The battle for Unocal Corp. is shifting to Capitol Hill, where Chevron Corp. is working to derail a rival bid for the energy company by China's Cnooc Ltd.
Chevron, which saw its $16.59 billion cash-and-stock bid for Unocal topped byan $18.5 billion cash offer from the Chinese state-owned company last week, has played a direct role in drafting and circulating letters from members of Congress asking the Bush administration to examine and potentially block the Cnooc bid, according to several people familiar with Chevron's activities in Washington.
In a sign of congressional concern, House Republican leaders are planning tobring to the floor today a resolution urging the administration to give the Cnooc bid close scrutiny. In addition, the House may vote as early as today on a budget amendment that seeks to bar the Treasury Department from taking any action approving Unocal's sale to Cnooc.
Chevron's strategy seems to be: Make Cnooc's bid appear destined for a rigorous and lengthy regulatory review. That, in turn, could make Chevron's fast-track bid preferable to Unocal shareholders, even though Chevron is offering less money.
"Why not focus shareholders on the fact that there is a lot of uncertainty about Cnooc's ability to close? If I'm Chevron, that is the cheapest and mostexpeditious way to go," said Claire Farley, chief executive of Randall & Dewey,an energy-advisory firm that is part of investment bank Jefferies Group Inc.
While Cnooc has marshaled its own team, including the law firm Akin Gump and the communications firm Public Strategies Inc., the unfolding fight underscores Chevron's advantages in the nation's capital. The San Ramon, Calif., company has deep political roots and an established reputation. Its board is salted with political heavyweights: Carla Hills, the U.S. trade representative during the first Bush presidency, who retains close ties to the current White House; and former Sen. Sam Nunn, a moderate Georgia Democrat respected in both parties on national-security issues.
Moreover, Chevron has been able to tap into a rising protectionist stance in Washington amid heightened concern over China's rise as an economic power. To help spread its message, Chevron is deploying former government insiders like Wayne Berman of the Federalist Group, a Commerce Department official during the first Bush administration and a big fund-raiser for the current President Bush. Another Federalist Group staffer, Drew Maloney, a former top aide to Texas Republican Rep. Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, also is pressing Chevron's case on Capitol Hill.
The Chevron lobbyists plot strategy daily on an 8:30 a.m. conference call led by Lisa Barry, the company's general manager for government affairs, according to a person with knowledge of the process. Ms. Barry previously held senior positions at Time Warner Inc. and the Commerce Department. Donald Campbell, a spokesman for Chevron, said, "We do
not comment on meetings or discussions we have in Washington."
Lost in all the rhetoric beginning to pour out of Washington is that a Cnooc acquisition of Unocal, based in El Segundo, Calif., would be unlikely to have much of an effect on global energy markets. Unocal's best assets -- oil and natural gas fields in Asia -- represent a very small percentage of global production and much of the energy produced from these fields would likely be
bought by the Chinese regardless of which company owns them.
I guess it's natural for Chevron to use any available tactics to win the bidding war, but I'm not that concerned about Chinese ownership of a relatively small oil company.
Transfers of assets are a forseeable result of huge trade imbalances. We are buying billions of dollars worth of goods from the Chinese, and they have to put those dollars somewhere. For the past several years, those dollars have gone largely into U.S. Treasury bonds.
Now the Chinese appear to be getting tired of measly 4% yields on a depreciating U.S. Dollar. Where else to invest? Sickly Europe? The real estate bubble, as the Japanese did to disastrous effect in the 1980's? No, the new target is U.S. equity. China's Lenovo recently bought IBM's PC business. Cnooc is trying to buy Unocal. Expect many more bids for U.S. companies, and expect the phenomenon to be very positive for the U.S. stock market.
Now the Times of London actually interviews Bush, and realizes the monolithic and simplistic foreign view is inaccurate:
In person Mr Bush is so far removed from the caricature of the dim, war-mongering Texas cowboy of global popular repute that it shakes one’s faith in the reliability of the modern media.Congratulations to the Times for breaking ranks with the rest of the moronically unanimous Bush-hating European papers. The whole article is worth reading.
Voting for this idiocy were Souter, Ginsburg, Stevens, Kennedy, and Breyer. It's a bit surprising that all of the liberal advocates of the poor and downtrodden voted for it. Eminent domain assaults the poor far more often than the rich, as their property is economically more attractive, and they lack the legal and financial resources to defend themselves.
This debacle goes to show why President Bush shouldn't be bullied away from putting Constitutionalist judges on the Court. President Reagan nominated Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg to the Court, neither of whom would have allowed this outrage. Neither were confirmed, Ginsburg because he had smoked marijuana and Bork because he understood the Constitution. They were replaced with the appalling David Souter and Anthony "European opinion trumps the Constitution" Kennedy.
I like this proposal for the city to take Souter's house and turn it into a hotel. In fact, if we have a pro-freedom majority on the city council in any of the five justices' home towns, we could actually get this thing moving forward.
UPDATE: Resources to fight eminent domain are at this site, part of the Institute for Justice.
UPDATE 2: Karol at Alarming News points us to this Ken Wheaton discussion of why liberals want to screw the little guy.
UPDATE 3: Some liberals over at the Daily Kos are on the right side of this one.
The first two are serious but temporary setbacks. But when the Supreme Court starts making very un-Constitutional rulings that become a new pseudo-Constitution, it's more or less permanent. The eminent domain ruling is a massive and permanent blow to private property rights in America.
The head of the Canadian Medical Association wants Ottawa to carefully examine the prospect of expanding private health care in this country.
"When it comes to health care in Canada, private health is not some bogey man to be trotted during an election campaign,'' Dr. Albert Schumacher told a meeting
Saturday of the B.C. Medical Association in Vancouver.
"We need a real debate on the role it has played, the role it continues to play and will play in our system to advance the health of all Canadians.''
Schumacher was speaking in the wake of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on Thursday that narrowly struck down a Quebec law which banned private insurance for services deemed medically necessary.
... Dr. Chantal Ducasse, a doctor in private practice said: "In the public system, I had to see 50 patients in six hours. It's not human. We don't do that with animals. We shouldn't be doing that with human beings."
HT: Alarming News.
UPDATE: OpinionJournal jumps in.
The Boston Globe and The Los Angeles Times initially refused to confirm or deny that they had a copy, or had even seen a copy, of the Standard Form 180 (SF-180) by which Sen. John Kerry’s “complete” military records were released over the past several days. This threw serious doubt on whether either newspaper took sufficient reasonable care in evaluating the chain of transmission by which they received the Kerry documents.
In response to my story in the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday, the Managing Editor of the Boston Globe, Mary Jane Wilkinson, has now told Sun-Times editors that the Globe does indeed have a copy of Kerry’s Standard Form 180 used in delivering the documents to the Globe. That is reassuring, but it remains to be seen whether the Globe will release copies of the SF-180 in their possession, and that is important.
According to MarkSullivan, a former Navy JAG officer who worked directly for the Secretary of the Navy, the SF-180 can release anything and everything and nothing much at all, depending on how it is executed. So it is incumbent upon anyone relying on statements, much less making them, concerning the production of documents to
examine its wording carefully. One must evaluate it the same way an attorney would examine a request for discovery document in a legal case to see if it is artfully worded in a way not easily apparent to a non-specialist that excludes vital material.
In Feliciano v. 7-Eleven, a masked woman with a gun attempted to rob the 7-Eleven where Feliciano worked. While the robber was distracted by another employee, Feliciano grabbed her gun, and held her captive until the police arrived. "Following this incident, 7-Eleven terminated Feliciano, who was an at will employee, for
failure to comply with its company policy which prohibits employees from subduing or otherwise interfering with a store robbery."
The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that employees can't be fired for defending themselves. But how stupid for 7-11 to have a public policy telling robbers they won't be stopped.
HT: Say Anything via Ace.
Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League is outraged over a comment Rep. Charles Rangel made the other day, the New York Daily News's Lloyd Grove reports:
The Iraq war "is the biggest fraud ever committed on the people of this country. . . . This is just as bad as the 6 million Jews being killed," the 74-year-old Harlem Democrat insisted during a Monday radio appearance on the WWRL-AM morning show with Steve Malzberg and Karen Hunter. "The whole world knew and they were quiet about it because it wasn't their ox being gored.
When interviewer Malzberg challenged Rangel's analogy, the congressman replied: "I am saying that people's silence when they know things terrible are happening is the same thing as the Holocaust." . . .
Foxman retorted: "It is so outrageous that I think he owes an apology not only to the families of the victims of the Shoah, but he also owes an apology to the soldiers who are fighting for freedom. . . ."
It's good that there are people like Foxman around who are paid to remind us that such comparisons are outrageous. For our part, we can barely muster the energy to roll our eyes. We have simply become desensitized to exorbitant liberal-left rhetoric. Bush = Hitler! Little Eichmanns! Guantanamo is a Gulag! By now what can one offer in response but a weary "whatever"?
This is a problem not only for those who resist the trivialization of evil but also for the liberal left itself. Shock can be a useful rhetorical device, but only if used sparingly--for the listener's capacity for shock quickly diminishes. That's why Republicans see Howard Dean as a laughingstock rather than a threat.
Foreign governments that are party to the Geneva Conventions and/or the Convention against Torture—and that is some 190 countries—and countries that have national legislation that authorizes prosecution—and that is at least 125 countries—have a legally binding obligation to exercise what is known as universal jurisdiction over people accused of grave breaches of the Conventions. Governments are required to investigate suspects and, if warranted, to prosecute them or to extradite them to a country that will. Crimes such as torture are so serious that they amount to an offense against all of humanity and require governments to investigate and prosecute people responsible for those crimes—no matter where the crime was committed.
Amnesty International’s list of those who may be considered high-level torture architects includes Donald Rumsfeld, who approved a December 2002 memorandum that permitted such unlawful interrogation techniques as stress positions, prolonged isolation, stripping, and the use of dogs at Guantanamo Bay; William Haynes, the Defense Department General Counsel who wrote that memo, and Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, who is cited in the memo as concurring with its recommendations.
Our list includes Major General Geoffrey Miller, Commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, whose subordinates used some of the approved torture techniques and who was sent to Iraq where he recommended that prison guards “soften up” detainees for interrogations; former CIA Director George Tenet, whose agency kept so-called “ghost detainees” off registration logs and hidden during visits by the Red Cross and whose operatives reportedly used such techniques as water-boarding, feigning suffocation, stress positions, and incommunicado detention.
And it includes Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who called the Geneva Conventions “quaint” and “obsolete” in a January 2002 memo and who requested the memos that fueled the atrocities at Abu Ghraib; Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, former Commander of US Forces in Iraq, and Sanchez’ deputy, Major General Walter Wojdakowsi, who failed to ensure proper staff oversight of detention and interrogation operations at Abu Ghraib, according to the military’s Fay-Jones report, and Captain Carolyn Wood, who oversaw interrogation operations at Bagram Air Base and who permitted the use of dogs, stress positions and sensory deprivation.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of those who deserve investigation, we would be remiss if we ignored President George W. Bush’s role in the scandal. After all, his Administration has repeatedly justified its detention and interrogation policies as legitimate under the President’s powers as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. And President Bush signed a February 2002 memo stating that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to Taliban or al Qaeda detainees and that their humane treatment should be contingent on “military necessity.” This set the stage for the tragic abuses of detainees.
What will happen to AI's funding, which comes largely from American donations?
Well, they'll still get donations from Al Gore.
HT: Lorie Byrd and Captain's Quarters.
The two-tier system: it seems to work in Australia, Britain, and now Canada.
Come to think of it, we have a two-tier system in the U.S.: private insurance and Medicaid. The only difference is the gap in the middle: those not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, but who can't afford or don't qualify for private insurance.
Obvious solution: take the Canadian route. Make Medicaid available to everyone, but make the service so bad that people will want to buy private insurance.
As the orchestrator of nearly a dozen major campaigns which tanked against
overwhelming odds, I’d like to add my two cents RE Democratic Party
1. Why aren’t we talking more about Wicca? Everyone loves Harry Potter, right? If the GOP wants to be the Christian party, we’ll be the party of worshiping trees and lesbian goddesses. Not that this would be a big move from where we are right now.
2. Instead of campaign buttons with Hillary’s picture on them, why not box-cutters? We could put a cute slogan on them. “HIJACK THE VOTE!” Just a thought.
3. I’m loving what Howard is doing for us, but how about some celebrities to help carry the load? Let’s start with Michael Jackson. He’s sexually ambiguous, he used to be a minority, he has an alcohol problem, he’s being prosecuted for a sexual offense…what Democrat can’t relate to that? If he’s convicted, even better. We need an advocate for victims’ rights. Of course, I mean victims of our criminal justice system. One day they’re telling us we can’t rape little boys. The next day, they’re banning books other than the Bible.
4. Reparations. HOLD IT! I don’t mean reparations for blacks. That’s been tried. I mean reparations for the stupid. Blacks were only persecuted for 400 years. The stupid are still persecuted every day, and they make up 60% of the electorate. Howard could push the idea in a rap song. Call himself “Reparation H.” We could give them government money and food stamps. What? We’re already doing that?
5. Let’s take the money we’re wasting on homeland security and spend it on education. Did you know there are still public school infirmaries that don’t stock flavored condoms? Open your eyes, America. The Puritans are winning.
Give me a call, and I’ll do for Hillary what I did for John Kerry.
UPDATE: OpinionJournal, an unlikely source, backs me up! And Clarence Thomas sided with dope-smokers over Scalia! HT: Instapundit.
What, no thoughts on Kerry's records release?
Although, I noticed you took the counter down.
It's really quite strange that he didn't release them
sooner, what with all the discrediting of the Swift Boat shit
Maybe it was his bad grades...
I've been traveling and haven't kept up with the story. I'll have to read up more on the alleged discrediting of the Swifties.
However, I would tend to agree with Kaus's thoughts from a few months ago: the record better be damning or Kerry's an idiot for withholding it during the campaign.
Kaus:Kerry's military records, when fully opened, better show something at least mildly embarrassing! If they're completely innocuous, why couldn't Kerry have signed Form 180 a year agoand cleared up many of the rumors that helped sink his candidacy (and his party)?"
Before we celebrate the exoneration, however, PoliPundit and others (Powerline) ask whether this is a full release of the records, and based on some of the language from the parties involved, it may not be.
And it's a bit amusing to see that after all the bluster about the "chimp" or "idiot" president, that the sophisticated, French-speaking alternative was even dumber.
And if the Swifties have truly been discredited, why is there no discussion of it on Blogenlust?
Tony Blair is putting an end to Jacques Chirac's fantasy that a miraculous massive change of opinion in Britain would revive the EU Constitution.
As if we didn't see that coming.
Why would Tony Blair sacrifice his own already precarious career to do a favor for the vile Chirac by creating a Union of European Socialist Republics? Answer: he wouldn't!
On Thursday, Samir Kassir, a prominent Lebanese newspaper columnist and long-time critic of Syria, was murdered in Beirut when a bomb exploded under the hood of his car. The following day, we learned that Syria had test-fired three missiles the previous week--one Scud B, with a range of 190 miles, and two Scud Ds, with ranges of 400 miles. The missiles, of North Korean design, are configured to carry chemical warheads, according to Israeli security sources; they can hit any target in Israel along with U.S. military installations in Turkey, Iraq and elsewhere in the region.
There are several lessons here, but one of them is this: John Bolton was right.
President Bush's nominee to be Ambassador to the U.N. has been assailed because he pushed U.S. intelligence services for evidence of Syrian work on weapons of mass destruction. As Senator Chris Dodd put it, Mr. Bolton "was trying to convince people that there are weapons of mass destruction in Syria, at a time when there was no evidence of that."
We're glad somebody was on the Syrian case. A ballistic missile test is provocative enough, but missiles configured to carry chemical warheads are not the act of a country that wants to change along with the rest of the Middle East. The firing of the missiles--the first such "test" in four years--came just two days before Lebanon held its first round of parliamentary elections since Syrian troops quit the country in April.
Which brings us back to Mr. Bolton, who has been denied a Senate confirmation vote because, among other charges, he challenged accepted intelligence wisdom. In the Syrian case, Senator Dodd and his comrade-in-filibuster Joe Biden concede that Mr. Bolton's final testimony to Congress on Syria's WMD was accurate and cleared with the State Department. But they claim that he was too aggressive in early drafts of his statements, and they want to see the names of fellow U.S. officials whose communications were secretly picked up by a U.S. spy agency. Those names have already been seen, as is the normal practice, by the ranking Senators on the Intelligence Committee, who claim they show nothing of import.
But he put his hands on his hips!
The most insidious media bias is in the way they portray issues, not candidates. By distorting the facts, they manipulate public opinion.
Ankle Biting Pundits catches the New York Times in a typical example of this type of bias. The Times has a graphic that makes the tiresome case that the rich get a disproportionate amount of the benefit.
Why do high income earners benefit if income taxes are cut? Because high income earners pay all the income taxes! Well, DUH! Will the next New York Times analysis show us that if cigarette taxes are cut, smokers will benefit disproportionately?
ABP also points to this great IRS data that show how the rich are carrying our sorry asses. The top 5% pay 53% of all income tax as of 2001, up from 43% in 1991. Why don't we see graphs of this in the New York times?
AJ Strata gives us a peek at David Brooks' subscription-only column* (this is legitimate "Fair Use," so don't hassle me!) on the topic.
Forgive me for making a blunt and obvious point, but events in Western Europe are slowly discrediting large swaths of American liberalism. Most of the policy ideas advocated by American liberals have already been enacted in Europe: generous welfare measures, ample labor protections, highly progressive tax rates, single-payer health care systems, zoning restrictions to limit big retailers, and cradle-to-grave middle-class subsidies supporting everything from child care to pension security. And yet far from thriving, continental Europe has endured a lost decade of relative decline.…..
But it is not the absolute standard of living that determines a people’s morale, but the momentum. It is happier to live in a poor country that is moving forward - where expectations are high - than it is to live in an affluent country that is looking back.
Right now, Europeans seem to look to the future with more fear than hope. . As Anatole Kaletsky noted in The Times of London, in continental Europe “unemployment has been stuck between 8 and 11 percent since 1991 and growth has reached 3 percent only once in those 14 years.”
The Western European standard of living is about a third lower than the American standard of living, and it’s sliding. European output per capita is less than that of 46 of the 50 American states and about on par with Arkansas.
There is little prospect of robust growth returning any time soon.
…..Europe’s population is aging and shrinking. By 2040, the European median age will be around 50. Nearly a third of the population will be over 65. Public spending on retirees will have to grow by a third, sending Europe into a vicious spiral of higher taxes and less growth.
*CORRECTION: The Brooks column is not subscription-only; it's here. Free for first 7 days after publication, I believe.
Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Transport, revealed that pilot areas will be selected in just 24 months' time as he made clear his determination to press ahead with a national road pricing scheme.
Each of Britain's 24 million vehicles would be tracked by satellite if a variable "pay-as-you-drive" charge replaces the current road tax.
The purported reason for this gross invasion of privacy is to make a road tax proportional to the amount of driving people do. But a gas tax accomplishes the same thing, with the additional benefit of encouraging fuel-efficient cars. Another use would be to charge additional fees for driving in congested central city areas during peak hours, but this can be managed (and already is in some places) with toll booths and electronic tags.
Similar horrible ideas have been proposed in California, where the insane left-wing legislators' lust for more taxes has eclipsed their interest in both civil liberties and the environment.
Patterico and the Jawa Report have more. A big roundup at FullosseousFlap's.
HT: The Agitator via Alarming News.
Failed presidential candidate Kerry advised that he will begin the presentation of his case for President Bush's impeachment to Congress, on Monday.
Kerry said of the ["Downing Street Memo"]: "When I go back [to Washington] on Monday, I am going to raise the issue. I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home. And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."
1) Why is this not news for the mainstream U.S. media? The once and wanna-be future king of the Democrats wants to impeach the President!
2) How will Moveon.org handle this? Their reason for being, and the origin of their name, is the belief that the President is too important to be distracted by allegations of little things like sexual harassment, rape, perjury, and obstruction of justice. Will they change their name to Dontmoveon.org? Too late -- it's taken!
UPDATE: This may be a hoax. Aljazeera.com is not the web site of the well known Al-Jazeera TV network. Other minor news organizations such as NewsMax and "Kavkaz" carrying similar Kerry quotes. INDCJournal doesn't buy it. Why is the mainstream media neither reporting the story nor debunking it?
The E.U. constitution — and its promise of a new Europe — supposedly offered a corrective to the Anglo-American strain of Western civilization. More government, higher taxes, richer entitlements, pacifism, statism and atheism would make a more humane and powerful new continent of over 400 million to outpace a retrograde United States.
Instead, Europe faces a declining population, unassimilated minorities, low growth, high unemployment and an inability to defend itself, either militarily or morally. Somehow the directorate of the European Union has figured out how to have too few citizens while having too many of them out of work.
A. Legalize it!
Milton Friedman, who never had an opinion I didn't agree with,
leads a list of more than 500 economists from around the U.S. who today will publicly endorse a Harvard University economist's report on the costs of marijuana prohibition and the potential revenue gains from the U.S. government instead legalizing it and taxing its sale. Ending prohibition enforcement would save $7.7 billion in combined state and federal spending, the report says, while taxation would yield up to $6.2 billion a year.
Full report here. I've been trying to make this argument, often without much documentation, for years. I'm glad to have this research at hand now.
But Friedman goes further:
"There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana," the economist says, "$7.7 billion is a lot of money, but that is one of the lesser evils. Our failure to successfully enforce these laws is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Colombia. I haven't even included the harm to young people. It's absolutely disgraceful to think of picking up a 22-year-old for smoking pot. More disgraceful is the denial of marijuana for medical purposes."and
"I've long been in favor of legalizing all drugs," he says, but not because of the standard libertarian arguments for unrestricted personal freedom. "Look at the factual consequences: The harm done and the corruption created by these laws...the costs are one of the lesser evils."
HT: TalkLeft, who until now never had an opinion Friedman did agree with.
It was Ted Turner who ended the cold war. At least in Ted's opinion.
We have honored Ted here before, for his $1 billion... "uh, I might have to reduce that a little"... "uh, would you take a rain check on that?"... gift to the United Nations Foundation, a group whose mission is to produce propaganda
Telling the Story
In cooperation with the Foundation's sister organization, the Better World Fund, sponsoring or conducting outreach efforts aimed at educating the public about the UN's unique role in addressing global issues and forging international
to make people believe the U.N. is doing good things rather than taking bribes, protecting murderous dictators, and raping the natives. But we apparently neglected to mention his greatest achievement: ending the cold war.
In this same article, Turner complains about CNN doing too much coverage of "perverts," and that he doesn't want rapes and murders to be emphasized. I guess that means CNN should close down its U.N. desk?
UPDATE: Edited to remove the guy's name. I hope nobody harasses him or his employer. He was good-natured and his sign was innocuous a...
Body Count goes to Vegas! Ernest Scherer III was a Vegas loser who fancied himself a professional poker player. Doesn't that photo t...