Friday, June 26, 2009

Harry Teague (NM) & Pelosi-Waxman-Markey Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives is approaching a vote on the Waxman-Markey bill (more formally, the American Clean Energy and Security Act — ACESA), and we have been hearing how the House vote will be close. "Contact your Congressman. It's important," we hear.

We tried. The web site for our Congressman, Harry Teague of the Second District in New Mexico, is inaccessible — and through that site is the only way to send him an e-mail. It appears a lot of his constituents are trying to reach him. Frustration!

Mrs Critter seems to have found an approach that may work. She was able to reach House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's web site. She took advantage of the opportunity to send this message:


Harry Teague's mail box is full. See if you can pass this e-mail on to him. Thank you.

"Good luck to you. You are not fooling anyone. It is going to be interesting to note how you will vote against your own amendment. Congressman Perriello from Virginia has announced that he is withholding his "No" vote until he is sure the bill will pass. I suspect you are doing the same as in your other "No" votes in which your No vote did not amount to a pot of beans.

I also hear that Pelosi is threatening junior congressman in that she will withhold campaign dollars. Well Harry, I wasn't aware you could be threatened that easily. This vote will demonstrate your true allegiance to Pelosi/Obama or the people you represent. Good luck."

The other thing I would say to my Congressman is "Go ahead and vote for this bill — IF you want to enrich Nancy Pelosi and wreck the economy."

And I would ask how it is that this bill magically gained an additional 300 pages on its way to the House floor. The bill went through a number of committees; none of the committees has seen these changes, much less had any hearings on them, though these pages amount to an additional one-third of the Waxman-Markey bill those committees considered and passed. The only Congressional Representatives who have seen them are the deceptive individuals who inserted these additions in the dark of night.

This is not representative government.

UPDATE: It turns out the extra 300 pages were an amendment inserted into the bill at 3 a.m. this morning by Henry Waxman in hopes no one would be able to read it before the vote. It was done this way, by the primary author of the bill, to insure no committee and no other members would be able to review these changes. What are Waxman and his Boss Pelosi trying to hide? Besides giving billions to Al Gore, I mean? It also appears the 300 magic pages raise the already HUGE cost of this bill by at least 25-30% — at least another $2 trillion. And it was already the biggest tax bill in history.

UPDATE: Nancy Pelosi has managed to bludgeon and bribe enough of her subordinates to pass this turkey. All the New Mexico Congressmen, including Harry Teague, voted for it. I guess the "undecided" stance was just a pretense. So Harry Teague profits, a few top Democrat leaders profit a lot, and America gets this recession's version of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ABC — Obama's Whore

The ABC broadcasting network has abandoned any sort of journalistic ethics or integrity and has prostituted itself in the service of its favored party and president. In doing so, and refusing even paid advertisements expressing opposing views, it has violated the meaning and intent of the regulations of the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Elections Commission. At the very least, it has made a corporate contribution to Obama's permanent campaign.

Mrs Critter and I are shareholders in The Walt Disney Company, who own ABC. We sent a message to Disney's investor relations office saying

I do not understand how turning away large paying customers is in the best interests of shareholders. The Obama infomercial tonight (June 24) is in no one's interest. Not the taxpayers, the health users, not Disney Corporate interests ("At The Walt Disney Company, we believe that being a good corporate citizen is not just the right thing to do; it also benefits our guests, our employees and our businesses.") and CERTAINLY NOT Disney shareholders. You are there to run a business not to collect big salaries while giving away the stockholders' store. We have supported the Corporate Board but not any more. We will vote against every Corporate member and issue until ALL current board members are gone. ABC is not presenting unbiased facts, and it is not earning a profit for shareholders. We are not watching it and we will work against this universal health plan. ABC has no business presenting only one biased side of this issue.
Yes, we will work against this plan because of ABC's dishonesty and duplicity. And we will vote against every current Disney and ABC director, on whatever board they serve, for as long as it takes.

Disney, for its part, wants to pretend it has nothing to do with ABC. Its answer to the above message was

Dear Shareholder,

Thank you for your recent communication.

I have provided contact information below for the ABC Television Network Audience Information Dept. You may contact them via e-mail, US Mail or by telephone which allows you to leave a message. We value your opinions and encourage you to leave your comments.

ABC Television Network
Audience Information Dept
500 S Buena Vista St
Burbank CA 91521-4551
(818) 460-7477 PHONE
If contacting them via e-mail, at the bottom of the page, you may click on the "Contact ABC" button.
Thank you for your interest in The Walt Disney Company.

Shareholder Services

Disney cannot avoid responsibility for the broadcast network it owns and controls. And ABC cannot avoid responsibility for pandering to Obama in violation of its responsibilities to journalism and to the American people.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Dealergate Example: Quality Chrysler

The Albuquerque Journal is following the demise of Quality Chrysler in Albuquerque, one of the four dealerships in New Mexico cut off by Chrysler corporation in Dealergate. A story printed a few days after the cutoff (subscription required) noted the 22 year old DiLorenzo family dealership now exclusively sells used cars.

The article noted that the Chrysler signs were still up. Director of Operations Annette DiLorenzo Thayer said they're not coming down until someone from Chrysler takes them down. "We had the privilege of renting the signs ... Chrysler has to come take the signs," she said.

The article also said a large number of cars bought from Chrysler are still parked on the Quality lot. It said most of that inventory will go to a dealer on the west side of Albuquerque, as Chrysler will no longer allow the DiLorenzos to sell them. Worse, before cutting off all contact with Quality at midnight on Tuesday, June 9, Chrysler made it clear it wants $350 per vehicle from Quality to move leftover inventory to other dealers.

I think the DiLorenzo family is right about the signs. Chrysler took their investment and cut them off. Chrysler made sure the dealership no longer has any relationship with, or responsibility to, Chrysler Corporation. But I would also say the dealership should charge Chrysler rent until the signs are removed from their property.

The matter of the inventory seems to be a bigger problem. The article did not indicate whether Chrysler is reimbursing the dealer for the price paid for the vehicles. But the situation suggests several possible solution elements. One would be charging Chrysler rent — maybe $400 per vehicle — for the time the cars remain on Quality's lots. Or perhaps they should avoid the $350 per vehicle charge entirely by simply driving the cars across the valley to their new destination. Or maybe they should drive the cars across the lot, park them under the used car signs, and advertise them for sale as "like new."

Bingaman Touts Health Consensus

My Senator, New Mexico's Jeff Bingaman, said last Tuesday that he has found consensus among health care experts and business leaders, as reported in the Albuquerque Journal (subscription required). The central portions of Bingaman's "consensus" are that everyone should be required to purchase health insurance, "either through a public program or some kind of private coverage" enforced by penalties for noncompliance (and, apparently, with funds to help those who can't afford either compliance or penalties). Bingaman's "consensus" also seems to include hundreds of billions of dollars in "concessions" from private industry to defray costs. (I don't know whether those funds should be considered as taxes or as proceeds from muggings.) Other Democrats on Bingaman's committees are considering a new tax on health benefits to help pay for expanding coverage for the uninsured, to make sure people have to pay the government for the privilege of getting sick or injured.

It looks like that will be just the beginning. House Democrats are already considering "a wide variety of tax increases" to finance this national health program, including
    1. an income tax surcharge,
    2. a tax on employers based on the size of their payroll, and
    3. a value added tax (national sales tax).
House Democrats said their bill would cover virtually all the nation's "50 million uninsured". The Congressional Budget Office recently set the cost of a portion of the developing Senate bill, covering 10 million of the uninsured, at $1.6 trillion over ten years.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Iranian Unrest

Today, in Iranmassive demonstrations — if anything, even bigger than before.

The mullahs' regime has definitely taken notice of the protests. They have ordered many foreign journalists out of the country, and have ordered the remaining foreign journalists to work only from their offices. That is not a good sign. As Will Collier notes, "It likely means that the mullahs are planning to 'go Tiananmen' and send in the tanks." I hope it doesn't come to that.

What could happen instead? The demonstrations coule develop into a revolution, which could result in the overthrow of the Iranian theocracy. That is a result devoutly to be wished. How will we know that's happening? Mark Krikorian has a suggestion: "We'll know it's a revolution when Iranian women start throwing off their headscarves en masse, and they get away with it."

From the looks of it, that may be beginning to happen.

As Drudge says, "Developing . . ."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Obama Administration, Chrysler, and Dealergate

A bankruptcy judge has approved the Chrysler dealer franchise cuts. The 789 dealers being cut cannot sell Chrysler products after today.

Let me expand on this.

Each franchise was purchased from Chrysler for a significant amout of money. These franchises are owned by individuals, partnerships, and companies; they are not owned by Chrysler. Many/most of these franchises are profitable. They do not cost Chrysler anything; they are a source of profits for Chrysler. Yet they are being taken from their owners without compensation (i.e., stolen) and, in many cases, given to others at no cost. This is not a decision any businessman would make — which is part of the reason it's so clear these closures are political and why this scandal is being called "dealergate".

As for the rest of the Chrysler bankruptcy "deal", Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had issued a stay on the sale of Chrysler assets to Fiat. The stay was issued so secured creditors (especially state and teacher pension plans) could appeal their legal rights being abrogated in favor of the lesser rights of unions and other unsecured creditors. That stay was vacated this evening, which means the Supreme Court won't consider the appeal and the sale can go forward.

So the Administration gets its way — at the expense of company, investors, and the rule of law.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

D Day - June 6, 1944

65 years ago today

Long ago, but important to remember.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tian An Men

20 years ago, in China

It doesn't seem like that long ago