The Cost of Corporate America: Checking Your Conscience at the Door

In a remarkable comment earlier this week, which we are reproducing below, reader Henry Moon Pie recounted, with remorse, how his role in a job he’d not wanted to take helped secure the right to construct CO2 pipelines. That included providing assurances that no way, no how could they ever be dangerous. Experience has proven otherwise. From an article last week in The Verge:

Last year, a pipeline carrying compressed carbon dioxide mixed with hydrogen sulfide ruptured, engulfing the small town of Satartia, Mississippi, in a green haze, leaving many residents convulsing, confused, or unconscious. That explosion serves as a vivid warning about the risks posed by what could be the next generation of pipelines to crisscross the US, in a new investigation by HuffPost and the Climate Investigations Center.

“It was almost like something you’d see in a zombie movie,” Sheriff’s Officer Terry Gann tells journalist Dan Zegart about what happened that night. Zegart pieces together the events of February 2020 through harrowing 911 calls and the voices of family members racing to reach others before the toxic haze could overcome them.

Despite the evidence that the safety risks are real, building CO2 pipelines is expected to rise greatly as a means of transporting the gas as part of carbon capture. And you can be sure that it will be lower income communities that will be put in harm’s way.

The problem is that it’s become harder and harder to live a blameless life without doing the economic equivalent of wearing a hair shirt or joining a monastery or nunnery.1 As Clive explained in 2015:

Let me continue with the self-disclosure, but it’s perhaps more of a confessional or appeal for absolution. I’ve spent almost 30 years working in the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) sector, my entire adult life. When I first started, it was viewed as a most suitable career choice for middle class not particularly aspirational sorts who wanted security, respectability and a recognisable position in the community. It was never supposed to be a passport to significant wealth or even much more than very modest wealth. It was certainly never supposed to be anything which oppressed or harmed anyone.

By the early 1990’s the rot, which had started to set in during the mid-1980’s, had begun to accelerate….

For those of us on the inside, we don’t deserve any sympathy. But I’d like to offer a glimmer of insight into the conflict that those of us with any sort of conscience wrestle with because it is a conflict which is going to shape our societies over the next generation.

Increasingly, if you want to get and hang on to a middle class job, that job will involve dishonesty or exploitation of others in some way. Industries such as finance have seized and held onto larger and larger proportions of the economy.

The same disproportionate growth can be seen in financialised healthcare and finacialised education. Naked Capitalism has broken story after story of how these businesses have demonstrated a near-endless capacity for scandal, fraud and wrongdoings of every conceivable sort.

If we were to say that it is the “corporations” which are exploiting people, that would be wrong. “corporations” are not people. It is the people – you might be one of them too – who work in the corporations who are exploiting others.

The terrific film Michael Clayton, centered on a Monsanto-like company knowingly selling a toxic weedkiller, has this vivid opening from Arthur, the lead attorney defending them in litigation:

And the film gives a stark warning about the dangers of whistleblowing. Arthur is murdered by his client. So don’t romanticize going that route. Most whistleblowers pay a very high price, if not quite that high. And to add insult to injury, they are seldom able to force change.

Now to Henry Moon Pie:

Gassing of Satartia–

That was a very sobering read for me this morning. The facts of that situation were:

It was just after 7 p.m. [a year ago] when residents of Satartia, Mississippi, started smelling rotten eggs. Then a greenish cloud rolled across Route 433 and settled into the valley surrounding the little town. Within minutes, people were inside the cloud, gasping for air, nauseated and dazed.

The cause of this terror was the rupture of a carbon dioxide pipeline carrying CO2 for tertiary oil recovery.

Nearly 40 years ago, three landowners represented by the same attorney were trying to stop another carbon dioxide pipeline–the first one ever proposed–that would travel through their quiet, rural valley north of Albuquerque. Shell Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of the American subsidiary of the Dutch Shell Group, had already filed condemnation suits against each of them, and their lawyer’s motion to dismiss the suit had been denied. The landowners’ next move was to generate public pressure against the line, and they succeeded in calling a public meeting held at a local school with several hundred in attendance.

The hearing went on for two days with the landowners and a professor from the local university testifying about the dangers of the line countered by an army of Shell engineers and consultants from Walnut Creek who all declared that fears of a leak layering the valley with CO2 were completely impossible and contrary to The Science. By the end of those two days, public concern was quieted, and the condemnation suits proceeded until the landowners were willing to settle for cash, and the pipeline was built.

I was the ringmaster for that army of Shell engineers and outside consultants.

Reading today about a place where such a leak took place and nearly suffocated an entire town is cause for a great deal of self-reflection for me today.

One set of questions is how did I end up there representing Shell when a few years before I had turned down summer clerkship offers from some of the most famous law firms in the country to work for a labor union. The answer at the time were the exigencies of having a young family for which I was the primary provider, but that’s everybody’s excuse, and those excuses multiplied millions of times have brought us to where we are today. Excuses nearly suffocated those people in Mississippi.

Another line of inquiry is what about all those people that I worked over the course of several years in a sort of traveling road show. Were they as sure of their testimony as they seemed? Were they as competent as they seemed? It’s true that this pipeline, built in ’82, is still operating without incident, but the broad and unqualified declarations made in that meeting and under oath in courtrooms across New Mexico were obviously wrong. A disaster could happen.

Finally, what about the flow of the universe? This CO2 line was the first built. It remains the largest and longest. A year before that public hearing, the project was under real threat in a courtroom in the bleak rural town of Estancia. The line passed through a large ranch whose owner could afford an Albuquerque law firm even larger than our Santa Fe firm. The lead attorney for the rancher was a Yale Law grad who held the reputation as the best lawyer in the state, and he was challenging Shell’s right to condemn at all. It was a close case because New Mexico, at least at the time, was a narrow “public use” jurisdiction that required that the proposed project actually be open to use by the public. Shell had cleverly evaded any federal regulation by arguing the CO2 was a gas, therefore not subject to ICC jurisdiction which was limited to liquids. And it argued before FERC that it was not a hydrocarbon and not under its purview. We could show no regulator that could guarantee a public’s right to use it, and our parading a few owners of small CO2 deposits along the pipeline’s path, even when combined with Shell’s earnest promises to hook them up, couldn’t change that. In the end, I resorted to the history of the Interstate Commerce Act and its roots in the common law, to claim that the common law of common carriers would provide relief to any potential shippers stiffed by Shell.

It was a legally valid argument and won the day, saving the project from cancellation according to the Shell VP who was in charge of things on the client end. And if we had failed, would any CO2 pipelines have been built? Most of them pass through New Mexico on their way headed to the Permian Basin.

Now CO2 pipelines are being proposed again. Massive “carbon recapture” projects that remove CO2 from power plants and other large emitters would be gathered and again piped to old oil fields for tertiary recovery. No doubt ambitious young lawyers, or maybe just lawyers trying to pay a mortgage, will be ready to develop clever arguments and organize more expert road shows to get those pipelines built so we can pump more oil to burn more oil to create more emissions to capture CO2 to inject it into more oil wells to pump more oil.

I am sorry for the role I have played in all this. We must break the cycle.

Clive did offer some hope:

In the face of such seemingly overwhelming disparity of power what can those of us who want to change the balance do? You could quit. But the system would remain – we’re all disposable in the world of the mega corporation. Some might say that you could sell up and go off-grid. But the system would remain – who would you sell to? These and similar reactions are, in my view, an abdication of whatever limited power we possess. We can’t run away and hide. We have to stand and fight. And we have to combine our inevitable small scale individual power into something which, in totality, is greater than the sum of the individual parts.

But how?

If this is indeed a battle, then it is a battle for ideas. The munitions for a battle for ideas is information. Information has the most vulnerable supply line possible. It can be hidden, stolen, distorted, filtered, obscured, changed and covered over. We therefore need a channel which has the same goals as we do and, if not run by us, is run along the lines we need it to be run along. That channel is Naked Capitalism.


1 Please do not recommend subsistence farming. You need to be able to buy land, build or buy a house, and equipment. You need to pay for energy to run some of your equipment. You need enough income to pay property taxes. And some of us never had the joints to be able to garden or farm.

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  1. the suck of sorrow

    HMP, that is a heartbreak we all share.
    Education: the credential for esteem is supposed to protect one from these moral aberations, but it simply has not in my experience.
    It is rare one can tell their paymaster, “No!”

  2. zagonostra

    “That channel is Naked Capitalism.” It could be, it might be, I want it to be, but it’s unlikely. Reason is ruled by the heart, the heart is moved by emotions, emotions are manipulated by the masters of manipulation of desire and fear…but we can hope.

  3. upstater

    I very much miss Clive’s great comments…

    Not much can be said about the immorality and corruption of corporate persons or crime families like the Slackers using the legal system to suck wealth and facilitate outright theft. If you are a plaintiff trying to right some wrong in the legal system, it is obvious from day 1 the system is highly stacked against you. The corporations and rich are on home turf. It was set up that way 250 years ago to benefit a bunch of rich landowners and continues to this day. There seems to be a bottomless pit of lawyers, accountants and other minions ready to do the bidding of monies interests.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I too miss Clive, but Brexit became a very important issue for him, and his views diverged sharply from the prevailing opinion here. He would make very energetic and long, frequent comments trying to convert readers and it became difficult.

      Clive sometimes e-mails, but over time he has become a very hard core Brexiter, when the other members of our Brexit brain trust were a lot less optimistic, and also not on the same page about the UK v. the EU. The EU is awkward, and also somewhat rigid due to being a civil law system, which does not fit well with Anglosphere common law “make it up as you go along” tendencies.

      And the UK is too small to go it alone well in a world of larger formal and informal trading blocks.The UK had an exceptionally good deal in the EU; the Union had cut it a lot of waivers that verged on favoritism. Yet the UK, which sadly seemed unable to give up its sense of entitlement due to its imperial past, pushed for Eastern European members to join, viewing them as allies versus the Germany-France axis (most smaller EU members figured that Germany and France had enough native conflict in their interests that if they agreed on anything, it had to be OK). That backfired big time. The UK estimated it would only get 50,000 Polish immigrants in the first year after Poland joined. It got 500,000, putting pressure on already poor housing stock and wages.

      1. Terry Flynn

        I miss Clive too. I have a lot of sympathy for the case he tried to make. He seemed to love Europe but hate what the EU was doing – something that caused me to vote Leave. I did so with very heavy heart since I knew full well we were going to get a HORRIFIC time if it happened…..but that “getting the pain now might help the UK in the longer term when 20+ other nations are all trying to course-correct”. My Bulgarian barber always said “you guys were idiots to let us in but I’m glad you did – I escaped corruption at the individual level. Though I do now see the gross corruption at higher levels in the EU.”

        My error was over-estimating just how badly the Tories would deal with Brexit. Yet I console myself with the thought that it might just have prepared us somewhat for Sars-Cov-2 and bad though it is here, it would have been EVEN WORSE if we’d not had a “practice run” thanks to Brexit difficulties.

        Now I confine myself to a Midlands based fringe left-wing group who say the stuff Starmer et al won’t say, having gone from cell A1 up the ladders, only to slip back down the snakes (chutes) thanks in no small part to Blair et al. That’s life. It shouldn’t be like that but I’m looking for alternatives that I can do alongside caring duties etc. I know a heck of a lot of stuff about clinical work I was involved with that would make you recoil in horror. That’s why GM and others’ accounts of Sars-Cov-2 on the ground don’t faze me. I know the maths. It fits. But I also know the human responses to make things seem like “business as usual”. Knowing where the bodies are buried when it comes to an area like human-well-being is a good education in itself……even if it’s soul destroying when it blows up and you find yourself in middle age going “what now?”

          1. Terry Flynn

            To be honest it mostly hasn’t personally (though I’d been prepping). The pain is more societal. I just see the increasing stranglehold that “the entitled” have now neoliberalism runs even more rampant but we taught Brussels that so EU getting as bad – dad quickly realized his shoji blind/room divider material was equivalent to surgical masks. We weren’t mates of Johnson so never got a look in but I recognise “our” masks on local residents regularly (washable up to 10x with good properties).

            Another frustration is the ever expanding corruption and longer supply chains. Ironically Dad’s two main suppliers (one German one Spanish) want him to buy them out as its going horribly wrong in the Eurozone. If they think WE are the solution then Europe really is in trouble.

            1. Michaelmas

              Terry Flynn: now neoliberalism runs even more rampant but we taught Brussels that so EU getting as bad

              You’ve actually got the real-world history backwards.

              [1] From its inception during the 1950s and 60s as the European Coal and Steel Community and then the EC, German neoliberals — ordoliberals — who were high-level members of von Hayek’s Mont Pelerin Society played a primary role in designing the organization that became the EU.

              Wilhelm Röpke was personal advisor to Konrad Adenauer, the Chancellor of West Germany, and his Minister of Economics in the late 1950s when the EC was coming together and then left to be president of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1961-62. Ludwig Erhard, the second Chancellor from 1963-66, had been a member of the Mont Pelerin Society since 1950.There were many others. Not incidentally, Röpke was also known for his pro-apartheid views on South Africa, publishing in 1964 South Africa: An Attempt at a Positive Appraisal which argued that apartheid was justified because the‘South African Negro’ was of ‘an utterly different race.’

              [2] Robert Mundell, the father of ‘Reaganomics’, was also chief designer of the Euro, introduced in 1999. He was on record boasting about how the Euro would work to ‘discipline’ — immiserate — the European working classes.

              [3] To the question of the EC/EU as a vehicle for imposing ordoliberal/neoliberal ideological conformity: In von Hayek’s “The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism,” he explicitly calls for the free movement of capital, goods, and labour – a “single market,” in von Hayek’s own words – among a federation of nations as a means to severely restrict the economic policy space available to democratic governments against the market, and subordinate employment and social protection to goals of low inflation, debt reduction, and increased competitiveness.

              And that’s what you see in the modern day EU. Article 107 TFEU allows for state aid, for instance, only if it’s “compatible with the internal market” and doesn’t “distort competition.” Whether or not state aid meets these criteria is at the sole discretion of the European Commission – and courts in member states are obligated to enforce the commission’s decisions. Likewise, with very limited exceptions (such as the ECB on euro matters), the Commission has the monopoly of proposal of new laws. Other institutions (including EUCO) may request the Commission to take action but the Commission cannot be forced to take it. And if it does not make a proposal, there cannot be a new law.

              [4] Still, there’s theory and then there’s practice. Here’s the practice —

              The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016


              To precis it very roughly, 50,000 or so Greeks died because of the EU’s imposition of its austerity policies on Greece. The entire Greek debt was less than a couple months of ECB money printing once Mario Draghi got his money-printers going a couple of months later. So Greece tells you what kind of neoliberal organization the EU is when the chips aren’t even down.

            2. Daniel LaRusso

              life in the UK for me and my nearest has continued completely unaffected by Brexit. I’m talking in day-to-day stuff, I can’t comment on “the markets” and my pension etc.

              The only downer I experience is there seems to be less fresh suff in the supermarket – in particular bananas. But I’m unsure if that is Brexit or Covid.

              I live in a “run down” area so I think we had the problems of immigration and the demand that brought for scarce resources (jobs/schools/houses/GP etc). My brother in law is going back to lorry driving because he can get a decent wage at last. e didn’t even bother to finish his class 1 licence 2 years ago when he saw the wages/conditions.

              I wonder if anyone can chip in with stories of how their life is ruined becasue of brexit? Becasue that’s the impression I got from the media … that life would literally grind to a halt. I’m wondering if that is true for anyone.

      2. Basil Pesto

        Ah, I had thought that Clive stepped back when his opinion on masking diverged from a lot of the commentariat last year. I understand that he had medical issues that made it hard for him to wear a mask. I really do sympathise with this. My father has COPD and pulmonary hypertension, and uses supplementary oxygen to help with breathing. He would like to be able to wear the most effective masks, but finds it genuinely difficult to breathe when wearing them.

        I miss Clive’s comments too, and hope he’s well.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I had forgotten about masking as a wedge too. But Clive seemed not willing to consider that the “I can’t wear a mask because medical” here were just about 100% fabricated. They’d typically claim respiratory issues, when if they were able to get about without an oxygen tank, they could wear a mask.

          1. Daniel LaRusso

            but some don’t want to wear one becasue of their “beliefs” concerning freedoms. I can respect that and let them do them. My belief which I dont wish to debate (I feel debate is silly in the modern age) is it’s not the same as allowing people to walk around with a machine gun.

            1. David Peppers

              Would you also say the same of a person with an STD who has sex without a condom because he doesn’t believe in them?

              1. Daniel LaRusso

                I would say if the person with the STD has been honest then it’s the person who has consented to sex who is as liable as they are. I would suggest women make all men, and men should always use a condom with a partner until they know them well. A bit of common sense really.

                Not sure how that parallels to the masks thingy ???

      3. Susan the other

        I don’t know; I’m just a sponge filtering the tone of the news and the body language of the fools – but if I had to comment on anything that justifies Brexit these days it would be the obvious dysfunction of NATO. A military union is the last thing to disintegrate. It just did. Imo this happened not because we’re all lazy, feckless fatsos – it happened because war and destruction are truly a thing of the past. So to carry that thought forward into the reality of all of us nations – this means that the world, as in the “whole world” really does have to come together. I’m almost sorry I’ve been a jingoist nationalist for the USA – although a subdued one. I’m old, and I’ve just basically been confused and pissed off. Butthe obvious reality is not the EU or the USA or the UK or any other separate alliance – the reality is now that we’re all in this together. The chips are really down. Whoever has the best solution wins. So, question: How does the UK plan to feed the UK? And etc. Go Long. Go Practical.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Yep. Unfortunately I’m a pessimist and think “population reduction” is big part of the solution. “Managed decline” is order of the day. Covered up by appeals to the flag. As I mentioned above, we usually hold up specialised German/other mainland companies as “the ideal”….. But when Dad is seeing these companies in Germany and Spain begging him to buy them out you know there are more systemic problems afoot.

          And I can’t help. Wrong skill set. Plus working for dad? I love the TV show Succession…… . *ahem*……

      4. ChrisPacific

        I miss Clive as well, especially early Clive when he seemed a little overawed by Naked Capitalism, and would appear genteel and almost apologetic even as he presented a series of devastating and well-informed arguments that exposed some self-serving public pronouncement for the house of cards it was. When it came to an inside perspective on the chicaneries of certain types of financial firms, he had few equals.

        I do recall the way his involvement in the Brexit discussions progressed so perhaps it’s for the best that he’s not posting any more (I’m sure it was a ton of work for moderators). But I miss him anyway.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    I’ve been wondering what happened to that comment. ;)

    Thanks for addressing what I feel is perhaps the most critical question each of us faces these days: how to survive without contributing to the further damaging of the Earth.

    The flow of the universe brings each of us to where we are now, but it’s natural to look back and ask, “What if I had…?,” and while to obsess over that is a complete waste of time, maybe those still in those earlier stages of life might learn from our mistakes. I now realize that being an activist and having a middle class life are incompatible in our society. The forces of assimilation and cooption are so great, the psychological manipulation to consume and conform so pervasive, that it’s necessary to, as Leary advised, drop out at a fundamental level. Archbishop Romero counseled “accompaniment” as a necessary ingredient for effective activism. I’d add self-denial.

    And thanks for adding Clive’s thoughtful musings. My guess is that there are thousands of people in NGOs around the world who entered their careers strongly motivated to do good for others, but they have been trapped in organizations that pay them a middle class salary in return for a daily corroding of the beliefs and hopes that brought them into NGO work in the first place.

    1. JEHR

      Henry Moon: “I now realize that being an activist and having a middle class life are incompatible in our society.”

      How right you are to say so. To have a middle class life (which recalls my childhood as one of two children of a single mother) was an aspiration then. I would have been better prepared for life now if I had chosen to be an artist which would have meant penury. I now know, too late, that penury is preferable to middle class life and would have allowed a wonderful kind of activism in and of the art world. We all have choices that we wished we had made.

    2. Susan the other

      Well, you opened a window for all of us to show our true colors. That dialogue clip from Michael’s pal is worthy of the Jonathan Pie award. We’ve all just managed to turn ourselves into such a cesspool. I’m thinkin’ that we don’t have to do much because profit-capitalism has turned most of the world into abject “precariats.” When there’s a PBS doc. on it (last night, I watched in almost disbelief as they described a reality close to the one I see) the solution cannot be far behind. No organized boycott is necessary – when your entire population is on the verge of idiocy, scurvy diseases and starvation you gotta do stuff. Just before that PBS doc, there was one on how people survived the great depression – by only eating one or two meals a day and staying in bed. They caught up on their reading no doubt. So I’m fairly confident that we are living in a civilization that is, in fact, very cognizant. Here’s my big question: If the world is really cognizant, why do they insist on the dysfunctional and archaic system of transactions based on token “money”? Token money just makes for a token civilization. We really do need a reality based civilization, really. As in one based on survival and well being. So to little-ol me that means that we cannot have token “token capitalism” and expect to survive. Profit must be real. It was always a useless fiction – now let’s make it a useful reality. And the next step? Let’s define “real.”

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Maybe some people find it wonderfully simplifying. Wherever they look, any “object” they see–and anything and everything outside their little noggins is an “object”–has a dollar sign attached setting it’s value, giving it reality as bizarre as that reversal is. Hierarchy that transcends race and gender! There’s order in the universe. It all makes sense that way.

        But it’s a token value in a token universe. And no relation to reality. But it’s hard to let go because it’s so simple.

      2. HotFlash

        by only eating one or two meals a day and staying in bed. They caught up on their reading no doubt.

        And, um, they tended to have large families.

    3. David Peppers

      I have struggled with this question for more than thirty years. How do we survive without doing harm? Not harming the environment was always a big part of this. I read Limits to Growth and Silent Spring and wanted to be part of a solution.

      Thought I could feed the hungry by becoming a genetic engineer. Before I graduated I had determined that it was a problem of poverty and not a lack of food or genetic engineering. That genetic engineering would most likely be a tool to enrich a relatively small number and have little impact on poverty. I changed course. I became a vegetarian and bicycled a lot. Again and again I try to find work that does no harm. I have work that pays the bills and some of the healthcare that my family and I need. Negotiating various issues with health insurance can take up lots of time. It took 8 months to get my wife back on her regular medication after we had to change insurance carriers. Its not just the bureaucracies of the billing, but of even getting the care you need for yourself and your family that is very time and energy consuming. There is little left for activism. We do try to withdraw from the systems of harm as much as we can. We have some organizations we are able to make small donations to. We give a little time here and there, but there just isn’t much left. My wife is unable to work full time and basically gets freelance/ gig work. Our income is between poverty and a living wage, so we sometimes need help from family. I guess this is a long way of saying that a working class income may not allow much activism either.

      It could be worse. I used to work at a company that made munitions, but no longer. I used to work at companies which sold meat, but no longer. I used to work for about 5 different companies which did have some business with Walmart. The one I work at now has business tied to both Walmart and Amazon. I do not wish to support either, but I just cannot seem to get away from Walmart. I have not shopped Walmart since the 80’s. My current employer misrepresents itself in a number of ways. It is not the employee owned environmentally concerned company it holds itself out to be. It is neither. I am tired of trying to find a good employer. I just do not think there are enough out there that I will be able to find one. In the last round of job searching I felt I was experiencing age discrimination, but it would be difficult to prove. I have no way of knowing or finding a reasonable assurance from outside the company anyway. So much is Hype and PR. Who is trustworthy? Still, I have a few benefits and steady work now and I did not lose my job in the pandemic. My employer has many patents on the products and processes, so the market is somewhat protected – not exactly free market capitalism!

      We cannot live without causing harm. We can only minimize it. I just cannot see a way to no harm. Even minimization is difficult enough. So many infrastructures have been designed to drive increasing consumption. Then there are the organizations which transform into an organization perpetuating machine. NGO’s forget their mission in favor of self perpetuation. They seem to fear offending their donors. They will make eloquent pleas and arguments for not eating meat in their magazines and then turn right around and have a fundraising dinner with steak, chicken and seafood. What an appropriate occasion to remind the supporters of the mission, but no. I withdrew my support from this organization, but I’m sure they never noticed. I think the money grab must make hypocrites of us all.

    1. Foy

      Yes agreed thanks Henry Moon Pie. I’ve always been impressed with your writings regarding the Dao and the Universe and putting it in todays terms etc to think about and even more so now.

  5. eg

    I recall briefly considering a career in advertising upon leaving grad school. I decided that a life dedicated to convincing people to buy stuff they probably didn’t need would be a problem for my long term mental health. I’m guessing that I left a lot of money on the table, but I have always slept well.

    1. Mikel

      “And now for a word from our sponsor…”

      Literally everywhere you go. (Insert painting “The Scteam”).

  6. James McRitchie

    Corporate Accountability group meets every Monday at noon Pacific time. Join Nell Minow, Michae O’Leary, Andy Behar, Josh Zinner, Doug Chia, Heidi Welsh, Jon Lukonmik, Christina Sautter, Tim Smith, Brandon Rees, Rick Alexander, and others working for change. Some of us are working to put employees on boards, others converting to Public Benefit Companies, increasing diversity reporting and on boards, addressing externalized costs, unionizing, filing shareholder proposals, etc. We have a different speaker every week.

    Group is facilitated by me, Jim McRitchie. I filed 90 shareholder proposals at companies for 2021. So far, they have averaged over a 50% vote in favor. I recently filed a lawsuit against the SEC to overturn Trump-Era rules that disenfranchise small shareholders. Our corporate accountability group starts meeting on 9/13. It does cost $100 for a year because we use the resources of California State University and need to reimburse the University. However, that fee also allows you to sign up for lots of other programs and classes at no additional cost. See my blog on Corporate Governance, which documents some efforts to democratize corporate governance and our economy during the last 26 years.

    1. JEHR

      James, I’m sure you mean well, but we on NC have been reading about financial and corporate corruption for a very long time. You would have to read at least a year’s worth of NC’s articles, links and comments before you could reasonably tell us about how to deal with “corporate accountability.”

    2. HotFlash

      Jim, thank you for your work. If this battle is to be won it will be through attacks from many directions, each of us using the expertise and tools we have to hand. We are many, they are few. ‘Rising up” won’t look like it did 200 years ago — maybe more shareholder proposals, maybe not so many pitchforks. I take heart from the rag-tag Taliban’s utter defeat of forces ‘superior by every measure’ (ahem) and they did it by organizing on the ground. I will check out your group.

  7. CJH

    Mo money, money, money corrupts everyone. Mammon, the God of greed and wealth runs capitalism. The only rule is deceit. Sounds awfully harsh, doesn’t it. The truth is oftentimes ugly and repulsive. So, here we are today. Governed by a corrupt Supreme Court and corporations that have been re-constituted as people. The rulers of Texas have declared vigilante justice and the Supreme Court agrees.

  8. JanJ

    Thank you for calling attention to the corruption by money and the misguided SC ruling regarding corporate constitutional “rights”. For anyone who wants to help in turning this situation around (a huge task, I realize), please see and, if you live in Massachusetts,
    The MA organization is run from the bottom up by volunteers who have no financial stake other than that of being fed up with the current corporate rule. MoveToAmend may have some paid staff (I am not sure) but its motivations are similar.

  9. Ignacio

    What strikes me about Henry Moon Pie commentary is that the approval of the pipeline depended basically on existing laws and not on scientific risk assessment. I know that regarding law, first source is past law, then there is habits, and when something is new judges resort to scientific assessment. I guess that if you are transporting a new gas through pipelines you need to refresh previous assessments if the risks are not perceived to be the same. I don’t know, may be I didn’t read or understand thoroughly the comment.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      That aspect was covered in the federally required Environmental Impact Statement which had been prepared by the consulting firm (whose name I am unable to remember) headquartered in Walnut Creek, CA. That involved geographers, hydrologists, archaeologists and others. I was not part of that process, but in the state court cases, public meetings and negotiations, the federal approval was used to maximum advantage.

      As far as the risks being novel, you’re absolutely correct. The CO2 was under high enough pressure to be in liquid form when it was transported through the 30-inch pipeline. The quantity of steel was such that it had to be purchased from two sources, one in Japan and the other in Germany. Pipe was arriving in two separate ports and had to make its way to NM.

      1. Ignacio

        Thank you for your explanation Henry. Even if you feel sorry don’t get stuck in the past. The good thing is you are giving us an important lesson that makes me recall a phrase from The Russia House by J. le Carré about behaving like human beings that I cannot recall verbatim in English because I read the book and watched the film in Spanish. I hope you can identify it.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Google gives me the following:

          “You have to think like a hero merely to behave like a decent human being.”

          Sound correct? I’ve read the book but don’t recall the exact line.

      2. HotFlash

        quantity of steel was such that it had to be purchased from two sources, one in Japan and the other in Germany

        I am so old hat I remember when steel was made in the US, and in Canada.

      3. Telee

        What is missing is a description of the workings of these pipelines that transport CO2. It seems obvious that the CO2 is not pure. CO2 is colorless while there is a description of a pipeline leak that produced a green haze and another which contained H2S. It seems that the CO2 is commonly contaminated with other chemicals which can be toxic. I need to know more about this process and a quick web search yielded limited information.

        1. Joe Well

          Natural gas is commonly treated with another element to give it a smell precisely in case of leaks. I’m going to assume the same is true for CO2. Or contamination from a reaction with corroding steel of the pipe.

  10. CuriosityConcern

    1 Please do not recommend subsistence farming. You need to be able to buy land, build or buy a house, and equipment. You need to pay for energy to run some of your equipment. You need enough income to pay property taxes. And some of us never had the joints to be able to garden or farm.

    I think of this option as opting out, which is my personal dream. I agree that resources are needed to start and maintain such a concern, but in my thinking, a co-operative of like minded individuals could have a possibility of success where it might be too difficult for an individual.
    I would readily concede that such an enterprise would be susceptible to the same pressures and dynamics that played out in the US communes of the 60s and 70s, but a modern attempt doesn’t have to end the same way.
    Obtaining land: group of like minded save together for plot. During saving interval, cooperation parameters are worked out.
    Housing: like condos, with central heating. Maybe earthship?
    Labor: I assume not everyone would farm. One envisions a process where tasks can be performed by the people who want to do them.
    Partnership: mechanism where a group or individual who wants to leave doesn’t destroy remaining group. This is the most distasteful aspect in my opinion but also very necessary as we all know change is the only constant.

    I know, this is most likely a pipe dream but it does feel like a good chance to escape the rat race.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      See Chris Smaje’s book, Our Small Farm Future, and his many articles on Smaje’s latest is a nice apologia for why he considers small farms part of the solution.

      I also have a lot of penance to do for my approach to the Earth up until the last few years–and NC with its links to articles about permaculture and soils played a part in my repentance. Raised on a farm, with a dad who had to abandon farming because of income needs and who became our little town’s primary salesman for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, my thinking was thoroughly inside the Green Revolution box. I even delivered an apologia for it to future PMCs as part of a public speaking class in college.

    2. HotFlash

      OK, what’s stopping you? This wheel has not only been invented, it’s been rolling around for some time and in many variations. Most of the self-sufficient or similar ommunities are fairly close-mouthed, usu due to bad exps with predators, but here are a few more public-facing ones.

      Living Energy Farm
      Polyface Farm
      Transition Network
      Intentional Communities
      Of course there are always the Amish and the Mennonites, which do accept converts, but it’s a big commitment.
      If you just want to get your feet wet, there is WWOOFing.
      Intentional communities has been around for a long, long time but as for the communities themselves, not so much, as Jonestown, Harmonie IN, and Sharon ON.

      So many links, I am sure diptherio can add more, but pretty sure this will be in moderation for a while.

      1. Societal Illusions

        the core question of “what are you waiting for” lands home for me. the truth of this potential resonates deeply. yet i haven’t done this: identified or found the place, or committed to one, or decided to create one. part of it is wanting to join one already successfully operating. perhaps that constraint only now identified is where the blockage lies. that and perfectionism!

        Thanks for the links and to CuriosityConcern for bringing this forward in my thinking. I found the Ringing Cedar Series by Russian author Megre to provide many practical aspects to living in an aligned fashion. time to dust them off!

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Did you miss that I have serious physical limitations, including dreadful manual dexterity and no depth perception? I can’t do physical labor. The reason I can weight train is there are enough options for any body part that I can find something to exercise the muscle that can work with my joint and alignment issues, but with my new hips now constantly inflamed, I’m even more restricted than I was formerly.

        1. Grumpy Engineer

          I have similar limitations. Bad discs in the base of my spine. If I had to grow my own food in my back yard, I’d starve.

          And then there are perfectly healthy people who cannot farm because they own no arable land. If you’re an apartment-dweller in the big city, how much land is available for your own personal use? 15 square feet of the inner courtyard of your building, plus maybe 8 square feet of balcony space? That’s not gonna work.

          Solutions that require everybody to move to rural communities aren’t realistic. There isn’t enough housing. And I’ve heard other arguments from environmentalists that rural and suburban residents should move into the big city to live in a smaller place and use public transportation, thereby reducing their carbon footprint. Same problem. There isn’t enough housing.

          And then there’s the financial problem. Most people cannot afford a new home unless they sell their old one. But that would defeat the purpose here. If you sell your environmentally-incorrect home to a new owner, that new owner will resume your environmentally-incorrect lifestyle. Whoops. And how many people would be willing to simply abandon their single largest asset?

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          around here, i’d put you to canning…letting the odd strapping youth lift the big pots, when necessary.
          or stringing the beans, before they go into the jars….i can think of a lot of things to do around here that can be done from a chair…because my recently deceased stepdad did all of them.
          and he was T-7 paralised….and in a wheelchair for 53 years.
          he even made knives for a time…pretty decent ones.

          when that ain’t happening, there’s lots of stuff that i am either unable to do, or dislike…like bookkeeping(some people like all that, remarkably).
          Division of Labor, and all.
          play to your strengths, and shore up our weaknesses.
          not all of farmwork is backbreaking labor.
          smarter, not harder
          and Infrastructure rules.

  11. Joe Well

    I dealt with this quandary by becoming a public school teacher.

    Oh my god, was I naive. I lasted two school years.

    Here is a devil’s dictionary of 21st century education innovation:

    High stakes testing: push students with unresolved and un-labelable learning issues (like interrupted formal education, ie, growing up in extreme rural poverty) to drop out, including holding them back til their 16 years old in the 8th grade and drop out without hurting high school drop out stats.

    Teacher accountability: fire the teachers who make waves defending students

    Tenure: make it harder to fire teachers but still leave open the possibility of making their lives hell in the myriad ways available to any principle. Also, for diligent principles, still possible to fire after two or three years of negative evaluations.

    AFT: President Randi Weingarten’s unelected rocketship to Hillaryland Democratic elite, aka, the American Federation of Teachers

    ESL teacher: on-call substitute teacher so school districts don’t have to pay an actual substitute teacher. The ESL kids are exempt from high stakes testing for three years by which time it will be someone else’s problem.

    New York Times: the champion of all the above

    1. Rod

      I did also, and managed 29 years of alternative views from K-12 and finally Community College.
      It was my choice and goal all along.
      There were quite a few “come to Jesus” moments from Administrators. I had special presentations for Observations.
      No Administrator wants to let an effective Educator with a knack for classroom discipline go down the road.
      I wanted to change the world, and still do, and with advice chose Education as the easiest route( not easy but shortest distance—I figured).

      I still think it’s the best way— get them while they’re malleable.

      1. Joe Well

        My principal forced out the best teacher in the school *mid-year* because he was the union chapter leader doing his job. The union regional representative literally sneered at us in person when the rest of the teachers brought it up with him, still the only time in my life I have experienced an actual cartoonish sneer.

        I’ve had conversations with retired senior teachers like you who had the good fortune of serving in less dysfunctional schools in a less dysfunctional period of our country’s history. Your experiences are less and less common at less privileged schools. You have no idea.

  12. Ignacio

    I also miss Clive. Even I we disagree in some questions relative to brexit his inquiring mind and colourful English, though difficult for me to comprehend, was refreshing.
    Another comment I made more on topic got stuck in moderation, my bad for being a slow writer.

    1. Ignacio

      Should have I written ‘i miss Clive too’?. Some might rightly find these kind of mistakes unforgivable.

      1. lambert strether

        It’s not a mistake. You might also write “I too miss Clive” if you wanted to emphasize your participation in the collective sense, though some might call that diction elevated, perhaps even orecious. See e.g.

      1. Keith Newman

        I miss Clive’s cogent comments as well. Sorry to learn he left because of Naked Capitalism Brexit discussions. I tuned out of them myself after a while given the prevalence of predictions of catastrophe (food shortages, airplanes no longer flying from Europe, etc.). For those interested Bill Mitchell has done a good job of debunking the anti-Brexit economic arguments. While I would have been in favour of Brexit if I resided in the UK I don’t live there and have no deep feelings about it. I guess Clive was heavily invested in the issue and wasn’t prepared to deal with the nonsense.

  13. Industrial Culture Handbook

    Eh? …Doesn’t the infrastructure bill earmark funds for CO2 pipelines for the purpose of requiring energy companies to curtail releasing CO2 into the atmosphere? Proposed regulations would require CO2 byproduct be piped away and disposed of beneath the ground at companies’ expense.

    It’s a pickle. Not only is technology persistently morally neutral, evading arguments, but it also changes people in its image. The pipeline, whether it is for good or ill, stills compels us to use it because it exists. And so do corporate structures, and courts, long after anyone one of us continues to exist. Tech is obstinate, people are malleable.

    1. expr

      It seems to me that storing CO2 underground is something like storing nuclear waste: If it ever gets out, we have a big problem.
      I wonder what the half-life of CO2 stored underground is. It will react with the surrounding rock. This “weathering” is one way CO2 is removed from the atmosphere naturally.
      In some ways it is worse since the CO2 is a gas under high pressure.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        It seems to me that storing CO2 underground is something like storing nuclear waste: If it ever gets out, we have a big problem.

        In many ways, it’s worse. If you bury nuclear waste deep underground, gravity is your friend. It won’t be pressurized, and most radioactive isotopes have high atomic numbers and are dense materials. They will not “float up”, even if nearby cracks provide an apparent flow path. The biggest real concern is radioactive materials dissolving in water and being carried elsewhere, but if you bury it well below the water table, that shouldn’t be a problem.

        With pressurized CO2, gravity is NOT your friend. It will be less dense than surrounding material and will always flow upward if given a flow path. The fact that it’s a pressurized gas exacerbates the issue.

        Your question about the “half-life” of CO2 stored underground is VERY interesting, though. If the oxygen atoms bond to adjacent materials rather quickly, then long-term monitoring of CO2 sequestration sites probably isn’t necessary. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen numbers anywhere that indicate how quickly the CO2 would break down. Days, years, centuries? I haven’t a clue.

        1. HotFlash

          ISTR that Mammoth Cave et al were created when CO2 mixed with water to form carbonic acid, which percolated through rock (limestone) and ate away huge caves and deposited all those stalagmites and stalactites — anyway, moved a lot of rock. Why would CO2 stored underground not erode the rock in which it is ‘stored’?

          1. Greg

            As I understand the fantasy, carbon storage at the final destination will be done in a form which is less reactive than CO2. Ie, we pre-convert it into the stuff it wants to become on contact with the surroundings and dump that stable rocky substance into a deep hole so it doesn’t get rained on and start weathering. Knowing humans, we’ll shrinkwrap it.

        2. Ian Ollmann

          There are precedents though for long term stable carbon storage. Limestone is the usual natural solution, and eventually quite a lot of the human made CO2 will end up there, whatever we do. It just runs on a unhelpfully lengthy geologic timescale that doesn’t suit our immediate need.

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          lets put this problematic, lighter-than-air gas underground under porous rocks.

          has anybody looked at maybe freezing it, and putting it in the Marianas Trench, as a clathrate?
          CO2 is a pretty stable thing…i can’t think of anything it readily bonds with, besides plants….and good rich earth.
          i like tiera prieta, myself.
          and since all the hay…and therefore all the manure…is herbicidal…that’s exactly what the world needs, anyway.
          to bind up dowpont’s forever herbicides.
          we’re gonna need all that manure…and soon.
          Know Yer Farmer

          1. saywhat?

            The mineral olivine (/ˈɒl.ɪˌvin/) is a magnesium iron silicate with the chemical formula (Mg2+, Fe2+)
            2SiO 4. It is a type of nesosilicate or orthosilicate. The primary component of the Earth’s upper mantle,[8] it is a common mineral in Earth’s subsurface, but weathers quickly on the surface. For this reason, olivine has been proposed as a good candidate for accelerated weathering to sequester carbon dioxide from the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, as part of climate change mitigation.

            Now all we need is abundant carbon-free energy to mine, grind, and spread the stuff, including, I’ve read, on farmland and as a beach material…

      2. flora

        Carbon sequestration underground of CO2 has been a big thing at the DOE for a long time – for over 10 years now. Lots of grant money involved. Lots of Uni folks and others working on the project. Whether or not it will eventually work or make sense is anyone’s guess, imo.

    2. Ian Ollmann

      There is sort of a Yes, but… here.

      Obviously, you only need a CO2 pipeline if you made CO2 in the first place. That is your problem. The sooner we can reduce fossil fuel usage, the sooner we stop making so much CO2 that we need a pipeline for it.

      We don’t get where we need to be without banning new combustion based infrastructure. The sooner that happens, the sooner the installed base can start to age out. It can’t start to age out until the spigot of new combustion infrastructure is turned off.

      The rest of this is just arguing over who gets eaten by the shark first.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That’s like a first serious step, Isn’t it? I’m sure it’s part of that marvelous new bipartisan billionaire giveway infrastructure bill.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        “….just arguing over who gets eaten by the shark first.”
        I nominate Exxon, BP, et alia.
        to their credit, it only took 50+ years for them to start making noises about transitioning their business model to something kind-of green-ish…if ya squint….after 50+ years of spending billions of dollars that weren’t taxed away in the first place(and subsidised by us, no less) bribing all and sundry to support the anti-realism of “it ain’t real!” to make it possible to extract and sell every last drop(there is no alternative)…those people, and there’s a lot of them…divest, now!…have made the situation orders of magnitude worse than it had to be.
        i say shark food they are.
        and i prolly mean it more literally than is necessarily polite.

  14. Michelle

    A most interesting cultural anthropology study would be to describe how anyone working for a socially unhealthy company (tobacco, McDonald’s, fossil fuels, etc) can also be a “good neighbor” and go to church on the weekends.

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      I think this is the main idea of Hannah Arendts writing about Eichmann and her idea of the Banality of Evil.

  15. Henry Moon Pie

    “disposed of beneath the ground at companies’ expense”

    Oil wells, at least in the Permian Basin, go through several stages of recovery. The first just relies on the natural pressure to bring the oil up. The second stage is called water flood, and it used water pressure to force up more oil. Finally, CO2 is injected in tertiary recovery not relying on high pressure but on the effect that CO2 has on the miscibility of the oil, making it more slippery so that more makes its way to the surface.

    From what I have read, the idea is to take the recovered CO2 and pipe it to old wells for tertiary recovery, thus exacerbating the problem of pulling too much grease out of the ground. So yes, they will “dispose” of the CO2 by putting it under the ground.

  16. Questa Nota

    Amorality manifests itself in any number of ways. Confronting that begins with an individual. In days of old, people wrote about that confrontation, awareness and perhaps acknowledgement as a type of midnight exam, in the solitude of the bedchamber.

    There is plenty of solitude available although the mindshare and, increasingly, walletshare, competition is keener now so requires extra effort and help. Start by checking in on your family and neighbors.

    1. bob

      “Confronting that begins with an individual. ”

      Libertarian nonsense. The biggest hurdle that people face is dealing with tautologies like that. HTF does an individual confront Chase bank? Non-profit health insurance monopolies?

      “There is plenty of solitude available…”

      No there isn’t.

      “Start by checking in on your family and neighbors.”

      This completely contradicts the first sentence of the paragraph. Cognitive dissonance defined.

      1. Questa Nota

        Not a libertarian. Begin by taking responsibility for yourself.

        Solitude is available to those who look. YMMV.

        Once you begin taking responsibility for yourself, then you can help those around you.

        As in airplane travel, put on your mask first.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and stop working for big oil, big ag, and frelling wall street.
          Praxis matters more than Doxy.
          abandon them.

        2. bob

          “Begin by taking responsibility for yourself.” translated – YOU are the problem, not ME.

          “Solitude is available to those who look. YMMV.” translated -YOU can’t find it because YOU aren’t looking hard enough, I’M fine over here.

          “Once you begin taking responsibility for yourself” translated – Its all YOU, and YOU aren’t listening to ME scold YOU enough.

          You might not believe you are a libertarian but you do a very good impression.

  17. Glen

    All I can add is that blaming the citizens of the country for the incredible forty year slide into this morass is wrong. The fish rots from the head. Our elites have completely failed.

  18. Rod

    The munitions for a battle for ideas is information.

    Information without truth can be static.
    #1 rule from Extinction Rebellion is
    “Tell the Truth”
    Rampant consumption of Fossil Fuel is killing our Earth.

  19. Ian Ollmann

    > If we were to say that it is the “corporations” which are exploiting people, that
    > would be wrong. “corporations” are not people. It is the people – you might be
    > one of them too – who work in the corporations who are exploiting others.

    Yes. Furthermore, if the MAGA set legitimately distrusts experts (as opposed to say arriving at this anti-elite opinion because of fascist manipulation of truth for political gain), it is because the experts have done them wrong, and they know it. Neoliberal ideas like NAFTA, free trade (without free migration to follow the jobs), the Tuskogee Syphilis Experiment, and both the predatory/parasitic FIRE and financialized medical sector, not to mention telecommunications predatory pricing and 40 years of cuts in the social safety net, are all examples of Elites remorselessly screwing over the working class again and again. If it comes with 10 pages of legal broilerplate attached, watch out!

    If people like me are to claim some sort of elite status, we may do so only if we take on a fiduciary responsibility for the wellbeing of everyone else. Without that, there can be no trust. How often is this at odds with the desires of the employer, or even a granting agency that seeks only novelty? It is a rare company or grant review board that is looking out for the welfare of its customers / citizens, even if every single one of them should do it.

    For this reason, we should reject wholeheartedly the Me First ethos of the libertarian right. 350 million Me Firsters just means you vs. 349,999,999 other people. How often will you win? There is incredible synergy in working together, but only if we are on the same page.

    Also as a legal construct, the corporation as a vehicle for limiting financial liability has morphed into a monster for avoiding legal liability and ethical responsibility. In its role as a vehicle to organize people to screw over their fellow man, it may have outlived its usefulness. Calls for stakeholder primacy are both overdue and not enough.

    This is what corruption is.

    1. tegnost

      You say MAGA and libertarian right, but that is not the universe of negative influences.
      more like a small subset.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i reckon elite status…if such a thing should exist at all…should be earned.
      and not just by how much $ you managed to extract from everyone else.
      there’s things like moral standing…are you known for being fair and impartial when called upon?
      people will go to you for advice…and even arbitration.
      it’s the toxic Me, Me, Me/IamanIsland nonsense that gets us.
      we’re embedded and enmeshed with all these other people.
      we rely on them, and they rely on us…even if we never meet face to face.
      undoing the neoliberal turn that made it all this way, will be a monumental task…because we all…all of us…have absorbed it into us.
      we all think thataway, and have great difficulty thinking in other terms, and from other starting places.
      i could likely argue that i am only able to think about things otherwise because i have been outside the workaday ordinary life for so long…jobless, out here on the farm, feeding my people.
      it will be hard to get others to do the same…until it’s likely too late, and this cannibalistic stage of “capitalism”(i’ve read Smith) has run it’s course, and eaten itself.(see: Ungoliant)

  20. aleph_0

    Everyone please continue shouting this from the rooftops:

    “If we were to say that it is the “corporations” which are exploiting people, that would be wrong. “corporations” are not people. It is the people – you might be one of them too – who work in the corporations who are exploiting others.”

    I miss you too, Clive.

    There was a point in my adult life where I had to admit this, also. I didn’t want to contribute my labor uncritically to surveillance, finance, war, ecological destruction, or advertising. It was a decision which closed many doors in my life, as all significant value decisions do. The guiding light I had was basically something like Clive’s quote above. Once you actually admit what your symbol manipulation is actually doing to other people and what it’s for, it’s pretty hard to continue to justify it.

    I’m not a big fan of Stephen King, but the description of the Breakers in the Dark Tower series as a proxy for the PMC enablers in a world-destroying organization was magnificent.

  21. Sue inSoCal

    Thanks for this Yves. Thank you Henry Moon Pie. You were certainly a much more talented lawyer than I. That said, I worked consistently as an insurance lawyer. As they publicly continued to rail about claims fraud and frivolous med mal cases necessitating “tort reform,” several companies actually went out business for their fraud back then. I’m not proud of it, but as you say, it seemed like a stable middle class job at the time that provided a decent income to raise a family. After I became seriously ill, I felt as though this specialty, if you will, was literally toxic. Couldn’t get away fast enough. Appreciate your unique perspective on all of this.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Many of us who have led middle class lives have our hands soiled. In my case I was the “ringmaster,” to use HMP’s phrase, of the sale of $10M+ of control and monitoring equipment for an 880MW power plant in the northern Midwest about 40 years ago. It has since been contributing the CO2 resulting from the burning of 2-3 unit trains of coal (10K tons each) ever since. The one on the left.

  22. Gulag

    Some of the sentiment expressed in the posts above seem to leave some hope that there is a possibility to build new things out on the margins and away from our corporate/bureaucratic overlords.

    There is much I find persuasive in that perspective and its assumption that it would be wise to
    not exhaust ourselves in a daily war against a civilization (the West) that is already dead.

    The poet Robinson Jeffers put it this way about our now failing empire:

    ” We shall have to hold half the earth; we shall be sick with self-disgust,
    And hated by friend and foe and hold have the earth-or let it go and go down with it…

    …but we will have to bear it. Who has kissed Fate on the mouth and blown out the lamp–must lie with her.

  23. Telee

    Obviously, since Biden is opened more national land for oil drilling and also is leasing more areas in the Gulf of Mexico, his answer to global warming is carbon capture. Is that the answer or is that technically impossible? I really don’t know.

  24. allan

    Remington Subpoenas Report Cards of Five Children Killed in Sandy Hook Shooting [Vice]

    Gun company Remington has subpoenaed the report cards, attendance records, and disciplinary records of five kindergarten and first grade students murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, according to new court filings in a civil lawsuit filed against the company. …

    In addition, Remington subpoenaed employment records of four teachers who were killed in the shooting, in which a total of 20 children and six adults died. …

    The attorneys involved will soon be given Alumni Professional Achievement awards by their law schools.

  25. Rod

    I can’t help thinking this post, and the dialogue it prompts is the Nut to be Cracked of our Lifetime.
    I can’t articulate how important I think Community of the Like Minded (and how that manifests itself) is, going forward.
    Poetry is appropriate —for how it processes and presents—beyond the words.
    I’ll say I thought Clive a sharp pencil on matters and not surprised at his articulation of our common dilemma.

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