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Friday, July 29, 2022

West Virginia takes on BlackRock

West Virginia v. EPA was the most significant decision handed down by the Supreme Court this year because the court made it clear that Civil Service-protected bureaucrats cannot do whatever they want in the name of saving the planet. Congress makes the laws, not lifers in the bureaucracy.

WV v. EPA had the most impact because while Dobbs turned abortion back to the states, it did not ban abortion. States will decide the issue. 

Having defeated the EPA, the state is taking on big banks.

Reuters reported, "West Virginia has barred five major financial institutions, including BlackRock Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., from new state business after determining that they were boycotting the fossil fuel industry.

"Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. are also barred on similar grounds, according to State Treasurer Riley Moore.

"Spokespeople for Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley said the banks disagreed with the decision, and a spokesperson for JPMorgan called it disconnected from the facts. A BlackRock spokesperson said it also disagreed with the decision.

"'BlackRock does not boycott energy companies, and we do not pursue divestment from sectors and industries as a policy,' the spokesperson said."

That's what BlackRock says publicly.

Here's what it said in a letter to clients:

Thermal coal is significantly carbon intensive, becoming less and less economically viable, and highly exposed to regulation because of its environmental impacts. With the acceleration of the global energy transition, we do not believe that the long-term economic or investment rationale justifies continued investment in this sector. As a result, we are in the process of removing from our discretionary active investment portfolios the public securities (both debt and equity) of companies that generate more than 25% of their revenues from thermal coal production, which we aim to accomplish by the middle of 2020. As part of our process of evaluating sectors with high ESG risk, we will also closely scrutinize other businesses that are heavily reliant on thermal coal as an input, in order to understand whether they are effectively transitioning away from this reliance. In addition, BlackRock’s alternatives business will make no future direct investments in companies that generate more than 25% of their revenues from thermal coal production.

BlackRock is how Berkshire Hathaway would run if Warren Buffett were Darth Vader. 

The story said, "West Virginia is the first state to move to kick out Wall Street firms, although some other states, including Texas, have enacted similar laws."

You can thank George Walker Bush for this.

Well, actually his godson, Coddy Johnson, the son of his college roommate. And coal magnate Buck Harless.

Buck Harless was a true-blue Republican coal company owner who did a lot for his hometown of Gilbert, population 371. He told the Bush campaign he was tired of donating money only to see it spent elsewhere. Eventually, they listened.

Coddy worked for Bush in the 2000 race. Coddy's territory included West Virginia. Karl Rove told him if he spent more than 30 seconds on West Virginia, you're fired. The state had gone for Democrats in 11 of the last 14 presidential. Heck, we went for Dukakis.

West Virginia won the election for Bush, which made Rove a superstar. 

The Wall Street Journal reported a year after the election, "Mr. Harless's effort to persuade the Bush campaign that West Virginia was winnable got a boost when Austin-based Bush aide Collister 'Coddy' Johnson was assigned to track West Virginia. Mr. Johnson, Mr. Bush's godson, worked under Robert 'Mike' Duncan, a regional captain who was pushing a strategy aimed at industrial states in the Ohio River Valley. Dubbed 'cars and coal,' the strategy involved reaching out to auto workers, miners and others resentful of Mr. Gore's environmental stances. Impressed by Messrs. Harless, Raney and Kimbler, Mr. Johnson urged the campaign to take the state seriously.

"By summer 2000, some polls gave Mr. Bush a lead here, so his aides made a last-minute decision to hold a rally in Charleston on Aug. 1, en route to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Mr. Harless was already at the convention -- his first -- but he flew then-Gov. Underwood and other friends back on his jet and met Mr. Bush at a monument for West Virginia veterans that Mr. Harless had financed a decade earlier. An executive who works for Mr. Harless helped arrange for the Marshall University marching band to provide music for the unexpectedly large crowd of 5,000. Mr. Harless is a member of the university's foundation board.

"The Bush campaign had designated veterans and defense as the day's theme, but the West Virginians persuaded Austin officials to add coal to the mix. Campaign aides scheduled the candidate for a brief photo session with Messrs. Raney and Kimbler on the runway just before Mr. Bush left for Philadelphia -- a meeting that ended up lasting 20 minutes. The men say Mr. Bush took notes as they discussed mountaintop mining and coal country's battered economy. Mr. Raney says Mr. Bush expressed a desire to see West Virginia's unemployed coal miners back at work."  

When West Virginia elected Bush, the media labeled it a red state.

That was a lie.

We kept electing Democrat governors (Democrats held the office for 60 of 84 years) and Democrat legislatures and Democrat Supreme Court justices and all those lesser state offices such as attorney general and state treasurer.

But the Eastern Panhandle became a suburb of DC. It also became a mecca of Republicanism. Slowly the state began reddening as the blue dog Democrats died out and the Eastern Panhandle grew.

In 2012, Patrick Morrisey became the first Republican attorney general in 80 years. Two years later, Shelley Moore Capito became the first Republican senator from the state in 56 years. (She's Riley Moore's aunt and the daughter of Arch Moore, the legendary three-term Republican governor.)

That 2014 was a watershed election as Republicans took over the legislature for the first time in 84 years.

In 2016, other state offices flipped Republican and now the fruits of those labors by guys like Buck Harless (who sadly died 11 months before that watershed election) and William Raney bore fruit.

A state forged by Lincoln has returned to its roots. America benefits because West Virginia is taking on DC and Wall Street. And winning. When I call West Virginia the Trumpiest State in the Whole USA, that's a compliment to him.

Oh, West Virginia could survive without coal.

But why should it? For Cargo Cult Science?

Get out of here.

If you don't fight for yourself, I know you won't fight for me. West Virginia is fighting for itself and America is better for it.


  1. Almost heaven is worth fighting for - oh praying for all in Applachia affected by flooding. I got family there and my late wife's.

  2. Kudos to Patrick Morrisey and Riley Moore for standing up for West Virginia and justice. I wish we could say the same for our two senators, Manchin and Capito.

    1. I wish Mississippi had a Morrisey or a Moore, let alone both. We have two weak, Chamber of Commerce Senators. Good senators are hard to find.

    2. Good senators may be hard to find, but you can buy rinos cheap.
      EN2 SS

  3. Meanwhile our interior Alaska Golden Valley Electric Co-op is shutting down a perfectly good coal fired power plant, replacing it with bird killing, intermittently working wind turbines to appease and please the EPA.

    1. Those turbines should perform great in the middle of winter, when you need heat the most.

  4. Don, thank you for the link to Cargo Cult Science. What an excellent read!

    1. How did this "Cargo Cult Science" clarity of thought not survive into the 21st century?

  5. West Virginia can also push tourism in addition. The New River Gorge is a major scenic attraction.

  6. Reining in the regulatory bureaucracies is a significant challenge to Federal power.

    Going after the mega-banks means Gramscian companies to manipulate the states.

    WV v. EPA had the most impact because while Dobbs turned abortion back to the states, it did not ban abortion. States will decide the issue.

    But it began the war on the twisting of the 14th Amendment (and maybe even John Marshall's dictum) that has characterized the Left's war on the Constitution for 50 years and that may turn out to be the Shot Heard Round The World.

  7. GREAT history lesson, my friend. We’ve had a place up here in Hedgesville since 2001 (vacay home) but I had no idea The Revolution started in the EP! Viva La Revolucion, and Viva Almost Heaven.

  8. “A state forged by Lincoln” I had not heard that before

  9. It is time for real Conservatives to put some pepper on the gloves. We have put up with Leftist devils for long enough. They need to be taught a lesson in truth. The worst of the lot are the Climate Cultists. They are flat-out INSANE! Proof of the observation that "It's easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they have been fooled." Those freaks have been "fooled" for decades.

  10. Thermal coal is significantly carbon intensive, Thermal coal? who dreamed up that title, clearly who ever it was has zero knowledge of coal. It's steam coal stupid coal burned to make steam. So now it is thermal methane, thermal wood, thermal bagasse a renewable BTW. there are all sorts of coal anthracite bituminous, met coal Many sizes too, run of mine, lump, egg, nut, stocker, slack and dust. Chase has no respect for us their "bank" in Huntington is in a basement.

  11. Now get rid of Manchin. I can't for the life understand why he's there given his past history. A favorite is his driving up the price of inhalers with the help of his daughter.

  12. Speaking of GOP Inc., tell us Don, except when he's up for re-election, who is McConnell "fighting" for? Graham?

  13. my best friend's sister gets $92 an hour on the internet... she's been laid off for two months, the previous month her paycheck was $20328 only working at home for a couple of hours each day...

    check out....…tab now