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Author Topic: Impeaching Donald Trump  (Read 47716 times)

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2060 on: December 15, 2019, 03:08:55 am »

... the value of enforcing state control for Nuclear operators...

Ah, now you are weaseling out. Nobody is against a reasonable state oversight for nuclear plants. However, you were clearly raging against private nuclear plants and arguing for state-run ones.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2061 on: December 15, 2019, 04:03:20 am »

Ah, now you are weaseling out. Nobody is against a reasonable state oversight for nuclear plants. However, you were clearly raging against private nuclear plants and arguing for state-run ones.

Yes, Nuclear power must be run by States.

Cheers,
Bernard

LesPalenik

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2062 on: December 15, 2019, 04:14:52 am »

The problem is that the States are hopelessly incompetent when it comes to approval of the new, small and safe nuclear plants. In USA, only one new reactor has been licensed in the last 25 years.

Quote
At 76 feet high and 15 feet in diameter, a self-contained NuScale reactor would take up just 1% of the space of a conventional reactor. Buried deep in the earth and surrounded by millions of gallons of water, one reactor could power a remote region. Twelve modular reactors, stacked up like beer cans in six packs, could serve a city.

"The minute you get rid of two-thirds of the stuff, there's less stuff to buy and install, less stuff to operate and maintain, less stuff to break and go wrong," says Colbert. "It becomes safer, more cost-effective, easier to build." To save on construction costs, NuScale plans to use a standardized design, mass producing modules in factories, transporting them to sites, and installing them in the ground. Colbert says they'll also be cheaper to operate.



https://www.wbur.org/earthwhile/2019/09/18/nuclear-power-miniaturization-new-technology

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2063 on: December 15, 2019, 07:06:24 am »

The problem is that the States are hopelessly incompetent when it comes to approval of the new, small and safe nuclear plants. In USA, only one new reactor has been licensed in the last 25 years.



https://www.wbur.org/earthwhile/2019/09/18/nuclear-power-miniaturization-new-technology

I have no issue with the State using private contractors to design/deploy/operate the plants. The key aspect is ownership and accountability for the good of the general public.

Cheers,
Bernard

JoeKitchen

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2064 on: December 15, 2019, 07:23:01 am »

Ahhh, yes, the beauty of state run power. 

Bernard, answer me this, what did Venezuelans light their houses with before candles? 
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LesPalenik

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2065 on: December 15, 2019, 09:20:13 am »

I have no issue with the State using private contractors to design/deploy/operate the plants. The key aspect is ownership and accountability for the good of the general public.

Cheers,
Bernard

Unfortunately, there is very little accountability and motivation when the electric utility is owned and administered by the government.

Case in point: Ontario Hydro was formed in 1950 and used to be a Crown corporation owned by the Ontario government until it was privatized in 1999 and since then split into 5 different companies and restructured a few times (I lost track of all new company names), because the utility ran up a $34 billion debt, mainly because of overbuilding costly nuclear plants and wasting tremendous sums for maintenance,  administration and extremely generous salaries and other employee perks. In their early years, the electricity price was very low, but due to many wrong decisions by the corporation over the years the prices were raised significantly.

Ontario Hydro was the first provincially owned electric utility in Canada and it was the largest public electric utility in North America. Its generation and transmission system included 69 hydroelectric, 8 fossil-fueled and 4 nuclear power stations, along with over 130,000 km of transmission and distribution lines. In 1992, the utility had a $34 billion debt, largely because of overbuilding costly nuclear plants. Some of the nuclear plants were stopped, mothballed, and later restarted again at enormous costs. All large coal-generating plants were decommissioned between 2005 and 2014. In the eighties, I designed and implemented software for several of their nuclear and coal generating plants, so I was able to observe some of their problems on my own eyes and from conversations with the employees.

https://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/7165441-a-look-at-the-long-complicated-history-of-ontario-hydro/

Alan Klein

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2066 on: December 15, 2019, 10:20:51 am »

I worked for both private and NYC government.   Government was much less efficient.  More people than necessary are kept working when when the work load decreased.  Things cost more.   I told this story here before. 

I once had a great idea that would have saved us lots of money.  So I brought the idea to my boss.  He responded, "what do you care what it costs?" 

That sums up government control of business.

Robert Roaldi

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2067 on: December 15, 2019, 11:23:23 am »

Unfortunately, there is very little accountability and motivation when the electric utility is owned and administered by the government.

Part of me wants to agree with this sentiment. The trouble is I've worked for too many utterly incompetent private sector companies to have much faith in them. In the long run, they all f**k up. How many private corporations survive more than one or two generations, I'm thinking of General Electric and General Motors and who knows how many others. (As an aside, what's the world's backup to Google? They won't be around forever.) I won't mention the private financial sector and their periodic spectacular excesses. The electrical power grid is not like selling mobile phones or 2x4s. Who cares if a phone manufacturer goes belly-up, just buy another brand. But the strategic importance of the grid is such that if any electrical producer or distributor ends up in difficulty, they will be saved by taxpayers in the end because there won't be any other option, so the idea that you can keep government out of it is a non-starter anyway. In my personal experience, the ability of private corporations to plan ahead more than a year or two is suspect (to be polite) so expecting them to design and maintain something as strategic as the electrical grid with its 30-50 year planning horizons is a bad bet. Yes, as soon as governments get involved things get complicated and cost more, but that's in large part because of their more complex mandate than just turning a profit next quarter. (Yes, examples of governments running things badly are legion. But let's not kid ourselves that the private sector does better.)

The really bad part of public sector excess, especially wrt Ontario Hydro, is that no one had an incentive to fix things when OH started to lose its mind. That's bad oversight, pure and simple. And there are probably as many examples of that in the private sector as in the public sector, it's just that no pays much attention to the private sector ones. Unless you were one of the employees of NORTEL, for example, whose pensions disappeared in smoke when the near-criminal cabal that ran the place exited with all the cash. Because that was a private company we delude ourselves into think that it cost us less than when a public sector enterprise goes nuts, but that's largely because no one is doing all the sums properly.

A non-bad example of what I am talking about is the western Canadian oil sector. Despite repeated resource industry boom/bust cycles, they haven't been able to stabilize their business. And after preaching to everyone about entrepreneurship and keeping the government out of their business, they somehow always turn around and beg the government for assistance when things go south. Honestly, it's farce.
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Rob C

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2068 on: December 15, 2019, 11:30:10 am »

State or private: rocks and hard places.

The state enterprises end up in the grip of the trade unions, where unions know very well their paralysing power to strike and how govts. of all colours fear that, and how it can impinge on elections next time around; the private ones end up mired in the profit principle, where you can bet corners get cut in direct response to bottom lines. And of course, where we speak of public essentials such as power and water, the strike muscle is the same for both alternative systems.

My gut tells me that state makes sense if you can get and guarantee no strike agreements. Britain has this fight over rail. It's been in both systems, and both seem to suck. I was watching a report on this very thing a day or two ago on the news, and the cost of commuting is horrific. If the new government in the UK can do one thing, let's hope it's to encourage good local job opportunities where folks no longer need to sit in trains for three hours every day just to get to and from work.

Alan Klein

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2069 on: December 15, 2019, 11:44:10 am »

Electric companies in the US are poor examples of Private Industry. Theyare basically monopolies been granted rights of ways and price supports because of government oversight. Public Service commission's Rule the Day for decades. The course of needed rights of ways, electric companies were granted these monopolies to charge what the Public Service Commission has allowed them to charge. But there was no competition.  I'd they did poorly, they'd get the commissions to allow them to raise prices.

Today there is competition. As the services have been opened up the competition by government at least here where I live. I can shop around the electric rates and I buy cheapest electricity I can and change it around every year. That's not something we used to have in the past.

So utilities like electric companies poor examples of Private Industry.

Alan Klein

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2070 on: December 15, 2019, 01:54:03 pm »

State or private: rocks and hard places.

The state enterprises end up in the grip of the trade unions, where unions know very well their paralysing power to strike and how govts. of all colours fear that, and how it can impinge on elections next time around; the private ones end up mired in the profit principle, where you can bet corners get cut in direct response to bottom lines. And of course, where we speak of public essentials such as power and water, the strike muscle is the same for both alternative systems.

My gut tells me that state makes sense if you can get and guarantee no strike agreements. Britain has this fight over rail. It's been in both systems, and both seem to suck. I was watching a report on this very thing a day or two ago on the news, and the cost of commuting is horrific. If the new government in the UK can do one thing, let's hope it's to encourage good local job opportunities where folks no longer need to sit in trains for three hours every day just to get to and from work.
Public service unions in America cannot strike for the most part.   But some like teachers unions are very powerful in any case.   Their power to assist candidates running for office gets those candidates to provide great benefits and higher salaries than many private workers. Who needs to strike when you get what you want anyway?

LesPalenik

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2071 on: December 15, 2019, 02:34:22 pm »

Back from the electric companies to Trump's impeachment.
Adding to the potentially dangerous delay in providing Ukraine with the promised defense missiles against Russia, Amazon claims that Trump fired defense secretary after he refused to "screw Amazon" out of big cloud-computing deal, brought in new leaders who changed the process to hurt Amazon’s bid, and used “improper pressure” to divert the contract from the company to harm its chief executive, Jeff Bezos.

Quote
As impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill debate whether Trump abused his power as president to investigate a political opponent, Amazon’s AMZN, +0.03%  complaint argues that Trump’s public bias against Bezos led him to compromise a major government contract for the Department of Defense. The timeline Amazon laid out includes the firing of a defense secretary, shifting requirements for the contract to specifically target Amazon Web Services, and a sham recusal at the last minute by the official Trump put in charge amid his demands for the contract to go to anyone but Amazon.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-amazon-is-really-accusing-trump-of-doing-in-jedi-deal-2019-12-10?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo

Robert Roaldi

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2072 on: December 15, 2019, 03:06:19 pm »

Just as an aside, when Trump makes remarks about various private corporations, I wonder if anyone in various regulatory offices is monitoring the trading practices of himself, his family and any associates. In the past, public figures in powerful positions have usually been circumspect in making public statements that could have effects on financial markets. It would too easy, and too tempting for the unscrupulous, to take advantage of advance notice of the guy's tweets to make some cash. I mean, if you're going to argue that you need to investigate Biden because his son got himself a cushy job, then you'd think you'd want to look into possible insider trading scams. Not to mention the effects that these pronouncements might have on any innocent third-party investors.
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LesPalenik

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2073 on: December 15, 2019, 03:28:30 pm »

Just as an aside, when Trump makes remarks about various private corporations, I wonder if anyone in various regulatory offices is monitoring the trading practices of himself, his family and any associates. In the past, public figures in powerful positions have usually been circumspect in making public statements that could have effects on financial markets. It would too easy, and too tempting for the unscrupulous, to take advantage of advance notice of the guy's tweets to make some cash. I mean, if you're going to argue that you need to investigate Biden because his son got himself a cushy job, then you'd think you'd want to look into possible insider trading scams. Not to mention the effects that these pronouncements might have on any innocent third-party investors.

If some knew a few hours before all Trump tweets about the China trade positive and negative announcements, they could have made some serious money in the stock market. Buying and selling.

Rob C

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2074 on: December 15, 2019, 03:36:49 pm »

If some knew a few hours before all Trump tweets about the China trade positive and negative announcements, they could have made some serious money in the stock market. Buying and selling.

So blantanly corrupt.

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2075 on: December 15, 2019, 04:36:26 pm »

So blantanly corrupt.

Les made a hypothetical statement. Markets barely blinked on the announcement.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2076 on: December 15, 2019, 05:52:52 pm »

Unfortunately, there is very little accountability and motivation when the electric utility is owned and administered by the government.

Case in point: Ontario Hydro was formed in 1950 and used to be a Crown corporation owned by the Ontario government until it was privatized in 1999 and since then split into 5 different companies and restructured a few times (I lost track of all new company names), because the utility ran up a $34 billion debt, mainly because of overbuilding costly nuclear plants and wasting tremendous sums for maintenance,  administration and extremely generous salaries and other employee perks. In their early years, the electricity price was very low, but due to many wrong decisions by the corporation over the years the prices were raised significantly.

Ontario Hydro was the first provincially owned electric utility in Canada and it was the largest public electric utility in North America. Its generation and transmission system included 69 hydroelectric, 8 fossil-fueled and 4 nuclear power stations, along with over 130,000 km of transmission and distribution lines. In 1992, the utility had a $34 billion debt, largely because of overbuilding costly nuclear plants. Some of the nuclear plants were stopped, mothballed, and later restarted again at enormous costs. All large coal-generating plants were decommissioned between 2005 and 2014. In the eighties, I designed and implemented software for several of their nuclear and coal generating plants, so I was able to observe some of their problems on my own eyes and from conversations with the employees.

https://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/7165441-a-look-at-the-long-complicated-history-of-ontario-hydro/

Maybe, but safety of Nuclear facilities is an order of magnitude more important than optimal operation.

Again, I have lived the Fukushima story first hand.

The cost when something wrong occurs is hundreds of time more than the possible non optimality's resulting from gov operation vs private ones focused no profit.

Once you take that into account, a safety focused governmental operation is a total no brainer.

All the demonstration showing that private operation is optimal for Nuclear make a totally unrealistic assumption that things will not go very wrong... because they just cannot, because the plant is run by a private entity who would go bankrupt if things went very wrong... so they will do what it takes for things not to go very wrong... by definition.

Well, guess what? We have one obvious example with Fukushima where it didn't go that way... at all.

This is the same kind of circular thinking used by those supporting Trump, he cannot be guilty because it's a political plot.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: December 15, 2019, 05:56:05 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2077 on: December 15, 2019, 06:19:37 pm »

Stuff happens.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2078 on: December 15, 2019, 06:48:24 pm »

Stuff happens.

Exactly, stuff always happens and it's irresponsible to put in place frameworks assuming that it won't.

We don't plan our cities without cemeteries on the ground that nobody is dying today, do we?

Cheers,
Bernard

LesPalenik

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Re: Impeaching Donald Trump
« Reply #2079 on: December 15, 2019, 07:12:22 pm »

Maybe, but safety of Nuclear facilities is an order of magnitude more important than optimal operation. Again, I have lived the Fukushima story first hand.
The cost when something wrong occurs is hundreds of time more than the possible non optimality's resulting from gov operation vs private ones focused no profit.
Once you take that into account, a safety focused governmental operation is a total no brainer.

All the demonstration showing that private operation is optimal for Nuclear make a totally unrealistic assumption that things will not go very wrong... because they just cannot, because the plant is run by a private entity who would go bankrupt if things went very wrong... so they will do what it takes for things not to go very wrong... by definition.

Well, guess what? We have one obvious example with Fukushima where it didn't go that way... at all.
This is the same kind of circular thinking used by those supporting Trump, he cannot be guilty because it's a political plot.

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard, I agree with you that a government owned utility should look further ahead than a private corporation.
Unfortunately, if not manned by the right people and as we have seen, that is not always the case. So often the managers don't focus on the next quarter or on the five year horizon, but on their own retirement timeline. It is a dilemma, and maybe the best scenario would be indeed some joined stewardship, with the government overseeing the big picture and the private operators running the individual power plants. 
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