Interesting Items 12/24

Howdy All, Merry Christmas from Interesting Items.  Enjoy –

In this issue:

  1. Syria
  2. Grant
  3. O’BamaCare
  4. Immunity
  5. Carbon
  6. Xcel
  7. BSA

  1. Syria. President Trump announced the US was going to pull 2,000 troops out of Syria last week.  His decision went against the entire defense, intel and foreign affairs establishment.  It cost him SECDEF Mattis and US envoy Brett McGurk.  Mattis sent a letter announcing his intention to retire in February.  Took Trump two days to replace him.  Is this a Good Thing?  Likely, as long as we figure out how to take proper care of our allies, the Kurds, whom Erdogan has in his cross hairs.  As of this writing, it looks like the Saudis and UAE are stationing troops in the region controlled by the Kurds.  Perhaps Trump knows what he is doing.  This is one of the things Trump promised to do when campaigning.  He gave the government two solid years to figure out how to get out.  It took part of that time to annihilate ISIS which was a good start.  While it can reconstitute, it will no longer be a regional or any other power.  Next up is a withdrawal from Afghanistan.  The argument against the pullout is generally based on process.  But what good is process when that very process prohibits you from going the direction you want to go?  Which is another reason Trump the disruptor was elected.  We aren’t going to turn the Middle East into Europe.  But if we can take care of our friends and sufficiently destroy those who would do us harm, that is probably a decent outcome.


  1. Grant. Our local paper was selected by ProPublica, a leftist investigative news reporting organization, to join its Local Reporting Network in 2019.  The selection will bring in some badly needed cash to the slowly failing paper.  Unfortunately, it will also push it hard, hard left.  ProPublica is the brainchild of Bay Area billionaires and former mortgage bankers Herb and Marion Sandler.  They are relentlessly partisan, donating millions to democrat party and its candidates, $2.5 million to Voter Fund, $8.5 million to Citizens for a Strong Senate, and $2 million to John Podesta’s Center for American Progress.  Soros Open Society former VP joined ProPublica’s Board in 2010.  The organization also took a quarter million Soros donation that year.  ProPublica calls itself an investigative reporting organization, though it never seems to get around to investigating anything on the left.


  1. O’BamaCare. A federal judge in Texas found that O’BamaCare was now unconstitutional.  The ruling is the logical outcome of Chief Justice Roberts rewrite of the individual mandate as a tax, upholding the whole sorry mess as a tax, and as such well within the purview of the powers of congress.  Congress repealed the individual mandate as part of the tax cut legislation in Dec. 2017.  That action gutted O’BamaCare like an overripe carp.  And it was that action that eventually killed the entire thing thanks both to Chief Justice Roberts and congressional action in 2010 and 2017 stating that the individual mandate was unable to be severed from the overall legislation.  Thinking here is that the 5th Circus will overrule the district court, sending the entire mess back to the SCOTUS for another opportunity for creative writing by Roberts who is now on the clock.


  1. Immunity. One of the ugly little legal problems out there in addition to a corrupt National Intelligence, FIB and (In)Justice Department is the notion of qualified immunity for law enforcement.  This is a judicial doctrine, not passed by any legislature or congress that I know of that protects a government official from lawsuits alleging that the official violated a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right.  This immunity protects individuals and not government entities.  With that in mind we have any number of lawsuits against various members of the Broward County public schools and Sherriff’s Departments for their gross negligence and incompetence in allowing the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS.  Last week a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by 15 students who claimed they were traumatized by the event.  She dismissed the claim because the shooting was the action of a third party and not a state actor.  For the duty to exist, the shooter would have to had been in custody.  And as we know, it was the actions of the school district and the Sherriff’s office that ensured he would never be in custody (mostly because of his race).  A Broward County judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against school deputy Scott Peterson claiming that Peterson “had no legal duty to protect the students and faculty.”  She found that Peterson had a duty to the school community as a security guard.  She also found that Peterson was not protected by sovereign immunity.  Two different rulings from two different judges.  I think Broward County is going to write some very big checks in the aftermath of this mess.  And they should.  Law enforcement, like the military is hired and paid to participate in some very ugly and deadly events from time to time.  Everyone who chooses to join up knows that or should.  Dereliction of duty is the kindest thing you can say about the school district and the Sherriff’s department and it has already cost 17 lives.

  1. Carbon. One of the continuing arguments used against CO2 emissions by greens is something they describe as the “social cost of carbon.”  It is defined as:

… the dollar value of the total damages from emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The current central estimate of the social cost of carbon is roughly $40 per ton.

Willis Eschebach writing in WUWT notes that this definition is only half the analysis because it completely ignores any social benefit of CO2 emissions, intentionally committing scientific malfeasance.  The social benefit of carbon would parallel the cost definition and would be the dollar value of the total benefits from emitting one ton of CO2 into the atmosphere.  CO2 emissions generally come from the use of fossil fuels, so a comparison based on a barrel (bbl) of oil, around $51/bbl in this analysis is as good a place as any to start.  For instance, we here in the US do subsidize various forms of energy preferentially.  Oil is subsidized at $0.26/bbl, coal at $0.38/bbl, nuclear at $2.58/bbl, and renewables of all forms at a whopping $28.42/bbl, over half the cost per barrel equivalent energy generated.  Many states like California tack on additional costs like carbon taxes and renewable mandates.  Yet with all that help, renewables are still less than 3% of global energy production.  And the taxpayers are starting to get tired of paying that bill (see the Yellow Vest Protests in France).  Energy is inextricably linked to economic development, with the global Gross Domestic Product a simple linear function of how much energy we use.  In other words, our wealth is simply a function of how much energy we can command.  As the population increases, the only way to make ourselves, our neighbors, and more importantly poorer nations wealthier is to use more energy and use it more efficiently.  In 1965, half a century ago, for every barrel of oil equivalent energy we used, we got about $50 worth goods and services.  Half a century later, that total is up to $500, an order of magnitude improvement.  And because we are using generally more fossil fuels over the last century, there is a direct and simple relationship between more energy produced and more CO2 produced.  Do the math and you end up with $5,740 in additional goods and services produced for each ton of oil equivalent used.  For each additional ton of CO2 produced, we get an additional $4,380 in additional goods and services.  Compare the results.  If the social cost of CO2 is around $40/ton and the social benefit of CO2 is $4,380, then by definition, CO2 is not the problem.  Rather, it is the solution and we need more of it.  Note that this analysis does not include the positive impact of greening the planet due to CO2 emissions.


  1. Xcel. Renewable energy is a nearly 40-year old scam that is about to destroy the power grid from Colorado to Michigan.  Colorado’s electric utility, Xcel adopted the Colorado Energy Plan, ostensibly designed to limit manmade global warming due to CO2 emissions.  The plan was to cut its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050.  Earlier this month, Xcel doubled down and announced they would be 100% emissions free (no more Wyoming coal) by 2050.  And they aren’t going to be building any reactors to limit emissions.  The way regulated utilities work is that the more they spend, they more they make.  And Xcel has announced $2.5 billion in new generating capacity.  They plan on shifting their current generation to wind, solar, batteries for storage, and natural gas fired generation with carbon capture and storage to fill the gaps in wind and solar generation.  Now, battery and CO2 capture and storage technology does not yet exist in a form that will allow large scale deployment, meaning that the utility and its customers are going to be on the bleeding edge of the new technology.  The other game played is with the term “emissions free.”  This only applies to Xcel generation in Colorado.  They will be quite happy to purchase coal-fired generation from any neighboring utility.  And given recent experience with large scale renewable mandates in Oz, Denmark and Germany, they are going to need quite a bit of it.  Given that Xcel is publicly sold and held, does this mean they are about to commit securities fraud against their shareholders?


  1. BSA. One of the saddest stories last week comes out of Breitbart which reports that the Boy Scouts of America is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy.  This is yet another example of the modern truism “get woke, go broke.”  It is also an object lesson in what happens when you cave into the leftist mob.  Scouting came under attack by the militant homosexual community during the Clinton administration.  The death of 1,000 cuts via government action and lawfare progressed about as you would expect, with a final capitulation to the left in 2013.  The homosexual infestation of the Catholic Church is at the center of its sexual abuse problems.  Opening the doors to gays and shortly afterwards to girls and women exposes Scouting to similar problems.  The marketplace spoke and less than five years later going belly up to the leftist mob, we are at the point where parents are making other arrangements for organizations to help their sons grow into men.  And bankruptcy quickly follows, that and the 140 lawsuits against the organization alleging misconduct by scoutmasters.

More later –

– AG


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