Loose Ends (166)

Always behind on my weekend reading, so I just today caught up to Holman Jenkins’s Saturday column in the Wall Street Journal on “What Did the Steele Hoax Cost America?” The whole article is smoking hot great and worth reading all the way through if you have a Journal subscription, but this one passage stands out as the perfect summary for how to think about Trump:

Mr. Trump may be a compendium of human vices but he will always be the president who withstood the most insidious, organized slur in modern memory. His enemies did that for him, not least among them a largely cretinous media that showed its true colors, which turned out to have nothing to do with fearless and searching concern for the truth.

In a stable of great columnists, Jenkins is my favorite.

ESG investing may have lost its shine, but woke capitalism is not yet in retreat. Take in today’s news that Tesla has been kicked out of the S&P’s ESG 500 Index. Now just why would Tesla be kicked out of the Kool Kids Klimate Klub? You won’t believe it:

“A few of the factors contributing to its 2021 [ESG] Score were a decline in criteria level scores related to Tesla’s (lack of) low carbon strategy and codes of business conduct,” wrote Maggie Dorn, senior director and head of ESG Indices, North America, at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a blog post.

The whole point of Tesla is to make a product that doesn’t need a carbon strategy! As Barron’s notes:

Tesla, of course, is responsible for shifting the entire car industry toward electric vehicles. Ford Motor and General Motors are two auto makers spending billions on EVs. Shares of both are in the SPDR S&P 500 ESG ETF.

Also this:

Driving an EV doesn’t eliminate all carbon emissions because electricity can be generated by burning natural gas or coal.

Why is that Tesla’s fault? Whenever you point out that any electric car (even a GM or Ford) that operates in a coal-heavy state is not an emissions-free car, you get yelled at. (I have a friend who has a sticker on his Tesla: “How do you like my coal-powered car?”)

I have a simpler theory: the wokesters who have burrowed in on Wall Street have yanked Tesla from the ESG Index in retaliation for Elon Musk departing from the leftist reservation and proposing to take Twitter away from their control.

This story ought to headlined “Financial Break for Billionaires and Big Corporations Scaled Back; Al Gore Hardest Hit”:

New Restrictions Could Cut Carbon Offsets From Major Rainforests

The fast-growing market for carbon credits faces a challenge from two Asia-Pacific countries that have cut back on generating offsets for overseas businesses.

Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are restricting the credits produced by preserving their rainforests, which has unsettled the market for these credits and created uncertainties like those faced by mining, timber and drilling companies operating in developing countries. . .

The Wall Street Journal also has a long and somewhat enigmatic feature story out today on the recent 737 crash of the China Eastern Airlines flight on March 21. It is enigmatic in that it reports the “black box” flight recorder of technical data indicates that the plane was pitched down into a perpendicular dive by a deliberate human act. This was my guess from the beginning. Modern jets don’t pitch down 90 degrees all of a sudden even from a catastrophic control surface failure (recall United flight 232 in 1989, which stayed aloft even after complete hydraulic failure), and there was no sign that a bomb had brought the plane down.

The question is whether it is another case of a deranged pilot, or whether someone breached the cockpit. The data recorder alone wouldn’t shed much light on that question. The story reports that the cockpit voice recorder was also recovered, but says nothing about what it contains because . . . the Chinese haven’t released any of it to international investigators. In fact the Chinese haven’t released their preliminary findings to anyone; the WSJ story is based on interviews with “people familiar” with a U.S. preliminary finding about the crash.

Like every other problem in China, the reflex of the government is to cover up and lie. Don’t be surprised if the Chinese announce that the voice recorder was “irreparably damaged” in the crash (it has been known to happen) and can’t be used. How convenient that will be.

Finally, today’s comic absurdity from the left: Men can have abortions.

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