October 1, 2012 1:07 PM
The United National Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. Simultaneously, there has been a push for the U.S. to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). Though signed, the treaty was never ratified by the U.S.; and for good reason. LOST redistributes wealth away from developed states, such as the U.S., and discourages innovation and investment.
LOST replaces hundred-year-old sea boundaries for member states, regardless of being a coastal or land-locked state. This can potentially reduce the extent of sovereign territory of the U.S. For example, Niger, a predominately desert country in Sub-Saharan Africa, at least 400 miles away from the nearest ocean coast-line, is allowed the same relative amount of ocean territory as Greenland, the world’s largest island.
LOST also creates a governing board for the ocean, the self-declared Authority. The area outside of states’ sea-boundaries, known as the Area, is to be mined by the Authority-created Enterprise. The Enterprise is a business organ which excavates for the Authority.
At the Authority’s discretion, developed states are to pay dues, and state and private deep-seabed mining companies are to pay “royalties” towards the creation of the Enterprise.
October 1, 2012 10:44 AM
BLAKE HURST: "Organic Illusions"
"A recent study by a group of scientists at Stanford University found that the nutritional benefits of organic food have, to say the least, been oversold. Apres moi, le deluge. A furor has erupted. In our modern-day version of holy wars, we’ve replaced debates about gnosticism and Manichaeism with arguments about the virtues of locally grown versus sustainable versus organic. As with all wars over doctrine, the rhetoric has been fierce."
TRAVIS BROWN: "In 'Live Free or Die' New Hampshire, The U.S. Looks For Tax Leadership"
"In New England, there remains one granite pillar against the tyranny of high tax burdens, found within the spirit of New Hampshire. This November, leadership from the State Legislature will attempt to end the creeping encroachment of the personal income tax applied to gaming winnings and interest from dividends. The New Hampshire Income Tax Amendment, known as CACR (13), would ban all forms of personal income taxes applied to a natural person."
JASON ZENGERIE: "‘The. Polls. Have. Stopped. Making. Any. Sense."
"The 1,072 Ohioans who participated in PPP’s poll were, as is the case with almost every poll taken today, older and whiter than the electorate. As a result, Jensen decided to give more weight to certain respondents’ answers. 'If the whole world was releasing unweighted polls,' he says, 'Mitt Romney would be heading to an easy election.' For instance, although African-Americans accounted for just 7 percent of the respondents to PPP’s poll, Jensen believes—based on census data, past elections, and the current political environment—that black voters will make up 12 percent of the Ohio electorate come November. So Jensen multiplied his African-American respondents’ answers by 1.5."
October 1, 2012 8:41 AM
In a bad omen for the economy, "durable-goods orders" sank "13.2% in August," far more than economists "had expected." “Bookings also fell for machinery, computers and primary metals in another sign the U.S. manufacturing sector has softened considerably . . .Orders for durable goods . . . provide a good idea of how fast the economy is growing. Orders . . . droop when the economy falters."
"GDP growth for the second quarter was revised down to 1.25%," notes AEI's James Pethokoukis. "U.S. economic growth is dangerously slow," he observed: "research from the Fed . . . finds that since 1947, when two-quarter annualized real GDP growth falls below 2%, recession follows within a year 48% of the time. And when year-over-year real GDP growth falls below 2%, recession follows within a year 70% of the time." The "bottom line" is that the economy is "slow enough to signal about a 50% chance of a recession within a year." Here is a “taste of what economists are saying: 'It’s all unraveling this morning.' . . ‘the downward revision to GDP and the chillingly large drop in Durable goods orders is enough to send chills up your spine'. . . . ‘nothing there is reassuring.'"
October 1, 2012 8:39 AM
Don’t be fooled by the optimism overflowing from the stress test of Spain’s banking system released on Friday. American Consultancy Oliver Wyman, which performed the test under the steering committee tasked with assessing Spain’s bank recapitalization, uses two disingenuous assumptions to drastically underestimate banks’ financial needs by up to a whopping 60 billion euro. Cries of relief that Spain will not have to request rescue funding in excess of the 100 billion euro in already granted European aid are suspect at best.
The Wyman report offers two different scenarios spanning the course of 2012-2014 -- one baseline and one adverse. Media focus has centered upon the adverse case, which is the projected upper bound of a potential bailout’s size. That figure is 53.75 billion euro. Unfortunately, this calculation is victim to the same two major errors contained within Wyman’s June 2012 report, which Colin Lokey at Seeking Alpha pointed out upon its release.
October 1, 2012 5:00 AM
71 new regulations, from prune insurance to Colombian tariffs.