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

Open Thread

As usual, use the comments for topics unrelated to recent posts. (That means no comments about Trump and Covid, please.)



A Quick Note on Trump Having Covid


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 4, 2020


  1. bruce wilder

    The persecution of Julian Assange continues. It is notable for the extremes of bent procedure and prejudiced process that have been put into operation with no attention paid by mainstream media, or really much of anyone of prominence.

    I do not know if Assange could be successfully prosecuted in the U.S. should he live thru the extradiction process. But the brutality of his treatment in Britain may make this a moot point.

    The treatment of Manning was in some ways extreme and his persecution has resumed despite the pardon. People who deny that a malevolent deep state is in operation really should study what has happened to Assange.

  2. Plague Species

    Too funny. Once again, this world, as it’s currently configured, is awash in a deluge of hypocritical contradictions. Trump has been sucking Vlad’s cock since Putin rose to power. Trump has always praised him as a strong and powerful leader. Trump has claimed that to be precautionary about this pandemic is to be weak, to be a loser. It’s not strong. And yet, Putin has been more precautionary, as least about his own health, than any world leader during this pandemic. Which is it, you lying cheating criminal turd blossoms? Are you strong or are you weak and why? You can’t have it both ways, but of course, they do have it both ways despite the glaring hypocritical contradictions. Trump, by his own standards, is a pathetic weakling hence his trip to Walter Reed and Putin, by Trump’s heralded standards, is also a pathetic weakling scared of his own shadow hiding deep in his sanitized bunker from the Big Bad Covid.

    Putin praises Trump’s ‘vitality’ in wishing him well, but contrast between their COVID-19 precautions is stark.

    Vitality? If he was a hot air balloon I’d say yes, he has vitality because up until now he’s had an endless reserve of hot air and he’s plenty bloated like a giant balloon. I can’t help but think Vlad is being facetious.

  3. bruce wilder

    no comments about Trump and Covid, please

    @Plague Species: is it possible to be able to type but not read?

  4. Hugh

    I was looking at the BLS job data for September. The establishment survey shows 141.855 million jobs whereas without the coronavirus, we might expect that number to be around 153.8 million, or a jobs deficit of around 12 million. Private sector jobs alone are 120.059 million where we might have expected 131.0 million, or a covid shortfall of 11 million.

    Turning to the population survey, it shows 147.796 million employed, where about 160.5 million would be expected, a drop off of 12.7 million.

    Unemployment insurance claims (from the Labor Dept.) toward the end of September (the 19th) were 11. 767 million.

    Because of definitions and different sectors covered, these numbers should be considered approximate, but together they give an idea of the size of the problem. They do not show at all job quality or how productive doing something worthwhile those with a job/employed are.

  5. S Brennan

    “Ever since 2016 when Tulsi Gabbard criticized the DNC leadership over their handling of the primary debates and stepped down from her position in the DNC leadership to champion Bernie Sanders, the Neocon/Neoliberal establishment which controls the DNC had been looking for ways to discredit her — best case scenario they could smear her into being removed from politics altogether. So when Tulsi went to Syria in Jan 2017 to investigate the war and attitudes of the people to American intervention, whom the American media and politicians had assured us were all angry and hateful of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad — they saw their chance.

    In the video interviews she brought back we saw Syrians from their various religious communities begging America not to support the jihadi terrorist organizations whom the US was supplying with weapons and training to overthrow their secular society to install a theocratic totalitarian caliphate. The foreign policy establishment under Obama headed up by Hillary Clinton hated that she had shown the world the truth of Syria. America wasn’t fighting the bad guy. America was the bad guy. America was helping to overthrow the secular Syrian government and society to install Wahhabi Salafist fundamentalist religious ideologues so they could prevent Iran from having an ally in such a strategic place in the Middle East. Also taking over their oil and gas fields was another reason which inspired many to come on board the regime change express in aiding the operation — Turkey, France, UK, Germany, and Qatar to name a few. Wikileaks and Edward Snowden had revealed that Saudi princes had been leading the “civil war” with weapons, planning, and fighters from the start, for oil and gas pipelines. In 2003 a gas exploration team from Norway had determined that off the coast of Syria there are undiscovered gas fields, believed to be the largest in the world. That had been kept secret till 2013. Since 2012 a coalition of countries had been working on ways to divide the spoils of the gas. They would become leading sponsors of overthrowing Assad.

    After Tulsi’s visit to see firsthand the truth of the Syrian people, the establishment’s professional political propagandists saw a chance to discredit Tulsi whom they now hated for helping the world see the truth of the Syrian war. But now Tulsi could be blamed for “meeting a monster who gassed his own people.”

    They had already tried to smear Tulsi earlier when Tulsi didn’t go along with President Obama’s claim about ISIS just being a street gang intent on plunder. Tulsi disagreed and Tulsi’s words didn’t sit well with Democrat leadership who wanted all Democrats to fall in line and not be critical of anything Obama said or did. Obama was funding Al Qaeda linked jihadists. Timber Sycamore is the code name given to the operation to arm and train fighters to overthrow the Syrian government.

    But Obama and the compliant media machine supporting him was having none of it. Tulsi was supposedly “blaming Islam for terrorism.” In truth, all she said was that to defeat ISIS and the other Al-Qaeda affiliated Wahhabi jihadist groups, we had to understand that they are motivated by fundamentalist teachings and that they recruit through their religious doctrine — and therefore an effort should be made to defeat their doctrine. This dovetailed with what mainstream Muslim leaders were also saying.

    So when Tulsi went to Syria in January 2017, the professional propagandists working for the Neocon-Neoliberal establishment saw another chance to smear Tulsi to force her out of politics. She had become a bigger and bigger problem for them over the years with her unceasing criticism of regime-change wars. So they decided to invent new criteria for politicians meeting with foreign leaders. Previously numerous politicians had met with Assad and with many other disreputable or unpopular leaders around the world, due to the accepted ideology that it was a necessary function of American diplomacy. Now all of a sudden it was a great sin! Tulsi had done something evil! Their job was to try and convince everyone that Tulsi did something unique and even illegal to “meet a dictator.”

    Even the wannabe alt-media sycophants did their part in their hopes of moving up in the media food chain to a high-paid propaganda job in the mainstream media.

    Fast forward a few years and Tulsi announces her candidacy for president. On that very day, the professional propagandists had ready the first in a relentless series of smears painting Tulsi as a pawn of Russia. And if you don’t go along with that idea, as their none too subtle psycho-logical agitprop hopes to make you believe — you are also a declared Enemy of The State. [as we see here on this comment section]

    A lot of people [fell for] the propaganda and therefore dismiss Gabbard out of hand [but] when people get to hear from Tulsi directly without a scheming interlocutor, as the debates showed, she sparks a desire in people to know more about her. This is why the establishment looks so intent on making sure Tulsi is not seen or heard from, except through their carefully choreographed smears…”

    [The rest of the article goes on to explain the motives behind the vast expansion of neocolonial wars during the past three decades, how big money drives these wars, how then benefit only a very few at the tippy-top of the 1% and how Tulsi’s singular attempt to stop these abuses of power requires that she be crushed. And honestly, it’s been educational to watch “liberals/lefties” here absorb and docilely regurgitate DeepState lies that have led to the massacre of millions of peoples…sickening but, educational.]

  6. bruce wilder

    perhaps some comment readers will dismiss S Brennan’s remarks as simply another example of his “obsession” with Tulsi Gabbard and the fate of her campaign. but, i am reading his comment alongside my own shock and dismay over the show trial / extradition hearing being given Julian Assange.

    i will admit that most of the time I let myself be lulled into the comfortable background assumption that i live in a pluralistic society imperfectly governed by liberal principles, one with many loci of power. but, if i really look at what the U.S.A. qua body politic has become, my assumptions find little enough support.

    the thing that shocks about the treatment of Julian Assange, or Tulsi Gabbard, or Bernie Sanders qua primary candidate, or the suppression of Occupy, or the destruction of ACORN in the U.S., or the ease with which false narratives and disinformation float around unrefuted and unchallenged — WMD in Iraq, Russiagate serve as prominent examples — the thing that shocks is how coordinated, swift and apparently centralized these political actions and how little pushback they usually engender. it isn’t 15 years since WikiLeaks was set up. the disclosures by Manning, for which Assange is not being persecuted were published to great fanfare by The Guardian and the New York Times, that now ignore his fate — or in the case of The Guardian have been implicated in his betrayal and persecution. one hand sets in motion the legal and political machinery of prosecution and extradition and highly punitive confinement and trial conditions; the other hand apparently can stuff a gag into the mouths of the now infamous rump of the so-called liberal media, while absurd memes circulate thru political social media engendering ignorance and apathy.

    it is shocking to me, really, that there are so few voices of integrity left just over 10 years since “Collateral Murder” was released, documenting the brutal and pointless lethality of U.S. policy in Iraq circa 2007. George W. Bush isn’t in jail; liberal Democrats are supposedly feeling nostalgic for his brand of idiocy after 4 years of Trump. do those looking on as one of the few safety valves preventing the consolidation of authoritarian power is sealed shut not feel threatened? do they really think the bluster of the First Covid Patient is the end-all and be-all of the “facist” threat?

  7. Hugh

    Out here in the saner side of the universe, it is difficult to explain, especially after this length of time, why our powers that be would remember or care so much about Assange and Manning. But there is something about these two individuals that really pushed and continue to push the buttons of our ruling classes. This obsessive pursuit conveys weakness rather than strength but they do it anyway.

  8. S Brennan

    Bruce Wilder;

    Let’s not forget Gen [Ret.] Flynn; who in 2014, as Director of DIA, authored an honest assessment of operation Timber Sycamore’s Sourcing, Funding, Training, and Arming of murderous muslim terrorists to serve as mercenaries in overthrow of Assad.

    Operation Timber Sycamore was conceived to put the massive, newly discovered gas fields of Syria into the hands of multinational oil company stockholders. The fact that hundreds of thousands of civilians would die was of no consequence to Obama, Biden or Hillary. After all, that crowd had murdered half of Libya and returned the open slave markets of black people to the Arab world without a word of critisism. Before Obama destroyed Libya, that country had gone from the poorest African nation to the most prosperous.

    Both Gen [Ret.] Flynn & Tulsi Gabbard were crushed by the Obama/Hillary/Biden cabal, because of their opposition to Operation Timber Sycamore.

    And I add Bruce W, Tulsi Gabbard, ALONE, of all the 2020 candidates for Prez pledged to fully pardon Julian Assange. There is more than a casual connection between these people and Operation Timber Sycamore [and others like it]. BTW, Trump ended Operation Timber Sycamore in 2017…’magine that?

  9. Zachary Smith

    Caitlin Johnstone introduces the idea that the Democrats have always seen Trump as a member of “The Club”.

    As George Carlin famously said, it’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.

    Hoping “human being Trump” survives his illness ought not be made equal to continuing to press the case “politician Trump” is unfit to be in the White House.

    “God bless the president and the first lady,” tweeted the world’s most virulent Russiagater Rachel Maddow. “If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery — and for everyone infected, everywhere. This virus is horrific and merciless — no one would wish its wrath on anyone.”

    Again, this is after years of Maddow staring at the camera and weaving ridiculous narratives about Russia having taken over the highest levels of the US government. Night after night after night after night.

    “I join in the chorus of those who wish a speedy and full recovery to President Trump, the First Lady, Hope Hicks, and all who were exposed to them in recent days,” tweeted another virulent Russiagater Laurence Tribe. “This is no time for cruelty, schadenfreude, or any other form of small-mindedness.”

    Caitlin’s arguments make a lot of sense to me.

  10. S Brennan

    Dems “have always seen Trump as a member of The Club”

    Which leads me to ask, “how many dumb-ass DLC-DNCers can dance on the comments section of one blog”?

  11. bruce wilder

    no comments about Trump and Covid, please

    @Zachary Smith: is it possible to be able to type but not read?

  12. KT Chong

    My ideal outcome of this election:

    For Trump to stay in the hospital and on a ventilator during the entire election.

    For Trump to defeat Joe Biden and win the election, just to send a strong signal of how much more detestable neoliberalism is than Trumpism.

    And then for Trump to pass away from the coronavirus after he wins a second term.

    President Mike Pence.

  13. Zachary Smith

    From my earlier link:

    If you ever had any doubt that Democrats will one day regard T***p the way they now regard George W Bush, you can set that doubt aside.

    Earlier this year Johnstone wrote an essay about the newly discovered love of George “Codpiece Commander” Bush by prominent Democrats.

    Five Things That Are Revealed By Democrats’ Rehabilitation Of Bush

    Bush was a true horror story, but because of the overshadowing shenanigans of Obama and T***p he is barely known by the youngsters. Recall how Biden embraced a swarm of knuckle-dragging Republicans at the freaking Democratic Convention. The man is a dinosaur – so bad that one blogger has framed him this way:

    Biden = T***p + War.

    Both US political parties are owned by Rich People and the Apartheid State. The Rich People have done very well with T***p, but it’s time for the second group of owners – Iran remains unwhacked.

    Pence is truly a wild card. Hardly anyone outside Indiana understands the ‘awfulness’ of the man. Because he is a fanatical religious nut, the Apartheid state might prefer him to Biden. IMO all bets are off if T***p kicks the bucket.

  14. Plague Species

    Biden has canceled all negative campaign adds that present the current Weakling In Chief in anything but an ideal and respectful manner.

    A perfect time to go for the jugular, and instead, the Biden campaign breaks out the wet noodles. A sign of just how hard Biden will fight for the rights of the unwashed once and if he’s “elected” president.

    Also, Biden, in total and abject defiance of the recommendations from experts in science and health, is continuing his in-person campaign stops rather than quarantining after being exposed. Can you say Hypocrite In Chief auditioning? I can.

    It is very important for your own safety and for the safety of others that you monitor your health for 14 days from your last possible exposure to COVID-19, and that you remain at home, avoid congregate settings and public activities, and practice social distancing. You are required to cooperate fully with all state and federal public health authorities, including the Georgia Department of Public Health, and to follow the measures outlined below.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and others around President Trump have tested negative for COVID-19 – but that doesn’t mean they’re totally in the clear, experts said Friday.

    A negative test only means someone isn’t shedding much virus at that moment. It doesn’t say anything about what may be brewing in the person’s body.

  15. edmondo

    A sign of just how hard Biden will fight for the rights of the unwashed once and if he’s “elected” president.

    You have to ignore Joe Biden’s entire 50 year record to think that Biden gives the slightest fuck about unwashed Americans…. unless they have contributed to his campaign. Since the head of Comcast has given a couple million to old senile Joe, you can bet net neutrality ain’t coming back anytime soon.

  16. Jeremy

    Karry Mullis (inventor of PCR) and other docs completely discredit PCR tests as currently used.

  17. S Brennan

    A good Sunday read that offers historical perspective:

    “Over the past few US election cycles, progressive Democrats have increasingly challenged the party’s prevailing neoliberal bias on domestic economic policy. Equally striking, however, is that they have been delinquent in failing to provide an alternative to the hegemonic influence of militarists and interventionists growing within their party regarding foreign policy.

    As it stands today, the so-called progressive foreign-policy alternative is really no alternative at all. To the contrary, it evokes Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s seminal work, The Leopard, whose main character, Tancredi, sagely observes to his uncle, “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”

    So it is with much of what passes for a genuine foreign-policy alternative: The rhetoric slightly changes, the personnel certainly change, but in substance, the policy status quo largely remains.

    Consider a recent interview with the socialist Jacobin magazine featuring Matt Duss, a foreign-policy adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders. Duss, who seeks to articulate the foundations of a new “progressive” foreign policy, told the Quincy Institute’s Daniel Bessner:

    “We have neither the right nor the ability to transform other countries, but we should do what we can to protect and expand the political space in these countries for local people to do that work. We can also provide funding or resources for American civil society actors to work in solidarity with their international counterparts.” [emphasis ours]

    That sounds anodyne enough, but in reality, it is nothing but a form of liberal imperialism. Historically, seemingly benign initiatives conducted under the aegis of local people backed by so-called democracy-building programs have often planted the seeds for more malign military intervention later.

    Who makes the decision as to which local people to support? How does one (purportedly) protect and expand that political space? We have seen how well that worked out in Afghanistan, Iraq, or, indeed, in the mounting human tragedy that is Syria today.

    Comments like that of Matt Duss amount to this: “We don’t have the right to transform other countries … but we’re going to try anyway.” Forswearing pre-emptive military action (wars of choice) isn’t enough. Change will only come about when US foreign policy adheres to the principles of the UN Charter, and above all, the ancient Westphalian principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. American policymakers need to learn that less is more.

    That used to be a guiding principle of Democrats, for example, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “good neighbor policy” that repudiated intervention in the domestic affairs of Latin America…”,exchanges%20with%20Latin%20American%20countries.

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