Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Protesting

With very little planning and a last-minute text to my parents, I hopped a flight from London City Airport to Washington D.C. The reason, of course…to save the planet! With no lounges open, and the risk of delayed takeoff, I thought I should at least grab a bottle of water, and so I did. Hello Boots… one Volvic please!  Only to be reminded that London had launched  something they are calling ‘Plastic Free City’.

They sold me the water alright, but it came with stares from all the really good people—each one of them making silent commentary, and staring at the offending bottle. You’d have thought I’d been going round the globe shoving plastic straws into the brains of dolphins.

Meanwhile, they kept flaunting their refillables like they were iced-out Rolexes. Oh knock it off! I wanted to scream. My entire life is dedicated to green pursuits but when it comes to placing the mouth of a bottle that I’m going to drink from, under the spigot of the community trough—I draw the line. Besides I can’t very well save the planet if I am sick.

Every litter bit helps!

The terminal was lined with bright blue water stations, and I walked to my gate with the gurgle-gurgle of people refilling all around me.  Luckily I had only thirty minutes before boarding and so I stuffed the contraband into my bag before choosing a spot in which to loiter. The airport was mobbed and every announcement was getting on my last nerve. Just then a text from my client…

‘Can we fix this?’ Followed by a picture of the detritus from the Glastonbury Climate Festival. It was disgusting—trash and abandoned tents everywhere. It looked worse than a San Francisco public park. 

‘What is it you WANT me to do?’ I texted back.  And before he could respond I texted: ‘Headed to DC…boarding now’.

I could see he was trying to text me something else but I powered down my phone before it came through. Having found my seat I tore off the plastic wrap from my quilt and put my headphones on. I placed the wrap within easy reach of the flight attendant but despite several passes she didn’t pick it up. Why is the whole world plastic-shaming me today?

When we arrived in D.C. our gate wasn’t ready and we had to be towed in. Another delay! I know that towing vs taxiing saves quite a bit of fuel but this delay defeats the purpose of flying from City Airport!

As soon as I powered on my phone the texts started rolling in. Apparently, if you sign up for even one protest they assume it’s your lifeblood and include you in every update. I only wanted the EPA protest. What a mess.

That's telling 'em!

My driver did his best to get me right where I needed to be but it was hopeless. Pride marches, GenX, and half a dozen abortion marches. Finally, I headed toward a group in green bandanas knowing this would be my group, but it was not. This was made readily clear by a “Viva la Vulva” sign. I stepped out of the throng and asked a woman why green for pro-abortion?

‘Marta tells us that the colour of nature was chosen because it signifies life’, she said.

Abortion means  life? I dared not ask. And who was Marta? Turns out Marta is the founder of Catholics for Choice, 'a nonprofit organization that lifts up the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom'. I squinted my eyes and walked away.  So far I had accomplished exactly nothing.

Then my phone rang. It was my father.  ‘OH HEY!’ I said, yelling into my iPhone.

‘Are you at a club?’ he asked.  

‘You bloody well know I am not at a club!’ I responded. I am in Washington, protesting the EPA ruling!'  

‘Well how’s that going?’ he asked.

‘I haven’t found them yet… this is all rather confusing. But I do have a question, I got a text about the Glastonbury Climate Festival… I see electric- car chargers in the middle of… nowhere. So how do they get powered?’ 

Diesel’, Daddy replied.  

Glastonbury '22: nobody tell Greta!

Diesel??’ I shrieked. ‘How does…?’ UGH! I knew he was stifling a laugh. 

‘Yes, as you said, all very confusing. Listen, sweetheart, do you really think protesting is a good use of your time…?'

‘How would I know?  ‘I haven’t even been able to even locate my protest'.’

‘Strange that, Marxists are generally so good at organisation’.

I didn’t have the strength to fight him. It was beginning to rain and I decided to keep quiet in case he had one more zinger in him.  FINALLY I could see my EPA group and I ran to catch up with them, only to ask myself why had I bothered? I was sweating under my trench, my shoes were soaked, we all looked stupid, I felt stupid—this was stupid.

‘You win, Daddy', I said into the phone. 'This was a dumb idea. I will schedule some meetings and ask my clients how I can be useful while I’m here’. 

‘Excellent', he said. 'And you might advocate for the continued operation of Line 5 up in Michigan —it's an essential  pipeline for Eastern Canada and the U.S.’ 

‘And they will listen to me because—why?’ I asked. 

‘Because you’re the voice of reason on this. It’s a win for everyone.  And you’re still advocating for the environment - just without the Marxist slant’.

‘And if it doesn’t work?’

‘Oh, just tell them they’re all going to freeze—they don’t even have enough energy to get through next year…’

‘I don’t think they want to hear that’. 

‘Oh I disagree, Jennifer. Fear-mongering is the only thing you green-niks understand'.

I hung up and looked around. The rain was pelting harder. Everybody looked miserable. And they wonder why I never bring anyone home!

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Scoring

I’ve thought long and hard what else I might do to save the planet. Not only because all of my clients are oligarchs (it just looks bad), but also because #grassroots is trending. The question of course, was what? I needed a hashtag! 

‘First do no harm’, Daddy always says, but one can’t simply do nothing when our planet is literally bursting at the seams. So I came up with #greenscore. It’s perfect really. I’ll provide the metric by which even the smallest event (say a child’s birthday party), can share their #greenscore, and I’m sure that in time, the largest events (except maybe not Davos) will join too.

My first client, is that of a personal friend, Scarlett, who is having her wedding at Cluny Castle way up in Aberdeenshire.  As her husband works in tech, they are the perfect launch for my new #greenscore idea, and I am determined to make it a success.  Rather unfortunately though, we were stuck with the venue, (an ancient castle)—very far away and hard to reach. Not to mention very difficult to heat and cool. So I asked people to do what they could and to combine transport… though I found no takers. 

If Cluny Castle was good enough for Andrew Carnegie...

None of this, however; was rating high on the give-a-damn scale, because the bride’s mother was currently held up in Turkey over a jeep safari accident. The delay, I assumed, was that she hoped to keep quiet the fact that she’s been Ibex hunting, but it turns out, she had not personally hunted—only her boyfriend had.  However, their open-top Land Rover had crashed into a telegraph pole—killing the boyfriend and two other Britons. It was all over the papers and no matter how stylish or well-intentioned the holiday, I couldn’t spin this as a good (or green) thing.

I put images of the whole sordid mess out of my head and set myself to the task of sourcing local wildflowers with which to make Scarlett’s bouquet and decorate the venue.  But I couldn’t find a single vendor nor anyone willing to venture out and pick the flowers. What was the deal? I clicked through images of past weddings on the web only to find the most horrid groupings of sad carnations and even sadder roses whose colour schemes ranged from red to red. 

The big deal, it turns out, was we were surrounded by NNR’s and SSI’s and ASSI’s—which is basically government agency speak for nature preserves and no you may not pick the flowers. This is where these agencies drive me batty… now I’d have to ship them in.

Spotty mobile service was also getting the better of me so I hopped in my car and drove in circles until I could get a signal.  I called Dublin, I called Dún Laoghaire, I called Edinburgh, I called Langholm… no one working and no one cared. It was solution time and so I called vendors in Germany and Switzerland… yes, and yes. All good news but selling the visual of using ‘wildflowers’ was going to seriously impact our #greenscore. I wasn’t happy but after a dizzying maze of couriers and exchanging photos back and forth I had a solution, and even convinced myself that there was no real difference between Queen Anne’s Lace and Bavarian Gentian.  

Looks just like Queen Anne's Lace if you squint.

If there was an update on the bride's mother I hadn’t heard and I went in search of some dinner to take to my room, where it was cooler, and then it occurred to me the heat index was basically going to be unbearable. A quick Google search turned up ‘higher than usual temps’. Lovely. A marquee with chandeliers AND candles was going to be an inferno.

My own green score matrix ticked up in my head like a taxi meter during rush hour. Double ugh! There was no getting around this… cooling was needed. And if ‘higher than usual’ temperatures were to be believed, I found it curious that the crew assured me they had been keeping guests cool for nearly half a century. They also suggested treble the amount of plastic water bottles be on hand so I agreed and chose not to factor it into our score.  

The next morning I tracked down the wedding coordinator to see if he might do something to convince me he was alive. Or working. Begrudgingly he gave me the tracking information for Leman Express and DHL—the combination of which would bring the Alps to the Scottish Highlands undetected. With the luck of a steady internet connection I finished linking #greenscore to all of our social media pages. I calculated our own running #greenscore and it wasn’t looking good, so I decided to subtract 10,000 points—a gimme for this and all future weddings since (I figured) married couples share a home, it could offset the carbon spend of a wedding. Totally makes sense.

Morning came far too soon. I didn’t want to leave the cool of my suite but the mother of the bride sent a gushing text promising she wouldn’t miss the wedding for the world. Things were looking up. And there hadn’t been a Turkish police inquiry after all… the issue was altogether more delicate, with her newly-deceased beau still being married to his second wife, Scarlett’s mother convinced the authorities to let her slip away quietly lest she rob the grieving widow of her due.  But she didn’t turn up. And no one had made arrangement to collect her from the airport. I made myself scarce so Scarlett couldn’t ask, and hopefully wouldn’t notice. 

With the ceremony beginning I tucked into the marquee… it was the unalloyed pleasure of cool air from every glorious angle, until just then a much stronger gust—chopper overhead! And I looked up to see Scarlett’s mother arriving. No she wouldn’t miss it for the world would she? Nor one bazillion carbon points.   

THE COLUMN: Dead on Arrival

At the opening of the 1950 classic film noir, D.O.A., Edmund O'Brien strides purposefully into a big-city police station, proceeds down long, endless corridors, and finally arrives at a door marked Homicide Division. "I want to report a murder," he says to the head detective. "Who was murdered?" asks the cop. "I was," replies O'Brien.

In this, year two of the dreadful administration of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., we Americans know just how he feels. From the moment this blustering blowhard of a United States senator of no accomplishment from a meaningless state took office in January 2021, he has been busily poisoning the country for the simple reason that he can, he wants to, and there is no one to stop him.

The beneficiary of the hinkiest election in modern American history thanks to the illegal changes in balloting occasioned by the unnecessary Covid panic, and given the narrowest possible margins of control in both the House and the Senate, the superannuated chief executive has done everything in his power to show his contempt for the American people, to damage our patrimony, and make our lives increasingly miserable. 

And yet, like O'Brien, we're not quite dead yet, and still staggering around trying to catch our murderer before time runs out. Barring the hand of God, the first opportunity we'll have to put Biden out to pasture won't come until November 2024, and while the congressional elections this fall could possibly remove both houses of Congress from the geriatric clutches of the bibulous Nancy Pelosi and the baleful Chuck Schumer, that can only stanch but not stop the country's internal hemorrhaging. Like the hapless Frank Bigelow, desperately searching in his last hours for the psycho killer who poisoned him before the "luminous toxin" kills him, we're unsure whom to trust, with both friends and foes suspects alike. 

"This can't be happening," we think, but it is. Under the cloak of Covid "emergency"—the punitive lockdowns, the destruction of our education system, the loss of social contact, the delusion that our fellow humans were carriers of a deadly disease who needed to be shunned or even imprisoned—Americans' constitutional freedoms were summarily abrogated without a shot being fired, and we were consigned to effective house arrest (and worse in places like Australia and Canada). Our freedom of movement—essential to life in a country as large as the United States of America—was drastically curtailed and our transportation system deliberately wrecked. Meanwhile the "climate change" canard continued apace, and the push for electric vehicles was intensified, even as the nation's electric grid was tangibly collapsing.

Since Robinette took office, gas prices have more than doubled, part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been emptied, our hard-won energy independence achieved during the Trump era has been frittered away, and we've been reduced to begging erstwhile enemies like the "kingdom" of Saudi Arabia to do the jobs Americans just can't be allowed to do. If this looks like a conspiracy to you, don't worry: it is. And one that the conspirators have been quite open about for decades. They're a suicide cult, hell-bent on killing us as well as themselves:

Analysis has now shown that the carbon embedded in existing fossil fuel production, if allowed to run its course, would take us beyond the globally agreed goals of limiting warming to well below 2˚C and pursuing efforts to limit to 1.5˚C. The global carbon budgets associated with either temperature limit will be exhausted with current fossil fuel projects, and in fact some currently-operating fossil fuel projects will need to be retired early in order to have appropriately high chances of staying below even the 2˚C limit, let alone 1.5˚C.

Therefore, we, as over 400 civil society organizations from more than 60 countries, representing tens of millions around the world, call on world leaders to put an immediate halt to new fossil fuel development and pursue a just transition to renewable energy with a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry.

The first step in this effort is a simple one: Stop digging. No additional fossil fuel development, no exploration for new fossil fuels, no expansion of fossil fuel projects. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Just about every word in this screed is either a false premise or an outright lie. The notion of keeping global temperature increases to under 2℃ is purely arbitrary, while the idea of carbon being a pollutant is anti-humanism at its most pernicious, since we are carbon-based life forms who breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide—the very stuff of life for the green trees and fields the Left constantly celebrates, the concept of symbiosis being apparently beyond them. The unsightly forests of Brobdingnagian windmills currently uglifying landscapes around the world testify to the success of their monomania. 

Their blatantly dishonest attempts to link "climate" with weather, however, have had their intended effects on public opinion, pushed largely by propagandistic media outlets such as NPR and the New York Times, which has a whole "hub" devoted to the subject as well as a regular section on "climate and environment." It's important to note here that the Times's reach extends far beyond its direct readership, since its news judgment sets the table for every other media outlet in the country, while your tax dollars subsidize NPR's increasingly deracinated fixations on "climate change," race, and trannies. And naturally you know who's on board with the whole thing:

So those high prices for gasoline and the long, chaotic lines and canceled flights at the airports are not a bug, they're the lynchpin of the whole scheme, which is itself part and parcel of the entire Great Reset project (about which much more tomorrow; watch this space). In order for the Lords of Davos to control you they must first curtail and control your freedom of movement, and what better way to do that than to make the price of oil prohibitively expensive? First your cars stop moving, then the trucks that deliver almost everything of value, including food, to the stores. An inability to move freely and without government oversight will vanish as computers take over your automobiles and which, when they are fully electric, can be disabled at will. As they like to say: You'll own nothing, and you'll be happy
 
What better metaphor, then, for the parlous state of our national affairs than the sight of Biden on his keister after toppling off his bike over the weekend. This frail, thoroughly nasty man with some very peculiar tendencies and an immediate family that might best be described as Caligulan in its behavior, not only embarrassed himself but the country he pretends to lead. "I'm good," he said after his tumble, which may be his biggest and most brazen lie of them all.
 
In the the meantime, we keep rushing around in the dark, trying to figure out why this happening and who is doing it to us. We know the answer, but feel there's nothing we can do about it. Like Bigelow, we'd like to see the man in charge, but nobody is, not really. We can breathe and we can move, but we're not alive because we took that poison, and nothing can save us. We know who the psycho killer is, half our fellow countrymen voted for him, and the murder is taking place in full view from sea to shining sea.
 
Unless a miracle happens, we're D.O.A. and our final destination is dead ahead. 

Into ze Future mit Stakeholder Capitalism

I thought of the song “Tomorrow belongs to me” from the movie Cabaret when listening to Klaus Schwab’s opening remarks at last month’s extravaganza in Davos. His pronunciation of ‘the’ as ze (according to my inexpert Standard English phonetic rendering) adds to the perturbing Teutonic effect. Be perturbed.

Ze future is not just happening. Ze future is built by us. By a powerful community, as you here in this room. We have the means to improve the state of the world.

He must have seen the movie. Subliminally, the unsettling phraseology pops out. Mind you, don’t discount the possibility that he’s deliberately messing with our minds. If so, it worked on me.

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, got a spot at Davos. Didn’t recollect that we had an eSafety Commissioner, though she’s been in the job since January 2017. Maybe most countries have something similar these days? Fine, if they are employed to track and counter child sexual exploitation. But, of course, Parkinson’s Law prevails as does its counterpart, mission creep. A new Act (2021) gives Ms Grant extended powers to regulate online content. Has this gone to her head like bubbles in a glass of champagne? Apparently. There she is at Davos telling the assembled VIPs that we need a “recalibration” of free speech.

Here's something else. In 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF), together with Apolitical, a global organisation of government bureaucrats, whose mission is to “help build 21st century governments that work for people and the planet,” appointed Ms Grant as one of the, so-termed, #Agile50. To wit, “one of the most influential leaders revolutionising government.” Who knew?

I dare say Nina Jankowicz would have been in line for a similar honorific; if only the Disinformation Governance Board had not been wantonly sabotaged, so it's sadly said, by disinformation. Anyway, it’s all too much for me to take in. The future obviously doesn’t belong to me.

What is the future? A good question to which I seek answers from the revised Davos manifesto issued in 2020. And, for historical perspective and to get a sense of the trajectory of the WEF's "Great Reset" agenda, I compare this with the first manifesto; issued in 1973, only two years or so after the WEF was established in January 1971. The 2020 manifesto declaims on the purpose of a company in the so-called fourth industrial revolution; the 1973 manifesto, on a code of ethics for business leaders. They are similar yet subtly, and not so subtly, different. Evolution has occurred.

“Professional management” charged with serving the interests of “stakeholders” in the first manifesto, morphs into the “company” in the second. This is not incidental. Companies encompass boards and large influential institutional investors as well as professional managers. All must be engaged in order to change the nature of capitalism and the world. And it’s working. It’s hard to find a company board or large institutional investor these days which hasn’t adopted ESG as its Holy Writ. Management eagerly complies with the expensive help of supremely woke major consulting firms.

AGL, Australia’s largest electricity supplier, had planned to split out its coal-power business. Along comes large shareholder, and green enthusiast, billionaire Mike Cannon Brookes, with institutional investors in his wake. A coal business on its own might not be eager to self-destruct. Won’t do. The split is derailed. Welcome to the world of the second manifesto.

To be clear, the manifestos are not all bad. Both emphasise the need for companies to earn sufficient profits, act ethically and pay their taxes. Ho-hum. Also, it’s unexceptional, on its face, for businesses which want to thrive to pay heed to the interests of their stakeholders. Small businesses know this instinctively. Customers matter, as do employees. As does the environment within which they operate. Being antisocial by throwing garbage into the street or local river might not be conducive to long-term success. Thus, you might query, why does the WEF make so much of stakeholder capitalism?

Two points. First, the focus is on companies rather than on businesses more generally. It’s all about the big guys. As Herr Schwab says, it’s about the “powerful community,” executing an agenda determined by, wouldn’t you know, the powerful community. It’s not immediately clear that this kind of stakeholder capitalism goes to the interests of small business or, say, those coal miners living in Poland or West Virginia. who find themselves unable to learn computer programming. Ah well, one can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Second, is the sheer reach of Schwab’s stakeholder capitalism. In the first manifesto this is described as management assuming “the role of a trustee of the material universe for future generations.” Can’t see Con the fruiterer in the corner shop embracing that concept very easily. The second manifesto goes further in asserting that a company “acts as a steward of the environment [as well as] the material universe for future generations [and that it] consciously protects our biosphere and champions a circular, shared and regenerative economy.”

Instructive too in the second manifesto, missing in the first, is the reference to multinationals. A multinational company, it says, “acts itself as a stakeholder—together with governments and civil society—of our global future.” And in case you think such a company might simply make, say, cars for profit, it’s required as being part of “corporate global citizenship [to collaborate] with other companies and stakeholders to improve the state of the world.”

As I’ve noted, serving stakeholders has always been part of capitalism. The leap in the first manifesto is to focus particularly on professional managers and to enjoin them in protecting the material universe. Where that starts and stops is anybody’s guess. The leap in the second is to broaden the focus to companies—and big ones to boot—and to enjoin them collectively as global citizens in protecting the biosphere; and, back to Schwab’s opening remarks at Davos, in improving the state of the world.

Improving the state of the world is like a team aiming to win a cup final. It comes from having the right systems in place. That doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s an essential prerequisite. The system of free-market capitalism has put trophies galore in the display cabinet. Got that perfect feeling that a rewarding future won’t stem from Schwab’s souped-up version of stakeholder capitalism, orchestrated by a global elite?  A miserable future? It’s happening. Covid diktats, soaring energy prices, power rationing, ESG, CRT, DEI; throw in rainbow flags, transgenderism, puberty blockers, regularising drug use, etc. Foretastes one and all. Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome.

Australians Go Walkabout on 'Climate Change'

Australia’s election is full of oddities and yet it has delivered a clear governing result. Labour will be the next Australian government either with a narrow overall majority or dependent on the parliamentary support of the Greens. Furthermore, it’s been carried into power largely on the back of green votes cast for several parties. And the pledge of the new prime minister, Anthony “Albo” Albanese, to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent in 2030 and by the full net- zero in 2050—will be a politically unbreakable one, at least for a year or two. Indeed, though there are still some 14 seats where the winner is still to be decided, none of these governing certainties will change.

What, then, are the oddities? The main one is that Labour won despite both having its worst electoral performance since 1934 and getting the lowest vote for a government in Australian history. That paradox is explained mainly by the fact that the center-right Coalition of Liberal and National parties lost even more support, getting its worst result since Australia’s federation was formed in 1901.

Votes lost by the two main parties went to independents and smaller parties in large numbers. Three groups in particular did well: the Greens who currently look like rising from one to four parliamentary seats; two populist conservative parties that between them scored about 10 percent of the national vote but have so far won no seats; and as my colleague Peter Smith pointed out in an earlier election report,  some former Liberal votes in urban areas went to “so-called Teal candidates”—i.e., independents allegedly blending Liberal blue and Green in their party colors—who are in reality left-progressives on every issue but oh, so, Socially correct too.

At the latest count, an Australian friend tells me, the Liberals lost six upper-middle class traditionally safe seats to these candidates. They were exceptionally well-organized and well-financed by a sympathetic green billionaire, climate activist NGOs, and investors hoping for greater public funding for renewables. They drew support from upper-middle class women voters in particular. And they helped to unseat Liberals by picking up the despairing second preference votes of Labour voters in upper-middle-class urban areas.

There are similarities between this successful insurgent campaign and recent election results in the U.S. and Europe. Left progressives have become adept at exploiting technical opportunities in election law and organization to favor their own voting constituencies, to create new electoral coalitions on key issues such as climate change, and even to conjure up last-minute new political parties when existing Left parties have discredited themselves, as in some recent European elections. They can call on the deep pockets of high-tech billionaires with progressive views. And their conservative opponents—notably the GOP in 2020—have been left behind, sticking with traditional fund-raising and campaigning directed solely to the next election when the progressives are investing in NGOs and tax-exempt social organizations that stay around long term and change the political weather in local urban and suburban communities between as well as during election campaigns.

In reality, despite the legitimate headlines about a “Greenslide,” this Labour/Green victory was in large part a technical knock-out rather than a change of national sentiment. It even seems likely that the center-right Coalition will end up with a larger share of the national vote than Labour. Liberal and National parties did well outside the big cities where these new political technologies have not yet really penetrated.

Those rural, small town, and outer suburban votes—together with the working-class constituencies that the Liberals might go after seriously for the first time if they were sensible enough to follow Peter Smith's advice—could be the basis of a Liberal-National recovery on an electoral and social platform from any before. It would be a recovery rooted in a robust defense of free markets and a science-based civilization against the neo-medieval puritanism of the Green revolution.

Such a recovery would not lack issues. Labour will never be able to satisfy the demands of its Green allies for ever-larger cuts in people’s standard of living, let alone their aspirations for a better life for themselves and their children. The “Teals” will soon discover that their own social standing depends on an economy that their quasi-religious attitudes undermine. Labour voters will be surprised to discover that saving the world means making everything poorer, meaner, and hotter too as their air conditioning fails in the Australian climate. Altogether, the Labour/Green coalition will be rent with increasingly rancorous disputes as the result of a remarkably unfortunate historic accident.

Australia’s conversion to hard greenery is arriving at the very moment when responsible people everywhere are realizing that the costs of orthodox Green climate policy are economically destructive and that the Russo-Ukraine war makes them strategically dangerous too. To use language that should be familiar by now: Net-Zero is unsustainable. And they’ve just embraced it.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Circling

I kind of can’t believe I am finally headed back to Davos after a two-year hiatus. We cancelled and rescheduled, and cancelled, and rescheduled, then moved location…and cancelled anyway. All because… don’t even make me say it—the dreaded you-know-what. All of which I found both maddening and embarrassing. Here we are, the smartest people on the planet… coming together to save the planet and… oops… let’s just cancel, and cancel, and cancel. Like schoolteachers saying there’s no need to teach. I know on this point I depart from my colleagues but let’s be honest; there isn’t a six-year backlog for Gulfstreams because we all sat home.

But never mind any of that… I picked up the slack. One of the projects of the World Economic Forum was to scale-up production of alternative protein sources… otherwise known as bugs. They had committed land and resources to this worthwhile endeavour—the proof of which was meant to coincide with our Singapore conference. But Covid had other plans and neither the conference nor the project got off the ground. Based on stories (with pictures!) from the WEF website, I had planned a series of high-end cocktail parties to introduce these mega-proteins to the glitterati. And only when I went to order, did I find the project had gone bust. It was a near-disaster, saved only by clever little farmers in Thailand and China who had apparently been farming and eating the critters for years.

Deep cleansing breath… and we move on. This year’s conference is so packed full of great ideas—I’m sure this is the reason I can’t get onto the website. I am needing to research because I am receiving one of the Schwab Foundation Awards, and all I can find is a news article saying we have collectively impacted the lives of 100 million people. Hmm. Impressive but truth be told I wanted to see how my picture looked on the site. Also I wanted to see just how many of the 100 million lives the other awardees have impacted.

Hostess with the mostest.

I surfed my inbox for the invite that praised my ‘dedication, and compassion to serve the most marginalised populations of society'. And then it hit me like a sock to the gut: how had I not seen that? The MOST marginalised populations?? Oh boy. Images of me on the cover of Paris Match flashed through my mind. St Tropez is only dwarfed by Monaco. Not exactly marginalised. This was bad. I rang Daddy in sheer panic.

"Yes, Jennifer’, he answered. "What—'

‘Never mind all that…’ I said. ‘I’m in a pickle, I’m getting an award for something I didn’t do’. 

‘Hmm. As a parent… imagine my shock’. 

‘Daddy!’ I yelled. ‘Not helping!’ 

‘Jennifer’ he shot back. ‘Helping! Anyway, what are you supposed to have done? I thought you were an environmentalist. Aren’t you saving the world every single day?’

‘Yes, but no. I’m a social innovator now’.

‘I see. So you’re a jobs creator then. Problem solved. But does it really matter what you say? The WEF offers so few details, it leaves little to oppose’.

Ugh! He had a point. ‘Okay, but we are the trustees of society’, I said, trying not to sound full-on wobbly.

‘Listen, sweetheart, call it what you like, but everyone over there has a planning mentality, and to those kind of people the natural order of the world seems irrational. So they will ram their ideas down our throats and into our policy but in truth, they often do the things before we need them’.

‘Which is a good thing!’ I said.

Saving the planet, one private jet at a time.

‘No', he replied, 'it’s a planning mentality. Flying came before airports. It could not have been the other way around, but if you’re Klaus, sitting around a table designing something, you might think you need airports first. Uber was meant to be a carpooling app… groups of people piling into a van to share one ride. But now we see Uber drivers actually need small cars that fit only one or two passengers. Some places are just now installing telephone cable—because they paid for it, and planned for it, but everyone is already using cell phones as cables are stretched beneath their feet’.

This was making my head spin. I had to ring off. Daddy had made some good points but I was committed to the planet, and to making a good representation for myself and my clients. Plus my dinner was served.

I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until I realised we were circling—some security issue and we couldn’t land. We had been warned security would be tighter than ever with a record $20 million being spent and more than 5,000 armed forces personnel on guard. The delay was something about safeguarding airspace that had us circling for the last hour. I glanced outside—it looked like an anaemic-airshow.

Just then my phone buzzed. ‘This is Jennifer’. I answered even though I knew it was my father.

‘Maybe delete your tweet complaining about circling for the last hour, sweetheart? It’s not the best look for the carbon-conscious…’

UGH!

‘You see? Helping!’ he said.

‘Yes, Daddy, helping. Thank you.’

'Disinformation' Tyranny Brooks No Debate

To give credit where credit is due, the recent announcement from the White House establishing the “Disinformation Governance Board” as part of the Department of Homeland Security did not actually utilize the terms “Goodthink” or “Ministry of Propaganda.” References to Goebbels appear to have been minimized as well.

It is clear that no one can possibly define what is purported to be potentially harmful “disinformation” unless one has the God-like ability to determine what qualifies as unquestionably truthful information and that this information is being used to reach unquestionably accurate conclusions.

That distinction is vital. Any collection of true propositions can be used to defend a flawed conclusion. It is true, for example, that a ball placed on a sloped surface will roll toward the bottom of the slope. It is true that the floor of most everyone’s home is not a sloped surface. It is true that a ball placed on the floor of most everyone’s home will remain in place. One can put those three truths together and conclude that planet earth is flat, not a sphere.

Looks pretty flat to me.

There are indeed people who sincerely believe that planet earth is flat and they use selected facts in a selective manner to buttress their argument. In a free society they are not only able to do so, they should be encouraged to do so. If the folks in power ban any discussion of a flat earth, more than one person is going to wonder why. If this idea is as ludicrous and unscientific as is claimed, why can not any person be allowed to examine the idea and bear witness to its ludicrousness? When a censor insists that something must be covered, it only increases one’s curiosity to discover what's under the cover.

It seems certain that former President Barack Obama has much more to do with this attack on free speech than the current occupant of the White House. President Biden appears as unlikely to create a board whose name includes a five-syllable word as he is to successfully pronounce it.

As part of a speech at Stanford University on April 21, Obama applauded social media platforms for their attempts at censorship. But, he concluded that those platforms do not and can not handle the important work of suppressing opinion by themselves. He claimed that while “…content moderation can limit the distribution of clearly dangerous content, it doesn't go far enough.” Six days later, the Biden administration rolled out the new Ministry of Propaganda. Coincidence? I think not.

Three words stand out in the former president’s statement: “clearly dangerous content.” There is certainly content on the interwebs that is “clearly dangerous” to general acceptance of outdated and fanciful ideas promulgated by the former Organizer in Chief and his party. There are certainly people who are “clearly dangerous” to the continued success of people who want to divide Americans based on appearance and identity and people who want to turn gender into an amorphous idea rather than a biological fact.

I suppose I myself must be “clearly dangerous” because I don’t believe that climate change is wholly man-made, that we can and should attempt to manipulate the climate, and that the economic and human cost of most of the schemes proposed to limit future use of fossil fuels is far too high a price to pay. One can and should accept the facts that carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas, that mankind is responsible for increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrialized era and that mean global temperatures, which have fluctuated throughout the industrial era, seem to have risen slightly in recent years. None of those facts, which I agree with and with which I am professionally qualified to evaluate, leads me to the conclusion that climate change is entirely man-made and necessarily catastrophic.

On the other hand, maybe it can.

Does my interpretation of those commonly accepted facts make me dangerous in Barack Obama’s eyes? Do similar interpretations by scientists like Roy Spencer and Judith Curry make them dangerous to Forty-Four? I suspect he thinks so.

From all I know of Barack Obama, he is what a colleague who served alongside him in the Illinois Senate described as “a nice guy, but an empty suit.” I place him squarely in the class of what I think of as the simple-minded scholars. These are people who have learned so much about so little that they have managed to disconnect themselves from objective reality and that great human instinct we call common sense.

This is not a new phenomenon.  Plato preached mysticism, while Aristotle was a champion of practicality. Plato imagined. Aristotle observed. Both philosophies have their place, but neither should dominate.

It has been nearly eight hundred years since Thomas Aquinas, that towering figure in both theology and philosophy, dragged the western world back to reality by its ear. Aquinas reiterated what should be an obvious point: if you see something, then what you’re seeing is what it is. If what you see is in fact something else, then the whole of Creation is kind of pointless, ain’t it? So let’s stop all this Platonic speculation about the nature of reality and simply accept that it’s real, that it’s God’s creation and that in revealing more of it, we get closer to our Creator.

In order to continue on this noble journey, more ideas are needed, not fewer. Discussions need to be open, not restricted. Ideas, even stupid ideas, even hateful ideas, are not dangerous. Actions alone are dangerous. The leftist conception that passionate expression necessitates violent action is simple-minded and offensive. It presumes a level of stupidity and subservience among the human race that should disgust us all.

In Barack Obama’s tiny world, Patrick Henry would have banned from speaking in public again after he dared to utter his defiant choice: “give me liberty, or give me death!” Fighting words do not, as the left seems to believe, necessarily or even frequently result in physical confrontations. They instead are part of battles that involve ideas. No one, and certainly no arm of government, has the right to intervene on that sacred battlefield.

'Green Energy' Unsafe for Birds and Other Living Things

Wind and solar energy technologies, which eco-religionists claim will save the planet from the ravages of capitalism and the destruction it supposedly causes, are culling endangered animals and wiping out their habitats. Michael Shellenberger pinpointed the problem with renewable energy in a May 2018 Forbes article: “If solar and wind farms are needed to protect the natural environment, why do they so often destroy it?” It’s a fair question.

Researchers looked at 23 endangered bird species killed at wind and solar outfits in California, according to “Vulnerability of avian populations to renewable energy production,” published March 30 in Royal Society Open Science. The study of the impact on wildlife of renewable energy, which requires more land than conventional means of energy production such as oil and natural gas drilling, was funded by the California Energy Commission, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the University of California at Davis. Hydroelectric dams were not dealt with in the paper, but the U.S. Geological Survey reports it is known that they “create barriers to fish migration and alter upstream and downstream ecosystems.”

The paper states that of the 23 bird species, renewable energy generation appears to have made things significantly worse for eleven, or 48 percent of them. Those eleven species “were either highly or moderately vulnerable, experiencing a greater than or equal to 20% decline in the population growth rates with the addition of up to either 1,000 or 5,000 fatalities, respectively.” For five of the eleven species, “killed birds originated both locally and non-locally, yet vulnerability occurred only to the local subpopulation."

R.I.P. tweety bird.

In the United States, anywhere from 140,000 to 328,000 bird fatalities take place per year at monopole turbines, but the real figure is probably much higher because, as the paper acknowledges, the estimate comes from data gathered a decade ago when installed capacity was only 57 percent of the current figure. Solar energy generation back then, when capacity was only 37 percent of the current figure, caused up to 138,600 birth deaths in the country, most of which took place in California.

California, of course, has an economic death wish – it’s betting everything on a utopian carbon-free future, the well-being of its human population be damned. In September 2020, the state’s Democrat governor, Gavin Newsom, who couldn’t even be bothered to follow his own pandemic rules, decreed that no gasoline-fueled automobiles will be sold in the state by 2035, the goal being to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, he urged that fracking be banned.

Encouraged by Newsom, anti-growth fanatics forced the state to mandate 33 percent renewable energy by 2020. Utilities achieved this early and now the goalpost has been moved to 60 percent renewables by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free energy by the middle of the century. Some California cities even want to ban natural gas heating and cooking in new buildings.

All this pressure to go renewable has to lead to more animal deaths as wind and solar generation expands. The Royal Society paper states that of California’s “23 vulnerable bird species studied (barn owls, golden eagles, road runners, yellow-billed cuckoos…), scientists have found 11 are now experiencing at least a 20% decline in their population growth rates because wind turbines and solar panels are killing them and/or destroying their limited-range habitat.”

Birds and bats are particularly susceptible to wind turbines, which nowadays are typically mounted on towers 200 feet high or higher with rotors spanning 150 to 260 feet, which means blade tips can reach higher than 400 feet above the ground. Rotors can spin at speeds from 11 to 28 rpm with blade tip speeds of between 138 and 182 mph, the U.S. Department of Energy reports.

Beware of barotrauma.

Birds tend to be killed directly by collisions with turbines, meteorological towers, and power transmission lines, and indirectly by habitat disruption, behavioral effects, drowning in wastewater evaporation ponds, and other causes. Bats are typically killed by collisions and barotrauma, which means catastrophic damage to internal organs caused by rapid air pressure changes. Migratory bats could go extinct if wind energy production keeps growing, a May 2017 paper in Biological Conservation argues.

The Royal Society paper states that photovoltaic solar panels used at solar farms convert the light produced by the sun into electricity via turbines. There are environmental tradeoffs. The 6,000 birds that fly annually into the concentrated sunlight beams produced at the Ivanpah Solar Plant in California’s Mojave Desert, are instantly cremated alive, leaving puffs of smoke behind to mark their passing. A large fence erected to keep endangered desert tortoises out of the plant made it easier for coyotes to prey on roadrunners.

According to a January 2008 paper in the Journal of Wildlife Management, about 4,700 birds, including golden eagles, are killed by wind turbines at California’s Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA). “Every year, an estimated 75 to 110 Golden Eagles are killed by the wind turbines in the [APWRA]. Some lose their wings, others are decapitated, and still others are cut in half.”

Led by California’s crazed, hardline push to get off so-called fossil fuel-based energy production and into "renewable" energy, commercial wind energy generation capacity in the entire United States has gone up almost 300 percent since 2009. The current installed capacity exceeds 107 gigawatts from about 59,000 turbines and is expected to rise to more than 160 gigawatts by 2030, the Royal Society paper states.

Solar energy generation has gone up 9,400 percent in the country, from 0.4 gigawatts in 2009 to more than 38 gigawatts in 2009. In the coming 5 years capacity may blow past 75 gigawatts.

This will take a toll on fauna. But that’s fine with environmentalists, who observe a hierarchy of values. Animals, especially those with wings, will continue to die for our sins as "renewable" energy expands.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Boarding

After participating in a disastrous environmental conference, I headed straight to my childhood home in St John’s Wood, only to find Daddy and Judith had gone to the country.  Granted they hadn’t expected me, but some notice would have been nice. It was just as well—I was frustrated with the way the conference had gone and just wanted a curry and a hot bath.

I woke up the next day refreshed, and decided to drive to Le Manoir in Oxfordshire and tuck into one of their eco-friendly suites.  I wasn’t up for any of their cooking or gardening programmes but I pinched some books from Daddy’s study and set off to arrive before lunch. 

The check-in process took an eternity. They are understandably proud of their Green Michelin Star, but I also had to hear about the 100% recyclable amenities, sensor lighting in the bathrooms, a state-of-the-art Rocket Composter, soaps and candles that get re-crafted by local seniors (re-crafted into what I did not want to ask!), and newspapers that are sent to Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital to be reused as bedding. Perhaps just a tad TMI?  I mean I don’t want to be thinking that my morning paper is going to be under some goat’s bum. As it stands I was just getting over learning that Prince Charles never leaves home without his favourite loo seat and velvet lavatory paper.

No green too Green for HRH.

In point of fact, all sustainability measures tickle my little green heart, but at £1,200 a night, I did not want to be thinking about their much-touted closed-loop waste system (whatever that even is!). I nearly had to shove the bellman out of my room to make it to luncheon before the cutoff.  Seven courses later, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Wine without meat (I chose the vegan) packs an extra punch. I made my way back to my room and flopped on the bed which felt like Egyptian cotton but at this point I was beginning to wonder.

I might have slept right through the day but my phone started buzzing as it usually does around this time. No sense closing my eyes… I was up. UGH. I grabbed my earbuds and dialled my father.  

‘Yes, Jennifer', he answered. ‘We missed you at the end of the conference.’

‘Yes I know, I left. Obviously.’ 

‘Obviously’, he replied.  

I was grateful he didn’t push it. ‘So I was thinking of joining a board… I mean, I’ve been asked to join a board. It’s a pretty big deal'.

‘How big?’

‘HSBC big.’

‘I see', he said. ‘Because you know so much about banking?’ 

‘Obviously no’, I huffed. 'Because I can contribute in ways that help them meet stakeholder capitalism metrics'.

Stakeholder capitalism: everybody's a winner!

‘But they don’t need you for that', he observed. 'They can just make things up without any input from you or anyone else'.

‘Ouch! Not nice'. 

‘Actually I’m being very nice', he said. ‘Generous, even. I’ve always supported your ideas, pointed you away from avenues that were not well-reasoned… but this is crackers'.

‘I don’t agree that this is crackers, but historically you help me do my job, even if you don’t agree with it'.

‘Yes, and I will', he said. 'But understand exactly what you are doing here. You are essentially the mob'.

‘As a board member??’ 

'No, as you—Jennifer—thorn in the side of corporations. You are saying hire us to give our opinions, and if you don’t we will hurt your business'.

‘It’s not as simple as that’, I insisted.

‘Actually, it is. You can confer no benefit, you don’t know that your beliefs will improve the company’s bottom line, you don’t have the ability to affect their performance or their profitability. What you offer, is extortion: Pay us or else'. 

He had a point. UGH. ‘Okay…’ I continued. ‘I’m not saying I agree, but Klaus says that global challenges amplified by the COVID-19 have made…’

‘Stop right there. Covid didn’t amplify. Governments amplified. Unprecedented restriction amplified.  And governments, and shake-down artists like Klaus, searched for and found ways to use a health crisis to address other problems. Not to mention previously unimaginable levels of public spending. I submit to you this unprecedented restriction and profligate spending is why they were able to sell it as a pandemic, and why from the very start, it seemed more dramatic than a health crisis—because it was'.

Your papers, please, comrade.

My mind flipped through my many chapters of Covid.  The lockdowns, the travel restrictions, the fear, the confusion, all the take-out food—crazy time. And not to mention the cancellation of Davos—three times,  when in truth  we were all getting on with our lives as best as we could… still flying… still… OK, he had a point.  

‘So Jennifer, I’m not saying don’t take the position—take it.  If you don’t someone else will, and I know you will be more conscientious than the next fellow, but make an effort to reign yourselves in, and not be pushed to sound like a complete nutter'.

 ‘Meaning?’ I asked. 

‘Meaning don’t assume you are right just because it’s what you want. The jump from shareholder to stakeholder was a very slick manoeuvre. And I believe when they realise all they’ve done is let the fox in the henhouse, they’ll want an accounting of every hen that went missing'.

Bright and early the next morning I rang to say I’d take the position. ‘Excellent', replied the woman at the other end of the line. Although she didn’t mean excellent. She asked about my 'additional qualifications'. 

‘Like banking?’ I replied. I mean, she had to know I didn’t know the first thing about banking.

‘No, no...' she said laughing as if I’d given the world’s funniest response to a question of qualification. ‘No, I meant, racial makeup—POC, or sexual identity'. 'As a qualif…’ I bit my tongue. Oh boy. She did mean as a qualification.

And just like that, I went from qualified to unqualified. Perhaps the shortest tenure of a board member in history.  

Drinking, Drowning From the Regulatory Firehose

Recently, I had occasion to speak with a friend who works for the E.P.A. He commented on the changes in his job under the current Administration using this phrase: “we’re being asked to drink from a firehose.” Within the context of the conversation, the meaning of his message was clear. It wasn’t a complaint as much as it was a compliment. Whereas the Trump administration had chocked down hard on the plumbing of environmental regulation, the Biden administration has opened the stopcocks as fully as possible. “Drinking from a firehose,” from my friend’s point of view, was a metaphorical way of saying that my friend would never lack for something to do under the Biden administration.

I do not begrudge my friend his choice of making a living, Nor do I begrudge him a particular world-view that may – in a particular opinion – place unintended and unearned weight on propositions I believe to be at least somewhat faulty. My friend may be right in part or in whole, just as I may be. My personal obligation as a member of the human community is to constantly and objectively re-assess what I believe to be the truth and to relate the truth as I understand it to be as clearly and concisely as possible, without resorting to personal animus, unless of course resorting to animus elicits a cheap laugh or two.

Broadly-speaking, Donald Trump’s political opponents in both politics and the press defined Trumpism’s attitude toward the entrenched bureaucratic class as both assault and battery. In the case of the government’s role in environmental protection, Democrats and their mainstream media allies essentially painted Trumpism in colors that were certainly not reliable shades of green, but were decidedly smears of a soiled, brownish hue. According to them, President Trump did not really want to restore some balance to the entirely worthy propositions of environmental protection and economic equity, which is essentially how he and his supporters defined their mission in these areas. Instead, the President’s opponents insisted that he was determined to sabotage the supposedly fragile purity of the environment in order to supposedly protect sordid, favored economic interests.

Trumpism, as seen by the Left.

When dealing with this and virtually any other part of what has become known as “the swamp” of the entrenched ruling class, the ultimate message of Trumpism is to say: “bureaucrats, know thy proper place!” Biden, or more likely Biden’s handlers, have replied with an angry, more defiant message: “Bureaucrats, assume Thy Rightful Place!”

What might appear at first blush to be roughly equivalent themes are, upon closer examination, not even closely related. The attempt to limit bureaucracy  to its most advantageous mode of behavior and no farther is simply about understanding the proper role of bureaucrats in an increasingly complex world. The attempt to make bureaucracy immune from censure is about surrendering the rights of the governed to the frozen, unemotional “wisdom” of a governing class. It's about further empowering power, not about monitoring the equitable and therefore wise distribution of power.

Truly representative government thrives from – nay, demands – challenge from within. This is common ground that bitterly-opposed political theorists like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were willing to cede to the other. Each was a towering figure who influenced and continues to influence the direction of this marvelous experiment of a nation in proportions that go far beyond the number of years they were citizens of it.

Adams foresaw a nation that relied upon centralized principles and authority. He believed that federalism (as then defined) was necessary to maintain a consistence of purpose that would in turn ensure its continued success. Jefferson foresaw a nation that relied upon decentralized thought and discovery. He believed that democratic-republicanism (as then defined) was a necessary perquisite to the survival of the Republic. What we now know as America remains essentially an amalgam of these contrary, yet complimentary, points of view.

What united Adams and Jefferson – until what was literally their mutual dying day: July 4, 1826 – was the revolutionary idea that it might be possible to create a system of governance that would allow the governed to retain some degree of power over those engaged in governing.

Adams tended toward the republican ideal of representative government, which demanded a certain standard of care among those privileged to represent its citizens. Jefferson tended toward the more purely democratic ideal of representative government that demanded no more of a representative than assurance that he or she continued to breathe. In hindsight, neither Adams nor Jefferson was wholly right, nor was wholly wrong. One can reach the peak of Everest via the Southern Col or the Northeast Ridge. Each has its perils. What really matters is getting to the summit, not how you got there. Though they chose different paths, Adams and Jefferson were united in their vision of their summit of representative government.

Ah, heaven on earth...

Our goal, as both the supervisors of our republic and those who are supervised by it, ought not to be so concerned whether the vision of Adams or Jefferson prevails almost two centuries after they've passed on. We should rather concern ourselves with the proposition that the intellectual heirs of both Adams and Jefferson have abdicated their responsibilities, turning over more and more power to faceless minions accountable to no one but themselves.

President Trump showed it was possible to drain at least some of the swamp, despite the fierce response that doing so elicited among many of the fierce creatures dwelling there. Sadly, the current administration seems to determined to refill it until we drown. We can, and we must, resist these denizens of the deep.