The GOP Convention: Gaffs, warts and all….

August 29, 2012

1. I started to watch the GoP convention, only to last about 10 min. Even the delegates seemed bored. The same old stuff: Ban Abortions, Trash Obama, Take back our Constitution? I hadn’t realized it was lost,until Justices Scalia and Thomas perverted it’s use to push through the Citizens United Legislation. By all means, let’s take back our Consitution. Repeal Citizens United, Now. Everyday wasted in this pursuit is a day less of Liberty and Freedom.

2. All substantive issues addressing job and revenue growth in this country were tabled in favor of the prevailing rhetoric: Union bashing; ” we’re for small business , the backbone of this Nation ” and vague statements on the GOP’s concern for Infrastructure. Leaves you wondering, what do they care about? How are they going to provide revenue to keep most small businesses from closing? Where’ s their action plan for re- building America? Did I miss something?

3. NY Times Nicholas Kristoff 8/29/12. The Secret Weapon :All of us. One of The lead speakers for the GOP showing disdain for the Stimulus Package was a hardworking business person, Sher Valenzuela, her fledgling upholstery business received $2Million in SBA loans and $15Million in non bid government contracts. If you’ re going to flaunt a success story, please don’t use Crony Capitalism to state your point. Those of us still struggling to earn a living resent the mis- use of Stimulus Funds. They have gone to the same groups of people never trickling down to the general economy.

4. LOL: After surveying the Convention Hall John Boehner was heard to remark, that a 4 day extravaganza may no longer be necessary? Re-introducing the Candidates to the American people is over kill in the age of social media. Additionally, when those folks are deprived of their umbrellas and bananas, their sense of well being has been destroyed . Time to re- think the need. Who’ s benefiting?


Has the day of the auditor finally arrived?

August 25, 2012

1. Sounds like good news to me. Business Section NYTimes 8/24/12. Small audit firms doing their job and finding problems in 100% of 23 brokerage firms audited. Even the big 4 accounting firms are not so cozy with their clients. They too are finding “accounting deficiencies”. A former partner at Coopers and Lybrand, stated that, if we were auditing a manufacturing firm, such high rates of failures in their products, would force them out of business. FINALLY, there’s an understanding that the marketplace holds folks who produce a product to a higher standard then those who control the flow of money in our Country. Why?

2. Congress can not agree to repair The Dome of the Capitol, too much government spending was stated. Isn’t The Capitol a national landmark? Wouldn’t it’s repair provide skilled construction jobs? Why let the schism continue, repair the Capitol. NYTimes 8/25/12

3. The Financial Times, John Ford The “masters of the universe are playing a loser’s game. Hedge funds now control 2 trillion in assets. In order to seek ever higher returns on their investments, pension funds are now buying into hedge funds. How is it possible, when hedge funds are the least regulated money managers? Additionally, as they become larger during these uncertain times, they are no longer able to deliver stellar returns on investment. In fact, 98% of hedge fund gains are eaten up by fees. Rather then face dire consequences, pension funds would do better in US Treasuries. You, think?

4. LOL. FTimes. Uncertainty, the only thing markets can be certain about. Preceding the financial crash, in 2005, there were 2877 stories with the word uncertainty. 9 months into 2012 , there are 3290 mentions of uncertainty, Which year will prove more critical for the markets? Dare we forget “the Black Swan”?


Crony capitalism, loss of power for the “People”

August 23, 2012

1. The EPA is partially controlled by The White House, according to sources interviewed at the EPA, NY Times 8/23/12. Ties to Excelon by the President, David Axelrod and former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel have aided Excelon in gutting directives sponsored by the the EPA. “Since the Fukushima accident, Excelon, has minimized how much it must spend on safety concerns at it’s plants; Including, it’s 8 GE boiling water reactors , the same models as the Fukushima Reactor.

2. LOL we are anointing Kings. The Super PAC enables any and all with money to play. They ‘ re playing for high stakes, influence at the Top. Review the list of Fortune 500, who ever has the ear of those in power gets to make and keep the most revenue. No matter that good laws and regulations that protect people are gutted, it’s all about the money. Sure some jobs may be created, but at our expense.

It seems the Teacher’s Union and Infra structure jobs are just not high up on the profit pyramid. What else explains the lack of interest in tackling these projects?

3. Remember the proposed SEC law to safeguard money market funds, it’ s been stalled as 3 out of 5 commissioners opposed Mary Schapiro’s plan. (2 republicans and 1 democrat). It takes a village!


News from the Financial Times

August 21, 2012

1. Who knew that the CEO of StanChart , Sir John Peace, sat on many outside Boards, including Experian..They say he might have been distracted by the enormity of his outside responsibilities. One can only wonder, when sitting on Experian’s Board, did he exercise the same “lack” of fiduciary responsibility as exhibited in StanChart? How many individuals rely upon these rating agencies for availability of credit? Makes you continue wondering, what “real” criteria are used to determine a persons credit worthiness?

2. Just read an article about Fannie and Freddie Mac. Who knew that the preferred 10% dividend they had to pay back to the taxpayers was borrowed from the US Treasury. Well we can rest easier now, the government is now going to take back all of their “profits”. Effective date, 2013. Watchfully waiting.

3. Lehman Bros revisited by 60 Min. 8/19/12 Lehman played a shell game with their money. They shipped money overseas and then took it back after Bank audits and quarterly filings, in order to give the appearance that their balance sheet was solvent. Ernst and Young , their auditor , knew about the unethical and illegal activities. 4 years later, what’s happened? Nothing. The SEC had access to all of Lehman’s transactions and said nothing and found nothing wrong. According to the conclusions reached by those interviewed, the financial instruments were deliberately complex to escape understanding and prosecution. Makes sense for Lehman, but why give up, fraud was committed. The economy tanked, real money was lost by millions, why should those responsible go free?

4. LOL I was going to recommend seeing a 1911 play at The Mint Theater entitled Mary Broome. The main character, Leonard, is not so different from real life self important, feeling entitled people. However, today’s NY Times full page Ad on page 5 , illustrates the type of personality best. Thank you , Norman Lizt, for personifying the modern day “entitled personality “. “Your hand written note” , states, and I paraphrase, ” if taxes go up for the wealthy, you will shutter your “productive venture capital” business and buy Treasuries instead? So?


News from the Financial Times

August 20, 2012

1. Who knew that the CEO of StanChart , Sir John Peace, sat on many outside Boards, including Experian..They say he might have been distracted by the enormity of his outside responsibilities. One can only wonder, when sitting on Experian’s Board, did he exercise the same “lack” of fiduciary responsibility as exhibited in StanChart? How many individuals rely upon these rating agencies for availability of credit? Makes you continue wondering, what “real” criteria are used to determine a persons credit worthiness?

2. Just read an article about Fannie and Freddie Mac. Who knew that the preferred 10% dividend they had to pay back to the taxpayers was borrowed from the US Treasury. Well we can rest easier now, the government is now going to take back all of their “profits”. Effective date, 2013. Watchfully waiting.

3. Lehman Bros revisited by 60 Min. 8/19/12 Lehman played a shell game with their money. They shipped money overseas and then took it back after Bank audits and quarterly filings, in order to give the appearance that their balance sheet was solvent. Ernst and Young , their auditor , knew about the unethical and illegal activities. 4 years later, what’s happened? Nothing. The SEC had access to all of Lehman’s transactions and said nothing and found nothing wrong. According to the conclusions reached by those interviewed, the financial instruments were deliberately complex to escape understanding and prosecution. Makes sense for Lehman, but why give up, fraud was committed. The economy tanked, real money was lost by millions, why should those responsible go free?

4. LOL I was going to recommend seeing a 1911 play at The Mint Theater entitled Mary Broome. The main character, Leonard, is not so different from real life self important, feeling entitled people. However, today’s NY Times full page Ad on page 5 , illustrates the type of personality best. Thank you , Norman Lizt, for personifying the modern day “entitled personality “. “Your hand written note” , states, and I paraphrase, ” if taxes go up for the wealthy, you will shutter your “productive venture capital” business and buy Treasuries instead? So?


It Bogle’s the mind, Feats of courage and LOL

August 17, 2012

It Bogle’s the mind, Feats of courage and LOL

  1. To paraphrase The NY Times 8/12/12, John Bogle states that this is the worst time for investors that he has seen.  He urges everyone to wake up because the financial system has been badly damaged and a Black Swan event, something apocalyptic, though small is real.  He further urges  return to fiduciary responsibility.  In an ideal world, people would do the right thing, but as many have noted before, enforceable laws , creating stability in the marketplace is required once again.
  2. Also quoted, in the NY Times, Gretchen Morgenson, requests that we mark 8/29 on our calenders because the SEC votes on limiting taxpayer exposure to teetering money market funds when the next financial meltdown occurs.  Mary Schapiro , Chairwoman of the SEC is committed to protecting taxpayers and intends to require funds to set aside capital to protect their share price.  But , to no one’s surprise, the fund managers strongly oppose any new capital requirements.  It’s better to “stick it”to the taxpayers once again, then live up to their fiduciary responsibility.
  3. (4 ) NY Democratic Representatives are skipping the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.  They are Representatives: Bishop, Hochul, Owens and Slaughter… Takes courage to stay away from the circus, courage that should be admired and replicated by other Congressmen from both Parties.  After all, with Citizens United, this is no longer a “free” election.  We will be electing the best that money can buy.
  4. And in the LOL column, A toy that was included in our Tedx Bounty, Buckballs, has been taken off the market.  I thought these rare earth magnets were an interesting diversion and gave them to my creative 16 yr old grandson.  Though he has made many tetrahedrons and other interesting designs, it never occurred to me that this was a dangerous “object”.  Don’t blame the manufacturer , take personal responsibility and don’t give it to small kids or anyone who may choke on these balls.  We’re not outlawing bullets.  Why should we outlaw Buckyballs?

 


Financial Times: read and wonder: the next crisis?

August 16, 2012

1. The markets rallied as Standard Charter escaped heavy fines and accountability for alleged money laundering of 250 Billion for Iran. They got away with a 340 million dollar fine/ a slap on the wrist and a black eye for the NY regulator who brought the charges. StanChart’s stock rose 4.5%. As investor’s applauded the deal and were gratified that shareholder prices were maintained.

2. Paul Singer, a top GOP donor, is dismayed that Romney won’t pursue tougher bank regulation. He’s concerned that the next financial crisis is looming large and could be more sudden and more intense. Mr. Singer , also stated, that private reward and public risk is not what conservatives should want. Too big to fail remains a pervasive problem that DoddFrank does not address. Ah well, better luck next time, while we all hope for the best.

3. He said it! Jeffrey Sachs states, that only a spirited 3rd Party, using free social media, has a chance to break the status quo. Until then, the demise of public goods and services.will continue. Essentially, Paul Ryan’s budget and Obama’s look alike. They both cut social services unmercifully and leave millions to suffer needlessly. Neither Party addresses the major issues facing the Country; like the quality of education and the relentless downward spiral of the middle class as more people become unemployed.

4. And, If you were wondering about The Libor debacle, you’re not alone. Eric Schneiderman, the NY AG, is investigating the involvement of 7 of the world’s largest banks, in the Libor rate rigging scandal. The Banks being subpoenaed include; Deutsche Bank, Citibank, Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland , Barclays, HSBC and UBS. Interesting, some US administrators are concerned that these investigations could destabilize the market and may undermine financial stability! LOL Meanwhile, don’t forget to pay your mortgages and credit cards on time or you’ll face serious financial consequences .

That’s my small sampling of the latest news. Oh, there’s the drought, the potential for food wars, higher prices for corn, etc…..

Good luck and good night.


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