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How the US system created conditions for rail strike scenario
Hey everybody, Peter zine here coming to you from San Diego. Today I wanted to talk about the rail dispute that is about to generate a strike in the United States. Rail, the United States is used for any sort of large type of bulk transport, whether it’s fuel or food or containers that have been moved from the ports, specifically in things that are transferred from either the Pacific Coast inward for and consumption, or things like fertilizer that come from the Gulf Coast up to the Midwest. It’s an important part of the system. It’s the second largest transport capacity that United States has in terms of tonnage miles. And it matters for two reasons. First, my perennial one man war against the Jones Act, we used to ship a lot of things be a water. But with the Jones Act, we now can only ship items between two American ports that are American on vessels that are American owned, operated, captained and crude. And that has led us to reduce the use of the waterways by in excess of 99%, almost condemning our maritime transport system, which is the best natural network in the world to irrelevance. As long as that is the case rail is the only way that can move things in size. And if we had something like the Jones Act for rail, the rail system would shut down if we had something like the Jones Act for transport no more Toyota, no more Mercedes or BMW or Fujitsu or any of the others. So it gives you an idea of how distortionary it is. Second, it’s political. If we were under a different timeframe, say Obama earlier, we would have had a very different resolution here, because we probably would have had some strike busters already been ordered by the federal government, because the rail system is so critical to the American Economic functioning. However, we’re not going to see that if anything, we’re going to see this administration siding with the unions. And the reason is, is that we are at a turning of the political system. Now every generation or to the factions that make up the political parties in the United States move around. And in many ways, this is not a bug. It’s a feature of the system, we have a two party system, because that’s what our constitution more or less requires dictates. We have a first pass the post single member district system, which is a fancy way of saying that when you go to vote, you vote for a specific person who will represent a specific geography, you’re not voting for a party, you’re voting for an individual. And that makes American political parties relatively weak compared to say how they are in Europe or Asia. And that means that we get factions of these independent party candidates within the umbrella of the big tents of the Democrats and the Republicans. And as technology evolves, as the economy shifts, as demography changes, those factions rise and fall in power. And sometimes once a generation or two, the factions lose power or gain power to a scale that disrupts the entire system. This has happened to us six times before. The last big time it shifted in the 1930s. All the African Americans were Republicans and all of big business were Democrats. And obviously, that’s not the world we’re in today. Well, in the last 30 years, we’ve had the rise of ultra globalization, and now it’s collapsed the rise of China and now it’s collapsed, the rise of information technology, the Green Revolution, all of these things have happened in a relatively short period of time, coinciding with the collapse of the Soviet Union and other Return of the Russians. Of course, we’re going to manage our political system differently. And so the factions are once again in motion. And the faction that is currently in the middle of a tug of war between the Democrats and the Republicans is organized labor. So any issue that the unions don’t like is not something that any one is going to raise at the national level, because they feel they need that faction. That’s a lot of votes. And so whether it’s union issues with the Jones Act, whether it’s union issues with the railyards, and whether it’s issues of immigration, the unions are against the changes in those systems, and so they are going to resist and as long as that is going on, we are not going to see a resolution. So with the railyards, I do expect the federal government to get involved, but on the side of the unions, and that has nothing to do with the fact that Biden has generally been pro union. It’s just because that’s where the pullet politics are falling on both sides. If anything, we’re actually seeing the Republican Party right now. arguing for the unions, which is a weird place to be in but again, everything is in motion. All right, that hopefully explains it. That’s it. Whoa, seagull. That’s it for me. Until next time.
Sweden finally within sight of joining NATO
Sweden has been trying to join NATO for almost two years now, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Turkey and Hungary had been stalling that process, preventing Sweden from joining the Western military alliance. But recent public signals of approval from both Turkey and Hungary suggest a positive shift, indicating that the…
Will Europe go nuclear if US quits NATO?
The NATO alliance secured almost a century of peace on the European continent, with the exception of smaller conflicts and minor wars, until Russia invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022. This was one of the longest stretches of continuous peace in recorded European history. Yet American isolationist instincts are resurfacing, just as they did before World…
Nigeria in a post-American world
Nigeria has the largest population and the largest economy of any nation in Africa and is projected to become the fourth-largest country in the world by population before 2050. But Nigeria is also a country with plenty of troubles, from notorious political corruption to domestic terrorism and armed insurgency. Peering ahead into the post-American world,…
Don’t expect US tactical response to death of Putin critic Navalny
On Friday, Feb. 16, Russian prison authorities announced that Aleksei A. Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died in a remote Arctic prison. Navalny was imprisoned in January 2021 and serving a 19-year sentence. He was renowned as Putin’s most vocal domestic opponent, gaining prominence in 2011 when he declared the existence…
Nukes, Ukraine, Xi and more on global geopolitics
As conflicts rage in Sudan, Gaza, Ukraine, Myanmar, throughout the Middle East and beyond, it can be difficult to keep up with all the important news and events from around the world. For many of us, we simply don’t have the time or resources to understand all of these conflicts in the high level of…
Underreported stories from each side
Court Rejects New York City Law Allowing Noncitizens to Vote
10 sources | 20% from the left
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11 sources | 9% from the right
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