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December 6, 2016

#DAPL Me This... Vol III?

Chairman David Archambault, of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, continues to maintain that the most meticulously engineered and constructed oil pipeline to be routed eighty-odd feet below the Missouri riverbed poses a threat to that community's water supply. This, despite said water supply inlet being moved fifty miles further down river and feeding a brand new $30 million water treatment complex exclusively for the Standing Rock Sioux community.

"Just because the new intake is 70 miles away doesn't mean our water is still not threatened," said David Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

The project, which has received little attention in the months-long fight over the Dakota Access pipeline, has been a goal for the Sioux for more than a decade. It was first funded in 2009.

The funding for the water works came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - that's "The Stimulus Bill" for those who remember it. It was part of a $500 million dollar investment in projects specifically for the benefit of America's native tribal descendent populations.

As for the "threat" to the water, one begins to suspect the only solution the chairman and the climate activists will be pleased with is the "keep it in the ground" solution - No pipeline... No fracking... No oil for thankful and prosperous human customers. A Hoover Institution senior fellow has dubbed this the "Indian Energy Wars."

But the biggest foe for the Standing Rock Sioux is the federal government itself, entrusted with protecting Indians since Chief Justice John Marshall declared Indians "wards" of the state in 1832. After the first Indian Wars, the federal government signed treaties setting aside 43,000 square miles as the Great Sioux Nation. That territory would include much of the DAPL route. However, in 1889, it "repossessed" much of the territory opening it for white settlement and creating the private lands on which the pipeline will be built. Since then, the federal government has nothing to give Native Americans confidence in their trustee.

A paper by 3 Texas A&M political scientists, forthcoming in the Policies Studies Journal, shows how "paternalistic control over Indian nations" has failed to protect tribal water quality under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act supposedly enforced by the EPA. Comparing regulatory compliance and enforcement on and off reservation, they find 125 percent more management violations and 57 percent more health violations for tribal water utilities under.

American Indians have a right to be fearful that projects such as the DAPL could violate their rights to land and water, but their fear would be better focused on the "Great White Father."

December 5, 2016

#DAPL me this... Vol II

WSJ News Pages:

A day after the Obama administration put the brakes on a Midwest oil pipeline by denying a permit needed to finish the route, a spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump said the incoming administration supports completing the project.

"With regard to the Dakota Access Pipeline, that'ss something that we support construction of and we'll review the full situation when we're in the White House and make the appropriate determination at that time," said Jason Miller, a spokesman for Mr. Trump.

On Sunday, celebrations at a protest camp in North Dakota among pipeline opponents led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe erupted after the Department of the Army said it wouldn't grant an easement required by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP to cross beneath a Missouri River reservoir, the final 1,100-foot link to be built in the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline.

That would be the right thing to do -- and very unpopular. Here's to January!

But johngalt thinks:

If I were the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners I would immediately begin construction of a connecting pipeline section, that passes OVER the river instead.

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2016 9:07 PM

I Can't Tell You How Disturbing an Idea that is

Do you get tired of my constant appeals to listen to Russ Roberts's EconTalk?


Seriously, you must find time to listen to this. His guest is Thomas Leonard, discussing his book "Illiberal Reformers." One is reminded of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism [Partial Review Corner] in that he exposes the startling racism and misanthropy of the Progressive movement. The Headline is a quote by Russ Roberts (~51:00), after reading a Woodrow Wilson quote.

So funny that we microscopically parse modern words and judge 18th Century founders to expose racism. But these truly disturbing comments by a US President "50 years after Appomattox" as Roberts notes, are stunning.

December 4, 2016

Thucydides, Book Seven: Annihilation

For this was by far the greatest reverse that ever befell an Hellenic army. They had come to enslave others, and were departing in fear of being enslaved themselves: they had sailed out with prayer and paeans, and now started to go back with omens directly contrary; traveling by land instead of by sea, and trusting not in their fleet but in their hoplites. Nevertheless the greatness of the danger still impending made all this appear tolerable. [7.74]
Sicilian-American Louis Prima performed a novelty song called "There'll Be No Next Time" as a duet with his long-time Saxophonist Sam Butera. Sam tells the story of his escaping unpaid rent and "failure to support." When he mentions going to the airport, Louis says "Uh-oh," and admonishes him later: "You shouldn't have gone to the airport, Sam." Well, "You shouldn't have gone to Sicily, Alcibiades."

As mentioned in Book Six [Review Corner], the decision for the Sicilian/Syracusan was hard fought, but decided without full knowledge. Blog-friend (and my ticket to the esteemed roundtable) tg reminds that "History is written by the losers." While the style of Thucydides' history is contemporaneous, he frequently tips his hand that he knows the ending. His account terminates abruptly with several years left. But there are several clues in the extant text were clearly written after the war ended. He clearly puts his thumb on the scale in Book Six, in full knowledge of the events of Book Seven.

Had Alcibiades's optimistic estimations come to pass, the Syracuse campaign would be remembered for its courage and audacity. Instead, it parallels Sam Butera's fateful decision to "go to the airport."

Book Six closes with swift early victories by Athens's large and well-trained forces. Scared Syracusans are negotiating surrender terms when word comes of reinforcements from Sparta and Corinth. Athens's prowess prevails at the first sea battle, but a disastrous reverse loses hard won land territory, and important stores and base capacity at the fort of Plemmyrium.

Indeed the first and foremost cause of the ruin of the Athenian army was the capture of Plemmyrium; even the entrance of the harbor being now no longer safe for carrying in provisions, as the Syracusan vessels were stationed there to prevent it, and nothing could be brought in without fighting; [7.24]

Nicias sends word to Athens. Knowing that the herald will have incentive to sanitize the message for his own safety and comfort, he takes the unusual step of writing the exact text to be delivered.
For I understand that they contemplate a combined attack upon our lines with their land forces and with their fleet by sea. [3] You must none of you be surprised that I say by sea also. They have discovered that the length of time we have now been in commission has rotted our ships and wasted our crews, and that with the completeness of our crews and the soundness of our ships the pristine efficiency of our navy has departed. [7.12]

Triremes are not battleships. They must be dried on shore and they offer little room or comfort for personnel. A large army at sea in triremes is even more besieged that a city under circumvallation. They get a chance to escape, but discard it for omens. The secular Thucydides relates:
All was at last ready, and they were on the point of sailing away when an eclipse of the moon, which was then at the full, took place. Most of the Athenians, deeply impressed by this occurrence, now urged the generals to wait; and Nicias, who was somewhat overaddicted to divination and practices of that kind, refused from that moment even to take the question of departure into consideration, until they had waited the thrice nine days prescribed by the soothsayers. [7.49]

Instead of escape, reinforcements arrive, and the Syracusan navy both learns from its mistakes and implements technological changes to her ships making them better suited to combat in the narrower spaces of the city's smaller harbors.

Nicias prepares his troops.

"Soldiers of the Athenians and of the allies, we have all an equal interest in the coming struggle, in which life and country are at stake for us quite as much as they can be for the enemy; since if our fleet wins the day, each can see his native city again, wherever that city may be. [2] You must not lose heart, or be like men without any experience, who fail in a first attempt, and ever afterwards fearfully expect a future as disastrous. [3] But let the Athenians among you who have already had experience of many wars, and the allies who have joined us in so many expeditions, remember the surprises of war, and with the hope that fortune will not be always against us [7.60]

Fortune remains rather unfriendly. If not the eclipse, being outnumbered and stranded far from home in a hostile environment. Nicias and Demosthenes are routed at sea and cornered in land against overwhelming force.
After this, Nicias and Demosthenes now thinking that enough had been done in the way of preparation, the departure of the army took place upon the second day after the sea fight. [2] It was a lamentable scene, not merely from the single circumstance that they were retreating after having lost all their ships, their great hopes gone, and themselves and their state in peril; but also in leaving the camp there were things most grievous for every eye and heart to contemplate. [3] The dead lay unburied, and each man as he recognized a friend among them shuddered with grief and horror; while the living whom they were leaving behind, wounded or sick, were to the living far more shocking than the dead, and more to be pitied than those who had perished. [7.74]

The Athenians know little mercy will be afforded on surrender and most elect to die in place. Nicias makes pains to surrender directly to the Spartan General Gyliippus to negotiate merciful treatment of his men, but this does not come to pass. Nicias and Demosthenes are executed (to Thucydides' distaste) and some seven thousand are thrown in a pit with the wounded, sick, and dead with no shelter, minimal water and food, no sanitation. Any that survived in eight months were sold as slaves.
This was the greatest Hellenic achievement of any in this war, or, in my opinion, in Hellenic history; at once most glorious to the victors, and most calamitous to the conquered. [6] They were beaten at all points and altogether; all that they suffered was great; they were destroyed, as the saying is, with a total destruction, their fleet, their army-- everything was destroyed, and few out of many returned home. Such were the events in Sicily. [7.87]

"Shouldn't have gone to the airport, Sam."

December 2, 2016

#DAPL me this...

An interesting piece in FEE: Josh Siegel wonders Are Environmentalists Hijacking the Concerns of Native Americans?

I'm too big a man to share spoilers, but

This is a very good opportunity for them because the best way to bankrupt fossil fuel companies is to target the supply chain--the modes of transportation. Some tribe members think their issues are being hijacked. For them, this is not a war on fossil fuel. It's a specific argument about not honoring the historical practices of Native Americans and about rerouting this particular pipeline.

I've been very strident on this topic. The "numinous Native American" shtick drives me mad. Siegel lays out facts, but is much more fair than I, willing to see the conflict as part of larger historical list of legitimate grievances.
Aseem Prakash, director of the Center for Environmental Politics at the University of Washington, contends that the Standing Rock tribe's stake in the conflict reflects deeper-seated grievances of Native Americans.

"The American Indian community, at least some sections of it, is aggrieved over the years about injustices, essentially the notion being--right or wrong--that their preferences are not taken into account seriously," Prakash told The Daily Signal in an interview. "The Dakota pipeline is epitomizing their perspective of injustice."

Though the pipeline goes through private land and not Native American property, the tribe contends this land was acquired improperly and actually belongs to them by the terms of a 1851 treaty with the U.S. government.

I highly recommend the article. Everything I have seen to date is completely one-sided: the protesters all are either Gandhi or Beelzebub. This is FEE, I don't think my lefty friends would accept it as unbiased, but it is one of the better accounts I have seen.

But johngalt thinks:

But of course they are! "It's for the first Americans" is in third place, behind "it's for the children" and "it's for the animals" on the list of sympathetic social justice ploys.

Here's the real question: If mountains of state and federal regulations and permits do not grant a guarantee, or at least a reasonable assurance, that a $3.7Bn project can reach completion then why do we have such permits?

Energy Transfer Partners has property rights too. It is government's purpose to protect those rights.

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2016 2:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Just when I think I have inured to life in a banana republic... It felt like a kick in the stomach to hear that this has been stayed.

Carrier stays, the pipeline goes. And Francisco d'Anconia is proven correct.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2016 3:29 PM

But johngalt thinks:

Apparently, judging from the election result, he's "just too intelligent" for unaffiliated voters to understand either.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2016 3:10 PM
But dagny thinks:

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
― Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Posted by: dagny at December 2, 2016 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." -- F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2016 4:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"When you die, you don't know. It's only hard for those who know you.

It's the same with stupid."

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2016 6:51 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:
It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.
- RWR Posted by: nanobrewer at December 6, 2016 11:34 PM

Awesome Pick!

Fair and balanced. I've got some very kind words for President-elect Trump. He continues to impress in his cabinet appointments. A Defense Secretary whose nickname is "Mad Dog?" I've got enough neocon blood pumping through my arteries to find that empowering.

But the jewel in the crown is Colorado's self-described MILF (Umm, that's "Mothers In Love with Fracking") Amy Oliver Cooke of the Independence Instiotue. Cooke has been named to the EPA transition team.

Cooke is exactly the right person to join Myron Ebell, another free-market thinker, in transforming the wayward EPA from a power-hungry bureaucracy that does more damage than good, into an agency that serves rather than subjugates taxpayers.

Cooke has been tenacious in questioning and criticizing some of President Obama's key policies enforced by the EPA. She also nailed Gov. Hickenlooper for supporting Obama's so-called Clean Power Plan that threatens to cripple the state's energy industry.

Could not get a better person involved. This is a five star pick.

Tired of Winning

Hmm, that would've a better category title than "Trump Agonistes."

I must weigh negatively on the Carrier "save." Hell, for $7million, I'll move "LiveAtTheCoffeehouse.com" to Indiana. But a lefty friend posted a link the other day saying "I'm waiting to hear my Republican friends decry this abuse of the free market." My response started with "You should get out more, bro..."

I'll let my pals and intellectual superiors at the WSJ Ed Page say it:

A giant flaw in President Obama's economic policy has been the politicized allocation of capital, from green energy to housing. Donald Trump suffers from a similar industrial-policy temptation, as we've seen this week with his arm-twisting of Carrier to change its decision to move a plant to Mexico from Indiana.

Carrier announced Wednesday that it will retain about 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis that would have moved to Mexico over the next three years, and on Thursday Mr. Trump held a rally at the plant and claimed political credit. The President-elect had made Carrier a piñata for his trade politics during the campaign, and post-election he lobbied Gregory Hayes, the CEO of United Technologies Corp. (UTC) that owns Carrier, to reconsider.

Everyone--even the Obama White House--is hailing the move as a great political victory, and in the short term it is for those Indianapolis workers, who make more than $20 an hour on average. But as U.S. auto workers have learned the hard way, real job security depends on the profitability of the business. Carrier wanted to move the production line to Mexico to stay competitive in the market for gas furnaces. If the extra costs of staying in Indianapolis erode that business, those workers will lose their jobs eventually in any case.

Trump has a much better play to #MAGA. His superb energy policy will keep energy costs down and make the US incredibly attractive for manufacturing. No cronyism necessary.

UPDATE: Tyler Cowen, interviewed on NPR

But johngalt thinks:

Along with reduction of the corporate income tax. But those things must wait until the MAGA Administration is actually sworn in. The Carrier "deal" was actually sweetened by Indiana's governor, using Indiana policy provisions. Astute readers will recognize that Indiana's governor is the President Elect's Vice President Elect.

May we* please refrain from blaming the incoming president for bad policy until he is actually sworn in as president? There will be plenty of time and, surely, plenty to [rightly] criticize.

* The "royal" we, not implicating my favorite blog brother.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2016 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I leap to my own defense on this one. Am I wrong that the President-Elect is taking something of a victory lap for this? His supporters -- excepting perhaps my favorite blog brother -- seem to be.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2016 3:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, you aren't wrong. It was a campaign promise, and because of the persuasive words of the "world's greatest dealmaker" it has been fulfilled, at least in part, at least at one factory. A factory that he made an example of in said campaign.

I call it "watered-down cronyism" because it uses targeted tax relief, rather than the 100 percent evil government subsidy. I have called it a "transitional act" elsewhere. It was an expedient way to satisfy his supporters, even if it doesn't please market purists. It's nothing that isn't done every day, in cities and towns across the country, in their misguided attempts to attract industry (and thus jobs and tax revenues.) Which doesn't excuse the president elect from criticism, but does leave open the possibility that it is the momentary exception to the pending administration's rule.

Pollyanna much? Yeah. Quite a bit.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2016 6:58 PM

Barone's Law Porved Inviolate

[Michael] Barone's Law: "All procedural arguments are insincere."

Kim Strassel has a little too much fun today, hurling Democrats' sincerest October arguments back at them in December. Assuming a Clinton "mandate," Senators Charles Schumer (Flexible - NY) and Amy Klobuchar (Skybox at Vikings - MN) were quite concerned about Republicans' potential obstructionism against all the necessary appointments and governmental needs of the administration.

Regrets? Delaware Sen. Chris Coons has a few--and not too few to mention. At the top of his list is his party's decision in 2013 to blow up the filibuster for most presidential nominees.

"Many of us will regret that in this Congress," a dejected Mr. Coons told CNN on Tuesday. "Because it would have been a terrific speed bump, potential emergency brake, to have in our system to slow down the confirmation of extreme nominees."

Huh. If only the founders had thought of that emergency brake...
Cue Sinatra and "My Way." That's how former Senate leader Harry Reid, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and President Obama ruled for eight years. They planned each charted course, each careful step. Now, they're not finding it so amusing.

Worry not, Senator Schumer is nothing if not flexible. He has no intention of listening to that October-Schumer-guy, who clearly didn't know what the hell he was talking about.
Some might describe electoral dominance as owning the White House, and the Senate, and the House, and 33 governorships and 68 (of 98) state legislative chambers. But Mr. Schumer now regrets his definition. In a recent ABC News story, he said Mr. Trump's victory is "not a mandate" and that his Democratic Party remains free to "go after him tooth and nail."

CODA: Ascertaining "Barone's Law," part of the layers and layers of fact checking you expect at ThreeSources, I found this article which begins "Kimberley Strassel has a good column in the Wall Street Journal today, pointing out that House Democrats who are criticizing and ridiculing[...]" It's from 2014. Clearly Barone's law is timeless.

December 1, 2016

A Crowdsourced GOP

The GOP has been touted as the "big tent" party. None other than William F. Buckley Jr. promoted political pragmatism in the ranks when he said the Republicans' goal should be to "choose the most conservative candidate who can win the election" rather than apply some litmus test or another to everyone who asked for our nomination.

The 2016 elections, primary and general, saw a relatively new paradigm supercede the traditional way of doing things - at least in one party. (Hint: It was the party that won.) That paradigm was political crowdsourcing.

Trump economic advisor Stephen Moore takes to the Investors' Editorial Page for a victory lap:

Trade and immigration are unambiguously good for the country - but they will have to be done in ways that are supported by the American people, not shoved down our throats by the elites. In this way, I am more of a populist.

The elites in both parties have never understood Trumpism and often are contemptuous of the intellect and lifestyles of the Trump loyalists.

Conservatives should go back and read Jude Wanniski's classic "The Way the World Works." Wanniski reminds us over and over again of the lesson of history that there is great collective wisdom in the decisions made by the American voters. It's not often wise to second-guess them, but rather to listen to what they are saying.

A lot of good things come with the Trump package. Probably three conservative justices on the Supreme Court, the biggest tax cut and assault against regulatory overreach since the Reagan era, spending cuts, ObamaCare repeal, enterprise zones for inner cities, vouchers for kids in failing schools, and so on. But it's a package deal, folks. If you want purity, vote for Ron Paul for president again and see where that gets you.

Elitario Delenda Est?

But it is a new Republican party, and a new political and policy era has begun. What Donald Trump achieved on election night was to topple the legacies of three family dynasties all at once: the Clintons, the Bushes and the Obamas. They were the troika of big losers in 2016. Trump didn't topple the Reagan legacy of growth, optimism and peace through strength.

If the Age of Trump is to be a success, he will build on and modernize that legacy.

But jk thinks:

Hoping for the best. Yet, would you not agree that Republicanism rests on a mixture of elites and "demos?"

Nobody loves to bash the pointy-heads much more than me. But that does not mean that I want the populist elements to get their way on everything. I'm pretty cozy with the pointy-heads at the WSJ Ed Page on economics, but roll my eyes at their Newyawkeh positions on forearms.

I'm hardwired to rail against plebiscitary democracy, but was reminded by a good Republican speaker at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons that most of Colorado's best freedom-based laws have come from citizen initiatives.

It's tough, but economics proves -- and I don't use the word lightly -- many counter-intuitive things that the average laid-off steel worker may not have encountered.

We're back to Hamilton - Jefferson and I am firmly convinced we need draw from both.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2016 3:35 PM

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