What One Importer’s Legal Fight Says About the  – The New YorkPower of Cargo Giants Times

Peter Goodman reported this article from Los Angeles, New York and Washington.

“Like the rest of the e-commerce world, Jacob Weiss was contending with excruciating difficulties in getting his goods — mostly furniture — across the Pacific from factories in China.

It was April 2021, and the global supply chain was rife with dysfunction because of the pandemic. At ports in China, Mr. Weiss’s usual ocean carrier, Hamburg Süd, was refusing to accept some of his shipping containers at his contracted rates, saying it had no room on its vessels.

These sorts of complaints had become commonplace, given shortages of containers and crippling traffic jams at ports. Most importers avoided conflict, fearing reprisals from the carriers. But Mr. Weiss had his lawyer fire off a menacing letter, demanding that Hamburg Süd “immediately honor” his contract while threatening to file a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission.

Here was a minnow picking a fight with a whale. Mr. Weiss’s company, OJ Commerce, is modest in size. Hamburg Süd is a subsidiary of Maersk, a publicly traded Danish conglomerate that is the second-largest container shipping company on earth, with annual revenues exceeding $61 billion.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT2h ago

Great reporting, thank you Peter Goodman. Now I’d like a serious discussion or rounddtable about what can be done about this problem. It seems like many big problems return to, in part, a US Justice system that favors the rich over the poor, but then there is the fact that this was also an anomoly of the pandemic. How do we make the playing field more level. I wonder if the US government could use a part of the Justice Dept or some other agency to fast tract a decsion, and if they find the small American business has a claim, to fund its legal challenge against the giant corporation. David blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

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Tanya Gold | Britain’s Liz Truss Is Finished – The New York Times

Ms. Gold is a journalist who writes about Britain’s politics, culture and everyday life.

“PENZANCE, England — For 40 days, Prime Minister Liz Truss of Britain has ridden a roller coaster of ridicule.

Her “mini budget,” on which she hung her free-market credentials, was a disaster: Bond yields rocketed, the pound tanked, and the markets, far from gratified, were distinctly upset. To mitigate the damage, she reversed a tax cut for high earners — and was rewarded with more mockery. At the Conservative Party conference, protesters played loud clown music, and the police refused to intervene, as sure a sign of a failing administration in Britain as the storming of the Winter Palace in Russia.

Embattled, Ms. Truss raged against the “anti-growth” coalition, opponents of her supposed revitalization of the British economy through tax cuts. It is a remarkably capacious coalition, with room for King Charles III (who last week greeted her with the chilling words “Back again. Dear, oh, dear”), the BBC and most of the Conservative Party. To judge from the polls, which put Labour 33 points ahead of the Conservatives and Ms. Truss’s approval rating at minus 47, the country is in that camp, too.

On Friday, things got worse still. Ms. Truss fired Kwasi Kwarteng, her chancellor and friend, and replaced him with Jeremy Hunt, a Tory moderate who has torn up the rest of her economic platform with the performative solemnity of a disappointed teacher. The dreaded letters of no confidence are flooding in, and Conservative lawmakers are talking about changing the leadership rules — she is supposed to have a year’s grace — to dethrone her. Ms. Truss may limp on, but she is without power. For all intents and purposes, her prime ministership is finished.”

David Lindsay:  Excellent essay and comments. Here is one of my favorite comments:’

Jack Sonville
Florida  8h ago

For almost 40 years, since the days of Thatcher and Reagan, tax cuts have been the Tory/Republican cure-all for every ill. All of this in spite of the fact that data has shown they do not drive the massive growth promised. How about a new economic idea from that side of the aisle? The only new other idea out of the Tories over the past few decades has been Brexit. How’s that working out? Where’s the massive growth that was supposed to generate? But at least that is some semblance of an idea with a theory behind it (however flawed). Over the past few years, in the absence of any coherent policy on virtually any topic, Republicans here have pretty much only touted three proposals other than tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations: Repealing the ACA to, in effect, cancel heath care subsidies for tens of millions; eliminating a woman’s right to privacy over her own body; and the notion that every election they don’t win must have been fraudulently rigged. despite no evidence, simply because they say so. It’s hard to be optimistic right now, for either country.

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With Leaps and Bounds, Parkour Athletes Turn Off the Lights in Paris – The New York Times

“PARIS — After taking a few steps back to get a running start, Hadj Benhalima dashed toward the building, pushed against its wall with his foot, propelled himself upward and stretched out his arm.

At the peak of his leap, he flipped off a light switch, more than 10 feet off the ground. A click sound rang out, and the bright lights of a nearby barbershop went off instantly.

“Oooh,” his friends cheered, as Mr. Benhalima, a thin 21-year-old dressed all in black, landed back on the sidewalk. It was the second store sign he had turned off on a recent nighttime tour across Paris’s upscale neighborhoods. Many more would follow as he soared up and dropped back down across the city.”

Germany Needs Coal to Replace Gas, So a Village Has to Go – The New York Times

Christopher F. Schuetze and 

“LÜTZERATH, Germany — For months, die-hard environmental activists have camped in the fields and occupied the trees in this tiny farming village in western Germany, hoping that like-minded people from across the country would arrive and help stop the expansion of a nearby open-pit coal mine that threatened to swallow the village and its farms.

They had reason to be optimistic. Mass protests led the German government to step in and save an old-growth forest from coal expansion just two years ago. And the Green party notched its best showing ever in elections last year, a sign of how fighting climate change had become a winning political issue in Europe’s largest economy.

“If there were 50,000 on the street, politicians would have to do something,” said Eckardt Heukamp, 58, the last farmer remaining in Lützerath, who put up some of the protesters in apartments on his property. Others built tree houses, pitched tents or moved into abandoned houses in the village.

But the hoped-for surge in protesters never materialized. And last week, the government effectively sealed Lützerath’s fate by announcing that RWE, Germany’s largest energy company, needed the coal under the village — to make up for gas that had stopped flowing in from Russia.”

Paul Krugman | Liz Truss’s Tax Cuts Won’t Help Britain’s Economy – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Britain is in a very difficult economic position. The British economy, like the U.S. economy, seems to be seriously overheated, with substantial amounts of inflation driven by high domestic demand. Unlike America, it is also facing the full force of Europe’s energy crisis, driven by the efforts of President Vladimir Putin of Russia to use a shut off of natural gas to bully the West into abandoning Ukraine.

So many of us expected Britain’s economy to go through a rough patch in the months, or maybe even years, ahead. What few foresaw, as far as I can tell, was a policy zombie apocalypse.”

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Thomas L. Friedman | Putin Will Make People Choose Between Heating or Eating This Winter – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“While some Russian soldiers in Ukraine are voting with their feet against Vladimir Putin’s shameful war, their hasty retreat doesn’t mean that Putin is surrendering. Last week, in fact, he opened a whole new front — on energy. Putin thinks he’s found a cold war that he can win. He’s going to try to literally freeze the European Union this winter by choking off supplies of Russian gas and oil to pressure the E.U. into abandoning Ukraine.

Putin’s Kremlin predecessors used frigid winters to defeat Napoleon and Hitler, and Putin clearly thinks it’s his ace in the hole to defeat Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who told his people last week, “Russia is doing everything in 90 days of this winter to break the resistance of Ukraine, the resistance of Europe and the resistance of the world.”

I wish I could say for certain that Putin will fail — that the Americans will outproduce him. And I wish I could write that Putin will regret his tactics, because they will eventually transform Russia from the energy czar of Europe to an energy colony of China — where Putin is now selling a lot of his oil at a deep discount to overcome his loss of Western markets.

Yes, I wish I could write all of those things. But I can’t — not unless the U.S. and its Western allies stop living in a green fantasy world that says we can go from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy by just flipping a switch.”

“. . . .  But the most important factor for quickly expanding our exploitation of oil, gas, solar, wind, geothermal, hydro or nuclear energy is giving the companies that pursue them (and the banks that fund them) the regulatory certainty that if they invest billions, the government will help them to quickly build the transmission lines and pipelines to get their energy to market.

Greens love solar panels but hate transmission lines. Good luck saving the planet with that approach.”

David Lindsay: Yes and amen. Here is one of several good comments:

Bruce Rozenblit
Kansas City, MOSept. 13

Electrical engineer checking in. Mr Friedman is 100% correct on this one. The most fundamental component to a green energy future will be a massive buildout of our transmission system. No matter what the source of power, it is useless without a means to transmit it across the nation. Now I’m not talking about making our grid smart. I’m talking massive towers with 345 KV and even 500 KV lines. Lots of steel, aluminum and concrete arrayed all across the land. And no, we can’t put these things underground at such high voltages. This is a matter of national security. We built the interstate highway system as a matter of national security. We needed a way to transport weapons and material all over the place. We used eminent domain to acquire the land for the highways. We should do the same for these new transmission lines. A few ranchers cannot be allowed to block our energy security. Pay them a fair price for the land and build away. Most people underestimate how difficult an undertaking this is. Not only will it take years to build out, it will take years to design. Plans have to be drawn up and contracts let. We are talking about tens of billions of dollars in contracts for thousands of miles of transmission lines. And then there will be all the substations and control equipment to hook it all together and make it work. We have to spend the money to do this and the federal government should fund it, just like they did with the highways.

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Europe Is Sacrificing Its Ancient Forests for dirty Energy – for wood chips – The New York Times

“. . . . . . burning wood was never supposed to be the cornerstone of the European Union’s green energy strategy.

When the bloc began subsidizing wood burning over a decade ago, it was seen as a quick boost for renewable fuel and an incentive to move homes and power plants away from coal and gas. Chips and pellets were marketed as a way to turn sawdust waste into green power.

Those subsidies gave rise to a booming market, to the point that wood is now Europe’s largest renewable energy source, far ahead of wind and solar.

European governments count wood power toward their clean-energy targets. But research shows it can be dirtier than coal.

But today, as demand surges amid a Russian energy crunch, whole trees are being harvested for power. And evidence is mounting that Europe’s bet on wood to address climate change has not paid off.

Forests in Finland and Estonia, for example, once seen as key assets for reducing carbon from the air, are now the source of so much logging that government scientists consider them carbon emitters. In Hungary, the government waived conservation rules last month to allow increased logging in old-growth forests.

And while European nations can count wood power toward their clean-energy targets, the E.U. scientific research agency said last year that burning wood released more carbon dioxide than would have been emitted had that energy come from fossil fuels.:

Disaster Comedy | Jonathan Pie on Liz Truss, Britain’s Next Prime Minister – The New York Times

Jonathan Pie and 

Jonathan Pie is a fictional newscaster created by the British comedian Tom Walker. Mr. Westbrook is a producer and editor with Opinion Video.

“So Liz Truss will be Britain’s next prime minister — the nation’s fourth in seven years. And she’s inheriting a nation falling apart at the seams.

Ms. Truss’s victory on Monday followed a long summer of overlapping and escalating crises in the country: Inflation soared to double-digit figures and continues to rise; nationwide strikes have crippled the train networks, the postal service and trash collections; a heat wave brought the first drought in 20 years; and Brexit and the pandemic conspired to ruin many families’ first overseas vacations in three years.

On top of all of that, the government has been unable to prevent Britain’s energy companies from raising electricity and natural gas prices to levels that for many residents are simply unaffordable. The average household energy bill will nearly double between now and October, to 3,549 pounds a year (about $4,200).”

Portugal Could Hold an Answer for a Europe Captive to Russian Gas – The New York Times

Patricia Cohen, a global economics reporter based in London, reported this article from Lisbon, Sintra and Porto in Portugal.

“Portugal has no coal mines, oil wells or gas fields. Its impressive hydropower production has been crippled this year by drought. And its long-running disconnect from the rest of Europe’s energy network has earned the country its status as an “energy island.”

Yet with Russia withholding natural gas from countries opposed to its invasion of Ukraine, the tiny coastal nation of Portugal is suddenly poised to play a critical role in managing Europe’s looming energy crisis.

For years, the Iberian Peninsula was cut off from the web of pipelines and huge supply of cheap Russian gas that power much of Europe. And so Portugal and Spain were compelled to invest heavily in renewable sources of energy like wind, solar and hydropower, and to establish an elaborate system for importing gas from North and West Africa, the United States, and elsewhere.”

As France Swelters, Private Jets Come Under Attack – The New York Times

“PARIS — As France reels from a summer of extreme temperatures and soaring energy prices, prompting increasingly urgent calls to rein in polluters contributing to global warming, one high-flying culprit is finding itself in the cross hairs: the private jet.

In recent days, France’s transportation minister called for flights by such planes to be restricted because of their outsize contribution to climate change, while a prominent lawmaker for the Green Party said he would soon introduce a bill to ban them altogether.

The announcements have struck a chord in France, where weeks of severe drought and wildfires have brought home the realities of global warming, stoking a larger debate about consumer responsibility for addressing climate change.

Calls for better conservation of energy are also growing in France, like in much of Europe, as the war in Ukraine squeezes supplies of gas and oil.

“Without resorting to demagogy or launching ad hominem attacks, there is certain behavior that is no longer acceptable,” Clément Beaune, the transportation minister, told Le Parisien newspaper on Saturday, as he announced his plan to regulate private jets.

Mr. Beaune’s advisers said he was considering several options, including requiring companies to disclose trips taken on private planes, or expanding the European Union’s emissions trading program — which caps how much carbon companies are allowed to emit — to the jets. Mr. Beaune said he would consult with bloc partners on the issue.

The aviation sector is already considered one of the world’s top carbon emitters. And private jets are estimated to cause five to 14 times as much pollution as commercial planes per passenger, and 50 times as much as trains, according to a study published last year by Transport & Environment, a group campaigning for cleaner transportation.”