Interesting Items 01/15

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

In this issue:

  1. EPA
  2. Google
  3. Exxon
  4. Immigration
  5. Twitter
  6. Purple

  1. EPA. One of the happiest things I read last week was a Washington Examiner piece describing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s plan to reduce EPA employment by 50% by the end of President Trump’s first year in office.  Employment is falling from a high around 15,300 in O’Bama’s last year in office 2016.  A NYT article Dec. 22 bemoaned 700 ‘scientists’ leaving in the first year, poor morale, and a sense of grievance in the agency.  The article also worried about FOIA to request e-mails from EPA employees opposing President Trump and his agenda.  Given the revolving door between major environmentalist NGOs and the EPA over the last decade, I expect there will be a lot of those found.  As of January 3, the EPA was down to 14,162 employees, under the 14,440 in FY 1988, Reagan’s last year in office.  23% of current employees can retire with full benefits right now, with another 4% by the end of the year.  Another 2-% will be eligible to retire in the next five years, making a grand total of 47% by the end of the administration.  And if you aren’t hiring anyone new, you strangle the agency without having to do anything heroic.  Pruitt has also used buyouts and other inducements to encourage early retirements.  Other than a reorganization, this is how you remove the clutching hand of the EPA climatistas from the heart and throat of the economy and economic progress.  http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/success-epa-set-to-reduce-staff-50-in-trumps-first-term/article/2645362

 

  1. Google. Google is in some potentially serious trouble, with the discrimination lawsuit and documentation that is no longer (and probably never was) an independent actor in the political wars.  Both will strengthen the hands of regulators and fledgling trust busters, eager to dust off the Sherman Antitrust Act against Google, Twitter, Fakebook, and other similarly behaving guys.  First on the hit parade is Google’s new fact-check feature which appears to exclusively target conservative web sites.  Google’s fact checking appears to reflect the political views of its founders, doing so by asserting conservative sites make claims they never have made.  On the other hand, it leaves similar sites on the left like Gizmodo and Vox alone.  Conservative sites are “vetted” for accuracy, while sites like Vox, Think Progress, Slate, HuffPo, Daily Kos, Salon and Mother Jones are spared.  The only left-wing web site found so far that is “vetted” is Occupy Democrats.  Particularly bad is their treatment of so-called climate skeptic sites, whose content is not only vetted, but routinely find themselves well down the list of search results.  The second growing issue for Google is James Damore’s discrimination lawsuit.  Damore was the guy who wrote an internal memo arguing that Google’s diversity program has gone overboard and was fired for his trouble.  His lawsuit claims that Google routinely discriminates against men, white men, and conservatives, and that discrimination is systematic and illegal.  White men and conservatives according to Damore are ostracized, belittled, and punished for their political views and circumstances of their birth (Caucasian and male).  Discovery is going to be a lot of fun, as Damore knows where the bodies are buried.  If Google hasn’t figured out they need to settle this lawsuit with a very, very large check (nine significant digits at a minimum), they are about to be hoisted on a very, very expensive petard.  http://dailycaller.com/2018/01/09/googles-new-fact-check-feature-almost-exclusively-targets-conservative-sites/

 

  1. Exxon. Looks like Exxon is returning fire against seven California cities that are using state courts to force Exxon to pay for infrastructure improvements they claim are necessary to help them adapt to climate change.  Exxon is arguing in court that they are the target of a conspiracy by liberal state attorneys general and other officials trying to blame it for driving up emissions that are causing global temperatures to rise.  The response was filed in a Texas state district court and states in part that Exxon is being targeted even though it has long acknowledged risks presented by climate change and in doing so supported the Paris accord and even a revenue-neutral carbon tax.  The lawsuit by Exxon is asking the Texas district court to order officials from the seven cities involved to turn over documents and provide depositions that will shot how Exxon failed to provide evidence of true risks of climate change.  Additionally, none of the very concerned cities disclosed their concerns of near certain harm with bond investors.  The cities involved sold $8 billion of bonds over the last 27 years.  In this, Exxon has the cities and their politicians between a rock and a very hard place, for failure to disclose known risk to investors will get you a lifetime room in Club Fed for attempting to defraud them.  This is a brilliant and significantly large caliber counterstrike that will go a long way toward defusing the conspiracy put together by NY Attorney General Eric Schniederman among others the last couple years.  Shot.  Chaser.  Next….  http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/exxon-launches-counterattack-against-california-based-climate-conspiracy-lawsuits/article/2645352

 

  1. Immigration. Last week, President Trump held a publicly televised meeting with congressional advocates of amnesty.  Not a single closed borders congress critter was present.  Instead of having photos and kicking the media out, President Trump allowed them to stay for the entire meeting, where he talked to all invitees and took their questions.  He told them that they were the experts and as long as he got something that shut down chain migration, funded the wall, ended the immigration lottery, he would sign a DACA / Dreamer fix.  Of course, they marched into his office Friday with a proposal to do nothing of the kind, and instead expanded chain migration.  Trump was blunt in his reaction, tearing up his proposal.  Dick Durbin, leading the democrats came out of the meeting and started lying about Trump referring to nations that people are escaping from as $h#tholes.  On top of that, Durbin also made some hysterical accusation that the term chain migration is now racist.  Sound like Durbin blew up the deal because he would rather have DACA / Dreamers as an issue for the rest of the year than a solution.  And the media, like good little foot soldiers for the left, carried their hysterical water the entire weekend.  In the words of Admiral Akbar: “It’s a trap!”  Trump set up the pro-amnesty congress critters.  He got an entire hour on TV to state his position in front of all the nodding heads.  He told them his conditions in a calm, sane reasonable manner.  And they when they didn’t deliver, he put them the position of lying about what he said in a closed-door meeting, using terms that most Americans agree with and support.  If their nations are so great, why do they want to come here?  I think Trump set these guys up and is feeding them lots and lots of rope to tie their own nooses with.  Of course, Our Side was apoplectic after the meeting, getting themselves into “We’re being betrayed on immigration once again” with Laura Ingraham leading the charge.  But so far, Trump hasn’t betrayed anyone, especially his base.  Scott Adams believes this is all part of a continuing negotiation, something that nobody on the democrat side of the aisle in congress has ever been on the losing end of.  This is not finished.  Rather, like the O’BamaCare repeal, it is part of the ongoing process.  http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/michael-barone-the-2010s-look-more-like-trumps-ideal-america-than-obamas/article/2644527

 

  1. Twitter. James O’Keefe and his band of undercover journalists released a video last week documenting how Twitter engineers were using internal rules and algorithms to ban political content they don’t like, almost exclusively right wing, conservative content.  The process is called shadow banning, and uses thousands of keywords to automatically shut down and delete content they don’t want in public.  The idea of shadow banning is to ban someone from Twitter in such a way that they don’t know that they have been banned.  Every conversation is automatically reviewed and rated by their algorithms.  The offending Tweet or perhaps the entire account will simply vanish.  Most of the rules are not written, but are well known throughout the company.  This also includes most pro-Trump Tweets.  This power over free speech is unprecedented and dangerous.  Twitter may be in line for some anti-trust action along with Google.  https://www.projectveritas.com/2018/01/11/undercover-video-twitter-engineers-to-ban-a-way-of-talking-through-shadow-banning-algorithms-to-censor-opposing-political-opinions/

 

  1. Purple. Politico last week ran an extensive article entitled “How to Turn a Red State Purple (Democrats Not Required).”  It documents the rise of well-connected, well-funded, political activists on the left, mostly millennials, who have managed to take one house of the Alaska Legislature, the Governorship, Anchorage Mayor, and control of the Anchorage Assembly over the last five years.  For Politico, normally a mouthpiece for Beltway Republicans, this was a mostly sympathetic piece, focusing on the bright-eyed, hopeful millennials joining the political wars up here for the first time.  So, what really happened?  It appears that a large caliber chunk of outside money found its way into Alaska perhaps five years ago.  It was used to set up something called the Ship Creek Group, sort of a one stop shop for campaigns on the left, whose expertise is recruiting candidates (young, idealistic, previously Republican or nonpartisan, with some military stink always desirable), and giving them a turnkey campaign.  The basis of their voting support are the unions, greens, anti-oil activists, natives in the Alaska Bush, and most importantly lying about who they really are (independents are most desirable).  Ship Creek Group also floats a ballot initiative designed to turn out their voters every two years.  In 2016 it was automatic voter registration when you file for your Permanent Fund Dividend.  This year it is an ethics for legislators’ effort fronted by one of their so-called independents narrowly elected in 2016.  How do you defeat such a thing?  First and foremost, you follow the money and figure out how and from whom Ship Creek is getting its funding.  Second, you find who is behind it.  Two immediate possibilities for funding exist.  One would be former US Senator Mark Begich.  Second, there have been some local rumors that anti-Trump billionaire Tom Steyer money found its way up here.  So, if there are any readers who can help with this research, I would most certainly appreciate it.  You also beat it by going after its voter base, particularly in the Alaska Bush.  They have been voting for democrats for half a century out there.  Perhaps it is time to ask the same question Trump is asking in the black inner cities:  What do you have to lose?  How has electing democrats made your lives any better?  Problem with this are the native separatists, led by our racist LtGov Byron Mallott, holding out the Holy Grail of reservations, Indian Country, and separate nations as the solution to the social pathologies of Bush Alaska.  Race baiting is powerful, powerful persuasion.  We have a problem here in Alaska much like the Colorado Project caused conservatives in Colorado a decade and a half ago.  And we will have to solve it or lose the state to the political left.  https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/12/how-to-turn-red-state-blue-purple-alaska-politics-2018-216304

More later –

– AG

 

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