Snowden wants vague organizing in the future. That’ll be so effective.

Edward Snowden

I hear Snowden’s con quite often on the supposed hard left now. “It’s ghastly what is going on, so we must organize to create change in the future.” Any actual, real action now is discouraged. The goal is nebulous. It pretends to be activist while counseling doing something vague and ineffective now.

A variant on this con is bemoaning any and all current organizing because, darn it, it’s just not good enough and we must resolutely do better. This is often includes quoting some dead commie or socialist, the more obscure the better, so you can show people how learned you are. It also deflects from having to do anything now.

Any progressive agenda is on hold until Trump is forced from power. Calls to organize towards some yet-to-be-determined goal in the future is counter-productive at best.

Not only does Snowden not call for any actual action now, he tries to get us to believe Trump is such a numbskull knucklehead that why on earth would Swonden’s apparent buddy Putin want to have any dealings with him. Right. (Hint: maybe it’s BECAUSE Trump is a knucklehead.)

Snowden, speaking from Moscow, said he also doesn’t believe Trump is the kind of crack double operator Putin would rely on.

“Things change,” he went on. “If they can change for the worse, they can change for the better. If more good people are organizing… if we’re willing to draw lines that we will not allow people to cross without moving us out of the way, the pendulum will swing.”

Renewable energy now costs dramatically less than coal and gas

Image: Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Renewable energy, especially grid-scale solar and wind, is now much cheaper to produce than fossil fuel energy. This trend is irreversible, worldwide, and will continue. Conventional energy will continue to be used as backup energy. Battery storage, a still developing technology, will be a crucial part of the energy mix.

Coal and gas will be around for a while. But there will be less and less of it as renewables become dominant.

The cost of producing one megawatt-hour of electricity — a standard way to measure electricity production — is now around $50 for solar power, according to Lazard’s math. The cost of producing one megawatt-hour of electricity from coal, by comparison, is $102 — more than double the cost of solar.

The rapidly declining cost of solar is a sign that the world may be on the verge of a dramatic change in how we power our buildings and vehicles. The price drop is likely to spur a shift toward renewable power sources like wind and solar and away from fossil fuels like oil and coal.

Lazard’s latest annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 11.0) shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies, especially utility-scale solar and wind.

Although alternative energy is increasingly cost-competitive and storage technology holds great promise, alternative energy systems alone will not be capable of meeting the base-load generation needs of a developed economy for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the optimal solution for many regions of the world is to use complementary conventional and alternative energy resources in a diversified generation fleet.

Giuliani made up the claim Mueller would be done by Sept 1

Team Trump manages the difficult task of being nasty and vicious while simultaneously being comically bumbling and incompetent. Their “strategy” apparently is to try to win their legal battles on Twitter and social media rather than in the courts. Good luck with that. Especially when your head lawyer hasn’t practiced law in years and appears to be getting senile. And is going up against the guy who put John Gotti in prison.

Giuliani said yesterday the meeting was about what the Mueller investigations Justice could share with Congress and not about Trump being investigated. (Yes, I know believing anything Giuliani says can be dicey but still.)

Rod Rosenstein essentially deflated Trump’s attack by requesting the Justice Inspector General investigate. That’s what IGs do. And Republican Senator Jeff Flake basically just told Trump not to go further on this.

Even Republicans are saying that odious sleazebag Roger Stone is about to get indicted and there are rumblings other big name indictments are coming too.

And it’s only Tuesday!

A source close to the probe told Reuters the deadline “entirely made-up” and “another apparent effort to pressure the special counsel to hasten the end of his work.”

“He’ll wrap it up when he thinks he’s turned over every rock, and when that is will depend on how cooperative witnesses, persons of interest and maybe even some targets are, if any of those emerge, and on what new evidence he finds, not on some arbitrary, first-of-the-month deadline one of the president’s attorneys cooks up,” said the source

Far-right killers at school are being recruited

There have been far too many extreme right-wing students who go violently crazy and start slaughtering their fellow students for it to be random, or mental illness, or that they are copycats.

The reality is they are being recruited in dark and slimy places on the internet like 4chan and right-wing online forums and chat rooms.

Yes. Recruited. This is done deliberately and methodically. Most don’t understand the process. An example: I once joined a far left group. After a few months I realized the leadership put serious time and resources into recruiting. The potential recruitee is unaware of it. The Internet makes recruiting easier. 4chan, I’m sure, has recruiters from various groups in the forums, as do other far-right sites. Also, the hard left uses front groups to recruit. I’m sure the hard right does too.

David Neiwert has been researching and writing about the far right for years and knows the territory.

Besides the settings, methods of violence, and kinds of weaponry used, distinct agendas seem to have undergirded them. But they all appear to generally fall under the far-right ideological umbrella.

They also have something important in common: They were all committed by young white men who had apparently been radicalized online.

That’s no accident. The surge of radical-right organizing by the mostly online alt right in recent years has, in fact, been consciously directed at precisely that demographic: white men between about 14 and 30, underemployed and frustrated with their lives.

Eric Garland has a fine Twitter thread on this. Some excerpts:

Now, if you understand provokatsiya and horseshoe political warfare, you need another side to fight with. And then the predictable fights break out between “Gun Sense” and “Gun Grabbers.”

America then seizes up with traumatic horror, and it’s hard to focus on much else.

All these “pro-gun” NRA-funded politicians saying “oh but good guy guns, you can kill with spoons.”

They don’t give a fuck about guns. They care about their bosses’ owning this country.

And they know that more guns equals more deaths. They have the data.

St. George UT has a growing water problem

St. George UT is about 2 hours north of Las Vegas on I-15. It has spectacular scenery, is a nice place to live, and has been growing fast for years.

Unfortunately, it has a water problem, made worse by residents using way more water per capita compared to other cities that are also in semi-arid areas and deserts. And Utah politicians seem to think a fine solution would be to drain Lake Powell and the Colorado River even more by building a very expensive pipeline.

Maybe. But first, St. George needs to do what Las Vegas, Tucson, and Phoenix have already done. Encourage water conservation and xeriscaping. Create tiered rates charging those who use excessive amounts of water more. The higher the tier, the more costly (not less) it is.

The result is Las Vegas, Tucson, and Phoenix now use less water in total then they did twenty years ago, despite much larger populations. Vegas has been toilet-to-tap for years. It can be done.

It’s your turn now, St George.

Remarkably cheap rates mean that residents of an area with only eight inches of annual rainfall are using tremendous amounts of water. An average St. George resident uses more than twice as much water as the average citizen of Los Angeles.

Political leaders at the state and local level view this primarily as a supply issue. Their preferred solution is a gargantuan $1.4 billion pipeline that would connect the region with Lake Powell, a reservoir along the Colorado River.

Amelia Nuding, senior water analyst for Western Resource Advocates, believes regional leaders should focus on three strategies to achieve quick conservation success: better data collection, higher water rates, and building codes that require water-smart construction and landscaping. Not only would that meet St. George’s water needs, according to Nuding’s group, but it would avoid further depleting an already burdened Colorado River.