Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. Observations. Scott Adams podcasts were pretty good last week. If you have the opportunity to listen to some, it is worth your while. Warning: He is not conservative. He is not Republican. Politically, he describes himself to the left of Bernie Sanders at least on the social side. But his expertise in persuasion approaches world class, and this is a field we must get smart in. He is a fan of testing, transparency, and failing (it’s how you learn). This means solutions whatever they end up being, are all tested in public. People learn things. Nothing is hidden, a process anathema to everything we are getting out of the Beltway from the UniParty these days.
- Biden’s decision on a commission to take a look at packing the SCOTUS ends up being a pretty good thing. Why? Because it kicks the can down the road via endless meetings. It also stiffens the spine of very senior liberal Justices, Stephen Breyer, for instance, strongly warned against packing the court. Breyer is expected to announce his retirement after the current court term is over. If his irritation level is sufficiently high, no retirement takes place. Democrats in congress know this, which is why legislation was introduced last week to force the issue. Biden did a similar thing when he put the insufferable John Kerrey in charge of his climate crisis operation. Kerry has never done anything useful in his life (and probably never will), but he certainly enjoys rubbing elbows with the rest of the elite. The damage on climate will be done by his cabinet secretaries like Deb Haaland (Interior), Pete Buttigieg (Transportation), Energy and EPA.
- He is of the opinion that vaccine passport requirements will never survive in a competitive environment. If the mandate is by governments, a black market in manufacturing them will quickly form with wide public support. Like the last days of Prohibition, good luck getting a conviction in court against anyone who is selling fraudulent ones. Businesses who on their own mandate vaccine passports for their customers will lose those customers to businesses who don’t. I think the same process will also work against businesses that hold on to masking, social distancing and other mandates as the zombie apocalypse unwinds.
- The two largest purveyors of systemic racism here in the US today are the media and the Teachers Unions. Let’s take the Teachers Unions. If you buy what the BLM gonzos are selling, there is a system somewhere that is keeping minorities from getting ahead in the US. If you accept the premise (a powerful, powerful persuasion technique), you can instantly have a conversation on what that system is and who is enforcing it. Here in the US, the idea is that we all have equal opportunities to get from here to there, to succeed in life. What keeps people from succeeding? Education. Who is in charge of education? The Teachers Unions. They are so much in charge that they politically control all the levers of power, prohibiting any improvement in that system. Middle class and rich parents can send their kids elsewhere or simply move. The poor (mostly minorities) don’t have that option. This presents a couple opportunities, one real and one entertaining. The real opportunity is a political coalition between Republicans and parents of kids to give them school choice. Both sides would benefit. Both sides would succeed, and we would solve that problem. The entertaining option is a discussion about reparations. If we have identified those who have built and control the system enforcing racism, the Teachers Unions, then we have identified who gets to pay the reparations. I’m sure the retirement funds can handle the additional outflow of money (/sarc). Solve the problem of the Teachers Unions and we are well on our way to defenestrating the political left.
2. Lessons. One of my favorite sites is Instapundit, created by Glenn Reynolds. It is a group project these days that aggregates stories. Well worth your while to visit daily. Reynolds is a Law Prof at Tennessee who also does longer form articles from time to time. He did a pretty decent article two weeks ago in USA Today on lessons learned from the Coronavirus. It is also worth your while to read. What did we learn?
- Density kills. The virus was much more deadly in places like NYC or Boston than rural settings. LA did a pretty good job mostly because it is less dense than NYC. Passive resistance by Angelinos rejecting large, crowded workplaces, mass transit, and vertical apartment buildings ended up saving lives.
- Mass transit also kills. NYC subways were a major disseminator of the virus in NYC. They were crowded, poorly ventilated and filthy. Cars come with built-in social distancing. Mass transit doesn’t.
- Bureaucracy kills. Much of the fight against the virus also involved a fight against entrenched bureaucrats intent on making things worse. The CDC declaration that the virus was a public health emergency raised the bar for testing requirements, making it more difficult for hospitals and universities to get alternate tests approved by the FDA. This was clearly a botched regulatory response. Other attempts to help like distilleries switching for making hand sanitizer were slowed by the FDA. Donald Trump spent most of his time pulling out rules and regulations standing in the way like so many toxic unwanted weeds.
- Censorship kills. The ChiComs censored reports of the outbreak in Wuhan, allowing airlines to spread the virus worldwide. Here in the US, Big Tech routinely censored any and all discussions of alternative treatments (hydroxy, for instance). This active censorship directly led to lack of trust in official pronouncements from the CDC and others. It has also fed directly to anti-vaccine skepticism.
3. Israel. The Israelis have been busy, conducting an attack on a nuclear enrichment facility in Iran. This was likely done in reaction to the Harris – Xiden change in policy toward Iran. The move really, really irritated both the US and European idiots who are in the process of reengaging with Iran. Appears that the powers in the Middle East are rejecting out of hand any attempt to give the Iranian mullahs any more leash. Appears that Israel took a long enough look at Harris – Xiden, made their decision what they were dealing with and are taking appropriate action, though they likely knew everything they needed to know about O’Bama and Xiden after the O’Bama years. I expect Israel is not the only nation that has made this sort of analysis and decison. Harris – Xiden will end up having to be actively hostile to Israel to keep them what they are about to do to Iran. The attack on the Natanz nuclear facility was not just a warning shot. Rather, it was the first of what will end up being multiple hammer blows dropped on Iran’s nuclear program. Something the US, Russia, the EU or Iran will be able to do anything about.
4. Suburbs. Among the multiple awful things included in the Harris – Xiden infrastructure legislation are provisions that will end up ending single-family zoning in the suburbs, the return of the O’Bama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH). Xiden’s campaign platform openly and unabashedly pledged to abolish single-family zoning. Trump made an issue of it during the campaign after which Xiden went silent. His media cheerleaders falsely denied that Xiden had any designs on single-family zoning. Now that he is president, he and the people who put him into office are including programs designed to eliminate single-family zoning, which Xiden calls “exclusionary zoning.” The technique is going to be grants to local governments tied to those governments elimination of zoning that allows single-family homes (suburbs). Looks like a full tenth of all money spent in the legislation ($213 billion) will be used purchase or threaten compliance. It will also be used by activist non-profits to sue communities that don’t want to participate into compliance, like was done during the O’Bama years. And the activist lawsuits will likely be federally funded and reimbursed. Once this enforcement begins, it will split the suburban women who generally support democrats from their coalition.
5. Merger. With the increasing coordination between the federal government, Big Tech and the corporate world, we are seeing a remarkable shift in governance at the federal level. None of this would have happened if the media were actually doing its job. Unfortunately, it believes its new job is cheerleading, destroying Enemies of the State, and greasing the skids to wherever the governing elites want to go. In some ways, this is fascism the likes of which Benito Mussolini would be proud. In others, Teddy Roosevelt would recognize the sheer power of the lockstep combination of monopolies and government 130 years ago at the end of the Gilded Age. The opposition will come from the Many States, starting with the red states, as they push back against the direction Harris – Xiden and Big Tech want to take us. And that push back will spread a lot quicker than anyone expects.
6. Helo. NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter conducted its first flight on Mars Sunday. The test took off, hovered for around 30 seconds, and landed. There was a video from the Perseverance rover and a photo from the helo looking down. The flight was delayed for a week following a software reset during initial testing. Software was modified, tested and uploaded. The flight marks the first time a spacecraft has flown in the atmosphere of another planet. Ingenuity is essentially a test article, mostly there to see if we can do what we plan to do. It is solar-powered and has cameras onboard but no additional sensors or instrumentation. The successful test paves the way for planned flying and swimming machines on the moons of the outer planets and perhaps balloon exploration of Venus. Congratulations to everyone involved.
7. Climate. The coming persuasion / propaganda war against the citizenry is selling the notion of a climate crisis so dire and irreversible that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE RIGHT NOW IMMEDIATELY, or we are all gonna die. Richard Lindzen in WUWT a couple weeks ago allowed his written speech on the subject to be posted online. It is worth your time to read. One of the great graphics with the talk was a multi-line graph of temperature changes people know how to handle. On the far left was the predicted climate change in degrees (generally °C) followed by data points for temperature changes over the course of a day, month to month, yearly average coldest to hottest, ending with record coldest to record hottest for 15 US cities. Smallest entry on the graph? The 1.5 – 2° C the glo-warmers are predicting that will all make us die. Largest entries? Record cold to hot for the 15 cities. This ran between 38 – 75° C. Crisis? Only in the fever swamp dreams of Harris – Xiden, their media cheerleaders and corporate backers bellying up to the federal trough for more free money.
More later –