Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. Oil. Manhattan Contrarian ran a piece over the weekend entitled Complete Madness in the Biden Administration: Energy Policy that encapsulates at least part of what I have been thinking about their energy policy, which seems to be a combination of a war on oil combined with shoveling as much money into the renewable energy grifters as humanly possible (Infrastructure Bill). The writer started with reminding us of O’Bama’s pledge to force electricity prices to skyrocket in 2008. But his cap-and-trade legislation failed and the frackers got to work, exploiting oil shale to the point where we were energy independent for over a year toward the end of Trump’s time in office. It appears that the O’Bamaoids infesting the Harris – Xiden administration learned their lessons, and are going after the frackers, oil and natural gas, while leaving electricity (mostly) alone. Of course, one of the great success stories in the climate world has been the massive fall of CO2 emissions here in the US, mostly by replacing coal fired electricity and home heating oil with natural gas. Their plan? Make natural gas as expensive as humanly possible. Key elements of the energy policy include:
- Do everything possible within executive powers to restrict domestic supply of fossil fuels. This is where the cancellation of Keystone XL, shutdown oil and natural gas leases on federal lands come in. Other EOs ordered an all-government approach aimed at restricting fossil fuels. They even got the banking regulators involved in arm twisting banks and other financial institutions not to lend anything to oil and natural gas companies. Even Fed Chairman Yellen got into the game last month that they would address the threat of climate change by restricting access to financing. Yellen and her group carry a large caliber hammer in this. Finally, Comptroller of the Currency nominee Saule Omarova famously said she wanted to bankrupt oil and natural gas companies. This helped kill her nomination.
- When energy prices soar, they beg Russia and OPEC to increase supply. This started in August. Their problem is that OPEC has seen its opportunity with the war on the frackers. They are essentially using the same technique that the Reagan administration used in the 1980s, using a massive increase in production of Saudi oil to bankrupt the Soviet Union. It worked for Reagan. This time around, the target for bankruptcy are the American frackers, and all the Saudis and Russians need to do is to keep pumping whatever they are pumping today at the same rates.
- Finally, they are blaming soaring prices and shortages on everything but their own intentional policies. This is done with the gleeful support of their cheerleaders in the media. Over the last week or two, they figured out the actual target for the Placing of the Blame ought to be the oil companies themselves and are now asking the FTC to investigate “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and natural gas companies.”
- Strategic oil reserve. Biden announced release of 50 million barrels of oil from the national Strategic Oil Reserve as a way to help keep gas prices from rising. Pardon me for snickering. The amount is about 60 hours of daily consumption of oil in the US. I’m positive this brilliant move will sharply drop the price of gasoline nationwide (/sarc). There were stories a week and a half ago about the feds selling Strategic Oil Reserve oil to foreign buyers. I have not confirmed those as yet, and only mention it as it would be right in line with what we have been seeing out of them, which means the stories were probably fake news. As an aside, one of the ways to spot fake news is that it is too perfect. Another way is that if CNN / MSNBC and FNC disagree. Reaction to the release was swift and critical, mostly variations on the look at the “shiny object” approach we have seen from Harris – Xiden energy policies from the beginning.
- Say that you head up an administration that is busily strangling the ability of Americans to be self-sufficient in oil and natural gas production, what else would you do? One response is a 50% increase in lease fees announced last Friday as part of an Interior “reform” package for federal leases. The royalty rate increase is the first in a century, with the excuse being an effort to raise federal revenues.
Will this work? Depends a lot on how stupid we have become, and how long memories last. The contest will be between the media, which is doing its level best to disappear all the Biden EO’s that brought us to the current place and the millions of Americans who are busily pasting Biden “I did that” stickers on gas pumps pointing at the per gallon prices. They can be found on Amazon at around $6/100 stickers. And are sufficiently popular that many of their offerings are sold out. No indication of censorship of this product on Amazon as yet. Will the Stupid Party be smart enough to get in front of this? Maybe, but they might not need to do anything at all other than to simply promise to roll back anything (everything) Harris – Xiden and their brane trust have done over the last 11 months.
2. Looters. Industrial scale, organized crime in the form of flash mob looting has started moving its way out of the San Franscisco area to the suburbs, over the weekend to Chicago and Minneapolis. The typical raid is organized on Facebook (yet something else to thank Mark Zuckerberg for). 30-40 vehicles and blacks wearing hoodies show up, and clean out a Nordstrom’s, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, or Best Buy, all in the name of racial equality and social justice, I’m sure. The excuse for the current increase was anger at the Rittenhouse verdict, though that sounds a lot like the same sort of media excuse making that we saw following 9-11 when the media was concerned with Islamist anger at the West. The new edition of smash and grab started in SF, which has a Soros prosecutor who doesn’t prosecute looting. In this way, social norms are completely ignored, and the criminals get to participate in a new business model. Woe be unto any business owner who defends either himself or his property. Somewhere along the line there is going to be a bunch of dead looters. And there should be. There has already been one death, who was a hired guard working for a local news crew covering a looting raid in Oakland. The looters went after the cameras. The guard intervened and was shot by a looter. There have been a few arrests, but no trial and conviction as yet. Like the Rittenhouse trial, this is entirely due to government not doing their jobs. And it will get worse until the citizenry replaces those local governments who refuse to protect the public and their property or start taking steps to harshly defend themselves, their stores, and property.
3. AMA. Writer Robert Conquest proposed Three Laws of Politics. In this context, the one most interesting today is his second: “Any organization that is not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” It is a predictive law, the latest example proving it comes from the American Medical Association (AMA). COVID and the newfound power of the medical establishment over our daily lives has given the AMA the opening they needed to clang hard left, in everything from an embrace of leftist language to support and cheer lead every diktat from the public health apparat. They published an internal report co-authored by the Association of American Medical College’s Center for Health Justice entitled “Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts.” The report includes five principles:
- Avoid use of adjectives such as ‘vulnerable’ and ‘high-risk’.
- Avoid dehumanizing language. Use person-first language instead.
- Remember that there are many types of subpopulations.
- Avoid saying ‘target’, ‘tackle’, ‘combat’, or other terms with violent connotation when referring to people, groups or communities.
- Avoid unintentional blaming.
At least these bozos are making it easy, as they nicely flag which ones drank the woke Kool Aid. And the final point is laughable, as it doesn’t seem to apply to patients who are unvaxxed, unmasked, or request alternative treatments (vitamins, ivermectin, HCQ). Those patients are simply left to die, which I suppose isn’t unintentional blaming at all. Rather it is absolutely and completely intentional.
4. Proterra. Another reminder of the inbred grift that the renewables world is based upon comes courtesy Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who is busily pushing electric vehicles (EVs) as the Solution To All Matters Environmental. It turns out that Granholm who has been pushing EVs including busses and trucks, sat on the Board of Proterra, which is a company that manufactures electric busses. She held over 240,000 shares of their stock, sold that stock some 157 days after her nomination, making a nifty $1.6 million on the sale. Since the sale, she has still been promoting the company and their product line for favorable treatment in federal law, rules and regulations. She was forced to sell her stock in the company by federal ethics rules in May. In Nov, Granholm and VP Harris announced $127 million in what was called a SuperTruck 3 initiative. They awarded 60% of the grants to a company with ties to Proterra.
5. DUI. Ridesharing services appear to be having a real, measurable positive impact on the number of DUI arrests and accidents. Unlike taxis, it appears the younger riders are using the services. Things are going so well that even MADD is noticing the trend and appear to be supportive (at least so far). I would predict that self-driving vehicles will have a similar positive impact. The problem will come when state and local governments start seeing revenues raised from traffic violations fall and start doing other things to keep that revenue stream intact. Free money is like a drug. Once you’re hooked, it’s hard to stop. Expect the worst. I do.
6. Mandate. How best to solve the shipping problem? Here’s a Great Idea: Impose a hard vax mandate on any trucker crossing the US border. And if you can figure out how to do it between states, all the better. The new mandate goes into effect Jan 22 and covers all essential, nonresident travelers crossing US land borders. These include but are not limited to truck drivers, government officials, emergency responders. Trucking companies are warning that the mandate will terminate nearly 40% of all drivers, right at the height of the supply chain festivities. Given court rulings over the last few weeks, I would expect an injunction on this bright idea sooner rather than later. Interestingly enough, the mandate does not apply to illegals crossing any border into the US. Congressional democrats refused in Sept to require illegals to get the jab. So much for actual concern for public health. In a related story, the threat to fine companies for piling empty containers in the ports seems to be working, with the backlog of empties down by nearly a third. This threat is the functional equivalent of a corporate manager ordering directors to cut costs by 5 – 10% in the corporate world. This is painful but done successfully all the time.
More later –