Economic Contest

It’s not yet an economic war. Russia is beginning the contest with Turkey after that nation was so impertinent as to shoot down a Russian fighter-bomber that was the latest Russian aircraft to violate Turkish airspace, this time refusing to leave despite multiple requests and warnings.

…Moscow took aim at Turkey’s economy, ordering tougher checks on its food imports.

This isn’t a contest that Russia can win, though. The Turkish economy is in sounder shape than Russia’s, and Turkey isn’t particularly dependent on exports to Russia. Russia, though, already has banned food imports from the rest of Europe over the latter’s sanctions that responded to Russia’s invasion and occupation of significant parts of Ukraine. This latest move, delicate though it is, simply makes Russia more dependent on domestic food production.

American Companies Beholden to Foreign Governments?

Now it appears that the Obama administration is taking yet another step to make us look like Europe: he’s negotiating an agreement that could end up requiring American companies, domiciled in America and operating in America, to report to European Union authorities.

Recall the European Court of Justice’s ruling last month that European citizens’ personal data that winds up being stored in the US as a result of various business deals is too exposed and the 15-yr-old, successful data-transfer Safe Harbor agreement between the US and the EU. This is the arrangement that’s being renegotiated, and potentially included in the new agreement is this:

A Look at Dodd-Frank

Banks are having trouble peddling risky loans they’ve made in conjunction with the current (and dying down?) mergers and acquisition boom. These are loans made when one company buys another for their mutual benefit, and the buyer borrows some or most of the purchase price.

Here’s the kicker:

In past decades, banks sometimes held the loans until markets stabilized, but such warehousing became prohibitively expensive because of high capital charges required under the Dodd-Frank law that was passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis.

If it becomes too difficult or expensive to borrow—or to lend—to support a merger/acquisition, those deals won’t get done.

Because, Registration

Now the Feds want to regulate register our privately owned and operated drones.

[A] task force Thursday agreed to recommend registration for recreational drones weighing more than 250 grams, or roughly nine ounces[.]


Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx proposed the regulations last month, saying they needed to be adopted quickly because drones are endangering manned aircraft.

Yeah. There actually have been a very few well-publicized (well-hyped, say I) incidents. And so because of the misbehaviors (or mistakes) of a very few, all of us must be punished with registration (which will lead, inevitably, to regulation. See the extant efforts to regulate firearms after the requirement to register).

Because There Isn’t Enough Regulation

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do Democrats. The vacuum Democrats abhor, though, isn’t a natural one, it’s manmade—gaps in regulation. Americans are just too stupid to manage our own lives, on our own, insist Democrats, and so Democrats demand to regulate our lives for us. For our own good, you see. And for the good of Democrats’ political power. Here are two examples.

In Houston, the Liberal city government didn’t think bathroom accommodations for those who can’t accept who they are should be a matter of negotiation between employer and employee or prospective employee.

Obamacare Revisited

I’ve written a bit about Obamacare and its front end, ObamaMart. I thought I’d revisit this with the new enrollment period just getting under way.

My test case was a 62-yr-old husband and his 61-yr-old wife in a Dallas suburb with a combined income of $83,000, not previously enrolled in an ObamaMart plan but now looking for a PPO because they like their doctor and don’t want to risk losing access to her. I just looked at the health plans; I eschewed dental. In looking at plans, ObamaMart offered to estimate my medical costs; I accepted the offer and took the middle road of a Medium (out of Low, Medium, High) level of medical expenses for both the husband and the wife.

There’s Sovereignty

…and there’s sovereignty.

The European Union said it will require Starbucks Corp and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to pay tens of millions of euros in back taxes after ruling that tax deals they negotiated with two European governments were illegal….

Notice that. Supposedly sovereign governments negotiated contracts with businesses, and the European Union has said that those governments don’t have the authority—the national capacity—to make their own arrangements. In the particular case, tax contracts solemnly negotiated by Luxembourg and those two corporations are illegal because they don’t comport with the supra-national EU’s desire.

Mixed View

European oil companies are engaged in a fierce competition for the best oil and gas fields in Iran when Western sanctions are lifted, while American energy firms watch from the sidelines.

Much of what’s holding American energy firms back are the still in place American sanctions that block US companies from such business. Nevertheless, American firms of any industry shouldn’t be doing business with Iran, even if it might become strictly legal. We shouldn’t be helping a terrorist nation-state that has as its sworn goal the extermination of Israel. Neither should anybody in the West, including those European oil companies.

A Bipartisan Misunderstanding

Congressmen Kyrsten Sinema (D, AZ) and Randy Neugebauer (R, TX) rightly decry the partisan nature of the Elizabeth Warren/Dodd-Frank Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but their solution is wholly wrong. They want the existing single-director power structure replaced by a multi-person bipartisan commission, one that wouldn’t be so prone to the party in White House…influence.

As an example of how well a bipartisan commission would work, the Congressmen cite the SEC, the fair and balanced commission that uses in house judges to act on and punish those the SEC accuses of illegal investing practices.

White House Timidity

President Barack Obama says he’ll veto a bill making its way through the House of Representatives that would repeal the oil export ban in place since Gerald Ford’s administration. Obama thinks he’s acting from a position of strength in saying “No” to anything Republican.

He’s actually acting from weakness and timidity. Leaving aside the destruction of potential American jobs such a veto, if carried through, would represent, there are a couple of foreign policy/national security aspects to lifting the oil.