December 12, 2008

Lost Point in Obama-Blago

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:54 am

Paraphrasing a dscott comment here:

the real issue is that Obama did not contact the proper authorities, the FBI, to report Blagojevich for attempting to engage in fraud, i.e. enterprise corruption.

Though the exact term(s) for the crimes involved may differ, it remains a really, really, good, point.

I would be inclined to limit the assertion to Obama’s DC or other advisors, but ONLY if they did not communicate to Obama what they learned about what Blago was trying to do. If they did communicate with Obama, then he’s in the mix too, unless Obama and/or his peeps really did contact Fitzgerald et al about what was going on themselves.

An Obama non-involvement defense only works if you assume that advisors concluded that “it’s best not to tell the boss.” This would be a troubling precedent for how an Obama administration’s Cabinet and others might feel about arbitrarily keeping their boss the President in the dark.

UPDATE, 11PMIt’s everywhere:

Fox’s Chicago affiliate is reporting that future White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had “multiple conversations” with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about filling President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

The report is sourced to an unnamed person “close to the investigation” who also said that Blagojevich’s office was given a list of contenders for the seat who would be “acceptable” to Obama.

The question, besides the credibility of the president-elect, which starts at barely above zero with me anyway, is “why?” Why lie about something so unimportant and so obviously and provably false? It makes people think you have something to hide even when you don’t.

UPDATE 2, 11:15 p.m.: Ed Rendell makes an observation quite a few people made before November 4:

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell today criticized Barack Obama for not being more upfront about the Illinois corruption scandal.

Now, he said, the story will continue to dominate the media’s attention.

“They have never been in an executive position before,” Rendell said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Some of us thought that the last thing we needed was a newbie; but a newbie is what we got.

There is another possibility over and above what’s noted above. Maybe Obama’s staff is deliberately lying to him — already.

If The Administration Does This …..

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:33 am

…. It (“Bank bailout funds could be used for Detroit”) will be One. Final. Giant. Unforgivable. Betrayal.

Michelle Malkin: “No Means No.”

Not just “no.” He** no.

UPDATE: Great catch at Heritage (HT MM) — A bailout from TARP would be illegal.

It’s a sign of how bad things have gotten that I still fear that Bush and Paulson may raid TARP anyway and dare someone to do something about it.

UPDATE 2: Some are speculating that the following from the original financial institution bailout bill could be construed to mean “anyone on earth who is seeking a bailout”:

The term ‘financial institution’ means any institution, including, but not limited to, any bank, savings association, credit union, security broker or dealer, or insurance company, established and regulated under the laws of the United States or any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or the United States Virgin Islands, and having significant operations in the United States, but excluding any central bank of, or institution owned by, a foreign government.

Possibly, but it seems that if your outfit isn’t exactly one of the “but not limited to” entities described in the law, then you revert to a common-law or some other legal definition of “financial institution,” which would ordinarily not include an auto manufacturer.

The investorwords.com definition doesn’t provide a lot of cover:

Institution which collects funds from the public and places them in financial assets, such as deposits, loans, and bonds, rather than tangible property.

Again, you still wonder if legal considerations will stop these people. And make no mistake, any engineered “workaround,” if it occurs, has as much potential to do damage to the rule of law and to inhibit entrepreneurs and businesspeople from taking risks as Barack Obama’s reckless support of the sit-in at the closed-down Chicago window and door factory. Why try to do something better than an entrenched competitor if, when you’re successful and they’re in trouble, the government comes in and bails them out? (This is also an underutilized argument against things like tax abatements, industrial revenue bonds, and other favors given to existing, usually larger businesses that start-ups and smaller businesses seldom have access to. Nobody should have access to them.)

Uncle Sam could lend the money to GMAC and whatever Chrysler calls its credit outfit, but I think the government (i.e., US taxpayers) would possibly lose all control over how the money is used and any ability to attach conditions on the auto companies themselves, and would have a hard time getting a senior position in any bankruptcy.

Uncle Sam could engineer a takeover of the lending arms with TARP money (i.e., nationalize them), and probably do a legal deal with the automakers. It’s a really, really bad idea, but it seems they could do it.

Couldn’t Help But Comment (121208, Morning)

The GM-Chrysler bailout failed to get cloture in the Senate, getting only 52-35 support. The list of RINOs who supported it indicates that a bailout will breeze through the new Senate in January. That’s not okay, but “at least” Obama and his party will bear full responsibility. If we’re lucky, GM and Chrysler will be forced into bankruptcy by creditors first.

(Aside: What’s with the 12 non-votes?)
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Auto bailout fallout: George Voinovich has officially, once and for all, and irrevocably, torn up his conservative card.

His latest press release says that “Congress failed the auto industry.” No George, GM and Chrysler failed on their own, and YOU failed us.

At a minimum, Voinovich should retire in 2010. In the meantime, the potential damage he can and probably will do as designated filibuster-buster in the upcoming Congress is severe. The Dems won’t need Al Franken when they can peel off any two of the following, depending on the nature of the legislation involved: Collins, Hatch, Lugar, McCain, Snowe, Specter, Voinovich, or any unnamed Republican who wants to be seen as “having grown in office” for a couple of days in the New York Times.

Voinovich badly needs to be taken out in the 2010 GOP primary. I’m even leaning towards willingness to take my chances on a Spring 2009 resignation followed by a special election in November. Ham Sandwich currently has my vote.

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AJ Strata makes a pretty good case that some taped conversations between Rod Blagojevich and unnamed “DC advisors” are with Obama advisors.

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US Senator Imhofe’s Environment and Public Works Committee (HT Alex Jones at Info Wars) tells us that a major pushback against what I refer to as globaloney (the belief that catastrophic global warming is occurring, that humans are causing it, and that radical changes in how society is organized must be forced on the world to stop it) and globlarmism (the incessant claims that “we must act now” to deal with the just-noted notions, or we’re all doomed) is coming:

The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore.

….. The U.S. Senate report is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition rising to challenge the UN and Gore. Scientific meetings are now being dominated by a growing number of skeptical scientists.

Let’s hope so, and that it doesn’t let up. As I’ve said frequently, “Consensus, Conschmensus.”

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This is not to minimize the alleged horrors visited on very well-to-do clients in the Bernard Madoff situation — but there is a sort of silver lining.

Madoff has apparently already soaked the rich to the tune of $50 billion (that’s not a typo), meaning that the incoming Obama administration doesn’t have to.