Interesting Items 01/06

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

In this issue:

  1. Dems
  2. TX Church
  3. Health Care
  4. Cali
  5. Subsidies

  1. Dems.  Virginia is the latest example of the future democrats have in store for us should we be silly enough to vote them into office.  The agenda includes the following (none of which are explicitly campaigned upon):  infanticide, gun confiscation, and the elimination of the middle class.  The fellow travelers who funded these campaigns, Bloomberg (anti-gun), Steyer (green), and Planned Parenthood (infanticide) have bought and paid for their new legislative majority who are busily introducing legislation to pay their financial supporters for putting them into office.  Bloomberg’s anti-firearms legislation will first target AR-15s and most other common semi-automatics.  Expect a total ban on these, including common firearms parts (likely receivers).  There is no grandfathering of currently owned firearms.  Current owners must give up their weapons or face felony charges capable of bringing them up to 5 years in prison.  The budget bill includes a quarter million dollars to increase the costs of operating the state prison system.  While a small number, it either indicates a complete disregard by Northam and his new legislature for the well-expressed opposition of the people he claims to govern, or more likely specific targeting of a few individuals for destruction.  As previously discussed, newly elected democrats in VA also aim to destroy suburbia.  Interesting choice that, as it was suburbia, specifically the counties around DC and Richmond that put them into office.  The upzoning legislation will allow multi-family housing on lots previously designated for single family dwellings.  The stated goal in this is to help the poor because current suburbs are centers of segregation, elitism and bad for the environment, not to mention the ‘awful’ green spaces which for some reason are also bad for the environment.  Nothing like turning the suburbs into the rabbit warrens of the blue inner cities.  Surber ends with the following:

Voting Democrat is the quickest way to destroy the things that mean the most to you.  Look how they ruined colleges and the news media.

  1. TX Church. A shooting at a church outside Fort Worth over a week ago was halted almost immediately by armed parishioners attending the service.  The shooter was known to the congregation as a troubled young man who had been given money from time to time.  Apparently, the money was no longer forthcoming, and he showed up in disguise, long black coat, vest and shotgun.  He stood up, pulled the shotgun and started shooting, killing two.  The parishioners also rose and returned fire, with a single shot to the head stopping the assault.  The entire event was over in less than 6 seconds.  There were at least 6 and possibly 7 parishioners standing with pistols pulled as they were moving toward the shooter.  An initial report has one of the dead as someone who did not pull his weapon soon enough.  This is the difference between Texas and California.  Texas passes legislation to allow (encourage) its citizens to defend themselves.  Cali passes legislation to make sure they never can.  Of course, finger pointing and blame placing started immediately after the shooting, breaking down in sadly predictable political lines.  First up was El Paso’s favorite furry, former democrat presidential candidate Robert Francis ‘Beto’ O’Rourke, criticizing Texas state law that allows (encourages) self-defense, claiming that  “Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in the country, when it comes to guns is not working.”  Everyone’s favorite dementia sufferer, Joe Biden was in close trail pontificating that the state law allowing armed parishioners in church “… absolutely irrational.”  All of the 10 leading democrat presidential candidates support further restricting gun rights.


  1. Health Care. A persuasion-based suggestion out of one of Scott Adams Periscope sessions over the holidays was interesting and may present an opportunity for Trump and Republicans in a second Trump term (providing they can flip the House).  Adams’ perspective on this is from persuasion, and he believes that there is a significant persuasion deficit in the universal health care insurance discussion favoring democrats today.  That significant advantage is entirely due to democrat success in framing the issue over the last few decades (persuasion).  How to change this?  One of the things Trump is very good at is shanking the box, stirring things up in an intractable problem, and then sorting through the new configuration.  How to shake the health care box?  Adams suggested that Trump and Republicans ought to come out for health care coverage for everyone, something that will instantly cut the legs off democrat efforts to pass Medicare For All, O’BamaCare redux, or any one of their other silly ideas.  The trick will be to set up the discussion so choice is available.  Adams has been thinking, speaking and writing about this for a while, and frames the issue as an innovation challenge rather than a cost challenge.  The only way to close the gap between revenue and cost is via innovation, though democrats will most certainly return to central command and control of the entire system and rationing as their solution.  Their problem is that we’ve all lived through that approach a decade ago with O’BamaCare.  While hideously complex, the problem is not insoluble.  Getting the government out of the way so that innovation can address the problem is the only solution that will work over the long run.  By agreeing that everyone should have some sort of health care coverage, Republicans will ju-jitsu democrat pandering and persuasion on the issue to their own benefit.  When the question shifts from either or coverage and aims at how, and systems to make it happen, Our Side does Much better.


  1. Cali. City Journal wrote an article entitled California Preening that describes Cali’s descent into a semi-feudal kingdom, with the widest gap between middle and upper incomes, at 72% compared with the 57% average in the rest of the US.  Roughly half of the homeless population in the entire country live in LA or San Francisco, which now have the highest property crime rates in major US cities.  Over the last couple decades, the one-party democrat state has adopted policies that have destroyed middle class lifestyles.  For instance, they have adopted policies that have made gas and electricity prices among the highest in the nation.  Electricity prices have risen 5 x that of the rest of the nation.  Strict land use laws have raised housing prices to the nation’s highest.  Taxes are now higher than virtually every other state.  At the same time, Cali’s economic diversity has all but disappeared.  Gone are resource development, aerospace and energy, leaving Big Tech the single industry the state depends upon.  Cali’s economy over the last century was built on energy and aerospace.  Those headquarters are now gone.  Since 2008, the state has created 5 x the number of low paying than high paying jobs, with 86% of new jobs paying below the median income.  While Cali’s leadership has wrapped its concern for minorities in all the usual race-baiting terms, in reality good blue-collar jobs in manufacturing and energy previously held by blacks and Latinos have disappeared.  Finally, the population is aging as families with children leave and the biggest rate of population decline is in the 35 – 44-year-old bracket.  The idiotic energy and climate change policies are also starting to trigger some pushback, so there is hope.  How quickly that pushback happens is anyone’s guess.


  1. Subsidies. One of my favorite WUWT contributors is Willis Eschenback, another greybeard with a knack for numeric analysis.  Last week he posted an analysis of energy subsidies Subsidizing the Epocalypse.  One of the (many) complaints we get out of the greens is the notion that all other forms of energy are subsidized by the feds and as such the outrageous federal subsidies for wind and solar are not really all that out of line.  The problem comes with the definition of subsidies.  A Forbes article made the claim that the US spends 10 x more on fossil fuel subsidies than education.  It triggered Willis’s BS detector and he went digging.  It was based on an IMF working paper on global fossil fuel subsidies from May 2019.  Most of us understand that a subsidy is money given to a producer or a customer, in other words actual cash.  The IMF expands that definition as “… the fuel consumption times the gap between existing and efficient prices (ie prices warranted by supply costs, environmental costs, and revenue considerations), for 191 countries.”  This definition allows literally everything to be classified as an environmental cost, repairing potholes in roads, for instance.  They get to include the “… broader costs associated with the use of fuels in road vehicles”, meaning roads, bridges, maintenance of both.  The problem here is that supply costs have actual dollar amounts assigned.  Environmental costs can have any random number assigned to them, and a lot are precisely that.  In other words, the IMF:
  • Calculates an imaginary “efficient” price level that the authors think fuel would be supplied at on some kind of imaginary planet

  • Adds the price of everything but the kitchen sink, e.g. they’ve added in the cost of “traffic congestion”, the cost to repair potholes, and even the imaginary cost of “global warming”

  • Subtracts from that giant bulked up number the actual price

  • And finally calls the difference a “subsidy”

New math, indeed.  Actual numbers are the total of actual direct plus indirect subsidies for oil and natural gas is about $2 billion / year.  For coal, it is about $1.15 billion / year.  The IMF made up number trumpeted so gleefully by Forbes claims the total subsidies are $649 billion / year.  The education spending claim is based on the federal part of total education spending, only $59 billion of the $1.23 trillion national total.  Per unit of energy produced, subsides on renewables are 100 x as large as the subsidy on oil.


  1. LGBTQWTF. Sounds like we’ve had our first hate crime hoax here in Southcentral Alaska.  In a couple breathless stories, a LGBTQWTF activist reported being slashed, beaten, at his home after receiving a threatening note.  The claim was that the attack took place a couple weeks after finding a threatening note crammed under his pickup’s windshield wiper.  A week later, he claimed someone standing in the bed of a pickup at the side of the road and threw something that broke the windshield.  The boy must have been dressed warmly as local temps were 12- -4 F around then.  Local media took up the story breathlessly and it disappeared just as quickly as it cameThe local fish wrapper was even more blatant, closing the comment section on the article.  Troopers and local police investigated the attacks and were unable to find anything.  The claim allowed local democrats to pontificate upon the indignity of it all.  Soldotna Pride was to hold a safety town hall meeting for the LGTBQWTF community on Jan 4.  This important meeting was never covered in local media either.  At least his FakeBook page was full of sympathetic comments.  I do expect the unsympathetic comments were deleted.  Jussie Smollett wannabees are moving north.  Too bad.

More later –

– AG


2 thoughts on “Interesting Items 01/06”

  1. A catch here, is that we already do have a system in place. It is heavily government dominated and that is why the top line grows rather fast.

    Show up needing care, you’ll get it. Show up needing urgent care, you’ll get it before someone with insurance does, provided that person’s needs are not as urgent. I’ve been there on both sides of this.

    Indeed, transparency and innovation are needed. The heavy hand of government prevent both. I commend President Trump for pushing transparency. I don’t for trying to force costs down through re-importation.

    I happen to know that, for older pharmaceuticals at least, we are and have been ripped by the whole world. We, mostly, do and fund the initial work needed to bring them to market. After that, governments force large “discounts” for their socialized schemes, steal the production methods, or both.

    We do the same thing with hospitals. If you are only going to get 10 cents on the dollar of charges and know you need $15,000 in cash to provide the care; you are going to charge $150,000 for it.

    Also forgotten is that neither Medicare nor Medicaid, unless it has been changed, actually process claims. They pay BCBS & etc. to do it. They also pay “Utilization Review” organizations to ‘audit’ claims. The system is geared to deny coverage as much as possible. Even with that, Medicare and Medicaid can retroactively revoke payment and even charge providers criminally for submitting ‘fraudulent’ claims; even after paying truly fraudulent claims that they deem legitimate.

    I spent time over 20 years ago to read all of HillaryCare. I knew what was coming. It just took another 20 years to partly get there, with a plan designed to fail so that the public would clamor to get to their holy grail.

    Want to control people? Control their news, language, food, water, and finally, do not allow self defense and/or other property so that they can be independent of government.

    1. Don’t disagree with your take. Am thinking we have a real opportunity if we can figure out how to roll back government speed bumps.

      I think the innovation is coming whether they want it or not. For instance, there is growing acceptance of dietary causes (generally hi carbs / lo fat) to a number of the so-called western diseases. Swap diet over to lo carb / high fat and you go a long way toward dealing with heart disease, high BP, diabetes type 2. Even Alzheimer’s is called in some places, diabetes type 3.

      Glen Reynolds at Instapundit has been pushing Mark Rippetoe’s weight training for oldsters as a way to keep from becoming frail.

      Recently came across something called rapamycin in lo quantities as an anti-aging drug. There is a doc using it on oldsters in NYC that has had some great results.

      I think innovation is coming like a freight train, and the feds won’t be able to stop it or even slow it down. An exciting time, it is. Cheers –

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