Category Archives: Resources

The Sea of Texas

One of the main Global Warming scare tactics is the insistence that it will bring rising seas. None other than our own King Barry the Weatherman, mischanneling King Canute, has declared that his election would send the seas scurrying back to whence they came though he’s also claimed that the seas regular overwhelm Miami and fish swim in the streets.

Of course those familiar with the works of Albert the Goracle know that New York is close to being swallowed by the sea. Any day now, yep, any day…

So I shall offer a solution to soothe the fevered brows of the Global Warmongers — the Sea of Texas.

Most Global Warmers would be surprised to learn that the whole state of Texas was underwater millions of years ago (hint: it was a heck of a lot warmer back in those days — our weather today ain’t got nothing on those days back then).

I am not proposing that the whole state be flooded but I suggest that parts of the semi-arid, lightly populated western part could be turned into a large inland sea.

A series of desalinization plants could be built along the Gulf coast. These could be nuclear powered or maybe some could be powered by windmills taking in the coastal breeze. Unlike the liberal folks of our oceanic coasts, who blanch at the thought of a windmill off their coast, Texans are long comfortable with energy sources visible off the coast.

Pipelines would be built to take the water out west and north. Texans are also comfortable with pipelines and if the pipelines leak — well, it’s just water!

And think of the engineering challenge. That should get the intellectual juices flowing.

I’m sure that the first response of Global Warmists would be — “Hey, you’d drain the Gulf of Mexico!”

They aren’t too bright you have to understand.

Water is fungible so while it drains from the northwestern end of the Gulf of Mexico it just flows back in from the Atlantic via the Caribbean. You’d have to pump a lot of water to drop the level of the Atlantic enough to drastically affect the Gulf of Mexico, especially considering how fast those seas be arisen’!

So in this case, the “rising seas” can be tamed by transferring water from one place, the sea, to another, desert land. Problem solved.

Of course there’d be the cries that man is too stupid to do this (Yet somehow smart enough to precisely calculate the weather decades into the future, micromanage numerous industries from Washington and know the racism and sexism buried in the hearts of all Americans that don’t vote Democrat).

(This would inevitably be followed by the squeals that man is monkeying with the environment and that a sea in west Texas would threaten the Tom Green County Blue Sand Flea [not to be confused with the Coke County Purple Dirt Flea which will also be threatened] and so on.)

There would be side benefits in this monumental endeavor. A large inland sea could have beneficial effect on the climate by mitigating some of the heat that west Texas is (in)famous for (or it could exacerbate the thunderstorms that percolate out there, interesting thought). Or it might not do much at all.

In addition it might help recharge the vast Oglalla Aquifer and other groundwater sources along with providing irrigation possibilities for farmers in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. And it would aid water supply problems in fast-growing north Texas and Oklahoma.

Think about it. If this Global Warming problem is as big as the scientists of the “settled science” say it is, then big solutions are needed — and we’re not talking about putting business under the thumb of government bureaucrats or everybody being forced to live like Road Warrior-style post-apocalyptic wretches rationing and recycling everything while making nothing new.

Once my proposal is accepted and put forth, we can start talking about the Great Gobi Inland Ocean. What an engineering feat that would be.

Climate Changers, are you with me? You do want to solve the problem, right?

Advertisements

Lawfare

I’ve been meaning to get to this outrageous story — the war upon Exxon that is brewing from several state attorneys general. See this somewhat accurate story that exposes the coordination between the AGs and “environmental” special interest groups.

This coordination alone, while not unexpected, is unethical and in some cases illegal. Ironically, it fits the definition of the RICO prosecutorial tool that the AGs seek to use against the company.

The really outrageous part (that’s like saying ‘But a really tall Himalayan mountain is…’) is that these supposed legal officials want to prosecute the company for its opinions on Global Warming. There is nothing illegal about what one thinks of Global Warming (at least not yet) nor should there ever be. One should be able to believe the Earth is flat and not have to worry about prosecution.

These attorneys general are wasting taxpayer dollars, going after something that has nothing to do with law and they are abusing their offices for political ends. They are the ones that need to be prosecuted because what they are doing is against the law and it is against the spirit of the Constitution and America.

I also had the same feeling about the prosecutions of tobacco companies (and I loathed smoking). These companies can believe that smoking is healthy if they want. Such beliefs, erroneous of not, should never be against the law or left to the judgment of legal authorities.

These are just the early steps of what liberals wish to do to all of their political enemies and businesses that don’t do their bidding (and line the liberals’ pockets as well).

Power Line’s John Hinderaker has a couple of stories on this disgraceful behavior by elected officials — “A Conspiracy So Intense” and “The Great Free Speech Issue of Our Time.” Bonus absurdity is Steve Hayward’s “Green Weenie of the Century: The Rockefellers.” Watching “Rockefellers” abandon the business that made them wealthy is a madness beyond analogy. But fear not, they won’t be giving that money back but they will continue to deploy in the destructive antibusiness/anti-American manner they have been doing for decades. John D. Rockefeller continues to spin in his grave at what his heirs have done.

The War on Cash

My post, “Whither the $100 Bill?,” was well-timed.

The Wednesday Wall Street Journal had a lengthy story spinning off of Larry Summers’s proposal to eliminate the $100 bill (and the €100 note too), “Is Now the Time to Kill the $100 Bill?” by John Carney and Joshua Zumbrun. It followed that up with an editorial on Thursday, “The Political War on Cash.” (I’d link to both but they are gated behind the WSJ pay wall.)

Both hit the points that I made and dig deeper into the negative interest rate angle.

A money quote from the article: “Many economists believe the ability of central banks to implement negative interest rate policies is hampered by the ability to hold cash.” Much of this impetus to do away with cash is centered on turning an unusual financial position, negative interest rates, into some kind of permanent situation. The article continues, “Even in places like Switzerland, where rates have gone negative on government bonds, banks don’t pass on negative rates to retail depositors for fear depositors will withdraw their cash.”

Why this sudden infatuation with negative interest rates and enabling them? It seems to be pretty much centered on central banks. From there it filters downward to retail banks and certain investors. Central bankers would love to enable a negative interest rate regime, make it an acceptable alternative and then a permanent scenario.

Imagine, if you are a banker, you get people to pay YOU to hold their money rather than you pay them (the traditional interest rate relationship). And if you can eliminate the depositor’s alternative, stuffing their cash under a mattress by eliminating most cash, essentially forcing them to keep their money in banks, you’ll be assured of guaranteed income.

To give you the reverse, imagine forcing banks to pay you to take out a loan. The more you take the more they pay you each month, rather than you paying them an interest rate. Wouldn’t that be grand? Absurd, but grand. It’d be better than successfully puling off the carry trade. Well, that’s how a negative interest rate regime works in the opposite direction (i.e. favorable to you).

The article also notes that most $100 bills are not involved in criminal conduct. It needs to be understood that in the three decades since the fall of communism, many countries have essentially dollarized their economies. The dollar is the lingua franca of the world economy. Even third world America-hating hellholes have to use the dollar for international trade. This is even more important since tradable high-value commodities, notably gold and platinum, have been undermined by essentially valueless financial paper instruments. This revolution has only increased since the troubles of 2008.

The crush on oil has also exacerbated the effect lately for several countries as well (though the fall in oil prices is a legitimate supply-demand equation not a financial shenanigan).

When physical items lose their inherent value to electronic blips and paper instruments such as futures, puts, calls, options, swaps, etc., the atmosphere is optimal for things like negative interest rates.

The article also summarizes the tax angles on the war on cash. Taxing authorities throughout the world are as dogged as Inspector Javert. They want your money! But make no mistake, the heart of this movement is really about control. All these points are merely tentacles of that octopus.

That is what the editorial focuses upon. It says, “The enemies of cash claim that only crooks and cranks need large-denomination bills. They want large transactions to be made electronically so government can follow them.”

It notes that in Italy and France it is illegal to use cash for any purchase over €1,000 and British businessmen have to register with tax authorities if they might handle cash transactions greater than €15,000.

The point, as if it needs to be made again, “The real reason the war on cash is gearing up now is political: Politicians and central bankers fear that holders of currency could undermine their brave new world of negative interest rates.”

Money quote: “By all means people should be able to go cashless if they like. But it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the politicians want to bar cash as one more infringement on economic liberty. They may go after the big bills now, but does anyone think they’d stop there? Why wouldn’t they eventually ban all cash transactions much as they banned gold and silver as mediums of exchange?”

Politicians seek to control money and people. If your money is held hostage in a bank, banks under the thumb of governmental “regulators,” then you are controlled. But if you have your money in your hands, you can maintain a high degree of independence. Modern governments do not like that.

Free the Land

And now for a little history…

King Barry I’s recent royal edict declaring that nearly 2 million acres of California was to henceforth be off-limits to the rabble and become part of the royal forest system, a preserve for the special people. And  while that list is unlikely to include you, dear reader, be grateful that your tax dollars paid for it and will pay to maintain those lands for his highness’s pleasure.

Travel back in time to the reign of William the Conqueror (that’s late 11th century England). King William designated great swaths of England as “royal forests.” He did this for two big reasons. One, he needed royal-owned lands to generate income, furnish resources for the crown and provide a place to play for the king, family and connected elites. However, the rabble, some of whom lived in these “forests,” could not partake in these frolics nor utilize any of those resources. They were forcibly removed and their villages abandoned. Sound familiar?

The second reason was to keep the land out of private hands wherein it might be used against him. Land owners can be independent and hard to control but renters are always dependent upon a landlord.

Oh, and the term “forest” is misleading. Trees were not required to be a royal forest, merely acreage.

For anyone caught trespassing, working the land or poaching, the penalties were punitive; eventually enforced by a well-connected constabulary of often brutal thugs that tried offenders in special “forest” courts that they controlled. Sound familiar?

King William’s son and the next king was William Rufus, King William II. He was not well-liked (neither was William the Conqueror, but then he had earned his sobriquet, if you know what I mean). Rufus (meaning ‘Red’ for his supposedly red hair) loved the forests and frolicked in them with his growing retinue of friends and cronies. He also added to the royal forest domain. The unfavored and the rabble grumbled but could do little — a king is a king.

Until he’s not.

William Rufus met his fate, “accidentally” felled, ironically, in one of his beloved royal forests, by an arrow from a hunting buddy. And there was much rejoicing.

William Rufus’s brother and successor, Henry I, was a savvier king, securing the crown with a number of “liberties” for the barony (listed in the Charter of Liberties, which Stephen Langton used as a model for the Magna Carta). One of those promises was to pare the forests back to the time of William the Conqueror.

However, as we all know, government only grows. Even an occasional pruning is, in the long run, recovered by the creeping tendrils, or simple consumation by leviathan.

The following rulers slowly began the recroachment, though in a wiser and usually less aggressive way.

When modern people read the Magna Carta (you have read the Magna Carta, right? No? Go here, I’ll wait: http://www.ushistory.org/documents/magnacarta.htm) among the many perplexing items appearing in it are some relating to these “forests” (notably clauses 44, 47, 48 and 53 along with the introductory mention of ‘foresters’).

With King John’s arrogance, pettiness and blinding greed (he had inherited his father Henry II’s worst traits and none of his good ones), the issue of the “forests” and “forest laws” had come to the forefront again.

To keep it brief (and probably a bit too simple), by John’s time the royal forests had grown in number and acreage as to consume a large portion of England (it’s thought that at that time one could traverse England walking exclusively on royal forest land). And in these forests most men could not venture under pain of fine, dismemberment or execution. In addition these laws extended to include prohibition on killing most deer and boar anywhere, even if they wandered out of the forest and into a village or even a domicile.

Royal forests surrounded towns and villages. With no parliament to counter, the king could simply declare any land to be part of a royal forest, practically at a whim. He could also hand the land over to a favorite, as well. Such land also essentially became useless to all but the king and a handful of his favorites. It was off the tax rolls, lay fallow or unexploited, contributing little or nothing to national or local economies (sound familiar?).

Even local barons could not make use of or enjoy the land, unless the king approved or invited them. With its vastness and a lack of stewardship, the land could also become a haven for criminals and rebellious types — cue Robin Hood.

Currently “our” federal government “owns” 27% of the United States — around 640 million acres, over 1 million square miles. That’s equal to Alaska, California and Texas combined. It owns 84% of Nevada and over half of Alaska (69%), Utah (57%), Oregon (53%) and Idaho (smidge over 50%). It also has over one-third of Arizona (48%), California (45%), Wyoming (42%), New Mexico (42%) and Colorado (37%) and more than one-quarter of Washington state (30%) and Montana (30%).

People east of the plains simply have no idea of the vastness and occasional omnipresence of the federal government’s land. Only New Hampshire (13%), North Carolina (12%), Michigan (10%) and Virginia (10%)  are in the double digits. Most states are at 7% or less with a large number under 2%.

In many places out west it pressures the handful of remaining private landholders in federally-controlled areas to “sell” their land. It can make access to or use of that land difficult. Federal neighbors and landlords are notoriously petty, vindictive and increasingly political (left-wing variety). And it is only growing with King Barry looking to add several million more acres to the federal farm in Colorado and New Mexico. He does this through the Antiquities Act (passed in 1906), which allows him to bypass Congress on these deals. It is an act desperately in need of reform.

It has to be acknowledged that some of these lands are not without worth locally or nationally. The more popular national parks generate income for their region and many military bases are centers of their communities. But beyond the obvious winners, e.g. Yellowstone and Yosemite, Fort Sam Houston and the naval facilities in San Diego and Virginia’s Tidewater region, what purpose does the great amount of land in their hands serve?

What does the federal government do that state governments can’t do? Why should the folks of, say, a rural county in Utah find hunks of it cordoned off, unavailable to them; seemingly reserved for the brief pleasure of East and West Coast elites who might, one day, backpack through the area, renting a bike and leaving a few shekels behind for the locally barely-employed before they traipse off to France or Tahiti. That’s what wilderness areas and national “monuments” are all about. There are no ‘monuments’ at most ‘National Monuments,’ it’s an Antiquities Act stalking horse. Wilderness Areas are chunks of national forests and parks for which development has been banned. Vast resources doing little more than looking pretty for a post card, a selfie, a badge of travel or a flyover. The counties and states receive minimal (if any) revenue from them. People living next to them find themselves without employment — beyond possible intermittent seasonal work. They slowly die of starvation in the middle of a cornucopia that they are not allowed by a nonresident owner to touch. Sound familiar?

At one time, besides being tourist magnets, these great “national” treasures were supposed to be used as orderly resource providers — lumber, minerals, energy, etc. — not simply locked off as they are now. In fact, the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that a few years ago we were treated to the revolting spectacle of National Park Service employees doing the bidding of the Obama administration. During a government shutdown NPS employees attempted to prevent taxpayers from even viewing sites that could easily be viewed in the open from public roads. They also blocked off public access to Mount Vernon and easily accessed restaurants in national parks in Virginia. Those “employees” should have been hunted down and terminated after those escapades. These properties are not the domain of NPS employees. We cannot tolerate a government at war with its citizens.
The feds freely admit that they are incapable of maintaining what they have yet they clamor for more land. King Barry the Greedy has added 265 million acres, more than any other president. For a society that increasingly doesn’t own its own residences — taking other people’s land doesn’t seem to be much of a problem. When is enough enough?

These creatures of the federal government are bastards. Beyond the military bases they have no Constitutional justification. Even the military has more land than it knows what to do with.

I say return the lands to their rightful owners, the states and the individual people of those states. Some land could be sold to pay down the federal debt or put to other uses. In other cases the states should be allowed to do with those lands in a manner they deem fit. If they want to keep them as tourist attractions, so be it. Let those authorities answer to the people of those states. Perhaps California would love to maintain all those recently-minted “monuments’ of desert scrub, or maybe they want to sell/lease them to build solar energy facilities with off-road-vehicle parks in between. Or maybe they want them to remain untouched havens to the Desert Tortoise. Let the people of California decide that, not some bureaucrat in Washington or a trust fund baby “environmental” activist residing in a million-dollar Vermont chalet.

The Bureau of Land Management should either be terminated or returned to its original job of aiding the development of federally-owned resources. Parts of it can be transferred to state governments. The National Park Service should be cleansed of its political storm troopers and pared down to serve its much smaller holdings. The various parks and land services of other agencies should be eliminated and/or kicked down to state levels.

As for the elite parks, maybe by making them fewer in number, the National Park Service might be able to take care of them and use funding to maintain them properly.

Here is some further reading on the subject.

Somehow this piece made it into the New York Times, “Give States Control Over Public Land Out West.” The author of that piece, Robert H. Nelson, has done extensive work on the topic. Here is a good primer and here is a briefer piece at the Independent Institute.

Lawrence J. McQuillan, also of the Independent Institute, offered this recently, “Time to Privatize Federal Public Land.” The Independent Institute has worked on this issue.

Deroy Murdock had a great and succinct piece in National Review, “Hellacious Acres.” The problem has only gotten worse.

Rob Natelson of the Colorado-based Independence Institute recently pondered the Constitutional aspect of this topic, “What Does the Constitution Say About Federal Land Ownership?

The American Lands Council has been doing the yeoman’s work on this issue. Check them out.

Not surprisingly the American Legislative Exchange Council has been busy on the subject. Its Karla Jones recently testified on Capitol Hill on the topic.

Here’s a Montana-based think tank that has touched on this, as well — Property and Environment Research Center, here and here.

The Heartland Institute in Illinois has published on the topic..

The Heritage Foundation has done work in this and related areas, see its Energy and Environment section.

At most of the listed think tanks simply searching the term “federal land” will lead you to further articles and resources.

Whither the $100 Bill?

Larry Summers, big international bank guy that he is, is for eliminating the $100 bill (along with the €500 [euro] note and I guess the €100 note as well).

Why? You ask. Because, in Larry’s eyes, only criminals use those bills. Ipso facto, remove that cash and you remove the criminals. Remember, from my post, “Whither the $1,000 Bill?,” Nixon thought the same thing in removing $1,000 and higher denomination bills. It was so wonderful when all crime just disappeared in 1969 after those bills were removed from circulation.

Oh, wait, crime didn’t go away. Hmmmmmm. I’m sure all the eggheads who thought up that plan are still scratching their heads on what the flaw in the plan was. Not surprisingly, Larry’s a grad of MIT and Harvard.

He probably also thinks that only revenuer-dodging hillbillies and other cretins use cash at all. Larry probably hasn’t used cash at all in his adult life. People who travel in his rarefied elite political, educational and financial circles rarely do.

But let’s dig a little deeper. Why would a banker want to eliminate major cash tools? Vehicles that actually move money very efficiently in many circumstances.

You see, cash is actually a hindrance to governmental control. It’s difficult to control people who make use of cash. It’s extremely difficult to trace. Credit cards and online accounts, on the other hand — banks and governments know everything. Cash transaction, not so much. In a world where the government increasingly seeks to insert itself into every nook and cranny, every interaction and transaction of our lives, electronic money is a leash, cash is more like an invisibility cloak.

Imagine when the government has full control of, for example, the health sector. You decide to buy some pork chops or some other “unhealthy” item at the store. Perhaps a government watchdog has decided that with your bad heart, you shouldn’t have chops or any pork products. It monitors your transaction because you are paying with a credit card or waving your smartphone at a terminal. It decides to cancel the purchase. Take chops back and buy that endive a little message pops up on your phone or the credit card terminal. Or you could whip out that cash and take those bad boys home and barbecue them!

With a credit card or online payment system nothing is private. Your life is no longer just your business.

Interestingly, a lot of banks wouldn’t mind this because, many will tell you, frankly, dealing with cash is a hassle for them. They have to hire people to deal with it. It takes up space and costs money to transport. It’s so much easier to deal with a lot of electronic blips. Also, most people are used to dealing with fees for using credit cards and online banking so the bank gets away with nickel and diming its clients. No one ever sees the blips that disappear into the banks’ and card processors’ pockets.

Try to charge for cash and people walk. However, eliminate much of that cash and where can they go?

Additionally, when cash becomes an afterthought currency manipulation becomes much easier. Electronic blips do not appear to have as much of a value as something you can hold and feel. It’s no accident that the great inflation happened when Nixon broke the gold standard. I think we need to be moving in the opposite direction and moving more towards a cash economy. I’m for making the gold coins that are minted more accurately reflective of their true value. Make that one-ounce coin worth $1,000, not $20.

A final note. Seriously, Larry Summers is a very smart guy. He’s been at the World Bank. He was a Harvard professor before he was 30. He’s been involved in major financial institutions and legislation. He’s a liberal Democrat and was the head of Harvard but said some politically correct things and was forced out by the SJWs of the day. Not everything that comes out of the mouths of smart people is smart.

Resourcing Stupidity

The Earth is about 8,000 miles wide. Keep that number in mind.

The deepest mines, mostly in South Africa, are just approaching 2.5 miles in depth. There are only a handful of these and in select locations for precious metals (gold). Most mines come nowhere near those depths.

The deepest wells are less than 8 miles deep and probably won’t realistically surpass that number. And, as noted with mines, most wells don’t approach those depths.

I mention those numbers because we are constantly being told that we are running out of resources.

I’m a child of the 1970s so I had this beaten into my head by the nascent environmental movement and other Malthusians as I grew up. Books, movies, “documentaries,” the whole media, entertainment and education cabal proffered this along with plenty of politicians. Anyone who disagreed was dismissed as a crazy, a greedy businessman, a status quo-promoting fool or an ignorant stump. All the smart people “knew” what the future was going to be and if you wanted good grades in school, you nodded and submitted.

That mindset never stopped even though predictions of worldwide catastrophic doom and a poverty-ridden existence by the handful of surviving humans made in those days were wrong and make for laughable reading today. Yet somehow these people and their successors, the entire leftwing establishment, the Democratic party, great swathes of the government (at all levels), most of academia and the education mafia, the MSM, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, etc., were not laughed out of their jobs of education, influence and power as they should have been for being so spectacularly wrong. If anything, they may even have a tighter grip over humanity. That we’re all doomed, in some horrible dystopian future, is simply accepted today as a fact. Well, not “we” but some next generation is and we have to stop what we’re doing to save them; hence demands for global power to stop “Climate Change” (since those ‘Global Warming’ predictions are already coming up short).

Back to the numbers. Earth — 8,000 miles wide; deepest mine — 2.5 miles deep. Do the math! So we’ve pierced something like 0.03% into the Earth’s crust. Yet, these “really smart” people, many with Ivy League degrees and fancy jobs in national and international governments and academia, tell us we’re running out of resources. We’ve penetrated far less than 1% of the Earth and these people think we’ve found everything.

Also note that that number, 0.03%, doesn’t encompass the surface area of the Earth. There are large areas unexplored in great detail along with the even larger sea floor.

Now do the same thing with wells (Hi! Peak Oilers!) and you’re still at 0.1%. Mightn’t there be some stuff a little deeper or is it possible that every mineral and molecule of value is somehow in that very, very, very outer part of the crust and nothing inside deeper? Color me skeptical on that one.

Now, it does have to be noted that at a certain point the interior of the Earth becomes difficult to deal with — a molten core is a problem (and an opportunity for people in the future!) and even a few dozen miles down it becomes too hot for current technologies to function. But still, the conceit that we’ve picked through the entire planet’s larder and now the cupboard is bare is an absurdity equivalent to, say, equating walking a mile as being the same as walking from New York to Los Angeles.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the people who seem to know the least about the environment are so-called “environmentalists.”