For those of you who haven’t been tuning into what has been going on in the automotive industry with respect to electric vehicles (EVs) lately, from 2008 when Tesla introduced the first viable electric vehicle to the market there have been more than 1.5 million electric vehicles sold world wide, and over 500 thousand EVs sold in the US alone. Most electric vehicles sold by the major automakers to this point have had the distances that they can travel on a single charge, also known as range, limited to between 65 to around 100 miles. Tesla Motors, on the other hand, has had its vehicle’s ranges typically set at 200 miles or above. They flirted with a 160 mile range vehicle for a while, but sold few and dropped the production of such vehicles as of March of 2013. Tesla’s vehicles so far have been marketed to upscale luxury/performance market, which inadvertently is like saying its vehicles were expensive. Tesla introduced itself to the automobile market with it’s Roadster, which sold for $109,000, and gave consumers a two seat sports car with 221 miles range. Tesla then introduced an electric full-sized luxury sports sedan called the Model S with a 265 mile range and a price tag of around $86,070. They then introduced an SUV into the market known as the Model X that started with a sale price of $80,000 and a range of around 250 miles per charge. Despite the higher price tag of Tesla vehicles Tesla has managed to sell a very large number of vehicles and its sales are increasing month over month allowing it to capture a lion’s share of the sports/luxury car market segment. When we look at the EV market from its current renaissance that began in 2008 to now we see Tesla with vehicles having ranges of 200 miles and above and the major automakers producing and selling quite a few electric vehicles with ranges of 100 miles range or less.
Reuters, October 1
China’s yuan joins the International Monetary Fund’s basket of reserve currencies on Saturday in a milestone for the government’s campaign for recognition as a global economic power.
The yuan joins the U.S. dollar, the euro, the yen and British pound in the IMF’s special drawing rights (SDR) basket, which determines currencies that countries can receive as part of IMF loans. It marks the first time a new currency has been added since the euro was launched in 1999.The IMF is adding the yuan, also known as the renminbi, or “people’s money”, on the same day that the Communist Party celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
The Intercept, By Nick Turse, September 29
From high above, Agadez almost blends into the cocoa-colored wasteland that surrounds it. Only when you descend farther can you make out a city that curves around an airfield before fading into the desert. Once a nexus for camel caravans hauling tea and salt across the Sahara, Agadez is now a West African paradise for people smugglers and a way station for refugees and migrants intent on reaching Europe’s shores by any means necessary.
Africans fleeing unrest and poverty are not, however, the only foreigners making their way to this town in the center of Niger. U.S. military documents reveal new information about an American drone base under construction on the outskirts of the city. The long-planned project — considered the most important U.S. military construction effort in Africa, according to formerly secret files obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act — is slated to cost $100 million, and is just one of a number of recent American military initiatives in the impoverished nation.
The base is the latest sign, experts say, of an ever-increasing emphasis on counterterror [?!??!] operations in the north and west of the continent. As the only country in the region willing to allow a U.S. base for MQ-9 Reapers — a newer, larger, and potentially more lethal model than the venerable Predator drone — Niger has positioned itself to be the key regional hub for U.S. military operations, with Agadez serving as the premier outpost for launching intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions against a plethora of terror groups.
Daily Hive (Vancouver), By Kenneth Chan, September 27
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has provided the $36-billion Pacific Northwest liquid natural gas (LNG) production and export facility project in Prince Rupert, BC with the green light to proceed. The announcement was made by members of the federal cabinet at a press conference held in Richmond this evening.
“The Pacific NorthWest LNG Project will deliver thousands of good middle-class jobs and will help pay for schools and roads and social programs that enrich people’s lives,” said Jim Carr, federal Minister of Natural Resources.
Coincidentally: US drives rainforest destruction by importing Amazon oil, study finds
Looking at Jill Stein’s federal filing reveals a lot of capitalist investment in industries she decries.
She rails against toxic chemicals while holding over fifty thousand dollars of 3M stock, and against “Big Pharma” while holding as much in Merck. She spray paints bulldozers sitting on six figures of Home Depot. These companies alone pay her yearly dividends between $4500 and $11,500.
But the big money is in her myriad of mutual funds. I pulled up the prospectus for a random fund, the Vanguard 500 she has at least $500,000 in, up to a million.
Their fourth largest holding is Exxon shares.
It’s a robust portfolio. She’s got bonds, she’s got annuities, she’s got precious metals, IBM and Intel, Treasury notes and Johnson & Johnson. Over four million dollars in all, between her and her husband.
Very little seems geared toward socially responsible investing.
Her attacks on “corporate” opponents ring hollow.
Workers are less scared of organizing when the press is covering them. The solution? More labor reporters in the South.
Pacific Standard, By Mike Elk, September 5
The striking thing about being a recent northern immigrant to the South is how often I walk into a bar and hear people talking about Bernie Sanders. As an outsider to the region (I’m a native of the East End of Pittsburgh), I sometimes find it incredible: Go into any bar in the South and all the young folks are feeling the Bern. While Sanders lost big in these states, he did win among southern Millennials — yet another indication that the South is changing a lot faster than some folks realize.
Yet people up North are always shocked to hear this. Too often, the only depictions of the South that we get via national news are cartoon caricatures of Confederate flag enthusiasts. As a result, we often forget about the progressives in the South. In part, the Internet has played a role in creating them, in replacing local news outlets as the place to follow national politics. People in the South read the same blogs we do; their Tinder profiles include witty references to Michelle Obama. I meet young people in the South all the time who ask me, “What was it like before Obama?” These people literally don’t remember an America that didn’t have a black president or an Occupy Wall Street movement. They aren’t yokels, and they aren’t products of the Old South — they are products of a digital South in the age of Obama.
Vice, By Jason Leopold, September 17
In a major victory for journalists and privacy and transparency advocates, a federal court has started the process of unsealing secret records related to the government’s use of electronic surveillance.
US District Court Judge Beryl Howell said at a hearing Friday morning that absent an objection by government attorneys, the court would post to its website next week a list of all case numbers from 2012 in which federal prosecutors in Washington, DC applied for an order to install a pen register or a trap and trace device.
ProPublica, By Lauren Kirchner, September 12
Police in Florida and other states are building up private DNA databases, in part by collecting voluntary samples from people not charged with — or even suspected of — any particular crime.
The five teenage boys were sitting in a parked car in a gated community in Melbourne, Florida, when a police officer pulled up behind them.
Officer Justin Valutsky closed one of the rear doors, which had been ajar, and told them to stay in the car. He peered into the drivers’ side window of the white Hyundai SUV and asked what the teens were doing there. It was a Saturday night in March 2015 and they told Valutsky they were visiting a friend for a sleepover.
Valutsky told them there had been a string of car break-ins recently in the area. Then, after questioning them some more, he made an unexpected demand: He asked which one of them wanted to give him a DNA sample.
Decorated Marine Corps veteran Frank Biggio joins the ranks of service members unable to accept Trump as a valid candidate for Commander in Chief.
“This is a mercurial man who will have almost unchecked authority to put uniformed men and women in harm’s way, but whose understanding of foreign affairs and military strategy is based almost solely on his instincts rather than analysis,” he writes.
When I enlisted my grasp of politics was pretty weak. Presidents were boring white guys. I’ve grown a lot since then. I’m very glad I didn’t serve under Dubya. I would have only found out after the fact I’d participated in Shock & Awe. I’m terrified at the thought of our troops under Trump. We’ve seen how he treats his employees, who he has to occasionally bump into. I can’t imagine the pointless violence he’d inflict in lands he’ll never set foot.
He says he’ll toss out the generals and install his own. That’s fascism, folks, no exaggeration. He wants to use the US military to further his own political and corporate goals.
Trump wants to prove himself on the job. We’re supposed to trust a temperament we’ve never seen, to execute plans that haven’t been made, based on a grasp of global power balances that frankly gets outclassed by any regular NY Times reader.
It’s no joke that economists advising international firms rank Trump as a top 10 threat to humanity.
There’s a certain personal irony that part of my time was spent shooting down SCUDs meant for the Jews of Tel Aviv, and now we’re faced with a candidate who “surely doesn’t mean all those racist things he says.”
Trade unions in India representing some 180 million workers staged a one-day strike—and there was virtually no coverage by mainstream American media.
FAIR / Alternet, By Jim Naureckas, September 9, 2016
When tens of millions of workers go out on strike in the second-largest country in the world—and the third-largest economy in the world—resulting in what may be the biggest labor action in world history (AlterNet, 9/7/16), you’d think that would merit some kind of news coverage, right?
Not if you’re a decision-maker at a U.S. corporate media outlet, apparently.
A coalition of trade unions in India representing some 180 million workers staged a one-day general strike on Friday, September 2, in protest of what they called the “anti-worker and anti-people” policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an advocate of neoliberal policies and increased foreign investment (Democracy Now!, 9/2/16). Assocham, India’s chamber of commerce, estimated that the economic impact of the strike was $2.4 billion–$2.7 billion (Hindustan Today, 9/3/16).