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June 07, 2017

Comments

Reposting sapient's last comment from the previous thread here, since it seems like an initial comment on the Comey, et al, testimony. -- wj

sapient:
It's hard to find the end of this last open thread, but I guess nobody is wanting to discuss the Russia inquiry. The Comey hearing is tomorrow, but today's intelligence hearings were already freaky, with people refusing to actually say that Trump pressured them to obstruct justice, even though he obviously did. Also the Kamala Harris smackdown was pretty horrible to watch.

Maybe everyone's bored.

But Russia's misinformation machine, helped along by SCROTUS, has inspired a middle-east crisis against Qatar, our ally. Seems like that will be problematic.

Today, the Senate investigation has turned into a Trump "obstruction of justice" inquiry (pretty obviously was that, no matter what R's will claim). But the actual Russia problem (which threatens our entire electoral system - including the legitimacy of our 2016 elections, our news, and our future elections, as well as foreign policy) is sort of a second tier thing.

Just saying. Has this become a place to escape it all?

Is another open thread appropriate?

I'm guessing that today's witnesses, for whatever reason, decided to wait until they have been subpoenaed and are required to respond. Maybe they figure that it will somehow make a difference to Trump that they held out as long as possible. Unlike him as that seems.

Meanwhile, Cleveland plays the best basketball they can and GS scores the last 11 points to win.

Kyrie turned it up yet, it just wasnt enough.

Now, back to regularly scheduled comments.

i teach sixth grade in texas. on my hall are the 10 6th grade teachers of my campus. the political breakdown of my hall works out to be 5 democrats (1 far-left liberal--that would be me, 2 moderate to liberal, and 2 moderate to conservative) and 5 republicans (1 moderate, 3 conservative, and 1 tea party/know nothing). of the republicans, the moderate has been seriously considering becoming a libertarian. of the 3 conservatives 1 has kept buoying himself by reminding himself how much worse things would be if clinton had been elected while the other 2 have been very quiet about things, and the tea party republican has been thrilled by trump's behavior so far and she has openly talked about trump needing to use the military to get the congressional democrats out of the way. it's been so much fun.

Meanwhile, Cleveland plays the best basketball they can and GS scores the last 11 points to win.

Those darned coastal elitists are everywhere you turn!

navarro, I had to look it up to see how old 6th graders are, and they seem to be around 12. I'm curious to know if they have any kind of civics class, or learn about the institutions of the US Government? What I'm getting at, of course, is what effect if any your tea partier's views on using the military "to get congressional democrats out of the way" might be having on her teaching. I'd also be interested to know what the situation is in your school about teaching evolution versus creationism, if you felt able to elaborate.

i don't know any real life Know Nothings. in fact, i don't know personally any conservatives who will admit to having voted for Trump - not counting a couple of FB friends who i haven't seen IRL in 30 years.

it's odd that all the Republicans i know are among the 10% of Republicans who didn't vote for Trump.

I know lots of people who voted for Trump, shake their heads at his tweets and like everything else he's done.

Perhaps democracy itself is just another tribal affair.

Maybe everyone's bored.

I'm not sure what to say about all of it.

Trump won, by the rules we play by, at least until it can be shown otherwise. the POTUS has, for good or ill, a lot of power and is given a lot of room to act.

at this point, there is little action we, as citizens, can take. we have to rely on the institutions we've created to limit the harm trump can do. so far that has worked out better than I expected, but it's early days.

our best option is to turn the house.

if the institutions don't hold up, then it's civil disobedience. beyond that, who knows.

I am fairly confident in mueller, so far the courts seem to be doing their job, and the famous (R) majority in Congress can't seem to get out of its own way.

so, let it play out. just based on what is publicly known, the whole mess is profoundly disturbing. but we have to let it play out, or we risk doing other kinds of damage.

shake their heads at his tweets and like everything else he's done.

best of luck to them.

Perhaps democracy itself is just another tribal affair.

humans are tribal.

in a democracy, all the tribes have agency. which is why we, in the US, can't get anything resolved or done.

one country, but not one nation.

It's been such a strange spring along Colorado's Front Range. Rain all through May, lots of late snow up in the mountains. While I was out on my bike this week, everything was green. This is the point in the year where things are supposed to be browning up for fire season. Today is the 15th anniversary of the start of the Hayman fire, largest in Colorado's history (~220 square miles).

Trump puts Iran "on notice", has a love-in with the Saudis, a week later Qatar is ostracized and ISIS strikes the parliament and Khomeini shrine in Tehran killing 14 and wounding some 40 - the first such terror act in the nation's history, which has been stable and safe for so long. Of course nobody really cares because, hey, that's how it is in the ME. And Trump tells Iran: you had it coming. It's truly sickening and I hear the distant sound of the war drums. And tomorrow we will wake up to another 5 years Tory cruelty and Brexit idiocy. Go on. Make my day.

...and 1 tea party/know nothing

Gym teacher?

I have no idea what the labels mean in terms of policies. In fact, I don' think the labels mean anything in terms of policies.

I bet if you got that list of Texas teachers together and asked them specific policy questions, worded to exclude political buzz words, they would be mostly in agreement with each other. I think they all would like protections for clean air and water, all want Wall Street to be regulated for public interest, all support Medicare Medicaid and Social Security, likely all support affordable insurance for working people as long as you dont call it Obamacare, all oppose poitical violence ans will claim to oppose violent political rhetoric (though the Repubicans in reality will support such rhetoric) all will oppose (in theory) gerrymandering and voter suppression.

ANd they all will support the same abstract principles, too: all will say they are patriotic, in favor of equal rights, etc.

The difference is that the Republicans are willing to completely sell out their values and principles to support the Republican party. And Repubicans don't vote for policies They dont even know what the policies are of the Republican politicians they vote for.

They vote for catchphrases and self-aggrandizement. They vote for de-regualtion without asking themselves what reguations will be taken away. They vote for ending big government without asking what programs will be ended. They vote for tax cuts without noticing that they will not be the ones who get a cut and without asking what will be defunded to balance the cuts. They want government services, but just for themselves. They like to think of themselves as more innately patriotic, more innately pro-life, more respectable and responsible than everyone else. That's what they are voting for. Slogans and self-labeling as better citizens.

Republicans are willing to completely sell out their values and principles to support the Republican party. And Repubicans don't vote for policies They dont even know what the policies are of the Republican politicians they vote for.

By "Republicans" I presume you mean the Republican base. Because there are actually quite a few of us who (still) consider ourselves Republicans. But refuse to vote for the nutcases that our party increasingly nominates. In my case, the last GOP Presidential nominee I felt able to vote for in the general election was Bob Dole -- which I suppose really dates me....

God is on their side, wonkie. That's pretty big.

I'm catching up on the Comey testimony.
Back around 10:30 (Eastern) he said that he wouldn't answer any questions about the dossier that said Trump had some … interactions with Russian prostitutes.

If there were no such dossier, that would seem to be a trivial thing to say. And there's no obvious way that saying it would amount to classified information (being saved for the closed afternoon meeting). But he didn't.

"I know lots of people who voted for Trump, shake their heads at his tweets and like everything else he's done."

http://www.thedailybeast.com/are-the-feds-treating-the-white-house-like-a-mob-house?via=newsletter&source=Weekend

"I know lots of people who voted for Trump, shake their heads at his tweets and like everything else he's done."

I understand the allure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoP7gQm27tM

Maybe your people should lay low and put the bling on ice for awhile. As Russell wrote, besta luck to all of dem:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z6MJIjCJ20

In my case, the last GOP Presidential nominee I felt able to vote for in the general election was Bob Dole...

Heh. Here's some Bob Dole (circa 1996) for you:

The danger of a Dole presidency isn’t that he’ll turn nasty. The danger is that he’ll turn nice. When Dole decides to go along with the crowd, that crowd is generally conservative. He opposes labor laws, consumer protection legislation, medical price controls, environmental regulations, and campaign finance reform. His cultural orthodoxy is paleo-American, not Christian: He gets more exercised about rap music, bilingualism, and self-critical American history textbooks than about abortion. Likewise, on foreign policy, he’s an ultrahawk and a frequent ally of Jesse Helms.

Nonetheless, read the whole thing. Pretty balanced view.

Bobby, but consider the alternatives since. In comparison, Dole looks pretty damn good.

"Bobby, but consider the alternatives since. In comparison, Dole looks pretty damn good."

Dole also proposed going after the children and grandchildren of Medicare recipients to pay back what was paid out to the former in medical benefits, even though the former paid Medicare taxes and Medicare B premiums most of their lives.

I'm sorry, wj, but they all push the same line...some more 'extreme' than others. That line is uniquely bad and socially disastrous. The fact that there are or could be GOP 'moderates' is beside the point. When they are in power or act as a group, we get truly bad public policy.

the tea party republican has been thrilled by trump's behavior so far and she has openly talked about trump needing to use the military to get the congressional democrats out of the way.

Also, FWIW, when folks wonder why people like, for instance, sapient go on about the threat of fascism, this is why.

No, it's not specifically fascism, that would require an intellectual framework that folks like the person navarro is talking about likely don't possess.

That said, the net result is more or less indistinguishable.

If you happen to know people who talk this trash, you might consider it your job as a citizen of this country and as a human being to wise them up.

Or, not. Your call.

Crap like this has consequences, none of which are good for anyone.

In any case, don't want to be considered a violent thug, don't talk like a violent thug and don't act like a violent thug.

Don't want to be seen as someone who defends and enables threats of violence, then don't defend or enable threats of violence.

Some of the folks who "like everything else he's done" need a reality check. If they're friends of yours, maybe give them a heads up.

I didn't think anybody wondered why people like sapient went on about the threat of fascism. The threat is clear.

What did others think of McCain? I wondered if he was showing signs of dementia, or at least tremendous confusion. Was I the only one?

my take on McCain is that he is showing signs of being in touch with the cutting edge in wingnut conspiracy theories. and, he was super drunk.

Ah. Also, drunk would certainly explain it....

I think Senator McCain was having a bad day. He's 80 years old you know.

I think that McCain is demented.

I also think, just in response to you GftNC, that there's more than a threat now. We're seeing the governing party of the United States working to destroy democratic institutions. Technically "fascism"? No, but it works as a shortcut for authoritarian, anti-democratic, racists who are interested only in self-enrichment, to the point of destroying the country as we know it. You can call it what you want, but right-wing authoritarianism is what it is.

The whole Qatar situation is quite disturbing, isn't it? I've read on twitter that MSNBC is reporting that Trump didn't know we had military there. If that's correct, he's a unfit to be in office. What he's done to that alliance (and the country itself) may be irreparable. The fact that Russia's cyberwar apparatus is attacking Qatar, and probably al Jazeera right at this moment, is less than comforting.

This is an international emergency, and the majority of the people in this country are completely helpless in the face of it. We're waiting for Republicans to do the right thing, which will be never, because they support the whole program.

One of the worse aspects of Dole's legacy, from my point of view, is his complicity in requiring ethanol in gasoline. He knew at the time it was bad policy. But it was good politics. Which, as we all know, Trumps just about everything else.

As for McCain, he use up his prisoner of war caché a long time ago.

Drink, dementia...but also, the utter clueless sanctimonious arrogance of it.

I don't watch this kind of thing, hardly ever, I get my news online, from the written word. It has been obvious for a long time from news reports that McCain is...well, a lot of (from my POV) bad things. But I didn't realize what a know-it-all, sneering, rude-under-cover-of-patience sh!t he would be out loud. That'll teach me to click on links.

Comey's consternation was sort of entertaining, I guess. As were the looks on the faces of the woman sitting behind McCain.

Long ago I had the occasion to be in close quarters, over a fairly long period of time, with the antics of a state legislature and bureaucracy. My conclusion at the time was that we mostly never get past middle school. These clowns have made me realize that middle school is a wildly optimistic benchmark.

On Qatar, no doubt they are due for some criticism but of course Saudi Arabia has much more to answer for on financial (and other) support for terrorism.

I get the impression that Donald Trump would be happy to run the United States similarly to the house of Saud.

Was I the only one?

Heavens no.

I get the impression that Donald Trump would be happy to run the United States similarly to the house of Saud.

With a bit of antebellum South thrown in, perhaps.

I get the impression that Donald Trump would be happy to run the United States similarly to the house of Saud.

My impression is that Trump would like to run the country the way he runs his business. I don't think he understands the fundamentally different nature of the two positions.

We're seeing the governing party of the United States working to destroy democratic institutions. Technically "fascism"? No, but it works as a shortcut for authoritarian, anti-democratic, racists who are interested only in self-enrichment, to the point of destroying the country as we know it. You can call it what you want, but right-wing authoritarianism is what it is.

Well, as you know, I'm very keen on being as accurate as possible when using these terms, because as far as I can see sloppy language in these matters is a part of the problem, and violence to language and meaning is often a precursor to violence to people (where does this come from? 1984?). But I certainly have no argument with your characterisations (my bold) above.

ral and russell, respectively:

I get the impression that Donald Trump would be happy to run the United States similarly to the house of Saud.

---

My impression is that Trump would like to run the country the way he runs his business. I don't think he understands the fundamentally different nature of the two positions.

I wonder how differently the house of Saud and Trump run their respective nation and business. Perhaps this is a distinction with only a minor difference.

because as far as I can see sloppy language in these matters is a part of the problem, and violence to language and meaning is often a precursor to violence to people

I think it's highly unlikely that people supporting fascists in the 1930's were making the distinctions you're insisting on. To my eyes, there is a lot in common between the people supporting fascism then, and those who are supporting the Republicans now. Their willingness to turn a blind eye to truth is the most shocking similarity. That's why "right-wing authoritarianism" doesn't quite do it for me. Blind acceptance by a large number of citizens in the "big lie", and the appeal to populism are factors that make what's happening seem close to the movements of the 1930's. No we're not in Nazi Germany quite yet, but that's the general direction we're heading.

If you read the Wikipedia article on fascism, what is going on seems awfully close, perhaps minus the "control of industry and commerce". But we do have people with private business interests in the White House and throughout the cabinet, so ...

I wonder how differently the house of Saud and Trump run their respective nation and business.

say what you will about the tenets of brutal fundamentalist Islam, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

McCain statement:

"I get the sense from Twitter that my line of questioning today went over people’s heads. Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games,” he joked.

“What I was trying to get at was whether Mr. Comey believes that any of his interactions with the President rise to the level of obstruction of justice,” McCain said. “In the case of Secretary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Comey was willing to step beyond his role as an investigator and state his belief about what ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would conclude about the evidence. I wanted Mr. Comey to apply the same approach to the key question surrounding his interactions with President Trump — whether or not the President’s conduct constitutes obstruction of justice. While I missed an opportunity in today’s hearing, I still believe this question is important, and I intend to submit it in writing to Mr. Comey for the record."

So, "fascism without the (semi?) coherent ideology and the snappy uniforms"?

Is there a name for that? Other than "Trumpism", of course.

I think it's highly unlikely that people supporting fascists in the 1930's were making the distinctions you're insisting on.

Yup, it's highly unlikely that anybody supporting fascists at any time were making any of the distinctions I'm making, or indeed shared any of my other attitudes. That's one of the many ways you can tell I'm not a fascist.

I'm starting a list of all the ways I can tell that GftNC is not a fascist.

Thank God somebody's on the case!

Yeah, I'm going to do that for everyone I know. If I can't think of any ways to put on my list, they're a fascist. I'm pretty sure I have an aunt who's a fascist, now that I'm thinking about it.

Is there a name for that? Other than "Trumpism", of course.

Whatever we call it, I don't think it's appropriate to understate its seriousness, or the fact that the movie was played very similarly before.

We're seeing the governing party of the United States working to destroy democratic institutions.

I agree.

And, sorry wj, I see no Republican leaders at any level willing to oppose that.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/06/does-donald-trump-know-where-his-troops-are/

There is a fourth, much smaller group, the left variety of Know-Nothings: "We hate Trump, but we hate both liberals and conservatives more, so we're happy that they're sad, and we're also happy that he's destroying the American empire. Surely the revolution is close at hand!"

"spoiled, free-riding, armchair anarchists", as i like to call them.

One piece of news that may get lost in the shuffle is that the House of Representatives has passed a massive financial deregulation bill. Vox summarizes it here: https://www.vox.com/2017/6/8/15762462/wall-street-house-republicans

AV Club copy-edited Trump's lawyer's BS press release.

http://www.avclub.com/article/v-club-copy-edited-predisent-trumps-lawyer-and-res-256530

I'm sorry, well, not really, but I think that the people running the fncking country ought to be able to write coherent English sentences. And maybe even find someone to proofread them. (Not a sentence, yes, I know.)

Not long ago IIRC, Spicer put out a sheet for the press in which he said that Prednizent Clickbait was going to make peach [sic] in the Middle East...

Too bad terminal incompetence doesn't disqualify people for office.

The republican House of Representatives also today passed legislation eliminating the alphabet, punctuation, and independent clauses in American-talk, citing the rules as needlessly onerous and intrusive regulatory overreach on the First Amendment rights of their conservative base, who would prefer to communicate via barnyard noises emitted from their ignorant, pigfucking asses.

I had the rare (fortunately) delight of listening to Kasowitz' reading his statement. I wouldn't say that it was unconvincing. Rather, anyone who was basically uninformed but even slightly open-minded on the subject would come away thoroughly convinced . . . that Kasowitz was trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge. And get them to put up all their worldly wealth as collateral on the loan from his uncle to buy it.

And if they were actually familiar with what Comey had said, they'd be thinking "alternative facts from an alternate reality." Maybe this sort of thing plays well in NYC and in court. But that isn't the venue he is working in now. I wonder if he knows; or, like Trump, hasn't figured out that the situation isn't like the one he is accustomed to.

...House of Representatives has passed a massive financial deregulation bill.

A view from the other side:

"Despite the rhetoric from both major parties in advance of Thursday's vote, the Financial CHOICE Act does not repeal Dodd-Frank and does not deregulate the financial sector. As Thomas Hogan, a professor of finance at Troy University, noted at The Hill, the bill actually leaves many Dodd-Frank provisions intact and puts 'an emphasis on financial stability while trimming excessive regulations that have harmed consumers and business activities.'"

The Financial Choice Act Doesn't Repeal Dodd-Frank, but It's Still a Big Deal: The House approved the bill with a party line vote on Thursday, but it's prospects are dim in the Senate.

"it's prospects are dim in the Senate" seems like becoming a theme this year.

Trump really only has to keep his base happy. and they've proved again and again that they aren't the most analytic members of society. Trump and his clowns can honk their noses and step on all the rakes they can find and the GOP base will insist, with guns drawn, that it's Shakespeare.

and as long as they show up to vote when he tells them to, it doesn't matter what the other 81% of Americans think about him.

I imagine Reason will always be able to rationalize de-regulation as no big deal, However de-funding the regulatory agencies IS a big deal It is also interesting to me that a Republican Senator says Democrats will vote for the bill "because they have bankers in their districts." IN other words, on the assumption that some Dems will be just as corrupt as all of the Republicans.


“I think this has a very good chance of passing. There are a lot of Democrats who are going to be supporting this,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said in an interview this May. “Even Democrats have bankers in their districts.”

weird how Inhofe didn't notice that Democrats might also have normal people in their districts. so weird.

I wouldn't really put a lot of faith in anything Inhofe says at this particular time in our political life.

We hate Trump, but we hate both liberals and conservatives more, so we're happy that they're sad, and we're also happy that he's destroying the American empire. Surely the revolution is close at hand!

It's interesting that this is one of the messages Putin was able to convey with his bots. Appealing to "free-thinking" "independent" types. That kind of propaganda apparently works really well, but it's so difficult to measure. Hard to fight.

Changing the subject, I just had to share this comment from a friend, made during an unspecified discussion we were having. I think the comment stands well enough on its own, in its utter weirdness.

Well it's not my town, so I really don't care one way or the other, and frankly I don't go to public libraries because they are just that "public" and I prefer to stay away from the public and public events at large and anything that is publicly controlled, funded, or operated.

I can't think of a way to respond, other than "Okay, then."

hsh -- Maybe he walks everywhere via shortcuts across back yards?

But no, that wouldn't work, he'd have to cross a street eventually, right? And ... no mail?

This is fun. ;-)

Is there a name for that?

caudillsimo?
Peronism?
Falangist?

Trump would like nothing less than unconstrained power coupled with popular adulation.

He will get neither, and this will crush him.

The so-called "Financial CHOICE Act" basically socializes the cost of private financial recklessness and privatizes profits...right in line with the basic GOP policy program (wj....take note, please).

That self proclaimed libertarians support such ham handed government subsidy is not really astounding.

But they will cry crocodile tears about the feds "putting their thumbs on the scale" when it comes to something they object to (cf federal solar tax credit).

They have no shame.

JanieM, I knew there was a movie quote like my friend's comment, but it took me a while to figure out which one. I finally figured it out:

I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed.

Driving must be hell for my poor friend.

there's always kickboxing

Open thread?

I'm 5/6 of my way through the Ancillary Justice trilogy and, eh. Will finish it but haven't found it very compelling. Maybe I needed to be in a better SciFi frame of mind.

Ugh, if you're looking for space opera try the Liaden universe.

20 books and counting? Hmmm... I'm already sort of signed up for The Expanse (I've purchased the first book so will eventually get around to reading it).

Turns out there are more interesting books than I'm capable of reading in my available time. Who knew!

:-)

"I know lots of people who voted for Trump, shake their heads at his tweets and like everything else he's done."

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/

Owning it is a whole different kettle of pigfurker fish.

can't wait to find out how the AHCA looks after its "fixed" by the senate.

Here's how it looks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GKVFGYcCy0

Have just finished watching episode 3 of the Handmaid's Tale. It's really very good, and it seems to me very important at the moment. I hope it's getting serious viewership in the States, it's so important to see how a society can change and when people finally wake up, it can be too late. I had to explain to MrGftNC about Michelle Bachman running for the Republican nomination, yet still affirming that wives should be under the authority of their husbands. He (not nearly as obsessed by US politics as I am) could hardly credit it.

I hope it's getting serious viewership in the States, it's so important to see how a society can change and when people finally wake up, it can be too late.

I am watching it faithfully. Not everyone I know is, though, although I've recommended it. (Some of my friends, for whatever reason, refuse various kinds of TV. Either reject it altogether, or reject internet streaming, or other permutations. Since some of the best drama being written is done for television (or internet access), it seems weird to me, but what are you gonna do with lovable eccentric friends.)

We never had a TV set and don't plan to acquire one.
A) German TV is mainly rubbish
B) it's better to keep potential addicts away from the drugs.
The net is diverting enough even absent youtube.

No in-home TV for me either the past eight years.

I'll pick up Handmaid's Tale on Netflix later, as I do the great stuff sapient references.

Read the book and watched the earlier Natasha Richardson movie not too long ago.

I still have fond memories of binge viewing all the DVD boxsets of The West Wing with my kids.
A pretty good primer in civics.

The important thing is not to reject TV, but to make sure they can read first. And to try to install a certain amount of critical discrimination.

And now for something completely different!

Does anyone here have any experience with solar panels? If so, I'd like to know the particulars. My house is situated almost perfectly for panels on my back roof, which has no transitions and very few protrusions.

I'm just not very trusting of the companies I've consulted and have heard wildly varying things from different people, some of whom I would take advice from with large quantities of salt.

(Oddly enough, I trust a bunch people I've never met personally and only know through a blog more than most of the ones I know in meat space. Make of that what you will....)

We put solar panels on our roof almost 15 years ago. It's been great.

We get credit during the day when we are generating more than we are using. (And pay, of course, at night or when it's cloudy.) The monthly gas & electric bill shows our usage; but the net (for electricity) is figured once a year and we pay then.

Our electric company helpfully shows, on the bill, how much power was used each month. Not just the overall, but for peak rate times as well. And has done so for ages. So I pulled the bills for the previous 5 years, and used that to size the system -- I gather most people just take the most recent January and August and guess. (FYI Peak rate times have been noon to 6 PM; changed this year to 3 PM to 8 PM.)

We sized the system for zero net cost, rather than zero net usage. We got it pretty close; the annual electric bill runs around $13.00.

We did get some tax credits from California for installing solar. But the cost savings were such that even without that we would have paid for the system in roughly 6 years. Not a bad ROI.

Maintenance has been minimal. A year ago, we had to replace one of our two inverters. At about the same time, we replaced some wiring at the panel, where the squirrels had been chewing. (#&$%@!!! squirrels!) But otherwise, we haven't even gone up and washed the panels. In 15 years.

Because we got our so long ago, the technology has changed quite a bit. Mostly getting more efficient, and prices coming down. If and when we move house again, I'd definitely install one again.

Thanks, wj. Fifteen years sounds like a really long time ago to me as solar goes, but you live in Cali, so I imagine that has something to do with the far more early adoption.

Solar started showing up noticeably around here (NJ) about 10 years ago, but has picked up quite a bit in the last 5 or so.

The options I've been presented are buying versus leasing. The biggest advantage to buying is the federal tax credit, but I'm not in much of position to receive the credit upfront, only because my federal tax liability is already so low with 4 kids, really high property taxes, fairly hefty mortgage interest, and so on. The credit is baked into the financing, so your repayment will go up considerably if you don't get the money in the first 18 months and turn it over to the installer's finance company.

The one sales guy I spoke to couldn't get it through his head that you can't receive (most) tax credits (in full) in excess of your tax liability. The guy tried to tell me my deductions had nothing to do with it. He seemed to think it was all about how much was held from my paycheck (like you can't reduce that to match your actual taxes, anyway), rather than my actual liability after figuring my taxes on my return.

It took a bit for me to come around to the fact that the guy either had no idea what he was talking about (which is what I think was going on), or he was just full of sh1t. He was very confident, despite being totally wrong.

Even in California, the rate of adoption for solar has really picked up. For the first 5-10 years, ours was one of maybe two solar systems in the neighborhood (say 3-4 blocks along the 3 different routes I routinely take in and out). Today, there are over a dozen, maybe even two dozen.

As I recall, we actually got a tax rebate, rather than a tax credit. Which would have meant our situation was closer to what your finance guy was talking about. But since I was paying cash -- treating the system like any other investment -- I didn't have to deal with the finance folks.

Btw, what happened to initiatives by the GOP in some areas to punish solar use via the tax code because it allegedly hurts certain industries?

The thing to watch out for (so I hear) is whether you get "net billing".

i.e., you sell electricity to the utility at the same $/kWh as what you buy from them.

Utilities would much rather have you buy power at a higher rate than when selling excess power. This isn't so much a 'tax thing' (I think), but more of a 'public utility regulation' thing.

HSH, have you run across Google's Project Sunroof? Available just today, as I understand it.

It's got info on what the potential is in your area, on how many homes have it, and even on contractors.

Not until just now, wj. Thanks! According to Project Sunroof, I have over 900 sq ft of roof available for solar panels, which is more than enough to cover my usage.

I have nothing to add on solar panels, I leave it to you to work out why! (Although truthfully one does see them around the place in the UK, but it's hard to imagine they give their owners much joy after the original grants they were given to install them).

I still have fond memories of binge viewing all the DVD boxsets of The West Wing with my kids.

I loved the first few series of TWW, but at a certain point the contrast of Jed Bartlett versus George W Bush in the White House meant I couldn't really take it any more. I suspect it's the same reason I couldn't see Inglourious Basterds, or Django Unchained: history is history, and feelgood alternative versions just seem to me infantile, and therefore feelbad.

GFTNC, The West Wing was, of course, liberal fantasy - but superior fantasy. And a great introduction to US politics for a twelve year old.

And of course Bartlett's successor quite nicely prefigured Obama (though I remember the family noting at the time that even the liberal fantasists weren't able to write in a black president, and compromised on a hispanic one... who had to have a military background.)

Nigel, no argument it was superior fantasy, not to mention great dialogue (I am a Sorkin admirer - hardly surprising for an out and out liberal). Also maybe an effective recruiter to inspire youthful types to go into public life. I was just really saying why I couldn't go on with it past a certain point - I never even got to the hispanic successor!

GftNC, I've got solar panels on my roof, I suppose somewhat south of yours. I get the original feed-in tariff rate for what they generate, so it's a good deal for me.

Good to hear Pro Bono. Even up here, there are a small minority. I've always assumed wind turbines would be more useful in much of the UK (on the moors of the North Country in particular), but they are of course way more visually (and, obviously, aurally) intrusive.

"Keep off the moors. Stick to the roads. And best of luck."

Now I'm picturing GftNC drinking at The Slaughtered Lamb.

Never saw the movie, but if it's anything like the song, I must tell you that all activities and venues involving sightings of the Werewolf of London are an exact catalogue of what my friends and I were doing in London in the 70s. Ah wooooooo.....

"Thousands turned out to voice dissatisfaction with the government on Monday, the latest in a series of demonstrations to engulf Russia this year. More than 100 cities held rallies, including the major hubs of Moscow and St. Petersburg, where crowds were especially massive. Independent political persecution monitor OVD Info said that at least 750 people were detained in the protests in Moscow, with an additional 900 detained in St. Petersburg."

Putin's republican vermin henchman require the same treatment in America. When the murderous republican party begins detaining and disappearing patriotic protestors here, take the country down hard.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/12/how-russia-targets-the-us-military-215247

They already have a fifth column in the White House and among republican operatives in the House and Senate.

Now, parts of the military too find Putin irresistible.

In the new stinking fucking world republicans have created, all of these traitors won't have to defect; Russia will come to them.

It's Red Dawn via the cyber world. Thanks to Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy's political front.

The NRA is setting up chapters in Russia. Do you suppose NRA members in Russia are going to be counseling anti-government, violent resistance, like the pigfuckers do here?

No, they are authoritarians and they will help Putin kill liberal dissent, just as they aim to here.

In the new stinking fucking world republicans have created, all of these traitors won't have to defect; Russia will come to them.

Unfortunately, people are really not taking this seriously enough. I know you're not supposed to use graphic violent language, but you know what? We're freaking handing our country to fascists (or, rather authoritarian, white supremacist, anti-liberal democracy folks who believe in carrying guns and ethnically cleansing Hispanics and Muslims - boy, that's a mouthful - can we just say fascists?).

We need to figure out how we're going to protect our national security from Putin, who now has the means to hack into our electrical grid, who very likely did change the result of the election, and who, I'm sure, is only temporarily satisfied by the orange puppet he currently has in office.

We're screwed if we don't stop pretending that it's acceptable for people to support Republican monsters. These people are traitors, similar to fascists. If they were the only ones suffering from their own misguided tendencies, that would be okay with me (and it is my fervent wish that they do suffer greatly from their own work.) But they're inflicting it on all of us, and it is very likely to get much, much worse.

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