Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
- BP. Talk about timing. In less than a week after Anchorage Attorney Robin Brena announced his Vote Yes for Alaska’s Fair Share ballot initiative, our second major oil and natural gas producer, British Petroleum announced a sale of all assets in Alaska to Hilcorp for $5.6 billion. The sale will cost the State of Alaska perhaps $30 million in yearly taxes as Hilcorp is privately held. This sale marks the third oil company to leave Alaska (Shell after the Beaufort / Chukchi debacle, Furie’s bankruptcy, and now BP) following the election of former governor Bill Walker whose goal in life was to gouge as much money out of the producers and make their lives up here as difficult as humanly possible. Perhaps gouging the guys who fund the whole bloody state in a time of a global glut of oil and natural gas is not the wisest thing to be doing. Walker was backed by a group of anti-oil people who called themselves Backbone, Alaska First, the unions, democrats, and greens, in short, all the usual suspects. When you base your entire worldview on greed and envy, it should not be any surprise that your targets take their business elsewhere. And they should.
- Fires. The latest enviro-fraud is the Amazon fires. Now that Brazil elected a conservative, things that have been happening in the Amazon for decades every year are all the sudden subject for breathless disasters mongering. Media coverage has been fraudulent from the beginning. It is difficult to burn down a jungle. What is on fire is the cleared land on its periphery, which is used for farming. And it happens all the time during the dry season. Even clearing has mostly stopped since the 1990s. The number of fires and cumulative areas burned so far in 2019 is comparative with previous years, described as near average by NASA. Deforestation in Brazil has been outweighed by increased tree coverage in subtropical, temperate and polar regions. Today, there is more vegetation than 30 years ago, some of it due to increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere which allow more global coverage of greenery.
- Mann. In the happiest news of the week, a Canadian court threw out a lawsuit brought by Hockey Stick creator Michael Mann against one of this vocal critics, Dr. Tim Ball. Mann is a vocal defender of his work, though he curiously never allows sceptics to see either his original data or work. He is also a sue you kind of guy, dragging his opposition through interminable defamation lawsuits, bleeding their money through years of lawyer fees while Mann’s lawyers are publicly funded by his University. In the Ball case, Mann filed a lawsuit in 2011 and has refused to provide requested data to the court. The judge finally got fed up with the foot dragging, tossed the case with prejudice, and awarded all court costs and legal fees to Ball, meaning Mann and his backers must pay all fees associated with the case. Mann is doing the same thing to Rand Simberg, Mark Steyn and Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in a DC court. The technique is the same, claim defamation, drag your opposition into court for something they wrote, and keep the clock running and tab growing until they run out of money. Sadly, the Steyn trial judges (there have been several) have not found Mann’s action to be a SLAPP action (court action intended to attack free speech of critics). Maybe they will. In the DC case, Mann’s media buddies have abandoned him, with 24 siding with Simberg, Steyn, CEI in opposition to Mann’s defamation lawsuit.
- Score. The ChiCom social credit system assigns all Chinese citizens a “social credit score” that changes based on how much that citizen participates in disfavored activities ranging from supporting the wrong political candidates to littering. If the scores drop low enough, they can be punished in multiple ways including public transportation bans, flying bans, exclusion from top jobs, and prohibitions for their children getting into top schools. And Silicon Valley, fresh off of helping the ChiComs set up this system over there, are bringing their successful product into the US. This is the future they have in mind for us. This is already taking place as companies are starting to scan the social media feeds of applicants, insurance companies scanning social media feeds of applicants, restaurants logging faces and names of troublesome clients, and the growing tendency of Airbnb, Uber, and WhatsApp to ban users for arbitrary reasons. In China, the government its social media companies to assist its persecution of dissidents and those who are not sufficiently supportive. Here in the US, we increasingly see social media companies allowing themselves to be used to do the political dirty work of censorship and banning for democrats. It is long past time for anti-Trust action against Silicon Valley
- Fed. One of the great things about President Trump’s election has been the outing / uncovering of embedded, entrenched democrat political activists posing as independent, apolitical bureaucrats. Latest example of this came last week when former Federal Reserve Vice Chair William Dudley called for the Fed to join the Resistance and help undermine the economy or at the very least refuse to keep it from crashing before the election all in hopes to ensure Trump’s defeat in 2020. WSJ printed editorials during the O’Bama years asking if Dudley was politically motivated while on the Fed when he favored bond buying to finance O’Bama’s deficit spending. Nice to finally seem him confirm the Fed as an agent of the democrat party. None of this is going to help the current Fed Chairman navigate monetary policy as he is already under attack by Trump for diddling interest rates in order to clamp down on the ongoing economic expansion. Good luck rallying congress and the business community to your defense after calling for your former organization to join one side of the political wars. Keep this up, and we might even see a reorg of the Fed to what Milton Freidman suggested it be replaced with: a simple computer that would tighten or loosen interest rates based on simple inflation / deflation data.
- Austin. Sometimes it is possible to educate liberals on the error of their ways. This seldom happens, especially where homelessness is involved. It took Austin city government, all liberals, only 50 days to pivot on a new policy that allowed the homeless to sit, lie down, and camp in public spaces. The mayor and city council members are trying to undo the damage created when they opened their arms and allowed the homeless to appropriate public spaces as their own property. Their pivot is in response to public outrage over an explosion in homeless bivouacs citywide. Perhaps we can get our democrat mayor and Assembly here in Anchorage to consider doing the same thing. Perhaps not.
- Media. A series of articles were posted last week on the media meltdown over conservatives committing journalism on reporters and their editors. The best of these looks to be one in The Federalist which describes media being upset that conservatives are compiling racist and anti-Semitic Tweets and using it against them. The media has for decades been doxing innocent Americans for their political views. And now those Americans are fighting back, something that Trump has taught us that we need to do. Indeed, we should have been doing it all along. The NYT wrote several articles and editorials making the case that targeting individuals is acceptable when journalists do it to other people, but not acceptable at all when other people do it to them. Quite the double standard, that. The NYT publisher issued a statement claiming that this tactic was taking Trump’s campaign against a media to a new, terrible level. Last Feb, CNN showed up on an elderly woman’s front lawn to publicly shame her for sharing what they called a “Russian coordinated event” on her FakeBook page. The woman was targeted by waves of violent threats, abuse and harassment online afterwards. A Daily Beast reporter doxed a black forklift operator for posting a doctored video of Pelosi. This is what fighting back looks like. And it is Long. Past. Time.
- Democrats. Not really saving the best for last, as this isn’t. The ongoing clown show that calls itself the democrat presidential campaign continued last week with the announcement of participants in the next debate. Looks like the DNC successfully punished Tulsi Gabbard (D, HI) for embarrassing their Chosen candidate Kamala Harris (D, CA) in the last debate. Gabbard’s clinical evisceration of Harris’ record as a prosecutor and California’s Attorney General stopped her cold in post-debate polling. The DNC’s debate rules also managed to keep billionaire Tom Steyer out of the upcoming debate. They want his money but do not want him. We will see how Steyer who has been funding green candidates and issues for at least a decade responds. Kristin Gillibrand (D, NY) dropped out of the campaign altogether as #MeToo uber alles was not sufficient to get her any support. Best performance over the last couple weeks came from Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) who is climbing steadily in the polls. While Scott Adams still believes that Harris will be the nominee mostly because he expects her to pick up Biden’s black support when he drops out, he has been impressed with Warren and her ability to learn. This makes her dangerous and unpredictable. Final note on democrats is that I really liked Trump going after liberal Jews for standing silently by while their party and media clanged sharply anti-Semitic. Essentially Trump is doing the same thing to the liberal Jews that he did to the inner-city blacks, shake up the box, shake them out of their comfort zone. This didn’t go over so well with some, who defaulted instantly to the return of the National Socialists to US politics. For this sort of language to come out of the President is shocking, simply shocking (at least to them). Projection am us.
- Message. One of the many tools of tyranny in California has long been the California Coastal Commission (CCC), an agency charged with regulatory oversight over land use and public access to the California coastal zone. The Wall family owns a parcel of the previously subdivided Hollister Ranch, a 14,500-acre cattle ranch that includes 8.5 miles of privately-owned shoreline. The Wall family applied for a permit to build a swimming pool on their property. Santa Barbara County approved the permit. The CCC refused to grant a permit until the Walls granted public access to Hollister Ranch beaches, property they do not own. Their property is nearly a mile from the shoreline with no shoreline access. Looks like the CCC is making an example of the family due to a long-standing property rights dispute with the ranch about public access to the coast. They appear to be sending a message to the rest of the ranch owners to submit to public beach access or nobody gets any permits until they do. The CCC has lost in court before. In 1987, they lost a case to Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys in the SCOTUS that found that the CCC cannot demand public access in exchange for government permits if the proposed construction has no harmful impact on public beach access. With a SCOTUS opinion in their hip pocket, the Walls and PLF are going to drag the CCC back into court. I’ll bet they get both their permit and legal fees paid by the State of California.
More later –