist hot button, is pressed frequently in the propaganda of Democratic politics. It is part of what creates and maintains the so-called “tribal” nature of American political discourse with its fake outrage, virtue signalling, and general idiocy.

    It is how the Democratic electorate can be herded into supporting the former Senator from MBNA, a fervent supporter of the Iraq War, a serial fabulist and an old white guy regularly showing dementia symptoms as the nominee. After the Democrats in the House impeached Trump for doing what Biden bragged about doing — I guess just so we would know there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between them.

  49. Mark Pontin

    Different clue wrote: ‘And how would a mad scientist get it into China from the outside?’

    Come on, man. That’s easy.

    “The Last Flight of Doctor Ain” (1969) by James Tiptree (Alice Sheldon)

  50. different clue

    @Mojave Wolf,

    If Sanders pulls out a car aerial and whips Biden a few couple hundred times with it in the debate, then I will consider the possibility that Sanders is in it to win it.

    But if he describes the Mass Enslaver of the College Students as “my friend” and allows Biden to walk away from the debates still politically alive, then I will lose interest in Sanders.

    That doesn’t mean that the Sanderbackers have to lose interest in the movement AS a movement.
    They can still, without Sanders’s permission, put his name as a no-party independent name on all 50 state ballots. That could draw just enough votes away from the Clintobama Bidenite democrat so as to get it defeated in all 50 states. We can’t have nice things until we exterminate the Clintobamacrat Party from the face of the earth, and an extermination-scale defeat at the polls is the first step in exterminating the Clintobamacrat Party from the face of the earth.

    I trust the SanderMovement will have enough people to get the Sanders name placed on all 50 state ballots. But what about Gabbard? She has hardly any support at all because of the MSM-Clintobamacrat conspiracy to pre-silence her right from the start. If Sanders throws the debate, I will see if there are any Gabbard supporters in my area, and I will give them all my contact information in case they want to launch a get-Tulsi-on-the-ballot initiative and petition drive. Ideally the Gabbard name could also be placed on all 50 state ballots. If it were on my state ballot, I would vote for it.


    Alas, it still matters. A black man, even if he makes ten times my annual income, is still less likely to survive a routine traffic stop than I am.

    Perhaps, but he’s sure to get tested for the novel corona virus that causes COVID-19 before you do if you ever do thus helping his chances of surviving this pandemic.

    But when an NBA player began exhibiting symptoms, that figure was surpassed. The state of Oklahoma completed 58 COVID-19 tests within a matter of hours on Thursday, all to ensure that the virus didn’t spread any further than necessary. A powerful, wealthy pro sports league flexed the political capital and financial might required to get government officials to spring into action. The unintentional byproduct, though, is another, equally jarring number: 7,617 people in total have been tested for the virus by state labs as of Thursday, and those 58 tests, or a staggering .8 percent, were conducted on employees of one professional basketball team.

  52. Mojave Wolf

    @DC — likewise on what Bernie does at the debate tonight. If he’s given up on winning, then I bow to him w/respect for what he’s done thus far, and move on without further interest in voting for him.

    That doesn’t mean that the Sanderbackers have to lose interest in the movement AS a movement.
    They can still, without Sanders’s permission, put his name as a no-party independent name on all 50 state ballots. That could draw just enough votes away from the Clintobama Bidenite democrat so as to get it defeated in all 50 states. We can’t have nice things until we exterminate the Clintobamacrat Party from the face of the earth, and an extermination-scale defeat at the polls is the first step in exterminating the Clintobamacrat Party from the face of the earth.

    Absolutely. I shall vote for Tulsi rather than Bernie as my protest vote this time, because his campaign REALLY disappointed me this go round and because, since winning is no longer an issue, I can just vote for who I think would do a better job, which at this point is her. Not really a reason to vote for someone, but the Dem establishment hates her more, which is a nice added side benefit, and unlike Bernie she can possibly run in the future, if the majority of people are sufficiently non-stupid/non-manipulable enough to resist the MSM/DNC effort to permanently destroy her as a political entity (jury still out on this; if someone is stupid/manipulable enough to vote for Biden, I don’t think there’s much hope for them. I mean, I really have absolutely nothing non-insulting to say to a Biden supporter, other than to ask them if they have been paying any attention at all to his speaking events for the past year, and ask them to google).

    I no longer think Trump is a certainty to beat Biden, however, even aside from the always present possibility of voting machine hackery (seriously, I can’t think of a single reason why supporters of a losing candidate should EVER rest easy in the result again until we go back to hand marked, hand counted paper ballots, unless it matches up very closely to exit polls and is a fairly wide margin, both). Why? The corona virus response has been pathetic. If it turns out to be here the way it has been in Italy and Iran, then the bungled response will cost him. AAlso, giving money to the banks while ignoring the common people? There goes working class support, if the DNC is capable of putting out ads on this. And the corona virus stuff is more obvious & easier to understand for the majority of people than the threat posed by the DNC or Biden, who is a few years away from needing a full time caregiver or being in a home (I say this as someone whose mother had dementia the last years of her life, sufficient that she needed full time care; he is very obviously not well and what the hell is wrong with people???? If you wanted someone who avoided the “woke”/IDpol garbage and/or a DNC approved candidate, why not Klobuchar? I didn’t like a lot of her policies but she was competent and in full possession of her faculties and could have carried the neolib war machine torch without making us all wonder what sort of absurdist nightmare we woke up in).

  53. Mojave Wolf

    Two more things re Tulsi: the full court effort to demonize her for refusing to play ball w/installing Clinton over Bernie in 2016 and refusing to support our “invade anyone at any time under any pretext and pretend it makes sense” foreign policy is one of the very best examples of just how evil the Dem establishment is and why they must be destroyed.

    Also, that Bernie failed to have her back hardly at all this campaign while his staffers several times took swipes at her (not just Linda Sarsour, whose presence in his campaign is a sign of its incompetence, but even Ro Khanna, who is normally okay; I’ve also heard that the Faiz dude Bernie stupidly hired as his campaign manager doesn’t like her) is one of the many things that makes me wonder if he’s just too old and not strong enough to stand up to people the way he needs to any more. I mean, Teachout calls out Biden on some of his awfulness, something Bernie has to do to win, and Sirota backs her up, and then Bernie tosses them both under the bus while talking about how his good friend Joe is a great guy and not corrupt at all. I mean, aside from the fact that he’s in the running for “most corrupt member of a corrupt institution” for every decade going back to the 80’s or 90’s, and that he criticized Bush for not being enough of a drug warrior and was writing op eds in support of the Iraq invasion and chaired the Anita Hill hearings and is a huge supporter of the Hyde Amendment and only just dropped said support for his current presidential bid and that there are stories of him going to donors and asking what he can do for them to get their money going back decades, ummmmmmmmm, yikes. But Bernie slaps down Teachout and Sirota.

    Meanwhile, Tulsi stuck up for Bernie when he was getting cheated and subsequently may have had her entire career destroyed, and has kept sticking up for him and defending him at every turn even while ostensibly running against him and even while her only path to victory would involve him going down, yet, his people repeat MSM/DNC lies against her and he doesn’t say a word?

    True statements about Biden get smacked down; lies against someone who always has his back get ignored.

    This is . . . not defensible.

    It would have been my deciding factor to vote for her over him if she had been close to viable in Cali.

  54. Mojave Wolf

    A black man, even if he makes ten times my annual income, is still less likely to survive a routine traffic stop than I am.

    Let me preface this with the obligatory counter that most cops are good guys trying to do a good job and performing a vital and necessary service. Let me also preface this by adding that the majority being decent people in no way excuses the scumbags or the way too large number of awfulness and the increasingly scary police state tactics that are being approved by the government.

    Now on to addressing this comment and then the larger point you are trying to make:

    No one seems to have done a study on the issue of “people wrongly shot during in a routine traffic stop” (I just checked), probably because the total # of fatal police shootings of “unarmed citizens not assaulting an officer” averages about 45 per year, and I’m pretty sure within that number, “obviously bad shootings” is going to be even smaller (in that #, there are also some people where people had the misfortune to be next to someone who WAS shooting at police, so there was no intent to shoot the person at all, or weren’t totally innocent but, say, were driving the car for a contract killer who was firing at police, to give one example).

    I can (and have, though google refuses to show me either my past posts or any collation of the sources I originally drew from) point to all sorts of white people being shot when they shouldn’t be, or a retarded white guy beaten to death for “not following instructions” where it literally would have been impossible to do so (they were instructing him to do two contradictory things at the same time, he was calling out for his dad right before the beating finished him off permanently). There was the guy who was shot while crawling out from his wrecked car because the officer said he was “trying to escape” (it was a standard car wreck he was climbing out of, the officer got there after the car wrecked, the guy did not have a record), the woman shot while driving away because she was supposedly trying to run over the officers, the dude who was forced to crawl across the ground and was shot for reaching down to pull his pants up because the crawl was dragging them, the mentally ill homeless dude in Albuquerque (which seems to almost by design have one of the worst police forces in the nation, frequently hiring cops kicked off other forces) who was shot by a frigging swat team for “illegal camping” while he was trying to leave (then had dogs told to attack him while he was lying on the ground bleeding, and handcuffed and sat on whilst he was in the process of dying). You just don’t hear about these because they don’t help the “everything is about race” divide and conquer narrative (kind of like how you have the media divvying up into teams of “cops can never do wrong” and “cops are inherently evil”, when both of these things are obviously not true, and starting from either perspective gets in the way of any useful reform or problem solving). (I have previously posted you tube vids of all these things).

    I recently started a new job which leaves me away from home during the week and I don’t want to spend too much of my home time writing, so I’m just going to link to some good articles on the subject if you want to get an actual accurate look, all of them by left leaning non white people:

    From Zaid Jilani:

    From Adolph Reed:

    From Lester Spence:

    I have let my reading of it lapse the last year or so, but a really good blog for police issues in general is (or was, and probably still is) Peter Moskos’ “Cop in the Hood”. He has had a lot of good studies on this issue in the past but they also weren’t showing up in google.

    The gist of all this is that class, not race, is the main non-crime related factor in who gets shot, and the main crime related factor is how likely the cops think the individual is to shoot at them or someone else (which, again, does not mean there aren’t some really godawful shootings and that the quality of policing doesn’t vary wildly from officer to officer, though there are some places that seem systematically better or worse, again Moskos blog used to have a lot of good studies on this)

    I do think this is important to push back on, because, to quote Adolph Reed, antiracist politics is in fact the left wing of neoliberalism in that its sole metric of social justice is opposition to disparity in the distribution of goods and bads in the society, an ideal that naturalizes the outcomes of capitalist market forces so long as they are equitable along racial (and other identitarian) lines. As I and my colleague Walter Benn Michaels have insisted repeatedly over the last decade, the burden of that ideal of social justice is that the society would be fair if 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources so long as the dominant 1% were 13% black, 17% Latino, 50% female, 4% or whatever LGBTQ, etc. That is the neoliberal gospel of economic justice”

    There is clearly an active effort by the MSM to push such a narrative, and lots (the majority?) of well intentioned left wing activists seem to have bought it, and most people who question it on the left are afraid to say anything because they don’t want to be ostracized or called bad names.

  55. Mojave Wolf

    My last long comment (w/links to Adolph Reed and Zaid Jilani) just went into moderation. Not complaining, just giving a shout out to whoever gets these things out of moderation. It was a response to Ivory Bill, but it was thoughtful and respectful and non-sarcastic & non-combative and I think it’s an important issue, so, as soon as someone who can dig it out sees this, please let it see the light of day. Thank you.

  56. Mojave Wolf

    Sorry for so many posts, but barring unforeseen circumstances, mostly or entirely gone until next weekend. This is the last.

    Just got done watching the debate. Bernie wasn’t bad but not on fire and due to Biden’s people getting his meds right for the debate (why can’t they do this all the time? He’d still be awful but . . . why is this not sustainable, whatever they give him for these?) AND the MSM mods refusing to call him on a single one of his non-stop blatant lies, and Bernie also for the most part failing to call him on his non-stop blatant lies, I don’t see this changing the dynamic of the race. The future of the world is probably toast. I still maintain the DNC must be destroyed — it’s bad enough to have one party that operates based either on lies or a completely misguided perception of reality, along with a complete lack of caring about either the biosphere or the working class; if it’s two of two there is no hope. We either got to force out all the current leaders of one, or start another. There is no hope whatsoever in these two. Thus, voting Tulsi and hoping Trump wins again if Biden is the nominee (unless Cali is close, or I’ve moved to a purple state, in which case . . . it won’t be Biden, and it may not be ANY establishment dem candidate, just as a matter of principle).

    Speaking of pandemics and the world possibly being toast, two terrific novels to recommend about the aftermath of a (much worse than we are currently experiencing):

    The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
    Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

    both absolutely wonderful novels. I have a slight preference for the former but I think most of y’all (and most people in general) will probably prefer the second. Dog Stars is a much smaller cast almost entirely set after the pandemic w/a couple of flashbacks; Station Eleven is about 45/45 at the beginning of the pandemic and 20 years later, w/quite a few flashbacks to our world before it ended, w/a broader range of more accessible characters.

    They are both beautifully written. Can’t think of a better time to read (or reread) them.

  57. nihil obstet

    My favorite plague novel is Connie Willis’ The Doomsday Book.

  58. Hugh

    Albert Camus’ La Peste

  59. Mojave Wolf

    Thanks to you guys for the recs!

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