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

“Will The System Work” & Open Thread

In this excerpt I answer a question about what happens if Trump disputes a marginal Biden victory. This may seem ludicrous, but remember that something like this happened in 2000, just not with an incumbent.

Again, I redirect to what you personally can do.

Feel free to use comments as an open thread as well.

Everything I write here is free, but rent isn’t, so if you value my writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


The Hunter Biden Documents Lead To Greenwald’s Resignation From the Intercept


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – November 1, 2020


  1. Zachary Smith

    I clicked out of the audio when somebody said “most Americans are going to sit on their ass and watch CNN”.

    Now to share a prediction I’ve been giving to family: it’s not in the interests of the Power Elites for this election to be “close”, and it won’t be. I may have to eat crow next Wednesday, but that’s how it looks from here. Still an opinion, but I believe those Power Elites will make certain it won’t be close. They certainly have the ability to arrange this type of outcome.

    Trump’s crazies are real, and there are a lot of them. Speaking yesterday to a dear older relative who lives in the South, I was told Trump has done a fine job with Covid, that he is not corrupt, and never lies. This person learned all that from a Fox TV station – the only one trusted in that home.

    These people exist by the millions, but there are not enough of them to matter in 2020.

  2. I think a bigger question is, what happens if Biden disputes a narrow Trump victory? What does BLM do? What does Antifa do? How many “mostly peaceful protests” will there be?

  3. Chiron

    I met a former military officer and GOP voter that believed the 2000 election was stolen so US would have a Republican administration when 9/11 and the subsequent wars happened, “the military would trust more a GOP administration in case of war” he said.

    One day I hope there will be a reckoning with American power elites, we know who they are and what country is their favorite and isn’t America.

  4. different clue

    @Zachary Smith,

    I heard that same statement about how most of us Americans are going to sit on our ass and watch CNN ( or Fox News — to be fair to the quote). But I kept listening to the end anyway.

    So two things, not related to eachother.

    Thing One: It can be unpleasant listening to our foreign friends mock us and look down on us the way they do. Oh well . . . pigeons poo on statues too. Sucks to be a statue, I guess. I do note the internal illogic of on the one hand noting that America has no functioning democracy at the national level and there is precisely zero the average American can do about any of this election stuff now anymore . . . . and then turning around and saying “sit on our ass and watch CNN ( or Fox News – – to be fair to the quote) . . . like its a BAD thing.

    Thing Two: Ian Welsh notes that our ( me’uns . . . your’uns) primary energy and attention should be going into personal and then family resiliency and robustitude in the face of coming shocks and declines and breakages. And then community and/or even inter-community resiliency and robustitude if we can do that too. In the semi-recent past, that was called “Survivalism”.

    Survivalism is not the same as Prepperism. Kurt Saxon who coined the word “survivalism” to begin with, wrote against the equivalent of preppers in his own day. He called that little essay The Idiocy Of Space Capsule Survivalism.
    In our own day we could say that “prepperism” is French for “space capsule survivalism”.

    If you can up-survivalise yourself without down-survivalising anyone around you or downwind from you or downstream from you, then your survivalising will be more stable and perhaps more “permitted” than if your survivalising reduces someone else’s survivalising. If that someone else notices how your zero-sum survivalising de-survivalizes himself or his position, he will find some way to destroy your zero-sum survivalism preparations. So we should focus on non-harmful-to-others methods of increasing our survival capacity.

    ( With the exception of the UpperClass and the OverClass. Anyone who can partway defect from UpperClass/OverClass domination econ0mics will be seen by them as a threat to be liquidated. When THEYYYYY are the ones who deSERRRRVE to be liquidated. But be very careful to not look as if you can somehow help that process along. Our survivalising and economic defectionism should be under the radar as much as possible, and kept as low profile as the road shoulder.)

    And so with regard to Thing Two, one hopes that Ian Welsh will not mind people bringing genuinely valuable and useful information and resources about successful survivalising to relevant threads.

    Perhaps to the Open Threads. Perhaps to the Wikrent Weekly Roundup.

  5. Plague Species

    I know one thing, #BLM “protests” will play directly into Trump’s hand. He will now have a mandate to commit any and all manner of atrocities. He will know he is free to do anything he wants at any time. All the cajoling to get out and vote and when people do, it still doesn’t matter. So much for getting out to vote. What’s the point of “protests” at that point that is fast approaching. To whom are the “protesters” appealing? To Trump? To the Dems who f*cked them yet again? To the Trump supporters such as Jack Nicklaus? Protests accomplish nothing and actually play into the hands of those to whom the protests are aimed.

  6. KT Chong

    Has anyone been paying to the stock market for the past two weeks? The stock market has been IMPLODING this week.

    Monday 📉 😨
    Tuesday 📉 😮
    Wednesday 📉 😲
    Thursday 📉 😱
    Friday 📉 😭

    Stock Market Crash IS WORSE! ELECTION 2020 + STOCKS = BAD:

    Stock Market Collapses As Trump Virus Handling Is Trash:

    Why Trump Isn’t Talking About The Stock Market Anymore:

    BREAKING: Stock Market PLUNGES | What Happened?

    Why the Stock Market is Falling | Market Crisis:

  7. KT Chong

    Hold on a sec… I am not invested in the stock market! 😅 So this stock market meltdown is JIT for the election day. 👍

    Putting these songs on my playlist as I listen and dance away as the stock market is going “down, down, down!” 🕺 💃

    Dr Phunk – Down Down Down:

    Marian Hill – Down:

    Jay Sean – Down ft. Lil Wayne:

    KALEO – Way Down We Go:

  8. Ché Pasa

    Questions for the panel:

    How has your life/lifestyle changed since the advent of the pandemic?

    Will pandemic response policies be substantially better under a Biden regime or no?


  9. Cael

    Ian, to what extent would your advice about preparation/self preservation be applicable at this point to those north of the border?

  10. Zachary Smith

    If I found this at Naked Capitalism, it’ll likely be in tomorrow’s links. Still, this story was such a shocker to me I want to make sure it gets plenty of attention.

    “The So-Called ‘Kidnapping Club’ Featured Cops Selling Free Black New Yorkers Into Slavery”

    Nothing I’d read about that era had prepared me for learning kidnapping was one of the worst fears of northern “free” Black citizens. It’s going to be hard to study this one, for I’m finding books on the subject have astronomical prices.

  11. Zachary Smith

    Just a nice story:

    “Why the U.S. Navy Manages a Forest”

  12. Zachary Smith

    For the science orientated:

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Physics Today is providing complimentary access to its entire 72-year archive to readers who register.

  13. Hugh

    The system will work. It has always worked –just not for us. The system is what gave us our current choice. I think the system is tired of Trump and has gotten as much as it can from him. So it is open to changing him. For them, they don’t need or want an FDR. A ham sandwich will do just fine, thanks.

  14. KT Chong

    In 2016 the system did not want Trump to win as well.

  15. Zachary Smith

    “Trump approves selling F-22 Raptor to Israel — Saudi report”

    Some time back I learned that something being on the Internet didn’t necessarily make it true, but we’re living in such crazy times this gem of a story could mean anything.

    It’s true Trump is stupid and greedy enough to do something like this. It’s also true that Pompeo is a batshit crazy End Timer, and could be making a final push to force Jesus off his heinie and start the Second Coming.

    The headline could also be a bald-faced lie for reasons unknown. The US Air Force is the service most riddled with “Christianists”, but I find it hard to believe very many of even their people would buy into this kind of insanity.

  16. Zachary Smith

    How has your life/lifestyle changed since the advent of the pandemic?

    Not for the better! I’m not too surprised Trump has been such a moron, but I’ve been shocked to discover how many of my fellow citizens have turned off such brains as they possess to “follow” him.

    Regarding Biden, I know nothing at all about his plans for the pandemic if and when he takes office. It’s been my impression the man has been running on a single issue “platform” of “I’m not named Trump.”

  17. Hugh

    Ché Pasa,

    It looks like we will have a rough end of the year. We are seeing the real second wave, and it doesn’t look good. All Trump can manage is full denial. Perhaps cold weather will help. We’ll be inside more (bad) but not mixing together as much (good).

    By the time Biden became President in January, numbers will likely be high but the challenge will hopefully begin to be vaccine distribution. Biden would probably do a better job managing this by getting people in who could manage it. Trump would just assume it would happen on its own.

  18. kråke


    Climbed more mountains.

    Bought more ammo.

    Baked more bread.

    Worked (way) fewer hours.

  19. Chicago Clubs

    >Regarding Biden, I know nothing at all about his plans for the pandemic if and when he takes office.

    I don’t think it matters much.

    If the projections for the US (if they exist, I haven’t seen them) are similar, the brewing massive wave will peak almost a month before he even takes office. He may be able to prevent/dampen a third wave, if such a thing will happen, but this current disaster unfolding will be a done deal before he gets near the levers of power.

  20. KT Chong

    >Regarding Biden, I know nothing at all about his plans for the pandemic if and when he takes office.

    Biden does not have to have a plan. All he has to do is to step aside and let DOCTORS and SCIENTISTS run the show, which Trump’s ego, stupidity and personal business interests have been preventing him from doing.

  21. KT Chong

    i.e., TRUMP is the very obstacle that is blocking us from getting a handle on the pandemic. We need to REMOVE that obstacle if we want to be able to crawl out of the pandemic that is burying the country and economy.

  22. edmondo

    “For them, they don’t need or want an FDR. A ham sandwich will do just fine, thanks.”

    At least a ham sandwich is useful. Biden – not so much.

  23. bruce wilder

    I see Trump getting all the blame for the incompetence in the pandemic response.

    He has been worse than useless, that is true, but it is hardly the important part of the story.

    Fundamental failures occurred early at the technocratic level that really ought to worry us. Having the memory of a goldfish and the lurid imagination of a Hollywood hack screenwriter is not a good combination for anyone trying to understand U.S. politics.

  24. Hugh

    Yes, those perfidious technocrats had impressed on Trump how bad the coronavirus was that by February 7 Trump was telling Bob Woodward this on tape. But publicly Trump blew it off and played havoc with all the people and ways the government could react. So naturally this is the technocrats’ fault.

    Just another backhanded defense of Trump. Yeah, Trump wasn’t perfect, but it was really (fill in the blank)’s fault. Wash, repeat.

  25. Willy

    Had Chauncey Gardiner been a pompous blowhard, would it still have been his handlers fault?


  26. Ché Pasa

    It’s obvious that the pandemic policy of the United States Government (not just Trump) is the development of so-called “herd immunity” through the mostly uncontrolled spread of the virus as widely as possible among the underclasses and the provision of limited and /or no social, healthcare and economic support services — leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and the permanent disability of an unknown number.

    The government and the many think tanks game these things out and have shelves/hard drives full of response plans. What’s going on in response to the pandemic is the outgrowth of some of those plans. Our rulers have little or no concern about the health and well being of the proles, only of themselves. Those that are actually trying to control the Outbreak are in despair and at the point of giving up.

    Biden has not presented a vigorous, comprehensive, coherent national plan for the control of the virus (though I’m sure one or more exist) and I’m not convinced that the Biden regime would do much differently than is being done now. His regime-in-waiting is preparing for a long wait — and not much else.

    Ms. Ché and I are high risk and consequently we don’t travel like we used to or go more than about 50 miles from home, and then only for medical appointments, groceries and supplies more and more of which are being delivered or conducted on videophone. We don’t socialize in person, not even with friends and neighbors, but Zoom and other platforms get a workout around here. So many events are canceled, businesses closed, and what we used to do simply not possible.

    I don’t see that changing soon. No matter who is placed in office. Ian says something similar, that we’re pretty much stuck with what we’ve got, make the best of it.

  27. bruce wilder

    Just another backhanded defense of Trump.

    Not everything is specifically and only about Trump.

    Here is Wikipedia on the testing debacle:

    While the WHO opted to use an approach developed by Germany to test for SARS-CoV-2, the United States developed its own testing approach. The German testing method was made public on January 13, and the American testing method was made public on January 28.

    From the start of the outbreak until early March 2020, the CDC gave restrictive guidelines on who should be eligible for COVID-19 testing.

    In February, the U.S. CDC produced 160,000 SARS-CoV-2 tests, but soon it was discovered that many were defective and gave inaccurate readings. On February 19, the first U.S. patient with COVID-19 of unknown origin (a possible indication of community transmission) was hospitalized. The patient’s test was delayed for four days because he had not qualified for a test under the initial federal testing criteria. By February 27, fewer than 4,000 tests had been conducted in the U.S. Although academic laboratories and hospitals had developed their own tests, they were not allowed to use them until February 29, when the FDA issued approvals for them and private companies. By March 11, the U.S had tested fewer than 10,000 people.

    Electing to develop its own test, restrictive testing rules, defective testing kits — this was a clusterfuck. The WHO had major failings of its own. Governor Cuomo and Governor Newsom had their major policy screwups — Cuomo’s ill-advised decision to transfer COVID-19 patients to nursing homes killed thousands.

    I can imagine a counterfactual world where a President, who was not a moron, supported by competent staff, acted decisively to overcome these failings. I can also imagine a country where neoliberal Democrats had not drained away all industrial capability to profit their Wall Street backers or had not enacted a health insurance reform that ignored the pathologies of the ramshackle, enormously costly health care system, or the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases wasn’t a 79-year-old fool.

    I am not exonerating Trump. I am saying, pay attention to just how deep is the rot.

  28. bruce wilder

    The government and the many think tanks game these things out and have shelves/hard drives full of response plans. What’s going on in response to the pandemic is the outgrowth of some of those plans.

    It is a bit more complex and subtle than, “here’s a three-ring binder — do this”.

    The planning effort, to be of high-quality and effectiveness, has to involve reheasing with a lot of people in a lot of organizations that will have a role. All those people have to understand what they are doing and why in order to know what effective expediency and improvisation is, and what is catastrophic inadequacy.

    A CDC staffed with actual experts would not have issued the restrictive guidance on testing that they did. An effective planning exercise would have involved a rehearsal where doctors in the field would have pushed back hard even in a dry run and everyone would understand the emergency nature of early testing, rapid feedback cycles on tests and so on.

    I think the systems of emergency preparedness have been dismantled and neglected for decades or privatized for profit, which is the same thing. Public investment in everything — not just public health — has been inadequate for decades.

    COVID-19 is endemic now throughout North America and Europe. There is no feasible policy that can do much more than slow somewhat the spread. It is quite possible that SARS-CoV-2 has effectively displaced the flu in human populations and will recur with decreasing severity and frequency over several years. The economic dislocations are just beginning to be felt, as Ian’s readers ought to know.

  29. @bruce wilder
    “Just another backhanded defense of Trump.

    Not everything is specifically and only about Trump.

    Here is Wikipedia on the testing debacle: …..”

    Excellent comment, bruce. Ché Pasa’s comment may be more entertaining, reading like science fiction. (I wonder if he’s in the arts?) But yours is more rational.

    Maybe you should run for President. You can’t be worse than Biden or Trump; and I think you’d be much, much better.

  30. bruce wilder

    Those dreaming of a progressive rising after Biden’s election might consider Corbyn’s fate: suspension!

    Mrs Steve Jobs’ Atlantic praises it as a reckoning. Betsy Reed has already reckoned with GG.

    With the great assimilation of suburban Republicans and the alliance between the Democratic establishment and the Intelligence Community, will there be even a marginal space left for progressives and reformers?

  31. Willy

    Do not most citizens polled, already agree with most progressive values?

  32. cripes


    Yes, they do want socialist policies, DemocRats, Independants and republicans all, even those who don’t realize it.

    This has been shown again and again in election cycle after cycle, see:

    Your Voice Really Doesn’t Matter, Princeton Study Confirms

    But none of this matters now, elections are purely theater for ignorant consumers, urged to “vote” and take the blame for policy disasters they have no say in, as their overlords plunder the planet and build their Armageddon shelters in New Zealand and Mars.

    Impotent voting fetishism, righteously fought for during the civil rights era, has now been fully realized as the state becomes ever more totalitarian–without the knee-high leather boots and accessories. So old-school.

    If you have the least doubt THIS IS THE PLAN, just see the addled consumer/investor/personal branding/autonomous/isolated/quarantined/voters debating how much it “matters” which corrupt, senile, racist, sex offender — and their crack-smoking progeny–occupies the white house (the TeeVee, in fact).

    Lord, the owners must be choking in fits of laughter.

  33. Guest

    Maybe it’s just my imagination, maybe there’s an innocent explanation. Maybe there are protests in my part of town I don’t know about (Portland, where they are now perennial so I don’t follow them). But this last week or so there sure are a lot of helicopters overhead in my neighborhood. Or maybe just one or two that hang around a long time. They do not make me feel safe or optimistic about how trump will handle the election fiasco. Also noisy as fuck.

  34. RobotPliers

    Che Pass asks: Will pandemic response policies be substantially better under a Biden regime or no?

    Given we rolled snake eyes on this with Trump, I’m willing to roll again with Biden. A lot more potential upside, not much room left on the downside.

  35. @KT Chong

    You sound like Greta “listen to the scientists” Thunberg, of whom I’ve seen no evidence that she actually knows anything about science. She also shows no sign of recognizing that scientific consensus does not occur in climate science. (Of course, I’m not talking about the moronic propaganda meme of “climate change”, where the indisputable fact of climate changing is conflated with lots of baloney and lies). Nor does she show any signs of knowing that the scientific enterprise can be extremely dysfunctional. “Self correcting” is a nice aspiration, for scientists; the reality, especially when well-heeled funders of science have a clear notion of what they want, is very different.

    Half of Trump’s problem is that he DID listen to doctors and scientists, in cases when he shouldn’t have; or else, shouldn’t have listened to them for as long as he did. I’m talking about doctors and scientists at the apex of political/scientific/medical power, like gain-of-function Fauci and Redfield.

    I suggest that you, and everbody else in the English-speaking world, listen to 2 of the latest Chris Martenson, Ph.D., videos. He’s on youtube in the “peak prosperity” channel.
    > “THE UGLY TRUTH: Your health isn’t their priority”
    > “Vitamin D Reduces Mortality Risk by -89%”

    Would you like it if Trump did everything that Dr. Fauci says, nothing more, nothing less? According to Dr. Campbell, a Ph.D. in nursing, also on youtube, he has email evidence that Fauci takes 6,000 IU of vitamin D, per day.

    I’m not 100% confident that Campbell’s proof suffices, but if it did, it would underscore just how evil that little Nazi is. “Vitamin D in prophylactic dosage levels for me, but not for thee! Oh, but do wash your hands. And wear a mask. Want to hook up on Tinder? Just be careful!”. Unsaid is that if you suffer and die, and your economy crashes, due to following his advice, that’s your problem.

    Even if it’s not true that Fauci takes 6,000 IU vitamin D per day, nothing is stopping Fauci from saying the magic words, “Get your vitamin D levels checked!”. I don’t know what his problem is, but I don’t need to know that, at least if you’re knowledgeable about the issue, following the little Nazi, or more generally, the CDC in all ways is a fool’s errand.

    You may as well take directions from Greta Thunberg, to figure what would be the net/net from AOC’s Green New Deal. Neither Dr. Fauci, nor Greta Thunberg, is interested in equipping you with sufficient relevant knowledge to make a rational decision about what is optimal for you, or society. In gain-of-function Fauci’s case, he has access to the knowledge that he evidently doesn’t want you to have. (Thunberg is a semi-innocent dupe.)

    You can take a look at my sub-reddit /r/bad_science_culture, for some leads into the mangled world of “science”.

    If you want to get really deep into the weeds about covid treatments and prophylactics, but still at a layman’s level, it looks likt DrBeen youtube channel is what you want.

  36. Plague Species

    Biden’s pandemic response will be purely optics. In order to contain this virus until, and if and it’s a BIG if, an EFFECTIVE vaccine is produced, America and any country really will have to respond as China has responded to the virus — with draconian measures. We know that can never and never will happen in America, therefore, America, absent an EFFECTIVE vaccine, will always be at the mercy of this pandemic. If the virus was labeled a terrorist, well, America would be right on it which is ironic in more ways than one considering this virus is much more pernicious, and has murdered many more Americans, than any terrorists could ever hope to have murdered.

    For example, mask wearing should be mandatorily mandated and those who don’t abide should be punished severely. Masks should be N-95 masks and the DPA should be utilized to provide them post haste to all citizens in accommodation of the mandatory mask wearing edict. This will never happen in America. The various states and locales would take the federal government to court and it would end up as a case on the Supreme Court docket and the Supreme Court will rule that such draconian legislation is unconstitutional and strike it down. The militias will enfirce the Supreme Court decision and Biden, because he’s a unifier afterall, will do nothing to check and neutralize the militias. He will only strengthen their resolve and embolden them for a return of Trump in 2024.

    America’s system is a perfect target for this pandemic. It’s precisely what this virus needs to thrive and spread far and wide. Herd immunity is not a proven proposition. Far from it. Studies are showing that immunity from this virus only lasts for several months if you’re immune at all after contracting it.

    So no, Biden’s response to the virus will not EFFECTIVELY be much different than Trump’s response. His rhetoric will be different for sure and his tact, but that’s just optics and doesn’t speak to effective substance in containing the virus.

    This pandemic may well be the end of America. America not only doesn’t have what it takes to contain the pandemic, it has instead precisely the opposite and it has what it takes to spread the virus far and wide and kill as many as possible and maim countless others. This virus thrives on greed and avarice which America has in droves.

  37. Hugh

    The Trump White House back in May 2018 eliminated The Global Health Security and Biodefense group put together back in 2015 during the Obama Administration and which was tasked with coordinating and overseeing the US response to a pandemic. The CDC fiasco followed. This was followed a few weeks later in March 2019 by an equally botched effort by a task force led by Jared Kushner which ordered a couple million contaminated/unusable Chinese test kits through a company in the UAE.

  38. Hugh

    Sorry, should read “March 2020.”

  39. bruce wilder

    @cripes +1

  40. Ian Welsh


    not as urgent, but I’d still set up. There are going to be disruptions here as well. And a lot of is subject to politics. We tend to be over-smug, but the same direction is evident here: see Alberta and Ontario’s governments.

  41. StewartM

    “most Americans are going to sit on their ass and watch CNN”

    That’s because, despite the hysterics about the US being overpopulated, we’re actually a low-density population country and ‘going to DC to protest’ is not an option for most in terms of time and money. So whether the pro- or anti-Trumpers flood into DC to storm either the courts or Congress or whatnot depends. My hunch is that the anti-Trumpers have an advantage in numbers living there (but most of them are poor and black and these will not play well to white America) whereas the Kochs and crew will bus in busloads of ‘freedumb-lovin’ ‘Mericans with guns from outside areas.

    I do believe, as Keith Olbermann says, that the clearing of Lafayette Square was a test of what the military would do to peaceful protesters and the aftershocks of that was the top brass of all the services issuing statements reminding the troops that their loyalty was not to Trump, but to the Constitution. And while Trump probably has the loyalty of his DHS goons and the police, polls of the armed forces show that his approval rating is underwater and similar to that of civilians. So I feel better about that end of things. But as Chris Hedges said, the long-term effect of the military having to do the necessary thing to play kingmaker isn’t in the long-term best interests of what’s left of the American republic.

    I do believe as Biden victory buys more time. *IF* this brush with fascism scares the elites, and *IF* they do something meaningful about it–not only throwing more crumbs at the plebes, but just as importantly, security American elections better and securing voting rights–it will be important. That’s because one must remember that Hitler only won like 32.8 % of the vote in a free and fair election. As I have posted, the Millennials will turn the whole country blue over the next several cycles, and blue not in terms of Clinton/Obama/Biden blue, but more like Bernie blues. The Right knows this too, which is why they’re (not just Trump) ready to ditch democratic rule *now*. I agree that by the time we might get a younger Bernie we’ll be at the point of managing, not preventing or mitigating, our problems, especially climate change. But as the coronavirus pandemic has shown, competent management of a problem is better than deliberate mismanagement.

    If those two “IF”s do not hold true, then yes; all we have is a few more years. Use it wisely to implement what plans you have.

    I don’t believe we’ll have a “competent smarter Trump” because a would-be autocrat doing even things necessary to secure his power will run afoul of interests determined to continue looting the country. You saw this with the 2nd coronavirus stimulus, it was in Trump’s own best interests to pass it but Mitch McConnell nixed it. Trump for his part was not willing or smart enough to play hardball, to rescind his nomination of Barrett (more in their interests than his) and go to KY and start campaigning against McConnell and any other Republican who opposed the relief bill (and I think he had started doing this a month or so ago, he probably would have won and they would have slunk back to doing as he ordered). One of Trump’s problems from Day One was that he appointed the looters to his administration to be his advisors, and he wasn’t as open as he should have been to triangulating with the Dems to say, make a better version of the ACA and call it “Trumpcare” instead of letting the Paul Ryans push their libertoon nonsense. I’m not sure a “smarter Trump” can solve this problem any better than Trump could.

    I think if anything Ian is understating the ‘survivalist problem’. You do need a lot of resources/money to pull that off well. As my post on “Russian freedom” said, the fact we have so little land that’s not privatized is why you need significant money just to get the land for the house. I would also expect a decrease in life expectancy, as our future mis-rulers won’t make access to health care any cheaper. In fact, I think the ‘leave the US’ option actually can be far cheaper to pull off than they ‘stay here and gut it out’ option. The biggest obstacle there I can see, is that most Americans are loathe to leave their friends/family/loved ones, and/or have other ties, and moreover they are hesitant to learn a new language or experience a new culture. I have some of that too, I’ve stayed as long as I have o honor my obligations and promises (and also, to build a financial base) but I have discovered that life overseas seems to be both better and cheaper than life here.

  42. bruce wilder

    Yes, Hugh, the Trump Administration has screwed up royally in what it has done, failed to do and done inadequately. The failure of leadership is marked.

    It is not true, however, that the ineffectiveness of the government’s response is down specifically or solely to what Trump did, let alone what he failed to do. If one goes looking for strategic factors — key, critical factors — the testing debacle, Fauci on masks, and Cuomo sending COVID patients to nursing homes have prominence.

    If the Administration had kept The Global Health Security and Biodefense group in the White House, they would have had a better apparatus at hand, perhaps, to intervene to short-circuit or remedy the testing debacle and otherwise develop policy rapidly. Speculating counterfactually on what might have been can easily get out of hand. Not many Western countries have unqualified success, which suggests how hard a problem it is. Where policy has been successful, rapid-turnaround testing at scale has been key, which is why I emphasize the testing debacle, which had its origins deep in the professional bureaucracy. Ditto, masks for everyone, where the noble liar was Fauci.

    Trump’s major play is a bet on a vaccine. I am dubious about the wisdom of that. We won’t know for sure how stupid that was until well into a Biden-Harris Administration. And, we may have reason to thank the Democrats for setting up the country for extreme skepticism that prevents effective use of a vaccine by limiting its acceptance or interfering with its administration.

  43. Plague Species

    What Trump has done is more than just a mere screw-up. The Trump administration has gone out of its way to prevent, in fact they instead hobbled and disabled even, any form of a constructive response to the pandemic. For that reason, they are mass murderers let alone traitors. Biden will not hold them to account and thus will enable the next iteration of fascism which will be many times worse that this latest iteration. If Trump loses and if Trump is removed from the White House. Those are still big ifs.

  44. Hugh

    I agree with Plague Species. Killing 230,000 Americans is not a screw-up. It’s a capital crime.

    Biden is bad. Trump is infinitely worse. Every 4 years, I write a post saying that progressives should tell Democrats, “Deal with us. Enact this or this part of our agenda, or we are gone and will stay gone now and for the next 4 years.” But once the election is over, progressives disappear electorally until the next cycle starts. We need a longer term view. Until we define our rules and are ready to act on them, the Democrats are going to ignore/finesse/and forget us like they always do.

  45. cripes

    @cripes +1

    Thanks Bruce Wilder for noticing.

    Lest some think my comment about voter fetishism, and the futility of “hope” that a better Presnit will somehow deliver us from the Baaad Maaan is mere quitterism, I will add that I collected signatures to send a slate of progressive democrats to the National Convention and to register voters. My modest hope was slaughtered in two short days.

    You all know what happened to the Bernie Pwogwessives in the Night of the Long Knives.

    All I’m really saying is the Rot is so Deep that a new coat of paint ain’t gonna fix this.
    Or, pick your favorite color.

  46. Ché Pasa

    The System is working fine for those who designed and operate it. We — who are not them — take issue with what’s going on, but our rulers (as a rule) don’t care. They don’t care because they don’t believe they have to. So. This is what we get, and we can like it or lump it, it doesn’t matter.

    It’s possible that so much chaos and poison has been injected into the System that it will falter and collapse, but so far, that looks like a long shot.

    And if it were to collapse, what would rise in its place?

  47. nihil obstet

    But once the election is over, progressives disappear electorally until the next cycle starts.

    Media attention disappears. And without widely distributed media stories, centrists argue that my demonstrations, letters and petitions, participation in group actions, time in meetings, donations to lefty media and causes don’t happen. I’m not sure whether it’s a problem of logic on their part or a simple use of power to denigrate opponents.

  48. Ray

    The only way to ensure honest and fair elections:

    In person voting only
    Government issued photo ID required
    Paper ballots only (no hacked electronic machines for lost/changed votes)

    The DemocRATs have succeeded at the PA supreme court to have ballots mailed AFTER election day counted in PA, including ballots without any signature verification. Signature verification was used to sell vote-by-mail to the public! This is insane.

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