Interesting Items 12/25

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

In this issue:

  1. McCabe
  2. Longboats
  3. Hezbollah
  4. Snowfall
  5. Fires
  6. Stars

  1. McCabe. Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and a pair of his co-conspirators spent 7.5 hours in front of the House Intelligence Committee last week in a closed-door session regarding his role in the Trump Dossier, investigation of the Trump campaign, and other issues associated with the ongoing coup against the new President.  McCabe is married to a woman who ran for the VA State Senate and received $467,500 campaign funds from Terry McAuliffe’s PAC in Virginia in 2015.  McCabe was also present when FBI Investigator Peter Strzok spoke about an “insurance policy” should Trump win the November 2016 election, meaning he not only tolerates serial abuse of the Hatch Act, but supports it by inaction regarding a subordinate who is clearly out of line.  Accompanying McCabe were demoted DoJ official Bruce Ohr and FBI General Counsel James Baker along with a raft of their personal lawyers.  Ohr was demoted for concealing his contact with the people behind the Fusion GPS dossier on Trump.  While a closed-door hearing, some details were leaked.  Whether they are accurate or not, remains to be seen.  Reportedly, McCabe told the Committee that he tried very hard to authenticate the details in the dossier, and overall, he supports its conclusions, a fantasy-based conclusion out of someone who is the second most powerful officer of the FBI which demonstrates quite nicely how broken and politicized the FBI is today.  The only thing McCabe could cite as verification was a trip by a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page to Moscow.  Beyond that, crickets as he did the “can’t remember” routine for most of the day.  Former FBI Director Comey told congress in March that the dossier was a “compendium of salacious and unverified allegations” against President Trump.  While both the FBI and DoJ claim they have cooperated completely with congressional requests for information, it took the DoJ IG to release to congress the thousands of text messages between Strzok and his girlfriend.  The House is drawing up subpoenas to force compliance out of the democrats masquerading as impartial government employees.  Following the hearing, McCabe announced his retirement early next year.  President Trump, never wanting to allow a sleeping dog to lie (in both senses of the word), blasted away at McCabe in a series of tweets over the weekend, focusing attention on the fact that McCabe is leaving town relatively unscathed after using his office for political purposes, turning the FBI into a KGB—mini-me in support of his chosen candidate last year, Hillary Clinton.  I don’t think his retirement is going to be nearly as fun as he thinks it is going to be.


  1. Longboats. One of the favorite vacations for oldsters these days are Viking Longboat cruises in Europe and China.  Normally, the cruises are quiet and bereft of news potential, though there were several accidents in Europe over the last few years that damaged boats, crew and passengers.  As these are popular with relatively affluent people, one would wonder why they are not operating cruises here in the US.  A Reason Hit & Run blog article last week noted that over 2,000 ports in the world have cruise ships dock at them.  Here in the US, that number is 30.  So, what is the matter?  Federal law, starting with a 130-year-old Grover Cleveland era law that requires a boat that ferries people between ports in the US to have been built in the US and operated by Americans.  These provisions mirror those of the Jones Act, another protectionist law that drives up costs of shipping goods to US Islands and territories.  The Cleveland-era law was aimed at protecting ship building businesses here in the US.  Like every single other protectionist piece of legislation, it ends up chasing business offshore.  For example, Ensenada, 80 miles south of San Diego moves three times the number of passengers, and more than NYC, New Orleans, and Boston.  Vancouver does triple the sailings of Seattle, generating $3.2 billion yearly.  And the Canadians like that a lot.  Viking announced a few years ago that they were going to bring longboats to the Mississippi.  They discovered they costs of building and operating their business model here in the US would be double what they planned, meaning that protectionist US laws makes us less competitive than the EU or China, which ought to be an embarrassment.


  1. Hezbollah. Latest O’Bama era scandal to hit the fan was a Politico piece a couple weeks ago that investigated the O’Bama regime looking the other way while Hezbollah smuggled cocaine into the US.  Not only did they look the other way, but they took steps to turn off a investigations into that smuggling.  Rational decision?  Sure, given that the Obama regime wanted their nuclear deal with Iran so badly that they gave Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, a free run to move drugs here in the US so as not to irritate the mullahs they were sucking up to.  And outside Politico, which is a mouthpiece for Beltway Republicans, the media has been dead silent.  The DEA worked wiretaps, undercover operations, and informants to unwrap the drug smuggling over the course of an eight-yearlong investigation.  They tracked a lot of dirty cash, laundered cash that purchased American used cars shipped to Africa.  Happily, the worm has turned a bit on Hezbollah and Iran’s proxies in the Middle East and elsewhere, as the Trump administration is actively going after those proxies worldwide, cutting down the Iranian threats one at a time.  This also includes their expansion into South America.  Kind of makes you wonder how much black lives really mattered to the O’Bama regime as they actively allowed shipment of drugs into the US and in turn into the inner cities all to curry favor with the mullahs.


  1. Snowfall. Last week’s OMG, We’re All Gonna DIE! story out of the local climatistas was a study that found that snowfall on Mount Hunter (largest peak next to Mount McKinley (Denali) dramatically increased in recent years.  Cause as always, was manmade global warming due to CO2 emissions aka Climate Change.  According to researchers, wintertime snowfall increased by 117% since the mid-19th Century (the end of the Little Ice Age) in southcentral Alaska.  Summer snows showed an increase of 49% over the same period.  The increases took off around 1870.  Depths were based on ice cores taken at the 13,000’ level of Hunter and did not show any appreciable local variation.  The study suggests a strengthening of the Aleutian Low pressure system fed by warming tropical oceans, which in turn pumps wet air into Southcentral Alaska.  The researchers breathlessly conclude that winter climate in the North Pacific is different than it was 200 years ago. One would most certainly hope so with the end of the Little Ice Age.  This research also supports Canadian studies showing winter storm intensification since 1740.  Of course, the strengthening of the low is “unprecedented” mostly because there were not all that many locals gathering data before then.  Toward the end of the piece, probably in order to lay the groundwork for additional grant funding for future research, they start tossing around terms like underestimate sensitivity, unprecedented, and end up calling for improvements in climate models that may improve rain and snowfall predictions in a warming world.  So, what is really going on here?  At a minimum, I would suggest that these guys are identifying the difference between a cold, dry climate and a slightly warmer, wetter one.  On the Alaska North Slope, we do get a bit of snow as the temperature falls from summertime to the -30 to -50 F temps at the dead of winter where there is simply not enough water vapor in the atmosphere to condense around dust nuclei and form snowflakes.  After a couple months, you have all the snow you are going to get, and the wind blows it back and forth until break up.  I think much the same thing is happening here, along with changing weather patterns after the Little Ice Age which allows more water-laden air to meet with Siberian cold air.  Anthony Watts of WUWUT also looked at NASA’s aerosol tracking and suggests that pollution from China is doing no small amount by supplying condensation nuclei.  As usual the comment string is a lot of fun and instructive.


  1. Fires. One of the favorite lines out of the political left when they screw something up is what we are now experiencing what they call the “new normal”, essentially Bill Clinton’s “you better put some ice on that” suggestion after raping Juanita Broaddrick.  agenda.  The latest new normal comes out of the democrat, union and illegals – dominated state of California, where Jerry Brown called the wildfires the “new normal” and promptly blamed them on manmade global warming due to CO2 emissions aka Climate Change.  Christopher Westley writing in the Mises Wire notes that there have been nearly 8,800 wildfires in California this year, burning 3,326 square miles (just over 2% of the entire state).  The fires are burning thick undergrowth that has grown over the last few years of good precipitation.  California is for the most part a dry state, so whatever grows following a period of good rain will stop growing, dry out and turn into great kindling for future fires.  And the greens of California will not allow anyone to get out and harvest all that undergrowth.  He contrasts the problem of New Normal fires in dry California with the lack of wildfires in the South, which is far more heavily forested than California yet has few wildfires.  Why the difference?  Surely, enlightened Californians are far more environmentally responsible than the Philistine rednecks of the south.  As with all things economic, it is ownership and property rights that tell the tale here.  The feds own over 45% of California, 53% of Oregon, 48% of Arizona, and nearly 42% of New Mexico, all states with serious fire problems over the last couple of decades.  IN the south the highest ownership is Florida with 8%, Georgia with just under 4%, South Carolina with 3%, and Alabama at a whopping 1.6%.  The vast majority of land in California is owned and managed by the feds and the state, while in the south it isn’t.  What does California need to do to stop destructive fires?  Same as everyone else:  move as much of that land into private ownership / private management as humanly possible.  California wildfires are a governmental policy choice rather than a new normal.  And they should be treated that way.


  1. Stars. There is a rolling gun battle of arguments at WUWT over the impact of solar cycles and in turn the ability of the sun to shield Earth from high energy cosmic rays.  The colorful description is “the chilling stars.”  Inbound cosmic rays are massive particles moving at near light speeds.  These relativistic particles enter the atmosphere, eventually encountering air molecules.  The ensuing collision creates a shower of subatomic and larger particles which in turn act as nucleation particles for cloud formation.  The more clouds there are in the atmosphere, the more incoming solar energy is reflected back into space leading to and overall cooling.  When the sun is active, the solar wind is stronger which tends to allow fewer cosmic rays to strike the earth.  The less active the sun is (like today), the more cosmic rays make it to the atmosphere, and a resulting increase in clouds.  Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder just published a book entitled The Chilling Stars – A Cosmic View of Climate Change to support their view of the theory.  Others led by Lief Svalgaard and Willis Eschenbach are pushing back with the argument that the source papers this theory are based on do not support such a conclusion.  And the discussion took off early, often and very, very lively.  Both sides are worth reading.

More later –

– AG


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