Interesting Items 08/24

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

In this issue:

1.  Pebble
2.  Primary
3.  Goodyear
4.  NASA
5.  Agreement
6.  Open Fields
7.  Drilling

1.  Pebble.  The anti-Pebble mine people had themselves quite a successful couple of weeks when opposition to the proposed mine spread to Tucker Carlson on Aug 13 who had a 5+30 talk with Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris on the evils of Pebble Mine.  Tucker is an avid fly fisherman, so he and Morris talk the same language about fishing and in turn conservation.  Morris was not overtly anti-Pebble but pushed the notion that there ought to be some places on this planet that are preserved.  Apparently neither of them remember that a full 60% of Alaska belongs to the feds, shut down from all development.  The mineral find that Pebble is based upon has been known for at least 30 years.  The ongoing environmentalist fight going on for the last 20 years.  The fight is being fought on state land, a state mining district.  Repeated attempts to contact Tucker or people on his show for the week after the segment by Alaskan miners, fishermen and other resource development people have been ignored.  Donald Trump Jr and VP Pence’s former Chief of Staff Nick Ayers tweeted against the mine a couple weeks ago, something deliriously reported by the usual suspects in the anti-development crowd.   Finally, there was a Politico piece over the weekend that reported that the Trump administration was about to block further work on permitting, something that was furiously denied by the Pebble Partnership.  So, what is actually going on?  It is clear that the anti-Pebble crowd thinks they have an opening working with national sportfishing organizations.  The only way they can get away with it successfully is to keep the conversation going on without participation from sportfishing Alaskans who actually support the mine.  Over the last couple decades, opposition to the mine has grown, fanned by hundreds of millions of opposition ads not unlike the 40-year long fundraising that environmental groups did against oil and natural gas exploration in ANWR, though not to the point where it is a majority of those of us who dip the occasional hook.  The good news from here is that those on our side of the political fence generally at least listen.  The bad news is that Tucker has really trashed his brand among local resource development people and me.  As to the Trumps, my guess is that both of them are pacing, which is a persuasion technique that seems to give one side everything they want setting them up for what is eventually an unexpected outcome in the opposite direction.  This assumes That Trump Jr is as good at persuasion as his father is.  Finally, Trump should have an easy win in Alaska in November.  A premature, pandering decision on Pebble from the administration could very well put Alaska in play for the Biden – Harris ticket, something that the Trump campaign here in Alaska has been told.  We will see if they are listening.  Solution to all of this?  Let the process continue.  The process was set up for a reason and if that reason continues to exist, use the process.  If we can blithely ignore the process chasing the latest electoral unicorn, then we can streamline things a LOT.  As Kurt Schlichter has noted time after time, I don’t think they are going to enjoy playing under their new rules a lot.

2.  Primary.  Earthquake Tuesday a week ago as Alaskan Republicans sent a very blunt message to incumbent Republicans in the Alaska legislature, tossing perhaps 10 of them out of office.  As of this date, the absentee ballots have yet to be counted, which will determine at least 4 other races.  Current results are available from the Alaska Division of Elections.  As with most Alaskan races, there were several races within a few votes that will end up in a recount.  Turnout was not particularly large, though it was pointed.  Who lost and why?  In the House, it was generally Republicans who chose to caucus with democrats, three of whom went down 2:1.  Some margins were larger.  In the Senate, it was generally Republicans who used their position to not cut the budget and divert the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend into paying for that government they refused to cut.  Suzanne Downing’s Must Read Alaska had pretty decent coverage of the outcome and what has gone on afterwards.  A lot of these people are long-time friends, people I used to support, people who decided to do something else than what they promised to do while in Juneau.  The State Capital in Juneau is very insular, very liberal and separated from the rest of the state by a 90-minute 737 ride.  People there tend to do what they do in DC, grow in office.  I worked in one of the multiple campaigns which was far more successful (margin of victory) than I would have ever expected.  It was a very good night.  Next up?  Successful second campaign for a Nov 3 vote.  What happens if these guys end up in the Legislature with strong, fiscally conservative majorities in both Houses?  The first thing it will do will be to put Governor Dunleavy on the spot to finally deliver what he has been promising.  He fought the Good Fight his first year.  His second year was mostly status quo.  With this majority and a (hopefully reelected) Trump administration, his only speed bump will be an increasingly liberal and hostile state courts system, something he can bypass in federal court or with a constitutional convention. 

GoodYear HR Briefing Slide

3.  Goodyear.  Goodyear Tires managed to get themselves in the middle of the culture wars with a leak from a HR re-education session complete with photo of a slide made its way into the public  The title of the slide was Zero Tolerance.  It had a pair of lists of acceptable and unacceptable items.  Acceptable includes BLM and LGBTWTF items.  Unacceptable includes MAGA, All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and any political-affiliated attire.  To Goodyear HR, BLM and LGBTWTF are not political.  Who knew?  In response, President Trump called for a boycott of all Goodyear tires by conservatives.  After mealy mouthing a response a time or two, Goodyear finally “clarified” its position.  This event demonstrates what is going on in the corporate world, as the lefty indoctrinated HR people and management people are now fully in charge, using their positions of authority to make sure all employees tie into their new groupthink.  And if you refuse to play along?  You will be removed.  Trump is fighting back.  Perhaps the rest of us need to do the same.

4.  NASA.  I ran across a piece out of NASA that I swear to God I thought came directly out of the Babylon Bee.  Unfortunately, it is not.  Fresh off wasting billions of dollars of taxpayer money on a big rocket that will never fly (the Space Launch System, or Senate Launch System, SLS) and a new space capsule (Orion) that is already obsolete, NASA is going to reexamine names and descriptions of astronomical objects so that they are no longer insensitive terms.  For instance, NGC 2392 will no longer be called the Eskimo Nebula.  This is a “… colonial term with a racist history, imposed on the indigenous people of Arctic regions.”  NGC 4567 will no longer use the term “Siamese Twins Galaxy.  Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen demonstrated quite clearly that he was superfluous to the mission of space exploration happily noting that “Our goal is that all names are aligned with our values of diversity and inclusion.”  Whether this will extend to other common names and descriptions like the Horsehead Nebula, white dwarf stars, dwarf planets, etc. remains to be seen.  Clearly these people have forgotten their primary mission and demonstrably have too much free money to spend. 

5.  Agreement.  Just in time for the election campaign, President Trump rolled out a peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel.  This is only the third Arab state to formally recognize Israel.  There are more expected should the election work out as we hope.  Who knew that Trump was going the be the US President to bring peace to the Middle East?  In return for the agreement, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu had to put off some planned annexation of some disputed territories on hold, something that Scott Adams described as making a deal with something they didn’t have.  Basically, Israel gave up an asset they made up on the spot and gave the UAE cover to reach the agreement.  The agreement put the Palestinians in something of a pickle, hating an agreement that supposedly gave them something they were demanding.  Hamas and the Islamic Jihad were more concerned about latest payments from Iran and Qatar to comment on the deal.  Roger Simon wrote a piece in the Epoch Times (no longer accessible to me without a subscription) asking if this agreement will have any impact with US Jews, as Trump has become Israel’s greatest friend since Truman.  Will this have any impact on the 70% of American Jews who are lefties?  Will it matter to Kamala Harris’s Jewish husband?  Who knows?  If nothing else, it will cause at least a couple to think about things at least a little while. 

6.  Open Fields.  One of my correspondents sent along an eye-opening piece out of the Farm Journal AG Web entitled Government Cameras Hidden on Private Property?  Welcome to Open Fields.  The piece opened with a Tennessee farmer getting a less than friendly visit by 10 state and federal wildlife officials packing firearms.  They were irritated that he had removed a game camera he found on his property several months earlier.  The team, using their ninja gear searched the home looking for the camera that they had been tending to while on his property, all without telling him either the camera or they were on it.  All of this was done without a warrant.  Where do they get the right to do this?  There is a little known (to us mere normal, but apparently not to fish and wildlife officials) SCOTUS ruling that reinterpreted the 4th Amendment, creating something they call Open Fields.  Framework for this was created in a 1924 SCOTUS opinion that said the US Constitution did not extend to most lands, being limited to “persons, papers and effects.”  This specifically excludes property.  The opinion was strengthened in 1984.  Today, you can post your property as no trespassing, but that does not apply to government officials.  The doctrine is being fought in MS, MT, NY, OR and VT via provisions in state constitutions, meaning that state and local wildlife officials cannot play.  These restrictions are starting to be fought though the federal courts system.  The farmer was charged with hunting violations on his own property and lost his hunting license for three years.  The camera had taken over 1,000 photos of him and transmitted the photos to the state authorities.  Open Fields as practiced today allows secret surveillance without a warrant.  The farmer is fighting the case in state court as the TN constitution does have limitations on the ability of state and local authorities to surveil citizens without either probable cause or a warrant.  Neither state nor federal wildlife agencies chose to reply to the reporter who wrote the piece.  Truly chilling stuff.

7.  Drilling.  Fun story by David Middleton in WUWT last week.  Facebook was involved in a drilling accident in the seafloor off the Oregon coast.  In the accident, a drilling string hit some unexpectedly hard rock, seized and snapped off some 50’ below the seafloor.  This left about 1,100’ of pipe, the drill, various tools and 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid below the sea floor.  Facebook has no plans to retrieve the equipment.  The accident took place on April 28.  FB did not notify State of Oregon officials until June19.  Generally, this sort of accident is most safely dealt with by leaving the equipment in the well and cementing over the top of it.  States have on occasion demanded and forced companies to attempt to retrieve the drill string on environmental grounds.  This has the dual purpose of bankrupting the company and making a bigger environmental mess, thus strengthening their hand the next time someone wants to drill in that state.  Cute technique.  The drilling was done in connection to bringing an underwater cable ashore.  Locals unsuccessfully fought the project. 

More later –

– AG

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