Odds and ends number 109

Because I did quite a bit of e-mail list pruning over the holidays – it was easier than shedding those holiday pounds, which are still there – it took a little longer for me to find compelling items I wanted to spend anywhere from a couple sentences to a couple paragraphs on. So here we go again.

A cure for insomnia

You may not have noticed this while you were putting on pounds and using your gas-guzzling vehicle to drive around and buy holiday gifts, but Delaware now has a Climate Action Plan. Of course, it involves the folly of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions – as if our little state will make much of a difference on that front – and actions they term as “maximize resilience to climate change impacts.” They fret that “Delaware has already experienced over 1 foot of sea level rise at the Lewes tide gauge since 1900. By midcentury, sea levels are projected to rise another 9 to 23 inches and, by 2100, up to an additional 5 feet.” These are the people who can’t tell you if it will snow in two weeks but they’re sure of this one. Moreover, these assertions were easily swatted out of the park.

The only climate action plan we need is to first follow Virginia’s lead and ditch the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, since that’s simply a wealth transfer mechanism from middle-class pockets to utilities to government to entities they deem as those in need of “equity.” After that, it’s time to repeal every last renewable energy mandate and get back to reliable power, not dependence on arbitrary and capricious wind and sunshine for our electricity. The dirty little secret is that we need those fossil fuel plants as backup anyway so we may as well get our use out of them. Don’t believe me? Well, the Caesar Rodney Institute agrees:

Did you know Delaware has been mandating wind and solar power in addition to providing subsidies for both for over a decade? In 2021, the mandate required 21% power from wind and solar, increasing to 40% by 2035. So far, 90% of the wind and solar mandate is being met with out-of-state generation, with only 2% of electric demand met by in-state solar. At night, when it’s cloudy, and in winter, when solar power drops 40% compared to summer, reliable power is needed for backup.

“What Delaware Needs in State Electric Power Generation?”, Caesar Rodney Institute, December 26, 2021.

So we are subsidizing other states. Unfortunately, we are probably in the same boat for awhile but, rather than muck up the shipping lanes entering Delaware Bay with useless wind turbines or put hundreds of acres out of use for agriculture with ugly (and generally Chinese-made) solar panel farms, we could just build a series of natural gas generating plants with a minimal infrastructure investment in additional or expanded pipelines. It’s the better way.

Losing the hand

If you recall the 2010 election, the Beltway pundits bemoaned a missed opportunity in Delaware because Mike Castle lost in the Republican primary to TEA Party favorite Christine O’Donnell. (Some guy wrote part of a chapter in a book about this.) After their favored candidate lost, the Delaware GOP establishment took their ball and went home, resulting in a schism that still occasionally pops up to this day.

Well, Mike is back in the news as he was recently selected to be part of the board at A Better Delaware. As they describe it:

During 40 years in public office, Gov. Castle served two terms as governor, from 1985 to 1992, before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for nine terms. While in Congress, he served on the Financial Services Committee and on the Education and Labor Committee and was a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility and working across party lines to build bridges and form coalitions to find pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing problems.

“Former Gov. Mike Castle Joins A Better Delaware Board,” January 18, 2022.

What do we get when we reach across party lines? Our arm ripped off and beaten with it. Democrats in Delaware have zero interest in working with Republicans (let alone the conservatives who need to be in charge) so I don’t see the use of this relic who exemplifies everything that frustrates common-sense Delawareans about the Delaware GOP. If you want A Better Delaware, you need to elect people vowing to do whatever it takes to undo the forty years’ worth of damage done by the Democrats. They can shut up and sit down for awhile.

But it would be cool if Christine O’Donnell took a job there.


Anymore I use part of my odds and ends to pick on that crazy one from South Dakota, Rick Weiland. (You thought I would say Kristi Noem?) Just two weeks ago he wrote, “It has never been more important for the Biden administration and Congress to go bold and make sure everyone has enough high-quality masks to protect themselves and others.” Weiland was advocating for some boondoggle called the Masks for All Act.

Of course, we all know that two weeks later mask mandates were being dropped all over the blue-state country by Democrat governors who claimed to be following the science, and they did… right up to the point where the “science” affected their chances of holding on to any sort of power. It’s all about power, folks, and don’t you forget it.

But Weiland is the same nut who rails on about “insurrectionists” in Congress and deplatforming Fox News because it, “consistently downplays the seriousness of the pandemic, while amplifying risky treatment alternatives like ivermectin (and) is allowed to spew disinformation directly into the homes of millions of Americans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” Yet people take this stuff seriously. I just thought you needed a good laugh.

Invading the Shore

Speaking of crazy people…

It took awhile, but now we seem to have a branch of Indivisible of our very own on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. “We are IndivisibleShore,” they write, “and are here to help you help progressive candidates win elections in Maryland, specifically The Eastern Shore and Eastern parts of the Western Shore.”

Well, that’s about the last thing they need – talk about an invasive species. Besides the Zoom training sessions, they also promise, “We have phone banking, door knocking (when safe) and postcard writing available. We also will be sponsoring music events and get togethers when safe.” One out of five ain’t bad if the band is halfway decent, as I’m quite aware that most musicians are on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

This guy gets it

Now we can come back to sanity.

One thing I recommend reading (or hearing, since it’s a brief weekly podcast) is the Castle Report. While Donald Trump was a fine president, I think Castle would have been Donald Trump on steroids when it came to trimming the government back to Constitutional levels (provided he had a like-minded Congress.) He’s the reason I joined the Constitution Party here in Delaware. (And somehow I’ve managed in one article to talk about two different guys surnamed Castle. Odd. Or maybe an end.)

This week he talked about the Canadian truckers’ convoy and it’s one of his best. One thing to ponder from his piece – ask yourself who this sounds like:

So, who is this man, Justin Trudeau, and what are his qualifications to hold the office of Prime Minister of Canada? Other than the fact that he was elected by a majority of Canadian voters, he has only one qualification and that is he is the son of the former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Pierre was of military age during World War ll but declined to serve. He built his fortune and his political career at home while Canadians were dying on the battlefields of Europe. Pierre was apparently a devout communist and never met or even heard of a murderous, dictator he didn’t love. He went to the Soviet Union to participate in the great achievements of Joseph Stalin. He wrote glowing praises of Mao’s regime in China. He had a friendly relationship with Castro and visited with him in Cuba. Some of the praise he heaped on Stalin was of new Russian cities built from the rubble of the great war, but he never mentioned the many thousands of slaves who died building those cities.

Justin seems to have nothing to recommend him to Canadians except he follows in his father’s communist footsteps. What, I wonder, is his own merit or his own achievement? He has no scholarly achievement, no publications to his name, no business experience, but he is an accepted legacy, member of the global ruling elite and, therefore, protected.

For example, as a young man, he often appeared in blackface and sang the Harry Belafonte classic, The Banana Boat Song. He now says he considers that racist but no resignation, and no groveling apology. He is also free to call the truckers racists because one truck flew a Confederate flag.

“Unacceptable Views”, Darrell Castle, The Castle Report, February 11, 2022.

It’s worth mentioning that the Canadians are just the first, as other nations have gotten into the act. But imagine this: thousands of everyday Canadians lined Canada’s main highway east from British Columbia to cheer these truckers on, in subfreezing weather. It was a little bit like a Trump rally in terms of enthusiasm, but instead of a political figure these folks were there for a political statement and not the opportunity to glom onto celebrity. That’s a key difference. Let’s pray for their success.

Play ball!

While the major leaguers are locked out and almost certainly won’t begin spring training on time, our Delmarva Shorebirds are on track to begin their spring training on February 28 and begin the regular season April 8, as they are unaffected by the lockout. There are lots of reasons to go to the ballpark already, but the Shorebirds have an interesting promotional schedule worth checking out.

It’s a good way to bring this 109th edition of odds and ends to a close.

More questions on the third man

Now that Maryland voters have been introduced to Rob Sobhani, the vetting is coming full force. Take as an example the Red Maryland crew, which has been hammering him mercilessly on a number of subjects, including their “Broadside” radio show.

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

The same goes for Jim Jamitis at Anthropocon, who questioned Sobhani’s journalistic integrity as a CNN Middle East expert.

But now Rob has drawn fire from his Republican opponent Dan Bongino, whose campaign posits their own set of unanswered questions (via Sharon Strine, Deputy Campaign Manager for Bongino):

After 16 months of countless interviews, surveys, and a grueling primary election Dan Bongino’s candidacy has been thoroughly examined. Senator Cardin’s 45 year record of voting for tax increases is extensively recorded. Rob Sobhani, however, has had far less scrutiny regarding his background, thanks in part to the convenient timing of his entry into the race for U.S. Senate.

Our campaign just announced our best fundraising quarter to date thanks to the support of thousands of donors throughout Maryland. Mr. Sobhani, lacking that grassroots support, is self-financing his campaign.

Individuals funding their own campaign is not wrong, but valid questions do become more apparent that are simply not getting asked.  Especially if, for example, that individual obtains ballot access by hiring a company with a history of being associated in several states with accusations of deception and illegalities in their signature-gathering practices.

This, along with two previously failed Senate campaigns and a job on Capitol Hill, are not the typical resume one would expect from someone presenting himself as an independent, Washington outsider.

Mr. Sobhani recently joked about hitting the jackpot and that is why he decided to run for office instead of buying another house. Maryland’s future representation in the U.S. Senate is no laughing matter.  With so much at stake this election, we cannot be too careful or too diligent in our efforts to learn more about those seeking higher office.

Perhaps this isn’t the most elegantly worded assessment of Sobhani, but there are legitimate questions regarding the company which circulated their petitions and alleged previous shady practices of theirs.

Needless to say, many Maryland Republicans aren’t thrilled with the late entry of Rob Sobhani into the race, which is why the long knives seem to have come out. After all, even an article from Eric Ostermeier of the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Political Affairs and found on Sobhani’s site claims:

At 21 percent, Sobhani is clearly cutting into the support of the Republican Party this cycle.

The Ostermeier article goes on to talk about Sobhani’s platform, which to me is perhaps best described as centrist. It weaves red meat issues for conservatives like immigration reform and English as a national language with feelgood pap like “We must cut programs, but not leave people without safety nets” and “I favor a simple, 15% flat rate for most working Americans. Those who are making a lot more can pay a little more.” Sobhani’s platform would certainly be to the right of Ben Cardin’s, but well to the left of Dan Bongino, who also addresses a number of issues Sobhani does not.

But other questions not yet answered give me pause. Rob got into some hot water for this statement attributed to him:

There’s a young lady here in the United States who is in her mid thirties. She’s a Deputy Secretary of Education in the United States, an American Iranian. That same 30-something in Iran has to prostitute herself to make ends meet.

When pressed, Sobhani blames “well-known and identified apologists for and supporters of the clerical regime of Iran (who are) grossly misrepresenting and cleverly spinning out of context my words from various speaking engagements and media interviews.” Fair enough. But what about statements I found earlier about the plight of Iranian-Americans, like this from an earlier Senate run?

As a United States Senator what I hope to achieve for Americans of Iranians descent is straighforward (sic): end the demonizing and stereotyping of Iran and Iranians. In fact, my first act as an elected official will be demand a public apology from Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat from California) for calling the Iranian nation “terrorist” in her interview with CNN last February.

Beyond this significant symbolic act, I hope to channel available federal funds to non-profit organizations in the United States dedicated to the preservation of our heritage. Also, and more to the point, I will work very hard to end the discrimination against Iranians who wish to visit the United States to see their relatives and loved-ones.

Yet perhaps even more pronounced than Rob’s homage to his Iranian heritage is his advocacy for big business deals. And if the Americans can’t do them, perhaps Canada can. This is a portion of testimony given to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, April 11, 2000:

The Chairman: The problem we have a little bit is the problem of priority and resources, because you’ll appreciate that we’re told the same thing when we go to China, we’re told the same thing in various parts of Africa, and we’re told the same thing in practically every developing economy. It’s almost a sine qua non that there’s a role for government that exceeds that of business in say Europe or the United States. I think we might even find that we would get the same story in Latin America. It then becomes a question of how we allocate government resources, and whether or not the Canadian interests in the region are substantial enough and whether the potential of the region is substantial enough. However, that’s for us to grapple with, and we’ll look at that.

Just going on the potential of the region, can any of you help me with one question? What is the size of Canadian… We have some idea about the mineral activities in these countries, but in the Azerbaijani oil play, we hear the figure that Canada’s participation is around 4% or something like that. Is there any way to quantify what the Canadian participation in that region is?

Dr. Rob Sobhani: Canadian participation in Azerbaijan is very minimal. The major presence is the company that I represent, the Alberta Energy Company. They have 5% of a major structure in the South Caspian, which, if proven and discovered, is 9 billion barrels of oil. That’s a sizeable structure.

The Chairman: What does that do to their share price?

Dr. Rob Sobhani: If you’re an AEC shareholder, you’ll be a very rich person.

To give you a comparison, the partners in that one project in which AEC has 5% are BP Amoco with 15%, Exxon-Mobil with 15%, the Turkish Petroleum Company with 10%. And I know that if you take the totality of all the contracts, you will find that Exxon-Mobil and BP Amoco are by far the dominant players. Beyond Alberta Energy, there is very little Canadian presence.

The Chairman: Do you see a future interest of Canadian oil and gas companies in that, given what you said about the resources that are available in Alberta at this time?

Dr. Rob Sobhani: Absolutely, and not only in the upstream discovery, but also in the downstream—refining, pipelining, and getting the oil out. There are enormous opportunities. As I’ve said, $10 billion needs to be spent to build these pipelines.

The Chairman: I understand the opportunity, but do you get a feeling that Canadian companies are starting to come as well? Or have they even realized—

Dr. Rob Sobhani: At least in Azerbaijan, I don’t, because I think there is this gap. They’re there, but their flag is not there. The way it works, the Maple Leaf needs to be there. If they don’t see the Maple Leaf, it’s difficult, because when they’re negotiating with the president, the prime minister, or the oil minister, his first question is to ask where the ambassador is. The response is “Sorry, Canada doesn’t have an ambassador”. That immediately takes away from the bargaining position. (Emphasis mine.)

The reason this is important to me is that Sobhani is hinging a large part of his campaign on the promise of billions of dollars of investment for Maryland. There’s a line between being an outsider with business experience – Mitt Romney is an imperfect example, but one nonetheless – and someone who could be enriching himself with the deals he makes. Perhaps Canada followed Rob’s advice and made him a very wealthy man, since he admitted to working for the Alberta Energy Company.

In an era where government seems to strive to socialize risk while privatizing profit for the well-connected, I have to wonder what’s in it for Rob. We really haven’t had an honest accounting of where this promised money will come from, nor has the obvious question of why this investment needs Rob Sobhani to be involved been answered. If it were such a great deal, one would think it would already be underway.

Beware of men who make big promises.