Body Snatching; Models; Australia; and Alberta
Also: Does E.S.G. stand for "Especially Sleazy Governance"?
In his Editor’s column this week, Michael Walsh notices the fact that the classic horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an able allegory for modern Leftism.
Elon Musk, after me the foremost scourge of Twitter, is much in the news these days. Not only for his high-stakes poker game against the unworthy likes of Parag Agrawal—an Indian immigrant with a bad attitude toward the First Amendment, doing the job (with a handsome pay package) that Americans just won't do—but for his direct challenge to the Wokerati whose private preserve Twitter, Disney, Netflix, and just about every other aspect of the culture have become. Naturally, the eccentric multi-billionaire immediately came "under fire," as the gun-shy media likes to say, for past sins real or imagined, and immediately turned the tables on his accuser in a way that even Bill Clinton never dared to do.
But as we've all learned over the past several decades, truth is irrelevant to the Leftist project, whose two-step program for fundamental transformation goes like this. First, posit a counter-factual. Second, act on it as if it were true while browbeating the bejesus out of your opponents. Lately, it doesn't matter how counter-factual or, indeed, utterly ridiculous it is: men can get pregnant, police should be defunded, and the "right" to an abortion can be found in the Constitution. The Hive Mind pushes these precepts and many more, and if you don't agree, then the only explanation is that you're some sort of racist or bigot, now the dirtiest words in the English language. There is no longer any such thing as dispassion, and the time for debate, disagreement, and rational discussion is over. Get with the program, comrade.
This is what happens when everything—sex, race, sports, politics, music, culture, pancake mix, butter, baby formula, religion, the nation-state, your Aunt Hilda—becomes political. Musk has, correctly, described such conformity as the "woke mind virus." Such a state of affairs is in fact the end-state of "progressive" cultural-Marxist thinking, which has substituted the permanent imposition of political correctness in place of what economic Marxism had initially anticipated, which in the words of Friedrich Engels was the "withering away" of the State itself.
The first act by virtue of which the State really constitutes itself the representative of the whole of society – the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society – this is, at the same time, its last independent act as a State. State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The State is not ‘abolished.’ It dies out.
Wrong again, Freddy! What the Marxists discovered after they sandbagged the first, anti-Tsarist Russian Revolution and replaced it with their own, is that the State and its coerced minions in private enterprise come in very handy if you're a power-mad atheist bent on cultural destruction and your own supreme power. It took 75 years of Soviet communist rule, the blunt-force application of a central-European anti-capitalist philosophy promulgated by a malevolent hobo and his rich benefactor, for the Russian people to learn the partial error of their ways. In the meantime, the State never died out.
The "withering away" of the State is in fact the last thing the Left wants, especially as the Great Reset dawns in Davos. Oh, the nation-state can go once they have captured its armed forces; after all, such outmoded concepts as a "nation" only encourage such nasty concepts as nationalism, which must be stamped out by any means necessary. The communist Left didn't win its prolonged struggle with its former ally, National Socialist Germany, to countenance allegiance to something at once both higher and baser than the abstract ideal of International Socialism. That the version the Left is currently trying to impose upon us looks much more like the fascism of the Nazis than the communism of Stalin is left unremarked. But hey—omelets and eggs.
Steven Hayward wrote about the wildly inexact science of climate modeling.
Just about every projected environmental catastrophe going back to the population bomb of the late 1960s, the “Club of Rome” and “Global 2000” resource-exhaustion panics of the 1970s, the ozone depletion crisis of the 1980s, and beyond has depended on computer models, all of which turned out to be wrong, sometimes by an order of magnitude. No putative environmental crisis has depended more on computer models than "climate change." But the age of high confidence in supercomputing and rapidly advancing “big data” analytics, computer climate models have arguably gone in reverse, generating a crisis in the climate-change community.
The defects of the computer climate models—more than 60 are used at the present time—which the whole climate crusade depends on have become openly acknowledged over the past few years, and a fresh study in the mainstream scientific literature recently highlights the problem afresh: too many of the climate models are “running hot,” which calls into question the accuracy of future temperature projections.
Nature magazine, one of the premier “mainstream” science journals, last week published “Climate simulations: recognize the ‘hot model’ problem,” by four scientists all firmly established within the “consensus” climate science community. It is a carefully worded article, aiming to avoid giving ammunition to climate-change skeptics, while honestly acknowledging that the computer models have major problems that can lead to predictions of doom that lack sufficient evidence.
“Users beware: a subset of the newest generation of models are ‘too hot’ and project climate warming in response to carbon dioxide emissions that might be larger than that supported by other evidence,” the authors write. While affirming the general message that human-caused climate change is a serious problem, the clear subtext is that climate scientists need to do better lest the climate science community surrenders its credibility.
One major anomaly of the climate modeling scene is that, as the authors write, “As models become more realistic, they are expected to converge.” But the opposite has happened—there is more divergence among the models. Almost a quarter of recent computer climate models show much higher potential future temperatures than past model suites, and don’t match up with known climate history: “Numerous studies have found that these high-sensitivity models do a poor job of reproducing historical temperatures over time and in simulating the climates of the distant past.”
What this means is that our uncertainty about the future climate is increasing. To paraphrase James Q. Wilson’s famous admonition to social scientists, never mind predicting the future; many climate models can’t even predict the past.
Here’s Christopher Horner on the whole hearted embrace of ESG by America’s banks:
In the last year, the cost of energy has increased significantly. Gasoline, diesel, and domestic electricity and natural gas prices are now past the point that many people can bear. The problem affects businesses too, including manufacturing and agriculture, with consequences for the wider economy, jobs and the cost of living. It has led to a new word, “greenflation.” Greenflation is harming those who, literally, can least afford it.
However, instead of discerning what is behind these problems, what caused them, what role the federal government had and what it can do to ease the problem, the government is simply blaming others and pressing on. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is not only in denial but serially insists that the problem is that the administration just hasn’t proceeded on the “climate” front fast enough.
This is governmental malpractice. But the perpetrators are not without accomplices. The investor class, and big banks foremost among them, share equal responsibility. One of the chief culprits is a pernicious and destructive concept called Environmental, Social, and Governance investing.
A 2016 email suggests that modern “ESG” began as anti-energy campaigning against financial institutions in 1999 focusing on hydropower, then morphed into anti-coal advocacy then soon expanded to opposing all abundant energy sources.
Bank of America seems to have been captured first, vowing to not finance hydrocarbon energy (beginning with coal). Freedom of Information Act litigation showed the bank's enthusiasm for the "climate" agenda. A senior bank official, Jim Mahoney, hired former Clinton hands as consultants to get the bank close to then-Secretary of State John Kerry with offers to sponsor as much of the 2015 Paris climate talks as it could.
Yes, financial institutions sponsoring treaty negotiations. More recently, FOIA litigation produced still more craven correspondence, this time to Yellen from, among others, Wells Fargo. In a March 2021 email to a senior Treasury official, former Clinton Treasury official turned Wells lobbyist Elisabeth A. Bresee laid out the bank’s “climate” plan:
I'm reaching out to share an exciting climate change announcement. Wells Fargo just announced that we're setting a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, including in its financed emissions, by 2050. Wells Fargo believes that climate change is one of the most urgent environmental and social issues of our time and, as one of the largest financial institutions, we are committed to taking action, including aligning our activities to support the goals of the Paris Agreement.
In recent years, we've made tremendous progress in meeting and exceeding sustainability goals in our operations, working with NGOs and other stakeholders on climate-finance strategies, enhancing our transparency and disclosure, and partnering to advance clean technology innovation, community resiliency, and green jobs. We've also put in place a strong foundation and processes for managing climate risk across the enterprise and accelerating sustainable finance in our lines of business, including providing financing for utility-scale renewables and clean technologies, underwriting sustainability bonds. and innovating in ESG-linked lending.
Our path forward includes five focus areas:
Setting a goal for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 2050.
Setting interim targets, measuring, and disclosing financed emissions for select carbon-intensive portfolios no later than 2022.
Further integrating climate considerations into the company's Risk Management Framework…
Launching an Institute for Sustainable Finance to manage the deployment of an additional $500 billion to sustainable businesses and projects by 2030…
The email closed by checking every box in the woke liturgy, about being—
committed to fostering an inclusive recovery from Covid-19 and to building a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.… includ[ing] supporting greater racial equity across our business and philanthropic giving and addressing evolving issues like climate change,” with a nod to the bank’s “clients and stakeholders.
This week, the bank announced it was demanding Paris-like emission cuts from companies it lends to.
This inherently conflicted, inane equivalence between and even preference for “stakeholders” (pressure groups and political interests) over shareholders and clients is, according to the Wall Street Journal, "using the ethical-custom concept to impose a progressive agenda on American businesses. It will have negative implications for investor returns.”
Yet the costs of this public-private tag-team are far greater.
Horner followed that up with a blog post on another prominent ESG skeptic.
Peter Smith contributed a blog post on the Australian election.
Anthony Albanese of the Labor Party has won the Australian election as polls said he would. While the convoluted compulsory preferential voting system will keep some results hanging for some days, it’s likely (as I write 24 hours since the polls closed) that Labor will gain 76+ seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives. And, therefore, will be able to govern in his own right, without the help of independents or Greens.
I’m queuing to vote. A middle-aged chap in a Kylea Tink tee-shirt approaches me. Do you know anything about Kylea Tink, he asks? Yes, I do, I say, she has insane climate policies. He reminds me of recent floods and bushfires. You mean like the ones we had in the nineteen thirties; I respond. Resignedly, he beats a retreat and moves on to the young couple standing behind me. More receptive ears. I wonder. How does a man of his age become completely delusional? Young things, OK. They know no better, and have been brainwashed on social media.
On reflection, judging by the overall election result, the weight of the voting population across all age groups has become delusional. A cultural degeneration, perhaps already in waiting, has been given impetus by "climate change" and Covid. Irony. Australia is one of the few countries to meet its Kyoto commitment. It has a covid death-rate one tenth that of the U.S. Unemployment has just fallen to 3.9 percent; its lowest level for fifty years. And yet…
Tom Finnerty looked into the surprising news out of Alberta, where Premier Jason Kenney announced his unexpected resignation.
Earlier this week Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stunned the Canadian political world by, first, winning a majority in a contentious leadership review and then promptly announcing his resignation as leader of the United Conservative Party.
The surprise notwithstanding, this does seem to have been the right decision. After all, Kenney had received just a bare majority of support -- only 51.4 percent, and this after he and the U.C.P. board had fiddled with the rules of the review while it was ongoing to make it more favorable to the premier. And there was precedent for his decision -- longtime Alberta premier Ralph Klein resigned in 2006 after getting 55 percent of the vote in a leadership review. It would have looked bad had Kenney insisted on staying in office after attracting less support than Klein.
It also seems like a wise move -- going in, poll after poll had Kenney's province-wide approval rating was below 30 percent and the party as a whole was polling behind the socialist N.D.P., whose win in the 2015 provincial elections was the impetus for the formation of the United Conservative Party in the first place. A return of Rachel Notley and the N.D.P. to power in Edmonton in next year's election could very well endanger the project Kenney has dedicated himself to since he left federal office in 2016, that of uniting the right in Alberta. Kenney's personal unpopularity could be temporary, a product of unfavorable circumstances, but stubbornly dragging his party to defeat would make him a pariah on the right in Alberta and beyond.
Rich Trzupek wrote about our out-of-control gas prices, the national baby formula shortage, and the lessons one could teach us about dealing with the other.
There are lessons to be learned from the baby formula shortage, though few of our elected representatives are clever enough or sufficiently industrious to be instructed. The biggest lesson is this: every time our elected representatives cede another portion of their constitutional authority to unelected bureaucrats, they weaken the sinews of our nation.
The price of gasoline is an obvious example. Prices at the pump have doubled and more since President Biden took office. This did not happen because there is any shortage of crude oil reserves or refining capacity. This happened because Congress knowingly granted unelected bureaucrats at agencies like the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency the power to override market demand for crude oil and refined products.
The choice to utilize that power or not then rests with the executive branch, aka: the President. Trump reigned in Interior, the EPA, et al. The result was that we did what Barack Obama tartly assured America we could not possibly do: we drilled our way to two dollar per gallon gasoline. Biden has given Interior, the EPA, et al. their head to gallop away and even applied a bit of the whip for good measure. The result? It’s a crapshoot whether your next fill up will set you back a Franklin, or just a handful of Jacksons.
How does this mindset, or rather lack of mindful attentiveness, lead us to the baby-formula shortage we face today? There are at least three reasons, all inter-related and all applicable to the production of most every vital resource domestically produced today.
Thanks for reading, and keep a look out for upcoming pieces by John O’Sullivan, David Solway, Tom Finnerty, and Matthew Vadum. All this and more this week at The Pipeline!