Quick Hits……. The politics and other nonsense of a world gone mad!

Today’s blog is a series of quick stories. I usually like to more fully explore an issue but at the pace things are happening I can’t write fast enough to keep up. So today I am going clean up a list of accumulating stories into quick hits. You’ll get a short overview and links to the rest of the story. 

The Federal Reserve hires a lobbyist to improve image? 

The Obama administration wants to expand the authority of the Federal Reserve but recent events have cast doubt about the role of the Fed in helping manage the bail outs and the economy. Enter Linda Robertson, a former Enron lobbyist and Clinton administration Treasury Department aide. She is expected to start at the Fed in July. She will be in charge of congressional affairs. Previously, Robertson had been considered for a senior post at the Treasury Dept. but was removed from the running because of the Obama administration’s rules against hiring lobbyists. The recent problems on Wall Street and Treasury Secretary Geithner’s desire to use the Fed as a regulatory tool to manage large business failures has left Congress questioning how much authority should be given to this independent government agency. 

A couple of points to consider; why are lobbyists okay in some jobs and not others, also why does a government entity need a lobbyist to talk to Congress for them? Read more here……

 http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aZjQKyLci1AM

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124424729195390639.html

Leading Democrats pushing back on the President over dealership closures!

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Daniel Maffei have asked other congressional lawmakers to join with them in pushing the administration to answer questions on the forced bankruptcy and reorganization of Chrysler and GM. The issue at the heart of the matter is the forced closure of so many healthy dealerships. Specifically, how will closing these dealers will make the companies more profitable. This is the second time in the last few weeks the democrat controlled congress has stood up to the President ( the first was Guantanamo) Read more here…… 

http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0609/pushback_on_chrysler_4a29bba0-af21-4dd4-9d76-c59c5aaf8f5d.html

 http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/forum/topics/please-read-this-letter-to?page=1&commentId=1970539%3AComment%3A129956&x=1#1970539Comment129956

 Ginsberg halts Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a stay of the bankruptcy proceedings just a week before the  government-backed sale of Chrysler to Fiat. Three Indiana state pension and construction funds who have secured debt in Chrysler are petitioning the Supreme Court to intervene on their behalf. They are challenging the constitutionality of the Treasury Department’s use of money from T.A.R.P. to finance Chrysler’s bankruptcy protection. They also claim the administration put less qualified stakeholders ahead of their secured debts which goes against the grain of typical bankruptcy rulings. Could this be a win for the Constitution as well as the funds… Stayed tuned, for more of the story, go to: 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105130479&ft=1&f=1017

 Unfortunately, before I could finish and post this blog the Supreme Court decided they would not take this case. This is a huge defeat for capitalism. Basically this sets a bad precedent for future bankruptcy proceedings in that it minimizes the rights of secured debtors in the process. The court ruled the plaintiffs had not met their burden of proof which seems like a cop out since the process used broke almost every rule of standard bankruptcy procedure prior to this filing. For more on the courts decision, go to… 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/8550281

 Another Czar…… of the Great Lakes, Seriously?

 President Barack Obama has tapped Cameron Davis, the leader of a Chicago-based environmentalist group, to head up his initiative to clean up the Great Lakes. He will be responsible for implementing a restoration program expected to cost more than $20 billion. What’s next a graffiti czar to clean up graffiti in major cities? Enough already! Aren’t there civil engineering companies who could run this program on a contract basis? Or how about the Army Corp. of Engineers – after all, they built every major lake in Texas except Lake Caddo which God took care of. Some how I am sure G.E. will get the contract to do the actual clean up. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/04/obama-taps-cameron-davis_n_211315.html

 Nuclear Proliferation can wait……The U.N. seeks to immediately reduce plastic bag proliferation

 Proving their priorities are in the right place, Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) said today, single-use plastic bags should be banned because of their degrading effects on the planet. Claiming the bags choke marine life he stated, they “should be banned or phased out rapidly everywhere. There is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere.”

http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0609-hance_plasticban.html

It is amazing how swiftly and decisively the U.N. can move when it’s dealing with a “major” issue like the plastic bag. Yet when a rogue nation like North Korea or Iran gives the world “the finger” ignoring U.N. resolutions and making defiant statements they struggle to come up with an “appropriate” response.

For the last few weeks North Korea has performed several missile tests, and the UN Security Council is working toward a denunciation of North Korean defiance . In other words they are drafting another “strong letter of disapproval”.

U.S. participation in the U.N. needs to be reconsidered; the organization has become a joke and an embarrassment. 

The Cow Fart Tax……. The next battle in the fight to curb global warming….. Really!

 Farting cows and other livestock are a major source of methane emissions into the atmosphere. As a result the EPA is looking for ways to address this greenhouse gas problem. So you won’t be surprised to find out that one of the ways they are considering addressing the problem is through a tax. While I am not sure how this will reduce the gases legislation to impose the tax is working its’ way through a House committee. 

According to Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI., the ranking member of the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, if this bill becomes law it could have a devastating impact on agribusiness. In the absence of a technology based solution for livestock methane emissions the congressman said, “I don’t know if we’re supposed to develop the technology to strap a catalytic converter on the back of a cow”, since a capture and convert strategy would be a more earth friendly solution than a tax, if global warming wasn’t a myth in the first place. (Please see my 4 part series on The Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill)

In case you are wondering about the cost of livestock farts, the EPA proposal breaks it down like this, $175 a year on every head of dairy cattle in the United States, $80 for beef cattle and $20 per head of hogs. In a recent blog I joked about a methane tax because it seemed so ridiculous, turns out we now live in theater of the absurd. If this bill passes hamburger will replace steak as a luxury item and the price of food will keep going up. Amazing how every “green” initiative has a negative effect on the price of something. President Obama may have promised income tax cuts for 95% of Americans but by the time he is done with his social reengineering, the economy will be in shambles and inflation will be through the roof. Then everyone will wish for the good old days of higher income tax. By the way vegans beware – beans are next! Read more at: 

http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2009/20090602135111.aspx 

Two female American journalists sentenced to 12 years in a North Korean labor camp 

(AP) – The families of two American journalists sentenced to 12 years in a North Korean labor prison urged its hard-line government to grant them clemency, amid hopes the U.S. government would send an envoy to negotiate their release.

“We remain hopeful that the governments of the United States and North Korea can come to an agreement that will result in the release of the (women),” said a joint statement by their families received Tuesday.

Lee, 36, and Ling — who work for former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV — were arrested March 17 near the China-North Korea border where they were reporting about the trafficking of women. It’s unclear whether they tried to sneak into the North or if aggressive border guards crossed into Chinese territory and grabbed them, as has happened before.

The North accused the reporters of unspecified “hostile acts” and illegally entering the country, but the formal charges against them were unclear. Their trial, which was closed to foreigners, began Thursday and they were sentenced Monday to 12 years of “reform through labor.”

So far the administration has been mostly quiet on the situation other than to say they will “pursue all possible means to gain their release”. Again, the president faces another test on the world stage and so far it is another show of weakness.

Newsweek promotes Barack Obama from President to…. God?

Newsweek editor Evan Thomas commenting on President Obama’s speech in Cairo declared on MSNBC: “I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God.”

Previously, Mr. Thomas had said that Ronald Reagan was all about “America”. He then went on to point out how President Obama was above that saying, “we are above that now. We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, and we’re not just provincial. We stand for something … He’s going to bring all different sides together.”

See the video here:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/kyle-drennen/2009/06/05/newsweek-s-evan-thomas-obama-sort-god

Okay, seriously is the media so infatuated with this President that they have lost all perspective of what journalism is about. How can Newsweek be considered a serious news magazine if their editor is running around making statements like this?

So far the President’s foreign policy has been both naïve and ineffective. He has yet to gain real cooperation from our European allies, Asia, Russia or anyone in the Middle East. When is this great coming together going to begin? My other concern is what will this great coming together cost America? Our national sovereignty is too high a price! Maybe he will prove me wrong … but for now the promotion seems premature. 

We seem to be spinning out of control on almost every front as P.J. O’Rourke once said, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

2 responses to “Quick Hits……. The politics and other nonsense of a world gone mad!

  1. I was surprised to learn Al Gore was doing so little to help the two journalists considering all of his connections. I write about it on my blog which you can check out here: http://tinyurl.com/mb3tan

  2. An addition to your bag section, a classic Soucheray column

    http://www.twincities.com/soucheray/ci_5302581

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