Beheaded on the Streets of London
I dunno, seems like civilization is losing.
Manny Mota...Mota...Mota (OK, not a helpful title...this blog is mostly about Economics, the Markets, Politics...and during the football season also about the New York Giants)
Olive oil jugs and dipping bowls will be banned from restaurant tables from next year following a controversial ruling by the European Commission.
From January 1, restaurants will only be able to serve olive oil in pre-packaged, tamper-proof, factory bottles which adhere to EU labelling standards.
The decision has unsurprisingly not gone down well with restaurant-goers and chefs alike.
European Commission spokesman Oliver Bailly tried to alleviate some of the criticism by claiming the new regulation would actually benefit consumers.
He told a news briefing in Brussels: ‘We are just making clear that when you want to have olive oil of a certain quality in a restaurant, you get exactly the one you are paying for.’Europeans should feel better already. Courtesy of Nigel Farage's latest beauteous rant.
While Texas and North Dakota's boom in oil production have been well-publicized, five other western U.S. states made a notable contribution to the growth in U.S. oil production since 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Tuesday.And there is this little tidbit.
Production in the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Texas' Eagle Ford play and Permian Basin outpaced other regions. However, gains in other Lower 48 states added up to approximately 320,000 bopd of production from February 2010 to February 2013, including the 290,000 bopd in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.
Oklahoma and New Mexico production averaged over 530,000 bopd in February 2013, roughly the same as California's oil production in February.All part of the "Reverse Grapes of Wrath". Funny, there's no debt or pension crisis in Oklahoma...just sayin'
That anybody expected even the most basic level of governance from Obama, let alone monumental and transformative things, is the story of greatest import here. And it is not that the hope, dreams and expectations placed into the Obama vessel were so grand, it is that the vessel that is Obama is so small. I have said it before - in November of '08 I said we bought ourselves a pig in a poke. Later I said that disappointment and pain is what we deserve given that we elected a man of no consequence and no achievement to the highest office in the land. Why we expected a man with no discernable track record or proven record of leadership to lead and to achieve in the name of this massive and complex society is a story of historical proportions. Did we think that plucking just any man off the street - essentially what we did - to wield enormous power was wise? And a young man to boot. And a man who never held a job at a profit-making organization. Why did we think that the wisdom acquired over a long life and the first hand knowledge of commerce gained by private sector work somehow weren't relevant anymore? Why did we think that - after over 200 years of electing (with a few exceptions) staid, boring, but presumably wise, adults, who could draw to them the counsel and assistance of many more wise, older adults - we needed a rock star of relative adolescence? Why did we think that a man with no knowledge of the private sector would lead a mostly private sector nation out of a severe economic slump? Why did we think that a man who consorted with raving America-haters would inspire a mostly proud and patriotic nation to excellence? Why did we think that a man who views our role in the world as flawed would draw our allies nearer to us? Why did we think these things?Historians will gussy their conclusions up, but I think they will boil down to these:
Donations for a lobbying group that promotes Gov. Andrew Cuomo's policies dropped from $17 million to zero after the state ethics board began requiring that donors be named, a 2012 federal tax filing provided Friday to The Associated Press shows.
The business-based Committee to Save New York has funded statewide TV ad blitzes boosting Cuomo's popularity and has lobbied the Legislature and public to support his proposals. The committee spent millions spinning Cuomo's image, without requiring the Democrat to touch his own massive campaign account, whose donors must be identified.This is what Democrats are all about, and New York Democrats about 100x so.
Now, stop and think of what Americans are seeing and hearing every day. First, their government just concluded a massive and contentious, but ultimately successful, effort to demand that they buy a product which many do not want and/or cannot afford. This is on top of thousands of smaller petty tyrannies, such what lightbulbs one can use, how much water a toilet or washing machine may use, or what processing must be done to the milk you buy. Then Americans look to some of the policy ideas that get put forth here and there, such as forcing the installation of tracking devices in all automobiles ostensibly so that government can tax you by the mile (good heavens, no, never to track your movements) or taking your retirement nest egg in return for a government provided annuity. These are serious proposals put forth by credentialed people with access to those in power.
Finally, we see our elected representatives passing laws that no one has read let alone analyzed carefully. Sometimes they do this in contravention of the rules and sometimes even with a sickening pride in bypassing the rules. We have other officials suggesting the suspension of elections and there are countless examples were those in power don't seem to want or tolerate the rules applying to them, so we are increasingly living under a set of rules that the elites have exempted themselves from. And I haven't even mentioned what to many is an obviously bloody-minded statist President who no one would ever accuse of valuing modesty in the exercise of power.
So in looking at the entire string of events from Virginia, New Jersey, and Scott Brown to what is shaping up to be a very bad Nov 2nd, what will Dem party poobahs conclude? Will they conclude that Obama is damaging to the party? Maybe, maybe not, but it is hard to draw any other conclusion. And what if they conclude he is? How will this affect the spending of resources and ability to attract competent individuals to the administration? As I state here, it will be difficult, making a turnaround very unlikely. This will be gut-wrenching for Dems, they are likely facing an intra-party debate on the fundamental question of whether to go all in for Obama and resurrect his presidency or pull the plug entirely on Hopeandchange and, as they so famously put it, "move on."The calculus is still the same, and in fact, much more pressing as the emergent wave of scandals will resurrect the conversation in the smoke-filled rooms again and party poobahs will be assessing how much Obama is ruining the Democrat brand morphing it from champion of the downtrodden to thuggish would-be tyrants. The answer will be critical to whether Obama 2.0 becomes the Guinness Book of Records Longest Lame Duck Presidency or something closer to what fanboy Obamabot nation had hoped for.
SO WHEN HE WAS NEW IN OFFICE, BARACK OBAMA JOKED ABOUT TAX AUDITS FOR PEOPLE WHO DISPLEASED HIM. Now the IRS has admitted that it targeted conservative and Tea Party groups in 2012.
This won’t exactly be news to InstaPundit readers, but now the story has broken open.
My take: The employees involved should be fired and prosecuted. The affected groups should be compensated for the additional costs they incurred in responding to this illegal harassment, and Congress should take the money out of the IRS’s travel-and-entertainment budget.
More here: “Using the IRS to target political opponents is banana-republic stuff, a clear and intolerable violation of the public trust, not to mention relevant criminal statutes. This is not the sort of offense that should get these IRS workers fired from their jobs — it is the sort of offense that should get them five years in prison.”
Also: Do you think ObamaCare will be administered with any more fairness?
And some history.
UPDATE: They’re from the IRS and they’re here to apologize. An apology is not sufficient.
We need Congressional hearings, and the individuals involved need to explain what happened under oath.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Rick Hasen: “Wow, this is not the way for the IRS to maintain credibility in a very politically sensitive area.”
Some conservative and libertarian groups have long suspected that the Internal Revenue Service has targeted right-leaning non-profits for extra scrutiny, but such allegations were always difficult to prove (and often sounded a bit conspiratorial). Now, however, the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations has admitted her division targeted “tea party” and “patriot” groups — and apologized for it. In addition, the IRS apparently asked some groups for donor lists, even though such requests are usually contrary to IRS policy. (Hat tip: Rick Hasen, whose first comment was ”Wow.”) As they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.Indeed. We do need hearings. Plus: “With IRS apology/disclosure, will Boehner/Issa know how to react to actual scandal?” Well, Benghazi is a real scandal. But the IRS scandal is a straightforward abuse of power that any voter can understand.
As per the British Daily Mail, “Russian President Vladimir Putin kept Kerry waiting three hours before their meeting at the Kremlin on Tuesday and continuously fiddled with his pen as the top American diplomat spoke about the ongoing crisis in Syria.”
Seriously, my first thought was "why didn't Kerry turn around and go home?" Answer: Because he is John Kerry.
I’m told that when Kerry landed in Russia, he was told a) that his hotel rooms weren’t ready, and b) that a military parade made it impossible for the Americans to drive to the Kremlin anyway, so he’d just have to wait. Add two hours (check-in delay at the hotel) to the Mail version.
Chevron Wins Suit Against U.S. Over California Oil FieldBy Andrew Zajac & Tom Schoenberg - May 9, 2013 2:07 PM ET
Chevron Corp. (CVX) is entitled to unspecified damages against the federal government in a contract dispute over oil deposits in California worth $37 billion, the U.S. Court of Claims ruled.First, take note of the elemental premise here - the US government is in the oil business, big time. Second, they are a very bad partner, major bullies.
The Department of Energy “repeatedly and materially violated” two agreements governing determination of equity interests in oil and gas deposits located in the Elk Hills Reserve of California, Judge Susan Braden in Washington wrote in a 90-page ruling.
Chevron “is entitled to be compensated for damages, in an amount to be determined, including sanctions for DOE and the government’s ‘bad faith’ conduct and abusive discovery tactics,” Braden wrote in the ruling made public yesterday.