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

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – January 16, 2022

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – January 16, 2022
by Tony Wikrent

Strategic Political Economy

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 1-10-2022]


Heather Cox Richardson, January 14, 2022 [Letters from an American]

Yesterday, by a vote of 6 to 3, the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s requirement that businesses with more than 100 employees address the coronavirus pandemic by making employees either get vaccines or, if they choose not to be vaccinated, to test weekly and wear a mask at work….

In his opinion, Gorsuch explicitly raised the concept of the “nondelegation doctrine” and the related concept of the “major questions doctrine.” The nondelegation doctrine relies on our government’s separation of powers. It says that, as its own branch of government, Congress cannot delegate regulatory authority to the executive branch, where agencies like OSHA live.

But, since Congress has, in fact, been delegating authority to the executive branch since the administration of President George Washington, those who want to reduce federal authority sometimes rely instead on the more limited major questions doctrine, which says that although Congress can delegate minor authority to administrative agencies, it cannot delegate major questions (although just how to define a major question is unclear).

A recent study by University of Southern California professor of public policy Dr. Pamela Clouser McCann and University of Michigan professor of social science Dr. Charles R. Shipan, both experts on intergovernmental delegation, found that 99% of today’s federal laws involve delegation. Unwinding them and requiring Congress to make all its own regulatory decisions would paralyze the modern government.

Those who support the idea of nondelegation argue that it guarantees government by the people rather than by an unelected bureaucracy, and this is a worthy thought. But unfortunately, it depends on the goodwill of those elected to state legislatures, and because those lawmakers also get to decide who votes in their states, that goodwill can be thin on the ground.

At heart, this is the same states’ rights argument that the U.S. has grappled with since the 1830s. Since that time, while some state legislatures have used their power to reflect the will of the people, others have limited the vote, putting a small group of people into power. Once in power, they have used the state government to promote their own interests. States’ rights advocates have consistently said that any federal interference with a state’s unfair laws is tyranny…

Since the 1930s, though, lawmakers have used the federal government to combat unfair state laws. They have regulated businesses when state lawmakers wouldn’t, protected civil rights from discriminatory state laws, and, ultimately, guaranteed the right to vote in states that kept their citizens from the polls, with the expectation that if everyone could vote, they would, indeed, create state governments that reflected the will of the majority..

TW: “lawmakers have used the federal government to combat unfair state laws.” In other words, guarantee to each state a [civic] republican form of government.


The Republicans’ Death Panel Finally Emerges! The Supreme Court’s Republican Six rule that the government lacks the power to fight a pandemic.

Harold Meyerson, January 13, 2022 [The American Prospect]

For a bunch of jurists who claim to adhere to textualism, the six Court right-wingers gave no indication that they’d actually read the act that established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was signed into law by left-winger Richard Nixon. That law gives OSHA the authority to protect workers “exposed to grave danger” from “substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards.”


The Supreme Court can’t get its story straight on vaccines — The Court is barely even pretending to be engaged in legal reasoning.

Ian Millhiser,  January 15, 2022 [Vox]

The Court is fabricating legal doctrines that appear in neither statute nor Constitution.


There Is a Bully Pulpit; And thanks to the Supreme Court, Biden will need to use it.

David Dayen, January 12, 2022 [The American Prospect]

A far more frightening concurring opinion from Justices Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito also stresses this sentence, which is actually copied over from the Court’s opinion tossing out the CDC’s eviction moratorium. They call it the “major questions” doctrine, and if fully applied it would drive a stake through the heart of the administrative state.

The major questions doctrine turns unelected judges into deciders of whether government can operate in the public interest. Who decides what is a power of “vast economic and political significance”? The judges, of course. And who decides whether Congress spoke “clearly” when delegating those powers to executive branch agencies? The same judges.

For Congress to have known when writing the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that a viral pandemic would make workplaces treacherous 50 years later would require time travel. There was no way for lawmakers to “clearly” state that they meant novel coronaviruses when they established OSHA to protect employees from “toxic substances” and “new hazards.” Congress writes statutes broadly to cover future scenarios because they must allow them to fit changing circumstances. As Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern explain, this invented doctrine that Congress must be explicit on “major” questions is an excuse to invalidate whatever interpretation of statute the conservative majority on the Court doesn’t like.


One of America’s most partisan judges just gave Navy SEALs permission to defy a direct order

Ian Millhiser,  January 4, 2022 [Vox, via The Big Picture 1-11-2022]

The disturbing implications of a GOP judge’s ruling against the military’s vaccination requirement, explained.


The stakes in the Supreme Court’s vaccine cases are even bigger than they seem 

[Vox, via The Big Picture 1-11-2022]

The Court doesn’t just threaten the public health, it threatens democracy itself.


Why global leaders are terrified about ‘social cohesion erosion’ 

[Fast Company, via Naked Capitalism 1-13-2022]

TW: If so, they should stop doing this crap:

KPMG auditors forged documents to avoid criticism, tribunal heard FT and Economic Consequences of Auditor Reputation Loss: Evidence from the Audit Inspection Scandal SSRN. [via Naked Capitalism 1-16-2022]

From the Abstract: “Our results suggest, despite the serious ethical violations the scandal exposed, there were few market and competitive consequences for KPMG and its clients.” Study from 2020, still germane.


Rwandan genocide chemically modified the DNA of victims and victims’ offspring 

[ScienceBlog, via Naked Capitalism 1-15-2022]

TW: Every few months, another report comes out of scientific research showing how immiseration, violence, and the stress they produce have definitive impacts on the biomolecular level. We need to begin combining this new knowledge with our philosophies of desirable governance, economics, cultures and societies. Regarding culture, I’d like to see more study of the deleterious effects of ugly architecture and bad urban design. 


Why Inflation is a BOGEYMAN Used to Attack the Left

[Bad faith podcast, via YouTube 1-6-2022]


The epidemic and its strategic impact on political economy

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 1-15-2022]


Biden deploying military medical staff to help overwhelmed hospitals

Oriana Gonzalez [Axios, via Mike Norman Economics 1-13-2022]


Mass Democratic Legitimacy Loss From Mass Disabling
Ian Welsh, January 11, 2022

The figures I have seen for Long Covid start at about 10%. You can have Long Covid without knowing it: there can be organ damage, including brain damage, without it having symptoms, but that damage will affect your future health and lifespan….

Letting Covid run wild through the world was a choice. We made it. A few societies didn’t.

Ironically (or not?) the Chinese Communist Party decided to not let their population die in droves and get long term health problems (the number for China would be 112 million at the conservative end.) Most western “democracies” chose to have mass deaths and long Covid.

This isn’t just about the horrid consequences of our choice to let Covid rage and mutate, this is also a mass legitimacy loss event for the West and for Democracy, though a very few democracies have proved non-psychopathic.

If “freedumb” means governments that let you die or get Long Covid, is it “freedumb” worth having? If being ruled by “commies” means that you live and stay healthy and so do your parents, grandparents and kids, is “Communism with Chinese characteristics” so bad?


Calling My Shot On Letting Omicron Rip

Ian Welsh, January 13, 2022

In a few years, we’re going to read a lot of op-eds and articles about how it was a mistake and “no one could have known.”

Like with the Iraq War, or the housing bubble, Afghanistan, Climate Change and everything else of importance, there are always people who got it right and those people are generally the people who got other things right that those in the bubble don’t.

When you’re in the bubble, which includes the media, the most important thing is to not leave the pack. If you get something wrong, but almost everyone inside is wrong, you’re good. If you get it right, against the pack, your career can end and if it doesn’t it will be set back. (This is what happened to most public figures who warned on Iraq.)

Omicron is going to produce a huge wave of disabling, and a slew of downstream deaths.  Children will get chronic damage from it which will last for years and in some cases for their entire lives. So will adults….

For the rest of my life I will support bringing back the death penalty for any politicians and bureaucrats who supported sending children back to school during the Omicron surge. Hang them from the neck, every one and throw in business-people who forced workers with Covid to come in to work as well.

Meanwhile New York has decided not to prosecute ex-Governor Cuomo for deliberately sending Covid infected people to old-folks homes, thus killing huge numbers of old people, and then lying about them….

…this is odds-on a catastrophe unfolding as we watch, and those who do it either know it or should know it.


A year in, how has Biden done on pandemic response?

[Justin Feldman, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-11-2021]

Lambert Strether: “it’s worth repeating this passage:”

There has been a failure of various social institutions — the media, the political left, scientists, and unions, to pressure the Biden administration into a course of action that would better prevent mass death. In some other countries, scientists banded together to form organizations like the UK’s Independent SAGE that counters government policy with its own, more precautionary policy recommendations. This has not happened in any substantial way in the US, where scientists have made statements only as individuals or in informal, ad-hoc groups. To the extent they have weighed in, American unions have been narrow in their demands for the pandemic response and have not called major strikes over it. Progressive members of the Democratic Party have not put pressure on Biden over pandemic measures except in narrow ways, such as Bernie Sanders calling for an extension to unemployment programs or Cori Bush demanding the Biden administration fight for an extension of the eviction moratorium. Leftist groups like the Democratic Socialists of America have not developed a pandemic response platform, and to the extent they have politicized the pandemic, it has been to talk about long-standing policy goals like Medicare For All.

Instead, the loudest voices in civil society have largely supported Biden’s approach to the pandemic or pushed him to reject non-pharmaceutical interventions more fervently. This select group of media pundits, public health scientists, and economists has been in direct dialogue with White House officials. The administration has cited their opinion pieces in speeches, coordinated messaging on regular phone calls, and promoted these views on social media (one need only look at the Twitter timelines of Ron Klain, or communication staffers like Ian Sams or Ben Wakana).


Hospitals Are in Serious Trouble

[The Atlantic, via DailyPoster 1-9-2022]

“Here, then, is the most important difference about this surge: It comes on the back of all the prior ones. COVID’s burden is additive. It isn’t reflected just in the number of occupied hospital beds, but also in the faltering resolve and thinning ranks of the people who attend those beds. ‘This just feels like one wave too many,’ [emergency physician Megan] Ranney said. The health-care system will continue to pay these costs long after COVID hospitalizations fall. Health-care workers will know, but most other people will be oblivious — until they need medical care and can’t get it.”


The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

Corporations Are Consolidating Water And Land Rights In The West

[The Counter, via DailyPoster 1-9-2022]

“As Western lands are consolidated, so too are the rights to use the water that flows under and over those lands. As the Pacific Northwest gets warmer and drier, water is becoming a hot commodity that’s attracting investors — whether it’s the Latter-day Saints, large agricultural interests or New York investors. And while state laws across the region regulate how, when and why water rights are sold, some worry it won’t be enough to hold back the tide.”


Ivy League Cartel Sued for Price-Fixing

Matt Stoller [BIG, via Naked Capitalism 1-11-2022]



[Public Citizen, The Daily Poster 1-12-2022]

Over 100 members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the nation’s largest business lobby — violated the law nearly 16,000 times and paid a whopping $154 billion in penalties since 2000, according to a new analysis from consumer watchdog group Public Citizen. The report, which looks at data from the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First’s Violation Tracker, found that megabanks JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo account for more than half of the total owed in penalties. Johnson & Johnson, Occidental Petroleum, and Facebook were also among the companies that paid sizable penalties for misdeeds from state and federal authorities.

TW: Hmmm, sounds like a whole bunch of RICO cases to me.


Fed’s Bostic: $1.5T of “excess liquidity!” could be “pulled!”

[Mike Norman Economics 1-11-2022]

Mike Norman: See that “$1.5T” is the EXACT AMOUNT of current RRP… supports my hypothesis that they want to (maybe have to?) reduce system reserve balances currently in the RRP account as much as possible before they can increase the policy rate in earnest….

Possible: they do the +0.25% in March to maintain precedent as they usually move the rate first….  THEN immediately turn all of their Fed bibble babble rhetoric to “quantitative tightening!” of $1.5T of “unprinting money!”… to “pull out the liquidity!”…  to get the dummy monetarist inflationista psychos to finally STFU in the middle of a viral pandemic…
Then once the RRP balance goes to zero, it’s no longer a threat to catastrophic transfer to Depository asset accounts and they can get back to rate policy if needed… which if “inflation!” turns out transitory due to then waning real pandemic issues they won’t have to do much with rates…

Pandemic Inflation: A Guide for Progressives

Andrés Bernal, Research Fellow at the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity [Down With Tyranny, via Mike Norman Economics 1-10-2022]

A few weeks ago, I published a Working Paper to develop an alternative understanding and analysis of recent inflation pressures through the lens of Modern Monetary Theory. In it, I argue that conventional explanations of inflation remain ideologically compromised and constricted to an outdated social theory and framing. Consequently, public policy responses to recent price increases such as interest rate hikes and deficit reduction are antiquated, blunt-force tools that cause immense societal harm and simply don’t work. TL;DR the paper shows why Larry Summers and the gang are all wrong….

“What Is the Point of Economics?”

Matt Stoller [BIG, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-10-2021]

“[T]his brings me to the point of economics, which has taken me a long time to understand. There are many economists who focus on trying to uncover important truths about the world, and there are many economists who seek to serve concentrated capital. There are smart ones, and dumb ones. But truth or falsehood, or empirical rigor, is besides the point. The point of economics as a discipline is to create a language and methodology for governing that hides political assumptions from the public. Truly successful economists, like Summers, spend their time winning bureaucratic turf wars and placing checks on elected officials.” • Certainly true of mainstream macro. Not, in my view, true of MMT. Or other more…. heterodox forms of economics.


Think Big to Overcome Losing Big to Corporatism 

Ralph Nader [Counterpunch, via Naked Capitalism 1-11-2022]


“The Double Bind Of Maintaining The Schismogenesis: A Theory Of Wokeness”

[Down with Tyranny, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-10-2021]

“The U.S. during the 1960’s suffered an eruption of domestic rebellion, ranging from the civil rights movement and the feminist revolution to organized labor and the anti-war movement. Strangely enough, most of the leaders in these movements were assassinated (RFK, MLK, Malcolm X) or died under mysterious circumstances (Walter Reuther). Was it enough for the ruling elite that the leaders of these movements were dead (neutralized)? I contend that it was not and that the elites embarked on an additional strategy: capture of the movements to 1) prevent a resurgence of rebellion against the ruling elites and 2) prevent cross alliances between the various rebel factions, a reason theorized by some to explain the death of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, who was trying to unite the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, and the organized labor movement at the time of his death. From feminism, where a movement leader (Gloria Steinem) has been revealed to have worked for the CIA, to civil rights, where Black Lives Matters is subsidized by the Ford Foundation to the tune of $100 million, to organized labor, where the AFL-CIO provided assistance to various U.S. government regime change efforts, these movements are infested with corporate and state actors. Meanwhile, concrete measures of material progress, such as increased wages for the working class, universal healthcare, and support for organized labor remain curiously out of reach. There is a name for this highly effective signal jamming by government and corporate elites: maintaining the schismogenesis. Schismogenesis means the beginning of the breakdown of a relationship or a system…. The elite project of maintaining the schismogenesis has been effective for generations and was put into overdrive by the wokeness campaign. Now, with the need for national solidarity to address existential threats to the nation, set against the rise of the populist Right, are U.S. elites capable of retiring wokeness as a weapon, surrendering some material power to the non-elites, and therefore saving themselves and everyone else from the fallout of national collapse?”


Predatory Finance

$2.7 Billion in Credit Default Swaps Blew Up One Day Before the Fed Launched Its Repo Loan Bailouts in 2019

Pam Martens and Russ Martens, January 13, 2022 [Wall Street on Parade]

On September 16, 2019, exactly one day before the Federal Reserve would embark on its first emergency repo loan operations since the financial crisis of 2008, $2.7 billion in credit default swaps (CDS) on a single name blew up. The dealers in those credit default swaps were the very same trading houses on Wall Street that sought, and received, tens of billions of dollars in repo loans from the Fed in an operation that grew to a cumulative $11.23 trillion before its conclusion on July 2, 2020. (In just the last quarter of 2019, the Fed pumped a cumulative $4.5 trillion in repo loans into Wall Street’s trading houses, according to the transaction data it released on December 30 of last year. That was before even one case of COVID-19 had been reported in the U.S.)


Economist Michael Hudson Says the Fed “Broke the Law” with its Repo Loans to Wall Street Trading Houses

Pam Martens and Russ Martens, January 14, 2022 [Wall Street on Parade]


Libor, Long the Most Important Number in Finance, Dies at 52 

[New York Times, via The Big Picture 1-13-2022]


Restoring balance to the economy

YOU LOVE TO SEE IT: Essential Workers Rise Up

[The Daily Poster, January 15, 2022]

Essential Worker Militancy: The workers keeping the country running are demanding much-needed change. In Chicago, teachers walked out over eminently reasonable demands regarding school safety. They reached a deal with the mayor to end the walkout, but on Friday, Chicago students walked out to demand better safety protocols. And in Colorado, thousands of Kroger’s workers went on strike over stalled contract negotiations, as a new report found that as many as 14 percent of Kroger’s workers have been homeless in the past year. National Nurses United, meanwhile, organized strikes across the country this week to demand investments in hospitals and better public health leadership from Biden. Nurses in Massachusetts just won better wages and safe staffing after a 10-month strike. And the Starbucks organizing wave continues across the country, including in Seattle, where the company was founded. You can support these efforts: Municipal workers in Portland are preparing to strike, and are asking for donations to their strike fund.


“The Dawn of Antitrust and the Egalitarian Roots of the Sherman Act”

[Pro Market, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-11-2021]

“The conventional interpretation of American antitrust law’s origins has under-emphasized their pro-democratic and egalitarian tenor. This has come to pass, in part, by reading them through the analytical prism of the self-coordinating market—a theoretical construct that tends to naturalize some legal and social allocations of economic coordination rights, while casting others as deviant. While I do not claim that antitrust’s legal and political origins were homogenous, the legislative history of the first and foundational federal antitrust statute, the Sherman Act, indicates a legal purpose whose primary target was the concentration of economic coordination rights—as embodied, for instance, in the late nineteenth-century business trusts, which left the coordination of markets “to a few men sitting at their council board,” as Senator Sherman put it at one point—rather than economic coordination as such. While the self-coordinating market ideal can obscure this fact, the legislative history does not indicate disfavor of other, more democratic forms of economic coordination—for instance, coordination between farmers, small producers, and workers. The legislation was essentially aimed at dispersing economic coordination rights, a conclusion reinforced by earlier precedents.”


Creating new economic potential – science and technology

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 1-15-2022]


Gene That Increases Risk of Dying From Covid Now Identified 

[NDTV, via Naked Capitalism 1-15-2022]


China’s first privately-funded high-speed line opens

[International Railway Journal, January 12, 2022]

THE first Chinese high-speed line funded by a private-public partnership (PPP) opened on January 8 between Hangzhou, Shaoxing and Taizhou.

The 266.9km, 350km/h line runs from Hangzhou, the capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, to Taizhou, via Shaoxing. There are nine stations on the line, which cost Yuan 44.90bn ($US 6.35bn) to construct. The new railway connects with the Shanghai – Kunming, Shanghai – Hangzhou, Ningbo – Hangzhou, Hangzhou – Huangshan and Hangzhou – Shenzhen high-speed lines. Journey times will be reduced between Hangzhou and Taizhou from two hours to one. Construction began in 2016 and was completed in June 2021.

TW: And in USA — nothing.


Electric cars aren’t just vehicles. They’re big batteries.

[Recode, via The Big Picture 1-10-2022]

To get more Americans in electric vehicles, we all need to realize they can do much more than just get us around.


The dark side

The Conservative Plot Against Green Investment 

[The New Republic, via DailyPoster 1-9-2022]

“Last month, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force voted unanimously to back the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act at its States and Nation Policy Summit in San Diego… While language differs state by state, the bills direct state comptrollers to ‘sell, redeem, divest, or withdraw all publicly traded securities’ of financial institutions that are found to ‘boycott energy companies,’ per the model measure. Comptrollers are instructed to maintain a list of such companies, after reaching out to clarify if they are indeed boycotting energy companies. If they are, state officials are required to divest.”


“Family Capitalism and the Small Business Insurrection”

[Dissent, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-13-2022]

“At this point we need to ask whether the growing militancy of the Republican right can be adequately explained by the triumph of small over big business, as Tea Partiers and Trump himself would have us believe. Even the most sophisticated commentators have taken the Tea Party at its word on this matter. But as Trump’s example reminds us, what is at stake here is less an alliance of the small against the big than it is an insurrection of one form of capitalism against another: the private, unincorporated, and family-based versus the corporate, publicly traded, and shareholder-owned. If most family enterprise was confined to the small business sector in the 1980s—when public corporations accounted for the bulk of big business—this shorthand does not apply today, as more large companies go private and dynastic wealth surges to the forefront of the American economy. The historian Steve Fraser has noted that the “resurgence of what might be called dynastic or family capitalism, as opposed to the more impersonal managerial capitalism many of us grew up with, is changing the nation’s political chemistry.” The family-based capitalism that stormed the White House along with Trump stretches from the smallest of family businesses to the most rambling of dynasties, and crucially depends on the alliance between the two. Without its network of subcontracted family businesses, the dynastic enterprise would collapse as a political and economic force. Meanwhile the many small business owners that gravitate toward Trump are convinced that their own fortunes rise and fall along with his.”

Lambert Strether: “Extremely important and well worth a read. Best context I’ve seen for 1/6.”


Anatomy of a death threat 

[Reuters, via The Big Picture 1-9-2021]

Trump supporters have waged a campaign of intimidation against the state and local officials who administer U.S. elections. This visual analysis explores hundreds of menacing messages – and explains why they’re difficult to counter.


Here’s where election-denying candidates are running to control voting

[NPR, via The Big Picture 1-9-2021]

An NPR analysis of 2022 secretary of state races across the country found at least 15 Republican candidates running who question the legitimacy of President Biden’s 2020 win, even though no evidence of widespread fraud has been uncovered about the race over the last 14 months. In fact, claims of any sort of fraud that swung the election have been explicitly refuted in state after state, including those run by Republican


“A Democrat won a US House seat this week with 79 percent of the vote. Her GOP opponent has not conceded.

[Boston Globe, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-14-2022]

“An election in South Florida this week may serve as a marker for where the Republican Party stands in 2022, and how much American democracy has already changed since Donald Trump lost reelection….. The Democratic winner, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, is interesting. She is a progressive who spent her own money to win and backs the concept of universal basic income. She also becomes the first Haitian-American woman in Congress to represent Florida. She won 79 percent of the vote over Republican Jason Mariner… [Mariner] said he will file a lawsuit. Election officials say it takes 14 days to certify the results. Mariner, then, has 10 days to challenge them. While few would suggest that Mariner will be in Congress in this year his refusal to concede and decision to file a lawsuit raises an interesting question about the boundaries of American democracy. What if a partisan judge rules, without facts, in favor of a soundly defeated candidate for office? If that seems implausible, then what about for closer elections? These questions are some of the reasons why elections for Secretary of State, the official that typically administers elections in states, are among the most high-profile of the mid-term election year.”


The Anti-Abortion Crusade For The Filibuster

Andrew Perez [The Daily Poster, January 13, 2022]


The Threat Posed By Domestic Extremists Is Even Greater A Year After The Capitol Attack 

[Buzzfeed, via The Big Picture 1-0-2022]

Far-right domestic extremists like those who attacked the US Capitol a year ago have faced criminal charges from law enforcement and crackdowns from social media companies. But they have not gone away. On the contrary, they have evolved and adopted new strategies while regrouping, recruiting, and muscling their way into the mainstream with worrying success, experts say. And their ranks are growing.

Thomas Neuburger [God’ Spies, via Mike Norman Economics 1-14-2022]
…As Joe Biden correctly said: “If you think you need weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.” Neither the rebellious left nor the rebellious right has any of that.

The reasons why the actual civil war — which has already started — has a different shape are explained below. The main reason is that it’s so badly led by the left, thanks to the status quo–protecting efforts of the Democratic Party and its professional leaders. Absent leadership by the institutional left, it’s being (mis)led by the institutional right, but not just them….

As I said above, this war has already started. The first signs were political — Obama’s duplicitous ‘Yes we can’, which immediately became ‘No I won’t’; the Sanders-led rebellion of 2016; the Sanders-abandoned rebellion of 2020; and yes, the mess on Jan 6, which was a great many things, a manifestation of this being one of them.

We’ve been pre-revolutionary for a very long while. We’re watching the “pre” part slowly disappear.

The rolling civil war that’s brewing in this country is a messy, badly led, ideologically mixed affair, with many elements, suspect and expected alike, rebelling against all of the ways that Big Money screws most people, which is almost all of the country.

Most of the professional class, that group in the top 10% but below the top 1%, is exempt from these impulses. They still have happy lives, and the world still looks to them as it looked to their mothers and grandmothers in 1955…. Professional Democrats will kill the resistant Left — as they’ve regularly done — rather than surrender their power, their personal share of Establishment wealth and place….

As evil as the Republicans are, this is the professional Democrats’ fault. If they weren’t so determined to make sure the left never leads today’s revolt, we’d be in better shape.

But professional Democrats have ceded leadership of the anti-wealth rebellion to the Right, which leads it duplicitously. As we stand today:

• Democrats are the party of what people are revolting against (the status quo). Biden has made explicit the duplicitous broken promise of Obama.

• Republicans are the party of lies and false solutions.

• No one represents the interests of the revolt itself, or the needs of the people engaged in it.



Open Thread


China’s Economic Plans Amount to Preparation for Cold War


  1. different clue

    ” A recent study by University of Southern California professor of public policy Dr. Pamela Clouser McCann and University of Michigan professor of social science Dr. Charles R. Shipan, both experts on intergovernmental delegation, found that 99% of today’s federal laws involve delegation. Unwinding them and requiring Congress to make all its own regulatory decisions would paralyze the modern government. ”

    And that is exactly the point and the goal of the fake so-called ” non-delegation doctrine”. To paralyze the modern government. That way, businesses and rich people could beCOME the government. Pure fascisto-privatism without any need for any government involvement at all.

  2. DMC

    …As Joe Biden correctly said: “If you think you need weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”

    And how many F-15’s and nukes did the Taliban have? How many did al-Quaida have? How many did ISIS and its many franchisees have? The answer, of course, is none at all. So, if an insurgency in the US develops, I expect the very high tech US military to fare about as well as they did facing very low tech foreign insurgencies. And for that matter, how much of the military will defect to the “Rebel” cause? And that the US has a very high number of firearms in civilian hands. And the large number of veterans in the civilian population. Biden’s assertion only makes any sense if the insurgents were determined to fight regular “stand-up” fights, rather than irregular warfare that allows for big force multipliers, like being able to blend in with the general population, which is absurd on the face of it.

  3. bruce wilder

    Looking back from current CDC guidance on isolation after exposure to COVID — basically, you don’t need to isolate or test or anything but simply go forth and multiply infections — it becomes patently obvious that Biden policy from the beginning has not been to do anything practical to contain (or better prepare for) the pandemic (waves), it has all been an opportunity to bait the deplorables.

    Biden will say he wants to “unite” us and then turns around to denigrate and provoke.

    I do not think the vaccine mandate makes much sense at all, except as a gambit in provocation, a way to promote divisive feeling and rhetoric, as much from the libs as from the anti-vaxxers and libertarians. The now infamous Jimmy Kimmel “Anti-Vax Barbie” parody is just a horror show, but seems to be exactly a result that the policy has sought when put aside that other prime objective: being struck down by a conservative Supreme Court majority.

    We are being herded — no, stampeded — toward a meaningless, issue-less “civil war” — that is how frightened the the ruling classes are of the possibility that the 90% might unite against a de-legitimated 9.9% class of MBA bosses and professional “experts” who aren’t.

  4. different clue

    @Bruce Wilder,

    I believe you are mistaken about the purpose of the authorities’s “spread covid everywhere” actions and advice.

    I believe the purpose is to get everyone infected as many times as possible without making it look like that is the purpose. I believe the purpose is to shorten the lifespan of several tens of millions of Americans of all political persuasions in order to degrade their long-term health just enough that they will die at or shortly before the age of Social Security and Medicare. And just slowly enough that the public doesn’t quite catch on that this was all deliberately Jackpot Design Engineered.

    Any baiting the Deplorables in the meantime is just gravy. And a “civil war” would increase and speed up the casualty count. So yes, there is that. But the main purpose is to get everyone infected as many times as possible

  5. Trinity

    “Over 100 members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the nation’s largest business lobby — violated the law nearly 16,000 times and paid a whopping $154 billion in penalties since 2000”

    So, spread out over 22 years, they paid huge penalties for misbehavior, while raking in many, many more billions over the same 22 years. Who cares? They certainly don’t, because as time passed, their ability to pay fines and break the law increased. What’s needed are tumbrils.

    And this push for EVs is also ludicrous, and just as self serving to the elites as all the other misinformation we receive. While the movie Don’t Look Up used smartphones and the fiction of “because jobs” to exploit the asteroidimminent disaster, EVs (and all individual vehicles in general) are also environmental disasters, electric or not.

    What’s needed is public transportation. The article on China’s expansion of its network focused on “travel time saved” but there’s much more saved than that. It’s a pretty simple calculation: if a rail car and an automobile cost exactly the same (in money, or environmental cost, or any cost) one is moving 20 people from point to point, and the other is moving (usually) one or two. Any cost is spread out over more people (or products, or anything) and more importantly, over time as well, which (for the elite) is the problem. They require things that require repeated, granular costs over time. We had electric cars in the early 1900s. It’s no secret that gasoline (an unwanted and dangerous byproduct of oil refinement) was specifically recruited for the “happy motoring” era. Adding lead to gasoline was a brilliant psychopathic move to increase profits even more.

    The real news in that article is that the new rail line was completed in about five years. Here, we can’t build anything in less than ten years (usually more), while the result is usually less than worthwhile and the budget (cost to the public) is extremely bloated. I don’t know the statistics, but some projects that took many years and cost many dollars are then abandoned. Musk has this process down to a science. Doesn’t matter to the owners, because the money that was spent went to the “right” people.

    All these activities (EVs, activities that provoke fines, etc.) are all the same, where the main goal is always to redistribute money to the “right” people. The penalties paid by the few are small, the penalties the rest of us pay are huge and continue to increase.

    Yesterday, we had a little snowstorm (about an inch or so). Later the same evening, we had another of these major downpours where the rain fall was almost as loud as thunder, except it was continuous. As I understand it, the same storm wreaked havoc all up and down the eastern seaboard.

  6. John

    And that storm would have come on top of 90 miles of stranded electric vehicles from the previous storm. If we were at the all electric stage yet.
    Our mass trans system is heavily subsidized private autos. If we subsidized trains at the same level as autos, we would have s great mass trans system. Those freeways and gas don’t happen without a lot of gubmint money.

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