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

Open Thread

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Delusion Regarding the Fall of Neoliberalism and Globalization


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 27, 2020


  1. Thomas B Golladay

    All out assault by the DNC to kick the Green Party off the ballot in multiple states. Instead of earning voters’ vote, they are actively trying to disenfranchise them.

    Ah well, we’re well into catastrophic systemic collapse with low level civil war on the streets.

  2. Hugh

    On the Supreme Court nomination, Democrats are already into their “Fight –or Don’t and Keep Our Powder Dry” schtick they have been doing for the last 15 years. Whatever else Democrats must have the driest powder on Earth.

  3. someofparts

    If there’s money for the entire economy, why is it that normal people and small businesses can’t access unemployment insurance and lending programs? To put it another way, why is the money meant for everyone only showing up in the stock market?

    The reason is because money has to travel through institutions, and right now, the institutions for the powerful function well, and those for the rest of us are rickety and broken. So money gets to the rich first. Eventually, some money will get to the rest of us, but in the interim period before that money fully circulates, the wealthy can use their access to money to buy up physical or financial assets.

    The podcast is a long interview with Mark Blyth.

  4. Zachary Smith

    The Guardian’s deceit-riddled new statement betrays both Julian Assange and journalism

    Years ago the UK Guardian was one of the “good guys” with me. Not anymore.

  5. bruce wilder
    has dutifully chronicled the day by day of the horror show of an extradition hearing The Guardian, NY Times, Der Spiegel and the rest of the formerly liberal press refuse to cover.

  6. Hugh

    My understanding is that Trump et al are going after Assange for 18 alleged violations of the 1917 Espionage Act. I would note in passing that this is another “gift” we have from that champion of classical liberalism and godfather of neoliberalism Woodrow Wilson.

    If you are interested, this law can be found in Title 18. CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Part I. CRIMES Chapter 37. ESPIONAGE AND CENSORSHIP (principally Section 794, or more simply 18 U.S. Code § 794).

    which begins ” (a) Whoever, with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicates, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to communicate, deliver, or transmit” pretty much anything to anyone.

    It is an incredibly overbroad law and it really puts into question what is an “injury” or an “advantage.” Somehow I can’t see embarrassing the US when it is doing something embarrassing as an injury but that’s just me.

  7. Chiron

    @Zachary Smit

    The Guardian was never a good guy, it’s function was always to be a gatekeeper to the Anglo-Left, it’s likely controlled by the Five Eyes from behind.

  8. Julia

    I will never click on your posts again after your hatchet job on Justice Ginsburg.

  9. different clue

    I think over the next few decades ( if America lives that long), a general understanding will spread that Woodrow Wilson could be viewed as America’s most evil president. He, more than anyone, drove and oversaw the systematic encrushment of a viable “left” which America had at that time. He introduced official Jim Crow into Washington DC and enshrined Jim Crow in all the FedGov’s hiring and placement decisions. Plus many other evil things. Plus the Federal Reserve System.

    In 1916 he lied to the public about his putative “desire” to keep America out of the war in Europe while working secretly with Britain to trick America into the war on the wrong side, including by such measures as filling the Lusitania with a secret cargo of rifles meant to bait the U-boat navy into sinking it.

    Woodrow Wilson: America’s Most Evil President.

  10. someofparts

    The Espionage Act seems like a creation from brazen bad faith.

  11. Mark Pontin

    Chiron wrote: ‘The Guardian was never a good guy, it’s function was always to be a gatekeeper to the Anglo-Left, it’s likely controlled by the Five Eyes from behind.’

    That’s a little unfair.

    Alan Ruisbridger, when he was editor of The Guardian, was responsible for publishing big investigative stories like Snowden’s on NSA surveillance and another one that busted Murdoch’s news operation for phone bugging (including of royals).

    The woman chosen to replace Ruisbridger as editor, Katharine Viner, had previously been web editor in the UK and Australia, and she’s the one responsible for the paper’s turn to full-blown neoliberal idiocracy with idpol toppings. The Guardian has become almost unreadably stupid since she started.

    The visit from the folks from MI5 right in the wake of the Snowden affair also had an effect in terms of cowing the Guardian, as it was meant to. Ruisbridger retired not long after.

  12. bruce wilder

    David Leigh was responsible for releasing the unredacted cables by disclosing the cryptographic key in a book by David Leigh and Luke Harding published by Guardian Books. A passage from that book written by Luke Harding quoting Assange being rather cavalier about the risk to the lives of intelligence sources named in the documents (but redacted at Assange’s direction) has been repeatedly used during witness questioning by the lawyers representing the American interest.

    The betrayals by the Guardian have been in detail in other words.

  13. Zachary Smith

    DeJoy Says Mail Sorting Machines Were Stripped For Parts And Can’t Be Reinstalled

    Yes, the link is to the Huffington Post, but the crazy tale sounds like something a devoted tRump Sniffer would do.

    The Post Office has to be one of the nation’s oldest institutions, and both political parties are determined to destroy it. The Democrats were satisfied to slowly bankrupt the USPS, but the trumpies have been in far more of a hurry.

  14. Mark Pontin

    Bruce W. wrote: ‘A passage … written by Luke Harding quoting Assange … has been repeatedly used during witness questioning by the lawyers representing the American interest. The betrayals by the Guardian have been in detail in other words.’

    Fair enough. But that’s what I mean: Luke Harding’s star has risen in the Katharine Viner era, which began in 2015. He’s in there with Bellingcat as a purveyor of neocon agitprop.

    The Bellingcat guy, Eliot Higgins, is indeed arguably *less* offputting because he never got a paycheck as a professional journalist, and was only a “blogger, weapons analyst, and citizen journalist.” (Hilarious!) Higgins seems an amateur who’s just amazed and happy he’s been allowed to go pro, and that has a certain amusement value to it.

    Harding, on the other hand, is a nasty whore.

  15. Mark Pontin

    Z. Smith: ‘DeJoy Says Mail Sorting Machines Were Stripped For Parts And Can’t Be Reinstalled … sounds like something a devoted tRump Sniffer would do.”

    What did you expect? These people aren’t merely corrupt and criminal, they’re ideologues and true believers. See —

    ‘One Billionaire vs. the Mail
    A new report details Charles Koch’s 50-year war on the U.S. Postal Service.’

    It was clear from reports a months ago that DeJoy and his faction were deliberately destroying million-dollar machines so they wouldn’t be repairable, or at least not without large expenditures that someone would have to go ask the Federal government for and that could be blocked easily enough there.

    Ergo, they’ve won, to some greater or lesser extent.

  16. Zachary Smith

    Amy Coney Barrett quotes: What Trump’s Supreme Court nominee says about religion, abortion and more

    “I think it is very unlikely at this point that the court is going to overturn (Roe v. Wade). … The fundamental element, that the woman has a right to choose abortion, will probably stand.” — 2013 lecture at Notre Dame on the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling.

    “I don’t think abortion or the right to abortion would change. I think some of the restrictions would change … The question is how much freedom the court is willing to let states have in regulating abortion.” — 2016 remarks on how a conservative Supreme Court could alter current law on abortion, saying it wasn’t likely to try and overturn Roe v. Wade. She said the questions the high court would be willing to address would be states’ restrictions on abortions, including how abortion clinics operate.

    I’ve seen a lot of speculation about this – the speculation was that some version of Roe v. Wade would continue to exist – in theory. Probably the Pope’s Very Own Court will simply allow the states to make it damned near impossible in practice. Barrett is the first rightwingnut I’ve read who basically endorses this as a line of attack in print.

    Trump has every right to nominate a devout loon like Barrett to the Supreme Court. If the Congress had a speck of self-respect she wouldn’t be confirmed. But they don’t, and barring some huge surprise, the woman will soon be sitting in a black robe with the rest of the Supremes.

    What I will never ever forget or forgive is the theft from Obama. The Republicans exposed themselves as thieving hacks, and the Democrats made it clear they weren’t greatly troubled.

    One thing the Dems could have done was to boycott the nomination vote. Make it clear to the nation – and to the History Books – that a constitutional crime had happened. In a call to my DINO Senator Donnelly I made this precise suggestion. As the record shows, the bastard turned around and VOTED for Gorsuch! The Democrats didn’t care then, and they don’t care now, for Biden has announced he doesn’t plan to do a thing about altering the Catholic Court. It’s a win/win situation for him – Trump gets the blame for making legal abortion impossible, and the stout Catholic Biden gets what he has really wanted for ages. All without Biden lifting a finger.

  17. @Julia
    Um, you just did.

  18. Ché Pasa

    Street protests continue throughout the country and in many places around the world. Portland, OR continues to be the generator for protest tactics, though it is not at all clear that there is a strategy for taking power from the oppressors.

    The use of fireworks and Molotov cocktails against police is new-ish in this country, but it was commonplace in the Maiden uprising in Kiev for the police to be set on fire, shot at and sometimes hit, and even to be run over by bulldozers. Recall, the Maiden protests were considered “peaceful” no matter what the protesters did — until unidentified snipers started shooting at the protest crowds. And of course, Our Government supported the (arguably) fascist Maiden uprising. Just as Our Government supported the Hong Kong protests (which were often destructive of property and human lives) and currently supports the Minsk protests, though which side they’re on is not entirely clear.

    It’s as if chaos for its own sake is the objective. Many times, I think it is.

    A huge Proud Boys and allies rally was scheduled for Portland yesterday. Estimates were that up to ten thousand or more armed and threatening (mostly) white men would assemble in a Portland park and then possibly cause bloody mischief in revenge for the killing of one of their own by a self-described “Antifa” supporter.

    Welp, it didn’t go quite as expected. Only about 300 PBs showed up, mostly to spout off and get drunk and assault various “outsiders” who came to document the festivities. The counter demonstration(s) some miles away were well attended by Portlanders and llamas and such, and presented a clear contrast. The police presence was heavy, focused on the potential for violence by the “Antifas”, while the armed belligerent drunks at the PB outing were pretty much let alone to do as they wilt.

    Street protests and counter protests have limited utility, primarily to bring attention to issues and demonstrate solidarity. But the fact that they have been going on continuously in so many places for so long (hundreds of towns and cities in the US alone, continuously since May) has served as a warning to Our Rulers that the status quo of abusive policing and a culture of impunity is unacceptable and must change. And with it the whole superstructure of rule must change.

    We’re seeing promises for reform made and promptly walked back. We’re seeing the political class including the presidential candidates promise to “end the violence” by any means necessary, but there are few signs they’ll do much of anything.

    The underlying crises amplify the need for immediate change. The ruling class, however, cannot. They resist. They refuse. They dismiss and distract. They send their police to fight back in the streets and the courts.

    The upshot? Nothing will change until all of a sudden it does.

  19. A tip of the hat to Dr. Scot Atlas, who isn’t afraid of contradicting Dr. Fauci with SPECIFICS, something Trump is too lazy to master. Rand Paul could have used him, by his side, in his brief interchange with Fauci, recently.

    Trump was too stupid and/or too in bed with the swamp to hire somebody like Atlas before August. I’d be curious to know how often Atlas appears at coronavirus briefings, and how often he he contradicts Fauci, publicly. Alas, it’s largely too late to avoid the economic cataclysms that are now baked in, after having followed the ‘leadership’ of the likes of Fauci and Birx. Also, the public collective psyche has been warped. I finally made it to the gym for a workout, yesterday. No basketball, no sauna, no pool, but you can still do aerobics on every other machine.

    Ah, but there’s no need to tape off every other machine. It was Saturday, normally a busy day, but there was only a couple of people on the aerobics machines. If paid memberships tracks attendance, I don’t see how LA Fitness can last longer than a year. For those who don’t know, LA Facilities are LARGE.

    From Ivor Cummins (amongst other sources) we know that lockdown hysteria isn’t confined to the US. He’s attempting to help organize Irish physicians and scientists against lockdowns in Ireland. Cummins has also been forced, like Gary Null was 40 years ago, to look at the likely sources of corruption of the medical and medical/regulatory community. See youtube: “Ep96 Viral Hysteria Wreaking Havoc – versus Real Fixes? WHY?”

  20. Hvd

    I’m a little perplexed about motive for “COVID hysteria”. I get the motive of profits for the unsupportable U.S, medical/pharma community. But that is confined to the U.S. and can’t quite account for all the deaths, illness etc everywhere. Ate you positing a worldwide cabal from Russia to China to Viêt Nam to Israel to South America to Europe intent on what?

  21. bruce wilder

    I do not think you need “a motive” to explain “COVID hysteria”. COVID hysteria is a natural, predictable human response to arbitrary measures instituted by authority in response to a vaguely outlined threat to public health from an invisible and hard-to-detect contagion.

    You do not need a conspiracy deliberately plotting to spread “COVID hysteria”. All you need is an incompetent political and public health leadership, repeatedly demonstrating their incompetence and panicking at both the consequences of their own palsied attempts to act promptly and effectively and even more so, panicking at the revelation of their own incompetence and impotence.

  22. Hugh

    The fish rots from the head. Trump was getting good info on Covid back in January and has been working to destroy anything like a coherent response to it ever since. He’s managed to get 200,000 of us killed. Put the responsibility where it belongs.

  23. bruce wilder

    i wish it were all Trump’s fault, but he’s gotten lots of help and had plenty of competition in the incompetence department

    there was lots of incompetence in play at levels well below Trump’s and beginning early-on. to remind you of that is not an excuse for Trump, it is a protest against making Trump an excuse for the WHO, Fauci, Cuomo, Newsom.

  24. Willy

    Ignoring the amount of power which ‘the head of the snake’ has, is being fairly ignorant of the way the world works. And so is complexifying things for a mob which prefers binary thinking. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why those two things are related.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with complexifying.

  25. different clue


    Governor Cuomo and Mayor DiBlasio killed a lot of Covid victims all by themselves in New York State and New York City. If we are laying blame, we should lay it at EVERY perpetrator doorstep.


    Complexification can be good for those people who can handle it. IF! they are using it to study actual complex systems and processes to see if they can find a particular keystone or
    keystep to pull out to destroy parts of that system.

    About rotting fishheads . . . . it has been said that ” Trump is the visible stench, not the invisible gangrene”.

  26. Hugh

    That’s why a national leader and a national plan were so important.

  27. I don’t want to get into this, but that 200,000 is mostly people who died with covid-19, not exclusively from it. OTOH, I don’t think it’s fair to completely ignore co-morbidities, either.

    So, if we wanted a more accurate way of computing covid deaths, I think we’d need a scheme that would weight a covid death as 1/X, where X is (total number of co-morbidities + 1). The plus 1 is for covid. In the case of death from acute respiratory distress, I’d be fine with counting it simply as a covid death.

    I think the CDC recently put “pure” covid deaths as 6.6% of the 200,000.

    Having said that, it seems to me that numerous domain experts should have weighed in on how to fairly account for covid-19 deaths. But, I can’t recall any.

    Where are the scientific bean counters when you need them?

  28. Ché Pasa

    What a collapse and civil war looks like to people on the ground:

  29. Progressive Commentary Hour – Discovering the hidden narrative behind the covid-19 pandemic Prof Mark Crispin Miller

    “Prof Mark Crispin Miller is a professor of media, culture and communications at New York University where he specializes in modern propaganda, history of advertising, film and the mainstream media. He is the lead chief editor of the series Forbidden Bookshelf at Open Road Media, which republishes important books that have been censored, banned, ignored or wrongly criticized in the course of American history — such as works by IF Stone, Lewis Mumford, Peter Dale Scott, Christopher Simpson and others. Mark received his Masters and Doctorate at Johns Hopkins University. He has written and contributed to many books, including “Loser take All” and “Fooled Again” which covered election fraud. He is also a playwright and sits on the boards of the Organization for Propaganda Studies and the Alliance for Human Research Protection, Mark hosts the news and commentary blog”

    So, BLM got $100 million from the Ford Foundation, a “pass through” for the CIA? I heard about the CIA connections, long ago (@ ; maybe still available at the wayback machine) However, I hadn’t heard about the $100 million. (35:40) Seems a little high, even for the CIA.

    So many conspiracies, so little time.

  30. different clue


    I am 63 years old. I have chronic kidney disease. At 50% kidney function, I could be said to have two half-kidneys. It has stabilized where it is at. I can expect a few-couple more decades of okay-quality life.

    If I got Coronavid and died because a chronic kidney diseased body was too weak to fight off the Nasty New Bat Virus, I would consider myself a casualty of the Covid.

    If those co-morbid people were stable with their morbidities and could have expected years or decades of life with their managed and stabilized co-morbidities in a pre-Covid world, and then they got Covid and died from that, I consider them to have died from Covid.

    We have tens of millions of co-morbid people in this country. If we got the Covid infection totals needed to achieve ” hurd imyoonitee”, we would suffere several million dieaths along the way.

  31. @different clue

    You raise a good point, though I still think it’s goofy to ascribe deaths mostly due to a co-morbidity or three to covid.

    In Sweden, the life expectancy is 83 years old. And the media age of death of covid patients was 84 years old. (Sorry, I’m not sure that these are directly comparable, but I don’t want to spend time digging.) So, in Sweden, in general, it doesn’t make much sense to me to blame covid more than any existing co-morbidity, when both are present. (Since, absent covid, we would have seen about the same death profile averaged over the course of, say, a year.) Furthermore, the “dried tinder” effect discussed by Ivor Cummins, which (according to some statisticians) explains 25-50% of the difference in covid-blamed deaths between Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, is basically about a length of time going back only 2 years.

    So, my crude suggestion for a fairer accounting could use major refinements, while still being essentially correct. As a first order, crude refinement, I could guess something like this: use the counting rules I’ve specified, but only for patients dying no more than 10 years before the 2019 median age of death. So, they would not apply to a 63 year old.

    Or, for that matter, since the deaths are so skewed toward oldsters, just go from -3 or -4 years from the median. You will still pick up most of the “covid” deaths that just happen to hit when all other non-covid factors would have caused mortality, anyway.

    This is more properly the work of domain experts.


    BTW, one of the youtube channels I consume is that of KenDBerryMD, who has mentioned that he’s seen people in stage 4 kidney disease go to stage 3, and from stage 3 to stage 2, using a ketogenic diet. (Still think cyclical keto is safer, on a long term basis; Mercola reports many anecdotal cases of people starting to lose muscle mass after long term keto).

  32. Zachary Smith

    At 30, the landmark Ken Burns Civil War documentary hasn’t aged well

    The link is to the Warmongering Post, but since Bezos’ Blog publishes thousands of articles, by pure chance a random few are going to be of respectable quality.

    Actually, the old series stinks. If I were to see a copy in somebody’s “free” box at a garage sale, I’d pass it by. The link article gives some good reasons to avoid the Burns take on the Civil War.

  33. different clue

    Interesting about keto or cycliketo approach. Something to for sure look into.

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