Another Intrusive Government Regulation

US regulators proposed requiring the nation’s largest banks and financial firms to hold back executives’ bonus pay for four years, extending by a year the common industry practice on Wall Street incentive payouts.

The plan would also require a minimum period of seven years for the biggest firms to “claw back” bonuses if it turns out an executive’s actions hurt the institution.

In a free market economy—that is to say, a healthy economy—this would be a business decision, validated or rejected by that business’ owners and its marketplace customers.  However, in this Progressive-Democrat Party administration, this is a Government Decision, made by Government Know Betters, because those actually participating in an economy, with their own money on the line, can’t possibly understand the situation.

Russian Intimidation

Russia’s ambassador to NATO accused the US Wednesday of trying to intimidate Moscow by sailing a Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea, and vowed Russia would respond to future incidents with “all necessary measures.”

Is Russia establishing a nine-dash boundary?  After all, Russian MFWIC Vladimir Putin has been watching President Barack Obama’s (D) remarkably timid response to the PRC’s boundary-setting in the South China Sea.

The Situation in Ukraine

This is a YouTube video showing the front lines in Ukraine over the last two years.  The title translates as Two Years ATO [Anti-terrorist Operation] in Two Minutes; the text in the lower right names the months as they pass.

The description below the video translates, roughly, as

TSN.ua [a Ukrainian news agency] assembled in one video map all hostilities in the Donbass, distributed in Ukrainian media in the last two years.  The first of them began to appear on the network in June 2014 and since July [has been] updated almost daily.  After reviewing a two-minute infographic, you can see how over time the front line changed, and in that period as long as ATO occurred relative lull.

More Veterans Administration…Misbehavior

Department of Veterans Affairs investigators conducted spot checks at 10 veterans benefits offices around the country and came to a disturbing conclusion: the VA has been systemically shredding documents related to veterans’ claims—some potentially affecting their benefits.

The VA Office of Inspector General conducted the surprise audit at 10 regional offices on July 20, 2015, after an investigation into inappropriate shredding in Los Angeles found that staff there was destroying veterans’ mail related to claims….

And

Of 155 claims-related documents [in the to-be-shredded bins], 69 were found to have been incorrectly placed in shred bins at six of the regional offices: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Reno[.]

Who Enrolls in Obamacare?

What’s the effect of that on costs under Obamacare?  The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association rudely conducted a study of the matter, and they found

  • New enrollees in individual health plans in 2014 and 2015 had higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, depression, coronary artery disease, HIV and Hepatitis C than those enrolled before ObamaCare.
  • New enrollees received significantly more medical care, on average, than those with individual or employer-based plans.
  • New enrollees had more inpatient admissions, outpatient visits, prescriptions filled and emergency room visits.

Maybe It’s the AGs

…and the activists who should be subject to RICO investigations.

Emails obtained and released by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute show a number of state attorneys general and their staff received advice and guidance from environmental activists at a March 29 meeting in New York, on the same day as a major press conference.

And

Another email chain shows Srolovic and Scott Kline, a Vermont assistant attorney general, even drawing up a Common Interest Agreement, in order to protect as privileged the discussions at the meeting.

Because transparency and honesty are for the little people.

An Objective Court

Can a court that begins hearing a case while spring-loaded to deference in favor of the Legislative (a law is likely Constitutional, or a law should be read in a manner consistent with it being Constitutional) or the Executive (a Department’s or Agency’s Rule is likely proper) actually hear the case impartially?

A State Appeals Court Missed the Point

Recall the California case, Vergara v California, in which nine students and the nonprofit advocacy group Students Matter, sued the State of California, arguing that the State’s tenure laws and its firing and layoff policies made it too hard to fire bad teachers, thereby denying students a decent education.  At trial, the students won, and the laws were struck as unconstitutional.  Naturally, teachers unions—California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers—anxious to protect its tenure perks, appealed.

Last Thursday, a State appellate court

said the plaintiffs had not successfully proven that some students were indeed getting an inferior education because of job protection provisions.

No Stone Unturned

And they’ll regulate how to turn the stones, too [emphasis added].

The European Union could require Internet search engines, such as Alphabet Inc’s Google, to provide more transparency about advertising systems and conditions of use as part of new rules to regulate Web platforms.

Just gotta fill that regulatory vacuum.  Just gotta.  ‘Cos the people can’t be left to their own devices; they can’t handle not being told what to do and not do.

Here’s European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip on the matter:

We have to deal with all those problems, but separately.

A Presumption of Guilt

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget earlier this week accepted for final review a rule that would force banks to identify the owners of companies behind shadowy financial transactions, such as the firms revealed in the Panama Papers scandal or the ones used to buy real estate.  It would close a loophole that critics say allows criminal money into the US financial system.

Never mind that the vast majority of the Panama Papers’ shell companies are entirely legitimate.  Never mind that, in a free country, there has to be probable cause driven by a presumption of innocence to go looking for “criminal money,” not just a government man’s idle suspicion, or a dislike for a person or an entity, or a liking for fishing expeditions.