Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
- Red Flag
- Brena. There is an old saw that observes that to a man with a hammer, the entire world is a nail. The same is true for a lawyer here in Anchorage who makes his living, and a very good living indeed, suing oil and natural gas producers in the state. He was a prime backer, business partner, of happily departed former governor Bill Walker who also made a living suing the producers. Brena even purchased Walker’s law business. Brena is back, along with an array of democrats with a ballot initiative aimed squarely at the producers. The so called “Fair Share Act” aims to take a billion or two every year out of the pockets of the producers via increasing taxes on production. Interestingly enough, the billion or two is just enough to close the budget deficit here in the state, that is until the producers decide that it is both too expensive to operate up here, and we are simply too stupid as a state to do business with. The latter is most certainly true, and a very good case can be made right now that the former is true also, especially with the fracking revolution in Texas and the Dakotas. What better way to make sure that there will be no increase in oil down the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) than to discretely target the three largest producers by going after their primary fields, fields they have already invested time, infrastructure, and operating wells to produce? The problem is that envy works so very well up here, pointing at the producers and telling voters that the reason things suck is because they are screwing the state is manna to the basic democrat, union, and similar voter. Brena and his backers promise only to go after the three largest producers and only on the legacy fields. Of course, the other producers aren’t idiots either, and if these fools can take down the three Big Guys, they will most certainly come after everyone else with precisely the same argument when the money runs out. The economics of this are remarkably foolish, as the backers either ignore or don’t care about (likely both) the notion that development of an oil field spends most money up front and then pays back that investment over the decades that field is produced. Take away the back end of that profit, and there is simply no money in investing in the field, or even keeping it producing. Do all of this in a time where almost everywhere else in the US has a friendlier tax and regulatory regime than Alaska, and you are doing everything humanly possible to shove the producers out of the front door. Of course, if you are in the business of suing the producers and it is your business model, what better way to ensure money comes in the front door for decades to come than to try to screw the producers out of a billion or two dollars every year via ballot initiative? Altruism? Hardly. Envy? Absolutely.
- Recall. The other ballot initiative gathering signatures is a recall of Governor Mike Dunleavy. This was supposedly triggered by his vetoes in the operating budget after the legislature failed to control spending and steal half of the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). It is being backed by all the Usual Suspects on the political left, Brena’s Alaska First / Backbone / Walkerites, the unions, democrats, University of Alaska supporters, and at least one of the regional Native Corporations, CIRI. Expect a coordinated campaign between Brena’s Fair Share Act and the Dunleavy recall should either or both make it on the ballot. As of this writing, it is entirely possible that either or both will be successful, which will put the unions completely in charge of this state. We have become Wisconsin.
- 1619. Nothing like continuing to remind Americans of our Original Sin, slavery 24/7/365 when you are trying to elect democrats. Interesting choice of topics, as it was the democrats who were the slavers, the ones who set up the party’s terrorist wings, the KKK and today Antifa, the ones who demanded Jim Crow, and the ones who embraced the eugenics movement with Planned Parenthood which has removed tens of millions of black babies from the womb since 1973. Having failed with the Russian collusion hoax, the NYT pivoted smartly to all race, all the time, this time in the 1619 Project. The number is the date the first slaves were brought to the Virginia colony. The project is an attempt to undermine the very legitimacy of the founding of this nation. If we are an illegitimate nation, with an illegitimate founding based on one of the more evil human activities, how can we possibly continue as founded with the constitution adopted by the new nation? In the words of the NYT:
(The arrival of those slaves in Virginia in 1619) “inaugurated a barbaric system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years and form the basis for almost every aspect of American life.”
In adopting this project, the NYT and their media co-conspirators resurrect the ghost of John C Calhoun who believed that certain minority groups, like slave states, had the right to veto or nullify decisions of the majority, which undermined the philosophical basis for American constitutionalism and replace it with race theory. Calhoun did not believe that all men were created equal. Apparently neither do the reporters, editors and faux academics who are foisting this lunacy on the general public. He did not believe in the Bill of Rights or natural law either. Instead, like the Stalinists a century later, he believed that the scope and exercise of political power should be based on scientific principles. Interesting how democrats always, always return to their roots, even though it does take a while.
- Red Flag. Every single thing proposed by democrats in response to mass shootings is an assault on the Constitution, and not just the obvious assault on the Second Amendment. For example, the proposed national adoption of Red Flag laws is a direct assault on both the constitution and the rule of law. And that assault is worse than you think. Normal objections to Red Flag laws have been mostly limited to criticism of Star Chamber proceedings, ex post facto ability to respond, and surprise firearms confiscation. Red Flag laws force judges to predict a person’s future criminal behavior in the absence of any violation of the law, essentially demanding imposition of Minority Report jurisprudence. As such, due process is denied due to arbitrary and discriminatory legislation. Red Flag hearings must rely on the presumed fact that the defendant poses an imminent danger that is established by a basic fact that the defendant has been heard saying something or posting something online. It demands action taken against a citizen based on little more than someone running their mouth, yet another assault on due process. Mental illness is likely to play a prominent role in Red Flag proceedings. Problem with this is that there is a wide range of things that people call mental illness. For example, most conservatives believe the irrational political left is mentally ill, and the political left gleefully returns that favor. How cool to have a law that will effectively allow you to disarm and eventually lock up your political opposition at the drop of a hat, and only a short step to Gulags? Finally, Red Flag laws strip individuals of their constitutional rights when they have not even been charged with a crime. These awful laws are being used to disarm Americans right and left, not unlike Howard Metzenbaum’s odious legislation that disarmed men when accused of misdemeanor domestic abuse (an automatic accusation in all divorce proceedings over the last 40 years). Imagine the uproar on the left if the identical process could be used to take away the ability to vote or the right to an abortion.
- Chevron. Here’s a fun story with more virtue signaling out of the greens running SF. A gentleman in 1941 bequeathed 1,500 acres of an oil field in Kern County north of Bakersfield to SF. Chevron is the producer and lease holder. His hope was that revenues from the field would pay for Golden Gate Park upkeep and help fund the library system. In recent years, oil produced by Chevron has brought in $24,000/month. SF adopted a Keep it in the Ground ordinance in late 2016 and planned on installing solar and opening the field for grazing, hoping to raise $484,000/year to replace that revenue. That deal unsurprisingly fell through. Today, they simply plan to walk away from the lease. Problem is who pays to plug the active wells of a producing field? SF doesn’t want to, and Chevron may not have to. SF and Chevron are in negotiation for who covers the estimated $1 – 5 million cost of plugging the wells. This is an interesting case, as in most cases, landowners don’t normally shut down producing wells on their own property, opting instead to deed them over to a family member who is not so disinclined. Problem is that SF is very much in the BANANA mode, actively shutting down oil and natural gas production in every possible way. Would be interesting to see what the deed gifting SF with the property says, as there may be limitations on its transfer based on oil and natural gas production.
- Welfare. The Trump administration continues to remove incentives for mass illegal immigration (invasion) of the US. Last week’s announced change was to a policy named “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” and will take effect Oct 15. It will set stricter standards for applicants seeking permanent residency in the US. Wealth, education, age and English language skills will become more important as the administration tries to screen out immigrants who are more likely to enter the country and go on welfare. Needless to say, all the Usual Suspects are quite put out by the proposed change and are preparing the expected flood of lawsuits in response. The rule change is an expansion of the definition of “public charge”, people who are likely to become a burden on the taxpayers. Expect the opposition to be near instantaneous and very, very loud. The O’Bama judges will be busy with this one.
- Face. For pure comedy gold, you don’t need to go any farther than the following LA Times headline from last Thursday:
The obvious response is: That low? The story is about a common face scanning program used by local police and its test by the ACLU. They used the software to screen photos against a database of 25,000 publicly available booking photos. A similar experiment last year matched 28 members out of 535 or about 1 out of 20, all of which means that Mark Twain may have been wrong, or we have a better class of criminals in congress now than they did then. Naturally, the ACLU and Calif Assemblymen demanded this software no longer be used and are moving legislation to make sure it isn’t. Typical response from both the ACLU and the democrats infesting the Cali Assembly, as this sort of software is based on fuzzy logic and requires an extended learning period for the AI to drive its results from unacceptable to marginal, to pretty good, to outstanding. One would wonder how the ACLU managed to get results that were four times worse than the test on members of congress. Given who was involved, I expect they got the result they wanted, not unlike what the OJ defense team did when they had him attempt to put a leather glove over the latex glove during his trial for murder.
More later –