Interesting Items 01/24

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

In this issue –

1.  Unarmed
2.  Sedition
3.  Cuellar
4.  Mass Grave
5.  Union Pacific
6.  SpaceX
7.  Pebble

1.  Unarmed.  Fun piece out of Granite Grok, by a NH writer entitled The Pandemic of the Unarmed.  The setup is the burgeoning discussion on the left of imposing fines, loss of civil rights, and other liberties for those who refuse the vax.  The rationale is that the unvaxxed impose additional costs on the medical system (pandemic of the unvaxxed, and all that).  If you accept that opening bid, and the notion that Americans ought to pay additional costs and lose their liberties based on the refusal to vax, where else can we follow this logic?  Granite Grok suggests that we need to start imposing penalties for those Americans who refuse to carry firearms on a regular basis.  After all, lack of personal firearms is tied to criminal activity whereby the criminal is much more likely to commit criminal acts on the unarmed rather than the armed.  The entirety of the cost of the law enforcement apparat at least on the criminal side is borne by everyone.  Perhaps it is time for those who refuse to step up and take care of themselves start paying penalties and losing their liberty for failure to carry.  Using the identical logic of the pro-vax crowd, it is time to start imposing those costs.  The very existence of unarmed people moving around in the population is a condition that allows lawlessness to spread, not unlike a virus.  Carry the logic further, and it really doesn’t matter what sort of weapons you carry, as there is apparently no difference between COVID vax shots.  The important part is that you must carry something.  There are other personal choices that this logic can also be applied to:  drug use, having children out of wedlock, all of which at some level impose measurable societal costs.  Warning to the left on this one:  Be careful what you wish for.  It does appear that this sort of foolishness has started to get the attention of smart people on the left, with a piece published in The Atlantic late last week entitled It’s a Terrible Idea to Deny Medical Care to Unvaccinated People.  The writer makes the case that the medical system still has an ethical responsibility to all patients regardless the choices they make.  People make all sorts of choices that negatively impact their health.  Are we going to start monitoring those choices and start denying medical care or imposing higher costs for those choices?  In some ways, at least the private health care system via insurance already manages those costs via the actuarial tables.  One example would be smoking, which on average will remove about 11 years from your lifespan and impose some serious costs on the back end toward the end of life.  Those costs were all dialed into the system. 

2.  Sedition.  Government lawfare on the Oath Keepers took it up a notch last week as federal prosecutors indicted Oath Keeper founder and 10 others for sedition in connection with the Jan 6 festivities.  It only took a year to bring the indictment.  DC government took the last bite at this apple a month ago with a civil lawsuit against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers accusing them of planning to plot, publicize, recruit, and finance a planned attack on the Capitol on Jan 6.  The civil suit was filed in the DC federal district court circuit.  Ron Coleman writing in Legal Insurrection believes that the DC government does not have standing to bring the civil suit.  So far, the lawsuit continues.  It appears to be based upon a successful civil suit against 9 individuals injured during the Charlottesville protests in 2017.  Those individuals won a $25 million judgment against defendants including 5 organizations involved.  In this one it is the government of DC bringing the civil suit rather than individuals, which is an attempt to rewrite the law.  Given the number of liberal judges on the DC circuit, they might be successful.  The sedition complaint charges the defendants with bringing weapons to use in breaching and attempting to take control of the Capitol grounds and buildings.  Of course, no weapons other than those owned and operated by the Capitol Police were present or used in the event.  Of course, what they may have planned and what they actually did are four entirely different things.  Proving this will involve no small amount of mind reading by the feds, though I certainly expect the hyper-partisan Garland (In)Justice Department to attempt it. 

3.  Cuellar.  Interesting timing last week with a FBI raid of the home of Texas congress critter Henry Cuellar (D) in Laredo.  While details of the raid and the warrant it was based upon are as yet unknown, the timing is most interesting.  Cuellar’s district is on the Texas – Mexico border.  He has been loudly critical of the Harris – Xiden open borders policy for a year.  And he is up for reelection with a primary quickly approaching.  Observers on the right immediately started working on the assumption that the raid was a message to Cuellar and other democrats who might be critical of administration policy not to stray too far out of line.  Cuellar has a squad-endorsed opponent and is targeted for removal by the far left in Texas and elsewhere.   Charges appear to be campaign finance related, but as I mentioned earlier, this is still speculative.  Most interesting piece of this was a Breitbart piece this morning that had two city officials in Laredo resigning, the City Attorney and City Manager.  The Laredo mayor issued statements that the Laredo police were not involved in the Cuellar raid.  He also claimed that the resignations were not related to the raid or charges associated with it.  Watch this one.  It has the potential to be most interesting. 

4.  Mass Grave.  One of the hoary stories last summer was a wave of church burnings in Canada.  The church burnings were done in indigenous parts of the country with the excuse that church schools a century and longer ago had killed children, covered up the deaths, and dumped the bodies in mass, unmarked graves on church grounds.  The arsonists were egged on by at least one radio host with Prime Minister Trudeau getting himself involved saying he understood the anger.  Life everywhere was difficult a century ago.  A lot of people died before their time.  A lot of children died.  There was a lot of disease.  That’s one of the reasons that there were large families.  As usual, once you try to prove the allegations, you generally have to find something.  In this instance, bodies of children would be proof.  Federalist last week posted a follow-up piece noted that not a single body had been found as yet to prove the story.  Worse, not a single shovelful of dirt has been moved to find out.  As this point, it appears the story was concocted as a blood libel of Christian boarding schools catering to indigenous children.  It was intentionally designed to whip up an international panic.  Sadly, it was successful.

5.  Union Pacific.  When you tell criminals that they can plunder and steal with impunity, for some reason they will plunder and steal with impunity.  Latest example of this comes out of Los Angles where criminals are targeting Union Pacific freight trains, specifically packages sent by Amazon, REI and other corporations.  They are hitting rail-borne shipping containers.  Videos and photos out of LA are stunning.  Things are so bad that Union Pacific has warned the LA government that they are considering moving their operations out of LA.  The problem has escalated over the last several months as freight sits idle next to the ports of Long Beach and Los Angles waiting for shipping to be unloaded.  The longer they sit, the more they are hit.  Add to this the failure of the LA DA, the Soros-backed LA DA, to prosecute this sort of theft and we have the government encouraging train robbery. 

6.  SpaceX.  One story I have been closely following is the bureaucratic attack on SpaceX.  While my opinion today is that they are not specifically being targeted for destruction like Keystone XL or the Pebble Mine, they are in the process of being caught up in the general anti-business mindset of the federal bureaucracy under Harris – Xiden.  With that in mind, it appears that SpaceX plan to launch the most powerful rocket in the world from their Boca Chica base in South Texas might need to be scrapped.  USF&WS (FWS) and National Park Service (NPS) believe that the launch will have a non-trivial impact on local wildlife refuges and national monuments around the Boca Chica site.  And without their signoff, the FAA can’t (or won’t) approve the flight.  The position of FWS & NPS is going to force the FAA to do a full-up Environmental Impact Statement, which will delay operations from South Texas for years to decades.  If SpaceX has to move their launch operations to Florida, they might be required to abandon their Starbase site in south Texas.  At this point, it is the FAA vs FWS and NPS, or Department of Transportation (Buttigieg) vs Department of the Interior (Haaland).  It is almost immaterial who wins in this political shootout, as environmental activists will end up forcing the entire mess into federal court.  An outfit that calls itself ESG Hound calls the SpaceX Starbase dead, dead, dead.  This will end up delaying Starship by years, and along with it any hope of making it quickly operational.  Even a move to Florida will be both expensive and time consuming.  If it were me, I’d take the whole thing across the border into Mexico and launch from there.  But that would bring the tech transfer speedbumps in the State Department and DoD into play.  It has been said that no good deed goes unpunished.  It appears that SpaceX is now in the crosshairs. 

7.  Pebble.  Final after-action piece on the failure of the Pebble Mine project by Mark Hamilton was posted last week.  This one was interesting in that included a list of things they could have done better and things they didn’t do well at all. 

  • They failed to educate all the people of Bristol Bay.  While there were some efforts to include the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, they were insufficient. 
  • Efforts to educate were met with organized opposition, demonstrations, all organized and funded by the opposition.  In effect, the opposition denied the developers the opportunity to present the pro-mine position (a normal tactic).
  • Everyone knew salmon was the biggest concern and biggest issue to resolve.  While the developer answered those questions, they didn’t educate the general public.  Instead, they spent too much time on the world class nature of the find. 
  • The “it’s big, it’s huge” approach treated locals like rubes and turned some very powerful Alaskans against the project.
  • Alaskans felt their questions were dismissed out of hand, which angered them.  The developer knew the answers to ALL the questions, and they were good answers.  But they never got that word out.  In short, they never listened adequately.
  • Dealings with Anglo American, which operates in the mining world a lot like Exxon does in the oil and natural gas world, came across as arrogant.
  • Anglo American miscalculated their response to hysterical and absurd claims, which also was viewed as arrogant.  They chose to ridicule rather than patiently each claim and fear as a reality that needed addressing. 

All of these failures were failures of persuasion.  And they all are and will be part and parcel of any future project up here.  Someone will propose an infrastructure, energy, resource development or similar project.  The greens and NIMBY / BANANAs will join forces making every single scaremongering claim in the book, all backed with a LOT of outside money.  And will hit the developers with the functional equivalent of a political campaign against the project.  They will all say the same things they have been saying for the last half century.  We know they are coming.  We know their playbook.  We know they work in the world of emotion and persuasion.  We need to be able to play and dominate in that arena or we will never get another project approved in this state. 

More later –

  • AG

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