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

Open Thread

Feel free to use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


The Current Trendline Is Full-fledged American Social Collapse


The Portland Seizures Are the Next Step to Latin American-Style Fascism


  1. bruce wilder

    dress rehearsal for secret-police authoritarianism in Portlandia of all places!

  2. nihil obstet

    bruce wilder, I hope you’re right. I’m afraid it’s not the dress rehearsal, but the opening act.

  3. Zachary Smith

    Three Wiki sites to visit. Cut/paste the unlinked titles into a search window.

    “Stone Mountain Memorial half dollar”

    The Stone Mountain Memorial half dollar was an American fifty-cent piece struck in 1925 at the Philadelphia Mint. Its main purpose was to raise money on behalf of the Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association for the Stone Mountain Memorial near Atlanta, Georgia. Designed by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, the coin features a depiction of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson on the obverse and the caption: “Memorial to the Valor of the Soldier of the South” on the reverse.
    Borglum, who was, like others involved, a Ku Klux Klan member, was engaged to design the memorial, and proposed expanding it to include a colossal monument depicting Confederate warriors, with Lee, Jackson, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis leading them.

    This is a US 50 cent coin with the images of two traitors who fought to destroy the nation.

    “Battle of Antietam half dollar”

    The front of this coin shows the traitor Robert E. Lee along with George McClellan, a US general he regularly defeated.

    Battle of Gettysburg half dollar

    This one is really special, for on the reverse side is an image of the Confederate battle flag. On a US half dollar! Somebody has cleverly edited this Wiki so that display isn’t mentioned at all in the description.

    These obscene things will always be available to those US citizens who love their treason. They don’t need all the in-your-face statues and flags too.

  4. Zachary Smith

    Mail delays likely as new postal boss pushes cost-cutting

    Our Pea-Brain POTUS has been freaking out at the prospect of losing the 2020 election by a landslide, and has started doing some things to halt or even reverse that process. It seems he is scared to death of Absentee Voting, and to fix that problem he has moved the campaign to destroy the Post Office into high gear. The link tells how a new Trumpie Postmaster General has been given the job of throwing even more sand into the gears of the USPS. I doubt if the Democrats will object, for they’ve been onboard with the destruction of the Post Office for ages.

    The Police State activities out west seems to be a trial run to see if Trumpie Goons can physically disrupt the next election. This is the stuff Survivalists have nightmares about, so I attempted to visit a major site belonging to James Wesley Rawles to see how they are reacting to this latest Trumpie horror. Despite trying for the last couple of hours, the site continues to be down. Now who on earth would be doing a Denial Of Service on them at this particular time?

    If you can’t mail in your 2020 ballot, and you’re afraid to go vote at a physical polling place because of anonymous, masked, and camouflaged goons lurking there, our Stable Genius Orange Leader just might defeat Clueless Joe after all.

  5. bruce wilder

    still on the road and in previews, i think, nihil.

    we’ll have to check the early reviews, but i am guessing at least one re-write and all-new choreography, before they roll out final costumes and production numbers

    wait until state and municipal governments collapse from lack of tax revenues and one-third of the population has eeked out another three months of barely surviving on extended unemployment benefits, with no job to structure daily life, nowhere to go and nothing to do.

    then we will see if there’s an audience

  6. bruce wilder

    @ Zachary

    for fascism as farce, the Orange One is the obvious choice, but if you want full-on authoritarian crack-down, Biden should be your go-to guy.

  7. StewartM


    That is absurd. With Trump; fascism is not farce; it’s real. With Biden, as bad as he is, I am sure that there will be a reasonably fair and free election in 2024. That’s not a given with Trump.

  8. js

    What would have to happen for the fascism to be real not farce, and if there are actual concrete things that would have to happen for that, what proof do we have that Biden would implement them and Trump wouldn’t? And are they really any worse than policies Trump actually would and does implement in terms of being fascist?

  9. bob mcmanus

    After a day of reading that 2 dozen furtive agents in Portland are the exact same thing ya know, as Ernst Rohm’s 400, 000 SA I am confirmed in my characterization that I live in a Age that has gone beyond Baudrillard’s “hyperreality” when you can’t tell reality from its representation to what I call our Age of Hyperbole, hyperbolic, where you can’t distinguish “reality” from delusion, hallucination, extreme exaggeration and caricature. Everyday the worst thing ever, no the worst thing possible to happen happens…until the next worst thing ever. Constant catastrophe.

    Point is, this isn’t really wrong, or at least contains meaning, is symptomatic of our current conditions, but we are actually afraid of facing our obvious doom (climate) so we project finality and utter ruin everywhere else around us. Or something. I never understood hyperreality either.

    Maybe if I read this book length dissertation I’ll feel better.

    “Unlike other tropes, hyperbole is exceedingly and intentionally epistemologically and ontologically disruptive. It is paradoxical in the extreme. It repetitively shocks and de-stabilizes with audacious claims that are meant to force one beyond the literal and into the figural realm. It does not insinuate or offer subtle insights, though its path to these insights might be sly and deceitful, and it offers no synthesis of thought. It offers dissonance rather than resonance, and the resonance it does offer might be dissonance itself. It brings blunt force trauma, it is brazenly deceptive, and its intent is brutality.

    It is true that all tropes are types of conceits intended to bring one to a new and perhaps surprising insight. The difference of hyperbole from other tropes is that it amplifies this fact so it is more than apparent that what is being said is a falsehood. It heightens the suspicion that more is being communicated than what is stated. Unlike other tropes, hyperbole must be recognized as a hyperbole for it to be effective, and it does not even attempt to go unnoticed. It privileges emotion over reason, and it often verges on the edge of madness. Hyperbole blatantly, disorientingly, and traumatically batters its audience and pushes it towards alternative ways of perceiving meaning and being through extreme contradiction.”

    (As usual with the Left, the author focuses too much on the darkside of hyperbole in order to weaponize his analysis and ignores the positive and socially affirming expressions. And Luka Doncic is the best basketball player in the history of the NBA, y’all, don’t be ignorant and xenophobic by denying it._

    Like capitalism and neoliberalism, we can’t go around over or under hyperbolic reality, but only move thru and with it.

  10. Hugh

    Trump is determined by his pathology. His pathology precludes him from doing things or presenting himself in ways that further his campaign for a second term. Quite the opposite, but it does push him to do weird and inexplicable things like Portland. You got to kind of wonder where the feds involved think their careers are going to be come January when their “sterbender Führer” is put out to pasture.

  11. bruce wilder

    hyperbole is simply banal

  12. bob mcmanus

    BW:”for fascism as farce, the Orange One is the obvious choice, but if you want full-on authoritarian crack-down, Biden should be your go-to guy.”

    “hyperbole is simply banal”

    Well maybe, but I see hyperbole everywhere it’s immanent it is a social phenomena indicating I think an ontological and ideological change in the everyday and quotidian with material or technological causation. But yes it can be boring yet exhausting in its performative intensity, especially I suppose for olds. I am reading less than I used to.

  13. bruce wilder

    With Biden, as bad as he is, I am sure that there will be a reasonably fair and free election in 2024.

    re: hyperreality
    I am not what it signifies, but I have noticed that journalism and opinion are strongly biased now against history and in favor of projection. Stewart is doing it here. He has an opinion, and he bases that opinion, justifies holding it on the basis of a subjective assessment of what “will” happen more than four years from now. He’s “sure”.

    A lot of hyperbole in the Media is projection of this kind — continuing on current trends, by 2050, most people over the age of 70 today will be dead! Stop the holocaust! Whatever has been happening over the previous six months is not enough for a headline, but projected ten years, and it is happening, really happening!

    Closely related is the imaginative counterfactual. Counterfactuals are useful ways of to explain a theory; a counterfactual can explain a conjecture about causality. Or, more likely, to inject fantasy as fact: it is a fact (sic) that if a Democrat said that instead of a Republican, then blah, blah.

    It is too much trouble to assemble actual facts. Republican said X, response was R; Democrat said Y, response was S. And, besides, you are so sure, it is so obvious, no one could deny it.

    I do not think Trump, though an authoritarian by temperament, poses much threat of introducing fascism or “fascism” even, just because he is also a weak, blustery hypomaniac. I think the country is falling apart, and someone (or more likely some group as yet unidentified) may step up to impose order and fill the vacuum of power. But, Trump himself, at the center of that vacuum of power for nearly four years, has shown no capacity to fill it.

    As for the thesis that Biden and his Democrat Party can be expected to continue to hold free and fair elections four years hence, what past are you projecting? Not the one in which the actual DNC conducted the 2016 and 2020 primaries. Not the one where Clinton’s violations of campaign finance restrictions were revealed on the eve of the national Convention. Not the one where the Primary debate schedule and much else was structured to favor Clinton. Not the 2020 primary with its plethora of candidates, the Buttigieg caucus vote counting app or other shenanigans. Or the sudden sweep of candidates dropping out to put Biden in.

    Biden has history. He is not a nice guy. Tough on crime. Easy on banks. Wants wars to continue and continue. Corrupt family. Liar, plagiarist and fabulist. And now senile. Who knows what group will be running that Administration? One thing one can reasonably be sure of though, is that no one in charge of that Administration will be selected for their deep commitment to people power or the integrity of the electoral process. That is not how they will have achieved power.

  14. different clue

    @Zachary Smith,

    It looks like Survival Blog is back up. In the spirit of offering survival-info links on these threads, I will re-offer the link you yourself offered upthread.

    And in the spirit of bringing other information about survival here, here is a fine website more about things which could help people establish co-mutual co-shared co-survival.

    People who want to read/learn these things should do so while the internet is still up. Because at some point it will go down and go dark for good. And stay that way. And never ever come back ever ever again.

  15. Zachary Smith

    I just tried two browsers in an attempt to see how the “Survival Blog” folks are taking Trump’s police state deeds, but neither one would open the site. It’s my guess they’re trying to get back online, and “somebody” is working hard to prevent that from happening.

    Thanks for the reminder about the Journey To Forever site. In the past I’ve downloaded many of their out-of-copyright books, for the essentials of subsistence farming haven’t changed much in the past century. I pray none of us have to revert to being peasants, but avoiding that fate is no longer a slam dunk.

  16. NRG

    I live about 4 blocks from the federal building in Portland. My wife returned some shoes to the retailer across the street this afternoon, in a mall , that is open. She also bought me few shirts because the Eddie Bauer there has a 40% off sale. Do look it up.

    There is no violent anarchy in downtown Portland. There is a long-standing peaceful protest movement with a few folks who are spray painting things, and even occasionally a few of them are looting, or taking down statues (even of an elk, which, ymmv). If what is happening in my neighborhood requires a federal response, then so does what\’s happening in yours, if you live in a city. The main cited reason by DHS for secret police intervention is graffiti on the federal building, which. . . have you been in an American city, ever?

  17. KT Chong

    I am going to bed and too tired and lazy to provide links to all of what I am about the say, but here it is.

    What Hong Kong (HK) protestors really want is independence, not just “free elections”. Almost all of the leaders of the the Hong Kong protests/riots are all former leaders and members of the HK independence movement and parties, which were banned a few years ago, (from 2015 to 2018.)

    The Sino-British Joint Declaration, which transferred Hong Kong back to China, was just a bunch of outline. China was supposed to implement what was in the outlines. Parts of the outlines gave Hong Kongers elections, the right to vote in a general election, which the British had never given to Hong Kongers when they ruled HK. Parts of the outlines also stated that Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China. That means, as parts of the Joint Declaration, China could implement anti-secession laws in Hong Kong. The Declaration is a give-and-take agreement. Hong Kongers would get something, but they must also give something. What they would have to give, in return for elections and the right to vote, was they have to agree to forgo independence and secession.

    So, China started implementing elections in HK in early 2000s. Of course, Hong Kongers gladly accepted the “gifts” and took them.

    However, when China attempted to implement anti-secession laws, which had been agreed upon in the Declaration, in the mid-2000s, (I think it was in 2004,) Hong Kongers went out and protested. Hong Kongers refused to let China implement that other parts of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. So, Hong Kongers gladly took the gift of elections in the Declaration but refused accept the the anti-secession parts.

    So, at that point, Hong Kongers already violated the Sino-British Declaration.

    Unfortunately, China acquiesced IMO, at that time China should have rejected the entire Declaration, and just took back the elections. Of course, China showed weakness, and China was still weak, so now China is paying the price for it.

    Also, the Hong Kong independence parties (I think all of them) were registered in the UK. That means, in a sense, the British also violated their parts of the agreement as well, long before China did. However, no one in America or the West would ever talk about that.

  18. KT Chong

    The ultimate point is:

    Even though the so-called protestors and “freedom fighters” in Hong Kong claimed that they just wanted a “fair and open elections”, Chinese know they were lying — because the leaders of the protests/riots were the same people who were in the independence movement and parties just a few years ago. They already revealed their hands, and we know EXACTLY what they want and what they are aiming for.

    When they said they wanted “fair and open elections”, what they really demanded was for China to repel its bans to allow the HK independence parties to run in the “fair and open elections.” We all know that would inevitably only lead to one outcome. The protesters and their leaders were playing mental gymnastic, and Chinese ain’t having it.

    Also, the same Joint Declaration that gave them any elections at all also outlines there would be no separation, no secession. I’d say that, if the Honkies refused to accept the no-separation/secession part of the agreement, China should just take back the election part as well. Just tear up the entire declaration.

  19. different clue

    @Zachary Smith,

    Here is another much smaller link that Journey To Forever but in a parallel ( though not the same) spirit. It is the “miscellaneous” section of Ran Prieur’s blog. It is some very good advice about how to do some life-and-survival things in one’s daily/weekly/monthly life.

  20. different clue

    @ Zachary Smith,

    Here is another interesting website, called Red Rock Energy. It has many interesting things about energy gadgets and gizmos and also information and theoretical ways to think about energy matters.

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