Links 8/11/19

The real reasons why sharks attack humans BBC

500 years on, how Magellan’s voyage changed the world Agence France-Presse

Disbarred Attorney Admits Stealing The Firm’s AR-15 Forcing Us To Ask, ‘Why Does The Firm Have An AR-15?’ (UPDATED: Because The Lawyer, Not The Firm Owned The Unit) Above the Law

What is geoengineering—and why should you care? MIT Technology Review

Napping Quartz

Bayer mediator dismisses report of $8 billion Roundup settlement Reuters

Class Warfare

Google’s War on Publisher Paywalls BIG by Matt Stoller

School Kids Suffer With the SNAP of a Finger Capital & Main

The boomers going bust: why elderly bankruptcy is rising in America FT

The World’s Wealthiest Family Gets $4 Million Richer Every Hour Bloomberg

BUSINESS GROUP SPENDING ON LOBBYING IN WASHINGTON IS AT LEAST DOUBLE WHAT’S PUBLICLY REPORTED The Intercept

Mississippi poultry supplier to pay $3.75M to settle discrimination lawsuits Clarion Ledger (TP)

Brexit

Britain’s Elite-School Problem Der Spiegel

The Battle of the Bogside was 50 years ago – so why are the same mistakes being made right now? Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

How bad can it get? London Review of Books

NOT AMUSED Queen believes Britain’s politicians have an ‘inability to govern’ as monarch launches extraordinary rant against MPs while Remainers plot to drag her into Brexit The Sun

Fury at power cut that brought Britain to its knees: Government launches probe into mystery simultaneous failure of wind farm and gas-fired power station as officials insist there is ‘no evidence’ of a cyber attack Daily Mail

Greenpeace warns Korea of Japan’s radioactive water discharge Korea Times (furzy)

Yet another brutal week for American journalism Columbia Journalism Review

Brazil

‘Huge Victory for Press Freedom’: Brazil Supreme Court Bars Bolsonaro From Investigating Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept Common Dreams

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Houston man charged with placing hidden camera in airplane bathroom ABC News. What’s scarey is that the authorities, including the FBI, tracked the alleged perpetrator down by reviewing footage collected via omnipresent CCTV coverage – even though the crime, albeit creepy, isn’t life threatening. I’m more bothered to learn the feds could seemingly easily make their case by reviewing and matching surveillance footage than the threat posed by a video voyeur in an airplane bathroom.

The scorched corpses of Nagasaki should be a grim restraint to the chest beating in India, America and Iran Independent. Robert Fisk.

Russia

Tens of thousands rally at election protest in Moscow Reuters

Russia Opens Antitrust Inquiry Into App Restriction at Apple NYT

India

In Surprise Decision, Sonia Gandhi Announced as Interim Congress President The Wire

H-1B Visa denials at all-time high Economic Times

Kashmir

Why Revoking Special Status Is the Final Betrayal of Kashmir The Wire

Curbs eased in Srinagar, people throng streets to buy essentials The Hindu

India’s Sudden Kashmir Move Could Backfire Badly Foreign Policy

Inside Kashmir, Cut Off From the World: ‘A Living Hell’ of Anger and Fear NYT (furzy)

Hong Kong

New phase as protesters and police clash across Hong Kong in guerilla-style battles SCMP

2020

Bernie Against the Beltway Jacobin

Mandatory National Service: A Bad Idea That Won’t Die American Conservative

Sanders Demands Drug and Insurance Industries Explain the Hundreds of Millions They Seem Willing to Spend to Defeat Medicare for All Common Dreams

Biden says he was VP at time of Parkland shooting in latest campaign gaffe Fox

Boeing 737 MAX

A Boeing code leak exposes security flaws deep in a 787’s guts Ars Technica. Strictly speaking, this concerns the 787 – not the 737 MAX – but I didn’t want to change the category for one link.

L’affaire Epstein

Prince Andrew named in unsealed Epstein documents: ‘Sex slave’, then 17, alleges she was intimate with royal at Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home while second young woman claims she was groped by prince at paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s house Daily Mail

Jeffrey Epstein Dies Of “Suicide” Caitlin Johnstone

Everything We Know About Jeffrey Epstein’s Death New York magazine

Former MCC inmate: There’s ‘no way’ Jeffrey Epstein killed himself NY Post

Trump and Others Turn to Conspiracy Theories After Epstein’s Death New York magazine

Syraqistan

The NYT’s Pro-War Arguments Against War With Iran FAIR

Separatists seize Aden presidential palace, gov’t military camps Al Jazeera

Julian Assange

New Fears for Julian Assange Consortium News

Imperial Collapse Watch

Nothing Less Than a Revolution Can Save Us Counterpunch

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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262 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    The Battle of the Bogside was 50 years ago – so why are the same mistakes being made right now? Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

    Cockburn correctly notes some of the parallels between now and 1969 in Northern Ireland, but he misses the rather obvious point that the exact same parallels today apply in Scotland and even the north of England – sectarian impoverished urban areas increasingly disenchanted with its distant ‘capital’.

    As he rightly says, the Battle of the Bogside was not a riot – it was an insurrection – something historians of the UK often pretend doesn’t apply as they talk about the stability of the union since 1801 (its also conveniently overlooked by many left wingers in Ireland and Britain who prefer their anti-imperialist insurgencies to be somewhere safely far away). The UK has in fact faced constant insurrection and riots, its just that as it was the ‘wrong’ side of the Irish Sea it has never seemed to matter so much to the SE of England, where all the decisions are made.

    As for NI – the situation is highly complex at the moment. The DUP have desperately miscalculated, they know they risk being blamed for a no-deal economic collapse (and NI will be by far the worst effected region). Direct rule is being slowly applied by London, which is contrary to the Good Friday Agreement, and will be opposed not just by Republicans, but also many loyalists, because it also means (horrors!) legalised abortion and gay marriage. So nobody will be happy, its just that nobody really knows how to avoid it.

    Brexit really just is a clusterf*ck of almighty proportions.

    Reply
    1. Swamp Yankee

      PlutoniumKun, I just wanted to echo the point you made that, contrary to certain Whiggish historiography, the UK has in fact seen a wide variety of everything from popular demonstrations through riots through open civil war, indeed, not only since 1801, but in broad continuity since at least the early modern period if not longer.

      Look at the work of historians like E.P. Thompson, Georges Rude, Marcus Rediker, and Peter Linebaugh. Bread riots, crowd actions, chariviari demonstrations, “rough musick”, “the People Out of Doors”, sailors taking over Liverpool in the 18th c. and having to be dislodged by the army, to outright civil war (Culloden, the Easter Rebellion, 1798, etc.).

      Even in the period since 1801, you have — Peterloo, the Chartists, Irish Land Movements, Fenian Raids, Easter 1916 and the Irish War for Independence and Civil War, the General Strike of 1926, the Battle of Cable Street, The Troubles, Labor Action in the 1970s, Brixton, Thatcher vs. the Miners, the IRA bombing campaign, Islamist bombings, recent youth and anti-austerity riots, etc.

      This is far from an exhaustive list. I probably should have started with the Peasant’s Revolt, or maybe various forest Saxon outlaws in the time of Williams the Conqueror. The point is that it takes a certain kind of Home Counties, upper middle class view of history to forget all that.

      FINIS RANTIS.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        “Yes, we know the Peasants are Revolting.”

        That’s why there are as many, or more, public surveillance cameras in the UK as there are people.

        Reply
  2. Clive

    Re: “Fury at Power Cut that Brought Britain to its Knees”

    I’m going to use this as a worked example of the abominable state of our mainstream media, clueless so-called journalists and possibly deliberate misinformation by private-sector operators.

    Everything that is (or was) necessary to assess the power outage and its almost-certain root cause is readily available via publicly-accessible information sources. Within less than 10 minutes of the supply interruption being reported, I was able to get plenty sufficient information to ascertain exactly what had gone wrong and who was to blame. That’s one of the benefits of the internet I suppose — what would have previously relied on a network of contacts and phone calls is there for the taking in a few clicks, if one has a list of genuinely useful website addresses. In this case https://www.bmreports.com/bmrs/?q=eds/main told me everything I needed to know (as the real-time displays have now moved on in the dashboard, you’d need to look back to last Friday between 16:00 and 17:10-ish GMT and the historic data, but it’s still all there — it was a lot easier to read the dashboard contemporaneously).

    The problem wasn’t excess demand. It was a warm, but not hot day (temperatures crept up to 27.5C or thereabouts, let’s call it 80F). So neither high cooling demand was a factor, nor was line sag due to high ambient temperatures. Industrial demand and domestic demand were also flat.

    Electrical supply incidents are down to three possible factors: Too much demand. Too little supply. Distribution network issues. That’s it. There is no more. And we’ve already discounted one of our three possible culprits.

    What about the distribution network? No outages were reported so that’s not a contributing factor. So, now, hardly needing to be Sherlock Homes’, we’re left with supply problems. On Friday last week, there was plenty of supply available. It was a very windy day but it was also bright and sunny, predominantly. Of the c. 20GW installed capacity of solar generation, at least 5-10GW must have been outputting at that time of the day. And for wind, nearly 10GW was being supplied. No problems there, then?

    Not so fast. “Conventional” sources of supply — gas, mainly for the UK, were barely ticking over (about 5GW from an available capacity of nearly 20GW). There was 6GW from nuclear, but that’s what you always have, you can’t turn nuclear generation on or off at the drop of a hat. There was also between 1 and 2 GW from biomass. So, of the 30-40GW demand, only 11-12GW or thereabouts was from “conventional” generation.

    Why does that matter? Because of “reactive loads”. Electrical motors (such as in traction motors for trains, elevators, compressor motors in chillers for office blocks and hospitals and so on) present a uniquely challenging load profile for electrical supply grids and generation. I won’t dwell on how reactive supply and reactive loads interact and why they are important, a good explanation is given here. But on the 9th August, reactive loads were high and reactive electrical generation supply availability was low. Such modest levels of natural gas generation supply was kept online purely (or almost) for satisfying reactive loads. It wasn’t at all needed for meeting the baseload or peaks.

    At around 16:55, the Little Barford combined cycle gas turbine facility developed a fault and tripped out, disconnecting this supply. The positioning of the power station is key. It is in Bedford, in the south east (ish) of England. Reactive generation has a limited travel ability in the distribution grid (as grid impedance increases with distance of line length). The load centre of the reactive loads was also in the south east of England, especially around London. While the loss of generating capacity (c. 600MW) was a mere trifle in the 30-40GW of online generation supply potential, the effect on the ability of the grid to meet the geographically sensitive reactive load was dramatic.

    Frequency in the grid dropped rapidly (in about 30 seconds) from c. 50Hz (remember the UK runs on 50Hz supply frequency, not 60 like the US does) to nearer 49Hz. Anything more than a 0.5Hz drop is very significant. It was at this point that events rapidly escalated.

    Wind power supply (the same applies to solar, too) is inputted into the grid by invertors, which take the wind turbine output and modulate the supply frequency to match that of the grid. But if the grid supply frequency drops, to protect the equipment, the invertors are designed to trip out, until the frequency on the grid is restored to normal range parameters. When the frequency on the grid fell, the Hornsea wind farm (nearly 1GW capacity) disconnected. This caused a genuine capacity shortfall in terms of generating output and load shedding (high consumption users being preempted) to be activated. High consumers of reactive supply — like traction motors on trains and areas with a lot of motors like city centres full of office blocks — were cut off from the grid. This was entirely correct, supply frequency had dropped, following the Hornsea wind farm disconnect, to 48.5Hz and if load shedding hadn’t been put in place pretty pronto, base-load coverage from the nuclear generating power stations would have also force-disconnected and you’d have a full-on cascade failure.

    Here, then, we can point the finger of blame. There should have been more reactive generating capacity available on the grid where there was the reactive loads. Remedial action — like starting up of the Dinorwig Power Station (a pumped storage facility with a huge 1.8GW supply potential available within 15 seconds) was fine for the overall peak lopping (required following the loss of the gas generation supply) but completely useless in terms of meeting the reactive load in the south east (Dinorwig is a long way away from London, in north Wales).

    Why hadn’t this been put in place? Ah, regular readers will be stunned, just stunned, to learn the answer. National Grid sweating the operators’ generating assets and cutting margin to the barest of the bare minimum. And not understanding load profiles and supply capabilities — especially the susceptibility of wind generation to grid frequency excursions. Neoliberalism and privatisation, in other words.

    If I could work all this out fairly easily, the lack of proper journalistic ability and the resultant failing to hold those in the positions of power (government, the National Grid, the regulators) to account says a lot about our so-called democracies, our media and our capability to manage our societies as a result of these deficiencies. It’s no use the mainstream media lauding itself on being a reliable source of the truth, if it lacks the wherewithal to do basic research and provide subject matter expertise to bring about penetrating commentaries and enquiries.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for this, I posted something (still in moderation), but your comment is vastly more relevant.

      It does show the stupidity of the MBA/economist led belief that separating the grid from power operators is somehow more efficient, it was always likely that this would result in this type of interaction. Sadly nearly everyone is following the model.

      Reply
    2. BillK

      Excellent write-up!
      What really annoyed me about the reporting was the attitude of all the London based reporters. ‘How dare they cut off power to the London area! We run the country and are far more important than the rest of you’. Same attitude as the Brexit vote. Shut down the rest of the UK, they don’t matter. Lessons will indeed be learned.

      Reply
    3. ambrit

      Touching on one point you bought up, the weather’s effect on load.
      Monday, we here in the American Deep South are predicted to have a daytime high of 96 degrees F and an overnight low of 77 degrees F. Air conditioners are running full out around the clock here, for those who can afford to. The local utility has been making noises about instituting peak load time higher rates. Since that entity, as per American consolidation practice, is part of a chain, which used to be called a “trust,” I can only think that this scheme is the future strategy for utilities in general. The ‘new’ smart meters are being rolled out here so that the plan is feasible.
      Never let a disaster go to waste.

      Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        Agree to disagree—but smart meters and peak-load pricing are absolutely necessary for conservation. just saying.

        The current “flat rate” is an illusion—a flat-rate customer pays for insurance/a “call option” on the right to use as much electricity as they want on a hot day and for the reserved capacity/infrastructure to make that possible. Plus a nice padding for the utility to absorb 3+-sigma moves in electricity prices.

        variable-pricing strips that all out into discrete line-items. and in markets in which smart meters have been rolled out, consumers are by default kept in the old-school flat-rate scheme.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Smart meters are probably an excellent tool for implementing effective conservation and load management schemes. As you mention at the end of your comment, how those tools are implemented is the key. Who gets the financial windfalls from these supposed economies of daily usage is the key.
          All this is an excellent argument for full nationalization of the utility systems in America.
          Let the meritocrats display a little actual merit for a change. Remove the cold dead hand of “the Market” from off of the nations economy, political and otherwise.

          Reply
          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Went from stupid meter and 160$ Entergy Bill to a smart meter and 380$ Entergy Bill. Window Units to Central AC and extra 200sqft??? Idfk.

            #NationalizeUtilities!!!!

            Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Smart meters can also be spy meters. Who is to say they aren’t already spy meters?

          A next step would be to design the ability to remotely turn-off someone’s high-use electrical appliances, like fridges and air conditioners, during the off-peak when prices are lower . . . and remotely turn them on during peak-use times when prices are highest, thereby remotely extracting the highest possible price from the targeted power-customer. And people designing such a system would certainly consider themselves smart enough to be able to remotely switch-on as many targeted appliances at peak price times as possible without switching on so many as to cause visible problems like blackouts and such.

          Reply
    4. Samuel Conner

      Thank you, Clive!

      This is an example of why I get my news from NC. The comments are frequently (better, usually) more illuminating than the underlying news write-ups.

      Perhaps submit this as a ‘letter to the editor’? It would make a fine ‘op-ed’ in any US newspaper; do UK papers accept similar?

      Reply
    5. Ignacio

      Thank you Clive for this informative post. I wonder that the inability of the journalists to grasp the facts is in direct proportion with their excessive reliance on sources not willing to provide those.

      Reply
    6. Janie

      Clive, thank you. Your explanation plumbs the bottomless depths of my ignorance about the systems that keep our contemporary civilization humming alomg – until they don’t. (I hope I’m not the only one.) Terry Pratchett pointed out that, as science becomes more complex, it becomes conflated with magic. The possibility that the basic systems we rely on for necessities can collapse has not seemed possible – until now.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I think it was Theodore Sturgeon who said, “A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

        Reply
    7. philnc

      Thanks again for this. So much of what tries to pass as reporting on technical subjects, even when an event has a significant impact on the public, is frustratingly incoherent to the point of uselessness. The worst of it is that cluelessness with regard to these matters is not confined to reporters: it is shared by those in charge of the media, industry and government.

      Reply
    8. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for this long analysis. You won’t find something like this in The Times. Yesterday you were sounding pessimistic on your future chances of employment in one of your comments. After twice reading your analysis of the power cut and the reasons that likely led to it, something tells me that in the years to come that people like yourself will be sorely needed as the UK is forced to reconfigure itself after a hard Brexit. Technical expertise is something that can be faked for so long until situations arise when real experts are let to do their jobs.

      Reply
      1. John

        Yet another example of the fragility introduced into complex systems by neoliberal policies. Just enough structural engineering for the world trade towers, just enough software for Boeing and so on. The failure of the “just in time” inventory for the food supply will be interesting. Protective redundancies in important systems are removed to protect shareholder value. Cost shifting onto the public means no reforms are made when catastrophe occurs. This will not end well.

        Reply
    9. SJ

      Hi Clive,
      very interesting. Just one comment though, there are usually requirements for all generating capacity to be able to cope with supplying reactive power and this is also true for wind and solar. I do not know the details of the UK grid but I would assume that these requirements exist. Can you comment on this?

      Regards

      SJ

      Reply
      1. Clive

        Yes, it’s a well-understood and predictable problem with readily-available solutions. Investment and long-term strategic thinking and planning are all that is needed. The U.K. government has extensive analysis and research available e.g. https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Net-Zero-Technical-Annex-Integrating-variable-renewables.pdf

        Future challenges and opportunities

        Increased variable renewable generation will reduce the role of thermal power plant on the system, which currently provides important system services. New means of providing these services will be needed to maintain power system quality, including provision of these services by variable renewables. Some of these are already being adopted. Planning and operating the networks on a whole system basis and optimising across the full suite of energy and demand sources present an opportunity to help integrate renewables into the electricity system.

        • Other challenges.

        Today’s renewables do not currently offer some system properties that thermal power plants do, such as providing system inertia, voltage and frequency management services, and other contributions to system operation. As thermal power plants come off the system, alternative ways to provide these services will need to be developed. Work is being done to address these challenges, and the electricity system operator (National Grid, the ESO) expects to be able to operate a zero-carbon power system by 2025.

        ‒ System inertia. An increased share of renewables in the capacity mix reduces the system inertia which is provided by the stored kinetic energy of the rotating mass of the power generator’s turbines (known as ‘synchronous generation’). With this reduction in system inertia, any imbalance between supply and demand will change system frequency more rapidly making the system unstable. Technologies such as batteries, which provide rapid frequency response can help, and are being installed. Other solutions include flywheels, synchronous condensers and ‘grid-forming inverters’. Levels of regional inertia are likely to become increasingly important.

        ‒ Rapid changes in frequency can damage electrical equipment. This equipment is often designed to shut off beyond a certain ‘Rate of Change of Frequency’ (RoCoF). RoCoF standards are changing so that power equipment can handle more rapid frequency changes, without being damaged.

        ‒ Black start is the ability of the power system to restart itself after a complete or partial system loss of electrical power. Typically large generators would be contracted to provide this service. A recent open Black Start tender process has brought in a range of new technologies and innovative ways of using existing equipment in combination to provide an alternative method of black start service provision. Integrating variable renewables into the electricity system ESO also suggests groups of smaller generators would be able to provide the same service.

        ‒ Grid constraints. Renewables in some locations are unable to get their power to users due to grid constraints. Depending on the location of new renewables, new transmission infrastructure may need to be built to accommodate this.

        ‒ Thermal power stations are currently able to provide frequency and voltage recovery services (including reactive power), when frequency and voltage deviates from the system optimum. The ESO suggests that additional dynamic voltage support will be required to replace that which is currently provided by synchronous generation, and is exploring the most cost-effective way to deliver these services, with industry and market participants.

        “Market participants”. That’s your issue, right there. Whatever the problem, sooner or later, mysteriously lurking at the nub of it, is the need, apparently intractable and inevitable, to accommodate “the market”. Like it came down from a mountain on a tablet of stone or something.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          First correction – it is typically called “inverter” not “invertor” – as in “inverter-based resources” (unless UK uses different spelling). Those include wind and solar power. In the future, they’ll have to be extensively backed by energy storage – otherwise, the intermittent nature of such resources would cause havoc with out power supply.

          “Too much demand. Too little supply. Distribution network issues. That’s it.” Transmission issues were left out (not as frequent as distribution system problems, but still could be significant). A lot is hiding in that statement, though. Issues related to supply/demand have different causes and so cannot be lumped together. Too much simplification. Higher than expected demand is usually caused by weather (too hot, too cold – solution: improve weather forecasting); supply issues can have various causes (e.g., an unexpected unit trip or ramp rate limitations – solution: must have reserves high enough); and T&D problems can also have various causes – starting with squirrels all the way to faulty equipment, with bad weather in between (solution: good maintenance practices (whether maintaining the right-of-ways and keeping equipment in good order)).

          It sounds like in UK, this time, unit trips were at fault. From BBC: “Industry experts said a gas-fired power station at Little Barford, Bedfordshire, failed at 16:58 followed, two minutes later, by the Hornsea offshore wind farm disconnecting from the grid…. He said the near-simultaneous loss of two generators was more than the grid was routinely prepared for, prompting automatic safety systems to shut off power to some places.”

          This (to me) is a red-flag acknowledgment. One of the fundamental topics in providing power reliably is PLANNING. And part of efficient planning is to have sufficient RESERVES. For the grid operator to admit that UK’s system could not withstand simultaneous loss of (just) TWO generating units is ASTOUNDING.

          (FYI – the Texas system is designed to withstand the loss of its two LARGEST generating units – or about 3.5% of its peak demand. In Feb. 2011, a quarter of state’s generation (fossil-fuel) did not start one cold morning. There were rolling black-outs, but no grid collapse, which could have happened if Texas had a different market design or less nimble grid operators.)

          Focusing only on reactive power misses the point – reactive power is not generated separately, but is a by-product of AC power. Very often, it the underlying cause of major outages (nothing new here); however, the issue is not producing more of it (because it can also harm equipment) – the main thing is having generation units and the grid operator maintain a proper balance. In today’s world of disposable labour this may sound quaint – but having extremely competent grid operators is a must, as their skills can make up for other shortcomings.

          More at https://electrical-engineering-portal.com/how-reactive-power-is-helpful-to-maintain-a-system-healthy#What%20is%20Reactive%20Power

          And, yes, sadly. The electric-power deregulation came to the US from UK, which was first to implement it (thanks, Maggie). Providing el. energy really seems to be a natural monopoly – albeit, highly regulated. This model worked for close to a century – and could have continued to work (with tweaks, of course). But some decided to exploit the system to make ever more $$ (remember Enron?). But with a decentralised power production system, planning and coordination become even more important. It looks to me like UK is lagging a bit in this regard.

          Reply
          1. Clive

            I think there is too much simplification in the “Hornsea wind farm suffered a near-simultaneous failure” statement (I had read the BBC piece too). For Hornsea to disconnect when there wasn’t any technical issue in Hornsea itself is highly suggestive that it was the frequency drop which caused the disconnect (a well known characteristic of wind farm inverters, or any other inverter system, for that matter) so that is why I wanted to see called out this whole “gee, wasn’t that bad luck?” messaging from National Grid as duplicity.

            Dinorwig was fully operational and near-instantly available spinning reserve. If it was just a case of calling up substitution generation capacity that was necessary to resolve the situation, Dinorwig (the designated hot-standby generation capacity) would have spun up well within the required timeframe to prevent the need for load shedding. But it was too far away to meet the reactive component of the demand being presented to the grid in the ultra high-density load centre that is London and the south east of England. What resolved the outage was alternative gas powered plant coming fully available (I can’t find the data, it’s not published publicly, but I’m willing to bet it was thermal plant somewhere in the south east) that was online but idling — awaiting a “pricing signal” to meet the evening pick up. Unfortunately, that took half an hour, as per the market balancing mechanism’s trading blocks constraint and the quick, but not instantaneous, ramp-up time for this type of generation.

            But I do wholeheartedly concur with the thrust of what you say — it’s bad planning, plain and simple.

            Reply
            1. Olga

              Well, until the loss of wind generation is investigated, one cannot say for sure what happened. Assumptions rarely work in the electric industry. Only facts – yes or no, black or white – matter. When you mention “calling up” (not really “substitution generation,” but reserves or ancillary services), I imagine you may be referring to the work of operators. Hence, my reference to the need for having competent operators. Blaming this on reactive power is premature. Usually, problems with reactive power occur as a result of outages – they are rarely the cause. A thorough investigation is needed, obviously.

              Reply
              1. Clive

                I agree facts are required. Then the mainstream media should be attentive when presented with the opportunity to question industry spokespeople.

                Allowing National Grid to blame some bizarre (and thereby unpredictable and unmanageable) coincidence in loss of generating capacity is classic PR tactics — the first message out there is the one which is then assumed to be the established and agreed narrative. A few simple questions — “was it low frequency which caused Hornsea to trip?”, “why didn’t Dinorwig coming fully up to maximun capacity output solve the issues which necessitated load shedding in the south east within a few minutes?” — would show that, to coin a phrase, inquiring minds want to know. Do you expect such actors as National Grid to — out of the kindness of their hearts and sense of public duty — volunteer to tell us the facts, just like that?

                And I find your faith in officialdom and the ability of the industry to be similarly forthcoming, honest and incorruptible touching, but I disagree with the trust you’re willing to extend. The north east blackout of 2003 in the US was subject to a 500-page report and a great deal of resources being throw at the investigation. The network operators blatantly muscled the investigators and the regulatory bodies (which, being a patchwork of overlapping and conflicting interests wasn’t hard to do) into putting out a smorgasbord of sort-a relevant facts which deliberately obfuscated the root cause of the outage. The failure was caused by an inadequate (and even then, not properly adhered to) vegetation management policy — but this got spun into the conveniently actor-less “software glitch”.

                Hiding the one, pivotal, inconvenient fact in a shopping list of other not-untrue but not directly relevant tangental pieces of information is the oldest perception management trick in the book. Cast your mind back to the GFC and the mortgage crisis — it was indeed a “fact” that borrowers subject to foreclosure were behind on their payment schedule but that completely overlooks how they ended up in that situation e.g. junk fees, billing errors, payments not processed. It thereby allowed a “deadbeat borrower” narrative to be created, which let lenders off their obligations to minimise losses through mortgage modifications.

                The worst part of all that was, no-one seemed to give a stuff about it. Which is why prompt pressure on the industry — at the time of the event — is key. I know you don’t intend to give wrongdoing and incompetence a free pass, but this attitude of “let’s give everyone plenty of time to get their stories straight” plays right into the hands of those who’ve failed in their (well-renumerated) responsibilities. I believe the term is “stonewalling”.

                Reply
          2. BongBong

            Read that site with caution … the link has (mostly minor) errors and/or omissions; it reads like a powerpoint presentation to (clueless) managers.

            For one example, it says transformers are resistive loads…they are not … they are inductive loads.

            There are freely downloadable texts on Power Distribution Engineering written by EE profs if one wants to understand this issue better.

            Reply
      2. oliverks

        SJ I agree with you. I can’t see a reason that inverters can’t handle reactive power. I think many datasheets will quote a power factor level they will operate down to and in theory they could drive as reactive a load as you would want.

        So the problem, assuming Clive’s analysis is correct, is the inverters not being specified correctly for the reactive load, or the grid not planing for reducing reactive load via capacitive banks and other techniques.

        Reply
        1. Clive

          Yes, I didn’t want to add too much more detail to that which I’d already put a lot of into a comment but I think you are correct. It isn’t inverter-supplied power per se that is the problem, but configuration of frequency tolerances and the lockout time before the inverter attempts resynchronisation with the grid following an out-of-tolerances disconnect.

          Hornsea is a relatively new facility and I have a hunch that some of the low level config has a few bugs to still be shaken out of it, like the “retry time interval” setting (or however it is termed on the equipment itself).

          Reply
    10. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for your analysis and explanation of the power outage in England. I was completely unaware of the problems of reactive power. I must do more study on the Grid. As for reporters and the news, my thoughts are best left unsaid.

      Reply
      1. Inode_buddha

        What Clive explains is something that first-year electrical engineering students learn, …. amazing that nobody in the media could bother with even the most basic background concepts.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Maybe nobody in the FSM ( Fake Stream Media) is smart enough to know about the most basic background concepts. Or even smart enough to know that such basic background concepts even exist.

          Reply
    11. Elspeth

      I’d only add that the use of alt.energy sources and the nature of the grid is in serious nature of rethinking not just the engineering but the economics. The current setup just doesn’t work. People need to know why and difficult decisions made.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        Also taught to Engineering students is the maxim:

        If it is not tested, it does not work.

        I’d like to see the test case for a national grid. That might not be possible.

        Reply
  3. Brooklin Bridge

    Trump and Others Turn to Conspiracy Theories After Epstein’s Death – New York rag magazine.

    A move-along fluff piece.

    Using Trump as suggestive “evidence” that the mere mention of conspiracy theories is tin foily enough coming from no less a nut case than Trump means that sensible people (if they want to keep on being perceived by others as sensible) had better accept the event for what it was; suicide plain and simple. Nothing to see here folks, move along, and no, no need to dredge up this ugly mess any further, forward not backward.

    In other news,…

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      The UK newspapers are also following the line that anyone who thinks it was murder must be a Trump voting conspiracy theorist.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        The American internet ‘infotainment’ source, Yahoo “News” is pushing the same line.
        As the “smart boys” are wont to say; “The fix is in.”

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          As I mention just below, (when it escapes mods,) the pieces of the puzzle that will spell out ‘c*ns*rsh*p’ are being moved into place.

          Reply
          1. foghorn longhorn

            That pic of Andrew with his arm around the 17 year old, with Maxwell beaming in the background, would appear pretty damning.
            What is a 17 year old American doing in London without a parent?
            Pretty sure it’s a felony to transport a minor across a fricking state line, much less to another country.
            But then I remember laws are just for us deplorables.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              Just as a technical point, the age of consent in the UK is 16, so legally I assume she is not considered a minor.

              Reply
                  1. Carolinian

                    Dershowitz says there’s nothing in the Constitution about age of consent and if they are legally able to get abortions as teenagers that proves they’re consent capable.

                    Or something. The man doesn’t know how to quit when he’s behind.

                    Reply
                    1. dearieme

                      if they are legally able to get abortions as teenagers that proves they’re consent capable.

                      A logical point, but when has it been sensible to expect laws to be consistent with each other?

                  2. Carolinian

                    Just to reply to dearieme

                    It’s still likely statutory rape if, oh say, a fifty year old Harvard lawyer has sex with a 15 year old. From Wikipedia

                    Laws vary in their definitions of statutory rape. It is generally intended to punish heinous cases of an adult taking sexual advantage of a minor. Thus, many jurisdictions prohibit allowing a juvenile to be tried as an adult under this law (most jurisdictions have separate provisions for child molestation or forcible rape which can be applied to juveniles and for which a minor can be tried as an adult). Some jurisdictions also specify a minimum difference in age in order for the offense to be applicable. Under such terms, if the adult is, for instance, less than three years older than the minor, no crime has been committed or the penalty is far less severe. These are called “Romeo and Juliet” clauses.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statutory_rape

                    The fact that Dershowitz was defending the legality of such age difference sex is what earned him the #creepyDershowitz tag.

                    Reply
              1. David

                The age of majority and the age of consent are two different things as far as I know. In the UK the age of majority has been 18 since 1970 – it was 21, I dimly remember, before that. She was a minor in UK law.

                Reply
                1. BillK

                  In the UK under-18s have more protection from adult sexual predators. That’s why any club or organization that has members under 18 now has to get a police records check done for all adults that have regular contact with them.

                  Reply
            2. ambrit

              Andrew is toast. Don’t underestimate the underlying Puritan ethic of the English public.
              As for laws being for ‘deplorables,’ well pardner, don’t drop the soap in the shower at the FEMA re-education camp!

              Reply
              1. The Rev Kev

                An unanswered question is just what exactly his bodyguards saw. No way are they going to let a Royal gallivant around the world without a security detail – even if it means going onto the Lollita Express or Orgy Island.

                Reply
            3. zagonostra

              Not in the golden days of Pericles but in the decaying days of Caligula such are the days we live in as shown by Epstein and his “suicide”

              Reply
                1. RWood

                  I think I see that there are such things as a “defeasible estates” contained in political structures. Of that time, of course, for discovered bad blood lines in the
                  regency. Back then.

                  Reply
                  1. ambrit

                    The primary method of ‘restructuring’ defective infeudations was and usually is, revolutionary action, either from above or below.
                    A direct example of the Alchemist’s Creed: “As above, so below.”

                    Reply
      2. Brooklin Bridge

        I’m getting old. For the first time I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt – with none of my usual waffling, none of the “but just maybe…,” rattling around in the back of my head – that Epstein was murdered.

        It seems as though right along with GW, a little more obvious every year, the bottomless pit of degradation of our so called “elite” is revealing itself in plain sight.

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          when do they start airbrushing epstein out of all the official photos? oh yeah, they have software for that now. they aren’t even half trying to fool us anymore.

          Reply
          1. pjay

            “they aren’t even half trying to fool us anymore.”

            For me, this is the most striking aspect of the extraordinary political events of the last several years. It’s like they don’t even have to really even try anymore. On the contrary, it seems like a game to see how ridiculous a story they can get by with. Coverups used to be much more intricate.

            Reply
            1. trent

              thats because the vast majority of people stopped believing in them around 2008. We know they are liars and full of dung, if the majority believe that, why bother trying to hide it.

              Reply
            2. cuibono

              I think you are right. And why would this be: shear carelessness or is their intent to soften up the population?

              Reply
            1. dcrane

              To be fair, I think I remember that cropped photo from some time back. Some outlets probably want a close-up of the young woman’s face.

              Reply
              1. foghorn longhorn

                ‘…Want a close-up of the young woman’s face’

                The young woman is allegedly a victim of rape and sexual misconduct with a fricking minor.
                Her face and name should be null and void in the press, just like every other rape victim.
                Gee, why won’t more victims come forward?
                I don’t know Sarge, maybe they don’t want to be doxxed.

                Reply
        2. mpalomar

          “I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt …– that Epstein was murdered”
          – I’m not but even suicide under the circumstances Epstein was incarcerated at the MCC is perhaps murder by neglect.
          ” the bottomless pit of degradation of our so called “elite” is revealing itself in plain sight”
          – Absolutely 100% with you on that.

          Reply
      3. Chris Cosmos

        If the MCC is like I imagined it to be from what I know about prisons and the linked article below is accurate and written by a prison inmate (yes I know it’s the NYPost but it has become more accurate in the past few months) then Epstein was absolutely either murdered or allowed to commit suicide. But no worry the matter will fade and the conspiracy theorists will go back to their dark hole and we can get back to our pro-wrestling style politics.

        Article

        Reply
          1. Carolinian

            Maybe one of their crack reporters could squelch the conspiracy talk by finding out exactly what happened. Do we even know he died by hanging?

            Reply
            1. Kurt Sperry

              This. The lack of any detail is extraordinary.

              Is it possible even a cheap security camera wasn’t monitoring JE’s cell at all times? Because I don’t think it is possible, and only more so given his profile and situation.

              The tapes from those cameras might end up in the same cache as the blackmail tapes, which are incredibly — almost incalculably — valuable still. Until the moment they might leak or be released.

              Reply
    2. Aumua

      Who really knows? No one here does, that’s for sure.

      But hey maybe Epstein didn’t die at all. Maybe his suicide was faked. I mean the guy has a lot of very well connected friends, capable of actually ‘disappearing’ him for real. No need for any such drastic measures as murder among elite cohorts.

      Reply
      1. Harold

        If he did escape (improbably) via ambulance, then the first “botched” suicide attempt could have been fake “corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.” Just saying. I don’t actually believe this, but it is possible (or could have been)> Maybe I missed it, but as far as I can see, no one has yet explained how he hung himself in either incident. Maybe they will tell us tomorrow.

        Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    Fury at power cut that brought Britain to its knees: Government launches probe into mystery simultaneous failure of wind farm and gas-fired power station as officials insist there is ‘no evidence’ of a cyber attack Daily Mail

    This is curious – its quite rare, but not unknown for a coincidence of outages to cause a blackout, but its usually problems on the network, not individual power generators that fail unexpectedly. Given that this is the time of year when power use is at its lowest makes it even more unusual, but it could be that the system was under stress because a lot of power stations were under maintenance for precisely that reason.

    The shutdown of the train system is worrying though, those systems should be designed to keep operating. It shows the value of decentralised systems – the more interlinked everything becomes, the greater the potential disruption when one element fails. There is increasing interest in battery powered trains as a cheaper and more robust alternative to electrifying lines – this outage gives one more good argument in their favour.

    Reply
  5. Steve H.

    > L’affaire Epstein

    I wrote here before about Robert Nowak and his gushing thanks to Epst#in. I notice that many of the folks named in depositions never publicized the relationship. This suggests to me that Nowak probably isn’t guilty – Epst#in enjoyed collecting elite eggheads and having them looking dewy-eyed at him, the smartest men on the planet wishing they were him.

    What can be said without speculation is that none of the innocent can now be exonerated. The stink is attached to them forever. Moreover, Harvard also likes collecting elite eggheads, and many are named in depositions – Marvin Minsky, Dersk#z, +++. Epst#in funded Nowak’s institute, for instance. What will Harvard do?

    “Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.” – Robert Graves

    An oblique point, based on Turchin modelling Popular Emmiseration and IntraElite Competition as the drivers of social discord: Buckingham Palace don’t give a sh*te about Mossad when it comes to bloodlines. That’s your intraelite competition on the highest level. Ghislaine is a loose end, regardless of who her daddy was.

    Reply
  6. ambrit

    Just a note that Yahoo this morning has it’s usual swipe at Trump, a reposting of something from Politico, as in his espousal of “…baseless conspiracy theories…” while a pop up ‘report’ sourced to the Washington Post, states that the FBI now considers conspiracy theories as a “domestic terrorism threat.” All the pieces are in place. I expect some new legislation soon establishing a national “clearinghouse” and “filtering mechanism” aimed against any non-official news. Full fledged censorship is on it’s way.

    Reply
    1. Brooklin Bridge

      That the main stream media is covering up such a horror story so unanimously just to protect the Clintons and Royalty is a tell of just how far down the rabbit hole we really are. It’s still a little unusual to see it in such stark relief; outright murder by the powers-that-be, without a care in the world of being caught, but such events, like the mass shootings, are becoming both more frequent and more obvious.

      Reply
      1. mnm

        Fox News-Dersowitz claims Lady Forestor de Rothschild went out of her way to introduce this Epstein to him at her summer party.
        Daily Beast-Clintons let drop that Lady Forestor de Rothschild introduced the new president to wall street guru Epstein.
        Epstein with no college degree, pervert fired from Dalton. Epstein let go from wall str job for fraud. Then is more or less given mansion in NYC and set up to appear as wealthy wall str guru by Wexner, who is now desperately trying to distance himself from.
        Maxwell had sex with these girls, took passports and held them on his island (per released docs). No charges brought against her?
        Media last few days posts endless articles about his plans to impregnate girls, diversion?
        This whole thing stinks.

        Reply
        1. Kurt Sperry

          Maxwell, as a US citizen, not having been charged is a big tell. It’s almost like someone really, really doesn’t want this familyblogshow to get pulled apart under the media kliegs in a public trial. It seems to me that all Maxwell needs to do is threaten to plead not guilty and demand a jury trial and the only way I see to prevent that is to either make a deal with her to prevent a public trial or to murder her. I’m predicting one of those to happen. Nobody wants a trial.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            Who knows, maybe some keen presidental candidate will bring up the whole sordid affair .. as it relates to the obviously wretched 2-tier “Just US” system in this republic of ours .. during the next debate, and watch the sparks fly everywhere !

            Reply
            1. richard

              that would be sort of wild
              who would be up for it?
              I think tulsi has her plate full
              but hell, why not?
              She couldn’t possibly be hated more by dem elites.
              Why not bring up the last thing anyone powerful wants to talk about?

              Reply
      2. flora

        This is all second hand, so consider it no more than rumor:

        Many years ago someone I’ve know a long time and who then knew people in the US Marshalls service told me the Marshall service then had fool-proof evidence that both Clintons engaged in an underage prostitution ring. I remember saying something like, “oh, you mean Bill?” No, both Clintons. And the Marshalls service had enough evidence to shut down the prostitution ring and bring charges against everyone involved – something they’d been working on for years. And then… the Marshalls service was told to shut down the investigation and walk away. The orders came from high up. The Clintons and others were being protected. She told me the people in the Marshalls service she knew were furious. But there wasn’t anything they could do.

        Well, that’s what my friend said several years ago. I thought she must have got her information wrong, or the guys she talked to were exaggerating.

        This story no more than hearsay. Now, however, I think its all true.

        Reply
        1. Brooklin Bridge

          “Now, however, I think its all true.”

          Agreed, and that’s the kicker. Before there was doubt, considerable doubt given such depravity, now there is considerable credibility (the MSM alone with such obvious feathers escaping from its mouth) and it’s stunning.

          Reply
          1. Inode_buddha

            Years ago, they ran a headline story about “Congressional Ethics Panel slides back to reveal hot tub”

            Reply
            1. flora

              adding as an aside: I’m a Methodist, baptised and confirmed in the church. Everytime I hear Hills reference her Methodism and declare herself a good Methodist and Christian I cringe; she’s not a good Methodist according to what I was taught. ‘Thou shalt not lie or steal or bear false witness,…’ etc.

              I point this out as an example that being a member of a particular religion does not mean one – by default – believes what the political elite, who try to weaponize religion, claims it means. I point this out because I think we’re about be gaslighted on an epic scale. my 2 cents.

              Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          I find it remarkable how Epstein’s (airquotes) suicide (/airquotes) is acting as a litmus test to what people are willing to believe when the facts are shoved direct into their faces. I mean when you have two opposites like Jimmy Dore and Paul Joseph Watson coming out with videos mocking the idea that this was a suicide tells you something. Maybe Lambert is really onto something comparing this whole saga with the Dreyfuss Affair as it is letting us see what our elites are actually like. Probably the release of all those documents forced the establishment to have him removed from the equation. It’s not like they had to worry about the MSM demanding the truth and conducting relentless investigations. I would laugh though if Epstein lodged a copy of his “insurance policy” with Wikileaks.

          Reply
          1. Harold

            What does it matter what one believes? A theory is just a theory, a mental construct, an imaginative guess. Imagination is good, as long as one knows the difference between theory and reality. We don’t know the true story so we have theories, multiple ones. It is like play or fiction, symbolic thought — an aspect of intelligence used to solve problems, or to practice solving them. That seems to me to be perfectly natural. The reality is that we don’t know. The attempt to stop people from thinking is very ominous.

            Reply
    2. Toshiro_mifune

      FBI now considers conspiracy theories as a “domestic terrorism threat.”

      I have to admit that that is some oddly coincidental timing to the FBI labeling conspiracy theories a domestic terrorism threat and Epstein’s alleged suicide.

      Reply
      1. JTee

        But the FBI has been a prime peddler of conspiracy theories: the “weapons of mass destruction” conspiracy, as well as the “Trump is a Russian puppet” conspiracy theory. So, the FBI is therefore a domestic terrorist threat?

        Reply
    3. Off The Street

      When newspaper and television journalist credibilities are crashing down at freefall speeds, is it any wonder that the average citizen questions what is truth?

      Reply
      1. Kurtismayfield

        When the older generation dies, so does Network news. People under 55 are not those demographic, you can see this in the commercials that are run. I refuse to watch my local news past checking the weather during snow season because it’s a cesspool of upper middle class anxiety. Once they all die no tears will be she’d.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          I haven’t watched Network news ( I get the important stuff from conspiritorial-newz-r-us websites.. like most good cynics!)since the low 00’s …. and I’m a bit past 55 .. so I think there are perhaps even fewer plebs patronizing said pieces-of-(Net)work then you insinuate .. which will hasten the final drop of the wizard’s tattered curtain.

          ‘THEY pretend to report .. while WE intend to believe no such thing’

          Reply
        2. marieann

          I haven’t watched network news in years, I don’t even watch TV. I am way over 55.

          I’m happy to hear you won’t be shedding tears at my demise, I wouldn’t want a “Boomer Basher”
          to cry for me.

          Reply
    4. flora

      ‘report’ sourced to the Washington Post, states that the FBI now considers conspiracy theories as a “domestic terrorism threat.”

      The FBI better investigate WaPo’s Propornot story from 2016. WaPo might be guilty of something. heh.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “NOT AMUSED Queen believes Britain’s politicians have an ‘inability to govern’”

    “The whole of Parliament, ma’am ?”

    “Yes 007. The whole bloody lot!”

    Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    Britain’s Elite-School Problem Der Spiegel

    Contrary to what the article suggests, I don’t think there is anything unique about the narrowness of the British elite system – nearly every country has its equivalent of the Eton/Oxford PPE set, but there is something particularly extreme and narrow about the UK version. Even if this set produces the occasional highly intelligent and capable person (as it does), these people are often as deeply enclosed by a group think as the stupider ones – and of course the system is designed to produce Dunning-Kruger symptom sufferers en masse.

    My own small insight into them was back in the 1990’s living in London when I found myself briefly in the social circle of a rather posh room-mate who had done law in Oxford and was part of the wave of enthusiasm for Blair, and I got to know peripherally quite a few who went on to modesty successful political careers, mostly NuLabour and LibDem types, but a few Tories too (although it was then very unfashionable to admit to it in polite company). Many were genuinely nice people, intelligent and well read, but what struck me most was how clueless many were about their own country. They literally could discuss the politics and society of Brasil or China in more detail than of anywhere north of London. When I’d talk about my experiences of having lived and worked in a poor northern urban area it was as if I was an anthropologist talking about my year out studying hunter gatherers in the sub Sahara. I was more than once told that I was exaggerating and that ‘there is nobody that poor really in Britain, unless they are drug addicts’. And this was long before the current round of austerity.

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      If it’s any comfort my own insight into the equivalent social class in the USA, though our power structure is a bit more broadly based is the same. The irony is I found Republicans operatives in Washington were the better conversationalists, more open, and closer to ordinary people than their Democratic party counterparts–this was in the 80s and 90s and applies only to operatives in Washington, i.e., political appointees, staffers, journalists (yes, even then journalists were part of political cliques and almost all Democrats) and so on.

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think conservatism and it’s twin neoliberalism is largely code for “I’ve got mine to hell with everyone else.” Everything else is propaganda to keep a critical mass from recognizing the parasites at the top. These right wingers are still people which means they are still social creatures. They might even be decent as long as it’s not a threat to their guiding principle of “having theirs.”

      Recognizing their status could be revoked is frightening. This is why these people are always drawn to phrenology and it’s modern equivalents. Junk pseudo science is the only way to morally justify the order of things. If people are poor under their rule, they might not be good rulers and could be replaced.

      Reply
      1. Brian (another one they call)

        One or two very reasonable explanations why many people will simply refuse to ever go to capitols in their own nations. They can observe a form of insanity and disfunction from afar that causes their internal controls to say no, this is not natural or acceptable to me as a human.
        As bobby d. said, “there are many here among us that feel life is but a joke”
        People don’t feel like their lives are a joke unless they are being treated as one.

        Reply
    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Experienced it myself in the Elite Private Catholic HSs of New Orleans. They run everything and get away with everything. Got a DUI tossed out cuz i went to school with the Judges son.

      Reply
    4. Swamp Yankee

      You definitely get the same phenomenon in the US (knowing more about Brasil or China than Manchester on either side of the pond….).

      The Acela Class and various California Enclaves have often spent more time in Bali than Michigan or Missouri. Hell, most of the haute bourgeoisie who’ve come to dominate Boston know very little of New England beyond Rt. 128, with the exception of various turista-colonialist activities (Cape Cod or Maine in the Summer, Vermont or New Hampshire in the winter and fall, etc.)

      I do think the fact that the Brits still have an official titled nobility may have something to do with the uniquely preposterous flavor of the Eton-Harrow set.

      Reply
  9. timbers

    I have not noticed any links regarding Judge Danny Friedrich and reports she told Mueller she would put him in contempt of court if he did not publicly retract his statements that he has evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. I thought this might be fake news, so googled it.

    It does seem the judge told Mueller she has seen his evidence and told him he has not linked the private parties actions to the Russian government (let alone shown those actions were meant to interfere with the election or that such action is illegal). She told him to make public statements that are not true – that Russia interfered in the 2016 election – might prejudice her jury should it come to trail.

    She also told him he has not even charged the defendants with interfering with the elections, so saying he did involves the ethics of his position that he should consider.

    Googling the subject was a lesson in our wonderful free media. Oddly, The Tea Party Pac gave the simplest account. Several others offered interesting headlines, but when you read the text it was very confusing and became rather technical and jargon-y to the point you wondered what was going on and give on on trying to understand.

    I think TMP a tiny bit better in terms of being clear and understandable but they did make a point of calling one of the defendants “Putin’s chef” “oligarch linked to the Kremlin” which I understand is based on Putin going to a state function that was catered by this defendant’s company, so the usual fake news approach.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      More convinced than ever that *no-thing* will happen as a result of the FBIs failed soft coup attempt.

      The rule of law is over in the U.S., all that’s left is corruption and theatre.

      It will take a few more years for that to sink into people’s minds.

      Q: Who’s going to choose the president in 2020? Answer: the FBI and the Tech/Surveillance Complex. Just a natural progression.

      Year 2000: the president is chosen by The Supreme Court. Year 2004: the president is chosen by The Supreme Court. 2008: the president is chosen by big banks, big pharma, and big military. 2012: the president is chosen by big banks, big pharma, and big military. 2016: a fluke, the president is chosen by Electoral College votes despite the efforts of the FBI and the Tech/Surveillance Complex. 2020: we will get fooled again.

      Reply
  10. Samuel Conner

    Maybe I have “Russia, Russia” fatigue, but I did not take Scarborough’s tweet the way Johnstone did.

    It seemed to me that he was saying, in effect, “we’re all Russia now”.

    I do agree that it’s impossible to believe that there is not more to the Epstein death than meets the eye, and that’s after taking into account the staggering amount that already meets the eye.

    One wonders whether there may be additional “inexplicable” passings in coming weeks as the “trail” is “cleaned up.”

    As Lambert likes to say, it seems that we are ruled by Harkonnens.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      That should have been, “As Lambert has occasionally observed …”

      I’m sure that drawing this inference and vocalizing it gives him no pleasure.

      Reply
  11. PlutoniumKun

    Following a link from Matt Stollers piece above, here is a really bad article in the Post-Courier for Boeing on their construction issues:

    Airline Surveys point to ongoing production problems at Boeings NC plant

    For example, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines called the factory’s quality control “way below acceptable standards” for a 787-10 delivered at North Charleston in June. The plane included a special livery to celebrate the carrier’s 100th anniversary.

    KLM noted several issues, including a loose seat, missing or wrongly installed cotter pins, nuts not fully tightened, an unsecured fuel line clamp and several unspecified missing parts.

    “Who looks at quality in this facility,” KLM asked, adding the airline “is worried for the next deliveries.”

    Thats pretty damning – in many ways reports like this will get airlines much more wary about Boeing than the Max issue, which most seem to think is an isolated error.

    Reply
    1. Procopius

      I saw a report a few months ago. Boeing’s South Carolina plant, which was specifically built in a location to prevent unionization, has lots of problems such as the ones mentioned above. Their unionized workers in Washington seem to do the job they’re paid for, the non-union workers in South Carolina seem to “soldier” on the job, to use Frederick Winslow Taylor’s phrase. There’s an old saying, “Pay peanuts and you’ll hire monkeys.”

      Reply
  12. pretzelattack

    if there ever is a prosecution for the epstein murder, it will be of an overzealous guard or two, who may in turn commit “suicide”.

    suicide.

    Reply
    1. Prodigalson

      Ahhh but that’s the point. People the empire want to make examples of are kept from suicide in jail. Or those we want kept alive like the fellows rotting in guantanamo for decades. But if someone needs silencing, then prison flu may strike at any time.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I fear that Assange will be bundled aboard an Air Force jet in England and not be on board when said airframe lands in America. The response will be, “Who? Never heard of him.”

        Reply
  13. Dita

    I’m ignorant of these things, but I assume the case dies with Epstein. What happens though to the papers etc that were seized?

    Reply
    1. samuel conner

      One would think that G Maxwell, who appears to be implicated in the trafficking, if not in direct abuse/assault, becomes (if not already) a subject of investigation.

      A lot of documents have been made public; IIRC more are scheduled to be released, and I don’t think that would be conditional on this latest “development”.

      Reply
      1. nycTerrierist

        The NY Post:

        “Maxwell was accused by three women of procuring girls to work as sex slaves for Epstein in court filings. Two of the women said both Maxwell and Epstein sexually assaulted them. She has not been charged with a crime, and has not been spotted in public since Epstein’s arrest last month. A source told The Post that Maxwell is cooperating with federal authorities.

        https://nypost.com/2019/08/10/meet-jeffrey-epsteins-gang-of-accused-slave-recruiters/

        Reply
        1. flora

          She has not been charged with a crime, and has not been spotted in public since Epstein’s arrest last month. A source told The Post that Maxwell is being protected by cooperating with federal authorities.

          Fixed it . ;)

          Reply
          1. John

            If I were Ghislaine, I would not be spending time on any yachts any time soon. It would be so easy to follow Daddy into an overboard incident.

            Reply
      2. Carolinian

        One of the terms of his notorious Florida settlement was that all of his associates/clients would skate but apparently only in that Federal district.

        Reply
      1. philnc

        Even if the authorities spike the criminal cases, the civil actions can go on: against Epstein’s estate. Of course there will be tremendous pressure for the civil plaintiffs to drop their claims, and it is likely they’ll eventually be settled along with efforts to seal any new evidence in the record (the goal will be to reach a settlement before any new evidence is committed on the record).

        Reply
      2. pjay

        Exactly. I have to laugh at the hopeful comments that everything seized “will now be admissible” as evidence against other defendants, etc. Some information may be allowed to leak, maybe even a few scapegoats thrown under the bus. But chances of the full story ever being revealed are about zero.

        Reply
    2. Chris Cosmos

      It doesn’t die because there are going to be, I’ve read, civil suits against the Epstein Estate (where they’ll find there’s little there I’ sure) and so on. I think the odd expose on the unmainstream media will continue and some of the characters named recently like Prince Andrew and Dershowitz will get drubbed in the press–but I believe the matter will die out in a few weeks and some investigations will say that the prison staff was negligent and they’ll be fired and everything will be just right as rain as the pro-wrestling arena of the American election cycle gets full coverage. In short, it is basically over in my view. I’ve been to this dance before.

      Reply
      1. John k

        Not a chance anybody is fired, if they were they’d talk.
        More likely promoted with nice raise… they’re loyals that might be needed again.
        Great oppo for investigative reporting, say by nyt or wapo. Not holding breath.

        Reply
    3. Stephen V.

      Good question. I read overmuch yesterday so no links from me but here’s what I gleaned :–Criminal case against individual–where the government represents the community to obtain justice –dies as you say.
      But Civil suits where victims prove harm and sue his estate –should proceed.
      Evidence collected by NYPD? Since there is no defendant to argue harm SHOULD BE available to all.
      Would love to hear from actual lawyer commenters on this.

      Reply
      1. pjay

        Hello Stephen. I have been trying to reply to your comment since this morning, but I have not been able to get through. I am not an actual lawyer. Perhaps that is the reason. Nevertheless, good question, though I am pessimistic about the type of evidence that will be allowed to be exposed by TPTB.

        Reply
      1. Monty

        Just a coincidence, I am sure!

        We all know there is no shadowy conspiracy among wealthy dual passport wielders! It would be ludicrous to imagine any such thing…

        Reply
  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: H-1B Visa denials at all-time high Economic Times

    The Trump administration’s executive order which seeks to create more employment and higher wages for American workers has resulted in increased scrutiny on non-immigrant visa applications and a far higher rate of denial, industry experts said.

    Orange man BAD.

    Last month, a group of US lawmakers expressed their concern over the rising RFEs [Requests for Evidence] and visa denials, saying it was leading to the tech industry in Toronto growing faster than in Silicon Valley or Washington.

    Apparently things were much “better” for the H-1B visa industry in FY15, otherwise known as the obama administration. And I wonder who these “concerned” us “lawmakers” are.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Orange man BAD.

      Bad orange man just may win a second term if he does indeed make significant or even just symbolic moves against the practice of labor arbitrage. Added to which, the current anointed one of the Democrat party establishment can’t even remember who was president when he was vice president.

      Reply
  15. Clive

    Re: How bad can it get? London Review of Books

    Having, over the course of the morning (now stretching into the afternoon, it must be said, I had to limit myself to small doses) read the paper copy of this article (reading the LRB is my lazy Sunday treat, it goes down better, I find, with a cup of tea and a KitKat — and somehow you get a different experience from parsing the paper version than the online equivalent) I can only offer that, unbeknownst to the contributors of this piece and, worse, likely to never be known, such is their lack of self awareness, they embody precisely why Remain lost and certainly gives every impression of being intent on keeping on losing.

    For one thing, while Britain is mentioned exhaustively, the EU scarcely gets a look-in. After completing the article, a keen-to-learn but currently ignorant-on-the-topic reader wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what the EU is. Not just in a critical-evaluation sense, but in a pro-EU sense. Or any sense at all. Only Jan-Werner Muller gets anywhere near that angle. For the others, a reader is none the wiser whether the topic is the EU or the Walmart lay-away scheme we’re talking about joining (or leaving). Given that a sizeable chunk of the U.K. population still need convincing the EU isn’t really a bit rubbish, there’s no remedy to that problem to be found there, from those contributors.

    And for another, talk about metropolitan liberal elite. I’ve nothing against metropolitans. Or Liberals. But honestly, those guys (and gals, Mary Beard has the nerve to waffle on about “those on the broad left (including me) could do better”, which indeed they could, but then she demonstrably didn’t, in her chance to do so) carry it like it’s some sort of diagnosable affliction.

    “How bad can it get?” the article asks, both forlornly and rhetorically. My darlings, I’ve just read your outputs and I know all too well the answer to that one.

    Reply
    1. David

      I had originally decided that life was too short to read this article, but your comments persuaded me in the end to give it a go.
      How bad could the article get? Well, pretty bad, I’m afraid. No, belay that slightly – the various contributions are not all bad, it’s just that they are not very good, or very original. If this is the best that Britain’s intellectual elite can come up with, then we really need a new intellectual elite, just to add to everything else.

      Reply
    1. ambrit

      I did notice all the Russian flags streaming out like tails of fire.
      The Ural with sidecar is a pretty good bike. I’ve seen and examined one in Slidell LA. The bikers mates Dad brought his war time Royal Ensign. That was a hoot! Some of the things that go on in mall parking lots on a Sunday will surprise.
      Plus, the venue, Sevastopol! If that doesn’t say, “If you want the Crimea, come and try to take it!” nothing will.
      V Putin doing a credible impersonation of “The Wild One.” The man has good PR people working for him.
      “The Wild One” wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wild_One

      Reply
      1. skk

        Ahh yes, in 1977(8?) Shell Research UK were running a trial on lubricants for motorbikes. They had quite a few different makes and models that they gassed up and lubricated and invited qualified employees to run them for a period, so long as we promised to do a certain minimum number of miles over that period. One of the bikes was a Ural. It had a reverse gear I recall.

        Reply
      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Slidell is where my IATSE Union ex Uncle lives!!! Small World.

        Im sharing the Putin article on FB to troll my ‘friends.’

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          small world, indeed.
          slidell is where my stolen car ended up…maybe 91?. guy crashed it and ran,them swam, hours long chase, cop commandeered a passing pleasure boat to give chase…helicopters, dogs. i still have a copy of the slidell paper for that day.
          big news at the time.
          i drove that car all the way back to houston in the rain, with driver door smashed, no window,windshield a spiderweb. head out the window all down I-10. got in and out dukes of hazard style for a year after.

          Reply
            1. ambrit

              Oh man, Slidell and the Pearl River area. Where the old US 90 crosses the delta of the Pearl River, it crosses three or four strands of the Pearl River over 1940’s two lane bridges. One of the spans has a small boat launch, cement ramp into the water and about nothing else. A gravel parking spot for trucks and trailers. One day, I’m crossing there headed East and spot several Sheriffs Department cars there. Being a nosey neighbour, living just on the east bank of the East Pearl nearby, I stop to see what’s up. It seems that one of the locals had snagged something large while fishing next to the bridge pilings. Before it was all over, the Sheriff had pulled about a dozen cars out of the fairly deep water below that bridge. Most of the cars ‘recovered’ were high end. It seems a chop shop used the spot to get rid of the evidence after stripping stolen cars for parts.
              In many respects, Slidell truly is the “rancid underbelly of America.” In the interests of fairness, we should apply that sobriquet to the entire American Gulf Coast.

              Reply
            1. ambrit

              Thank the Gods I’ve never been inside that place. Right next to Scuttlebutts is a medium sized Army Surplus store. I went in there once, had a look at the prices and quickly left, my hand on my wallet. What’s funny about that sign is that the road right next to the strip club is a main entrance to one of the Slidell WalMarts. I can imagine some of the ‘explaining’ the Slidell soccer moms have to do for their little children when driving past that sign.

              Reply
    2. Camp Lo

      How do you say, “lemon party?” — News18’s scoop is just in time for Yogi Adityanath’s visit to Russia. I guess toxic nationalism does bring people together. That and fragile displays of masculinity. Oh and multinational downstream petroleum businesses owning news outlets ending in “-teen” compelled to show the proper fealty to an aging secret policeman with pretensions of Tsar-dom. How progressive.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yeah, well, V Putin has the Russian people’s gratitude for fighting off a neo-liberal driven hostile takeover attempt aimed at Russia and it’s vast resources. In that case, nationalism is the opposite of toxic.
        As for the Yogi Adityanath and his milieu, I must plead ignorance.

        Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “‘Huge Victory for Press Freedom’: Brazil Supreme Court Bars Bolsonaro From Investigating Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept”

    This may be a victory for free speech and Greenwald in particular but Trump still has Bolsonaro’s back. An example of this is the US approving this week the nomination of Bolsonaro’s son as the next Brazilian ambassador in Washington DC. Bolsonaro even received a handwritten note from Trump approving this nomination with Trump saying “I don’t think it’s nepotism”. Probably Ivanka and Jared Kushner agreed as well-

    https://en.mercopress.com/2019/08/10/us-approved-the-nomination-of-bolsonaro-s-son-as-next-brazilian-ambassador-in-washington

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Interesting to see Republican Establishment stalwart Jon Huntsman resign last week as US Ambassador to Russia.

      Used to be that withdrawing your diplomats was a step a country could take to express displeasure. Among numerous other signals that were short of declaring (or simply starting) a war.

      BO and Hilary really put the new role of State into overdrive: as the advance team for arms sales. Do what we say (and buy these arms, or contribute to my private “foundation”) or we are going to absolutely F*** you up.

      So may as well send the underperforming salesguy (Huntsman) home.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        There was a book titled The Arms Bazaar, by Anthony Sampson, describing the rise of the arms industry from Vickers and Krupp in the 19th Century to the 1970s. Goodreads says it was published in 1977, but I could swear I first read it in the 1960s and the 1977 version was an update. Anyway, both the State Department and the Department of Defense have had the sale of weapons as their biggest duty since the end of World War II. The idea that some country had to donate to the Clinton Foundation in order to get Hillary’s approval for an arms sale is ludicrous. That was her job, at the time, to approve arms sales. That’s why so many countries have been pressured into buying the Flying Swiss Army Knife (except it doesn’t fly very often and doesn’t carry much ordinance when it does), the F-35.

        Reply
  17. William Hunter Duncan

    If this Epstein affair dissipates into the black hole of American amnesia, news-cycled into oblivion, then I officially give up on Official Washington et al Wall Street/Media/Intelligence/War as wicked beyond redemption, the enemy of all that is good. Anything and everyone seeking to defend it in any way, about anything, will be tainted in my eyes as fraudulent, equally wicked and beyond saving.

    It feels like an imperial sexual assault on the entirety of the American Dream, with enabling corporate media gaslighting Us into victim-shame and helpless self-loathing. It is like a saber to the heart, through the back of “me too.”

    Really, it feels like the final veil has been lifted, official America has revealed itself for the truly craven, pathological, evil entity it is, daring Us to do a damn thing, anything about it – and if we don’t, then I suppose that sends the message that indeed, anything goes, and these elite rapists and murderers can do whatever they want, without limit…

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t see how the media which is tightly controlled by the power-elite can continue to cover the matter. It would require a major re-arrangement of power-relations within Washington for the case to develop legs. But the most likely outcome is that some “investigations” would prove x, y, and z and then be forgotten like dozens of others. Besides the Big Show is about to begin in earnest this fall within the pro-wrestling arena of US Presidential politics.

      Reply
    2. Alex morfesis

      Never give up, never give in….Jeff was suicided no doubt, the photo showing his elbow at a 90 degree angle with rigor mortis should have taken a bit longer than the 90 minute window if he was found soon after his allowed demise, and since when does your elbow lock when you are hanging from the air….

      But so what ?

      One thug collateralized and oh my goodness we might get a bloody nose or worse so therefore look for an answer at the bottom of a bottle ? Not to get all degrasse on you but death happened and why get all worried about the wizard of Oz moment his death is designed to project ?

      It is not a sign of strength but a sign of weakness his oh so public “oops he dead” moment shows.

      We live in a world where journalists and judges are asked to be heroes while our streets are filled with homeless who can not rest in any of our glorious religious temples at night because they won’t open their doors unless they get some grant or funding. People shouting about the unborn but forget you after your 9 month warranty expires.

      How exactly would some animals named Jeffrey and his associated dogs have any chance of taking advantage of some underaged children
      or needy women if we took responsibility for closing those doors of deprecation and
      need by caring more ?

      Pick up the baton.

      There is still a race to run and win

      Reply
    3. Inode_buddha

      Join the club and get in line…. I’ve felt that way since Clinton’s first term. Unfortunately, I was raised to always try the diplomatic approach first, and violence is always a last resort to be avoided at all costs.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        Indeed. How many people even remember the other huge scandal that threatened to shed light on a vast conspiracy among international elites and was rather quickly brushed under the rug during Clinton’s first term and never mentioned again in polite company?

        On the BCCI scandal, lest we forget –

        https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1991-07-11-mn-2869-story.html

        https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_globalbanking118.htm

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_Credit_and_Commerce_International

        This whole Epstein thing sure is starting to rhyme….

        Reply
        1. Inode_buddha

          Panama papers, Assange, Manning, etc etc…. and now this.

          There are four boxes to use in the defense of Freedom: Soap box, ballot box, jury box, ammo box. Use them in that order.

          Reply
    4. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      William your excellent paean, or perhaps cri de coeur, demands a response.

      Another NC commenter encouraged me to look at Solzhenitsyn’s writings and there is much gold there for us to consider:

      “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society. There remain many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.”

      “I have spent all my life under a Communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is also less than worthy of man. A society based on the letter of the law and never reaching anything higher fails to take advantage of the full range of human possibilities.”

      “And yet in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted on the ground that man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding one thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose, simply for the satisfaction of his whims. Subsequently, however all such limitations were eroded everywhere in the West; a total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were becoming ever more materialistic. The West has finally achieved the rights of man, and even to excess, but man’s sense of responsibility to God and society has grown dimmer and dimmer.”

      I’ve always believed that “the crisis”, whether you’re talking about the Boeing senior management, a media company selling stories and ads, or the board of a pharma company selling opiates is a moral one.

      Solzhenitsyn continues:

      “No, all hope cannot be pinned on science, technology, or economic growth. The victory of technological civilization has also instilled in us a spiritual insecurity. Its gifts enrich, but enslave us as well. All is interests, we must not neglect our interests, all is a struggle for material things; but an inner voice tells us that we have lost something pure, elevated, and fragile. We have ceased to see the purpose.”

      “It is up to us to stop seeing Progress (which cannot be stopped by anyone or anything) as a stream of unlimited blessings, and to view it rather as a gift from on high, sent down for an extremely intricate trial of our free will.”

      “A complex balancing act thus arises before the West. While maintaining full respect for the entire precious pluralism of world cultures and for their search for distinct social solutions, the West cannot at the same time lose sight of its own values, its historically unique stability of civic life under the rule of law—a hard-won stability which grants independence and space to every private citizen.”

      https://www.solzhenitsyncenter.org/notable-quotations

      Reply
    5. Briny

      It seems I R A domestic terrorist now as I’m not buying what they are selling. TPTB aren’t going to like that.

      Reply
  18. Camp Lo

    To the relief of well-bred child predators, who will surely show the proper gratitude this election cycle, and to the relief of US Presidents, Obstructicon Crimejustice strikes again. Just in time for mild-mannered alter-ego Bill Barr to secure his spot in the Trump Administration’s second season. Second time’s a charm, huh, Jeff?Let the dark psychology of the MCC do the lifting. Barr, who had one job, and one job only, to get Epstein before a jury, will personally memoryhole the evidence in the Epstein case. I mean, uh, compartmentalize the material into a special access program – control phrase – STRONG BAD. Now the AG has wide latitude in what to adjudicate and when to adjudicate it.

    Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        That’s a heck of an article and it looks legit. And weren’t the Bronfman sisters up to their necks in that NXVIM cult?

        Weirder and weirder.

        Reply
        1. skk

          Totally Clare Bronfman pled guilty in the NXVIM sex cult case. Not just any sex, this was about branding women, forced sex, sex trafficking charges.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            It’s been widely reported that he taught math at Dalton and that a parent at Bear ( I think Michael Tennenbaum) took a shine to him and gave him a job at Bear.

            He later admitted to his sponsor at Bear that he lied about his CV. He’d claimed to have studied at Stanford. That also explains why Dalton would have hired him…..

            Reply
      2. Procopius

        Wait a minute, Epstein did not attend the Dalton School, he was hired as a teacher there. He taught both Physics and Mathematics, although he did not have a college degree. I myself think there’s nothing wrong with a person without credentials being hired to do a job, but it certainly is unusual for teachers.

        Reply
      1. pjay

        One of Barr’s crucial roles in the Reagan and Bush 1 administrations was to facilitate limited hangouts or coverups for covert operations: BCCI, Iraq-gate, and Iran-Contra (as Bush 1’s AG). Barr began his career in the CIA. Just sayin’… For those who think Barr might be the savoir who exposes the Deep State, well, let’s just say I’m skeptical.

        Reply
  19. Susan the other`

    Greenpeace Warns Korea. Japan’s zillions of gallons of stored radioactive water are scheduled to be released into the Pacific. Tepco has no other “solution”. Abe remains silent; smiles; says nonsensical things. Promotes the Olympics shamelessly. All of the Pacific countries are in peril, not to even mention the devastation to the Pacific Sea Life. The food chain is already collapsing. Larger fish/mammals are starving and dying off. The Pacific is in deep crisis from acidification let alone massive doses of radioactive water that will take decades to dilute and perhaps sink to the floor. Korea will suffer enormously, as will China, the Philippines, and wherever the ocean currents span the Pacific and wash up on the Americas. Alaska will be ground zero. That Japan would even consider this release as the only “solution” is shocking. They are obliged as living beings to sequester this mess until an actual solution is found. The behavior of the Japanese elite has been beyond belief. One preliminary precaution might be to sequester them.

    Reply
      1. Susan the other`

        So my position will always be that if no solution can be found, Japan must keep all that goddamned water in Japan in secure tanks. For eternity if need be. This will also give us a better reality check.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          They could pump it on up and into the caldera of Mount Fuji. (It might wake Rodan and then it might not. Schrodinger’s Kaiju.)

          Reply
          1. Clive

            Ha! Abe does somewhat suggest to me of a great casting opportunity, for the guy jumping up and down excitedly in a big rubber suit, stomping on a papier-mâché model of Tokyo…

            Reply
        2. Clive

          Reminds me of when the U.K. discharged nuclear waste from the Sellafield plant directly into the Irish Sea. The U.K. government’s attitude at the time exemplified the notion that environment dumping of waste materials somehow made them disappear. The Republic of Ireland had rather different ideas.

          If I recall correctly, it took decades of pressure both from Ireland (and internationally) before nuclear radioactive material discharges ceased.

          There’s nothing like being a good neighbour, is there?

          Reply
      2. Susan the other`

        Whoever causes the catastrophe – whether Chernobyl, Fukushima or some future Diablo Canyon meltdown, must contain the poison. It it deadly to all life on earth. It is incumbent on us all to prevent the poisoning of the planet. Japan must contain all that radioactive water. Japan must never release it into the beautiful Pacific. They must keep it from entering the environment. One day, when we are as smart as we anticipate, we will have a “solution” and maybe all that water will be worth its weight in gold. Who knows? But now we must contain it. It is imperative.

        Reply
        1. UserFriendly

          You people are literally insane. How many people are going to die? None. What are the horrible effects of this going to be? nothing. You can’t even give me a hypothetical way that this could kill anyone that is based on facts. Much less whole countries of people that need to worry.

          This kind of fact free scaremongering kills far more people than actual nuclear radiation. Zero to five people will be killed by radiation from fukushima. Hundreds to thousands died in the frenzied and unnecessarily rushed evacuation.

          Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      weird out-of-the-box solution: what’s keeping us from expelling said waste into space and getting it out of the biosphere completely? It’s times like these I wish we had that Space Elevator…

      Barring that, i agree with “Susan the other”‘s comment that “Japan must keep all that goddamned water in Japan in secure tanks. For eternity if need be.”

      Reply
      1. foghorn longhorn

        You guys are forgetting the narrative, only russia,russia,russia nuclear radiation is bad.
        Japan radiation is healthful and creates strong bones and teeth.
        2020 Tokyo Olympics!!!

        Reply
    2. Plenue

      It’s not ‘zillions’; it’s 1 billion liters. I’m far too lazy to bother doing the conversion, but there’s something like 187 quintillion gallons in the Pacific Ocean. There could be a thousand times more contaminated water being dumped and it still wouldn’t matter. Just don’t fish anything within a few dozen kilometers of the dump site.

      Greenpeace is talking out of their asses, as they often do.

      Reply
      1. Susan the other`

        Plenue, no offense my dear, I just don’t believe there is a truth to any of that argument; a truth that will sustain us organically. And by organically, I mean time sensitive adaptation. It’s just too much to adjust to.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          I’m not clear which side you’re taking here, but everything on that page supports my view:

          “The spread of cesium once it enters the ocean can be understood by the analogy of mixing cream into coffee. At first, they are separate and distinguishable, but just as we start to stir, the cream forms long, narrow filaments or streaks in the water. In the Pacific, streaks of contaminants become longer and narrower as they move offshore, where diffusive processes begin to homogenize and dilute the radionuclides. Currents then mix and continue to dilute the cesium as it travels across the ocean and, with distance and time, radionuclide concentrations in seawater decline.”

          “Although we have found traces of radioactive contamination from Fukushima in samples collected through our citizen-science initiative Our Radioactive Ocean, the concentration of cesium-137 and -134 in these samples is well below levels of concern for humans or marine life. The highest levels of cesium (10 Bq/m3) attributable to Fukushima that we have measured were found 1,500 miles north of Hawaii. Swimming every day in the ocean there would still result in a dose 1,000 time smaller than the radiation we receive with a single dental x-ray. Not zero, but still very low.”

          “I stood on the deck of a ship l2 miles from the Fukushima reactors in June 2011 and was about one-half mile away as recently as October 2015 and the radiation detectors I was carrying showed little or no increase above background levels. Even the samples I collected (water, sediment, plants, and animals) from these locations are safe to handle without any precautions. In fact, our biggest problem is blocking interference from background radiation in our samples so we can isolate the trace levels of cesium and other radionuclides that we know came from Fukushima.

          On the West Coast of North America, radiation from the water, sediment, and biota is even less of a problem because of the distance from Japan and the dilution that occurs as the contaminants cross the Pacific. The greatest concern is for those who work on the site of the reactors because leaks from storage tanks could release water with high concentrations of contaminants.”

          “Seawater everywhere contains many naturally occurring radionuclides, the most common being polonium-210. As a result, fish caught in the Pacific and elsewhere already have measurable, but small, quantities of these substances. Most fish do not migrate far from their spawning grounds, which is why some fisheries off Fukushima remain closed. But some species, such as the Pacific bluefin tuna, swim long distances and could pick up cesium in their feeding grounds off Japan before crossing the Pacific.

          However, cesium is a salt like potassium, and it will begin to flush out of exposed fish soon after they enter waters with lower contamination from Fukushima. By the time tuna are caught in the eastern Pacific, cesium levels in their flesh are 10-20 times lower than when they were off Fukushima. A study published in 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reported finding very low levels of cesium in Pacific bluefin tuna caught by recreational fisherman off the coast of California in August 2011. The FDA reviewed this study and determined that the levels of cesium were roughly 300 times lower than levels that would prompt FDA to investigate further to determine if there were a health concern.”

          Reply
          1. dearieme

            cesium is a salt like potassium

            Not exactly, but I see what you mean. But you’re on a loser here: people absolutely refuse to be rational about radiation.

            Reply
      2. ewmayer

        Plenue, you’re not allowed to use actual *numbers*, maths, and orders-of-magnitude here – just accept that THE WORLD IS ENDING.

        For example, comparisons like this following one – which I offer strictly for purposes of illustrating your dire faux pas – are verboten:

        Recall the recent story in Links with the following title and source:

        “Mysterious 2017 Radiation Cloud Over Europe Traced to Secret Russian Nuclear Accident | Live Science”

        That reprocessing incident released a radioactive cloud containing roughly 30-100x the radioactivity released by Fukushima to date. Bad, yes – but Europe seems to be still populated by living non-zombies. Weird. But – it gets worse. In order to not get snagged by SkyNet or the NC Google-captcha hell, I’ll link to a post I made here which contains all the relevant links. Upshot:

        [1] 2017 Russian nuclear accident: 30-100x Fukushima;
        [2] US 1950s-era nuke testing at its Nevada test site: 1 million times the radiation release of [1];
        [3] US Pacific Islands nuke testing: 42x the radiation of [2], i.e. on the order of one *billion* Fukushimas, right in the middle of the Pacific.

        None of which is to suggest that Fukushima is a minor incident – it’s bad, and we still don’t know how much radioactive material remains to leak out. Just that the innumerate “sky is falling” hysterics-peddlers are not helping their cause.

        Reply
    3. David

      Hum … it’s Greenpeace, making allegations about Japan which are unsupported as far as I can see, and reported in an English-language Korean newspaper. Not a combination to inspire confidence. Let’s wait and see if there’s any truth in the allegations, and if so how much.

      Reply
    1. richard

      Funny as hell, as Johnstone often is. Thick, obvious, knock you on head satire is the only kind we deserve right now. Thanks for the link.

      Reply
  20. Eureka Springs

    There was a bit of conversation with helpful links on back pain/problems in a thread this week. Anyone have a link to it handy? Thanks in advance from a friend in pain.

    Reply
    1. paul

      ttps://backincontrol.com/book/back-in-control-a-spine-surgeons-roadmap-out-of-chronic-pain/

      and

      ttps://bluechairwisdom.com/10-lessons-from-healing-back-pain/

      were the two I looked at

      Reply
  21. Brooklin Bridge

    Wish I was an early bird this morning and got a comment about the antidote in near the top of the comments section.

    The link (via) embedded in the caption is easy to miss, but goes to the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards and shows the top 100 photographs. The beauty of each and every one of them is stunning beyond words. What a gallery of masterpieces. Overload, overload, overload!

    Many thanks to Jerri-Lynn for such a marvelous, hidden in three letters, gem!

    Reply
  22. ChristopherJ

    Sharks attacking humans. Having lived through 40 years or so in Australia, I can confirm that the prevalence of reported attacks is definitely increasing.

    Is this because there is less of their food in the oceans, making them come to shore?

    All I know is that we’re very tasty and I only swim in the nets up here. The crocs reckon we’re good too

    Reply
  23. Carey

    First, Epstein™ is brought clearly into the spotlight; then, just as clearly,
    “dies by suicide”™ while in official custody.

    We are being played so hard

    Reply
  24. Cal2

    Yet another reason why Epstein would not have committed “suicide.”

    Here’s the luxurious digs where he would have done his time
    before being most likely pardoned in a few years:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/nyregion/michael-cohen-otisville-prison.html

    “Otisville’s camp has long been the lockup of choice among Jewish white-collar offenders, including Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly who was convicted on federal corruption charges. Mr. Silver, who is free on bail pending an appeal, has requested to serve his seven-year sentence at the camp….Ken Starr, a money manager who siphoned millions from his celebrity clients, wiped down mess hall tables during his stay, and Walter Forbes, an executive charged with securities fraud, mopped floors, according to former inmates. Hassan Nemazee, an investment banker and political bundler associated with the Clintons, cleaned the bathrooms while serving time for bank fraud.”

    Did the father in law of the hideously privileged Chelsea Clinton do his time there?

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Making shit up is against our written site Policies.

      Epstein was not a white collar offender. This was not a “white collar crime” like, say, securities fraud.

      Reply
  25. Kurt Sperry

    Re: Google’s War on Publisher Paywalls

    I only wish there were an option in google that would not show any paywalled results at all — hard or soft paywall — or ones that require registration. It’s like the TV cable channel guide where you have to sort through hundreds of channel spam listings you don’t have and don’t want in order to see the channels you actually can watch. I don’t want to see them, but they push them on me against my will and by so doing impose a never-ending tax on my time having to do the sorting myself. I don’t want to subscribe or register to any remotely mainstream website and I won’t, just like I’m never going to pay for premium cable.

    Paywalled links in search results are worse than useless from my perspective, to me they are both spam and a tax on my time.

    Reply
    1. Brooklin Bridge

      I don’t even like them putting cookies turds on my machine (to serve me better advertizing that I will, cough, cough, enjoy more or that will suit my needs better or whatever)… So suddenly I can’t read the Guardian (admittedly a small loss) because they insist on doing me such enormous favors as tracking my moves and interests.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yes. I try to clear my caches and cookies regularly. Please, someone don’t tell me that the system has an automatic “removal bypass algorithm.”

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          There’s a Chrome extension called, IIRC, Cookie AutoDelete. There’s one for Firefox, too. I only discovered them because I stumbled on an article about increasing the privacy on Firefox when I was setting up Fedora on a USB 3.0 stick (works fine, but I’m prejudiced in favor of Ubuntu). I use Windows most of the time and started using it on Chrome two days ago. Seems to do the job, although I found I had to whitelist Gmail and GoComics. I was clearing cookies manually before. Chrome also has an option to clear cookies from specified domains or sites on closing. Probably Firefox does, too. I’ve never used Opera and never use Internet Explorer or whatever they call the new one.

          Reply
  26. Kurt Sperry

    Re: Yet another brutal week for American journalism Columbia Journalism Review

    Money quote for me: “Pacific Standard’s operating costs had climbed to more than $3 million a year” The enterprise appears to have been on a clearly unsustainable trajectory.

    Reply
  27. Expat2uruguay

    I wanted to recommend I really great podcast “Bundyville”, about the anti-government movement by the journalist Leah Sottile in partnership with Longreads and Oregon Public Broadcasting. If you like podcasts, or are looking to try one for the first time, this one is really gripping.
    https://castbox.fm/va/1254633

    The second season of the podcast is also available in print form here:
    https://longreads.com/2019/07/15/bundyville-the-remnant-chapter-one-a-quiet-man/

    Reply
    1. David

      Neither article makes the point that these were originally two separate countries, only united in 1990. The “separatists” in fact want to separate the two countries again. Aden (as the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of South Yemen) was Soviet-inclined, much more modern and progressive and more advanced politically. There’s always been a lot of unhappiness in the South about the merger. Now it’s coming out. Curiously, Hadi, the current President, is himself from the South.

      Reply
  28. bwilli123

    Interesting (if not exactly lay-person friendly) article arguing that the conventional view of the US deficit (vs China) as a weakness conveniently hides the hidden beneficiaries.
    The imperial intentions of Trump’s trade war babble

    …”the deep US trade deficits that have persisted since the early 1980s arguably represent a new form of advanced capitalist imperialism, the emergence of a system of tributes whereby states around the world effectively subsidise the expansion of US-centred capitalism. At the very least, the deficits are signs of a structural shift underlying global power relations, based on an increasingly predatory form of financialised capitalism, with the US still at its helm.

    Much like with discourses of Soviet rivalry in the 1960s and 1970s, the current babble of US decline and lagging serve an ideological purpose within these continuing transmutations of US-centered power. It is effectively aimed at subordinating other countries and shifting the burden of adjustment onto them, while distracting attention away from the US-centered, corporate-led restructurings of global production systems that underlie US deficits in the first place…”

    https://issblog.nl/2018/04/06/the-imperial-intentions-of-trumps-trade-war-babble-by-andrew-m-fischer/

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Huh? The quoted snip makes clear that the imperial intentions are what underlie financializatio, offshoring and persistent trade deficits – I refer to this as “reserve currency colonialism” by the US – but the article title ascribes imperial intentions to Trump’s trade war babble, not to the financialized globalization to which it is a reaction.

      Now, imperial intentions may underlie both things, but they are very different things.

      Reply
  29. Pat

    I haven’t confirmed that Epstein was taken off suicide watch, but there is a clear case to be made for suicide encouragement at the very least. According to The NY Times he was left alone and unobserved for hours. So a man who reportedly had attempted suicide days earlier was ignored. Yup that is standard procedure under the circumstances. Even the most benign explanation stinks to the skies.

    Anyone who doesn’t think Epstein was murdered has not been paying attention.

    Reply
  30. Steve (@saltopus_rex)

    Re: NOT AMUSED. This from the ‘monarch’ presiding over the Bottomless pit of corruption from Jimmy Saville to the Krays to Prince Andrew’s funtime activities.

    Reply
    1. Prodigalson

      Her majesty has spent many decades looking the other way in regards to that sort of thing. Boys will be boys and all that.

      Every nasty piece of business sice WW2 has had her quietly drinking tea in buckingham with nary a complaint.

      Reply
  31. Carey

    Rob Urie makes the case that despite claims to be moderate centrists,
    the Democrat Party *has* been truly radical- in the service of the Few:

    ‘Democrats and the Politics of Change’

    “..This distance between the Democrat’s nominal ethos and its governing practices is alternatively explained as that between electoral marketing and service to power. Modern Democratic presidents have enacted truly radical programs. Mr. Clinton officially ended the New Deal in favor of giving capitalists free reign over American political economy. Mr. Obama resurrected neoliberalism following the massively disruptive circumstances it created.

    In other words, the national Democrats haven’t acted cautiously or incrementally. In the service of power, they have acted boldly. It is only with programs that would redistribute power downward— as with a robust Green New Deal, Medicare for All and / or enacting universal suffrage and publicly funding political campaigns, that decorum and moderation have ruled..”

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/08/09/democrats-and-the-politics-of-change/

    Reply
  32. JBird4049

    School Kids Suffer With the SNAP of a Finger Capital & Main

    I don’t think anyone who has actually been hungy or worry if they can afford to buy the 99 cent box of artificial mac n’ “cheese” would be so vile as to try to cut the food stamp program.

    What soulless people.

    Reply

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