Sleight of Hand

File this under the category of Red Herring:  “Obama: Excessive pay ‘does offend our values’”—Associated Press article on MSNBC.com, October 22, 2009 Before we parse this bit of fluff, let it be said that no one should have any sympathy for bailed-out organizations. In order to keep the “too-big-to-fail” enterprises running, the State intervened in the normal course of business and kept them alive. This is simply favouring some economic participants at the expense of the rest. It is wealth distribution and privilege bestowed by the all-powerful State. Government’s sticky fingerprints have been on the financial industry since at least … Continue reading Sleight of Hand

News Story

The thing that is so annoying and embarrassing about the President of the United States publicly criticizing Fox News Channel, aside from its being vaguely reminiscent of President Richard Nixon’s “media enemies list,” is the callous disregard and disdain implied in his view of the American people, as well as the lack of understanding it shows of the nature of man. The Obama administration, most notably through its Communications Director, Anita Dunn, has declared Fox News an “arm of the Republican Party” and castigated the news organization as being concerned more with making money than delivering news. Well, the viewers … Continue reading News Story

“Running” the Economy

No economy is a machine, despite the poetic renderings of writers or the misguided rhetoric of politicians and their economic advisors. An example of characterizing the Canadian economy as machine appeared in a recent print edition of the Globe & Mail’s Report on Business. The Canadian economy may be pulling out of its steep nosedive, but most businesses still have their seatbelts firmly fastened and oxygen masks at the ready. And they are content, for now, to let government fly the plane. –Brian Milner, August 3, 2009 Mr. Milner’s colorful airline metaphor serves as an illustration of the generally poor understanding most observers have, including many professional … Continue reading “Running” the Economy

Nortel No-No

The government of Canada should resist the temptation to intervene in the sale of wireless assets of bankrupt Nortel Networks Corporation (Nortel). Nortel, with a history of government aid in the form of tax credits and other privileges, managed to make significant technological advances within the globally competitive field of cell-phone communication technologies. Unfortunately, as is often the case for businesses that could not survive without government privilege, Nortel found itself insolvent and in bankruptcy court or other insolvency proceedings in three national jurisdictions (the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom). Bankruptcy laws were established in part to bring an … Continue reading Nortel No-No

Community Regulator

Former community activist and President of the United States, Barack Obama has released his plan for “re-regulation” of the market place for the financial industry. As usual, accepting no responsibility on behalf of government for the “sub-prime” lending mess that precipitated the latest recession, the President leveled criticism at market participants instead. He referred to “a culture of irresponsibility” and in proposing a new consumer financial protection agency basically endorses the position of community activist groups which malign the sources of mortgage loans as “predatory lenders”. The provisions of the new rules reaffirm the long-standing central government policies of urging … Continue reading Community Regulator

Talk to the Wind

The crackpot-led regime of North Korea has apparently conducted another nuclear blast on May 25 to coincide neatly with Memorial Day observations in the United States. I’m sure it is just a coincidence. Predictably, President Obama and other national leaders will condemn the “tests” and a lot of rhetoric will flow from the usual sources, but nothing will be done. The “Dear Leader” will continue to plan the launch of his rogue state’s phallic symbols and try to increase nuclear strike capability to intimidate the rest of the world. The upcoming election in Lebanon on June 7 may see the rise of a … Continue reading Talk to the Wind

Netanyahu and Obama

Israel and United States officially meet again (yawn) to discuss Mid-East politics. Each is represented by recently installed leaders, though “Bibi” has been Prime Minister of Israel in the past. Mr. Netanyahu was also much reviled by the “leftist” fellow-travelers of Barack Obama if I recall anything about his previous tenure. The fractured political condition of Israel, essentially a mixed political economy with limited concepts of individual rights, is about as far down the socialist path as perhaps President Obama aspires for the United States. Benjamin Netanyahu however, is viewed as a “right wing” politician with a fairly no-nonsense approach to … Continue reading Netanyahu and Obama

Stress for Success

Well, the eagerly awaited and much anticipated results of the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program or the so-called “Stress Tests” have finally been made public. This is the exercise by the Treasury to review the books of the 19 largest US banks and determine whether they are adequately capitalized to withstand some assumptions about the deepening of the economic recession. A quick survey of the media reporting reveals comments such as the following regarding the impact of the “Stress Tests”: “…bring relief to markets.” “…show 10 Banks need $75 billion more in capital.” “…lift cloud of uncertainty.” Pure baloney! The deception … Continue reading Stress for Success

Courting Supreme Disaster

President Obama has his first opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court Justice, and his choice could define his presidency and his place in history. The appointments taking place during his administration, like those made in  previous administrations, will impact the highest court for decades. It is one of the incumbent President’s most profound and serious responsibilities. Let’s hope that Mr. Obama considers his first nomination as seriously and objectively as the task deserves. There is some reason for concern. Mr. Obama has expressed the view that “empathy” would be a desirable characteristic in a Supreme Court Justice. Also, his assessment of the … Continue reading Courting Supreme Disaster

Con Jobs

Many web-logs have already commented on the Obama claim that in the first 100 days of his administration the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has already saved or created 150,000 jobs. Confidence was also bumptiously asserted that the underlying “Plan” remained on course to save or create 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010. Now even that fabled little kid who remarked on the Emperor’s fantasy wardrobe could spot the self-delusion about these “accomplishments”. The “objective” news media in the United States is still on its Kool-Aid drinking honeymoon with the new Emperor. Meanwhile the internet rebels are having a … Continue reading Con Jobs