Interesting Items 05/20

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

In this issue –

1.  ANC
2.  Chugach
3.  FTW
4.  List
5.  Merchan
6.  Lawfare
7.  Starlink
8.  Cartels

1.  ANC.  We here in Anchorage are about finished with Muni elections April 7.  The Mayoral election went into a runoff that was completed last Tuesday.  Votes will be counted for the next few days.  As the runoff sits today, democrat Suzanne LaFrance has a 7,000-vote lead, a 53 – 46% win over incumbent Republican Dave Bronson.  Elections up here are nominally non-partisan, but it takes a real effort to ignore who the democrats are and who the unions support and oppose.  Her win gives democrats and their union backers a free run at local governance, something they had 2015 – 2021. 

  • Bronson had to deal with a veto-proof majority on the Assembly, a majority that made it their personal mission to obstruct everything he tried to do.  Bronson was ex-military and an aviator, so he took up the challenge, put his knife between his teeth, lit his hair on fire and went to war.  Problem with running things is that not everything needs to be a fist fight and the population of ANC got tired of it over time.  Demographics here in ANC also changed over the last decade with 20,000 oil and gas employees leaving the state.  The permanent party guys are generally conservative and politically involved on the right when they choose to play.  Most of them lived in ANC.  When they left, what had been a nominally red city became purple and then blue, very blue at the local government level, not unlike the state was when it entered the union in 1959. 
  • Bronson ran one of the better strings of campaign ads I’ve seen in years.  Unfortunately, he had little in the way of get out the vote effort and a non-existent ground game.  On the other side, the union boiler rooms were operating their get out the vote operation for at least a month before ballots were mailed. 
  • LaFrance was first elected to the Assembly in 2017 and served two terms through April 2023.  Her first three-year term was only notable for her lack of involvement.  She would show up and vote for whatever her democrat cohorts in crime wanted and not much else.  Her last two years was as Assembly Chair, where she generally did whatever she was told to do by the Assembly Vice Chair at the time Chris Constant.  COVID lockdowns took place during her tenure as Chair, during which she displayed a disturbing Gretchen Whitmer authoritarian streak, particularly when dealing with angry testimony before the Assembly. 
  • The most contentious issue during Bronson’s tenure was homelessness, with the democrat majority on the Assembly wanting to treat it as a problem of people without any place to live, while Bronson correctly tried to treat it as a mental illness problem.  This started a few years before COVID under the previous democrat mayor and was a second topic for many nasty Assembly meetings while the majority tried to shove homeless shelters into neighborhoods.  LaFrance presided, poorly, over many of those meetings, creatively shutting down testimony she didn’t like.  The democrats managed to construct our local version of the Homelessness Industrial Complex, with one of their members heading up a local non-profit funded by that complex, drawing a six-figure salary to keep the money flowing her way.  They decided she has no conflict of interest and keep the free money flowing her way. 
  • Homelessness is another target of opportunity for those of us on the political right.  When your worldview is that homelessness is due to not having homes, what do you do?  You turn over control of public spaces to the homeless.  Some cities on the left coast also build public toilets for the homeless, which are quickly turned into homes and drug dens.  These are colloquially referred to as Portland Loos.  The Assembly proposed a $5 million bond to build 10 of these.  That bond was summarily rejected by voters 61 – 39%.  This is an opening for the Good Guys, as will be the Assembly’s attempt to sneak them in on every other road and drainage bond they propose in the future. 
  • It will take at least a year to whittle down the veto-proof Assembly majority that she currently enjoys.  Bronson’s biggest failing was not understanding the tools of persuasion when dealing with the Assembly.  He chose to go to war rather than publicly embarrass or humiliate them in what was (and will continue to be) a target-rich environment.  We have our work cut out for us for the next year. 

2.  Chugach.  Our local electric utility, Chugach held their annual meeting Friday.  During those meetings, they elect a few Board members, vote on changes to the bylaws, and submit their annual report to the membership.  Over the years, Board elections used to vary in excitement based on the heat of IBEW contract negotiations.  Over the last few years, local green NGOs have gotten involved, electing Board members who are interested in replacing natural gas and hydro generation with Big Wind and Big Solar.  They are doing this with all utilities in the state.  A year ago, they won two out of three seats on a 7-member Board, flipping that majority in favor of renewables 4-3.  That majority flipped back this year, with one of the pro-renewables incumbents losing his seat.  Normal turnout is less than 20%, so a Board seat can be won with 7,000 votes. 

3.  FTW.  For some of us watching the economy, the crash in commercial real estate, particularly in cities, is a growing concern.  Why?  A lot of banks are invested in commercial real estate and when its value crashes, the banks aren’t far behind.  Last week’s example comes out of Fort Worth (FTW), Texas, not a state one would normally put on the list of economically distressed.  The tallest building in FTW, Burnett Plaza was purchased at a foreclosure auction last week for $12.3 million, three years after being sold for $137.5 million.  The building houses over a million square feet of commercial and retail space.  Coming soon to a city near you.

4.  List.  One of the long-term tools used by communists since before they came to power in the Soviet Union was the enemies list.  This was generally a list of opponents, lukewarm supporters, and the friends and families of both.  Once in power, the communists would work their way down the lists, removing those people from the gene pool.  The Nazis were great at the use of lists.  So were Mao and Pol Pot.  Those on the political right returned the favor during the post-WWII blacklist days.  Well, lists are still in use these days, being used by the democrats as enemies lists.  Those of us on Our Side get ourselves listed by not being sufficiently friendly to the demands and excesses of the political left. 

5.  Merchan.  The ever-corrupt NY Judge Juan Merchan is presiding over the last week of Alvin Bragg (and the Biden Do(In)J) trial in NYC.  A story last week adds additional information on the level of personal conflict of interest he brings to the table.  It turns out that his daughter, Loren Merchan’s Chicago-based Authentic Campaigns worked with the Brennan Center of Justice in its attempt to remove Trump from the Colorado ballot.  The Center is still listed as an active client since at least 2023.  The Brennan Center was at the center of the disqualification effort overturned by SOCTUS 9-0.  Work for Brennan included efforts to expand its reach, fundraising, and better matching its supporters with successful fundraising.  Quite the operation you have going there, your (Dis)Honor.

6.  Lawfare.  Two lawfare stories this week. 

  • The first comes courtesy of Scott Adams this morning on his daily podcast.  He reports that over 400 Republican lawyers and high-level officials have been targeted with criminal prosecutions for their comments and work on the 2020 election challenges.  He sees this as a threat (and a promise) to Republicans should they decide to challenge expected democrat cheating in the 2024 election.  The efforts are mostly funded by Soros, who seems to be the Intel Community’s bag (money) man for this lawfare conducted by Soros DAs and NGOs.  One thing about the Soros DAs, is that there seem to be a lot of them that are entitled black women.  Fani Willis and Letitia James being two examples.  While race and sex should provide some protection from retaliation for the political warfare they are pursuing, once the government switches, most, if not all of them should be indicted, tried and jailed for conducting it.  Criminal RICO would seem to be a good place to start. 
  • Second story comes out of Cali, where Attorney General Rob Bonta is preparing a blizzard of lawsuits in preparation for a Trump return to the WH.  This tactic reprises what his predecessor, current HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, did against the first Trump administration, filing over 100 lawsuits in an attempt to disrupt, delay and derail his agenda.  It’s not like we are hiding what is coming for the political left, as Heritage published Project 2025, a blueprint for Trump second term policy goals.  I would think that most of the lawfare by Bonta will be based on protecting and defending the tsunami of awful rules and regulations out of Dementia Hitler’s Executive Branch agencies.  This may ultimately be unsuccessful, as he will not be able to do anything about Trump repealing the majority of Biden Executive Orders (EOs).  If Republicans do what they should and make liberal use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal most to all of the regime’s regulatory overreach, there’s not much that Cali can do about that either.  Best he can do is defend special treatment given Cali by the EPA,. Do(No)E and HHS. 

7.  Starlink.  This week’s example of Musk getting it right comes courtesy of Quilty Space, a market research and consulting firm that finds Starlink is on pace to generate $6.6 billion in revenue in 2024.  SpaceX has been launching satellites since 2019 and today have a constellation of over 6,000 satellites, 2.7 million subscribers across 75 countries.  Previous satellite-based internet services promised much and delivered little starting in the mid-1990s.  Starlink is a private company, and its internal financials are not publicly available.  The answer comes via the subscriber base.  The two dominant players in consumer satellite internet peaked at a combined 2.2 million subscribers in 2020, 20 years after they started.  In contrast, Starlink already passed that number in less than 5 years.  Cash flow also improved, expected to be positive for the first time in 2024.  Initial focus on direct-to-customer sales allowed Starlink to grow quickly.  They are now expanding into enterprise, mobility and government markets.  Most comments on Starlink success point to Falcon 9’s reusable first stage boosters.  They reflew one for the 21st time over the weekend.  Starlink has also been able to keep spacecraft costs lower than anyone else in the industry.  Costs for individual satellites also evolved.  The first Gen V1 satellites cost $200,000.  The latest V2 satellites cost $800,000.  Weight increased from 260 – 730 kg.  The future V3 satellites will cost $1.2 million and weigh 1,500 kg.  They control most of the manufacturing process in-house, avoiding external suppliers.  They churn out satellites (and boosters) at a rate never seen in the industry.  Once they get Starship flying, they may jump directly to the V3 satellites. 

8.  Cartels.  If you buy into the notion that the Intel community has been in charge here in the US for the last 40 – 60 years, what explains them giving the cartels free rein?  There are two explanations.  One would be that the cartels have managed to corrupt a sufficient number of elected officials to force their freedom of action.  A second explanation would be that the cartels are providing something useful to the Intel community.  What the cost benefit analysis between all the deaths due to fentanyl trafficking and human trafficking they are profiting from in shoveling millions of illegals across the southern border would be a most interesting spreadsheet.  Add to that spreadsheet their working with the CCP and China to set up businesses in Mexico to bypass US import restrictions.  Whatever they are getting out of the agreement best be bloody huge.  We will be able to tell something about the math here after Trump takes office.  If he takes no action against the cartels, we will have one answer.  If he does, we will have another.  From here, I can’t imagine what would be more valuable than the 100,000 American lives lost yearly to fentanyl overdoses.  But I haven’t been briefed in. 

More later –

  • AG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.