February 2, 2009
-- by Dave Johnson
In today's NY Times: Justice Dept. Under Obama Is Preparing for Doctrinal Shift in Policies of Bush Years
Question: Will the Obama Justice Dept reverse the Bush DOJ's dropping the Microsoft case? Eight years ago, after the Clinton administration WON a major antitrust case against Microsoft the Bush administration came in and "settled" largely on Microsoft's terms. This signaled that the Bush administration was open for businesses, and that companies who payed up and helped fund the Republican lobbyist machine could expect favors. And the floodgates of corruption opened wide.
Now we have a new administration, and Microsoft still has a near-monopoly in operating systems and a total monopoly in office software. Little has changed. (Yes, Mac has a small share of OS, but even the Mac requires MS Office to be usable in business.)
Can the antitrust suit be revived?
Posted by Dave Johnson at February 2, 2009 10:42 AM
OT: Valuable lessons for us little schmucks
"My failure to recognize that the use of a car was income and not a gift from a good friend was a mistake," the former Senate majority leader explained as his onetime colleagues stood behind him in a display of support. "It was completely inadvertent. But that's no excuse, and I deeply apologize to President Obama, to my colleagues and to the American people."
It's unclear whether the American people will accept the apology; they tend to look unfavorably on people who amass more than $350,000 in unreported income and improper deductions. They also might be skeptical of somebody who used his connections and influence to pile up more than $5.2 million since he left the Senate, much of it from a major Democratic donor and $220,000 of it from health-care interests that Daschle, if confirmed by senators, will begin to regulate.
But Obama, and Democratic senators, were eager to accept their friend's apology. The president, a former senator himself, pronounced himself "absolutely" behind Daschle, and members of the Senate Finance Committee, after sitting with Daschle for just 15 minutes, lined up at the microphones to absolve him.
"I don't know of a person more honorable," said Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
"It's an innocent mistake," added John Kerry (D-Mass.).
"My breast is clear, and my support is strong," intoned Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).
"I will vote for Senator Daschle," the committee chairman, Max Baucus (D-Mont.), read from a prepared statement.
Indeed, the senators will almost certainly confirm the former member of their club, barring the discovery of more tax problems. But in doing so, they risk leaving the impression that they operate under the Leona Helmsley rule: Only the little people pay taxes. "
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