Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Gangster Government

One of the distinctive characteristics of gangster "business operations" is to make up the rules as they go along. Gangster government does something similar when they ignore the courts and Congress and simply go on as if no one had said anything.

One more instance in a long line of that occurred with the recent FCC declaration of the Orwellian-named "net neutrality" rules. I wrote an article some time ago about how any such rules necessarily violate property rights and the right of free trade. Peter Ferrara demonstrates in an American Spectator essay how Obama's thugs are proceeding Chavez-like to demonstrate how much they truly don't care about that.
On April 6, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in Comcast Corp. v. Federal Communications Commission that the FCC does not have the power to issue net neutrality regulation.
Rejecting that reasoning in an opinion written by one of the Circuit's more liberal Judges, David Tatel, the Court had to remind the FCC that "administrative agencies may act only pursuant to authority delegated to them by Congress."

The Court said regarding the FCC's reasoning, "if accepted it would virtually free the Commission from its congressional tether." The Court added that "without reference to the provisions of the [FCC's governing] Act directly governing broadcasting, the Commission's ancillary jurisdiction would be unbounded."

Indeed, the FCC's lawyers suggested to the Court in oral argument that in the agency's view it already has the power to impose price controls and rate regulation on Internet service providers and broadband operators.

Yet, the FCC just flouts this decision in going ahead and issuing its net neutrality regulations by rulemaking last week.
If there is any good option at this stage for businessmen — and us, who trade with them — other than simply ignoring the law, I can't think what it might be. It's that, or passive acquiescence to tyranny. We are now ruled, in fact, by petty dictators unbounded by anything but resource limitations in enforcing their Progressive whims.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Should Congress Be Outlawed?

Lame duck Democrats are making passage of the so-called Tax Compromise bill a tough slough. It's a piece of crap legislation, so I don't really care about that one way or the other. But the following from NRO makes me wonder if we should even have a Congress.
"House Dems Pull tax Deal from Floor
December 16, 2010 12:54 P.M.
By Daniel Foster


In the middle of debate on the Obama-McConnell tax deal, House Democrats abruptly pulled the “rule” for the bill from the House floor, moving on to consideration of a purely technical bankruptcy bill.

The move probably (probably) signals that the Democrats are short on votes to pass the rule — and hence the bill — and are now scrambling to find them.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Okay. Here’s what happened. Recall that the Democrats are moving the tax compromise inside the hollowed out shell of a Senate aviation bill in order to deny Republicans the procedural opportunity to offer their own alternative. Yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds — Speaker-Designate memorably dubbed the strategy “chicken crap.”

But now the Democrats are being hoisted by their own petard. In order to proceed as they’d like, Democrats planned on holding two votes — one on the Pomeroy amendment, which would raise the estate tax from the compromise levels, and one on the overall Senate bill. But the way the rule is written, voting ‘yea’ on the Pomeroy estate tax hike would constitute a vote for the rest of Senate bill. That is, if the Democrats have 218 votes to pass Pomeroy (an open question), the rest of the deal would pass automatically. Only if Pomeroy comes up short would there be a separate vote on the overall bill. (Take a deep breath.)

But rank-and-file liberals want to be able to support the estate tax hike while going on record against things like the extension of current tax rates for top earners.

So in the middle of debate, Rep. Gene Taylor, lame-duck Democrat of Mississippi, made a privileged motion to adjourn, and Democratic leadership used the time bought by the vote on that motion to have a huge powwow on the House floor — Hoyer, the Congressional Black Caucus, the progressives, the House parliamentarian, all were in attendance — to figure out how to proceed. When the adjournment vote ended, the Democrats pulled the tax bill from the floor, a clear sign they are short on votes."
Forget the fact that this is politicians behaving like they do, and that the Democrats are worse than the Republicans in most cases.

Clearly, we are relying on people to behave honorably, when the rules should simply make this utterly and blatantly illegal and the people who do it should be charged with fraud, violation of their oath of office, and then go to jail. One good 'sting' would put an end to this crap for a long, long time.

Yeah, I know, but it's a good day for fantasizing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hindraker Nails Democrat Energy 'Policy'

John Hindraker of Powerline wrote a brilliant blog post on the Democratic energy policy. If he has a copyright beef, he can ask me to remove it so my half-dozen regular readers don't cannibalize his page view count, but it's just too perfect to excerpt.
The U.S. is the only country in the world that, as a matter of policy, does not develop its own energy reserves. It is hard to see a rational basis for that policy. Energy is an important component in every physical object that is manufactured and shipped. If a country is not competitive in energy, it is not competitive, period. A Facebook friend writes:


Well, yes. The difference is that Brazil wants to become richer and more powerful. I think there are many in the Obama administration who think it is unjust that we are richer and more powerful than Brazil and many other countries. So they design policies that are intended to retard our progress so that others can catch up. If you think this makes any kind of sense, you are undoubtedly a Democrat.
Punditry just doesn't get any clearer, or more true, than that.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Obama Doomsday Machine Rumbles On

Peter Ferrara, one of the most accurate writers in the country on economics, states in a recent American Spectator essay:
Last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a 7 year moratorium on oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and up the east coast. They need that time to further study the BP oil spill and implement a "more stringent regulatory regime," Salazar transparently prevaricated.

Salazar is consequently depriving America of 7.5 billion barrels of oil and 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. To ensure their access to a reliable supply of oil at the time, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. That's shows what a serious attack on the American people this policy is. [emphasis added]

Meanwhile, EPA Director Lisa Jackson is imposing cap and trade by regulatory decree, despite its thorough democratic rejection by a Democrat-controlled Congress and the American people in 2010.
Frankly, I don't fully understand why the oil companies don't simply, at this point, start breaking the law. Surely they could never be subject to legal punishment if they chose to fight. The American people would riot on their behalf.

I can only assume that, since having low-price oil and gas doesn't really affect the executives very much, they simply choose not to endure the hassle. Can't say I entirely blame them, but it's a real shame for the rest of us.

Where is Hank Rearden when you need him?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Brooks v Ryan Debate - No Winner, We All Lose

Paul Ryan recently had a public debate with David Brooks and, not surprisingly, it was a total waste of time. Both parties agree on so many fundamentals there wasn't much to debate. Ryan avers that, contrary to the beliefs of some, he does not favor eliminating the social safety net (i.e. Social Security and Medicare).

That's a pity, because he surely knows that it's not only impractical in it's present form (which he wants to change), but immoral and unconstitutional in any form.

There are a dozen arguments I might make to support that claim. But, even accepting for argument's sake a government role in charity, I have to wonder why no one ever says it should be limited to the local or, at most, State level. Still, in this political climate, I could hardly expect Ryan to say otherwise.

There was one interesting result, though. David Brooks revealed himself to be just what I have long claimed he was: a Fascist. He said,
The argument he then put forth related to what he termed "narrative." He likes the Ryan-Rivlin plan. What he is concerned about is how Republicans have framed the argument: big vs. little government.

Instead, he wants to talk about culture, specifically whether government does things to enhance the public culture (e.g. encouraging independence and literacy) or undermine culture.

He thinks Republicans are too alarmist about the debt and too eager to draw lines in the sand that will lead to gridlock.

The Obama officials, he assured the group, aren't European welfare state proponents, they are just liberals who want a little more redistribution.
Set aside the obvious falsehood — or, in Brooks case it might be unconquerable stupidity — that Obama and his cronies aren't seeking to establish a European social democracy; Obama's every utterance makes it clear that's exactly what he wants.

Brooks made it clear – though he probably isn't aware of it — that Fascism is precisely what he favors. Anyone who believes it's a proper role of the Federal Government to "enhance the public culture" is either a communist or a fascist, and I don't believe Brooks is a communist.

That's the real problem here. Only a narrow sliver on the right believe there is absolutely no legitimate reason the Federal Government should be 'directing' the country, economically or — revolting thought — culturally. And that's why the debate was a waste of time.