Punch drunk love for a Monday

| March 23, 2009
One too many to the head

One too many to the head


REMINDER: While I am happy (truly) to see the stock market rising after Sec’y Geithner unveiled his toxic asset plan, I have to always remember that the foundation of basic stock market transactions is the Greater Fool theory, namely, that if I pay $10 for a share of XYZ Corp, I do so in the hope that at some future date someone will pay me more than $10 for that same share of XYZ Corp, even though that share of stock has no intrinsic value or benefit (outside of perhaps a very modest income stream from dividends). Furthermore, the person who buys it from me does so in the hope that he can sell it to someone else for even more money, and so on and so forth — hence the term, “the greater fool”.  It’s a bit like the old “Hot Potato” toy, where you lose if you’re the last person holding it when the time expires.

ITEM: While the US spends billions of dollars propping up our automakers, the enlightened socialist haven of Sweden refuses to ‘rescue’ SAAB:

…as the enterprise minister, Maud Olofsson, put it recently, “The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories.”

ITEM: Democrat . . . tax problems . . . where have we heard this before?

ITEM: Speaking of taxes — the Power to Tax, part II.

ITEM: Speak of which — Gay Patriot (one of my favorite political blogs) posts Patrick Henry’s classic speech:

“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace – but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

ITEM: A lot of Obama hope-and-changers are young voters who also like to download and share music. So imagine how they must feel to have the Obama administration appoint former RIAA lawyers to top positions at Justice, and then have the US Justice Department (surprise, surprise!) weigh in on the side of the RIAA in its litigation efforts against college students. Actually, you don’t have to imagine; just read the comments.

ITEM: Glenn Reynolds says that the mainstream media should ‘resign’ over its failure to properly vet Obama.  He also continues to chronicle the slow collapse of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Anybodys).

ITEM: Hugh Hewitt weighs in on the all-too-short-term perspective of Congress and the White House.

ITEM: Ah, those wacky folks over at PETA!

ITEM: Doug Ross asks the ever-puzzling question for all us of a certain age: how did we survive? (Hat tip to American Digest.)

ITEM: Here’s a hint on how we survived — we knew how to treat one another.

ITEM: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these climate change graphs are worth volumes. This information, for example, has been around for decades, yet gets conveniently ignored by AGW warmists:

Of course, the climate changes. It always changes.

Of course, the climate changes. It always changes.

ITEM: In the meantime, the Daily Bayonet weighs in on his own AGW skepticism.

OVERNIGHT LINKS (actually, “really early morning links”)

ITEM: Daily “What if Bush had done this?” moment: Obama laughs on “60 Minutes” about the current financial mess, leading Steve Kroft to ask, “Are you punch drunk?”

ITEM: “White House is wary of plan to tax bonuses.” First sensible idea to come out of the White House in weeks.

ITEM: On the other hand, I consider this leak to WaPo columnist E. J. Dionne rank hypocrisy: “Administration officials I spoke with were profoundly frustrated at how AIG had driven everything else off the news and dominated the agenda in Congress.” Obama was out there demonizing AIG and Wall Street with everyone else; what did he expect?

ITEM: If Obama is losing Kathleen Parker (she of “oogedy boogedy religion” and “Rush destroyed newspapers” fame), he’s in deeper trouble than I thought.

ITEM: And that new era of international relationships? How’s that working out?

ITEM: Fred Barnes is unabashedly partisan (for the Right), but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong about these five signs of a flailing presidency:

1. His allies are moving to protect the president. . . .

2. The president gets out of town. . . .

3. Top spokesmen dismiss the crisis as a distraction. . . .

4. Administration figures can’t keep their stories straight. . . .

5. The president indulges in hyperbole. . . .

Check, check, check, check and check.

ITEM: Speaking of Obama, I thought we were supposed to be moving into a post-racial era, not a hyper-racial one.

ITEM: Roughly two hundred years ago, Supreme Court Justice John Marshall said, “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” The question is: what or whom do the Democrats want to destroy next?

ITEM: The Investors Business Daily calls the faux outrage at the House “mob rule”, and they’re right:

Our Founding Fathers, those towering thinkers who today get little but scorn from our elites for their brilliance, foresaw such shenanigans and warned against it. They knew the law could be used for political purposes, and wanted to make sure it couldn’t.

That’s why they put into the Constitution a provision against “bills of attainder” — attempts to legislate punishment for a specific group or person for past actions without benefit of a trial.

As James Madison wrote in the Federalist No. 44, “Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws and laws impairing the obligation of contracts are contrary to the first principles of the social compact and to every principle of sound legislation.” They were explicitly made illegal by the Constitution, with Article I, Section 9 saying, “No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.”

The AIG tax is an ex post facto law, it is a bill of attainder and it definitely impairs the obligation of contracts. Three strikes.

ITEM: Even someone who was in favor of AIG clawbacks thinks the House Bonus Tax Bill is a bad move.

ITEM: In the meantime, Louis Woodhill argues that it wasn’t capitalism that failed, it was Federal economic policy.

ITEM: Robert Samuelson weighs in on the current populism coming from the White House and Congress:

If companies need to be rescued from “the market,” why shouldn’t Washington permanently run the market? That’s a dangerous mindset. It justifies punitive taxes, widespread corporate mandates, selective subsidies and meddling in firms’ everyday operations (think the present anti-bonus tax bill). Older and politically powerful companies may benefit at the expense of newer firms. Innovation and investment may be funneled into fashionable but economically dubious projects (think ethanol).

ITEM: From our insightful State Department: “We have a number of speed bumps” in our relationship with Mexico. Speed bumps like “a maelstrom of drug-related violence. A brewing trade war. And a wheezing economy.”And narco-violence spilling over into the United States more and more.

ITEM: Geithner explains his plan (another $1 trillon) for bad bank assets. Meanwhile, the New Republic (unabashedly partisan for the Left) expresses its dismay with Geithner. The Politico says that “Geithner hopes for a mulligan”, but folks, we’re playing $1 trillion a stroke stakes here — not much room for do-overs.

That’s enough to get you started. More later.  ..bruce w..

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Category: Geopolitics, Links roundup, Main, Obama Administration, Recession Watch, Stimulus, US Politics

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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