Screwing the People From Every Angle- Electricity Edition

This is great, and by great, fucking horrible:

As coal mining has collapsed across Appalachia, residents in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia have been socked with a double whammy—crippling electric bills to go along with a declining economy.

The pain in a region once known for cheap power has been felt in homes, businesses, schools and even at volunteer fire departments.

The problem of rising power bills has many causes.

– Mines and other businesses have shut down and people have moved away—mining jobs are off 70 percent since 2010—so utilities are selling less power and spreading their fixed costs across fewer customers.

– Electricity customers are shouldering the costs of shuttering old coal-burning power plants and cleaning up the toxic messes they leave behind.

– And experts say it hasn’t helped that utilities in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia have continued to invest in burning coal.

“They’re doubling down on coal at a time when coal is not competitive,” said James M. Van Nostrand, a professor at the West Virginia University College of Law with decades of experience in the energy field. “It’s really tragic.”

And the only people making out like this are wealthy out of state interests just squeezing every last penny they can out of a dead industry and a region they are killing. Then you have this:

For a little while earlier this year, it seemed as though 87-year-old Rosie Thomas and her neighbors in the small town of Gainesville, Va., had beaten Amazon. Virginia’s largest utility, Dominion Energy Inc., had planned to run an aboveground power line straight through a Civil War battlefield—and Thomas’s property—to reach a nearby data center run by an Amazon.com Inc. subsidiary. After three years of petitions and protests in front of the gated data center, skirmishes punctuated by barking dogs and shooing police, Dominion agreed to bury that part of the line along a nearby highway, at an estimated cost of $172 million.

Within a month, however, the utility and state legislators had passed on the cost to Thomas and her fellow Virginians. The state’s House of Delegates approved Dominion’s proposal to raise the money needed for the Amazon line with an as-yet-unannounced monthly fee. “Lord, have mercy,” Thomas said when a neighbor gave her the news this spring in the gravel driveway of her one-story clapboard home, where she was watching the metal disk spin inside the electricity meter on the side of the house. She was already struggling to pay her monthly $170. Leaning forgotten against Thomas’s mailbox was an old protest sign that read “UNPLUG Amazon Extension Cord.” It no longer felt like a trophy.

This sort of thing is becoming a pattern. Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing business, is its fastest-growing and most profitable division, but it comes with a lot of upfront infrastructure costs and ongoing expenses, the biggest of which is electricity. Over the past two years, Amazon has almost doubled the size of its physical footprint worldwide, to 254 million square feet, including dozens of new data centers with vast fields of servers running 24/7. In at least two states, it’s also negotiated with utilities and politicians to stick other people with the bills, piling untold millions of dollars on top of the estimated $1.2 billion in state and municipal tax incentives the company has received over the past decade.

Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos, is the richest man in the world.

We’re also easing out of the summer months into winter, and we can expect the annual Republican assault on heating assistance to take over.

I find myself thinking about this story a lot, lately:

I have some ideas.

126 replies
  1. 1
    cain says:

    yeah, well.. what can you do.. they thought all those folks would come back if you invested in more coal. But nope. they aren’t coming back. They will never come back. But I’m sure Jeebus will help.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    Remembering the predictions of electricity “too cheap to meter” when nuke plants were coming on line.

  3. 3
    Schlemazel says:

    I have a plan for an automated guillotine. It would have a turntable with 6 positions. Two people would strap the intended down at #1, the table would turn a notch. A religious representative (several would be on hand to handle whatever the intended’s particular tastes desired would offer comfort & prayer at #2. #3 would be the stop to record any last words. #4 would give the intended a moment of silence to prepare themselves. At stop #5 the blade would meet the intended. At #6 the table would tip up & deposit the remains in an incinerator so that the spot would be cleared for the next intended.

    I believe this system could handle 4 people a minute so we really need more than one to complete the necessary work in a reasonable time. I want to put up a kickstarter, I need about $50k to build the proof of concept model.

  4. 4
    Brendan in NC says:

    Sounds like us here in NC. Duke Energy’s been storing coal ash improperly for years. The courts finally told them to clean it up.

    So what are they doing? Digging it up, reburning it, and selling the resultant fly ash. While they’re also working hard to get their customers to pay the millions for the cleanup via rate hikes…

  5. 5
    cain says:

    I’m flabbergasted that tax payers are footing the bill for a private company at all. This is ridiculous. Red states, the number one suckers. Even worse, those data centers hardly employ anybody. So it sucks up all these costs but it’s not offset with more labor or workers. Worst decision ever.

  6. 6
    mawado says:

    How do you get energy companies to acknowledge global warming?
    Start charging them for fires. Doesn’t even take a few years to get them to change their tune.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr10gt9CZBM

  7. 7
    justawriter says:

    Sigh. That last comment just reminds me of the latest meme going through some conservative infested forums I happen to frequent: that poor widdle conservatives are being victimized by violent liberals. You know, by being unfair and stating facts, which causes their right wing nether regions to shrivel and their lower lips to quiver, and saying you would punch a Nazi, which is Violence with a capital V which makes them the victim and me the big meanie. Meanwhile, being shot by a cop means you shouldn’t have resisted. Double sigh. Assholes.

  8. 8
    cain says:

    @mawado:
    As you can see they’ll just pas the costs to us. You need to hit them by allowing a competitor into the city so they have to compete. They will hate that shit more than anything. Force them to share the lines and everything.

  9. 9
    raven says:

    Ah see “The Widow of St. Pierre”!

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    I blame Hillary Clinton.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    And Bezos didn’t become the richest man in the world by being a sucka.

  12. 12
    MagdaInBlack says:

    I just read the transcript of Trumps “speech” about coal vs wind power.
    Feel free to look it up.
    I’m still unscrambling my brain.

  13. 13
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    I’ll never understand why these stupid fucks thought coal mining was an aspirational lifestyle. Look at what happened to the buggy makers.

  14. 14
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @mawado: Carbon caps and credits.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Cacti says:

    They got what they voted for.

  17. 17
    different-church-lady says:

    Fuck Amazon, and fuck everybody who has decided they’ll give Bezos all their money as long as they can talk into his stupid puck speaker toy and never leave their house again.

  18. 18
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cacti:

    They got what they voted for.

    And so did the rest of us.

  19. 19
    different-church-lady says:

    @justawriter: Who’s the snowflake nowwwwwwww?

  20. 20
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @raven:
    The people who live in Appalachia have a choice in this. They could have voted in candidates that were willing to adapt to a changing world and not fetishize coal mining as some kind of sacrosanct profession that generations should practice.

  21. 21
    Ruckus says:

    @raven:
    I don’t think so but young, yes.
    It’s difficult to see life a hundred years ago if you are our age. It’s a lot more difficult if you are his age.
    I tell people that my father crossed the country from Kansas City to LA by horse drawn wagon. They can’t see it at all. I tell them he was an infant and his father was driving the wagon and people our age get that. Goku’s age? They have no frame of reference of the interstate system or of the affordability of a car, what that car would have been or even finding gas to fill it. Coal mining is no different, 100 yrs ago coal was it. It was relatively cheap, nothing was clean and it kept you warm and maybe cooked your food. Yes it was almost over by the time we were kids but it’s only taken 50 yrs to kill it.

  22. 22
    Platonailedit says:

    @cain:

    Yup. We will wilfully vote to pay for what we will never get – tax-cuts, healthcare, education, living wages.

    Fuck’em.

  23. 23
    Cermet says:

    @NotMax: And who fucked that up royally? The corporate leaders that decided that submarine reactors where just peachy to scale up as power plants. Beyond stupid. While it was never gonna be cheap, it could be safe as hell if they had built heavy water reactors fueled with natural uranium; no enrichment costs, these things don’t melt down with lost of coolant and they require a small fraction of operators. I never was a fan of fission power but with AGW and fracking pollution (and waste methane along with the CO2 produced when it is burnt) I have to admit natural uranium reactors are about the only high energy density solution for the next twenty/thirty years.

  24. 24
    Ruckus says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:
    And what else were they going to do? That’s what the land supported. Until about 50 yrs ago land had to support business, it was the thing that most had any of and there just wasn’t much business that didn’t have something to do with land, connected in some way. Now that isn’t the case for most businesses. Yes they need land but not to be productive in of itself, but to support buildings. Farming is what 5-6% of the economy? Coal has run out, a lot of oil production is the stuff that is hard to get to. Has the economy stopped? No, it’s changed. And gotten dramatically bigger. But in places where coal was king, there isn’t much else at all, farming is minor because of the land, and there are not a lot of population centers to support other businesses and transportation is minimal compared to the big cities. Coal was it. Replacing it was not an option. Living without it leaves not a lot of options.

  25. 25
    FlyingToaster says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Okay, now you’re just being mean.

    Most of the people in the middle of the country — from Appalachia through the midwest, and right up to the Rockies — have been lied to for THREE generations now.

    Family farming is not an inherently noble profession.
    Fossil Fuels are not God’s gift to American Industry.
    Amercian Christians are not creating a new fucking Jerusalem.

    But the opposite is what they’ve been taught, in their media, in their churches, and in their schools, public or private. For generations, now.

    So they don’t believe you when you tell them that coal (or oil) is never coming back. That wheat and corn are grown by conglomerates and at best they’re going to be sharecroppers. That their shibboleths don’t make them better than those East Coast Liberals.

    Yes, I’m old, but I grew up a Jew in the Bible Belt and I saw this every goddam day for the first 18.5 years of my life. I had the opportunity to go East to school, and never looked back, because there was no winning any battles in that morass.

    I don’t look down on them, I don’t feel sorry for them, but I do understand that most of them are so far beyond ignorant that they simply have no fucking clue, and are guaranteed to die without ever getting one. And there’s no point in my wasting my time giving a fuck about them.

  26. 26
    Kifaru1 says:

    So, Dominion always passes on cost to the consumer. I worked in a County where people were up in arms about an above ground line (being built in an easement that had existed since the 1960’s). Eventually, the line was built undeground at a huge additional cost to the utility and all of their customers (me included) pay more. I am in the environmental field, but if they owned the easement before people bought the land, why should they foot the additional bill? Not sure about other states, but in VA they bought the easements way ahead of time….and people use more and more electricity. FYI Dominion is now building solar facilities and people are mad about those too. We have to figure out how to make our lives sustainable somehow…if we don’t want power, don’t use it. FYI all my conservative friends call me a tree-hugger. Just beng relistic here…..

  27. 27
    RSA says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    The people who live in Appalachia have a choice in this.

    Even in bright red West Virginia, by the 2016 election results at least, 26% of the voters went for Hillary. It seems tempting to write off any given region of the U.S. as getting what they deserve, but millions of people may suffer, deserving or not.

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    So much winning!

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kifaru1:

    *I am in the environmental field*, but if they owned the easement before people bought the land, why should they foot the additional bill?

    How exactly do these two parts of your sentence tie together?

    ETA, not liking tonight it when I try to edit format

  30. 30
    dexwood says:

    @cain:
    Share the costs, keep the profits. You know, corporate socialism disguised as capitalism.

  31. 31
    Duane says:

    That guillotine picture is worth several thousand words. The guy made a wise investment. They who have the guillotine…

  32. 32
    Gex says:

    It’s really one of the things about modern “capitalism” that really bothers me. Tax payers pay for stadia that billionaires use to generate profits. Regular electric customers pay for the infrastructure so Amazon can profit off a data center. Why the hell should all of us invest in infrastructure for private enterprise just so they can profit? Socialize costs, privatize profits. Grrrr

  33. 33
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Ruckus:
    I see what you’re saying with the time frame being surprisingly short. Coal was the best there was 60-100 yrs ago. But that has changed and these people needed to adapt instead of doubling down.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    Enron and PG&E paid for the recall election that got rid of Gray Davis before he could successfully sue those companies to get our money back after the fake “energy crisis” that they created to make money.

    The first thing Schwarzenegger did when he was elected was drop the Enron lawsuit, because that’s what the power companies elected him to do.

  35. 35
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:
    To add to this, they had to have known that someday coal was going to run out. There should have been planning for when that day was going to come

  36. 36
    Rommie says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: A) there’s enough coal to last hundreds of years, and demand will NEVER stop because Baby Jesus or something, and B) consequences, schmonsequences, as long as I’m rich!

  37. 37
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    There should have been planning for when that day was going to come

    Its so cute that you think these guys think beyond the next fiscal 1/4.

    They. Don’t. Care.
    See also: climate change.

    IGMFU in practice

  38. 38
    Raoul says:

    When the poor (and the shrinking and struggling middle class) feel like they have nothing to lose, they may tire of Trump’s MAGA circus and turn on the rich in this country. That seems to be the bit of the past that the overlords seem to be forgetting here.

    (Speaking of forgetting, the little ‘save my name/email’ checkbox forgets me frequently)

  39. 39
    kindness says:

    The corporate credo is now keep all the profits and socialize all the costs. Our really bad spot is too many courts will support it.

  40. 40
    coin operated says:

    Refresh my memory…isn’t this the same area where hundreds of fools turned down a sweet retraining package because coal was coming back?

    The libs tried to help you, and even offered to pay for your training, you ignorant mooks. You deserve this.

  41. 41
    sukabi says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: who’s this “they” you’re referring to? The individual that is trying to scrape together enough to just get through the next month? The local and state representatives that are legislating based on the information that is available to them? The federal legislators that are working off the $$ and information provided to them by the energy companies? Or the energy companies whose main concern is making as much money as they can as fast as they can?

  42. 42
    MoxieM says:

    This is the part that stops me:

    Within a month, however, the utility and state legislators had passed on the cost to Thomas and her fellow Virginians. The state’s House of Delegates approved Dominion’s proposal to raise the money needed for the Amazon line with an as-yet-unannounced monthly fee.

    Surely their elected monsters had given inclinations before that they were inclined to give the countryside and its people to their corporate overlords? Clearly their organizing skills are strong–why don’t they vote the bastards out of office? (or maybe they are.)

    Amazon may have zero community care-taking instinct, but these folks voted for the enablers. Un-vote them.

    (And yes, it does happen here. Not as often as it should, but MA politicians know they can be taken down, these days.)

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    OT: for the third time (once the site; once a brief power outage), I had a horrible commute. We have torrential rain and roads around my workplace were flooded. As many of you know, I am scarred by the sinking of my first Saab. It took me a half an hour to do what should be 10 minute commute. Also, my iPhone 3 seemed to give up today. A new phone is in the cards.*

    No, I am not an early adopter.

  44. 44

    I don’t know why, but I still look for the world to make slow, unsteady headway toward justice. Shit like this tries my confidence though.

  45. 45
    Barbara says:

    @Corner Stone: They bought the easement for the purpose of building a line. Gainesville isn’t rural, it’s exurban. It’s been one of the fastest growing areas in NoVa in a county that is desperate for businesses to locate there. The irony is that it doesn’t help to have the businesses if they don’t add to the tax base. This is basically where Disney was going to put its misbegotten Ole South theme park. There are a lot of conflicting wants in this part of Virginia: large lots, low taxes, and a desire to maintain a feeling of rural surroundings.

  46. 46
    VOR says:

    A solar farm was recently built not far from my house. The neighbors were up in arms about all the truck traffic to the site (during installation) even though the farm is right off a relatively busy county road and there won’t be any extra truck traffic once the site is complete. And they complained about it being an eyesore. Some people are being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

  47. 47
    Barbara says:

    @MoxieM: I am not sure they did vote Republican in the last cycle, but that has historically been the case.

  48. 48
    Mary G says:

    I think it was Sister Railgun that mentioned N.K. Jemison’s Hugo acceptance speech last night, and it is lovely
    Transcript
    Video

    And yes, there will be naysayers. I know that I am here on this stage, accepting this award, for pretty much the same reason as every previous Best Novel winner: because I worked my ass off. I have poured my pain onto paper when I could not afford therapy. I have studied works of literature that range widely and dig deeply, to learn what I could and refine my voice. I have written a Million Words of Crap and probably a Million More of Meh.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    Ruckus says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:
    No you don’t get what I’m saying.
    Doubling down was their only option. West Virginia is a beautiful place, well parts of it are. Really it is. But there isn’t a lot of reason to live there unless you are like John, born there, has a job at a college. But no one is going to build an auto plant, or a major mfg plant, at least not in the next 25-50 yrs. I know a few people who live there, most near where John lives. There isn’t going to be any large scale farming. There isn’t going to be a school like MIT or Harvard. There isn’t enough population to train to work in those places that won’t be built. They had coal. There could be some soft ware companies but employees? Not enough trained people live there, not enough want to move there. It is beautiful though. I liked it ever time I’ve visited, or driven through. I liked it about the same when I left.

  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @justawriter:

  52. 52
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @MagdaInBlack: My last (final ) job was at a power company that supplied power to rural electric cooperatives. Mix of coal, NG, wind, and solar. They had the chance to build more wind and solar, or buy a coal mine they didn’t really need, and was losing $20M a month. Dumfucks bought the mine. It’s wrecked the financial stability of the company.

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MagdaInBlack: Here you go:

  54. 54
    Doug R says:

    @Cermet: You talking CANDU?

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Good night, I can’t….

  56. 56
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    (It’s OK….I have a 4 sumthin’)

    If it ain’t broke, etc.

  57. 57
    Ruckus says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
    This is what slow unsteady progress looks like. OK this is the horror movie version but really this is it. In a system like ours that’s how it works. You don’t need a coalition, you just need to win a bit, get in your swings while you can and wait your turn to come back around. It would be nice if we had a system that was more responsive to the needs of the majority but the pendulum has swung the other way for a while. It’s our turn to move it back the other way.
    It sucks but it’s the government we have.

  58. 58
    Barbara says:

    @Ruckus: There are a lot of distribution centers that are locating in the area of Martinsburg because of the confluence of a bunch of interstate highways. Lots of long haul truckers live there for the same reason.

  59. 59
    debbie says:

    I don’t know if it’s just around here or nationwide, but AT&T is trying to end their Lileline program which provides service for those who can’t normally afford phone service. Nice that all of this will be hitting them at once. 😒

  60. 60
    Platonailedit says:

    @MagdaInBlack:

    I read that to my son. He was wtf’ing the entire time.

    Fucking ignoramus incoherent nutjob. Well done, fucking wwc folks.

  61. 61
    Doug R says:

    FFS around here when natural gas was cheaper than coal, everyone converted to gas. Apparently some plants can burn either. Ya know, a stripped mountaintop would be a decent place for a solar and wind farm.

  62. 62
    Barbara says:

    @debbie: I am pretty sure there are multiple companies that compete to offer LifeLine service.

  63. 63
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Was that person’s “truth bombs” supported by non-contradictory, credible, evidence? If not, the person’s mother was justified in being a skeptic and calling bullshit on them. QAnon morons, there’s this thing called the burden of proof…

  64. 64

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Gee, Thanks, Adam. 😑
    Makes Ms Palin seem almost coherent, doesn’t it.

    ETA: What troubles me is that I do business every day with people who communicate like that: just sort of grab pieces of thoughts and toss them in randomly.
    So oddly enough, I understood him. So do his followers.

  65. 65
    satby says:

    Dervish Casper Tunch the first likes his name. And he’s discovered power cords. Gonna be a long night.

  66. 66
    Ruckus says:

    @VOR:
    Don’t know why they were concerned, I’d imagine that it’s hard to see much with one’s head up one’s ass. At least everyone I’ve ever met that had their head located there had the same problem, all they could see is shit. They could remember what it looked like before but that’s it, they couldn’t tell why it looked like shit. I think most of them didn’t want to admit they’d gotten their head stuck up their ass or that they’d been putting it there for a while.

  67. 67
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Ruckus:
    I’ll defer to your greater knowledge of the topic. And I mean that.

  68. 68
    Doug R says:

    @satby:

    Dervish Casper Tunch the first likes his name. And he’s discovered power cords. Gonna be a long night.

    Well, at least those phone chargers are only 5 volts. I hope that’s what he’s chewing.

  69. 69
    magurakurin says:

    @MagdaInBlack:

    Its so cute that you think these guys think beyond the next fiscal 1/4.

    Al Pacino explained it succinctly in 1997 in this scene in the Devil’s Advocate.

  70. 70
  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MagdaInBlack: I think a 72 hour evaluatory hold is quite warranted. Unfortunately.

  72. 72
    Ruckus says:

    @Barbara:
    And that brings a lot of high paying jobs how?
    Like I said it’s a beautiful place it really is. But the terrain that makes it pretty really doesn’t do a lot for business. The grocery stores and gas stations can exist without big business, but high paying jobs require more people and trained people, and there just aren’t enough in WV. WV is not the only state in this dilemma, it’s just the one we are currently talking about.

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Apparently the alimony has run out…

  74. 74

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Sometimes you make me nervous 😉😄

  75. 75
    Platonailedit says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The last line of price gouging for grifterest ever.

  76. 76
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    This guy considers unsubstantiated, baseless rumors from an anonymous internet source to be a valid reason for disrespecting his 67 year old mother.

    That’s the sort of quality people QAnon drags in. The desperate and graceless.

    By the way, over here we are in the middle of one of our regular leadership spills. Guess what over, coal.

    This so-called moderate PM has been dancing to the tune of the far right of his conservative party for nearly four years now. Apparently he wasn’t dancing fast enough. Now they want a genuine far right nutcase to run the country and protect coal interests, rather than a fake one.

  77. 77
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MagdaInBlack: Like when Kamala Harris ask Jefferson Beauregard Sessions questions?//

    Well ah dew deeclayah!

  78. 78
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    “Mindset work?” Is this a serious occupation? How can anyone be stupid enough to fall for that?

  79. 79
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Platonailedit: None of his followers have the money for this. The people that do won’t waste it on him.

  80. 80
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    So Brennan is going to challenge trump’s revocation of his security clearance? I’m not sure what that challenge looks like, but it’s hard to imagine trump didn’t just own-goal on it.

    Donald J. Trump @ realDonaldTrump
    Just watched former Intelligence Official Phillip Mudd become totally unglued and weird while debating wonderful @ PARISDENNARD over Brennan’s Security Clearance. Dennard destroyed him but Mudd is in no mental condition to have such a Clearance. Should be REVOKED?

    Renato Mariotti @ renato_mariotti
    Trump makes clear that Phillip Mudd’s security clearance depends on the views he expresses on television.

    also, I didn’t see the exchange, but most twitter commentary suggested that Dennard looked frightened of Phillip Mudd, even though they weren’t in the same studio

  81. 81
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Platonailedit: All of them are a grift:

  82. 82
    NonyNony says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I can’t figure out what the best part of that is. Possibly that he’s “limiting it to 100 people”.

    Can he find 100 people dumb enough to give him $997/month who also can afford to give him $997/month? I guess we’ll see!

  83. 83
    Mart says:

    I tour a lot of utility plants and industrial co-generation plants. Fracking has killed coal. Plants are spending millions to extend high pressure gas lines to their site and converting coal fired boilers to gas. They do not need to pay the rail companies tolling fees to bring coal cars on and off site. They do not need $300 or $400 million scrubbers to clean sulfer,. They do not need to worry about emitting heavy metals, arsenic, and other poisons; and they no longer have to worry about disposing of toxic fly ash. Why do so many folks think coal is awesome, not to mention black lung…

  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: His schtick is peddling something called the Gorilla Mindset based on a book he wrote of the same name, which is supposed to be an instruction manual that, when combined with the branded (junk) supplements he sells, are supposed to make one an alpha male. The book itself is based on a revelation he had when he saw a gorilla eat its own feces.

    This is why when I refer to him here I usually call him the Mandrill Mentation.

  85. 85
    Platonailedit says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    LOL @ there is no friction when your brain glides over this fact like a maglev train

  86. 86
    Platonailedit says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Talk about pricing oneself out of the rubes market of marks.

  87. 87
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Brennan will most likely, depending on what his legal counsel advises, pursue a two track strategy. The first will be the administrative track that appeals this to the CIA’s adjudicator on the basis that he is not in violation of any of the 13 criteria for rejecting someone for a clearance or revoking someone’s clearance. The second will be a civil suit alleging 1st and 4th Amendment violations. Contrary to Giuliana’s tweets, the lawsuit will be handled by attorneys from the Federal Programs Branch of the Department of Justice.

    As for Phil Mudd V Paris Denard, here you go:

  88. 88
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NonyNony: I doubt it, but who knows?

  89. 89
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I hope Dave Bautista runs into him in a dark alley. See what his “gorilla mindset” gets him then.

  90. 90
    Marcopolo says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Dennard basically stated the major reason people want to keep their security clearances was to make sweet sweet cash from lucrative consulting gigs. Mudd then stated two or possibly three times–each time more emphatically–that he has never earned one penny off of his security clearance & that having it allows him to continue to provide his services to the US. Dennard just continued with his talking point (which basically meant he was implying Mudd was a liar). The host, who I think should have intervened at that point was basically non-presence. If Mudd & Dennard had been in the same space I could have seen Mudd kicking his @ss.

    Found a link to the exchange here for anyone who wants to watch or read the transcript.

    Edit–and I see Adam found the link and posted it while I was writing…alas…I am so slow…like cold molasses.

  91. 91
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Marcopolo: Here’s the video clip:

  92. 92
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: But he’s got super serum!!!

    Also: EWWWWWW!

  93. 93
    debbie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    @Marcopolo:

    Paris shows up on NPR’s “Here and Now” almost every week. He hasn’t “won” a single debate in ever.

    ETA: If Trump’s depending on Paris for his defense, he should just pack ii in. Now.

  94. 94
    Platonailedit says:

    @Marcopolo:

    Former CIA and FBI official Phil Mudd (now a CNN counterterror analyst) debates CNN in-house Trump supporter Paris Dennard

    They keep trying to kiss the thug dotard’s ass and he keeps kicking them in their teeth.

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Marcopolo: I can honestly say that all of the paid consulting I’ve done over the past three years or so, my clearance status has never come up. Largely because I’m not on site anywhere long enough to go through all the steps to get approved by the Special Security Office to be read on. And because I’m not on site, there’s no way to talk to me about anything classified over the phone or via email.

    If Mudd were to take a full time equivalent contract position somewhere, basically as a supervisory contractor equivalent to his civilian rank at the time he retired, supervising other contractors, then his clearance status would be an issue. But this is a completely different type of thing than what Denard is talking about because Denard doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  96. 96
    L85NJGT says:

    Trump’s tariff war is driving down coal exports.

  97. 97
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: Denard has contributor contracts with NPR, CNN, and a number of other outlets. Largely because it allows them to book an African American conservative.

  98. 98
    clay says:

    @debbie: He “wins” by talking loudly over everyone and not letting them get their points out. Jeez, he would not shut up in that clip.

  99. 99
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @Platonailedit: Yeah the upfront pricing may be a problem, but how many cult grifters have extracted that much and more from their followers. A million a year is really chump change, I expect he’ll work on addons to make the real money.

  100. 100
    Marcopolo says:

    @Gex: Well, in our state there is a public utility board that is supposed to provide oversight on utility companies and decide where they can set their rates and who shoulders the burden of infrastructure and other costs. The board is appointed by the Gov. When the Gov is a D they do a fairly good job, when the Gov is an R not so much.

    As for power consumption and large industry–here in eastern MO it is concrete plants which are the biggest consumers.

  101. 101
    sukabi says:

    @Adam L Silverman: trump attracts the worst people… Grifter misreads his marks by a mile. 😵😵☺

  102. 102
    Marcopolo says:

    @Mary G: WOOT! Reading your comment is the first time I’m hearing she won this year. Well deserved. Amazing writer. I highly recommend both her series.

    And I think it is now time to go to bed.

  103. 103
    justawriter says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Well $9997 a year is perfectly reasonable. $10K would have been a total ripoff, of course.

  104. 104
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The people they have on to counter him often end up just mocking him, especially when he is struggling to defend on of Trump’s more horrendous tweets.

  105. 105
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @justawriter: Notice it is just below $10K, which would trigger a formal notification by his bank to the Feds for an individual deposit (or withdrawal). He’s trying to avoid reporting the income.

  106. 106
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: That doesn’t surprise me.

  107. 107
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Then he is ignorant, the price point was reduced to $5k a while back. Part of what tripped up the NY AG Spitzer.

  108. 108
    sukabi says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Mudd and the other intelligence guys should turn the question of how much they’re making consulting around on asshats like Dennard and ask how much they’re getting paid to lie for Trump & gop.

  109. 109
    justawriter says:

    @Adam L Silverman: He wouldn’t be trying to avoid the ire of the authorities would he? “Say it ain’t so, Shoeless Joe!”

  110. 110
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S): I’m not ignorant and I didn’t know that. Largely because I’m not trying to hide income. The Mandrill Mentation here is ignorant and is definitely trying to do so.

  111. 111
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S): actually probably banking on customers ignorance. SARs and CTRs are not exactly well understood, but the original 10k threshold is burned into everyone’s memory.

  112. 112
    L85NJGT says:

    Management at companies with slim margins love that cloud stuff – hiding their true IT capital requirements in the OPEX runs. In fact, it’s expensive, and the bill will come due in the next recession. Amazon and Microsoft won’t care that revenues are down; fuck you, pay me or we’ll shut off your servers. In effect, C suite idiots are leveraging their enterprises into the hands of unregulated utilities.

  113. 113
    Calouste says:

    In the mean time the rest of the world is hitting clean energy targets ahead of schedule. China hit its 2020 target earlier this year, Sweden, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2045, expects to hit its 2030 targets in 2020.

    The good thing for the US is that coal and oil will be cheap, because no one else will need to buy it.

  114. 114
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Well yes and no, the less than 1K a month thing might trigger a structuring investigation, but unlikely to based on suckers and money intellectual fraud as opposed to hiding illegal payments. ETA the suspicious activity reports are not geared to protecting fool and their money, they are about money laundering. ETA 2 of course that might be what he is trying to do, now that I think of it. Any Russians on the sucker list?

  115. 115
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Does … does he think a “subsidiary” means … someone who gets a subsidy? Jesus fucking Christ.

  116. 116
  117. 117
    Fair Economist says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    [Cernovich’s] book itself is based on a revelation he had when he saw a gorilla eat its own feces.

    He aspires to be like a creature that eats its own poop.

    I think that says it all.

  118. 118
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Citizen Alan: He kept saying CBC today when he was referring to the CBP. So, apparently, the Congressional Black Congress (is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice) is doing a great job breaking up cross border drug trafficking rings. Who knew?

  119. 119
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Fair Economist: Bless his heart.

  120. 120
    Ruckus says:

    @YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S):
    Try taking 30+K cash into a bank and getting a cashiers check. Even being accompanied by someone who works at the event location that it came from and you have the receipts. You ain’t getting that check. And the paperwork to even attempt it is staggering.

  121. 121
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @Ruckus: Yep cash is not king especially if you aren’t a regular customer. That is what the reporting requirements are for. PTA for regular people with extraordinary payments.

  122. 122
    Ruckus says:

    @YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S):
    At least I knew all about this before going to the bank but the office wanted to try it. Of course this is the flight back out of SFO, pre 9/11 so private security and one of the x-ray readers forgot to tell her supervisor that she may have seen a large knife 15 min prior. Entire terminal vacated, including all planes still on the ground, everyone had to take their carry ons back to outside the “secure” area. Cops/sniffer dogs, and we all had to go through x-ray twice and have all luggage hand searched. I’m getting my bag hand searched and the woman yells at the top of her lungs “He’s got cash!” Her supervisor ran over and told her to shut up, carrying cash is not against the law. “But his bag is full of cash!” I thought about decking her but sanity prevailed. The let me go of course but several hundred people looked at me like I kicked their dog. Couldn’t sleep on the plane. And normally when I was carrying a lot of cash, I’d just stow it in the overhead and go to sleep. First it was insured so if someone stole it… Second even if someone stole it from the over head I’d have known before the door was opened and made a minor stink.

  123. 123
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @Ruckus: Lordy, now a days they probably would have confiscated it.

  124. 124
    Chris T. says:

    @YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S): It’s my impression (not sure from where) that there’s not a single fixed threshold. Specifically, the $10k number is a hard maximum—”report this transaction because it was at/above the limit”—but not a minimum; a series of 5 $2k transactions in rapid succession would trigger it as well, for instance, and frequent $5k transactions will trigger it, and so on.

  125. 125
    Holaitsmonica says:

    Isn’t there a difference between having access and having clearance? You need clearance to get access for your job but once you aren’t doing that job anymore you don’t have access. Clearance allows certain levels of access. So the revoking of clearance is a petty political move from a president that doesn’t understand that there is a difference that could ultimately hinder information and hurt people. Did I misunderstand what I read?

  126. 126
    Booger says:

    @Barbara: Yeah, but that’s the eastern panhandle which for all intents and purposes is just a slightly farther suburb of D.C. I know lots of folks who commute from there.

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