Discover more from This Week at The Pipeline
Erasing the Constitution; Green Lawfare; & California: the Land of Tomorrow!
Michael Walsh’s Editor’s Column this week was on the American Left’s uncomfortable relationship with the U.S. Constitution.
Today, the attack on the Constitution is fiercer than ever. Leftists formerly known as "liberals" have all but abandoned their support for the First Amendment's provisions of freedom of religion, speech, and assembly, especially since such safeguards are no longer useful to them in their charades of patriotism; the Second Amendment, meanwhile, they've always hated. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments they view as nugatory and, soon enough, they'll be advocating the repeal of the Third, although their plan is not to force soldiers into citizens' home but "asylum" spoofers, economic "migrants" and outright infiltrators.
The Bill of Rights' provisions against unreasonable search and seizure, of course, have long since been abandoned, and the Fifth's protection against self-incrimination will be gone as soon as the show trials get underway in earnest once full criminalization of such transient causes as "misgendering" and "pronouns" get enshrined in the penal code by their legions of lawyers. And ask the January 6 defendants, currently moldering away in the Garland Archipelago, what they think of the Sixth's right to a "speedy and public trial," to know the identities of their accusers, trial by an impartial jury, and the Eighth's prescriptions against excessive bail and "cruel and unusual punishment."
One might think that Joe Biden's deliberate and willful demolition of the country's borders and his practical dissolution of the country's territorial integrity (in effect, one of the charges against Burr) might qualify as treason, but apparently not; after all, as his puppet master Barack Obama -- the man who himself ruled via pen and phone -- likes to say, "that's not who we are."
And so the Revolution proceeds by steps, and the frog gets comfortable boiling to death. We've now just seen an elected governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, unilaterally nullify both the Second Amendment and recent Supreme Court rulings by suspending gun rights in the spurious name of a "public health emergency" following the shooting death of a child in Albuquerque. “I welcome the debate and the fight about making New Mexicans safer,” she said.
Well, now she has it. Lawsuits are flying and, amazingly, even some on the Left have come out against her breathtaking presumption. "I support gun safety laws," wrote lefty congressman Ted Lieu on Twitter. "However, this order from the Governor of New Mexico violates the U.S. Constitution. No state in the union can suspend the federal Constitution. There is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution." New Mexico police have said they won't enforce the order. Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis got it just right:
Just a few months after ending the COVID 'public health emergency,' the Governor of New Mexico has declared a new 'public health emergency': Guns. She is now asserting the power to infringe on Second Amendment rights by executive fiat. This assertion is not surprising — since 2020, 'public health' has become a pretext for depriving citizens of civil liberties and trampling on our Constitutional rights. It ends when I am President. Your 2nd Amendment rights SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.
Grisham will be forced to back down, and this enormity should be the end of her political career. But she's just the canary in the coal mine; "emergencies" -- whether real or, usually, imaginary -- have now become the all-purpose Leftist response as they seek the installation of their policy prescriptions by fiat or force majeure. Climate emergencies, mental-health emergencies, gun-violence emergencies, MAGA emergencies. Never forget that their motto is "by any means necessary."
The most troubling thing about Grisham's action, however, likes not in the "temporary" proscription against carrying firearms in Bernalillo county but in her insouciant attitude toward the U.S. Constitution.
And last week our fearless editor’s column came out after the Labor Day edition of this newsletter was released. So if you missed Michael Walsh’s column last week, here it is:
New contributor Brandon Weichert wrote a piece about “green” energy and American decline.
The United States has begun an historic shift away from reliance on traditional fossil fuels to meet its massive energy needs to relying on what the scientific community and Administrative State describes as "clean energy." Wind and solar power are two of the biggest purportedly "clean" energy production technologies that the U.S. government favors. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), about 41 percent of all American energy came from these "clean" sources in 2022-23.
The WEF anticipates that, thanks to the policies of the Biden administration, the country will continue shifting to a greater reliance on "clean energy" over the next decade. What neither the WEF nor the Left-wing proponents of this transition will dare to mention is the cost involved, and how ordinary American workers will be made the bear the brunt of those costs.
In recent years, the Biden economy has been a sclerotic disaster involving a cost-of-living that has been far higher for most ordinary Americans. The administration has blamed those costs on the supply chain disruptions caused by the onerous lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 as well as the Russo-Ukraine War. What is often left unsaid, though, is that the Biden administration's exorbitant spending has contributed mightily to the abnormally high inflation rate the country has experienced in the last three years (and the subsequent raising of national interest rates by the Federal Reserve to combat the high inflation rate).
Last year, the administration and its Democratic Party allies in Congress authorized nearly $5 trillion in additional government spending as part of the party's push to revitalize America's infrastructure. Forcing Green energy on the American people via the spending bill was a large component of that push. These Green policies, more than anything, have added to America's financial woes in the last three years.
With those new Green policies will come generally higher costs on all products for average Americans as well. It will also likely mean that whatever "Green jobs" are created, they will not be plentiful enough to replace the old industrial jobs are eradicated by the transition. Further, in order to create those Green jobs, the U.S. government will have to splurge billions of tax dollars in order to get those industries going. In the current economic environment, that would be highly debilitating to ordinary Americans, who are already feeling the economic squeeze because of profligate government spending.
California, the fifth-largest economy (in GDP terms) in the world, has pioneered the transition away from "dirty" fossil fuel energy production to "clean" sources. California, however, is the canary in the Green New Deal coal mine for the United States. Once the pinnacle of the middle-class American dream in the mid-twentieth century, 50 years later, because of short-sighted Democratic Party policies, California is a socioeconomic wasteland of significant wealth disparity.
The bourgeoise liberals who run California think nothing of the costs to ordinary Californians that their virtue-signaling fantasies of a California (and, eventually, an America) run entirely by wind and solar power will entail. Whatever makes them feel good about their own conspicuous consumption--without actually having to pay a price for their delusions, of course.
One of the many horrible ideas that California's Democratic Party Governor Gavin Newsom has foisted upon the Golden State was his proclamation that by 2035, the state will ban all new gas-powered vehicles. At the same time, any new SUVs and pickup trucks sold in California between now and 2035 will have to produce zero tailpipe emissions. All this will do is make cars nearly unaffordable for most Californians. For the record, California is one of the most car-dependent states in the country.
Peter Smith contributed a piece on Australia’s energy future.
The Australian government periodically issues an ‘intergenerational report’ which purports to be able to see 40 years into the future. The latest iteration came out just last month. It’s a political document and therefore useless. Though, to be fair, any report which attempts to predict what any part of the world will look like four decades hence has to be taken cum grano salis.
The first of these intergenerational reports was issued in 2002. Australia’s population was forecast to reach 25 million by 2040. It is already past 26 million. As Niels Bohr said (or was it Yogi Berra?), “it’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” And, of course, that 2002 report, just twenty or so year ago, was not suffused with bafflegab about the transformation to net-zero. Nor did it predict that the world’s politicians would devise kamikaze-like attacks on hydrocarbon fuels.
Surprisingly and modestly, the current report, in all of its turgid 290-odd pages, makes no mention of Australia becoming a "renewable energy" super power. Never mind, "climate change" minister Chris Bowen is less self-effacing. And what seems to be a clear take away is that Australians will be the richer for the threatening climate Armageddon. Yes, it will cause all kinds of horribly hot weather which might restrict toiling outdoors on midsummer days (Christmas in Oz, remember). To wit:
Australia’s industries will experience different labour productivity impacts due to rising temperatures, reflecting their reliance on labour for production and occupations that are physically intense and undertaken outdoors.
But workers suffering from heat stroke is just the imagined downside of "climate change." There is a much bigger imagined upside. To wit:
With abundant wind, sun and open spaces, Australia can generate renewable energy more cheaply than many countries and on a greater scale… additional technological development could lead to exports of energy-intensive green metals, and electricity through undersea cables and hydrogen.
Thus will the world come beating at Australia’s door begging for some of our wind and solar energy. For example, I can imagine Indonesia running a 1,700 mile undersea cable from Jakarta to Darwin to grab Australia’s clean green electricity. You can’t? What are you an irredeemable denialist or, something even worse, a realist?
I recall the actor Michael Caine in an interview saying “use the difficulty.” So, if you trip on stage make something positive of it. He extended the thought to life in general. It’s positive way of approaching things. But it has its limits. We can all think of things happening which can’t easily be turned to the good.
Plentiful, easily extractable, well-located, brown and black coal gave Australia a competitive advantage in producing cheap electricity. It’s delusional to think that abandoning that competitive advantage will prove to be beneficial. Sure, there is an advantage in having some of the minerals required by China et al. to build vast numbers of batteries and electric cars; but the sun, wind and open spaces are hardly scarce and sellable resources.
Clarice Feldman wrote about the present scourge of environmentalist lawfare.
Creating irrational fears of a "boiling" earth; melting glaciers and catastrophic rises in sea levels; endorsing the mistaken belief that government can protect us from such fantasized climate dangers coupled with the notion that mandating premature and unrealistic technological advances will make these “dangers” magically disappear lies at the heart of the Left’s "climate change" fairy tale.
Indications are that most people are no longer falling for this. True, the American Congress has supinely gone along with subsidizing inefficient and expensive alternatives to conventional energy production, but as people here and in Europe are experiencing the actual costs of indulging this make-believe, it is becoming ever more difficult for governments the world over to continue to manipulate and make more costly this critical need – energy – that capitalism provides so cheaply and abundantly. In polling, Americans rank "climate change" far down their list of concerns, after the economy, inflation, crime and immigration, all issues which have been poorly managed by the Biden White House.
I’m in agreement with George Gilder, who said:
What governs economics and flourishing is human creativity. Innovation and growth are capitalism’s infinite promise…. Look around at the super abundance that’s been created in the world in the last 250 years. Billions of people have been lifted out of poverty and are living longer healthier lives. All these good things that are happening will keep happening if we simply keep what are essentially Marxist zero sum “solutions” from getting in the way and instead let freedom and human creativity work its magic.
Nevertheless, as public support for "climate change" hooey wanes, inventive trial lawyers representing New York, San Francisco, other liberal cities and counties that are failing their citizenry have come up with a new tack: legal shakedowns. As UC Berkeley professor John Yoo notes, they're trying to “distort tort law, our nation’s system for resolving accidents and harms, and seek outlandish damages from energy companies for the alleged harms of global warming.” They're after funding from producers, refiners, and gas sellers to compensate for imaginary global-warming “induced sea level rise, flooding, erosion, and harm to municipal infrastructure and water systems,” and demand an “adaptation program” to pay for sea walls, raising the elevation of buildings’ and other infrastructure modifications.
Aside from the absence of any factual basis for their contentions, there’s good law against their claims. It is from the federal government that these companies receive their licenses to extract oil and gas. That should dispel the notion that the companies should pay damages for doing what they’ve been licensed to do by our elected representatives.
And Tom Finnerty contributed a blog post on a recent interview with Steven Koonin, author of the indispensible book "Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters."
That’s all for this week, but keep a look out for our upcoming pieces at The Pipeline!