Walt Disney

Walt Disney Company has a blockbuster hit coming up: the 2023 annual meeting.

The main feature of the double bill is the showdown with Trian Management’s Nelson Peltz, who wants a seat on the board.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has told 80-year-old Peltz to take a hike. "Nelson Peltz does not understand Disney's business and lacks the skills and experience to assist the board in delivering shareholder value in a rapidly shifting media ecosystem," says the company's presentation.

The second feature isn’t too shabby, either. A shareholder resolution calls for an annual report on Disney’s exposure in “Communist China, which is a serial human rights violator, a geopolitical threat and an adversary to the US.”

Disney does business in and relies on raw materials, finished products, broadcasts, entertainment venues, theme parks and labor/services from entities in China.

The resolution notes that US/China relations are tense due to China’s military expansion, egregious human rights violations, actions related to COVID-19, intellectual property theft, relentless espionage, elimination of freedom in Hong Kong and environmental pollution.

Disney’s extensive ties to China breed reputational risk. For instance, ”Disney funds groups that promote the interests of homosexual and transgender people, while the Communist government persistently and vigorously cracks down on those forms of identity within its borders." according to the resolution.

Disney opposes the measure, saying disclosure of “the nature and extent to which its corporate operations involve or depend on one particular country would not provide additional value to the company’s shareholders.”

Note to Iger: China isn’t an insignificant player in Disney’s line-up. We are not talking about Peru or Nepal. We are talking about the world’s No. 2 economy and the country that FBI director Christopher Wray has called “the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security.”

If Marjorie Taylor Greene fell overboard, would you toss her a lifeline? How about AOC?

After reading Edelman’s latest Trust Barometer, I get the feeling that many people on that ill-fated cruise would skip the lifeline and just get back to the party.

Richard Edelman noted in his commentary about the Barometer that the combination of low trust in government, systemic unfairness and lack of common values caused the descent from an acceptable level of societal debate to a critical level of polarization.

“Overwhelming majorities, among those who feel strongly about an issue, refuse to live near or even lend a helping hand to people they disagree with,” wrote Edelman.

Only 20 percent of Barometer respondents are willing to work alongside a person who strongly disagrees with their point of view.

George Santos is the Congressman America deserves. That’s the headline of Lexington’s Jan. 17 column in The Economist. The many lies of Santos do matter but not really for what they reveal about him.

Wrote Lexington: “That such a person should represent America in Congress is a national disgrace. But it is also fitting because he represents something true and awful, particularly about the Republican party but also about America, a nation lousy with misinformation, also known as deceit.”

Social media has turned many Americans into deceptive brand ambassadors for themselves.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to shame Santos into giving up his seat, but he caved to protect his fragile majority.

By assigning Santos to House committees, he showed that power means more to him than veracity. “The Speaker has blown a chance to restore some trust, in himself and Congress,” wrote Lexington.

The New York Times is staffed by clueless left-wingers who rarely venture beyond the confines of Manhattan, according to the paper’s critics.

But Bret Stephens, one of the paper’s two conservative columnists, proves that liberals don’t have a lock on being out-of-touch with the rest of the country.

Stephens argued on Jan. 17 that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen set the bar way too low, when she suggested the IRS won’t audit households with under $400K in annual income, in the event that it gets the 87K new staffers promised by Joe Biden to go after tax cheats.

“If you think of a middle-aged professional couple living in, say, New York City or San Francisco, each making about $200,000 a year, filing a joint tax return, already in a high bracket, paying through the nose for rent or maintenance or a mortgage, you’re probably not going to describe their lifestyle as ‘rich.’ They’re scrimping to send their kids to college, driving a Camry, if they have a car at all, and wondering why eggs have gotten so damned expensive.”

Gail Collins, who shares a column with Stephens brought him back to Earth, noted that most Americans wouldn’t regard the people who live in households making $400,000 a year as helpless victims when it comes to having their tax returns scrutinized.

She added that the $400K sum is more than quintuple what the IRS agent doing the scrutiny probably gets for a living.

She believes a middle-aged couple living in Toledo would find Stephens’ take to be off-the-wall.

“As much as I adore Manhattan, I don’t think its housing costs should be a template for national tax policy,” wrote Collins.

It’s time to take that long road trip, Bret.