Links 5/9/18

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Colorado Cop Debunks lllinois Cop’s Claim That Legal Pot Would Lead to Killing of Police Dogs GritPost (UserFriendly)

Residents upset after Md. deputy shoots groundhog blocking traffic Dayton Daily News

California heads toward requiring solar panels on all new houses Los Angeles Times (furzy)

Humans have pushed Earth to a terrifying new milestone, and it could have deadly effects on our health Business Insider (Kevin W)

Is Chemical Sunscreen About to Go the Way of Microbeads? Fashionista

The FDA has adopted rules for restaurants to print calorie counts on menus Quartz


Exclusive: China ramps up checks on U.S. pork imports in potentially costly slowdown Reuters (EM)

International airlines risk curbs if they refuse to obey ‘one-China’ rules South China Morning Post (furzy)

One in the eye for burning China facts South China Morning Post (furzy)

Berlusconi denies he may take step back to let Italy form government Reuters


Brexit: closer to the edge Richard North

The Pound Faces a Friendless Summer Bloomberg

New Cold War

Ukraine Report Claims America’s USAID Program is Financing Glorification of Fascist Groups that Took Part in the Holocaust Defending History. UserFriendly: “Lol, inadvertently?”


President Trump Announcement on Iran Nuclear Deal C-SPAN (Kevin C)

As it happened: Fury abroad over pull-out BBC

Trump Violates the Iran Nuclear Deal — Ignoring U.S. and Israeli Generals Who Support It Intercept

An Israel-Iran war is unlikely – for the time being Asia Times

Opinion: Trump’s Iran nuclear deal exit dangerous for the world DW

Trump’s Obnoxious Nuclear Bombshell American Conservative (Darius)

Peter Thiel and Palantir Are at the Heart of the Iran Nuclear Deal Bloomberg

Trump Ends The Nuclear Deal With Iran – What’s Next? Moon of Alabama (Darius)

5 ways India could be affected by U.S. decision to pull out of Iran nuclear deal (J-LS)

Palmyra Granta (J-LS)

Israel conducts airstrike west of Damascus: Report Asia Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Social media copies gambling methods ‘to create psychological cravings’ Guardian. Funny, I despise gambling (pointless and designed to be costly waste of time) and don’t even like card games.

Apple, Amazon and More Vie for US Drone Pilot Program Business of Fashion (J-LS)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Trump Transition

Pharma and healthcare companies braced for Trump shake-up Financial Times

Daniels’ lawyer: Cohen got $500K from Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg NBC

Trump’s decision to drop out of the Iran nuclear deal could torpedo the GOP’s big tax cut win Business Insider

How A Porn Star Can Take Down A President Jonathan Turley

Michael Cohen Took Cash From Russian Oligarch After Election Daily Beast (furzy)

Federal Officials Say No-Go To Lifetime Limits On Medicaid Kaiser Health News

Blankenship concedes GOP Senate primary in W. Va. The Hill

House Democrats Lie In Fundraising Emails Daily Caller (UserFriendly)

Pittenger loses GOP primary fight The Hill

Opioid distributor apologizes for shipping large volumes of painkillers to West Virginia USA Today (Kevin W)

Cordray Beats Kucinich in Ohio’s Progressive Showdown Real News Network

However…Replacing Schneiderman Is a Big Job. Some Say It’s One for a Woman. New York Times. Jerri-Lynn: “Preet Bharara???? Kill Me Now.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Nordstrom Rack apologizes after calling the police on three black teens who were shopping for prom Washington Post (Kevin W)

The Trump Administration Is Making it Easier to Evade Housing Desegregation Law, Triggering Civil Rights Lawsuit Intercept

Scotland Yard’s ‘unhelpful gangs matrix’ under fire over ‘stigmatising young black men’ Evening Standard (Kevin W)

Cynthia Nixon ignites outrage for saying marijuana could be ‘form of reparations’ in black neighborhoods New York Daily News. UserFriendly: “How is this a controversy? Oh yeah, the black misleadership class.​”

Listless And Lonely In Puerto Rico, Some Older Storm Survivors Consider Suicide NPR

Drug supply firm execs say they didn’t cause opioids crisis ABC (Kevin W)

In Banking, 70% of Front-Office Jobs Will Be Dislocated By AI Slashdot

Amazon employees are outraged by their company’s opposition to a plan to add more diversity to its board Recode. Huh? Amazon is famous for thinking routinely reducing employees to tears is good business practice. How could they possibly think Bezos cares about their opinion? The only reason they still have jobs is he hasn’t yet figured out how to replace them with robots.

Class Warfare

Readers, a query: Have any of you read of any Democratic Party presidential candidates marching with any of the striking teachers, or even expressing solidarity from afar? Sanders has put out some press releases, but that seems like awfully weak tea.

Republicans Meet Striking Teachers’ Demands by Raising Taxes On the Working Class GritPost

Hotel industry, activists and comptroller go to war with Airbnb Crains

In Twitter Spat, Assemblywoman Niou Tells off Airbnb Over Rising Rents and Displacement BoweryBoogie

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. UserFriendly

    I think I’ve finally figured out the lefts plan in the US. Wait till the Evil Empire gets dizzy from flying in circles with it’s two right wings and then just watch it collapse.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      It’s the Brewer & Shipley strategy:

      Mr. Nixon
      I ain’t a fixin’
      To speak Spanish on a plane or polish off the Liberty Bell
      I just want to sit here on the shelf
      And watch you finish off the place by yourself.
      Please let me do what I wanna.
      I’ll just lay around the house and smoke Marijuana.

      Oh, Mommy (I Ain’t no Commie)

      Personally, I recommend taking a break from toking up to work on some personal, family and neighborhood resilience because it won’t be pretty after they “finish off the place.”

    1. Carolinian

      The article says that Boeing has already lined up alternate customers for Iran destined aircraft. In any case given Boeing’s status as a major defense contractor it’s unlikely that they will complain about Trump administration moves. That would be biting the hand that feeds them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not sure where I read it, but it echoed my skepticism and that Trump wanted to negotiate a new deal with Iran.

        In that case, we are, at this moment, at a similar stage as the one when Trump compared with Kim different nuclear button sizes.

        The next thing you know, the world was presented an army of beauties.

        Will we be lucky again?

    1. pretzelattack

      the deputy gave the groundhog every chance to surrender, instead it acted in a threatening manner and he feared for his life!

    2. rd

      It was when it wouldn’t drop the knife, the situation became desperate.

      BTW – this must be in an area with slow traffic. Usually cars don’t stop for groundhogs.

      1. fresno dan

        May 9, 2018 at 10:58 am

        turns out the “knife” was a cellphone – turns out the last words Mrs. Whistlepig will ever hear from her husband are, and father to their 9 offspring, was “did you want turnips or rutabagas?”

      2. The Rev Kev

        That second shot to finish it off was standard police procedure. That way the victim couldn’t testify against that police officer. I wonder if that policeman’s body-cam was turned on.

      3. Roger Smith

        #GroundhogLivesMatter! I mean, #BlueLivesMatter!

        I mean… uh… #AllLivesMatter?

    1. Lord Koos

      Something I’ve wondered about for some time, maybe someone here can explain it to me — why does the British pound have such a strong value at all? What do they manufacture in the UK anymore? What does the UK produce that gives its currency value, other than slimy bankers and traders…

  2. fresno dan

    Federal Officials Say No-Go To Lifetime Limits On Medicaid Kaiser Health News
    Link says:
    Pastor Mark Harris has upset Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) in his Tuesday primary, toppling the incumbent congressman after nearly him in a primary two years ago.
    I think there are some crossed innertube wires…..

  3. RabidGandhi

    Argentina Kicks Out IMF [Clarín]

    “We are burying an ignominious past of eternal and infinite indebtedness” said the President… adding “This is the opportunity for change… we can take this step based on the solidness of the model of production, jobs and sustainable growth– with social inclusion– that we have been applying.”

    That was on 16 December 2005. The president was Néstor Kirchner. Over the decade that followed, Kirchner and his successor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner oversaw the longest period of sustained economic growth in Argentine history. By practically eliminating the country’s debt in foreign currencies, the Argentine government was able to reject the structural changes imposed by foreign institutions, and instead set its own fiscal policy, based on job creation, social spending and poverty reduction.

    But that was then, this is now:

    Argentina in Talks to Get USD $30bn Credit Line From IMF [Bloomberg]

    Argentina asked the International Monetary Fund for financing to help stem a five-month-rout in the peso that is sparking a surge in interest rates and threatening to derail the country’s economic recovery.

    “We’re looking for preventive financing for Argentina to bring stability to the market,” Nicolas Dujovne, Argentina’s Treasury Minister told reporters in Buenos Aires. “We’ve begun talks with the IMF to have a preventive line of credit, bearing in mind that the IMF has given express support to our gradual program.”

    When current president Mauricio Macri received the keys to the Casa Rosada, Argentina had an historic 6% unemployment rate, while growing at 3% p.a., with 18% inflation and a 3% primary deficit. Since Macri took over, there has been no GDP growth, the deficit is the essentially the same, and inflation is now over 25%. And while it’s no skin off the IMF’s back, the most important fact is that real wages have nosedived, with unemployment reaching 9%. And this was all done while taking on twice as much foreign currency debt as any other emerging country over the last three years.

    Nevertheless, with all the drastic austerity measures taking their toll on the population (“gradualism” says Dujovne), the question is if these stats will help or hurt Argentina’s case as it extends its hat to the IMF. Under IMF rules, to be granted one of these payday loans lines of credit, countries “must show they have strong economic fundamentals and are implementing policies vetted by the IMF”. It should further be recalled that the IMF in theory has a “No More Argentinas” rule, whereby it will not make loans to countries without strong fundamentals, especially ones named Argentina.

    It’s not all gloom and doom though, as there are some friends who love you no matter what:

    “The Trump administration has been very supportive of President Macri and the economic reform program, which has been market oriented, private-sector growth-focused and has been improving the situation in Argentina,” [U.S. Treasury undersecretary for international affairs David] Malpass said at a conference in Washington.

    1. Jim Haygood

      [IMF] will not make loans to countries without strong fundamentals, especially ones named Argentina.

      In practice, nearly all borrowers from the IMF are in distress. Supposedly the IMF’s error back in the late 1990s was “throwing good money after bad” by extending more credit to keep Argentina afloat, while its economy was locked in seemingly perpetual stagnation owing to its lack of competitiveness with the peso tied to the dollar at one-to-one.

      A sea change that occurred after Macri took over was removing exchange controls. In the latter years under Kristina, foreign exchange reserves had dwindled to $25 billion. Controls were so harsh that students abroad had to come home because their parents were unable to obtain permission to remit funds to them.

      Not only have the controls been removed, but also foreign exchange reserves have rebounded to $56.6 billion, according to the latest BCRA [central bank] monthly report (page 10):

      Why then is the peso under attack? Unfortunately, one thing which hasn’t changed from the Kristina years is runaway monetization of peso debt. The monetary base, directly controlled by the central bank, has grown 29.2% in the past 12 months; M2 money supply has grown 28.1%. So it’s no surprise whatsoever that inflation is running at 25%, roughly the same rate at which newly minted pesos are being churned out.

      Why doesn’t central bank governor Sturzenegger just stop the printing presses? It beats me. The central bank says it’s going to use its policy interest rate to control inflation. But if it keeps printing pesos at nearly 30 percent annually, then the policy interest rate (again, no surprise) will have to be higher still — currently 40 per cent.

      It seems to be a case of flooring the accelerator (printing pesos at 30% annually) then using the brakes (rate hikes) to hold the speed steady. Obviously something is going to break.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Golly, our big sea change was to remove all the capital controls, creating a paradise for carry trade arbitrageurs, and now we can’t figure out why we can’t keep the peso from plummeting. Go figure.

        The monetarist analysis you presented above omits demand and capacity, instead skipping straight to the evidence-free assumption that expanding the monetary base creates inflation. Ben Bernanke and Haruhiko Kuroda, white courtesy phone please.

        Meanwhile, we’ve seen this movie several times before (1956, 1977, 1989…) so there should be no mystery about either the script or the brutal denouement. In fact, your buddy Sturzenegger was part of the previous cast, playing the role of Secretary of Political Economy under Fernando de la Rúa: until yesterday the last Argentine president to go sombrero in hand to the IMF. That administration had the one-to-one policy you mention, but tying the peso to the dollar to stave off inflation had the effect of killing local industry; nothing to do with the competitiveness fairy.

        Sturzenegger is the hawk in the room, pushing for tighter monetary and fiscal policy as opposed to the “gradualism” described above. Broadly speaking, the government’s “gradualist” policy has been twofold: On the assets side, they did slash spending on the bugbears of the rightwing: salaries, social programmes, energy subsidies and pensions (you know, things that help the population and create aggregate demand). Meanwhile, on the liabilities side they granted major tax breaks to the richest sectors of society while diverting billions to foreign finance, in the form of payments to vulture funds and usurious rates on new foreign debt.

        The net effect of this is that the deficit has stayed basically the same, but the macro-economy is being brutalised. The Hawks say they want to slash the deficit, but none of them have ever criticised the tax cuts, so it is logical to assume they just mean more cuts in wages and social spending.

        In short there are two doctors: Doctor 1 is bleeding the patient profusely, and Doctor 2 says Doctor 1 is not bleeding the patient enough. If I understand your stance, you want Doctor 2 to prevail to help the anecdotal students abroad.

        *For the record, when the new government came to office in 2015, Argentina’s energy subsidies were 35% below the global average ($415 vs $640). But the IMF recommended cuts nevertheless, and Macri delivered.

        1. Olga

          Thanks for this clarification. Somehow, comrade Haygood never disappoints in providing a skewed picture of Latin America (be it Venezuela or whatever)…

          1. JTMcPhee

            One senses that the poster has what’s called an agenda, and that a lot of what is offered up is just “incorrect,” but one appreciates a well-composed correction from someone who knows how the “economic hit men,” , play the “international finance” game of corruption and ruination and looting… not that such corrections will either wipe away from the minds of those who read but maybe cannot discern the incorrectness of the smear in the post, or deter more of the same. Repetition, sadly, and staying on message, however dishonest or inaccurate it may be, are the successful tools of Bernaysianism…

  4. Jim Haygood

    La-la land values [from “California heads toward reuiring solar panels on all new houses”]:

    Added costs shouldn’t be much of an issue in coastal Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, but that may not be the case in markets with lower incomes and home prices.

    “Ten thousand dollars to $12,000 of increased costs does have an impact in the Central Valley, it does have an impact in Sacramento,” Robert Raymer of California Building Industry Association said.

    In Bakersfield where the median house price is $234,000, mandatory solar panels will hike the cost of a house by fully five percent. Recklessly piling capital costs onto little people because it’s “good for them” is the essence of paternalistic, la-la land socialism. In most cases these added costs will be borrowed, blowing them up to $30,000 or $40,000 with interest over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

    As California escapees say, don’t stop driving till the last palm tree disappears from your rear view mirror.

    1. Wukchumni

      Solar panels have to be facing southward, so all new houses will have to be arrayed in a fashion where the roof is positioned on a north-south axis.

      And wouldn’t Joshua trees be the last thing a California equity refugee sees, on their way leaving the golden state?

      1. ambrit

        As far as leaving the “State of Gold,” is concerned, I’d hazard the guess that, sociologically speaking, seeing Hoover Dam in your rear view mirrors would signify the “Departure From the Western Wasteland.”
        In pursuit of said concept, Michael Hoenig, “Departure From the Northern Wasteland.” Classic electronica from 1978:
        Twenty odd minutes. How the future was supposed to be.

      2. Wyoming

        Actually no. Builders will continue to site homes to maximize the number of houses they can fit onto a specific property. And if you try and force them to do otherwise their lawyers will tear you a new one. When it comes to local planning boards they have no better ‘friends’ than the big builders. There is a system in place here that would be terrifically hard to change.

        There are many houses here in my neighborhood in AZ with solar panels. Only about 15-20% of those panels face sort of south. When walking around one day I saw panels being installed on the ‘north’ side of a house I actually stopped and went up to the foreman and asked what for. He told me that virtually none of their customers even cared as all they were interested in was the tax credits and what energy they produced was just a side benefit. He also pointed out to me that all of the panels in the development laid flat to the roofs as that was an HOA requirement which also served to negate optimal orientation to the sun. He said most installations that he put in produced less than 50% of what they would if placed in the proper orientation.

          1. Martin Cohen

            I know that song is about conformity, but similar houses cost a lot less to build than fancier, individualistic houses. If we want to provide lower cost homes that more people can afford, some compromises are necessary.

    2. David May

      I’m sorry, Jim but you don’t know what socialism means. A govt. program to build affordable housing which incidentally included carbon-reduction measures such as solar panels could be called “socialism”. A govt. mandate to retrofit solar panels to housing is not socialism. And recklessly piling capital costs onto little people because it’s “good for them” is the essence of… CAPITALISM!

      1. Jim Haygood

        We’re talking semantics, which is usually not too productive. But capitalism would be voluntarily investing $12K in solar panels to cut your utility bill. Having ‘green’ investment unilaterally shoved down your throat is something else entirely.

        Will there be exceptions for houses like mine, located in a region with 300 sunny days a year, but entirely shaded by ponderosa pines? Fortunately that’s not an issue in a state that hasn’t been californicated (yet). :-)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What about new cave homes in CA, like those in Matera (Italy) or Guadix (Spain)?

            Do they need solar panels as well?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s more like one-party dictatorship.

        The one party could be socialist, capitalist or neoliberalist.

    3. EricT

      I do not think the law is intended for existing homes, only new construction. Besides, what’s the point, a few dollars for solar panels seems a better trade off than watching the world burn up due to AGW. You have to start somewhere and criticizing a step in the right direction is just destructive. Money won’t mean a thing if you don’t have a world to spend it in.

      1. Jim Haygood

        You’re right, the requirement applies to new construction. But higher-priced new homes will affect existing home pricing, and also drive up homeowners insurance rates by raising replacement costs.

        Nearly all solar installations are financed. Currently California has the highest housing costs in the nation. Hiking new house prices, knowing that the incremental cost is going to be financed, is imposed debt slavery. Us serfs gettin’ fed up, ain’t gonna take it no more.

      2. John Wright

        I don’t know that the assertion “a few dollars for solar panels seems a better trade off than watching the world burn up due to AGW” can be made with any confidence.

        Maybe building smaller homes, closer to employment would be a better plan?

        Maybe low-tech passive solar water heating as used in other counties might give more value per CA dollar invested?

        With WW population growth continuing and attempts to maintain/improve human lifestyles via energy consumption around the world, AGW appears to be “baked in the cake”.

        CA real estate is surprising, high prices despite risk from earthquakes, floods, wildfires and frequently, long work commutes.

        The new PV roof panel law in CA may not be “a step in the right direction.” but perhaps more of a false hope initiative.

        1. neo-realist

          Knowing a few people who moved from Seattle and NYC to California, they liked the sunshine, the warm/hot weather, and the places to do outdoorsy activities—hiking, mountain and rock climbing, camping, swimming. The disasters and hassles, I suspect, are just speed bumps in the broader context of a more enjoyable physical climate.

          1. JBird

            There are disasters in most of the United States. Earthquakes, fire, floods, and droughts in California, floods along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, hurricanes along the Gulf, and the Atlantic, tornadoes in the Mid-West. Let’s not forget blizzards too. What do you fear or worry the most about?

            As a Californian who has enjoyed the full spectrum of the natural disasters, I am just used to it; really, they only happen very sporadically, although when I am enjoying them doesn’t mean much. Still…

      3. Procopius

        … a better trade off than watching the world burn up due to AGW.

        Well, every little bit helps, but I don’t see often enough the realization that we are not going to see any result from carbon reduction for a couple of hundred years and things are going to get a lot worse before they stop getting worse. We aren’t going to stop the temperature rise at just 2° C average.

    4. johnnygl

      Comrade Haygood sees ‘socialism’, where the I just see the dems brining the culture and logic of Obama-care being extended to the residential construction industry. Instead of being compelled to buy insurance, now you are being compelled to buy solar panels.

      Always absent from the conversation is the use of good design to improve energy efficiency without increasing construcrion costs. Why is that? Could it be ‘because profits’???

      There’s a reason that ‘village homes’ didn’t become a model for neighborhoods all over CA and the entire country. Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton have both done videos and interviewed the architect who designed the development and he’s on record as saying he got a lot of pushback from the business community, especially realtors. Once people bought into the place, they never move!!!!

      1. johnnygl

        Anyone who hasn’t heard of it should take a look.

        Village homes was a 200 acre development near Davis, CA. Using PASSIVE solar, along with other design elements, they’ve dropped utility costs by around 1/3 compared with houses in the surrounding areas.

        Whole thing has tons of fruit trees, it’s basically as close as you can get to turning a suburban development into a garden of eden. I’m not exaggerating.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Would water or lack of water be a potential issue with those fruit trees?

          1. JohnnyGL

            Nope, they designed appropriately for that, too.

            The architect spaced the houses out carefully to take advantage of roof run-off. Plus they cut swales to promote rain water absorption and send all the run-off into the swales instead of storm drains. Over time, the land gets better at holding water and eventually can really handle big rain events.

            Here’s the old Bill Mollison clip, they’ve got a graphic showing the roof run-off concept in the first minute or two. It’s old, so the quality is iffy, but you get the idea.

            I should correct myself, it’s only 60 acres with 200+ houses. Also, the property values are 30% higher than comparable homes (I mis-spoke and said 30% more energy efficient, not sure what the efficiency improvement was). When I wrote the comment, I was going from memory from years ago.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I remember now a little about the roof run-off.

              Still, in a prolonged drought like the current one (or the last one – are we out of it?), the trees could become a fire hazard.

              1. JohnnyGL

                I suppose that’s possible. But, I’d figure that kind of landscaping would be close to the last thing in a given area to dry out and turn into kindling. The groundwater has been built up over the years, the trees have had time to dig deep roots. It’s very densely planted and there’s plenty of shade to slow evaporation. Plus, I think they also have grey-water filtration systems to water the plants using household waste-water, too.

                Here’s the Geoff Lawton teaser clip. 1 min and better quality.


        2. Charger01

          Passive solar is a very good technology. I’d love to see it applied more and more.

          1. JohnnyGL

            The idea of designing something properly, once, and having it work for you indefinitely without any kind of maintenance is really the kind of genius we should be shooting for as a society/civilization. It’s a pure improvement to productivity.

            The fact that it’s mostly absent is a really damning statement on our supposed achievements.

            I suspect that historians will look at us 500-1000 years from now and say, “They could get to the moon, but never bothered to figure out how to heat/cool their homes without burning sludge that they dug out of the ground, buried thousands of feet below the surface. What a terrible set of priorities”.

              1. JohnnyGL

                Yeah, that’s pretty clear.

                In a way, I’ve found the focus of permaculture-style thinking on resilience and sustainability over a LONG time horizon, and the use of design to improve efficiencies to offer answers that aren’t obvious to most of us, but should be.

                Obviously, the history and origins of socialism come as a kind of ‘blowback’ against capitalist exploitation of workers, specifically. But having worker-owned cooperatives doing the fracking and mining the tar sands isn’t really a solution, is it?

                A place like Village Homes existing as it does helps permaculture to accomplish the task of hitting people over the head and making them ask a screamingly obvious question like:

                “OMG, why the F- are we not doing this EVERYWHERE we live?!?!!”

                And yes, it’s hard to avoid the answer being at least partially, “Because it means lower GDP and lower profits for a lot of big, powerful institutions and the people who have a stake in them”

        3. Will S.

          Davis native, here. I can attest to the rather halcyon nature of the Village Homes development, where one can feed one’s self from the community gardens while lying in the shade of a fruit tree on Rivendell lane (all of the streets are named after places & characters from LOTR). The residents, though, can occasionally be less than pleasant, especially when they see a teenage boy laying in the shade of their fruit trees.

          1. ambrit

            Next time tell them you’re a Hobbit here on a business trip and couldn’t resist the chance to feel ‘at home’ for a little while. Then thank them profusely. It’ll confuse the —- out of them.

    5. Lee

      In most cases these added costs will be borrowed, blowing them up to $30,000 or $40,000 with interest over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

      A hundred bucks a month on a mortgage payment less the savings on utility costs doesn’t strike me as a deal breaker. Anybody know what the maintenance and repair costs for these systems is? Do they complicate and add to the expense of roof repair or replacement?

      1. Wyoming

        Do they complicate and add to the expense of roof repair or replacement?

        You bet. Lots. Imagine fixing the roof after a nice hail storm.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Another problem or another question is, do you have to worry about bird droppings?

          Who is going up there to clean everyday?

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            The same dude from the service company you contract to clean your gutters 1-2 times a year. Or you, if you are young and healthy. If hail ruins your roof and panels, you have the same fight with your insurer that you had 3 years ago, when it was only the shingles. And if the contract says they’re required to replace the damaged material with similar stuff, they do (or don’t) at roughly the same rate they did (or didn’t) before this law.

            Like Lee said, this is not a dealbreaker. The increased cost is well under the 5% level for all new SFR construction in California. And I’d dearly love to know how much more quality cutting the big tract home builders can do there. Most new homes in California are rickety, thinly framed, stucco-on-chickenwire palaces. If builders started to use paper shoji screens for the interior walls….. it would only improve the durability of their offerings.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Droppings would seem to impact solar panel productivity, in cases where there are many birds, so that it requires cleaning more than 1 or 2 times a year.

          2. laughingsong

            Got a 4KW on-grid system. The panels themselves are very tough, the kind that don’t shatter and can still work if they somehow get cracked. We’ve had them for 5 years now, through hail and ice storms and windstorms and snow. They actually protect the roof. Ice and hail actually melt quickly on them, as they are absorbing heat even in storms.

            They do not need daily cleaning, even with all the birds around here — just a couple times a year with one of those telescoping window washing poles with a hose attachment. We rent a small scaffold.

            If your roof doesn’t face the right way they build a framework on your roof to point them in the right direction.

            If an installer started putting them on the north side, I would report him, maybe they would revoke his contractors’ license. Hate messing with someone’s livelihood but that’s pretty bad.

      2. pretzelattack

        could well be a net gain, and when you factor in the overall costs of not doing it, seems like a no brainer.

    6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What about new mobile homes?

      Do they need to have solar panels too?

      What about new cars or new trucks, on their solar roofs?

      A big source is the reservoirs – can we cover them with floating solar panels, to 1. cut down evaporation loss of water, and 2. generate some solar power?

      Another idea – cover our beaches. Why should beach solar energy go to frivolous tanning of Greek gods and goddesses, when they can be used to save the planet?

      1. Pookah Harvey

        Good point on reservoir evaporation. From University of Colorado:

        Evaporation is a large and continuing problem in the Colorado River basin, including Lake Mead and Lake Powell where about 500 billion gallons of water evaporate annually, according to CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Ben Livneh of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering.

        This represents roughly 10 percent of the total natural flow of the Colorado River Basin said Liveneh, who also is also a fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences — about five to 10 times the amount of Denver’s annual water use.

        The Guardian wrote an article suggesting “floatovoltaics,” for Powell and Mead. back in 2016. As far as I can tell that is as far as the idea has gone although they are studying other means to slow down evaporation.. Seems like something that should be more seriously researched

    7. PlutoniumKun

      The new regulations will not increase prices of houses one cent. No building regulation ever does that, despite the constant whining of the construction industry to the contrary.

      The cost of houses is set by the existing market – and this is primarily the balance of supply and demand with the crucial limiting (or driving) factor of mortgage credit. Most people buy the most expensive houses their bank will let them. Hence, all other things being equal, the median house will cost a set multiple of the median salary.

      Artificially raising construction costs has two primary impacts – the first is that it lowers the price developers will pay for land. In other words, the rentier profit of landowners is hit first. Secondly it impacts on the decisions the developer makes in the design and layout of the house. If they can’t profitably build a 3,000 sq.ft house for what they judge to be a target market, then they’ll build a 2,500 sq.ft house, and be confident that they won’t lose out because all other developers will make the same decision.

      This is the prime reason that a typical house in most of northern Europe is significantly smaller than typical US houses in similar urban or suburban settings, but is generally vastly better constructed and insulated. Regulations increasing per square foot costs result in smaller dwellings, and hit the profits of land speculators. But they don’t significantly raise the actual market prices of available properties, thats set by available credit. They do, however, result in better quality housing, and significantly benefit future residents through lower fuel costs and maintenance costs.

      1. Wyoming

        The new regulations will not increase prices of houses one cent. No building regulation ever does that, ..

        Increase the ‘price’ perhaps not as the market at the time determines that. But increase the ‘cost’ to build absolutely and that is what the construction industry ‘whinning’ is actually all about. A new regulation may not change the price in the market but it can absolutely reduce the amount of profit the builder will make. So this is not a nothing burger here.

        The rest of your description is accurate in a limited set of circumstances but it does not at all apply to many home builders. My wife, before she retired, worked for decades for large home builders as an accountant and also as a deputy director of construction. For most of the builders she worked for their land purchases were many years ahead of even applying for permits – sometimes 20-30 years ahead. The price they paid for land was much less an issue than you describe.

        Rather than downsize the houses (Americans do not have much of a history of wanting to buy smaller houses) what would be more common was to cut the quality of materials and corners when building to ‘recover’ the lost profit due to some code change or market fluctuation and, thus, to be able to keep the square footage the same if not larger.

    8. Summer

      I”m laughing because they count on people believing the issue can be solved one house at a time. Right up there with me saving the planet by recycling cans.
      It also does what is always done…kick costs and problems to the next generation because it’s always “the next generation” that is supposed to be “special.”
      This could also go under “The Bezzle.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I remember some areas in or around San Francisco as perennially covered in fog.

        Are new houses there to be exempt?

        1. Wukchumni

          If a generally gloomy weather place such as Germany can get all solar’d up, what’s a patch of fog mean in the scheme of things here?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            As I recall, from the film The Sound of Music, it can be sunny and nice in Bavaria or other nearby places.

            San Francisco, in comparison, seems to be always cold and foggy, when it is not raining. How many sunny days are there in a year, for a house in say, the Sunset District (many seagulls?) or Daly City?

            1. Wukchumni

              Germany isn’t all that sunny of a place, despite Julie Andrews best attempts @ summerterfuge.

              Where you really want solar panels now, is on land not worth a damn-not in pricey SF and environs.

              I’m seeing a lot more solar farms all the time, in places such as off of Hwy 395, or even more desolate regions.

              If you build them-the Sun will come.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I would be interested in flexible solar-panel lined clothing.

                You put that shirt on, go out and play a game of softball under the sun, at the same time, you are generating power (and diverting solar energy from your skin, coming through the shirt, so you stay cool more).

        2. JBird

          While it can get very foggy still and the Summers can be colder than the Winter, it’s not as foggy, the Summers are getting warmer, and has even been some instances of rain in the Summer. It did not rain during the Summer. Ah climate change…

      2. rd

        Actually, it is the only way to fix the problem. For example, pollution has been dramatically improved one car, one floor drain, and one smokestack at a time. There is no big cleaning plant for the air or rivers. There is no centralized solution. It has to be done on a lot by lot basis, which is how the damage was incurred over time.

        Regarding electricity, the alternative will be the capital and operating cost of new generation stations and then the land acquisition and cost of transmission lines to bring that power to the users. Locally generated electricity within a neighborhood will also provide higher reliability of at least a low level of electricity generation during disasters. If your house survives a wildfire, then you can still have at least some power availability during the day. Puerto Rico has been the poster child for demonstrating the costs and challenges related to centralized power generation in disaster-prone areas.

    9. rd

      My guess is that this move would accelerate the development of solar cell roof shingles that would be applied on south facing portions of the roof in lieu of solar panels.

      Ultimately, how is this different from requiring more insulation? Any code changes like this cause complaints that housing will not be affordable:

      If these types of code changes can reduce the need for new electrical generation plants and transmission lines, then ultimately it will be a major cost savings. As electric cars and plug-in hybrids become more common, then local generation of power will become more important to reduce overloading of the transmission lines.

      1. John k

        At the moment we produce more solar afternoon power than we can use, even pay other states to take it. Charging cars at work and coming cheap storage will eventually change that, say by 2025.

        1. rd

          California is a place where pumped storage would make sense to provide additional water and energy storage. You build an elevated reservoir that water gets pumped up to with excess electricity and then you let it run down into another reservoir through turbines to produce electricity during peak demand. The water would be available for use during droughts.

          1. ozajh

            You don’t necessarily need an elevated reservoir, only one at a significantly different height from the prevailing water level. I suggest the Salton Sea vis-a-vis either the Gulf of California or the Pacific, using seawater as the working fluid, might fit the bill. You would even get some efficiency gain from Mother Nature, since evaporation would mean the volume of brine pumped out would be less than the volume of water running in.

            (I acknowledge this would require some major tunneling.)

    10. Prufrock

      Talking about this without talking about the offsetting cost of purchasing the electricity from the local power monopoly is not giving an accurate description of what’s going on. I put solar on my house in California last year, and the monthly costs of 20-year financing on solar is more than offset by my savings. Yes there is a risk if electricity prices collapse, but the idea that this is a direct cost addition of X% to home ownership is wrong.

    11. nothing but the truth

      solar panels on the roof cause leaks quite often. And it is not easy to fix it because they have to be dismantled by the installer to access the leak area.

      1. laughingsong

        Only if the installer is crap, or the roof was already compromised.

        “installers will need to make holes in your roof to attach the solar panels securely, but they will be using special attachments that cause the water to run around and away from the penetrations. This is made possible by the fact that water very predictably runs down your roof. The attachments either have a raised barrier, that diverts the water around the attachment point, or create a ‘dimple’ that helps create a reliable seal between the roof material and the attachment point.

        “Solar panels actually help protect the roof they cover from the harsh and degrading UV rays of the run. By preserving that part of the roof, it keeps pounding rain off (though rain is what ends up cleaning your panels by washing debris off). The same goes for snowy climates. You might think the solar panels wouldn’t work in the winter due to snowfall. But solar panels (dark in color) heat up and melt the snow, and the strong composite materials that make up those panels means they’re not going to collapse under the snow’s weight.”

        1. nothing but the truth

          they’re saying it because they are making money.

          I have a roof right now that is leaking because of the these panels.

          The installer does not answer the phone and the roofer says he is helpless as the leak is deep beneath the panels, which have to be dismantled (uhh,,, electrical license needed) to seal it.

  5. Emorej a Hong Kong

    Daniels’ lawyer: Cohen got $500K from Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg NBC–

    Buried lede:

    AT&T — which confirmed it paid Cohen’s company for “insights” into the Trump administration.

    1. allan

      … and Novartis was in for $400,000.

      Good thing that SCOTUS has made successful prosecution of corrupt public officials almost impossible.

        1. allan

          Making payments to the private attorney of a public official for no apparent reason raises eyebrows. Cohen is not a highly sought-after patent attorney, consultant
          or lobbyist on biomedical issues.

          But in the post-McDonnell vs. United States world, you almost need to post a Youtube video announcing that you are taking a bribe in order to be convicted, or fail in appealing a conviction.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It could be for no apparent reason, or for some reason.

            The number itself, $500,000, doesn’t immediately connect that to any public official.

            It would be more interesting if it were $130,000.

            Could Cohen be double-billing, without telling anyone?

            1. allan

              Oops, I left off a zero, my bad. Reuters:

              … Novartis called its nearly $1.2 million payment to Cohen’s firm a mistake and said it had been contacted by the U.S. Special Counsel’s Office and was cooperating. …

              A number of companies in different industries were for some mysterious reason all under the impression that it would be a good idea to send large amounts of money, amounts which would be nontrivial lobbying fees even for established K Street swamp denizens, to a lawyer who is not a registered lobbyist and has with no connection to their lines of business.

              Time for some game theory a Venn diagram.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                More Russian menace.

                You too, Novartis, working with Putin?

                Do we know if that Novartis money did not come from another Moscow oligarch? Perhaps in exchange for permission to sell some medicine in Siberia?

                A good Sherlock Holmes does not leave any Slavic stone unturned.

                1. allan

                  Novartis Got Out-Lawyered by Michael Cohen for Trump Services [Bloomberg]

                  Drug giant Novartis AG said Wednesday that it had paid Cohen, Trump’s legal “fixer,” more than a million dollars for what it called advice on “how the Trump administration might approach certain U.S. health-care policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act.”

                  After a first meeting in March 2017, they realized that Cohen and his firm Essential Consultants LLC weren’t so essential after all.

                  “Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to U.S. health-care policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further,” the company said in a statement.

                  But the year-long contact was still in force, and the company had to keep paying him $100,000 a month for 11 more months.

                  “As the contract unfortunately could only be terminated for cause, payments continued to be made until the contract expired by its own terms in February 2018,” Novartis said.

                  As if Novartis’ army of in-house attorneys and outside counsel couldn’t terminate this clown for cause and make it stick.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    It would seem un-necessary for the Russians to be still footing any more bills after the Nov. 2016 election, when they hadjust successfully interfered on Trump’s behalf.

                    The latter should be paying back the former, at that stage of their partnership.

                    Maybe it’s Russian logic, or something.

                  2. Pookah Harvey

                    In January of 2018 at Davos and after Novartis had handed Cohen over $1,000,000:

                    The president took a dinner with Novartis’ CEO-to-be Vas Narasimhan, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann and other executives to “share our economic success story and to encourage them to continue to invest in America,” National Economic Council director Gary Cohn told reporters at a White House briefing ahead of the trip.

                    What a coincidence. Also from the article:

                    The meeting at Davos also comes a year after Trump said at a press conference that pharma is “getting away with murder” and that he would would put an end to it in office. A year into Trump’s presidency, however, many contend his administration’s actions have largely favored industry. After former HHS secretary Tom Price resigned last year due to a travel scandal, Trump appointed pharma insider and former Eli Lilly executive to the top healthcare post in the U.S.

                    Trump style swamp draining.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Did they find another path to Trump, because Novartis only paid because they couldn’t get out of paying for Cohen’s non-work (were they experimenting with Basic Income for One)?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What does the invoice on that $500K say?

      Did Vekselberg pay Cohen for research to, say, short hospital or insurance stocks, anticipating, for example, Medicare for All, possibly, or changes to Obamacare?

      Or many other possible services that we don’t know.

      Where is the bill?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        LOL “the sword of justice” that’s a knee-slapper.

        Chance of any of this resulting in an actual perp walk by anybody really involved on any side: zero.

        Maybe a few minor characters will get a few years in a country club-style outfit where they can shoot hoops and play XBox and order out pizza, like the HSBC chumps down on the trading floor while their BOD approved hundreds of billions in money laundering.

        Kinda like America’s “foreign policy”: war churn to generate profits, nothing else. In this case lawyer churn and a frenzy of media onanism

  6. fresno dan

    How A Porn Star Can Take Down A President Jonathan Turley

    However, the “matter” at issue is the president’s knowledge. If the president was involved in sending out a false public account by both his private counsel and White House staff, it could be treated as a potential criminal matter. Likewise, any evidence that Cohen was warned or in any way protected by government officials before the raids could prove incriminating.

    Even more worrisome are accounts that Trump continued to call Cohen even though he was warned about the danger of interception and possible cooperation. According to NBC News, Trump made at least one call after his own Justice Department raided Cohen’s office and Cohen was rumored to have recorded conversations with his clients. The recklessness of such a call is impossible to overstate.
    If one believes as I do that the US criminal legal system is designed to protect the rich, and that Trump has years of experience as a grifter taking advantage of said system, it may be that Trump could have been involved in pay offs routine among billionaires but that will be an actual scandal with a president.

  7. "The Rev Kev

    “Cynthia Nixon took heat Monday from black leaders over her comments that creating a legalized pot industry in New York could serve as a form of reparations in black communities.”

    Sigh! No Cynthia. If you want real reparations in black communities, you do it by fighting for equal treatment, voting rights, access to banking, real estate, job positions and all the rest of it. If she wants to know when ‘reparations’ are at an end, it is the point where there is absolutely no difference in how a black person is treated to a white person. If she is looking for guidance, she can find it in the American Declaration of Independence-
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    1. David May

      The slave owners declaration? I don’t think I’d look to them for moral guidance.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Depends on if you can separate the lack of perfection of the group of men that said this and the truth that lay in the statement itself. You look for truth where you can find it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I agree.

          Those same men might have also said, ‘be nice to your family.’

          And if they did said that, we would take that for moral guidance, even if they were not always nice to their families.

          That’s just one example.

    2. ambrit

      The opposite is happening. The ‘poor whites’ are being melded with the ‘poor blacks.’
      I remember back in the sixties and early seventies when we, as in the West, were going to bring the rest of the world up to our standards of living. Now, large parts of the West are mini Third World ‘reservations.’

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Mini Third World ‘reservations’? Or post-collapse-style post-Soviet Ukraines and Moldovas?

    3. Democrita

      Do you think Cynthia is against equal treatment, voting rights and the like? What you describe is justice, not reparations. Do you really and truly think she views launching a few black weed businesses as the endpoint of reparations?

      Seems to me misplaced poutrage. This wasn’t a policy statement of “We should pay reparations and let’s do it with the weed industry” but rather a policy statement that “we should ensure economic opportunity for Black Americans, and this nascent industry which is ONE area that might provide such opportunity.” [implied: without having to smash existing rice bowls]

      “Could” serve as “a form” of reparation. Not “is the answer to” all history of discrimination. Her primary statement was that blacks have been shut out of economic opportunity and that such needs to be rectified. I get that it was inartful, but gee whiz.

      She’s not perfect, but at least she’s not Cuomo. His plan is presumably to turn the NYS pot industry over to campaign-donating cronies.

  8. Emorej a Hong Kong

    @ZephyrTeachout: I am seriously considering running for Attorney General

    % of global finance passing through NYC
    x amount of money spent buying political influence
    x Zephyr Teachout’s expertise in laws on political corruption
    = Most expensive AG race ever

        1. allan

          But wait, there’s more:

          Eric Schneiderman’s Legacy in Financial Cases May Survive His Downfall

          … Mr. Schneiderman’s big accomplishment in going after Wall Street were the billions of dollars in penalties that he helped secure from big banks that had sold flawed mortgage-backed bonds during the run-up to the financial crisis. He ensured that some of that money went to help communities across the state that were overrun by abandoned houses and foreclosures — often referred to as “zombie homes.” …

          Your newspaper of record.

      1. flora

        Don’t confuse a political party for a political machine: Dem estab is clearly the latter. (Smoke filled back rooms are their preferred m.o. )

        1. flora

          Adding: Teachout primaried Cuomo in 2014. Pretty sure that didn’t promote her standing in the NY branch of da machine.

      2. Pat

        More depressing, a lot of good NYC Democrats who aren’t in the finance industry are deluded enough to cheer that on. Along with still admiring Barack and adoring Michelle, they honestly think his prosecutions were about ending corruption rather than rearranging the recipients of the payments.

      3. Kris

        Can anyone recommend a good article about Preet Bharara’s ignominy? I seem to remember he was going to be the guy who went after the big shots but in actuality never did, but no details beyond that.

      4. PKMKII

        I know Preet isn’t ideal from a financial regulatory standpoint, but at least it would mean someone high up in the state government who isn’t going to take marching orders from Dear Governor, and would have no reservations about looking into his shenanigans.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Republicans Meet Striking Teachers’ Demands by Raising Taxes On the Working Class”

    Sounds like a clumsy attempt to alienate the working class from the striking teachers. They do realize that the working class still has the vote and that the mid-terms are coming up in a coupla months – or will they be immune to these elections? Those Republicans in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia may find that the teachers could turn their organizational ability towards getting solid traction on get out the vote campaigns. Call it a teachable moment.

  10. Craig H.

    > Ukraine Report Claims America’s USAID Program is Financing Glorification of Fascist Groups that Took Part in the Holocaust

    On the one hand very few people care. If this is mentioned on CNN it will likely be described as Russian anti-Western propaganda. On the other hand some of the ugliest history ever is conveniently ignored which is sad.

    If you have the stomach for it, what happened in Ukraine, Modlavia, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia is treated succinct in Bloodlands, Timothy Snyder.

    Those poor people got it five times: the Russians marching west; the Germans marching east; natives retaliating against neighbors who collaborated with Russians in episode one; the Russians marching west; natives retaliating against neighbors who collaborated with Germans in episode two. Any one is way more than enough and they got it five times.

    Bloodlands is one of those books that, after you read it, you get rid of it immediately; you do not even want it in your house. Several times an act of brutality is described by Ukrainians or Poles or Lithuanians in episode three and episode five as “too disgusting even for the SS men who saw it” or “too sickening even for the NKVD guys who were witnesses.”

    Most people are going to prefer to just skip it.

    1. visitor

      For a fictional — though almost entirely based on testimonies and specific historical events — depiction of what happened in those bloodlands, you can always have a look at the Polish movie Volhynia, directed by Wojciech Smarzowski in 2016.

      You may be able to find the film in Youtube. It caused a scandal in Ukraine and an immediate diplomatic spat with Poland.

    2. begob

      Ever watch Come And See, the Soviet movie about the German invasion of Belarus? Several weird and wonderful scenes, but with insane cruelty.

    3. ocop

      Bloodlands is one of those books that, after you read it, you get rid of it immediately; you do not even want it in your house

      I’ve never heard anyone describe a book that way, but I’ve certainly had that feeling before when reading “Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962”. I made it a third of the way through before deciding I had gotten the gist of it and didn’t need read any more tragic humanity. I don’t think that’s happened to me before or since.

      As a horrifying as it is to read that sort of thing it’s important to stay grounded in our “capabilities” as a species, so I think I’ll give bloodlands a shot…

        1. Craig H.

          You omit the biggest problem the establishment has with Snyder.

          And it’s right there in the middle of the Jacobin piece you linked.

    4. ambrit

      I recently read this book and see the beginning signs of exactly the same dynamic starting up in the West.
      Insane financial programs that target the working classes to benefit the State and its patrons.
      Police methodologies that target poor and disenfranchised populations.
      The misallocation of resources to benefit narrow cliques.
      Never underestimate greed and stupidity.

      1. rd

        The key to making all of this work is to denigrate specific groups as “the others” upon which things need to be blamed. Orwell brilliantly described this in 1984.

        I can tolerate many things from our politicians, but I push back hard when I see them trying to cut groups out of the herd as it is the beginning of that devastating dynamic. Unfortunately, the US has a very solid base for this process with built-in racism that was inherent in slavery and that has clearly never been resolved as we have seen over the past few years.

        1. Harold

          Ethnic nationalism, which started as simply the right of peoples to self-determination and to speak one’s mother tongue, took a singularly toxic turn in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially in Eastern Europe.

    5. Olga

      Unfortunately, Snyder has too many biases to be able to produce a credible account. I’d never recommend anything he wrote…

      1. Harold

        Jean-Paul Himka is the best, I think. Very low key. But that is a plus in such an explosive topic. He is on Youtube.

  11. Bill Smith

    “An Israel-Iran war is unlikely – for the time being”

    Mostly garbage.

    “Two dozen Israeli missiles or bomber sorties could wipe out Iran’s economy in a matter of hours” at first I thought the article meant nuclear, but no it is talking about conventional strikes.

    ““bomb Lebanon back to the stone age” has that worked anywhere?

    “Israeli aircraft would control the skies over Iran during any conflict” because its right next door and a small country?

    In Iran “missile launchers would be vulnerable to strikes by Israeli aircraft.” because they are so easy to find?

    1. JohnnySacks

      Because Iran weaponry is as primitive as Iraq’s was, piece of cake, right? ‘Shock and Awe’? Most likely not even close, if involved, that shiny new multi billion dollar aircraft carrier, it’s support vessels, and their crews will be fish food at the bottom of the Persian Gulf within an hour after the first attack, as rightfully they should be. Same for the source of any attack on their nation, we’d have it no other way. With the flow of oil shut down from the gulf, are we ready for $6 a gallon gas? Are we ready for a real war with real casualties?

      1. rd

        Both Russia and Iran are supporting Assad. China will likely not impose sanctions on Iran.

        I would assume that Iran can call on surreptitious support from Russia and China if a shooting war started. The end result of this move will likely end up with a Eurasia zone dominated by Russia and China.

        I think the best thing that the US could do would be to double down on reducing the importance of oil to the US economy to keep oil prices suppressed. That reduces the funding sources for Iran and Russia. Allowing oil prices to rise would just be playing into their strengths.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          You’re conflating the planned thinking with America’s national interest. Geopolitics, oil prices, funding sources, phooey. What track will result in the maximum depletion of military inventory in the shortest time; can we get a foothold on Iranian soil, build huge bases, and give KFC the food delivery contract; can we get Federal Express a no-bid contract to ship palette-loads of bottled water from Seattle to Baghdad like they did for Iraq. Use your imagination, man, there’s money to be made.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I concur with your assessment. David P. Goldman aka Spengler may have lots of interesting things to say on economics but whenever he writes about Israel he loses objectiveness. Here, he is totally dismissive on Iranian and Hezbollah counter-strikes. Israel might want to ask itself how good its defenses are at its ports for example. Israel freaked out when Hezbollah launched missile after missile back in 2006 and they only ever located a few sites but could not locate the rest. Now Hezbollah has much superior missiles with extra range that can reach all arts of Israel.
      Another statement that appears dubious is that Israeli aircraft would control the skies. Would they? Do they know how many manpads are in Lebanon? One shot down a Russian helicopter a few days ago that came originally from Saudi Arabian purchases of Chinese stocks. What happened to all the manpads that have been captured in Syria the past several months? Are they prepared to find out? I have seen images just a few days ago of manpads captured by the Syrian Army near Homs.
      Also, the Lebanese Army stood aside in 2006 but the next time they have orders to fight any invasion. This time the Israeli army will also be fighting battle-hardened veterans from the Syrian war and not the second-stringers that mauled their formations back in 2006. And who knows what equipment Hezbollah have brought back with them from Syria. Again, are they prepared to find out? They will be fighting a peer opponent and not be just busting unarmed civilians. A weird belief seems to have taken hold in Israel where they have the right to strike and kill whoever they like but the victims are not allowed to strike the back. Too much hubris I am afraid.
      At the moment Netanyahu is trying to provoke an Iranian attack and twice he has launched direct attack on Iranian troops and killed a few. The fool is actually trying to encourage a war and depending on the US to bail them out if they get into trouble. That is why the Israelis allowed the US to establish a base in Israel itself to act as a tripwire. Based on what happened with the USS Liberty, I would not put it past Netanyahu to lob a few missiles on that base and to let the US claim that it was launched by the Iranians. Erdogan was going to use the same trick by letting some of his soldiers get killed but was busted in a secret recording. Another unknown factor is what the Russians will do but I know that they are annoyed with the Israelis for going off the reservation totally. That’s the trouble with war. You can plan for the start of it but you can never reliable plan for the finish of it.

      1. pretzelattack

        i wouldn’t put it past netanyahu to attack the base, but can’t missles be tracked? hard to believe they could get away with it. i have no clue what trump would do, but lbj’s coverup purportedly stemmed from the inconvenience it would cause the us in prosecuting the vietnam war.

      2. Sid Finster

        Spengles will be cheerleading hard for the US to do Israel’s dirty work for it.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, that article smacks of an Israeli military briefing. I like the excuses made for Israels defeat in its last invasion of Lebanon. Hizbollah is very well dug in to Lebanon, and they don’t really care if Israel destroys Lebanons civilian infrastructure. Dragging Israel into a meatgrinder in the mountains and urban areas of Lebanon is exactly what they want.

      Israel can certainly strike Iran with cruise missiles and some air attacks and do a lot of damage, but the distances are too great for a sustained campaign unless Saudi Arabia provides direct logistical support and (crucially) the Russians stay out of it. But Russia has no incentive to allow Iran to be severely damaged, so more than likely they would declare Syrian airspace off limits (at the very least). While we all know the Saudi’s are Israels allies, I doubt that MbS could survive long term if he was directly seen as attacking other Muslims side by side with the Israelis. He would, at the very least, face an insurrection by domestic Shiites.

      There is also a serious asymmetry in military aims. Iran’s economy is robust, they’ve survived plenty of hardships, and they are self reliant. But Israel is much more vulnerable. It would only take a few direct hits on the right targets to to undermine Israels trade and business environment, with huge potential costs.

      So Israel can huff and puff, but unless they are stupid (and there is no telling with Netanyahu), they will restrict themselves to air raids to hit Iranian targets in Syria and Hizbollah while they can. They want the US and SA to do their dirty work for them with Iran.

  12. Wukchumni

    All of my life, real estate and smokeage only ever went up in price. A 3 finger lid was $25 when I was a teenager, on it’s way to $400.

    But that was then and this is now…
    Wholesale sun-grown weed fell from $1,500 a pound last summer to as low as $700 by mid-October. On store shelves, that means the price of sun-grown flower has been sliced in half to those four-buck grams.

    For Oregon customers, this is a bonanza. A gram of the beloved Girl Scout Cookies strain now sells for little more than two boxes of actual Girl Scout cookies.

    But it has left growers and sellers with a high-cost product that’s a financial loser. And a new feeling has descended on the once-confident Oregon cannabis industry: panic.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not just a ‘sun-grown flower’, but a ‘water-guzzling’ one as well.

      And in California, we only have enough water from snow for 20 million humans, not the present 38 million.

      1. pretzelattack

        i wondered about this in another thread, but a reply said that cannabis growing doesn’t require a lot of water.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Cannabis, like most agricultural plants, only requires irrigation if grown in the wrong places. Cannabis can easily be grown without irrigation in a huge swath of the midwest-prairies of the US. In fact, it does it so well it’s still widely growing ferally from fields planted prior to WWII. California is a stupid place to grow a lot of things that are grown there for profit, but cannabis is surely near the top of that list.

          1. pretzelattack

            given how much water other things grown there for profit require, like almonds, i’m not sure why it would be near the top.

      2. ambrit

        Well, to be snarky here, the reverse flow of weather related refugees out of California could be known as the “Smokies.” I should write a book about it and call it “The Buds of Wrath.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Notice in that film, the Grapes of Wrath, the family moved as a unit. They had not choice but to take care of one another, happily or reluctantly.

          Today, if they have work, the need for family interaction, when all grown up, could be minimal, depending on the kindness of estranged members.

          1. ambrit

            This is similar to the point I made in a comment over on the “California Jails-Psychotropic Medicines” article thread.
            I saw several cases of extended family support when I worked at the Chicken Palace. One mans daughter was living with his mother, her grandmother, when the man had to work almost sixteen hours a day some weeks. (He held down two jobs, due to low pay, out of necessity.)
            Where the phenomenon of grandparents caring for their childrens’ offspring was once used to demonize the Black community, it has now become “equal opportunity.” I see, with regularity, grandparents caring for grandchildren today, from all colours and mixes. When I ask about it, such as, “How cute! Do you have her for the day?” the answer is almost always, “Yes. She is cute. No, her mom, (or dad,) is away (or in prison, or doing rehab, or, most often, too drug addled to be trusted with caring for anyone,) and I/we have custody.”
            Yesterday, I was in the local Social Security offices and got chatting with exactly such a woman. She said that she and her husband, (who was the one using the office,) who were both as White as the driven snow and were in their early sixties had taken custody of their granddaughter, a shy young chocolate coloured girl, from their daughter who they presently didn’t know the whereabouts of.
            This is the reality of the New South. Don’t be afraid. We are breaking the trail for the rest of you to follow after in.
            In his book, “Imperial Earth,” Arthur C Clarke has his protagonist be somewhat famous for his coal black skin tone. It is seen as a celebratory difference in a society where everyone is a soft tone of brown.
            The people who think that they have ‘things’ under control have a lot to learn.

              1. ambrit

                Alas no. I fall into that category, (always a fraught situation,) of ‘frustrated writer.’
                I encourage everyone to expand their internal ‘conversations.’ Your ‘subconscious’ mind has wonders in it you can hardly comprehend. Observing those and that around you with intensity helps.

          2. shinola

            Speaking of “The Grapes of Wrath” (required reading when I was in high school)…

            There is a term used in the story that needs to be resurrected since applies so well to Mr. Trump & his ilk:

            Shit heels

          3. newcatty

            Grapes of Wrath was one of the reading experiences that awakened my already blossoming love of great writing. In my high school English class in a small minded,for the most part,small southwestern town I choose to give it as the subject of an “oral book report”. The school year had just started and I was “new” to the small school. I remember taking a deep breath and stood up in front of class, as required, and gave my heartfelt review. The teacher literally turned red in the face and, though allowing me to finish,started sputtering about how I was never to ever do a report on a filthy book like that again. After that, all books had to pre-approved. I do not remember anything else about that class. I quietly read Maugham, Hemingway and Dickenson and others on my own. Luckily, the saving grace of previous gifted English teachers had introduced me to literature.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Makes you wonder if the teacher thought that the book was filthy or whether the people in it were filthy i.e. deplorables. Didn’t stop you having excellent tastes in literature I see.

      3. Wyoming

        CA has the population and money. They should just beef up their National Guard and annex Arizona and take what Colo River water they don’t already get. It would kill two birds with one stone – it would get them their water and they could cede AZ back to Mexico. A win win :)

        I occasionally stir up my AZ neighbors by referring to the state as occupied Mexico.

        1. newcatty

          Bueno! Many people anywhere south of the monster megalopolis of Phoenix and its adjacent cities and “towns” would be happy to secede from AZ and live as Baja Arizona. Then north of the monster is another world. Flagstaff, when my husband and I attended NAU, many moons ago, was a charming and cool college town. When the CA refugees and some of the retirees swooped in and bought up the place, its now “been found” and housing is San Francisco peak high. They are building more dorm “student housing” and some apartments, but it’s still hard to find affordable housing. Waiting lists for housing assistance is a long one. Traffic in town reminds me of SO CA. We are in another town being found out. Actually, it started a while back. Prescott is still a lovely town and not as hyped as Flagstaff. But, like anywhere in higher country those touristascome bringing their dollars to “our economy”. Summer is here…please watch out for stray dogs, feral cats, clueless pedestrians, escaped children from parental control and slow ambling senior citizens. Please leave all self -driving vehicles at their Phoenix area “test and demonstration site”. Welcome all of you escapees not at the zona beach.

          1. Wyoming

            I live in Prescott also. Hi neighbor! I am with you on what development is doing to the place. Changing fast.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      The notion that the dried flowers of a plant that is so easy to grow it was deservedly called “weed” could be sold for even hundreds of dollars a pound in anything even remotely like a free market situation was always delusional. Other than taxation, there is really no reason for cannabis to cost any more than dried oregano or basil.

      1. Wukchumni

        I hear that in our more draconian states back east, some try and roll joints out of pot marjoram.

    3. crittermom

      $4 grams? Here in New Mexico, it’s still $11 or more a gram. Much more expensive than those $20 4 finger lids I saw as a teenager growing up back in the midwest, but higher (forgive the pun) quality.
      We don’t yet have recreational status here, however. Only medicinal.

      With a dispensary/nursery just a block from where I currently live, if the wind is right & they have the exhaust fans going one can almost get a contact buzz just stepping outside. They’re putting in a second nursery, so profits must still be good.

      This dispensary gives a 25% discount to cancer patients on their strains, bringing the price down to $8.25 gram. Still more than double what you said it’s dropped to in Oregon.
      Colorado, with both recreational & medicinal, is cheaper (for medicinal).

    1. Hemlock

      Nice to see the woman who headed up California’s mass incarceration system doing something for the little people.

    2. marym

      Also FWIW:
      Daily Beast

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who joined striking federal contract workers at the end of 2017, asked labor leaders about potentially going to West Virginia, a source with direct knowledge told The Daily Beast. But he was told to put off a trip until later.

      The post also quotes some of the Dem establishment (Perez, Weingarten, Dean, and someone from Indivisible) about why they held back.

      One point made by in the post is that the strikers include Republicans. IMO maybe that will actually help the strikers avoid Dem attempts to co-opt the movement.

      Here’s this from Bloomberg today:

      On Wednesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is scheduled to introduce a bill that would make major changes to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, including making it easier for workers to prove they are employees with the right to unionize and negotiate collectively with management.

      The Senate proposal would ban state “right-to-work” laws…It would also give workers the option to unionize by signing up only a majority of co-workers rather than through secret ballot votes that often figure in allegations of corporate coercion and manipulation.

      Warren, Gillebrand, Harris co-sponsors.

      1. Scott

        This is nine years too late. Democrats had a chance to do something to strengthen unions (card check, repeal Taft-Hartley), but chose to do nothing during the Obama administration. Some changes to the NLRB resulted in improvements, but it looks like Trump will be able to get many of them repeal or minimize their impact. Had Democrats done so, I firmly believe that stronger, more energetic unions would have been able to keep Democrats in the White House and the majority in the Senate, which would allow a non-right wing Supreme Court justice .

        1. marym

          True. If ever establishment Dems were going to take the lead, the time for that has passed. Only question now is whether they can manage to support, not try to co-opt the leadership that’s coming from teachers, nurses, and other grassroots activists.

      2. Anon

        How unsurprising that my labor policy dream list would end up in a bill from Bernie. :D The bill, among other things, changes the NLRA’s employee vs. IC standard from the narrow common-law test to the Massachusetts/California ABC test. It even codifies in a strong explicit definition of joint employment (should be even stronger than the current Obama-era Browning-Ferris standard because it’s not limited by the common law test).

  13. Wukchumni

    Could you imagine trying to get European tourists on their California road trip tour, to stop and pick fruit in the Central Valley for $16.50 an hour after Sessions scares away all the help, when it’s 106 in the shade, the only problem being there isn’t any?
    “Foreign workers are being called upon to pick and pack New Zealand’s national fruit, as an acute labour shortage forces the government to relax conditions on holiday visas in a last-ditch bid to harvest millions of kiwi fruits.

    Kiwi fruit growers in the Bay of Plenty were heading into the peak of the harvesting season and unable to fill hundreds of vacancies, prompting the government to declare an official seasonal labour shortage in the region for the first time in a decade.”

      1. Wukchumni

        The word i’ve heard is that the yet to be invented fruit-picking robots are to be powered by a cold fusion source of energy.

  14. cm

    This is a must-read post about how Equifax still permits access to credit data despite credit freezes:

    A freeze works to protect one’s credit file only if a potential creditor (or ID thief) tries to open a new line of credit at a company that uses one of the big three bureaus or Innovis. But Kerskie’s investigation revealed that the mobile phone merchants weren’t asking any of those four credit bureaus. Rather, the mobile providers that dinged the credit of Kerskie’s clients instead were making consumer credit queries with the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE), or
    When I did some more digging on the NCTUE, I discovered…wait for it…Equifax also is the sole contractor that manages the NCTUE database. The entity’s site is also hosted out of Equifax’s servers.

  15. marym

    @emptywheel live tweeting Haspel hearing.

    CSPAN and Senate video stream links here.

    Article by a woman who was tortured, while pregnant, in Thailand in 2004, then rendered to Libya here.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “One in the eye for burning China facts: ‘This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies.’

    Such as when the US is trying to rename the Persian Gulf (which has been used for centuries) as the Arabian Gulf?

    Cute kitten that but failing miserably at drinking milk

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Speaking of renaming, Mount Everest was renamed Mt. TICDA by the Nepal General Assembly in 2015.

      According to Wikipedia, it is ‘ known in Nepali as Sagarmāthā and in Tibetan as Chomolungma.’

      So who should the world call it? Qomolangma or something else?’

      And how should we write it? Surely, the English Alphabet usage to write the name (there is likely – almost certainly – a Nepalese script for ‘Sagamatha,’ but not likely for ‘Mt. TICDA’) when communicating among Nepalese themselves would be a product of foreign cultural invasion.

  17. rd

    “A top executive with a major pharmaceutical distributor apologized Tuesday for his company’s failure to stop sending painkillers to two West Virginia pharmacies but later said he did not believe his firm’s actions contributed to the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

    I assume that AG Sessions will ensure that none of the real threats to society, such as people in prison for having a couple of ounces of marijuana, will be forced to depart their prison cells to make space for any of these fine, upstanding citizens who inadvertently supplied opiates to millions of people. It all came as such a surprise to them. They had no idea where all those profits were coming from.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Our elites seem to be under the impression that simply saying you are sorry and that you take responsibility for what you’ve done is equivalent to actually taking responsibility, ie correcting or paying for your mistakes.

      Unfortunately much of the time it seems to work, at least if you use the number of them in the slammer as a metric.

  18. coloradoblue

    Have any of you read of any Democratic Party presidential candidates marching with any of the striking teachers, or even expressing solidarity from afar?

    Obama is in his closet looking for his comfortable walking shoes. He should find them on any day now.

  19. JohnnyGL

    Paula Jean Swearingen actually did pretty well.

    Relevant factors to consider:
    1) very little money and very little media coverage, perhaps moreso than usual for lefties.
    2) she ran explicitly AGAINST the coal industry and put it front and center for her campaign.
    3) Swearingen got more votes than any candidate on the Republican side (48K vs. 47K for the primary winner Morrisey).
    4) She grabbed over 30% of the Dem primary vote.

  20. djrichard

    Does anybody have a synopsis on what’s driving inflation in VZ? Want to be better equipped as socialism and Venezuela get conflated in response to Bernie’s proposals.

    Came across this which digs a little deeper:

    Faced with a collapse in oil revenue the government has resorted to financing the government deficit by printing money. According to official figures, government deficit was 8.8 percent of GDP in 2014, 10.3 percent of GDP in 2015 and a massive 17 percent of GDP in 2016. In these years money supply has increased by 64 percent in 2014, by 100 percent in 2015, 158 percent in 2016 and a record breaking 1,121 percent in 2017. (Source: Venezuelan Government report to the US SEC)

    But it still doesn’t quite connect the dots. Why couldn’t they finance the government deficit through bond issuance in the local currency? Were there bond vigilantes at work?

    Separately, looking at this chart, I can see that inflation under Chavez administration wasn’t that different than previous administrations. In fact it was lower. But under Maduro, it went nuts. That said, inflation did end on a high note at the end of the Chavez administration. So was Maduro simply using the same policies? Or did he change policy?

    Thanks for any pointers!

      1. Spring Texan

        Yeah – just the way people do that say what a basket case Cuba is under communism economically and ignore the US sanctions.

    1. JohnnyGL

      There’s the oil price decline. There’s the exchange rate. And the sanctions. And the growth of smuggling.

      I recall Abby Martin of Empire Files did a video segment where she checked out the border smuggling trade at the border of Venezuela/Colombia and said it was massive.

      I’ve never understood why Maduro didn’t scrap the dumb exchange rate policy which has seen a huge growth in smuggling based on that arbitrage of the tiered exchange rate.

      Now the US sanctions are so tight Venezuela can’t even make payments on existing debt, which means they’re cut off from issuing new debt. US Banks won’t touch anything Venezuela related. Trump admin, Pence in particular, seems determined to squeeze the vice as hard as possible. That means imports are tough to come by and the foreign currency to buy those imports is tough, too.

      Plus, the continental political situation has shifted, Chavez had friends to lean on in Brazil and Argentina (among others), now both of those countries are run by leaders that dutifully take marching orders from Washington. I don’t think that should be discounted. It gives Washington more freedom to get rough on Venezuela.

  21. Wukchumni

    Casting aspersions away that there was ever any doubt of the outcome regarding Iran, the reign of error & co. must be ready to rumble, er bombstabilize the region. Wonder what blunder awaits asunder?

  22. polar donkey

    Those pharmaceutical executives are damn liars. One of those 5 companies’ who’s executive testified that their company didn’t have anything to do with opiod crisis sends an unmarked rental truck a day out full of unmarked boxes full of opiods. Ships them via a large shipping company to small towns in Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, etc. Both the pharmaceutical and shipping company knows this.

  23. Jean

    Re calorie counts and FDA regulations for restaurants:

    When is the FDA and more importantly, California, going to regulate claims of organic content in restaurant meal menus?


    “We use organic and locally sourced whenever possible…”

    “All natural…”

    OK then, how about health departments or better yet local Weights and Measures authorities verifying and regulating these nebulous claims? Otherwise it’s basically commercial fraud in some cases.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I usually just assume…how gullible.

      And when I think about that, what I get when I buy organic for consumption at home is usually USDA organic, which is not the most stringent.

      So, I have been asking, why isn’t organic, say Oregon tilth, the default – not just the default when you buy organic, but the default for everything you buy?

  24. allan

    Closing the CFPB’s Office for Students is like shuttering the fire department in the middle of a fire
    [Americans for Financial Reform]

    Americans for Financial Reform is shocked and appalled at Mick Mulvaney’s utter betrayal of students, with his move to entirely close the Bureau’s Office for Students and Young Consumers. This is a slap in the face to America’s student borrowers at a time when borrowers need allies in government more than ever.

    “America is facing an ongoing student debt crisis, with outstanding student debt surpassing $1.5 trillion and over 8 million borrowers in default on their student loans. Closing the Office for Students is like shuttering the fire department in the middle of a three-alarm fire,” said Alexis Goldstein, senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform.

    The Bureau’s Office for Students and Young Consumers has spurred actions that returned $750 million to student borrowers, and helped demand answers on over 50,000 complaints about student loans, making it a crucial contributor to fulfilling the Bureaus consumer protection mission. The Office for Students and Young Consumers published valuable reports and updates on the state of student lending and the types of complaints being filed by student loan borrowers, created tools like the “payback playbook” to help make student loan repayment easier and clearer, and acted as a tireless advocate for the rights of student loan borrowers. Dismantling the Office for Students and Young Consumers is yet another move by Mulvaney to deliberately stop the Bureau from doing its job to protect students and consumers.

    Mercatus-funded op-ed in support of this in 3,2,1 …

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Replacing humans with robots.

    Amazon employees are outraged by their company’s opposition to a plan to add more diversity to its board Recode. Huh? Amazon is famous for thinking routinely reducing employees to tears is good business practice. How could they possibly think Bezos cares about their opinion? The only reason they still have jobs is he hasn’t yet figured out how to replace them with robots.

    Would Bezos replace himself with a robot, or a team of robots (if he believes he is that good), if he could take home all its’/their earnings?

  26. kareninca

    I have never been able to use sunscreen with oxybenzone or similar chemicals. The moment I put it on I feel really, really sick. It’s not my imagination; I have put sunscreen on thinking it had none in it, then felt sick, and checked, and saw that it in fact contained it. I’ve known people whose kids refuse to use sunscreen, and I’ve wondered if it is because they have the same reaction but aren’t able to explain. I wonder if some adults do too but don’t really make the connection, and consequently don’t use it. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide work fine, although it helps to also wear a hat.

  27. Expat

    Ignoring the debate as to whether saving humanity is worthwhile or not, it is still interesting to see how almost any attempt by the government to protect our environment, and consequently ourselves, is immediately attacked as socialism or capitalistic fascism. California has large problems with pollution and water. It would be reasonable and in the best interests of the people there to ban new homes altogether. The same could be said of Florida, Arizona and Montana, all places where water is a major problem.

    Instead, there are those who argue that people have the right to build homes, use water and burn fossil fuels as they wish because that is their Constitutional (or God-given) right. I suspect that most climate change deniers choose to deny not because they have the faintest clue about the subject, but because it offends their political and economic beliefs.

    Putting solar panels on new houses won’t save us from global warming. It’s too late. But arguing that it’s wrong because it’s “socialist” or “fascist” is disingenuous and willfully ignorant. Why not simply admit the truth and say you want to go out in a blaze of over-consumption and eco-death?

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