Ruminations - 1/23/08 - Granite Grok

Ruminations – 1/23/08

With lots going on, just random thoughts:

How is Hillary going to explain away this one?

Former President Clinton stands to reap around $20 million — and will sever a politically sensitive partnership tie to Dubai — by ending his high-profile business relationship with the investment firm of billionaire friend Ron Burkle.

Mr. Clinton is negotiating to end his relationship with Mr. Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. as part of a broader effort to protect the presidential campaign of his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, from potential conflicts of interest. Details of Mr. Clinton’s involvement in Yucaipa and his efforts to unwind it come from documents and interviews with people familiar with the matter.

She (and the other Democratic Prez Wannabees, but mostly Hillary) goes on and on about how CEOs are well over paid and rails about how much they get when they are fired or leave. How is she going to explain away her hubby’s $20 million Golden Parachute for leaving his friend, Ron Burkle’s company?  Or even his speaking engagement fees?

How come I don’t see any of their "shared prosperity"?  Sounds just like John ("I worked hard for my money") Edwards…  

 Also it hit me – if she makes it into the Oval Office, that means one family will have the government on the hook for 1 Senator’s retirement and 2 Presidential ones…nice gig if you can get it.

 

Honor – Drew Cline at the Union Leader brings up something by Bret Stephens ( that needs to be

discussed – what is honor?  And why does there seem to be such a difference between Democrats and Republicans? 
 
“For the Democratic candidates in this race, (honor) has only a conditional and tenuous relation to the word “victory” in its usual sense. If it means anything at all to them, it seems to be mainly in the sense of the good opinion of America’s traditional friends, many of whom opposed the Iraq venture from the start. This kind of honor, also known as ingratiation, is gained by improving America’s poll numbers in global opinion surveys.
 
“There is another kind of honor, however, which is uniquely bestowed by one’s adversaries and enemies. It is the honor one acquires by defying temptations of popularity, by the acceptance of long odds, by suffering, by what is called the nobility of the last-ditch defense. It is the honor many Americans feel they lost in Vietnam, and which, through Mr. McCain’s not-so-improbable resurgence, they now seek to regain and make their own.”
 
My take? Democrats are externally oriented, and the traditional honor evidenced by McCain (and those of the military in general) are internalized.  The former is all about what others think about them whereas the latter is about high expectations about oneself.

I’d rather have the latter than the former.

Lawfare 1 – War is politics by other means.  It seems that not only is war fought on a military basis but also it can be financially as well as culturally as well as in the legal system.  Like this:

Muslim woman doubles her claim against hair salon

A Muslim woman suing a salon owner for refusing her a hairdressing job because of her headscarf has more than doubled her claim for damages, after allegedly receiving hate mail.

Bushra Noah, 19, from Acton, claims Sarah Desrosiers, who runs the Wedge salon in King’s Cross, behaved in a "high-handed, malicious, insulting or oppressive manner" by discussing the case in public.

 

She claims this caused media intrusion in her life, harassment and hate mail, and left her feeling "awkward and embarrassed". As a result, Ms Noah, who is suing Ms Desrosiers for religious discrimination, has now raised her claim for damages from just over £15,000 to more than £35,000.

Ms Desrosiers, 32, insists she rejected Ms Noah because it is essential that her employees display their hair.

The salon owner denies discrimination and says she will vigorously contest the new bid for increased compensation. She said: "I am not responsible for other people sending hate mail. I needed to highlight the case because I needed to find financial help to pay my legal bills.

In other words, use your Western sense of free speech and you will pay. The salon owner may win in court but will lose everything in defending herself.  Just look at what the Flying Imams (and CAIR) said (paraphrasing) talking about the passengers that thought they were in trouble due to the behavior of the imams before the flight took off.  Sue, make them pay….others will remain silent…and the Islamists will get their way.  Why not?  Most people are afraid of bullies….

Let’s price ourselves out of the world market, shall we?

But today’s announcement in Brussels was a blockbuster: a sweeping package of measures to combat climate change that sets a global standard and means major changes for how Europe gets its energy.

"The struggle against climate change and the quest for secure, sustainable and competitive energy touches on every European, every day," said European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in announcing the ambitious plans. "This package is good for the planet, it’s good for the European economy and it’s good for its citizens."

Right…competitive – let’s make it so that government gets a new revenue stream, push prices up, and then call it competitive? Arbitrarily raise prices (me-warming may be happening, but I doubt it is due solely or even mainly to mankind). 

The plan could be remembered as the boldest E.U. initiative since the launch of the euro in 1999.  It not only sets ambitious targets for the use of renewable energy, but would also force European companies to buy permits for greenhouse gas emissions. The plans are expected to cost the E.U. around $88 billion a year, and many European industries have already warned that the measures could force them to shut down.

Let me make a prediction – not the boldest, but the stupidist.  Let history be the judge in the now globalized economy (think King Canute commanding the tides).

The package sets a framework for national laws that would slash Europe’s overall emissions of carbon dioxide by 20% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, and would ensure that 20% of Europe’s energy by then comes from renewable sources like wind, solar and hydroelectric power. "Our proposals should reduce Europe’s reliance on imported gas and oil by around 50 billion euros by 2020," explained Barroso. "These are figures with a real impact on our growth and prosperity."

Ha!  They can’t even meet their own targets that they agreed to by signing the Kyoto treaty (remember, it was President Clinton that didn’t sign it and Congress voted it down 95-0).  Do they really think that they will really do it (or is it just more hot air)? 

Energy-intensive sectors such as aluminum, steel and cement have been vocal about their fears that they could lose business to countries with less stringent rules on carbon emissions. As a result, the plan raises the prospect of carbon tariffs on imports from countries that fail to sign up to a global climate change deal, such as the U.S. and China. "We want industry to remain in Europe. We don’t want to export our jobs to other parts of the world," Barroso said.

Buffeted by industries, trading partners, key E.U. member states and even environmentalists, the plan is unlikely to emerge unscathed if and when it becomes law, which even under the most optimistic scenarios won’t happen until 2009 at the earliest. But grasping the nettle now could pay off big down the line, Barroso says: "Europe can be the first economy for the low-carbon age."

No, it will be the first First-World economy that voluntarily decided to join the Third World. 

Capitalism works – no matter what Hillary thinks!

Fact is, no system on earth is better at creating and fairly distributing wealth than the free-market system. Yes, there are imperfections. But they usually stem from poorly crafted rules, inefficient bureaucracies and/or a lack of legal transparency. If allowed to work, markets punish those who take foolish risks.

Just last week, the Heritage Foundation released its annual study of economic freedom around the world. Once again the freest countries are also the richest. Those in the top 20% of free nations have an average per person GDP of $28,217; those in the bottom 40% average $3,998. A huge difference, and no accident.

All one has to do is look at our economy vs Europe’s where regulations abound.  I’ll take our creative deconstruction any day over persistent 10% unemployment, no room at the bottom for entry level stuff, and a standard of living that our poor outranks their middle class.