Interesting Items 06/19

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

In this issue:

  1. Mueller
  2. Dodd – Frank
  3. O’BamaCare
  4. Pebble
  5. Overkill
  6. AOGCC
  7. Title IX

  1. Mueller. Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump Russia collusion hoax kicked off with a bang last week with a leak that Trump was now under criminal investigation.  The leak appears to have been orchestrated by former FBI Director Comey’s buds in the FBI.  A few days later, yet another leak out of the investigation claimed it was going after Trump son in law Jared Kushner’s business dealings in Russia.  Mueller hired a number of O’Bama and Clinton donors and lawyers as part of his investigation team.  I’m sure that will guarantee a completely impartial investigation.  Comey, Rosenstein and Mueller are all good buds, meaning the collusion may not actually be between the Trump campaign and the Russians at all, but between the three principals in this investigation.  This thing stinks to high heaven.


  1. Dodd – Frank. We continue to see progress in congress (mutually exclusive terms?) on undoing the O’Bama / Reid / Pelosi legacy.  While it is not proceeding as fast as many of us would like, it is progress nonetheless.  Last week the House voted to repeal major portions of the Dodd – Frank Financial legislation.  Dodd – Frank was named after two of the most corrupt congressional democrats in recent memory – Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.  It created Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, another layer of bureaucracy making both mortgage giants less accountable.  The CFPB was protected from congressional oversight by being funded by the Federal Reserve.  Provisions of Dodd – Frank also served to drive medium and small banking institutions out of business mostly because they did not have the resources to keep up with the wildly intrusive and unreasonable new paperwork requirements.  Language out of the Reid – Pelosi congress and the O’Bama regime was all about punishing the large banks that created the 2008 crash and profited from it.  But what they say is never what they really mean, as it worked precisely the opposite, propping up the big guys while crushing their competition in the heartland.  The legislation is on its way to the senate where it will be eligible for passage via the budget reconciliation process.  And this is payback, as Dodd – Frank was passed almost exclusively with democrat votes.  It will be repealed with almost exclusively Republican ones.


  1. O’BamaCare. Senate work on their O’BamaCare repeal legislation is almost complete and the bill is expected to hit the floor of the senate late this week.  The working group has included Ted Cruz among others, so what comes out of the far end should not be disastrous.  Senate democrats, fresh off their promise to slow-roll confirmations for Trump appointees promised to slow down senate business even more because the repeal legislation is not going through the normal committee process.  They choose not to remember that they did the same thing with O’BamaCare, going with the last-minute substitution of what became O’BamaCare into an existing piece of House legislation as an amendment gutting the House bill so it wouldn’t have to go thru the committee process.  This took place after summer negotiations broke down with senate Republicans.  It was also because Scot Brown’s election in MA broke the 60-vote super majority senate democrats enjoyed for a couple years.  Senate Republicans believe they have 50 votes necessary to pass out their legislation.  It will then go to conference with the House, back to both houses for passage and on to President Trump’s desk for signature.  Will any version of this be the final solution?  Hardly.  OTOH, either version will be an order of magnitude improvement over what we have today.  Here in AK, the pro-O’BamaCare ads targeting Lisa Murkowski are running early and often.  Target seems to be Medicaid recipients, elderly and those that care for them.  They haven’t trotted out the wheelchairs yet, but I expect they are queued up.  I wouldn’t want to be the Republican vote in the senate that shoots this down, which is going to be something that forces the usual suspects to cogitate a while on what they really want.


  1. Pebble. What do you do in a state where resource development projects that have local native involvement get to proceed while others that do not get to run the regulatory gauntlet from all the usual suspects?  You go out and get yourself some natives.  Last week the Pebble partnership signed an agreement with Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), one of the 12 regional native corporations created under 1971’s ANSCA.  ASRC’s area of operation is the North Slope, primarily the Prudhoe Bay oil fields, which they make very good money from.  Pebble contracted with ASRC Energy Services, Alaska to increase contracting opportunities for Alaska Native village corporations with land holdings near the proposed site of the mine.  The move neatly cuts out Bristol Bay Native Corporation which has been using its position as the local regional corporation to protect its own mining operations on the Alaska Peninsula from outside competition.  It also empowers village corporations close by who want Pebble and the jobs it will deliver but without the resources to fight BBNC’s self-serving opposition to the mine.  BBNC’s immediate reaction was to demand ASRC to butt out and stay in their own back yard.  Pebble opponents claimed that Pebble was pursuing a divide and conquer strategy against local opposition.  This assumes locals have been unified in opposition, which is far from accurate, as there has been significant interest in the project from nearby villages.  Brilliant move by Pebble.  They are going to get this mine built if they keep this up.


  1. Overkill. I suppose this next item is more a product of the choice to no longer fight scorched earth wars than anything else.  It has now been 70 years since we fought a kill everything that moves type of war and the AF is finding that its weaponry does not match well with the sort of low-intensity, minimize civilian casualties, hearts and minds warfare we are now facing in the Middle East.  Our large dollar weapons systems like the F-15E and F-35 are not the best weapons to use against smaller groups.  As such, it looks like the AF is getting serious about pursuing low-cost platforms that can get the mission done in a more cost-effective manner than the current inventory.  Even in this new warfare world, the A-10, designed for a high-intensity anti-armor mission is a bit of overkill, not to mention being a bit long in the tooth.  The new platform is called the OA-X and will be used to compliment the current inventory.  Airframes invited to participate in a flyoff include the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, Beechcraft AT-6 and the Textron Scorpion.  There is another startup aerospace company named Stavatti that has proposed something they call the Machete, essentially a single-seat straight winged A-10 replacement.  The two versions are turboprop or jet powered single engine airframes.  Both are designed around the current A-10 Gau-8 Gatling gun.  The flyoff is intended to take a close look at an off the shelf solution rather than new hardware, though if the AF does purchase off the shelf airframes, a RFP for an entirely new airframe won’t be far behind.


  1. AOGCC. The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is charged with:

“Protect(ing) the public interest in exploration and development of Alaska’s valuable oil, gas and geothermal resources through the application of conservation practices designed to ensure greater ultimate recovery and the protection of health, safety, fresh ground waters and the rights of all owners to recover their share of the resource.”

Note the emphasis on the terms “greater ultimate recovery” and “recover their share of the resource.”  You’d think recovery of the resource is pretty important, as it is mentioned twice.  But when you appoint members who have been fighting the industry for the last several decades, they will tend to ignore the recovery mission and spend their time on the conservation and protection missions.  Such is the case with former democrat LtGov candidate and state senator Hollis French, who Governor Bill Walker appointed to a seat on the AOGCC.  Sadly, he was confirmed by his old buds on the Republican side of the legislature and all the democrats.  Once ensconced in his 6-figure job, French figured out a way to stick it to his old target, the oil and natural gas producers.  His vehicle was a proposal to properly close hundreds of unused wells statewide.  Now none of these wells are currently an environmental risk, and from time to time unused wells are revisited by rigs and production teams, but the new majority on the Commission not only wants a bunch of them closed permanently, but also wants to levy requirements for surety bonds to protect the state if the wells aren’t properly plugged before they are abandoned.  Why this?  Why now?  Plugging wells is expensive, and best done all at once.  The new requirements for an active plugging / disabling program coupled with new bonds posted by the producers comes at a really bad time for the industry, as there is not a lot of spare production money out there, not a lot of maintenance money out there, and most certainly not a lot of new production investment money out there.  These two requirements are little more than another assault on the ability of producers – large, small, and mid-sized – to plan for and operate in this state.  If is what you would expect from someone who has spent his entire life suing the producers (Governor Walker) and someone who spent decades attacking the producers (Commissioner French).  We might not have any new oil thru the pipeline, but we will make sure no oil spills out of unused wells.  As an aside:  Producing wells are generally used because you can get oil out of them.  Wells that can’t produce typically aren’t, as there is no oil available.  The anti-oil guys are hiding behind faux concern for the environment once again.


  1. Title IX. Title IX is the vehicle used and abused by the feminists and their supporters to wage war on men’s college sports for decades.  Mostly they leave football and basketball alone because they pay the freight for women’s sports.  Other men’s sports aren’t so lucky and have been caught up in the numbers game (too many male athletes and two few female athletes) inflicted by the feminists who force many of the minor collegiate sports to shut down nationwide.  Well, men are starting to fight back and there is nothing the feminists can do about it, for the men have figured out if they identify as female, they must be allowed to participate in women’s sports.  Over the last year any number of boys have decided to self-identify as female and started competing with the girls.  They have also been winning, mostly because they are bigger and stronger.  While Title IX does not specifically apply to the High Schools, it has been used by democrat Department of Education to lean on public school administrators to adopt federal policies.  The newly created field of infinitely malleable gender identity is going to kill women’s sports.  And if the same concept is applied to the racialist business, it will also kill that business.  I am ambivalent about the former.  The latter cannot happen soon enough.

More later –

– AG


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