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OpenMarket: John Berlau

  • Ted Kennedy's Deregulatory Legacy on Airlines and Trucking

    August 26, 2009
    Tributes are pouring in for Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, who lost his battle with brain cancer late Tuesday evening at the age of 77.
  • UBS Deal Only a Partial Victory for the Feds

    August 19, 2009
    Today, after a long and protracted battle between the U.S. and Swiss government, Swiss bank UBS AG agreed to turn over the names of at least 4,450 U.S. holders of accounts in Switzerland.
  • UBS-IRS deal -- U.S. Constitutional liberties, privacy rights at risk after Obama bullies the Swiss

    August 12, 2009

    Lawyers for the U.S. government and the Swiss bank UBS AG have announced that they have reached a deal on releasing to the US the names of UBS account holders. No new details of the agreement have been released, other than what was previously speculated on a week ago.


    I will be watching for and examining details that are released. Whatever deal is reached, the Obama administration’s conduct in the case, disregarding both privacy interests and the sovereignty of other nations, has been deplorable. It has set a precedent that could endanger U.S. competitiveness as well as civil liberties throughout the world.

  • Bonus pay bill: CBO predicts huge costs to private sector, broad swaths of employees affected

    July 31, 2009
    After the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) calculated the enormous costs of an all-encompassing health care scheme with a bloated public option, members of Congress from both parties asked for more due diligence before rubber stamping the plan.

     Yet today, the U.S. House of Representatives may rush through another piece of poorly designed command-and-control legislation that the CBO just yesterday said could have its own tremendous costs.  Though advertised as giving shareholders more "say" over CEO pay, the "Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act of 2009 [H.R. 3269]," would give the government the power to ban performance bonuses for a wide variety of employees - including even office assistants and clerks - at a wide variety of firms.


    On Thursday, July 30, the CBO Cost Estimate for the bill, sponsored by House Financial Services Chairman Barney...
  • Prof. Gates' property rights likely violated in arrest -- but Obama was wrong to weigh in

    July 30, 2009
    Amid all the endless media psychobabble about "national conversations" and "teachable moments" - and we will no doubt here more of this in the reporting of the "beer summit" at the White House today -- I have been trying to weigh the established facts surrounding Henry Louis Gates' arrest from a libertarian, constitutional liberties perspective.

    I have come to a conclusion siding with Gates against the officers -- but only in a limited sense. Although I disagree that this was a case of racial profiling, I do think the charging of Gates with disorderly conduct for yelling at the officer in Gates' own home was an improper and likely unconstitutional infringement on both Gates' free speech and property rights.

    Generally, unless a something like a bullhorn is involved, a homeowner cannot "disturb the peace" on his own property, not matter how obnoxious the content of his speech might be....
  • Ex-CEO Hank Greenberg hits home run against AIG and Spitzer

    July 7, 2009
    Once again, the team of politicians and corporate bureaucrats pursuing the witchhunt against former American International Group CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg have struck out.
  • Goodbye, Mary Lou: Tribute to a great journalist and editor

    June 30, 2009
    CEI President Fred Smith yesterday expressed all of our condolences on the death of Washington Times Commentary editor and veteran Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mary Lou Forbes.

    I was a colleague of Mary Lou's when I worked at the Washington Times' magazine Insight. She could always tell a great remembrance of her 50 years in Washington journalism. She mentored Carl Bernstein and others at the now-defunct Washington Star. In a future post, I will relate her explanation about how FCC rules banning the ownership of a newspaper and TV station in the same city -- aimed at prventing monopolies -- actually  killed the Star by denying the newspaper the TV station's revenue -- making Washington a one-newspaper town until the Times came along.

    It was after I came to CEI in 2004, however, that I got to work with her as an editor when I submitted op-eds to the Times. She was the best kind of...
  • Schumer and Cantwell's deceptive advertising on shareholder "rights."

    June 8, 2009
    If deceptive labeling of bills in Congess were punishable by regulatory agencies, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) would be paying a hefty fine.

    Their so-called "shareholder bill of rights," recently introduced in the Senate, would impose a one-size fits all regime on public companies that would limit choices for shareholders, reduce corporate performance, and allow political agendas of pressure groups to trump the interests of ordinary investors. Most egregiously, the bill would make illegal a key feature of the corporate governance structures that have served shareholders very well at companies from Google and Microsoft to Berkshire Hathaway.

    The bill would make it illegal for the CEO of a public company to also serve as the chairman of its board. The argument that critics such as the ...
  • Cheers for Indiana Treasurer's halt to Chrysler Bankruptcy

    June 4, 2009
    The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock stand up against the Obama administration’s nationalization scheme.
  • Bankruptcy judge should put breaks on "Government Motors"

    June 2, 2009
    President Obama and his auto task force should respect the role of the bankruptcy court and recognize that its role is not to rubber stamp the administration's plan to take over GM.


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