Links 8/20/19

The quest to unlock the secrets of the baby Universe Nature

The Thick Gray Line: Forest Elephants Defend Against Climate Change NYT

America’s agriculture is 48 times more toxic than 25 years ago. Blame neonics Guardian (original).

Coal industry stakes survival on carbon capture plan FT

Business Roundtable Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans’ Business Roundtable. It’s a cookbook.

MIT Accused Of Costing Workers Millions In Cozy Deal With Financial Giant Fidelity NPR (MV).

Paging Big Brother: In Amazon’s Bookstore, Orwell Gets a Rewrite NYT. “The preface referred to another great Orwell work, ‘Homage to Catalonia,’ as “Homepage to Catalonia.'” Fraud scales.

Brexit

On the brink: Britain’s economy braced for Brexit ‘shock’ FT

Boris Johnson lays down law to the EU: Prime Minister DEMANDS Brussels drops plan for ‘unviable’ backstop and replace it with a new legal commitment to avoid hard border in Ireland Daily Mail. The text of Johnson’s letter.

Freedom of movement for EU citizens coming to the UK will continue largely unchanged after a no-deal Brexit Business Insider. The UK does not have the organizational capacity to put a new system in place by deadline.

Salvini May Have Missed His Moment to Shine Bloomberg

Syraqistan

That Iranian tanker:

Lessons From the UAE War in Yemen Lawfare

The Fourth Industrial Revolution could mean the end of traditional manufacturing in Africa WEF

These Nigerian Teens Are Making Sci-Fi Shorts with Slick Visual Effects Kottke.org

North Korea

North Korea nuclear issue gets more complicated Asia Times

India

Kashmir: DW reporter’s first-hand account of the ‘siege’ Deutsche Welle

Besieged Kashmiri neighborhood in test of wills with India’s Modi Reuters

Modi’s ‘dawn of development’ is a dark hour for Kashmir FT

“Kashmir Has Been Turned Invisible” Jacobin

What happened to Trump’s Kashmir mediation offer The Express Tribune

The ‘Amateur’ Tech That Could Penetrate the Kashmir Blackout The Wire

China?

Hong Kong gov’t to start work immediately on building platform for dialogue: Carrie Lam Xinhua. Start with the Five Demands? Lol, no.

China’s Great Firewall no barrier to ugly online battles over Hong Kong protests South China Morning Post

Britain concerned at reports HK consulate worker held in China Reuters

Twitter blocks state-controlled media outlets from advertising on its social network Techcrunch

* * *

China: How Fragile Is the Giant? Valdai Discussion Club

China trims lending rates with new benchmark, more rate cuts expected Reuters

Line and Nomura Launch Zero-Commission Online Brokerage in Japan Bloomberg

Stolen rail plates, screws caused train derailment Bangkok Post. Readers, any metal theft stories in your area?

New Cold War

Pentagon conducts 1st test of previously banned missile AP

America Needs a “Dead Hand” War on the Rocks. Russia, it is said, has one.

The ‘Celebritization’ of Protest in Russia Moscow Times

Ask Not What the Kremlin Will Do Next The Wilson Center

Trump Transition

White House officials eyeing payroll tax cut in effort to reverse weakening economy WaPo

Trump’s Foreign Policy: All Coercion, No Diplomacy The American Conservative

Influence Peddling, Double-Dealing, and Trumpworld Swampmen: How U.S. Plans for the World’s Fair Fell Apart Daily Beast

When the Lights Went Out: On Blackouts and Terrorism MIT Press Reader

2020

Trump 2020: Be Very Afraid Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone (Furzy Mouse). Well worth a read.

Migration

In Nuevo Laredo, Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program Feels Chaotic and Dangerous Texas Observer. Deck: “It’s also kind of working.”

ICE Doctor Defends Force-Feeding Detainees on Hunger Strike as ‘Uncomfortable’ But Necessary Texas Monthly

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Epstein Created Trust With $578 Million Days Before Suicide Bloomberg

Key Unanswered Questions About Epstein Death and Cameras WhoWhatWhy (Furzy Mouse).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Daniel Pantaleo, Officer Who Held Eric Garner in Chokehold, Is Fired NYT

Class Warfare

How Life Became an Endless, Terrible Competition The Atlantic (Re Silc).

Reforming Social Security to Save Social Security Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Re Silc). “So what does the optimal plan look like? Ndiaye calculates that the average retirement age would be 69.6 years and the labor force participation rate for individuals aged 65–69 would be 78%. In comparison, in the U.S. today, the average retirement age is 66.5 years and the labor force participation for 65–69 year olds is 32%.” Personally, I view retirement to a life of shuffleboard as a death sentence, and want to work ’til I drop. But I don’t have the pain that millions of workers have after a lifetime of labor, either, or grandchildren to spend time with. So “three more years in the workforce, no problemo” is “optimal” for whom? Morality aside, MMTers will know the economics are full of lies.

Modern Money and the War Treasury Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity

New Electric Motor Could Boost Efficiency of EVs, Scooters, and Wind Turbines IEEE Spectrum. Readers?

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

179 comments

  1. Olga

    A couple of good articles:
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/08/19/the-deeper-meaning-in-lost-war/
    “It’s pretty clear. Saudi Arabia has lost, and, notes Bruce Riedel, “the Houthis and Iran are the strategic winners”. Saudi proxies in Aden – the seat of Riyadh’s Yemeni proto-‘government’ – have been turfed out by secular, former Marxist, southern secessionists. What can Saudi Arabia do? It cannot go forward. Even tougher would be retreat. Saudi will have to contend with an Houthi war being waged inside the kingdom’s south; and a second – quite different – war in Yemen’s south. MbS is stuck. The Houthi military leadership are on a roll, and disinterested – for now – in a political settlement. They wish to accumulate more ‘cards’. The UAE, which armed and trained the southern secessionists has opted out. MbS is alone, ‘carrying the can’. It will be messy.”
    On Yemen, KSA, Iran, Russia, China, US

    And
    https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/08/article/all-along-the-watchtower-the-follies-of-history/
    “Nothing beats the beguiling, stony smiles at the Bayon temple near Angkor Wat in Cambodia’s Siem Reap to plunge us back into history’s vortex, re-imagining how empires, in their endless pursuit of power, rise and fall, usually because they eventually get the very war they had sought to avoid.”

    IMO, these two writers always deserve to be posted at NC.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Shocking. Yet another lightly-armed, impoverished, ragtag group that the biggest military colossus the world has ever seen could not defeat.

      But just like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria et al, it’s not a “loss”. Oh how the Benjamins did flow: from the gullible chump U.S. taxpayer to a handful of billionaire arms merchants.

      Who needs clean water or bridges that don’t fall down? Who needs to get their kids educated or someone to go see if they’re sick? We got bombs to drop, baby, doncha know?

      #Winning!

      Reply
  2. notabanker

    Oh look, it’s Q4 of 2019, time to dip into the MMT pot and cut payroll taxes for the schlebs, need those votes ya know.

    These people are unfamilybloggingbelievable. This stuff is so transparent.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      while doing a “find the pea” trick at the same time? (the chicago fed article)
      lots of terrorwords in there: “maximalizing utility” especially, makes me check the dark corners.
      I “chose” to “retire” when i was 38….unmitigated pain, and lack of access to(let alone a “path to”) healthcare.
      I woke up this am, as usual, under a fallen stone wall, thinking about how I’ve got 12 years til i can get SS and medicare(turn 50 in a week or so)…and how for most of my working life, I expected all that to just not be there.I had SSI and medicaid for about 7 years…but we’re apparently too wealthy, now,lol(Texas hates the poor)
      This dude still thinks that “productivity” is somehow tied to wages,lol.
      …and there’s zero mention at all of the Cap built in to the payroll tax that supposedly funds all this. If these kinds of people were serious about the “solvency” of ss and medicare, they’d be advocating the ending of that Cap, so the rich could pay their fair share.
      instead, it’s the Soup Nazi Plan, plus “work till you die”(arbeit macht frie)
      Fie.
      it’s like they’re just screwing with us, now.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        The only people who think wages are connected to anything, are those who have never had to actually live on them.

        Reply
    2. flora

      Cutting payroll taxes now will generate cries from the Peterson institute gang later that “social security is going broke, Broke! It needs to be cut or privatized! It has to be destroyed to save it!”

      Add in the current call to “reform” social security *again*, – always downward, stingier and worse: chained CPI, raised retirement age from 65-66-67, fiddle real inflation rates to keep cola underfunded – by raising the retirement age yet again at the same time that *life expectancies are falling* (Case and Deaton).

      These “reformist” people are monsters.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        We could lose them in the same gulag as the drunken sociopaths writing for War on the Rocks ought to find themselves in, for what any sane observer would call incitement of international terrorism.

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          And whilst those guys are having fever dreams about protecting against – and the best they can seem to do now is be realistic and say “yeah we’ll be dead but you’ll be deader!!” – Russia, they will get pantsed again and again by followup iterations of “flying airplanes into buildings”.

          I put that in quotes because it won’t be (or it will go beyond) actually flying airplanes into buildings. Much of it may not have any physical damage at all (thank god), just screwing with our systems. But it’s gonna happen and every cent spent to protect against some stupid Russian missal attack is a cent wasted on real defense.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            I don’t think Americans find quite the same sense of national purpose in defending the aristocrats and the aristocratic order as Iranians did and do in defending their people and their national honor. A few well-placed and well-publicized misadventures involving Western nuclear scientists, technologists, and shills participating in that program has a good chance of aborting it once it starts. Tragedies involving merely the authors of that grant proposal opinion piece, even just tragic deep fakes of them carnally enjoying their own children and/or grandchildren, would stop it cold before it starts. Digital artists, hup to, you have an entire world to save! :)

            Reply
      2. Tomonthebeach

        Not sure where ChgoFed is getting its retirement age data from, but my best data comes from Gallup, and age 62 is the average age as of 2014. I doubt that it has climbed much in 5 years.

        Put differently, most people retire before reaching current SSA retirement age of 66 even though they take a permanent cut in pension benefits. Clearly, SSA policy is to encourage setting age 70 as a retirement target while hoping that most people die before or soon after that age. Alas, that strategy is not working. https://news.gallup.com/poll/168707/average-retirement-age-rises.aspx

        Reply
        1. jrs

          If this was coupled with a strong fight against age discrimination in employment, and to help employ older workers, at least it would kind of cohere as social policy (I’m not in favor of it, but at least one could see the policy in it). But instead it’s coupled with the Trump administration weakening what paltry protections exist against age discrimination!

          This is just a GO DIE policy period. I suspect they know people won’t work longer, they just expect then to spend the last 3rd of their life is abject poverty, streets full of homeless elderly people etc.. And that will be the new normal.

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith

          My brother was basically driven to retire at age 57 (!!!) from a well paid union job because the private equity mill owner created physically taxing schedules (12 hour shifts that rotated through the day, night and swing shifts) that he couldn’t take any more. It was his income or his health.

          And for more middle class types, I know tons of people who retired in their 50s because they couldn’t find work. They’d lost a corporate turf fight or had the misfortune to work for a company that was acquired and most of its employees were fired.

          Aside from cops and people with good government pension, my sample says that the idea that people choose to retire early is a canard.

          Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hannah Arendt’s proposed that the Jews weren’t targets of the Hitler regime because they were Jews but because they were small enough a group to manage without causing a civil war but large enough and seen enough of a group to send shivers down the spine of who might be next forcing acquiescence to the regime.

        Modi won’t go after sanctioned muslims except in a more general discriminatory sense, but trying for the sanctioning of mosques (think of a millet system) might be an obtainable goal.

        Reply
    1. Carla

      Thanks so much for posting this important piece. The People’s Pharmacy is a vital source for a great deal of information that simply isn’t available anywhere else, or at least isn’t available elsewhere for years, by which time the person who needed the info could be dead. Just one example: taking a statins have significant “side-effects”*: https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/articles/are-statin-side-effects-fake-medical-news/

      *As Sidney Wolfe, M.D., author of “Worst Pills, Best Pills” once explained to me: “Drugs have many different effects. We call those we don’t want “side effects,” but they are not necessarily less serious or important than the effects we do want from the drug.” I never hear the term “side effects” without thinking of Dr. Wolfe’s wise words.

      Reply
      1. Craig H.

        Ted Kaczynski’s favorite psychologist, Martin Seligman, had an amazing piece on drug side effects that I used to be able to find on the internet but cannot any more. He is a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, so he has a common professional prejudice against psychiatric drugs. But he made the observation that side-effect was a euphemism, and that the hopefully minor side effects were very often as large as any remedial effect and that it would be equally correct (semantically) to refer to the nausea, diarrhea, drowsiness, weight gain, impotence, psychosis, &c as the primary effect of the compound and any remedy as the side effect.

        (His article/paper/whatever can’t be found easily with startpage either. It does not help that there is now an FDA drug honcho named Paul Seligman. Don’t know if they are related. Since I am tangentially typing I will mention that Martin is also the CIA’s favorite psychologist and I like to refer to him as Mengeleman.)

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          There’s a blood pressure drug, Cardura, that makes you so dizzy when you first take it you gotta start on “1/4 pill the first day, 1/2 the second…” and that’s at best, you might have to stretch it out.

          But then you “adjust to it”. But here’s the kicker: if your blood pressure reads high again a few years later, they prescribe another pill. Not as a replacement, but as an addition. Because it is treated as gospel in the BP community that you can’t build up resistance to their particular drugs. Heroin, yeah. Norvasc, no that works forever.

          So what is labeled as a “side effect” miraculously can be adjusted to, but you don’t develop any tolerance ever to what’s supposed to be the main effect.

          Yeah, right.

          Reply
          1. Off The Street

            The side effects are too often on your wallet.

            A former Sears exec I met had a pet phrase: Give me something to sell for a dollar that costs a dime and is habit-forming. He didn’t mention whether he had any relatives in pharma.

            Reply
      2. Annieb

        Thanks for posting this, Carla. The People’s Pharmacy site links to a NIH article about cataracts and statins. Important for those who already have cataracts.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          People taking statins should ponder whether cholesterol has a causative role in heart disease in the first place. I’ll try and find the links, but a prominent doctor in the 1960’s studied autopsies of people who had died of heart disease. He found they had cholesterol in their arteries and concluded it was the cause. So he ran around and convinced doctors everywhere of this, and the biggest blockbuster drugs of all times (statins) were created.

          But

          It seems that the cause is actually *inflammation*. The body sends cholesterol to the artery to fight the inflammation. That would mean it’s an *effect*, not a *cause*.

          Reply
  3. Olga

    File under “cute” or “wake me, when that check from Dimon arrives:”
    https://www.dallasnews.com/business/business/2019/08/19/ceos-eight-dallas-fort-worth-companies-sign-rethink-meaning-shareholder-value

    “The shift in corporate priorities comes as widening income inequality and the rising costs of such things as health care and higher education have led some politicians and critics to question whether the fundamental premise of American capitalism should be revamped. Some executives have also complained that an outsize focus on share prices and quarterly results hampers their ability to build businesses for the long term…. Dimon and BlackRock’s Larry Fink have written open letters saying that chief executives should take on a larger responsibility for tackling societal matters and, at times, take stances on politically controversial topics.”

    Not sure we should be excited or worried… particularly on that “take stances” thingy.

    Reply
    1. Mike Mc

      “Take stances” sounds like lobbying aka working the refs… which is different from current practices how?

      Michael Bloomberg and Howard Schultz took stances, mostly with their checkbooks. How’d that work out?

      Reply
  4. Matthew G. Saroff

    Regarding, “Freedom of movement for EU citizens coming to the UK will continue largely unchanged after a no-deal Brexit,” there are ways that the UK can weaponize their unpreparedness.

    If for example, the UK was to start requiring work permits for EU citizens, with a 6 month grace period for people currently working in the UK, and go full “Theresa May-Windrush” on its implementation, this could cause significant disruption in EU nations, particularly the Baltics, where expats and remittances are the primary factors floating their economies.

    It would not make things better for the UK, but it would make things worse for the EU, particularly as Baltic expats relocate to other EU countries.

    Of course, I’ve always believed that the UK went into the EU in order to sabotage it from within, as was mooted in, “Yes Prime Minister.”

    Reply
    1. Jesper

      I suppose what could happen to the right to reside (often commonly referred to as freedom of movement but it is a right to, once arrived, be allowed to stay and legally work) might be that new arrivals will not upon request be automatically approved to get tax-ID numbers so that they can start to work legally. If such a policy were to happen then the ones with tax-ID numbers would get to stay. The ones coming after might need to suffer the same immigration policy (again, right to reside) as people coming from outside the EU.
      Often I get the impression that the freedom of movement argument is about right to enter without having a visa, as far as I can tell the actual issue might be about who is allowed to stay and legally work.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous 2

      It would also make things worse for the UK as it is very dependent on foreign-born EU citizens to perform many key roles. But then I have the impression the current UK government really cares very little about the impact of its actions on the country, perhaps thinking they will be able to continue blaming the EU for everything.

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        In Buckinghamshire, if only from attendance at Catholic mass and other gatherings, there is a noticeable a decline in EU27 attendance (mainly east and central European) and an increase in African (Nigerian and Zimbabwean) and Indian attendance. Most of them work in health or social services. As they have slightly larger families, there aren’t enough places at Catholic schools.

        At the races in Deauville last Sunday, British visitors were complaining about the lack of planning for and uncertainty about Brexit. Some of the owners, not just British nationals, bought at the yearling sales and will either keep the horses in training in France or send them to Ireland. It’s not just the superior prize money in France and Ireland, but the hassle of quarantine etc. Horse racing generates a fair amount of rural employment and tax, so something will have to replace it.

        It does not help that Owen Paterson’s wife (a Ridley) chairs Aintree racecourse, home of the Grand National, and both are Brexiteers who can’t see what the fuss is about and think there’s not enough emphasis on the opportunities of Brexit. Accordingly, this morning’s BBC TV breakfast news was at pains to balance the challenges and opportunities Brexit presents for farmers. The BBC reporter thought that trading on WTO terms would make British farming more profitable.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous2

          Thank you Colonel. Very interesting.

          ‘The BBC reporter thought that trading on WTO terms would make British farming more profitable.’ Did you think he made a convincing case?

          I am in France so away from British media (and happier for it).

          Reply
          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you.

            The case was far from convincing and based only on being freed from EU red tape, that old chestnut.

            I will be in be in Deauville this long week-end and St Tropez for the middle fortnight of September, so looking forward to getting away from the British media.

            Reply
    1. Anon

      Copper theft has been rampant for years now. Not likely to decrease. My local community college had a group of buildings with copper rain scuppers; they’ve all been stolen in the last few years.

      Reply
      1. todde

        they stole copper swords off statues where I live a decade ago.

        easy money as long as you don’t get electrocuted.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          There have been news reports–radio, television, newspaper–substantial amounts of household wiring stolen from apartment sites, fenced and patrolled.construction sites. Brass plaques have been pried off benches at bus stops and parks. Street lighting has been damaged and disabled by the removal of wiring of poles, wiring cut off at ground level. This on southern Vancouver Island, mostly suburban Victoria, although including events more than 200 kilometers north.
          In addition, my s.i.l. had his catalytic converter stolen while the car was parked on a rural road while the family was swimming in a nearby river. A local car dealership had many (not sure how many) cars with converters removed one night recently.

          Reply
    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Lol. I looked up new Orleans metal theft on google.

      A story from last August about an employee at Sewerage and Water Board ‘stealing’ copper by not throwing it away like he was told AND-

      In May, thieves stole 124 Wheels from a Chevy dealership worth 120K$!!

      Hahaha id forgotten about that. Not technically scrap but it is ‘metal theft!’

      Reply
    1. Daryl

      Since we are all fried if even one country decides to try “winnable nuclear war”, I propose that instead we invest in the radically new technology of trusting that we don’t all want to die and trying to reduce the stockpile of things that might kill us all…

      Reply
      1. John

        Remember the Cold War when it settled into a war of words between two more or less rational actors. Ah, the good old days.

        Reply
      2. Oh

        The MIC and the politicians are so cunning; they’ll destroy a portion of the nuclear arsenal only to rebuild it (MIC welfare program). Same with base closures which then result in construction of new ones. So much BS and deception.

        Reply
  5. Jesper

    About: How Life Became an Endless, Terrible Competition
    A quote from the article:

    The relentless work of the hundred-hour-a-week banker inoculates her against charges of unearned advantage.

    In my opinion it does not inoculate against the charge of unearned advantage. What is being done during those hundred hour a week also counts.

    I’ve come across quite a few people whose way to the top was solely about spending a lot of time at work. Their job is about making a career, that is their primary objective and doing the actual job comes as a distant second. Then some might suffer from the ‘imposter-syndrome’ which can then be addressed by going to a friendly mental health professional who’ll (for a fee) tell them that they deserve the money/position as they have the money/position. Some might claim that to be circular logic….

    They chose to pursue that life, more than a few people living that life have no qualms about lecturing others about wrong choices. Now it seems like they want the gain but not the pain, they want their choice to be all about the gain and the pain is to be made to go away.

    The author of the piece asked for a policy to be put into place to allow people to work less hours.

    Americans who work more than 60 hours a week report that they would, on average, prefer 25 fewer weekly hours.

    The easy policy would be to legislate and enforce legislation about working time but sadly that would also benefit the masses so therefore it is an impossibility.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Note the career paths of those long-hours people. They transfer positions and often corporations every 18 to 36 months. Just enough time to get their name associated with something new, but gone before the (family blog) aka reality hits the fan.

      That is they play the 80/20 rule to perfection. The best part is the more static idiots at the top always “miss them” and wish they would come back.

      Reply
  6. dearieme

    Torque is the amount of work that a motor or engine produces It wasn’t in my day.

    typically measured on a per-revolution basis. Hm; intended to save the day I suppose. But in the age of the torque wrench is there any need to treat torque as something obscure?

    So for a given torque level, the HET consumes significantly less energy than competing designs.

    I don’t follow the “So”. Is the claim that unnecessary windings imply avoidable losses? If so, hurray.

    The HET itself is spectacularly efficient In engineering “efficient” usually has a precise definition; it’s not just a general hurray-word. What exactly they mean here I have no idea.

    But I did like the list of knock-on benefits. I hope it proves to be practical, reliable, and economic.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      It is a compound wound motor. That is not special.. It does not use rate earth magnets, so the efficiency claims are questionable.

      I would infer the new tech is in the control system, switching between the series high torque winding to the parallel, high speed windings.

      The comment about the cost of the control system is key, because originally the control system for an electric motor was an on/off switch.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        I think the article is really good news. It falls short on applications because these engines are more widely used than we realise. As the article says electric engines work in energy generation (think wind turbines) and in reverse to produce work, in cars for instance. I didn’t see mentioned the millions of electric engines used in climatization through gas compression. If the system works both the COP and the EER of expansion machines could improve a lot.

        Reply
        1. Ignacio

          Well the article mentions air conditioning indeed but it should be in the headline. For each EV there are thousands of expansion machines that take a big chunk of current energy consumption.

          Reply
    2. Ptb

      Torque is different from power. The italicized statements should be ignored (and will certainly be ignored by anyone who actually understands them)

      Reply
    3. UserFriendly

      Well, EE puts me a bit over my ski’s but since it doesn’t look like anyone did much besides reading that article I’ll do my best to see if I can figure out if what they are trying to claim makes sense.

      First the companies website, which was helpfully linked to early in the article, has color animations and a bit more technical info. This section seems to contain the bulk of their claim:

      The Hunstable Electric Turbine (HET) is an exterior permanent magnet circumferential flux 4 rotor machine.

      Due to the larger forces present in the HET Motor, a different approach can be utilized. For example, in a 48 coil, 8 pole example, 6 phases are used to create a smoother acceleration. However, our technology allows for all phases to produce a continuous pulse of power. With the power pulses overlapping rather than being sequential, torque pulsations are noticeably absent and for a given current level, torque is also much greater than conventional machines. This allows maximum torque production in addition to the greater torque integral of our design.

      Another advantage is that phases can be software controlled to be grouped into particular patterns. For example, phases A and B can be controlled to act as a single larger pole. Likewise, C, D, E and F. Conversely other groupings are possible with A, B, and C or D, E and F acting as single poles.

      This process allows for a true variable pole count, allowing a software-controlled speed/torque relationship to be developed. This allows a speed change increase with no changes in frequency, current or voltage level, which makes an electronic transmission possible.

      A bit of googling got me to this paper.
      INVESTIGATIVE STUDY OF A NOVEL PERMANENT MAGNET FLUX SWITCHING MACHINE EMPLOYING ALTERNATE CIRCUMFERENTIAL AND RADIAL PERMANENT MAGNET
      (side note, dear EE people, stop trying to be Chemistry. AlCiRaF is all over the abstract; Ci isn’t an element and the rest of those would never bond but apparently it is just an abbreviation for Alternate Circumferential and Radial Flux but with no rules for when to grab the 2nd letter or not).

      Anyways I still have some questions and I’m certainly not qualified to say if it’s feasible or not but my summary is: They changed the orientation of the magnets relative to the rotor and added more poles that are are able to be controlled by software (they can be combined also to make less poles). That apparently means less copper and no rare earths. But there are still permanent magnets I just don’t know where, what kind or why they aren’t rare earths.

      Reply
      1. SJ

        ….difficult to build and control. Can use rare earth magnets but doesn’t have to (same as all permanent magnet motors) but if you don’t then you get less torque and less power per volume but it is cheaper. Has an interesting geometry so that you get a rotor both on the inside and on the outside (and on the ends – but these really can’t be doing much), however this makes it mechanically tricky (bearings etc).

        The idea of pole-switching is great (see here: https://volabo.com/technology/ ) but means that the windings have to be connected individually to the power electronics so that they can be re-wired “on the fly” which makes the electronics expensive and really really hard to connect physically.
        So, as Bill Clinton may have said to Monica, nice but no cigar.

        Reply
  7. Jeff W

    “Start with the Five Demands?”

    The CNN piece “Why Hong Kong is protesting: Their five demands listed” gets around to the Five Demands at about the fifteenth paragraph, not all that expeditiously for something mentioned in the headline, and sort of muddies them up. The Guardian lists them clearly:

    In addition to demanding Lam’s resignation, the protesters are calling for:

    •The complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill
    •The government to withdraw the use of the word “riot” in relation to protests
    •The unconditional release of arrested protesters and charges against them dropped
    •An independent inquiry into police behaviour
    •Implementation of genuine universal suffrage

    CNN skips the demand to withdraw the word “riot” (that’s what protesters are charged with) and calls the last “greater democratic freedoms,” which is pretty vague. The protesters are asking for genuine “universal suffrage”—the wording matters because “universal suffrage” is “[t]he ultimate aim” stated in Article 45 of the Basic Law—in other words, something that was specifically promised to Hong Kong for over two decades.

    It’s also probably the one demand that Chief Executive Carrie Lam, never a maverick on democratic reforms, would be least likely to implement, as it runs counter to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s 2014 decision, never passed by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, regarding how “universal suffrage” is going to work, i.e., Hong Kongers get to vote on three candidates, each of whom is “a person who loves the country and loves Hong Kong,” chosen by a pro-Beijing nominating committee. (It was that decision, short-circuiting Hong Kong’s own deliberative process, that lead to the 2014 protests in Hong Kong.)

    None of the demands, as I’ve said before, even the one regarding universal suffrage (which is the stated “ultimate aim” of the Basic Law), is remotely radical—they’re what a functioning civil society would do—but the Hong Kong Executive seems to view them as off-limits.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      From Olga’s Escobar link above.

      China’s annual GDP per capita is in the range of $9,700. Hong Kong’s annual GDP per capita is in the range of nearly $49,000 – higher than Germany and Japan. It is no wonder that no one in Hong Kong wants to be “like China.” So money is a key factor for Hong Kongers to fear “Chinese domination.” Only a few outsiders, such as Thai economist Chartchai Parasuk, highlight this.

      Of course we have universal suffrage here in the US but the ruling class has found other means to keep the lowers under control by limiting our choice to two dubious political parties, control of the press etc. Therefore we amateur observers do wonder whether what is happening is as much a class war as a noble struggle for freedom. The involvement of people like Rubio, the NED etc. increase this suspicion. Escobar says that the protestors are trying to provoke a Tiananmen. Surely that’s not true for ordinary people in the street but may well be true of some of the leaders if reports such as a recent Grayzone are correct. The actual nature of this movement seems a bit murkier than the five demands.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Please don’t treat China Daily, or any other mainland venue, as a news source. It isn’t. I will quote Xinhua to show China’s line, which is useful. But that’s the sole reason.

          Reply
      1. Olga

        To me, the funny thing is that only the first and last demand would have been applicable before the protests started. The three demands in the middle came about as a result of the protests – in other words, how can one be protesting against something that hadn’t yet happened?
        After the protests started, the proposed law was withdrawn. And no matter what verb is used, a law can always be re-introduced (so it is a kinda futile demand). As for “genuine suffrage” – where on Earth does such a thing exist? Every country has gate-keepers – so another futile demand.
        This smacks of an attempt at a colour revolution – if nothing else, then just to show China “hey, we can always manage to mess with you (so better behave!).”

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The particular question about genuine universal suffrage should be addressed to Beijing and anyone else involved in drafting and adopting the Basic Law.

          If it’s a question of where on earth does it exist, why was it (presumably the genuine version) in there?

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          The consequent demands are SOP for a movement: you have to at least try to protect your people – and your right to demonstrate.

          I think you’re probably right that these demands are not within the power of the HK gov’t, so the real discussion is with Beijing. I wish them luck with that.

          At this point, it appears that Beijing plans to wait them out, probably the best outcome for the people of HK. In a sense they’ve already won, by demonstrating their ability to bring the city to a halt, as long as they aren’t overrun by the army.

          Reply
        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > This smacks of an attempt at a colour revolution

          I don’t think that the incantation “colour revolution” is sufficient to make a case. Demands change. Why is that hard to accept?

          Reply
      2. Jeff W

        The actual nature of this movement seems a bit murkier than the five demands.

        No, it’s doesn’t. There’s nothing remotely mysterious or sinister about the movement, these completely straightforward demands or the estimated 1.7 million people—about a quarter of the population—who braved the rain on Sunday to protest.

        The Executive brought forth an ill-considered bill that jeopardized civil liberties in Hong Kong, people rightly protested, and the government response was non-responsive to the demands, heavy-handed, and heavily tilted (as always) towards Beijing’s interests, rather than towards those of the constituency it purports to serve. So the five demands seek to remedy that situation—address the original grievance (withdraw the bill), investigate and undo the effects of the government response (have an inquiry, drop the “riot” allegation, and release those wrongfully imprisoned), and have a process where the Executive is accountable to those it serves (genuine universal suffrage). All that plays out without inconsistency against Hong Kong’s Basic Law and Hong Kong’s different development from that of China.

        Now, of course, the American Empire, with its Hybrid War, and a “small, radical nucleus of agents provocateurs in Hong Kong,” postulated by Pepe Escobar, and Marco Rubio and NED might be playing out their grand geostrategic designs, also—Escobar isn’t wrong to point out how US interests might want to subvert these events for their own ends—but that’s separable from the movement itself initiated by and for people in Hong Kong. Certainly the people of Hong Kong are capable of making and acting on these demands on their own.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Yes, and I am pretty sure I live on a rainbow cloud.
          (How hard is it to understand that the west is capable of co-opting any locals’ discontent for its own use or misuse?)

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > How hard is it to understand that the west is capable of co-opting any locals’ discontent

            There seems to a sort of pseudo-leftism that postulates that the United States is infinitely powerful, the “hidden hand” behind all events, and that denies agency to non-elite actors. That’s what the former Confederacy did in the Civil Rights Era with “outside agitators,” an odd position for the left to occupy. It’s just not so. It is, precisely, a “rainbow cloud.”

            We can’t even overthrow the government of Venezuela in our own backyard, And suddenly we’re going to co-opt millions of Hong Kongers to go get themselves beaten up by police? GTFO.

            Reply
        2. Ook

          For context, compare it with how vicious the British were during the 1967 Leftist Riots against British colonial rule. These lasted eight months, and according to the wiki page, “by the time the rioting subsided…51 people had been killed, of whom 15 died in bomb attacks, with 832 people sustaining injuries, while 4979 people were arrested and 1936 convicted”. Most of the deaths were due to police action.
          In contrast, Beijing has treated protesters with kid gloves.

          Reply
      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        According to Xinhuanet, the Shanghai’s gdp per capita is about $20,000 USD*.

        That contrasts with Escobar’s $9,700 for the whole of China, and HK’s $49,000. If the key factor is about money, do people of Shanghai also fear the domination of other provinces, if not to the full extent as those in HK?

        *Shenzhen would be around $27,000, I believe. There are other cities in China as well ranked higher than Shanghai.

        Reply
      4. ewmayer

        “Of course we have universal suffrage here in the US but the ruling class has found other means to keep the lowers under control by limiting our choice to two dubious political parties…” — And note the further parallels: Beijing getting to stack the candidate deck in Hong Kong elections is a close analog of the purpose served by those DNC superdelegates.

        Reply
      5. Anthony G Stegman

        GDP per capita numbers for Hong Kong are highly misleading due to the vast wealth disparity in the former British colony. A very small number of elites accrue the vast majority of the wealth generated in HK. The bulk of residents scramble for the remainder.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have to leave soon, but I believe a great many refugees came from China during the 1950’s, and again in the 70’s, (this time from Vietnam).

          As refugees, they probably started from the bottom (except those who brough many of those gold bars with them – I think Wuk referred to them once).

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > GDP per capita numbers for Hong Kong are highly misleading due to the vast wealth disparity in the former British colony

          Averages conceal, as usual. Unfortunate that Escobar used that tool, which shows a lack of knowledge of the ground.

          Reply
  8. Michael

    Taibbi: “Trump takes the lectern. His hair has visibly yellowed since 2016. It’s an amazing, unnatural color, like he was electrocuted in French’s mustard.”

    I knew it!!

    Reply
      1. Alex morfesis

        Taibbi nails it….the very best part, perhaps unintended, at the very end of the article, is the sad spectacle of a vastly outnumbered set of stray alley cats protesting using a physical bullhorn against Trump in a world of electronic bullhorns

        Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Include me in. This hits home.

        America’s upper classes and their proxies in government and media have no capacity for self-reflection, and will make asses of themselves in a fight. This is where Trump makes his living, getting people who should know better to rise to his bait.

        Liz are you listening? Personally I hardly ever watch the news and go out of my way to ignore Trump as much as possible (same with that more low key showboat, Obama). We don’t have to play his game.

        Reply
  9. zagonostra

    >Spike Lee Endorses Kamala Harris

    Tim Black does an excellent take down of Spike Lee for his endorsement of Kamala Harris, especially in light of his endorsement of Bernie in 2016 (starts at around 0:42). Along with Glen Ford, Tim Black gives you a good view from a black man’s perspective.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8GPQUd-SXw

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Spike Lee has been subsumed by Hollywood and its money. He can only make outrage movies in another Trump administration,
      so of course he’ll endorse

      The color-coordinating,
      shape-shifting,
      wealth-weaving,
      time-traveling,
      accent-accentuating
      Kamaleon

      Bernie or Trump. It’s up to the Democrats.

      Reply
  10. junez

    “Reforming Social Security”: The report says, “The U.S. Social Security Administration predicts that in 2020, the costs of the program will exceed its income.”

    True but misleading. There is the Trust Fund, justified as a way of preparing for just this excess of costs over income. In 2020, the Fund will hold $2.8 trillion in assets. [SS Trustees Report 2019, Table VI.C4] The Fund is projected to run out, under intermediate level assumptions, in 2035.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      And with the decreasing life expectancy of so many Americans, it probably will last even longer.

      I know feature not bug.

      Reply
        1. Monty

          We are friends with several families with an undocumented parent through the school. Our kids are all friends. They always get cash in hand and they don’t pay a penny in taxes. They claim to be penniless on government forms and so they get medicaid and scholarships for their citizen kids. Dental, medical etc is all paid by the state. Means testing is all based on tax returns. I don’t begrudge them as they are all very nice folks. Much nicer than most of the ‘natural born’ strivers we meet there.

          Reply
          1. GERMO

            This again. I guess the thought is, it works better if you substitute how nice they are for yesteryears’s obligatory free cell phones/flatscreen tv’s. Also very smart to avoid the previously obligatory all-caps. But seriously, I’m not buying this any more than I do when my many coworkers tell it to each other at breaktime.

            Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      There’s a kink in the Fund: once SS starts drawing on it, it’s drawing on the general fund (because the SS Fund consists of US Treasuries, probably entirely digital and notional). That is rather than drawing on its own, dedicated income. So the funding becomes much more politically vulnerable – which, as a beneficiary, I’d rather it wasn’t.

      It’s actually more politically useful to point at the Cap on income taxed, as well as the exemption for unearned (rentier) income.

      Reply
      1. Anthony G Stegman

        The SS Trust Fund is a mirage. There is no $2.8T to be found anywhere. The only way the IOUs get paid is through more borrowing, or more money creation out of thin air.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          The SS Trust Fund is no more a mirage than any US Treasury Bond held by any individual or group. It is backed by the same guarantee. As one of the Americans who “invested” in this with the taxes I have paid as demanded by law, I will not only consider any attempt to deny those funds not be paid in order to spare another group some pain or loss to be an act of treason worthy of violent rebellion. Especially as I see little or no moves to steal, which is what it is, from any other holder of US debt.
          They will create the money out of thin air or take it out of the hides of Dimon, Blankfein, Obama, etc or people like me will. A lot of American workers no longer accept the bull argument that their investment is different or lesser in fact we are first. The full faith and credit of the United States applies to us first and everyone else after.

          Reply
  11. fajensen

    New Electric Motor Could Boost Efficiency of EVs, Scooters, and Wind Turbines IEEE Spectrum. Readers?

    Sound like bunk to me. No details are given despite all the patents claimed (which I didn’t read) so I suspect it is a rather well-known design / product hyped up as something very special and unique with extraordinary claims about not needing a gearbox and a DC/DC converter. Of course. One can do away with the gearbox. Theoretically. There is however a price to pay for this:

    For all electrical motors, the motor torque is directly proportional to the current drawn.

    This means that the purpose of the gearbox in an electrical car is to avoid having totally obscene currents flowing in the power converters that control the speed of the motor so one can use commercially available converter switching blocks and batteries. The problem with high currents is that conduction losses goes up proportional to current squared, the switching losses includes a function that is some exponential with the current – one of the reasons that kA devices run at sad, low, very audible, frequencies always.

    The EMI-problems will grow in proportion to peak currents also. Batteries have impedance, large peak currents will induce voltage drops at the switching frequency, stuffing up the electronics due to EMI.

    One can get somewhat lower currents for a given value of torque if one can somehow have “more magnetic field” inside of the motor. That means maybe having multiple poles, in any case more poles than the regular 3, 4 or 6 “phases” used for normal synchronous-type motors. That kind of construction also makes the motor run slower for a given switching frequency, which inherently matches it better to the wheel speed. That could be “it”, but, this is known since Herr Wennström founded ASEA (ABB)

    But, however way they cut it, they will still need a DC/DC or DC/AC converter to run their motor with a controlled speed and possibly controlled torque (so it doesn’t burn up). “Cheating” by building it into the motor doesn’t make it go away as it is claimed.

    My totally crazy guess is that the device is a synchronous reluctance motor with unusually many poles :)

    Reply
    1. Wyoming

      Indeed your point about getting more magnetic field inside the motor seems to be the key. I found this in another article about this company.

      ….improved performance in electric motors can be accomplished by improved permanent magnet distribution within the motor. Both Linear Labs’ and Yasa’s technologies utilise larger quantities of magnets for a given motor size.

      Reply
    2. Wyoming

      Some more info you might want to comment on.

      The motor features a unique magnetic arrangement in which the magnetic forces acting on the rotor are in the direction of motion. This sets the LL Motor apart from conventional electric machines. The data has shown that the Linear Labs (LL) configuration is capable of producing nearly 100% more torque and continuous power than its commercial counterparts within the same frame size and geometrical envelope.

      With virtually no end windings, the LL machine allows for reduced copper losses. The data shows that when applying the same frame size as used in commercially available propulsion units, a significantly higher efficiency (especially at the low speed region) can be achieved. This can lead to substantial reduction in onboard energy storage requirements or an extended driving range using the existing commercial Energy Storage System (ESS).

      Data indicates that the continuous and peak power density of the LL motor using standard cooling can exceed 1.9kW/kg and 2.7 kW/kg respectively, at a base speed of 3000 RPM.

      The LL motors use the same inverter as conventional electric propulsion drives and operate at lower DC link voltage, allowing for a smaller DC link capacitor and reduced switch ratings. This results in a more compact and low-cost power electronic converter at the required power ratings used in commercial propulsion units.

      The radial forces in the LL machine are smaller than their commercial counterparts and produce very limited torque pulsation, which provides a very quiet motor drive system.

      Reply
      1. fajensen

        I’d very much like to see a drawing :) My “engineering sense” twitch when they go out and say stuff like “… magnetic forces acting on the rotor are in the direction of motion” being unique, this being always the case, or the mother would not rotate.

        One can argue that the force on the rotor is really the vector sum of two magnetic forces, one trying to pull the rotor into the stator (the radial force?), which is taken up by the bearings, and another force that is trying to align the field produced by the rotor with the field produced by the stator – or trying to minimise the “magnetic impedance” in the case of a reluctance motor. The latter force is what drives the motor round.

        Maybe they found a better way to optimise the force that attempt to align the fields?

        Shortening the magnetic path that the flux has to take also allows one to “pack more flux at higher density”, which will also lower the motor current for a given torque.

        This is what is done in “synchronous reluctance motors”. They have one set of windings in the stator pulling a rotor with slots to designed guide the magnetic flux. What makes these motors very efficient compared to the induction motors they replace is that no current flows in the rotor and the very short paths for the magnetic fields. The “downside” is these motors need a power electronic drive, however, having the drive means that the motors can now be perfectly controlled according to load so far less power is wasted.

        These types of motors are more or less mandatory in the EU now because of the latest EU efficiency directives, labelled “IE4” (probably making Donald Trump hating us even more).

        This is what they look like: https://new.abb.com/motors-generators/iec-low-voltage-motors/process-performance-motors/synchronous-reluctance-motors

        Reply
  12. QuarterBack

    Re the cameras in and around Epstein’s cell. It is critical that investigators secure the storage media of the Digital Video Recording (DVR) systems.

    Modern security camera systems (even for home systems). Are designed to route the digital video feeds from many cameras into a DVR that records and timestamps each feed into a synchronized digital record. Older analog systems utilized tape loops that continuously recorded onto the same media eventually overwriting older recordings depending on the duration of the loop. Digital systems have a similar limitation based on disk space (or other electronic media) that deletes older recordings as disk storage becomes full, however because electronic storage prices are continuously dropping, and digital compression technologies are very efficient, DVRs can often store several months, if not years of video. These systems also have user access controls and logs of who has access to view or alter any of the settings of the DVR (including deletions).

    Securing the physical storage devices of these DVRs can provide a wealth of information as to whether any of the recordings, DVR settings, or access were altered. The logs can even identify which cameras were selected by operators for view. Typically a monitoring operator sees a display of many small picture in picture views of many cameras at once with one or more views having a larger detailed view. The operator can view the many smaller views and manually select which to see in a more detailed view. Analysis of the logs can reveal if any prison personnel had particular interest at a specific time, which can offer insight into what the thought process of the operator may have been.

    Looking at the DVR data as a whole can also limit the number of people who could have been present at a station where camera views were changed or where DVR settings could have been altered. Key camera views can also be compared with older video to see if camera angles or video angles had substantially changed, as well as providing evidence as to when and why any found changes happened. It is also likely that some of these cameras also captured audio that was passed to the DVR.

    Having physical access to the storage media can identify if any video is missing or altered, and could possibly enable deleted data (including altered logs) to be recovered. It is therefore imperative that investigators remove and replace the digital store media ASAP so that proper digital forensics can take place.

    Reply
    1. Alex morfesis

      Sadly, Epstein will be timed out, slowly removed from the media hole until there are only weekly feeds hidden under the fold tow

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        To your point, CNN’s latest headline, “Epstein’s death reveals the outrageous state of federal prisons”, is so patently an attempt at misdirection that it’s comic – like they really care about the conditions in prisons, and by the way it was a jail not a prison from what I read.

        Corporate media’s complicity with the ruling elites is so glaring that I have to purchase new BS glasses.

        Reply
      2. Cal2

        Hey, it’s been almost 18 years since the FBI refused “on national security grounds” to show the video they seized from the gas station of the plane hitting the pentagon.
        We’re still in the Middle East, based on that in part.
        Your darn tootin’ that Epstein will become a historical footnote.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      If the video shows no one entering his cell–supporting the preferred narrative–then it definitely seems we would have heard about it by now. Either the vaunted NY press is incompetent or something does seem to be going on.

      Reply
      1. QuarterBack

        The “non-cooperation” of prison personnel with the investigation is not unexpected because several guards and supervisors are facing administrative (at least) and potentially criminal prosecution for actions, non-actions, and coverups (e.g. altered log books). I imagine that the Fifth Amendment is very prevalent. Altered hand written logs could lead to conspiracy after-the-fact charges. If DVR and other evidence points to altered behaviors before-the-fact, then consequences will escalate considerably. Any alterations of DVR or other cyber protected or access restricted records could lead to computer hacking charges and clear indication of higher sophistication of duplicity.

        If the investigation is thorough, any deviation by guards and supervisors from operating procedures (including variance of any de fact status quo outside policy) can be investigated by looking at camera, phone, and radio logs to discern which variances may have been spontaneous, or intentional by a person acting alone or with possible prior coordination with others.

        Reply
        1. CanCyn

          “If the investigation in thorough” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have no idea whether or not Epstein offed himself but it would not surprise me if someone produced proof that he did not. The thoroughness seems to be more about confusing, obfuscating and directing attention elsewhere rather than on any kind of investigation. I include the press in that accusation. Much of the discussion about this case on this blog would make the basis for a very good investigative journalism story if anyone actually cared to do it.

          Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon conducts 1st test of previously banned missile”

    Who said that American industry is finished and incapable. The U.S. only withdrew from the treaty on the 2nd of August and in a little over two weeks has been able to design, tool up, build and test a prototype for a new generation of these missiles that would have been illegal under that treaty. Either that or they have been building it for years now and decided to blame Russia, break that treaty just so that nobody would think that they were breaking it all along. Whatever.

    Reply
    1. Bill Smith

      The Tomahawk has been around for decades. It has a range of well over a thousand miles but is usually needs far less. Looks like they built one that has less gas.

      Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    Found another set of 4 ‘Indian Bathtubs’ a few days ago in Mineral King. These were hewn out of granite and are around 4 feet wide and 3 to 4 feet deep. Nobody’s really sure how they were made, adding to the mystery. This brings the total of known sites to 6 in MK. There are over 1,000 of these, almost all @ an altitude of 5,000 to 7,000 feet ranging from the Kings River to Lake Isabella, all on a north-south axis.

    https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2008/5210/sir2008-5210.pdf

    This article on Disney’s attempt to create a ski resort in Mineral King is one of the best i’ve read. Nothing came of the proposed venture, and it would’ve been a vastly different place. As it is now, there is just one place to spend money in all of Mineral King @ the Silver City Resort, how un-American!

    The Disney proposal envisioned an “American Alpine Wonderland” on the floor of Mineral King Valley: a five-story hotel with 1,030 rooms, a movie theater, general store, pools, ice rinks, tennis courts, and a golf course, in addition to a hospital, a gas station, a chapel, conference center, heliport and a power station.

    https://www.mouseplanet.com/12399/The_Story_of_Mineral_King

    Reply
    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Thanks for the Mineral King link. I visited the area last year and was astounded by its beauty. It would have been a tragedy had the ski resort been built.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Had our sisters, niece & nephews and a few other friends go on a backpack trip to the beautiful 2nd Mosquito Lake last week, where thankfully their namesake was somewhat scarce. I was keen on seeing if I could find a spot for my hammock on the larger island in the lake, but alas the trees were too far apart. That would’ve been an interesting place to sleep, and an easy get of a swim over, you’d just need to bring a dry bag.

        You get deep backcountry feel, in only 4-5 miles distance.

        The next ridge over is where Eagle Lake is, and Disney had planned to have a 120 seat restaurant atop Eagle Ridge, where they had gone as far as coming up with a ‘Bear Country Jamboree’ amitron show that would’ve been happening there nightly, i’d suppose. It ended up being used in Disneyland, in the end.

        And in contrast to the main part of Sequoia NP in the Giant Forest where it can be a mob scene, MK is never all that crowded, as parking & camping is limited.

        Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “America Needs a “Dead Hand”

    I was reading this piece but I must have missed the bit in all those listed options where in case of a nuclear exchange between the US and the Russian Federation, the whole planet goes into a nuclear winter where several billion people die and there is nothing left to fight over. If that was important, then I am sure that they would have included this option-

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

    Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “The ‘Celebritization’ of Protest in Russia”

    I am pretty sure that when rappers and celebrities join the opposition movement because it is fashionable, that they would willing to pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in defense of political figures that can never get beyond single-digit support in elections. Here is an article showing how these protests are organized. Some people may recognize the name of the translator – Eva Bartlett – as the one that went to the Syrian war front to report what was actually happening on the ground-

    https://www.fort-russ.com/2019/08/feel-in-the-game-how-protests-are-organized-in-moscow/

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Thanks.
      Funny sentence: “Maria Fil agrees that the text imbued with mobilization rhetoric may have been developed by experts..” – ya thank?
      So much for spontaneous protest… It’s like that Guardian piece from 2004, when the author wondered why the ‘spontaneous’ protesters all waved same little placards (in English)!

      Reply
  17. Hotei

    A printing company next door to us had all of the copper plumbing stolen a few weeks ago. The thieves entered through the roof and stole it all over the weekend. This is an ongoing business concern, not an abandoned building. We provided a hose hooked up to our water supply for two weeks while they waited for new plumbing to be completed.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      When China was buying scrap metal in a fever is when most of the thefts occurred, say 6 years ago, but you rarely hear about them as much now, market forces, invisible hand of lack of demand.

      I’ve seen people giving metal away on Craigslist, the new owner has to do all the heavy lifting though.

      Reply
  18. Ignacio

    Salvini May Have Missed His Moment to Shine Bloomberg

    Salvini is so disgusting! Next worst to Berlusconi. You know I can understand an Italian, American or Spanish “deplorable” that blames it all to migrants. These are guys struggling in a day by day basis. One can understand that. But a professional politician cannot be that simple without malice. The Salvinis, Trumps, Modis or Bolsonaros of the world are opportunistic profiteers of despair.

    Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Lessons From the UAE War in Yemen”

    Michael Knight has some interesting lessons for the UAE war in Yemen, but I can think of a few others.

    1-Never let the Saudis have control over your armed forces.

    2-Never let yourself be used as a meat-shield by the Saudis.

    3-Don’t let people tell you that you have to stay because ‘stability’

    4-Don’t allow yourself to be used as a proxy force for another country’s benefit.

    5-And for the love of god, practice the Powell Doctrine – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powell_Doctrine

    Reply
    1. notabanker

      I found this article fascinating. I came away with a sightly different take, may I propose some adjuncts.
      1b. Don’t partner with the US
      2b. Counter intelligence requires being able to speak their language. Don’t partner with people that can’t.
      3b. Partners that are good at slaughtering the opposition generally make bad partners afterwards.
      4b. Don’t partner with the Saudi’s.
      5b. If you have done any of the above, you are pretty much screwed in the long run.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        This is one of several articles today I thought Lambert was just teasing us with (sorry, bad syntax).
        For one, the author had “mixed feelings” about UAE’s getting out of the Yemen war. Oh, my… no, we do not want an end to any war! Second, what does one make of a sentence like this:
        “The first lesson is that a capable and compact regional military, such as the UAE armed forces, can launch—and win—complex combat operations on their own.” What exactly has UAE won? Isn’t their withdrawal the very proof that they cannot actually win? The rest of the article could not be taken seriously. (A. Crooke’s piece at Strategic Culture is far more accurate and informative.)

        China: How Fragile Is the Giant? Valdai Discussion Club:
        “To some extent, the Chinese experience is a very good lesson for those who preach the effectiveness of a centralized development model, one that places to the forefront finding effective solutions for tactical problems, rather than the long-term health of society as an aggregate of people capable of democratic self-organization. All the more so as the present-day West shows us its willingness to creatively search for ways to overcome the existing challenges of political development. Whether the states with a more centralized leadership model are capable of doing so remains to be seen.”

        My sense is that many in the west would be a tad skeptical of the “willingness” of any western govt to search creatively – or otherwise – for improvement/development. Who pays these people to make such stuff up?

        Pentagon conducts 1st test of previously banned missile AP
        The obvious conclusion is that the US got out of the INF treaty because it was for a long time developing arms that did not comply with the treaty. But they still managed to accuse Russia of non-compliance.

        Ask Not What the Kremlin Will Do Next The Wilson Center
        At the end, there is this sentence “The Kremlin is at war and wants everyone in Russia to be at war too.” Nothing the author wrote would lead one to that conclusion – but there it is… why? I guess someone has an agenda to push (and be paid for).

        Oh, and finally – carbon capture: very expensive and very unproven.

        Reply
          1. jrs

            Yang is running on carbon capture, to the degree he has a climate plan. And he got in the climate debate, clearly not on merit. Though to be fair he isn’t just for carbon capture and has some more down to earth sketches of plans. But this stuff is selling fantasy, I mean I’m for research and all, but this should be the tiniest fine print as best in any climate plan as it’s a moonshot if ever there was one. From his website:

            Invest heavily in carbon capture and geoengineering technologies designed to reverse the damage already done to the environment through a new Global Geoengineering Institute and invite international participation.

            Invest in any idea that has the potential to reverse the damage done to the environment, for example cloud-seeding technology to increase the atmosphere’s reflectivity.

            Reply
            1. skippy

              Yang is running on the equivalent of an ideological music man [movie ref] and its stream of thought and not much more ….

              Reply
  20. Louis Fyne

    Possible association between in utero consumption of fluoride and IQ.
    not an anti-vaxxer—but critics are pretty effective at using that label to stifle any criticism, :(

    https://www.medpagetoday.com/obgyn/pregnancy/81672
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-experts-challenge-study-suggesting-children-exposed-to-higher-levels/

    since I took as gospel, fluoride = good and anti-fluoride = luddites , I did some reading.

    1. there is an absolute paucity of research re. neonatal exposure to fluoride and brain development—and the extant research has drawn no conclusion yet, whether harmless or harmful.

    2. the study included coffee and tea intake. So one can’t focus exclusively on the headlines of fluorine in water as (i didn’t know this) tea is very high in fluoride.

    3. water fluoridation coincided with the introduction of fluoride toothpaste and to my knowledge, there aren’t studies that disentangle the effects of the universal availability of fluoride toothpaste versus fluoride water. (happy to be proven wrong)

    4. the bottom line is that there definitely should be more research re. fluoride and fetal/infant development. And if you’re a non-pregnant adult, you can keep drinking the tap water and brushing your teeth. but if you’re pregnant…..going 9 months with limited tap water seems like a reasonable (even if proven ultimately overly paranoid) precaution?

    Reply
    1. fajensen

      Medicating an entire population was and is – forever – a completely retarded idea. Straight out of the 1950’s “know-it-all” Movie-Expert stereotype, which totally exists.

      I say ‘retarded’ because it is obvious that the effective dose of any drug will vary quite a lot between different people and it is also obvious that any effective drug will have side effects – or it will not be doing very much, in which case it’s use is pointless!

      This is why we have qualified doctors doing prescriptions and sometimes even lab tests to verify effective dose levels.

      Even my flatcoated retriever gets annual lab tests for her Thyroid Hypothyroidism medication, but, for mediating the water for millions of people we get “Ohhhh Noes, lets just slap whatever random effective dosage of Fluoride onto the general population, because … Healthy Teeth”?! And lets also call everyone who questions the wisdom of this names!!

      I sometimes think that Humanity is too stupid to survive!!

      Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    The Einstein of numismatics was a pedophile the stature of Epstein, where the mutual objects of their desire never grew up.

    Walter Breen knew more about American coins than anybody else, and his opus: Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins is still used widely, and ‘Breen numbers’ as to varieties and whatnot, are commonplace.

    I’d heard rumors of him being a pedophile maybe a decade or so before he was finally caught and brought to justice in 1991.

    He was pushed down a flight of stairs in Chino prison and busted up a bit-as pedophiles are pond scum, even in prison.

    Breen was initially convicted of child molestation or lewd behavior in Atlantic City in 1954, resulting in a probationary sentence. During science fiction fandom’s “Breendoggle” of 1963–1964, Breen was banned from attending Pacificon II and briefly blackballed from the subculture’s main amateur press association after allegations of further sex crimes surfaced. Nevertheless, prominent fans of the era such as John Boardman, perhaps unaware of Breen’s prior conviction, dismissed the allegations as hearsay and “character assassination,” and the scandal blew over. Shortly thereafter, Breen married Bradley, who was cognizant of his behavior but chose not to report him. A further molestation conviction may have occurred in 1964.

    Breen was again arrested on child molestation charges in 1990. He accepted a plea bargain, which resulted in three years’ probation.

    A year later, he was charged with eight felony counts of child molestation involving a 13-year-old boy. Though diagnosed with liver cancer in 1992, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He died in prison in Chino, California on April 27, 1993.

    In 2014, Breen’s daughter Moira Greyland revealed that she was one of the people who reported her father for child molestation.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      “Sentenced to ten years in prison”

      Even though he died before even finishing a year incarcerated, that is nowhere near enough years.

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Here’s an example of a Breen-numbered die variety I currently have up on eBay.

      Another prominent savant accused of pedophilia who comes to mind is James Levine, longtime director of the NY Met. (The opera, not the singular-form baseball franchise). Wikipedia:

      On December 2, 2017, The New York Times published a front-page story containing detailed accounts of four men in their 40s to 60s alleging their long-term sexual abuse by Levine occurring decades earlier, while each was a music student of his in his teens or early 20s. The following day, the Met suspended Levine and cancelled his future scheduled engagements.[2] The Ravinia Festival also promptly severed all ties with Levine, as did the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which announced that Levine would never again “be employed or contracted by the BSO at any time in the future.” Following an investigation that ended in March 2018, having “found credible evidence”, the Met terminated its relationship with Levine, for “sexually abusive and harassing conduct”.[1]

      Fame SciFi novelist the late Arthur C. Clarke – who moved to Sri Lanka supposedly due its more tolerant laws regarding homosexuality – has also been accused of pedophilia, though a quick websearch turns up a mix of ‘accused!’ and ‘cleared!’ articles.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe what happened to Alan Turing was warning enough. Turing was arrested in 1952 and it was only four years later that Arthur C. Clarke moved to Ceylon as it was called then.

        Reply
  22. Craig H.

    > How Life Became an Endless, Terrible Competition

    This is horrible journalism and I could not get past the first paragraph. If the man has a good point it’s a pity he did not have a good editor. He starts his article with the absolutely positively totally least possible relevant information. It might not be relevant at all but I would have had to read the article to make that determination.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Maybe he was trying create a visceral experience for the reader by writing in a style that would emulate the “endless, terrible” theme of the piece?

      Reply
    2. Carey

      These days I notice how early in a piece that the pronoun “I” is used,
      as a general indicator of how much credence the author should be
      given. #failhere

      Reply
    3. jrs

      this was the best quotable quote from the piece:

      “it is simply not possible to get rich off your own human capital without exploiting yourself and impoverishing your inner life, and meritocrats who hope to have their cake and eat it too deceive themselves.”

      Amen

      (I don’t know to what extent this really applies to the elite but much of the middle class strivers can relate)

      I mean the policy prescriptions were ok but kind of weak “stop privileging private colleges with tax deduct-ability”, makes sense but how much does it really even matter. All work should be respected not just elite work – yea sure but we are SO far from that.

      Reply
    4. Mel

      That was my reaction to the piece in The Tyee about the carbon-capture factory. After I’d read about twenty introductions and no lede, I gave up. Thank-you to the people who did read it and commented.

      Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    > How Life Became an Endless, Terrible Competition
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It dawned on me awhile back, that everything I like to do in an outdoor vein, nobody keeps score.

    Reply
      1. polecat

        or fall off of … waterfalls, scree fields, outcrops, cliff faces, coastal headlands …

        … thinning out – Darwin style.

        Reply
  24. Carey

    CJ Hopkins- ‘Manufacturing Mass Fascism Hysteria’:

    “If the neoliberal ruling classes expect to keep the American masses worked up into a white-eyed hysteria over “fascism” until November 2020, they’re going to need to get some better Nazis. The current Nazis are just not going to cut it. They are neither scary nor Nazi enough. OK, the militia ones look kind of scary, and that “Based Spartan” guy looks kind of … uh, weird, but most of them just look like regular old rednecks. How hard would it be to get them some brown shirts, or those khaki pants like they wore in Charlottesville, or some other type of Nazi-like uniform?..”

    https://consentfactory.org/2019/08/20/manufacturing-mass-fascism-hysteria/

    Reply
  25. Synoia

    Business Roundtable Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans’

    Really? Or should it be: ‘An Economy That Serves Up All Americans?’

    Reply
  26. Tom Stone

    I wonder where Epstein’s children are?
    Since he apparently intended to inseminate 20 at a time at his NM Ranch you’d think there might be a few rattling around somewhere…

    Reply
      1. ewmayer

        Rumor has it they had an exposé in the works titled “The Sperminator”, but shortly before it went to press someone leaked it and NYT was served with an injunction broght by lawyers for some dude named James Cameron.

        Reply
    1. John k

      Seems that dream went away… maybe he turned out to be sterile. Haven’t seen any reports he used condoms, and meanwhile he wanted to breed. Likely not all the legions of young girls were on the pill…

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      There is a video clip of Epstein leaving his home with one of these young girls and when you see how young that girl is, it is enough to make you wince-

      https://www.rt.com/news/466783-prince-andrew-epstein-appaled/

      And Prince Andrew puts in a special guest star appearance at the end of that film clip. How many more of these surveillance films are there anyway? It was not like Epstein was trying to hide any of this but was doing it all in plain sight.

      Reply
  27. Wukchumni

    Bear Front:

    It’s been a bare summer for bruins in the higher climes, was at a birthday party in MK counting coup if you will, and it was all onesy-twosey stuff, with a NPS ranger having seen 5 so far, as the highlight. I saw a few piles of scat on the Franklin Lakes trail, but that’s been mostly it, and if they don’t leave calling cards, they aren’t there. My total for the summer is 2, 1 up top and one in the foothills.

    Meanwhile down in the foothills, our neighbors had their trash cans rousted (ours has bear-proofing on it, sorry Yogi) last week for the first time in like forever.

    One reason for Black Bears being lower down when they should be up top being that one of the most numerous trees to die off in the 130 million that expired in the 1-2 drought-bark beetle battle was the Sugar Pine (has the longest pine cone of all, some are 20 inches+) whose pine nuts are the most nutritious of all Sierra tree nuts, when suddenly the pantry went bare on them.

    Reply
  28. John k

    Business roundtable…
    Friedman and the Chicago school started the neolib movement, I’ve been thinking the pendulum has begun to swing back. M4a, higher min wage, trade barriers are all push backs that are gaining force.
    Trump was a desperate rejection of the status quo, selected because the alternative specifically campaigned for no change, exactly as Biden is doing now.
    But forces resisting change remain strong, not least the dem elites and the never trumpers. On the plus side, if a progressive wins the nom he can change out the dnc old guard that Obama managed to retain. I see this like the breakup of the Soviet Union… slowly at first, then all at once.

    Reply
  29. Oregoncharles

    A popup on the WhoWhatWhy Epstein article:

    “KeeP Up with the Epstein saga

    Subscribe to our Everything Epstein newsletter”

    Which appeared just as I was thinking “it has an evil fascination, doesn’t it?” Several mysteries piled on top of the salacious stuff.

    Still not clear how he made his money, incidentally, which is the really NC part.

    Reply
    1. JAMES GRAHAM

      “‘Still not clear how he made his money … ”

      I and others speculate he was financed by foreign intelligence while amassing blackmail material on important Americans. Candidates being Israel and Russia.

      http:/3&#msg_1889993/retrobbs.novabbs.com/index.php?t=msg&th=324006&goto=188999

      Reply
      1. Fíréan

        Not wishing to disdpute your specualtions yet just to remind you, should you not already be aware, Jeffrey Epstein was once on the Council on Foreign Realations

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

        and also a Member of the Trilateral Commission.

        Hence i find easy to believe , or consider that he was either connected with , had close relations with or was a member of a US intelligence agency. Same as with other members of the above two organisations.
        <a href="“>
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilateral_Commission

        http://trilateral.org/

        Reply
      2. Fíréan

        Not wishing to dispute your speculations yet just to remind, and if you were not already aware, Jeffrey Epstein was once on the Council on Foreign Relations

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

        and a Member of the Trilateral Commission.

        Hence I find easy to consider that he may have been connected to, had close relations with, or been a member of a US intelligence agency.

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

        http://trilateral.org/

        Viewing names of other Menbers and those who started these organisations gives a good idea with whom Eppee was associated, in that time frame at least.

        Reply
  30. Roy G

    Re: Trump 2020: Be Very Afraid:

    Nancy! The lascivious familiarity with which Trump dropped her name must have stuck like a tongue in Pelosi’s ear. The speaker, from that moment, was cornered. A step forward meant welcoming the boils-and-all embrace of Donald Trump. A step back meant bitter intramural surrender and a likely trip to intersectionality re-education camp.

    Take that Nooners and MoDo, that’s how it’s done right!

    Reply
  31. Sam Tracy

    Hello! Long-time reader, first comment. Re: metal theft causing train problems, I recall this coming up here in SA not too long ago. For example:

    https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/cable-theft-causes-major-delays-for-pretoria-commuter-trains-18778167

    https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/seven-people-convicted-of-cable-theft-attempted-theft-in-cape-town-20190624

    https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2019-06-27-cable-theft-grounds-pretoria-trains/

    https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/more-cable-theft-stalls-cape-town-trains-ahead-of-safety-strike-20190725

    I was back-and-forth to Johanessburg on Gautrain today for a training event, and though their policy on accommodating folding bikes is pretty 1980s, the system works pretty well when everything is in place… The older PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) system is the overlooked stepchild in the local equation, and theirs were the wires that got ganked.

    Reply
  32. ChrisPacific

    Despite the Daily Mail spin, I think it’s pretty clear that the Boris Johnson letter was a sign of weakness. Just weeks ago he was saying there was no point in any further discussion until the EU agreed to drop the backstop. He has already backed down on that position by sending an unsolicited letter trying to justify his position and tout the alternatives. It’s not hard to see that as a tell for “we need this more than we are admitting.” I see the EU has been swift to condemn the letter and reiterate their position.

    That said, it’s probably all for domestic consumption, to spin the inevitable No Deal as the fault of the EU. If the framing in the Daily Mail article continues then it seems he can count on the media to play along.

    Reply
  33. Telee

    Studies from the CATO Institute on the shrinking middle class purport to show that the reason for middle class shrinkage is because of people in the middle class are moving upward into the high income brackets. This was widely reported in te Washington Post, CNN etc. I haven’t seen a critique of their study which seems to indicate that the middle class is actually doing very well because their income is increasing. So all is well in Trump land. Does anybody have something to add?

    https://www.cato.org/blog/middle-class-shrinks-number-high-income-households-grows

    Reply
  34. Jack Parsons

    “derailings in your area?”

    No, but there was a train full of bombs headed for Vietnam in 1973. This was listed as an accident, but the same thing happened in Mobile, AL within the same month. It may have been sabotage. This is 75 miles northeast of the SF Bay Area, hotbed of anti-war organizations.

    I lived 20 miles away and got to hear bombs go off all day. It was awesome.

    https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article146822169.html

    Reply
  35. Plenue

    >Twitter blocks state-controlled media outlets from advertising on its social network Techcrunch

    “State-funded media enterprises that do not rely on taxpayer dollars for their financing and don’t operate independently of the governments that finance them will no longer be allowed to advertise on the platform, Twitter said in a statement. That leaves a big exception for outlets like the Associated Press, the British Broadcasting Corp., Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio, according to reporting from BBC reporter, Dave Lee.”

    el oh el

    Reply
  36. meeps

    Metal theft stories? None that would result in a train derailment like the one in the Bangkok Post, thankfully.

    This is anecdotal, but people I know in the construction industry are having their job sites looted at rates resembling GFC levels. Copper piping and wire (extension cords!) are favorite sources. I looked for supporting links in the locals and found some dated earlier in the year. The ScrapTheftAlert site listed some from July. Such events rarely make headlines, though, unless the culprits show up at a recycling center with $200,000.00 of coil in tow.

    Reply

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