Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 16, 2021

U.S. Focus On Narratives Will Let It Collide With Reality

The impeachment narrative circus is leaving the town and the real world work can now begin:

With the distraction of the impeachment trial of his predecessor now over, President Biden will quickly press for passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan before moving on to an even bigger agenda in Congress that includes infrastructure, immigration, criminal justice reform, climate change and health care.

Without the spectacle of a constitutional clash, the new president “takes center stage now in a way that the first few weeks didn’t allow,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who served as communications director for former President Barack Obama. She said the end of the trial means that “2021 can finally start.”

"Wait!" screams the narrative industry. That does not fit our business model. The 'left' side of the media is set up to beat up Trump every damned minute and the 'right' side is there to constantly condemn the 'left' for beating up Trump. Over the last five years that system produced record ratings for everyone.

Wolf Blitzer @wolfblitzer - 16:11 UTC · Feb 15, 2021

The Trump trial is over but local, state & federal investigations continue. There might be a 9/11-type commission. News organizations continue to investigate. And @realBobWoodward is working on a book on Trump’s final days in office. Bottom line: we are going to learn a lot more.

"I hear you," responds Nancy Pelosi. And what better way to hide that Biden will pursue the same policies as Trump (but sprinkled with some LBGTQWERTY quackery) than to extend the narrative circus:

Congress will move to establish an independent commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, including facts “relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced on Monday.
Calls have grown for a bipartisan, independent investigation into the law enforcement and administrative failures that led to the first breach of the Capitol complex in two centuries, particularly after the Senate acquitted former President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial on a charge of inciting the rioters. For some lawmakers, such a commission offers the last major opportunity to hold Mr. Trump accountable.

Yes Nancy, lets investigate this and other such question: Why was Capitol police chief’s request for National Guard denied ahead of riot? Republicans ask Nancy Pelosi.

Keeping the eyes on Trump is of course the best way to guarantee that Republicans will continue to stick to his narrative and that he will come back:

Though the 2024 primary is still far off — who knows what will happen with Trump three months from now, let alone in three years? — he currently swamps any potential rival. Fifty-three percent of Republicans said they would vote for Trump if the primary were held today.

All the other Republican hopefuls are polling in the low single digits, besides Mike Pence, who received 12 percent. Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Mitt Romney, Kristi Noem, Larry Hogan, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Tim Scott and Rick Scott all polled below 5%. Only Donald Trump Jr. and Nikki Haley punched through at 6%.

Further investigating the Mardi Gras invasion of the Capitol will also help to push for new 'domestic terrorism' laws. Where those will be pointed at is already evident:

Thomas B. Harvey @tbh4justice 17:56 UTC · Feb 15, 2021

FBI arrests BLM protester, claiming his social media posts show he is “on a path to radicalization”. A judge determined he is dangerous bc of these posts and held him with no bond. This is where we’re headed if we accept this domestic terrorism frame:

The FBI warned about far-right attacks. Agents arrested a leftist ex-soldier.

Welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism where every rant you ever posted that does not fit the official narrative can (and will) be used against you:

This clearly represents a quite different magnitude of ‘control’ – and when allied with the West’s counter-insurgency techniques of ‘terrorist’ narrative disruption, honed during the ‘Great War on Terrorism’ – is a formidable tool for curbing dissent domestically, as well as externally.

Yet it has a fundamental weakness.

Quite simply, that being so invested, so immersed, in one particular ‘reality’, others’ ‘truths’ then will not – cannot – be heard. They do not stand out proud above the endless flat plain of consensual discourse. They cannot penetrate the hardened shell of a prevailing narrative bubble, or claim the attention of élites so invested in managing their own version of reality.

The ‘Big Weakness’? The élites come to believe their own narratives – forgetting that the narrative was conceived as an illusion, one among others, created to capture the imagination within their society (not others’).
Examples are legion, but the Biden Administration’s perception that time was frozen – from the moment of Obama’s departure from office – and somehow defrosted on 20 January, just in time for Biden to pick up on that earlier era (as if time was uninterrupted), marks one example of a belief in one’s own meme. Whilst the EU’s unfeigned amazement – and anger – at being described ‘as an unreliable partner’ by FM Lavrov in Moscow, is just another example of how élites have become remote from the real world and captive to their own self-perception.

“America is back” to lead, and ‘to set the rules of the road’ for the rest of the world, may be intended to radiate U.S. strength, but rather, it suggests a tenuous grasp of the realities facing the U.S.: America’s relations with Europe and Asia were growing increasingly distant well before Biden entered the White House – and, therefore, from before Trump’s (purposefully disruptive) term, too.

Why then is the U.S. so consistently in denial about this?

The U.S. - or at least its 'élites' - need a wake-up call that pulls them out of their narrative world and brings them back into reality.

The alternative is a violent collision with the realities that others -domestic as well as foreign- perceive.

Posted by b on February 16, 2021 at 19:08 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Ahh yes the domestic terrorist boogeyman. I wondered what they would do without Trump. LOL now we know eh? Thanks b.
Say hello to the new boss same as the old boss.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Feb 16 2021 19:15 utc | 1

Change won't come to the US via the convenience of the ballot box. Elected officials are immediately corrupted by careerism, corporate money, and who knows what other forces behind the curtain. Ordinary people will achieve nothing without general strikes and civil disobedience, and more are realizing this. No doubt why this domestic "terror" bill is being pushed through.

Posted by: Dave | Feb 16 2021 19:38 utc | 2

Welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism where every rant you ever posted that does not fit the official narrative can (and will) be used against you:

This reminded me of an article I read on Zerohedge. The IMF is recommending including your online history and behaviour when assessing your “creditworthiness”

The most transformative information innovation is the increase in use of new types of data coming from the digital footprint of customers’ various online activities—mainly for creditworthiness analysis.

Credit scoring using so-called hard information (income, employment time, assets, and debts) is nothing new. Typically, the more data is available, the more accurate is the assessment. But this method has two problems. First, hard information tends to be “procyclical”: it boosts credit expansion in good times but exacerbates contraction during downturns.

The second and most complex problem is that certain kinds of people, like new entrepreneurs, innovators, and many informal workers, might not have enough hard data available. Even a well-paid expatriate moving to the United States can be caught in the conundrum of not getting a credit card for lack of credit record, and not having a credit record for lack of credit cards.

Fintech resolves the dilemma by tapping various nonfinancial data: the type of browser and hardware used to access the internet, the history of online searches, and purchases.

IMF Wants To Use "Digital Footprint Of Customers' Online Activities" To Assess Creditworthiness

Posted by: Down South | Feb 16 2021 19:42 utc | 3

Golly what happens to the Circus part of bread and circuses after all the elephants die? Burn down the tent. We certainly know the Bread part of bread and circuses is an unleavened mess caught in the sausage machine of 'let them eat cake' legislation to parse crumbs to the starving masses one empty stomach of critical mass short of general rebellion.

What does one expect the 'elites' to do but go hardcore Orwellian to protect the 1% from the righteous indignation of the 99%?

The Enemy of the People is the People who must be whittled away to dumbed-down compliance at all costs. Masks are the canary in the coal mine.

Posted by: gottlieb | Feb 16 2021 19:53 utc | 4

Why then is the U.S. so consistently in denial about this?

Because they're losing the Second Cold War to the USSR's successor, the Popular Republic of China. That's the simplest explanation.

But the interesting movement I want to highlight here is geopolitical:

White House Drawing Up List of Firms Working on Nord Stream 2 for Possible Sanctions, Report Says

The completion of NS-2 is good for European liberalism: it ties up Russia to its economy as a commodity exporters (the German dream of making Russia its own Brazil). Why is the USA trying to stop this win for liberalism?

Seeing the movements in Myanmar and elsewhere (i.e. hurting South Korea and Japan with the trade war against China; hurting European economies with the trade war against Russia; hurting the Brazilian economy with the trade negotiations with China; throwing Australia and Taiwan as a battering ram against China etc. etc.) I can come with only one conclusion: the American Empire is collapsing, but collapsing a la Rome, that is, from the periphery. It is sacrificing its provinces (European Peninsula, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Brazil and even India) in order to try to stabilize its center (USA proper and Canada).

The USA has become Cronos, the titan of the harvests, desperately devouring its children to survive.

Posted by: vk | Feb 16 2021 19:59 utc | 5

Once again, news media are in the business to sell ads, not get ratings. Ratings are not synonymous with revenue. The kinds of audiences being sold matter. And, like movie producers who don't make porn even though the profit rates are high, people who make news like to make a product suitable for their peers, whom they fancy to be wealthy, successful businessmen like themselves.

There are a number of Trump policies Biden will not continue. It is true that there are many Biden will. But given the bizarre insistence that Trump was some sort of insurgent, this is not an honest condemnation of Biden. After all, if Biden continues the great work of the tin god Trump, he should be supported or at least tolerated by the people who swore up and down they supported Trump for his wise and good policies. The sudden discovery that Trump/Biden continuity in policy is an outrage merely proves Trump worshippers were lying when they claimed they supported Trump's reformist policies. Whether they were lying about whether Trump was actually effective or whether the policies were genuinely good is immaterial. The indictment that Biden is more of the same concedes there is no justification whatsoever for the Trump minority to disenfranchise the plurality for the sake of the same old thing.

The senior branch of Congress is the Senate and Mitch McConnell is the senior head, the one who guaranteed be the boss four years longer than a mere Representative. Asking only Pelosi this question is thoroughly dishonest. Further, it is still not just a matter of the Capital Police but the National Guard and that blowback falls on Trump, his acting secretary of defense, his acting secretary of the army and the general who resisted sending in the National Guard even when asked (one Platt, I believe.) The onus is on Republicans, particularly Trump supporting Republicans.

The Trump supporters intent on censuring the Republicans (patriots or cowards who took having their lives threatened personally, as if they had any value as people? You decide,) are the ones keeping the eyes on. The notion that January 6 should be forgotten in six weeks would be moronic, were it not so patently partisan hackery. 9/11 was ritually invoked for *years.* Has it even yet really stopped? If anything, the idea that now Biden should be positive is covert support for Trump. Rich people like Trump and the liberal media may not like Republicans but they like rich people who buy advertising.

There is no need for new domestic terrorism laws, to be sure. But the idea that selective enforcement of current laws and mere practices not yet made illegal or ruled out by a court will be directed at the left, the people (politically the same thing,) and has to wait on a power grab is childishly naive.

But I agree wholeheartedly with the call to face reality. Here's a good place to start: Trump lost the election.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Feb 16 2021 20:03 utc | 6

There’s nothing left but the fall of the empire. Exactly how and when that fall happens might be mildly controllable, at least so far as it influences what happens after the fall. But that’s it. The decline and fall is not generally, and certainly not now, avoidable. Our problem is the same as any declining empire: the elites are the last to feel the full effects and so have the most reason to jealously cling to whatever is left. The personality in nominal power doesn’t matter because they’ll all be old, white elites or a minority striving for acceptance by old, white elites. Trump is every bit as much a symbol of America’s failing as Joe Biden.

Posted by: Lex | Feb 16 2021 20:04 utc | 7

"The alternative is a violent collision with the realities that others -domestic as well as foreign- perceive."

Eventually, yes. But it could keep staggering towards that collision for years. Or decades.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Feb 16 2021 20:24 utc | 8

thanks b..... if given the choice between accountability and denial, the choice for both the elite and the media is obvious... the question is, what would the people of the usa like to see?? so far they haven't demanded accountability.. they are quite happy to buy into the false narratives that both the media and the main political parties are selling.... until that changes - and it will change - it will be business as usual here...

@ 6 steven t johnson... what some folks seem to miss here is that not only trump lost - which the dems and media point out ad nausseum, but that the usa has lost and continues to lose here.... which do you think is worth focusing on more?? your post suggests it is more important to obsess about trump then the fact the usa is on a slippery downhill slope headed toward oblivion... if you are too busy being distracted, it speaks volumes on a greater number in the usa who can't or won't get their head or ass out of the proscribed narratives they keep on repeating in the msm and via the leading politicians... you folks are in trouble and you appear oblivious to it..

Posted by: james | Feb 16 2021 20:29 utc | 9

steven t johnson #6: To claim certainty about that election outcome, when the electoral college outcome depended on a mere 43,000 votes spread across 3 battleground states (AZ, GA, WI), suggests a personal desire to see that particular result, given how messy the process was.

Posted by: Dave | Feb 16 2021 20:44 utc | 10

@Mao Cheng Ji | Feb 16 2021 20:24 utc | 8

A country who's name starts with 'U' will collide with reality first. Will it be Ukraine or USA?

Posted by: Norwegian | Feb 16 2021 20:57 utc | 11

So who burned, pillaged, murdered and terrorized for the last 9 months? Have we forgotten BLM and Antifa? Real insurgents and terrorists. Nothing but crickets when it comes to the Left's foot soldiers.

Posted by: Jagger | Feb 16 2021 21:15 utc | 12

Qualify this as a persistant rumour; Biden has already retired back to his Bunker, and will never meet Foreign leaders. It is said that Karmala Harris is the one doing all the telephone calls.

It was anticipated that this is what would happen. A "New" regime in the US, same as old regime?

It could explain why Netanyahu hasn't yet recieved a call from Biden.

Reality is sometimes a stranger to the official narrative.

Posted by: Stonebird | Feb 16 2021 21:30 utc | 13

AmeriKKKa is beginning to remind me, again, of the hair-raising "This is really happening!!!" scene in Rosemary's Baby.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 16 2021 21:43 utc | 14

This 'all Trump, all the time' makes Biden look foolish. It makes it look like his agenda isn't the most important thing going right now and that he isn't in control of anything.

Posted by: ian | Feb 16 2021 21:58 utc | 15

This is reality:

Posted by: JB | Feb 16 2021 22:04 utc | 16

Fortunately, numerous counter-narratives already exist, mostly from the Cold war, that can easily be flipped on their head. Another that could be devastating--Wall Street stole your American Dream from you. Now it's time to steal it back: Level Wall Street!!

I'm sure as a collective we could come up with a plethora. However IMO, it's vital the ultimate message aims at the building of a Human Commonwealth that's not based on exploitation which is the basis for global Neoliberalism. Putin and Xi's policy is to promote all citizens equally--even the US Constitution agrees with that national aim. And here's one we need to start now: The Stasi demanded family and neighbors spy on each other and that was deemed Unamerican then; so to ask Americans to spy on their family and neighbors now must be equally Unamerican, insidious and incompatible with Freedom, Justice, and the American Way!

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 16 2021 22:11 utc | 17

Poor ratings too, as I understand it.

Posted by: Josh | Feb 16 2021 22:54 utc | 18

They are focusing on Trumpmania, meanwhile the stimulus is not yet out.

These shows are the circus, but if the bread is not coming, people will riot anyway.

Posted by: Smith | Feb 16 2021 23:06 utc | 19

The élites come to believe their own narratives – forgetting that the narrative was conceived as an illusion

Nowhere is this amnesia more apparent than in our relations with China, which has now surpassed us in almost every metric. To our everlasting shame, there are now more hungry children, drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, and imprisoned people in America than in China. And China leads us 26-2-2 in the index of the 30 UN Human Rights.

Posted by: Godfree Roberts | Feb 16 2021 23:08 utc | 20

I hear Trumpists and others from the Republican party use the old "they do it too" refrain far too often. White supremacists are less evil than black people complaining about getting killed by cops.

If it were actually possible, I would like to ask them to tell me why Republicans are in favor of police brutality, why they are all for the absolute power and impunity of police officers? Why do they think black people deserve to be treated as lesser beings merely for the color of their skin?

Antifa stands for anti fascist. if you are against antifa does that mean you believe fascism is a wonderful thing? Has anyone who identifies as a Republican ever heard of agent provocateurs and or false flag operations? I suspect not.

steven t johnson laid out a pretty good narrative that I personally cannot fault, yet the only comment he got was someone trying to deny that the electoral college gave more votes to Biden than to Trump. The fact that Biden got some 7 million more votes than Trump is not important, nor is it worthy of consideration that Hillary Clinton got more popular votes than Trump but nevertheless lost the electoral college to Trump in 2016.

I was always told you should never discuss politics or religion. I am beginning to understand the wisdom in that. With religion you have to be willing to suspend disbelief, there is no logical explanation for so many of the things believers take for fact. It appears to me that is the exact same thing with attempting to talk to Republicans.

now, to add some balance. Black people need to get their shit together. Bad things happen to many of them because they are doing stupid stuff. The gangsta culture is not at all helpful.

Fascism is not necessarily Republican, the new Democratic party has a considerable fascist faction. and it aint the old people in the Dem party, a lot of youngsters are quite the brownshirt when you look carefully.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 16 2021 23:22 utc | 21

Independence just won a big victory in the Catalan election.

Posted by: lysias | Feb 16 2021 23:23 utc | 22

"Wait!" screams the narrative industry.... [which has] system produced record ratings for everyone....

IMO the narratives are driven by Deep State Empire managers that want to keep us divided so that they have a free hand. As a result, few can see the Empire forest for the trees of Deep State political operatives.

IMO the "record ratings" for the political circuses on offer are not the driving force. The hidden motive is EMPIRE. The new love that dare not speak its name is the love of EMPIRE. No politician or media pundit is allowed to question the need for NATO, EMPIRE propaganda, Israel's behavior, the huge amount wasted on military expenditures, etc.

... The U.S. - or at least its 'élites' - need a wake-up call

These elites know exactly what they are doing. It's the people that need a wake-up call. They are much too gullible. And all-too-willing to follow whatever establishment stooge is presented as their hero.

<> <> <> <> <>

A few hours ago, I wrote this comment on the preceding thread (replying to ventinLA):

vetinLA @Feb16 6:32 #60
Those beliefs led us to DJT..

Obama, Bernie and DJT have led their flocks to nowhere. What led us to them is the establishment's desire to derail populist Movements.

One clue (among many): Each of these so-called populists is pro-Empire.

  • Obama conducted covert wars and regime changes. He declined to prosecute any CIA people for rendition & torture and dismissed privacy concerns about NSA spying. He also lied to us: 1) about a 'public option' in his healthcare plan and 2) never making the Bush tax cuts permanent (Obama participated in the 'fiscal cliff' farce that made most Bush tax cuts permanent while cutting social programs);
  • Bernie, aka "Senator F35" is a closet Zionist that supports the Empire. He was Hillary's sheepdog in 2016. He then founded "Our Revolution", a nonprofit that accepted money from large donors. Bernie folded like a tent in 2020 to support establishment candidate Biden. Bernie put forth a bogus bill to end US involvement in the Saudi war on Yemen that would not actually end that involvement due to an exception. And he has criticized Venezuela's Maduro as USA has been trying to overthrow him.
  • Trump - a billionaire conman, Clinton insider, and friend of Epstein - got in front of the Tea Party parade with slogans like "America First". His actions show that he is a fraud who is actual "Empire First". Trump dramatically increased spending on the military, terminated multiple peace agreements, renegged on his peace deal with North Korea, gave Israel everything on its wish list (including killing Iranian Gen. Soleimani), militarized space, and continued the War on Whistle-blowers with prosecution of Assange. Along the way he lied to the American people about the severity of the looming pandemic and excused MbS's killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Nothing will change as long as we keep falling for compromised leaders that are promoted by a compromised media.

And it's not just the US: Cameron, BoJo, Macron, Trudeau, and other quislings are funded and promoted in the same way. It's not "just politics" or "media narratives", it's a deliberate corruption of democracy itself so that those in charge serve TPTB and their Empire priorities.

George Orwell warned of a boot on the neck of humanity forever. Although that image horrifies, today too many people willingly offer their neck for booting by their preferred establishment-controlled, media-driven tribal cult. We need more cynics and fewer lemmings. Is anyone surprised that the greatest cynics in history were from the era of Roman Empire?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 16 2021 23:49 utc | 23

dan of steele #20: My comment wasn't to "deny" anything, but to dispute the reasonableness of certainty about the election outcome in either direction. It was too close to be sure given the disorderly process.

Posted by: Dave | Feb 17 2021 0:04 utc | 24

re: narrative discovered from reality etc - yes that all has been going on for many years now. It is ever more tiresome, but it could take another decade or two still to reach its conclusion. The events that take place between here and there atte of interest, the propaganda is not, in my opinion.

Posted by: ptb | Feb 17 2021 0:09 utc | 25

*are [smart phone at work]

Posted by: ptb | Feb 17 2021 0:10 utc | 26

So finally people of the empire will have to acknowledge something which types like many who coagulate around sites such as MoA have known for a long time, that the empire suffers from a condition which gamers know and loathe only too well, Ludonarrative Dissonance.

In gaming Ludonarrative Dissonance is a condition which occurs too often, especially in games which have 'benefited' from the game developers studio being bought out (often in an underhanded manner eg investing a small amount but stitching the impecunious development studio in a contract which includes draconian financial penalties for failing to meet subjectively definable 'milestones'. Publishers with expensive lawyers coming out their arseholes sue the studio over these milestones and almost always wins complete ownership of the nerds - modern day slavery however not the current issue) by uninterested money men who quickly push a gang of marketeers on the game studio.

The marketeers promote some story-line into the game which is frequently little more than a collection of what they believe are 'hot button issues'. LGBTQ & feminist issues are always popular. The trouble begins when actual gameplay which is determined by the games existing physics eg fighting physics - what is a game without fighting, runs at odds with the silly superficial narrative which the marketing pop-up has foisted on the game.

Hence ludonarrative dissonance a frequently quoted example being 'Uncharted' a hugely successful playstation game which Goomba Stomp analyses thusly:

"In Uncharted, main character Nathan Drake is presented as the lovable everyman treasure hunter, who also kills everyone in his way without hesitation. The Nathan Drake seen during cutscenes isn’t the same one experienced during gameplay, creating a sense of ludonarrative dissonance."

In gameplay or shall we say reality, the lead character gets around killing anyone everyone who he believes stands between him and the treasure, this conflicts with the character presented in cutscenes (they are like a film clip or sound bite - the player cannot input or affect them in any way), the cutscenes feature a very different Nathan Drake full of peace love and woodstock all pro LGBTQ, anti-racist etc, despite the fact that many of the people Nathan has murdered during the game are typical Hollywood caricature baddies, that is to say dark hued, latino, russian or african american accented types.
That doesn't sound at all like what we observe out here in the real world does it? /snark.

BidenCorp are going to ensure everyone keeps talking about orangeutan in that way assisting their media backers by keeping ratings high while also distracting the masses from far more pressing issues eg what they call the stimulus which normal humans see as eating and having shelter or the fact that resources much needed domestically are getting sluiced down the toilet of never ending war against the very types BidenCorp claims to most care about. Ludonarrative dissonance.

Posted by: Debssdead | Feb 17 2021 0:46 utc | 27

Rabbit @22--

And it's vastly important that the Cynic School of Thought originated in Greece, from whom the Romans borrowed most everything including the idea of massive latifundia, usury, private finance, and the need to wage Total War on anyone promoting the Jubilee Year idea or championing the plebes. And which two "classic" nations did the British and their American scions model themselves after--The Greeks and Romans. But then, you know all that. And I do believe that you know there was never to be any genuine democracy at the USA's national level as there was a Coup in 1787 that negated the form of government in place that actually held out some promise of that.

IMO, there're well over 100 Million US Citizens ready to embrace Grassroots Populism, not the Top->Down Trump variety, but the variety that champions All The People and steals its motto from the Constitution: For a More Better Union, or People's Union Party if you will, or something like that. On the other hand, the EU presents a different problem for those under its boot that's more complex than what we face. IMO, the EU in its current form is unreformable as it's essentially a dictatorship run by the ECB, which forms a Junta with Wall Street, The City, NATO, and the CIA. And that latter criminal organization will need to be overcome for us to have any hopes of democracy at the Federal level and a nationwide public financial system to get us out of the chasm we're in and provide some hope for future generations.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 17 2021 0:47 utc | 28

Jrabbit @ 22 said:"IMO the narratives are driven by Deep State Empire managers that want to keep us divided so that they have a free hand. As a result, few can see the Empire forest for the trees of Deep State political operatives."

"Obama, Bernie and DJT have led their flocks to nowhere. What led us to them is the establishment's desire to derail populist Movements."

"One clue (among many): Each of these so-called populists is pro-Empire."

Absolutely true rabbit, good post.

And, IMO, the "deep state" are the malignant billionaires who have bought the afore mentioned "populists", and who own 99% of the MSM....

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 17 2021 0:55 utc | 29

P.S. Even IF the people could find a genuine "populist", the rulers of American empire wouldn't permit it. He/she would be done away with.

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 17 2021 1:00 utc | 30

Debs @ 26; said;"BidenCorp are going to ensure everyone keeps talking about orangeutan in that way assisting their media backers by keeping ratings high while also distracting the masses from far more pressing issues eg what they call the stimulus which normal humans see as eating and having shelter or the fact that resources much needed domestically are getting sluiced down the toilet of never ending war against the very types BidenCorp claims to most care about. Ludonarrative dissonance."

More bottom line truth....

And the distraction drones on......

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 17 2021 1:07 utc | 31

An excellent piece from Glenn Greenwald about the events on Capitol Hill on January 6.

"..One of the most significant of these falsehoods (from journalists) was the tale — endorsed over and over without any caveats by the media for more than a month — that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was murdered by the pro-Trump mob when they beat him to death with a fire extinguisher. That claim was first published by The New York Times on January 8 in an article headlined “Capitol Police Officer Dies From Injuries in Pro-Trump Rampage.” It cited “two [anonymous] law enforcement officials” to claim that Sicknick died “with the mob rampaging through the halls of Congress” and after he “was struck with a fire extinguisher.”

"A second New York Times article from later that day — bearing the more dramatic headline: “He Dreamed of Being a Police Officer, Then Was Killed by a Pro-Trump Mob” — elaborated on that story:...

"....The problem with this story is that it is false in all respects. From the start, there was almost no evidence to substantiate it. The only basis were the two original New York Times articles asserting that this happened based on the claim of anonymous law enforcement officials.

"Despite this alleged brutal murder taking place in one of the most surveilled buildings on the planet, filled that day with hundreds of cellphones taping the events, nobody saw video of it. No photographs depicted it. To this day, no autopsy report has been released. No details from any official source have been provided.

"Not only was there no reason to believe this happened from the start, the little that was known should have caused doubt. On the same day the Times published its two articles with the “fire extinguisher” story, ProPublica published one that should have raised serious doubts about it.

"The outlet interviewed Sicknick’s brother, who said that “Sicknick had texted [the family] Wednesday night to say that while he had been pepper-sprayed, he was in good spirits.” That obviously conflicted with the Times’ story that the mob “overpowered Sicknick” and “struck him in the head with a fire extinguisher,” after which, “with a bloody gash in his head, Mr. Sicknick was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support.”

The over reaction in the US to this minor riot, in which the only other casualties were among the rioters would be a good joke were it not that the Congress people now telling us that they escaped with their lives are personally and collectively responsible for the most atrocious attacks on innocent civilians at the hands of Congressionally employed agents or proxies every day.
The events of January 6 would not have been noticed in the Kiev insurrection that Obama et al produced- in which US trained snipers from Georgia shot into the crowds, indiscriminately killing both police and protestors, in order to be in a position to denounce peace accords reached between the parties.
They would have been an unnoticed sideshow in Hong Kong last year when the US sponsored anti-communists were beating up local police and setting subway stations on fire.
They would have gone unreported in Minsk a few months ago. As to Cochabamba in Bolivia, where the Parliamentary building was invaded by US Embassy organised fascists little more than a year ago and several bystanders were killed. Or Colombia any day of every week since the socialist candidate was assassinated in the Presidential election-in 1948- a day like January 6 would be a welcome relief from the death squads and murders.
The big question the world is asking is whether the USA will grow up before it dies. The odds would seem to be against it doing so.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 17 2021 1:16 utc | 32

bevin @31--

Thanks for posting that info. What I heard was the cop died from a stroke well after he'd returned to his station. What Greenwald relates makes my last sentence @27 even more correct.

vetinLA @29--

Yes, that's quite likely given what's done to others elsewhere. But what do we become if we surrender? I'm a vet; did our Oaths mean anything?

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 17 2021 1:26 utc | 33

So, yeah...
When all of this 'cover story' nonsense finishes losing its charm,
Maybe we can find it within ourselves to stop trying so very hard to tell stupid fucking cover stories to each other all the time.

Posted by: Josh | Feb 17 2021 1:31 utc | 34

The city will remain completely secured until further notice, our population will continue to be protected (no matter who comes up with whatever dumbass cover story), and anyone who doesn't like it can go fuck themselves.

Posted by: Josh | Feb 17 2021 1:34 utc | 35

Bevin @ 31:

I echo karlof1's thanks @ 32. I had my doubts as well about the MSM report on Brian Sicknick's death especially as initial reports said that he had returned to the police station after his encounter with protesters at Capitol Hill on 6 January 2021, and then went to hospital afterwards. I saw the video in which he was supposed to have been hit by the fire extinguisher and even after replaying it several times I could not see that the hit appeared deliberate. Thanks again for digging up Glenn Greenwald's report.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 17 2021 2:33 utc | 36

Jen @Feb17 2:33 #35

... I could not see that the hit appeared deliberate.

It also appeared to me that the fire extinguisher had been emptied (so it was much lighter) and all the police were wearing helmets. Even if the fire extinguisher had made a direct hit on the head of a policeman, the helmet protection and lightness of the fire extinguisher would likely mean that any injury would be minor.

But I also wonder where the heck the protestors got a fire extinguisher. Not really something that you bring to a protest. And they weren't yet in the building (AFAIK).


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2021 2:42 utc | 37

b #posted "Keeping the eyes on Trump is of course the best way to guarantee that Republicans will continue to stick to his narrative and that he will come back:"

Ditto with Bernie and HIS #FraudSquad. They want them back in the next primaries too so the DNC can position their 'extreme demands' as leftist and never give in to one of them. Thereby the Dimratss alway appear to be centrist and not one person in the middle class and working class and poor ever benefits.

The broken record will keep playing until someone turns the power off.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 17 2021 2:46 utc | 38

karlof1 @Feb17 0:47 #27

And thus my frequent pointing to the difference between the Roman Veritas and the Greek Aletheia.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2021 2:49 utc | 39

bevin@31 lists incidents of violence that interfered with democracy in other places as somehow being evidence that attempts to do so are not wrong in themselves and should only be judged by the casualty rate. Bevin's further implies that the US citizens should not care about this any more than the citizens of those other places. The posture this is some sort of comeuppance for imperialism is morally obtuse. The Capitol was not stormed by victims of Congress nor by sympathizers with those victims but by enemies of majority rule democracy who wanted to keep America "great," which as bevin knows, means, Top Dog Imperialist. Lastly, or perhaps I should say firstly, the characterization of January 6 as a minor riot is is a lie. The BLM "riots" were minor but hypocrites like bevin were outraged by them, wanting to call out the army---which is to say, rig the election in fact, not fancy.

The pretense that we should be concerned about the Electoral College BS rather than perpetually outraged at every clown who wants to justify the loser of an election taking office is quite bad enough. But to whine about the uncertainties in the Electoral College vote after the election of 2000 when it was not even uncertain, but the Supreme Court "sui generis" decided not to count the votes...that proves an unseemly pride in shamelessness.

james, the decline of empire is not a topical event but a slow motion catastrophe, like being run down by a glacier, and is not ever a mere current event. Further, attributing it to the collective mindset of Bad Men who follow the narrative is not a serious analysis at all. Mindreading invdividual minds is impossible but collective minds don't even exist to be fooled by believing in "narrative."

Posted by: steven t johnson | Feb 17 2021 3:20 utc | 40

"the Mardi Gras invasion of the Capitol...." This says it all about your narrative, b. If I were you, I'd put myself out of reach of the FBI. You need to pay attention to the right wing resurgence in your own country, which we might call the mother of all right wing insurgencies and the inspiration for the weak & half-assed Trump putsch on Jan 6. Just because there was a dude in an outrageous costume the cameras could not ignore does not mean the assault on the Capital was some kind of jokey reality show. It was a malicious and spiteful gesture. It was motherfucker Trump's show, whom you continue to defend as you stand up for Lukashenko in Belarus and statesman/oligarch Putin. BTW, relations with Europe were fine until your buddy Trump started running his stupid mouth. He needs to be buried alive with his fat head exposed so that Nancy Pelosi can squat and piss on him and maybe be the fulfillment of his deepest fantasies.

Posted by: jadan | Feb 17 2021 3:24 utc | 41

karlof1 @ 32 asked; "But what do we become if we surrender? I'm a vet; did our Oaths mean anything?"

No surrender, ever.. All we can do is support the people and issues we believe in, and, with real $ when necessary.

Commenting here is helpful therapy, but most people don't understand it takes $ in our society to get things done. I don't like that, but, it's reality.

I too, am a vet; ( US Army 66'69) Your efforts here are always relevant and informative, thanks, and, thanks to all who post here. As always, kudos to b, for providing this forum.....

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 17 2021 3:35 utc | 42

@ stephen t johnson

You always seem to be the reasonable voice here, can you elaborate more on why you think the Capital Siege is a not a minor riot, but the BLM riots are minor?

Objectively speaking, the BLM riots are much more damaging and with more people participated in multiple locations and in a longer timeframe, while the Capitol Siege happened in one place and in less than a day.

I consider the Capital Siege a genuine attack on the establishment, but with no thought-out plan and excited by the bad-faith actors like Trump. while the BLM riots have next to no lasting consequences despite the damages.

Posted by: Smith | Feb 17 2021 4:37 utc | 43

@ 20 dan of steele... the way i see it this fixation on the 2 parties does exactly what karlof1 said on this or another thread in the past day - get people fighting among themselves while missing who it is that they need to be focused on... instead of addressing the elite that continue to screw the little people, they figured out how to convince most in identifying with red or blue and watching red and blue fight one another... it would be good if these people could see how they're being manipulated... the 2 party system is a perfect alibi for continuing to allow a ton of shit to to get passed... maybe i could frame it more like jackrabbit - it looks like people have a choice, but all the choices are the same!! it would be good if people could see this conflict as being more about which political party they voted for... maybe i am being unrealistic thinking this is a possibility.. apparently some seem to believe talking ad nauseaum about trump is the way to enlightenment, lol...

@ 39 steven t johnson.. thanks, but you will note that the glaciers have been moving a lot faster lately, both figuratively and literally..

Posted by: james | Feb 17 2021 4:40 utc | 44

more 'then' about .. insert then in my post above..

Posted by: james | Feb 17 2021 4:42 utc | 45

My first reaction, as a European, early in the morning, is yaaaawn. I must admit I do not concern my self anymore about the basket case of the US. The infantility is too prevalent, both among politicians and the populace in general and there is no savior on the horizon.
The US is more concerned about wrecking the NS2 project, than it is of getting some kind of unity and cohesion at home.
I do not think that there is a will in the US to actually make a change, or maybe corporate cash is too mighty. too bad.

Posted by: Den lille abe | Feb 17 2021 4:50 utc | 46

@vetinLA | Feb 17 2021 3:35 utc | 41

I too, am a vet; ( US Army 66'69) Your efforts here are always relevant and informative, thanks, and, thanks to all who post here. As always, kudos to b, for providing this forum.....

Oh, I thought he was someone who cared for sick animals, but I guess the world isn't that rosy.

Posted by: Norwegian | Feb 17 2021 6:21 utc | 47

This evening, as I wallowed in the slowly rising buzz of decent scotch enveloping the consciousness, I was idly thumbing thru the NYT when I came across a comment to this article about Daniil Medvedev the Russian tennis player and one of 3 or 4 (depending on yer definition) of Russian male players in the world top 20 - an issue because AFAIK amerika has none in the top 20 'n that appears to be an issue for many NYT readers.

I couldn't actually believe the comment was un-ironic, but as far as I can discern it most certainly is not. The comment was:

"Wait, but is he anti-racist? I've never experienced more racism than when I visited Russia (twice.) It was bordering on the bizarre. Would be good to know before we start writing articles about these people."

Point of information one other commenter did call this tosspot out on his "these people" label but he/she was it & that callout garnered zero recommends.

So now an interesting tennis player (ie one who doesn't rely on the standard power play which defines mens tennis) is now required to prove he isn't racist just because 'everybody knows' all russians are racist? OK When is the time gonna come that all amerikan tennis players have to prove they aren't rapists, thieves and murderers because I reckon a lot more humans about this rock have observed the empire's 'warriors' committing rape, theft & murder, than there are humans who have been subjected to Russian racism.
Of course neither restriction on tennis players should apply but the reality that this is one quite standard amerikan opinion - he copped 4 recommends
tells us everything we need to know about corporate media and how, who they cater to. Change one noun and two adjectives in that comment and both the NYT & 'Jeffrey' the commentor, would be banned from all forms of digital media.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 17 2021 6:24 utc | 48

@Den lille abe | Feb 17 2021 4:50 utc | 45

I do not think that there is a will in the US to actually make a change, or maybe corporate cash is too mighty. too bad.

Agreed, looking in from outside there is no sign at all of any will to make a real change in the US, except for making is things exponentially worse than it already is. US foreign policy is getting worse with stationing of long range bombers in my country without my consent (it really makes me extremely angry) to threaten Russia so they have to target us. Illegal occupation of Syria is being extended against the will of ALL in the region (Syria, Iraq, Turkey). The war against Afghanistan is moving into its THIRD decade and is likely to increase. And so on, the examples are too many to list.

Then we have the crime against humanity called "covid", which happened to be the perfect mechanism to get the uber-criminal Biden into office. As for domestic policy, now he has turned off the power in Texas so they can get their promised dark winter.

Can someone explain how this is supposed to end peacefully?

Posted by: Norwegian | Feb 17 2021 6:38 utc | 49

Stonebird @13:

Qualify this as a persistant rumour; Biden has already retired back to his Bunker, and will never meet Foreign leaders. It is said that Karmala Harris is the one doing all the telephone calls.

I doubt that rumour is authentic. It was reported in Chinese press that Biden's call to Xi Jinping lasted nearly couple of hours. No way Xi can stand talking to Kamala Harris for longer than 10 minutes, let alone two hours.

vk @5:

Yup, losing the latest cold war to PRC is the plausible reason Empire is acting so fidgety and erroneously. Not only is Empire incompetent, it's a pitiful poor loser. What's amazing is that the incompetence and low classness permeates the whole freaking ruling class here in the empire.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Feb 17 2021 7:27 utc | 50

" how élites have become remote from the real world and captive to their own self-perception."

Yes, when you create a machine to manipulate the group mind of the group that you are part of you create a dangerous feedback loop that could go into oscilation and shake itself to bits.

Posted by: Johny Conspiranoid | Feb 17 2021 8:50 utc | 51

I have two Scandinavian friends living in mainland China. Both much prefer the mild and often helpful surveillance practiced by officialdom there (NOT by the Communist Party) to the barrage resulting from private businesses that take note of one's Internet use in the Nordic countries of Europe. Now, various security laws, anti-terror (i,e, terror) legislation and pandemic surveillance measured steadily increasing the scope of police and government snooping. Health data and income data and economic information are linked in state kyber networks being hacked by US og North A and Israëli firms, is a fact now and then leaked through the mainstream media.

Posted by: Tadlak Davidovitsh | Feb 17 2021 8:59 utc | 52

Smith @ 42

I consider the Capital Siege a genuine attack on the establishment, but with no thought-out plan and excited by the bad-faith actors like Trump

If after all of the mindfuckery of the last 20 years and you still don't recognize crisis actors when you see them, I gotta conclude that you're too slow a learner to be at all useful.

while the BLM riots have next to no lasting consequences despite the damages

Well, talk is cheap...ain't it?

And a lot of these folks had cancelled their insurance policies after the covid blitz.

A not so merciful coup de grâce, no?

Posted by: john | Feb 17 2021 12:01 utc | 53

Lavrov's treatment of EU Foreign Policy Commissioner Borrell has shown us that narratives do not count to the Russians.The EU has no diplomats.Diplomatic status of EU-person was even denied by Great-Britain.EU has no leverage in negociating other than narrative.I am quite confident that EU personnel does not really discuss issues:their masters told them to watch and listen to MSM for the policy to follow.It is MSM that tells them what to say.And some think-tanks as well of course.

Ursula von der Leyen ,president of EU-commission,pressed EU member countries do share their vaccines with Ukraine,two weeks ago,there is not one european country willing to follow her advice,not even Poland or the Baltic States.

One month ago in Crimea there was a reburial of dead french soldiers from the Crimean war in decent graves with Russian officials,no officials from France,all french present were on their proper initiative.
A few days ago,there was reburial of over hundred dead found in mass grave ,somewhere near the Berezina in Russia.Those were retreating troops of Napoleon's Great Army.No french officials (although Der Spiegel in its article made it seem official).There were great-great-great grandchildren of french soldiers present.Very underreported,but over 500 comments in le Figaro,of french people very angry about the absebce of an official delegation and appalled about the russians showing respect for french soldiers,but the Macron government showing disrespect.More and more french people are aware being lied at with the narratives.

There's practically no news from Ukraine in MSM media. soldiers There are british american,canadian,israeli soldiers teaming up with the ukrop army.There is shelling of civilians on a daily basis.There are secret prisons,there are violent groups,there is an organisation giving false Ukranian passports to ISIS members and making them
able to benefit from absence of visa-obligations to enter european countries.Never forget that Yulia Timoshenko,Piotr Poroshenko and so many others have been talking about eradicating,even nuking the russian part of Ukraine.But as such things are never reported in European media,there is no need for Swedish or german or french or dutch officials to rant about that. It's Russia,Russia,Russia,and people are fed up with it.

Posted by: willie | Feb 17 2021 12:02 utc | 54

The False and Exaggerated Claims Still Being Spread About the Capitol Riot

Posted by: Xpilgrim | Feb 17 2021 12:05 utc | 55

@ willie

It seems the europeans are moving forward with or without the government, a good sign.

Posted by: Smith | Feb 17 2021 12:11 utc | 56

Stoltenberg Wants a Fairer NATO, Urges Even Burden-Sharing Among Member States

Let me guess (without reading the article): Stoltenberg wants the European members to spend those long sought for 2% of their GDP on defense.

Am I correct?

The Empire is running out of money...

Posted by: vk | Feb 17 2021 12:24 utc | 57


China surpasses US as EU's No.1 trading partner; CAI to cement bilateral ties in 2021: analyst

One gives, the other takes. The choice is simple for Europe.

Posted by: vk | Feb 17 2021 12:28 utc | 58

Wow, so Biden just confirms, publicly:
- no student debt write-off
- the $15 minimum wage isn't coming

Coupled with no $2000, I meant, $1400 stimulus check, this means Biden turns out to be the mother of all accelerationist candidates, hell, maybe it's a boon that Trump lost after all, because this is just blatant.

'I will not make that happen,' the president said.

They should encase this quote somewhere in the future as the breaking point, he will NOT make that happen.

Posted by: Smith | Feb 17 2021 12:52 utc | 60

Posted by: bevin | Feb 17 2021 1:16 utc | 31
Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 17 2021 1:26 utc | 32
Posted by: Jen | Feb 17 2021 2:33 utc | 35

You 3 are simply ill or misinformed regarding the events that day.

The fire extinguisher incident you are referring to, video of which has been widely distributed, is NOT connected to the death of the officer Brian Sicknick.

The dead officer was simply not present at that incident and this information has been officially confirmed since as early as Jan 14th 2021.

Man Who Allegedly Threw Fire Extinguisher at Police Arrested on Federal Charges

Jan 14, 2021 at 9:30 am ET

    A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania was arrested Thursday morning for allegedly throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three police officers at the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol as captured on video, U.S. officials said.

    Robert Sanford of Chester, Pa., faces three federal felony charges including assaulting a police officer after he was allegedly identified as the person who lobbed a fire extinguisher on the west side of the Capitol, at around 2:30 pm, as the mob crashed past a thin line of Capitol police officers and stormed towards the building on Jan. 6.

    In an affidavit filed in connection with Mr. Sanford’s arrest, an FBI special agent described the mob as “insurrectionists.” “The video was shot from an elevated position and showed an area of the Capitol with a large group of police officers surrounded on at least three sides by a group of insurrectionists,” the statement of facts said. It also described the object hitting all three officers in the head, including one who was not wearing a helmet.

    The extinguisher that Mr. Sanford allegedly threw is separate from the one that killed Officer Brian Sicknick, who was also struck in the head with a fire extinguisher during the unrest and died from his wounds, officials said.

Not only was the dead officer not present at the fire extinguisher incident captured on video, it has since been confirmed that the claim he was struck by a fire extinguisher is a complete fabrication. A lie in other words

Posted by: C4 | Feb 17 2021 13:14 utc | 61

Furthermore the unhelmeted officer who was struck by a fire extinguisher, in the video you keep erroneously referring to, appears to Officer William Young

    One of the officers who was hit, William Young, was evaluated at a hospital and cleared to return to duty, the charging document said.

Posted by: C4 | Feb 17 2021 13:18 utc | 62

There are a lot of videos from the Capital protest/coup/riot/fandango on the Internet Archive.

Posted by: Bemildred | Feb 17 2021 13:31 utc | 63

The American Empire is definitely not willing to go down like the USSR: the peripheries will be crushed first:

Europe’s Pandemic Debt Is Dizzying. Who Will Pay?

Pandemic aid has cushioned workers and businesses from a severe recession. But as governments face trillions in debt, there’s no rush to rein it in.

Sorry, losers: MMT and Keynesianism is the privilege of the financial superpower only. For the rest austerity is the rule of the land.

Posted by: vk | Feb 17 2021 13:33 utc | 64

FBI arrests BLM protester, claiming his social media posts show he is “on a path to radicalization”.

A judge determined he is dangerous bc of these posts and held him with no bond. This is where we’re headed if we accept this domestic terrorism frame:

The FBI warned about far-right attacks. Agents arrested a leftist ex-soldier.

Congress shall make no law ..abridging the freedom of speech, or to prevent petition to the government for redress of grievances. I guess if the FBI arrest you for your speech and the judge throws you in jail there is no law involved? its just what the guys at the bureau want to do and how much weight they have with the Judge?

Posted by: snake | Feb 17 2021 13:36 utc | 65 <= those not on government payrolls or affiliated to the corruption nation state regulated corruption might enjoy this

Posted by: snake | Feb 17 2021 13:55 utc | 66

@Ian, what agenda? Biden ran on no agenda other than not "Orange man".

The uniparty offers nothing but bluster. There is no intent to fix thing, if fixing is even possible. They sold the left on the ideas of unicorns and fairies. The rights purpose is to make the lefties never think pass haters of unicorns and fairies. Our leaders are currently back to doing a fire sale of this country. Odd to think Orange Man interfered with that, or was he just part of the left's diversion? Trump did get the left to hate Russia and go all in with the war party. All the stimulus will be is programs for mass genocide (think neocons) and environ-tyranny ( which will lead to another style of genocide). Oh there might be some leftover cash for BLM, which just hordes money. Also women will get patronized with nothing to actually show for it. And of course the gays and trannies will get money for their organization, which like BLM does nothing with its cash. Unicorns and fairies, while the real world just keeps a crumbling.

Posted by: Old and Grumpy | Feb 17 2021 13:57 utc | 67

Posted by: JB | Feb 16 2021 22:04 utc | 16

This is reality:

That's not Reality.

That's a stage prop.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Feb 17 2021 14:27 utc | 68

Q: What is the penalty for giving material support for domestic terrorism?

A: Depends on whether the domestic terrorist is a paid propaganda tool of the BORG deepstate

Posted by: gm | Feb 17 2021 14:40 utc | 69

Debsisdead @47

The power of "Identity Politics" is truly surprising once you recognize it. Why should it matter at all if the tennis player is racist in the first place? Why should thoughts that the man has in his head that he has no history of acting upon or even voicing have any bearing upon the subject of his tennis skills being raised in public discourse?

"Identity Politics" seems so innocent at first. After all, what is wrong with just being nice to other people? Who could oppose just being civil? But that is just the thin edge of the blade of division. It is not so many steps from there to forbidding thinking "bad thoughts" about the others (selected identity groups in actuality). The problem is that the thoughts can be deemed bad regardless of how closely they tack to reality. An example and significant source for some of the division in America is that one particular relatively small "identity" group in the US is conspicuously responsible for more than half of all murders in the country. Simply acknowledging this documented empirical fact is in and of itself considered the very worst of negative thoughts. In this case those terrible thoughts, though entirely reflective of the real world, are themselves considered racism and "white supremacy".

The vast majority of the scores of millions of "white supremacists" in the USA do not burn crosses on the yards of Black people's homes, they do not lynch Black people, they do not refuse them service, they do not even demand Black customers at the deli counter go to the back of the line. In fact, these supposed "white supremacists" don't even interact with Black people with anything other than the politeness due anyone else. Indeed, no significant number of "deplorables" in America exhibit this kind of real-world racism. Instead practically all of what is considered racism in America exists strictly within people's heads, and in most cases those thoughts are nothing more than an accurate reflection of conditions in the real world.

We could have a really good discussion of why and how a portion of the US (and most of the European, apparently) population came to believe "It's the thought that counts!" and dismiss behavior. In short it is the classic conflict between philosophical "Idealism" and philosophical "Materialism". For the Idealists physical reality arises from thought, that is the material world is a projection of the thinking of our inner "spirit". For Materialists, on the other hand, thought arises from matter; that is the brain is an organ composed of matter and thoughts are just sensations that occur within it. Of course few Materialists or Idealists break their worldview down to this level, but this is what underlies how they relate to the world. This is why Idealists condemn others for what they perceive as "bad thoughts"; it is because those "bad thoughts" give rise to bad reality. Basically they think that it is some number of white working class "deplorables" believing the truth that Black American men are prone to violence that causes the reality of Black American men murdering to come into being. If the "deplorables" could be forced to stop believing that Black American men are prone to violence then reality would reconfigure itself magically and Black American men would stop murdering.

As a youth I imagined that the Idealist conception of reality was a remnant of primitive superstition that died out after the Renaissance. Sure, there were some stand-up philosophers in Europe a few hundred years ago who still mused about it, but who in the Age of Science could really take that Idealism stuff seriously? Who could still be so divorced from objective reality in this day and age that they imagine the natural world gives even the smallest hoot for the subjective sensations occurring in the large nerve clusters of a particular species of mammal? Indeed, who could possibly be that egocentric and narcissistic? Surely that Idealist perspective is just a different version of the world inhabited by ghosts, spirits, and invisible boojums that vexed primitive peoples and has likewise passed into history and remains only in tales to thrill small children on dark and stormy nights?

But Idealism is back with a vengeance, militantly embraced by what is ostensibly the most educated segment of the population.

So how does a significant portion of the population revert to such an egocentric and anti-science view of the world? First recognize that it is never the subsistence farmer who is the Idealist but always the plantation owner. The miner is always the Materialist while the mine owner has the insulation from the real world necessary to imagine that thoughts have supremacy over it. In short, the more distant one's daily life is from honest work interacting in some way with the natural world the more room that exists for one to adopt a metaphysical Idealist conception of how that world works; that is, the more opportunity there is to embrace narcissistic delusion. The deindustrialization of western societies has left portions of the population with little contact with the real world in their daily lives. They inhabit socially constructed environments far removed from the labor required to make those environments possible. In such an environment it is possible to imagine that everything is a social construct; things exist as they do only because we agree that they are so. Their whole world then appears to be the product of ideas rather than a larger objective reality.

This, by the way, is why contemporary "professional" journalists and social media "influencers" who have never had real and productive jobs have become the most delusional in western society. A child who is born into a comfortable middle class family, raised through the artificial and socially constructed environment of contemporary schools, then going without interruption to the artificial and socially constructed culture of today's universities, and then transitioning straight from there into the equally fake and socially constructed cubicle office world of corporate hierarchy... the chances for such a child to have sufficient contact with the real world for them to escape delusion is slim to none. This rails-like path to delusion afflicts all of those in the "Professional-Managerial Class" today. Sadly, the effect is even more pronounced among university faculty. There are some in this forum who are or were university faculty, but some of those had arrived at that position after following a long and convoluted road that has familiarized them with the real world. This characterization does not apply to them.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 17 2021 15:00 utc | 70

I am no lawyer, but i understood if government agents arrest someone without expressing in the arrest warrant the charge (and if there is no law to be arrested on , as is the case of a clear violation of constitutionally protected speech uttered by the person arrested) ,and if a judge agrees to imprison that falsely arrested person at all and especially without reasonable bail.. would these arrests and imprison acts not make all of the persons involved parties to a private ultra vires act.. and if so, would that not make those involved outside of their official duties, more like a vigilante or Klux Klan taking action against things for which there is no law.

So would these be considered ultra vira acts, and if so, would all actors involved become private actors for this classification (a vigilante of sorts) and as such can the person arrested hold the vigilante persons liable for civil false imprisonment? If so, I think many juries would sock it to them for violating civil rights. I just don't understand if there is no law, of if the law violates the constitution how can a judge imprison someone.

Posted by: snake | Feb 17 2021 15:06 utc | 71

This should be read alongside with my comment @Feb16 23:49 #22:

How Conspiracy Theorizing May Soon Get You Labelled A "Domestic Terrorist"

Since humans are fundamentally irrational, says the behaviorist [Cass Sunstein], it is requisite that an enlightened elite impose “order” upon society while maintaining the illusion of freedom of choice from below. This is the underlying assumption of Karl Popper’s Open Society doctrine, which was fed to Popper’s protégé George Soros and which animates Soros’ General Theory of Reflexivity and his Oxford-based Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).

<> <> <> <> <>

Also note: while attacking critics as 'conspiracy theorists', the Empire offers their own 'conspiracy theories' (aka propaganda) such as: Novichok fantacies; Putin's palace; MH-17 downed by a Russian BUK missile; Qanon dumbfuckery; Assange as a rapist; etc.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2021 15:13 utc | 72

The False and Exaggerated Claims Still Being Spread About the Capitol Riot

Posted by: Xpilgrim | Feb 17 2021 12:05 utc | 54

Greenwalds article, despite being a welcome debunking of media lies, is dead wrong on one point.

Greenwald erroneously states

    After publication of these two articles, this horrifying story about a pro-Trump mob beating a police officer to death with a fire extinguisher was repeated over and over, by multiple journalists on television, in print, and on social media. It became arguably the single most-emphasized and known story of this event, and understandably so — it was a savage and barbaric act that resulted in the harrowing killing by a pro-Trump mob of a young Capitol police officer.

    It took on such importance for a clear reason: Sicknick’s death was the only example the media had of the pro-Trump mob deliberately killing anyone

The is ZERO publicly available information that would confirm that the officers death could reasonably be attributed to any actions by the rioting crowd at the Capitol that day.

Media reports actually say that the autopsy could not confirm any reason to suspect that his death might have been caused by the officers participation in policing the Capitol Hill riot.

Posted by: C4 | Feb 17 2021 15:15 utc | 73

@ Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 17 2021 15:00 utc | 69

Yes. Capitalism essentially has two "mechanisms" which vertebrates its idealism: alienation of labor and fetishism of the commodity.

Alienation of labor is what allows the middle class (white collar workers, managerial workers etc.) and capitalists to live with the illusion that commodities sprout out of nowhere to your shop's shelves (or in your front door, in the case of e-commerce and delivery), as if by magic. They don't know it is actually an army of Chinese and SE Asia factory workers and slave workers from Africa and Latin America who are producing them.

Fetishism (from the Old Portuguese fetiche, literally meaning "sorcery") of the commodity is the illusion capitalism gives to the person with money in the free market that the completeness of the self ("soul", if you're an Abrahamic) can be fully satisfied by consumption of commodities. For example, a car is not a car anymore, but a symbol of status, an index of a certain lifestyle (e.g. sports car, muscle car as the token of the Alpha Male) and, more importantly, the embodiment of freedom of the individual (as in Cold War USA).

These two factors, combined together, also induces the worker (the one who receives wages for a living) think of his labor time as a necessary evil in order to receive wage in money, so he/she can finally be whole again in the act of consumption of commodities in the free market - during his/her "free time".

Posted by: vk | Feb 17 2021 15:18 utc | 74

snake @ 64 & 70

Most likely none of that ever happened. They want you to believe FBI broke down door, tossed in a stun grenade, made an arrest. Think for a minute what would happen if a stun grenade went off in an interior space. From the photos looks to be a small interior space, a hovel. Then they helpfully provide a photo of what the grenade did, a smudge on a baseboard. Looks more like someone drew that in with a charcoal stick.

Then we are asked to believe that this radical served as a soldier with YPG in Syria. Once more the tale of YPG as Bookchinite anarcho-feminist hippie commune is played. And the BLM dude simply traveled coach and walked in the door. None of this is believable.

What they are doing is normalizing police as stormtroopers. Real events are not required. Only a pliant media.

Posted by: oldhippie | Feb 17 2021 15:28 utc | 75

Oriental Voice | Feb 17 2021 7:27 utc | 49
"I doubt that rumour is authentic. It was reported in Chinese press that Biden's call to Xi Jinping lasted nearly couple of hours. No way Xi can stand talking to Kamala Harris for longer than 10 minutes, let alone two hours."

Maybe Biden is talking to leaders in order of importance? There could be several possible answers, but I would bet that the talk with Xi was one of the earliest. Interesting to know if they had video at the same time. Sooner or later we will find out - probably.

I can fully understand that Xi couldn't stand talking to Kamala for any length of time.
Does Trudeau know who he is talking to at the best of times?

and....White House press secretary Jen Psaki also announced on Tuesday that it is unlikely Biden will meet with any foreign leaders for months.

Posted by: Stonebird | Feb 17 2021 15:58 utc | 76

b, if you follow the pattern the Democrats have used, next time around (telling you ahead of time in case I'm not here) instead of going with the popular leader, the Republicans will shortchange the primary process and choose the least likely to have popular approval. That way they have the system sewn up tight and there's no need to vote any longer.

Unless we do something different. For a change.

Thanks for the notification on relief. The 's' word is toxic now.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 17 2021 16:04 utc | 77

By the way, not saying I am going anywhere; don't plan to -- but the system, we must admit, is mighty shaky these days.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 17 2021 16:06 utc | 78

C4 @72

I am pretty sure Greenwald was just describing the false narrative that the Mockingbird mass media generated, not offering it any validation. In fact, Greenwald followed it with:

The problem with this story is that it is false in all respects. From the start, there was almost no evidence to substantiate it. The only basis were the two original New York Times articles asserting that this happened based on the claim of anonymous law enforcement officials.

Greenwald described the narrative that was forced down the American public's throats and then disassembled it into its fraudulent components. It is a long-form article and not meant for people with Twitter-sized attention spans. The first several paragraphs are just to set the target up before bringing the hammer of truth down on it.

I'm no Greenwald fanboi, but this particular article is a rather brutal takedown of the New York Langley Times and the Mockingbird echo chamber of America's mass media.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 17 2021 16:15 utc | 79

Norwegian @ 48: "Can someone explain how this is supposed to end peacefully?"

Two thoughts:

1. The lion shall lie down with the lamb

2. The meek shall inherit the earth

I'm sure there are others as well. Not with a bang but a whimper, maybe? Good; three is always good.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 17 2021 16:44 utc | 80

Smith@42 asks directly why the BLM protests should be regarded as minor. First, the damage done was done as a diversion from confrontation. Looting and pillaging is always a lapse in discipline, for the looters and pillagers *stop fighting* to loot and pillage. As catastrophic as a burned or looted shop may be for the owner, it is a gift to the enemy the looters and pillagers were presumably there to fight. Battles have been lost when soldiers stopped fighting to loot and pillage. Thus as outrageous as property damage and theft may be, in terms of threats to the police, they weren't threats at all, unless you think embarrassing the police is the same as taking power. I don't.

Second, the fire at a police station was the only significant gesture towards real combat with the police, but the police had evacuated in a strategic withdrawal and the overall situation was under control. The police were engaged, with reserve forces in play. There was no threat to police control of the city.

Third, there was no political perspective to BLM to provide an organizational principle and systematic policy for victory, however defined. War is a continuation of politics. If you don't have any coherent politics, rioting is a poor form of political warfare. (I find it distasteful to dismiss outrage over the many murders/dubiously justified killings perpetrated by police, disproportionately on blacks. It is simply the case that the oppressed will burst out with inchoate rage. It would callous in the extreme to mock their human feelings. But I do not really have much good to say about BLM's political program and affiliations. For one thing, funding is a way of controlling. One of the problems with police is how they use fines and confiscation of assets to get around the restrictions of funding. Thus, the slogan of "defunding" the police is not so straightforwardly right as might appear at first glance.)

These three reasons do not apply to January 6. First, the point of attack was not random looting but to pressure the election (illegally, yes, but that was the plan.) Second, Trump via the acting secretaries of defense and the army had made sure that the police had lost control of the situation and the government's formal certification of the election, meant as a legal formality, was within minutes of being stopped. Third, as the letter of the former secretaries of defense showed, there were moves to politicize the army, by Trump. Trump was commander-in-chief still, not Biden. The necessary context includes the abortive moves to invoke the Insurrection Act back in the summer with very little reason and the openly reported advice from Gen. Flynn to use the army to re-run the election in selected states (and make sure the results were "right.") Things like this show the riot itself was to be merely phase one. Every indication is that the real use of force would have been from soldiers sent out to restore order, not the motley crew needed to delay the certification and justify the Insurrection Act. Unlike the idiotic theories about how a decentralized system jointly run by Republicans could magically rig the presidential election and *only* the presidential election, Trump as commander-in-chief invoking the Insurrection Act really was a way the minority could rig the election/election re-run in selected states.

January 6 was an abortive autogolpe (a Spanish term for an irregular seizure of power by a president.) Because it failed, it is dismissed as comical. But this is merely the commonplace prejudice against losers, I think.

As an aside, the initial press reports I saw were never specific about Sicknik being killed by the fire extinguisher. I remember the "beaten to death" trope emerged in social media unsupported even by the initial press reports. Greenwald's ability to distinguish a deliberate lie from hysteria is his vanity which no one need take seriously. I remember the report that a car bomb went off in front of the State Department on 9/11; the reports about the atrocities at the Superdome during Katrina; even the report that Bush the senior died at a banquet in Japan. Journalists are human which is why taking them as omnicompetent is...not wise.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Feb 17 2021 16:47 utc | 81

@ 81 steven... as an outsider who doesn't have a ''horse'' in this race, i see it quite differently... maybe it is my ignorance being a canuck... you can chalk it up to that!

Posted by: james | Feb 17 2021 16:57 utc | 82

"...The BLM "riots" were minor but hypocrites like bevin were outraged by them, wanting to call out the army---which is to say, rig the election in fact, not fancy..". steven t johnson

You make a mistake in attributing to me views, regarding BLM, that I not only do not hold but have never suggested that I could.
The truth is that the BLM riots, as they are called, are both minor and long overdue. I have been predicting them for years. And the more of them the better.

As to the rest of your analysis of the events of January 6, growing up still seems to me a reasonable suggestion: very little happened, the people actually involved (as opposed to the distant and unidentified conspirators who bear a resemblance to the Elders of Zion) seem like a bunch of not particularly bright but sinister only insofar as they inherit the culture of their forebears, Americans. I doubt that they could have successfully organised a cocktail party in a Gin distillery. The notion that they were close to seizing power is silly.
But it is Democratic Party talking point and you make the most of it.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 17 2021 17:07 utc | 83

b writes: ... Collide With Reality

I'm surprised no one has posted the infamous Karl Rove quote:

We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2021 17:09 utc | 84

Good Morning Rabbit @84--

I'd say the Outlaw US Empire has indeed collided with reality in a manner Rove never anticipated such that now the shoe's on the other foot.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 17 2021 17:21 utc | 85

@27 debs

Having grown up with video games, I see the implications of what you are implying and what some philosophical discussions have made clear. The disparity between subject and object and even further in what you bring up: the subject, who controls another subject, who is in fact an object, encountering objects. There are layers here which beg more philosophical discussion. Video games relation to movies is also a worthy topic. I still can't get over Roger Ebert's assertion that video games can not be art.

What an unqualified statement.

Certainly, playing video games bring up some very difficult problems. David Cronenberg's film "Existenz" illustrates this well, where violent political activism decry the blurring of reality which seems to be advancing further as video games increase in eye-candy technological ability.

But here is where I hold the opinion that video games can be imbued with spirit and artful craft. And they can indeed inform the player on the moral implications of choice-making - I am thinking games made by Bioware, such as from the Mass Effect series, which blend gameplay, art style, exceptional music, and a branching storyline where choices lead you to varying outcomes, remniscent of "Choose your own adventure" books from one's childhood.

On the subject, the Uncharted games were directed by a supremely talented lady who has since left the video game industry probably due to the corrupting influence of money and executive overreach of publishing companies that curtail artistic vision.

Amy Hennig, who directed the Uncharted games, also directed one of my favorite games growing up, Legacy of Kaim: Soul Reaver, which was imbued with sylistic choices which rendered it an impressive piece of art which was way ahead of its time. Indeed, the director has always put imagination, mood, and theme, as better raw material for constructing games than pure technological ability.

As for Uncharted, the way I see Nathan Drake's bloodletting is largely defensive. The enemies in the game instigate the violence against him.

But does this not put these type of games on the same level as such violent films such as starring Schwarezenneger, such as Commando where the body count is in excess of 100?

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Feb 17 2021 17:25 utc | 86

Reality: Who Is The US President? Kamala Harris, Not Biden Is Talking With Foreign Leaders

The New York Post reports that Harris spoke at length with French President Emmanuel Macron this week.

The Vice President’s office released a statement noting that the two “agreed on the need for close bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change, and support democracy at home and around the world.”

“They also discussed numerous regional challenges, including those in the Middle East and Africa, and the need to confront them together,” the statement added.

Macron also tweeted his regards to Harris over the discussion:

Posted by: gm | Feb 17 2021 17:47 utc | 87

As an aside, the initial press reports I saw were never specific about Sicknik being killed by the fire extinguisher. [Lie #1]

I remember the "beaten to death" trope emerged in social media unsupported even by the initial press reports.[Lie#2]

Greenwald's ability to distinguish a deliberate lie from hysteria is his vanity which no one need take seriously.[Lie #3]

Posted by: steven t johnson | Feb 17 2021 16:47 utc | 81


Well nice to see Witchfinder Johnson adding to his well deserved reputation for being a dishonest partisan shill for elite-friendly corporate fascism.

Mr Johnson now dishonestly tries to portray himself as a wise observer unfooled by, and unwilling to goosestep in tandem with, the lying MSM in their promotion of elite-friendly corporate-fascism narratives

However those of us with the ability to recall past events remember his behavior at the time as being much more akin to that of a spittle-filled lie-mongering shill for elite-friendly corporate fascism, concerning the reality of events on the Capitol Hill on Jan 6th 2021

This is you, after all, vomiting up one of your famous dishonest spittle-filled bilious rants on Jan 9th, is it not, Stevie-boy?

    Re despicable nonsense from Triden et al. about how the policeman who died was walking. Blows to the head can and do cause damage resulting in fatal strokes long after the blow. That's why you hear tell---even in the movies and TV---about observation of patients. Liam Neeson's wife Natasha Richardson struck her head in a skiing accident and died much later. Phrases like crushed are hyperbolic but imply the killing was by the rioters was true. Phrases about strokes imply the rioters didn't kill the man. But that was yet another lie.

    Again, Trumpery is lies, lies, lies.

    Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 9 2021 13:55 utc | 261

Why, yes, I do believe it is.

The obvious-at-the-time MSM fire-extingusher lies are now reduced to a mere inconsequential "trope" ?

Yet previously, to merely question the truth of the now-"trope", was labeled by you as "despicable nonsense".

You really are a dishonest little shit, are you not, Stevie-boy?

Posted by: Triden | Feb 17 2021 17:47 utc | 88

Reality: Interactive Walmart store closings ( currently 323)in Texas/Southland map due to power outages and winter cold:

Posted by: gm | Feb 17 2021 17:58 utc | 89

This 'all Trump, all the time' makes Biden look foolish. It makes it look like his agenda isn't the most important thing going right now and that he isn't in control of anything.

Posted by: ian | Feb 16 2021 21:58 utc | 15

It Is hard to assess if this is foolish or not. At least since the presidency of Ronald Reagan it was observed, with a mixture of scorn and envy, that a large sector of the voting public is fond of politicians who sound stupid. Additionally, they are not really sticklers when the agenda is concerns. And once you settle on a stupid leader (more generally, a person who. has somewhat distant relationship with reality), the lack of involvement in "nuts and bolts of policies" is actually a plus.

Yesterday I opened a questionnaire from "Official 2021 Democratic Priorities Survey" which seems to be targeted at voters who like to have leaders "like themselves", i.e. to some degree stupid. For starters, "Please complete and return within 14 days", and as I do not check junk mail daily, I have no idea when this survey was launched.

The most important question is if I want to contribute 25$, $50, ...., $500, other to Democratic Senate Campaign Committee to be matched 3:1. In a moment of weakness, I have sent 50 bucks to Warnock (who won in Georgia) so I am harassed by piles of Democratic junk mail. Then they actually ask which priorities I support more. Many sensible priorities are absent like "Disarmament", "Ending military and economic wars on Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, Iran etc." (Russia and China are big boys, but folks in smaller countries actually suffer), "Reforming police to reduce deaths and brutality", "economically sustainable CO2 reduction" (this is my private pet peeve, here I am in small minority),
"single payer health care".

There is an option "Protecting and enhancing Obamacare", this is a bottomless pit unlike single payer health care, not to mention assorted bureaucratic hoops and pitfalls for consumers).

There is a question if Republic Senators can further damage American reputation in the "international community". Biden's folk started fresh reputation damaging activities already...

And so on. In any case, stupid and/or misinformed voters are the strongest pillar of the current Democratic majority and "looking foolish" may be a wise choice -- dependent on the objectives...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 17 2021 18:03 utc | 90

steven t johnson | Feb 16 2021 20:03 utc | 6

But I agree wholeheartedly with the call to face reality. Here's a good place to start: Trump lost the election.

Well, is it? The Republicans seem to be very solidly behind Trump, the courts refused to look at his evidence, the MSM which we all know are proven, serial liars, are unanimous that: "There is no doubt" that Trump lost the election and no one has accounted for the sudden jumps in the Biden votes after the polls had closed.

However, that said, there is no doubt that the popular vote does not decide who wins and who wins, makes a marginal difference to the outcome. Where you have a system that gives you only two, both lousy, choices and almost all your information comes courtesy of six huge corporations, how can you call it a democracy?

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 17 2021 18:22 utc | 91

Stonebird @76,

Biden called Xi on Feb. 10 (Feb. 11 China time zone), which is New Year's Eve in China. Actually he was one of the last global leaders the new Administration has said to have called. I don't doubt your surmise that many of the leaders Biden said to have called might actually been made by lieutenants such as Harris. Ole Sleepy is really too unhinged most of the time these days to make sensible conversations.

Biden and Xi go back a long time though. When Biden visited China as Obama's VP, Xi accompanied him the whole trip. Xi was #7 in pecking order of the Politburo Standing Committee. That was a big honor to Biden. In return, when Xi visited in 2012, Biden kept company the whole way too.

I don't think there is anything Xi dislikes Kamala Harris of. I doubt if Xi even knows her. Just that Harris is the kind of neo-'Murikano politician that gets on serious people's nerve when they speak, and the uselessness of whatever they speak of. You have three layers of high ranking officials/politicians/corporate administrators/journalists, etc. etc. in this country right now of this type of people. It's a hopeless situation; has been since Ole Sleepy Ronny (Ronny Reagan, that is) was elected POTUS.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Feb 17 2021 18:25 utc | 92

Reality: Texas Grid Operator Warns 40% Of Generation Capacity Offline Leaving 3.4 Million Without Power

Millions of Americans are without power Wednesday morning as winter storms and freezing temperatures batter the country. At least 20 people are dead due to weather-related incidents. As for Texas, the state with the most power outages, millions are still without power heading into the fourth day.

Bloomberg makes an interesting inquiry into the blackout's actual size across Texas in recent days. Considering utility companies count outages by "customers" and not actual people - the real number could be north of 15 million people who have been plunged into darkness amid frigid temperatures.

Texas power grid operator ERCOT, which manages 90% of the state's electric load, serving more than 26 million customers, was forced to cut power to millions of customers as Arctic air spilled into the state, freezing wellheads that impeded the flow of natgas to power stations, triggering electric shortages as demand overwhelmed the grid.

The high concentration of natgas generation on ERCOT's grid makes it vulnerable to power disruptions if fuel flow is disrupted.

Three days without power, heat, or food, for large swaths of Texas? Not good.

Posted by: gm | Feb 17 2021 18:38 utc | 93

All this elite angst about the "collision with reality" and the public's embracing 'conspiracy theories', is really a disguise for their fear that a growing part of the public has, for the first time in a very long while, perhaps for the first time ever, a growing, a dawning understanding of reality!

The article in the NYT that was referenced said (WTTEO) "there is 30% that have been radicalized that cannot be recovered". (30% is more that I would have guessed but let's hope they are right for once!)

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 17 2021 18:38 utc | 94

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 17 2021 18:22 utc | 91

It seems that Trump's loss is legit. Because of the ever-entertaining Electoral College/winner takes all system, it hinged on few "battleground states", mostly controlled or partly controlled by Republicans. The "jumps in the Biden votes after the polls were closed" are convincingly explained by (a) huge proportion of postal/drop box votes (b) the counting procedure, a much larger delay for postal/drop box results (c) different strategies in communicating with voters -- Democrats made a huge effort to encourage postal/drop box vote, Republicans made hardly any effort in this direction (except for Arizona, Utah and Alaska). Moreover, Democrats were more successful encouraging a much larger voter turnout.

On the point of a systemic -- and legal --manipulation in the system, this is sadly true. Step one: money primary. Yes, this is the name used in MSM, getting plutocratic support is an official reason for joy and pride. Step 2: coverage in MSM. Step 3: some weird backroom manipulations. In the last American elections , we got it all.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 17 2021 18:40 utc | 95

Re: Biden on the phone with Xi "for hours". How it could take so long?

(a) it took 15 minutes to explain to Mr. Biden that "Mr. She" is not a joke, not a reference to his Vice-, neither to his wife or a sister by the way Chinese say "Mr. Xi".

(b) getting over other confusions

(c) Mr. Biden insisted on telling the unabridged version of his exploits as a swimming pool guard.

(d) all of the above.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 17 2021 18:48 utc | 96

it is times when you talk so much sense like this post that i can not fathom your support of the corona response

Posted by: Rae | Feb 17 2021 20:06 utc | 97

foolisholdman @ 94

All this elite angst about the "collision with reality" and the public's embracing 'conspiracy theories', is really a disguise for their fear that a growing part of the public has, for the first time in a very long while, perhaps for the first time ever, a growing, a dawning understanding of reality

I have thought for many years, and even said on occasion, even in these here threads, that should the general populace ever assimilate the true nature of the National Security State, that it would be psychologically devastating.

Have we perhaps arrived at the threshold of such cognition? It would explain the madness in the air, no?

Video's just about 19 minutes.

Posted by: john | Feb 17 2021 21:13 utc | 98

bevin@83 claims not to have opposed BLM but supported it. I entirely forgot bevin's shock, dismay and abhorrence of Trump's scheme to invoke the Insurrection Act, to provoke violence with the stunt with the Bible at that church and the well-reasoned disagreement with the torrents of vicious invective here. Somehow bevin's arguments on the issue slid right out of my memory.

triden@88 recalls that I did indeed believe the blow to the head. My bad. It's still true though: The conclusion the story was obviously false because Sicknik was walking was, then and now, despicable nonsense. A single blow to the head can kill, period. Like Greenwald magically knowing that this couldn't possibly have been a mistake but simply must be a malicious lie, triden never knew the blow didn't kill him but just made that up. triden lied about how walking means the blow couldn't have killed him. But triden is never concerned with facts or logic, truth not being something of value for triden, but the theory that Sicknik just happened to die by coincidence forgets that a riot interfering with medical treatment or coincidental blows to the head misleading doctors into missing the presumed real problem, is contributory to death. Babbitt may have survived her wound if she had been in a position to receive prompt, competent treatment. And the same goes for the others who died that day. triden's alleged point only works if triden can quote me as saying "crushed" or "beat to death." Pretended indignation on a forced interpretation of the word "trope" as me saying crushed skulls and beat to death are either of no account in themselves is as senseless as the warped misreading. (If the real objection is that using the word "trope" means, a literary person, reverse snobbery isn't really any better than straightforward snobbery.)

foolisholdman@91, after the obligatory nonsense about how the "Republicans" are solidly behind Trump, how the courts "refused" to hear evidence *that was never offered* and twaddle about how Fox News isn't mainstream media, asks directly " Where you have a system that gives you only two, both lousy, choices and almost all your information comes courtesy of six huge corporations, how can you call it a democracy?" Well, because I don't have childish ideas about what democracy in a class society looks like and works like. The US was a "democracy" before there was a Constitution. That democracy did not necessarily have universal manhood suffrage but did have slavery in some states, and established churches in some states too. Within my living memory US democracy excluded millions of people because of skin color. Conservatives in general have a distressing tendency to mythologize the past. Sometimes glorifying abstract democracy is a diversion from real reforms, which include reforms of property.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Feb 17 2021 21:40 utc | 99

@93 gm

Here in Texas we're getting rolling blackouts. Some people are getting worse blackouts than others, I don't know why. Orders to boil water have started in some places as water treatment plants have been knocked out. Internet comes and goes, power comes and goes. 10 people have dies in the state so far last I heard.

Information is scrappy yet. People are very angry. Somebody needs to swing for this.

At first the talk radio clever ones said the windmills were frozen, but then it turns out that's only 15% pf the power anyway, and mostly it's natural gas. Plant and equipment froze up. ERCOT underestimated how much power a severe winter storm would take, but it doesn't seem to me it was off by much. I've been told that professional advice a few years back was to winterize the grid, but "they" didn't want to spend the money. Don't know the who or what of that yet.

No doubt there will be a post-mortem on this.

This is what America looks like now. The thing to watch, for me, will be how much of this anger translates into popular political capital. Of course, they bury some scapegoats, but what will the people think about this?

After all, we pay these people to handle the infrastructure. That's their only job. How can they be allowed to fuck it up this bad? What can they possibly blame for this? Will the people let them? What exactly, in political terms, will ensue from this?

This is interesting because this is a picture of the US, with its crumbling infrastructure. The more this happens, the more people will get disgusted. The righteous anger there is, the more freedom perhaps, for people like me to blame the thieves at the top, when before that might have been considered extreme.

How far does the US have to fall apart before a wave of reaction arises with true political force? And if that happens, who or what will harness that force, and to what ends?

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17 2021 23:46 utc | 100

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