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

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 17, 2022

by Tony Wikrent

Strategic Political Economy

“The policy of the USA has always been to prevent Germany and Russia from cooperating more closely” 

[Swiss Standpoint, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-2022]

We forget that Crimea was independent, even before Ukraine became independent. In January 1991, while the Soviet Union still existed, Crimea held a referendum to be managed from Moscow and not from Kiev. It thus became an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Ukraine did not get its own independence referendum until six months later in August 1991. At that point, Crimea did not consider itself a part of Ukraine. But Ukraine did not accept this. Between 1991 and 2014, it was a constant struggle between the two entities. Crimea had its own constitution with its own authorities. In 1995, encouraged by the Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine overthrew the Crimean government with special forces and abrogated its constitution. But this is never mentioned, as it would shed a completely different light on the current development.

Liberalism, conservatism and the lack of discussion of civic republicanism

Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid It’s not just a phase.

[The Atlantic, via The Big Picture 4-16-2022]

The story of Babel is the best metaphor I have found for what happened to America in the 2010s, and for the fractured country we now inhabit. Something went terribly wrong, very suddenly. We are disoriented, unable to speak the same language or recognize the same truth. We are cut off from one another and from the past….

Second, the dart guns of social media give more power and voice to the political extremes while reducing the power and voice of the moderate majority. The “Hidden Tribes” study, by the pro-democracy group More in Common, surveyed 8,000 Americans in 2017 and 2018 and identified seven groups that shared beliefs and behaviors. The one furthest to the right, known as the “devoted conservatives,” comprised 6 percent of the U.S. population. The group furthest to the left, the “progressive activists,” comprised 8 percent of the population. The progressive activists were by far the most prolific group on social media: 70 percent had shared political content over the previous year. The devoted conservatives followed, at 56 percent.

These two extreme groups are similar in surprising ways. They are the whitest and richest of the seven groups, which suggests that America is being torn apart by a battle between two subsets of the elite who are not representative of the broader society….

It was just this kind of twitchy and explosive spread of anger that James Madison had tried to protect us from as he was drafting the U.S. Constitution. The Framers of the Constitution were excellent social psychologists. They knew that democracy had an Achilles’ heel because it depended on the collective judgment of the people, and democratic communities are subject to “the turbulency and weakness of unruly passions.” The key to designing a sustainable republic, therefore, was to build in mechanisms to slow things down, cool passions, require compromise, and give leaders some insulation from the mania of the moment while still holding them accountable to the people periodically, on Election Day.

Russia / Ukraine

The Economics of the Russian Victory
Sergey Glazyev, March 18, 2022 [StalkerZone

MNE: “Sergey Glazyev is emerging as the main architect of the new Russian economic philosophy and policy to replace the Western neoliberal model that Russia had been following but it now ruled out by Russian’s exclusion from the club. Another favor to Russia. It would be difficult to impossible to do this otherwise.”

This approach is the basis of the idea proposed by the President of the Russian Federation to form the Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP). A partnership, if implemented according to its original design, shuns the “suzerain-vassal” philosophy of escalation and oppositions with the system of international economic relations built in this spirit; it is initially guided by the premise of the possibility of harmonious coexistence, and in economic terms – about the participation of partners in economic growth without prejudice to each other’s interests. Of course, the classical ideas about the limits of the division of labour within the framework of emerging technological trajectories and, more broadly, technological zones are not an anachronism, but the practical tools of the GEP are not aimed at confrontation and redistribution of spheres of influence, but at how to create a trusting atmosphere of cooperation in Eurasia by purely economic means, search for and find consensus even where the interests of, say, the EAEU and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership diverge. In other words, the GEP is a universal assembly model with a clear concept, strategy, and defined long-term priorities. It sets clear guidelines and makes it possible to formulate and refine national development strategies. For Russia, this is the program of advanced development proposed by the academic community (and widely reviewed by expert circles) on the basis of the accelerated development of industries of a new technological paradigm and the formation of institutions of a new world economic paradigm “Social Justice and economic growth….

In the context of the emerging Integrated world economic paradigm, based on integration processes that unite different nations in networked unions — the EAEU, the EU, ASEAN, MERCOSUR, etc. – we need to set clear, super-intensive, but balanced and feasible goals that correspond to the main trends of the 21st century, and develop algorithms for achieving them. Based on the external background undergoing dynamic changes (replacement of technological and world economic structures, coupled with the need for internal restructuring according to the mobilisation scenario), the goals of long-term economic development are formulated as follows:

Exclusive: Russian geoeconomics Tzar Sergei Glazyev introduces the new global financial system 

[The Cradle, via Naked Capitalism 4-15-2022]

A Brief Summary Of The Effects Of Russia Sanctions

Ian Welsh

Leisure class (mis)leadership

Laughing Ourselves to Death at the Gridiron Dinner 

Gregg Gonsalves [The Nation, via Naked Capitalism 4-15-2022]

Our pundit class, from Leana Wen to David Leonhardt, have told us that since we’re all vaccinated we have nothing to worry about, so all that was asked of attendees was to provide proof of immunization. In D.C. now, they are all vaxxed-and-done and, gosh-darn-it, they mean it. No pre-event testing, no special attention to ventilation in the ballroom, no thought of spacing out attendees rather than have them sit at long, narrow tables for hours. Because everything is optional now, everything is up to individuals….

There is a decadence to the Democratic embrace of rugged American individualism, where we owe each other nothing, that’s almost, well, Republican in spirit. Personal risk. Personal choices. Personal responsibility. Paul Ryan—remember him?—would be proud. The Gridiron Dinner was just American Covid-19 policy personified: no precautions beyond vaccination and Paxlovid for the unfortunate few who catch SARS-CoV-2….

Furthermore, as Aparna Nair, a historian of public health, told Ed Yong at The Atlantic last year, “Framing one’s health as a matter of personal choice ‘is fundamentally against the very notion of public health.’” This isn’t just a theoretical concern. Right now, the anemic Covid-19 funding bill in Congress has no money for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s program for Covid-19 testing and treatment for the uninsured. Until the Biden Administration extended the national Covid-19 public health emergency yesterday, millions were at risk of being kicked off the Medicaid rolls on April 15; now they have a reprieve for 90 days. Moreover, only 30 percent of Americans are boosted, meaning they lack critical protection against current Covid-19 variants, and many areas of the country are still far behind in getting people even the first series of shots. Meanwhile states are closing public testing and vaccination sites.

Beltway A-Lister Gridiron Superspreader Omnishambles (Butchered by “Personal Risk” Brain Geniuses)

Lambert Strether, April 11, 2022 [Naked Capitalism]

Accountability #2: Sweden’s Decision to Let Old People Die Who Could Have Been Saved

Ian Welsh, April 13, 2022

This is an extreme example, but it is the extreme at the end of the standard Covid policy spectrum in most of the developed world, where people could have been saved, but our elites chose not to do so. We refused to admit Covid was airborne for ages, we locked down too late, we did not improve indoor ventilation, we did not get people to wear masks soon enough, and we didn’t mandate N95 masks (which are more effective), we let ICUs get filled more than once, we did not track and trace, we did not isolate, we did not properly shut down international travel (the most important step), and so on.

But Sweden went one extra step, and deliberately let people die whom they could have saved if they’d simply given them oxygen. Swedish officials knew they could have saved those people and didn’t….

Your elites kill you. I can only assume they like killing you.

And because we aren’t rising up in revolution (and the freaks who are protesting seem to be saying “Kill us faster, please, masters!”), I can only assume we are okay with this.

They’re not capitalists – they’re a criminal predatory class

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 4-11-2022]



[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-2022]


America’s Highest Earners And Their Taxes Revealed.

[Pro Publica, via The Big Picture 4-15-2022]

Secret IRS files reveal the top US income-earners and how their tax rates vary more than their incomes. Tech titans, hedge fund managers and heirs dominate the list, while the likes of Taylor Swift and LeBron James didn’t even make the top 400.

Restoring balance to the economy

The Bottom-Up Battle Against Corporate Power

April 15, 2022 [The American Prospect]

In January, the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice jointly announced a request for public comment on how the two agencies could modernize antitrust enforcement against mergers. Just that step alone was transformative. For the past four decades, the general public has not been brought into policy debates about corporate power; in fact, elite economists actively plotted to keep them out, by arbitrarily raising the standards for challenging mergers. Government agencies simply asking ordinary people to explain how monopolies have caused them harm was a paradigm shift….

But this time, the FTC/DOJ public comment request has almost 4,000 comments as of April 14. The deadline for comments is April 21. So what’s driving this resurgence of public input?

Part of it is due to the new leadership at the agencies. But the American Economic Liberties Project, a D.C.-based anti-monopoly organization, has also solicited comments from the public, bringing an obscure process to the grassroots level. That it has taken off suggests a broad-based desire to do something about monopoly power.

Corporate America’s Long Con

April 16, 2022 [The New Republic]

…Rick Wartzman recently reported for Capital and Main, over the past 60 years corporations have funneled an increasingly high proportion of revenues to CEOs and shareholders, mostly at the expense of workers.

As Wartzman notes, this is not an easy phenomenon to track, because corporations take pains to hide information about where their revenue goes. He was able to dredge up necessary data for six firms, all of which showed the same trend: Between 1960 and 2019, the portion of revenue flowing to shareholders expanded dramatically, and the share flowing to workers almost always shrank (only Wells Fargo currently pays a higher proportion now than it did then). Furthermore, “at five of the six, less is going to taxes, a reflection of a markedly lower U.S. corporate tax rate—21 percent vs. 52 percent in 1960—and, very likely, more tax avoidance by corporations.” This all occurred during a period in which some of these firm’s revenues expanded tenfold—in some instances, several hundredfold.

Corporate landlords are gobbling up U.S. suburbs. These homeowners are fighting back.

[Washington Post, via The Big Picture 4-11-2022]

Using authority that lets them punish homeowners who fail to cut the grass, one predominantly Black neighborhood in North Carolina slows the pace of investor purchases.

Understanding the U.S. Housing Crisis in an Era of Inflation

[CityLab + Green, via The Big Picture 4-15-2022]

Economist Jenny Schuetz offers a practical guide to one of the biggest challenges facing renters and homebuyers: the skyrocketing cost of housing….

To me, that is really one of the most interesting issues here. We take for granted that local governments know their own market and they know the right kind of development and they’re in a better position to assess what sort of housing and development is needed while protecting their citizens from the downside of too much congestion. But it’s really clear that at the local level, economic and political interests may not align very well with a larger region, whether that’s a metro area or a state.

I can think of at least three areas where the state is more likely to have a larger view. One is the impact on the overall economy when local governments don’t allow enough housing in high-demand areas with lots of productive jobs. It holds back the state economy — firms have a harder time hiring and retaining workers, and companies may pick up and move to a cheaper place. The second area is climate impacts: Lots of local governments would really prefer that we build a lot of the housing farther out on the urban fringes, but that contributes to climate change and all sorts of negative impacts. Third is access to economic opportunity for lower-income households. Almost every local government prefers that somebody else house low-income families, particularly low-income families with kids who need to be provided with education. For the state, it would be great if poor kids could go to public schools that are already high performing so that they get the skills they need.

This assumes that state governments have the well-being of a broad cross-section of citizens at heart and that they will make decisions in the interest of lots of people being better off. We do see some instances, especially with Covid-19, where state governments are doing things that seem to put their people at higher risk, which is disturbing. A state government that doesn’t care about the well-being of its people is going to do bad things to them in lots of policy areas, including housing. But there is more potential for state governments to care about a broad cross-section of people, while local governments are in some sense pandering to a small subset of constituents….

The fundamental idea is that housing is like basic health care and food. It’s a necessity for everybody, and we should provide minimum quality housing for everybody, including people who don’t earn enough income to pay for it themselves on the free market. That’s not a controversial idea in lots of other rich countries, to provide some sort of universal housing assistance, so if you’re poor, you get a top-up from the state to afford to pay for market-rate rent or they provide you with a publicly owned apartment.

In Praise of Earmarks

Robert Kuttner, April 15, 2022 [The American Prospect]

Now, a much more transparent version of earmarks is back, called Community Project Funding, thanks to House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro. This is a vast improvement over the choice of either no earmarks or the old system of backroom earmarks for the kind of sweetheart projects that led to bridges to nowhere.

Under DeLauro’s system, which is now law, the entire process is transparent. At the local level, community groups put in requests. Requests by legislators for earmarked projects are public record, available online, and referred to the relevant committee for decision. The total volume of earmarks is capped at 1 percent of appropriations.

No money can go to for-profit companies. The lawmaker requesting the earmark has to attest in writing that neither they nor their family have any personal connection to the project….

If public investments are going to get made with bipartisan support, and if government is to regain a good name as solving local problems, the local member of Congress is on the front lines of advocacy for local projects.

NLRB To Revive Joy Silk

[The Lever, April 16, 2022]

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo — a former colleague of Lever writer Matthew Cunningham-Cook at the Communications Workers of America — is taking aggressive action to enforce federal labor law. Her latest broadside is to reinstate the “Joy Silk” doctrine, whereby the NLRB mandates immediate recognition and bargaining with a union when a majority of workers sign authorization cards.

The problem that Abruzzo & co. are working to solve is the sheer level of delays that employers put up against workers seeking to organize. Depending on the circumstances, it can take months to administer an election — needlessly delaying bargaining on a contract, which in and of itself can take a year or longer to come to a resolution.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce responded to Abruzzo’s move with a blistering statement, saying: “We will oppose this action with every tool at our disposal, including litigation if needed.”

The Restoration of Workers’ Legal Rights Has Begun

Harold Meyerson, April 14, 2022 [The American Prospect]

On Monday, the National Labor Relations Board’s chief counsel in one of its Southwest regions filed a brief with the Board asking it to overturn a number of the Board’s key previous rulings that had substantially weakened workers’ rights to form a union. Following the directives that General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has issued since taking that post last summer, Fernando Anzaldua, of the Board’s Phoenix office, asked the Board to rule that the negligible penalties an administrative law judge had levied against an employer were insufficient. More importantly—vastly more importantly—he also asked the board to overturn several decades-old rulings that had provided the basis for that judge’s decisions.

Affirming the Prospect

Robert Kuttner, April 13, 2022 [The American Prospect]

Politico ran a major piece on the Prospect aptly titled “The Lefty Magazine Flexing Some Biden-Era Muscle.” Even better, the Politico piece understood our balancing act—praising Biden’s administration when the praise is earned, being critical when the neoliberal undertow threatens to pull Biden under—and doing it all not as facile opinion but with deep reporting.

Politico wrote: “The Prospect has repeatedly broken big stories about the Biden administration at times, becoming a bit of a liberal bulwark as the White House drifts towards the center ahead of the midterms.” Politico added: “The magazine hasn’t just broken negative stories about the Biden operation. It has also published lengthy complimentary pieces about ideologically-aligned figures working within the administration.”

Leisure class (PMC) war on workers

Starbucks Just Fired Yet Another Union Organizer 

[Vice, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-2022]

Matthew Cunningham-Cook, April 15, 2022 [The Lever]

As Starbucks wages an aggressive anti-union campaign resulting in the firing of 16 pro-union workers, the company’s chairwoman has been running an investment firm raking in millions in fees from unionized workers’ pension funds while delivering subpar returns to retirees.

The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

Albertsons says grocery shopper behavior is changing because of high gas prices 

[Quartz, via Mike Norman Economics 4-13-2022]

Refurbished Walkers and Wheelchairs Fill Gaps Created by Supply Chain Problems

[Naked Capitalism 4-11-2022]

Land of Milk v. Honey: Dairy Farmers Lobby Against Banning Pesticides That Kill Bees 

[Seven Days, via Naked Capitalism 4-16-2022]

Has Neoliberalism Really Come to an End? [interview with historian Gary Gerstle]

[The Nation, via Mike Norman Economics 4-13-2022]

Information age dystopia

You’re Still Being Tracked on the Internet, Just in a Different Way 

[New York Times, via The Big Picture 4-13-2022]

Apple and Google are pushing privacy changes, but a shift in digital tracking is giving some platforms a bigger advertising advantage. (New York Times)

Inside the Bitcoin Bust That Took Down the Web’s Biggest Child Abuse Site

[Wired, via The Big Picture 4-10-2022]

They thought their payments were untraceable. They couldn’t have been more wrong. The untold story of the case that shredded the myth of Bitcoin’s anonymity.

The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, A Philosophy, A Warning 

[LA Review of Books, via Naked Capitalism 4-10-2022]

Climate and environmental crises

Hydrogen 11 times worse than CO2 for climate, says new report 

[New Atlas, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-2022]

Chile announces unprecedented plan to ration water as drought enters 13th year 

[Guardian, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-2022]

12 best ways to get cars out of cities – ranked by new research

[theconversation, via Naked Capitalism 4-15-2022]

Creating new economic potential – science and technology

Mapping U.S. Wind Energy Generation by State 

[Visual Capitalist, via Naked Capitalism 4-16-2022]

Fermilab Says Newly Measured Particle Is Heavy Enough to Break the Standard Model 

[Quanta Magazine, via The Big Picture 4-13-2022]

A new analysis of W bosons suggests these particles are significantly heavier than predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics.

Lasers from space create unique new map of Earth’s forests

[FreeThink, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-2022]

In 2019, an instrument called ​​the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) began firing three lasers at the Earth from the ISS and recording how long it took each pulse to return to the ISS.

Combined with data from air- and ground-based lidar, researchers have now created a near-global biomass map. This map estimates the amount of vegetation in any given square kilometer, along with how confident the number is.

“Now we have the means to provide an estimate of aboveground biomass with known uncertainty that can be used to support climate reporting and a broad range of applications,” said John Armston, GEDI’s lead for validation and calibration.

Democrats’ political suicide

Oil Mogul Bankrolls Attempt To Buy Democratic Primary

Andrew Perez, April 16, 2022 [The Lever]

A super PAC bankrolled by a fossil fuel magnate is launching last-minute ads to try to crush the congressional candidacy of a leading proponent of a Green New Deal as scientists warn that oil and gas emissions are making the planet unlivable. If successful, the gambit would deliver an intimidating message from the fossil fuel industry to other Democratic candidates pressing the government to address the climate crisis.

One month after Samson Energy mogul Stacy Schusterman poured $2 million into DMFI PAC, the group purchased TV ads starting Monday to boost Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio) in her primary campaign rematch against former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner in a newly redrawn Cleveland congressional district. The primary election date is May 3.

Last year, DMFI PAC spent $1.9 million attacking Turner and promoting Brown, helping the latter win the seat in a special election. The group also spent $1.4 million attacking Sanders during his 2020 campaign.

The Rhodes Scholars Guiding Biden’s Presidency 

[Unlimited Hangout, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-2022]

Every year since its creation in 1902, over 30 talented young American scholars have been rewarded each year with the privilege of an all-expenses-paid brainwashing in the halls of Oxford University, on the dime of the riches left to posterity by the deceased diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes, before being re-deployed back to their home nations.

Rhodes himself was a leading mining magnate who was used by the powerful financiers of London to consolidate mining operations across South Africa, thereby cornering the global diamond market and founding such rapacious institutions as DeBeers. Rhodes used his economic influence to rapidly ascend through the ranks of political office, becoming Prime Minister of Cape Colony, which comprised much of today’s South Africa, from 1890-1896.

During this time, Rhodes oversaw the vast theft of lands from native Africans while also guaranteeing that no blacks would be permitted to play any role in the political process by tripling the wealth requirement for voting.

Rhodes consolidated British imperial control over much of southern Africa by directing the invasion and takeover of the region north of Cape Town (today’s Zambia and Zimbabwe), which later became dubbed Rhodesia.

Democrats Bail On Promise To Shed Light On Corporate Political Spending 

Walker Bragman, April 11, 2022 [The Lever]

Buried in the 2,741 pages of the $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill that President Joe Biden signed last month is a provision that bars the government’s Wall Street watchdog agency from forcing corporations to disclose their political donations.

The stipulation, part of a deal with Republicans to keep the government up and running, means that Democrats are poised to once again break their long-standing promise to shed light on the massive secret corporate spending that now dominates U.S. politics — just as a Biden appointee appeared ready to finally tackle the issue….

Every year since December 2015, federal budget legislation has contained a provision prohibiting the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the federal agency tasked with regulating the securities markets, from developing any new rules pertaining to political spending.

For years, the agency didn’t appear eager to tackle the issue of corporate political spending anyway. President Barack Obama’s SEC chair Mary Jo White, as well as her Trump-appointed successor, Jay Clayton, took minimal action on the matter.

But that seemed to change when Biden nominated Gary Gensler, a Wall Street veteran who served on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama years, for SEC chair.

WATCH NOW: Why Biden Isn’t Really Going After Amazon (video)

David Sirota [The Lever 4-16-2022]

Lobbyist-Led Dark-Money Group Buys Pro-Schrader Ads 

April 15, 2022 [The American Prospect]

Better Jobs Together, which previously ran ads for Henry Cuellar and Kyrsten Sinema, is on the air for Rep. Kurt Schrader in his tightly contested Oregon primary contest against a progressive challenger.

Conservative / Libertarian Drive to Civil War

Oklahoma governor signs bill making nearly all abortions illegal 

[Axios, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-2022]

The Republican Establishment Tried to Overturn the Election, Too. Mike Lee’s Texts Prove It.

Alex Shephard, April 15, 2022 [The New Republic]

Yes, the Utah senator voted to certify Biden’s victory. But texts between him and Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows show just how deep the GOP effort to overturn the election was.

Heaps of money got Disney what it wanted in Florida, until now 

[Los Angeles Times, via The Big Picture 4-10-2022]

The Walt Disney Co. has dominated Florida for so long that the very idea of a backlash from the state’s political leaders has been unimaginable. Yet here we are. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his GOP colleagues in the state legislature are threatening to bring the hammer down on the entertainment behemoth. Why? Because Disney is expressing disapproval of their latest effort to pander to their far-right base, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law aimed at oppressing transgender people.


Israel Announces Successful Tests Of Laser-Based Air-Defense System (Video)

[Southfront, via Mike Norman Economics 4-16-2022]

On April 14, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced that the Iron Beam air-defense system successfully shot down drones, rockets, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles in a first series of tests during March.

The ministry released a video showing the laser-based air-defense system intercepting a rocket, a mortar and a drone at an undisclosed location in the Negev desert in southern Israel.



Open Thread


Standing With the Good Samaritan Against So Many “Christians”


  1. Lex

    All these very significant issues at home that need immediate attention and instead we’re running a proxy war for no other reasons than imperial ambition. What a time to be alive.

  2. bruce wilder

    I see from his quotation why Tony chose to include Jonathan Haidt’s rant against social media published in Mrs Steve Jobs’ The Atlantic, “Why the Past Ten Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid”, but ye gods have mercy!

    Of all the problems that afflict the American political discourse, people being mean on Twitter just does not matter.

    Haidt is cheered that in the struggle between progressives and “moderates” over policy, the moderates can win. He brings up Russia’s Internet Research Agency and the 2016 elections and never mentions the role of the Intelligence Community then and since. The core of the political moderates — his new moderste majority — are the depressed and disinterested.

  3. Beave of Plainfield

    So first the Atlantic article,

    I thought this group thought this type of view was absurd PMC narrative that only served to pretend peoples opinions mattered instead of being manufactured by the ruling class. The only doubt in my mind was if the PMC actually believed the BS they spew to keep their gravy train going.

    As your 40’s run out you have to realize the world is your children’s to inherit if they are lucky but that it will never be yours. The hope you had when the WTO got shut down in Seattle never got to bloom, instead you saw the powerful get to criminalize dissent and take the web away with the Web 2.0 framework. So I hope the world could still become the place it seemed to be headed in 89 before the Tianamman square massacre but instead it seems we are destined to three outcomes:

    1) A world that once again has an economic divide where the failed superpower and Allies are forced to forgive the debts of some nations to compete against an emerging nation + Russia economic block. This seems the best but most unlikely outcome as Russian leadership seems unable to pull this off and Chinese Leadership seems both worse and even more self centered.

    2) A world that is dominated by the US and Europe through the collapse of Russia outright and the corporate takeover of China after Xi runs its society into the ground.

    3) A world where some really bad stuff happens that requires all sides to retrench because of the damage caused. This is the WW 3 is already started scenario where the US and Europe don’t have an exit plan aside from maximum pressure on Russia now and China later. This seems to be most likely yet I can’t quite get my mind around a successful Cyber or EMP attack on the US and NATO not being answered by an even more violent response headed towards MAD. I end up wishing for the 20-50% death biological attack as deniability and the loss in ability to fight is strong with that type of attack. In some ways it already seems the Biological attack has been launched although I can’t tell who it is really going to hit.

    Not sure who I am writing this too but hope someone reads it and has thoughts. Really a more basic question to me is why didn’t the US and Europe just allow the Russians their fair cut of the spoils and move on? The genius of economic extraction rather than military conquest can’t have been lost on the Russians yet they have unleashed violence with the hope of capturing the productive capacity of Ukraine it appears which seems to be a disaster.

  4. anon y'mouse

    the “extremes” are false ones set up by those in power so that most people will gravitate towards the seemingly rational middle.

    if you define the perimeters of the discussion (which our ruling class does, through various means) you limit the debate and thus the “sane” give/take solution you’ve already decided you want.

    for a good example, look at how both sides played to the middle to achieve “living with covid” over two years.

    people who have faith in the “rational” middle are either really dull brained or playing a con on everyone else for advocating for that which they already realize is the desired end-point for those in charge of the status quo.

    i’d love to get into an argument about the “wise founders” setting up a system in which only a few of their number had genuine political and economic power (which they were handing down to their own heirs; surely they knew THAT much!) and then installing a system that required the spreading out of knowledge and economic power throughout society to make it work. let’s not build into the system two totally at cross-purposes incentives towards a sane and just society, oh no! and to limit this to the constantly put forth “republican mindset of limiting one’s self to what is best for society” just leads to a bunch of people thinking they are doing what is best but doing what is best FOR THEMSELVES while paternalizing the rest of us. but i don’t have the erudition nor the energy any longer than it takes to make this potshot comment.

  5. bruce wilder

    The Hidden Tribes polling “study” done by Haidt’s “pro-democracy” group, More in Common, is pretty much exactly the kind of insipid taxonomy of human ambivalence expressed as political attitudes that a’non’mouse seems to have in mind. And done by PMC’ers of Baeve’s worst nightmare.

  6. different clue

    There was an Articles of Confederation United States before there was a Constitutional Republic United States. One of the major gripes the rich Constitutional Republic Founders had about the Articles of Confederation United States was too much democracy and a real danger of widespread Agrarian Reform.

    The Constitutional Convention was their chance to short circuit all that. There should be more study and widespread spreading of information about the Articles of Confederation period.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén