Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: June 18, 2010


Dale’s Observations For 2010-06-18

I hope the leadership vacuum created by Tony Hayward's departure doesn't hamper the #oilspill containment or cleanup efforts. #

Russia is eliminating the capital gains tax. Sadly, the ex-commies know something we apparently don't. http://bit.ly/cSzTOe #

Calling the AOL/Bebo fiasco the worst deal of the dot com era makes me wonder if nobody remembers Novell/Word Perfect. http://bit.ly/aJf2q6 #

RT @adamsbaldwin: "Government Wants ISPs to Record Browsing History…" | That's the Australian government, though. Not the US. #

Are the Feds and BP conspiring to prevent the media from recording the full impact of the oil spill? http://bit.ly/aa4ri6 #

RT @BryanPick: Why is the firing squad controversial? | Because it's icky and messy. We like our executions clean. #

FCC votes to regulate broadband service like a telecom. Is there ANYTHING these people don't want to control? http://bit.ly/bwEBFP #

If Michael Jordan brings back the Hitler mustache, it will be the most stupendous achievement of the 21st century. http://bit.ly/9tUS2A #

White House wants the senate to pass Cap & Trade in lame duck session, so no one has to face a tough vote before it. http://bit.ly/94CHzB #

Inspections for fire extinguishers take precedence over stopping the oil from reaching shore – http://www.qando.net/?p=8795 #

High court: Texts on government/employer gear not private http://usat.me?38908876

That's why I never use them. #

New 'morning after' pill approved by FDA is good for give days. Yay for unprotected sex! http://usat.me?38912476 #

Is it becoming clearer to everyone why we don't elect senators to the White House? #


Quote of the day – unclenched fist edition

I have to say, the “unclenched fist” diplomacy is just working out swimmingly with Iran. From a speech Iranian president Ahmadinejad gave on Thursday:

“It is God-given that all the anti-human plans in the world, and all the crimes and bloodshed, are being carried out under U.S. government supervision, but that the demand [to stop them] comes only from our nation… This move of theirs [apparently a reference to calls by President Obama to support the Iranian protest movement] forces us to adopt yet another international mission, because today the most brutal dictatorship is being implemented against the American nation, which is subject to the worst suffocation – the press is not free to depict the crimes of Israel and America, nor can demonstrations in response to these crimes be held freely…

“I hereby announce that from this point forward, one of the Iranian nation’s main aspirations will be to deliver the American people from [its] undemocratic and bullying government.”

Thank goodness someone is going to help us in that regard /sarc.

Your guess is as good as mine as to how he plans on accomplishing that but his take on Jews remains about the same as when we had a clenched fist.

“…Sixty years ago, they [i.e. the West] gathered the filthiest and greatest of criminals, who [only] appear to be human [i.e. the Jews] from all the corners of the earth, organized and armed them – on artificial and false pretexts, fabricating information and inventing stories [hinting at the Holocaust]. They gave [the Jews] propaganda and military backing so that they would occupy the lands of Palestine and uproot the Palestinian nation…”

Rhetoric says, at least to me, that the Islamists are warming up to another run at Israel sometime in the not to distant future.

~McQ


Just words

Not that I’m particularly upset by this (liberal certainly are), however, it again makes the case that this president should never be judged just by what he says (see below). He should always be judged by what he does and how it all turns out. For instance:

The White House is intervening at the last minute to come to the defense of multinational corporations in the unfolding conference committee negotiations over Wall Street reform.

A measure that had been generally agreed to by both the House and Senate, which would have affirmed the SEC’s authority to allow investors to have proxy access to the corporate decision-making process, was stripped by the Senate in conference committee votes on Wednesday and Thursday. Five sources with knowledge of the situation said the White House pushed for the measure to be stripped at the behest of the Business Roundtable. The sources — congressional aides as well as outside advocates — requested anonymity for fear of White House reprisal.

Tough talk, populist rhetoric (CEO’s get paid too much and we need to rein them in) and when it comes to actually doing so? Yeah, not so tough at all. Like I said, the outcome doesn’t bother me and, after publicly taking corporate CEOs to task, attempting to shame them and cut their pay, someone must have alerted Obama to the fact that they mostly paid the campaign freight during his run for the presidency.

Why do I say that? Well the “Business Roundtable”, which so vociferiously opposed this is a lobby of corporate CEOs. And the White House liason to that lobby is Valerie Jarrett.

The White House is now saying that the provision allowing investors proxy access which would allow them to have a say in CEO salaries was never something they explicitly backed.

“It was not part of our original financial reform proposals, and we have not taken a position explicitly. We have heard from and understand the various concerns on this critical corporate governance issue from multiple stakeholders including business, investors, labor and others. We are confident that the House and Senate conferees will come to a resolution and deliver a consensus view,” said the spokesperson.

Of course that, along with much of what they say, is not true. Huffington Post reminds us of two administration officials who took very explicit positions in support of the provison:

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin addressed the provision. “The Senate bill will make clear that the SEC has unambiguous authority to issue rules permitting shareholder access to the proxy. We support that proposal. The SEC’s rulemaking process will define the precise parameters of proxy access,” he said. “But the principle is clear: long-term shareholders meeting reasonable ownership thresholds should have the ability to hold board members accountable by proposing alternatives and making their voices heard.”

Valerie Jarrett followed Wolin. “The Senate bill will make it clear that the SEC has unambiguous authority to issue rules permitting shareholders access to the proxy — essential, as I know you guys know,” she said. “We agree that corporate governance means more transparency, more responsibility, more accountability, and once again — I can’t say it too often — we stand firmly with you on that point.”

Any questions? Does this leave you with the impression that the administration never explicitly took a position on that provision? Are you still convinced Obama means what he says, or are you beginning to understand that he’s mostly show and not much “go”?

Oh, and yes, this would be called “crony capitalism” if you were wondering.

~McQ


Is the health care individual mandate a tax?

If so, that’s precisely the opposite of the claim from Obama and the purveyors of health care reform. But it appears that’s what the administration is arguing in court in order to keep the courts from killing the provison:

Late last night, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the Florida-based lawsuit against the health care law, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction and that the State of Florida and fellow plaintiffs haven’t presented a claim for which the court can grant relief. To bolster its case, the DOJ cited the Anti-Injunction Act, which restricts courts from interfering with the government’s ability to collect taxes.

The Act, according to a DOJ memo supporting the motion to dismiss, says that “no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person, whether or not such person is the person against whom such tax was assessed.” The memo goes on to say that it makes no difference whether the disputed payment it is called a “tax” or “penalty,” because either way, it’s “assessed and collected in the same manner” by the Internal Revenue Service.

You may remember the rather testy interview with George Stephanopoulos in which Obama used the dictionary to bolter his argument that the individual mandate wasn’t a tax? And he also said this:

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.

Apparently his critics were right. And what should also be evident is this will be one of the largest tax increases the middle class has ever seen.

So much for the 95% no-tax-increase pledge (which went by the boards almost immediately, but this is another example of that broken pledge and another reason to distrust whatever Obama says).

~McQ

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