Links 11/23/16

Yves here. I’ve gone into holiday mode a day early, with an original post from Jerri-Lynn coming at 10:00 AM. There’s been a ton of Trump news flow, with a lot of noise in the signal (Dem blame shifting) as well as Trump doing a lot of what in Greece are called kolotumbas, it seemed more prudent to let some matters gestate a bit rather than try to analyze an overly dynamic situation. Plus I’ve had family obligations. My sharp as a tack, hopelessly stubborn but physically feeble mother turns 89 this weekend and refuses to move out of her house. On the one hand, that puts off the “sell the house and get her moved” drama and time sink, but creates ongoing managerial demands of another sort.

Sandstone shapes ‘forged by gravity’ BBC (bob)

Ocean grabs: fighting the ‘rights-based’ corporate take-over of fisheries governance Ecologist (Micael)

Tesla Shock Means Global Gasoline Demand Has All But Peaked Bloomberg (Dan K). Linear projections, particularly for long time periods like 25 years, are suspect. Electric cars use some environmentally costly inputs like rare earths. I can’t prove it, but I suspect rising production could produce spikes in cost or actual shortages of these inputs, which could slow the rate of adoption. Readers?

Arctic heat wave “scary” MacroBusiness


China banks risk Lehman moment as wholesale borrowing rises Financial Times (David L). Odd to be sounding alarms about wealth management products at this late date. The market went wobbly in late 2013/early 2014. The short form is the officialdom put a bit of pressure on them, a few went bust, and then they went into rescue mode. There’s no mention whatsoever of the last scare (which had a lot of foreign observers freaked out) or the rescue.

Now I’ve heard it all, China “to lead” on free trade! MacroBusiness

India Cash Train Wreck

Potential gold-import ban by India could be biggest bombshell since Nixon MarketWatch

Queen Merkel as the savior of the neoliberal establishment! failed evolution

Loud calls in Parliament for ending EU membership talks with Turkey Politico


Europeans round on top Brexit ministers The Times. “Boris Johnson and David Davis, the cabinet ministers leading Brexit, have been accused of “unbelievable arrogance” and having no idea what leaving the European Union means.” As we’ve been saying!!!!

Brexit Britain faces threat of higher EU barriers Financial Times

Bank of England Trips over London House-Price Bubble, Hilarity Ensues Wolf Street (EM)


Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia Bloomberg


Trump Transition

Trump softens position on climate change, Clinton investigation Reuters (EM)

Trump disavows ‘alt-right’ supporters BBC

Donald Trump’s ‘alt-right’ supporters express dismay at disavowal Guardian. Note how “alt-right” which appeared to cover media outlets to the right of Fox (and thus a hodge podge of right wing views, including overt racism) has now, as some observers are even quoted in the piece, to mean solely the racist elements.

Freewheeling Trump creates friction on both sides Financial Times

Trump Reverses Campaign Pledge, Will Not Go After Hillary Michael Shedlock (EM)

Mitt Romney Leads Donald Trump’s Picks for Secretary of State Wall Street Journal. Being on the Trump team would be like being strapped to a bomb. However, Romney may believe he could exert a moderating influence on Trump, and that might even be somewhat true. And if Trump were to behave irresponsibly, erratically, or illegally, Romney could stick the shiv in better than anyone by resigning. Being Secretary of State gets you in more history books than being governor of Massachusetts. And Romney might even be public spirited enough to want to save the US from Rudy Giuliani as SoS. Needless to say, getting Romney would be a real catch and would be tremendously reassuring to mainstream Republicans and Dems.

Gov. Nikki Haley tapped to be Trump’s U.N. ambassador Washington Post. Lambert: “First crack in the wall of establishment resistance?”

Donald Trump’s FCC appointments are great news for your cable provider, awful news for Netflix Quartz

Trump Foundation violated IRS ‘self-dealing’ rules Financial Times. This is a serious violation.

Jeff Sessions accused of retaliation after claims of racism cost him a judgeship Guardian. This sort of thing is all too common in Alabama.

4-Star General Convinces Trump to Reconsider Pro-Torture Stance George Washington

Trump: “Voters knew about conflict of interest” MSNBC

Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’ Guardian (Lulu)

Washington Won’t Have Last Word on Climate Change Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg

Infrastructure Is Only Popular Without Concrete Details Atlantic (resilc)

Trump and the Media Unz Review (Chuck L)

Should I stay or should I go? U.S. civil servants gird for Trump Reuters. EM: “Honest concerns or showy round of mass establishment pearl-clutching? I mean, ‘I’m gonna quit if he nixes the precious TPP’ – good riddance to you, sir!”

Hillary Clinton urged to call for election vote recount in battleground states Guardian. Lead story in the US edition. This is pathetic sore loserdom. Hillary conceded. You’d have to overturn results in three, more likely four states. Romney’s team was ready to go to contest the results in 2012 but gave up on the idea when it was clear they’d have to dispute more than one state. The Electoral College vote is December 19, far too close given the failure to act. And if anyone were to try to go ahead regardless, Trump voters own guns. Lots of guns. This would be the event that would rally gun owners who assert that gunz protect their rights but heretofore have done squat to act, en masse. What happens to our vaunted democracy if, say, a judge who issued an injunction, or the lawyer filing the case, were shot? Expect that and tons worse.

Court says Republican gerrymandering in Wisconsin was unconstitutional Reuters (EM). But ruling says it did not affect Prez election.

Hemp crop harvested in Virginia for first time in decades Roanoke Times (Lulu)

After Brexit and Trump: don’t demonise; localise! Ecologist (Micael)


Dakota Access Pipeline protester ‘may lose her arm’ after police standoff Guardian

From Standing Rock to Morocco: Indigenous Protesters Act in Solidarity Against Corporate Polluters Truthout

Dow Closes Above 19000 for First Time Wall Street Journal

Learning from History: Volatility and Financial Crises Jon Danielsson, Marcela Valenzuela, and Ilknur Zer, Federal Reserve

Many mistrust banks, but why you mistrust banks says a lot Aeon (Micael)

Class Warfare

Law school admissions collapse continues Financial Times

Year-on-year growth in US gig economy participation Atlas (Micael)

Overtime injunction is an extreme and unsupportable decision Economic Policy Institute

Fentanyl Billionaire Under Fire as Opioid Death Toll Mounts Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour. Crittermom: “It’s been a delight to watch a family of chipmunks where I’m living grow up.
An abundant year for pinon nuts has afforded them lots of food while allowing me great photo opportunities.”

Moi: Central Alabama is in the midst of an extreme drought. I’ve noticed one of the side effects has been that grey squirrels, which used to be in abundance, have disappeared, while chipmunks, which used to be scarce, appear to have benefitted. Can the nature experts offer explanations?


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Sam Adams

      Smiling Faces . It’s a great day in South Carolina, can we help? A catchy phrase is the best Haley did for SC in the governership. Maybe she can do as well in the UN?

    2. Carolinian

      Haley supported Jeb in the primary and he was the GOP establishment favorite.

      Since I live in her state I’d say this is a weird appointment but anyone’s better than Samantha Power.

      1. Carolinian

        Think I got this wrong and she supported Rubio, if that matters to anybody. Most of the state’s Repub establishment opposed Trump which is why he was booed after denouncing the Iraq war during a debate here.

    3. Lambert Strether

      It’s going to be hard for Trump to populate an administration without any Republican establishment figures; he doesn’t have a large enough personal following (no equivalent of HillaryLand).

      But there was considerable, although ineffective, resistance to Trump in the Republican primaries, as well as distaste over, say, the Access Hollywood tapes. How to get enough establishment figures on board to fill the slots?

      Somebody has to be first (a Judas goat, if you that’s your point of view). Sessions, perhaps, but Nikki Haley is a bright young comer, the future of the party (and a woman (and Indian)). So she’s a far bigger “get” than Sessions, IMNSHO.

      1. a different chris

        And she has no room for shame as every cell in her body is topped off to the max with ambition. It’s a break for South Carolina, even if they don’t know it.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          And it’s a job where it matters if the ambassador is in the inner circle. State too for that matter. The in-White House advisers are the real game.

      2. Emma

        I’m encouraged by this pick, along with Trumps’ rejection of the alt-right late yesterday. Haley attacked Trumps’ proposal to ban Muslims and she lead calls for the Confederate flag to be removed from the state capitol. From this little I know of her, she would appear to be both a more progressive, and more attentive Republican in tune with the ‘now’ (and even future…) as opposed to the past. If there are more women like her in the Republican Party, the ‘old boys’ (that includes the Rubio n’ Cruz type ;) ) are going to have to watch out!

        1. pretzelattack

          i kept thinking of the obamamometer, in a con law class at harvard, intoning mellifluously “democracy is hard work”.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I was wavering on whether I thought he was a tragic figure or a pathetic one. I settled on pathetic.
            Or maybe “bathetic” is better. False pathos, like everything else about the man.

    1. Pavel

      Another great Dore rant. Paraphrasing: “That’s your legacy, Obama–NOTHING!”

      Often at night I listen to podcasts — I heard this last night and it was a marked contrast with Brian Lehrer’s WNYC podcast. He invited “non-voters who might be having second thoughts” to call in and say how they felt after Trump’s win. Rather obviously to his surprise, 5 or 6 people called in and most of them said basically they were fed up with voting for the lesser of two evils and didn’t regret their non-vote.

      Lehrer prodded one, saying “What about Obama’s warning, a non-vote is a vote for Trump — would you have blood on your hands?” Well, just watch the Jimmy Dore clip, he notes that Obama (and Clinton) engaged in far more wars than GW Bush did!

      1. Foy

        Exactly. He’s fantastic. He sums everything up perfectly and gets right to the point almost every time. I wish I knew a way to get more people to hear what he has to say.

    2. Brad

      Love the ‘hopeless” look on Obummer’s face at around 2:00 min when Dore freezes it. Pusher all out of Hopium!

      Off on a lousy empty “legacy” junket while RoboCops assault Standing Rock. Obama always knows exactly when to do nothing. Like Trump is the only narcissistic sociopath…

      And disappointed that Bruce Springsteen (standing on the same stage as Bill Gates!) accepted a big fat gold plated “Medal of Freedom” trinket from the Wizard of Oz (seen on PBS yesterday). Right after trump is elected! At least Dylan had enough class to snub the Nobel Committee (Euro Oz). Take the trinket and smack Obummer’s face with it would have been appropriate.

  1. jgordon

    An ethics problem: if a herd of lemmings is about to go over a cliff, does every member of the herd have an obligation to go over with the rest of them? You know for team spirit, group harmony, progess, kumbaya, etc. Or might it be justified for some the more perceptive individuals who managed to catch a glimpse of what’s ahead to surreptiosly slink away like the dirty selfish rodents that they are?

    So India might ban imports of gold. Well it only stands to reason. If enough selfish lemmings start peeling away, discrediting the whole going over the cliff program, then the leaders of the herd will have an immediate loss of face and power. It’d make everyone look bad and nake the looting operation far more difficult to pull off. Can’t have that now.

    1. flora

      All these schemes look to benefit the banks.

      this from last year but still pertinent:

      “India’s gold stash dwarfs Fort Knox and Modi wants it”

      “Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched three programmes aimed at reducing physical gold demand and luring tonnes of gold from households into the banking system. ”

    2. hunkerdown

      jgordon, in your allegory as in real life, Disney is to blame.

      But you’ve spotted one dynamic that potentially powers partisanship. “What I am is what I am told to do.”

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      A reasoning lemming might slyly step off from the tide and watch from a distance. What would ethics or morals have to do with helping the remaining female lemmings deal with the lack of population? The reasoning lemming has an obligation to the species.

  2. jsn

    Tesla Shock
    As I understand it the Energy Return On Energy Investment required to make batteries still means the manufacture of the battery consumes about as much energy as the battery will store in its useful life. This means Tesla and battery electrics in general are just pushing fuel demand down the supply chain from the end user in a car, truck or whatever. This is about solar, but the battery analysis is the same:

    Would love to know why this is wrong!

    1. a different chris

      I don’t know if it’s correct or not but where are you going with this? There is a lot of energy coming from Ole Sol up there, if you look at the batter construction as nothing more than a way to transfer that energy from the middle of the desert (where the batteries are manufactured) to other parts of the world (where they are used) then 1:1 seems OK. In fact, since it’s free (well, “freeish”) then what does it matter?

      This is overly simple but so is your question.

      1. bob

        “(where the batteries are manufactured) to other parts of the world (where they are used) then 1:1 seems OK.”

        Lolipops and rainbows!

        Where are you going with this?

        The batteries are not manufactured by the desert. They are also not transported by the desert. The mining and production is all very energy intensive, and no, the desert can’t drive trucks or mining equipment.

        So you end up burning *something* to get a battery with a fixed life, that will never be able to store more energy than what went into it’s manufacture.

        You’re still better off burning the fuel to do something else.

        This is a good primer on how most of the “green” energy guru’s use bad math and “double counting” to pretend they are doing something other than playing musical chairs.

        1. a different chris

          I said it was overly simple ;> However: I simply don’t and still don’t understand his question. You are not helping but further bending it to make it specifically about how things exist at 11:04 AM EST on 11/23/2016. I neither think we are going to get some magical cold-fusion power but nor do I think history will record that we got to at the final edge of battery – more exactly, energy storage technology – the day before Thanksgiving 2016.

          >You’re still better off burning the fuel to do something else.

          Why? That’s pretty unspecific. And you did do something else, whatever it was that the battery drove. “Burning” things is generally not so good for the environment, is that a radical assertion?

          Do not think I am wildly against you on this, internet comments never come out quite right, but these aren’t good arguments. I am sipping on a glass of water that didn’t originate at the desk I’m sipping it at. It’s impossible because not enough rain falls in this spot. So what?

          Now the best way to get this water to me is certainly not via a plastic bottle – and my water came from a tap but plenty of bottle drinkers around here -, but that’s a different argument.

          And the final argument is why should I exist at all, and I wonder that myself. 7+ billion people and we have white people arguments over batteries.

          1. bob

            When you burn gasoline to move something, something is moved. Work is done.

            When you burn something to make a battery, you’ve only added to the need to burn more to produce power to charge the battery.

            You’ve got more things, and less energy.

            Batteries do not produce energy. They “store” it, badly.

            Why is that so hard? In what logic is this “green”?

            Please read up on double counting. You keep doing it.

            An example- Why not use your tap water to drive a turbine in your house and “make” energy that way? It’s free right? No energy required.

            1. jsn

              Thanks for picking this up, a different chris appears to be of the opinion that a breakthrough in battery technology will fix this, and that may be possible, so its ok to continue business as usual until it does. It’s a hopeful outlook.

              But it does legitimize business as usual, which is producing negative climate and ecological impacts at an accelerating rate. It’s essentially a gamble that “progress” will beat “ecocide” while there’s still time. I share your skepticism.

              1. bob

                The ability to store energy will replace the need for energy?

                It’s nuts. I get in these arguments all the time. Not sure why, I never seem to make any headway. Either you get it, or you don’t.

                It’s much along the lines of the person who invented the cup proclaiming that water is now free. Only, that person actually had a cup, not a promise for a better cup.

                1. a different chris

                  Ah now I see at least where you are confused. If I have free – again, “freeish” – energy at some physical location, then if I can transfer it to another point then that’s great. That’s all I’m saying.

                  > Not sure why, I never seem to make any headway.

                  Because you don’t listen, you just start in your corner and never come out.

                  PS: And don’t be f*ing insulting “Please read up on double counting. You keep doing it.” I think I have a grasp on that particular problem, if I didn’t you sure don’t come across as somebody that knows enough to help.

                  1. jsn

                    Energy is never free unless captured by a biological organism and thus engaged directly with the biosphere. Electrical energy, wherever “captured” or “generated” has a technological artifact that previously required manufacture, requiring a previous harvest of energy.

                    Currently all the devices used to store electricity require more energy in their manufacture than they will store in their lives. This means that prior to taking your “freeish” energy somewhere and transferring it to where you want it, in order to create the object in which you will store it, you have already consumed a great deal more than the amount of energy you are storing and will never compensate for that loss in the lifetime of your storage device.

                    So it’s not a wash, its a dead weight loss, never to be recovered in terms of the externalities discharged to the biosphere. Again, betting on batteries is betting that “progress” will deliver before we have to pay the “ecocide” bill.

                  2. bob

                    “Because you don’t listen, you just start in your corner and never come out.”

                    Being correct is a great place to start, and finish.

                    YGBFMK “he’s being mean! I want my free energy!”

              2. JohnnyGL

                Good comment thread and thanks for the old nakedcap link. That was a good one.

                My short take:

                Batteries solve distribution problems, not energy-source problems.

                If you’re still relying on energy STOCKS (non-renewables) instead of energy FLOWS, then you’ve solved nothing and just moved the problem around.

            2. Kent

              I’m with a different chris on this one. Yes, powering up your battery from juice generated by coal-powered plant may actually produce more GHGs than buying a Prius and using gasoline does. But that is today. You can shutdown the coal-fired plant and build a natgas burning plant. Now you’re doing better.

              You can put panels on your roof and power-up that way. Even better. But what about all the energy pollution from each step in the production of solar panels? Well, that can be changed too.

              But if you don’t start somewhere, even if that start is negative, you’ll never, ever get there. But you can get there.

              1. bob

                “But you can get there.”

                In what dimension?

                You can NEVER, EVER get to the point where a BATTERY produces energy. A battery consumes energy, both in the production, and the use. You get, at best 80% of the energy out that you put in.

                Even if you could get 100% of the energy out that you put in (current snake oil sales pitch, just around the corner!), you still have to make the battery, which…..requires ENERGY to be used. When energy is used, it’s gone. Less energy.

                What are you selling?

                “But if you don’t start somewhere…” Starting at a net loss does not get better with volume, technology, or hope.

                  1. bob

                    It’s easier for you to dismiss me as “not listening”, but very hard for you to expand on anything beyond-

                    “Well, that can be changed too.”

                    Wow, great old school bible-thumping beat to it. The orbit of the moon CAN be changed. At what cost?

                    Isn’t determining the costs central to any real environmental comparisons? To this you offer-

                    “Well, that can be changed too.”

                    Preach it my brother!

                1. Mark S.

                  I don’t think anyone’s arguing that batteries produce energy. Nor is anyone arguing that our current production and storage capacities are sustainable. I am very interested in what the most efficient right now and why.

                2. Isolato

                  Hi Bob,

                  I posted on this the other day. My home is “off the grid” and powered by both PV and a gas generator. I have an 800 lb. AGM battery bank (soon to need periodic replacement). A very rough calculation prices my 2kwh/day consumption at approx. $2/kwh. Grid electricity in the PNW coats about $.10/kwh. I don’t pretend I’m saving anything. On the other hand let Trump rain fire on the mainland, my water and power do not depend on others.

                  1. bob

                    This whole string is irrelevant. But, ok, good for you. What’s the environmental cost of “replacing” 800lbs of batteries? I suppose you harvest them locally? Compost the leftover battery and grow new ones with it? Move 800lbs of batteries with your team of oxen?

                    –Battery recycling, no. They don’t “recycle them”. The people that claim to be doing this are stripping any metals out of the battery and dumping the rest. It’s not “recycling”, it’s scrapping.

                    “my water and power do not depend on others.”

                    Sure. They just appeared, and if anything breaks, which it will, you grow organic replacement parts?

                    This is why these arguments are idiotic. The exception proves the rule.

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          US biofuels are not a good proxy for other renewables. Our pork driven corn ethanol industry creates fuel ethanol at a net energy deficit for reasons which have nothing to do with optimizing for total energy use (see, pork, above, for a hint on why that may be).

          I’m convinced no one currently knows what the engineering constraints actually are – long term – on producing batteries economically and ‘sustainably’, with 100% renewable energy, generated with equipment also made off renewable energy. The argument that the price per kWh of renewable energy must always and forever be “too high” is not supported by recent trends. Renewable production gets cheaper every year (especially wind) and storage technologies are increasingly effective at balancing out the intermittency of wind and solar.

          Your implicit demand is that nothing less than eco-perfection can be ‘good enough’ and that no effort should be made on behalf of techniques that aren’t already flawless at the get-go. That is not how progress works. That is not how we switched from burning wood to oil and coal in the mid-1800s, and it is not how we will switch from oil and coal to renewables.

          I see this “but it’s not perfect NOWwwwww!!!!” argument a lot here. Always showing up again and again, regardless of rebuttals, like crafted talking points often tend to.

          1. jsn

            Great comment!

            I believe we have the technology now, without any breakthrough in batteries, to sustainably support our current population: we still have enough clean air and water, and we have enough housing and make enough food, but distribute it very poorly “because markets.”

            Because we insist on using the market tool to distribute public goods like food, housing, health care, transportation, energy, water etc. we distribute all these things poorly. Markets are an appropriate tool to distribute some kinds of goods and important tool to incentivize technological innovation, but motivated by private gain, real innovation generally ends up as a rent extraction tool.

            This is an ideological problem, not a technological one. Many public goods have been invented through market mechanisms, only becoming fully recognized and deployed as public goods latter, often in war time. Copy right with a 15 year term was a mechanism to try and capture public good from private innovation and it should be restored.

            Companies like Google, Uber, Amazon etc. should all become public utilities when they come of age to engage the full potential of the underlying innovations socially and capture ecological efficiencies where today rent seeking perverts them to spin off massive economic rents and ecological costs.

          2. bob

            “We” have had over 100 years of science, engineering and industry working on batteries.

            The best we can do is get about 90% of the energy we put into the battery out of the battery, before figuring for manufacturing costs, which are HUGE.

            For every 100 units of energy you put into a battery, you only get 90 out.

            That’s 10%, off the top.

            A “breakthrough” would be getting 100 out.

            You end up in the same place you started. Bold.

            Another point, which I hope is obvious by now- Completely leaving aside any manufacturing costs, a “battery” is a consumer of energy. Less energy is available to be drawn out of the battery than what went into it. If you manufacture more batteries, you are adding a minimum of 10% to the energy requirements of anything you are running off those batteries.

            “Your implicit demand is that nothing less than eco-perfection can be ‘good enough’ and that no effort should be made on behalf of techniques that aren’t already flawless at the get-go.”

            That’s just straight up straw man. I’d have an honest argument asking– Why are you advocating for 10% more energy to be used? Because you are advocating for that, at least.

            But, you’ve got a good preach on.

            VC’s might buy that shit. I don’t. Why not ask them using the Science of batteries-

            “I’ve got this BREAKTHROUGH idea. You’re going to give me $100, and I’ll give you $90 back. Current technology can only return $80. There’s a huge market for it. It only costs a few thousand to set up (manufacture). This is the future. In the end, after blowing a ton of money, we may even get to the point that we are able to return $99 out of $100. It’s going to change the world.

            Yeah, it’s not fin-perfect, but why are you a luddite?”

    2. rjs

      my first thought when reading Yves’s question was that as gasoline consumption drops, diesel fuel and other fuel consumption would have to increase as new generation capacity was being constructed and the grid was being built out (ie, mining of materials and construction are big diesel fuel consumers)..that seems to be what the IEA says too..

      1. barefoot charley

        Few people realize that although solar panels do degrade, they continue to function indefinitely, just less efficiently. I have several 40-year-old Arcos producing 2/3 of the juice they used to. They had a 25-year ‘life span’. When the great Solar Panel Plains degrade below their deliverable-power thresholds, there will be an enormous cheap aftermarket for indefinite cheap power. Remember, depreciation is only financial, it’s nothing like reality. Solar panels may prove a better bet than economics recognizes–plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Question — how well would your solar panels stand up against a hail storm or say golf-ball or baseball sized hail? I would go gungho on solar panels but the panels I’ve seen seem less than durable. I’m waiting to see what kind of amorphous panels might become available that might better withstand the kinds of threat we will encounter in the future.

    3. heresy101

      Because it is a crock.

      Take a look at the CAISO “duck curve” to see how those “energy intensive” batteries are going to lead to a 50-100% renewable electric grid in CA, HI, and many cities.

      Solar produces most electricity during the day and as the duck curve shows there is already a surplus (two years ahead of predictions) and prices are going negative. Those “energy hogging” batteries won’t produce any energy but will shift it to the evenings and nights when it is needed.

      What the EROI folks miss with their horrible returns for solar and wind is that they are only looking at capital costs (based on oil extraction models) rather than the total life cycle costs. Coal and natural gas generating plants need a continuing fuel source for their whole life cycle. There is no way that fuel is counted in the EROI. Solar and wind have NO energy costs (just up front capital/energy costs).

      When San Diego Gas & Electric recently finished a combustion turbine (peaking), an executive stated that would probably be the last one they constructed because all future ones would be batteries.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Call me a contrarian but battery technology — without some major breakthrough — is at its apex. I believe energy storage may beat battery technologies. I believe some of the new capacitor designs promise more than the cutting edge of battery design. — CALL MY BLUFF! I am a collector of ideas rather than the purveyor of solutions!!! Point me to answers.

        1. heresy101

          California municipal utilities are having a study of costs, efficiency, operating characteristics, about seven types of batteries (lithium (lithium ion, lithium iron), several types of flow batteries, aqueous). Some of the these are going to go mainstream because they can do full discharge and time shifting. If the capacitor designs come out of the lab and can be mass produced, they may complement or become part of some of these batteries.
          Musk’s Reno factory is a bold move, but is only one part of the battery world. Rather than being at an apex, batteries are declining in cost and efficiency and will be an essential component of integrating wind and solar energy.
          While I don’t remember what trade journal quoted the SDG&E exec, I’m sure that he is right about storage. We are looking to add batteries to our 30 year old combustion turbines to give them spin capabilities and make about $1.5M/year in extra revenue.
          The only storage technology that is fully implemented is pumped hydro and there are few locations and the cost is very high. A couple of CA projects have been passed on because of cost.

        2. Skip Intro

          There are many major breakthrough on the horizon, from graphene and carbon nanotube batteries that have performance more like super capacitors, to hydrogen-based electrolysis and fuel cell loops. The various claims that batteries need to store more energy than they required for production is just absurdly irrelevant, and reeks of the kind of illiterate talking points used by fossil-fuel demagogues who wish to sound clever in front of very dumb groups.

          1. bob

            “There are many major breakthrough on the horizon”

            and you keep selling them! Where are they? 5-10 years down the road? Haven’t they been that way for 5-10 years now?

            As soon as the so called “greens” start calling this BS out, they might get somewhere.

            As it is, the “greens” are a completely ineffectual self identified group of PR peddlers willing to work for free in order to advance the interests of anyone who labels their need for money as “green”.

            It’s green alright, but the money kind of green.

            What are you selling?

  3. Jim A.

    Re: Bank of England Trips over London House-Price Bubble, Hilarity Ensues
    The idea the “everything will be fine once rents go up” is the sort of silliness that we heard in the US RE bubble. The Rental market is MUCH more liquid that the purchase market. So the idea that rents will rise to meet sales prices is kind of silly. If higher rents could be supported, those rents would already be higher.

      1. windsock

        I live in London in social housing, which will be decimated by the new Housing Act. Rents are already sky high and Housing Benefit is capped at different rates in each borough. The plan seems to be to kick poorer subjects out of central London to keep it as an enclave for the kleptocrat/oligarch classes. Rough sleeping and begging have increased dramatically since 2010. New Labour may have been …er…. not ideal… but they did get a handle on this in their time.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I have an idea, let’s just give everything to the 1%, and we’ll use laws and police to make sure they get to keep it all.
          (Now where in history have we seen that brilliant plan before…and how did it turn out for them?)

          People keep on learnin’
          Soldiers keep on warrin’
          World keep on turnin’
          ‘Cause it won’t be too long

          Powers keep on lyin’
          While your people keep on dyin’
          World keep on turnin’
          ‘Cause it won’t be too long

          Stevie Wonder 1975

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The path of least resistance, facing ever climbing rents, for little people renters is to rent out one’s bathrooms and couches to total strangers via the hip-urban living of AirBnB (if you’re not doing it, you’re a Luddite, and will be unfriended).

  4. russell1200

    I think the issue with electric cars is the same as with cars in general. Without a lot of “juicing” through lending/leverage/easy money, is there enough viable economic activity to keep all these vehicles rolling. The price of oil can very much go down, and still have this be an issue, and that seems to be where we are heading right now.

    If the amount of long distance travel decreases, the electric car might become more competitive, but so would various other forms like mopeds, electric scooters, and bicycles.

    1. craazyman

      If the power cord is less than half a mile long what good is the car?

      My vacuum cleaner’s cord goes out 15 feet and that seems long. And I get that tangled up around chair legs and lamps.

      You wonder if people have thought this through or is it just a mad rush?

        1. George Phillies

          Self operating vacuum cleaners have been sold commercially for more than a decade. Ditto self operating kitchen floor mopping equipment. For vacuuming under beds, they are wonderful, better than doing it by hand.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Can’t it be both? There was a mad rush to invade Iraq AND they didn’t think it through. But if they would have invaded with electric tanks (or planes!) on half-mile cords the world would be a better place.

      2. jgordon

        The real solution is to simply not have electric vehicles–because personal vehicles are dumb, profligate and unnecessary. But I expect that the psychotic drive to keep people in cars no matter the cost will persist right up until industrial civilization falls over and croaks.

        *If we never had personal vehicles in the first place we’d all have a lot more free time and money today, not to mention that the earth would be much better off. And we wouldn’t feel like we were missing anything. Just think about that.

        1. Kent

          Personal automobiles allow people to travel farther for higher-paying work. So the car pays for itself for most folks. You can move closer to work, yes, but in 2 earner households that might not work. And housing prices closer to work may reduce your standard of living.

          If you fix this equation, you can get rid of personal automobiles. But if you can’t, they’re going to be here to stay for awhile.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            Agreed. Public Transport won’t in any realistic future be able to replace autos for people that inhabit perhaps 90% of the geographical area of the US. I love public transport where it’s well executed. In urban areas, it makes tremendous sense, for intercity travel, the trains in Europe are awesome: cheap, fast, frequent, on-time, and generally well-run. But in rural areas where families have two or three jobs many miles apart, two or three schools kids have to be taken to and from, shopping at six different places around the county, now de rigeur extracurricular school activities, visiting friends, relatives, church, recreational activities with boat and horse trailers, and on and on. It’s either private cars and trucks or it’s private horses and carts. Buses, special transport vans and the like, no matter how well done, will never be practical for that family with three kids on five acres five or ten miles from the nearest town.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              The “red cars” (rural trains) in Germany were slow but went between most of the small towns there — at least back in the 70’s when I did my back-pack travels. The people in Netherlands add bicycles to the mass transit to obtain what seems like a nice middle ground.

    2. Vatch

      I think that plug-in gasoline hybrid cars will be far more viable than pure electric cars for a long time. Pure electric cars will require huge infrastructure changes, and that won’t happen overnight. I don’t know how dependent the industry will be on rare earths going forward. Supposedly there has been progress in designing batteries that don’t require rare earths, but this might still be at the “gee whiz, isn’t that cool!” stage. I guess we’ll find out.

    3. rd

      Here is an example of why I would not want to have an all-electric car in our region (or basically anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line). If you are stranded in stand-still traffic in freezing conditions, the state troopers can bring you a gallon or two of gas to get you on your way. That will be much more difficult with an all-electric car.

      Hybrid cars on the other hand have much longer run times with less risk of asphyxiation than an all-gasoline vehicle.

      1. Vatch

        Interesting point. Even if the infrastructure to support all-electric cars saturates the country, the specific problem that you describe will still exist.

        1. a different chris

          You could have an “all-electric” car with a propane-fueled heater. And the nice thing about this combination is that when traffic started moving again your effective range did not change.

          A little weird to think about, I admit. The worry is, I am describing something you buy from the factory not a propane heat source propped up in your back seat!

          Anyway, there are solutions. If you have an individual commute more than 100miles/day you and your SO need a good talk. If you have one less than that then all you need to be able to do is get your electric vehicle to charge overnight, and the SO can have a pure gasoline car for their commute and family travel.

          See, then we’ve replaced a lot of these stupid hybrid cars (which run as either a combination of either batteries lugging around a free-riding gas motor or said motor dragging around a bunch of pooped-out batteries) with a hybrid household where you use the electric vehicle as the baseline and the gas as the surge unit.

  5. Tom Stone

    I had someone I’ve known for a long time send me that petition urging the EC to flip and enthrone HRC as President.
    She’s a college educated woman in her early 60’s a “liberal” and politically unsophisticated.
    I gave her a call and thanked her for sending it, then asked what the unintended consequences might be if the EC upended 200 plus years of precedent to appoint HRC as Empress?
    Her response?
    I hadn’t thought about it.
    I have, it would be seen as an overt coup by millions of Americans and they would not be happy campers.
    Martial law within a week and downhill from there.
    Good intentions are not my preferred paving material.

    1. Laruse

      Good on you for calling her out on the unintended consequences. I have not been so up front with the multiple calls from well intentioned friends begging me to do the same.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It really is pretty amazing.

          All the hallmarks of a kid in the grocery store aisle who’s just been told that Mom won’t be buying Fruit Loops.

          1. pretzelattack

            even worse, cause the kid was told by adults that fruit loops would be forthcoming for over a year. it was the fruit loops’ turn, and the alternative was count chocula, the cereal favored by putin.

          1. Mike Mc

            Tammany Hall has been relocated from an undisclosed email server in a basement outside of NYC to Trump Tower.

            The grift will not only continue, it will increase. That is all.

        2. tgs

          Where were they during the Democrat Primary, anyhow?

          Exactly. And I don’t recall Hillary supporters moaning about the electoral system prior to the vote. In fact, they were completely cool with the super delegate system and used the so-called ‘super delegate math’ to make HRC’s election seem inevitable, which in my opinion is a form of voter suppression. Now they are moaning about the will of the people being thwarted.

          They really are so lame.

      1. Anne

        It’s the Facebook effect, where catchy memes substitute for actual thought and discussion. I can’t tell you how many of these things have populated my news feed, everything from Electoral College petitions to “If Michelle Obama ran for president in 2020, would you vote for her?” to “President Obama: Best President EVER!!!”

        I have to say, I’ve learned a lot about people I thought I knew. And what I learned isn’t very flattering.

        Best I can do is just ask some questions. Not accuse, like I’d pretty much like to, but just gently challenge. It doesn’t seem to matter, really – it’s like I’m raining on their rainbows and unicorns parade, harshing the mellow, double-dipping in the onion dip.

        Makes me realize how shockingly ignorant people are about basic things, and how little they think about the things they just can’t wait to share with their Facebook world.

        Some days, I despair. Today, however is Thanksgiving Central at my house, as I prepare for dinner for 12 tomorrow. Lots already done, more to do.

        Cooking puts me in a much better mood than politics, so there’s that!

      2. Michael

        You only get so many teachable moments with liberals. I think it’s best to take advantage of this one.

      1. Dave

        You cannot have super delegates without the electoral college.
        You cannot have a popular vote to elect the president and super delegates at the same time.

      2. B1whois

        I was tagged in a mass messenger group post that was urging members to sign athisnd share this, with ~120 persons. I argued against it and so did others. I renamed the group “Really Bad Plan” lol! 2 weeks later and half the people who were tagged have left the group. So, hopefully this will not happen. I am nominally in California.

    2. neo-realist

      Devil’s advocate—-Republicans went out of their way to demand a stop of the vote count in FL in 2000 and go to the supreme court to get their guy placed in office and nobody f@cks with them over their shenanigans. So a few guns come out. The dems showing some fight might impress a few people who may come back to vote and or work with them moving forward with new DNC.

      That being said, I don’t believe this should detract the democratic party from working to improve their brand in the battleground states so that they don’t continue to lose national elections in those parts of the country.

      1. Lee

        The Dems had been reduced by fair means and foul (gerrymandering) to a fortress White House party. Their fortress is being overrun by barbarians because they abused and thus forfeited the good will of the peasants. We will now see what the barbarians have to offer. Not much in the way of what is truly needful would be my guess. Interesting times ahead!

      2. PQS

        Why should we be intimidated by a bunch of people with guns anyhow – they’re always telling us “they’re not the problem” and “More guns solve everything.”

        I agree that showing some fight is just what the Dems need to do. Nobody likes conciliation. Ever.

        1. Tom Stone

          PQS, there are 330 MM people in this country and they are more divided than they have been since the election of 1860. If the EC decides HRC should take the throne as Empress and a tiny fraction (Say 1,000) decide they have had enough it would get very ugly, very fast.
          Say 90% of those 1,000 are stupid and decide to shoot some cops.900 attacks on cops in a week, say 500 dead cops.
          What;s the response?
          And then there’s the 100 smart ones who decide to take down infrastructure.
          Like the grid.
          What would the NE be like without power for 2 weeks in December?
          It’s not a joke, the whole campaign has been based on fear sold to them by the MSM and they are scared and angry.
          We can survive four years of Trump, it won’t be fun but we can do it.
          The alternative is Martial Law and what flows from that.
          If you want to live in that kind of world Aleppo is a plane ride away.

          1. pictboy3

            This is a point that really shouldn’t be buried in the comments section. Modern societies operate on trust, and when that trust breaks down, we see just how thin the veneer of civilization is.

            I followed Vice’s coverage of the Ukraine conflict from the very beginning, and what struck me most about the interviews they’d do with ordinary people was their response to whether they thought there would ever be a war in their country. “Of course not, it’s the 21st century.”

            Civil society is extremely fragile, and all it takes is for people to lose faith in it for the whole thing to go tits up.

          2. neo-realist

            A lot of those gun nuts are bigger cowards than we think and won’t pick up arms against the state; more like a can or a glass of beer to throw at the TV. At least if a few Bundy types do get violent, we’ll finally get the see the state throw a few righties in the hoosegow for a change.

            1. Waldenpond

              It takes very little skill or bravery…..police are vulnerable. They would have to do traffic stops in tanks or with a half dozen vehicles doubled up and any time a marked vehicle is on it’s own (if it isn’t marked, that’s easy to resolve with a paint gun), it’s vulnerable to ambush. Could you imagine a traffic stop where a driver is mandated to drive into the back of a militarized semi to get a speeding ticket or shot?

              Using military? Good chance with weaponry they could make bases secure against civilians. They’d have no legitimacy. Good luck trying to make it secure from insiders. Military exercises, families that can never leave the base, having to secure water, food and power. It would be low energy, low tech to disrupt and the cost would be high.

          3. PQS

            I take your point with how hot things are right now- add in an obvious authoritarian soon to be in charge and you’re right about Martial Law…

            But I’m tired of seeing the GOP railroad our institutions and not pay a single price for it, over and over. I’m also tired of seeing the Dems roll and get rolled. Right now the Governor of North Carolina is challenging the results of the election in which he lost by 5000 votes (apparently.) A RW billionaire is also backing a lawsuit for a challenge. The RW thinks politics is a dirty business, and they act that way. The “Left” in American thinks they can go along and get along and here we are. If it takes an EC scare to get people motivated, so much the better. I think the EC should go in any case.

            I’m also more afraid of Trump’s short attention span, enormous ego, and the GOP in power right now than the good ol boys I live around. In any event, the white nationalists encouraged by Trump are just itching for an excuse to get busy running things and cracking heads….Martial Law may be in the cards in any case.

    3. Tony Levelle

      Good response.

      Same thing happened to me. I responded about the same way when a gentle, educated, and liberal lady friend of 65 sent me the earnest request. (EC to select HRC)

      The only thing that surprised me about our subsequent conversation was that she really didn’t understand that half the country had excellent reasons to vote for Trump.

      She didn’t truly understand that millions of people lost their jobs, homes, marriages, cars and futures under neoliberal Democrats. In that context, a vote for Trump could be described as a measured, thoughtful, and restrained response.

      1. PQS

        I lost my job under the Global Economic Meltdown and haven’t recovered economically yet and not sure if I ever will. So did everyone in my industry – some people for years at a time. I haven’t found any of them who thought Trump was the solution. On the other hand, my RW relatives, secure in their retirements, with healthy and well employed (“Professionals!”) kids and grandkids, with paid off homes and on Medicare were all in line behind him.

          1. PQS

            Not until it’s over and done with. From what I can see, their entire interest in actual political work began and ended with Trumpolini. (Oh, and endless hatred of Obama and Hillary….) They won’t be paying attention when Paul Ryan proposes and passes it.

    4. jgordon

      Someone famous once said that political power comes from the barrel of a gun. And has just been implicitly noted above, for whatever reason Hillary’s side of the ideological spectrum has unilaterally decided to disarm themselves because safety. In other words, their political opinions can be safely ignored now.

      1. pretzelattack

        there’s certainly a marked difference between the treatment of the protestors at standing rock and the people occupying malheur.
        another concept from poker might be useful. right wing protestors have “leverage” in a sense, because there is a fear on the part of the government of another waco or ok city. the government/elites know their legitimacy is on shaky ground right now.

      2. a different chris

        It doesn’t, of course, it comes from ability to whisper convincingly in the ear of the guy that has the gun. And the bonus is that you get plausible deniability when somebody does get shot.

        PS: I’m just talking in generalities here, I have not been convinced yet that Trump is the second coming of (edited per Godwin’s Law)

  6. Ignim Brites

    “Mitt Romney Leads Donald Trump’s Picks for Secretary of State”

    Selecting Romney (or Giuliani for that matter) indicates that Trump is not prepared to cooperate with Russia (Putin) to end the wars in Syria and Ukraine. This will accelerate the development of a mass anti-war movement as a way to be anti-Trump. More icebergs ahead for the ship of state.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      I keep saying this: Trump will be the boss. Sec of State ordinarily has little or no power. Takes orders from the prez. Same with ambassador to the UN.

      To put it another way, I look for Trump to have a powerful “kitchen cabinet” a la the Nixon administration, when Henry K and RMN were calling all the shots. Nobody even remembers who the sec of state was.

    2. DJG

      I think that what is going on here is that Donald Trump, businessperson, wants Mitt Romney, businessperson, to be in charge at State. Both of them probably believe that it is a matter of the good styles of negotiation that the learned in business school. The problem with the U.S. business class is that it, too, like the Democratic Party elites, isn’t all that bright. Romney is going to have trouble with career diplomats from other countries, particularly Europe and East Asia. Remember the Walloons in revolt against trade treaties. Romney isn’t prepared for them.

      Let the fun begin. Guaranteed bonuses for all!

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        If these were expansionary times (more military bases, more lopsided trade deals, more control over vassal states) then I might agree, but it seems Trump wants contractionary times from the foreign policy POV, in that case a PE-style slasher like Mitt would be perfect, deliver the bad news/layoffs/fees due with a smile

    3. Optimader

      Who knows that? The role of the SoS is to carry foreign policy water for their boss.
      I would suppose MR understands that and would be a reasonbly pragmatic choice and if he were to take the job? What more interesting thing does he have to do at this juncture? If it doesnt work out he can always resign for this or tgat rwason, as was pointed out.
      . Giuliani? out of his depth – I wonder if he would even have the stamina? He should stay in the private sector doing whatever parasitic consulting he does.

      1. cm

        Nixon spent an inordinate amount of time “managing” Kissinger. The role of SoS can be as disruptive as the SoS wants it to be. The President can’t fire a Cabinet-approved position.

        1. Vatch

          The President can’t fire a Cabinet-approved position.

          Yes he can, although Presidents usually just ask for a resignation, and the cabinet secretary complies. He can’t fire the head of some independent agencies, such as the SEC. I’m not sure about the FDA.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Got me curious so I looked it up in the Emanuel Law Outline:

            “The President has the power to fire the administrator of the EPA, and if the President cannot convince an EPA administrator to delay the effective date of a regulation, the President could fire the person and appoint someone more responsive.”

            That’s the Emanuel Administrative Law Outline, 2010, p.234.

            1. Vatch

              Yes, he can fire some agency leaders for any reason. But for some agencies, such as commissions, the President’s ability to remove commissioners is very limited.

              But the President can definitely fire cabinet secretaries, although this was controversial in the 19th Century. President Andrew Johnson was impeached, in part, because he tried to fire Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

          2. optimader

            Don’t Cabinet position placeholders traditionally sign a letter of resignation to be thrown in the back of the drawer? Or is that just after a re-election?

      2. JSM

        ‘The role of the SoS is to carry foreign policy water for their boss.’

        In the first four years of the present administration, it was the boss carrying water for his SoS.

        The incoming president does have a certain amount of executive experience. Time will tell.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Good ol’ NYT, still the reliable PR organ for the Party of Obama/Clinton. And if Obama is against Ellison that confirms he is the right man for the job. Consider that they offer two Clinton loyalists (well, three if you include Credit Card Job Biden) as alternatives to Ellison – this tells us they are not going to concede power easily. No surprise there, is there?

      And wouldn’t it be cool if more prominent politicians refused interviews from the MSM? “You are no longer credible news organizations”, should be the stock response. They deserve nothing less than their increasing irrelevance.

      1. Steve C

        If they do this, the Dems are dead. But to the Obama Hillary Dems, giving up control is worse than losing.

      2. OIFVet

        And if Obama is against Ellison that confirms he is the right man for the job.

        It’s remarkable how similar the American present is to the Communist past of Eastern Europe. Whatever Dear Leader and the party media organs said, the people automatically assumed the opposite to be true. Add the violent militarized police crackdowns on peaceful protesters, and we have the makings of interesting times ahead. Hopefully the revolution will be peaceful, like the one in 1989.

        1. DJG

          The revolution will be peaceful if, through many ironies of history, Bernie Sanders turns out to be our Vaclav Havel, a man of the theater. (You know, who got into trouble for protests like the one at Hamilton.)

          Or the revolution may be peaceful if the Water Protectors receive answers to their prayers, but after the way that white settlers have treated the Native peoples, I don’t want to put any further burdens on them.

          But it is possible for Ellison, Sanders, maybe even Elizabeth Warren to lead the (ungrateful / lazy / panicked / blowhardish) nation out of the swamp.

          And if Trump turns out to be persuadable, which is what the headlines up top indicate, it may turn out that his instincts are to be the last surviving member of that endangered species, the Rockefeller Republican. (The offer to Romney is a tell.)

          1. Michael

            Trump is not persuadable. You want to believe that he is persuadable, so he is pretending that he is.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              That is counterfactual. Trump was pro-choice (and had a record on this issue, as you’d expect from a playboy billionaire) until he won the Republican convention. Then he switched to pro-lile. He’s persuadable, but not necessarily by people you like.

              1. JSM

                After the convention Trump adopted all of the Republican mantras that, understandably, freak out the left. But those are the positions that didn’t mesh with consistent positions he’s held for 30 years, which anyone can watch compilations of on Youtube.

                He’s persuadable, especially whenever it appears he’s come a little too far too fast in terms of political experience, but JSM figures his natural tendencies will reassert themselves. The question is to what extent.

      3. Optimader

        On the media
        Whenever i watch a domestic movie that has a mock newscast w a talking head like (think Wolf Blitzer) I make a mental note on what money grubbing fakes they are.

        I have been tuned out of domestic national MSM broadcast news long enough now the faces are becoming less familiar, nowithstanding my appetite for the sort of crap domestic movie that is bankable which have these “breaking news” eggs dropped in the plot is low to nil anymore. Cant do it.

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s safer to always assume the other side will not concede power easily.

        And if the MSM is swept aside, as was the Bush dynasty and the Clinton dynasty, we will be looking at a Triple Crown winner this year.

        1. optmader

          … and the Cubs, then the undetected marble size black hole asteroid strike on NY eve. Quintuple Crown

      5. hunkerdown

        Otis, Schumer and the rest of the New Democratic elite seem to be fine with Ellison. The important thing here is not to choose someone acceptable to the New Democratic caucus. The important thing here is to prevent the Democratic Party from operating on all cylinders while neoliberals hold any positions of power or importance within it.

  7. The Trumpening

    Looks like Nikki Haley will be Trump’s Ambassador to the UN.

    The backstory here is that now Trump supporter Lt. Gov. Henry McMasters will move into the Governor’s Mansion. McMasters’ support and getting his voters out were key to Trump winning the SC primary and supposedly this was the deal all along — “promote” Haley so the pro-Trump McMasters can get power.. The UN job is thankless in a nationalist Trump Administration while by picking Haley, Trump gets to check two diversity boxes in with one pick.

    This will complicate any potential Haley 2020 Presidential run as well.

    1. mk

      I heard the opposite on KABC radio today, it was said that this will give Haley the foreign policy experience needed for a run for the president.

      1. aab

        Yes, because that worked so well for Hillary.

        Nobody is going to win the presidency based on “foreign policy experience” until voters’ bread and butter issues are addressed. So Haley’s presidency will have to come after Nina Turner’s.

  8. run75441

    Why is this a topic?

    “And if anyone were to try to go ahead regardless, Trump voters own guns. Lots of guns. This would be the event that would rally gun owners who assert that gunz protect their rights but heretofore have done squat to act, en masse. What happens to our vaunted democracy if, say, a judge who issued an injunction, or the lawyer filing the case, were shot? Expect that and tons worse.”

    Most of them are going to do nothing. Those that do something are eligible for criminal prosecution. The topic should remain whether there was election vote tampering in three states and not whether Trump backers are going to revolt. It would be a far greater concern if we chose to do nothing under the threat of violence.

    Michigan is heavily gerrymandered the same as Wisconsin.

    1. jsn

      On the last three decades experience, only left wing violence is illegal. If you’re far right, insist on a jury trial and you’ll be acquitted: see Bundy; police violence; vigilante violence etc.

      Left resistance has been completely discredited and pacified. It remains to be seen if the same is true on the right particularly when their avatar has the White House.

      1. optimader

        see Bundy

        I’m sure you meant a different Bundy, but anyhoo, this (R) Bundy dimmed the lights.
        …After graduating from UW in 1972[46] Bundy joined Governor Daniel J. Evans’s reelection campaign.[47] Posing as a college student, he shadowed Evans’s opponent, former governor Albert Rosellini, recording his stump speeches for analysis by Evans’s team.[48][49] After Evans’s reelection he was hired as an assistant to Ross Davis, Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. Davis thought well of Bundy, describing him as “smart, aggressive … and a believer in the system”.[50] In early 1973, despite mediocre Law School Admission Test scores, Bundy was accepted into the law schools of UPS and the University of Utah on the strength of letters of recommendation from Evans, Davis, and several UW psychology professors….

        …Other significant obstacles for law enforcement were Bundy’s generic, essentially anonymous physical features,[282] and a curious chameleon-like ability to change his appearance almost at will….
        Proto politician?

    2. aliteralmind

      Setting aside the potential violence, overturning this election to Hillary Clinton would be the best possible outcome. Trump would be gone, and Hillary and the Democratic Party would be so reviled, to have placed our country in this precarious a position, that her power would be seriously muted.

      Protests against her would be much more effective, and I suspect that in two and four years, progressive candidates would have a much easier time. Although there may be a progressive backlash in two and four years in a Trump administration, they could easily make campaign-finance and election laws much more in their favor in the meantime.

      1. Sputnik Sweetheart

        The issue is that there aren’t very many people who are protesting against Hillary Clinton (or have protested against her), especially in comparison with Trump.

        I think that if Clinton were to go into office, the TPP would also be passed, and liberals would be less likely to keep an eye on her policies, the same way that they reacted with Obama. With a possible Trump administration, there’s also a good chance that some of the new people who are protesting in the streets and originally started off as typically into identity politics will join with people who are economically leftist and gradually radicalize. At the same time, if the outcome of the electoral college is overturned and she manages to gain office, she will probably be blamed for the economic collapse that will surely come in the next four years. That’s the only silver lining I can see with a Clinton administration, as she will continue with policies that are much more insidious and harder for the average American to criticize.

        The president can be voted out by the people in four years, but free trade agreements are much more binding and the average citizen does not have much power over them, especially after they are ratified. It will most certainly take more than four years to overturn the TPP and the TTIP and there’s no chance that NAFTA would be renegociated under her.

      2. flora

        wait… what? overturn the election to give H.C. the win only so you can hold her feet to the fire?
        I’m so confused.

      3. Pat

        That is a happily after view of both the Clintons and the overthrow of long standing election process. First off no one should set aside the idea of violence. Even without violence the people who voted for him will not go quietly for what is essentially a coup. Beyond that where do you remotely get the idea that Clinton will give a damn about protests or outcry from the ‘deplorables’ who tried to keep her from her prize? When have the Clintons ever given a damn about anyone but themselves and the people who pay them handsomely since attaining the White House?

        Please, just as there is little or no way to hold Trump’s feet to the fire, there is NO FREAKING WAY to hold Clinton to anything unless you pay her millions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have enough change to hold her feet to the fire. As for the Democrat in office, if you think for a minute they will cross Clinton on anything you haven’t paid attention in the last eight years. Democrats have not been the ones standing in the way of Obama on anything. He didn’t decimate SS because the Republicans stood in the way. And Sanders will most certainly be shut up and marginalized at the very least.

        Overturn the election and put her in office and they will learn nothing Even more frightening their minimal respect for the law will be wiped out entirely and progressives who helped her lose will be in the cross hairs.

        1. Jess

          What I wonder about is if HRC was anointed by the Electoral College, what happens in the next election cycle? Do electoral votes count in campaign strategy, or not? How many states will move to bind their electors? How would the fed courts respond? The complexities, unforeseen consequences, and collateral chaos are hard to imagine.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      If every revolution was abandoned because the other side was armed, there wouldn’t be any revolutions. We’re either going to fight to save whatever tattered remnant of our republic still exists, or we’re going to throw up our hands, return to feeling totally powerless, and accept whatever crumbs we manage to find.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Tesla Shock Means Global Gasoline Demand Has All But Peaked Bloomberg (Dan K). Linear projections, particularly for long time periods like 25 years, are suspect. Electric cars use some environmentally costly inputs like rare earths. I can’t prove it, but I suspect rising production could produce spikes in cost or actual shortages of these inputs, which could slow the rate of adoption. Readers?

    Rare earth elements are vital for the whole infrastructure of electrifying transport with wind energy in particular – they are vital in the super strong magnets needed in wind and wave generators, as well as the drive mechanisms in hybrids and electric cars.

    But I have noticed that the scare stories about rare earth shortages have gone a little quiet the past 2 years. I suspect that a lot of investment has gone into production (especially in China) and into technology in reducing the quantity required in each magnet. If there likely to be a bottleneck in electrifying transport I suspect it will be in the lithium for batteries, not in rare earths.

    Re. the article, I think its worth pointing out that there is likely to be a very significant rise in demand for gasoline in Europe, thanks to VW. The scandal has killed diesel as a car fuel stone dead. So far as I can tell all the major European car manufacturers now have shifted their mid-distance future investments to hybrids and battery power. I think in the near future (five years) we are likely to see most mainstream cars offered with hybrid/plug in hybrid/battery options. But these will represent a shift away from diesel, not conventional gasoline cars, so it will likely I think result in a short term rise in gasoline use, but a big drop in diesel use over 10-15 years as they are phased out. This will create all sorts of problems for the European refinery industry as it is geared for increases in diesel use at the expense of gasoline. I’ve also heard that with current cheap prices for natural gas, there is renewed interest in converting gasoline vehicles to LPG (not to be confused with LNG).

    I’ve no special insights into what the car industry is doing, but looking at what they are saying they will introduce over the next few years is that they think that phasing in a variety of hybrid options will allow them to build up the necessary capacity in the production of batteries and magnets, which are the key bottleneck items. But of course China, now the worlds biggest car market, might upset all this in terms of demand, given the speed at which the Chinese can turn around their industrial capacity when needed. And huge concerns about air pollution in China is likely to be a major driver in forcing the Chinese government to enact stricter air limits.

    All in all, I think the US is something of an outlier with its current growth in gas guzzlers. I suspect we will see sudden and sharp changes in retail oil prices over the next few years due to various supply and refining bottlenecks, which should (notwithstanding whatever crazy energy policies Trump follows) make people think twice about driving SUV’s and trucks. But there is such a long turnover time in vehicles it will be years before we see a major change in demand in the US. But its already happening nearly everywhere else.

  10. Uahsenaa

    One of the realities you have to confront when switching from oil/gas to electricity is that most electricity in the world is produced using fossil fuels (especially coal). So, when you switch, you’re not so much reducing the demand for fossil fuels as simply shifting where it sits in the ledger. Of course, there are other means of generating electricity (solar, wind, hydro), each of which come with their own costs and constraints, but I just watched a committee hearing yesterday in which Lamar Alexander dismissed renewals out of hand and went on an impromptu tirade about how only nuclear power would save us.

    So, I’m less worried about the material constraints at this time–which are real, of course; there isn’t an endless supply of lithium, and antimony is projected to run out around 2020–and more worried about the political constraints. Oil and gas are heavily subsidized in the U.S., and a Republican controlled government is likely to continue heavily favoring them over alternatives.

  11. sionnach liath

    Re: the missing Alabama squirrels. Probably has to do with food sources. Check the acorn and nut harvest this season. If that is down, squirrels will seek their preferred foods in other area. Drought likely increases available grasses and bushy plants which seeds are preferred by smaller rodents.

    1. Xihuitl

      Our acorn harvest here in Houston is massive. Acorns everywhere. Trying to find out why and what it means. Records rains last year. Drought this fall.

      Making acorn soup for Thanksgiving, but bought the white oak acorn flour on line. Way too much work to process the acorns. White oak is sweeter than red oak, supposedly.

  12. anon

    Is it just me, or wasn’t Trump’s declaration that “The law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest”, sound familiar? As in Richard Nixon’s statement to DIck Cavett in 1977, “If the President does it, that means it’s not illegal”.

      1. Lambert Strether

        And what’s the net impact?

        Personally, I think if it stops at the level of golf courses and building permits we’re getting off easy, compared to deals for Saudi weaponry and selling uranium supplies to history’s worst monster, Vladimir Putin.

  13. Tertium Squid

    Trump voters own guns.

    There’s a statement deserves a little contemplation. Are we at that point in American history where well-armed constituencies have more say in government?

    Run out and buy a gun, lefties. It’s your duty.

    1. bob

      ” Are we at that point in American history where well-armed constituencies have more say in government?”

      Yes, and they always have had more say.. The top of that constituency is the people who pay the people who have guns.

      “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half. ”

      It’s nothing new.

      1836 to 1892

      Where and when does this idea that the US, or the larger world, has ever been any different come from?

      1. Tertium Squid

        Forsooth. But the “left” in the US has spent the last couple generations preaching that 2nd amendment guns are a vestigial leftover of a barbaric past and no longer a vital part of America’s peculiar brand of civic life.

        It’s interesting to see people concluding that the ammosexuals were right all along.

        1. bob

          “It’s interesting to see people concluding that the ammosexuals were right all along.”

          Right about what? Hiding under the bed clutching your AR and 10,000 rounds of ammunition does what, exactly?

          1. Tertium Squid

            I think we’re talking past each other here. Please refer to the passage I excerpted above for what it does, exactly:

            Trump voters own guns. Lots of guns. This would be the event that would rally gun owners who assert that gunz protect their rights but heretofore have done squat to act, en masse. What happens to our vaunted democracy if, say, a judge who issued an injunction, or the lawyer filing the case, were shot? Expect that and tons worse.

            1. bob

              Your argument is not an argument. It’s (badly, IMO) projecting a future possible “worse” outcome. Applying a value based judgement to a set of facts and circumstances that may or may not happen, because worse.

              Time to get back under the bed.

              What happened when JFK was shot? That would seem to be “worse” than shooting a lawyer or judge, no?

              You’re preaching.

              1. Tertium Squid

                Not to get be preachy, but I would caution you not to mistake observation for advocacy.

                And if you disagree with the statement I quoted, feel free to take it up with the person who wrote it (Yves).

                Good day to you.

      2. hunkerdown

        That depends on the working class’s willingness to comply and on the working class’s need to be hired. And could Jay Gould hire the remaining half of the working class to not kill him? And how many of them would need to defect after getting the money to solve the elite problem?

    2. Propertius

      Run out and buy a gun, lefties. It’s your duty.

      Or, as Huey P. Newton put it, “Any unarmed people are slaves, or are slaves in the real meaning of the word.”

  14. Steve H.

    : Squirrels v chipmunks

    Perhaps relevant: chipmunks have a hibernation behavior while grey squirrels don’t. So it’s possible that the chipmunks can down-regulate their metabolism and outlast the bad times. Cicadas can tolerate a decade of drought without being wiped out with this strategy.

    Around here, it’s usually a function of who is eating whom. The raccoons ruled until the plague of rats, which wiped out the chipmunks. Skunks filled the niche after the rats got wiped out, but a opossum snuck in the back door last week, and I’ve come to appreciate the tick-eating marsupials. I levitated once when I pulled a shop-vac from under the porch and had four little faces blinking up at me (the hose hole was big enough to crawl into).

    Opossums do not hibernate. Their greatest challenge during winter, especially in colder climates, is simply to survive. Very often opossums will alter their foraging habits during winter, coming out during the day when it is warmer rather than at night. It is not uncommon for opossums in northern regions to suffer frostbite during extremely cold periods. Their tails are particularly susceptible to frostbite as they have no fur covering to protect them.”

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      There must be some organization to knit possum tail warmers. Save the possums! The old folk-songs I listened to as a kid spoke to the tasty fat in possum stew.

      1. Steve H.

        The linkage to that site came through a comment that included setting up little nest/habitats for them. Our first fire circle living in the woods, a screech owl shrieked and dropped an adolescent possum that Janet held and groomed and bonded with until it passed, and it became the first seed of our boneyard. They may be hissy, but raccoons can be positively gangsters in packs, and skunk encounters are announced by olfaction weekly. We prefer quiet neighbors.

        Now the folks living next door tried rabbits which turned gruesome, and our chicken venture did not survive the rat plague. But as we head toward retirement, your last comment has me contemplating an update to ‘a chicken in every pot.’ As a supplement to Social Security.

  15. pretzelattack

    i guess there isn’t time, but i just wonder if there is a way to use the maneuver to overturn the results in the electoral college to somehow pressure trump to reverse himself on (apparently) defunding nasa’s climate change research, by sane democrats and republicans (there must be some republicans that recognize climate change. maybe even the dinos could help.

  16. Cry Shop

    Jeff Sessions accused of retaliation after claims of racism cost him a judgeship Guardian. This sort of thing is all too common in Alabama.

    It tends to happen in NJ (Bridgegate), NY (Blasio/Cuomo for recent), even Hippy Happy CA (Brown/Water Board). Vicious over the top getting revenge isn’t just a red neck thing, ask Hillary.

    Chipmunks vs. Squirrels.
    Chipmunks are capable desert dwellers, don’t need separate water supply from that in foods, and can graze on vegetation, grasses. Squirrels not so good at any of these.

  17. Lee

    The first thing that comes to mind regarding the increase in relative abundance of chipmunks over gray squirrels, in that they both fill similar dietary niches, is that a reduction in food sources would favor the smaller animals. I would suspect that even though current conditions favor one species over another, producing an increase in one and a decrease in the other, that the total biomass of both species combined is less than it was before the drought. If increased temperature is a factor, that would favor smaller species as well, as they are more efficient in the dissipation of heat because of the body volume to skin surface ratio.

    You might contact a local wildlife expert for a better answer. My primary area of interest is large carnivores of the western U.S.

  18. Carla

    Yves, you and your mother have my heartfelt empathy. My mother was also sharp as a tack, the definition of stubborn, and very physically frail, and I struggled with the challenges you describe. We all do our best with this, but at best, it seems to require simply a lot of muddling through. I wish you both the very best.

    1. Katharine

      Likewise–though if I were forced to choose my sympathies might be a bit more with your mother. Mine would have regarded any attempts at management on my part as gross impertinence. Suggestion, request, expression of concern were all okay, but meddling was definitely out. And yes, she might have lived a few months longer with meddling, but not in a way she would have liked, and it was always her choice.

      There aren’t any blanket right answers, just the love and respect between two people, and stumbling efforts to do the best you can, hoping that will be understood when all is said and done.

    2. DJG

      “My sharp as a tack, hopelessly stubborn but physically feeble mother turns 89 this weekend and refuses to move out of her house.”

      Best wishes to your mother on her birthday.

      I understand that you have a major bit of negotiating to do, but independence does matter.

      Do you have enough local resources that she might have home care (meals, visits from day nurse, monitors)? A friend of mine is Swedish: That’s how the Swedes take care of things, and his mom is still in the family home on the edge of a sizable town in the provinces. (Still another argument for why U.S. health-insurance reform has been such a fraud when we don’t have a system of basic elder care to keep people out of institutions.)

      1. Arizona Slim

        My 90-year-old mother has some impairments, but is able to live at home because she has caregivers who come in during the day. Have you considered this option?

        OTOH, there’s my father’s situation.

        During the final year of his life, my father had to go into a nursing home. He needed 24-hour care, which my mother was no longer able to provide.

        He was in late stage Alzheimers, and, quite frankly, the nursing home was the best place for him.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I second that – best wishes to everyone this holiday weekend.

          As many of us have older parents and, hopefully, many of us will live long and prosper so we, too, one day are in the same situation, I hope we can be like Sweden and have home care covered in Medicare. Arizona Slim, how much is it for your mother to have home care? Can the 99% seniors afford it?

          1. Arizona Slim

            My mother’s long-term care policy, which cost a pretty penny in premiums, is paying for her in-home care.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I was surprised to receive one offer for long term care, thought about it, but am still not sure if I can afford it.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The dying spoke up two weeks ago.

              They and we (as we all will be soon or later) will be heard again if they don’t improve this nation’s health care.

    3. Lee

      As did I. My mother went into dementia at 80 when my stepfather died. I had already been helping them both by that time and I had to place my mom in a place with round the clock care as she was a danger to herself. Now, I am experiencing limited functionality and my son is a great help to me. I find myself by turns cursing fate and alternatively, in better moments, being possessed by a sense of deep existential gratitude. A fragment of a poem by Czesław Miłosz, IIRC, comes to mind, “there is nothing this poor, poor earth has to offer but gifts.” My rational mind rebels against such sentiment as counter intuitive, against abundant evidence to the contrary, yet there it is from time to time welling up from the depths.

      1. Lee

        I found the poem at :

        You talked but after your talking all the rest remains.
        After your talking—poets, philosophers, contrivers of romances—everything else,
        All the rest deduced inside the flesh
        Which lives & knows not just what is permitted.
        I am a woman held fast now in a great silence.
        Not all creatures have your need for words.
        Birds you killed, fish you tossed into your boat,
        In what words will they find rest & in what heaven?
        You received gifts from me; they were accepted.
        But you don’t understand how to think about the dead.
        The smell of winter apples, of hoarfrost, and of linen.
        There are nothing but gifts on this poor, poor Earth.

        —Czeslaw Milosz, from Unattainable Earth

    4. crittermom

      Happy Birthday to your Mom, Yves. Please let her know there are (no doubt) many of us who think she should take great pride in having raised such a fine daughter.

      You have my empathy, as well, for your situation, though I never found myself faced with the circumstances you’re dealing with.

      Both of my parents were gone before I turned 40, while I felt I still had so much to learn from them. I still miss them decades later, yet was never put in the position where the child must then become the parent for the well-being of their parent. I can only imagine how difficult that must be.

      Cherish the time you still have together, as well as any wisdom her “sharp as a tack” mind still has to offer.
      I think blogger Katharine said it best when offering: “There aren’t any blanket right answers, just the love and respect between two people, and stumbling efforts to do the best you can, hoping that will be understood when all is said and done.”

      1. Jess

        “Happy Birthday to your Mom, Yves. Please let her know there are (no doubt) many of us who think she should take great pride in having raised such a fine daughter.”

        Seconded. As someone whose mother had both dementia and a myraid of physical problems, take solace in the fact that she’s still mentally competent. And take care of yourself, too. This place is a godsend but we can all survive without your yeoman work when greater duties call.

    5. a different chris

      My thoughts are with Yves, too. I have had good luck with my nearly 80yr old mom, she is as sharp (and wacky) as ever living with her pets in her huge house. We will see how things go moving forward.

  19. bob

    How to be the press in the information age- Never, ever look at a map- AP

    “The plan calls for spending the money to repair rough pavement on the four-lane, 35-mile-long parkway, which runs along Lake Erie’s southern shore and connects Rochester with rural Orleans County.”

    Lake Erie, eh? That’s not a minor mistake- it’s a GREAT mistake. I’d bet even Canadians know the difference.

    1. Carla

      On geography, the average Canadian beats the average American six ways to Sunday — not just N. American geography, world geography as well.

  20. Altandmain

    Sanders rejects identity politics saying it is not good enough to say “I’m a women, vote for me .” Not sure if this was already linked.

    Basically if anyone has the right to throw shade on the Democratic Establishment, it is Sanders, especially after this election. Clinton was not more electable, contrary to the assertions of her supporters.

    Honestly, this entire election has left a deep and lasting negative impression of second generation feminism. They actively worked to support Clinton, despite her support for war, her Wall Street contributions, and her support of her husband’s legislation like “end of welfare as we know it”. Disgracefully, I bet that single mothers suffered disproportionately from it.

    Second generation feminists, the prominent “celebrity feminists” anyway, have become little more than useful idiots for the neoliberals.

    1. Arizona Slim

      OTOH, I have high hopes for the future of feminism. Why? Because I volunteered alongside many millenial women during the Sanders campaign. Believe me, that “vote for me because I’m a woman” went nowhere with them.

    2. Jim

      One only has to remember Zoe Baird, B Clinton’s nomination for the Supreme Court. Dropped because she used an illegal immigrant to watch her very young offspring while she worked. This meant that (pre-1992) she didn’t know anyone, or anyone she knew anyone, who would for $25-30000 a year, be a nanny for her babe. While I am happy that feminism has opened professional jobs to capable middle class women (like my daughter who has become a board certified veterinary pathologist after many years of hard work) there is, as Craig Murray said a kind of “trickle down feminism” that doesn’t help working class or poor women or women in much of the rest of the world. Hillary is an extreme example.

  21. Randall

    Democrats’ Leadership Fight Pits West Wing Against Left Wing∣=nytcore-iphone-share

    “Some Democrats, in Mr. Obama’s orbit and beyond, say that elevating Mr. Ellison would amount to handing the party to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s primary race opponent, and his liberal followers. Mr. Ellison was a high-profile backer of Mr. Sanders’s presidential campaign, and Mr. Sanders has been rallying support for Mr. Ellison’s D.N.C. bid. Already a polarizing figure among Democrats, he ignited new controversy this week by saying the party needed to “go beyond identity politics.” “It’s not good enough for someone to say: ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’” Mr. Sanders told students in Boston on Sunday, a comment widely seen as a criticism of Mrs. Clinton. “No, that’s not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry.””

    Typical that Barry, who has overseen the astonishing and historical decimation of his party, would fight a rear guard action to stymie any corrective action. “Steady as she goes!”, was the Captain’s last burbling cry, as the bridge finally sank beneath the waves! History will not be kind to him.

    Also humorous that the NYT would take hypersensitive offense at Sanders’ comment. The “woman” Sanders was referring to was the questioner, who wanted to run as a Latina female candidate, and asked Sanders’ advice! Even now, with the election over and their Favored Candidate a discredited smoking ruin and a punch line, the Mighty Wurlitzer can’t stop reflexively trashing Sanders. It’s in their DNA!

    However, if the “not good enough” moniker seems uncomfortably like a description of Her Herness, who am I to argue? It’s another good epitaph for the Clinton campaign.

    1. Skip Intro

      ‘I’m black, vote for me’ worked for a while. I think Obama exhausted the electoral power of pure identity politics, much to the shock and dismay of the Clinton gang who were counting that as their sole appeal to most non-1% voters.

    1. Donna

      Just wondering how the end of net neutrality works for Bannon of Breitbart? Doesn’t a successful Breitbart News rely on an open internet?

  22. George Phillies

    Curiously, none of the people who are saying that close vote counts should be checked are discussing New Hampshire. Oh, that’s right, Clinton carried that state.

  23. ~.~

    What happens to our vaunted democracy? Well, judging from the way we took it in stride when CIA blew up Judge Robert Vance for interfering with their drug biz, nothing much. No one imagines we have an independent judiciary.

  24. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Infrastructure Is Only Popular Without Concrete Details Atlantic (resilc)

    So many of these articles focus on the cost of such a program and where the money will come from.

    I would like to know what the money will be spent on.

    I’ll admit, when I fantasize about massive “infrastructure” spending, I envision a solar powered, high-speed rail system criss-crossing the nation, “revolutionizing” everything from commuting to interstate travel, and producing a manufacturing renaissance from steel to rail cars. (Although I can’t imagine there has been any planning to support such a thing.)

    I’m afraid that what we’ll get is something along the lines of the picture accompanying the article (and what we got from obama)–a bunch of guys in reflective vests standing around appearing to do nothing under a self-congratulatory sign proclaiming that “This project was brought to you by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” Not to mention the results.

    Here is an undated link discussing obama’s infrastructure “stimulus.” From the text, it appears to have been written early in his first term. It’s not encouraging, regardless of the size of the budget.

    Hopefully, Trump can and will do better.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Tell me about it. I’m writing this little missive in Downtown Tucson. And I’m just a few blocks away from the Stimulus Package Bike Lane.

      It spans, oh, three blocks, and it’s just a painted line on a repaved street. Whoopee.

      And, yes, I use this bike lane, even while I’m feeling underwhelmed by it.

    2. JTMcPhee

      “Infrastructure.” Big word, like “progress.” Wonder what it means…


      Screw the zoomy-wow high-speed rail and toll roads and snowflake interstate travel (how many of those trips are “necessary”) — we got hundreds of water supply systems and bridges and school buildings and park areas and such that were built by the WPA and well-aged public investment, and scarcely maintained since the 1960s. But of course we mopes know where our and our fiat overlords’ money, whatever “money” is, will be going. Because the “Deciders” know their pleasure3s and wants will be served off the top, and of course “Apres ils le deluge,” so who cares?

      1. a different chris

        Well, here’s a thought — maybe the McMansion owner’s don’t think about it but when they flush the toilet they suddenly are really dependent in that moment on working communal infrastructure.

        Gives a bit of, um specificity to “Apres ils le deluge” doesn’t it?

        1. JTMcPhee

          …but the Rich somehow always get to be assured that sh!t forever flows downstream…

          If I can just persuade my wife, I plan to try out a cheapo composting toilet. It really is easy-peasy, once you get past the “ucky” finickiness factor. And the composted waste can then be recycled back into growing local foodstocks. It’s one of the skills and tolerances I am betting a whole lot of people, those who can adapt and survive given what seems to be shakin’, are going to have to learn.

          There’s a personal-economy aspect to it too: Our “community” (read: the sh!ts elected by the local elite) are nudging ever closer to “privatizing” and “running like a business” our local water and sewer utilities, and making further privatizing inroads into municipal garbage collection and management. Next step, we are told, is “smart meters” on our water supplies (and by “simple subtraction and addition,” our sewage generation — all on “advice” from PE-type “consultants,” direct to the political rulers. And of course that will “disemploy” many meter readers, and hence “cut costs,” people who do a lot more in terms of knitting the community together, truth be told…

          We mopes were treated recently to one trick that “smart” power meters can facilitate — the Local Big Power company decided to change their accounting cycle a squidge, just took a few lines of code apparently. How it worked is that the billing periods for two months were kind of squished together, to “put everyone on the same schedule.” That resulted in us fixed-income people getting a much increased electric bill, well over double for some, because by adding the kwhours for two periods together, your billing schedule crossed an imaginary “rate” threshold of usage, so you got billed at a much higher “rate:” a scam justified by said Big Power as a conservation measure to “discourage overuse and waste,” way back when it was approved by the captured Public Screwus Commission.

          I am also looking at lifestyle changes that will involve use of a solar cooker, requiring some creative planning to satisfy our fixation on hot meals and drinks, three or more times a day…

          When I was a kid, we visited my grandparents’ house on a salt pond in RI. There was a long skinny peninsula up the middle of the pond. Development happened, growing from 3 farm houses in the ’50s to a few manses but lots of little salt boxes on 600 sq ft lots, no sewers so people just piped it into the sandy ground or if close enough to the beach, straight into the pond which became pretty swampy. I got pissed at one point, while out for a little sail, at the stink and floating turds and condoms and stuff, so at night I rowed across to the island with some pine dowels and an iron bar. Dowels into pipes, iron bar to ram it home a couple of feet upstream. Fokk ’em.

    3. marym

      The “left” ought to be ready with a critique and alternatives that explicitly emphasize public good over corporate profits. Some possibilities for the critique:

      How will projects be funded? *
      What types of projects will be funded?
      Will there be public input identifying and prioritizing projects?
      How many new jobs will be created?
      What skills and experience are required for the new jobs?
      Will improved or new infrastructure be publicly or privately owned?
      Will there be fees, tolls, fines associated with public access?
      What impact will fees, etc. have on restricting public access?
      Will fees, etc. become public funds or private profit?
      If the private “partner” fails to complete and/or manage the infrastructure profitably, will the public need to pay (socialized losses)?
      What are salary, benefits, workplace safety, collective bargaining, environmental requirements?

      * Leaving it to NC expertise for more detailed questions needed for this part of the critique.

      Here’s a link to a post saying that the funding is (paraphrasing due to lack of expertise) tax breaks which can be applied to projects that were already planned (so no net new jobs); and that many types of projects

      …municipal water-system overhauls, repairs of existing roads, replacement of bridges that do not charge tolls…

      are excluded from the plan. The author’s background includes the Obama administration and Clinton campaigns, so he links to a comparison of Trump and Clinton plans. A more useful source for alternatives would be a Sanders, Stein, or socialist plan.

      1. cnchal

        You ask too many good questions.

        How will projects be funded? * Deficit spending sounds too logical and cuts out the banksters so you will end up with a phony baloney infrastructure bank that the banksters can game for their private profit.

        What types of projects will be funded? Ones where politicians / narcissists / lawyers can smile for the cameras at the ribbon cutting ceremony opening the new white elephant.

        Will there be public input identifying and prioritizing projects? No. Plutocrat input is all that’s needed.

        How many new jobs will be created? That depends on laws outlawing backhoes.

        What skills and experience are required for the new jobs? Not much skill needed to dig a hole with a shovel. Just strong backs.

        Will improved or new infrastructure be publicly or privately owned? Privately. Pirate Equity and pension funds are licking their chops.

        Will there be fees, tolls, fines associated with public access? Yes

        What impact will fees, etc. have on restricting public access? It will be an unobtanium version of walking around,

        Will fees, etc. become public funds or private profit? Private. Plutocrats need jet fuel.

        If the private “partner” fails to complete and/or manage the infrastructure profitably, will the public need to pay (socialized losses)? Yes

        What are salary, benefits, workplace safety, collective bargaining, environmental requirements? That’s a multiple answer question. Salary – huge, benefits – huge, workplace safety – nonexistent, collective bargaining – seriously?, environmental requirements – as long as the plumbing is hooked up to the sewers, it’s good to go.

        Canada is a step ahead. Infrastructure is being sold off without a clue as to what is to be built. An elite grab of assets at cheapo prices is underway. All under the advice of banksters.

        1. marym

          Yes, those would probably be the answers to questions about any Trump or Clinton looting plan. How do we identify those issues in ways that lead to demands, protests, alternatives, etc.; and that build toward some semblance of shared interest and notion of public benefit among us, however we voted?

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What little I know about details with respect to concrete is that concrete releases lots of carbon.

      Perhaps the dead trees in California and other drought stricken areas can be used as structural timber in the forthcoming infrastructure projects.

      If not, we may have to look for plastic substitutes.

    5. RabidGandhi

      The Atlantic is obviously in desperate need of an editor. Lemme fix that for them:

      Infrastructure: where will the money come from? Answer: The Federal Reserve [end of article]

      Streamline the chattering class.

    6. bob

      “What they’re spending it on”

      Spending, at this point, would be to keep things where they are.

      Trying to make up shit to “spend money on” that people can see, is part of the problem. Stadiums look great, don’t they? No one standing around there, most of the time. No one is there, most of the time. Nothing unsightly for you to see.

      “a bunch of guys in reflective vests standing around appearing to do nothing”

      A Hillary voter, eh?

      A bunch of guys standing around a civil job site is a normal operating condition, like any office. But, we can’t drive through your office to watch what you do all day and make a judgement like that in 1/4 of a second at 60mph.

      “Sitting? Why is my money being spent on chairs!”

      The worst infrastructure jobs – rolling a $20 million dollar piece of equipment off the back of a truck in an afternoon. No one standing around. I think you’d be happy.

      I’ve summed it up like this in the past-

      Dig a ditch. Ditch moves water, with no ongoing cost, using gravity. Unsightly people have to stand around for a while digging it.

      Build a pump house. Pump moves water. It comes off the back of a truck. One day. Then gone. Unsightly people only there for a moment. The energy bill lasts for as long as the water needs to be moved, and another bill comes due when the pump has to be replaced.

      That’s what you’re spending your money “on” NOW.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Definitely NOT a hillary voter, although I’m curious what it was in my comment that led you to that conclusion.

        1. aab

          I think he’s accusing you of not understanding how the real world works. Which is inaccurate slur on you, but I’m down with making “Hillary voter” mean “clueless elite idiot” in the popular vernacular.

          “He think tax breaks for toll roads will help the economy. What a Hillary Voter.”

          “And then she said, if you get a good education, there’s always a job for you; total Hillary Voter thinking.”

          “California seceding is practically Peak Hillary Voter.”

          1. JSM

            If you find yourself tripping over ‘Obamamometer’ (really appropriately smooth and droning – sounds like a pillow feels), call him a Hillary Voter.

    7. Dave

      You can drop a million dollar bomb, when all costs, bomb, handling, fuel for plane, crew, interest on borrowed bomb money, collateral damage, are added up. What do you get? A crater in the Middle East and ten more enemies.

      That same million dollars can build a couple rooms in a hospital or a school in America.

      1. Isolato

        Ike said it all

        Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

        This world in arms in not spending money alone.

        It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

        The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

        It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

        It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

        It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

        We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.

        We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

        This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

        This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

      2. tgs

        +++ Any president promising prosperity, must reign in the MIC and sign out on policing and bombing the world.

    8. Brad

      Once processed through the Ayn Ryan Congress, it may just be a Plague of Orange Cones – call ’em Trump Cones – engaged in yet another ritual polishing of the Sacred American (High)Way, followed by toll roads. How do you like that infrastructure, suckas!

  25. rd

    Law school applications collapse.

    Best news so far this year. Good layers are critical to society, but unfortunately they are too expensive to provide services to the people who need them most.

    Law school, med school etc. should be 2+3 programs anyway. Go to two-year pre-professional school program designed to weed out the non-candidates and then move onto the professional program. Schooling costs would be much lower and the graduates would get an extra couple of years in the work force in their 20s. Student loan debt would drop by $50k or more for many of these people, which opens up opportunities to take less remunerative jobs.

    Engineering and science programs are essentially designed that way where you have two years of core courses that are designed to weed out the weak with drop-out rates of a third or more. You can then get a real job out of a four year program. The people who drop out after one or two years can slide over into an alternate program with little loss of credits and still graduate in four years. A one year professional masters or two-three year research/thesis masters get you more specialized jobs with more pay. A Ph.D. (Piled Higher and Deeper) can be of benefit, but only a small number ever get or need it.

      1. anonymous

        The supposed “collapse” in law school applications sounds relevant unless you know something about the practice of law as it currently stands. First, the hours combined with the general awfulness of practicing law makes it a real nightmare even if you are lucky enough to get a job. I’ve regretted going to law school every single day for the last 20 years. I’ve been in practice continuously since then and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve met more than 2 lawyers who were happy. Not happy about their jobs, happy about anything.

        Second, the legal market has been shrinking not just since the great recession, but since the 1970s. The only good thing you can say about the legal profession is that unlike many others, there’s little bias against older workers. One consequence of this is that older lawyers just aren’t retiring. Of all the Baby Boomer attorneys I trained with at the start of my career who were just about to retire then… they’re all still working now, and will likely keep working until the day they die. Most of the lawyers in my generation are still grinding, hoping to get some clients and pay off our student loans.

        There’s such an oversupply of lawyers in this country that we could (and probably should) shut down all law schools for the next 10 years, and we would still have too many.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          If lawyers would work for $20/hr, I’d think there’d probably be a huge demand for their services. No?

          1. anonymous

            You largely can’t create a demand for legal services, it’s secondary to other activity. The biggest destroyers of demand for legal work is the ongoing collapse in new small business creation and the permanent recession. Automation and outsourcing is also hurting (like in every field).

            I get it if your point is that lawyers fees are too damn high; everything is too expensive and we’re all paid too little. Hourly rates for everyone except the top 1% of lawyers, serving the 1%er class, have been eroding for generations.

            $20/hour legal work is doable if only we as a country decide that all of it will be done in Bombay and Calcutta. I don’t think this is a good idea – I think it would lead to the end of the rule of law and the end of democracy. Then again, we have allowed countless industries to leave, what’s one more?

            1. Carla

              “$20/hour legal work is doable if only we as a country decide that all of it will be done in Bombay and Calcutta. I don’t think this is a good idea – I think it would lead to the end of the rule of law and the end of democracy.”

              Too late.

              1. aab

                I was about to say the same. A) A lot of legal work is ALREADY being farmed offshore — mostly document review at this point, IIRC, but it’s work that used to go American lawyers and paralegals, and now it doesn’t. B) We demonstrably do not live under the rule of law in this country. If you’re the wrong class or race, you can be murdered in the street by agents of the state for no reason at all, and if you are of the upper class, there’s almost nothing you can do that will result in real punishment.

                And we’ve been an oligarchy for a while. I guess you could argue Trump’s election means voting has some agency, but he’s still a billionaire, and it looks like he is not going to give his voters most of what they want and need. I’m with Lambert — let’s not credit him too much with blocking the TPP. That was wrapped up with a bow for him by grassroots left activism, which also makes it harder for him to back down.

  26. Pat

    Dow still having record breaking closes.

    I’m still wondering how this works out to the Market hates Trump and fears the future. For the record I think most investors are sheep who walked into Goldman Sachs rather than a Casino in order to gamble away their money, so the Dow, NASDAQ or any stock market’s reaction to anything has no relation to facts on the ground.
    That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the prognostications.

    1. LT

      Commodities and defense contractors.
      Most of the biggest companies are defense contractors. It’s a reaction to expected increases in defense spending.
      War giveth and it also taketh away…
      The stock market is just reaffirming that the USA has a permanent war economy.
      Nothing to gloat about.

  27. Angry Panda

    Re: Teslas.

    1. These 25-year projections change every year. Or every half-year. Ditto 10-year government budgets, ditto X-year pension benefit models. Every Y months they produce a pretty headline, which the press duly repeats and the talking heads duly discuss without really saying anything intelligent.

    Average new car prices in the U.S. are in the low 30s, but if you throw out the Lexuses of the world you probably end up with a majority paying a lot less. I am no expert on Tesla models, but last I checked one was at base $35k and another at $68k (that’s from Tesla’s own website). On top of that, infrastructure for electric cars is nonexistent, or at least virtually so. If nothing changes, there isn’t going to be much of a replacement rate at all. Changing the auto base from 98% gasoline to 97% gasoline (making up numbers, but probably in the rough area) is not going to move the needle on gasoline consumption.

    2. Thought experiment. Say you magically materialized 25 million new Teslas out of thin air – I don’t know, is that 10% of the autos currently on the road in the U.S.? (apparently about that – 260 million passenger vehicle registrations) – and handed them out to people. Assume an average person ends up with, oh, 5k miles per year (some more, others less) at (per Tesla customer forums) 0.3 kWh per mile so 1500 kWh per year per person. Times 25 million equals 37.5 billion kWh vs. ~4 trillion used in the U.S. per annum today.

    So it would not be a stretch to say that replacing 10% of the installed base with electric engines == adding 1% to electricity consumption. While reducing gasoline consumption by a larger proportion, obviously. Since the electricity market regions tend to operate with reserve margins in the 12%-15% area, this is more than sustainable (assuming an occasional investment in a few more energy sources here and there – hell, burn half the saved gasoline in generators if you have to).

    The point is that in a spherical vacuum this sounds like a pretty good trade-off, not just for the environment but economically and even politically (oil imports and such). A million Teslas would cost, what, $50 billion? Shave that off the F-35 budget, another $10-$20 billion off other Pentagon boondoggles for infrastructure and energy sources and such, et voila, in 10 years 10% of the base plus whatever the natural replacement rate is electric. Feasible? Yes. Will anyone even think of doing any such thing? Pshaw…

  28. Oregoncharles

    ” “Boris Johnson and David Davis, the cabinet ministers leading Brexit, have been accused of “unbelievable arrogance” and having no idea what leaving the European Union means.” As we’ve been saying!!!!”
    I can’t claim to have any inside understanding of the balance of power between Britain and the EU, but I can see a large caveat to this item: “They would say that, wouldn’t they?”

    Just as the Brits would say things that benefit their own negotiating position. They might be every bit that delusional, it’s happened before, but I think what’s really going on here is that their public comments are negotiating positions. No OFFICIAL, admitted negotiations can happen yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t negotiating – through the media, for the most part.

    Perhaps a better word is maneuvering. Nor is the EU operating from a secure position. I don’t know how much it costs them to have a large economy suddenly leave, but it will cost something, especially considering that so much of their finance goes through London. Continental banks will be thrilled, but that doesn’t cover the transition chaos, coming at the worst possible time.

    Because Italy. The Italian government is about to fall, and 5 Star is in a position to succeed. That means a too-big-to-leave economy will be trying to leave the Euro – which looks more and more like a house of cards, with more political risks waiting in the wings. Ms. Merkel’s fortunes are turning, and her own fault, too.

    And yes, I saw the articles about the barriers to departure: years of chaos. From what I hear, Italians are pretty used to chaos – someone described it as the world’s only functioning anarchy. I’m not privy to 5 Star’s plans, nor is the EZ, but they’ve had a long time to plan, and Greece is right next door. Then there are Spain, France, and so on. The EU has a lot on its plate.

    That’s exactly why they hope to punish Britain for leaving, though Scotland really has the most power in that regard. But their punishment of Greece has already come back to bite them where they didn’t expect it, and the zeitgeist is not in their favor. That’s why Merkel was desperate for Trump’s phone #. I assume they’ve spoken by now.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Don’t hold your breath waiting for IT to withdraw from the EZ and reinstate the Lira. Assuming that Renzi loses his no confidence vote née constitutional referendum, it is by no means certain that M5S will govern–the numbers are ambiguous and they have staunchly resisted forming coalitions, remember. The there is the fact that the M5S are very much divided themselves on the question of being in the EZ. It could happen, as in it’s possible at some point, but it is very much more likely not to anytime soon. If Renzi can somehow win the plebiscite, the changes to the Italian Senate will be significant and will immediately useful to the PD he leads.

  29. optimader

    A reminder to Yves, running out of time to rejigger the Turkey that voted for thanksgiving metaphor.

    Today I have been responding to pp’ls TD oriented salutations w/my wish they will have a Happier Thanksgiving than the Turkey will have.
    Some funny looks.

  30. LT

    Re: call for recount

    It might just be Stein trying to raise the profile of the Greens for the future.

    At any rate, keep saying the reason non-Trump voters can’t challenge anything be ause if guns and watch them start packing.

    1. Lambert Strether

      The problem here is that the Democrats helped fill the swamp themselves. In particular, national-level #BlackLivesMatter activists (not the activists on the ground) are often Teach for American types.

      1. aab

        I thought it was just Trojan Horse in waiting DeRay McKesson. Who else?

        DeVos sounds awful, but as I wondered aloud elsewhere on site, are vouchers per se possibly less awful than billionaire privatizing charters? At least with vouchers, money flowing to existing private and parochial schools have some degree of existing oversight, and those schools don’t explicitly exist to warp the minds of poor school merely to fatten bank accounts. Obviously, I’d prefer good quality public education. But that wasn’t going to be on the menu under Clinton, either.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Brittany Packnett is the other one. Classic Democrat decapitation strategy as aspirational 10%-ers join the Black Misleadership Class. IMNSHO, it’s not a coincidence that the creativity of #BlackLivesMatter at ground level disappeared in synch with the rise of “hash tag activism.” Incidentally, I don’t regard either one as malevolent. That comes after marinating in DC culture for longer than they have. TFA was, as it were, a career open to talents. I don’t blame them for taking that road. But it’s a toll road…

  31. Brad

    “Trump Reverses Campaign Pledge, Will Not Go After Hillary”

    Good move from his POV IMO. His fake new-found RINO “friends” would love Trump to get bogged down in a useless side show, and now hypocritically use this to drive a wedge between him and his alt-right support, when Ann Coulter had a twitter sad over it, silly girl. How she ached to be Hillary’s personal prison guard! (all naughty imagery this might inspire to be rigorously censored).

    The red hopium pill, or the blue hopium pill…

    Whether he knows it or not, Trump is going to need the Clinton/Obama liberals around to do what they do best: attack the Left. Can’t do that while persecuting one of their own.

    1. JSM

      So everybody’s good with setting the precedent that it’s OK for the nation’s chief diplomat to accept $1m donations and not tell anyone about it? Just making sure.

  32. Plenue

    >Arctic heat wave “scary” MacroBusiness

    Could this be ‘it’? A single, massive turning point? Provided this this isn’t just some screwed up sensor. The general rule of thumb with climate change has been that things usually happen sooner and worse than the scientists predict. Why not a single huge turning up of the thermostat instead of the predicted gradual, or even ever accelerating, temperature rise?

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