Northern Invasion

Not content with sending us Neil Young and Jim Carrey, the Canuckis are now poisoning our air as well:

New York City topped the list of the world’s worst air pollution for parts of Tuesday as harmful smoke wafted south from more than a hundred wildfires burning in Quebec.

Smoke from Canada’s fires has periodically engulfed the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic for more than a week, raising concerns over the harms of persistent poor air quality.

My suggestion would be to use CanuckPM Justin Castro Trudeau to beat out the flames, but no doubt this solution may upset some people.

I have no doubt too that the reasons for all these wildfires are similar to those of California’s runaway blazes, i.e. stupid Green policies [redundancy alert].

But at least New Yorkers can now see what it’s really like to live in Beijing.


Update:  Oh, lookee here.

No Chance

A couple of people sent me this article, and I see that Insty referred to it as well:

South Africa’s power blackouts: Solutions lie in solar farms, battery storage at scale, and an end to state monopoly

Rolling blackouts are costing South Africa dearly. The electricity crisis is a barrier to growth, destroys investor confidence and handicaps almost every economic activity. It has raised input costs for producers and retailers, and has triggered a new round of inflation and interest rate increases.

Any solution will obviously incur cost because it will require the adoption of new technologies, such as large-scale grid-connected that are linked to battery energy storage. But these technologies are expensive.

…which means that none of this is going to happen.  South Africa has been plundered by the Usual Suspects until the coffers are pretty much empty, taxes are about has high as can be levied without causing collapse — what happens when only about 15% of the population is at all economically active, and only 0.5% of taxpayers contribute over 85% of tax revenues.

Even in a perfectly-ordered society (which South Africa isn’t even close to), the job of fixing its power woes would be be pretty much impossible.  As things are… not gonna happen.

And let’s not even think about foreign investment.  While the amounts are quite small, relatively speaking, one always has to factor in corruption — which takes anywhere from 40% to 60% off the top — and loans will never be repaid.  Not even China will countenance investment, given that their previous forays into Africa have been, so far, disastrous.  And South Africa is not Sri Lanka.  They can’t be bullied into compliance with the Belt & Road program because the distances are just too great and the population large and resistant.  (China could say, “Okay, you’ve defaulted on your loan;  give us all your platinum”, whereupon South Africa would just say, “We can’t get the ore to the port;  come and get it.”)

Even if South Africa were suddenly to discover vast resources of lithium (similar to its vast coal reserves), they’d never be able to get the stuff out of the ground.  One would think that in a country with huge gold mines all over the place, a few lithium mines would be no problem.  Alas, the gold mines are now producing only about 40% of what they used to produce under the eeeevil Apartheid Government.

Those giant solar farms the article talks about?  They’d be stripped for parts within a month of installation.  And yes, surround them with security guards — except that the guards would become the new entrepreneurs, flogging solar panels and batteries to householders desperate for electricity.

As with any African catastrophe, there is no workable solution, no possible way that any kind of fix will be either implemented or have any kind of longevity.  If even ESCOM, an established, one-time robust powerhouse [sic]  that once delivered South Africa’s excess electricity to all its neighbors can be mismanaged into complete collapse, why would some newfangled, sophisticated (and fragile) eco-friendly solar system fare any better?

To paraphrase some guy’s earlier words:  let (South) Africa sink.  They deserve no better.

Caught But Not Shot

Seems as though that murderous Mexican illegal immigrant (discussed here) has been caught, but sadly, made no attempt to resist arrest and thus escaped being righteously shot to death.

Request to the trial judge:  please move him to the head of the Needle Line.  It’s even a Texas law — if you murdered someone and it was witnessed by others (as this one was), he can be placed as the very next candidate for execution.

Of course, the MexGov is going to piss and moan about this as they always do when we whack one of their citizens for being an asshole, but fuck ’em.

Not Incompetence – Not Anymore

This is part of a much larger personal story, but I just want to share with you something I said a long time ago.  I’d just launched a major new marketing program involving supermarket customers, their buying and their support for that new program.  Three days after the program’s launch, I went to look at the store sales figures to see how it had all shaken down.

The IT department had lost all the data.  Worse still, they couldn’t tell me when they’d be able to show me any data, going forward.

In a rage, I stormed into the CFO’s office and told him what had happened.  If anything, his shock was greater than mine.  He’d seen my sales projections, my gross profit projections and likely market share gain — but all that was gone.  I looked at him, and said, “It is really difficult for me to come to terms with such gross incompetence and profound indifference of its consequences.  I cannot begin to understand how such incompetence even exists in a huge corporation like ours.”  He looked at me, and nodded.  Then I said, “In fact, if I were a paranoid person — which I’m not — I would actually ascribe negligence on this scale to sabotage.”  And I turned and left.

I have had the same reaction to this situation in south Texas.

Law enforcement officials are seeking a “Mexican male” in connection with a shooting that left five people dead in Cleveland, Texas, Friday night, Fox News reports.
The San Jacinto Sheriff’s Office received a “harassment” call and responding deputies found four victims shot to death and an eight-year-old boy critically wounded. The boy was transported to a hospital, where he died.
All of the victims are believed to be from Honduras, according to San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers.
Capers said his office received the “harassment” call at 11:31 p.m.
Capers said law enforcement is actively searching for the “Mexican male subject” believed to be the shooter and have “a copy of his consulate card.”
He said the Mexican man “has been known to shoot his .223 in the front yard, which is evident from the shell casings in the front yard.”
Capers believes the suspect has fled the area.

And this update:

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers indicated Francisco Oropesa, the Mexican national who allegedly shot and killed five people in Cleveland, Texas, on Friday, has eluded police and “could be anywhere now.”
The FBI is warning people to stay clear of the 38-year-old suspect if they spot him, FOX News reported: “Reminder, if you see him DO NOT approach him. He is armed and dangerous. If you have a tip about his whereabouts call the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office at 936-653-4367.”
On Sunday, FBI special agent in charge Fred Smith said police and agents have just been “running into dead ends” in their search for Oropesa.
He added, “Right now, we have zero leads of him.”

And the last little cherry on top of this shitcake:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials provided updated information on the suspected killer of five Honduran migrants. Officials report that an immigration judge first ordered Francisco Oropeza Perez-Torres, 38, to be removed from the United States on March 19, 2009. ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations officers deported the migrant to Mexico later that month.
Subsequent to this, Oropeza illegally re-entered the U.S. and was removed, once again, in September 2009. He was removed two more times in January 2012 and July 2016.
In January 2012, a Texas court in Montgomery County (which neighbors San Jacinto County where the alleged murders took place) convicted the Mexican national for driving while intoxicated. The court sentenced him to an unreported period of incarceration.

So this murderous asshole has been deported before, not once but four times.  On his last entry into the U.S., he somehow got hold of an AR-15 rifle (despite all the fucking laws that exist to prevent felons and illegal aliens from possessing guns), with the depressingly-foreseeable outcome.

Between Immigration, local law enforcement, the Justice Department and the FBI, there has been not just one cockup, but a multiyear succession of cockups which eventually ended in the death of an entire, innocent family.

So, to go back to my original story:  at what point do we stop ascribing this disaster to gross incompetence, and start thinking about actual sabotage — a deliberate undermining of our immigration laws and the legal system?

By the way, a week after my meeting with the CFO, the head of IT was ignominiously fired.

Do not expect anything like this, though, to happen to anyone in government or the legal system.

Juxtaposition

Here are three headlines:

…and it is:

…but wait!

U.S. Govt spin:  “See?  We’re ten times better than the Euros!”

Ordinary Americans:  “In so many ways.  Now shuddup and fix our economy — or better yet, get out of the fucking way and let us fix it ourselves.”

We’re going to need 3-4% quarterly growth just to catch up with the Trump years, and there’s no way we’re going to achieve that under the current Administration.

New Africa, Same As Old Africa

Now it’s the Sudan which has exploded:

Fighting has erupted across Khartoum and at other sites in Sudan in a battle between two powerful rival military factions, engulfing the capital Khartoum in warfare for the first time and raising the risk of a nationwide civil conflict.  The fighting between forces loyal to two top generals has put the nation at risk of collapse and could have consequences far beyond its borders.  Both sides have tens of thousands of fighters, foreign backers, mineral riches and other resources that could insulate them from sanctions.  It’s a recipe for the kind of prolonged conflict that has devastated other countries in the Middle East and Africa, from Lebanon and Syria to Libya and Ethiopia. The fighting, which began as Sudan attempted to transition to democracy, already has killed hundreds of people and left millions trapped in urban areas, sheltering from gunfire, explosions and looters.  

Even better:

Sudan borders five additional countries: Libya, Chad, the Central African Republic, Eritrea and South Sudan, which seceded in 2011 and took 75% of Khartoum’s oil resources with it. Nearly all are mired in their own internal conflicts, with various rebel groups operating along the porous borders.

In other words, same ol’ Africa.  Here’s a map, for a little perspective:

Most notably, every single African country on this map can most charitably described as a “shithole”.

Anyway…

Forgive me if I don’t give a shit, about any of them.