Items 12/12

Interesting Items 12/12 -

Howdy all, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –

In this issue:

1. Bad Luck
2. Taiwan
3. AF One
4. Stellers
5. Life Expectancy
6. Nominees
8. Fracing
9. Escape

1. Bad Luck. I have a favorite Robert A Heinlein quote about bad luck. It is from the Diaries of Lazarus Long:

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck.”

This comes to mind after the scope of Alaska’s current self-generated economic crash has started to get the attention of local media. When you choose to war with the oil producers and they leave the state taking some 5,000 jobs with them this is “Bad Luck.:” When you choose to shut down a large mine in Western Alaska capable of creating 16,000 new jobs lasting half a century, this is “Bad Luck.” When you shut down all logging on federal lands, impoverishing logging communities in the Tongass, this is “Bad Luck.” When you choose the interests of some 1,200 commercial fishing permit holders in Cook Inlet over the interests of 200,000 sport, subsistence and personal use fishermen, this is also “Bad Luck,” all of it of our own making.

2. Taiwan. President Elect Trump took a call from the president of Taiwan last week, successfully getting the knickers of everyone in Foggy Bottom all in a wad. Outrage came out of all the usual suspects expressing horror at Trump unilaterally repealing Jimmy Carter’s unilateral One China policy even before he took office. There was much consternation about the awful impact this would have on US relations with China under Trump. Trump also nominated Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad as US Ambassador to China. Why is this important? Brandstad comes from Iowa, has known the current Chinese leadership for decades and has negotiated trade deals for agricultural goods with them. I don’t see a trade war breaking out very soon. The ChiComs test us all the time, latest was a couple months ago, when they refused to bring a set of stairs for Obama to deplane out of AF 1 on a trip to China. Much yelling and hilarity ensued at this gratuitous insult. China also triggered a small confrontation with Bush 43 right after he took office when a ChiCom jet collided with a Navy surveillance aircraft and forced it into an emergency landing in Hainan Island south of China. This time around, Trump got in the first shot in testing, even before he took office. I think the ChiComs are going to behave themselves differently around this president than they did the last one.

3. AF One. President Elect Donald Trump walked out of the elevator at Trump Tower in NYC last week and took aim at Boeing and the $4 billion replacement for Air Force One. While $4 billion is not all that large a number from an overall federal spending perspective, the cost is clearly exorbitant, especially since Trump knows how much a large jet costs to purchase and outfit even given all the electronics AF 1 carries. So what is going on here? Two things, I think. The first is that he is sending a very clear message to Boeing over Iran. Boeing publicly supported the Iran deal because they were in line to replace Iran’s fleet of aging jets, a $17 billion sale. Trump has blasted the Iran deal at every single campaign event since he announced running for President. Limbaugh has that theory. A second theory is that it is a shot across the bow to all the companies that have gotten into the crony capitalism business, using their lobbyists and campaign donations to take care of themselves at the expense of the free market.

4. Stellers. Last week’s environmental article out of the local fish wrapper breathlessly made the point that the western Aleutian population of steller sea lions was not recovering even as their relatives in the east are recovering in numbers. Numbers of stellers crashed by 75% between 1970s to the 1990s. They were listed as threatened in 1990 and NOAA split the population into two parts – western and eastern in 1997, listing the western group as endangered. Greens blame commercial Pollock, cod and other seafood as culprits in the crash. Over the last decade, the eastern population has rebounded nicely, to the point where the threatened designation was lifted in 2013. The western population has done well in some parts of its range, but not all. Much head scratching and pontification on the horribleness of it all has been done, all the while more protections, limits on human activity in and around the Aleutians demanded. Now here’s the funny part. Nobody knows precisely what these animals eat. Nobody knows precisely how their numbers are connected with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Nobody knows how far they travel. It occurs to me that these animals don’t really care about NOAA’s silly little line in the sand dividing the two population groups, and they are likely following the food. Where the food goes, so do they. But this may be too difficult for the federal cheerleaders to figure out.

5. Life Expectancy. What great time to be an American, when the work of the Reid – Pelosi congresses and the Obama regime has done its fundamental transformation of this nation. Last week, the CDC announced that life expectancy fell for the first time since 1993. Males lost 0.2 years to 76.5 years, females 0.1 years to 81.2 years and the overall national life expectancy fell to 78.8 years. The mortality rates for eight of the top ten leading causes of death increased. The decrease in life expectancy is attributed to higher death rates among the young and middle aged. Life expectancy last declined in 1993. A lot of research connects the higher mortality with persistent joblessness, especially among men. Other reasons include ObamaCare and the continuing awful carb rich dietary guidelines from the FDA. Hope and change indeed.

6. Nominees. Donald Trump is putting together a very, very conservative cabinet. Latest nominee is Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator. Pruitt has been leading lawsuits against the EPA over federal overreach for years and knows well the games the agency and its co-conspirators have been playing in the courts for decades. Greens and their mouthpieces in the democrat party are apoplectic at the thought that the EPA might be returned to its constitutional box, you remember, the box defined by what actual federal law tells it to do. For years, the EPA has operated on a catch us if you can basis, doing what it wants to do while daring its targets to take it to court and win. With Mr. Pruitt’s nomination, President Elect Trump is telling anyone who will listen that game is now over.

7. DAPL. Under orders from the Obama WH, the Army Corps of Engineers pulled a previously issued permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline, leaving the company in limbo and pandering to the protesters. The decision calls for the partners to reroute the 1,172-mile-long, four state pipeline that is 90% complete based on protests over a 1,100’ long portion currently in dispute. Native protesters were overjoyed if for no other reason than they now get to come in from the cold (single digit highs to as many as -24F lows by the weekend). The irony of the proposed path of the pipeline paralleling a 30-year old natural gas pipeline was lost on the protesters, the Obama WH and the Army Corps of Engineers. Expect this permit to be re-issued in six weeks when the Obama regime leaves office. DAPL is not the only pipeline targeted by the greens. Most of new efforts to access natural gas out of the Marcellus Shale in NY, PA and WV have been targeted for destruction by the greens and their enablers, forcing product onto the rails, one of the more dangerous ways to ship it to market.

8. Fracing. One of the neat things about the oil patch these days is that the technology and innovation keeps moving along, solving problems, disarming vocal opposition, improving output and lowering costs. Latest example is a new technology that may be competitive with fracing in some formations. One form of the oil shale formations has oil locked up in organic chemical compounds called kerogens. Normally the only way to get these out of a shale formation is to strip mine it, grind up the shale and heat it to evolve out the oil and natural gas locked up as the waxy solid. The new technology works underground and beams microwaves up to 80’ from the well bore to heat up and liquefy the oil and natural gas locked up in kerogens. It is then pumped to the surface. Additionally, the microwave technique does not require large amounts of water, a complaint also aimed against fracing. So this new technology solves a pair of problems – large quantities of water and having to strip mine shale for kerogens. It also brings a new problem into play as microwaves require a large amount of electricity. Looks like the new technology will be used by Qmast to start working the Green River formation beneath CO, UT and WY, home to a predicted 3 trillion barrels (12 times known reserves in Saudi) of oil.

9. Escape. One of the bits of pro-Obama propaganda during the 2012 campaign was a little cartoon called the Life of Julia. She was a single mother, one son, no man in the house, whose entire life was enabled, controlled and supported by Obama’s and the democrat’s large, intrusive government. At age 3, Julia prepared for kindergarten with Head Start. Her HS was part of Obama’s Race to the Top program. She received government Pell Grant for college and her family benefits from the American Opportunity Tax Credit. During college, she has surgery via ObamaCare which also lets her stay on her parent’s health care insurance until she is 26. Her web designer job guarantees equal pay via the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. ObamaCare also covers her decision to have a child as a single woman. She starts her own web business at age 42 via SBA Loan. Enrolls in Medicare at 65 and retires on Social Security at age 67. She has no face, no individually and no family. As a single woman with child, she becomes another democrat brick in the wall and a reliable democrat voter for life. She lives her entire life dependent on government programs that the rest of us pay for. This is the fundamental transformation Obama and the democrats want for all of us. It is the grey, regimented future we have just dodged, albeit temporarily.

More later -

- AG