Delusions More Toxic than Covid

It's now just a few days before Joe Biden, the aged, doddering former U.S. Senator and two term vice president, is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. Donald J. Trump was impeached Tuesday, if that is the word for the truncated, evidence-free series of rants by Democratic congressmen on the floor of the House. No facts in were evidence. But a fountain of emotion far more toxic than Covid-19, spewed forth.

Rule of law has disintegrated into some mockery of group therapy in the American capital. One knows better than to ask if this is a function of female leadership. Perhaps it is. But many male Democrats appear to suffer from the uncontrollable rage common to PMS sufferers.  And Trump Derangement Syndrome has gripped them all. 

There's a silver lining to this appalling political theater.  Now, two months after our Third World style election marked by serious claims of massive ballot fraud, including voting by the ineligible and the dead, the inescapable reality has finally arrived. The millions of Trump voter who have entertained the charming but childish notion that an election victory stolen in broad daylight will be restored by some process, before the inauguration -- finally see that it is not going to happen.

Millions of Trump voters have been living with a mental process something like this: ‘You did this horrible thing to us. Everyone saw. The neighbors! The whole world. Surely you are going to admit it and give me back what is rightly mine?’

What -- no Krakens?

But when the entire establishment colludes to remove a president who threatens the profitable operations of the American political and corporate classes, the possibility of a fix in real time is a fantasy.  For most of us, as with any deception and loss, the longer one maintains a dream of justice and happily ever after, the greater the pain and suffering. 

Of course it is very hard to walk away from what we all grew up believing about "the will of the people," and the virtues of democratic representation itself, on which we base our understanding the social compact.  A "Great Reset" to Biden and socialism is bleak, so fantasies persist.

A stolen election leading to the destruction of half the country’s faith in our entire system of governance remains hard to process and accept.  For many it leads to talk of secession, and civil war -- which are not unreasonable if you believe you and your communities have been permanently disenfranchised, and the Constitution shredded.

Consider, however, the possibility that we have already lost that war.  That every institution with power or influence in our nation, is in the hands of the left.  That is the case, even apart from the question of ballot fraud, committed by software or local party hacks. 

Nor is it easier when our tech overlords decree that anyone who dares discuss the deliberately unresolved, barely investigated mounds of evidence that suggest a fraudulent election, is, per the Great (Social) Reset, going to have his social media accounts stripped, insurance policies cancelled, job offers nullified, academic posts and legal partnerships taken away, and a host of other acts of corporate and government destruction of life, liberty, and property.

The ‘social credit’ system, newly imported from Communist China, is coming down hard on anyone who questions the actions of our political overseers -- as has been amply demonstrated, to their shame, by the tech industry's "cancel culture," which has now spread to much of corporate America. Indeed, this has been the case for years for thought crimes in social matters, such as using pronouns associated with biological sex, not chosen "identity," or insufficient enthusiasm for the expansion of "marriage" to any two, or three, or more people. 

O Brave New World!

It sure was neat how last week’s conveniently timed violence at the Capitol, the origins and perpetrators of which are only now being investigated, and perhaps arrested, after a rush to pin it on the President's followers, pushed remaining serious questions about the election's integrity off the table? How the well-timed violence caused Republican senators and congressmen to decide on the spot not to question clearly illegitimate votes in their own states?  Another small reality reset: planned violence helped the narrative crowd out of having to explain away any contradictory facts.

This owes much to our nation’s current lack of a free and honest media, without which a free society can not trust information.  Instead, we are stuffed to the gills with propaganda factories working with partisan politicians. Which is why narratives – big lies -- of the sort that undergird totalitarian societies, have crowded out reality. Especially in a year when everyone was forced to stay at home, watching screens.

For conservatives, the worst narrative of all was Q-Anon, that great psyops that sucked the fight out of millions of patriots, who came to believe that Trump was playing and winning "three dimensional chess" against a gang  of pedophiles, and deep state holders of power. It will take a serious investigative reporter to unearth where the Q cult came from. Considering how the Q fantasy lulls patriots into complacence about "winning," I presume it was perpetrated by Trump's enemies.

So patriotic Americans can be forgiven for believing in the triumph of honesty and justice; that Trump would seize upon a weapon like the Insurrection Act, or martial law; that he would finally get an honest hearing for the suspicious vote tallies, and would serve the second term that he may well have earned -- as Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and other spokesmen encouraged supporters to believe.  (A question remains as to whether use of the Insurrection Act, to smash  BLM/Antifa during their looting and rioting last summer, would have led to a different outcome now.)

The beast that never came.

But the magic fix fantasy went on way too long. Late last week I watched a rational Trump supporter explain what actions need to happen to preclude the worst of coming Biden Administration policies. An ardent Trumper accused him of weakness for not believing that Trump would pull it all out and take a second oath of office. Just last weekend, I got an email from a Nevada GOP club insisting that Trump would triumph.

In life you should always fight to preclude a bad outcome. Hire lawyers. Spend what it takes. Preach. Trump did some of that. Not enough. Arguably he was blocked. You saw what happened to first-rate lawyers who worked with the Trump campaign. Some careers ended, others were merely threatened.

But when all avenues of victory are closed – accept reality. Retreat. Devise a new strategy. Change plans, tactics, strategy. (Not principles!) Be flexible. But always acknowledge reality. Being an adult means knowing when to fold ‘em, and find a different path.

Actually, it is a relief to dump the dual track planning, and the "hope against hope" that we will not be forced to again tolerate the odious, racialist, radical identity-driven politics of the Obama era. Get rid of the stupid foreign policy of losing purposeless wars of choice, genuflecting to Islamist dictators of impoverished nations, and kowtowing to the Chinese, who are our economic and political enemies. The Green New Deal, tool of economic control, hovers. The Biden/Harris/Obamaites are ready to bring it all back, this time full strength. They are radicals who aspire to soft totalitarianism, with no regard for liberty or the rule of law. Their “Great Reset” will make you poorer, colder and less able to support your family.

The virtue of accepting reality – even a bad reality in which illegal aliens flood our borders and get stimulus checks, and teachers unions destroy school choice, while social credit schemes limit individual liberty --- is that you can mobilize to fight it only when you acknowledge what is really happening. Blinders off, comrades. Clarity or death.

If At First You Don't Secede... Wexit

The idea of secession seems almost inevitably to surface in times of national turmoil, political disarray, ideological and ethnic pillarization and economic resentment. In the wake of the Great Fraud, aka the 2020 American election, there is a whiff of secession in the air.

Rush Limbaugh worries that America is “trending toward secession.” Texas GOP chairman Alan West suggested that law-abiding states should “bond together and form a union of states that will abide by the constitution.” Though he asserted “I never say anything about secession,” the implication was certainly present. Texit is in the wind. Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg) said “I am committing to file legislation this session that will allow a referendum to give Texans a vote for the State of Texas to reassert its status as an independent nation.”

Canada has undergone two secession movements originating in the province of Quebec, based on a founding schism between two distinct peoples—which novelist Hugh MacLennan called the “two solitudes” in his book of  that title—culminating in a clash between two legal traditions, Quebec’s Napoleonic civil code and the ROC’s (rest of Canada) common law, and two languages, French and English.

Two referenda were held, in 1980 and 1995, the second defeated by the narrowest of margins, 50.58 percent to 49.42 percent. It is hard to say if separation would have been a “good thing,” whether Quebec would have prospered and Canada grown more coherent. I would hazard that the first prospect would have been enormously improbable, the second at least remotely possible.

Sunrise in Calgary? Or sundown?

The independence movement is alive today, but in another province. Alberta, which is Canada’s energy breadbasket, has suffered egregiously under the rule of Eastern Canada’s Laurentian Elite, beginning in modern times with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s low-pricing, high taxing National Energy Program (NEP) in 1980, which devastated Alberta’s oil industry.

According to the BOE report, “Economic disaster quickly followed. Alberta’s unemployment rate shot from 4% to more than 10%. Bankruptcies soared 150%.” Home values collapsed by 40 percent and the province plunged into debt. The debacle has climaxed with son Justin’s Green-inspired economic destruction and effective shutdown of the province’s energy sector. Unemployment has risen to more than 11 percent, thousands of residents are leaving the province, debt is soaring and cutbacks have severely impacted daily life.

As a result, a potent secession movement, known as "Wexit," has gathered momentum and solidified into a new political party. In addition, the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta registered as a political party on June 29. Its platform includes asserting the independence of the province, redefining the relationship with Canada, developing natural resources, and creating a Constitution of Alberta.

After having increased the job-killing carbon tax during—of all times!—the COVID pandemic and lockdown that had already pulverized the nation’s economy, prime minister Justin Trudeau has announced he will raise the tax almost sixfold to $170 per tonne by 2030, thus breaking the Liberal government’s promise “not to increase the (carbon) price post-2022.” According to the Toronto Sun, “That will increase the cost of gasoline by about 38 cents per litre, plus the cost of home heating fuels such as natural gas and oil.”

And according to Kris Sims at the Sun, “Based on the average annual use of natural gas in new Canadian homes, it would cost homeowners more than $885 extra in the carbon tax.” Filling up a light duty pickup truck will cost a surplus $45 per tank, and an extra $204 for the big rigs that deliver dry goods and comestibles. But that “won’t be the end of the increased cost the Canadians will face, starting with a $15 billion government investment in other climate change initiatives.” 

All Canadians will be hard hit, but Albertans, who once fueled the engine of Canadian prosperity and who have the resources to do so again, will feel the provocation and injury even more profoundly. As Rex Murphy writes in the National Post, it is “the province that carries most of the weight, bears the most pain and has the least say in this mad enterprise.” The tax, he continues, will “injure the very farmers who have been stocking the supermarket shelves during COVID, put oil workers (at least those who still have jobs) out of work, increase the cost of living for everyone, place additional strain on the most needy and antagonize a large swath of the Canadian public.”  

Kyle Biedermann is on the money when he says that “The federal government is out of control.” This is as true of Canada as it is of the United States, at least with respect to the major agencies of government. For this reason, I support the secession movement in Alberta. The province has no alternative if it is to survive a faltering and repressive Confederation saddled with an out-and-out Marxist prime minister, a de facto alliance with Communist China, an infatuation with an unworkable and unaffordable tax-subsidized Green technological program, a $400 billion deficit, a national debt exploding past the $1 trillion mark, and, in short, nameplate disasters like Trudeau’s A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy cabaret. 

Alberta’s survival depends on restoring its energy sector to full capacity and shucking off the federal burden of over-regulation, crushing taxation, Green fantasy-thinking and unpayable debt. Murphy again:

This new carbon tax will throw a spike in the heart of the oil and gas industry. Keep in mind that it is but the most recent in a long string of policies designed to hamstring the industry, block its exports and drive investment out of the province.

For Alberta, it’s leave or die. Other provinces may eventually have to follow the same route as Canada disintegrates under the brazen incompetence and global-socialist doctrines of the current administration, with no relief in sight.

As oil executive Joan Sammon writes, Inexpensive energy is imperative for a thriving economy, manufacturing excellence, economic mobility, job creation and a future of prosperity.” Clearly, there must be citizen pushback against the economy-killing decrees of a myopic and virtue-signaling government. People must put pressure on their elected representatives to resist the deliberate dismantling of the free market that will cost them the life of material abundance and comfort they take for granted. They must rid themselves of their infatuation with leftist memes, policies and hypocrisies.

I have a neighbor, a staunch adherent of our high-taxing, socialist administrations, who drives across the border to the U.S. to fill up her car at around one third the domestic price of fuel. She remains oblivious of the cognitive dissonance that governs her practice. Such thinking and behavior are what qualify as ultimately “unsustainable.” 

It's now or never.

The industry, too, Sammon writes, “needs to take back control from the preaching class and remind them that their lifestyles have been brought to them by the men and woman of the oil and gas industry.” The “green zealotry” that drives their anti-market efforts will destroy Alberta and lead eventually to the economic collapse of the entire country. Alberta, however, is at present the only province with a robust secession movement and, given its resource-rich milieu and the independent character of a large segment of its inhabitants, the only province in a position to save itself.

In any event, the message to Alberta is simple and straightforward. If at first you don’t secede, try and try again. The Overton Window is closing fast.

Modern Monetary Theory Meets the Great Reset

Between 1930 when his two-volume magnus opus A Treatise on Money was published and his preparation of what became The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, published in 1936, John Maynard Keynes had a very bad idea. His very bad idea formed the core of this latter, and much more famous book. Simply put, Keynes’s bad idea was that spending drove an economy. This idea had been eruditely pilloried by John Stuart Mill in the nineteenth century and -- kaput! It was gone.

But, hold your horses, bad ideas are not so easy to be rid of when they appeal to specious reasoning.

After all, who doesn’t like spending money? Of course, we know that if we spend too much ourselves, we will get into terrible trouble and end up in Queer Street. But suppose it’s the government spending money and, to boot, giving some to us. And, at same time, so-called economic experts are explaining that this spending will cure unemployment. Now that’s a bad idea whose currency persists. I expect it to be around in perpetuity.

So dumb only an egghead could love it.

Human history is replete with bad ideas. Slavery, bloodletting, Operation Barbarossa to name just three of very many. If we are lucky only one or two bad ideas hold sway at any one time. We are not so lucky. I will canvass four contemporary bad ideas plaguing our lives; or, at least, the lives of those susceptible to reason. And show how they have coalesced to form one grandiose idea hatched in a remote part of Switzerland.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the promotion of abortion on demand, gender dysphoria and men in frocks playing sport against women, or iconoclasm, or national self-loathing, or trigger warnings and ‘hate-speech’ on university campuses. All of these, and more, are redolent of contemporary bad ideas too. But one runs out of puff covering them all. In any event, it is the four I’ve canvassed which lead to Switzerland.

Follow the logic below. It is a stretch. But since when has that been an unjumpable hurdle for the leftist mindset.

Green New Deals whether of the AOC variety or of the slightly watered-down Biden/Sanders variety or even of the Boris Johnson variety are, shall we say, on the expensive side. Lots of things to be done and so little time with the planet we know and love on the brink of extinction:

  1. Undermining reliable sources of energy (to wit, coal, oil and gas) while subsidising unreliable sources of energy (to wit, wind and solar).
  2. Chasing internal combustion engines off the road while building a whole new infrastructure to power electric cars.
  3. Refitting many thousands of buildings to increase their energy efficiency.
  4. And, lest we forget, somehow reducing the belching proclivity of farm animals; or, alternatively, mandating mass switching to veganism.

None of this will come cheap. This is where MMT comes to the rescue; whether it is called that or not. Required, à la MMT, is a carefree approach to government spending and borrowing; all underwritten by central banks keeping their money-printing presses (figuratively speaking) at the ready.

MMT -- it's fun and better yet, it's free!

And, in case you don’t see the next connection, lockdowns have already provided a trial run. Governments have borrowed and spent big to keep the ship of state afloat after crippling their economies and throwing millions out of work. Financial restraint has been defenestrated. It will be a much more sellable proposition than it ever would have been to spend and borrow still more to underpin economies (MMT / Keynesian-style) and, at the same time, save the planet. And that isn’t all.

The emergence from lockdowns to a greener future provides yet another opportunity. And this is to lift those whose underprivilege has cruelly held them back. To be fair, innately overprivileged though they are, poor white guys and gals are not specifically excluded.

If you haven’t already guessed, the coalescence of four bad ideas have ineluctably led me to The Great Reset – and to its goal of producing a greener, more inclusive, more equitable world. This latest manifestation of the utopian-pipedream genre was unveiled in May 2020 by the World Economic Forum, which is made up of rich people and notables, passionate about saving the planet from fossil fuels, who fly into Davos Switzerland from their mansions or yachts each year in their private jets. You sense they know that they could run things much better than the hoi polloi ever could.

Prince Charles together with Klaus Schwab, the chair of WEF, presided over the great unveiling of The Great Reset:

There are reasons to believe that a better economic system is possible—and that it could be just around the corner. As the initial shock of the COVID crisis receded, we saw a glimpse of what is possible, when stakeholders act for the public good and the well-being of all, instead of just a few... Rather than chasing short-term profits or narrow self-interest, companies could pursue the well-being of all people and the entire planet. This does not require a 180-degree turn: corporations don’t have to stop pursuing profits for their shareholders. They only need to shift to a longer-term perspective on their organization and its mission, looking beyond the next quarter or fiscal year to the next decade and generation.

Building such a virtuous economic system is not a utopian ideal.

Can a cacophony of four bad ideas produce a harmonious good idea? Maybe for those living in the Davos bubble. Not for those living in struggle street; white, black or brown.

Red Dragon, Green Agenda

The record continues to grow of China’s influence on Western institutions, which the Chinese deploy to advance China’s interests. Recent high-profile examples include ties to academic researchers who then lie about their relationship with Chinese underwriters, and agents for China serving as aides or fundraisers for, and, purportedly romantic interests of, elected officials. 

Author Rupert Darwall has specifically explored how China is using the “green” agenda to gain advantage over America, including through its influence with environmental pressure groups. Patricia Adams detailed this further in an early December 2020 report published by the United Kingdom’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). 

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Both conclude that Western green groups serve as “China’s propagandists” while turning blind eyes to China’s own environmental and human rights record which – according to the Greens’ expressed standards – would otherwise be subject to strident condemnation and pressure campaigns.

Instead, China is oddly praised by Western environmentalist groups. One wonders if this is related to the fact the groups require special approval from the state to operate within the communist country.

Darwall argues that, taking all of these machinations into account, the climate change issue has become “a national security threat – but not in the way the national security elite assumes.” That is to say, “For China, climate change offers a strategic opportunity. Decarbonizing the rest of the world makes China’s economy stronger – it weakens its rivals’ economies, reduces the cost of energy for its hydrocarbon-hungry economy, and sinks energy-poor India as a potential Indo-Pacific rival.”

For example, already, litigants in the United States have cited the Paris Climate Agreement as requiring judicial commandeering of energy and environmental policy from the political branches, leaving judges to decide what economic development may occur and how. This past summer, the U.K. Court of Appeal blocked major transportation infrastructure construction citing among the reasons that such projects are incompatible with the Paris commitments. 

As China cheers...

Expect more such mischief, via proxies for China, in the United Nations “Climate Conciliation Commissions” which await the U.S. if it “re-joins” the Paris climate agreement as Joe Biden vows to do.

This is one of many reasons President Trump should recognize Paris as the treaty it obviously is, by transmitting it to the Senate for the required “advice and consent” before the U.S. can be bound in any way.

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham Tweeted in favor of such a move, adding, “As currently drafted, the accord is a big win for China and India.” 

Graham had been silent on the issue even as President Obama showed “disturbing contempt for the Senate’s constitutional rights and responsibilities” by declaring an obvious treaty to be something he could commit the U.S. to on his own. Indeed, records obtained under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation show Graham – one of three original sponsors of “cap-and-trade” legislation in the Senate until it became obvious this was not in his political interests – was targeted by then-Secretary of State John Kerry as a possible supporter of the Paris deal, along with climate obsessive Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. 

No longer. China’s scheming has become too aggressive to further ignore.

Still other FOIA’d emails revealed dealings among Western greens and the Obama-Biden State Department, an apparent business as usual that is likely to soon resume. For example, one April 15, 2015 email, sent by the then-Global Director of the World Resources Institute (WRI) Climate Program to State Department officials, candidly stated the role the WRI played in assisting China to develop the post-Obama “climate” world in Washington, D.C.

Other emails show the Obama State Department leapt at the invitation to help the WRI help China, arranging team-wide conference calls and other follow-up.

In light of this and other revelations, in 2018 the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources sent two oversight letters to WRI and other groups including NRDC, from which Biden has chosen his domestic "climate czar" Gina McCarthy (letters since scrubbed from the website by the new Democratic Chairman). Investigators pressed for clarity on apparent contradictions involving the group’s claims about its relationship with the Chinese government, and how that impacts its political activities within the United States.

The Committee specifically referenced the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires anyone acting as an agent of foreign principals “in a political or quasi-political capacity” to formally report that relationship and all “activities, receipts, and disbursements in support of those activities."

Somebody's watching.

The green groups lawyered up with white-collar defense teams, the 2018 elections brought a new House majority, and the inquiries died. Still, one commentator observed that special counsel Robert Mueller “opened the door to more intense scrutiny of some U.S. environmental groups” by invoking FRA to pursue prosecution of former Trump campaign officials.

Given the influence these groups have in Washington generally, and particularly with Democrats, the precedent of invoking FARA to pursue all things Trump does not translate to pursuit of environmentalist pressure groups, as well, despite a clear record of involvement with, and even boasting of their ties to, China on matters of U.S. policy.  

The foreign-agents act, like other statutes, appears to be merely a political weapon, intended only for those who threaten “the way things work” in Washington. And among the lessons of 2020 is that the way things work in Washington, as in academia and other institutions, is under substantial Chinese influence.

The Green Covid 'Relief' Bill

On Sunday, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and minority leader Chuck Schumer announced that they had come to an agreement on the details of a second Covid-19 relief package. There had been a lot of public wrangling over what the bill should look like, with senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) calling for $1,200 payments to Americans to compensate them for the economic disruption of the government-imposed lockdowns, a provision which President Trump supported but which was ultimately thwarted by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.).

There was debate about whether businesses should be granted immunity from Covid-related lawsuits (to which the Democrats objected), and whether state and local governments adversely effected by the pandemic should be bailed out (to which the Republicans objected). In the end, after a number of compromises, senators were left with a neat, tidy bill which they could all be happy with.

Or at least, that was what leadership expected them to say. In fact, the text of the bill was more than 5,000 pages long, and wasn't released until two hours before it was to be voted on. For once, AOC is right:

Not reading it didn't stop Congress from passing the $2.3 trillion legislation by huge margins on Monday. To echo AOC's leader on another massive bill, I guess they had to pass it for us to find out what's in it.

That's exactly what we're finding out now, and there are quite a few howlers, from $10 million for Pakistani "gender programs" to the creation of a committee to combat performance enhancing drug use in horse racing. But the surprising provisions which feature the most prominently in the actual text of the bill are all climate related. This is from an AP report entitled "Congress takes aim at climate change in massive relief bill":

The huge pandemic relief and spending bill includes billions of dollars to promote clean energy such as wind and solar power while sharply reducing over time the use of potent coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators.... The energy and climate provisions, supported by lawmakers from both parties, were hailed as the most significant climate change law in at least a decade. “Republicans and Democrats are working together to protect the environment through innovation,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The sprawling legislation also extends tax credits for solar and wind power that are a key part of President-elect Joe Biden’s ambitious plan to generate 100 percent “clean electricity” by 2035. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware... said the bill would cut pollution from school buses, air conditioners, refrigerators and more, while creating thousands of American jobs and helping “save our planet from the climate crisis.″ “Make no mistake,″ he said, the new legislation “will soon be some of the most significant climate solutions to pass out of Congress to date.″

For all of the hand wringing over this being the second largest bill in American history, as well as attempts by  Johnson and others to trim down benefits to individual Americans, Republicans and Democrats conspired to shower taxpayer dollars on questionable and controversial green priorities which have nothing to do with the virus, without saying a word about it in public.

It's almost as if the pandemic is just an excuse to do whatever they already wanted to do to begin with.

A Test Drive for Net-Zero

Proposals for going green and hiking taxes—they seem to go together—rain down as gently upon us as leaves in Autumn. In Britain, as I mentioned last week, the Finance Minister, Rishi Sunak, is looking at new ideas to charge motorists for—wait for it—driving on the roads.

There will soon be s a $50 billion tax hole in his budget as a result of the government-mandated switch from gas-powered cars to electric ones by 2030. That date was moved forward from 2035 in a speech this week from Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his “green industrial revolution,” i.e., the U.K. equivalent of America’s Green New Deal that Joe Biden has been promising.

Boris’s speech unveiled a whole armory of exciting new green measures—summarized coolly in the London Sunday Telegraph by "lukewarmer" Matt Ridley as “all Britons driving electric cars powered by North Sea wind turbines and giving up their gas boilers to heat their homes with ground-source heat pumps. [Plus] He will invent zero-emission planes and ships.”

Are having fun yet?

Viscount Ridley suspects that not all the prime minister's hoped-for innovations will come to pass. As a strong believer in the importance of innovation himself -- his latest book is on that topic -- he thinks that we'll be happily surprised by some innovations by 2030, and we shouldn't take rash and expensive decisions that will foreclose those possibilities now. Equally, however, we shouldn't bet the bank on innovations that may never pan out despite our best efforts.

That's one cautionary truth. Another is that we can be pretty certain that these exciting new green measures Boris announced will likely bring forth a lot of exciting new green problems. Among them is that drivers won’t be paying the fuel taxes they pay now if they’re driving electric vehicles. That's why, to fill that budgetary hole, the finance minister is thinking to tax road use.

There must have been a hostile reaction to this leak because the next day the Times published a nervous follow-up:

Drivers would support a national road-charging system providing that it was not simply used as a “cash cow” by the Treasury, ministers have been told.

Of course, any new tax would be used by the Treasury as a “cash cow” if only because the U.K. is going to have to finance the economic effects of the lockdown one way or another. That’s a given. Also, governments like green taxes because they attract almost automatic support from green parties, pressure groups, and public opinion.

Road pricing has both green and attractive economic features as an alternative to other forms of taxation. As Dr. John Walker argues in his RAC Foundation study, On the Acceptability of Road Pricing:  It’s “technically successful; meets objectives ranging from managing congestion to raising revenue to fund road improvement; need not be prohibitively costly; and once in place, tends to gain public acceptance”

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As that guarded last comment suggests, however, it’s got some difficult features too. Switching from fuel taxes to road pricing is a problem in itself. Fuel taxes are simple to pay and to collect. Road pricing means that both government and the motorist have to install equipment to record the costs of journeys and to charge for them. It’s a more visible cost than when it’s paid as part of a price for petrol at the pump.

If the road pricing system is variable, moreover, imposing higher costs on cars sitting in traffic and lower ones on cars going along empty roads at off-peak periods, it will be more efficient, but it will also be more unpopular with the general public. Differential pricing of that kind makes economic sense because it discourages congestion and makes for more pleasant driving and less wasted time. But the public sees it as unfair because it penalizes those drivers who have to work regular hours and travel at peak hours, and they are often the poorer members of society.

And it’s being proposed at the wrong time. Motorists already feel under threat as many of the costs of Boris’s green industrial revolution end up being paid by them. If gas-fueled cars won’t be available from 2030 onwards, those owning such cars will find spare parts more expensive, gas stations fewer in number (and more distant), and gas prices higher. In the end they’ll have to purchase an electric vehicle if they want to continue driving.

Many of them—I’ve seen estimates as high as one-third of U.K. current drivers—will find buying an EV requires a serious financial sacrifice. Those who are unable to get a decent price for the resale of their petrol-driven cars will be in even worse financial straits. On top of these shock demands on their wallets, they will see the addition of road pricing as an intolerable extra.

It’s bound to provoke resentment among those financially hard-pressed drivers who find themselves paying heavy bills to use the roads that their taxes have already built in order to keep the economy moving today. That’s not entirely speculation. As the Times recalled late in the story: “The Labour government ditched similar plans for road charges 13 years ago after a petition attracted 1.8 million signatures.” Bringing in road pricing in such circumstances would risk a British version of the gilet jaunes suburban and provincial riots that have now lasted almost two years in France.

Coming soon to a country like yours.

Road pricing is not the villain in this mystery, however, though it may be the victim (murdered by numerous Acts of Government.)  The main super-villain, lurking in the background, is the decision taken with all-party support in Britain, echoed in similar decisions taken in Brussels and (shortly) in Washington, to aim for a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 which is both unachievable and certain to reduce living standards brutally. The lesser villain which is Son of the First is the decision taken by fiat of the present British government to switch to all-electric cars from 2030 onwards.

It is frivolity on stilts and bound to have terrible results: a hugely expensive electrification of Britain, power supplies nonetheless inadequate to cope with additional demand from EVs nationwide, electricity blackouts on a regular basis, increases in both taxes and electricity prices to pay for this transition, the spread of job losses in the industries that use power, etc., etc., in addition to the problems for motorists and taxpayers described above.

There is only one silver lining to this thunderstorm of clouds: when the policy of forced sales of EVs crashes into reality, it might compel the  Johnson government to reconsider not only that policy but also the larger futility of dragging down the U.K. economy and standard of living by depriving it of the cheap energy that most of the world will still be using.

Switching to EVs is a kind of test drive for the new kind of economic policy: not the betterment of the people but the moral preening of the elites. We'll see if the net-zero carbon economy has survived its first run round the track by, say, January the 1st 2031.

Green Pen, Green Phone

On Wednesday I mentioned that Democrats were disappointed by the failure of their projected blue wave to materialize. Their congressional majority has been whittled down to almost nothing, the best they can hope for in the Senate is a draw, and in the presidential race, the decisive rejection of Donald Trump they were hoping for didn't happen.

What's more, less radical (or more pragmatic) office holders, like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), have been arguing that the Green New Deal, along with other extremist proposals like Medicare for All and Defunding the Police, are the reason they fared so poorly.

But, of course, backing off on such proposals, which might make the party more attractive to actual voters, would alienate the leftist donor class. So what is the solution? Executive orders of course! Faced with a similarly divided government, Barack Obama proudly proclaimed that his administration was

[N]ot just going to be waiting for legislation.... I've got a pen and I've got a phone… and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions.

In various liberal publications right now, the details of a Biden administration's own climate-related "pen and phone" strategy are being hammered out.

To take just one example, in the Los Angeles Times, Anna M. Phillips has a list of five climate actions Biden can take immediately, "without Congress’ help." These include imposing California's onerous auto emissions standards nationwide; halting the issuance of new permits for fracking and oil drilling on federal land (a position Biden stumbled his way onto over the course of his campaign), as well as imposing new regulations on oil and gas companies operating on existing federal permits (decidedly not something he campaigned on); declaring a climate national emergency; and creating a "climate club" of countries who mutually agree to reduce carbon emission through carbon taxation.

On this last point, a club would have two uses. First, if all nations involved impose carbon taxes on themselves, none can reap the economic rewards of being a cheaper and easier place to live or do business. And second, each one can mutually agree to punish any other country that attempts to get a leg up on the others, "through trade measures such as tariffs" in Phillips' words. It is worth noting that leftists have already started making lists of countries they want to see punished in this way -- see this Vox article entitled "How Joe Biden could make Brazil his first “climate outlaw.”

By the way, if you're surprised to see Brazil as the highest climate priority, rather than mega-polluter China -- the world's second largest economy -- you'll be doubly so to read through article and see China mentioned as a potential ally against Brazil. This is as good a detail as any to demonstrate that this isn't really about the climate, it's about power.

So, while AOC's legislative Green New Deal might be D.O.A. in Congress, the Executive Green New Deal is rarin' to go. We will all suffer the consequences.

Beware the 'Green Energy' Narrative

In the face of the most historic collusion between political activists, mainstream media, and big tech, it has never been . clearer that not every narrative being foisted upon America is actually true. Narratives are curated and shaped to achieve alternative objectives ranging from things like confiscatory tax and regulatory policies for business to increased environmental constraints on the public to political advantage in all its many forms.

With the complete collapse of the media’s credibility and big tech’s manipulation and censorship of what one sees on their social media feeds, we must now be even more vigilant when scrutinizing the merits of the assertions made in the name of “green energy.” We must constantly seek actual truth, not accept fabricated facts describing a future envisioned for us by others.

Consider the climate change narrative around renewable energy like wind farms or the destructive forces of wildfires allegedly caused by climate change. Wind, considered the least expensive clean energy, is commonly referred to as the future of energy production. The storyline is that fossil fuel is evil, renewables like wind and solar are good. Good people obviously embrace the wind and solar vision while those that support the fossil fuel industry or related by-products are bad. It is considered blasphemous for meteorologists, scientists, engineers or other professionals to assert alternative perspectives about the voracity or plausibility of the green narrative. If experts reject the narrative they are labeled anti-science, or are professionally harassed or altogether canceled. Agreement is the goal, not truth. Facts matter not.

Ah, the promise of Utopia...

But on the stage of the "green revolution," right next to the dehydrated fruit and composting toilets, there are a couple irritating little facts that make the utopian green dream a little less… green or utopian. First, according to the U.S. Department of Interior, as many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans.

That’s right, humans, not climate change. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, downed power lines, negligently discarded cigarettes, and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning or lava. Do any of those causes sound like climate change?

The 2020 fire season in Washington, Oregon and California was no different. One of the larger California fires this season was started by electronic equipment that malfunctioned at a gender-reveal party. That particular fire was repeatedly reported in the media as being the result of climate change. Other fires throughout the state were started by lightening. In fact, it was California’s poor forest management practices that allowed all of the fires to grow out of control. None were because of so-called climate change.

Thanks to California’s failed man-made forest management strategies, there were no controlled burns and too much fuel vis-s vis downed trees, branches and undergrowth that California state officials had failed to properly remove, setting up the forest lands for utter destruction. Incompetence by government officials should never be substituted with climate change.

Next, there are the thousands of windfarms and the tens of thousands of blades that spin the turbines of these monster-sized windmills. The green narrative claims wind is the cheapest kind of clean energy. But is it really? Not only do the composite blades wear out, they are doing so at a faster rate than was promised to investors, municipalities and policymakers alike. This means that tens of thousands of these aged-out blades will need to be replaced worldwide.

Further, their massive size is outweighed only by their large carbon footprints from manufacture to disposal. Currently, these blades can be used for nothing else after removal. They will literally lie forever in the landfills in which they are disposed.

There are some 8,000 blades per year for the next four years slated to come down in the U.S. alone. The municipal landfill in Casper, Wyoming, will be the final destination of 870 defunct blades, some of which are longer than the wing of a Boeing 747 jet. The other landfills where these blades are laid to rest are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Lake Mills, Iowa. The days of these blades generating renewable energy came to an early end and now their only role is to take up large swaths of acreage at a landfill in otherwise beautiful states. Many will agree that an outcome like this requires one reframe the narrative that environmental stewardship is being achieved by using wind to generate electricity.

But the maintenance isn’t the only issue with these metal monsters. There are a slew of problems now evident that make windfarms far less ideal than the green narrative would have us believe. Not only are the old blades not recyclable, maintenance costs for wind farms are also high relative to their output.

It also turns out that wind is an erratic source of power and as such, according to a recent Harvard study, will require five to 20 times more land to sufficiently scale for the needed power generation into the future. Windfarms are also esthetically glum, quite dreadful against any landscape whether onshore or off-shore. And it turns out, windfarms are dangerous to birds, having created a change in migratory behavior in multiple species. All this while also interfering with weather radar.

Ugh... the reality of Dystopia.

Windfarms also create micro-climates that may be creating conditions in which grass fires are more common and larger in some western states by increasing temperatures and effecting relative humidity.

Perhaps most significant of all, is the issue of infrasound and low-frequency noise (ILFN). Experts and researchers now confirm that the spinning blades create a constant low frequency noise that engulfs homes and rural areas near where these windfarms are built and can cause an array of health symptoms for those living proximal (within approximately 18 miles) to the windfarms. Symptoms range from sleep disturbances, dizziness and headaches, to panic attacks and depression.

So while the public is constantly beaten about the head with the green narrative that it is saving the planet, it would behoove the oil and gas industry to go on the offense and begin to shape its own narrative about its  positive impact on the global economy, job creation, and U.S. energy independence. If not, thanks to a lack of narrative storytellers, fossil fuel will be written out of its own future. And that future is very bleak indeed. 

What’s Behind The Green Door?

Looking up environmental sources under the variable heading “Green,” I came across a reference to a 1956 pop tune, “Green Door,” which had soared to the top of the hit parade charts. The question it posed was, “what’s behind the green door” and the answer it gave was a boisterous group of party animals who “laugh a lot” and whom the singer wished desperately to join: “All I want to do is join the happy crowd behind the green door.” The song’s open sesame “Joe sent me” didn’t cut any ice since “hospitality’s thin there.” The correct password, proleptically speaking, would have been “Al sent me.” After all, Al Gore has sent so many people through the green door that a vast new edifice has become necessary to house the “happy crowd” that grows by the day.

True, the Greenies by and large cannot be portrayed as a merry band of revelers. They are generally earnest and forbidding to a fault, self-righteous and censorious. They don’t laugh a lot and are certainly not a perky, convivial crowd. They are proud of their ostensible bona fides and redemptive proclivities as Mother Nature’s savior and mankind’s conscience. Many of the Greenies are academics draped in diplomas which they take as an infallible sign of prescient wisdom, but are really of no more value than ink stamps that allow them into the club.

Still, this is not the issue. The issue is that, competent or incompetent, charlatans or believers, they find the party too good to pass up. They want in and they want to stay in, even at the risk of eventually bringing their credentials into disrepute. The perks, awards, government subsidies, academic fellowships, scientific laurels, corporate subventions, endowments and research grants just keep rolling in to keep the party going. And the green door has swung wide open to welcome the climate beneficiaries while it remains shut tight to the uninvited. Hospitality’s thin there.

As the song puts it, “they play it hot behind the green door.” According to Green lore, the earth is warming catastrophically. Oceans will rise. Polar bears will soon become extinct. Snow will cease to fall. Greenland will melt. The Himalayas are puddle-bound. Land and sea will be despoiled by pipeline spills. Whole populations will starve. The world will come to an end if we don’t change our habits of consumption and our expectations for a viable and prosperous future. Only wind and solar can save us from the looming eco-apocalypse.

Get mean, think Green.

That’s the party mantra. If we ignore the portents, then one thing is certain. The end is nigh!

Predictive failure does not deter ideological zealots. A disaster must arrive someday to confirm their forecast and justify their program for salvation. It matters little if their timetable is off by ten, twenty, or a thousand years since, under the aspect of eternity, a cataclysm is bound to happen in seculae seculorum. The mathematics can always be redone in the light of a grisly but accommodating future to which only they have privileged access. It is they who stand before the burning bush of the world and hear the voice of the Lord. For this pixilated mentality, being wrong over and over is a sure sign that they will be right once. The end-of-the-world fanatics merely keep revising their calculations, relying on a new revelation to perfect their reckoning and reinforce their delusion. They have managed to turn science into divination.

The problem is that wind and solar don’t work as they should or are projected to. The reason for many of the failures in green energy-production companies—Spectrawatt, Ener 1, Abound Solar, Solyndra,  etc.—is simple. As noted environmental consultant, author, and Pipeline contributor Rich Trzupek, author of How the EPAs Green Tyranny is Stifling America, explains, the energy density of convertible wind and solar is risibly low and dispersed, which renders green, electricity-generating power plants, whether large or small, “the most inefficient, least reliable, and expensive form of power we have.” As Trzupek jestingly remarks, “‘climate change’ is a figment of a computer’s imagination.” 

But this has not prevented the climate models from becoming the Authorized Version. The Global Warming meme continues to circulate in defiance of accumulating evidence to the contrary, which leads one to wonder who the real “deniers” are. “Warmist” foundations and nonprofits are determined to continue issuing environmental fatwas, in particular to tie up state-of-the-art, economically productive oil pipelines in endless litigation, impacting national revenues and costing hundreds of thousands of jobs, as well as innumerable spin-off markets and enterprises. 

Unsightly government approved wind farms are killing birds in hecatombs, disfiguring the landscape, leading to wildlife habitat loss, polluting the soil and ground water, adding steeply to electricity bills and literally driving people crazy (Wind turbine Syndrome). Government and industry supporters of solar panels base their projections on the presumed success of the German solar model. But the German wind and solar experiment is tanking fast. It may soon become obsolete and is gradually being wound down.

With respect to solar, researchers at Utah State University have found that solar power “cannot sustain itself in the energy market… it is intermittent, inefficient and cannot meet demand,” as is also the case with wind. Mandates and subsidies cannot save these faltering industries. Pipedreams are no substitute for pipelines. Solar alchemy is as embarrassing as breaking wind.

None of the renewable proposals are feasible. The physics limit for wind turbines (the Betz limit) is too puny for anything but computer games. The same is true of the physics limit for solar cells (the Shockley-Queisser limit). Moreover, wind and solar function only when nature permits, which renders them unreliable. Even lobbying sites like iea wind (the Internet is awash with viridian proclamations) cannot hide the variability factor in wind and solar production. As Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute concludes, “[T]he physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically ‘new energy economy’ in the foreseeable future.”

It’s time to face the truth. The global warning refrain is now a tiresome tune being played on an “old piano,” though they’re still “playing it hot.” The song concludes with the question: “Green door, what’s that secret you’re keeping?”

The secret is that demonizing traditional forms of energy extraction and application has become a recipe for economic debacle. The secret is that carbon is not a malefic agent but a chemical miracle that actually greens the world. Finally, the secret behind the green door is that some of the party-goers are surely aware that their testimony is spurious, but the party is just too good to leave. That’s a secret that must remain secret. 

The Year the Lights Went Out in California

A famous definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. California energy policymakers have been monomaniacal about imposing the “climate” agenda. California is presently imposing rolling blackouts due to a shortage of supply, for the second time in less than a year. Energy crises there are not infrequent, and policymakers only press for more in the wake of the havoc this wreaks.

The insult to their own self-inflicted injuries is the demand that the rest of the country suffer under it, as well. Call it the “Green New Deal” though, like most flops, it has already been re-branded, as “Net Zero.”

The climate agenda is not an agenda that claims it will impact the climate, so let’s get that out of the way up front. “Climate,” in policy terms, means imposing energy scarcity. 

This is done through price rationing – recall a presidential candidate boasting to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket… because I’m capping greenhouse gases”? The key word wasn’t “skyrocket,” it was “necessarily.” It’s a feature of climate policy, not a bug. Call it a way to force seniors and the poor, indeed anyone on a low or fixed income, to choose between heating and eating.

It is also done through rationing the actual physical supply of reliable sources of electricity, known as “dispatchable” sources, i.e., whose production can be sent where it’s needed, when it’s needed. The combination leads to “energy poverty” for some, and blackouts for all. 

California’s problem is elementary and one that dogs all “green”-obsessed jurisdictions. In short, each state must have the capacity at all times to produce (or arrange for the importation of) enough power to run its needs. It can dial the dispatchable power down as renewables get into the mood of pitching in, and dial it back up when they stop (say, when the wind ebbs or sun goes down). 

That’s wasteful and inefficient of course, but the agenda creates perverse incentives – build expensive redundancies to meet mandates and with a guaranteed return of investment, but don’t replace or even maintain older, working equipment. Rent-seeking utilities have supported it because the system encourages them to lobby for more new construction with a guaranteed return on investment. The more expensive and redundant, the better! 

So, California is not building dispatchable capacity, and instead is prematurely forcing closure of both nuclear and gas plants while mandating renewables and expensive battery storage, which at the scale required is not realistic. In fact, we are seeing again how grossly irresponsible it is. 

True, one small power plant failed and another was unavailable because it had been put out of service – coherent systems are designed with the understanding that a certain portion of supply will be off-line at any given time. That is, one ensures power reserves. But California has closed its margin for error in response to anti-nuclear and climate change hysterias.

Not long after the October 2019 rolling blackouts, a report commissioned by the beleaguered utility PG&E, obtained under California’s Public Records Act by the Wall Street Journal, predicted that the frequency of these backouts would double over the next 15 years and then double again in the next 15. Also in 2019, California’s Public Utilities Commission warned of shortages as early as 2021 on hot summer evenings. The Journal editorial page gave credit it where it’s due.

That day has arrived a year early. Congratulations to Democrats for beating their own forecasts.

Michael Shellenberger is a former candidate for governor of California who ran largely on the insanity of the state’s man-made energy policy disaster. Reminiscent of the old joke, waiter, the food was horrible, and the portions too small, he notes that “California saw its electricity prices rise six times more than the rest of the United States from 2011 to 2019, due to its huge expansion of renewables.”

This dangerous misery is inarguably the result of misguided policies. Whether this agenda is cruel by intent or merely some condition like the aforementioned definition of insanity, its practitioners show no signs of learning from their own debacles. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris each have sworn fealty to imposing this on the rest of the country.

They do so in the name of the climate, of avoiding more deaths from heat by imposing policies no one actually claims will impact the temperature – but which are shown to increase risk of death not only from heat stroke, but massively increase deaths from hypothermia. These deaths are mostly among seniors, the same demographic ravaged by reckless policy responses to Covid-19 (which also were grounded in worst-case – i.e., least likely – computer-modeled projections).

It’s past time for rational Democrats to stand up to the radical environmentalist wing of their party. Republican must free themselves from the rent-seeking lobbies of utilities and renewables “investors” (actual investments require risk, not guaranteed welfare). Those are the two halves of the Bootleggers-and-Baptists coalition enabling the Climate Industrial Complex.

Policymaking is full of the Noble Lie, the cynical understanding that the public will accept this or that policy so long as it’s to avert catastrophe -- take the government-imposed restrictions attending the Wuhan virus, for example. But as the social costs of energy rationing increase, including the disgrace of a butcher’s bill from energy poverty, it is difficult to argue that the Noble Lie of climate policy is not the most ignoble of them all.