SEC Dishonesty

I’ve written before about the SEC’s internal administrative judge stacked deck system.

Judge Brenda Murray explained to [eight] brokers that the commissioners who run the SEC and approve all the civil charges filed by the agency don’t want its judges second-guessing them.

“So for me to say I am wiping it out,” Ms Murray said at the [motion to dismiss] hearing last year, “it looks like I am saying to these presidential appointee commissioners, I am reversing you. And they don’t like that.”

It doesn’t get any more blatant than that.

And yet, there’s this:

Moving in the Right Direction

For 13 years the countries of Southeast Asia have tried building a framework with China to resolve their territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

That plan has been eclipsed in part, officials at high-level talks in Malaysia this weekend acknowledged, in favor of a blunter strategy for dealing with China: strengthening alliances between countries anxious about Beijing’s increasingly assertive behavior.

This also runs counter to the People’s Republic of China’s strongly stated and often repeated preference for dealing with each of the South China Sea nations in strictly bilateral talks—one-on-one talks that the PRC could easily dominate.

Trust is a Two-Way Street

Of necessity, trust must flow both ways. If one does not trust another, the other cannot rely on the one even to behave in a predictable manner toward that other, much less be trustworthy in turn.

The IRS has begun pushing 501(c)(3) nonprofits—the sort of nonprofits that the IRS has been caught targeting punitively conservative versions of—to give up the social security numbers of their donors.

Under the proposed rule, the IRS would create an optional filing for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Those participating would, as part of their yearly report, turn over the Social Security numbers of any donors who give $250 or more to a charity in a given year.


Corporate inversions occur when a business in a high tax country gets bought out by a company in a low tax country and the bought-out company moves its own headquarters to the buyer’s country. This is occurring increasingly with American companies laboring under US’ usurious corporate tax code.

The Treasury Department—the Obama administration—demurs from these, and it has written, and it is writing more, rules to interfere with such moves. For instance,

The government still is working on tighter rules for a corporate tax-avoidance technique known as earnings-stripping and could release them in the coming months.

And this one:

“Refugees from War Aren’t the Enemy”

That’s the title of “The Editorial Board’s” opinion piece in their New York Times Wednesday. I used quote marks in that prior sentence because the persons who wrote this absurdity lacked the moral, much less the intellectual, courage to sign their names to it. The lede is this:

The House is expected to vote Thursday on HR 4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015, which Republican sponsors say “would put in place the most robust national-security vetting process in history” for refugees, one that would “do everything possible to prevent terrorists from reaching our shores.”

Free Speech and AIs

Toni Massaro, Regents’ Professor, Milton O. Riepe Chair in Constitutional Law, and Dean Emerita at the University of Arizona College of Law, and Helen Norton, Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School, discuss whether Artificial Intelligences might ever gain free speech rights. After all, as Citizens United affirmed, lots of non-human entities have at least some aspects of a right to free speech.

Encryption and the Government

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance wants Congress to enable government agencies—the police in Vance’s case—to penetrate private citizens’ encrypted cell phone communications. His justification?

Just for iPhones alone we have 111 cases that we are not able to access…due to new encryption protocols[.]

Out of a population of 320 million Americans possessing some 200 million smartphones—the targets of Vance’s desire—Vance has a problem with 111. That’s roughly akin to five people out of the entire city of New York. Five problems, and so all of New York City must lose their ability to protect their privacy against government snooping. One hundred and eleven problems, and so all Americans must lost.

Political Experience

As the terrorist threat becomes ever more apparent—Paris, for instance—political experience in a Presidential candidate would seem to be at a premium, according to political…pundits. I agree: given the US’ role in the world, even after President Barack Obama’s seven-year retreat, a retreat actively supported by the Democratic Party, political experience is highly important. Especially with the damage done by that retreat, political experience is highly important. So is an ability to learn policy issues and rationally to form policy and adjust it as empirical data flow in.

Legitimate Terrorism

Because if you angrify the terrorists in a specific way, their response is justifiable anger.

That’s what the motorboat skipper who sits in the Secretary of State’s chair is saying, John Kerry, anyway.

There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of—not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.

There’s Containment, and There’s Containment

Recall President Barack Obama’s claim, on the morning of the Daesh’s terrorist attacks in Paris, that Daesh was contained.

Now he’s saying he was right in that assessment:

[H]e insisted that the reason he said they’re contained, hours before terror teams launched deadly raids across Paris, is because “they control less territory than they did last year.”

That may be marginally true: the Kurds have successfully pushed toward Raqqa in Syria, and they’ve driven Daesh from Sinjar in Iraq.