Links 10/10/2021

Empirically grounded technology forecasts and the energy transition (PDF) Institute for New Economic Thinking

In response to our opening question, “Is there a path forward that can get us there cheaply and quickly?”, our answer is an emphatic “Yes!”. Our quantitative analysis supports other recent efforts using up-to-date data and technology assumptions that reach a similar conclusion. The key is to maintain the current high growth rates of rapidly progressing clean energy technologies for the next decade. This is required to build up the industrial capabilities and technical know-how necessary to produce, install and operate these technologies at scale as fast as possible so that we can profit from the resulting cost reductions sooner rather than later.

The belief that the green energy transition will be expensive has been a major driver of the ineffective response to climate change for the last forty years. This pessimism is at odds with past technological cost-improvement trends, and risks locking humanity into an expensive and dangerous energy future. While arguments for a rapid green transition often cite benefits such as the avoidance of climate damages, less air pollution and lower energy price volatility, these benefits are often contrasted against discussions about the associated costs of transitioning. Our analysis suggests that such trade-offs are unlikely to exist: a greener, healthier and safer global energy system is also likely to be cheaper.

Big if true. Readers?

The Cheap and Easy Climate Fix That Can Cool the Planet Fast Bloomberg. Methane.

California’s Oil Leak Is Part of a Larger Disaster in the Making New York Magazine

Coal Industry Is Getting Ample Funding to Pile Into New Plants Bloomberg

In Global Energy Crisis, Anti-Nuclear Chickens Come Home to Roost Foreign Policy

The Nasty Logistics of Returning Your Too-Small Pants The Atlantic. Supply chain follies.

Crews Are Abandoned on Ships in Record Numbers Without Pay, Food or a Way Home WSJ. See NC summarizing the “crew change crisis” over a year ago. I suppose we’ll be seeing stories about a shipping labor shortage next. “People just don’t want to work!”

How supply chain chaos and sky-high costs could last until 2023 American Shipper

Musk Says Tesla Software Update Delayed by a Few Days Bloomberg. “Tesla Inc is delaying the rollout of the FSD Beta 10.2 software update due to last-minute concerns.” FSD = Full Self-Driving. What could have gone wrong?

#COVID19

Nationally Representative Social Contact Patterns in the United States, August 2020-April 2021 (preprint) (PDF) medRxiv. From the Discussion: “Overall, national contact rates in Spring 2021 were similar to those in Fall 2020, with most contacts in both surveys reported at work. The number of contacts reported was not uniform across groups, with those identifying as non-White, non-Black, non-Asian, and non-Hispanic reporting high rates of contact relative to other racial and ethnic groups. Contact rates were highest among those with lower incomes and in specific occupational categories, including retail, hospitality and food service, and transportation. While the number of contacts reported were mostly similar from baseline to follow-up, younger adults (aged 25-34) reported higher numbers of contacts at follow-up as compared to baseline. Finally, we found that those testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies reported a higher number of daily contacts than those who were seronegative. Collectively, these findings provide robust empirical evidence for differences in social behavior among demographic groups, highlighting the profound disparities that have become the hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Multicomponent Strategies to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Transmission — Nine Overnight Youth Summer Camps, United States, June–August 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. “The combination of high vaccination rates among persons eligible for vaccination, frequent testing, podding, modified programming, masking, physical distancing, and attention to hand hygiene afforded campers and staff members safe engagement with their peers and camp community. These findings also highlight important guiding factors for development and implementation of COVID-19 prevention protocols in other youth-focused settings, including schools and related youth programs.” Ventilation is not mentioned, but from what I recall of summer camp, most everything was outdoors or might as well have been. Notice, however, that since CDC recommends these strategies for schools, they continue to suppress aersosol transmission and endorse the hygiene theatre of handwashing.

China?

Companies prepare for a ‘selective decoupling’ with China FT

‘Starting a Fire’: U.S. and China Enter Dangerous Territory Over Taiwan NYT. This nugget was not in the story:

CIA creates working group on China as threats keep rising AP (Furzy Mouse).

Thousands in China Are Using a Special Remote to Repel ‘Dancing Grannies’ Vice

Myanmar

UN warns of Myanmar aid shortfall as country faces ‘triple crises’ FT

Garment workers face a fresh threat: a boycott Frontier Myanmar. Oil or jade would seem to be closer to the Tatmadaw jugular than apparel. Or drugs.

Myanmar’s Military Chief Staged a Coup. But He Did Not Act Alone The Irrawaddy

Malaysia to Begin Interstate Travel as 90% Adults Fully Jabbed Bloomberg

India

Indian minister’s son detained after car kills protesting farmers FT. The dude should move to Florida, he’d get away clean.

Dhakis for Durga: without skipping a drumbeat People’s Archive of Rural India

Syraqistan

Taliban say they won’t work with US to contain Islamic State AP. Once bitten, twice shy.

African agriculture without African farmers Al Jazeera

UK/EU

Austria’s Sebastian Kurz steps down amid corruption probe Politico

Nursing crisis sweeps wards as NHS battles to find recruits Guardian

When others stay silent about the ills of British capitalism, liars like Johnson rush in William Davies, Guardian. Particularly ironic given the role that Guardian played in defenestrating Corbyn. Which “others,” exactly, does Davies expect to perform the critique?

Biden Adminstration

The real debate among Democrats over Biden’s agenda is just beginning CNN

Biden Should Be Selling His Plan, Not Compromising Away Its Promise The Nation

Democrats en Deshabille

Harrison Nominates New Corporate Lobbyists to Join the DNC ReadSludge. Surprisingingly horrid, even for the DNC. Commentary:

“Unify” and “deliver.” “Build Back Better” is certainly sharpening the contradictions:

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Is Literally Teaching A Course On Fundraising The Intercept. Sinema, Manchin, and Gottheimer can all be seen as representative types under Pelosi’s “beautiful big tent“: Sinema, of the corrupt Non-Profit Industrial Complex; Manchin, of the corrupt local gentry; and Gottheimer, of the corrupt FIRE sector. Each one extracting a steady stream of funding from their respective host bodies. When Pelosi “welcomes the diversity,” that’s the diversity she’s talking about.

Our Famously Free Press

Deathly Silence: Journalists Who Mocked Assange Have Nothing to Say About CIA Plans to Kill Him FAIR

Google and YouTube to prohibit advertisements on content with false information on climate change CBS. Greenwald calls attention to this language: “Google said it will ‘look carefully’ at whether a piece of content is making a prohibited claim or simply discussing it.” If a policy of “prohibited claims” on Covid had been in effect in early 2020, neither masking nor aerosol transmission would ever have gotten traction, at least within the Googlesphere. The same is true for claims about Iraqi WMDs or RussiaGate. In all these cases, claims from the margins were correct, and would have been censored. The same would be true of MMT.

Sports Desk

The NWSL Was Working As Intended Defector

Health Care

Ahead of an unpredictable flu season, public health experts urge nation to sign up for flu shot ABC

Medicine’s trust problem among women Axios

Fundamentally, nothing will change, expecially health care for profit:

I think Biden’s speech slammed the door on “people having their fears and concerns addressed”: “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin.” Maybe next time.

Zeitgeist Watch

LEGO to release a 9,090-piece scale model of the Titanic — its biggest set ever CNN

FOMO, totally:

(We have linked to this site before, but this is a revised pitch.)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Photographs from Chris Arnade, on a walk through Buffalo. Really worth looking through the entire gallery:

These photos could have come from no place other than America, and no time other than this (post-deindustrialization).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black real estate agent, clients file lawsuit after being handcuffed by Michigan police during home tour USA Today

Guillotine Watch

New York’s Real Estate Tax Breaks Are Now a Rich-Kid Loophole Bloomberg

Peter Thiel Embodies Silicon Valley’s Conservative Past and Dystopian Future Jacobin

Class Warfare

U.S. food workers go on strike AP

America’s Economic Divide In Two Stories Heisenberg Report. Very good. And read all the way to the end.

Who Goes Nazi? Dorothy Thompson, Harper’s. From 1941. Still germane?

How the world’s biggest brain maps could transform neuroscience Nature. It’s not neuroscience I’m worried about:

A Mars Rover Explored a Wasteland and Found an Oasis The Atlantic

The Wild Joy of Foraging My Own Food Texas Monthly. I doubt very much this will scale.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

Apparently, judgements about Beauty can cross species.

Another Bonus Antidote (Ignacio):

For World Octopus Day.

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.

203 comments

  1. Ian Perkins

    The Cheap and Easy Climate Fix That Can Cool the Planet Fast

    Another wildly misleading headline. The idea is not to cool the planet, but to avoid warming it quite as quickly. Even stopping all methane emissions wouldn’t result in any cooling in the near future.
    “Move quickly enough on methane, and the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C becomes far more feasible.”

    Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      And considering that Bloomberg is the source, misleading headlines on this topic are to be expected.

      Now focusing on reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations and Big Ag’s industrial feedlots is important. Methane is worse than CO2 as a warming agent, and the carelessness of Big Ag and Big Oil with respect to methane is criminal in my view. The EN-ROADS simulator allows you to check the claims of this article right down to the 50% reduction goal. You can set the percentage of the non-CO2 warming gases by clicking on “Methane and Other” under “Land and Industry Emissions.” You’ll find a reduction if you set it at 50%, but it’s quite limited.

      We also have to remember that we’re already getting increased methane from melting permafrost. We have no means to control that in any way at this point.

      As for misleading headlines, we’re going to be inundated with them. People are growing more and more concerned, and those who are determined to maintain Business As Usual are now being forced to talk about trimming their emissions around the edges while pretending that will solve the problem. They’ll also do their best to keep all eyes on global warming to the exclusion of other aspects of our planetary overshoot like soil and fresh water degradation, habitat loss, ocean acidification, etc.

      Distraction and outright disinformation will be abundant, and the easiest way to recognize it is to ask the question, “What do they say about economic growth?” If someone claims the party can continue, they’re not being honest.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Look over here . Business as Usual are now choosing to talk (pretend) that they realize that they have to cut emissions “around the corners” to solve global warming. Look over there . If the desecration of the planet’s resources including healthy soils, clean waters, non polluted air, destruction of ecosystems, loss of forests and trees, degradation of oceans and seas continue then it is propaganda theatre. The big con is accelerating as the Business as Usual play at being of any conscience , but a dollar “saved” that turns into a dollar of profit is it’s own reward.

        Reply
    2. Solarjay

      The current and last IPCC reports call for removing carbon from air as well as reducing carbon production to 0 exactly to reduce the earth’s temperature.

      Reducing carbon emissions is not enough, active carbon sequestration is required as well. This should be a multi pronged design of DAC ( direct air capture), soil work, tree/forest planting, agriculture improvements etc.

      Reply
    3. Soredemos

      What’s the ‘cheap and easy fix’ for preventing giant holes melting in Siberia? Because somehow I don’t think any amount of tightening of gas pipes is going to offset the accelerating natural permafrost release…

      Reply
    1. clem

      >Big if true. Readers?
      green energy generation could be a huge waste of money if there is nuclear fusion
      but a better electrical network shouldn’t be a problem because it balances the supply everywhere

      Reply
        1. clem

          >The belief that the green energy transition will be expensive has been a major driver of the ineffective response
          >A backup plan is never a waste of money.
          so i assume: we(usa) print it digitally and people who can’t do that have to ration?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff6SDsaS7rI

          uncanny similarities to the covid response

          Reply
          1. tegnost

            In other words there are lots of trillion dollar coins floating around already.
            ps you might consider providing a clue to the content when posting links

            Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That doesn’t become true until nuclear fusion exists, if it ever exists. Till then, it is not a waste of money. And if nuclear fusion never exists, then it is never a waste of money. It might even make nuclear fusion itself the waste of money.

        Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      If you look back at estimates for renewables, there is a very long term consistent tendency to over estimate their costs. One very highly regarded and much cited paper published in 2009 predicted that EV solar would be cost competitive with coal by 2040. It actually achieved competitiveness in some markets five years later. The costs of offshore wind has also dropped remarkably over the past decade, far quicker than every projection I’ve seen. The reasons are fairly easy to see – wind and solar in particular are very scalable and mass production reduces their cost in a way that, for example, doesn’t really apply with coal or nuclear (at least not to nearly the same extent). Much the same is happening with grid balancing and storage, there are a wide range of solutions that are coming to the market now, most of which are not dependent on exotic materials or engineering.

      The key problem with decarbonising electricity grids is that it has to be done in a co-ordinated manner, matching changes to production to grid design and layout and demand management. Years of fragmenting and privatising and deregulating electricity supply has made this very difficult. In many countries, it is politics and regulatory issues, not cost which is stopping additional penetration from renewables.

      Reply
      1. lozza262

        Fully agree. Renewable energy is inherently deflationary, i.e. the more you build, the cheaper it becomes whereas the carbon fuels are inherently inflationary as in the more we use, the harder it is to produce from deeper and more difficult fields.
        At this moment already we have the technologies to completely decarbonise the grids. Storage in batteries for short term and hydrogen for seasonal storage is already possible. Add to that that in many places it is indeed already much cheaper to get solar and wind electricity than burning coal or gas.
        Added advantage is we also get clean air. What’s not to like?

        Reply
        1. Solarjay

          We in the solar industry have seen prices stabilized for the last few years, and this year start to go up both for residential and utility scale.

          https://www.seia.org/solar-industry-research-data

          There is extremely little lowering of costs left in solar or wind. But nor do we need to lower it any further only improve reliability which has taken a big hit with cost cutting.

          The next hurtles are low cost, environmentally friendly, quick to produce storage and E fuels.

          As to ecomonies of scale that also applies to nuclear if a single design is replicated. If we decided to build 100 or 500 plants all with the same design and components it would greatly reduce cost and speed up the construction time. I read that every single US nuclear plant is unique which is hardly the way to reduce costs, but that was never the intention of many utilities that have a cost plus profit model.

          One thought that occurred to me about how our politicians and the PMC and pundits seem to be addressing the climate emergency time line is like the social security Insolvency issue: IE we’ll fix it when we get there, if we get there and might be someone else’s problem. They just don’t seem to understand that this is a real physical thing, not something you can fix with a signature on a piece of paper.

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            The South Koreans have gone furthest in slimming down and building reactors rapidly, but there are bottlenecks in production, mostly related to the difficulty in building the high pressure vessels. The EPR is a disaster precisely because it requires far too much specialised welding. Even the Chinese seem to have concluded that large scale roll out of nuclear isn’t viable. The French showed years ago that rolling out standardised designs can significantly reduce costs, but even they seem to have forgotten their own lessons.

            Solar panels are going up in price, but thats mostly due to bottlenecks in China. As I understand it they are going through a process of weeding out the worst producers with the intention of ramping up production again with the best designs.

            Wind still has a long way to go in reducing costs, especially as off-shore wind is only just ramping up. It will take a few years to build up the scale needed, but certainly in Europe this is already happening. The new generation of super sized turbines seem likely to drop prices even more, especially as they open up areas which were previously considered to be too low in wind speeds to be viable.

            Reply
    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Remember that this article’s focus is very narrow: the price of renewables.

      The EN-ROADS model, applied to the IPAT equation, comes to a different conclusion. If you go to this link and scroll down to the 5 Kaya graphs, focus on the graph labeled “Energy Intensity of GDP.” The black line is Business As Usual, and shows continuing improvement in Energy Intensity based upon current trends of improvement in deployed technology, not price. The blue line represents a substantial improvement in technological advance and renewable deployment over current trends. Even with that substantial improvement, we continue pouring more CO2 into the atmosphere all the way up to 2100 if current trends in population and GDP growth continue.

      The article is encouraging. It is a far cry from being a “We’re gonna be OK” moment, however, It merely argues that the deployment of renewables will be faster than expected, but it will not be fast enough even to end carbon emissions if population and GDP growth continue.

      Reply
    4. Charles 2

      We will see if the downward cost slope for PV will continue the same way now that China is getting constrained by its fuel supplies and its environment regulations. The price of poly silicon just exploded

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        US: No chips for you!

        China: Apologies, we have to shut down some of the silicon refineries for energy reasons, but we’ll leave Xinjiang online and you can buy all the fair trade silicon they will sell you. GL HF

        It’s too early in the day for popcorn.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in finance, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in wealth conjured out of thin air, we shall defend our island of inanity, whatever the cost may be.

          Reply
    5. Roger

      The authors should read some Vaclav Smil to understand the inherent frictions built into the sheer scale and complexity of such a build out in technical, raw material extraction / transformation and energy infrastructure terms. Then add on the massive losses for fossil fuel and fossil fuel related sectors (i.e. massive sunk costs not counted in the scenarios) which will provide deep political resistance. This is not just about producing energy, it is also about changing all of the energy using devices to use electricity (cars, ships, space heating etc.).

      The growth rates for installed renewables are falling, not rising, as would be expected with the increasing size of the installed base every year – it takes greater and greater levels of installation to maintain a given growth rate. Near the end of the process the sheer scale of build out to maintain the growth rate is factors above what was required at the beginning. In addition, as the scale gets bigger friction increases as greater changes are necessary in other processes and more political actors are negatively affected. Also, the intermittency issues rears its head as renewables become a majority of the supply (and please don’t mention Germany as they cheat by using exports and imports from other countries to massage this). Batteries won’t be in a position to fix this for a decade or more (and batteries are chemical and don’t follow the exponential downward cost curves of renewables).

      Basically more eco-modernist fairy tales to hide the fact that we need to both transform the energy system AND reduce energy usage to have any chance at staying below 2-3 degrees (1.5 degrees is already gone, probably even 2 in reality).

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        The UN conceded the other day that if the Paris Accords are met, warming will be 3.2 degrees C. The EN-ROADS simulator baseline is 3.6. I guess the consensus among elites is to take us to a point of no return–not that we’re not already there, but the definition keeps changing as reality keeps worsening–and hope some tech deus ex machina arrives and that they have a substantial financial stake in it.

        There are going to be a lot of bought brains, mouths and keyboards in the days to come. This is isn’t a battle for one dirty industry, it’s the whole bottom line.

        Reply
      2. Gc54

        Unfortunately, I think you are right. Renewables need to exponentiate. Wind is only growing linearly, and as others have noted solar prices have started to creep up due to increased bulk of system costs. In the US we have to contend with onerous permitting and very inflated installation costs.

        Reply
    6. Grumpy Engineer

      Hmmm… I didn’t comment on the earlier NC post. I must have been busy that day.

      Anyway, the energy transition paper is terribly optimistic. Key four flaws:

      [1] They blindly assume that costs will continue on an exponential decay curve for at least 20 years, which large-scale energy technologies cannot do forever. Eventually raw material costs dominate, and these aren’t technologies where miniaturization can yield amazing benefits, like we’ve seen in computer and data storage technologies.

      For example, their chart shows batteries dropping all the way to $30 per kWh. Really?!? I’ve read several battery industry articles that describe a price of $100/kWh as the “holy grail”, the final price they might ultimately reach, yet this group of economists has blindly extrapolated to a price less than a third of that.

      [2] They say nothing about quantities that will be required, and whether or not resources will be available to support those quantities. For batteries in particular, the auto industry has already announced plans that will consume expected worldwide battery production several times over. And yet we’ll be able to apply whatever we need for the grid at super-low cost?

      [3] Focusing on the cost of the basic solar panels and wind turbines neglects the “balance of plant (BOP)” or “balance of system (BOS)” costs. It’s one thing to say that solar panels are cheap. But when they’re mounted in steel or aluminum frames, properly secured to the roof of a building (or clear-cut patch of land), connected with copper cables to an inverter, which in turn is connected to fuses and/or breakers, and then sometimes to transformers, and then to more fuses and breakers, and then to metering equipment, the overall costs don’t drop nearly as quickly.

      I’m not able to find it at the moment, but I saw a NREL paper several months ago that described the BOS costs for a battery station as being about 30% of the total. If true, this means that even if the batteries themselves were completely free, the station cost would only go down by a factor of three. The article predicts costs dropping by a factor of ten.

      [4] The paper assumes that renewable assets will be fully deployed, generating power whenever weather conditions are favorable. However, if you followed Wednesday’s debate in the comments section, you’ll see a link to an article by Roger Andrews where he showed that “over-provisioning” renewable assets by a factor of two could greatly reduce storage requirements. Larry Gilman linked to another study that made a similar recommendation. If we do this, renewable energy assets won’t operate 30% of the time, but instead will operate ~15% of the time. Capital costs would be spread out over half the kWh, effectively doubling the price.

      Reply
  2. Cocomaan

    At this point, having taken a news break for a week or two, I have no idea what the democrats are arguing over.

    I’m 100% sure that whatever passes will not benefit most people. I’m old enough to remember the Obama era ARRA and how that was a giant disappointment.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, we have the ARRA Bike Lane. It stretches for two blocks along Toole Avenue, which forms the northern boundary of Downtown Tucson.

      Let me tell you, that is change we bicyclists can believe in.

      (Sarcasm off.)

      Reply
    2. Jason Boxman

      Well, this time the Left in Congress, such as it is, beat on its chest briefly before ultimately folding, but otherwise, nothing new to report.

      Reply
  3. jr

    Anecdote: I spent most of the weekend in NJ with family. Restaurants are filled with the unmasked; I had no choice but to follow suit or risk a huge conflict. I poured saline down my nose in the bathroom, made a mouthwash martini afterwards, and commended myself to the Unity. So it goes.

    Very few people are masking. Definitely not outside, even when packed in groups or waiting in non-distanced lines. The sop of masking staff in restaurants is undermined when the mask comes off right after addressing a table. Store staff wear them as well but the customers do not necessarily.

    A lot of lawns bear signs announcing masks and vaxxing works. A few implore you to “Unmask your kids!” My partner’s mom, a conservative Republican asked of the unmaskers “How many of them are doctors?!” I agreed with her point and noted that nobody trusts anyone any more. I provided the facts that the pharmas overcharge for everything and no one believes they have our interests at heart. She, generally pro-business, agreed with this assessment.

    I had to take the train and subway home. The train riders were masked to the (wo)man. Penn station was crowded but mostly masked. The subway less so.

    Everywhere, there was improper masking, useless surgical masks, huge beards, noses hanging out. Either they were uninformed or just careless.

    Ok, off to eat some green apples.

    Reply
  4. fresno dan

    David Sirota
    Put another way: The Democratic Party’s fundamental crisis is that it cannot satisfy its corporate donors and also solve the problems created by those corporate donors. And quite often, the party refuses to do anything other than satisfy its corporate donors.
    =============================================
    The Democratic Party’s United States fundamental crisis is that it cannot satisfy its corporate donors and also solve the problems created by those corporate donors. And quite often, the party country refuses to do anything other than satisfy its corporate donors.

    There is nothing wrong with pointing out how corrupt the dems are, but ignoring repubs contribution to the problem is bizarre. If magically*, every dem became honest, truthful, and virtuous, the way the United States electorial system is set up would still make reform impossible.
    And say the argument is made that the problem is merely 2 recalcitrant dem senators – just elect more dems. OK, say you had 57 dem senators….(US senate 2009). Was 2009 a watershed year for reform???
    * btw, there is no such thing as magic. There is magical thinking, e.g., if only we had more democrats the world would be better…

    Reply
    1. JacobiteInTraining

      yup, pretty much ’nuff said.

      Like a usage manual with dozens and hundreds and thousands of pages, where there is really only a single sentence that matters.

      Reply
        1. Roger

          A rich straight white male who held war debts bought at pennies on the dollar but made whole by the new Federal Government! There happened to be quite a few of those in the room writing the constitution. Also, Hamilton explicitly wanted to create an oligarchy through the 100% redemption of those bonds.

          Also, of course the land speculators such as Washington.

          Reply
          1. montanamaven

            Time to return to reading “The Other Founders” (aka the anti-Federalists) by Sam Cornell. Their opinions and writings from around 1787 to 1830 are not taught in school. I only discovered them here on NC about 5 years ago. Their ideas at least got some bills of rights. But their warnings against centralized government and a far away judiciary got marginalized even though they fought for these ideas for at least a couple decades. These were thoughtful and wise people. But the Hamiltonians won the day. Another reason why I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the play

            Reply
            1. montanamaven

              And a good companion piece is “Toward an American Revolution” by Jerry Fresia which also chronicles the objections to the ideas of the elites that wanted to change the Confederation of colonies to a republic at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Lots of shenanigans for sure to come up with our vaunted constitution. So I am all for better American history courses that include the history of anti-populism and less about great men.

              Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Actually the US Constitution was a pretty radical document for its day. Most countries were run by monarchs and here was a country that said to hell with that noise and let’s try something different. This was an experiment that all Europe wanted to fail. When Greece fought for its independence, they (had to?) import a branch of the Royal Danish family to rule them as their king. Until they kicked them out eventually that is. Side note – this Danish/Greek royal family is the one that Prince Phillip came from.

          Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Only to get back at the UK after the recent wars in North America. If they knew that the ideas of the American revolution would spread through France leading to the demise of the French Monarchy, they would have never supported the Colonists.

              Reply
      1. lance ringquist

        lincoln won only because of the electoral college. that win completely changed america.

        trumps electoral college win locked out the nafta hillary war monger, and exposed the disastrous polices of nafta billy clinton to america.

        is it perfect, nope, is it even good at times, nope, but its better than many alternatives out there.

        our constitution is a double edged sword. but to remake it now, no, sorry.

        Reply
  5. Ian Perkins

    How the world’s biggest brain maps could transform neuroscience Nature. It’s not neuroscience I’m worried about:
    Then a message saying

    Video unavailable
    This video is not available

    Reply
    1. drsteve0

      I’ll save you some trouble. It’s a performance, a song, on u-toob suggesting that the Fuhrer lives cause they saved Adolf’s brain, replete with half a century old industrial punk style music and lot’s of screaming.

      Reply
  6. fresno dan

    Well, the first posting using strike out was a disaster. So, I was only trying to strike out Democratic Party and substitute United States to make the point that the problem isn’t just one party.
    David Sirota
    Put another way: The Democratic Party’s fundamental crisis is that it cannot satisfy its corporate donors and also solve the problems created by those corporate donors. And quite often, the party refuses to do anything other than satisfy its corporate donors.
    =============================================
    The Democratic Party’s United States fundamental crisis is that it cannot satisfy its corporate donors and also solve the problems created by those corporate donors. And quite often, the party country refuses to do anything other than satisfy its corporate donors.

    There is nothing wrong with pointing out how corrupt the dems are, but ignoring repubs contribution to the problem is bizarre. If magically*, every dem became honest, truthful, and virtuous, the way the United States electorial system and governing rules are set up would still make reform impossible.
    And say the argument is made that the problem is merely 2 recalcitrant dem senators – just elect more dems. OK, say you had 57 dem senators….(US senate 2009). Was 2009 a watershed year for reform???
    * btw, there is no such thing as magic. There is magical thinking, e.g., if only we had more democrats the world would be better…

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      American Conservatism is such a deranged ideology that even the upstanding ones are hideous who might be useful for the occasional mutual interest or pet peeve such as Kavanaugh in regards to the NCAA.

      The Democrats don’t put the GOP under pressure or offerror any reason to get on the bandwagon for an individual issue. If they don’t, they won’t care or be reached. Obama abolished the 50 state strategy. Money gets dumped on ads in September.

      Besides, Team Blue controls all the national law enforcement in the country. Given the previous three Presidents, the threat of Merrick Garland retiring should be enough to find a more compliant elite.

      Reply
    2. Joe Well

      I never realized you could use strike tags in Word Press comments.

      Test to see if header tags work too

      Edit: apparently they get deleted.

      small tag test

      Edit: they didn’t get deleted but had no effect on styling.

      Reply
    3. John k

      I dunno.
      If all dems were honest people devoted to their constituents imo we would seeen elect far more dems. Both parties compete basically on who best serves the donors. If either party changed the other would either change too or collapse into a rump.
      Such a drastic change on one side would have consequences.

      Reply
  7. timbers

    Biden Administration (S/B McConnell Administration)

    From the article…

    Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, a Washington state Democrat, told CNN that after a caucus meeting this week, progressives unified around the idea that if the cost of the package has to come down — which all signs suggest it will — then the goal is to keep all programs in the package but shorten the amount of time each one is funded.

    It’s Red Team famous for taking their opponent’s strength and making it a weakness?

    So…how about Progressives demand to DOUBLELING the spending on programs that benefit working folk (like single payer healthcare for all) and compare those figures to all the military bases we have through out the world, the hundreds of billions of subsidies to fossil fuels and corporations, the military budget (the REAL military budget that is hundreds of billions/per year higher than the corporate conglomerate media says it is because classified spending on spying on Americans and security, etc.). Or compare Progressive spending to the $trillions$ the Fed spent buying assets that rich folk own, and it’s monthly spending of $120 billon per month to give free money to their rich friends?

    When President McConnell told Senator Biden he’s drawing the line and from now on Senator Biden has to pass debt ceiling with his own party with no more help from President McConnell, Chuck Schumer bragged how awesome Democrats were they surrendered to Republicans and said mean things about President McConnell in a way that one might think he wants to make sure President McConnell makes good on his promise to stop helping Senator Biden raise the debt ceiling in December.

    So Democrats might not want the debt ceiling raised unless President McConnell makes the pass his programs instead of Senator Biden’s.

    Reply
    1. John Zelnicker

      @timbers
      October 10, 2021 at 8:29 am
      ——-

      Great post.

      It might also help if the comparison between the cost of the military budget and the proposed reconciliation bill used the same time frame.

      This is a long-standing problem that almost no one acknowledges. We talk about a $3.5 trillion bill that will spend that money over ten years, $350 billion per year.

      However, when we talk about the military budget, we refer to the amount to be spent in the current (or next) budget year, ~$750 billion (Pentagon only), $7.5 trillion over ten years.

      Either stop using ten-year budget figures for social programs, or start using it for the military. It’s a deception that most readers will never notice. The numbers stick in one’s memory, not the time frames.

      I have long been angered by the use of ten-year budget numbers. IIRC, it came from Pete Peterson’s Institute, maybe as far back as Clinton. The only purpose for it that I can see is to scare people with huge numbers, especially when referring to deficits and government spending.

      I have a request for the NC community. When making these comparisons, please include both ten-year and annual figures so readers will see them instead of assuming that they will make the conversion in their heads.

      /rant off

      Reply
      1. GF

        Unlike the military, if one uses a yearly number for social spending, the social programs would have to be reauthorized every year by congress voting to keep the programs. I would rather see a 10 year military budget proposal as it would greatly reduce the excessive inflation in the pentagon budget year over year given the blank check mentality of congress in regards to the military.

        Reply
    2. voteforno6

      Keeping all the programs, and cutting the length of time they’re funded isn’t a bad idea. That way, they can get a lot of popular programs on the books, and run on re-funding them when the time comes. Sometimes you just need to get a toe in the door.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Or, as Bill Clinton, and maybe “Creepy” Joe Biden might say: “Once the Camel gets it’s toes under the tent, we’ve got it made!”
        As Clinton’s analyst is reported to have quipped: “For Bill, that cigar is certainly multi-tasking.”
        Go ‘Long’ Little Blue State Dresses.

        Reply
  8. Jesper

    About: When others stay silent about the ills of British capitalism, liars like Johnson rush
    I found this quote to be very telling:

    No matter what apparent damage the Conservative party does to business or GDP

    It does not mention people at all but it does mention the all important business and the nationalist pride of increasing GDP….
    Then contintue reading about a party supposedly representing the interests of the ordinary workers are clear that they do not want wage-increases for ordinary workers because if there are wage-increases then the ones getting these wage-increases will be worse off due to wage-increases increasing inflation. Then this party is surprised that ordinary people are abandoning them?

    It has been written about how the ordinary people are getting less and less of the ‘economic pie’. Some consider that to be unfair, some of those who consider it to be unfair are arguing against policies that will give ordinary people are larger slice because if ordinary people get a larger slice then ordinary people will be worse off. How? Inflation and don’t ask any more questions because inflation explains all!

    & there are some theories about a shrinking middle class and there are indicators supporting the claim that the middle class life-style is more and more difficult to obtain and maintain. What would a forward-thinking party do when presented with that if they wanted to increase support for their party?
    Continue with policies that benefit the ones who are safe in their middle-class life-styles? The shrinking segment or propose and if possible also enact polices that benfit the ones aspiring to get into the middle-class or struggling to stay in the middle class? The ever increasing segment?

    Labour in the UK and the Social Democrats in Sweden they appear to think that to win votes then their strategy should be to support polices for the shrinking segment of the population. Doesn’t seem very bright does it? However, as I do not think they are all fools then maybe their goal is something else. Cynical people might suspect that their policies is more about personal benefits.

    Reply
  9. DrFrank

    Does anyone have a handle on how much the droughts in north and south America can be traced to reduced humidity released into the atmosphere due to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest? If it is significant, then perhaps the cost of buying out the growers there who are producing soy for export to China is less than the crop loss and habitat loss due in the drought impacted areas. My thanks to Lambert for peristently posting links like those today about climate.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      The problem with your suggestion is that it tacitly accepts the “superiority” of the Financialized theory of social relations. As long as ‘money’ is the base from which “success” or “failure” is measured, those with no compunctions about amassing wealth will always win in the long run. Gresham’s Law in action.
      The entire system that is based on the primacy of “money” must be removed. That will probably require destruction and bloodshed. Sorry, but the stakes are that high.
      Go ‘Long’ guillotines. (Never forget that pitchforks and guillotines are but inanimate objects and have no “agency” as to their use and for which ‘faction’ that use is dedicated.)

      Reply
  10. Lupemax

    Addendum to the above article: “Harrison Nominates New Corporate Lobbyists to Join the DNC” ReadSludge. Surprisingingly horrid, even for the DNC.

    “ET: In the virtual DNC fall meeting held today, the motion to suspend the rules and approve Jaime Harrison’s slate of 75 at-large members was passed by DNC members by a vote of 304-59.”

    When MA US rep. Richie Neal (one of the largest recipients of BIGPHARMA’s largesse) says he is working on the Build Back Better thingy, watch out. Who needs lobbyists when you got Neal? I live in MA – I know!

    Reply
  11. james wordsworth

    The whole Taiwan situation is silly and dangerous.

    With 23 million people (more than Norway, Sweden and Finland put together) and a fully functioning democracy there is NO reason for the world not to recognize the fact that Taiwan is an independent nation.

    However China continues to be governed by a racist (and imperialist) approach to nationhood (we are all Chinese).

    Xi does appear serious, and his moves in HK lend credence to his treats, though those same moves have helped make the Taiwanese independence movement even stronger. (Note: there are still a % of folks in Taiwan that are Mainlanders or their descendants and for them there may be a China unified attraction – but this is a small minority – though still with some political power). Overall though the vast majority in Taiwan want peaceful coexistence, with Taiwan as an independent nation, internationally recognized.

    Reply
    1. Huey Long

      there is NO reason for the world not to recognize the fact that Taiwan is an independent nation.

      Sure there is; it’s a rogue Chinese state that owes its independence solely to US naval power.

      They have about as much legitimacy as Long Island would have if the confederates fled there after the Civil War, moved the CSA capitol from Richmond to Ronkonkema, and established a state with the Royal Navy at anchor in the East River to keep the Union at bay.

      Reply
      1. ObjectiveFunction

        They have about as much legitimacy as L̶o̶n̶g̶ ̶I̶s̶l̶a̶n̶d̶ Canada would have if the c̶o̶n̶f̶e̶d̶e̶r̶a̶t̶e̶s̶ Loyalists fled there after the C̶i̶v̶i̶l̶ ̶W̶a̶r̶ Revolution, m̶o̶v̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶C̶S̶A̶ ̶c̶a̶p̶i̶t̶o̶l̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶R̶i̶c̶h̶m̶o̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶R̶o̶n̶k̶o̶n̶k̶e̶m̶a̶,̶ and established a state with the Royal Navy at anchor in the E̶a̶s̶t̶ St. Lawrence River to keep the U̶n̶i̶o̶n̶ Republic at bay.

        Reply
    2. Kouros

      The vast majority of Chinese want reincorporation of Taiwan under Beijing control. I think that counts for more in practical terms….

      Reply
  12. Mikel

    “The belief that the green energy transition will be expensive has been a major driver of the ineffective response to climate change for the last forty years..”

    Example:
    No one needed all the extra computer chips and AI to get electric vehicles on the road.

    The “green” transition has become about something else…surveillance and control, hence the added expense.

    Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      It’s not just about power generation. What about the massive rebuilding of our living spaces needed to minimize power usage for heating/cooling, and put the necessities of daily life in walking/biking distance? And the changes to manufacturing to make products that are durable and/or easy to recycle? None of that will be cheap…

      Reply
  13. Henry Moon Pie

    African farmers and the Gates foundation–

    Is there any way to read this article and not wonder about what it is that motivates Bill Gates. Does he have a pathological hatred for Nature? I’ve finally read Gabe Brown’s Dirt to Soil wherein he describes the amazing, living soil that can heal itself, the ecosystem of which it’s part and even the human beings who eat the food grown in it and benefit just from walking on its spongy surface. With Brown’s soil in mind, it’s heartbreaking to read what Gates is doing to small farmers around the world:

    Despite the apparent need for more technology, smallholders find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle, sacrificing tomorrow’s soil for today’s planting. While even some of the poorest farmers in Ghana rely on chemical fertiliser to grow enough food to survive, a number of farmers said their soils were infertile without ever-larger doses of chemicals. Or as some put it, the land was “addicted to chemicals”. This dependency increased their debt and their risk of land dispossession, particularly for women.

    Far from levelling the playing field so that any farmer can succeed, the emphasis on expensive technology and commercial access has only made it harder for smallholder farmers to survive in their native lands, while opening the door to local businessmen who see in the African Green Revolution their own investment opportunity. As one farmer said, “[donors] are supposed to help, but what do we see? […] you see big cars. This district executive wants 50 acres, the party head wants 100 acres.”

    As another put it, development workers “treat farmers like they are so stupid”.

    So what’s wrong with Gates? It’s not like The Science supports what he’s doing. The ideas he’s pushing have been rammed down the throats of farmers since the days of Earl Butz, and it’s well-established that these methods are destroying the soil, which is the foundation for life itself along with the oceans. Now Gates borrowing/stealing somebody else’s ideas is nothing new (DOS, the Mac, Word Perfect), but why? Is he somehow under the illusion that he’s making a positive contribution? I am truly baffled.

    Reply
    1. Mantid

      If one looks at Gates as a person who truly wants to limit population, he makes sense. Of course, he’s not pushing his systems in white countries, his focus is on brown and black countries.

      Reply
    1. Mildred Montana

      In Canadian hospitals, I doubt they would do that. Tylenol (acetaminophen) rules in them, to the total exclusion of aspirin. I suppose they are afraid of lawsuits stemming from aspirin-induced intestinal bleeding in patients, so better to chance liver damage from Tylenol, which would only become apparent long after the hospitalization and could have many causes.

      Here in Canada again, pharmacies have only recently begun posting warnings about the liver-toxicity of Tylenol. I wonder how many people died of “cirrhosis” in the meantime?

      Reply
      1. Carla

        I believe the point is that those who have been on a low-dose aspirin regime for some extended period of time are protected, not that hospital treatment with aspirin saves people:

        “The team investigated more than 400 COVID patients from hospitals across the United States who take aspirin unrelated to their COVID disease, and found that the treatment reduced the risk of several parameters by almost half: reducing mechanical ventilation by 44%, ICU admissions by 43%, and overall in-hospital mortality by 47%.”

        Since I read the article before being quite fully caffeinated, I missed the fact that this Jerusalem Post article is reporting on research done in the UNITED STATES.

        Gee, I wonder why our “free press” isn’t reporting on what apparently may be (please note my conditional tense) a dirt-cheap and universally available prophylactic for at least the worst ravages of Covid-19. STRANGE, ain’t it?

        Reply
        1. Mildred Montana

          Sloppy reading on my part. I seized on your words “severe stages”, therefore assuming hospitalization, and missed your word “prophylactic”. Excuse me, I posted before being “quite fully caffeinated”, it was early here by PST (Pacific Sunday Time). ;)

          I do believe in the efficacy of aspirin as a blood-thinner (first synthesized 170 years ago!) and take a tablet every day in the hope that it will forestall any potential clotting events. So far, so good.

          You ask: “Gee, I wonder why our “free press” isn’t reporting on what apparently may be (please note my conditional tense) a dirt-cheap and universally available prophylactic for at least the worst ravages of Covid-19. STRANGE, ain’t it?”

          You answered your own question: “dirt-cheap and universally available”. There’s very little money in aspirin. Beware the power of marketing.

          Reply
        2. Mantid

          Carla, the other “dirt-cheap and universally available prophylactic”, Ivermectin, is actually safer than aspirin. They (WHO, CDC, NIH, et al) haven’t even fessed up that vitamin D, Zinc, nasal and mouthwashes have some efficacy. So, “strange”? Naw, actually predictable.

          Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      if you have kidney issues (or a family history), talk to your doc re. low dose aspirin and kidneys…it is not like mega-dosing on vitamin C

      Reply
  14. Mikel

    “How the world’s biggest brain maps could transform neuroscience” Nature

    I see Sykes-Picot in the brain? What could go wrong?

    A way to colonize minds with some abject BS categories.

    Reply
  15. zagonostra

    >Canada becomes China

    Had you told me 30 years ago, when I used to go up almost annually to visit family in Vancouver B.C. that this would come to pass I would have told you were mistaken in your geography. This was the land of the Canucks. People up here were laid back, easy going, free, they smoked pot on the beaches, and even went naked off the cliffs at the University of B.C.

    Someone please wake me up and tell me I’m having a nightmare.

    https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/canada-oct-30-all-travelers-need-proof-of-covid-vaccine

    Reply
  16. bob

    FSD = Full Self-Driving. What could have gone wrong?

    #1 There is no tower of instruments on top of his cars. Every other company who has tried to do self driving cars has a very large instrument cluster on top of the car.

    https://www.ft.com/content/bd0f43fe-7a2a-11e6-ae24-f193b105145e

    The top of the car has the best view. Due to Elon’s massive ego and complete devotion to bad, bland aesthetics over function, he didm’t want his cars to look like that. Even if it worked better.

    Reply
      1. bob

        This is bob. This is the bob that has been commenting on this blog for over 10 years.

        If you need to choose another name, go ahead

        Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “In Global Energy Crisis, Anti-Nuclear Chickens Come Home to Roost”

    Foreign Policy must be talking about those nuclear power plants that cannot survive without government subsidies which is kinda like ALL of them. No word on where all that nuclear waste from all those stations will be stored for the next coupla tens of thousands of years. Last I heard, after Germany closed their nuclear power plants they were still trying to work out where to store 2,000 containers of high-level radioactive waste. Right now they are stored all over the country at sites that were only meant for a few decades, not until the end of civilization-

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/30/europe/germany-nuclear-waste-grm-intl/index.html

    And waving your hands and saying newer nuclear technology while complaining about strict safety regulations is not going to hack it either. When this Ted Nordhaus from The Breakthrough Institute has a breakthrough idea on what to do with all those wastes and how to prevent the next Fukushima, I will be very interested to listen to him. Until then, not so much.

    Reply
    1. Appleseed

      A recent piece by Amory Lovins contains rational arguments why nuclear power expansion won’t reduce carbon better than renewables.

      “nuclear power not only isn’t a silver bullet, but, by using it, we shoot ourselves in the foot, thereby shrinking and slowing climate protection compared with choosing the fastest, cheapest tools. “

      Reply
    2. Henry Moon Pie

      The Breakthrough Institute is connected with this Ecomodernist Manifesto. Some familiar names on that list, including David Keith, our shoot-sulfur-in-the-sky advocate. If you read the PDF version of the manifesto, linked on that page, you’ll see the kinds of ideas promoted by the Great Reset and the Gates Foundation. Robot farms pouring chemical fertilizers on degrading soils while all the small farmers of the world are driven into city favelas. Truly inspiring. Gattaca to the max.

      Red vs. Blue is going away. Capitalism vs. Socialism is going away. The new thesis/antithesis (but watch for that dualism!) is going to be Deep Ecology vs. the Ecomodernist. And that “eco” in front of modernist is a lot like Randian Propertarians calling themselves Libertarians as a marketing ploy.

      Reply
    3. Alex

      There’s a logical fallacy here. None of energy sources are without issues, even with wind and solar energy is needed to produce them and they there are issues with recycling and effects with wildlife. Nuclear likewise has issues but it’s certainly manageable. France gets most of its energy from nuclear and it’s not exactly a nuclear wasteland.

      Reply
      1. Alex

        In case it’s not clear from my previous comment, I think nuclear is complimentary to solar and wind and not a substitute. The alternative, absent scalable storage, is coal and gas as has been demonstrated recently.

        Reply
        1. Grumpy Engineer

          I’d do things the other way around. Nuclear as primary, with wind & solar as the complimentary power. The key difference is who gets priority access to the grid. Today, renewable operators usually get priority, which means that nuclear (or coal or gas) has to ramp up and down in response to supply variations from the renewables. This puts a lot of thermal cycles on the thermal equipment and increases the risk of failure or accident due to material fatigue.

          If nuclear had priority, utilization rates on the renewables would be significantly lower, but things would be safer overall, and we’d still be very low carbon.

          Reply
          1. Mantid

            Well, engineers tend to look at mechanical fixes, not always of course, but that’s why they make such good engineers, which we need sometimes. Not this time however. So my question to you is, would you be willing to store the “waste” from Germany’s shut down nuclear power plants in your backyard? Of course, only for a while, say a few million years.

            Reply
            1. Grumpy Engineer

              Store the nuclear waste in my backyard? Well, if it’s two miles down, why not?

              I don’t know why so many people think the storage of nuclear waste is an intractable problem. It’s not. The oil and gas industry routinely drills to depths beyond two miles, and it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to vitrify/sinter the waste into stable pellets that could simply be lowered into these incredibly deep wells. Pour concrete on top, and you’re done.

              Note that the waste would be far beneath the water table, and there’s no mechanism by which it could come back up even after a million years.

              Reply
            2. Alex

              Yes. The real choice is between

              1) Nuclear waste in the backyard
              2) Not having stable electricity supply (and a 100m high wind turbine in the backyard)
              3) Radioactive coal ash from coal-fired power plant and co2 emissions

              Reply
    4. Soredemos

      For the sake of argument, what would you say if we ignored the economic issue entirely? Just utilized MMT to build and run nuclear plants at a loss because we need the power and the need to reduce carbon emissions is increasingly existential?

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I think you misunderstand MMT. It does not remove resource constraints, and unless you believe that the monetary requirements to build a nuke are not commensurate with the resources required, then cost comparisons remain valid. Certainly, resource requirements are relevant.

        MMT shifts the discussion from the silly “kitchen table” metaphor and, more fundamentally, the misleading money metaphor, to the real question of comparing a society’s needs to its resources. If money constraints, imagined though they are, would prevent more nuke construction, then it’s likely resource constraints would do the same. In any case, nuke advocates would need to make a case that building nukes was more resource efficient–and time is perhaps the most precious resources here–than wind and solar.

        Reply
        1. Soredemos

          No, I understand it perfectly. I’ve seen nothing to indicate that with nuclear plants we’re talking about anything other than profitability.

          Reply
        2. CoryP

          I’ve had the same question.. are the resource costs commensurate with the high price?

          I assume there’s a lot of profit and graft in the process, like almost everything.

          Do you know of anywhere that actually lays this out?

          Reply
  18. cnchal

    > The Nasty Logistics of Returning Your Too-Small Pants The Atlantic. Supply chain follies.

    Zappos may have started this but Amazon cemented this insanity into place.

    What might stop it? A $50 fee per item returned, charged to the seller.

    Free shipping my ass.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      I ordered something heavy for a boat trailer, not an easy thing to ship. It went from oregon to nashville, then back to oregon, and now it’s sitting on the mainland somewhere nearby, after which it will eventually get to friday harbor and fed ex will offer to have me come there and pick it up, otherwise it will be a while, which I will do as I don’t want to wait a few more weeks….
      If it were a joke, it would be funny.

      Reply
      1. cnchal

        > . . . from oregon to nashville, then back to oregon . . .

        Modern day efficiency. And we gnash our teeth at the colossal waste embedded within the system and yesterday in links was a discussion about clothes lines saving a few joules and being good stewards while the idiocy of a 30% return rate for garbage bought online goes on every day.

        Then we have the unexamined fraud of Tesla and the manipulation of “green” credits leading to Musk and Space X where a gas fired electric power plant is being planned without any consideration of existing regulations and which will require thousands of tanker loads per year.

        https://techcrunch.com/2021/10/08/the-mystery-of-elon-musks-missing-gas/

        “They want to reactivate the pipeline for transporting methane via pipeline rather than by truck as they do now,” wrote the official, who asked not to be named.

        However, that pipeline was permanently abandoned in 2016, according to the official and state records. The official told TechCrunch that the defunct pipeline now houses fiber optic cable for a University of Texas Rio Grande Valley internet connection.

        Trucking in enough natural gas to support both a large power plant and regular rocket launches would be a considerable undertaking. It would require thousands of tanker deliveries every year, according to one engineer TechCrunch spoke to.

        SpaceX has even suggested that it would be interested in drilling for gas itself, as first reported by Bloomberg earlier this year. In a dispute over the ownership of some abandoned gas wells, the company later wrote: “SpaceX [has] a unique ability to utilize natural gas with different economic incentives that do not depend on transportation or sale to gas markets.”

        For what, sending junk into space to beam back digital crapola/propaganda to the comatose couch potato clownsumer. And that would be the benign use.

        How soon before speeding tickets issued automatically from space junk becomes a thing?

        Every joule a peasant tries to not use will be gobbled up by Musk and Bezos in an instant.

        Reply
  19. Mikerw0

    Re: Energy Transition

    If this is the plan it won’t work and everyone is screwed.

    First, it suffers from the same delusions as other arguments, namely that we can keep living the same way we are but just transition our energy production. When a small percentage of the planet, which has a gross tendency to virtue signal, produces the vast bulk of greenhouse gases and strongly resists change, guess what? Nothing changes.

    Second, forecasting costs out 30-years is a fool’s errand. We are lapsing back into mark-to-model territory. But, more importantly, when looking at wind, solar, batteries (EVs, storage), there are a three obvious critical drivers. One is efficiency where great strides have been made, but are occurring at much slower rate. The second is cost to install, which I would argue is a mixed bag. Wind and solar require meaningful area and pushback is happening (thought as with offshore wind not always for the right reasons). Last is input costs and in particular metals (copper, lithium, cobalt, and nickel). A back of the envelope calculation suggests that ~30% of the ten-year decline in the cost per kW of Tesla’s batteries is due to a decline in metals prices. As all these technologies compete for the same metals prices will rise and offset some if not all of the efficiency and install cost declines. Metal supply is slow to respond and mining and refining are really dirty activities.

    Third, making these changes on their own will lose the battle to how capitalism works these days and where the economic-political power within capitalism lies. Big energy is already successfully fighting back behind the scenes; again despite their virtue signaling.

    Fourth, government actually showing spine to cause change doesn’t appear to be happening. My bet is COP26 will produce yet more vapid PRs about addressing the issue but nothing meaningful will happen.

    Fifth, in the US, at least, the way we regulate utilities is a barrier to mass technology changes. They will only invest sufficient money to meet marginal demand growth not replace existing assets. We have a disjointed, uncoordinated, aging and inefficient grid. Good luck with change coming here.

    Enough?

    Reply
    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      “….suffers from the same delusions as other arguments, namely that we can keep living the same way we are but just transition our energy production. When a small percentage of the planet, which has a gross tendency to virtue signal, produces the vast bulk of greenhouse gases….”

      One thing I have noted over the years is that elders of the Church of Radical Population Reduction – who also preach against modern comforts, and never define the Elect who will get to remain on Earth – sure tend to come from this elite, gassy stratum. And they virtue signaling like champs.

      Reply
  20. Craig H.

    Peter Thiel Embodies Silicon Valley’s Conservative Past and Dystopian Future Jacobin

    Did ctrl-f for blood and it’s not in there.

    Reply
  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘The Japanese Puffer Fish is probably nature’s greatest artist

    To grab a female’s attention he creates something that defies belief’

    Man, that video is amazing and yes, it does defy belief. To attact a female, that fish did everything but put on some Barry White songs.

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      I think of it this way: the female Puffer Fish is very very aesthetic. She will definitely notice this masterpiece, its symmetry and texture; she might even be so practical as to notice all the protective valleys that fit her body so perfectly that she can easily swim down them depositing her eggs, and surely she knows that Mr. PF will be right behind her doing his version of panspermia. And to seal her instincts into her next generation of egg babies, after this tryst she will notice, over her shoulder, how the ocean currents gently sweep over these seed beds covering them with a protective layer of sand and silt.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Beautiful way to think of it. Brings to mind that we humans really have no idea of how animals, birds and fish think and their intelligence is often minimalized or considered “primitive”. Consider when the story, IIRC, about an Octopus’ startling intelligence was so amazing! We are just learning how birds navigate in their world. Service dogs are so smart, when they obey masters. Cats are cleaver when they open doors or are chasing bears. Elephants are so intelligent that they find their ways home from long distances both physically and in time. Horses have served humans for a very long time. A smart horse will follow his or her human master to the human’s death or escape in combat or on the ranges. I think an interesting way to think of PF creating that beautiful masterpiece is that he is somehow psychically entrained with the creators of some crop circles. I have no idea if ones in UK or USA were, or not, created in farmer’s fields by people. The intriguing ones are in places like Peru. Very old and , only from far above from a plane, can the distinct form of a snake be discerned.

        Reply
    2. Sue in SoCal

      Yes, Rev! My sentiments also. I’m still laughing about Barry White. Don’t think he needs it. I’m ignoring the political and economic and focusing on that fish. He should have the ladies lining up at his door (wherever that is). Simply beautiful.

      Reply
  22. Vodkatom

    I am now all in with falcon backed securities. It’s the first time I’ve truly understood how the investing works.

    Reply
        1. Questa Nota

          I’m creating my own falconesque assets now to securitize. That is some feat in a very small, special purpose room.

          Reply
  23. Eclair

    Re: Chris Arnade’s Tonawanda to Lackawanna walk with photos.
    We were in that area this past week, with friends visiting from the west coast. We had lured them into taking the Maid of the Mist ride into the maelstrom of Niagara Falls.

    The City of Niagara Falls, which even in my day had the reputation of being a tacky tourist trap, has descended into below tacky. Trying to retrieve our car from the municipal parking garage, found us stuck in the nonfunctional elevator. Finally freed, we drove out …. past empty fee-collecting booths.

    I wanted to stop for lunch; there were a half-dozen Indian take out places, even some offering South Indian veg cuisine, which is like manna to a resident of South Chautauqua County, where the restaurant cuisine leans heavily towards which kind of animal do you want to kill and eat. But we had reservations for an Erie Canal boat tour, so we wound our way through the city.

    Our friends were appalled: the residential neighborhoods were bombed-out blocks, where every third house was boarded-up, burned out, or barricaded. Or all three. But there were lots of Tim Horton’s. For those unfamiliar with this Canadian Cafe and Bakery and fast food eatery (see Arnade’s photo) they offer the most drinkable coffee in the decaying strip of borderlands that bump up against our neighbor to the north. Plus, TimBits, those golf-ball-sized puffs of carb and fat.

    Niagara Falls’ neighboring city, Buffalo, voted for a black woman socialist in the Democratic primary. The Democratic establishment has pretty much united against her and is teaming with Republicans to bring her down. Maybe the combined urban area can pull up their pants and somehow wrangle an annexation to Canada. It certainly can’t make their situation any worse.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      My wife would go with her family to see relatives in Niagara Falls in the 50’s-70’s, which she described by nostril to me as the first thing you would smell had an overwhelming chlorine stench to it and as you drove down Buffalo Ave there would be this brownish-reddish cloud that permeated with a different kind of industrial aroma.

      I was there once on our trip to Buffalo and the city had done a land swap with a tribe, allowing them to turn a failed convention center into a Native American casino, or as I call such drastic action in getting grannies social security monthly stipend back over the tables:

      ‘Broken Widows Economy’

      Reply
  24. The Rev Kev

    “Taliban say they won’t work with US to contain Islamic State”

    So what form would this ‘help’ take? Re-opening Bagram Air Base maybe? Or perhaps opening up a covert CIA station with the aid of the Taliban? Based on what is happening in Syria, the Taliban would never know if the US were helping fight ISIS or would be aiding them instead with secret intelligence channels, covert re-supplies or even evacuations of key ISIS leaders if the Taliban box them in. It has all happened before multiple times. Not that long ago I read of an account (unverified) of a US soldier that was killed taking part in an effort to free Islamic State prisoners being held by the Taliban. If true, that would be a true indicator of whose side the US is playing.

    As for all these demands that the Taliban form an ‘inclusive’ government, it depends on what they mean. Inclusive of who exactly? Remember that time after the American Revolution ended when the British demanded that the Americans must form an inclusive government that would include all those American ‘Loyalists’ as well? No, I don’t remember that either. And as for the Biden admin complaining at the slow pace of evacuations, that is on the US as they say that they cannot do that without US officials on the ground to do it ( and protected by a large US military presence I bet). And in the same way that a ham-fisted Washington forced China and Russia to work together, they may now be forcing Afghanistan and China to work together, especially since it was a Uygher that bombed that mosque.

    Reply
  25. TheMog

    Re “Who goes Nazi?” – I think the question mark at “still germane” can probably be replaced with a more appropriate punctuation mark. Because, yes, it is. Interesting to see that the archetypes really haven’t changed in the last 80 years, but then again, why would they?

    As an aside, comparing the style of writing in that article to what we’re subjected to these days, we seem to have a lost a lot of elegance and descriptiveness. But hey, clicks.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It may be that it is not so much a case of who would go that way, but who would be their enablers like in 1930s Germany. Take a look of how so many figures, especially in the media, have gone all-out on attacking for example so-called Bubbas, anybody that may be hesitant with accepting what is still an experimental series of vaccines, and basically anybody that does not accept the creed of their political parties. You know who I am talking about.

      After a major event, I could see all those politicians once more giving dictatorial powers to a President, even if it is direct contradiction of what is in the US Constitution. Remember how scared those legislators looked when the capital Building was under attack? They would have passed an Enabling Act on the spot if asked. And the media would have cheered them on. So if a Nasty Party arose, who would support and cheer it? Rachel Maddow? Cenk Uygur & Ana Kasparian? Keith Olbermann? Wolf Blitzer? I thought too about Tucker Carlson but in this case, I think not.

      Reply
      1. marym

        Take a look of how so many figures, especially in the media including [prominent] politicians, media pundits, and religious leaders have gone all-out on attacking for example so-called Bubbas most demographics other than right wing conservative christianists, anybody that may be hesitant with accepting what is still an experimental series of vaccines supportive of wearing masks or observing capacity and distancing requirements, and basically anybody that does not accept the creed of generally vote for their political parties. You know who I am talking about.

        After a major event, I could see all those politicians politicians, media pundits, and religious leaders using the courts, political pressure on state and federal officials, riots, state legislation, and ninja audits to giv[e] dictatorial powers to a President, even if it is direct contradiction of what is in the US Constitution [and what the majority of people voted for].

        Reply
      2. Soredemos

        I think there are very few actual Nazis in the US. Maybe a few thousand. But there are plenty of people who absolutely would go along for the ride if a genuine fascist party arose in the US. And they would be far from just the right or ‘Bubba’ types.

        For the two-flags-waving-from-their-truck and Punisher logo types, who are already well on their way to fascism, wrapping up in the flag and carrying the cross will suffice. For liberals, a different tact would be required. Whole swathes of liberal suburbia would go fascist in a heartbeat if the Nazis promised them better property values and threw the homeless in prison. You want to see future fascist peons, spend a half hour on the Nextdoor app.

        The way liberals have flipped on a dime to authoritarianism and censorship, first with Russiagate and now with covid, is deeply disturbing. They’re at least as ripe for a pied piper as the loonier bits of the right. The way we went from “BUT KIDS IN CAGES!!!!1” to that being a complete non-issue, and if anything getting worse but no one even pretends to care anymore, is illustrative.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          Liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, urbanites, suburbanites, farmers: most all are “authoritarians” and always have been. Authoritarianism was and is as American as apple pie–or maybe HFCS.

          Reply
          1. Soredemos

            Sure, but that group basically disintegrated not long after their big rally in NYC. So there doesn’t seem to have been much breadth to their support. They could get a few thousand enthusiastic supporters in one place at one time, but the way it so quickly collapsed afterwards tells me it was never much of a widespread movement.

            Reply
  26. DorothyT

    Who Goes Nazi? Dorothy Thompson, Harper’s. From 1941.

    At one time she was as well known as Eleanor Roosevelt. Reviewing her life and opinions would lead to the ‘family Thanksgiving dinner’ of all time.

    Who could write “Who Goes Nazi” better than Dorothy Thompson?

    Reply
    1. Pelham

      One nice insight in the piece is reflected in her descriptions of Nazi-prone characters who have various chips on their shoulders. She doesn’t just state the fact but shows us how those chips got there in the first place.

      Reply
    2. Susan the other

      But it’s as if Dorothy didn’t have a clue that Big American Business had funded the Nazis from the get go. Dorothy seems to have thought everything was somehow spontaneous. Things of luck or things of the heart. When all along it was the American Bigs, along with the German Industrialists, who funded the nazi orcs in a greedy drive to… industrialize the planet. Reading Dorothy Thompson actually makes me remember reading the society section of the Sunday newspaper as a kid, a little kid even, and getting nauseous at how utterly vacuous it was. It took me decades to define it.

      Reply
      1. flora

        an aside: Marcel Ophuls’s 1969 documentary “The Sorrow and the Pity” well worth watching. It is very long series of interviews of French adults who lived under Vichy and made their choices about which side to support. You see how several layers of French society, in their own words, responded to Vichy in WWII. It’s extraordinary. The body language alone tells the tale. Every layer of society seemed to divide, not class against class but within each class according to personal ambition or personal belief or love of country or something else. It builds without judgement. By the end it’s clear who decided what and why, and how their decisions later either haunts them or confers on them a quiet dignity.

        Reply
        1. Susan the other

          Makes me think of A French Village – TV drama about the Vichy years. It’s almost a question of fate – as portrayed in that drama – because lots of otherwise good people got caught in traps not of their own making; coercion by the German forces; love triangles; etc. And just a thin margin of sanity seems to have been the only guide post.

          Reply
      2. Alphonse

        I think I know what you mean about the hollowness of social commentary. I find the caricaturing of types based on their shoes, shirts, etc. shallow and ridiculous. At the same time, we understand things when we feel we can see them and touch them. I think that’s what she does. Behind her stereotypes stand social and psychological forces.

        It’s not either material forces or individual personality: it’s both-and. It’s material interests, and ideology, and psychology. Each of us brings something innate to the table (Arendt’s natality) and is shaped by the forces that pass through them. We in turn influence those forces.

        To say that individuals don’t matter, reducing it to abstractions like big business, deprives us of the capacity to choose and resist, leaving us as nothing more than marionettes manipulated by history.

        Take Mr C. He is a personality type that takes a particular role in a particular kind of society:

        Mr. C is a brilliant and embittered intellectual. He was a poor white-trash Southern boy, a scholarship student at two universities where he took all the scholastic honors but was never invited to join a fraternity.

        As Götz Aly explains in his book, Why the Germans? Why the Jews?, and I outline elsewhere, there were reasons why this type of personality become prominent:

        In the 1920s, the liberal Weimar government opened up access to universities. Many families sent their sons to study for the first time. By 1931, a third of graduates could not find jobs in their fields. Frustrated Christian students turned on their Jewish counterparts, whose representation in white-collar jobs was out of all proportion to their tiny share of the population. The Nazis promised affirmative action for Christians and against Jews. Students were among Hitler’s first and most fervent supporters.

        The same thing is happening in the United States today. Malcolm Kyeyune has been hammering this home as the logic at the heart of the woke cultural revolution.

        Add to this the epidemic of mental illness today. Lonely, fearful, angry, seeking meaning: the totalitarian impulse has psychological roots.

        The flowering of hate today seems to spread like a contagion, from one heart to another. Some seem to be inocculated; many not. Surely it matters why. Take This:

        Treat them like the plague-spreading lepers that they are. If they die, they die. I won’t shed any tears or feel any sympathy. Their stupidity caused their demise and the world is better off for it. Are you an “anti”? Are you offended? GOOD, because you brought this on. You want to be put in isolation camps? Keep it up, because that’s where this is headed, you will have deserved it, and I’m all for it at this point.

        Or this:

        In times of war, such people were shot. But there will be no need to shoot the anti-vaxxers, I hope, they will die out on their own.

        Why do some us respond like this? Why do some of us not?

        I’m talking about the unvaccinated because that’s the scapegoat of the moment. The mob shifts from one target to another, seeking always the larger consensus for whom to hate. At least that’s Rene Girard’s theory (my explanation), and I think I’m seeing it.

        Reply
        1. flora

          re:Take This:

          Ah, a modern revival of the 800 year old plague laws. How, uh, modern? Or at least convenient for the 0.1% and 0.01%. /heh

          “Plague justified the rules that kept a person in her place. . . . We’ve seen how plague became the reason, just like terrorism today, for social regulation, for saying how children must behave, for taking a worker’s right to choose what work he wanted, for deciding which of the poor are worthy of help and which are just wastrels. Plague enforced frontiers that were otherwise wonderfully insecure, and made our movements and travels conditional. It helped to make the state a physical reality, and gave it ambitions.” ~ Michael Pye, The Edge of the World

          https://www.amazon.com/Edge-World-How-North-Made/dp/0241963834

          Reply
  27. KD

    “Who goes Nazi?” reminds me of the Harry Potter series.

    Mr. A is a penniless aristocrat, born of the pure blood, whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower, who would never become a Nazi. Ron Weasley? Mr. B and C are social risers, in the upper class but not of it. Nouveau riche, one a mercenary, the other an owl. Gryffindore, C is clearly Hermione Granger. Mr. D is a wealthy spoiled brat. Draco Malfoy? Mrs. E is in an abusive relationship, her we think Harry’s adoptive mother, and Mrs. F is just a smart wholesome bourgeois. I guess as long the pure bloods and daughters of the American Revolution can just keep the nouveau riche and the intellectuals from the lower class out of political life, liberal democracy is safe. Also interesting to see that Mr. B and C resemble two particular Anti-Semitic tropes, and the assertion Jews tend to be wanna be Nazis.

    Reply
  28. Carolinian

    Re Dorothy Thompson and “nice” people don’t become Nazis. This is of course nonsense and even Churchill thought Hitler was “nice” as long as he served as bulwark against the people his class really didn’t like–the communists. Thompson pretends that Nazism is an individual choice but in Germany it’s likely that many people didn’t like Hitler but also wanted to live. Totalitarianism was an earlier form of TINA. And just like then it’s interesting that here in America wrongthink is increasingly seen as something that must be eliminated because of the “threat.”

    Here’s suggesting the founding fathers were better at spotting Nazis than the misguided Thompson or the modern equivalents always sleuthing for “fake news” to stamp out. They knew that to oppose unchecked power you needed a system and called it the Bill of Rights. One tell for the Nazis among us is that they don’t think those rights matter any more.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Churchill thought Hitler was “nice” as long as he served as bulwark against the people his class really didn’t like–the communists.

      May I recommend William Manchester’s biography of Churchill?

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Think I’ve read it although just now reading a book about Joe Kennedy’s time as UK ambassador. It says that while Churchill certainly did view Hitler as a threat, he had also given Hitler some words of praise in the early thirties and like much of his class hoped that Hitler and Stalin would, as it were, bump each other off.

        Hitler himself of course had hopes that Britain would join him in dividing up a conquered world–was somewhat surprised when they finally did declare war.

        Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I’d like to point out when Dorothy dotted this down, the USSR was on the verge of nabbing the silver medal in the intramural games, and the Nazis were thought of in a different vein, its all about the context.

      Reply
    1. flora

      edit: The book was first published in 1978.

      An aside, even in 2005 some docs were (and maybe still are) prescribing tranquilizers for menopause’s physical symptom, drugs like Valium and Xanax – addictive drugs designed to treat anxiety and depression. The Rolling Stones wrote a song about “Mother’s Little Helper”. / ;)

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Groundbreaking book on addiction to tranquilizers

        I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can, Barbara Gordon, 1969

        To this day it’s germane to women, and teenaged girls, caught up in the dance to succeed in how they perceive their lives’ self-worth. I know a middle aged woman who calls her Xanax her ” happy pills”. It reminds me of how much I despised Helen Reddy’s huge hit, I am Woman! To paraphrase, I can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan. Uh, yeah. I, and many of my cohort in our younger days, got the privilege and liberation to work full time, have the most time spent on childcare, do most of the homemaking work, have expectations of dinner ( with, those who could afford it, some eating out maybe weekly or birthdays), and still be contented partners. Lots of examples not like this lifestyle. Now, in my old age, definitely the opposite of that time period. I know many younger women who fit the later period. Its particularly true for lots of lower income or middle income women. No nannies, housekeeper, take out or delivery meals ( from good restaurants). No outings to the club or long vodka martini lunches and brunches. We’ve not come such a looong way, baby. For some.

        Reply
  29. Joe Well

    Buffalo is probably the most hauntingly beautiful city in the US and rents start at $600/month for a one-bedroom. And soon to have a socialist mayor.

    Reply
  30. BrianC - PDX

    Re: America’s Economic Divide…

    My interpretation is that people are well aware of it and think it’s going to get worse before it gets any better. Those that can are buying “gunz” & “ammo” as fast as they can…

    I have been out of the “gun thing” for over 3 decades.[1] After my parents passed, I took my father’s service revolver, and my brother took my mother’s 1911 as part of the estate. Several months ago, I figured I’d go buy a Ruger single six 22 pistol. It would be cheaper to fire than my Dad’s 44 mag, and 22 is fine for putting holes in paper targets…

    Because I’d been out for so long I figured I’d take a basic pistol safety class. Originally my Dad taught me rifle marksmanship when I was ~14. I also went through the Montana Hunter Safety Program, which at that time was ~2 months of weekly lectures. Several written exams and then a practical exam over how to handle a firearm in various situations. Checking for empty, removing from a gun case or car. Travel in the field, including over fences etc. That was all ~40 years ago though.

    So I figure this is a “guy” sport right? I’m 60 years old, the class attendees are going to be male teenagers with parents/guardians. Or guys doing the protection thing. (When I went to the store to buy the pistol, I was the only one there *not* purchasing a weapon for “protection”.)

    Nope. Of the class of 12, there were 3 men and 9 women. I was the only single guy, the other two were with their wives. “All” of the women were starting down the path of home defense or personal protection. I was the only guy there with a 22. (I think I’ve only seen one other shooter at the range with a 22 in the time I’ve been going.)

    So I start talking to people… I’m definitely the odd man out here. I’m pretty much a shoot at paper circles kind of guy. People are gearing for the apocalypse. I see a very wide variety of people at the small indoor shooting range where I go to shoot. It’s also quite… revealing just how many people are walking around with concealed hand guns…

    There is a tremendous undercurrent of disgust directed towards our political elites…

    It’s like watching a giant spring being compressed…

    I knew things had been changing, if you pay attention to the news, you can’t miss it. I had no idea how much things had changed though. It isn’t the “gun culture” I knew as a kid…

    [1] As a Park Ranger (Dept of Interior, USNPS) my father was required to live in a Government housing compound as a condition of his employment. Probably 90% of the households had firearms. Hunting was a thing, along with sporting clays…

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      I too have noticed the upsurge in women buying handguns. It is unmistakable.
      Your Mother carried a 1911! My middle sister carries an old Smith and Wesson police issue .38 Special, ported and +P. Firearms are dangerous items and demand respect in their own right. What this spate of females buying guns says is that American women are demanding respect too. About time.

      Reply
      1. BrianC - PDX

        The 1911 was kept around along with a Winchester pump shotgun.

        There were times when my Dad was away from home for extended periods[1], and some of the ranger stations were isolated… The Essex Ranger Station was right alongside US Highway 2. That stretch between Browning and Columbia Falls was known as the “trapline”. Driving between those locations and hitting all the bars for a drink was called “running the trapline.” You never knew who was likely to come to knocking on the door at 2:00 or 3:00am in the morning.

        Dad taught her to field strip and reassemble it blind folded. From what I was told she was a pretty good shot with it.

        [1] Fighting fires, snow patrol, various rescues, and such.

        Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I used to go to the Pomona Gun Show held @ the LA County Fairgrounds before Columbine made it a liability and the city said adios to the venture, back when politicians were in utter shock over such events, and acted.

      I was there to gawk and do a little coin business as there was always numismatic tidbits scattered to and fro and a day at the fair usually netted me half a grandido in profit in buying stuff on the cheap.

      The only womenfolk around were usually better halves of hunters, and it was a feast for the eyes watching the now what i’d have to consider fairly innocent gun nuttery going on, compared to now where you get the idea its ok to kill another human being over ‘stuff’, if the potentially perforated perp is trying to make off with it.

      Reply
  31. Pat

    Full disclosure I am vaccine skeptical. I have been vaccinated, late, but I spent a long time weighing the advantages to the known disadvantages.

    I spent a lot of time trying to explain to someone that regardless of my reasons to delay vaccination, what should worry them is that our public health agencies, regardless of which party is in power, have repeated lied and misrepresented the situation in concert with those politicians. They have actively suppressed data collection. They have put profits before health in determining the winners they push to the public. And these lies are often stupid and cannot avoid exposure. This is a self licking ice cream cone because every time they do this more people realize they are not trustworthy and reject their advice either as a wait and see basis or outright. It is going to get worse and may never get better.

    Our history is riddled with huge violations of the public trust where their health is concerned. Women, native Americans, gays, veterans and especially blacks have numerous instances of betrayal. I honestly thought that I would never see anything that rivaled telling the nation that there was no need to be concerned about a blood donation early on with AIDS. The air is safe in lower Manhattan after 9/11 came close but wasn’t National. Then came the vaccines, the burial of the fact the disease is airborne, and our President and Vice President ripping off their masks and practically doing a Mary Tyler Moore twirl.

    There is no coming back from this.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      ***BREAKING SCANDAL***

      FACT:

      Between 100-200 members of Congress and their families & staffers have been treated with IVM & our I-MASK+ protocol for Covid. NO HOSPITALIZATIONS.

      Not one of them reported that to the people.

      Saved themselves & stayed silent as IVM was torched.

      Since I don’t have a twitter account, here’s a secondhand “link”:

      https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2021/10/09/report-100-to-200-congressional-reps-and-staff-were-treated-with-ivermectin-protocol-from-front-line-covid-critical-care-doctors/

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I heard recently twice that Congress people and their Staff are not required to take a vaccine at all. You think that this fact would get more traction but not with the media at work.

        Reply
    2. tegnost

      I’ve been wondering lately whether or not the reason for not spreading the vaccines more in the “undeveloped nations” has to do with the EUA being enforceable only in the US (don’t know…) so making us the risk free test subjects for what the slobbering dogs at the top see as a programmable drug that will make them untold billions.

      Reply
    3. Raymond Sim

      Yes, the self-reinforcing nature of the self-inflicted damage our leaders are doing to their bonafides is very striking.

      It reminds me of what I’ve heard can happen to horses who eat star thistle – the brain damage apparently makes them crave even more.

      Reply
  32. Librarian Guy

    Has anybody shared this link at NC recently? I just caught it at Caitlin Johnstone’s site, it is an amazing takedown of Bloody Bill Kristol and the Neocons, by Scott Horton in a debate. Much as I disagree with the Glibertarian perspective (Horton doesn’t talk about Americans not having health care to pay for the endless foreign wars, he talks about the terrible Deficit that harms our children), Kristol quickly realizes he is outmanned and doesn’t even defend some of his more ridiculous lies when called on them. A great use of 100 minutes, and Kristol’s ridiculous apologia about people not assuming his “good faith” after decades of lies and war-mongering by the NeoCons, those who don’t admire the NeoCons as “naive” is a sad surrender, he can only go out with a whimper rather than all the “bangs” his bombast has created. Quite revealing, & nice that the Libertarians do acknowledge the rampant Crony Capitalism that Kristol and defense contractors enjoy.
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/10/05/watch-scott-hortons-one-sided-debate-beatdown-of-warmonger-bill-kristol/

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It sounds like Scott Horton is the person who should be paired off on TV , You Tube, and everywhere else against Kristol as many times as possible. And then deploy him against other tougher neocons. And against Max Boot and Ruel Gehrecht and stuff like that there.

      Reply
  33. Wukchumni

    As a long suffering Bills Fan, i’m more used to the crumbling facade therein the past 25 odd years than the architecture of the Queen City, having only been to the latter once.

    Buffalo was an up and comer once upon a time and the art deco city hall in particular was quite stunning…

    We were there shortly after we sold our abode in the City of Angles, and you could buy houses for $10-25k per, lots of them.

    I halfheartedly tried to persuade my better half into turning 1 LA house into close to 100 and becoming slumlords, and then had to dissuade her from the notion of being a real estate magnate when the homing instinct kicked in.

    Reply
  34. ROC of Ages

    The fact that Taiwan even has to put up with the perpetual threat of a military invasion should be considered unacceptable. The US should just give Taiwan enough nuke-tipped ICBMs to reliably take out maybe a half-dozen of the PRC’s major cities and put the whole pointless, never-ending drama to rest forever. Then everyone can just move on minus the noxious posturing, histrionics and threats.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Alas, you assume that the mere posession of nukes is a credible threat. As the recent resurrection of the Cold War, aided and abetted by American Neo-Cons, shows, never assume rational motives or actions from “True Believers.”

      Reply
    2. Raymond Sim

      “The fact that Taiwan even has to put up with the perpetual threat of a military invasion should be considered unacceptable.”

      I can live with it.

      And if they want some nukes I’m sure they can figure out how make them.

      Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The mainland government would know where they came from. And they would respond against mainland USA cities. And everybody knows that everybody knows it. So we will be deterrentized from doing that.

      So . . . that particular experiment will not be run.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Unfortunate cookie saying:

        ‘You have only a few minutes before the ICBM’s rain down on you, and by the way that isn’t chicken.’

        Reply
    4. ObjectiveFunction

      No nukes are required.

      https://asiatimes.com/2021/09/us-marines-are-bringing-a-ship-killer-to-the-pacific/

      This is a cheap truck-mounted missile that can kill anything up to the size of a frigate over the horizon. And it isn’t an especially new technology (except for Team USA, I guess – not pricey and overcomplicated enough?). Does anyone think the Taiwanese don’t have hundreds of these things (and thousands of decoys)? or that they need Americans to operate them?

      …Or that this is still Chiang’s KMT army of toadies and it won’t fight, at least up to the point where the outcome is clear? (hint, that isn’t until PLA is on the ground in force; a few commandos don’t cut it).

      Thousands of small but lethal metal-sniffing mines and torpedoes can also be cut loose in the Straits at a moment’s notice. That’s all been carefully studied and planned since 1949; again, not new technology. These things don’t surrender, or run away.

      Closer inshore, shoulder-fired Javelins, designed to penetrate the armored roof of a tank from a couple of kms, will easily take a landing craft to the bottom. One ordinary reservist can kill a hundred, with one shot.

      No level of PLAF ‘air supremacy’ or bombardment removes these threats. And gaining that supremacy is going to be costly.

      But hey, let’s pretend that today’s PLA are still willing to spend themselves in human waves, bugles blaring, like 2nd Field Army in Korea. What does that achieve? A Taiwan Strait clogged with floating corpses, a waterborne version of the Somme Day One.

      It is bizarre that people think D-Days and Okinawas can simply be shoved through with sheer numbers and grit, and that the hardest part is getting off the beaches. Nope, your resolute Peoples’ Liberators need to get there first, undrowned.

      Reply
      1. Kouros

        With all those mines lying around, I really want to see what commercial shipping is going to supply Taiwan with food and energy… The PLA will just stay and wait at this circumvalation for the white flag…

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          If China attempts to invade Taiwan, then all Taiwan has to do is to bomb their own computer-chip manufacturers. A few weeks after that China would grind to a halt – along with the rest of the developed world. Taiwan has their own Sampson strategy in effect here.

          Reply
      2. Huey Long

        Eh, there’s no need for “The Somme at Sea” when the PLAAF in concert with the PLAN can “shock and awe” away all of Taiwan’s 1st world trappings, a la Serbia ‘98 or Iraq ‘03, or prevent the food imports Taiwan is dependent upon from arriving.

        Again, Taiwan will be a a country until there’s no longer a US Navy to defend it. After that they’ll either be made an offer they can’t refuse like the UK was regarding HK or they’ll end up like Goa.

        Reply
        1. Acacia

          China could embargo, starve, and carpet bomb Taiwan into submission — e.g. give the whole island the Fallujah treatment —, but how would that benefit them?

          Reply
  35. Tom Stone

    When it comes to our craven and corrupt media outlets it is understandable that so few are willing to stand up for their principles and pay the price.
    It’s one hell of a high price.
    Look at what happened to Assange, Donziger and Murray, in Murray’s case they had no problem inventing a new crime and railroading him into prison.
    Get in line or get hurt.
    It is not a subtle message.
    And it works.
    At a very high cost to society.

    Reply
    1. MonkeyBusiness

      Of course. But then again it should not fall on the few to stand up for others. Seems like we haven’t moved very far from sacrificial human offerings.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Everyone should ideally life one out of their ten fingers on behalf of something or other. But no one should lift a second finger to cover for someone who won’t even lift finger one.

        We need an Eleventh Commandment.

        Thou Shalt Not give Thy neighbor a free ride upon Thine own back.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          And how is it determined that thy neighbor is getting a free ride, whatever that means?

          if one is to invoke scripture, one might spend some time studying and seeking to emulate the behaviors encouraged in the teachings ascribed to Jesus of Nazareth, rather than those Old Covenant lines from the Pentateuch…

          “Means” testing, or just meanness?

          Reply
  36. Tom Stone

    And I’ll second the remark that the “Gun Culture” ( There are a number of distinct gun subcultures in the USA) in America has changed radically in the last two decades.
    This last year half of the first time buyers were Women and Minorities, a very positive trend.
    Take a look at the female three gun champions, maybe read some of Tamara Keel’s articles at the American Rifleman or at her blog ( She’s into Cameras and Cars as well) and then check out her wife’s blog.
    Things have changed.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      “Things” may have changed, but, as has always been the case before, those at the top see no reason to bend to the “winds of change.” As previous examples of socio-political change demonstrate, those extant elites will resist until they break.
      Be ready to “pick up the pieces.”
      Old School “Average White Band”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFOOtzQhGmk

      Reply
      1. Soredemos

        Gun control isn’t meaningfully a thing in the US, outside of maybe New York. In California worst case is you have to sign a bunch of extra paperwork, or, more likely, you just give up and drive north to blue Oregon where there are no gun restrictions at all. You don’t even need a firearm license.

        What gun control actually is is a useful culture war wedge issue. The ‘PMC Fascist Pig Gun Control Movement’ don’t actually care much about gun control (neither did the actual historical fascists, by the way).

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Yep, Like with abortion and other contentious issues, it is more profitable to whip up the masses with “baby killer” just like with “gun grabber.” They are weapons, not issues or problems to be solved, so they will not be. They will not even be ameliorated, which is at least possible, if the ruling class and their political apparatchiks would get everyone to calm down and talk respectfully about the issues. Probably would not solve them, but somethings could be done.

          Reply
  37. jr

    Wokes-fuhrer Harris fumbles her response to a student’s concerns about the Palestinian genocide by using the “We all have a story to share.” schtick, managing to tick off the right-wing as well as lefties like Halper and Blumenthal in the process:

    https://youtu.be/56LNVLAvwno

    Reply
  38. drumlin woodchuckles

    IF . . . ” Empirically grounded technology forecasts and the energy transition ” is true, how small a land area can it be true for? What is the smallest politicultural demographic geographic size of place that it can still be true for within that space?

    Why would I ask such a question? Because we don’t have time ( and I certainly don’t have the energy or the interest) to fight with tens of millions of Coaly Rollers and global warming denialists over issues of reality.
    If places where reality-based global warming accepters are in the commandingly overwhelming majority are big enough to put themselves through their own green energy transition to cheaper-than-fossil energy within their own jurisdiction-zones were to go ahead and do that, then they would be “doing something real” to reduce overall emissions for the social feel-good factor, and they could wall themselves off from the Coaly Roller zones so as to avoid sinking into the suction whirpool when those Titanics sink.

    They would still be affected by the ongoing warming caused by the people of all the Coaly Roller Nations and regions of the earth, but the same reality-based habits of mind they cultivate and apply to green up and cheapen up their own energy support systems could also be applied to toughening up their Jackpot Survival Readiness in the teeth of ongoing Coaly Rollergenic global warming.

    Reply
  39. LawnDart

    [Reply to TS]

    Our “leaders” give lip-service to principles, little more. They are liars and cowards, serviced by dogs for little more than an occasional pet, treat, or affirming word… good girl… good boy… now go and fetch me my slippers.

    Sic ’em.

    Reply
  40. marku52

    Early on in the censorship of vaccine safety and The-Drug-That-Cannot-Be-Named, Bret and Heather Weinstein made a pretty cogent point—that all significant ideas that eventually become mainstream started out as fringe.

    Once you start censoring the fringe, it really becomes impossible to learn and move on. And of course, the Useless Dems and the Blue Media have now made common cause with Big Pharma and welded themselves into a monolith, censoring ideas both medical and political.

    The MIC is left out of this monolith for the moment, tho I suspect they would like to get in on censorship of criticism of wastrels like the Ford Carriers and the Lardbucket F35

    Reply
  41. Maritimer

    Nationally Representative Social Contact Patterns in the United States, August 2020-April 2021
    “…highlighting the profound disparities that have become the hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
    *********
    Highlighting profound disparities indeed!

    Hey Scientists, no need to go to all that trouble to study social habits, just check out the sports attendance figures across the US. For instance, 102,733 folks attended the Alabama-Texas college football game. Or maybe look at Oklohama-Texas game before 86,112. Folks get quite energetic at these events. Add em all up, including basketball, hockey, etc.

    Don’t diddle around with who is in Aisle 3 at the Stuporstore looking at crackers rather start with all these major Superspreader Events.

    Reply
  42. Wukchumni

    It has been a month now since the KNP Fire started in Sequoia NP sparked by numerous lightning strikes and is closing in on 90,000 acres of which perhaps 50,000 is in the NP itself.

    The east side up by Mammoth has apparently taken over smoke duty as the winds shifted it away from us to the northeast and their consternation, but we needed a break, bad.

    Seems to be in the mopping up stages as cool weather and higher humidity have it on the run with nearly 2,000 personnel involved. They’re like a conquering army of sorts, heroes as far as i’m concerned.

    It looks like they won’t open the main part of Sequoia NP until the spring, longer if we get a lot of snow. Everybody who makes a living in Three Rivers has been rather instantly cut off as a result of the fire, the 300 or so AirBnB’s and the like almost empty now. The rarest item in town here was a rental house on a yearly lease, but that was then and this is now, but you’d only want to rent it out for like 8 months, and want it back to get the tourist money when the park reopens. Restaurants will have to rely on locals with no income coming in and so on, a perpetual lack of notion machine.

    And by the way, if these conflagrations turn into an annual event, can we get limited edition t-shirts made?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Does this mean that AirBnB will not be financially viable in your neck of the woods? Prices may have to come down if only locals are buying come to think of it. The humanity…

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        During the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, any old house will bring in $200 a night + cleaning fees, etc. If your pad is on the river its probably $400 a night or more.

        That’s the peak period and it slows down in the off-season and instead of selling 28 nights per month of guests staying at your house, its probably more like 10-15 per month, so a good thing the hit didn’t come during the summer, gad Zeus!

        A combination of vacation rentals and buyers fleeing the cities for green acres in our time of Covid, has scooped up what little was here in tiny town so there isn’t much inventory available and I can’t imagine the would be Hilton types will be dismayed by the delay and sell off their garage mahals for hasty pudding.

        We’ve been through it before in the guise of the government shutdowns which closed Sequoia NP, but for a week or a month or so, not 2/3rds of a year.

        Reply
  43. JTMcPhee

    NHS nurses are not the only critical-path problem in “health care.” Nurses and doctors are quitting due not just to the Russian Roulette of going to work to care for people who have Covid and other communicable diseases. They have been given the full neoliberal-business-model treatment for years now — more and more work, from fewer and fewer workers, for less and less money, in worse and worse conditions, under ever more repressive “management.”

    Hospitals and medical practices and “nursing homes,” and now hospice care, are privatized and private-equity’d far past the point of diminishing returns to those needing actual care. Staffing is cut, there are no “benefits” to most nursing jobs, generally not even any thanks for a job well done (beyond that yellow-ribbon BS as the pandemic ramped up, “our heroes”).

    And nurses cannot be bred up like pigs or chickens or beef cattle, it takes a lot of training and experience, and guidance from more senior nurses that have enough time to offer it, to make a nurse that is not always on the edge of dangerous practices due to horrendous time pressures and “policies” that send them home if “the census” of filled beds does not reach some MBA-mandated metric that overloads the staff to the point of exhaustion and tears. Some nursing programs just churn out the product, adding to the deficit of skills and actual caring. And the remaining demoralized and decimated staffs get dumped on for not providing the magical standard of care that the rest of us know should be available, if only the deplorable staff would just work as hard and competently and with as much care as the system (which is completely at odds with nursing and doctoring as a caring profession) tells them they are supposed to.

    Hundreds of thousands of medical professionals are quitting — not just the particular job, but the whole profession. Here are some examples of why this is happening: https://crooksandliars.com/2021/08/friday-news-dump-healthcare-workers-6

    Not a sustainable trend, but of course the predators who own the medical establishment don’t give a rip. Too bad these money people can “afford” the best care available, and won’t have to suffer the consequences they dump on the rest of us.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      ” No more health care workers” is just another tool in the Jackpot toolbox. Does anyone think there isn’t a longer range vision to all this?

      Reply

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