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

Open Thread

Use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


Texas Lessons For Preparing For The Ongoing Collapse


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – February 21, 2021


  1. Nancy Pelosi has been asked by 4 Congressmen whether or not she “got the request” for national guard troops at the Capitol before Jan. 6, and did she deny that request. The wonderful Pelosi, who is NOT – I repeat, NOT – a traitor, would never participate in a false flag event designed to demonize Trump, and his MAGA followers. In fact, neither would she act to reduce Capitol Hill police on Jan. 6 to a level below normal (as reported by Michael Moore), instead of above normal, and kind of “hope for the worst”, even without foreknowledge of Deep State provocateurs, pretending to be part of the MAGA crowd.

    No, she would never do that, because she loves this country, and would even die for it. She would never stoop so low. She’s proven, again and again, how much she respects the rule of law, and would never subvert it, for nakedly political objectives. Likewise, Trump’s 2nd impeachment was not a farce, as a tool for removing somebody from office can and should be re-purposed to kneecap them, politically, even when they’re a private citizen, if their name is Donald Trump.

    Likewise, I’m sure Mitch McConnell is a true patriot, who would never stomach false flag treason, much less collude with it. I can only weep with emotion when I reflect on how much Mitch McConnell loves this country, it’s people, and it’s institutions.

  2. Trinity

    (With thanks to Jason, and reposted from a previous thread)

    S Brennan,

    (tongue firmly in cheek):

    Great NASA stuff, but …um … not sure how to put this, so I’ll just dive in. They aren’t looking for life. They are looking for minerals, and how to sustain life (human lives) in inhospitable space. Their plan is that your grandchildren (or your neighbors’ grandchildren) will work as miners for the galactic empire, shipping valuable minerals back to the home world, aka “Earth”, a garden of eden after all the riffraff either died, were murdered, or conveniently and usefully parked permanently in space watching their bone density disappear right before their eyes. Their life spans are so shortened, there is a problem finding replacement carbon units, so efforts are already underway to grow babies in incubators.

    This all aligns perfectly with Bozo’s plan for his bazillion bucks, coincident with his Jean Luc Picard bromance. He, of course, having obtained a younger body (and hopefully better looking face, don’t judge, I did just say that) will be out and about exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life (i.e. customers) while his replica drone will be back in eden, running the AmaGooUSPS company store empire whose enticing advertising literally shouts: “you won’t find this merchandise anywhere else because we own all manufacturing!” They specialize in overpriced, poorly made mining equipment, of course. These ads are run through his media empire that carries its own tag line “the only news we feel is fit to print and fit for you to know”.

    Blue or Red, that’s the plan. On a more serious note, I’m still not clear why anyone pays any attention to the blue v. red battle, other than the irony that the “reds” are anti-socialists. It’s all nonsense (and nonsensical) and designed to distract you from what’s really going on. If anyone can enlighten me on this phenomena, I’m all ears. I used to think it was just something you all enjoyed, but it doesn’t look like anyone is having a good time.

  3. bruce wilder

    perhaps we need to re-invent the four horsemen of the apocalypse to add a fifth horseman, one of meterologic calamity: plague, storm, war, famine, extinction (née death)

    we have had a taste of plague and storm. we have been known to give others full servings of war

    the fall of the Soviet Union triggered famine and a plague of addiction and early death. there was some “war” mostly in the form of more-or-less quickly frozen conflicts between relict Russian guest populations and hostile restored national hosts.

    some of the comments seem to anticipate less “war” and more the possibility of riot and increases in violent criminal predation. i wonder though.

    war in the age of drones, location tracking and self-driving vehicles is going to be at least a full order-of-magnitude deadlier for those targeted. the application of artificial intelligence to the taxi business is almost silly, but application to war may be truly “disruptive” as they say in what used to be Silicon Valley.

    and suppressive law enforcement potentially more heavy-handed by being driven by mysteriously selective algorithms. already we have had the establishment of new regime of what in a by-gone era would have been censorship plus propaganda, but now wafts thru the political atmosphere as divisive misinformation that demobilizes people into empty, performative identity politics and away from economically effective reform and restructuring

    the steady rise of political violence in the U.S. in the second decade of the 21st Century, most of it chaotic and unfocused, had been long predicted on the basis of patterns of political cycles. but those cyclic predictions would put the peak of the cycle more or less now. and what the political establishment sees as needed is suppression of “domestic terrorism”

    surviving either the suppression of “domestic terrorism” or its failure (! could fail to work or morph into terrorism itself — could happen!) might not look much like a Mad Max movie

  4. Jason

    What do you think it will look like Bruce?

  5. Hugh

    metamars, you fascists own your insurrection. And yes, we get that like your Führer Trump, you are a bunch of cowardly bullies who don’t have the stones to take responsibility for anything.

  6. bruce wilder

    a political realignment has taken place that has made both major political parties conservative “minority” parties at the same time. except for inconveniences of geographic distribution, and the peculiarity of our inverted totalitarianism where most people are alienated from real (meaning not mere performative virtue-signalling) political action, the mutual hostility generated by the partisan and “ideological” divisions might seem like the stuff civil wars are made of. but, maybe what we have will continue for awhile to be strangely pacifying: a Party of globalized oligarchs concentrating its popular support in still prosperous urban areas and among those privileged by educational and professional credentials opposed by a rump Party with its support concentrated in the rural and ex-urban areas and in urban rust-belt in unmistakeable decline, its core of popular support among the “some college” philistines whose business success often rests on the backs of obedient low-wage workers and whose business failure is attributable to local income stagnation and globalized economic monopolies dominating the economic ecosystems / platforms / franchise systems they navigate.

    i saw Thomas Franks talking with Paul Jay about this realignment and the new configuration of the Democratic Party. what was surreal about the discussion was that Franks goes back-and-forth accurately describing what the Democrats have become and then cheerleading the shadow of the long-deceased New Deal Party of the People as if anyone in the current Party were interested in the politics of representing or winning what used to be the working classes.

    both Parties consist of elites (politicians, pundits, wonks, operatives, media and pr) at odds with the economic interests of most of their voters. ideological commitment in either party elite covers cynical self-interest rather thinly in most cases.

    the Dems for the moment have the tighter hold on their donors and a more coherent symbiosis with other institutional allies (the CIA!) (PR-conscious corporate America). part of that is the shadow branding effect that enveloped Franks in his talk with Jay: the big banks and tech giants genuinely fear anti-trust reforms breaking out in a tsunami and it is easier to imagine that coming from Democrats than Republicans given the historical brand management of the Parties. So, keep your enemies closer philosophy has helped make the Dems the Party of Finance and Tech.

    the weakness of the Dems is that making themselves the Party of globalization, finance and tech has meant concentrating their attention on the coastal urban conglomerations electorally. they have weakened themselves electorally in order to play the policy game on behalf of their donor class more effectively.

    Franks’ delusions about the legacy shadow branding aside, all the options for expanding their electoral base will tend to carry the Dems away from the ability of the Party elite to cram everything down on the rump progressive elements remaining in the Party. Which leaves the Reps in the paradoxical position of being weak but secure in possession of institutions and unchallenged with much of their electoral base, both geographically and ideologically.

    The Republicans’ historical shadow branding made them the Party of the Protestant Ascendancy, midwest and northeast Big Business as well as local Chamber of Commerce business booster oligarchies outside of the segregationist South, but that died with Gingrich and Karl Rove. Then they sold their souls to evangelicals and crooks to become the Party of Christian dominionists and bad money. The same economic evolution on the ground that destroyed trade and industrial unions as political power sources for Dems destroyed the local boosterish Chamber of Commerce small business core of Bob Dole’s Republican Party.

    that both Parties are led by factions hostile to the economic interests of most of their shrinking voter bases, not to mention either the interests of the country as a whole or the demands of common decency, would seem to be a source of insecurity, but maybe it just makes suppression a bipartisan priority.

    that the Republicans remain in unchallenged possession of most States and the Federal judiciary and therefore able to take control of Congress and the Presidency without actually winning hearts and minds in the core of the coastal cities that control most Media, Big Banks, the propaganda apparatus, the foreign policy apparatus for administering ye olde global imperium, and remaining engines of technical capability seems like a more acute source of instability. Of course that would be elite conflict rather than a rising from below, but either faction might call the populist Kraken seething beneath their feet in extremis, yes?

    and then there is the shock to the system scenario. a sudden end to global American military and dollar dominance would obliterate the basis for the new Democratic Party at home (if home remains nominally intact) something to think on

  7. edmondo

    “…because she loves this country, and would even die for it. ”

    Not really. Do you want to know what our elites were doing when an unwashed mass of citizens ‘attacked” the house that they own?

    Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on Twitter: “I remember the moment I saw Trump’s tweet attacking Pence. We were in the chamber as aides were scrambling to bar the doors. Some were sobbing in fear. The mob was outside.

    So much for our fearless warhawks who send thousands of children to their deaths for the empire.

  8. Hugh

    edmondo, maybe you and metamars should get a room.

  9. bruce wilder

    the primary engine of soaring inequality in the U.S. for fifty years has been disinvestment. Disinvestment has thrown off a lot of cash that has risen to inflate the buoyancy of a hot air balloon and made millionaires into billionaires.

    almost any effective policy to reverse that general policy is going to turn off the gas on the hot air balloon, bringing some of the billionaire class crashing to earth. not everyone perhaps — Bill Gates, who I heard is now the largest owner of agricultural land in the U.S. may be OK except for age; Elon Musk? whoever is holding the bag at Uber? —

    My point is not premature schadenfreude. My point is that this is politically and fragile territory. Most politicians have no idea other than doing again what worked the last 13 times, even if it stopped working after six times.

    Contrary to mainstream economic doctrine, economies are not made stable by being drawn to a general equilibrium of market prices; actual economies are chaotically unstable, but are drawn into a kind of gyroscopic stability by repeated patterns of circulation as they fall into a dynamic of forward motion (or spiral downward or just stagnate). The U.S. economy found a stable path of controlled disinvestment and debt accumulation facilitated by global dollar dominance. But that is one of those trends that cannot go on forever and therefore will not.

    I would keep my eye on Buttigieg, who at Transportation will be at the intersection of grift and the acute need to build both because what we have is falling apart and because we have to zero out fossil fuels yesterday already. And lots of finance types see big dollars and are continuing to bet on I will be gone, you will be gone (and who cares who will remain behind)

  10. Willy

    bruce, how are people supposed to follow what you’re saying after it’s so obvious that Nancy Pelosi manipulated MAGAs into storming the capitol?

  11. bruce wilder

    i saw a tiktok today where congressional testimony from a government official was cited, confirming that the U.S. electrical grid is in such a precarious state that is possible — not at all likely but at least remotely possible — that the grid could collapse in a scenario such that it would be out of commission for 18 months, during which period attendant systems and social collapse could kill 90% of the population.

    On the one hand, this is a way of conceptualizing the problem of skimming private profit from disinvestment in public goods privatized for that purpose.

    On the other hand, it is titillating alarmism that stimulates anxiety and passivity, an example of an opening to a life lived in counterfactual anticipation. Neither embracing or rejecting it as a performative act of politics is worth a dime. Prepping for this? Sensible, but contributes to the political disease too I think.

  12. bruce wilder

    It is obvious to me that Nancy Pelosi at 80 years of age should not be Speaker. Is it to you, Willy?

  13. Although the existence of 4 – count ’em, 4 – Republicans willing to ask the most fundamental of questions shows you that the Republican Party isn’t completely worthless, they are currently failing yet another ‘even a 10-year-old could figure that out’ type issue.

    Based upon my listening to a recent show (prolly Episode 744 – Occupied Until September), no Republicans are asking, “What is the justification for the continued military presence and walling off of the Capitol area?”. And if there is no credible intel justifying this, declaring “Stop turning Washington into a Baghdad Green Zone.”

    My guess is that Rand Paul has gone down the road far less traveled, but Bannon’s a pretty plugged in guy, and I don’t think he’d be missing if so much as 3 other Republicans were not doing the equivalent of assuming a fetal position, and sucking their thumbs.

  14. Hugh

    metamars. it’s Saturday. Don’t you have a load of brown shirts to wash?

    bruce, disinvestment sounds so much more detached than straight-up theft.

  15. @bruce wilder

    My guess is that you came across a meme representing a very real issue. The issue of hardening the electrical grid against a Carrington Event type of scenario (or even an EMP nuclear burst in the atmosphere) has been raised long ago. In this sense, the Texas grid failure could be seen as a blessing, if only people would use it to do what should have been done, long ago.

    Replacing the blown transformers would likely be problematic, as they are all made in China. And, I think, the replacement time is like 2 years, even in a non-critical situation.

    Although I don’t trust him, Robert David Steele has championed a rational list of national security threats, which would encompass natural (and military) threats against the grid. He mostly curates information, so I don’t know who gets credit for his list. He’s made the point that most terrorism is far down the list. But, of course, terrorism is effective for controlling the population, and the government has invested a lot of $$ and effort into reinforcing this meme.

    The military garrison at the Capitol seems to be some form of also reinforcing a terrorism meme. Probably, they will claim purely domestic terrorists, arrange another false flag, or two, and start going hard for people’s guns.

  16. Mr Jones

    but Bannon’s a pretty plugged in guy

    good god

  17. bruce wilder


    EMP vulnerability is an old issue, but I think the vulnerability being referenced is one that is emerging from disinvestment. Examples include PG&E having to blackout large areas because they had not maintained tree clearance around their lines or the Texas panic when generating capacity suddenly dropped off threatening line imbalances that can wreak transformers and remaining generating engines.

    Capacity utilization in the U.S. electrical grid is very high, way above design limits and the move to introduce “smart” management capabilities has lagged even while wind and solar — way less predictable and manageable — have ramped up without enough storage and fast-fired gas introduces its own stochastic instabilities. High capacity utilization, poorly designed management capability, indifference to maintenance and safety margins (aka disinvestment), loss of expertise combine to make the tightly integrated system vulnerable to 1 chance in a hundred catastrophes that have a way of becoming certainties.

  18. bruce wilder

    It is not theft if it is legalized, Hugh, but to my point:

    Stealing dedicated capital leaves the stock of capital intact; theft transfers possession, legalized theft transfers ownership.

    Disinvestment leaves less capital in place.

    In some cases, that not be entirely bad: cellphone service with fiber optics does not require the same mountain of copper that POTS and the Bell System needed.

    But, financing college education with loans inflates the cost of college administration and leads to underpaid adjuncts teaching students online and the capital stock of research and education erodes.

    look at U.S. internet connectivity, airports, municipal water, electrical grid, banking, manufacturing . . . and there is less and less there there.

    no one stole it in most cases. politics diverted the money that should have gone into maintaining and reproducing it as it depreciated into the pockets of old people and billionaire conmen and the professional and managerial classes in big corporations and finance. Neutron Jack Welch at GE back in the day: the guy who incidentally gave us the teevee politics of Chris Matthews.

  19. Hugh

    When the crooks write the laws, they can make crime legal. They cannot make it not-crime.

  20. Jason

    When the crooks write the laws, they can make crime legal. They cannot make it not-crime.

    That’s it, in a nutshell.

  21. Zachary Smith

    Only by comparison with the likes of Trump can a warmongering neoliberal/neocon like Biden look sort of respectable.

    Likewise, Anthony Fauci had the very good fortune of being contrasted with the Orange POTUS during the current epidemic. The man’s many issues were thus ‘papered over’. Fauci continues to coast on his veneer of ‘honesty’ and ‘decency’ and ‘competence’.

    Headline from the electronicintifada site: Fauci champions Israeli medical apartheid

    The man accepted a million dollars from a “private Israeli foundation”. One wonders if part of the deal was his praising to the heavens the wondrous medical system in the Apartheid state?

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the immunologist and chief medical adviser to the US president, has given his implicit endorsement of Israeli medical apartheid.

    In an interview with The Times of Israel, Fauci lauded Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination program as a “model for the rest of the world,” crediting the socialized healthcare system in the country.

    Asked specifically about the illegal denial of Covid vaccinations for the Palestinians, Fauci refused to answer the “political” question. Just take that million bucks and run.

  22. edmondo

    The man accepted a million dollars from a “private Israeli foundation”.

    So have half of our sainted Congress people. Maybe they can hire a battalion of Israelis to protect them from their own voters. OTOH – maybe they could just start legislating for the people instead of their donors…. but don’t hold your breathe.

  23. Willy

    It is obvious to me that Nancy Pelosi at 80 years of age should not be Speaker. Is it to you, Willy?

    You’re dodging. But playing along, around here her senility only makes her more cunning. At least for some. Playing with conspiracy theories is only fun if there’s some plausibility. When they get too goofy this invites another kind of fun.

  24. bruce wilder

    When your hero, Biden, made it nearly impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy, that was A-OK right, Hugh?

    For the philosophers, there is no natural law of property per se. Ownership is defined in law, so theft, too, must conform to the legal concept of ownership applied to identify theft.

  25. Ché Pasa

    Nancy should have retired or been voted out of office decades ago. DiFi too. And many others of the geriatrics that rule in Congress. They are way too old to effectively recognize let alone address the cascade of crises that are enveloping and smothering us. For many of them, it’s still 1986 and will always be.

    Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of Americans are dead from a largely controllable and preventable virus disease, and our rulership is largely fine with it. Many (and many of them younger than the gerontocracy) have actively promoted more death during the pandemic so as to ensure something something herd something. Or whatever.

    Let’s face it: we are constantly reminded that there are too many people. Social Darwinism demands a significant die-off of the Lesser People, and the virus is one of many ways to accomplish it. The rulers have pre-planned their survival, after all. So the rest of us can fend for ourselves — or not as the case may be.

    They don’t care.

  26. Willy

    I once had a boss for whom I was the right-hand man for a couple years. Our projects made good money for the company. I helped get him promoted and he helped get me totemed at the wizard level.

    Half a decade later I came to work for him again, except now there was a devious rival between us who had that boss’s ear. After two more years there (IMHO where I was working twice as hard), I got laid off in the first wave. That boss came under various performance-based stresses, including a huge financial loss for that company, and he had to change companies.

    First time rousing success. Second time dismal failure. Two completely different results, yet we were still the same two guys.

    Biden seems to be a lot like that boss. I sense that the public persona he tries to project outwards may hide a weaker, more impressionable mind, and that getting his ear is a major variable in success or failure, neoliberal or progressive. Figuring this out seems more worthwhile to me than impulsively trying to divide people into “For Biden” or “Against Biden” camps.

  27. Willy

    Ché, I remember when Michael Corleone said that even though Roth treated him like his own son, that he actually wanted Mike killed because he thought he was gonna live forever.

    I also remember the late great Strom Thurmond, who made it to 100 as a national senator. I remember his last couple speeches where he seemed like quite the incoherent babbling wreck. And yet his constituents still loved him, apparently.

    I can’t wait til Pelosi gets wheeled up to the podium in a Hoveround being remotely controlled by her handlers, head listing badly with a drool cup. I’m sure we’ll have Republicans saying she’s too old and Democrats thinking she’s gonna live forever.

    My sister and her husband lived with our 90 YO family friend while they were in school, to save money. They couldn’t afford a car and she was the only one allowed to drive her old boat of a Lincoln. She once ran straight over an old dog lying in the road, with them in the back seat yelling at her to watch out. I think when you’ve got all the power, age doesn’t matter.

  28. Hugh

    It’s not Nancy’s physical age but the age of her ideas that’s the problem. I remember back in 2006 she famously told critics of her tepid do-nothing opposition to the Iraq war and occupation that she was a leader while they were advocates. I think her argument that the failure to lead was leadership remains the best definition and description of her. But then I don’t belong to Nancy’s class and is probably why I would prefer a streetfighting old style populist to her.

  29. Burt Fields

    In the third installment of Smokey and the Bandit, Jackie Gleason’s Sheriff Buford T Justice chases a trucker played by Jerry Reed, the trucker’s girlfriend (played by Collen Camp of The Swinging Cheerleaders), and a huge fake shark from Florida to Texas.

    What installment of the United States are we in?

  30. someofparts

    Toward the middle of the podcast, the guest says that the global reserve currency will be digital after it stops being the greenback. Would that even be possible?

  31. Hugh

    A reserve currency needs a large country with a large economic base and army to back it up. The problem with all these alternatives is that they ignore all the politics behind who would administer it, decide things like drawing rights, and what happens in a major global downturn. The Fed did all kinds of things wrong in the 2008 financial meltdown, but it was the only entity on the planet that could and did act as the central bank to the world during it. China couldn’t and wouldn’t do it. Nor do I see any of the post-dollar alternatives doing it either.

  32. Chuck Mire

    The slogan “Don’t Mess With Texas” is changed to “Texas Is A Frozen Mess” that lost power and has to boil water for drinking.

  33. VietnamVet

    Texas is Apocalypse Now, rinsed and repeated, as long as there is no planning nor money to fix the energy infrastructure to serve the people. California too! The Western Empire, global just-in-time manufacturing, has collapsed from the Coronavirus Pandemic. Yet, in total denial, NATO is reinforcing the Syrian and Iraq occupations.

    In the 1980s in response to Jimmy Carter’s malaise and gasoline lines, the USA morphed into a corporate state where the only thing that matters is this quarter’s profits and bonuses. The whole point is to extract wealth from society and resources to transfer it to a few billionaires. There is nothing that can be done now. Western government is a global corporate sub-entity. Except, the whole neo-liberal ideology underpinning the new world order is amoral, dysfunctional and corrupt. It kills people. Something will happen. It must if humans are to survive on earth.

  34. Joseph E. Kelleam

    To summarize:

    Don’t be afraid, if you’re all alone
    That’s how you started, that’s how you’re gonna go

    Lee Michaels

    Do you know what I mean??

  35. Joan


    I hope the younger generations (of which I am one) move to more local economic practices. I’ve had many conversations with people my age regarding the outsourcing of jobs to Asia or the elimination of jobs via AI and vulnerable undocumented labor, and in my experience people agree they don’t want this regardless of what political party they vote for. I think largely the American people are in agreement about economic populist issues, but the media keeps us divided around social issues. Sure, I’ll always show up to out-vote my opponents on social issues I consider unacceptable, but I’m willing to work with them otherwise, on economic restructuring.

    Back to my original point, literally everyone in my life who is of my generation and without kids is focusing on learning extra skills right now. Tangible skills that can help a local economy: carpentry, gardening, general repair, making herbal home remedy medicines, etc.

  36. Plague Species

    Back to my original point, literally everyone in my life who is of my generation and without kids is focusing on learning extra skills right now.

    I’m not sure what planet you are on and frankly I doubt you are the younger generation or generations, but on Planet Earth this is assuredly NOT happening. Perhaps a small handful may be doing that, but the vast majority are complete invalids captive to their electronics. For them there is no yesterday or tomorrow but only the moment when they are blissfully attached in a loving embrace with their smart phones that serves as their silicon opioid fix.

    It’s beyond going local at this point. You read about FDR forcing electricity down the hillbilly’s throats whether they wanted it or not, and for what, for this 80 years later? Yes, it was a crude existence prior to electricity but the hillbillies knew how to survive before electricity. Hillbillies still exist but they have lost all those crucial survival skills.

    There is no going back. The suffering will be immense. The only ones who have a chance of surviving what’s coming are the ones born into the maelstrom because it will be built into their formation and they cannot and will not survive unless they acquire the necessary skills as part of that formative process.

  37. bruce wilder

    @ Joan

    I wonder about a sudden shift to localism. Is it possible, without overthrowing the political elites of the Democratic Party and associated Media?

  38. bruce wilder


    I am not so sure “the hillbillies” of yore had much in the way of “survival skills” let alone the productive skills Joan is speaking to.

    People lived in unimaginable poverty because most had no deep skill of any kind nor the social culture that would allow the local community to become productive. Quite often, a local landowner worked to destroy any emergence of community capability, but even in the absence of malevolent figures, there were many pockets of people scattered across the U.S. that were left out and built nothing.

  39. NR

    Hey, right-wingers: the price for electricity in Texas went up from $22/mWhr to $10,000/mWhr because people needed it to survive, but please, keep telling us how capitalism is a great and noble system that prevents human suffering.

  40. nihil obstet

    What we are doing now is not sustainable, so it will end. But we shouldn’t be carried away with romanticizing the past. All the localizing, return to self-sufficiency et al., has to done in cooperation with large enough entities to continue our access to medicine (antibiotics were first developed and used in quantity for the landings at Normandy. That is, they were available for the first time about the year that baby boomers were born. When I was growing up, the entire produce section of the grocery store was about the size of the potato part of the produce section at my current grocery store. The result of the additional foods isn’t just aesthetic — fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier than the alternative. Remember, no one had freezers, so there was little frozen foods. It was canned all the way.

    We need to think about not just withdrawing from the larger world, but about how we can engage with others for all our benefit.

  41. S Brennan

    The only President since Gerald Ford that didn’t start/support a major war/conflict and I read this:

    “Only by comparison with the likes of Trump can a warmongering neoliberal/neocon like Biden look sort of respectable” – Zachary Smith

    The man who funded the Wuhan Lab’s [and other institutions] gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses and I read this:

    “Fauci had the very good fortune of being contrasted with the Orange POTUS during the current epidemic” – Zachary Smith

    Zachary, I am assuming you are genuine and a younger person, a person who swims in a sea of propaganda with no land in sight, just an endless fog that makes any horizon unknowable; in your world, there are no shimmering stars, no sun, no moon to guide you. As a consequence, their is no context in ANY “news” outlet, [left to right], history now taught in 1-12 school is so heavily politicized I have a hard time seeing it being helpful in contextualizing current events.

    I have repeatedly outlined Trump’s failings. But, Trump’s failings, when compared to the outright crimes of Obama, Bush & Clinton seem trivial. Due to the extremity of the claims against Trump, I have felt compelled to defend Trump against this stream of barely intelligible, [and often not] intentionally fallacious libels orchestrated by the National-Security-State [NSS], it’s subsidiary, the Ministry of Enlightenment [Media], neoD’s/rumpR’s and the virtue-signalling “liberals/”lefties”/”pregressives”.

    In the case of the Trump presidency, the disregard for truth is staggering, the hypocrisy of his critics knows no bounds. I am shocked that any sentient being would accept such preposterous lies unquestioningly…and when these allegations were proven false? No introspection…just a new set of falsehoods and quiet attempts to revive false charges that have been disproved but still hold currency…with those who’s memory under-performs protozoa.

    This orchestrated [read the Time article where the co-conspirators brag of their accomplishment] McCarthyism of the past 4-5 years will be a period of American history that will be seen by future peoples as a disgrace, the people who engaged in it will disown their actions by telling lies and living falsely.

  42. bruce wilder

    Mostly, we do not know what we have in terms of an economy qua productive system of cooperation, specialization and trade. (By “we”, I mean the common knowledge fed from the various competing narratives in our political culture that build consensus reality around the economy and economic institutions and policy. I know: a mouthful. What I am trying to say is that mainstream discussion of economics is ill-informed, so with such a poor foundation, it should not be surprising we cannot imagine the future well enough to build it.)

    In the center, we get neoclassical economics and neoliberalism, the empty promises of the Paris Accords. On the right, we get Ayn Rand fanboys, gold-bugs, neoclassical economics and neoliberalism. On the left, we get MMT, GBI, reforms of neoclassical economics that look a lot like neoclassical economics refried and wishful thinking. From the Techno-maniacs, we get Elon Musk fanboys, bitcoin, test-tube ribeye steaks, electric vehicles, AI and a ticket to Mars.

    What we need is solid knowledge and enough conviction or self-confidence to demolish the financial system that is killing what is left of the society. Where will that come from?

  43. bruce wilder

    @ S Brennan

    The CNN fact-checker says Biden lies less than Trump, so there’s that.

    I know, CNN checking facts — seems implausible. No word on how frequently either uttered a truth, or how important such truths might be.

    I could never defend Trump. Trump, birther-in-chief, thought he could play that game and win. Yeah, no.

    But, we can note that factual truth ceased to matter to the Media and politicians (and apparently most citizens) some time ago. What is said is a narrative chosen for its power to manipulate. That is all we are given to know really — not the factual truth, which is inaccessible at best in our Media ecosystem of noxious weeds runamuck — we know we are being manipulated by what we are told.

    I suppose a sensible person can do a reality check, but most people seem to be losing any sense of what reasonableness looks like, under the torrent of fake outrage and disinformation.

  44. Willy

    Yet most people, regardless of whatever sports team they’re rooting, are able to maintain a reasonable faith in the sports establishment’s ability to keep score, tabulate batting averages, officiate Superbowls and govern the rules and conditions of whatever sport.

  45. Joan

    @bruce wilder,

    Transitioning to a local economy is the only way forward that has a chance of helping people stay afloat in increasingly tumultuous times. Assuming the people in DC never get a clue and never do something for the people, then relying on your neighbors and community is your only remaining option.

    I don’t think economic localism fixes the corruption in DC (I might have misinterpreted the point you were trying to make). What I think is best right now is the kind of economic localism that can happen out of one’s home, for cash or trade. In other words, no storefronts that can be taxed and driven out of business by Amazon. If you like to sew, start tailoring out of your apartment. If you’re good at fixing things, go around offering to help and collecting positive regard in your neighborhood. People who keep chickens and are good at it inevitably end up with extra eggs. Find that person in your neighborhood and see what you could possibly give them for some eggs.

    I have the most basic of sewing skills and I have fixed my friend’s shoes before. Her shoes lasted another year by my stitching the canvas back into the sole and making them water proof again. A community with enough skillsets to go around doesn’t need DC, or at least they’re less crushed when the rich jerks run out the back door with all the money.

  46. bruce wilder

    Willy: Yet most people, regardless of whatever sports team they’re rooting, are able to maintain a reasonable faith in the sports establishment’s ability to keep score, tabulate batting averages, officiate Superbowls and govern the rules . . .

    Is their responsibility to “maintain a reasonable faith”?!? Are you sure you want to phrase it that way?

    Phrasing it that way — faulting ordinary followers for not clapping loud enough to keep Tinkerbell alive — practically defines the prescribed ideology of the Democratic Party and it is a thoroughly rotten ideology in the context of manifest elite incompetence and malfeasance and corruption.

    You want people to have confidence in the integrity of elections there is only one sane way to proceed and it is not trying to shame people for going along with the insistence of a corrupt Democratic establishment. The sane way to proceed is to institute electoral procedures that can be verified and audited, to prove the accuracy of results.

    The same in every other domain of governance.

    Sports fans are not virtuous because they are faithful followers of the establishment. That is a sick expectation. And, in fact, sports fans are often skeptical and cynical for good reason. The documentary, “Four Games in Fall” demonstrates the interest generated by that well-founded skepticism.

    Corruption of governance is a perennial problem in sports and the scandals are intensely interesting for many fans. Whether the problem is steroids, or gambling, or head injuries, or owner finances, controversy recurs. There are a lot of asterisks in the official record books.

  47. nihil obstet

    Joan, do you have a repair cafe in your area? You might find others interested in similar efforts in sewing. Would you hitch up with a community garden? I’d look at how similarly interested people have tried.

  48. S Brennan

    “Hey, right-wingers: the price for electricity in Texas went up from $22/mWhr to $10,000/mWhr because people needed it to survive, but please, keep telling us how capitalism is a great and noble system that prevents human suffering.” – NR on February 21, 2021

    NR, you and Willey, Hugh’n-sock-puppet’s, StewartM and few others here regularly refer to me as a, take your pick, Nazi/Fascist/Russian-Spy..etc..etc…because I diverge from the theology of electing ever more neoDs. So, read the copy/pasted post below, note the date and then please explain your pretzel logic? If I am a, take your pick, Nazi/Fascist/Russian-Spy..etc..etc who “keep telling us how capitalism is a great and noble system that prevents human suffering” how could it come to pass that I would point to the same flaw in the system two days before you did?

    S Brennan permalink
    February 19, 2021

    A more realistic problem are the large electrical bills people are facing in TX,

    “Electricity supply in Texas has stabilized now. But it was grossly out of whack over the past several days. It went from about $50 per Megawatt to $9,000”

    Example 550-ft^2 apartment was $150-200/mo but now has skyrocketed to over $1200/mo…the vast majority of the bill for a two day time period.

  49. Jason

    Plague Species’ observations are mine as well. And as much as I hate to say it, I agree with the overall sentiment.

  50. Willy

    Is their responsibility to “maintain a reasonable faith”?!? Are you sure you want to phrase it that way?

    Absolutely. Without faith in the organizational sportsmanship of whatever sports organizations that sports fanbase will decline to where whatever profit for corporations and college funding gets ruined. Sports is still a notoriously ruthless meritocracy.

    Phrasing it that way — faulting ordinary followers for not clapping loud enough to keep Tinkerbell alive — practically defines the prescribed ideology of the Democratic Party and it is a thoroughly rotten ideology in the context of manifest elite incompetence and malfeasance and corruption.

    WTF are you even talking about? In any major college or pro sports, cheating such as the Saints bounty scandal still results in firings and suspensions. Barry Bonds was big time, but getting caught for PEDs has him banned from the HOF.

    You want people to have confidence in the integrity of elections there is only one sane way to proceed and it is not trying to shame people for going along with the insistence of a corrupt Democratic establishment. The sane way to proceed is to institute electoral procedures that can be verified and audited, to prove the accuracy of results.

    This doesn’t already exist, such as it is? How so? Sure, cheating happens all the time. But all the evidence points to Bernie having been shafted and that Trump was not elected.

    Corruption of governance is a perennial problem in sports and the scandals are intensely interesting for many fans. Whether the problem is steroids, or gambling, or head injuries, or owner finances, controversy recurs. There are a lot of asterisks in the official record books.

    Are not these asterisks proof positive that tribalism hasn’t yet overcome the fanbase’s reasonable faith in their systems? Stay off the drugs bruce. They’re ruining your batting average for nuance. Or maybe you’re aware of where I’m trying to go with this and dodging yet again? I won’t accept an “everybody cheats and there is no answer” answer again. There have been far too many times when complex human systems have mostly worked, to the satisfaction of most.

  51. Willy

    S Brennan, you’re fake because the only place I find positive “news” about coal, hydroxychloroquine, gun freedoms, climate change denial, Trump’s populism, Trump love, and all the other bullshit you go on about, are right wing websites.

    And then the black and white compulsive shaming of people who’ve repeatedly said they don’t agree with DNC positions but they’re better than Trump’s conservative positions, is straight out of Dissembler Debate for Conservatives 101.

  52. Jason

    It had to be Ron Johnson and Rand Paul who gave the Ivermectin protocol doctors a hearing. Where was Bernie? Where was any fucking democrat?

    I disagree with about everything Ron Johnson stands for. But Ivermectin saves lives. And hydroxychloroquine, while not the panacea it was made out to be by many on the right, is nevertheless still used by doctors around the world as an effective prophylaxis for covid. It also has some efficacy for those who do become sick in the very early stages. The ivermectin protocol has strong efficacy throughout.

    It is not at all outrageous or overly emotional to call the active suppression of the firsthand knowledge of ivermectin’s effectiveness – collected by qualified medical professionals – a crime against humanity.

  53. S Brennan

    Willey, please cite the references for my support of coal and climate change denial? I ask because it’s news to me.

    S Brennan, “you’re fake because of…coal, climate change denial, you go on about”

    Oh that’s right, you come here to repeatedly dissemble*, then you call people fake and then…you repeatedly ask people to pity you ’cause things in your life didn’t happen the way you planned. You didn’t get pink unicorn for your birthday huh princess? Well it’s your party sweetheart, you can cry if you want to.

    And you want to know something? If you always do the thing that winds up electing neoD’s in the primary and in the general it doesn’t matter how good you purport your intentions to be…really.

    I say that because I once watched Robert McNamara come before a university audience to wring his hands while trying to weasel out out his culpability in the Viet Nam War. When it was my turn I asked “sir, why should I care how you feel now…when it mattered, you, at best..lacked the moral courage to do the right thing”. He walked out without answering my question. I was booed by most of the crowd for not being deferential enough to a man who had the blood of over a million human being on his hands.

  54. Willy

    Here Sad Brennan implicitly states his support for coal energy funded by fascists, while telling us that fusion power is “already here” and that renewables like wind and solar are a waste of money:

    In reality fusion power has been “just around the corner” for over half a century now. Brennan, be sure to wake us up when Texas is actually building, or hell, when one of the more progressive taxey states is actually building.

    Ian doesn’t have the bandwidth for me to post all the other links which Google provided me. I have faith that most of the others will remember those times.

  55. Willy

    I’m still waiting for your response to my “So how do we ally with the right against our corrupt plutocracy?” question I posed to you after you ridiculously accused your detractors of not knowing anybody from that world.

    This seems the focus of yours and bruce’s angst.

    Maybe I’ve just been unlucky, but the one thing I do have in common with the many I know personally, is a mutual distrust of China. Sadly, the few reasonable conservatives are never-Trumper Lincoln Project types, which are considered an abomination by Trump lovers such as yourself.

    Tell us. Tell us your stories of how you’ve achieved your mutual “asabiyya” with your conservative friends, against our plutocratic enemies.

  56. S Brennan

    I think our incompetent dissembler Willey might have meant to do this:

    But had Willey given you the correct link, you would have learned Willey was/is/will-be full of horse manure so….he probably did mean to send readers down the rabbit hole he listed the wrong link in the hope you would tire of searching through the comment thread and buy another heaping spoonful of what comes out his ass. Anyway, here’s the correct link to Willey’s definitive proof that I support coal development by saying…wait for it…job#1 is to replace coal…what a pathetic liar.

    S Brennan permalink
    November 13, 2020

    To have a green world you have to start someplace definitive. Which is when the whole thing falls apart…I’ll list my top two positive priorities and watch the hilarity ensue.

    1] Abundant, much cheaper than coal-generated electricity.

    2] Abundant low-cost desalinization plants using the much cheaper than coal-generated power.

    The good news is, in spite of Covid-20’s massive destruction across the globe, it has, through necessity, shown that a significant number of people do not “have to go to work” daily. GM has found that productivity in certain sectors has dramatically improved.

    If what we have learned from Covid-19, through sheer necessity, is systemically employed, companies and workers will profit mutually, existing infrastructure will better utilized and subject to less wear and tear. People will be free to live where they can afford…and landlords will suffer for decades to come!

    As always, Willey lies and…Willey whines about how his life has been so hard…maybe the two are connected…huh?

  57. bruce wilder

    Are not these asterisks proof positive that tribalism hasn’t yet overcome the fanbase’s reasonable faith in their systems?

    I think it is rather that the tribalism of fandom has never given a pass to player or manager malfeasance. People in sports are scandalized by scandal.

    The problem I see in American politics is that memory is short and outrage is fake. Clinton, Bush II, Obama were never held to account for anything, or at least for anything real, and they did outrageous things, horrible things.

    You do not get green stamps for expressing a completely unfounded faith in the integrity of American elections. And stampeding the sheep in either direction — toward “faith” or toward a goofy “insurrection” — is just playing the tribalist game.

    You are all about “nuance” when you are trying to distract from the corruption and hypocrisy of establishment Dems, but you turn around for a second and you are right in line with Hugh: Trump=Hitler, Republicans (voters and leaders) are fascists and a horrible other that we should seek to isolate and exclude.

  58. Willy

    Sad Brennan,

    No fool. My link took you to the entire thread where a discussion took place within which you slammed wind and solar power and proclaimed that fusion power was the best currently available option. And then I had to carefully explain to you why wind and solar was expensive in Germany but far cheaper in Texas, in trying to replace coal. As you’ve clearly forgotten, you took the coal side.

    But I strongly doubt that anybody really gives a shit about who said what right about now.

    Far more important is your deafening silence about how we can ally with your right wing against our corrupt plutocracy. Tell us your plan.

  59. Willy

    Bruce I’m just a guy on the internet who gives anecdotal accounts about my own experiences with neoliberalism and dirty politics (to the delight of our ignorant wingnuts), hoping that others may avoid or cope better than I did. It sounds like Ian went down a similar path so I tend to agree with him about much.

    And yes bruce, Clinton, Bush II, Obama were never held to account for anything, as are many people in power with all that money, power and connections. You are not the first person to have informed me of this. I’ve known for years that this trend has become common cultural and getting worse. In our high-tech information age shouldn’t we all be smarter by now?

    The NFL has seen a dip in its fan base pre-covid, but I’m unaware of any polls putting their approvals by their own fans anywhere near DCs pathetically low levels. When people look up Ichiro’s stats on whatever resource I really don’t think they automatically call bullshit.

    Biden just had a first time approval rating of 62%, far higher than Trump ever did at any time. Could the reason be brainwashing, am unusual honeymoon, or could it all be lies? You can be the judge.

    So now I ask you, was Joe Biden legally elected?

  60. Joan

    @nihil obstet, Yes, exactly! There is a city farm nearby that offered gardening lessons before covid. I plan to take their classes once things open up again, since I have a mild green thumb at best. I am also a huge geek about the book binders in my city, and once they start offering their weekend classes again, I plan to take them. I’ve been sewing my own diaries for years now, and stashing cash for these classes. It’s a way to give money to a local craftsman and learn a useful skill in exchange.

    There are plenty of small-scale repairmen in my city, though we’ll see how many of them survive the covid shutdowns. Watchmakers and repairmen, camera repairmen, typewriter repairs, shoemakers and tailors, sewing machine repair, etc. These are little bitty places with a grumpy old man or woman behind the counter who can fix things. Some of them teach classes, but a lot of them don’t have the patience for flippant young people. Still, moving one’s shopping locally is the first step as it keeps money inside one’s community.

  61. Astrid


    What is consent when over half of the eligible populace don’t vote, polls are well known to be manipulated, and electronic voting machines are unaccountable black boxes without an audit trail?

    I do think that Biden/Harris were not legally elected. I don’t want to delve into the contest of evil fairytale stepmothers that was the general, but no way am I going to accept that they won the primary legally, nevermind fairly. It was a coup against the Left and anyone against the status quo.

    All the evildoing POTUS pre-Trump managed above 65% popularity. Obama win one for not being GWB, nevermind that in fact, he simply continued onto the 3rd and 4th GWB administration, except that he held Wall Street and Big Tech to less accountability.

    The fact that anyone outside of the one percent can support someone with Biden/Harris’s personal/political track record is a matter of propaganda, not any sort of goodness or credibility on their part. Just because Trump is a monster doesn’t mean the rest of DC is not.

  62. Astrid

    Aarf. stumped again by autocorrected. I was referencing Obama’s “Nobel” prize.

  63. nihil obstet

    Joan, I should have provided a link. Part of the point is developing solutions communally and not having to reinvent the wheel — repair cafe.

  64. Willy

    Astrid, you’ve just claimed that Nate Silver of 538 must be in on it too, along with all of the other pollsters which he averages in aggregate. Both Hillary’s win in 2016 and Biden’s win in 2020 came in within the polling margin of error, with Trump of course still winning the electoral vote. Trump was a bit stronger than expected in 2016 because of the “shy Trump voter” being unaccounted for, and again in 2020 because the ‘shy latino strategy’.

    Voters were given little choice but to choose between an uncontrollable loony tune and a senile status quo, and there is no credible evidence that the former won. Still, I’ll watch the Dominion and Smartmatic lawsuits with some interest since all the big names say they’ve got a very strong case.

    I’ve already stated many, many times that what happened in both of those DNC primaries seemed well-calculated against progressives (but maybe I’m being out-repeat-repeated by nefarious others for the purpose of FUD?) We had a lengthy discussion right here after South Carolina when the black boomers overwhelmed the other progressives, and thereafter one primary after another and one candidate after another fell strangely towards Biden when Bernie was far more cogent and “in-touch”. But people forget so quickly, apparently.

    The Dems did win the two senate seats from Georgia and Bernie was given the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, a powerful position which he’s stated that he will use to progressive advantage. So there’s that.

    Bernays was a genius, an evil genius, and you Astrid, have the chance to be one of those meddling kids who doesn’t let him get away with it. I’m still trying to get bruce on board, but he seems to claim that we’re not being nice enough to the right wing cultists which I say Bernays has successfully captured and programmed as his own personal robots. Sad hasn’t convinced me that he isn’t a dissembler working for Bernays team, yet. Try not to let his repeat-repeating strategy get to you.

  65. Joan

    @nihol obstet, thanks for the link! That’s a great project. I’ll check if there’s one around here.

  66. different clue

    The first place I read about the ” Global Warming Ice Age” theory was from John H. Hamaker in his The Survival Of Civilization. It certainly is an . . . umm . . . idiosyncratic theory. I found it fun to think about though I don’t know how likely it really is. Anyway, here is a link. It looks to me like the whole book is internet-readable at this link, until the internet itself is switched off for good.

    And certainly for the next 20 or so years, we should expect more random outbreaks of extreme weather here and there as jet streams dip way south and way north of normal at random times. Parts of the South, maybe Texas itself, will certainly have another such sub-zero outbreak sometime or other. Places who never expected it will have a Harvey DumpLoad of rain now and then. Normally-moist places will have a Death Valley heat-wave for several months. These events will all be Darwin filters through which some sub-societies will be prepared enough to pass through, and other ones won’t.

    Mankind has begun its Long Death March through the Valley of Selection, and mankind will be sorted out into the darwinners and the lucky, and the darlosers and the unlucky.

  67. bruce wilder

    So now I ask you, was Joe Biden legally elected?

    Consider the results in my county of Los Angeles. Do I think Biden won a majority of votes cast? Yes, I do. The demographics and random polling suggest an overwhelming preponderance in his favor. What I do not know is whether the official vote count was accurate. No one knows that, because a sustem of touch-screen voting and vote tabulation by scanning has been instituted that cannot be audited and verified. That is a common and serious problem in the U.S. It does not cease to be a problem in my county because Democrats are in charge.

    Sports fans do not call bs “automatically”, but many do when given cause. There is plenty of cause to call bs in U.S. politics, including over the conduct of elections, but the tribalists seem intent to deny their own bs and show no concern when their team should be scrutinized.

    Democrats in 2016 circumvented campaign finance laws in ways that undermined the Party as an institution and ensured that not only the Presidency was lost when they rigged the Primary campaign and election process to give the nomination to a corrupt, unpopular incompetent candidate, but Republican power was unchallenged in Congress and the States. Having lost, they tried to solicit faithless Electors to overturn the election result. Then, they promoted the Russiagate narrative, with reckless disregard to the risks of pressing the country to a posture of aggressive hostility to Russia.

    Yeah, yeah “false equivalence!” No, not equivalent exactly. But, also not false.

    The Democratic Party and its allies in corporate Media did more than their fair share to nurture this politics of outrage, conspiracy and “fake news”. Trump is the kind of liar who would cry, “fake news” no matter what. But, the practice of CNN and the NY Times became such that there was plenty of “fake news” to show as real examples.

    To think the remedy for the corruption and illegitimacy of “our democracy” as bought and paid for by billionaires is an unfounded “faith” in its outcomes seems delusional to me.

    I see a Media narrative that looks at those “Trump voters” as an alien species to be ridiculed for their stupidity and avoided for their smell. I do not have the perspective of a Trump voter — I would never vote for such a clown and conman or expect much good to come from his wielding power and authority. And, I admit I am a little fascinated that ordinarily intelligent people would see this bombastic dumbass with orange hair as attractive, just as I do not understand the appeal of some televangelists or way back in the day of peak homophobia, how Liberace could be a teevee star (and not in the vein of RuPaul). Not the point.

    In a democracy, these people have just as much a right to an opinion as you do. Their interests are as good as yours. People do not have to agree on much for democracy to function; most especially, people do not have to agree on “why”. In a democracy, people agree, at best, on rules and, maybe, principles, so policy can be better than an exercise in raw power to take for one faction from another. Scandal has to scandalize, for real as I think it does to a large extent in sports, and as it does not now in U.S. politics. Sports officials care about the integrity of the institutions they run because they get burned when they fail to care; loss of faith in the game threatens the officials who benefit most from the economic success of the game and officials are trained again and again that they must keep the faith of fans by nurturing the integrity of the game and to do otherwise is tempting but can have consequences for owners and officials as well as players. Virtue still does not always win out and, truth be told, fans love the melodrama, even or especially when the innocent suffer. (WWE sells tickets to the melodrama without the sport.) Bad refs are a refuge as my father would say. Politics does not require purity either, anymore than it requires a blind faith, but it does require that caring about the institution is made to matter by a willingness by fans or patriots as the case may be to engage in altruistic punishment, even if it is just walking away. And, in politics, people die or live in misery because the players can cheat with impunity and no one even knows how they perform their duty.

    It is a big problem that Democrats cannot even fathom how any one could see Biden as illegitimate. The vast majority of Trump voters I am reasonably certain cannot even imagine visiting a shrine like the Capitol and littering let alone rioting, so of course they do not believe those few thousand represent them and their politics. Nor do they feel the spirit of reconciliation when Biden calls Trump supporters, domestic terrorists.

    If you cannot even imagine deliberating together, it is no democracy. Not for them and not for you. The insistence on tribal silos on perception and echo chambers of aligned voices is destroying any possibility of democracy and you, Willy, are helping to destroy that possibility however faded and ruined already. Thank you so much for your righteous contributions.

  68. @bruce wilder

    So now I ask you, was Joe Biden legally elected?

    Consider the results in my county of Los Angeles. …….

    Wow, excellent comment. It’s even more refreshing compared to posts by political animals whose compulsion to grind their axes makes everything they write seem like bad/dishonest propaganda.

    It might be my imagination, but it seems to me that not only has the mainstream media been degenerating in the direction of bad propaganda and hidden (or unconscious) political consideration above all, but so have alternative media ‘types’.

    E.g. I heard a recent interview of Ralph Nader by Amy Goodman on democracy now, regarding the impeachment. Nader went on about how impeachment can work as sort of a utilitarian prophylactic, but never addressed the constitutionality of what what amounts to as misuse of the impeachment process. Nor was he challenged on this point by Goodman (AFAICR).

    Gee whiz, and to think that I voted for Ralph Nader….

    I also considered Noam Chomsky to be basically honest, fact based, and open minded, with the notable exception of “conspiracy theories” (where what he says is basically laughable; Michael Parenti is a good antidote) and so-called “climate change”. But he has also fallen pray to some Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    Chomsky’s excellent advice to “read widely” (not just people who have the same political disposition, as you, e.g.), and by inference to “listen widely”, is becoming less valuable, at least for an old-timer like myself, who have found great value in a Chomsky and a Nader. These two, e.g., are very smart, and can present well reasoned and factually based arguments better than most, and it’s going to be hard to find replacements, at their level. And while we can find new spokespersons, who are more insightful and ‘on target’, on the web (in spite of censorship by tech giants), in certain areas, they typically won’t be in the same class as a Nader or Chomsky.

    So, e.g., Kim Iverson (a progressive youtuber) has presented more useful information about dealing with covid, from a national policy perspective, than a Nader or Chomsky, and doesn’t suffer from TDS, but she is not on their level of scholarship. (No knock against her. We can’t all be brilliant.)

    An exception, at least regarding political and legal matters, is attorney Robert Barnes, who is often on the Viva Frei youtube channel.

  69. Kim Iversen, not Kim Iverson.

  70. Astrid


    Bravo! I posted a longish response to Willy that got hung up in moderation. But your response is far more articulate and sound than mine. Yes, by getting hung up on Team Dem and dehumanizing the “other”, and ignoring ( anything other than withdraw of support is ignoring) abuses and wings perpetrated by your own side, the TDS is responsible for building out part of our Hell World. (Why Hutus were so willing to hack Tutsis to death given the chance and why a previously harmonious Yugoslavia endured years of genocidal civil war? Because they stopped seeing their neighbors as people that they don’t always agree with and start seeing them as the”Other”.)

    I would just add that Nate Silver and other pollsters are not good at polling, in that they don’t appear to understand people as individuals or in aggregate that well. That’s why they messed up in 2016. They’re really there to help shape narratives for people who pay them, much as MSM’s news reporting is about shaping. If polling actually mattered, then uber popular ideas like not bailing out Wall St and M4A would get passed. As it is, pollsters have told us for a generation that population demographics means Dems will lock onto a permanent majority, as if their terrible terrible policies and execution wouldn’t matter.

  71. Willy

    bruce, I’ve heard that touch screen voting is a convenience for the physically disabled. The actual vote comes from a printout taken from the voter’s touch screening, which the voter is asked to review. Personally, I wouldn’t know because I vote by mail. My point is that nobody who reviewed any printouts bitched because POTUS was skewed in Bidens favor, and everything else skewed the GOP’s way, as per final tally.

    Secondly, I followed the “Stop the Steal” attorneys and their cases. It was such a complete clown car joke that nobody sane would think any part of that effort credible. Such people must be getting their “news” from fake or nefarious sources.

    Nothing wrong with questioning the PTBs role in liberal democracy, but it’s gotta be credible without a heavy lean on guilty-shaming.

    Otherwise I agree with your moralizing, but I strongly disagree that manipulating easily-malleable minds should be status quo strategy. Those technologies hadn’t been well-developed by the time of the American Founders.

  72. Willy

    Astrid, yes I’m very aware that a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. Dale Carnegie 101. This is why I hammer right leaners around here. My perverse hope is that they’ll unconsciously force themselves to circle their particular drain of lunacy ever more tightly and quickly, amusing the saner amongst us with these increasingly desperate gyrations.

    I know this is “wrong”, but it livens up the place. I’ve tried things like the gentle art of persuasion, using coldly unemotional logic, and good old “bomb with love” cult deprogramming. But these things take far too long and ignore the cold hard fact that most of these may be reliant on the love they ‘need’ from like-minded others. If they turn lefty they could become pariahs in their own little community of sustenance out in the reality of meatspace.

    But the climate doesn’t care and just keeps a-changin. And all those other unsolved major problems turning the USA into a laughing stock which is still, greatly feared, like that retarded muscle bound bully who used to shake you down for lunch money.

    Nate Silver did not mess up in 2016. I’ve explained this before and don’t like repeat-repeating myself.

  73. Astrid


    The actual right leaner’s here are resistant to your approach. They just stop responding for a while and then come to the next discussion exactly the same. The same might be said for the strongly TDS infested portion of the commentariat. They’re not interested in dialogue and you won’t change anybody’s mind. I have my disagreements with S Brennan and Bruce, but I think they’re coming from an honest, self reflective place and are interested in dialog, and they have very useful things to teach.

    I followed Nate Silver pretty closely in 2008 and then 2012. Even in his hay days, I wasn’t that impressed with his methods. I admittedly lost interest by 2016. I certainly didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 but I sure as heck feared Hillary Clinton and Clintonites by then. What they’ve done since 2016 certainly didn’t make me regret Trump winning, as terrible as that is. This includes handling of COVID19. Look at NYS and CA and that’s what you’d get with a Dem presidency, more attractive, moralizing rhetoric but same indifference to human suffering and basic public health procedures.

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